Little Witch Academia

November 26, 2017

After passing the ‘baton’ in Space Patrol Luluco, Little Witch Academia the TV series has finally arrived. Though there were a couple of movies prior to it in 2013 and 2015 but I didn’t see them. In a time where zombies and superheroes are permeating the entertainment world, it is time to take a little diversion as we focus on witches. They feel so last century. Even in this series’ setting, magic that was once the greatest thing in the world is now on the decline but our main protagonist has this goal of becoming a fine witch after watching an amazing magic performance of a witch many years ago whom she regards as her idol and motivation. With no talent for magic at all, can she fulfil her dreams? Not with a lot of misadventures along the way. I guess that itself is magic? Cliché…

Episode 1
Atsuko “Akko” Kagari was and still is captivated by the magic show put on by Shiny Chariot when she was young. Thus it is her dream to become a witch like her and now all grown up, she embarks on her first step to achieve that dream by finding her way to Luna Nova. Such annoying eager beaver that wouldn’t shut up about it all that it is no wonder that Sucy Manbavaran ignores her and plays a few unsuspecting pranks just to get her off her back. Arriving at the leyline stop that connects to Luna Nova, Akko hears witches badmouthing non-witches recently being accepted into the school. Akko is left stranded since she has no broom to take her there. Lotte Yanson is running late. She has a broom. Time to hitch a ride. Into the dimensional highway they go but the turbulent is too strong. It is because Akko is holding salt that is causing it. Because she tries to retrieve her dropped Shiny Chariot card, they fall off prematurely into Arcturus Forest, pulling Sucy with them. Happy now that her card is okay? Lotte’s broom isn’t. They have to escape a giant man eating plant and a cockatrice. However Akko and Lotte fall into Sucy’s trap. She is going to use them as sacrifice for the cockatrice so she could take its mystical feather. The duo make a run for their lives. Sucy gets the feather but the cockatrice now targets her. Akko stumbles upon a magic staff, Shiny Rod and recognizes it belongs to Shiny Chariot. After picking it up, she lures the cockatrice into a fight with the man eating plant to buy time for their escape. Perhaps having 3 ladies sitting on broom makes it heavy and slow. The cockatrice breathes fire at them. Free fall. Luckily Professor Ursula Callistis is in the vicinity and chants a spell that activates Shiny Rod, teleporting them right in the middle of Luna Nova’s matriculation ceremony. Akko is so happy she made it. According to the strict rules, she would have been booted out but the headmaster allowed it under special circumstances. Akko is shown her room. Guess who are her roommates? Lotte and Sucy.

Episode 2
Happy Akko tries to activate Shiny Rod. Nothing happens. Sucy decides to enrol in Luna Nova to add to her poison collection. Professor Anne Finnelan is not amused that Ursula is taking Akko under her tutelage. Ursula feels the need to guide a student who is of non-magic lineage. Finnelan is worried since Ursula is a bit clumsy herself. Akko in class can’t really keep up. Yeah, she’s literally sleeping through it. Diana Cavendish as you can see is the star and honour student of Luna Nova. As a prodigy and from a lineage of famous witches, you can expect her prideful behaviour. Her first encounter with Akko, she warns her about Chariot who doesn’t hold a high regard in the magic world. It has been 10 years since she disappeared and nobody cares where she is now. Akko won’t accept that and tries to prove it with Shiny Rod by trying to make the statue move. Nothing happens. Diana easily uses her magic to wow everyone. Totally on a different level. Later Akko shows to her friends her Shiny Chariot card collection. It was the craze back then. She collected all except one premium card. Oh, she memorized each one of them by heart. The professors are concerned that the Jennifer Memorial Tree is weakened. Diana tries to use a ritual to provide nourishments to it but soon its roots start uprooting and what it seems like shiny parasites sticking out to it. She tries to eliminate them all but Akko stops her. These are not parasites but some sort of magic fairy butterflies that only emerge once every 120 years. She knows it because it is from her card collection. Akko uses Shiny Rod to hatch them and it worked. The glowing butterflies fly away, painting the sky a beautiful gold. The professors think Diana did a splendid job but as she tries to explain herself, the professors believe no one else but her could pull this off.

Episode 3
Ursula gives Akko her new broom. New students are being taught how to fly a broom. Only Akko somehow still cannot fly. Furthermore, the broom relay race is coming up and Akko wants to win it so she could have her picture next to Chariot (she was once a winner too) in the hall of fame. Akko accompanies Lotte to go pick up her repaired broom. They see a sealed broom, Shooting Star. It is legendary for being able to fly far and wide without the Sorcerer’s Stone but no witch has ever tamed it. Akko wants to borrow it but the shopkeeper will not allow it. Akko tries befriending, threatening and begging her broom but it still won’t fly. Sucy isn’t interested in participating in the race but when she learns the winner will also receive a prize from Professor Lukic, she quickly takes Akko for a Spartan training. Not even all the near-death stunts could still make her fly. Race day is here. When it begins, Lotte only lifts off like normal. The rest are stuck because Sucy put some glue on their brooms. Is this legal?! But it didn’t work on the mechanized broom of Constanze Amalie Von Braunschbank Albrectsberger. She quickly relays the ring to her partner, Jasminka Antonenko. However with Sucy placing snacks in her path, she soon strays. Lotte passes to Sucy who in turn passes to Akko as the anchor. Can her broom fly? Well, it turns into legs and hops. At this time the other contestants have freed their brooms and begin racing. Delinquent Amanda O’Neill stole Shooting Star and tries to ride it. Of course it escapes. It passes Akko as she grabs and holds on for the ride of her life. Oh, she went all around the world?! When she falls off, Diana saves her to repay her debt. Akko won’t lose and fires herself as a human cannonball to ride Shooting Star again. This time she chains herself to it. So it is Akko and Diana neck to neck to the finish line. Who will it be? Just inches before the finish line, the seal on Shooting Star breaks. It turns into some majestic broom bird as it flies away. In the end, Diana wins. Akko took second and as Ursula noted, it is quite an achievement for someone who still cannot fly and has nothing but passion.

Episode 4
Finnelan reprimands Akko for stealing a tart (or pie?) and since she dared talk back, she will make them unload the food truck tomorrow and take extra lessons under Ursula. However Lotte begs any punishment but this. Denied. Dream dashed. It seems Lotte is a fan of a long running novel series called Night Fall by Annabel Crème. Let’s say the story is similar to Twilight… Tomorrow the 365th volume will be released and Annabel who has never shown her face in public will do a face reveal. Akko gets this brilliant idea. After unloading the food, the trio sneak out in the food van. It is a lively affair in town with all the nerds and cosplayers. Lotte is one herself since she can identify every character from which volume no matter how insignificant! Lotte explains how she got into this series. It was her escape from bullying. In the hall, Annabel turns out to be a little girl? She looks disinterested and only looking at her handphone. There is a pop quiz in which the winner will get an item from her. Lotte aces the quiz and wins a fountain pen. To her shock, Annabel reveals this means she will be the next writer. As all Night Fall authors are different, Annabel is the 12th and now Lotte will be the 13th. If she doesn’t write, her favourite series ends today. Annabel then uses an item to teleport away. Lotte realizes she isn’t a witch and needs to go look for her and return the pen. Akko thought Lotte should be happy since she could write the stories she wants. Lotte disagrees. Unlike Akko who wants to be like Chariot, Lotte doesn’t harbour dreams to be like the person she admires. She wants to only support. They manage to find Annabel who says she won’t write again due to the flaming comments about her latest works. However Lotte argues about how good it was and fans were expecting this development. Then they discuss all the interesting chapters and weird trivia. It gives Annabel back her motivation and she will continue writing. The trio return to Luna Nova and surely Finnelan is expecting them. They are punished to clean the bath. Lotte reveals another reason why she doesn’t want to write: It would be spoilers if she wrote it herself and there would be nothing to look forward to then.

Episode 5
Akko and Amanda got into a quarrel that cause and accident in class. Luckily Diana’s magic reverts it all. Then she lectures and puts them in their place. Of course, both girls and even their group get punished doing laundry. They see a group of dragons stealing the Sorcerer’s Stone. They go tell the teachers but it seems they know about it and fears the dragon’s wrath. Lotte deduces the dragons of Rastaban Ruins might have come out of their 100 year slumber to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone. With Diana further chiding their typical behaviour, this gives the perfect excuse for Akko and Amanda to skip out on their punishment and retrieve it. Reaching the ruins, they are attacked by the dragons. Their friends got captured and the duo tumble down a hole. Seeing her friends captured, Akko really wants to have a go at this old giant dragon, Fafnir! She gets caught and fears being eaten. But Fafnir dismisses about that barbaric act and that humans don’t taste good at all. Akko is insulted and argues she tastes good?! Anyway, Fafnir explains her friends got captured by his security system. He wonders if they brought the money owed. They are unsure of what he is talking about till they see the headmistress, Miranda Holbrook and a few teachers at the door. They are as shock to see their students here. Fafnir thinks the girls are a ploy to stall the payment. Holbrook offers some antiques but Fafnir gets mad. He wants cold hard cash.

Akko demands an explanation so Fafnir says Luna Nova owes him a great debt. He received not a single penny for a year and he was ignored when he reminded them. He threatened to steal the Sorcerer’s Stone to get their attention. This isn’t enough to cover a fraction of the debt. There is nothing wrong for a dragon to like money as it doesn’t discriminate. See his online stock broking making money! He is going to repossess Luna Nova and sell it before its value drops. He doesn’t care about Akko’s dreams whatsoever. He is just being realistic. That’s how the world works. Suddenly Diana comes in to show an old contract which states that no interests should have been paid. It was purposely written in an old dragon language as none of the teachers could read it. Diana is fluent in it. Fafnir rubbishes it and nulls the contract. If so, this makes the overpayments of interests void as they have paid more than the base amount. So care to pay back the excess amount? In light of this, Fafnir just returns the Sorcerer’s Stone and drops everything. Fafnir believes magic is no longer the future. Dragons and witches are no longer needed. Akko remains confident it will be. He likes that steadfast look in her eyes although he still remains sceptical that living off dreams alone cannot earn a living. Akko and co get more laundry punishment. Akko and Amanda continue to argue the other as the dumbest.

Episode 6
As Akko has not mastered the basics of metamorphosis, she is forced to stay in her room till she masters it. So no party for her to welcome Earl of Hanbridge who will be visiting Luna Nova tonight. Oh, he has a handsome son, Andrew. During the party, Paul Hanbridge wants his son to tour the place so Holbrook has Diana do the honours. His friend, Frank is trying to hit on Diana but she ignores him. Plus, Diana and Andrew know each other since young and don’t really like each other. Especially their opposing views on magic as Andrew views them as obsolete and useless. Andrew gets separated when he spots Akko sneaking out (must be tired of turning herself into a rabbit girl) so he goes to check her out. He finds her amusing but still badmouths about magic. Akko denies that so he wants proof. She tries to show her metamorphosis. Now he has donkey ears! And tail! He takes it that she can’t fix it. Looks like her only hope is the Fountain of Polaris where she’ll have the power of the stars grant her magic. Too bad she couldn’t read the Latin (not French) warning and breaks in, awakening Arcas the polar bear from its slumber. Run! They end up falling over a cliff but Ursula’s magic floats them down (she went to look for Akko after realizing she’s not in her room). Before the fountain, she enters the magic arc and sees past visions of Chariot studying and using her magic. Despite having good intentions, it has some troublesome consequences. So did Chariot inherit the magic into Shiny Rod and become a phoenix?! Suddenly everything reverts to normal. The fountain is gone. Ursula explains the fountain bestows great power to witches with hidden radiance but disappears when an immature witch is unworthy to wield its powers. Akko is sad as she knows she got her hopes up to be acknowledged a witch but instead it is something you work hard for. Ursula dispels the magic on Andrew and he promises to keep this a secret. When he leaves with his father who has confirmed that witches have no purpose in this era and thus wasted his day, he is only doing this to put enemies in his debt.

Episode 7
Akko continues to flop in all exams. I mean, she can’t even understand classes (yeah, some teachers are animals and talking in animal language) so how do you expect her to pass? Then she gets into a fight with Diana’s underlings because they mock her stupidity too much (since Diana’s 100% prediction predicted Akko will get expelled). Akko is taken to Holbrook as Finnelan warns that if she fails her next exam, she will be expelled. So in the next lesson with Professor Pisces, as expected Akko cannot understand a single word of fish language! So she thought of lapping up to Pisces but pouring some expensive and popular mineral water into her fishbowl. Instantly turn belly up! Trying to save her makes it worse because she accidentally flushes the fish down the drain! So with Sucy and Lotte, they transform into a fish (WTF did Akko transform into?) to go down the sewers to rescue Pisces before the exam begins. Oh, they leave it to Ursula to distract and fool the class over Pisces’ disappearance. Will the fish bait work? Akko has time to help a sad fish look for his family. Even using her limited magic to break them open from the cage trap. It seems Pisces was among the trapped. Akko thinks she has gotten back in time but Finnelan is waiting and Ursula busted. Back to Holbrook’s room again. However Akko can understand when Pisces praises her and gives her an A in magic philosophy. But Finnelan still wants her expelled since the newspaper reports a weird mermaid was spotted. This somewhat tarnishes Luna Nova’s reputation. For once, Ursula blows her top as she stands up for Akko, telling her off all the hardships and failures she went through. Even so, she continues to grow. She approves of Akko. A call from the environment agency comes in. They want to know if this mermaid is from Luna Nova. They want to commend her for saving an endangered fish from poaching. I guess Akko is saved from expulsion. However since she tried to cheat on the exam, she will still be punished. Finnelan watches over Akko and co (even Ursula) as they clean up the place.

Episode 8
Sucy has created some super energy drink that will unleash her abilities. She drinks it but it seems she is ‘asleep’ the next day. Her friends think she wants to skip class so bad. But when they return, she is still asleep but mushrooms are grown everywhere. Fearing they will be expelled this time, they can’t alert the teachers and try hard to wake her up. Lotte thinks it is some witch disease that causes her to go into slumber so the only way is for Akko (who volunteered) to enter Sucy and wake her up. Inside her mind, she meets Sucy’s consciousness in the form of angel and devil. Both are evil. Just their methods differ. They force Akko to sign a contract if she wants their help. The original Sucy is in the mushroom tower and they would have got there faster if Akko knew how to fly a broom. So by foot, Sucy meets all kind of personalities of Sucy that she never knew. Yeah, she even went to court to stop the death sentencing of innocent Sucys but is sentenced to be executed herself. Of course Akko frees herself and the other Sucys before continuing her journey. Then she takes a detour to watch a movie. It’s retro black and white cartoon with Akko being viewed as a total idiot while Sucy plays her pranks on her. So funny that even Akko is laughing! Of course there are some heart-warming moments like the first time they met. When the movie ‘predicts’ the mushroom will overrun Luna Nova and cause chaos, some Sucys start laughing. Akko chides them this is not funny but then turn into Titan Sucy and start devouring everything! It is believed that if this continues, this Sucy will wake up and be the new personality. So let’s go quickly wake her up. After knocking on several doors, Akko finally finds the original Sucy sleeping. She must traverse through vines and fight off a dragon. How do you wake a sleeping princess? Yeah, Akko is going to kiss her! Fortunately Sucy will not have that disgusting thing and wakes up, causing Akko to miss and slam her head instead. Akko wakes back up in reality (which seems to have reverted back to normal). As Sucy is still asleep, Akko frantically tries to wake her up. Maybe kiss again? Same thing. Sucy wakes up. Akko misses. Bangs head. Everything back to normal. Sucy will now have Akko do all those as promised in the contract. Wasn’t that just a dream?

Episode 9
In order to make an amulet charm that will guide them home safely, each student must hand over their most prized possession. This means Akko has to reluctantly give up her Shiny Chariot card. While picking mushrooms with Sucy, Akko’s blunder causes her to spill some potion on a grave that resurrects a dead talkative pirate. Although the effects will wear out by sundown, they have to stop him from causing trouble in town. Plus, you know the punishment if the school finds out you used magic outside especially reviving the dead, right? Akko and Lotte are having a hard time keeping up with him (and out of trouble) since he is running all over the place and has no clue what he is supposed to look for. Eventually the bits of clues come back and he is supposed to find a man responsible in bringing misfortune to a girl named Miranda. Her mom died after she was born and he vowed to turn her into a fine witch. However he broke his promised and left her alone. After all that running, he realizes he himself is that guy. He used to bring her to play at the bell tower and made her a magic staff out of the bell’s tongue. Akko recognizes it as Holbrook’s staff since it has the same design. She uses the potion to bring the bell (and the entire bell) back to Luna Nova. Father and daughter reunite. Holbrook isn’t shocked to see him. She even lets him visit her mom’s grave and then tells him she never resented him. She worked hard and became a headmistress. He kept his promise. Time is up so pirate dude thanks the girls before he disappears. Of course now it is for the trio’s punishment. As they are still in the middle of training, they are to clean the broken brooms and reflect on what they have done. Just a slap on the wrist, right? Well, they never expected to clean thousands of broken brooms!

Episode 10
Sucy ordered some venomous bee but wrongly received a love bee instead. You know what happens when you get stung, right? Akko wants to try it on someone when Diana and her underlings pass by in fancy gowns. Looks like they have been invited to Andrew’s mansion to celebrate his honours received from his school. Because they tease her how she’ll never get to come, this makes her mad and so it is. She’ll be coming. But does she have to drag Sucy and Lotte along too? So first they pick out some dress (in which according to the contract can last for only 2 hours), they sneak into the mansion after Akko uses her magic to turn a squirrel giant and run rampage at the gates. Andrew and Diana look like a perfect couple. Akko looks ‘jealous’ so she keeps eating her cake. When Andrew spots her and wants her to leave because he didn’t invite her, they get into an argument. Sucy then takes this chance to unleash the love bee (remember, it was Akko’s idea to test it on someone). The bee stings Andrew. He sees Akko as a beautiful woman (who the heck is this chick?!) and falls for her. He even kisses her hand! Akko is most disgusted by this. The bee also stings Frank and the other guys. They all fall for Lotte. Sucy gives Akko a swatter to swat the bee and the effects will be negated. But now the bee stings Diana. She sees Akko. Lesbianism! Hanbridge talks to Andrew about allowing witches here. He reminds him how obsolete things are not needed (like his piano play too) as they are statesmen. They need to consolidate their power and Andrew will be the future leader. He warns him to remove the witch.

After he leaves, Akko overheard all that and comes to tease Andrew for being a spineless puppet. Andrew respects his father as the leader of the state as well as the head of the family. He has a duty to succeed him. Akko counters that she might not be a noble or rich, but she has dreams of becoming a witch. Akko returns chasing the bee back in the ball. What a nuisance. Before Hanbridge can kick her out, Andrew returns as he plays the piano to the bumblebee theme so the crowd can watch fittingly how Akko cartoonishly tries to swat it. In the process, more people get stung. Straight love! Homo love! Beastiality love too? Heck, Diana gets stung again and now that she sees herself in the mirror, she truly loves herself! Finally manages to swat the bee. On Hanbridge’s forehead! Everything returns to normal. Andrew is back to his prideful ways. Time runs out and Akko’s dress disappears back to Luna Nova’s uniform. Lotte might be a little heart-broken that the guys are now not interested in her. Except for Frank he seems to want to hang out with her. Too bad she rejects him since it would be rude to date him before she developed any feelings. While Andrew doesn’t show it, Frank can tell Akko caught his attention since ultimately he didn’t kick her out. Back at the dorm, Sucy and Lotte tease Akko about one day Andrew and her will be together. Though she continues to deny it all.

Episode 11
Akko continues to fail in her magic despite tutoring from Ursula. She starts thinking if she would become like Chariot. As she ponders where she disappeared to, Lotte suggests asking Ursula since they might know each other. Might. This gives Akko confidence and she heads straight there. At this time of the night? That’s Akko for you. Well, Ursula is giving vague answers about Chariot. She tells Akko about a word that means the dream that cannot be grasped but if you work hard towards it, it can be yours. She also asks her to take care of Shiny Rod. Diana sees Holbrook for a book not found in the library. She gives her a magic key to the secret archives and since tonight is the blue moon, it might show her something magical. Similarly, Akko remembers her card collection about the blue moon that talks about some apparition. Diana enters the archive and reads up on Grand Triskelion, a great hidden power that changed the world. It was sealed by the Nine Olde Witches within Arcturus. Only a staff with 7 stars, Claiomh Solais may break its seal by reciting the 7 words. Akko stumbles into some secret passage. After running around and getting lost, she stumbles into Chariot! However Chariot tells her to realize her dream will never come true. Akko realizes this is an imposter since Chariot will never say something like that. Chariot then turns into an apparition. Akko wants to ask about her future. She is shown a future whereby Akko is a great witch. However to grasp this future she must erase her past. They are needless for this future. But Akko will not forgo her past despite all the failures, mistakes and bumbling. Those tears and frustration are all part of her. It is her life and belongs to nobody else. Akko vows to work hard to become an amazing witch. She says a magic word to exorcise everything? After she passes out, Ursula arrives to pick her up. She recognizes the apparition as Professor Woodward. She in turn calls Ursula as Chariot. It seems Woodward was testing Akko like how she did for Ursula. Woodward notes Claiomh Solais has been revived. Akko has already said 2 words to revive it (the first in the forest and recently the second). She wants Ursula to aid her in reviving the remaining words. Ursula promises to tell Akko the truth one day.

Episode 12
Akko improves in her transforming magic. Though, she looks more cartoonish. The Samhain Festival is around the corner where invited witches all around the world gather. As this is Luna Nova’s chance to display their mettle, each team is required to display their magic in which the most exceptional one will be chosen and be granted the title of Moonlit Witch. Each time is also assigned duties. Akko’s team is arguing who should draw the lot. I guess 2 against 1. It’s you Akko. She gets the worse duty of becoming a sacrifice! At the end of Samhain, this sad demon Vajarois wakes up and devours the sacrifice and goes back to sleep till the next festival. Don’t worry. Nobody dies. Sacrifices just pass through its digestive system and safely excreted. Everyone is laughing at how fitting a role Akko’s team plays. Akko is red faced and annoyed. More jealous than before especially for Diana as she got the best duty of summoning and becoming the festival’s committee. So while she pouts, she stumbles upon a magic mirror that Diana was helping other students out. The mirror reflects Akko’s jealous heart and turns her into Diana. At first it will be hard to run away from others looking for her assistance but soon Akko finds it hilarious to use her fame and prank them! Real sh*t hits the fan when she is tasked to do some magic but can’t. The real Diana shows up and undoes everything. Akko gets an earful about being irresponsible to her duty and sulk when things don’t go her way. But Akko argues back when Diana says she is just playing Chariot without knowing anything. She vows to become the best and get that Moonlit Witch. Just wait and see. So… All just talk for now? Yeah, more sulking for Akko as Ursula comes to lift her spirits as usual. Shiny Rod lights up and points the way to the Fountain of Polaris. Akko steps in again and sees Chariot happily practising magic. She feels Chariot was doing it not to become Moonlit Witch. With the staff glowing further, Akko now knows what to do.

Episode 13
Akko plans to entertain Vajarois with her magic but her pals aren’t too keen on keeping on with her pace. However watching her practice hard for 3 weeks and with no improvements at all, after reading her Trick or Treat Plan, they decide to help her. The festival gets underway with the Luna Nova teams putting on performances. With some getting into freak accidents, it is no wonder those judges are feeling bored and beginning to realize why magic is on the decline. That is of course until Diana’s team put up a stunning magic display. Now it is time for the sacrifice. Vajarois is brought out. Lotte and Sucy seemingly flee to leave Akko to her own device. Akko looks like she got devoured but she turned into a mice in the nick of time. She transforms into a few more animals to let Vajarois chase her. Each time Akko falls short, Lotte and Sucy are there to back her up. More flashy magic displays and funny animal transformations to make Vajarois laugh but it serves to only piss it off. But everyone else is laughing. Because Akko’s magic is so crappy that it is funny! Meanwhile Ursula has been trying to research on Vajarois’ origins for Akko and finally in the archive she discovers that Vajarois was originally a princess. She ate a seed of sorrow that will make her sad eternally so as not to forget her lost friends. She returns to tell Akko this in the nick of time. The only way is to pull out the seed. Not hard to find once they get swallowed into its stomach. With the power of friendship and stubbornness perseverance, they finally pull it out as Vajarois bursts into a beautiful gust of magic dust. They see Vajarois true princess form for a short while. Akko and friends are happy they did it, so is Ursula because Luna Nova will no longer have any reason for this sacrifice ritual. Diana heard she is leading the contention to be Moonlit Witch but isn’t too pleased to hear Akko isn’t in the running because she broke some rules.

Episode 14
Ursula is nervous as she is about to tell Akko the whole truth. However the teachers call her as something has happened. The fairies are on strike. They are demanding to use extra powers from the Sorcerer’s Stone. However it isn’t possible as it is operating at near full capacity and there is none left to spare. So for now, Ursula is forced to get some energy manually. That will take days… Until she returns, the students will have to bear everything not functioning. The fairies try to barricade the Sorcerer’s Stone but a barrier falls off and almost hits Akko. She is saved by Croix and her magitronics (magic + electronic technology). She is a new teacher at Luna Nova and shows off her hi-tech magical devices. Wow. So futuristic. Akko tries to go negotiate with the fairies and drags Lotte as her interpreter. However she ends up siding with them! I guess she got persuaded. When Diana tells them off that they will all lose Luna Nova in the process, Akko stokes more fire by saying she is an aristocrat and knows nothing about the harsh life of commoners! You can’t win over an idiot… Soon both sides have a negotiation. Unfortunately energy is something you cannot easily create. However Croix has a solution using her Sorcery Solution System (SSS). It sounds very complex how it can create more energy, store them and even apply for government subsidy at zero cost! Wow. We love to have it! However Finnelan disagrees. Luna Nova is about upholding tradition. She tells Croix to refrain bringing her modern devices here. Diana’s subordinates bribe a fire fairy so they can have a warm bath. But somebody injured it. When the other fairies find out, they go on a rampage and attack everybody! Is it too late to accept their demands? Akko is once again saved by Croix’s hi-tech magic. She even uses the devices to absorb all the negative energy and revive the flame fairy! Croix is now loved by all the students and the teachers embrace technology wholeheartedly! SSS is installed and makes life much easier for all parties. From the looks of it, Croix has some ulterior motive setting it all up… By the time Ursula comes back, all her efforts are in vain as it is not needed anymore. As she goes to talk to Akko, she is shocked to see her admiring and being friendly with Croix. Ursula knows Croix…

Episode 15
Almost everyone is embracing technology in magic as Croix is the only sole developer. Diana is not impressed as she tries to do a background check on her. She might not look like much then but she has powers that could rival her and was considerably popular. In fact, Croix is Chariot’s senior. Though Croix put in hard work to improve magic, Chariot prefers to use it for entertainment despite having more natural talent for it. So impressed Akko goes to see Croix with those admiring eyes. Asking if she knows her whereabouts, she could analyse if she had something that belong to her. Shiny Rod? Akko is told to come to her lab as she has the instruments. Croix analyses it and it seems it reacts to high spirit energy and emotions. But the rod isn’t the only thing she analysed. Before Akko knows it, she is put into a trance and analysed too. When Ursula finds out about it, she makes her way there (couldn’t she sit on a broom to fly instead of running on foot?). She fights off Croix’s automations and realizes it was an attempt to test her skills. Ursula knows Croix has never changed as she wants the reconstruction magic all to herself. Croix is confident she can’t stop her but Ursula vows even if she cannot shine again, she will protect Akko. Akko wakes up back in Ursula’s place and is told she wasn’t feeling well and was brought back here. Akko mentions about a strange dream regarding Chariot so Ursula starts explaining about Grand Triskelion. Some infinite power that stretches everywhere but withered in time. It marked the decline of the age of magic. Traces of it remain only in leylines. But its original power was passed down in secrecy. The Nine Olde Witches sealed that great power to reconstruct the world in Arcturus. Seven words that were lost are able to break its seal. However simply reciting them won’t activate it. One must breathe life into its revival only will do. Akko has already breathed 3 of the words. There are 4 words remaining and she has to learn what they are for herself. Akko believes Chariot went missing because she was looking for those words. Now she wants to look for them in hopes of running into her.

Episode 16
Akko is now eager to find the remaining words. How? Search online. Internet too slow! And she said she is going to take whatever it takes to find them when she can’t even wait 3 minutes for the search results… Although Ursula knows that word, Akko says it but nothing activates. That is because she lacks something and she needs to find it herself. Now, now. Don’t be impatient… Akko and Sucy follow Lotte to her home since her family is serving pie given by the neighbour. Everyone is enjoying it. Except for Akko. It must be so disgusting that she spit it out. Yeah, Akko doesn’t even enjoy the sauna. The next day, everyone is shocked when the adults have turned into moss! It seems this is some Greenman disease. Coincidentally everything lined up perfectly for this rare disease to occur. Yeah, including that pie. There is an antidote for it and they have to make it quick otherwise the infected will stay a moss forever and wither away. So as they go collect the ingredients (Akko almost being a dick in trying to get them. Yes, a dick) but they are a couple of ingredients short when Lotte and Sucy now turn into moss. It is up to Akko. After getting the reindeer’s dropping, she has to get a yeti to make the medicine base. However he couldn’t make it exactly as per instructions so Akko had to tell to redo it again. Now he has lost motivation. What’s this? You’re lecturing him now? Even a yeti can be sensitive. See, now you made him cry and run away. She finds out he is a victim of online bullying. Screw all that! Who cares what society says? He is an artisan and genius. The yeti is motivated and gets back to work. Now that the base is done, it is a long trek home. At times Akko wanted to give up but she perseveres. At this time, little specks of moss are growing over her. As she mixes the medicine, she then chants the word. Shiny Rod becomes some sprinkler to sprinkle the medicine and cure everybody. Back at Luna Nova, Ursula is pleased another seal is broken and the key to it all was Akko’s patience. With 3 remaining words left, Akko is in a hurry to get them. I guess she didn’t learn…

Episode 17
Amanda tells Akko that she heard that the Holy Grail is being kept at an elite school, Appleton. They may be keeping it for some whatever ritual. Akko thinks it could be the key to the fifth word. In this school where Andrew goes, Akko can’t let herself be seen so she transforms into a mouse while Amanda masquerades as a man. Amanda picks a fight with Louis Blackwell, the son of Appleton’s chairman who is also the Defence Minister. She doesn’t care and wants to fight. When Louis spots Akko, he believes they are witches and wants to rid them. Till Andrew steps in to handle it. Akko scolds Amanda for starting unnecessary trouble. Amanda wants to go out with a bang before she quits Luna Nova. Akko and Andrew’s ideal clash again with the letter okay in following what fate has set in stone for him. Akko goes off alone to find the Holy Grail. She sees something strange (Croix’s cubes) leading her to a chest in what Akko believes to be the Holy Grail. Amanda exposes Louis for cheating in a card game. She really wants to fight but realizes she can’t use magic because her device is with Akko. She is caught and will be brought to trial as a witch. Black KKK? I didn’t know posters of a wanted mouse is up so fast. Well, they didn’t have to wait long to catch Akko. In fact she came to rescue Amanda but gets caught. Andrew storms in and disagrees with Louis method to execute the witches. At Appleton, they have a tradition to settle disputes as upper class society. A sword duel on top a high bridge? Wow. This is sure civilized. Of course Amanda’s wild style defeats Louis. Being the sore loser, he takes the Holy Grail and breaks it. The cubes then inhabit a knight’s armour in which it fully possesses Louis and goes on a rampage. Akko realizes the Holy Grail is a curse that inhibited a demon or something. Amanda tries hard to fight back. Only if she had her magic. Akko then throws her device in which the knight is easily unarmoured. The cubes fly away. When the adults come, they want to arrest the witches. Andrew explains everything but they think he is brainwashed. However Louis tells the truth that he was saved by them. Andrew will take care the rest so he lets the girls be on their way. The cubes return to Croix who is satisfied with the data she got.

Episode 18
Wild Hunt is an event where hunters hunt ghosts before the year end. Since they are passing by this place, Luna Nova is all abuzz. Akko accidentally breaks Constanze’s Stanbot. She heads to her room to apologize bust stumbles upon a secret passage that leads to her secret garage where she is trying to design a ship to participate in Wild Hunt. Akko wants to help but Constanze is a loner and works alone. Each time Akko is kicked out, she always comes back. You can’t even cage her in. Akko notices Constanze is scavenging parts for her ship. When she couldn’t get them, Akko uses her charm to ‘borrow’ them. Because of that, Constanze allows her to work with her so long she could gather materials for her. On the night of the Wild Hunt, somebody leaked this to normal people so they gather at the spot in hopes of catching something paranormal. Too bad they can’t see all the spirits and action. Here comes Constanze and Akko’s majestic warship into the fray. Things are going well till the culprit unleashes strange cubes that turn ghosts into evil ravens? They attack normal people and even combine into one giant monster. Constanze and Akko transform their ship into a giant mecha! Can you believe this was Akko’s idea and Constanze loved and incorporated it into her blueprint? They fight the monster but quickly run out of power. Most of it was used up during the transformation. Dang. Ursula pleads the Wild Hunt hunters to help them so they lend their power to power the mecha up and fight back for an explosive victory. Later Ursula confronts Croix the culprit and wants to know her goal as she was trying to cause panic and gauge their rise in emotional energy or fuel spirit. She won’t tell and is confident Ursula cannot stop her anyhow. As thanks, Constanze gives Akko a high-tech broom. Very slow. Hey, at least she is flying now.

Episode 19
Diana’s mom used to tell her tales of Beatrix, one of the Nine Olde Witches. Akko is shocked to hear Diana is going to quit Luna Nova. Apparently she is the only one who can’t accept it and goes to confront her before she leaves tonight. It seems her family is having a crisis and she has to go back to become the head. But why now? Some stars aligning and the ritual can only be done in that specific time or else wait again a few years. Instead of worrying about her, Diana tells Akko to just go find the words. She has been researching them herself but it all boils down to the chosen one of Shiny Rod. That’s you, Akko. Not satisfied, Akko bugs Ursula on where Diana lives. Diana returns home and you can sense the hostility with her aunt Daryl. Akko hitch hikes her way. Nobody picks her up but Andrew. Sandwiched between father and son… So awkward. Apparently they are being invited by the Cavendish. Daryl isn’t familiar with Akko as an unwanted guest. Despite badmouthing her for not being of a witch lineage, Diana stands up for her. In her room, Akko wanted to touch a box but Diana won’t allow her. Inside is a Chariot card. Diana’s servant, Anna dresses Akko properly as Akko learns about Diana’s parents died at a tender age. Diana has to become the head of family now because if left under Daryl the proxy head, the Cavendish will perish. So after dinner (Akko being the uncivilized savage while eating), the thing Daryl wants Hanbridge to see are a few of the family’s works. She is hoping he would buy them. One of them is a tapestry of Beatrix. Hanbridge is not interested and leaves. Diana blows her top about Daryl trying to sell out the family’s assets. Daryl argues having pride won’t put food on the table. The reason the family is able to hold out this long is because she has been working all along for free. Aware of Daryl’s true intentions, Diana vows to conduct the ritual and become the next family head.

Episode 20
Akko is still trying to change Diana’s mind. Not working. As Diana begins her path to the ritual, she is ambushed and trapped by Daryl’s snakes. That was easy. Andrew asks Akko why she is so bent on helping Diana. It’s not like they’re friends. Akko may be selfish not wanting her to quit but she can tell Diana too doesn’t want to quit school. She knows Diana isn’t something who would do something halfway and abandon it. Especially if she was researching the words and Grand Triskelion. This prompts Andrew to remember Diana once couldn’t use magic but she persevered. There must be something she wants to do and the only thing she can do. When they hear Daryl has stopped Diana in her tracks, they go help her. Screw the curse that would befall on those who interfere. Rules are meant to be broken, right? Yeah, Akko is this broken in her head. Anyway, Akko is able to fend off the snakes to save Diana. Since she is a little poisoned, Diana takes her to a secret location where her ancestors healed anyone, friend or foe. She is then shown the abandoned library of the family’s medical cures. They became obsolete when science in medicine became advanced. There stands a statue of Beatrix who is the foremother of the Cavendish clan. Diana’s mother wanted to preserve the old traditional way but her weak body means she died after pushing too hard. Diana is proud of her ancestors and wants to continue preserving this home. Oh, now Akko is trying to persuade Diana not to give up and finish the ritual despite Diana has resigned on giving up! Shiny Rod glows and a cue for the fifth word. Diana has Akko repeat after her and Shiny Rod turns into Shiny Volley, Chariot’s broom. It has jet powers! Hold on! They might just make it in time for the ritual but Daryl and her daughters try to stop her. Because of that, they are cursed and turn into trees. Diana can’t let them be and uses her magic to return them back to normal. But that costs her the ritual since time is up. In the end, Diana has no regrets of the failure. But Anna doesn’t want her to forget her old childhood dream as she gives her the box. As she has no reason to be here now, please return to Luna Nova to pursue her dream. Until she can return here, they will protect it in her stead. Diana thanks her servants as she flies home. Daryl might not like Diana still but she now views her of having hope to save the family’s name. Akko is glad Diana is giving her a ride back to Luna Nova. But to her shock, Diana thanks her. That never happened before! Please say it again!

Episode 21
Akko is eager to find the sixth word. Remember, patience. Like what you’ve learnt. As she hits a dead end, Croix talks to her about Wagandea tree where that word might be. Ursula disallows Akko to go there since its toxic pollens will be released. Even her friends feel it is better for her to heed Ursula’s words. Talking to Croix again, she offers to bring her there. They inspect some of the buds and find it hasn’t open yet. This prompts Croix to warn Akko to be wary of Ursula. Why did she lie to her? Is there something she wants to hide? She claims to be Chariot’s classmate but Croix recalls no such student named Ursula. As Akko treks up Wagandea, Ursula receives word that Akko has gone there. She flies as fast as she could only to be stopped by Croix. They remember vividly on that day they were before the tree. Croix was shocked the staff chose Chariot as the one who will find the words to activate Grand Triskelion. Ursula believes Croix is afraid of Akko who might get Grand Triskelion before she does. Anyhow, she won’t get it. Croix thinks the staff has erred in choosing its owner like before. It doesn’t matter to how. She doesn’t need that staff. Ursula tries to persuade Akko to return but she becomes mad for trying to prevent her. Akko doesn’t care about the words and her goal is only to meet Chariot. She did all Ursula said just for that. Croix has Akko trudge further while she ‘convinces’ Ursula. As Akko nears the top, she sees a swarm of pollens released. She panics and falls off. Ursula saves her. A few bruises here and there but they’re safe. Akko feels regret and sorry she said those means things and Ursula still saved her. Ursula remembers apologizing profusely to Croix when she got the staff. But Croix entrusts her to get Grand Triskelion since she was the chosen one. Akko continues to weep all she wanted to say was thank you. Her tears activate the sixth word. Ursula notes Akko has grown a lot. Back at Croix’s base, she comments she has no need for Shiny Rod or the words. She has a more forceful method to take Grand Triskelion.

Episode 22
A controversial goal in a football match has both sides protesting and a war might break out. Politicians think it is inevitable but Andrew wonders if they’re going to put all their efforts of peace to waste. They tell him not to step over his line and even his father tells him to not get involved in this one. Akko sees Ursula who tells her the seventh word. However she doesn’t know what it means accept it lies within her heart. She wants to tell the most important truth but Diana comes in looking for Akko. Andrew has left a message to meet him in the streets. That’s about right now. Sorry. Maybe next time. Diana then asks Ursula about some magic irregularity at Luna Nova ever since Croix installed her technology. Ursula has an excuse to excuse herself since she sees Croix flying away. Andrew returns Akko’s hat she left in his car. They see the street protests as Andrew feels disappointed that both nations who were always at war, recently achieved peace, all for it to fall apart again. Akko thinks they should watch Chariot’s magic show and be happy. Andrew tells her she is always talking about it. Why rely on Chariot when she should be making them happy herself? Akko takes up the challenge. She then sees a cube and tries to catch it. It leads her to Croix and she is shocked to learn she is the one who developed it. She reveals Noir Fuel Spirit harnesses human emotions and converts them to energy. Magic is on the decline and will one day disappear if nothing is done. Using human emotions as the new source is fantastic and what better way than manipulating the crowd. Akko disagrees with her method. Since she sounds so much like Chariot, Croix points out that is why she failed. Her cubes become a giant salamander to pin Akko down. Here comes Ursula to bust her out. At that point, Akko sees Ursula’s true Chariot identity. She cannot believe it. The truth is out. Ursula tries to stop Chariot but is pointed out she did the same thing 10 years ago and has no right. She did something to the moon. As Ursula remains silent, Croix continues explaining. Dream Fuel Spirit converts the power of dreaming into magic. When Akko and others saw Chariot’s magic show, Dream Fuel Spirit took and converted their dreaming energy into magic. That is why Akko lost her magic. Ursula admits she absorbed her magic. Akko hopes it is all a lie. But with flashbacks of Ursula always supporting her, I guess it got to her this time. Her dream has crumbled. Akko runs away in tears. Croix mocks Akko won’t be looking for the final word now and Chariot has failed again.

Episode 23
When Chariot was young, her dream was to make people happy via magic. However she sucked at school but persevered till she got Claiomh Solais and followed Woodward’s advice to revive the words. However the final word did not appear. She is scouted by a producer who made her do magic on the big stage. But soon the people got tired of her magic and she needed to try something new. Jealous Croix introduced her to Dream Fuel Spirit. It was amazing. The crowd loved her again. However when Croix reveal how that magic absorbed magic of others, Chariot becomes devastated and wouldn’t want to use it again. Croix blew her top about Chariot being the chosen one to find the words. Is this what Claiomh Solais has chosen her to do? Chariot continues her magic shows without Dream Fuel Spirit and once more the crowd are pressuring her to show them new magic. She gave in and accidentally unleashed amnesiac magic. Diana learns from Akko’s friends that she hasn’t returned from town. She talks to Ursula about this but she keeps apologizing. This has Diana reveal her research that there was no such student named Ursula in Luna Nova. She believes Ursula is Chariot. Busted, Ursula tells her the truth of what happened to Akko. Since Ursula insists there is something more important than finding Akko now, Diana blows her top. Fine. She’ll find her herself. Diana returns to tell the friends what happened as they all go out looking for her but to no avail. Lotte is most distraught as she doesn’t want Akko to leave school. Sucy assures her that Akko isn’t smart to think of difficult things and will be back when she’s hungry. Is that an insult or compliment?

Diana finally finds Akko sitting out in the cold. Taking her to a warm place, Akko continues not to respond to her until Diana shows her the premium Chariot card. Diana reveals she once admired Chariot. Because of her circumstances, she could only collect them in secret (just one?) and dream of attending her shows. One night, mom managed to let her attend a Chariot show in Japan. It was amazing and she never forgets it. Of course she also lost her magic. However she won’t sympathize with Akko since she was able to get it back via hard work. Diana never gave up not only because she was going to be the head of her family but she knew that she couldn’t keep up with this childish dream forever. The more she learns about magic, the more her heart grew further from Chariot because of expectations placed on her. Hence her true reason enrolling in Luna Nova was because it was where Chariot went. At first she hated Akko for being carefree telling others how much she loved Chariot. But she was able to do the things she couldn’t. She was envious. Thinking back, she left Luna Nova was to run away from Akko. She can’t accept she was closer to being Chariot than her. She gives Akko her card and wants her to believe the magic in her heart as it is stronger than anyone else’s. The other friends happily reunite and what a big relief for Lotte. Meanwhile Chariot confronts Croix to stop her from her final phase of Noir Fuel Spirit. I guess this is the important business she was mentioning of.

Episode 24
Chariot tries to stop Croix but since she is still recovering from the effects of the pollen, she has no magic. She gets trapped but before Croix finishes her off, Finnelan and Holbrook stop her to seek an explanation. Because of the riots growing even more restless, more negative emotions are absorbed. Human hatred knows no end. The machine activates himself and negates all magic at Luna Nova. Croix then rides her machine to Arcturus Forest where Grand Triskelion is sealed. Akko and co return to Luna Nova but because magic is nulled, they fall into Arcturus Forest. Croix uses her technology to activate Grand Triskelion. Hey. It’s just a twig? What’s all this happy-happy magic? This isn’t it. Meanwhile Andrew tells the adults a coup detat is imminent. They want to take this chance to use the military and show the moderates and pacifists the use of force. Andrew is not pleased they are trying to exploit the crisis and is told to gather more information. Oh, now they want him involved? Croix is disappointed the world reconstruction didn’t happen. Even more so when Woodward says this twig is Grand Triskelion. She becomes so disappointed that things didn’t go as planned that her machine absorbs her negative emotions. Now it can’t be stopped. It turns into a monster trying to eat her. Chariot saves her despite everything she has done. Luckily Akko and Diana combine their magic to help out. With Shiny Rod glowing, Akko recites the words to turn it into a bow and destroy the monster, restoring magic to the area. Akko confronts Chariot. She returns Shiny Rod to her as it isn’t hers. She is glad to have met her and describes the wonders of seeing her as a child. Coming to Luna Nova was life changing for her. Since she isn’t used that Chariot is her professor, she hopes she can be Ursula and teach her again. After all, she cannot be Chariot as Chariot is Chariot and Akko is Akko. Time for a big hug. Shiny Rod glows as Chariot wants Akko to recite the final word. It becomes a twig as she uses Grand Triskelion to change the world. Everything becomes so beautiful and happy-happy! Amidst the happiness, a missile is launched into space.

Episode 25
Croix explains those cubes have accumulated into that monster missile. Yeah, she can’t deactivate it since it has grown too big for her system to control. Always like this, right? The theory goes that hatred breeds more hatred so the missile’s mission is to spread hatred all around the world and once it is filled with all the hatred, it will explode. Nothing they can do, right? Well not if you’re Akko. You won’t know if you don’t try. So all the girls pool their brooms into one giant broom ride. The teachers ‘power up’ them with new outfits. Strange. I thought it just felt like colour palette swap. Off they go blasting in the sky to catch the missile. So the 7-witch broom isn’t just for show. They serve as a booster to propel them further. So after a certain range, one by one it falls off like a rocket booster. Akko and Diana are left as they finally catch up to it. However they are losing magic. At this point, Croix and Chariot is relaying videos of Akko’s heroics to the world and Chariot makes a worldwide broadcast to believe in them. I guess everyone is afraid if the missile would hit them and start supporting them. Their support automatically converts into magic to power them even further. A couple of intercept missiles are launched but the monster missile has a mind of its own and easily takes them out. The politicians are still doubtful however so Andrew had to tell them to support instead of interfering. They would not have listened to him had not the Prime Minister tells them otherwise. Akko and Diana have gotten close enough but the missile now attacks them. With great agility and adept transformation magic, Akko is able to evade certain death. Akko gets more boost by reuniting with Shooting Star. Using the wish of Grand Triskelion, together with Diana, the feverish support from everybody, Shiny Rod turns into a giant bow as they fire a giant arrow into the missile. The missile explodes and its magic dust drops drift down onto several parts of the world. I’m sure everyone is having a great time watching this super light magic. Hanbridge apologizes to Andrew of his misconception of witches and wants to learn more about them. Akko is sad when she senses Shiny Rod diminishing. She thanks and releases it as it becomes part of the stars. Croix leaves Luna Nova as she wishes to find a cure for Wagandea’s curse before returning. Life returns to normal. This means Akko still can’t use her magic. Keep trying. I believe it isn’t because everyone is here to watch her defining moment but rather her stubbornness because everyone is now shocked to see Akko flying! Hooray! Seeing is believing!

Magic Tragic: Himitsu No Akko-chan
Wow. Such a great and happy climax and ending. It really makes me feel good because you know, witches rarely have happy ending themselves. Just saying… The world is saved, magic’s reputation is back on the rise and to top it off, Akko can now fly. Well, I hope it isn’t a fluke because if we all know Akko, she’ll shortly drop back down. We certainly didn’t see how long she kept herself in the air after that, right? But I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she finally has some magic that enables her to fly. But what about her magic in other areas? Well, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. For now, it is great that Akko is able to make some improvements no matter how miniscule and basic it looks.

In the first half of the series, it is very fun to watch despite many of the episodes feel like standalone fillers. They are not related to each other and it feels like you can watch them in any order you like. Yeah, it happened to me once. I think I was careless in clicking the wrong episode and didn’t occurred to me till I finally finished watching it. Hence I didn’t lose much considering the nature of it. The adventures are so random and fun that it doesn’t heavily affect the flow of the actual plot slowly building up in the background, which is Akko having to find all the 7 words and revive Grand Triskelion. Of course as the series reaches its second half and with Diana having her own problems, that is where the story and plot start to pick up.

Another thing that one might notice is how cartoonish the overall feel of the anime. Don’t get me wrong. The series still has enough elements to make it feel like a Japanese anime but a few over-exaggerated scenes of magic and action make it feel like everything is quite cartoonish. Especially Akko. I believe this is to enhance her character’s reputation as an idiot and to make her funny. Not that I have any problems with it since it worked well. And you thought crazy series like Teekyuu can only make everything look so stupid and silly. Well, nobody has got a monopoly over that. Even the action magic bits like in the last episode, it is so over the top and exaggerative that it feels cartoonish although it is exactly that why it feels so fun.

As for the characters, Akko is mainly the star and focus of this series because you can bet that she is involved in every misadventure throughout the season. Although her pals like Lotte and Sucy get some episodes of their even, it is very far and few in between. Even Amanda and Constanze have their moments but still not enough. Subsequently as the real plot thickens, they feel less relevant and almost to the point of being forgotten. Because eventually it all boils down to Akko as she is not only the biggest idiot of Luna Nova but the biggest busybody since she can’t leave things as they are and must stick her nose into it. Yeah, sometimes it feels like as though she is virtue signalling because she can’t accept any other way than her way. Despite all the misadventures and troubles they have gone through, it is a good thing that eventually things turn out for the better because otherwise the friends would not have respected Akko in the end.

So we learn of Akko’s secret of why she cannot use magic despite her numerous attempts. Because she is an idiot! Like the legend of how idiots can never catch a flu, right? But it made me think if this is all Akko’s determination because as revealed, Diana got back her magic through sheer hard work and sacrifice. So if Akko actually put in her hard work too, why has not she improved a single bit? My theory is that because she is an idiot and simpleton, she thinks she has worked hard but apparently it is not as hard as it is supposed to be. It has to be even more than that. That’s why sometimes I am in a dilemma to wonder if I should feel sorry for Akko when she can’t effectively use her magic after trying so hard. After all, she has the passion and dream. Or is that not enough? And after all that hard work, the magic that she can ‘effectively’ use is transforming into chibi animals? Being a carefree idiot like her sometimes also makes me want to admire her because she has a simple dream unlike others aiming for higher dreams. To each his/her own. This also means it makes her stubborn and would stick to her ideals for better or worse. She doesn’t give up until she ‘succeeds’. This charm of hers would definitely charm you. Yeah, Akko is everyone’s lovable idiot! Never change, Akko. Never change. Okay, she does have some change but nothing that drastic that it alters her base character. At first I wanted to put her on the same level as Kill La Kill’s Mako because of the same vibe they give off but I surmise that Akko is Akko and Mako is Mako. They may be similar in some ways but are still totally different in many others.

Diana comes across at first as a snobbish and prideful lady with a famous lineage. There is this danger of turning her into this stereotype bully character. However as early as the second episode shows that she isn’t one to tread this path. It is rather her subordinates who are the typical bullies and look down on Akko. Thus if your fan girls act this way, I’m sure we would think the boss is also similar. Diana has more pride and elegance to stoop that low. Despite sharing the same dream and goal, both Akko and Diana are at different ends of the spectrum. Because if Diana were to be like Akko, I think we would have overlapping idiotic characters! This series is not big enough for 2 idiots! So while Akko takes centre stage, Diana diligently does her research in the background. But like any normal human, she too harbours envy for Akko because she gets to stay true to herself unlike Diana who has to mask herself with layers and layers due to circumstances and family issues.

Andrew is a pretty nice and reasonable guy. One look and we sure would love to say there is some sort of romance brewing between him and Akko. But then again, nothing very conclusive because this guy also has his pride and comes from an important family just like Diana. Sure, he finds Akko interesting but is there more to that reason why he continues to side by her with any given chance? So maybe he is trying to keep up his pride and not let his feelings show. Because that would be very uncouth seeing how far we have come to know Andrew as.

Their other friends like I have said didn’t get much screen time so we just know what they show us. Like Lotte who is the brainiest and loves reading. Amanda is a delinquent (nearly overlapping as an idiot character with Akko) and taciturn Constanze loves tinkering with her machines while Jasminka loves stuffing her face with food or at least most of her thoughts are if something is delicious or not (whether it is edible or not). Of all these characters, my favourite is Sucy because she is really an eccentric doom and gloom girl. This in a way makes her a cool character because of her very sleepy-like voice. Her favourites are poison and mushrooms and I believe she has one of the funniest lines and comebacks in the series. Especially those that are aimed at Akko.

It didn’t surprise me that Ursula is Chariot. There were very few vague hints but even before all that and in the first episode I was already guessing she is her. Because you know, why did such a nerdy teacher started giving ‘preferential treatment’ to Akko? Everything about Ursula feels like a big guilt and taking Akko under her wing thinks she can make amends. There is this fear of having Akko hate her if she tells the truth but the truth reared its ugly head in the most unlikely fashion. It is a good thing that Akko and Ursula reconcile and realize what is most importance between them. Akko may have dreamt of becoming Chariot but that was a long time ago and just a few minutes of show time compared to the amount of time she spent with Ursula (despite it’s just Chariot incognito). So it is only right that Akko has more attachment to the teacher than the magic performer. She has achieved her dream of meeting Chariot. Time to move on.

Croix is set up as the main antagonist of the series but I would like to see her as just a misguided and jealous character. It’s like after she failed to be the chosen one, she tried to defy traditional magic by corrupting and inculcating it with technology. It is good if you put it to good use. Even her Noir Fuel Spirit looks pretty decent and good idea because using negative emotions as an energy source feels like you can now vent your anger and put it to good use. Of course there’s the risk. So when Croix’s plans backfire in her face, she realizes that perhaps in the end, she wasn’t fated to be the chosen one even if she tries to carve out her own destiny.

I kept thinking about Croix’s technology mix with magic and wonder how different is it to Constanze. Because the latter also uses some sort of technology, right? But I realized that they are vastly different. You see, Croix uses technology to develop her magic whereas Constanze uses magic to develop her technology. Sounds the same? Confused? Croix develops high technology and infuses it to magic and hence why I said she corrupted it. On the other hand, Constanze uses her magic talents to invent things. She does not alter the nature of the magic like Croix does so I believe there is a big difference there. Because assuming if Finnelan knows about Constanze’s tinkering, why was she only objecting to Croix’s heavy technological use? Should she have warned Constanze to stop too as it goes against tradition?

A reason why the art and animation looks cartoonish is because they are produced by Trigger. The same studio that gave you anime series with their own brand of visual art style such as Kill La Kill, Space Patrol Luluco and Ninja Slayer From Animation. After all, the staffs from here were from Gainax who did crazy shows like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt and FLCL. That is why some characters like Lotte in particular I thought she came out from that Peanuts comic strip. The overall art style may not be as deep and rich but it works for this series. The cartoonish aspects make it feel acceptable even if the magic special effects are just okay and nothing too spectacular. Is it me but does that monster missile look like it was designed based on that antagonistic alien life form in Kill La Kill?

Youko Hikasa as Diana is the only seiyuu I recognized but that is somewhat later as at first I mistaken her to be Marie Inoue. Haven’t heard the latter for a while so are they starting to sound almost similar? Megumi Han did a good job bringing out the character in Akko. She doesn’t voice such characters and they’re mainly the serious type like the titular character in Mushibugyou, Jeanne in Shingeki No Bahamut series, Benio in Sousei No Onmyouji or the cute type like Ore Monogatari’s Rinko. So I guess it is surprising and hard to picture her here all very lively and loud. The rest of the other casts are Fumiko Orikasa as Lotte (Rukia in Bleach), Michiyo Murase as Sucy (Garie in Senki Zesshou Symphogear GX), Norihiko Hikada as Ursula/Chariot (Kikyou in Inu Yasha), Junko Takeuchi as Croix (titular character in Naruto – this is how she seriously sounds like not in that ninja mode?), Ryousuke Kanemoto as Andrew (Torway in Nejimaki Seirei Senki), Arisa Shida as Amanda, Rie Murakawa as Constanze (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori), Reina Ueda as Jasminka (Shiori in Sakura Quest), Ikuko Tani as Holbrook (Lizzie in Overlord) and Rurika Yamamoto as Finnelan. The list of seiyuus is long since there are tons of other characters just making their cameo in an episode or two.

Opening and ending themes are okay but nothing that special for me. But somehow I prefer the first opening and ending theme, Shiny Ray by Yurika and Hoshi Wo Tadoreba by Yuiko Oohara. The former had this bewitching feel to it despite a lively anime pop beat and the latter is a slower and decently calming pop piece. Mind Conductor by Yurika and Toumei Na Tsubasa by Yuiko Oohara as the second opening and ending theme respectively are a bit faster. Not that I really like it that way. There are also a hand of BGMs that give that magical and bewitching feel to the episode and scenes.

Overall, this series is quite a fun and enjoyable watch and despite certain exaggerated and cartoonish scenes, it doesn’t feel like they are overdoing it. You’ll have a blast if you stop overthinking its minor flaws. Despite being an original anime, it still isn’t a complete masterpiece nor perfect. Though, it still has got plenty of magic, comedy, drama, friendship values and lessons to be learnt, trials to overcome and uhm, more magic. It would have been ground breaking and awesome if it was shown a decade ago or even more in the 90’s. Because with all the fanservice, violence and sci-fi thingy in today’s entertainment media, magic looks like it is really on its way to the exit. Who goes to magic shows these days? Oh wait, there are still… But you don’t really need magic to change the world if you really want it. All you need to do is get up and do something. Because the world changes not by your thoughts or feelings but by your actions. Imagine a small kindness today can go a long way tomorrow and in the future. That itself is already magic. Saying magic is like a lazy term when you can’t explain it in science, huh?

After 2 years a certain coming of age adventurer and his busty goddess ventured into the dungeons and walk their destiny, now we go back and do that all over again. That’s right. Dungeon Ni Deai Wo Motomeru No Wa Machigatteiru Darou Ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria not only made the ridiculously long title to even ridiculously longer, it tells the story and events then from a perspective of another character, namely the beautiful Aiz. I guess that is why she didn’t make so much of an appearance in the original since she was away doing something else. Hence this spin-off isn’t technically a sequel and not quite a total retelling or remake. Oh well, if we’re tired of Bell and Hestia, I supposed we have Aiz and her Loki Familia to focus on.

Episode 1
At level 50 where leader Finne Deimne and his party are resting, we are introduced to some of the members like the Lefiya Viridis, the Amazon twins Tione and Tiona Hiryute, beardy guy Gareth Landrock, Riveria Ljos Alf and of course Aiz. Riveria talks to Lefiya who is particularly down because she froze during the battle. Bete Loga is much harsher, condemning the mage for being a chicken and all. At the same time, Finne talks to Aiz for charging into battle alone. He acknowledges her strength but she could end up putting others in danger. The place is suddenly attacked by acid spewing caterpillars. Be careful coming into contact. It really burns your skin. With a few taking damage, Riveria seeks Finne’s permission to let Lefiya take care of the enemies as she needs the experience. She begins her incantation but once more fear overcomes her. She can’t do it. Oh well. Time for Aiz to kick ass again. Riveria takes over Lefiya’s place to finish her incantation and burn all the caterpillars crawling all over the place. It is decided that they retreat despite coming down this far since the caterpillars have caused rockslides and that makes their passageways more dangerous. Lefiya is left to reflect on her own actions but she is also troubled that Aiz too has her own trouble but doesn’t show it. On the way up, a group of Minotaurs surround them. They try to get rid of them but a bunch just fled. This part coincides with the first episode of the original series where a Minotaur cornered Bell and Aiz immediately cut it down, leaving him all bloodied like a tomato. She tried to help him up but he ran away screaming. Bete teases he ran away because he got scared of Aiz’s monstrous strength. Aiz isn’t impressed and pouts…

Episode 2
On the way home, Lefiya feels depressed she had to let Aiz save her again. She has got more to worry when she got the short end of the stick as she became victim to Loki’s boob fondling. It’s like déjà vu again because Lefiya once more depressed in the shower before falling victim to Loki once more. Noting Aiz too is down, she vows to cheer her up. So is fantasizing about it half the battle won? Maybe it’s just self-satisfaction? Finne, Riveria and Gareth talk about the benefit of having Lefiya around Aiz because it could make her think about others. Lefiya manages to give some crystal drops to Aiz. As she is pleased, cue for more happy delusions? Let’s hope it doesn’t get to her head. The ladies head out to get new weapons or do some maintenance over the dulled ones. Lefiya buys a potion for Aiz as a good luck charm. Everyone converges at the pub. The familiar scene of Bete getting drunk and starting to mock loudly about that tomato guy causing that poor kid to run away. Aiz felt bad for him and seems to be even more down ever since. Riveria talks to her and finds out about it. Aiz wonders if she should apologize to that boy but Riveria doesn’t want her to be hasty. If she finds him, she’ll have the right words to say to him. Lefiya thought a change of pace would be good. So they take her shopping for clothes. Lefiya and the Amazons argue what clothes will look cute on Aiz. I guess the one that make her look like Hestia is no go. A lovely dress takes the cake. Aiz apologize to Lefiya since she tried her best to cheer her up but she’s still like putting up that frown face. Tiona hints she should use a better word so Aiz thanks her. Now everyone is all smiles. Until Lefiya again becomes Loki’s victim, not even Aiz can help her out of this one. Sorry.

Episode 3
At the banquet of the gods, Loki meets Demeter and Dionysus. They talk about the Monsterphilia that Ganesha is going to hold during the festival. Demeter notes Dionysus has come up with a wicked scheme. Aiz and Lefiya go night hunting in the dungeons. When they get back, Riveria scolds them for going out this late. Loki butts in and as punishment, Aiz will accompany her to the festival. This puts a damper on Lefiya since she already made plans to go with Aiz on that day. Well, that’s her punishment. Can you stop crying and go to sleep already? During the festival, Loki is called to meet Freya. She is not pleased she has to play along with her scheme because of a certain kid who caught her eye. During the Monsterphilia event, Lefiya and the Amazons notice something amiss. So when they head outside to check with Loki, it seems there are monsters unleashed all over the city. Don’t worry. She sent Aiz to do the job. Before them pops out some snake-flower monster. The Amazons fight it but its skin is so damn hard. Lefiya begins her incantation but takes serious damage when whipped away. Lefiya reverts to her cowardly side. She prays for Aiz to come rescue her like always. Speaking of which, here she is. Even after destroying it, 3 more pop up. Seeing Aiz in trouble, Lefiya decides to stop being a loser. If she wants to support her, she has got to do better. So Lefiya starts chanting a rare spell that only she can do. It allows her to duplicate an infinite number of other spells and hence her nickname, Thousand Elf. She freezes the entire place and crushes the monsters. It’s not over yet as Loki wants them to take care of the remaining monsters at various place. Aiz drinks the potion and lets Lefiya drinks the rest. Indirect kiss? Later Loki confronts Freya for going overboard. Especially the snake-flower monster. However Freya says she did not see or release such monster. Could it be Dionysus?

Episode 4
Aiz gets back her sword but because she broke the one on loan, it’s going to be costly. Hence she thinks of doing more dungeon raiding. The rest agree to go with her. When they decide to take a rest at level 30, they feel something strange. The town is less crowded. Finn’s friend, Bors mentions there has been a murder at Willy’s inn. Of course they’re going to check it out too. A horrible murder site as the victim’s head is smashed beyond recognition. Bors went to buy a potion to force reveal his identity. He is Hashana Dorlia from Ganesha Familia and ranked level 4. Bors gets scared when a high level guy could be done in like that. So he suspects Finn’s ladies. But basing them based on boob size? No wonder the Amazons are mad. Looking around, it looks more than just a simple robbery. His items are ransacked and assuming the culprit didn’t get what she wanted, she could still be in this town. So Bors announces he is going to body check everyone. Get ready to be frisked, ladies! Don’t be silly. The girls will do the checking. However they all want Finn to do it and this earns Tione’s wrath since she considers Finn all for herself. Aiz and Lefiya spot a panicked girl who ran away and chase after her. Meanwhile Loki takes Bete to investigate the sewers. At the reservoir, they stumble into those snake-flower monsters. Bete going all out should have destroyed the entire place but the monsters are the only casualties. When they resurface, Loki bumps into Dionysus. Bete smells the same scent underground. As they talk, Dionysus admits he was in the sewers but to investigate. Previously 3 of his Familia members were killed and he believed these monsters are related to their deaths. Loki thought Ganesha is involved since Dionysus notes Monsterphilia is the perfect cover for the murderer. However he reminds her the origins of Monsterphilia. Uranus was the one who started this festivity. Aiz and Lefiya talk to Lulune Louie from Hermes Familia. She fears for her life thinking somebody is out to kill her. She confirms the item in her hand belonged to Hashana as she got a quest from a mysterious employer to exchange it. Aiz takes this item into her care. It is an orb with some monster foetus? It’s alive! Aiz is immediately overcome with fear. Lefiya holds on to it since nothing happened to her. At this time, some hooded guy blows his whistle and snake-flower monsters start popping all over the place.

Episode 5
Loki goes to see Uranus. She tells him what happened during Monsterphilia. She is trying to blame the Guild at fault but he denies. I guess that’s that. The hooded guy tries to strangle Lefiya. Guess who comes to her rescue. Aiz knows this person is Hashana’s killer. Wasn’t it a woman? Indeed. Revis rips off her fake skin. No wonder Hashana was faceless. She used his skin to masquerade as a man to move around easier. She wants the orb that contains the seed. However it breaks and the seed latches onto a monster to become a, uhm, monstrous monster. Everyone else fights and defeats it while Aiz dukes it out with Revis. When Revis recognizes her wind power and calls her Aria, this leaves Aiz shocked. She takes a massive blow and is about to be killed. Guess who came to save her? No, it’s not Lefiya. The rest heal her as Finn battles Revis. Although she injures him a little, she realizes the odds are not in her favour and runs away. They continue searching for clues but nothing. They believe Revis will lie low for a while now and take some time to train new monsters. They notice Aiz has been more aggressive ever since but she’s not saying anything. She requests to stay back alone. And without food? Riveria also supports this. So now everyone wants to follow? Too bad not enough food. Finn allows Riveria to stay with Aiz. He hears her reason. Riveria knows the inevitable will happen to Aiz and will explode sooner or later. When that happens, she wants to be where she can see her. Okay, first up is the floor boss, Monster Rex Udaeus.

Episode 6
So Udaeus wields a sword because it has never done so. Cue for Aiz to be caught off guard and get slightly injured? Udaeus chipping bits of her armour off for fanservice? Of course Aiz refuses to stay weak and fights back till she defeats it. Riveria then asks about her problem in which she finally reveals that Aria thingy. She tells her that everyone in the Familia treats her as part of their family. When they return, they see Bell unconscious after using magic. Aiz wants to know a way to apologize to him. Lap pillow? When he wakes up, he rolls away! Ran away again. When Aiz tells this to Riveria, she can’t stop laughing. Later Aiz has her stats updated. It seems she has reached Level 6. But she doesn’t seem happy. Loki and the rest discuss about the Guild pulling strings behind the shadow. Riveria brings up about Aiz’s Aria so they think it is time they talk to her. Aiz goes to see Eina after she learns Bell is under her and is glad that he isn’t afraid of her but very grateful. They overheard a few guys talking about Bell going to be scammed. Eina knows Bell will be in trouble again so she requests Aiz to go help him. So she makes hastes down the dungeon, asking adventurers if they have seen Bell. She manages to cut down the remaining monsters before Bell gets done in. He runs away again but not before thanking her. Too bad she didn’t have the chance to apologize. Aiz senses somebody nearby as a dark mage then pops up before her. She is the one who contacted Lulune and has a request for Aiz.

Episode 7
The dark mage has a request for Aiz. Head to level 24 to investigate a monster outbreak. It might have something to do with Revis and the orb. Dionysus talks to Loki about the strange swarm in level 24. This outbreak is affecting the adventurers and the Guild has done nothing. Loki receives message that Aiz has gone to level 24. She needs to bring the troublesome girl back and sends Lefiya and Bete to retrieve her. To earn Loki’s trust, Dionysus sends Filvis Challia with them. However elf girl and wolf boy don’t get along. They hate each other from the start. Can’t blame her as she is some lone survivor of some nightmare level 6 years ago. Aiz meets up with the party for the mission. It is Lulune? Also, the other Hermes Familia members led by Asfi are also joining in. Uranus is not pleased Fels sent Aiz on that quest. Her reason is that they don’t want to make enemies out of the Loki Familia and Aiz is the best person to handle this situation. At level 24’s Pantry, they see the swarm marching. Aiz takes them all out with no sweat. Just practice, huh? Lefiya worries about Filvis being cold to them. When Bete almost touches her, she almost becomes a deranged killer. Investigation shows some strange blob blocking the path is preventing the swarm for getting to their food source. As they head inside to investigate, the passage seals itself off. Snake-flower monsters attack and they realize they’re trying to separate them. When Aiz is separated from the rest, she is confronted with Revis. Bete and Lefiya ask Bors about Aiz’s whereabouts. When Bors sees Filvis, he identifies her as a banshee. He warns Lefiya to stay away from her as she is cursed. No one who teamed up with her has ever returned alive.

Episode 8
Aiz corrects Revis that she isn’t Aria. That is her mother. Bors continues explaining about that nightmare level. A dark faction named Evilus led by Vendetta, misled adventurers to level 27 where they were forced to fight a battle royale with floor bosses. Evilus was eventually eliminated but the scene on that floor was like hell. Filvis as the only survivor looked almost dead herself. She tried to reorganize her party but each time her members die and she is the only survivor. That’s how she earned that nickname. Lefiya being the stubborn one continues to talk to Filvis and will not stay away as suggested. She still consider them a team. When you’re so persistent, there is nothing more but to laugh and accept. Asfi’s team stumbles upon a pillar and an orb is embedded in it. As they try to investigate, a Tamer lets loose his Violas (snake-flower monster) to attack them. Asfi fights him but gets stabbed. Before he could kill her, here comes Lefiya’s side to the rescue. He reveals the Pantry is for Viscum (a bigger plant monster) to feed off and produce Violas. Monster producing monsters? This is so he could destroy the city as wished by his goddess. He unmasks himself to be Olivas Act of Vendetta. He is supposed to be dead. He was. Till his goddess revived in. A magic stone is embedded in his chest. He starts praising his saviour like a lunatic and how she is the one who should rule the land. As everyone continues to battle, Aiz and Revis’ battle got too epic that it had to spill over. Aiz shows why she is awesome but Lefiya-Bete combo also prove they are no lesser. They manage to destroy Viscum. Bete beats the crap out of Olivas and in his pathetic state, Revis kills him by stealing his magic stone before devouring it. It should make her stronger but she knows it isn’t enough to beat Aiz. She will lie low and get stronger for now before their next face off. In the meantime, she tells Aiz to head to level 59 where the answers she is seeking for lurk. Everyone flees as the pillar collapses. Finn and Loki receive this report. Knowing that Aiz wants to head to level 59, it’s a good excuse for them to start another expedition. Lefiya tries to research on Aria. From the book Dungeon Oratoria, A spirit, a race most beloved by the gods.

Episode 9
Aiz sees Eina in hopes of apologizing to Bell personally. Coincidentally he is here. Oddly, to stop him from leaving prematurely, she jumps in front of him and his face ended up in her butt! When she apologizes, Bell then corrects her that he is the one who should be apologizing for running away. Leaning he has no one to teach him but yet has improved vastly, she offers to train him although she feels bad it is her plan to see the secret of his progress that she might use to improve herself. Lefiya is practising to ask Aiz one of those things. Failed. Next early morning she thought of waiting for her this early but she was already up earlier. She tries to follow but bumps into Bell. He runs away learning she is part of Loki Familia. Finding him fishy, she tails him and is disheartened to Aiz carrying him away (their training ended). Because of that, she is in a bad mood. She confronts Aiz about it and learns the truth. But she still feels jealous and wants one on one training as well. Okay. Even so, she isn’t happy because she keeps comparing herself to the treatment Bell gets. Better shape up or you’ll lose to that kid. Too bad she wallows herself in jealousy thinking Bell is monopolizing Aiz for himself when she is the one who kept fainting during training. It’s no surprise Aiz wonders if her training is helping her at all and wants to take the next day off. Lefiya bumps into Dionysus who is thankful for helping Filvis recover. Since Filvis is fond of her now, she helps her train. At least it takes her mind off Aiz. Aiz continues training Bell but this time with Hestia watching over as agreed. No funny stuffs… On the way back, they are ambushed and surrounded.

Episode 10
After a short bout, the assassins leave and warn Aiz not to get involved further or die. Aiz recognizes them from Freya Familia. She reports this to Riveria and they wonder if Freya Familia has anything to do with the recent incidents. Loki also mentions they know somebody has been communicating with the enemy but they don’t know who. Aiz continues training Lefiya and she has gotten better. Still trying to compare herself with that kid? Aiz also trains Bell for one last time before her expedition. Loki Familia will be separated into groups for the expedition and Aiz is in the first group. Before she departs, Lulune is here to give portable rations. She also gives a pendant from Fels. She is supposed to wear it when she goes to level 59. After a while trekking into the dungeon, they spot a few group of injured adventurers running out. They claim some Minotaur attack and Bell is handling it on his own. Instantly Aiz rushes to his aid. However she cannot tell where the Minotaur’s roar originates from this maze. She then spots very injured Lily. Unfortunately her path is further blocked by Ottarl the King. He is the only adventurer who is at level 7 and hence the strongest. He wants a death match with her. Aiz believes this is what the warning was. No choice she has to fight him but the longer she drags this out, the more danger Bell will be in. Luckily her comrades come to distract him and she uses this chance to run past him. Finn then confronts Ottarl if this is the will of his Familia and that Freya wants to provoke them. He claims he is acting on his own accord and leaves. Aiz arrives in time to defend Bell. But this time he won’t let her fight. He doesn’t want her to always protect him. He picks up his dagger and continues fighting the Minotaur as the rest watch in awe how much Bell has improved. And as we know, Bell defeats it. Lefiya is in the second group and starting her descent. She sees Aiz and Riveria running out carrying unconscious Bell and Lily respectively. Her heart just broke. The duo bring Bell back to Hestia who can’t thank them enough.

Episode 11
Resting at level 50, Lefiya asks Aiz what is the deal with Bell. She says he is on an adventure. Because of that, she starts spacing out. More so when she hears others who saw awesome Bell in action praising him. I guess after too much sulking, she realizes she can’t compare herself to others now. She has a goal to catch up with the rest. How could she have forgotten it. Uhm, jealousy? Everyone is excited for tomorrow’s raid and can’t sleep so Lefiya gets more motivation about the team’s vow to protect each other from danger. The descent to the lower levels begin. On level 52, dragons on level 58 start shooting fireballs through the ground at them! Well, it’s a shortcut for many of them but Finn doesn’t want Aiz to follow since they have a couple of supports and they’ll take the normal route. Also, those who took the shortcut are here to clear the enemies for them. Yeah, who needs magic when you can cut their fire breath into half or deflect it! Oh right. If you need to destroy multiple targets at one go, here’s Lefiya’s magic. Meanwhile Fels tells Revis that Aiz is closing in on level 59 and yet she is still here eating magic stones. Revis knows she is still not strong to take on them. She doesn’t care if Fels uses her but in exchange she’ll do whatever she wants. In worse case, she’ll just retrieve Aiz’s corpse. Once the monsters are cleared and the rest of the party reunite, they take a short breather as Finn feels odd about the next level. From Zeus Familia’s records, it is supposed to be a very cold place but they’re not feeling the slightest of it from where they are. Well, only one way to fight out. It is a place where no humans have set before. To their surprise, level 59 is a humid jungle. They see caterpillars being devoured by a monster that has been evolved by those orbs. It then flowers open its humanoid version and lets out a creepy shriek. Aiz is shocked to recognize it as a spirit.

Episode 12
The spirit is calling for Aria to be devoured. The rest realizes these new monsters were created to be its food source. Finn has everyone ready to attack but the spirit is able to chant magic! Although they counter it, it has no effect. It pulls off another surprising by chanting another consecutive spell and even faster! The flames are so great that it blows everyone away. Riveria and Gareth take the biggest damage while trying to protect the rest. Finn rallies the rest to continue fighting. Need more motivation? He quotes Bell’s name. That should do it. As they race to take it down, the spirit starts up another chant. Luckily Riveria manages to chant and take down its personal defence and Gareth using his elephant strength to tear through its thick vine defences. With everyone clearing the path for Aiz, it is up to her to deal the finishing blow. The spirit still has some tricks up her sleeve, though. It still has some short range magic ready to fire at her. Luckily Lefiya was fast enough to pull off a magic to protect her. Aiz uses all her strength to finally defeat it. And the greatest reward for Lefiya is when Aiz pulls her in to hug her. Not a dream. The party returns to the surface and of course a big party to celebrate their victory. We see Fels learning from Uranus that spirit is actually a fallen shadow of a fallen spirit. Its true form lies in the deeper levels and the one on level 59 was just to guard a more powerful entity. Spirits were once blessed by the gods to help humans but this one was turned inside out, became a monster while maintaining its identity, consumed by its primal impulse to survive. So those new monsters were created by it too. The irony is how a spirit was once sent to save mankind now threatens the city. Its leader is Enyo who will destroy the city. Loki discusses with the rest about the fallen spirit and why it targeted Aiz because she had blood descended from the spirits. They fear that those orbs will be used to create more of those spirits and then summon those spirits to the surface. Since we didn’t have Aiz-Lefiya personal time today, we have one now with Aiz thanking Lefiya for her magic or else everyone would have died. Lefiya refutes that as pure luck. Still not confident? Lefiya gets permission to always follow her. Time for a hug. Not dreaming. The Amazon twins join in. The more the merrier, right? Well, Loki wants to join in. However everyone avoids. This time Lefiya instinctively does a judo throw on her. At least she improved in this aspect.

DunGirls: Sword Art Oratoria
Sighs… If only the rest of this series was as exciting as the final episode. Otherwise this entire spin-off feels boring and the way it ended only serves to bring up more questions than answers. So I am not sure if that fallen spirit is the answer Aiz is looking for because I thought it was her mother but a quick checking on the internet said it wasn’t so even though her mother is a spirit and hence she is a descendent. I know the adventure is going to be a long road but with this kind of ‘ending’, it is just like completing a mini side quest. Okay, maybe just the first level cleared and there are 99 more levels before you reach the true boss for the true final ending.

I am not sure if we have been trolled because it could have been our fault for expecting that this spin-off was going to be focused a lot on Aiz. It could have been the expectation from the hype. I don’t know. However after watching this season, we only got half of that and the other half was what no one asked for because we got Lefiya instead. It’s like Bell never left us because as I somehow feel she is the female version of him. Sure, there are a few other characters that this spin-off tells but not as much screen time and focus they give to Lefiya. They should have named this spin-off Gay-den or Lesbian-den or something instead.

While it is good to see the events that has happened on the Loki Familia’s side, sad to say that the plot and pacing doesn’t fare well. We are introduced to subplots that make the series feel like as though it is a standalone rather than something that can be added to the original DanMachi series. Because with the introduction of Revis the direct antagonist, Freya plotting some shady scheme and Uranus similarly moving his plans along, it feels like this spin-off is heading towards a different direction instead of merging with the adventure from Bell’s side. Wow. That’s a lot of antagonist for one small series. And I didn’t even mention Ottarl yet (although he is under Freya Familia). Oh, there was Olivas too but he got killed off. And who is this Enyo dude they throw in?! Man, the problems are just getting bigger. I know I’ve said it is a different Familia and hence a different adventure but one would have expected to see how Aiz’s side ties up with Bell’s side. There are some moments that do coincide with the original but other than that, the story diverges differently. It’s like resurfacing from the water to take a short breath before diving back for a long one.

So to start off with the characters, if you’ve watched the original series, you’ll know a bit about Aiz and this spin-off expands a little bit more about her past. Just a little bit. Very little bits. She is always having this poker face so I’m not sure I can tell how deep her problems are because like Riveria once pointed out, everyone has their own problems. We don’t know how deep it is for Aiz except we know it should be the deepest. Because main heroine. We just know that she is the daughter of some spirit and hence her ability to use wind powers and the reason she is interested in Bell is not because of anything romantic or the natural matters of the heart but rather she wants to get stronger and she believes this kid was the right person to that goal. Well, she did level up to level 6, didn’t she?

If the lack of Aiz is already worrying and annoying, imagine putting in a lesbian fan admirer her would do. Yup, it made it even more annoying. That is what Lefiya is. Basically like I said, she is like Bell because she starts off weak and despite improving as the series progresses, she is still weak. I mean, if you want to compare her to the rest of the main characters in her party, she is still by far the weakest. Yeah, her special duplicate multiple spells whatchamalit thingy is something that is one off like how Bell has his own set of unique abilities. Impressive but they can’t spam it always. Lefiya is already annoying as she fantasizes about her one-sided love and dream dating with Aiz (supposedly the running joke of the series for her), it gets even more annoying when she starts to consider herself as Bell’s rival. Oh Aiz, you are sure one popular girl. It should have served as a motivation for her to do better but instead she got blinded by more jealousy instead.

I mean, the mere seeing of Bell with Aiz without fully understanding why they’re together already makes her blood boil. You so scared Aiz will be taken away by another man not part of the same Familia? When is she going to learn that Bell is Bell and you are you. Stop thinking about others and start improving yourself. To show that Lefiya is not all that bad, she conveniently becomes friends with Filvis. A character that has been so traumatized that nothing else would have brought her back and Lefiya is the first one to do so? Well, maybe nobody dared took the chance. After all, Lefiya doesn’t know her background well. She just heard about it from Bors but that wasn’t enough to scare her despite the risky rumours and coincidences surrounding Filvis. So what has she got to lose? In order to not make Lefiya look like a total amateur loser, hence I figure her pure luck in her magic chanting gone right that saved the day and ultimately her beloved. Beginner’s luck. Okay, okay. I also hope Lefiya would grow into a stronger character too and stand by Aiz’s side.

The other main characters of the Loki Familia are also okay but nothing too deep on them. Finn, Riveria and Gareth as the ‘old veterans’ of the Familia make them good leaders and mentors with their vast experience. Then you have the Amazon twins who are partly for comic relief, partly for fanservice and partly for some action variety. Because isn’t it like a joke when you have one sister with a well-endowed body but the other sister is as flat as a washboard? When it comes down to it, they’ll use their boob size as weapons and counter arguments. That is the only way how I could distinguish the twins effectively. Really. Oh, it must be a running joke for Tione too since she has this shameless crush for Finn, would do anything for him at his beck and call and you would be dead meat if you try to even make a move on him. He’s all hers! Nobody touches him! Finally Bete. This dude might need some anger management class but I am sure he’ll rip it apart before the session could start. I suppose being uncouth is his way of interaction because tough guys don’t show their caring via the conventional lovey-dovey way. That’s so gay for him.

Loki is supposedly taken from the Norse God and is very well known for the mischief caused. That is why she is seen here like a joker character and hence my theory why she is turned into a woman is so that she could do some cheesy boob squeezing fanservice. Imagine if Loki was a naughty guy, we would definitely see him as some perverted bastard. The effects seem less and we don’t think too much of it if the gender is switched. But too bad the only girl who ever falls into Loki’s prank is Lefiya. It’s like the running joke of the series as all other girls are smart enough to avoid Loki time and somehow Lefiya gets drawn the short end of the stick. It’s like a punishment for being an annoying character. Not even this fanservice could save you, Lefiya. That last bit there avoiding Loki was just pure luck and coincidence. I’m sure she’ll be back to the usual victim soon. Is this the fanservice we get in place of Hestia? I could hear somebody screaming they want their loli boobs back…

I don’t know. I don’t really feel I missed the other characters from the original series. Not even Bell or Hestia. Welf or Lily. Syr or Ryuu. Ouka or Chigusa. Maybe I’m not a big fan so I didn’t miss them at all. Many pop up and make cameos as part of the overlapping storyline but they hardly do anything that is unexpected because you know, we have an idea what they were already doing in the original series.

One of the strong points of this spin-off is the action parts. I mean, if you compare it to the original, this one fares better (as I have already mentioned the final episode ‘boss fight’ was quite thrilling since it took the might and cooperation of the strongest Loki Familia to finally bring it down). This is because Bell was such a beginner and he is still learning. Here, the Loki Familia are all experienced dungeon crawlers with a vast amount of fighting experience. So fighting vicious monsters whether in town or the dungeons, they make it look like a piece of cake. Except maybe Lefiya. We also get to see more of Aiz in action especially using her wind powers that we did not get to see in the original series.

Yuka Iguchi who sang the opening theme for the original series reprises her role here for the opener too, Re-Illusion. Nothing special about this anime pop in my opinion, though. The ending theme is Day By Day by Kano. It feels like such a happy and calming song like as though this is the song that Lefiya uses when she fantasizes about Aiz. Heck, the ending credits animation is about the Loki Familia having a nice picnic on a nice day. With many of the casts retained, new ones include Sayaka Ohara as Revis and once again she is casted as a villainess. Even though it feels like stereotyping, I find nothing wrong with that. The rest are Hisako Kanemoto as Filvia (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Mikako Komatsu as Fels (Neko in K), Toru Ohkawa as Uranus (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist) and Hikaru Akao as Lulune.

Overall, while this spin-off might have been decent on its own right, it didn’t live up to expectations and falls short of what we wanted. I mean, instead of getting more of Aiz, we got half of that and the other half went to an annoying elf. Therefore it is a double edged sword as it somewhat makes this spin-off feels unnecessary considering how it all ‘ended’ but at the same time its consolation is that we get to know what happen on Aiz’s side during the same timeline and events. That’s about it. Therefore I think there will be a dilemma if another season is announced, would it be a continuation of Bell’s side or Aiz’s side? If they’re going to blend in both somehow I think it will be quite confusing seeing that both Bell and Aiz totally have different agenda lest it all overlaps and coincides soon enough. Worse, I don’t want another season telling the perspective of another character during the same timeline! Who you may ask? Freya… Curious what she has been planning during all that time? I’m certainly not curious enough to stay and find out.

Shokugeki No Souma S2 OVA

November 24, 2017

After the very lukewarm season 2 and my very disappointment with how a great season can become so boring with that Stagiaire internship thingy, I didn’t think they would come up with another season a year later. But before all that and to hype things up as well as wash away all that disappointment, I guess that is why we have Shokugeki No Souma S2 OVA. This is supposed to be the bridge that connects the second and third season. Don’t expect much but it is still an important piece if you are looking forward to watch the next season. I know I am now.

OVA 1
Hotspring episode! Sort of. Taking place after the Stagiaire, Megumi invites the whole gang to a hotspring inn. We start off with some ping pong match first. Lots of bounciness between Mito and Ryouko’s match and it isn’t the ping pong balls, get what I mean? Megumi and Isshiki have a very serious and passionate battle so much so she is wearing proper attire to play it and this feels more like a sports shonen show than a cooking genre. As the guys soak in the hotspring, Takumi realizes Souma isn’t around. He heard he went to challenge Hayama and Ryo. Unsettled, he starts running about to find him but ultimately gets lost. Now, the challenge Souma is having is a fishing battle. They are to see who can fish out the master of the river. When caught, the trio have to work together to reel it out because it is really giving them a real fight. Meanwhile by sheer bad luck and coincidence, the chefs are all injured and due to a mis-scheduling, important guests are to arrive soon. This is an excuse for our lesser known characters to fill in and show what they’ve got. Little do they know, that VIP is Erina, Alice and Hisako. Erina’s God’s tongue tastes the amateurs’ dishes but also gives them their due praises since it was carefully prepared and lots of effort were put into it. Megumi and co hear the praises from the innkeeper and they are ecstatic because it’s like they passed, right? Later Megumi soaks alone and discovers Erina nearby and realizes she is the VIP. I guess the victory now means a lot, eh? Souma and co return all messed up. Looks like they’ve lost the catch and the river’s master dragged them down the stream and waterfall. Expensive lesson to be learnt. Meanwhile Takumi is still lost… Luckily he manages to find his way back and this time Souma is there. So now he b*tches about the proper order to call for a cooking battle. WTF.

OVA 2
No rest for Souma. Because back at the dorm, he receives tons of challenge letters. We see him continuously winning streaks in Shokugeki matches. There is even one where he took on 2 opponents at the same time and bests them. Heh. All of them must be weaklings. A strange lady, tastes his food before leaving. From the looks of it, want to bet she is from the Elite Ten? Later Isshiki calls Souma and Megumi because there is going to be a Maple Meet soon and this is where the juniors get to meet their seniors. However it is special for the Autumn Elections finalists as they get to meet the Elite Ten face to face. That grin on Souma’s face… He is already thinking of doing Shokugeki with them! So we see the gang taking their seats and as expected, they don’t get along with each other. Rivalry is already so intense. Oddly, despite Erina is part of the Elite Ten, she is joining their side as she considers herself a junior and thus it is proper to get to know her seniors. The Elite Ten show their faces. Another bunch of weirdoes. Some of them don’t get along either. Like Terunori Kuga, Nene Kinokuni, Eizan and Isshiki. You think the Autumn Elections finalists are bad, just take a look at them. Oh, that strange lady is Rindou Kobayashi and is ranked second. When Eishi Tsukasa who is currently the 1st seat of the Elite Ten calls out to Souma, Takumi and Mimasaka, you’d think it would be something very important. Unfortunately he goes into depression that because they called a Shokugeki during the Autumn Elections that he wanted to end early, it cut out a lot of work for him!

Souma then gets straight to the point and shocks everyone that he wants to join the Elite Ten and is willing to do Shokugeki with any of them. Of course nobody is going to do it. Kuga mocks his simple mindedness since in this case he wants to challenge just for the sake of fighting stronger opponents. He tries to drill it into his head the Elite Ten is a completely different world but Souma is just more impressed how cool it is. Basically, the higher your seat, the more privileges you have and hence the more resources to broaden yourself. Momo Akanegakubo has made sweets for all of them. This maple-apple-caramel-cheese dessert thingy looks like an item you can get off from an RPG quest… Seriously… This is cue for the best confectioner in Totsuki to let them taste it and have our dose of exaggerated reactions. I know. It’s that good, right? Kuga then carelessly throws down a challenge to Souma that if he finds that there is one thing he can beat him at, feel free to challenge him. You better hold on to you words. The Elite Ten take their leave and this fires up our young ones. Those deadly auras of challenge… I wonder if meek Megumi will be okay. Don’t worry, later she gets assurance from Souma that despite how different level they are and they may not be able to match it, they should take their time and move slowly towards the Elite Ten. No rush, right? Yeah well, I don’t think they’re even halfway there.

Okawari? Why, We Haven’t Even Got To The Main Dish Yet!
Certainly the couple of OVAs aren’t that bad. The first one is quite light-hearted while the second steps things up a little as we get to see all the faces of the current Elite Ten. So the OVAs did make my day and my hopes for the next season is renewed. There are a lot of things I would love to see in the third season but I’ll try not to get ahead too far of myself. As far as these second season OVAs are concerned, they are satisfying in their own right and it whets the appetite for fans and viewers alike for the next season. It is a step in the right direction and suddenly the disappointment of the second season has all been forgotten. Yeah, must be that dessert thingy they presented. Looks so good to eat…

The surprising thing that I noticed is that some of the Elite Ten making their debut here, all of them are voiced by popular and well-known seiyuus. I instantly recognized them the moment they speak. They are Akira Ishida as Tsukasa, Yuuki Kaji as Kuga, Shizuka Itou as Rindou and Kana Hanazawa as Nene. I thought Momo was the combo breaker as I didn’t recognize her voice but upon discovery she is voiced by Rie Kugimiya! Holy sh*t! Is that really her?! Too soft spoken that I couldn’t recognize. Well, I thought she sounded so different in the recent Konbini Kareshi but at least there were some parts of her voice that was recognizable but this one, not so. Maybe not enough lines. Hearing them again, yup, that’s her alright.

Like I have already said, these OVAs are a nice bridge to connect the second and third season and to whet the appetite for the next season. There will be more interesting Shokugeki (because calling it food fight makes it sound so childish and unglamorous) with a lot of parties trying to vie for the top sea. Even within the Elite Ten, there are still battles among each other to get to higher rankings. Because food is everything, right? It has gotten to a stage where it is no longer as simple as a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Only at Totsuki where food has become majestic works of art and an aphrodisiac drug. Who’d knew that popping something into your mouth can be this convoluted and annoyingly delicious at the same time.

Hajimete No Gal

November 19, 2017

I thought this was some sort of sequel to Oshiete! Galko-chan but apparently I’m wrong. The main protagonist is a busty gal who looks pretty similar to the main character in the aforementioned series, that is why I assumed it would be so. But other than that, everything else is different for Hajimete No Gal. Sometimes I feel series like this is to pander to lonely single plain otaku guys like us because the main character is also a plain chap and somehow lands this gorgeous gal as his first girlfriend while slowly accumulating a harem of his own as well as a series of other ‘first experiences’.

Episode 1
Ah. Nothing tells you the start of a new school year like couples dating everywhere! Wait. Is this school some make-out association because they’re blatantly flirting everywhere! Unless you are these bunch of losers who can’t get a date and are still virgins: Junichi Hashiba, Shinpei Sakamoto, Minoru Kobayakawa and Keigo Ishida. Junichi still wonders why he is a virgin. Maybe there’s a reason to it… Herald Nene Fujinoki. Junichi’s childhood friend who sees him as a big brother. She might have a body of a loli but hentai tits! WTF?! Then there is Yui Kashii who seems to be wanting to talk more with Shinpei despite having not many chance last year. Oi, Junichi. What’s this harem you’re getting?! His 3 stooges loser pals start reading porn in class just to ruin the mood for those idiotic couples. They try to tempt Junichi to join them. When he does, Yukana Yame chides him for being a loser. Please do that stuff at home. Loser. Wow. It really scared the sh*t out of Junichi. Later the friends converge to talk about how gals like her are just b*tches who want sex. As stated in the magazine. This has Junichi fantasize making out with her. While he is doing that, his friends set him up to go ask Yukana out by placing a love letter in her shoe locker. Junichi realizes they really screw him over when she actually turns up! Awkward. Since he has come this far, he prostrates himself to beg her to date him. Yukana is not impressed… He starts worrying about his future where everyone calls him a loser for prostrating. But since he has a foot in the grave, he continues to prostrate so he can see her pantsu. Nice view… She asks him what he likes about her. Oh, don’t lie. She knows what you’re thinking. You want sex, right?! Busted! Now imagine a future where girls run away from this virgin who is looking for sex. For some odd reason, it’s like Junichi’s hentai kappa took over his consciousness to continue looking up her skirt. But wait. Yukana knows he is doing so! Then she really gets close and asks if he wants to see more. Turns out she is teasing him and loves the reaction of a virgin. It’s too hilarious. Junichi thinks he won’t be tricked anymore when Yukana looks serious in wanting to go out with him. Imagine his shock when she says she likes him. Is she trolling?

Episode 2
It’s no surprise Junichi is confused that Yukana actually agreed to go out with him. Why think so hard? Screw that! Time to have your hentai kappa fantasize f*cking this gal! Just don’t fall off the bed. Junichi’s pals regret setting him up. They vow to always be friends. Suddenly Junichi receives a sexy morning selfie from Yukana. Suddenly friends turn into enemies. All because of tits. Shinpei at least still have the heart to tell him to go for it and kiss her. I don’t know about this Karaoke XXX Rule whereby going karaoke with a girl will end up having sex with her. In class, Yukana clings on lovingly to Junichi. Everyone is shocked to see this and even more shock when they learn they just started dating. Even Nene is left in tears when she confirms so. I guess it shows it doesn’t necessarily mean the biggest tits guarantee a guy. And now his friends-cum-enemies really wish he would die. Great friends… Junichi is surprised when Yukana and wants to go to a place where they can scream out loud and feel good. It’s the karaoke. What were you thinking? So as his fantasies start to take flight, he sees a management notice for patrons to stick to singing and nothing else! To say that it did happen before… With her boobs too close to his face, naturally he goes off on another fantasizing of her ‘testing his mic’. The events that transpired seem to be too coincidental to Shinpei’s Karaoke XXX Rule. Is Yukana really daring to have sex? So as his consciousness stat debating about this, another inner conscious in the form of a handsome guy comes to give his advice that all real men must give his lady something before indulging in the desires of the flesh: A passionate kiss. Junichi realizes the true potential of this karaoke as he faces Yukana and prepares to kiss her. However, all ruined when she points out his nose hair sticking out! That really ruined his day. And possibly his future reputation. She excuses herself and it seems she knew he was going to kiss her but she was too embarrassed to go through with it. At the end of the day, she really felt fun and would love to go karaoke with him again. At least all is not lost. A distance away, Ranko Honjou watches them and is not too pleased seeing this development.

Episode 3
Junichi gets a love letter in his shoe locker. See how his friends go crazy about it… So when he goes meet this girl, he didn’t expect her to be the tanned gal type. Yeah, it’s Ranko. She starts flirting all over him. So cliché that you’ll expect Yukana to walk in and see this. Yes she does. So it’s over? Turns out Yukana and Ranko are childhood friends with the latter being a year her senior. Junichi gets more fanservice with Ranko fondling Yukana’s boobs. When Yukana walks home with Junichi we hear Ranko’s true intention. She intends to break up their relationship. Junichi gets a call to go out with Yukana and Ranko. Nene sees this and once more is in tears believing he has multiplied his girlfriend. Shopping for clothes, Yukana asks him which dress suits her. I don’t blame him as a guy for thinking which clothes she get f*cked in the best. On the way back, a couple of punks try to hit on Yukana. Junichi tries to stand up for her but he is a wuss. So Ranko solves this problem by dating them both. And by that she meant beating them up quickly in the alley. While Junichi is depressed thinking how weak he is, Ranko invites herself into his home. As you can tell, she is flirting all over him in an attempt to tempt him to lose his virginity with her. Luckily the temptation in Junichi is strong so he rejects her. He only wants to lose his virginity with Yukana. And this makes Ranko mad! She chides him for being a failure and doesn’t care about his virginity! Don’t he dare dirty Yukana with his filth. It is then Junichi realizes Ranko likes Yukana. Like in a lesbian way? Ranko can’t understand why Yukana picked him. So she is going to f*ck him so hard that he won’t get another girl! Junichi’s virginity is saved when Yukana comes in. She thought Ranko was acting weird and followed her. They are both afraid she might have heard everything but she is just jealous Junichi invited Ranko to his home when she didn’t get invited first. Ranko then switches tone that she was just testing him. Yukana might not like how far she went with the test but when Yukana still loves her as a friend, Ranko starts crying. Next day, Ranko threatens Junichi not to tell Yukana about her true feelings. Seeing how cute Ranko looks like this, Ranko gets violent and beat him up. And won’t you know it? Yui is watching while seething her teeth. She cannot believe Junichi likes other girls than her! OMG! Yandere?!

Episode 4
We see from Yui’s point of view that to her everyone is her maid or butler. But it looks different for Junichi. That guy is watching sexy online gal videos. He calls it research to know gals better for Yukana’s sake. Really? In class, he hears his friends talking about this sexy gal named Boa who has many followers online. You can say they are totally into her. Junichi would have had wilder imagination with his lunch with Yukana had not Ranko joined them. Yeah, that smirk still indicates she is hell bent in stopping Junichi. When Yui comes to talk to Junichi, Ranko tells her she is bothering and to go away. Yui apologizes and will do so another time. Ranko’s experience and guts tell her this is a dangerous girl despite her innocent looks. Later Yui manages to get Junichi to help out with some school errands. However they end up dating at a café? Suddenly starts flirting all over him! Oh, just his imagination. When Yui asks him about Yukana, he can’t stop talking about his girlfriend. In class, Yui purposely flirts with Junichi in front of Yukana. Meanwhile Shinpei has discovered something on Boa so he meets up with Minoru and Keigo to tell them Boa’s true identity: She is Yui! Take a closer look. The damning evidence is how she makes references about ‘dogs’ that are actually about them. Ranko heard this and wants to know more. Yui seeks Junichi’s help again. This time it is private. So at the rooftop, she reveals she likes him and wants to go out with him. So please break up with Yukana. However he rejects her because he still likes Yukana. I want to say Yukana’s boobs beat hers flat (pun not intended) but with this virgin guy it’s not likely. Now Yui blows her top. Am I seeing a pattern here? Girl gets rejected and she gets mad? She reminds him he is her dog and is supposed to do what his master says! WTF?! She threatens to show this secret clip she recorded of their ‘date’ at the café to Yukana. What is Junichi going to do? Don’t worry. Herald Ranko and the 3 stooges. Ranko whispers to Yui she wants to be part of her royal guard. She knows she is Boa. Yui is forced to back off. She gives the memory chip to Junichi who is clueless. Ranko tells him this is to prevent Yukana from being sad. As Junichi walks home with Yukana, he tries to assure her nothing funny happened between them. She believes him because she knows he is head over heels over her so there is nothing to worry about. His goddess is looking more beautiful today.

Episode 5
Junichi is dreaming of fondling Yukana’s delicious boobs! Only, he is really some busty girl’s tits! OMG! Who is this girl who has monster tits like Nene?! She is even trying to speak like a gal but obviously fails. Since Junichi isn’t able to figure out who she is, can you? Believe it or not, it’s Nene! What a total makeover! So holding his arm and her boobs rubbing against it while walking to school, it’s no doubt his friends are going to make noise again. Just run away in jealousy… Yui manages to get back on good terms with Junichi but she smells another girl’s scent all over him. Nene comes into the picture and doesn’t hold back in shooting off her mouth insulting Yui as having a mental age of 30. If this catfight was real, it’s going to be real nasty… Yui leaves but not without stepping on Junichi’s foot. Yeah, it’s so early in the morning and he is already worn out by all the drama. Thankfully he has some Yukana love to replenish it up. He could have a great fantasy while having lunch with her had not Ranko always being there to remind his place. More complication when Nene drops in to feed him cookies and even lick his face! Oh, Yukana hasn’t even licked his face yet… Junichi has every right to be worried. But must his imagination be so over the top that the breakup is reimagined as Ranko pulverizing him with wrestling moves? However Yukana isn’t mad. She thinks Nene is Junichi’s little sister. Yukana isn’t cowed with her threats. Is it because her gal language isn’t strong? Nene tries to size things up by comparing their boobs. Even Ranko joins in and you can tell Nene’s boobs beat theirs by miles! It’s hard for any straight guy to remain unstimulated. Nene then puts down her foot. She believes Yukana is keeping him as insurance in case she doesn’t get any other guy. There is no reason for a girl to go out with him. Oh, she’s going to use that I-know-him-longer-than-everybody-else card? Even so, Yukana points out that doesn’t mean Junichi can’t get a girlfriend. Besides, since she knows him longer than everyone else, she should know it better he has his good side too. Out of argument? Cue for cliché loli cry and run away while throwing insults.

That night, Nene crawls into Junichi’s bed naked! How did he not feel something so busty creeping up from underneath? Was he too engrossed trying to research about gals? She is trying to seduce him. Please take her virginity! I guess when you’re desperate it’s the only thing to do. Typically, Junichi is trying hard to control his libido so we see his inner hentai kappa rampaging only to be defeated by his handsome guy in which a consensus is reach among all his inner conscious representations: They’re going to lose their virginity to Yukana! This means in the end, Junichi refuses Nene and covers her up. His reason is that he doesn’t want to use her feelings so he could lose her virginity. Nene doesn’t mind but Junichi doesn’t want to see Yukana sad. But seeing Nene sad is okay? Flashback shows as kids, Nene wanted to be his bride. He told her if he is not cool in the future, then she could be his bride. I suppose Junichi has become cool now. Poor Nene leaves broken hearted. Next day in class, Junichi gets more Yukana (boob) love. Only to be separated by Nene because she hasn’t given up on Junichi yet. She’s going to be a cooler gal than Yukana to steal him away from her.

Episode 6
Shinpei is telling Junichi about this popular king game. You know what this means. He wants Junichi to gather Yukana’s friends to gather at her house. Easier said than done. How is he going to ask her? Oh well, nothing like asking her straight in the face. Yukana is blushing and nervous when Junichi asks if he come to her place today. When she agrees, he asks for permission for Ranko and Nene to come along and he’ll bring his pals too. That killed the mood. Oh, Yukana is not angry. Really. She’s not. So while Junichi is fantasizing losing his virginity to her, he is caught in his silly act by Yui. Since she is so imposing, he has no choice but to invite her too. If you insist. Junichi enters Yukana’s room for the first time. Is she on purpose trying to show too much cleavage to him? Then she starts flirting and hinting naughty things. When she whispers her parents are not home, it is at this point he realizes why she was mad earlier. He must be cursing himself for being stupid. What a way to cock block. Things are about to get hot when the other girls drop in. Ruined. Yukana explains she was only teasing him because a guy like him has no balls to do it in the first place. That really hit home… When Junichi’s pals arrive, they are dressed in suspicious looking attire!

Shinpei announces the king game so Yui is quick to point out if they have something perverted in mind. Of course not. However the other girls have their own agenda and want to participate. At first it starts off normal so Junichi is relieved but Shinpei notes there is an order to things. So we see crazy ‘normal’ stuffs like Ranko slapping Junichi, Yui talking like a baby and Nene doing a sexy gravure pose (more cleavage the better). It is time to step up things as Shinpei whispers to Junichi how he is going to rig the game. He will have Junichi and Yukana kiss and at the same time the rest will also kiss their respective targets (since the sticks are arranged in a manner they will know who gets which number). But Junichi wonders what Yukana will think of him if he sets this up. So when the game is on, it turns out all the guys have to French kiss each other!!! OMFG! Junichi betrayed and rigged the game just to save the girls. But at a hefty price… Now, now. A king’s order is absolute. And so get ready for Junichi x Shinpei and Keigo x Minoru! I guess it would be traumatic for us to watch so please view sexy poses of the girls while the kissing is underway. I hope the girls won’t have some strange awakening in them. The guys are so dead after this. Junichi is starting to regret this when Yukana whispers to thank him for saving the girls. I guess all was worth it. Yukana then suggests all of them go on a trip together for the summer vacation. Why is Junichi looking so shock and disappointed? Karma, right? Because many are broke, Yukana then suggests they all work together part time to earn money for it.

Episode 7
Shinpei is so kind to find jobs for his pals. So Junichi will work at a cosplay café. Don’t worry. He won’t be putting on girly outfits. He is the kitchen staff. Apparently all the girls are also working in this same café. We see the girls in their natural character like Yukana and Nene being totally moe while Ranko is more aggressive. Unintentionally Yui is clumsy and naturally it makes her embarrassed. Super moe! Junichi thought he could get an indirect kiss from the bottle Yukana drank. However Ran’s entrance startles him. He drops the bottle and she steps on it. Is this some sort of an omen? Meanwhile Shinpei and Keigo are working at a manga store. Shinpei looks so dedicated in his job that he becomes so efficiently doing everything in a breeze. Like as though he is gunning for employee of the month, no, to become manager of the store? And Minoru is at the day care centre. Why do I have a feeling they want this guy arrested? The café has a special event whereby they will read light novels to the customer. As Yui reads one, it turns out to be an erotic novel! She can’t do it. Nene reads it but because she sounds monotonous, Ranko finds it interesting and reads in a very erotic way. Turn you on? Not sure if Yukana is jealous or embarrassed but she won’t lose out and starts reading one too albeit quite embarrassed about it. Shinpei can’t take it anymore so he tells her to stop. Junichi protests to the manager about forcing these girls to read what they don’t want. The manager brushes him off until Yui hands him a call from the owner. Looks like the event is cancelled. On the way back, Yukana expresses her wonder to Junichi for standing up for them. She suggests doing other part time jobs and hang out more often together. Although this trip is a group trip, she hopes they can have a trip just by themselves.

Episode 8
Beach episode! Our girls are looking dangerously sexy in their swimsuits. Especially Nene… So while Junichi has fun with the girls, how come the other guys just sit out and watch their stuffs? Well, they get to secretly film the other beach babes… Don’t worry. There are little girls for Minoru’s taste too. When Junichi sees Yukana and Ranko being hit on guys, he thought of going to save them. But he sees them happily chatting with them so he starts thinking he shouldn’t be jealous of them having their own male friends. They spot Junichi and go to him. They thank him for saving them from those man sluts. Is his reward to put sun lotion on their naked backs? They’re making ambiguous noise so does this mean Junichi is that good? That night, Shinpei and Keigo dress up in full military gear to go peek on the girls. They want Junichi to join them. At first he refuses but after some twisted logic to see Yukana’s boobs, he is in. Minoru will be at the men’s section because apparently single fathers can bring their daughters in. Paradise… So we see our girls having fun soaking in the outdoor hotspring. As usual we have all of them fondling each other’s boobs and Nene becomes the main victim because of her melons. Yui feels left out but it won’t be long before Yukana starts messing with hers to make her part of the fondling family. The trio trek through the forest as Shinpei points out a trap. Junichi thinks he can use this to foil their plan and purposely triggers the alert. However this trap was set up by Shinpei to test Junichi since he betrayed them before. Now he is at it again, they shoot him down till he falls over a cliff! Don’t worry. Guys like him always survive. Now they try to go peep on the girls but it seems the forest has real traps too. Nothing like a man’s charged libido to make him charge through all the traps. But Shinpei gets hit by a (toy) arrow. He is ‘dying’ a dramatic death and passes the baton to Keigo. He won’t let his ‘death’ be in vain but he too steps on a bomb. It becomes a beautiful firework for the girls to watch. Later Junichi wakes up on the beach next to Yukana. He learns they found him sleeping here. The other guys passed out and were taken back to their room by the inn manager. The duo chat and get closer to each other. They also talk about their next plan to go somewhere just the 2 of them. The other girls could only sadly watch how close they are. When Yukana and Junichi walk back, there is this handsome dude whom Yukana recognizes.

Episode 9
Dai Mitarai is her old middle school friend and it seems they know each other well to casually talk and joke about. Junichi feels so left out that he almost disappears into the background. Yukana did manage to finally introduce him but Dai is having that evil stare. Junichi cannot help think how Yukana and Dai are so compatible with each other. So he speaks his mind to her about it. This makes Yukana in a bad mood as she leaves. Junichi is so down in class that his buddies can tell. When they learn what happened, they know he is done for. Shinpei starts explaining about NTR and cuckold. And what the heck does he mean that Dai has a magical dick?! Wrong person to ask for advice… It’s about to get worse since Yukana blatantly ignores Junichi. Even when he manages to talk to her, she comes up with some sort of excuse that she is busy. So Junichi’s friends are happy that they take him to karaoke? I guess this means the virgins are united again. Shinpei then brainwashes Junichi to prostrate himself and apologize to Yukana. That always works, right? Maybe. When they leave the karaoke joint, they see Yukana and Dai happily talking in the café across. Junichi instantly turns into ashes. The next day, Junichi is still down but Yukana is back to her normal perky self. She was just acting like that so he would reflect upon his actions. I guess not because he starts having doubts that they have lined their answers together, the reason she could answer so quickly. Then he lashes out at her to stop messing with his feelings, accusing her she is just messing around with a virgin like him. Yukana’s sad look. You’re so screwed…

Yui can tell Junichi is down and talks to him. When she learns what happened, she becomes mad. He was being selfish and not thinking about Yukana’s feeling. She doesn’t even consider him worth to be his servant now. Oh no. Is his harem falling apart?! Next, Nene learns about it and is also not pleased. Because at this rate he is so uncool. Oh dear. It’s falling apart quickly!!! Junichi watches a video on Boa as she rants the guy she likes broke her heart because of his selfishness to his girlfriend who is also her friend. Despite all that, she still feels drawn to him and wants things to go back to normal. Yukana then calls the girls for a meeting. It won’t be so much of a meeting because she starts off crying. Ranko is visibly upset as she leaves to take care of business. The virgins are too having their own meeting. Ranko barges into grab Junichi by the collar. He admits he is dumb, stupid, perverted and selfish. That is why he is going to face Yukana and doesn’t want her to have anyone else. Just then, Dai and his gang of delinquents waltz in. Dai starts talking how easy a girl Yukana is and once he is done with her, he is going to let them all have a go at her. Junichi won’t take this and makes his way to confront him.

Episode 10
Junichi wants Dai to take back all the bad things he said about Yukana. Since he is willing to get rough, let’s take this outside. Junichi throws the first punch but is lame and gets gutted. Then he bites Dai’s leg! He won’t let go till he promises to stay away from Yukana. Dai lies about it and makes him put his guard down. That’s when Junichi gets beaten up real good. Time for Ranko to pop in. Dai and his guys are going to bust her ass too but she gets back up by Junichi’s pals. For once they have balls. They stay behind to handle the punks to let Junichi go to somewhere more important. Junichi tries to call Yukana but she isn’t picking up so he leaves a message to meet behind school. Yukana isn’t purposely picking up as she talks to Yui and Nene about her uncertainty if Junichi likes her. So her rivals have no choice but to support her. Meanwhile, it’s amazing Dai’s delinquents all get defeated. As usual, Dai is faking pleading for mercy. A little girl happen to be nearby. Does she not know they’re fighting?! Why is she so intrigued at what’s happening?! Dai uses this chance to escape but not after bumping into her. This causes Minoru to move into action. After saving her, he turns into the Hulk!!! Minoru, smash! Dai is cornered by Ranko who kicks him in the balls! Because guys who treats girls like objects deserve no balls! Then she sets Minoru on him to make him learn the hard way about staying away from them. They send a victory selfie to Junichi who is still waiting for Yukana to pop up.

Eventually Yukana turns up and instantly he goes down on his knees to beg her to go out with him. He admits he is weak, stupid and a pervert. He initially wanted to date her to lose his virginity but now he really likes her. He describes all the things he likes about her like her smile, being nice to everyone, etc. She brushes it all off. Because they are already dating, right? Since Junichi is free, she has a place she wants to take him. Remember that amusement park date? She remembers. She even changes into the outfit he picked for her during the shopping. They have fun there but it looks like Junichi is a bigger wuss in rides and in the haunted house. At the photo booth, they’re supposed to kiss as per instructed. Nervous Junichi does so but sly Yukana backs off at the right timing as the photo captures a funny pose of him trying to kiss! Embarrassing! Before they part, Yukana surprises him by giving him a quick kiss! The day was worth it. Next morning on his way to school, Yui and Nene can tell how something good has happened. I guess everything is settled then. But they think they have gone even further seeing the very good vibe between them. Ranko threatens to kill him if he isn’t still a virgin… Thank goodness he is. Yukana takes Junichi’s hand as they run towards school while the other girls happily chase them. Happily ever after.

Episode 11 (OVA)
It’s the school cultural festival and Junichi’s class is doing a café whereby the girls dress and act the opposite they are. While Yukana is polite and proper, Yui is kinda a b*tch. Wait. Isn’t that her real personality? No wonder so convincing. We take a break to get your 2 cents worth with some locker room fanservice. Ranko fondles and analyses sizes of boobs. And the official results are in. Yukana being G-cup, Nene tops with her H-cup (possibly I-cup) while Yui is C-cup (I thought it looked more like B-cup but heh, I’m no expert). As Yukana invites Junichi to go around the festival grounds together, she learns of the school’s legend whoever dances together at the bonfire dance will be together forever. Also, there is an experiment going on around the school with 3 holes randomly planted and whoever falls into it gets prizes. Huh? After Junichi and Yukana visit Nene’s animal maid café, it seems Nene and Ranko are in cohorts to break our couple up for their own nefarious goals. The same too for Yui and Shinpei. First, Shinpei interrupts Junichi’s outing with Yukana and brings him to a room to witness some sick lolicon sect led by Minoru! WTF did I just see?! I don’t know how these events led to Shinpei stealing Junichi’s handphone (so he can’t contact Yukana) as he starts chasing the thief around. Yukana waits for Junichi but looks like her handphone is out of battery. Nice timing for Ranko to hang out with her. Meanwhile Junichi bumps into Nene who insists they go to the haunted house. It is her who get spooked and ran off. The ‘ghost’ turns out to be Yui who needs a favour from him. Yeah, to help build the campfire for the dance. She starts thinking this is just part of an experiment instead of believing the legend. She is startled when Junichi calls her as she falls on him. WTF moment as she enjoys fondling his chest? Junichi gets up when he sees Shinpei and resumes the chase. Yui tries to catch him but falls into a hole. Shinpei also falls into a hole that allows Junichi to get his handphone back. Too bad, out of battery. Yukana ditches Ranko to go look for Junichi. Ranko tries to go after her but falls into a hole. Seriously, nobody else but these unlucky people fell in there? And all they got was a stupid trophy? Maybe it’s a loser’s trophy… Anyway Junichi and Yukana manage to meet each other and apologize just in time before the last bonfire dance.

Still At First Base
So the obvious lesson is to be true to yourself because at the end of the day, you’ll definitely nail yourself a cool girlfriend and a potential harem. Man, I love good happy (harem) endings. And so begins their path to true love. With Junichi and Yukana dating each other, maybe it will be tough for the others to steal him unless they slip up somewhere. But that is another story. As far as this one is concerned, medetashi, medetashi.

Obviously this anime is geared towards the male demographics and although I won’t say its fanservice is super heavy as in comparison to very heavily fanservice laden anime series like Sin – Nanatsu No Taizai, there are still enough fanservice to please all you horny otaku guys. One look at Nene’s boobs obviously says it all. Like as though she retired early from porn and ended up in this anime. Can a girl as young as her grow so rapidly in such a few years? Because hell, I’m sure she wasn’t this busty during the flashbacks when she was young. My only realistic explanation is that she underwent boobs enhancement surgery somewhere in between and then later realized this makeover wasn’t enough to win Junichi over and hence and round of makeover.

However the ‘sad’ part is that many of the boob shots and pantsu shots especially fantasy delusions of the girls in erotic and compromising solutions are heavily censored. Oh ho. Time to go buy the DVDs if you want to peak at them. And there aren’t even any bare tits exposed here. With a variety censors getting in our way of enjoyment, the ‘best’ one has got to be what I call the ‘Hand of God(dess)’. Because you’ll see a gal’s hands covering over those parts while they moan, “Dame~”…

I guess the plot and storyline are pretty obvious and cliché. Normal guy gets hooked with a pretty hot chick. I know it happens in real life to. But it happens more frequently in the world of television. It usually starts out as the guy like him obviously getting one hell of a pretty girlfriend with the intention to bang her because seriously, if you don’t harbour at least such fantasies, YOU ARE NOT A GUY! And also, why the heck are you getting into a straight relationship if otherwise that points out you are totally gay! So it started as a joke for them and slowly it evolves into nearly a true blue love. So why the harem too at the same possible time because before this Junichi was like a loner like his buddies and now he has got a few other girls trying to get his attention? Well, it’s not like these girls suddenly just have a crush on Junichi. It was a long time ago and perhaps status quo and having things stay the way it was. Until Junichi gets hooked up, that status quo is threatened so they moved in. And since this show isn’t about NTR, I guess the rest have to wait in line and play good until they break up or something instead of stealing him.

Therefore the characters themselves are pretty cliché and predictable. If you have seen many genres like this in the past. Like yours truly. But hey, disclaimer, that doesn’t mean I’m an expert in this area. So like Junichi whose main character traits fall into the generic normal plain ordinary regular average Joe type, it must have been done to death in many series in the past. He struck the winning lottery after landing Yukana as his girlfriend. Was it out of sheer luck or fate? Usually this kind of character who isn’t mostly driven by his libido (read: horny pervert), has some good side to him and thus a higher chance for us to make his character more likeable as he tries to respect his girlfriend and be more considerate to her instead of taking any chance to outrage her modesty just to satisfy his lust. I guess that is what his inner selves are for. Junichi is also primarily a weak character due to his nature of trying to be nice and not offend his girl so at times when punks try to hit on Yukana, Junichi is very much a pushover or ignored. But in a way it is also good since you can’t jump in blindly and then get beaten up yourself just to prove something. Not that I know Junichi has some martial arts knowledge. But as long as you stay true to your ideals, you’re pretty much invincible. Hey, at least he got the girl.

I suppose I could also say him betraying his friends on a couple of occasion is firstly, I don’t think they are really friends. They are just friends of convenience since as far as this anime is concerned, they are the only ones without any decent girlfriends. So it’s not like he is betraying them, right? I mean if you think about it, if you had to choose what kind of friendship you want to improve, would it be with your girlfriend or these so called ‘friends’? Therefore Junichi’s buddies are there to make him look better because these ‘best friends’ are even more losers than him. With Shinpei being the ‘relationship master’ and the ‘brains’ while Keigo is the unfortunate type with good looks but ends up being a loner too most probably of his stinking personality and Minoru who might be the most docile of the pack but is quickly established as a lolicon. Why is it that big guys like him have an affinity for little girls? Because Green Green’s Tenjin also had this same tendency.

Junichi’s harem is also cliché and fall into certain tropes. Like Yukana who is busty, pretty and sporting herself. She isn’t a typical airhead just because she looks like a gal. Not perfect but she’s the kind of the closest dream girl any guy would want. Definitely Junichi and Yukana seem so out of place because of their very different behaviours. Junichi is more reserved and being the amateur he is and his first time dating a girl, Yukana is more outspoken and frank. Though she does get jealous sometimes and you can see that when she pouts a little. It is just a little mind boggling that when she first accepted him as her boyfriend, I thought she had some low standards and expectations. I know it is good to give others a chance but naturally you want someone with better traits like good looks and rich, right? You know what they say about opposites attract. So did she fall in love with him after he first confessed to her? Because her body language indicates so. If that is the case, why hasn’t she fall for him before that? Maybe it goes to show all you need are balls and the initiative to go ask a girl out. Yup. That’s all it takes. While still very far away from the initial plan of banging her, at least Junichi has that chance. Better than no chance when he was an outsider.

Completing his harem is the childhood friend, the tsundere and the lesbian. They do have their allotted screen time but not as much so as not to divert many of the screen time dedication between Yukana and Junichi. Nene like any other childhood friend is banking on past childhood promises to make her dream come true. If boobs don’t work, maybe this will. After all, she is the closest to Junichi and one who can easily get physical with him (even more than Yukana) using the onii-chan trope. Yui like the classic tsundere might tell us she considers Junichi her servant but we veterans know better otherwise. That is why I figure the reason she has this other online personality Boa to express her true feelings. Lastly for Ranko, I guess for diversity purpose, we always must have that one girl who is lesbian (see Watashi Ga Motete Dosunda). I was predicting that her role is to prevent Junichi from being a couple with Yukana at first and hence justifying her presence but over time she will slowly become straight and fall for him. Well, it doesn’t seem to be the case at least for now.

There are also a couple of other characters who are their classmates, Kokoro Shiina and Ayumi Uesaka whose ‘appearance’ are mostly confined to the next episode preview (included are illustrations from various artists with some looking normal and some definitely for fanservice). What they do are just mess around while the time runs out as they complain about their lack of presence and lines in the episode proper or even here even right till the last episode still b*tchng how they haven’t make their proper appearance and it has all ended. They even once complained how Junichi’s 3 Stooges buddies have more lines and roles in the anime when they don’t have names in the manga. Truly background characters… Don’t think sexism, please…

Art and animation are pretty standard at least for this genre. Mostly hot looking girls and mostly plain looking guys. But sometimes the animation quality dips and it is quite obvious. Especially the last episode I thought it felt like a bit of a rush job. I can’t help notice how many of the characters here when I first set my eyes on them, they somewhat looks like characters from other anime series. This isn’t my first time doing so for an anime as you probably have guessed over the years I have watched tons of animes so there are bound to be a few characters from different series to look like twins in another. But for this anime, it seems I noticed a bunch of them. Take for instance Yukana herself. I thought she looked like Galko from Oshiete! Galko-chan, the reason why I initially thought this was some sort of sequel or spin-off to that said series. Of course Yukana doesn’t look exactly like her as I also feel that she is a cross with Fairy Tail’s Lucy.

But the very obvious physical similarity of this character design goes to Ranko. The first time she appeared, I instantly went, “What the heck is Shokugeki No Souma’s Mito doing here in this series?! Has she dropped out of Totsuki and quit being a chef to just be some lesbian gal?!”. Oh dear. Both are such busty tanned blondes that sometimes it is hard to tell them apart. Well, if you don’t look very closely, that is. The other very familiar looking characters include Junichi’s plain guy looks reminds me of Green Green’s main plain guy protagonist, Yuusuke. Or any other plain looking guys in other animes; Shinpei having this uncanny resemblance to Angel Beat’s Takamatsu; Keigo looking like a watered down version of Kodaka from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai; Minoru is what happens when Astro Boy has grown up and let himself loose; Nene’s new look was it what you get when you turn Inu x Boku SS’ Karuta lively as well as mix it up with Philuffy of Saijaku Muhai No Bahamut? Did Yui and Suzune Horikita of Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi No Kyoushitsu E copy each other since both animes aired in the same season? Last but not least, why does Dai have this creepy and strange semblance to Kuroshitsuji’s Sebastian?! Wow. It’s like they didn’t need to think so hard to come up with original character designs. Or maybe they did and coincidentally they all happen to look somewhat similar somewhere…

Voice acting is pretty okay with me recognizing Yui Ogura as Nene and Eri Kitamura as Ranko since I was just fresh off watching a similar haughty character she voiced in Sin – Nanatsu No Taizai: Lucifer. However I didn’t realize until much later it was Ayana Taketatsu behind Yui. It didn’t occur to me if her voice sounded familiar. Not that she sounded too different. Maybe I haven’t heard her in quite a while. At least the first time this year. (The last I heard her was in 2016’s Okusama Ga Seitoukaichou sequel). Because of that, paranoia also got a little to me since I thought it was Nana Mizuki behind Yukana’s voice. She wasn’t. No wonder it sounded a little off. Yukana is voiced by Yuki Nagaku who did Arisa in Akiba’s Trip The Animation. The other casts are Shintarou Asanuma as Junichi (Tsuda in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Shinpei (Tsukumo in Nanbaka), Kenji Akabane as Keigo (Arashi in Triage X), Minoru Shiraishi as Minoru (Sakamoto in Nichijou) and Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Dai (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai).

The opening and ending themes are nothing special. They sound so generic like these days’ pop music whereby one can easily churn out tunes and tunes from a music making software on your PC. Hajimete No Season by Junjou No Afilia has this upbeat and lively pitch to it that is befitting for an all-girl idol group. I can’t tell the difference with Gal Chikku Love by Erabareshi for the ending theme. It sounds as similar if not more dramatic and heavy on the use of synthesizer effects.

Overall, if you are a fan of such ecchi and romantic comedies (if I can go so far as to call it that) and don’t mind the clichés and tropes (because why stray so far when the test and tested formula has proven to work so many times), then this anime is for you. Unlike in some shows where the hero gets the girl in the end, our main guy here already gets the girl at the start. The odd couple of normal Junichi getting hooked up with typical gal Yukana proves once again that we cannot judge a book by its cover. Yeah, it is the inside that counts. But what counts even more is getting inside her pants. Haha! Oops… Looks like there are going to be quite a lot more of firsts before he could finally land at Hajimete No Sex…

Sin – Nanatsu No Taizai

November 18, 2017

Holy holiness! I thought this was somewhat the sequel to that action fantasy adventure, Nanatsu No Taizai! Then I realized something is wrong when I saw the promotional poster. Sexy busty ladies?! Wait. Am I seeing it right? Shucks. What a misleading title. Again. Because in that same season we had Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou No Sho in which I mistook it for another anime sequel thanks to its suspiciously similar title. Thus it is the same too for Sin – Nanatsu No Taizai. It has nothing to do with that series about a group of former baddies trying to take over a kingdom now taken over by corrupted knights who were once the heroes. The only thing in common is the use of the seven deadly sins as its theme. Everything else differs so much. Oh, sexy busty ladies, huh? I can see where we’re going with this one.

Episode 1
Crucified Lucifer falls from heaven as she blames Michael for this betrayal. She crashes into a church. Maria Totsuka, a normal human seems to be able to see her. Before she plunges into hell, Lucifer gives her an angel’s life. Down in the most bottom depths of hell, the demon of envy, Leviathan is excited to see Lucifer crashing down. She has always looked up to her and starts caressing her body. She suggests they take over hell by defeating the other Mortal Sins but Lucifer will not follow orders from anyone. This makes Leviathan mad as she attacks her. Her weak attack has no effect as Lucifer remembers Michael telling her God’s punishment to her to atone for her pride forever. Lucifer breaks free and I think her transformation into some cosplay made Leviathan adore her even more. She vows to follow her. Bringing her to the castle where the Mortal Sins rule, Lucifer is attacked by the demon of wrath, Satan. Of course she is no match for the fallen angel and gets busted. We are introduced to the other busty demons like Mammon (greed), Asmodeus (lust), Beelzebub (gluttony) and Belphegor (sloth). The leader of them all is Belial (vanity – what is Bayonetta doing here?!), she believes Lucifer is here to invade hell. Lucifer takes up Leviathan’s suggestion to beat the crap out of everyone and rule this place. Belial orders the rest to fight her. Nobody moves. Okay. She’ll do it herself. Too bad Lucifer easily destroys her family sword and rips her clothes in the process. Gnosis offers Belial to use him. She unleashes some restraining attack on her. Lucifer tries to escape but the other Mortal Sins attack and ground her. Belial torments her by cutting one of her wings. However this severs her restraints to God. She declares as the one who goes against God and the demon burdened with the sin of pride. She and Leviathan escape back to Earth. Right back at the same spot where Maria found Lucifer. First thing Lucifer does is to stab Maria’s heart! And she corrects her that she isn’t an angel, but a demon lord.

Episode 2
Maria isn’t dead. Lucifer has stolen her heart. How can a person live without a heart? Well, as long as Lucifer has it, she is immortal. Unless she crushes it. Since Maria continues to whine in disbelief, Leviathan wants to get rid of her. However Lucifer wants Maria as her servant. Because normal humans can’t see angels and demons, I guess they need Maria to do human business. Like booking a presidential suite of a hotel for an indefinite stay. Maria continues to resist her so Lucifer with a snap of her fingers is able to make her do things against her own will. Like stripping and taking a bath with her. Maria wants to be normal again but Lucifer doesn’t care. All she needs to do is obey her. Despite the abuse, Leviathan is envious that Maria gets all her attention. Leviathan thought she could try cooking for her but Lucifer still has her attention on Maria. So when Lucifer has gone out, Leviathan takes out her frustrations on Maria. If only she is gone, all of Lucifer’s attention will be on her. Maria tries to run but Leviathan outrages her modesty with some water tentacles. Don’t scream too loud or others will think you’re a pervert. Maria insists she has done nothing wrong to deserve this and this makes Leviathan mad. She envies her for having what she wants. Why could it not be her? Those words remind Maria of her friend Mina who said exactly the same thing. It’s like Maria has found enlightenment as she comforts Leviathan it isn’t a bad thing. She is able to break free from her shackles. The show ends with Lucifer putting a stop to it. She had been watching them. She chastises Leviathan for giving in to her own envy sin and losing to a human. She warns her not to lay her hands on Maria again. Now Lucifer molests Maria’s boobs and wants her to focus. Not on the groping, I suppose. Maria then screams out Miami. This is where they will be heading next.

Episode 3
Because Maria took Lucifer’s blood before she went to hell, the reason why she can sense the location of other Mortal Sins. So they’re taking a plane there instead of teleporting? Oh well, got to enjoy your time on Earth. Asmodeus is trying to gather followers (and by that means making a contract that sends you to hell!) by having everyone lust and gaze at her sexy body. It’s such a depraved beach with everybody making out with everybody. Lucifer steps in to announce she will take down the Mortal Sins one by one. Leviathan tries to fight Asmodeus but Lucifer realizes the people lusting at her will only make her stronger. What now? Retreat! That night, they visit the nightclub where Asmodeus gathers her followers. Asmodeus is such a hot pole dancer. Leviathan thought she could challenge her but her pole dancing sucks. Asmodeus is interested in Maria but Lucifer warns nothing will happen to her no matter how much she tries. That night, Lucifer sends Maria out to buy food but Asmodeus captures her back to her place to begin caressing and making her feel good. What is this?! 50 Shades of Grey, lesbian version?! It took Lucifer a while to drop in. Asmodeus fights Lucifer using her sex appeal. This means Lucifer gets captured by her plant tentacle trap. Her entire body is now one big sexual pleasure. Lucifer is ‘disappointed’ in her since desire is all she has. Love is all dressed up in the base desire of lust. However she doesn’t see a sin in sex and should go preach about its benefits instead. Ironically this turns on Asmodeus and loses to her own power. Lucifer is freed as she comments about pride being pride because it doesn’t yield to others. Asmodeus admits her defeat to Lucifer and promises not to get in her way. With Asmodeus’ magic dispelled, Miami beach is back to normal. Maria apologizes for getting into trouble but it was all part of Lucifer’s plan in the first place to make her as the bait. You sly devil… It makes Maria wonder if it is okay to believe in a demon lord. Somebody’s faith in God is wavering…

Episode 4
We’re in London now. At the library, they see an article of a potion that can grant anything. Definitely fake. So they head down to the store where it is sold. Nobody’s in. Maria sees a coin on the floor and picks it up. Too late. A trap. Welcome to Mammon’s store. She and Lucifer go have a ‘chat’. Mammon shows off her properties but Lucifer isn’t interested and fights. Although Lucifer loses, not without property damage and this pisses Mammon off. Now Lucifer is being tortured on a triangle horse and being forced to sign a contract for property damage. Leviathan summons her bat familiar, Behemoth to cut them out of the cage. Looking for clues, they see real estate papers. Leviathan believes Lucifer is being held in one of Mammon’s many properties and leaves Maria behind to go find her onee-sama. Maria looks around and seeks soul contracts but is caught red-handed by Mammon. Maria witness Mammon having a woman sign a contract and letting her drink some potion before she enters a secret room. Mammon is interested to know why she is with Lucifer. Is there some sort of secret between them? Mammon lets Maria suck on her breast milk. Oh, so calm… Leviathan has found Lucifer. She wants to help but is told not to because there won’t be any meaning if she doesn’t overcome this herself. It is painful to watch so Leviathan joins her. Damn she can’t last 10 seconds and faints on Lucifer! It’s heavier! Maria sees many people inside a room taking care of demon dolls in which they see as their own child. Of course in exchange for this, Mammon has them transfer their assets to her. It seems Mammon’s husband left her with debts and she has to raise 500,000 kids! Maria lectures her what the kids need are not babysitters but their mom. Lucifer breaks free and at the same time Maria is freed from Mammon’s cursed breast milk. Maria believes everyone is just lost and running away from their painful memories. Mammon thinks it is that pity that made them lose their place. That is pride. Speaking of which, here comes Lucifer to come kick her ass. This time more property damage and the entire place is razed down! My investments! With Mammon’s defeat, I guess everyone is freed from their debts. However thanks to the endless human greed, Mammon is soon back in operation via crypto currency. More money for her children, suckers!

Episode 4.5
WTF?! Why do we need a recap episode summary after 4 episodes?! Did production fail to keep up with the schedule?! No new scenes. Recycled scenes of what we have seen so far and the only difference is that some parts are narrated. The only thing brand new is the ending theme with this demon lord, Astaroth rocking away.

Episode 5
Back in Japan, Lucifer and co notice Astaroth as an online idol raking up the views. By the way, Astaroth is the demon of melancholy and hence her songs have depressing lyrics. So when Lucifer confronts her back at her home, Astaroth freaks out. Every answer she gives is in rap mode? So Lucifer records and uploads her own video and it is gaining more views. Belial then visits Astaroth. She wants her to accept Lucifer’s challenge and will help to beat her. So Astaroth records a new video. It isn’t anything special and looks so freaking boring but it garners more views than Lucifer. At this rate she is going to lose. What’s this? Lucifer sinking into depression thinking about it? Of course she busts those blues in the nick of time before Belial pays her a visit. Belial wants to know her goal when she fell from heaven. Since she isn’t telling, Belial will defeat her and make her reveal all on her knees. Lucifer gives Maria another chance to make another hit piece. With this computer synthesizer heavy denpa song, I’m sure it did. Of course Astaroth comes up with another to counter that. It’s that rocker video we see in the recap episode. Sex. Blood. Gore. Weirdness. Makes no sense. I guess all that sells. Could you believe the video is made by Belphegor who is Astaroth’s closest friend? Thanks to that hit, Astaroth now have sell-out concerts and TV interviews lining up. As the fans wait for her to go on stage, Lucifer is confident Astaroth will not appear. She knows she is afraid of people and the more people in the audience, the more she will retreat to her shell. Speaking of which, it is true as she is cowering inside the toilet cubicle. With the crowd growing restless and losing faith, demanding their money back, Lucifer takes this chance to take centre stage and steal the crowd’s heart. Belial is trying to get Astaroth to come out. Belphegor tells her the audience is on her side and to tell them her feelings with her songs. Astaroth gets the courage needed to go on stage. The duo sing a duet which is a mix of both their styles. Weird but fun. In the end, Astaroth admits she lost. Though, she loves singing and will continue. She wants to perform again with Lucifer but too bad she calls it quits. It’s too much trouble dealing with fans. Astaroth says she is on Belial’s side so the next time they meet, they’ll be enemies. Assuming if she isn’t this timid, that is.

Episode 6
Lucifer asks Leviathan about Belphegor. Just a shut-in. When Lucifer picks up a ringing call, she is sucked inside the mobile. Belphegor wants to play a game with her. Since Lucifer chooses to be the demon lord, Belphegor will organise an event where everyone can defeat her. As expected, Lucifer easily steamrolls the heroes. So Belphegor promises the heroes someone to come help defeat the demon lord. And so she drags Maria into the game as well. After making her test a heavy armour, she puts her in a lingerie armour that has her move faster. And with her magic sword, she is now known as the hero Maririn! As she faces Lucifer, of course Lucifer isn’t going to take her seriously about saving the world. Heck, even Lucifer defeats Maria. Maybe it’s the hotspring power of disintegrating lingerie and enhancing boob size. Belphegor can’t have her lose now so she takes her away for more training. Why do they look like torture or hentai potential? Once her training is done, she is tasked to get a legendary equipment from an angel. Isn’t that Leviathan?! And the legendary equipment is just a lingerie in different colour? Cheaper to re-skin, I suppose… As Maria is ready to face Lucifer again, the other players feel it is time to logout since they have to work, sleep, etc. Belphegor has them stay by offering them special weapons (because you can’t defeat the demon lord with free weapons). Maria faces off with Lucifer again. It might look like history repeating itself but her legendary armour requips itself to become something better to defeat Lucifer. With that, everyone is satisfied and logs off. Belphegor panics as this isn’t in her scenario. She tries to defeat Lucifer herself but Lucifer fights back to the point where it could destroy her game world. Belphegor has had it. She admits defeat and doesn’t want to play games with her anymore. Back in reality, Lucifer is impressed Maria could tell she was in a game world where Belphegor collects her followers. Had Maria defeated her, the game would have been restarted and everything will go back to square one to defeat the demon lord again. After Lucifer teases Maria as the lingerie hero, now she is going to punish Leviathan for being an angel…

Episode 7
Lucifer and co crash in on Beelzebub’s gourmet party to challenge her to an eating contest. Both looks like they’re going strong till Lucifer suddenly has pain in her stomach. Is this it? Although the contest ends in a draw, Lucifer immediately rushes to the toilet to vomit till she passes out. The next thing she knows, she is in hospital. Maria is forced to play her relative to fill the paperwork. It is pathetic to see the strong Lucifer in this weak state. It’s like she lost to some stomach flu virus. She continues to recuperate in hospital but her living conditions aren’t ‘ideal’. The neighbour is snoring loudly or vomiting and the bed is too cram. Complaining it to your subordinates won’t change a thing. When her illness remains the same, the doctor gives her suppository. OMG! It looks like Lucifer getting raped from the back???!!! Oh dear. Really pitiful to see her in this state. Of course the doctor turns out to be Belial as she tries to unlock Lucifer’s secret. She sees Maria’s heart and takes it. When Lucifer wakes up, she knows she has been had. Though she is confident Belial won’t realize its secret but the problem is how to get it back. She can’t tell Maria about it. So when Lucifer acts all nice to her, Maria thinks she is still sick. Get well and go back to your prideful self! Lucifer is surprised that Beelzebub is also hospitalized next door for gastric dilation. She teases her about not being able to eat but Beelzebub views food isn’t evil and the best medicine to put a smile on your face. Before you know it, they both become friends! WTF?! Cue for Leviathan to throw her usual tantrum while she is bathing Lucifer. So she gives her a chance to let her sleep with her. Too bad she wet the bed and escaped, making it look like Lucifer was the wetter. As Lucifer and Beelzebub begin to heal, they eat and appreciate better food. They get discharged on the same day as Lucifer treats her to some tasty treat. Beelzebub is willing to give Lucifer her throne. She doesn’t need it. When the time comes, all will change. After everyone leaves, Maria is kidnapped by Belial.

Episode 8
When Belial tells Satan how meekly Beelzebub turn over to Lucifer’s side, she is engulfed in rage. Of course she goes to fight Lucifer but Leviathan takes on her first. Satan is puzzled that she herself is feeling envious since Beelzebub is on Lucifer’s side. Leviathan ‘understands’ and that is how she is feeling. Leviathan’s water power causes damage everywhere but the chaos only further to strengthen Satan’s power. So she thought if fighting over the ocean would increase her power but she got defeated for real this time. Time for Lucifer to step in. Beelzebub wants to help her but Lucifer notes herself as currently weak to save Maria and will lose at this rate. She has Beelzebub return to hell for now. In some Pacific island, scores of military jets and ships attack Lucifer. Of course they are no match for her as she cuts them all into half. Military budget this year is going to skyrocket. Beelzebub awakens slumbering Leviathan at the bottom of the ocean (what the heck is that open sesame-like recitation?). She revives with a new set of sexy bikini armour? With the soldiers supporting Satan, she still is most powerful. So powerful that her blasts could cut the world into pieces!!! OMG! Haven’t seen anybody cutting water like that. Not even Moses. As Lucifer finally fights her head on, Belial and Maria are watching this from her castle. Maria continues to root for Lucifer so Belial shows her heart. Is this why she is rooting for her? Maria looks interested when Belial suggests she can have her heart back and even freed from Lucifer if she helps them defeat her. Now the epic battle takes place on the moon. Earth too puny for them? Satan did the most unlikely thing by releasing her curse on Lucifer so she could fight with all she’s got. In the end, the space battle ends with Lucifer stabbing into Satan. As agreed, Satan will follow her orders by opening the gates to hell. She’s coming for your ass, Belial. Belial maintains her confidence she still has Maria as her trump card.

Episode 9
Belial is seen making a deal with Michael. Belial tortures Satan for losing when she had the overwhelming advantage and Lucifer lost almost all her power. She gives her one last chance to protect the gates of hell and prevent Lucifer from coming through. But when Lucifer and Leviathan come waltzing in, they are easily able to walk through. This is because in that short span of time, Lucifer was able to gather followers from all over the world. Looks like every human is guilty of some sort of pride from judges to idol fans! As humans care themselves more than others, pride is the ultimate sin they are born with. Lucifer could send all humans to hell if she wanted to and knows this is what God is afraid of. So with 100 million followers, Lucifer makes her triumphant return to hell as the demon lord. Belial summons the Mortal Sins to go stop Lucifer. However they claim they have no more reason to obey her since they have been defeated by Lucifer. Only Astaroth remains by Belial’s side. Lucifer and Leviathan ride the ferryman, Charon. However he wants his payment. Care to share some of the souls of the living? No way. Then show me your pantsu! So we have this strange scene of Lucifer trying to fight off this dirty old man and getting tentacle raped by his tongue. It ends when Leviathan manages to overturn the boat and shows her pantsu to satisfy that lecherous pervert. They meet up with the other Mortal Sins as Lucifer reveals God’s plan to purge hell and Earth. Hence it isn’t Lucifer’s plan to destroy hell but God. Lucifer’s plan is to turn the tables by bringing God down and make a new world order. Hell always flourishes when humanity matures. But it happens over and over again so Lucifer got tired of this and brought this up. Look what happened to her by just commenting on it. And yes, Belial knows about this. Don’t believe? Ask her yourself. Astaroth is the only one who can’t believe it. Leviathan stays back to fight her while Lucifer moves forward.

Episode 10
Asmodeus confronts Belial about her betrayal. Come to think of it, she believes she has been lying to them ever since she became their leader. Flashback shows Belial requesting Asmodeus to be the leader of the Mortal Sins. She has sought everyone’s permission since she wants to defeat heaven. For Asmodeus’ punishment to defy her, she is being cut by razor sharp winds. Because she can heal, the process repeats. Is this ultimate paradise for a masochist? I wonder how many times she has climaxed. When Lucifer arrives and wants to rescue her, Asmodeus tells her to go forward. The other Mortal Sins are in danger and she has chosen Lucifer to be the one. Down the next level, Lucifer sees Beelzebub being force fed. Why does this look like a porn scene? Belial thought she could buy her loyalty by giving her more meat but since she refused, this is what she got as punishment for defying. Beelzebub won’t accept meat from anybody but Lucifer. Is there a sexual connotation there? Mammon tells Belial that she is betting all her next penny on Lucifer who is a better investment. Belial then turns her fortune into a golden triangle horse and torture her. She wonders why she is doing this seeing she comes from the famous Byrnedale family. Flashback shows she inherited it. Speaking to Gnosis, she was told the family was famous but now in ruins. Gnosis sensed she isn’t from hell as she explains why she wants to inherit it to preserve its vanity. She will make the Byrnedale name known throughout heaven. Her real reason to inherit is to use its name so the Mortal Sins would trust her. Would they believe her if she was an unknown demon lord? What is the best way to torture a lazy person? Exercise! So poor Belphegor running on a burning treadmill forever. Not even Lucifer wants to bat an eyelid.

Satan fights Belial and accuses her of betraying them since she won’t tell whether she has connections with heaven or not. Belial says that it wasn’t a lie when she told them she wanted to bring heaven down. However the circumstances have changed and there is no choice but to wait for it to come. Satan is punished by being covered by goo of the dead. Meanwhile Leviathan and Astaroth’s fight has turn into some naked slippery pathetic battle that has them falling down a long waterfall. When Belial cuts Maria, she realizes there is angel blood in her. She realizes Lucifer’s plan to hide it inside Maria so she could return to heaven again. See girl, she’s just using you. Lucifer has reached the final depths of hell. I don’t know how Leviathan and Astaroth got stuck in those icy pillars but since they got here so fast, shouldn’t have Lucifer taken a similar path? Unless she doesn’t know about it. Too bad Lucifer has no time to save them. In this area, there are dormant giants who once fought God and lost. Their punishment to be imprisoned here forever. Now under Belial’s command they are attacking Lucifer. She knows this is Belial’s plan to wear her magic out. And now she has already used them all up.

Episode 11
Belial tortures Lucifer as she reveals her plan to use her angel blood to return to heaven. It seems Lucifer doesn’t remember who Belial is. She was once the angel Satanael but was sent to hell for being accused of spreading non-existent miracles to humans. She believed she was doing the right thing as more humans prayed to God. However Lucifer told her she was wrong and Michael kept her silence. Satanael is crucified and sent down as she vowed revenge on Lucifer. Now that Lucifer remembers who she is, she adds that after what Satanael did, humans began to rely on miracles and fall into depravity. When they realized their hopes were unfounded, they abandoned God. So she played the demon lord than an angel. Belial doesn’t care for all that now as a new miracle will happen. She will be reborn as the new Satanael and discard her wretched and humiliating life as the leader of the Mortal Sins. However by saying that, Lucifer knows she has lost. Because by abandoning that title, she is no longer their leader and thus no more authority over their penance. The Mortal Sins are freed as they rush to Lucifer’s side. But Belial believes all of them won’t defeat her since she has absorbed Lucifer’s power. True, even if they all attack at once, she crucifies them all. She is going to kill Lucifer in the cruellest fashion. She wants Maria to stab her with the silver stake. Maria won’t do this but Belial threatens to crush her heart. Even in pain she won’t do it so Lucifer orders her. Still can’t? Lucifer runs towards her to get stabbed. While it might look like Belial’s victory, that is just short-lived. Maria’s heart enters Lucifer and Lucifer’s heart enters Maria. This was just an elaborate plan to switch hearts. Now the final epic battle. Lucifer chides Belial for being petty, having a grudge over something that has happened so long ago. Has she no pride? Besides, it is God who sent her to hell as He is the only one with powers to do so. Belial is in disbelief as Lucifer kicks her ass to defeat her again. Belial might have admitted her defeat but the battle is not over yet since Michael has crashed into the place.

Episode 12
Belial wants Michael to take her back to heaven in exchange for destroying hell. However Michael tells her God doesn’t negotiate with demon lords. Betrayed. More salt on her wounds as Lucifer chides her that God never planned on pardoning her. Or maybe someone never let God know of this plan in the first place. Michael claims she wanted to help Lucifer before she was sent to hell but Lucifer never recalled such. It’s like she knew of God’s mistake and accepting it is like accepting His error. So Michael’s attack form is a military cosplay? Well, her holy light wings are devastating. Belial attacks Michael out of rage. She manages to destroy a wing before being thrown out of this world. Astaroth follows her. Because of that, it seems Leviathan is promoted to one of the Mortal Sins and Lucifer takes Belial’s place as the leader, the demon lord of pride. The other Mortal Sins are motivated to take down Michael. Although each manage to break a wing, it is at the cost of their life. Not that they regret it. It’s finally time for Lucifer and Michael to clash. Since hell is done for, I guess they’re going to fight on Earth. It sounds like Michael has always liked Lucifer. But the need to be God’s absolute angel means she has to put on a façade like any other angels to suck up to Him. That’s why Lucifer cannot stand God’s tyranny. She could not accept God’s plan of destroying everything and then recreate it again. It’s like destroying something you create partway and then destroying it because it didn’t turn out to way you wanted. If that’s the case, stop being God! Maria realizes Lucifer has always been the only one trying to protect humans. When she was young, mother always told her this angel named Lucifer was always watching over them.

However Lucifer is defeated when Michael stabs her with her holy lance. Maria and Leviathan are crying over her dead body. If prayers are for God, how to reach a demon lord then? You offer a sacrifice. Yes, Maria sacrifices herself and uses her blood to revive Lucifer. Lucifer is sad she lost Maria. She notes she has always been enchanted by her and watching her in heaven. She always prayed to her and didn’t want to destroy the world she lives in. Now she swears to bring down heaven with all she’s got. Confronting Michael again, Lucifer’s revival means she also revives the other Mortal Sins. Maria has given her life to her so the lance doesn’t work now. As a fallen angel who is the leader of the Mortal Sins and having a human giving her life, she possess the holy trinity of all the worlds. Call it a miracle but God isn’t the only one who has a monopoly over it. She is able to defeat Michael who wants to be killed by her. However just this once Lucifer forgives her as she is being called back by heaven. With the Seven Virtues before her, looks like they are Lucifer’s next target to bring heaven down. In the aftermath, Leviathan isn’t sure to be sad or happy over Maria’s death. Lucifer sheds a blood tear and this revives Maria! Holy cow! Another miracle?! Something about the little angel blood left in Lucifer that allowed this to happen. As of now, Lucifer doesn’t have any more angel blood nor does she want any speck of it. Because she is the demon lord now. Lastly, Belial is seen living a normal human life with Astaroth on Earth.

Better To Know The Devil Than The Angel
Well… This is… Sinfully good! I know, despite the sleazy fanservice shots, this series actually has a pretty decent (oh, the irony) plot and pacing despite being cliché in the sense that a betrayed anti-hero goes around to defeat mini bosses or make them submit before having finally facing off with the big one but then plot twist! The real big bad guy is the one who is from your own former side! So yeah, I did enjoy watching this series not because I am a perverted otaku (that is partially a reason why one would watch this series but that isn’t the point) but perhaps I set my expectations low enough, anticipating it would be nothing but a slew of fanservice. And surprise! It is indeed pretty enjoyable. Wow. A miracle for what low expectations can really do :-).

I’m going to get the fanservice out of the way here because this is the most obvious element ever in the series and motivation why one would even pick to watch this anime. Since you’re dealing with demons and angels who are mainly busty chicks (why are there no men versions of devil and angels?), in every episode it is guaranteed there will be lots of boobs shots and crotch shots. Heck, there will even be parts whereby the characters will be totally naked thanks to all that ripping from the fight. Heck, why do demons and angels need to even wear clothes since they are already so skimpy and sexy. The biggest offender has got to be Belial. You think Asmodeus is sexy? You haven’t seen Belial yet. Ever since she started wearing Gnosis, she is practically walking around naked! I’m sure those freaking huge shoulder pads serve as a distraction. Not! You can’t help stare at her lower half because there’s just this one tiny patch covering her vagina area and the oddest part is that sometimes it looks like pubic hair if you don’t focus too much. Oh sh*t!

As the fanservice is so in-your-face because every few seconds there will usually be spamming those boob shots and crotch shots, hence there will be these annoying black insignias hovering over them. Lots of them. There are other types of censors like streaks of light and strategic coverings but the insignias are the ones forming the majority. Hence there are uncensored versions of the episodes but I didn’t see them. I use my creativity and imagination to picture them!!! After all, why should I rewatch the whole series again just to see tits? I know how (2D) real tits look like. Might as well go for real porn. Whoops! So anyway, I am fine with the annoying round things covering certain areas for most of the time. Until they start covering the entire screen, that is! Still not tempted to watch the uncensored version. Not feeling greedy, lustful, envious, gluttonous or wrathful for more boobs. Must be my pride, huh? Just kidding… Maybe I’m just slothful…

During the initial episodes of the series, I was a bit confused on the composition of the Mortal Sins. I mean, if I counted them, aren’t there 8 of them? Notwithstanding the final episode that pieces everything in order, was vanity one of the 7 deadly sins? Wasn’t it supposed to be pride? I know they reserve it for Lucifer and thought maybe both were overlapping in this area. You know, Lucifer beat the hell out of Belial and taking over her sin’s representation? Hence it was not. And since when was melancholy part of the 7 deadly sins? I was indeed confused. It is definitely 7 not 8 if you do not count envy in this anime’s context but wasn’t envy one of the deadly sins? I thought Leviathan was a Mortal Sin but as the series progresses, I realized she wasn’t part of it. So I guess they right the wrong by ‘kicking out’ vanity and melancholy in the end and replace it by pride and envy eventually. That sure cleared things up.

Also confusing me once the series ended are the ‘extra episodes’. I have not watched them but from what I read are just a couple of minute specials to go with the DVD. The confusing part was how they labelled it as unaired episodes 13 to 19. Or are they supposed to be specials 1 to 7? Since I have not seen them, I am not sure it is a continuation or at least the events these short specials are taken place after the series has ended. I believe they aren’t anything pivotal to the main storyline as I read summary about the first couple of episodes to be Lucifer fighting Belial again in a battle of strength and Leviathan going to the toilet (?!). More fanservice but of course…

On to the characters, the main character who is a force to be reckoned with is Lucifer. Watching her prideful character go all the way to exact her revenge makes it feel like you want to worship her instead of God or the big devil himself of hell. Really. I can see why she obtained so many followers so easily in a short period of time. Because I too feel that she is the best character to follow! Oh dear. Have I fallen for Lucifer’s charms? Because of her pride, she does not yield to others. At times where she looks like she ‘lost’ (like that stomach flu case), I believe she was just faking it and being a great pretender. After all, you can’t always just fight the Mortal Sins head on. Some needs subtlety. Because she bosses others around like a boss and does not compromise her ways, that is what makes her likeable and respectable in that sense. She doesn’t want to become God and has reminded us many times that she is the demon lord. Because with this title it allows her to do as she wishes instead of being a hypocrite virtue signalling. That’s acceptable, right?

I don’t want to say that Maria is a useless character and just a character who is there as a plot device. Because remember, what is the name of this anime again? That’s where the main focus is. But sometimes I can’t help think that she is just a side character who got mixed up in everything for plot convenience since we mostly see Lucifer as the one who mainly deals with the Mortal Sins (Maria was just as bait or something like that) and in the second half, Maria’s screen time is further reduced thanks to her being kidnapped. As for Leviathan, she is made to look like an annoying idiot who sucks up to her onee-sama. I suppose every great leader has a loyal underling who is an idiot. I won’t go so far as to say she is a comic relief character but sometimes it feels like she is going to cross that line. And her pet Behemoth is supposed to be the cute mascot but with so little appearances, he is hardly memorable.

As for the other Mortal Sins, they do represent their deadly sins well at least to current modern times. Like Mammon’s greed and fortune coming from real estate investments and Belphegor who just loves to play online games. Eventually the thought provoking thing about them is that these Mortal Sins seem to be better people than their angelic counterparts. They might prey on the immoral desires of human but that is only because that is what they are supposed to do. On the other hand if you compare them to the angels and heaven, these goody-goody beings are the worst. Could you not see how scheming and vengeful Belial was when she fell from heaven? Heck, the same can be said about Lucifer. What is it that makes fallen angels so vengeful towards God once they have been kicked out from heaven? Even angels like Michael from this perspective looks like a sneaky b*tch and a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A two-faced double agent.

This brings me to my next point about God. As I have said, with Lucifer being shown and painted as some great anti-hero, it makes God at least in this anime’s context to be the primary villain. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why and how the heck does He let all this happen? And should not He know what everything is going on even if you don’t tell Him? That is why when this series ends, it feels like God is the main antagonist and it makes us more inclined to support Lucifer. For obvious reasons, Lucifer is there in the flesh. God? You don’t see Him. You don’t know He exists. Lucifer’s actions can be seen whereas God you can’t. Because he works in mysterious ways, right?

That is why Maria who has always been a hard faithful prayer ‘defects’ to Lucifer. She might be a fallen angel but she has done more good than God. At least from what she can see. Lucifer might have dragged her into this mess but she is also the one who saved her life. Where was God in time of Maria’s need? Was He there to free Maria when she was Lucifer’s lackey? I rest my case. Like Lucifer said, God doesn’t have a monopoly over miracles. This could also mean that God isn’t necessarily the only being who can resurrect, destroy, etc. Besides, if God really wants to destroy and recreate everything, He could have easily done so (assuming the almighty is powerful) but choosing this method, it makes you ponder if God really exists in the first place or not. I can see purists fuming in the mouth over this but that’s blind faith for you. Or maybe everything is a part of God’s huge plan because He allows Lucifer to go on a beat ‘em up spree and then purposely lose to her because He might have been bored of destroying and recreating from scratch the same way. Hah! God thinks like a Japanese anime and manga character!

Art and animation feels okay. Busty and scantily clad babes as all part of the fanservice as mentioned earlier. They look more like beautiful porn stars than anything scary, even Satan herself. She might look the meanest but even in the context of anime, she is still hot looking. No wonder people choose to go with the Mortal Sins because when you have angels covering up themselves like suspicious hooded people who look like they want to mug you, might as well go with your desires and then go to hell because it is all going to be worth it. Really. At the end of each episode is an illustration by others. Now you know where to get more sexy fanservice… This anime is jointly produced by Artland (Tantei Opera Milky Holmes series, Ichiban Ushiro No Daimaou, Senran Kagura, Umisho) and TNK (High School DxD series, Kenzen Robo Daimidaler, Ikkitousen: Xtreme Xecutor, School Days), both of which have produced popular ecchi series before.

For the voice acting, kudos to Eri Kitamura and Shizuka Itou as Lucifer and Belial respectively. They do bring life into their character since they naturally have this prideful feel in their voices. It is no surprise since Eri Kitamura has voiced a handful of similar prideful characters like Ami in Toradora, Odagiri in Yamada-kun And The Seven Witches and Akane in Rewrite. Same for Shizuka Itou who did Bitch-sensei in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, Meiko in Prison School and Luvia from the Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Ilya series. Other recognizable casts are Youko Hikasa as Mammon and Yui Ogura as Beelzebub. The rest are Megumi Toda as Maria (Hajime in New Game), Akane Fujita as Leviathan (Sagiri in Eromanga-sensei), Arisa Sakuraba as Satan, Chiaki Takahashi as Asmodeus (Nanami in School Days), Ai Kakuma as Belphegor (Julis in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk) and Azusa Tadokoro as Astaroth (Fino in Yuushibu).

Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Mia Regina. If there is a church choir singing its worship to the devil mixed with devilish rock music, you get My Sweet Maiden as the opener. Devilishly revering… If feels the same for the rock ending theme, Welcome To Our Diabolic Paradise. Only the male voice sounds like he is doing a take from Michael Jackson’s Thriller’s spoken verse. For an anime laden with fanservice, surprisingly there are a few good insert songs and BGMs. Really. Like Astaroth’s hard rock piece infused with rapping is surprisingly catchy. Not to mention that hip hop Goddamn Critical that is both cute and catchy. For the background music, I notice there is one that sounds very closely to the main theme of Beverly Hills Cop. It feels odd when that is played. Then there is that military-like marching BGM during that military battle over the sea which feels like a tribute to the Third Reich or something. Yikes. Weird.

Overall, if you can put aside and don’t get riled up by the fanservice of tits and crotch flashing every few seconds or minutes, this is quite the entertaining series. Of course, please turn off your brain and heart as well. We don’t want people to start blaming this series for making them lose faith in God and become infidels now, do we? After all, this isn’t the first series that is non-hentai and filled with fanservice (Valkyrie Drive ~Mermaid~, anyone?) nor is it one that questions the faith of the heavens (think Junketsu No Maria and even Shingeki No Bahamut series). A little guilty pleasure is acceptable. That is what makes us human. Not angels, not demons. A moment of desire on Earth in exchange for an eternity of suffering and regret in the deepest circles of hell. Was it worth it? Goddamn, better start praying to Lucifer from now on.

OMG! WTF???!!! Is this really going to be a trend???!!! Just a season before, they had this short anime of a monk f*cking his pretend girlfriend. It is borderline hentai and I theorized that they are testing the market by slipping in a very questionable anime to see if the general viewers would accept it. Because this season they have done it again with something similar, Skirt No Naka Wa Kedamono Deshita. No monks this time but a cross-dressing college guy! Is this some sort of warning to lesbian wannabes to really make sure your onee-sama has a vagina before getting screwed all over? Anyhow, whoever this poor college girl here is really getting screwed by a hentai (strange) hentai (pervert).

Episode 1
Shizuka Kominami meets up with her friend at a mixer. Since this is her first time and she is nervous around guys, she excuses herself to the toilet. There, she meets a beautiful woman, Ryou Kirishima who calms her down. They blow this joint and go drinking elsewhere. Shizuka enjoys Ryou’s company and they both like the get to know each other better. It is getting late so Shizuka wants to stay at Ryou’s place for the night. Suddenly Ryou pushes her down on the bed and starts making out. Shizuka realizes Ryou is a man since his voice changes. And the fact his dick is rubbing on her stomach. Maybe Shizuka is a bit drunk and didn’t fight back as Ryou continues to masturbate her until she climaxes. Next morning, Shizuka’s head is heavy like as though she had a hangover last night. She reads a note by Ryou. He went out for an errand and they’ll do more later. So last night was indeed real.

Episode 2
Shizuka can’t help feel tired at university. Her friend is worried she left the mixer by herself. Shizuka can’t tell her what happened but it seems she saw her left with a beautiful woman. Speaking of which, Ryou is here and hugs Shizuka from behind. Is he from the same university? What exchange university programme is he talking about? People are starting to see them as a lesbian couple the way Ryou is hugging her. Shizuka doesn’t like this one bit and is about to reveal this cross-dresser so Ryou takes her away to the toilet. Inside the cubicle, he warns her about men being wolves. That’s right. Time for another sexual harassment. He masturbates her like the last time but this time she has to keep it down because the other girls outside are worried if she is sick from making all that ‘funny’ noise. Ryou won’t stop and continues his fingering and boobs sucking so Shizuka really has to control her voice and not screw things up. Either way, she’s screwed, right? After the girls leave and the masturbating is done, Shizuka slaps him.

Episode 3
Back in class, Shizuka’s classmate, Sousuke Kuratani is worried about her after seeing her went off with that ‘woman’. Shizuka can’t tell him the details when she gets a call from Ryou. He knows her number? Apparently she gave her contacts when she was drunk then. He wants to apologize in person and hopes to see her at his place. So he didn’t give her a chance to reply? When Shizuka enters his place, he sees Ryou coming out from the bathroom naked. First time seeing him as a man. Naked man. Shizuka feels weird because Ryou as a man looks good and has a nice body. She tries to stop herself from thinking too much because it will remind her of all the sexual harassment. Ryou dresses up as a woman again as Shizuka fears the harassment will start. Surprisingly he takes her to a shop. He wants to buy her clothes as apology. Seems like nothing till she realizes she wants to help her change! She threatens to call the staffs but Ryou says he knows all of them so they won’t listen to her. Apparently changing her clothes is the same as molesting her crotch and licking her ass.

Episode 4
I suppose Shizuka has been making weird sounds for so long that Ryou decides to stop. Enough for today. Till next time. She tells him to stop fooling around and go find someone else but he asserts he is serious in her. He doesn’t want anyone else. She thought he is going to kiss her but he just compliments her hair. He teases after buying the clothes, they’ll go buy her underwear next. The harassment hasn’t end yet. While Shizuka waits outside, a couple of guys try to hit on her. Shizuka is so scared that she is close to tears. Luckily Ryou is here to save the day. He has taken off his cross-dressing since the makeup was starting to run from the sweat (due to the harassment?). When a few girls spot Ryou, he takes Shizuka and run. They are hiding from them as Ryou explains those girls are supposedly his fans. They will flock to him in his guy form. That is why he cross-dresses. He can’t let them see Shizuka for who knows what they’ll do to her. Their only option to hide is in a hotel…

Episode 5
In the hotel, Ryou takes this chance to convince her that he is serious about her. If he wasn’t he would not have approached her like this. Yeah, I thought guys will do anything just for sex. So to prove he is serious, he starts to molest and masturbate her?! And the reason she can’t resist is because he is distracting her with his good looks?! WTF???!!! And so he masturbates her until she climaxes. Probably all that feel good means he now confesses he loves her and wants her to love him back too. You can’t blame Shizuka for being confused. He does weird things to her but yet he still protected her. He isn’t a terrible person and can’t bring herself to hate him. I think it’s because he is good with his hands inside her… Haha! He tries to be considerate about her fear of guys and would stay as her boyfriend candidate until she is sure of her feelings. But she suggests if he cross-dresses… Oh dear. Why you give him the green light?! Oh… That satisfied face. I think she’s already hooked.

Episode 6
Because Ryou paid for the hotel and room service (the genuine hotel room service, that is), Shizuka repays him by going out on a date. When the train gets packed, Ryou covers her. However his knee got in her crotch. Oh dear. You mean she gets turned on like this too?! Try not to scream. Well, she is holding it well. Her training must have paid off ;p. Ryou notices this and teases her further by rubbing her crotch. I don’t know how long the train ride was but it’s a good thing she held it in. So in the end all Ryou got was a meek scolding? Well, can’t disrupt the fun at the amusement park. As they rest, she asks why he cross-dressed at the mixer. Because women like him for his looks, he wants to see whom will like him for the way he is. Shizuka wonders why she was chosen instead but she feels nervous to hear his answer. Then it starts to rain so they start finding a shelter before she gets wet. Heck, Shizuka gets wet easily in some other area. ;p. Haha!

Episode 7
Inside the Ferris wheel, he lends his shirt to her. But since he is sneezing, she shares it with him. Cue for him to have her sit on his lap. It’s time for making out but first he replies her question why he chose her. When they first met, she didn’t flatter him and treated him normally. Despite all the harassment he did to her, it would be normal for him to be hated but yet she is still here with him. He tells her she is much more wonderful a woman than she thinks. So please don’t put yourself down like that. That’s the clincher for them to start their make out session but this time Shizuka willingly kisses him. Until he starts caressing her bottom before moving on to his signature fingering. Ferris wheels are supposed to make you feel good about the ride, no? It’s a much more different ride for Shizuka… ;p. Haha!

Episode 8
The sex act continues with them upping a level. This time French kissing and Ryou wants her to say his name when she climaxes. Man, this is too easy… Despite Shizuka feeling embarrassed, she still continues doing it and kissing him. Yeah, the thrill… Then she starts thinking back all the times she was with him (not the sex scenes). Before she could confess, the Ferris wheel has completed its run. Too late to worry if others saw them but better hurry and fix your clothes. Shizuka feels indebted to him because of all the nice things he has done to her (why can I not attribute this to his love making?). As she hasn’t told him her feelings yet, how should she repay him? He wants to go on another date. I was thinking he wants to finger her again but that’s too obvious. There is always that chance whenever they’re together, right? It doesn’t matter know since Shizuka has totally accepted him.

Episode 9
Shizuka and Ryou are dating at a café. She wonders if she can make the same food here as Ryou finds out she likes to cook. Eventually she did make some cream puffs for him but is pondering how to give it to him. Making excuses she made too many? At the gates of his university, she calls him the first time but it looks like he is ‘busy’ being swarmed by other girls. He tells her to meet him in the room he is hiding. Man, I wonder if the girls at this university ever get any studying or research done since they’re chasing him for most of the time. Anyway, in the room, Ryou surprises her by giving a surprise hug. She lets him eat her cream puffs and is happy he finds it delicious. Accidentally its fillings drop on her lap. Oh no. Your excuse for this week’s sex act. And so he starts licking her lap. But I believe there is another more delicious part that he prefers licking that tastes even better, wink, wink. Get what I mean?! Shizuka is of course embarrassed. She is trying to ‘blame’ him for always doing this to her but he puts it in a way that she is considerate of him and makes it sound like she wants it. Now he wants her to lick his fingers…

Episode 10
Wow. Shizuka is sucking his fingers and describing them ambiguously. Hard and long… Is this some sort of practice for future blowjobs? She must like it so much that she allows him to take off her panties and start fingering her. But then ‘saved by the bell’ because it’s time for Ryou to attend his class. I believe he really wants to stay for this more interesting lesson. Don’t worry. Please attend your class. Shizuka will wait. Happily wait. As she walks around, she accidentally bumps into this beautiful lady, Sumire Sakurai. At least she didn’t think he is another cross-dressing dude. Then she hear rumours that she might be dating with a guy that could be Ryou. As Shizuka waits in a classroom, she sees Ryou rushing to meet Sakurai outside. They look so perfect for each other that Shizuka starts crying. From the pain in her heart, that is. Why so sad? Are you saying you’re accepting all his modesty outraging? I don’t know how long she was crying but Ryou enters the room to see her in tears.

Episode 11
Shizuka says it hurts to be with him and leaves still crying. And she starts thinking how good he has been treating him and yet she told him off like that. Man, she must be really be confused with her feelings. Ultimately, she realizes she is in love with him. Kuratani sees her and talks to her. He wonders if she had a fight with her boyfriend since she looked so happy recently. If you think Shizuka is surprised by that, wait till she hears Kuratani confesses he likes her! At least he doesn’t waste time. He asks if she would like to go out with him but she says she already has someone she likes although not officially dating yet. In that case, why not try dating him for the time being? She remembers about that boyfriend candidate thingy so she apologizes and rejects Kuratani. Well, that guy took it coolly. Now here comes the tough part. After Kuratani leaves, Ryou overheard all that and takes her to the back of the building. Shizuka can tell he is mad and needs to apologize. Ryou heard her saying she has someone she likes. He can’t accept that and can’t let her go. He angrily starts kissing her and then fingering down her ass while interrogating her about that person she likes. WTF???!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SEXUAL HARASSMENT???!!! IS THIS RAPE???!!! Oh right. We haven’t had our hentai scene this episode yet. He is so rough that he is hurting her. Not his usual, eh? Wow. She knows…

Episode 12
Ryou immediately stops when he realizes she is in pain. He feels bad and walks away. But plot twist! She hangs on to him. She doesn’t want him to apologize and since she is the one who is at fault. She admits she was jealous and the person whom she loves is him. Yeah, I’m not surprised. Ryou assures he would never hate her and confesses he loves her too. So back at his place, he makes her spam like a broken recorder that she likes him. We know how broken Shizuka already is because she says she loves his cross-dressing ways as this is how she came to like him. And I’m sure she loves that other ‘special skill’ of his too. After they agree to be each other’s lovers, let’s cut the crap of this cheesy poor romance and get the sex going! After a wet sloppy French kiss, Ryou fully undresses Shizuka and is going to try something different. You bet! He is going to f*ck her!!!! The moment we have all been waiting for???!!! Even if it hurts, Shizuka still wants him to f*ck harder and harder!!! Is this what you call love hurts so good? In the end, we have one very happy and (sexually) satisfied couple.

Like A Virgin; Touch For The Very First Time
What a disappointing ending? Because it feels like the entire goal of this series is to end up with them having sex. And then that’s it. So having sex is proof that they are truly in love with each other forever? Oh screw it all. We got our sex. We should be happy and shut up. What do you expect from this kind of genre anyway?

At first, the one thing that I wanted to say that makes this mild hentai series different that that hentai monk series in the previous season (its real name is so long and a bother to type) is that there is no dick penetration from the guy. Till the final episode happened. I know it is still pretty much hentai but without that kind of penetration, it isn’t exactly penetrative sex. All we see is Ryou giving Shizuka a great fingering for most of the time and sometimes getting oral on her. So technically is Shizuka still a virgin? Not by the time the final episode aired. By that time I thought this hentai series was just being unique whereby the girl gets fingered from start to finish. Too bad that penetrative sex in the end was like some sort of combo breaker. Besides, that first sex felt awkward in a few ways. Shizuka was totally naked while Ryou is fully clothed and cross-dressed. Usually it is often to other way round in porn, right? I guess nobody really wants to see a guy’s dick.

Hence my earlier conspiracy theory why Ryou never started pulling his pants down and bang her is maybe because he has got a small penis and his fingers are bigger than them even when fully erected. Holy sh*t! What did I just say?! Even if his penis was mosaic out and we barely get to see anything in that 2 second clip of his dick, if he can make her orgasm like that, he must be damn good. Oddly, Shizuka is the only one who climaxes but I believe Ryou also gets his kicks seeing her orgasmic face. You know how ‘messy’ it is when the real deal is done, right? I don’t see him wearing a condom in the final part and he looks like he cum all inside her. Unlike a family temple, they usually conduct their unholy act in public places from changing rooms to Ferris wheel to even at the back of his college block. I wonder if Ryou masturbates somewhere alone after the business is done.

You know this is equivalent to porn when a girl like Shizuka always gives in to Ryou’s harassment and enjoys every second of it despite she says otherwise. Because it gives this unrealistic impression that if you finger your girl long enough, she will eventually come to like and accept it all without any resistance. And that how girls like her allow guys she barely knows to screw her over just because he is good at it. Basically this is what this entire series’ ‘plot’ revolves around. Even if it hurts, her twisted thinking has caused her to accept that this is all part of the love. This is such an effective brainwash tool…

Shizuka feels confused and conflicted for most of the time ever since she got her first screwing by the cross-dresser and sometimes I feel that the reason she is sticking around is to ‘try out’ more to ascertain if this guy is worth sticking around with. After all, which girl wouldn’t want to hang around a guy who makes her feel good? It may not be materialistically but hey, it’s the inside that counts, right? Oh sh*t! Technically. You think your wife or girlfriend will let you violate and humiliate her like this? Only in porn and anime this could happen. Rare cases of nympho maybe… So is this lust or love?

Ryou can be easily passed off as a sick pervert with a twisted sense of love. But ask any guy if you were in his position and given the ‘authority’ to do that kind of stuff to Shizuka, would you not do it? You might think it is love but I theorize that if this hot guy has tons of girls chasing after him and how easily he could get any way he wants with them (I believe if he wants to get in their pants, they would easily let him), the only reason why he targets and falls for Shizuka is because she is submissive. Oh, which man doesn’t like his woman submissive? And going by the logic I said in the few paragraphs prior, the more he fingers her, the more accepted it will eventually become and hence Shizuka is now his sex slave minus the f*cking. Potential boyfriend candidate is just a nice way of saying it. And when Shizuka fully opens her heart (and pussy), then perhaps the real sex will occur. So it isn’t just a monster underneath the skirt after all. Because he makes her feel good, it’s a reason why she lets him get away with it instead of crying rape.

The other supporting characters feel so irrelevant and just convenient plot devices. Just like in that monk series who had a brother who also somewhat loved the main girl, here we also have a fellow college student who is in love with Shizuka. The only reason Kuratani exists is because so it will reinforce Shizuka’s misguided love for Ryou. Because when a seemingly normal guy like Kuratani confesses, it makes her think and count what she’s got. Sure, we assume Kuratani is decent but that is because we don’t know about him. For all we know, he got be a bigger pervert than Ryou. But let’s just assume he is a good guy. Eventually Kuratani goes out of the picture after lurking in the background for so long so that Shizuka would eventually choose Ryou. It goes to show that girls prefer bad boys. Or at least those who finger them real good. Sakurai also feels the same kind of plot device to stir some up some emotions in Shizuka and ultimately Ryou. Heck, she could have been a nameless side character for all we care. So what is Sakurai to Ryou? We’ll never know. But do we care? We got to see Ryou and Shizuka f*ck each other.

Overall, this anime feels like what I have said in the beginning, a gauge to see the viewers’ reaction and acceptance of such genre into the main mix every season. Strange, because if horny otakus want to watch hentai and porn, they should have just head straight there. I’m sure there are lots of everything and anything to please anyone of every kind of sick fetish out there. Like as though this series is to lure you in there when your curiosity peaks. Or those not ready enough for the real thing can start off with this guilty pleasure.

Because this fingering hentai is made by a different studio than that monk hentai, it’s like somebody got curious and wanted to try something similar out. Time will tell if there would be more similar series in the future. As of why it comes here instead of the underground porn, well, if you noticed the short duration of this series, porn flicks lasts over an hour!!! Yeah, too short to be considered real porn anyway. So the only thing good about all this fingering your girl theme in this series is that you don’t have to get worried about pulling out and getting her pregnant! Best of all, you can make your girl climax while at it. If everyone was this good in real life, porn is no longer needed… :’(.

Guin Saga

November 12, 2017

After watching Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou No Sho, it then dawned to me there was an anime about a main character who has a head of a beast, more accurately the head of a leopard. So this prompted me to check out an old fantasy adventure, Guin Saga. Before reading the synopsis, I had this conspiracy theory thinking this might be some sort of back ancestral story of a character in that Japanese fighting game, Tekken. I know it’s impossible to think that Mexican pro wrestling King who wears a jaguar mask had anything to do with this. But you’ll never know… Okay, it isn’t. Never was. Instead it made me wonder if Tekken took some inspiration from here when designing King…

Episode 1
The Mongauls invade and attack the kingdom of Parros. Twins, Rinda Arudia Jeina and Remus Al Jeinus Aldoros run for it. To their dismay, their parents got slain to let them escape. They are supposed to be teleported to their aunt at Argos but the coordinates were off. They end up in some forest and the Mongauls are fast to try and track them down. Because Remus is being a complaining wuss, the Mongauls catch up and caught him. The struggle with Rinda and the commotion wakes up a sleeping leopard guy. Who dares disturb his sleep?! He beats the crap out of the soldiers. Woah! Hitting them into the ground like a whack-a-mole! His punches are so strong that they fly away! Once there are no more soldiers to vent his frustration, he starts writhing in pain. Remus wants to get out but Rinda needs to do something to help their saviour. She touches him and finds his body temperature high. After letting him drink some water, he feels better. They ask about him. He is Guin. He thinks. From Aurra. He thinks. Heck, he doesn’t remember anything or why he is here. He doesn’t even know why he is wearing this leopard mask or just fought the Mongauls. Whenever Rinda mentions Guin’s name, she feels something flowing through her. Remus discloses they are considered the Twin Pearls of Parros. Rinda is a prophet and is destined to be a sorcerer while Remus would be the ruler. Suddenly they are attached by ghouls who possessed the bodies of the dead Mongaul soldiers. Guin tries to fend them off but they keep regenerating. He tells the kids to keep the fire lighted but it soon rains. They finally escape by diving into the river. They manage to swim out alive to a better place. Guin’s goal is to find out about himself.

Episode 2
Now they are confronted with the Mongaul soldiers. They believe they are the Parros’ twins and will bring them to see their master at Stafolos. Guin wants to deal with them but Rinda doesn’t think he can handle such a big group and wants them to release Guin who has nothing to do with this. Guin sees some coin vision that messes with his mind. He agrees to be captured as long as they treat the kids properly. Along the way, Rinda tells Guin about Gohra, one of the 3 powerful realms of the Middle Kingdom. They always envy the rich and advanced Parros so they sent one of their allies, the Mongauls to invade Parros. Parros being accustomed to peace wasn’t even prepared by the ambush. Outside the castle, Rinda sees visions of noxious gas and refuses to go in but eventually they were made to go see Vanon the Black Count. He wants to know about Parros’ secret, especially how the twins ended up in a faraway forest in a day when it supposed to take 10 days. Rinda is willing to die than live a humiliating life so Vanon projects some scary magic only to be diffused by Guin’s roar. Vanon wants to see what power Guin has and throws him into the arena to fight a grey ape bare handed. Guin is able to stand his ground until Vanon ‘cheats’ by distracting him. The monkey fights back and strangles him. Even so, Guin is able to break free and continue fighting. But he is still at a disadvantage. One of the guards, Orro who sympathizes with Guin throws him his sword. Guin uses it to kill the ape. Normally Orro would have been put to death or thrown into a death match with Guin but Vanon has a better idea. Guin’s next opponent would be a mercenary in prison and on death row who insulted Vanon. He is the Crimson Mercenary, Istovan Spellsword of Valachia.

Episode 3
Because Vanon suddenly doesn’t feel good and leaves, the match is postponed tomorrow. They are imprisoned but Rinda is taken to a different cell in which she befriends this Monchichi girl, Suni of the Sem race. Istovan is imprisoned in the next block next to Guin and Remus. A loose block allows him to talk to them and demand their blanket so he can make a rope for himself and escape. Guin asks if he knows what Aurra is. Istovan believes it sounds like a name of a woman. The alarm is sounded. Looks like the Sem race is ambushing the place. After Istovan escapes on his own, Orro comes to free Guin and returns his sword. He believes leopard guy can’t die in this place. As Orro is going to lead them to Rinda’s cell, he is struck by some liquid by a stealth assassin. Guin fights and defeats him. In Orro’s last breath, he laments he was on his last lap of service and would have returned to his home, Torus. If Guin ever goes there, he can seek help from his father who is a great man. Guin calls Orro a brave warrior. Rinda learns that the attacking Sems are not here to rescue her. They are from a different tribe. The Raku and Karoi tribe are enemies. They are here to exact revenge for their captured comrades. Rinda and Suni are brought before Vanon who wants to feast on their blood. He doesn’t care if this place falls apart since he considers his own existence a curse and will disgrace the gods of this kingdom. Guin arrives in time to deduce Vanon’s true form. He is a ghost and feeds on blood on others to prolong his life. Guin easily defeats him by lighting his sword with fire and throwing at him. Do ghosts get burnt and explode?! With the tower on fire, there is no way to escape but to jump down. Hey, they might not survive but it’s better than staying here and getting burnt for sure. Everyone holds on to Guin as he dives down deep into the abyss. See, there’s a river to cushion that long drop.

Episode 4
Istovan helps pick them up from the river. He assures them he is on their side because the Mongauls are also after him. The plan now is to find some rafts from the castle and ride down Kes River. It is dangerous as it contains monsters and serves as the border between the human and demon realm, Nospherus. After that they will book a passage on a trans-sea merchant ship. Riding down the river, Guin is able to fend off the monsters trying to take a bite out of their raft. I wonder if the oar is made out of something very stronger because it can’t break no matter how much Guin uses it as a weapon. Rinda learns Istovan is looking for the Princess of Light as from the legends. He thinks Rinda is it but what will he do once he finds her? It is believed she will bring him fortunes. Lady Amnelis, the representative of Archduke Vlad enters the castle of Count Rickard. She tells him she saw a strange party floating down a raft on Kes River. She has sent her men to meet them. Since riding the river at night will be dangerous, they need to camp on land. But here are the Mongaul soldiers greeting them. Of course they won’t stop so the soldiers start shooting. Bad timing or not, the monsters attack. Guin tries to fend them off but ultimately their raft breaks. Luckily they manage to get on shore but on the side of Nospherus. Amnelis is furious of her men’s failure. She will personally take charge of a new troop to head there and chase them down. She is not afraid of Nospherus. Explaining the recent attack on Parros was her father’s sole decision to prevent some kingdoms forming allies to attack Mongaul, that is why Nospherus is needed as their defence. Istovan is thinking of change in plans. Their raft is destroyed and they can’t walk through Nospherus without supplies. Guin translates Suni’s words that she intends to bring them to her Raku village as thanks for saving her life. Then they can show them anywhere they want to go. Rinda suddenly receives vision that something will happen to Istovan. Something about some lion star or something. Can she not speak in riddles?

Episode 5
Amnelis tries to cross the river but the monsters keep getting in her way. She is soon joined by Lord Marus who have been instructed by Lord Rozan to be her reinforcement. When Guin saves Istovan from a demon, it reminded him of Landock. Though, he doesn’t know what it is. Istovan thinks he might. During his travels as a pirate, he saw a ship with a beautiful lady statue bearing that name. Marus has found the twins’ location but wants to gauge Guin’s strength. So when dawn breaks, he charges in to fight Guin who tells the twins to run. The power fight is evenly matched but soon interrupted when Reagan puts a stop to it. His troops have captured the twins. They are taken back to camp to see Amnelis who questions Guin’s existence. The way Guin answers and mocks her makes her angry though Marus believes it is just a distraction to hide a secret. Amnelis will bring them back to Avalon Keep for further interrogation. Istovan has been following them from the shadows as the trio are made to trek on foot the entire way to the next base. While resting outside, they see the beautiful cluster of stars in the sky. Legend has it that they are Angel’s Hair, wandering souls of the dead. Then there is some polar star that is used to lead voyages called Star of the Gods. Also, the Eye of Jarn, the Star of Dawn, the god of fate who reigns over the land. Istovan unleashes some sand worm to attack the camp while he saves Guin and the twins. Marus realizes it is a distraction to free the prisoners. Astreas offers to chase after them. The twins apologize to Istovan for calling him a traitor prior. Istovan says he is doing this for his own reasons. A prophet once told him he will be a king of kingdom and that the Princess of Light shall bestow him that followed by darkness.

Episode 6
Astreas’ and his red knights quickly caught up. Istovan suggests hiding. Guin somehow knows there is a village of the Raku tribe ahead and to meet there. Guin turns back to fight the red knights. It could have been silly and awesome for one guy to take on all of them but for more realism, I guess that is why Suni returns with her Raku tribe to come help even the odds. Istovan also returns to face Astreas. Istovan lost but with Guin intervening and defeating Astreas, he spares his life but warns not to pursue further in Nospherus. Astreas orders his troops to retreat. Guin and Istovan tail them for a while and they are surprised to see a huge Mongaul reinforcement. 15,000 troops! Is this too much to hunt down the Parros twins? Guin and Istovan reunite with the twins at the village. They are met with Loto, head of the Raku tribe. He welcomes them to the village and thanks them for saving Suni his granddaughter. However Guin wants them to gather all Sem tribes here now. After the Karoi and Tsubai tribes gather, Guin tells of the 15,000 Mongaul troops. He wants them to fight. Some feel they stand no chance and want to flee. But where to? That is why Guin wants them to unite. But even their numbers will be at most 5,000. Can they still win? Yes they can. It’s called a miracle. So leaving it down to luck? Amnelis gather the leaders of the troops to her tent to tell them of their mission. This mission that requires so many troops is because they are going to find this Valley of Death that the Sems call as Gur Nu and erect a keep loyal to Mongaul in it. She has a valid reason for it as she introduces them to Kar Mol, the only sorcerer who has crossed the badlands of Nospherus and returned alive. He has no face! He explains during one of his journeys, he encountered a land with strange gasses. He approached its source and when touched it, the turned into some living dead. Thus Amnelis wants to unravel Gur Nu’s mystery and make it theirs. This will allow them to dominate the world. Marus is sceptical but Amnelis will hear no more of it. He fears and knows men can be easily controlled by outside forces. The Sems give Guin a sword and armour to fight in. Then they all rally before their supreme commander.

Episode 7
The first wave of Sems attack. The Mongauls are ready for them. A WTF moment when Astreas keeps staring and admiring Amnelis’ beauty?! Even she takes notice and tells him to not stand around and do nothing! Soon the Sems retreat. Marus believes it is a surprise attack to lure them to be attacked by the main force. Guin’s next plan is to have Istovan dressed up as a soldier of Mongaul and lie about the numbers of Sems. So when report comes in that a large number of Sems are coming their way, Amnelis orders her troops to stand and fight and assigns her men to all positions to counter the Sems. Another round of fight with Guin now entering the picture. Astreas is so bent on proving himself to Amnelis that he leaves his post to fight Guin. After many repeated calls, Guin just knocks him off his horse with 1 punch! Pathetic! He even tells Astreas he is not strong enough to fight him. Come back in 20 years. After Guin signals the Sems to retreat, he is faced by Marus. He easily steals his weapon after wounding his chest. Then he throws his weapon almost hitting Amnelis and scaring the sh*t out of here. Did she just scream like a little girl in front of her troops? Anger soon takes over as she orders her troops to go after them. Marus tries to reason with her about the odd strategy of the Sems. If they were trying to shake them off, they’re taking too long. If they’re trying to fight them, they’re retreating too early. Amnelis is blinded by rage and brushes him off. When the Mongauls are in the valley, Guin signals to the Sems to release the Ido. Not sure about this liquid monster but it devours and absorbs all those in its path. Lots of Mongaul casualties with Reagan being the top casualty. Even Astreas is crying for him right now?! Shouldn’t they be running? The Mongauls manage to retreat. Amnelis learns more about this Ido creature. The only way to destroy it is via fire. She has her troops gather coals and then warns Astreas if he fails again, she will strip of his captaincy. No rest for the Mongauls as the Sems continue their ambush attack and the Ido is back too. Does Guin has to rub it in by showing his face to Amnelis?

Episode 8
Amnelis changes her strategy from finding Gur Nu to the extermination of Sems. Istovan kills a guard and takes his place. Under the name of El, he goes to talk to Marus that he may know something about Guin. Something about a man named Gandarl challenged a large man wearing a black hood. When refused, the hooded guy whispered something that left Gandarl in fear. The hooded guy then disappeared. Istovan saves Marus from a poison Sem arrow. Marus is impressed and wants him transferred to his platoon. Just as planned… Another reason Marus easily does this is because Istovan resembles closely to his son. When Guin receives a message from Istovan that all preparations are done, he tells the Sems that they need to hold out for 4 days while he is gone. He is going to seek an alliance with the savage giants known as Lagons. Believe in him and wait for his return for he never fails! I wished Rinda would write him where to go and what needs to be avoided instead of just shouting when he is already well on his way. Along the way, Guin could hear a woman’s voice calling him. He then falls asleep and finds himself in a strange world. He wants to use a coin to decide but sees rune letters on it that reads he will become king. As he treks on, a voice tells him 3 women will help guide his path. When he meets them, be himself. Guin thought he sees one of them and when he tries to touch her, he feels excruciating pain. He wakes up with his horse gone but is near the supposed place. He is attacked by a pack of dessert wolves but its leader howls them to retreat. Then he guides Guin to wherever he needs to go. At the salt mountains, Guin finds a strange crystal and keeps it. The wolf then part ways and as Guin continues his journey, he is stopped by a Lagon. Meanwhile Istovan manages to convince Marus to recommend him to be part of Amnelis’ advance troops to fight the Sems. Her army is now prepared for the showdown.

Episode 9
Guin wakes up in a dungeon cave. A Lagon girl, Rana feeds him and talks to him. Lagons think he is an evil spirit. Learning that the Lagons are guided by Doudou the hero and Kaa the wiseman, Guin wants to challenge Doudou and claims he is stronger than him. Guin is brought before them as Guin is interrogated about his origins. They believe because he doesn’t have memories of where he comes from, he must be an evil spirit trying to get revenge on them. Guin must be coolly pulling fast ones as he claims he is sent from heaven to guide them. They calls his story BS since they don’t know of the God he speaks. Since they are guided by the God known as Akura, Guin thinks he is sent by him. As Kaa makes him describe what Akura is, his vague answer of he is everywhere but nowhere has them believe he doesn’t know a thing. They now think he is a thief who is out to steal their salt. Guin proves he isn’t because he didn’t resist arrest. Everyone calls for his death when Rana speaks up about his fight with Doudou. She wonders why he wouldn’t fight Guin despite being smaller size. Guin says because he is scared! This angers Doudou as Guin continues the fact he wants him elimination without justification is proof. And so Doudou challenges him. If Doudou wins, Guin will be killed. If by any chance Guin wins, he will be recognized as the messenger of Akura. The fight begins and it looks like Doudou is stronger than him. Guin is about to be crushed when the strange crystal then gives off a bright light. The Lagons recognize it as Akura. So now Guin is like showing off his power with this crystal? Might as well go with the flow. Meanwhile the Mongauls being their fight with the Sems. Istovan tells Marus and his platoon he has found the Sems’ village. When they head there, it is empty. They realize it is a trap when they drop rocks and oil. Marus is mad to learn Istovan is siding with the Sems. He is burnt alive as he curses and condemns Istovan. Too bad Istovan tells him to curse Guin. This was his idea. With Kaa recognizing Guin as Akura, the Lagons will go to wherever he leads them, fight the enemies he fights and befriends the friends he has. Wow. A second ago, they were baying for his blood. Guin tells them to fight for Nospherus and drive out the evil that greedily seeks their land. He thanks Rana for giving him a chance but the problem now is to lead the reinforcements back to Sem in a day.

Episode 10
Amnelis cannot believe Marus is dead. Is this time to cry? A survivor tells that a traitor was among them. Marus left a scar on his ear. Astreas wants to redeem himself and find this guy. Amazingly he finds the Sems’ hideout and reports back. Amnelis will use this chance to eliminate them once and for all. The weirdest thing happened during Amnelis rallying her troops is when a strand of hair floats towards Astreas, he grabs and smells it! WTF???!!! SICK!!! So as they quietly surround the area, good thing Istovan wasn’t asleep as he spots the incoming Mongauls. He then goes to warn Rinda to warn the rest while he goes back to recon. When Astreas realizes the Sems are getting restless and their presence might be discovered (he is being good for something once), he reports back to Amnelis who then orders a full attack. Istovan in reality is running away. He doesn’t want to do this but can’t risk the Mongauls know his face if he is to become the future king. The raging battle carries on. The Sems try to use smokescreen to escape but Astreas cuts them off. Suni tries to save Rinda by attacking Astreas. I know he swung his sword and miss but how the heck did Suni fall into the abyss?! Istovan returns to fight Astreas. At least Istovan has got the brains to wear a mask this time. Though Astreas recognizes him, he does a dirty trick to escape since Istovan outmatches him. The ground rumbles. It is Guin! He is leading the Lagons to battle! They might be few in number but a single punch can send many flying far away!!! The Mongauls want Amnelis to give the retreat order but she is stubborn and wants to remain fighting. Yeah, a few of her close aides got killed. Even Kar Mol. Just push him off the cliff in his carriage and he turns to dust! Finally Astreas orders for the retreat as the Mongauls run away with their tails between their legs. Rinda is glad Guin is back. He explains the Lagos leading him through some shortcut and that’s how they made it back in time. If the Mongauls return to attack, as long as Sems and Lagons join forces, they are no match for them. They want Guin to be their king and he doesn’t dismiss the idea since he likes Nospherus’ dessert.

Episode 11
Amnelis returns to her father. She reports her failure and will resign from her position as well as accept whatever punishment. However he doesn’t mind all that and has something more important. He wants her to try a few dresses as he wants her to prepare getting married. She agrees without hesitation but suggests putting a few commanders in charge for Nospherus and one of them being Astreas. Back in her room, Amnelis is frustrated with everything. Her little brother, Miail is worried she is being married off and blames himself. She tells him not to worry as she is just fed up with things. Especially how Guin told her to wear a dress and slay men in the ballroom! Guin talks to the elders of the Sems and Lagons. He plans to leave this place to find his identity and destiny. At the gates of Crystal, once a city of Parros but now under Mongaul control, a merchant named Runan is seeking approval to get in to open his store. But the guards are suspicious as they are on the lookout for Parros’ prince, Aldo Naris who is still alive and wreak havoc during the Dark Dragon Crusade. The guard inspects his carriage to find beautiful women as his maids. One of them, Regia (Runan’s daughter) decides to flirt with the guard and this allows him to enter through. One of the maids is in fact Naris in disguise. They will not let Regia’s effort go in vain. Doudou challenges Guin to a fight since he won’t let the Lagons follow him wherever he goes. Guin’s strength surpasses him. Guin promises to return and hopes they will wait for him. Naris is seeking refuge in a minister’s house but a traitor has leaked information he is here. He will leave and seek refuge elsewhere but the minister’s daughter, Sara refuses to let him leave. She is willing to sacrifice her captive father and herself. Yeah, it sounds she is like a yandere. So she’s threatening to kill him too? It has got that bad that she even called the Mongauls to surround and capture him! This woman is crazy! No choice, Naris is forced to surrender as the captain of this quad, Karthron greets him.

Episode 12
Karthron tortures Naris in an attempt to make him reveal the secret of using a Parros machine that can send anybody anywhere. Naris keeps his mouth shut while trying to provoke Karthron that he can’t report this to anybody because General Tairan will usurp his credits. Speaking of the demon, here comes Tairan to admonish Karthron. He has his men release Naris and will treat him as Mongaul’s guest of honour. Naris notes their friction and will someday use it to his advantage. Meanwhile Astreas has some serious issues. He is distraught Amnelis is leaving and will belong to another man. Oh, he still keeps her strand of hair in his locket and smells it! SICKO!!! He is going to disobey all orders and save her. We move over to some short romance in the Gul tribe of the prairies, prince Skarl with Li Fa. Seems he is going with Beck to save Naris. Then there is report that the rival Kaulos tribe has joined the Mongaul side. Time for war. Remus is sinking into his lonely loser feeling again when he starts seeing a vision of a strange man. Tairan tells Naris there will be a ball to introduce him to Mongaul’s princess. Naris would like to attend and knows this is Mongaul’s sly ploy to marry him off to Amnelis and control Parros as well as calming the people’s uneasiness. More Astreas drama. He plans to kidnap Amnelis and believes she is in love with him! PUKING!!! Then he meets a wandering minstrel, Marius who seems to have the answer he is looking for regarding the man who will marry Amnelis. He says the most likely is Naris. Astreas gets tricked when Marius knocks him out with some perfume. Marius’ real identity is Aldeen, Naris’ younger brother. Naris attends the ball and reunites with Runan. When Amnelis meets Naris for the first time, she isn’t impressed how girly he looks. But when she looks at his whole face, she didn’t realize he is this beautiful! You mean she is this dumbfounded?! WTF?! Oh, I can see she is in love… More drama for Remus as he dreams more strange visions. A strange tower with lights rising up to the sky and shooting UFOs?! Yeah, they explode. He thinks the vision is trying to tell him that it is something he himself can only do. Because of that, he will be no longer afraid. It’s like he has a sudden change in character like as though he has embraced his dark side and wants to see more of the vision.

Episode 13
Arriving at the sea town of Ross, to avoid gaining unwanted attraction, Guin and the twins will wait outside while Istovan tries to secure lodging and boat. Guin has been thinking he will only bring unwanted chaos to the twins and wants to part ways. Rinda is against it but when Remus thinks it is for the best, she slaps him?! That’s what he get for speaking his mind? Well, how can he say this to someone who has saved their lives countless times. She doesn’t want Guin to leave their side so he promises to be their knight until he delivers them to Argos. Naris works his charms on Amnelis like calling her the Princess of Light, etc. He intends to show her the Parros’ machine so meet him there tonight alone. Astreas is taken to Marius’ hideout where he is interrogated about the twins’ whereabouts. He doesn’t know but it leads to Marius knowing about Guin. He finds that leopard guy dangerous and needs to save those twins. He sends his messenger to let Naris know. Naris gets that message just before he starts to show Amnelis around. Naris explains the origins of this tower is unknown and great Parros magicians have created a barrier to protect it. That is why Mongauls were unable to find it. Even if they do, they can’t operate it. Well, it is hardly a secret seeing Amnelis now knows about it. Suddenly Naris pushes her into the machine and threatens her to send her to dangerous places. She is actually screaming, crying and begging to be released as he mocks the naïve girl who doesn’t know anything. She even admits she is afraid of him to be released! He warns her never to behave like this again because she killed her heart in the process. He had to resort to this so that she could open her heart? He wants her to submit to his true love despite this being seen as a political marriage. And she threatens to kill all of Parros if he deceives her again? WTF. He shuts her up with a kiss. I guess that seals it. Istovan has gotten a boat but must leave by tonight since he heard Argos has declared war against Mongaul. He also heard about Naris and Amnelis’ marriage. This shocks Rinda since she was supposed to be his fiancée. Remus (with that dark smirk) assures her when he becomes king of Argos, Amnelis will only become a lead successor like Beck. The gang tries to wait for Guin to board the ship. Thankfully he joins them last minute as it departs.

Episode 14
Rinda is not pleased this is a pirate ship. Considering their circumstances, was she expecting some luxury liner? When the captain comes in early to give food and booze, Istovan knows it contains sleeping drugs. He tells the rest to pretend to eat it and then throw it away. That night, the pirates come in to kill them, thinking they are asleep. Guin and Istovan take the captain hostage. The second in command doesn’t mind him getting killed since he will be the next captain. So the pirates attack anyway as Guin and Istovan fight back. The pirates unite upon seeing Guin’s leopard head and believe he is some sort of curse. Guin is willing to get off this ship if the captain can promise the safe delivery of the twins. Suddenly a ship of light swiftly passes by. Guin recognizes the word on it as Landock. When the ship disappears, so does Guin. Meanwhile Astreas is outside the gates. He is so dumb that he thinks he can convince the guards to let him pass without a special note. Even dumber when he reveals his name! The guards now know he is a deserter and is about to attack when a mysterious sorcerer, Varelius hypnotizes them to help Astreas go through. When the storm is over, Istovan finds the ship a mess. Unconscious Rinda is trapped underneath some wood. The odd part is how he needs her to drink water but transfers it via his mouth?! Does he want to kiss her that badly? And miraculously she wakes up! Oh, first thing she says is Guin’s name. Disappointed? Apparently the other pirates are okay too but they let this drama played out before resuming their fight? Istovan does well till Rinda is taken hostage. Although Istovan does a sneaky trick to get her back, the biggest badass is Remus. He pours oil over the pirates and threatens to burn them! OMG! He tells them it is better to cooperate with them than to die and he makes them swear to that! OMG! Is this really him?! Naris is delighted when Regia returns. It seems she has gotten close to Karthron’s right hand man, Dallas and manage to investigate the Mongaul’s movements. It is dangerous but Regia swears her loyalty to him and will do anything to see him become king of Parros. I hope she isn’t another one of those crazy fan girls. Maybe not. Because her wish is for him to be king instead of Naris himself suggesting a kiss. Flirting failed… Amnelis passes by Regia on her way out. Call it a woman’s intuition that she isn’t going to like her. Yeah, Regia has bigger boobs than her. So she is already questioning Naris about this woman. Naris is as smooth as ever using his charming words. I wonder if she came all the way here to kiss him.

Episode 15
It has been 10 days since Guin is missing. Rinda continues to believe in him. When an island is spotted, Istovan tells the twins they need to escape from this ship tonight. They are running out of food and water as the pirates have been eating and drinking since they lost their captain. You can guess where this is heading. On the island, Rinda despite still thinking about Guin, can’t help feel being more attracted to Istovan. As they talk, she starts blaming herself as powerless since she has nothing. Even if they reach Argos, she will still have to rely on their aunt, Queen Ema. Wow. So sad. I wonder if Istovan took advantage of this because he swears to protect her. Oddly, it’s like Rinda suddenly switches alliance! It’s no more Guin! She now wants to be with him! OMG! It just shows she really wants a strong man to lean on. Heck, they even kiss! So is Guin forgotten already? Meanwhile Skarl wants to go save Beck from Kaulos. He sees his brother Stark the king but he is talking to Yarue, a sorcerer who serves Naris. It seems he is here to borrow their army. Skarl is not amused and doesn’t want any part in this dirty tactic. He will not rely on the army but the people of the plains to save Beck. Yeah, they easily defeat the Kaulos army and take over their fort. We move over to more cheesy romance between Naris and Amnelis. Lots of love assuring and kissing. Boy, she sure has changed a lot. Runan wants to know Naris’ true intention but it seems he is in love with Amnelis for real! So if he truly cares for him, tell others to pray for their happiness. Back on the island, not only Istovan and co think there is a monster living in a cave nearby, they have to escape from the pirates who are on their tail. The plan now is to lure them to the monster and steal their ship. Istovan is overwhelmed when he tries to be a hero. Don’t worry. Guin returns! And an awesome one because he jumps down and breaks the boulder in half! We are reminded how strong he is when his punches can send others flying away! The pirates are scared and flee. Rinda is glad to see him. Oh, now she is back to his side? Guin has no memory of how he came here. After that Landock incident, the next thing he knows, he was on this island. All the while, Remus has been checking out the cave and instead of explaining what is inside, it is better they take a look for themselves.

Episode 16
While trekking inside the cave, Guin gives advice to Remus about using his power wisely. They arrive at an abyss with a ball of light deep inside. While the rest can only see it as a ball of light, Rinda sees it as something else. Something alive. It’s like that thing that powers the Parros machine. After she faints, the island starts shaking and they flee to get out. But those idiotic pirates are back. Don’t they ever learn? I guess they won’t because a giant monster kills them all. Rinda prays so they can get off in time. They see the mountain split and the ball of light emerging out from it. Remus recognizes it from his dream while Guin has seen something similar at Nospherus. Meanwhile, Vlad isn’t happy she truly has fallen for Naris. So he orders his men to kill Naris secretly after their wedding. WTF. Then he summons Miail. After Amnelis gets married, he will be sent to Keironia where he will get married to Sylvia, the daughter of Emperor Achireus. Because of that, he can’t stop crying in his room. Man, this kid should have been born a girl since he looks like one. Marius enters a bar. The owner is the father of Orro. Learning how sad he is for losing his son, he sings for him. Passing by is Yunas, Miail’s attendant. He brings Marius to Miail to play and cheer him up. It worked. Guin and co have been drifting for days on the pirate’s ship. Remus talks to Guin about a strange creature living in Nospherus. He plans to learn and control Parros’ tower so he can rule the world. He is telling Guin all this because he views him as the key to these secrets and believes he comes from that world. A military ship is spotted. They are from Agraya and the kingdom should be acting very carefully regarding the war with Mongaul. Istovan goes to signal for rescue.

Episode 17
Miail is now very close to Marius. However, he is still very sad he has to get married after her sister’s wedding. Marius promises he will always be with him. That night, Marius is visited by Rorca, Naris’ attendant. He brings orders from Naris for Marius to eliminate Miail and Vlad. Marius is against killing a child but is reminded he is still a Mongaul. So as Marius prepares to kill Miail, he thinks of killing himself after that. But when he hears Miail sleep talking, he changes his mind. He can’t do it. Linas talks to Varelius about Remus still being alive. He is being told not to tell other Parros retainers about it. Varelius deduces even if Naris marries Amnelis, Parros’ throne still belongs to Remus. But if Vlad is assassinated, Naris will inherit Mongaul’s throne. And if by then Remus dies… See where this is going? Linas dismisses all that and says their loyalty is to neither rulers but to Parros. However Varelius claims his loyalty is only to Linas since he saved him. Marius tells Rorca there is no need to kill Miail because that kid will listen to what he says. Once he ascends the throne, it will be easy to manipulate him from the shadows. More cheesy romance from Naris and Amnelis. She trusts and loves him so much that she drinks something without question before passing out. Then Naris meets a few shady cloaked guys to put forth their plan. The day of the wedding is here. Astreas is really eager to kill Naris but Varelius tells him not to rush. Because the royal family will be plated in armour for protection, they cannot be assassinated to easily. Hence this sword is laced with poison and he will die with just a scratch on the arm. Amnelis dresses up beautifully. The plaza is filled with people to catch a glimpse of her riding through to the antechamber.

Episode 18
The people of Crystal are protesting loudly as they want to save Naris from this marriage. Naris stands up to address the crowd. He thanks them for loving him and if so, trust him. For everything he does is for the sake of Parros. That changed their mind and now they are praising him as king of Parros. Meanwhile Miail can’t sleep so Marius goes to get his lute. When he returns, he sees Rorca beside Miail. To his dismay, Miail is dead! I can’t believe Marius is so dumb to pick up the knife that killed him. Naturally Yunas walks in and sees this. You think he is going to listen and believe you? Marius uses the knife to kill Yunas in self-defence. Then the guards come in. Oh boy… But some black smoke engulfs him. The wedding is proceeding well and we hear more of Astreas’ cheesy jealousy that Amnelis is all his. All his!!! Varelius signals to Astreas so he stupidly charges and stabs his sword into Naris. Amnelis is horrified. But that dead look on Naris’ face… Looks so fake… That’s because he is still alive and it was just a scratch. Astreas is apprehended and unmasked. Amnelis is shocked to see him and he is still ranting about saving her. I hope he learns this time she isn’t into him because she wants him taken away forever. He is locked up in a prison but a sorceress bails him out. Looks like he is going to get fooled again? Amnelis’ joy is short-lived since Naris is now dead from the poison! There’ll be more tears to flow once she learns Miail is also dead. So sad… And then what’s this?! Naris is still alive?! Apparently this was Linas plan to fake his death. However they were to use some sleeping drug. Naris sensed somebody switched the poison and hence used a body double. Wait a minute. There is somebody else who is as handsome as him?! Yeah, too bad the body double is the one dead. With Mongaul now thinking Naris is dead, he will move on to his next phase of his revenge plan. He is now a ‘ghost’ and can move freely and stealthily in darkness. Sad Amnelis leaves Crystal vowing never to love again. Marius realizes Rorca saved him. He was under orders by Naris to do so and wants him to return to Crystal. However he will not do that and departs on his journey to a faraway land.

Episode 19
At Agraya, the twins see the king. Remus requests to borrow a platoon of his army for their journey to Argos (because 2 mercenaries aren’t enough) as well as their kingdom’s relationship to remain friends. In exchange, the king wants him to marry his eldest daughter, Almina. Remus will only do so when he reclaims the throne of Parros. Meanwhile Karthron rubbishes reports of seeing Naris’ ghost. When he goes home, he is shocked to see this pretty but familiar woman. Oh wait. It’s Naris! He isn’t a ghost. Naris wants him to defect from Mongaul as their fall is imminent. He explains all his men are already preparing and heading to several places to gather the army. Knowing that his relationship with Tairan isn’t good, Naris believes that he will not report this. After all, he is dating Regia and since she is from Parros and serving under Naris, Karthron will be deemed a spy. For now, Karthron need not to anything and when the time comes, he will marry Regia and become hero of Parros. Well, that sounded good enough for him to take the bait. The twins have arrived at Argos. Ema and Stark are glad to see them. Remus wants to get down to business to reclaim Parros. He has them witness make his claim as legitimate king of Parros and until then he will not cut his hair. Just his hair? We haven’t seen in a while the cheesy romance between Istovan and Rinda. After he shows her a beautiful mirage of the city, he then tells her he won’t follow her to Parros. Didn’t he devote his sword to her? He realized his status that prevents him to speak to her intimately. Since when is he concerned about status? She is willing to make him the prince or king once Parros returns to its feet. However it is because Istovan is truly in love with her, he cannot use her power to become king. He must become that by his own power. So wait for him for 3 years and he will come back and take her. He cuts his hair for her as symbol of his pledge. And now for a goodbye kiss. The Agraya army on their way back are being attacked and killed by a group of assassins who are seeking to find Guin.

Episode 20
The council of maritime provinces vote unanimously to send troops to stop the Mongaul advance as they fear they will be targeted. Istovan sees a guy being beaten by soldiers. So after he defeats them, the dying victim learns he is a mercenary and wants him to deliver a letter to Mongaul. In exchange he will be rewarded anything. So he accepted the task just like that? Karthron hears Tairan addressing a few men about the gathering of Parros reinforcements. Karthron realizes what Naris predicated has come true. Their plan is to crush the rebellion before they gather steam. But leaving Crystal would mean leaving the place undermanned. Tairan orders Karthron to go to Yuno for reinforcements. He rejects as he is in charge of ensuring Crystal’s safety. Tairan sends his other men to do the job. They suspect something amiss with Karthron’s behaviour and believe he is trying to betray them. Remus will borrow and lead an army allied to Parros to reclaim Crystal. But once they enter Crystal, Remus wants to be the only one to take it back because he is the king. Because of this, he orders Yarue that he cannot report to Naris anymore for he is just a mere retainer. As Remus talks to Guin, they are being attacked by an assassin. Guin easily cuts him down. They notice his crest that he is from Kitai. They wonder if Mongaul has hired Kitai to hunt them. Stack and Ema see off the twins. Rinda feels sad she just arrived at Argos and will now be returning to Parros. She feels eventually everybody will leave her and will be alone. Istovan reads the letter and realizes this could change the fate of Mongaul or Parros. He thinks if he could use this to become Mongaul’s noble but something feels off. Then he remembers. He did kill Marus, right? He believes he can get a better offer elsewhere. So storms off in the middle of the night on a horse and those soldiers thinking he is a spy of Mongaul are hot on his tail. Heck, they even killed a woman who sheltered him for being a traitor!

Episode 21
Even the townspeople are starting to rebel against the Mongauls. Regia rallies the people to fight. With the Mongaul soldiers at Crystal thinning out, this is a great chance to storm the place. The Mongaul soldiers are clearly outnumbered but the people don’t have the skill and weapons. Before the complete slaughter of the Parros people can take place, the Holy Knights of Parros arrive to lend their assistance. The top knights unmask themselves to be Regia and Naris. This boosts the people’s morale. Karthron tries to lead Tairan to escape when he mentions the leader of the rebellion is Naris. But this only makes Tairan suspicious that Naris is Karthron’s backer. Tairan escapes himself so Karthron chases him down. Karthron realizes this is a setup because Tairan’s men corner him. They know he is the traitor and wants him to give up. Dumb guy tries to fight back and obviously gets killed. After Tairan has fled to Yuno, Naris reclaims Crystal. He then has Regia summon a few students whom she brought for the rebellion. Among them is Ran whom Naris hears his thoughts about magic and science and his fascination with Parros’ machine. When Naris informs Regia that Karthron is dead, she cried?! I didn’t believe she loved this guy but it’s true. I guess when you’ve spend some time with somebody, you see the good points to. And I suppose because of Karthron’s betrayal, it allowed the people of Parros to rebel. Just as planned… Remus is frustrated that he is stuck in a skirmish with Kaulos when he should be already taking Crystal. He orders his generals to come up with a better strategy and Rinda to divine a winning date. She tells him to wait before attacking as the tide will turn in their favour soon caused by a messenger from the north. That messenger soon arrives to inform that the maritime provinces have allied and led by Borgo Valen to begin their attack on Mongaul’s base at Ross. Rorca is also here to deliver a message that Naris has taken Crystal. Then he hands him a personal message from Naris. Remus is surprised there is such an option but if he takes it, he will lose his authority as king. He burns the letter and will decide on what to do. Rorca as instructed by Naris is to assist Yarue. Remus believes Naris wants to observe his worth as king. Rinda talks to Guin as she is worried about Remus. A couple of assassins pop up.

Episode 22
OMG! Guin easily kills the assassins! Mongaul should hire better assassins for the job. Meanwhile Amnelis is still mourning over Miail. Vlad has been sick ever since his son’s death. He wants Amnelis to marry and bear a successor. However she will not be a tool anymore. Then news come in that Crystal has fallen and Naris is alive and has setup everything. Imagine the shock. It’s going to be war. Amnelis must be confused. Is she supposed to be happy that he is alive? Maybe she has gone crazy laughing. I guess she is serious now. Because she dons her war armour and cuts her hair. What she hates the most isn’t Naris betraying her but the fact she still loves him despite all that. So wants to lead an army to suppress Parros and kill Naris. Vlad loves the vengeance look in her eyes and approves. Istovan hears Skarl talking to his army that their plan is to subjugate Mongaul’s suppression army. If not, they will strike the heart of Mongaul. Istovan is taken to see Naris. He gives him the letter. It reads the maritime provinces will move to seal Ross but in exchange they are requesting the Mongaul side to kill Borgo Valen. Naris views this a serious matter and chooses to believe Istovan. Thanks to this, Parros will avoid being cut off from behind. Istovan also tells about Skarl. Then he wants Naris to hire him as his sword. At first Naris wanted to put him in the Holy Knights but decides he will remain by his side. Tairan’s squad serves as the vanguard. However his side is losing when a few soldiers defect. It is Varelius and his sorcerers. They surround Tairan and kill him with their magic. Amnelis’ main force comes into Skarl’s side. They are about the fight when reports of Tairan’s death reaches her. Time to retreat. Amnelis is boiling with anger that this might all be part of Naris’ scheme and that he won’t face he hatred head on.

Episode 23
Istovan tells Naris of his destiny to become king. Naris feels they both are the same because they are chasing their own ambitions. Istovan doesn’t mind all the suffering and pain in his quest to become king. Remus seeks Guin’s advice since he is in a dilemma. Naris wrote a letter to him to spread the word of Mongaul’s defeat. This will make Kaulos worry and that’s where they’ll go offer a peace talk in which they will most likely accept. It is a good plan but by doing so, Remus fears he will be Naris’ puppet. Guin advises him on being a great king doesn’t necessarily mean doing everything on his own. In short, let his men do all the achievements while he reap the rewards. An assassin takes Remus hostage. I guess she is so confident of killing Guin that she reveals her employer’s name, Sid. After Guin throws down his sword, another assassin tries to kill him from the back. Suni does something useful for once, shooting poison darts at the assassin and freeing Remus. The other assassin must be such a slow poke that Guin is able to pick up his sword and stab him. Really, low quality assassins! Naris tells Istovan his ambition to become God. What he meant is to know the secrets of the world. For that he need God-like powers. Secondly, he needs a goddess by his side. And the closest to that is Rinda. Istovan is worried as he asks if they love each other. From Naris says, it’s yes. So Istovan starts thinking and doesn’t like one bit of it. While he struggles to become king, she might become Naris’ wife. He decides to screw being a retainer. He is a demon soldier and will carve his own path. He will take Rinda by force. If she has become Naris’ wife, kill him and take her! So much about his loyalty to Naris. Bye. No need to report. Naris even knows he has fled. Guin intends to go to Torus alone. Since assassins are after his life, it will be dangerous to hang around them. Plus, there is a possibility that Sid knows about his identity. Naris and Skarl’s side meet. They discuss their army size as well as the enemy’s. It is decided to face Amnelis head on at Zaim where she is currently camping. But Zaim is close to Khum of Gohra and could be a problem since they are allied to Mongaul. Naris tells to send a messenger to request troops to Parros instead. Amnelis briefs her generals of the next battle. Learning Naris will attack at Zaim, she’ll gladly take him on. But her sorcerer warns her the tide doesn’t favour her and should return to Torus. However she refuses to do so seeing the enemy has come this far. Her decision stands. Guin says goodbye and gives his final advice to the kids. Promise to be back? If Jarn wills it. Yeah, keep praying to Jarn then. Then off he goes galloping on his horse as Rinda tries to chase him. Hey. She in love with him now?

Episode 24
After a war meeting, Vlad coughs violently and dies! WTF?! Guin confronts Sid. The latter claims he knows Guin. He is the reincarnation of Doal, the reincarnation of evil that shall destroy the world. Guin wants to know his sins but he is told to ask his own heart. Who is Sid then? A hero who shall slay the evil. Sid uses his magic to paralyze Guin and then knock him out with a punch. Amnelis is ready for battle when she receives word of her father’s death. She is torn to return to Torus since she really wants to fight Naris. However she believes Naris will bring the fight to Torus and thus she decides to return. As expected, Naris intends to do just that. As Mongaul retreat, they are blocked off by Khum. They might have learnt about Vlad’s death and have defected to Parros. Surrounded, Amnelis orders they will barge through and return to Torus. The odds are against them and the only way is to surrender. Amnelis then sees Naris. Her blood is now boiling. She would have wanted to rush to fight him had not Captain Lentz knock her out. After Mongaul has surrendered, Tarue the prince of Khum seeks an audience with Naris. Guin is captured and held captive by Sid inside Torus. Sid’s plan isn’t just to have Mongaul destroyed but every last man kill each other. Guin thinks his aim is the Parros’ machine. He is about to kill Guin but the siege from Parros and Khum interrupted and ‘freed’ Guin. Rozan who is in charge is firm to defend the place but when he learns Amnelis has been captured by Khum as well as all the other squadrons have surrendered to Parros, Khum and ,the maritime alliance, they are forced to unconditionally surrender. Amnelis wakes up inside a room in Khum. Her personal maid, Flori explains what happened. Amnelis is sad she lost her brother, father and now her country. She tries to search for something to kill herself but Khum has been careful not to leave any sharp things. Flori remains positive that things won’t remain the same. Just like Parros. Amnelis says Parros had Naris. Mongaul had no one. What about her? Flori will always view Amnelis as her light. Amnelis accepts reality. She needs to be stronger for Mongaul and herself.

Episode 25
Skarl talks to Admiral Cameron of one of the maritime provinces. He is going to Nospherus as he saw from Vlad’s room a book that states there is a weapon that could destroy the world. After Skarl leaves, Naris knows where Skarl is doing. He observed him shut himself in Vlad’s room yesterday and upon inspection, the log describing Amnelis’ exploits in Nospherus is missing. He wants to know Skarl’s intention for he doesn’t make enemies of him. Amnelis is brought before the king of Khum, Taryou. He tells her that she will be put on trial. However it will be a waste for her to be executed. He offers Khum to help in rebuilding Mongaul but all their power will be handed over to Khum. Amnelis knows they will become a mere puppet and will be disposed once their purpose is served. She would rather go on trial and die as apology to the people of Parros. Taryou is impressed so he promises he won’t kill her as long as Khum retains authority over Mongaul. Amnelis also knows Taryou has 3 unwed sons. Taryou will discuss this when Tarue returns from Torus. Remus’ guards capture Sid as a suspicious person. He digress and explains he was attacked by bandits and a man with a leopard face saved him. He is now injured in the cave. Remus and Rinda of course would like to go see him but soon realize it is a trap by Sid as he hypnotizes them. He is interested in the royals who can only activate Parros’ machine. Sid tries to enter Rinda’s heart. She cries for Guin’s help. Oh, here he is! Sid explains this is the ruins of an old kingdom, Kanan. One day it was destroyed by a meteorite that was brought forth by Guin. The twins refuse to believe that but Sid points out that danger has only befallen them ever since Guin joined them. Guin counters that by saying all he knows he is the root of evil. That is all. Guin might not know his past but he knows he has been walking the path he believes in. Sid and Guin clash. Guin’s Akura power gives him some reprieve. Sid then turns into his true monster form. He looks more evil than the evil he proclaims Guin to be. Sid might be stronger but soon Guin is able to turn the tables. Guin hears a voice he heard from Nospherus to head north. The place collapses killing Sid. A ball of light like the one they saw from the island emerges and disappear. Naris notes Rinda, Remus and Amnelis has ventured into Nospherus and now Skarl. One day he too must go there. Istovan sees Guin and co emerging unscathed from the ruins. He notes he has finally found Guin. Why left in the first place, duh?

Episode 26
Remus finally returns to Crystal as Naris and his team greet him. But Remus is ‘jealous’ that the crowd chants for Naris more than him. Even more so when they see the beautiful Rinda, they call her name. None for you, ex-cry-baby boy. Rinda immediately runs to hug Naris. She wants to introduce him to Guin who had guided them through but he is already gone. Meanwhile Amnelis has come to terms and accepts reality. She blames herself for the fall of Mongaul. Even though she was following her father’s orders, this is the reason why she failed. She will now use this time to find what she has left and feels she can do anything. Honestly, she is still in love with Naris. Remus sits by his dead parents’ portrait ‘complaining’ how nobody called his name because of his previous wuss reputation. It’s been a while we’ve seen him going back to emo. So yeah, he is somewhat lost without guidance. Guin stumbles into Istovan. The latter begs for his help as he needs his powers in order to realize his dream. However Guin cannot help him even if he wants to. He is heading north and promises once he finds his identity, he will come to help him. Will it be too late then? So the only way for Istovan left is to fight him? Guin warns him of his dangerous way he is living to achieve his ambition and to only face him when he is stronger. Since Istovan doesn’t consider him his friend anymore, I guess it’s time to throw punches. It’s no surprise Istovan gets pummelled and flew far away! Bye. See you next time. Meanwhile Remus attends his coronation and trial to be king of Parros. Everything looks fine until horrified Rinda sees a dark figure possessing Remus. She tells Naris that Remus is wearing the blood stained cloak of Kar Mol. Of course he cannot see what is happening and doesn’t know who that is. Remus is back to his dark side with that evil grin. Remus is now officially king of Parros. Guin continues his lonely journey north. Skarl and his Gul men attempt to cross over to Nospherus but the Sems and Lagons are waiting. Astreas is seen bumming out in a cell. Marius wonders if Guin is the light or darkness.

Come All Without, Come All Within, You’ll Not See Nothing Like The Mighty Guin
I guess the ‘ending’ is pretty okay. If it sounds like a pretty old cliché because it ends where their next chapter of adventure will begin, well, it can’t be helped since the original author passed away the same year the anime was produced. I wonder if they decided to animate the story after her passing in 2009. But they did dedicate it to her at the end of the series. After all, I believe this story holds the Guinness world record of the longest ever story written by a single person. The story started way back since 1979. Yeah, that is one really long time. It is sad that it was never finished. At least by its original author. The works did get a continuation a few years after the author’s death by a different author but it wouldn’t be the same ever again as what the original would have envisioned. We can only speculate but the true ending will never be known. So could One Piece please finish its story before the inevitable happens!

I am going to limit myself in commenting just the anime since I didn’t read the original works. Even if this anime is almost a decade ago and the story written from even longer than that, from today’s perspectives, it feels campy and cheesy. Because it feels like the story is all over the place. It’s like there are things going on everywhere with more and more elements and plots being added as the series progresses. I am sure that everything has its purpose and will converge somewhere in the middle or end and all will be tied up in the end. But as far as this anime is concerned, the 26 episodes feel like it couldn’t do justice to it all. Had it run up to 50 episodes, I’m sure I would have that dilemma of prolonging this problem. Because more plots, more confusion. So by the time this anime ends, all the earlier plots and whatever mysteries, I have already long forgotten. And new ones emerged… Who the f*ck is Yondaruzoku, Sid???!!! That name of your big boss you scream before you die?!

I have to admit that the earlier episodes when Guin led Nospherus to battle against Amnelis’ Mongaul army had by far been the most interesting of the stories. Because after that, it turned into some cheesy romance-cum-betrayal and that is where I felt the plot started to meander and go all over the place. It became a bit boring as we see some underhanded power play between king wannabes and when Mongaul fell, it didn’t felt that exciting. I guess this is why it wasn’t as exciting because Guin as the main star of this series didn’t really have a direct hand in bringing down Mongaul. Instead it was that pretty boy Naris whom I suppose some would love to hate because of his seemingly sneaky ways to bring Parros back for the Parros’ people. Sighs, why does it seem so interesting when everything is ending? Perhaps everyone has a new direction now and this gives off a fresh but sad feel. I mean, the Parros twins have returned with Remus becoming king, Amnelis is now a prisoner in a foreign land while Guin who has been accompanying the twins from the start has gone solo. Interesting but sadly that is where the anime ends.

Another thing that made this series a double edge sword is the characters. Too many of them! Major and minor ones. Like I have said before, each will have their role to play and will converge somewhere (assuming they haven’t been killed off) but for this anime, there are too many to remember. I can’t even remember them if they appeared before or not and the minor ones I have problems remembering their name. Some feel like just playing a very small part like Marius who appeared just so he could be set up to kill Miail. Then he is gone forever. I know they want to link him on later since he is related to Naris but some unnamed assassin could have just taken Miail’s life. Need someone to get close to that lonely boy? You think Mongaul’s security is that good?

I suppose when you are going to have a long epic story, you need many characters. Even towards the end of the anime they are introducing ‘new characters’. At this point I was like, thank goodness it is going to end so I don’t care anymore. Some introduced but then forgotten like that student Ran who led the rebellion against Mongaul. Some characters get killed off as part of the story. They aren’t important characters, not that I can see their bearings in this anime but at least the characters aren’t dying Game of Thrones style. Hence, there are so many names and places and terms that when I try to re-read my blog for some older references, I had already forgotten about it and dared ask myself if that was what I wrote before. Damn, I’m not cut out to remember so many things.

Guin as the main character is interesting as well as intriguing. His mysterious past and an amnesiac character are what makes him fascinating. Although bits and pieces are revealed over time, you wonder if they are red herring or they are for real. Is he really some evil reincarnation? Somehow it doesn’t make you feel impatient to want to know more about him. Maybe because he is such a cool and calm guy that we accept him for whoever he is now and whatever new information comes to light, we’ll learn it by then? Despite the title being named after him, I feel Guin has been particularly side-lined during Naris-Amnelis romance arc. He is mainly travelling in the background bringing the royal twins to Argos. Maybe that is why the series started to lose its excitement since he makes lesser appearances. Even towards the end when Mongaul fell and Guin is back, it just doesn’t feel exciting anymore.

For many of the other main characters, they have their ups and downs. Let me start off with the Parros twins. For Remus, he was particularly annoying because of his negativity. It doesn’t help he sounds more like a whiny pessimistic coward than anything. He is practically useless. It’s like they realized we can’t have such a loser for the rest of the episodes and suddenly Remus is transformed into some dark character! OMG. I know this makes his character totally different from what we first knew him as, but I believe I like this Remus better even if he is on the verge of walking into the dark side. At least this dark Remus is more useful and is fitting to be king even if he is seemingly being manipulated by an evil force.

Then there is Rinda whom I can say is a very dependent woman. Dependent on a guy. You see her pandering to Guin at first. Not surprising. He is strong and reliable and always saves the day. She staves off Istovan’s advances at first but soon finds herself falling for him. It made me go what the f*ck happened because suddenly she is all over him? I remember she wouldn’t want to marry this jerk but then makes a total u-turn later on. Proof that consistent bugging can make one change her mind. And when Istovan is gone, she’s gone back to Guin. Oh my. What a fickle woman. And now Guin is gone, she is in Naris’ arms. See the pattern here? I believe Suni is supposed to be the mascot character for furry cuteness because she does mainly nothing but follow them. Because why the hell does she need to leave her tribe once Nospherus has been saved to follow them? Gratitude is one thing but following them to wherever they go for how long it may take? I guess it is better to take one monkey than to take a whole bunch of them plus a few giants. After all, she lacks any proper dialogue besides saying her own name for all of the episodes. Except the final episode in which somehow in this ‘plot twist’, she stopped being a retard and sputtered a few words, stringing a few sentences. I can’t say she has learnt to speak the language because we should have seen her trying to communicate in that instead of her retarding way.

Istovan. This guy is also a bit fickle in his quest to become king. I noticed he has this tendency to quote different types of gods in his sayings. I don’t think he is the kind who prays but really. Istovan is also as clueless as Guin on his quest. Based on some vague prophecy to become king, we see him trying all sorts to make that come true. Well, won’t know if you don’t try. So from hanging out with Rinda long enough to seduce her to promise her to be her sword and then breaking that oath to part with her (because a man is worthier when he comes back a winner from a grand adventure) and then his short-lived pact with Naris, man, this guy can’t stay still. Maybe he feels suffocated and always a second fiddle as long Guin is around. And then he goes on a short journey before he realizes he needs Guin. I thought he said he would take and snatch whatever he wants if he is to be king? I guess he couldn’t even snatch Guin, not so much as to even scratch him. So is he going to make an enemy out of Guin now just because he is mad he didn’t get what he wanted? Yeah, like his prostrating was such a big deal. Big mistake. If you can’t be friends with leopard head, don’t make him your enemy. I don’t know, that final fight between ‘friends’ feels like a parting gift to them and to us.

One of the weirdest is Amnelis. Weird I say because she was such a tomboy and a ruthless Mongaul general. Till that crazy little thing called love started to mess with her head. It was quite fun to see her being ‘bullied’ and finally succumbed to Naris’ charms because who wouldn’t love to see a b*tch like her submit to someone who is much greater than her. It is also one of the cheesiest moments in the series. With all the events that transpired to her, it’s like the gods are playing around with her and slapping her in the face multiple times. They took away her family and country and now she only has a little dignity left. Vengeance is not hers to take yet. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and wiser.

But nobody can surpass Astreas as the cheesiest and cringest character of them all. This guy is so full of himself thinking Amnelis loves him and you can see him to the most sickest of all sickest things from smelling her hair and putting on that orgasmic face while fantasizing about his delusions. This guy can actually make your hair stand on ends! This guy is a real lucky loser. He lost so many times and yet he is still around. I don’t know what happened to him after he killed the fake Naris but it is a good thing we never hear from him again in this anime. He should have been killed off during that failed assassination so I fear more cringe will befall on us in the future. At least we didn’t see him for the rest of anime. It would have been f*cking annoying just to see this guy keep screaming Amnelis name. Honestly, this guy should have been killed in place of Marus. I think he is the only dead character that I would want back as he is mature and wise but unfortunately on the wrong side of the fight.

As for Naris, he might look like the beautiful good guy who could do no wrong. However I can’t shake this feeling in my gut that he might have some sort of ulterior motive seeing he knows all. Or at least almost everything. He always thinks many steps ahead and no matter how you plan it, he is always better than you. And he does it all calmly behind his beautiful smile. That’s how Amnelis got wrecked. That’s how Mongaul fell. I suspect with Naris and Remus aiming to be king of Parros, they’ll be on collision course and their allies would be forced to choose a side then. Let us not forget Amnelis seeking revenge (haven’t you heard how hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?), the other Gohra kingdom and possibly other smaller kingdoms who might be plotting something of their own in the future.

The action and fight sequences are just okay. With the exception of Guin and Nospherus taking on the invading Mongauls, they one on one fights aren’t lengthy but I figure that battles are necessary as part and parcel for such stories. But the most disappointing ones are those Kitai assassins. I thought they would put up a fight but they go down so fast! It was truly a let-down. I think they are hired by Sid who didn’t even bat an eyelid when they were all so easily defeated. I guess that is what you get when you hire cheap assassins. You don’t expect much. Not even more if you are dealing with a leopard head guy. Oddly, it feels fun to see Guin punch and kick his way because they do pack some power. It looks unrealistic but Guin himself isn’t normal. Yeah, I prefer watching this guy using his limbs instead of his sword.

Art and animation also feel okay. Some of the characters look similar to each other that I couldn’t tell them apart. Thankfully they are minor characters and nothing important. Some group of people have this one kind look like for example the sorcerers all have this sneaky look on their face like as though as though they are playing double agents and have ulterior motives. Animated by Satelight who did AKB0048, Log Horizon and the Senki Zesshou Symphogear series.

The opening theme is Guin No Theme by Nobuo Uematsu. It is an instrumental piece and it befits the epic saga being told because the song itself is epic. Whereas the ending theme is Saga ~This Is My Road~ by Kanon. It feels like a church hymn and prayer, singing and praising your glorious god. Not bad with some Latin words in it and considerably epic in its own right.

Overall, this series as a fantasy genre is still a worthy watch despite some cheesy moments and characters as well as the story shifting its focus away from Guin’s side halfway reducing its overall epic. But not by a great margin. It’s a story of everyone trying to fulfil their destiny that fate has thrown upon them but alas it is a long journey. It might not be anywhere near the end yet but at least it is closer than where it first started. And when that adventure ends, a new one begins. Either you let Jarn lead you or you carve out your own destiny. But was it fate that this story was never meant to be originally finished in the first place? Maybe because everyone will have different opinions on how it ends for Guin and the other characters. That multiple conclusion is perhaps their fate? Everything and anything can exist together at the same time! By the cursed breath of Yondaruzoku, I swear…

It happened so long ago that I almost forgot that Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata Flat had come out as the sequel. Oh heck, it was only 2 years ago. I must be really that busy watching as much anime as I can, huh? But now that the sequel has come and gone, I guess it is my obligation to see if Tomoya and his harem will get to not just finish the game but obtain positive results as well. Oh heck, who am I kidding. I’m just here to see the cat fight between the yandere and the tsundere. And perhaps the world’s most normal girl.

Episode 0
Just like in the previous season, your shameless fanservice episode with Tomoya and the girls in a private pool party! Babes in bikinis! Wohoo! It all started when Eriri wanted to sketch a picture of Megumi in a bikini as part of the game’s illustration. She would agree to that with a condition that everyone else also does the same. So even if Megumi did wear the swimsuit, she isn’t going to bend her bodies in erotic poses to suit Eriri’s perverted needs. Then we have Michiru and Eriri arguing who has better childhood memories with Tomoya. Eriri is shocked when Izumi turns up in a swimsuit. Looks like Megumi invited her. The more the merrier. Isn’t she their rival? Whatever. Izumi ‘knocks out’ Tomoya when she jumps to hug him. During the blame game confusion, Utaha looks like she is trying to take advantage by kissing him. I don’t think CPR starts like that. In the end, everyone retires to their room and Utaha has took the liberty to book Izumi a room. As the girls gather to decide either to have fun or finish their work, they realize Utaha isn’t around. Because they share rooms, they thought Utaha would be bunking with the other. Oh no… They should’ve known better… Sneaky Utaha in her sexy night dress is trying to flirt with Tomoya over a drink. I think Tomoya knows where this is going and tries to chicken out but Utaha hints she has spent lots for all this so he better play along. Tomoya is literally saved by the bell. His handphone ring, that is. The girls call Tomoya knowing Utaha has turned off her handphone. Game over, Utaha. Eventually they all join up at the karaoke box as Michiru demonstrates her new songs for the game’s scenes. Tomoya and Megumi sneak out and talk about hoping for the best for their game. Izumi is motivated seeing the other girls work so hard so she lets them know she is looking forward to their game at winter Comiket. She hands an autographed self-portrait to Eriri.

Episode 1
Eriri and Utaha continue to clash and argue like always. This prompts a flashback of how they met a year ago. It all started when Eriri confronted Utaha after realizing she has been spending a lot of time closely with Tomoya. So it all boils down to if the other likes him. Eriri believes Tomoya is only close to her because he likes the novel Metronome of Love so they’re just like friends who like the same book. Until Utaha reveals herself as the author of that book. More frustration for Eriri the more research she does on her. And yeah, Utaha continues to hang out with Tomoya. Similarly, Utaha also finds out more about Eriri but via Tomoya. Tomoya might have said something she didn’t like. This makes her barge her way through the private room of an art club Eriri is in to find some more clues about her. The next day, Utaha summons Eriri about what she found. She now knows Eriri is part of a doujin circle, Egoistic-Lily and most of her work are 18+. Eriri somehow sees this as a threat and starts predicting a hentai rape scene upon herself? Utaha isn’t hiding the fact she is a light novel author. Just that nobody asked. But Eriri is different. She tried to hide hers because of her experience of being discriminated as an otaku since young. She was also betrayed by her only comrade then. So guess who is the guy who understood her and is able to talk freely about the things she loves? Utaha views her motivation to draw is for revenge. That kind of work won’t make people happy. Likewise, Eriri comments Utaha’s writings look down on others and doesn’t move them because of empathy. What she does is just manipulate feelings. That means there is no motivation and she is a heartless author to begin with. Utaha replies whether their work is for revenge or calculation, the one who is moved first loses. In present time, looks like both have ‘settled’ whatever differences and ready to move on. It’s so tiring… Tomoya announces an illustration with their signatures to promote their game at winter Comiket. They are reluctant at first but when Megumi wants one too, they get motivated to make a few copies for themselves.

Episode 2
Utaha has finally finished her scenario and Tomoya must now date her this weekend as promised. And Eriri dragged Megumi along so they could spy on them. Eriri you looking so suspicious… Tomoya is forced to accompany Utaha reading at a bookstore, carries all the books she has to buy and wait patiently as she catches up on more reading. Not sure if Eriri’s tailing got distracted because she read the synopsis of a movie that continues from the TV series that had ended and became so moved about it. Tomoya is worried after hearing Utaha might not be around next year. Well, she is considering going to a faraway college. However she hints there is also one nearby. It’s not like she wants to live independently but doesn’t mind it either. She is in a dilemma picking which. Hint, hint. So you’re going to let Tomoya decide? I thought it is pretty clear cut… As Tomoya sees her off at the train station, he tells her he wants her to go to the nearer college. At least they can still make games together. But if she doesn’t want to make games with him anymore, that is a different story. Even so, he doesn’t want to be the one to rule out the possibility. Seeing his genuine reaction, she decides to give him a chance. She hands him the latest scenario she rewrote which is completely different than the one for the game. So he has to read it and decide which version is better. For their future possibility. Eriri is worried if Tomoya ever came home last night. Well, Megumi has a key to his place… They see him emotionally crying after reading Utaha’s new scenario. Instead of the hero ending up with his current day lover, suddenly a total switch to his sister from the past. I don’t play such games so I don’t see the emotional value it has… Eriri is not impressed. Not only this means new scenes to illustrate (like starting from scratch), this would also change the interpretation they have of everything they’ve been making. This makes the previous heroine nothing more but a window dressing heroine since their story and route will be totally different than the one they have been promoting. Tomoya wants to hold a meeting to discuss which scenario to be included but Eriri believes this is for him and the scenario writer to decide. And she’s not here. They join Megumi in playing a demo doujin game which is supposed to be released at this winter Comiket. They find the genre similar to theirs and more surprisingly it is from their rival circle, Rouge En Rouge.

Episode 3
There is some dramatic tense showdown between Tomoya, Eriri, Iori and Izumi. Till Megumi drops in to thank Izumi for joining this ‘meeting’. Tomoya isn’t happy that Rouge En Rouge is basically ripping off their game. Iori reminds him that they challenged each other and despite Rouge En Rouge is a bigger and more famous circle, there are still ways Blessing Software can win. What irks Tomoya the most is how he dragged Izumi into this. However Izumi says she is doing this so she can challenge Eriri directly as they are both illustrators. Indeed, Izumi has advanced a lot in just a few months. Then it descends into a girly fight… Tomoya is confident he has Utaha as their scenario writer but is surprised when Iori is even more confident that this is the part he will never lose out. Megumi is at Tomoya’s place to help make their game playable by the end of the week. However they hardly make any progress and she feels a bit down. As they take a rest, Tomoya gets a rude awakening when Michiru wrestles him. She has this misconception they were sleeping together! Sleepyhead Megumi explained in an ambiguous way that they were already doing it here since last night (the programming, that is). Tomoya is relieved that Michiru can help out. How? She can only play the guitar. He calls the rest of her Icy Tail band members. They realized they have been duped into helping Tomoya with his game. He ‘threatens’ to help out or as their manager he will quit! But why them? He knows that each of them has got some ‘experience’ in computing (except Michiru). In order words, he wants them to pull an all-nighter doing computing odd jobs. Well, I guess one of them is forced to forgo her date for this… Yeah, whatever boyfriend problems they have is not of his concern! Hidoi! But does he have enough computers? Megumi is on her way to borrow more laptops from Eriri. Don’t worry about sleeping over at Tomoya’s place. Lots of girls have been sleeping here too… So ambiguous… The game is done eventually and Tomoya realizes something. He confronts Utaha to tell her of his decision. Which scenario will he choose? Neither. It needs another take. This is a crappy game.

Episode 4
I think Megumi figured out something wrong and goes to see Tomoya. However he is in the midst of being beaten up by Utaha. Come back later. So Tomoya and Utaha are arguing loudly on what is wrong with the scenarios that they’re scaring the maids away. When he claims this is not the game he wanted to make, it broke her heart. Oh, she’s crying… When everything calms down, he talks to her about fixing it. If she won’t do it, he’ll do it. He is the director after all. With Tomoya pitching in to write, of course he isn’t going to get everything right at first go as Utaha checks his work and there are lots of mistakes including typos. Tomoya needs a game that doesn’t follow the conventional rules. Because Utaha is a novelist, her scenarios end up making the game look like a novel. In the end, Tomoya suggests a third route where everyone will be happy (the other routes seem to sacrifice happiness of others). Utaha disagrees as it is not her literally style. While it might be rude for a creator to say this to a director, it won’t be if a fellow creator says it to another creator. So I take it, Tomoya for the time being is as of the same position as her. Tomoya is so focused and working hard on his scenario that he doesn’t realize how sexy Utaha in her undies as she sleeps on his bed… Until he tries to cover her with a blanket. The scenario is done and Tomoya apologizes to her for breaking her characters and all. She believes they have lived instead of died. She is happy they had fun writing their own original scenario. Tomoya moved to tears? With this, Utaha has finished her part in the game and will no longer be involved. Megumi points out a character in the game is similar in one in Metronome of Love. Utaha admits in a way they are and the way she describes the source she based them on seems to sound a lot like herself. Yeah, who else? Something about her being lonely and she would like the main character to choose just this once. During the bonfire dance, Megumi’s acting of the main character is impressive enough that Tomoya sees her in that form.

Episode 5
Everyone is spying on Megumi being confessed. Tomoya must be relieved to see her rejecting him, right? The reason being, the deadline is near and there are lots of things left to do for the game. Aww, how considerate. However Utaha is hinting the blame on Eriri since she is behind schedule. It seems Eriri is obsessing about quality and hence not getting her anyway. It doesn’t add up she spent so much time improving but not producing the results. Though, Eriri deflects the blame back that they added a new route and hence additional work. Later Eriri tells Tomoya that she will be holing up in a villa to complete her work. This means skipping school. She’ll make it before the deadline. Just trust her. So when he tells the rest about this, Utaha is warning him about the signs that could signal she would be dropping her work and running away. Although it starts off on a promising note, it doesn’t take long before Eriri starts showing those signs. I’m sure Utaha is going to lecture him on I-told-you-so. With Tomoya continuing to believe Eriri and that she won’t run away, Utaha reminds him that is not faith. Has she nowhere to go further as creator? She can’t change her art style or make any progress. When faced with something to overcome it, she will back off without trying. It gives Tomoya the dilemma if he wants Eriri to finish her job by the deadline or improve as a creator. Then more of the signs start to show. She talks harsher, submits less and less works, blames herself, replying much later and the final straw came when she says she has found a new way to do her art. She is going to draw the backgrounds and characters separately. This means she is changing her art style at this point. Tomoya is in shock if she can do it. As long as he expects it, she can do it. In the end, she manages to finish it all but she sounds like she used up her entire life force for it and ‘dies’. So dramatic…

Episode 6
Eriri has fallen sick. Tomoya is in a hurry to head there so he calls Iori for help. He is so kind to give him a personal car ride. Iori gives his opinion about Tomoya’s position of leaving his home since he is on a tight deadline. Tomoya will not allow that burden to fall on other members. Iori sees it as him wanting to keep Eriri all to himself. When they arrive, awesome illustrations on the floor. Eriri on the floor. She is put to bed and Iori gives him the necessary contacts should he need further help. Next morning, Eriri is better. She is glad he likes her illustrations. They were her best. She thinks the game is completed since he is here. When she finds out it isn’t, she becomes mad and starts crying like it is the end of the world. It meant her efforts were in vain. At this point he could only choose either Eriri or the deadline but she thought he would have chosen both. She feels better when he says her artwork is better than Izumi’s. She is glad he has become her number one. But not in terms of his harem, that is. Tomoya apologizes for not being able to meet the deadline but Eriri also does the same for obsessing over quality. That fault of hers is because of her pride. At Comiket, the gang is busier than ever. Because they had so much free time, Tomoya added more content which in turn made them busy. Eriri did apologize to all the other girls but Utaha thought she acted arrogant and bragged after that. However Megumi refuses to blame anybody as everyone did their best. Later Eriri apologizes to Izumi for all the mean things she said because she was scared of her, especially how much she grew as an artist. She has to admit her loss here or else she cannot move on. Izumi looks forward to their next challenge. Blessing Software has become a hot topic ever since they released their trial game and it took only 30 minutes for it all to be sold out! There is an after party after that but Megumi goes home straight. Tomoya thinks she is mad because they didn’t have a complete version at Comiket. However that is not the reason. He never told her about Eriri’s case and the deadline. She told him she was free and would be able to help. Yet he never said anything. She thought she chose the same thing as him but yet he took all the burden on himself. Although he did the right thing, she can’t forgive him. Tomoya notes Megumi wasn’t sad. It was a new emotion he has never seen that hurt so much.

Episode 7
The game is popular enough that they see a rise in orders for it. Tomoya thinks of having a thank you illustration art. Eriri is already working on it. A rare sight of Utaha walking with Tomoya to school that it dumbfounds everyone else. This is her last chance to walk with him since she is graduation. Cue to get very close to him. Also expected, Eriri coming in to cut in and blame Tomoya for going ahead and wasted her effort of coming to his house and walk together. Also cue for the ladies to start b*tch insulting each other causing everybody to witness this shameful drama. However Megumi still ignores Tomoya despite he tries his best to talk about the circle’s next meeting. The cut is deep. Easily misinterpreted, Iori is giving Tomoya Valentine chocolates?! Fujoshi fans rejoice?! Actually it is from Izumi and she couldn’t give it to him since she is busy taking exams. Iori and his circle has played his game and noticed the vast improvements. However Iori can tell he went to write on the last scenario since he recognized his style which never changed from some infamous copy he wrote 3 years ago. He still has that copy… Tomoya wants it back! Iori advises him not to lose his circle and not let go of Utaha and Eriri. Tomoya calls Megumi but she blatantly doesn’t answer. After Eriri gives her chocolates, she learns Tomoya and Megumi still haven’t made up. She wants to blame herself but Tomoya won’t let her. He talks about getting started for their next project but she wants to hold it off a little since she worked hard. Tomoya congratulates Utaha in releasing her new novel. Then she teases him as usual with sexually ambiguous words like signing on his body and gives him her chocolates since they are at a relationship point where they spent many nights together. Writing scenarios, right? Utaha mentions she won’t be coming to school anymore since she has to write the second volume and prepare for university. So will she participate in his next project? She asks who is going to do the art then. Because Eriri hasn’t drawn a single picture the entire year. She doesn’t consider that art she completed after the deadline as it. If possible, he wants Eriri to work with him again and create a game that surpasses Cherry Blessing. Tomoya finally texts Megumi about his plans for the next meeting. She’s still pondering about it. Tomoya replays his game and notes how well it is done. He realizes Megumi has been putting a lot of effort into it. Not just the game but other minor productions as well. I don’t want to jump the gun but does it mean that she was interested in more than just the game? He starts crying and can only apologize.

Episode 8
Tomoya finally catches Megumi to talk. She can’t run now. It looks like a rape scene since he locks the door and his hands approaching her. Turns out he just wanted to print some stuffs. Megumi was pretty scared at that point. He shows her his proposal for their next game project. So he is assuming she will join? She didn’t feel like she was really participating in the last one. He rants about how he will make it so but all she sees is just him making a game based on his delusions. Plus, he plans to make this game with this minimal staff. Is he going to do everything? That’s why he roped her in as the assistant. Again. Oh, she doesn’t want to do something this troublesome again. He pleads to help take care of this circle so she asks has she told Eriri about making her the heroine again. Not yet. The way he explains makes Megumi give out that killer eyes because it’s like saying he is doing this thinking she is in love with him. He blames this on playing too much galge. Maybe that’s why all galge are twisted in this sense since otakus don’t have real 3D relationship. When Tomoya thanks her for all the hard work and apologizes for it, Megumi cannot contain her emotions and starts crying. The more he says sorry, the more she sheds? There has got to be a limit because it’s making her mad now how cheap his sorrys are. She just wished as friends there would be no secrets or decisions without discussion among them. They talk about Eriri who is still in a slump. Megumi wonders why he doesn’t find another illustrator as good as her to join. Back at his home, he explains the kind of game he wants to make. No more all that sci-fi, supernatural and cliché stuffs. Just a normal high school game. As he rants about heroine being humans, once again Megumi has to show her mad side and lecture him. As she is a heroine herself, she too is human. She is mad because they have been close enough and yet he doesn’t understand how she feels. I mean, with his next game title as How To Raise A Boring Heroine, it is trying to say her character is dead. Megumi still has issues with his insensitivity but they have other issues to deal with. Like Utaha who has graduated and the possibility she won’t work for him again. Not to mention Eriri’s slump. No use talking too much deep into the night. Just sleep on it for now.

Episode 9
Tomoya goes to congratulate Utaha on her graduation. Then he lets her read his proposal of his next game which everyone wants to participate. After reading, she gives it high marks despite how cliché it is and lacking originality. When Tomoya says he hasn’t asked Eriri yet, this makes Utaha worry. She wonders how to tell it to her. Hence she cannot continue with her. Tomoya is shocked and desperate as she explains his work isn’t something to die for. Then there’s this reasoning of how he failed as a producer because he doesn’t crack the whip and push his employees to the brink to bring out their best abilities. Wouldn’t that be like workplace abuse? Then she shows him a proposal she got for an epic RPG game, Fields Chronicle. It is by the legendary Akane. At this point Utaha is already shaking as Tomoya goes through the proposal. Apparently it is not Akane who is scouting her but Eriri. Utaha could only apologize. Flashback a month ago, Utaha and Eriri talked and various issues. The latter is still in a slump and hasn’t been able to produce such quality art since then. Utaha is told by her editor that their company will have staffs working under Fields Chronicle for the story. Her editor believes Utaha still has unlimited talent and believes she shouldn’t be hand over to Akane yet. Later Utaha and Eriri are invited to meet with Akane herself. She lets them read her proposal and wants them to decide if they will be on board or not. When they ask what they’re supposed to die, she tells them straight they are to die for this game. Devote themselves to nothing but it for a year. Akane has played their recent game and noticed Eriri’s out. Because she noted Utaha was the only one who could keep up with her deadline, hence Utaha’s role is to draw out Eriri’s mental and technical skills. She does think highly of Utaha’s skill but if Eriri isn’t joining, there is no point having Utaha. When Eriri complains she is in a slump, Akane blows her top. She tells her to stop insulting artists. She made an amazing piece of work once and is now in a slump? She is nowhere near her peak! She isn’t in a slump. She is just a crappy artist! Her skills aren’t there yet. Akane then gives her look at the art she drew. Eriri is in shock seeing Akane could copy her unique art style.

Episode 10
Eriri is annoyed that Utaha is supportive of Akane’s plan. However Utaha points out that Eriri has not decided on anything and merely complained why she can’t. She has not decided on what to do in the future, what to become. So when Eriri starts praising the positive side of all this, now it is Utaha’s turn to let loose some steam as she rants how annoyed it is for a doujin artist to get this job compared to a professional novelist. She hopes Eriri could accept this project so she can fight her head on. Iori goes to talk to Akane about what happened. Seems he is seeking her permission to quit her circle. Utaha’s editor must be trying to joke around about Tomoya trying to cling on to Utaha after she graduates. Utaha asserts she won’t get feelings in the way as she is a professional. Oh really? Next afternoon, Eriri breaks Utaha’s slumber by calling to meet her. It seems she has her groove back after she kept drawing all night. As her sketches are back home, there is a faster way to show it to her. She’ll sketch it for her right now. Beautiful enough for Utaha to be in awed. Eriri then starts laughing since she has recognized her. But it’s just hysteria since now she starts crying her heart out. She is sad this is the art Tomoya wanted. He supported her but she couldn’t produce the results. But Akane mocked and laughed at her, she managed to pull through because she didn’t want to lose. She can’t draw with Tomoya and Tomoya can’t make her draw. She won’t progress if she stays in his circle. She can’t become his amazing illustrator. After calming down, Eriri notes Tomoya will hate her for this second betrayal. Utaha believes so but at least this time she has an accomplice. They vow they will both defeat Akane. Iori speaks to Tomoya and he feels bad he lost 2 of his circle members. Tomoya looks on the positive side that they could develop further. But he doesn’t look happy? Iori also announces that because of Akane’s new recruits, he and Izumi quit Rouge En Rouge. But his main reason is because there is something new he would like to try. Izumi has found a place where she could put her skills to the best use. He advises Tomoya not to stop pursuing his dream. So a forlorn Tomoya walks home. Before him is Megumi. She wants them to go out on a date. If this isn’t trolling, I guess this day isn’t that bad after all.

Episode 11
Tomoya doesn’t want Megumi to blame Utaha and Eriri. He dragged them into this and they have no reason to stay in a small circle in the first place. They should be aiming for bigger opportunities. So they’re back at the mall where they first dated. Could it be Megumi still kept a grudge how he stood her up the last time? Well, he has to accompany her this time. He buys her a hat as present for the glasses she gave the last time. On the way back, she asks if his heroine story is like what he wanted. That suffocating and exciting feeling when he had fallen in love with a real girl. Tomoya realizes this is her way of telling him she won’t give up. Even if Utaha and Eriri aren’t here, Blessing Software will still be around as long he is here. Tomoya agrees and wants her to become her main heroine again. She adds a heroine that everyone would envy. Tomoya becomes hysteric. He laughs at first before crying his heart out. Tomoya makes a surprise appearance when he sees off Utaha and Eriri at the train station. He wishes them all the best and is excited to see Fields Chronicle to become a god tier under them. Megumi might not be here but she can talk via handphone. With both sides giving each other motivation, Eriri steps up and hopes to take Tomoya’s glasses as a token. Then she really wants to kiss him but Utaha usurps her and kisses Tomoya instead!!! So while nobody cares about Eriri screaming in the background, Utaha boldly flirts with him until her twintail smacking breaks them up. They realize they have missed the train. At the start of the new school term, Tomoya is wearing Eriri’s glasses. Megumi is trying real hard to not laugh. Maybe not. So he decides to not wear them. They are surprised to see Izumi enrolling in this school. Tomoya realizes this is what Iori had meant. Eriri and Utaha are ‘stalking’ from afar as Michiru points out the outsiders cannot go back now that they left. Michiru wants to nonchalantly go to Tomoya but the duo restrain her like she’s some criminal. Being so noisy, I guess Tomoya already spotted them.

How To Treat Your Harem Well
Just like my sentiments from the first season, I can’t seem to determine if this sequel is boring, just like in its title. That is why I was wondering if I should make a pun with the sequel’s title of Flat. You know, as in boring and dreary. Or maybe it refers to Tomoya’s subsequent plan falling flat. But they used the musical note flat… Lower pitch? Sounds like… Lover b*tch? Wait. What did I just say?! Or maybe the symbol looks like a side boob and some of the girls are busty and some are flat… Oops! Don’t stray too far thinking irrelevant things.

There is a lot of high stakes drama in this sequel with things going up a notch. Fans may be able to appreciate all the drama and deep character development in the sequel but for a simpleton like me, it is hard for me to grasp in detail the deeper aspects of what is going on. I do have the basic gist of what is going on but not something on a profound level.

With time running out, Tomoya has to play relationship manager as well as trying to complete his ideal game in his maiden attempt. This sets up a few episodes to be given focus to his girls and the problems they have to currently deal with. Like Utaha who has her graduation looming and the possibility of going to a faraway college. Then there is Eriri who suddenly gets into a slump and it gets a bit more complicated since she is trying to be a perfectionist for herself and ultimately Tomoya. Lastly there is Megumi who also have her own drama because she felt disappointed Tomoya didn’t trust her completely despite they have done so many things together. Though these problems are somewhat solved, they aren’t the optimum solutions that Tomoya would hope. However they aren’t so much so to be considered bad endings. Utaha and Eriri might not be around for Tomoya’s next project but it’s not like they’re gone forever. At least you can count that they will be somewhat around and close in proximity.

The banter between Utaha and Eriri is still amusing to watch due to their contrasting characters. They really are frenemies and the strangest of bedfellows united and conflicting at the same time because of their connection to a certain guy. Utaha being the novelist certainly has a way with words while Eriri being the typical cliché of a blonde twintail tsundere always fails to keep her emotion in check and falls for Utaha’s bait. Not to mention Utaha still has got her touch in making her flirting with Tomoya sounding so scandalous that it worries the guy so much. Then there is the deadpan and brutally straight-in-your-face comebacks by Megumi. Sometimes it’s like as though she is born lacking emotions. Even when she was mad at Tomoya, she wasn’t looking like your typical angry girl. It’s just weird. Also it’s good because imagine if Megumi becomes full blown emotional, that will be just too shocking. Yeah, like the time she actually cried. Emotion holder full. Time to unload some. Or maybe she is just a master of suppressing her feelings to catch everyone off guard one day… She might not show any emotions but that does not mean she is completely emotionless.

Sometimes I feel that this sequel has forgotten about Michiru since she lacks screen time. Not to say that she has a lot of it in the last season but I feel she has even lesser appearances in this season. It’s like the first prologue episode was her most prominent episode. No joke but I feel that the breaking of the fourth wall in the final scene that she was ‘missing’ for the latter half of the series makes fun of this. And then the one with her Icy Tail members helping out with computing odd jobs, they went ‘missing’ after that as the series starts focusing on the deeper issues of Tomoya’s other girls. Like as though there were no issues in the music department in the first place. Maybe not assuming Michiru is a very talented songwriter. Shouldn’t she be scouted already by some famous talent agency instead of continue to be managed by Tomoya? This means no sexy time with Michiru as I remember her as the girl who loves to wrestle Tomoya so as to give us viewers sexy fanservice shots of her submission moves. I guess you can’t date and marry your cousin anyway.

Hence it isn’t a perfect or ideal path or perhaps route to an ending that Tomoya wants. Both of his greatest allies of the most important elements of a game have gone over to a better rival. He tried his best the first time round to keep his team together and at least from the sales of their first game, it was encouraging. However it wasn’t enough to keep them around for the second game after the trouble they went through for the first one. Things change. Maybe he could get others for replacement but at this point it is best you have people you are familiar with to work with. So with Utaha and Eriri jumping ship, maybe it is all part of a bigger scheme to surprise their lover boy that they will destroy the enemy within before coming back to him. Assuming he hasn’t gone steady with Megumi at that point… Or Izumi, considering she is now enrolled in his school.

He might almost look like a cliché male protagonist otaku with beautiful girls around him but at least we see him grow as a game creator and director and facing his problems head on instead of running away. The choices he had to make have its pros and cons and I believe he chose the best outcome in the long run. Like when Eriri was depressed and in a slump, it was either her or the game’s deadline. He can’t have both. He chose. Like I said, not the most ideal of results but at least it isn’t totally a bad ending. After all, he keeps his relationship with his female team members professionally and doesn’t see them one bit as his love interests-cum-harem. At least, not that I can see he has any from his perspective.

Love it or hate it, this sequel as well as the overall series has both its ups and downs. Very deep and heavy character development between the main characters but some feel a bit of a let-down (Michiru is one thing but Megumi to a point too feels underutilized this season). The art and animation are still good and the lack of fanservice may be a good or bad thing depending on your stance on it. It might not be as much as the first season since Utaha didn’t try as much to be funny with her ambiguous seductions on Tomoya. To top it off, the bittersweet climax and ending may not be the kind of conclusion that viewers might be hoping for. But you know, it is somewhat like reality and real life itself. Better to try and fail than never starting or do anything. It might be a painful road with suffering and distress but for sure it will make you stronger and push ahead even further. When you have experienced all the best and worst in life, returning to normal doesn’t look like a bad thing. A boring heroine maybe, but she is still a heroine nonetheless.

Koyomimonogatari

November 10, 2017

Oh dear. I have forgotten about this. Initially I thought Koyomimonogatari would be some sort of a recap series. I didn’t even know how I ended up coming to that conclusion seeing I had no information or done any research whatsoever. Perhaps it was the synopsis that is about Araragi who goes around helping his female characters and solve their problems at hand. You know, their oddity problems that we have seen throughout the Monogatari Series? Of course I realized I was wrong. Had not the second season of Owarimonogatari series came out, I would never have remembered to watch this. Besides, each episode is only 12 minutes long. A departure from the standard half hour episodes of its prequels.

Episode 1: Stone
Hanekawa talks to Araragi about a stone statue in school that could be the school’s ghost story. The thing is, the stone was there all the while and not the altar. Over these 2 years, it’s like somebody turned this stone into an altar and something like something to be worshipped. Could it be an oddity? So Araragi talks to Oshino about this and the question is not whether it is an oddity because it is being worshipped but rather it’s being worshipped because it is an oddity. Araragi is confused since they mean the same to him. So as Oshino has him draw the shrine for him, Araragi mentions it looked familiar but can’t put his finger on it. Oshino tells him to ignore all ghost stories at the moment and try looking into the school’s curriculum. Araragi goes back to talk to Hanekawa for more explanation. She mentions a few art clubs in school and one of them being woodwork. Apparently a student created a little house but it was deemed a failure after something went awry. Instead of bringing it home to only be thrown away, he decided to sneak it in to the school’s garbage. Speaking of which, it is near that altar. Hence that house became the stone’s altar. Because of that, the house and stone complement each other. The house became a shrine and the stone became a worshipped object. Hanekawa is relieved and thanks Araragi for it. It seems Araragi is that student who made the house and put it there. Immediately he properly throws away the house. He thought his thoughtless actions turned this stone into an oddity. Perhaps it turned from a normal stone into the stone statue he needed and from there into an oddity. Then he realizes something amiss. The stone is actually just a piece of concrete.

Episode 2: Flower
While walking on the streets together, Senjougahara spots a bouquet of flowers on the roadside, an indication an accident had took place. However she saw the same bouquet on the school’s rooftop. The funny thing is, throughout its history, there has been no deaths whatsoever. Talking to Oshino about this, from what I understand that such places where high accidents and deaths occurred could be due to geographical and location reasons instead of the supernatural. While no deaths may have occurred at school and it might look like the bouquet is like a curse asking for future accidents to happen, could it not be the opposite? Araragi thinks about this and tells his conclusion to Senjougahara. It is some sort of control or protective charm to prevent accidents. When people go up and see it, they would think that some sort of accident occurred and would be careful. Hence, something like a warning. Also, they misunderstood the whole thing. If something had actually died, the flowers would be placed on the ground instead on the rooftop. Because Araragi dangerously climbed to the rooftop to ascertain the bouquet as per instructed by Senjougahara, the school has taken drastic safety measures. They’re really spending to establish a new fence. He hopes the school would never find out as in addition to his expulsion, they might link it to Senjougahara who suggested it. So instead of making this a secret between them, she wants them to forget about it.

Episode 3: Sand
Araragi stumbles into Hachikuji in the streets. He tells her Oshino has left town and they talk about Araragi’s debts. He claims he has cleared them all or at least returns the money he borrows. Hachikuji decides to sell him a ghost story for 50 Yen. So cheap? Well, that is all that story is worth. She tells him a sandbox at the playground has a face of a demon. No matter how you mix it up, it will eventually return to that demon face. Could it be the work of an oddity or human? So he goes to investigate it. The demon face is there as he messes about with the sand. Nothing happens so he goes home. He then gets a follow up call from Hanekawa who just got a report from stalker Senjougahara on what he was doing. She is ‘mad’ at him for not following this up thoroughly. There is a third option on what causes this: Natural phenomenon. Not just wind or rain. So Araragi goes back and digs the entire sandbox and he finds a fissure at the bottom. This crack is what made the demon face and the reason why Hanekawa was ‘angry’ was because of the danger if the crack gets bigger and kids continue to play in it. Time to alert the park’s manager. He notes the scariest isn’t oddity or human but nature. Because it is both as scary as the oddity and human.

Episode 4: Water
After cleaning Kanbaru’s messy room, Araragi takes a bath. She teases him about some erotic stuffs but then tells him a mysterious story as it isn’t so much of an oddity story. The bath he is in, apparently when his father was young, he would see the face of his fated one in the water’s reflection. Back home, Senjougahara calls him and her first words are for him to die for being at Kanbaru’s house. But since he says how much he loves her and all that, she rescinds her death sentence. Telling her what Kanbaru said, Senjougahara comes up with her interpretation. As the surface of the water reflects but not as perfect as a mirror, it could be possible that Kanbaru’s dad mistakenly saw a reflection of himself as a woman. Of course when he grows up and he becomes more aware, that reflection stopped showing up. So it is when he met his wife he remembered about this. Hence in romance, you tend to look for someone who resembles you. To summarize, if Kanbaru’s dad’s explanation was right, Kanbaru would have seen her fated partner. If Senjougahara’s explanation was right, then the image could be her mom. He calls Kanbaru to ask what she says. Her boobs. And she is excitedly explaining how it always thrills her. Hang up…

Episode 5: Wind
Sengoku is at Araragi’s place to party. It’s just the 2 of them… As this takes place in the aftermath of Sengoku being conned, they talk about how rumours spread. Because from what she heard it wasn’t from the conman himself but rather the wind. You mean in that literal sense? They further discuss if you want to spread rumour, it is faster to let someone do it because if you leave it on its own, won’t that just be a coincidence? So Araragi goes to talk to Kaiki about this. He confirms he doesn’t have any wind power or that sort. In fact, it is not the wind but a windless condition that is important for rumours to spread. When something is popular, something else isn’t. A conman targets not the wealthy but those who are dissatisfied. Those whose hearts are in disarray and nothing to rely on are easy targets. That is why he came to this town to prey on school girls. However it is not because his conned them into buying into his charms and caused deterioration in human relations. But rather they feel their human relations have deteriorated and jumped into buying his charms. Now that Kaiki has let him know his trade secret, he wants a fee for it. Did he just get conned?

Episode 6: Tree
After rubbing her boobs on her brother’s head, Karen takes this as a chance that he must listen to what she says. It’s so nice being a woman… At first he isn’t interested but with her fierce personality showing up, he’d better. It seems that there is a tree that popped up behind her dojo. The funny thing is, nobody noticed it until recently and because of that, they feel it is something ominous and want to chop it down. Of course Karen is against this but she has no power to overturn this decision. So Araragi sees the tree and assures he will help Karen solve it. And by that he means begging to Hanekawa for help! Pushing his responsibilities, eh? He will allow her to do anything with her own boobs! WTF?! Hanekawa likens this panic to pandemic-like level. There is one way to solve this. In the end, the tree is not cut down because Karen told everybody that tree is the same wood that made this dojo. So when you consider a pandemic spreading, it will spread until it cannot spread anymore. So what they did was shift the goal post. The next step of fear is reverence. Now that everybody thinks the wood is what made the sacred dojo, nobody will be foolish enough to cut it down. They feel bad it is a lie because in actual fact there is no way that tree’s wood is the same as the dojo’s. Because of that, there is a possibility they might create an oddity out of it. An oddity that watches over those undergoing training.

Episode 7: Tea
Tsukihi tells Araragi that there is a ghost in her tea ceremony club however there is no evidence of it. Well, duh… If no evidence, no ghost! If you want Tsukihi to stab your eye with her pen then you better give her a better answer. You see, her club has only 7 members and everyone insists that there is this ‘eighth member’. They laugh at her for saying it is a ghost so she fells insulted that they believe the ghost more than her. It all goes back to her asking him if he believes in ghosts. He doesn’t. He believes her club members are wrong. She should stay the way she is and stay true to her own correctness. Tsukihi accepts but she doesn’t look satisfied. Later Araragi talks to Kanbaru about it. She wants to help Tsukihi because they deal with oddities so they understand what it’s like. After all, Tsukihi who is trying to deny oddities is sacrificing herself for reality. There is a way to satiate her although it involves deceiving her. So Araragi tells Tsukihi that everyone believed in the ‘eighth member’ for Tsukihi’s sake. As Tsukihi often takes the club’s inventory as she pleases and so as not to make this a big fuss where they will get club activities suspended, hence they hypothesized and ‘eighth person’ to account for the shortfall in inventory. Tsukihi immediately buys it and is satisfied that it was her selfish attitude that was the ghost. She’ll let herself fall for it. After Araragi tells Kanbaru about this, she wonders whom Tsukihi let herself being deceived by. Is it Araragi or her club members?

Episode 8: Mountain
Ougi and Araragi are trekking up the stairs to a shrine on a mountain. It is believed the shrine built there was a mistake and Ougi wants to fix the problem of its balance. This is the shrine that Araragi and Shinobu were last summer and they tore up the place. Ougi talks about snakes being gods as well as their nature and what it represents. Also, this shrine used to be in a different location but it was transferred to this place. However the issue is how the people relocated the shrine here with minimal construction since the steps to this place did not exist before. Also, no supernatural powers were used. Just normal humans. It was the ‘moving’ that was very annoying. Back at his home, Araragi tells this to Sengoku and she is able to deduce the answer right away. The spot where the shrine was built, they cut down the trees there and used the wood to make the shrine. That way, they didn’t need to carry heavy lumber up the mountain. Wait. Wasn’t the shrine relocated? What ‘moving’ meant was the bodies of worship. Basically it’s like shifting to a new building and keeping its original name. They ponder if the shrine would be rebuilt again. Araragi doesn’t think a new faith will be born then but rather it will continue. Sengoku maintains optimistic if it is rebuilt, it would stop being a place for bad things to gather and the snake god would return to it.

Episode 9: Torus
Shinobu is delighted there are doughnuts for her to eat. However, they look different from the ones she usually gets from the store. Well, these are handmade by Senjougahara for Araragi is motivation for him to study for his exams. Shinobu then asks weird questions like the doughnut’s hole. Not really trusting it, Shinobu eats one to test for poisoning. Tastes good. However she thinks it has delayed effect and wants to experiment on the rest. At this point, Araragi believes it is her ploy to eat all his doughnuts. Hand it back or else. Then it turns into some talk about negotiations and secrets. Hence a game is suggested. She will hide the doughnuts somewhere in his room for 5 minutes and he has that same time to find them. He can it the doughnuts he finds and those he could not will belong to Shinobu. Of course he is sceptical that she can eat all of them in that time span and he will never find them. Shinobu assures she will stick to her word. In the aftermath, Araragi calls Hanekawa and tells her about this. He found 3 of them but the last one was never found. He could only think Shinobu ate them. Hanekawa points out that the doughnuts were of different size. It could be that she hid the smaller one in the larger one and used the fillings as adhesive. After all, the evidence is now in his stomach. Why did Shinobu do this? Wasn’t her goal to eat the doughnuts? For her to abandon that goal and being selfless were the points she was trying to teach him: Love.

Episode 10: Seed
Yotsugi wants Araragi to help her find something or she’ll not stop harassing him. Fine. So what is it that she is looking for? Well, she’ll know when she sees it. So the reason she roped him is because he is comparatively taller than her and she might need to look at a view from a different perspective. However they are not going to piggyback ride one another. She makes him stand on her finger like as though she is hoisting a flag! Some chatter I don’t really get it as they walk around town looking. Yotsugi mentions something one is looking for but may lose sight of it when you start looking for it is a smile. In the end, they couldn’t find what she wanted. Araragi calls Hanekawa for answers. She asks him a question what is hardest to find. But his answer doesn’t matter. Then she asks what is easiest to find. Same thing. So what Yotsugi wanted to find was nothing. You can’t find something that doesn’t exist. This is linked to what is easiest to find and for that, something needs to stand out. Nothing stands out more than a person searching for something. So why was Yotsugi trying to make him stand out? Earlier in the year, there is a person in town he shouldn’t have met. Same thing for that person. So by making him stand out like that, people avoided him and hence Araragi avoided contact with Kaiki. Yotsugi didn’t want him to worry and nothing happened thanks to somebody’s consideration. Thus it is possible that the nonchalant consideration is the hardest thing to find of all.

Episode 11: Nothing
Araragi calls out Kagenui to fight but gets his ass handed to him! Apparently he wants her to train him but she notes he will die before he gets to learn anything. That is why she sent Yotsugi to his place. He feels uncool for girls protecting him. That’s why he can’t move carelessly and so do the girls. Araragi asks why Yotsugi always refers to Kagenui as her sister. She will not tell. However if he manages to land one shot on her, she would. So he goes back and seeks Karen’s help. He’ll fondle her boobs if she does. I mean would she rather let her boobs be fondled by someone she doesn’t like? Anyway, based on him being a useless person, the only right way is to run. She points out that he has been thinking on how to hit this person instead of whether or not his question will get answered. So it isn’t about him winning but how to lose gracefully. He should think about that himself but if Karen was in his shoes, she will try to think of a way that won’t make it so obvious. And so Araragi comes up with this dumb plan of getting a toy gun. After all, Kagenui did say one shot, right? Be it a punch or a bullet. He is expected to lose as he makes his way to face Kagenui. However he realizes she is gone.

Episode 12: Dead
Kagenui has been missing for a month but Araragi continues to visit the shrine every day. Also, ever since all oddities, rumours, gossips, ghost stories, urban legends, you name it, all has stopped. Like as though everything just died. One day Araragi sees Gaen before him. She tells him Kagenui has been defeated. Rather, she had been eliminated in order to render Yotsugi powerless since she is her master. There are 2 possibilities now. Either Yotsugi continues to serve him is an ineffective bodyguard-cum-doll or Yotsugi will wake up to her human side and protect him on her own free will. She then points out about Shinobu. Recently she has turned nocturnal, a sign that she is moving away from being an oddity and can’t protect him 24/7. Talking about shogi how if you try to protect all pieces you will lose as pieces except the king are needed to be sacrificed to win, since Araragi doesn’t consider himself as king, the problem is that this town has no king now. This means nobody wins or loses since there are no more rules. That is why many problems are happening. With that vacant spot, Araragi believed Kaiki was to fill it. Oshino could have filled it with his spiritual stability and Gaen by only her appearance. She entrusted this to Araragi but he failed. Putting Yotsugi close to him as a restraint also failed. Kagenui is missing, Kaiki isn’t showing up, Oshino’s whereabouts are unknown and the situation is at a dead end. Thus she has no choice but to act. So she is going to stop it by putting an end to Araragi’s actions. Araragi may not have intentions to act but without Yotsugi, he has that potential to act. Besides, he has his other side that is most likely to act. Either way, that potential for him to act makes it dangerous. But she has a solution. He must die. She cuts him down with the original Oddity Killer sword that was supposed to be eliminated a long time ago. Araragi wakes up in a strange place. Before him is Hachikuji who jokes that today’s punch line is about him failing to go take his exam and thus he failed.

Paranoid Story
Oh well. What a fine mess that Araragi has gone into. Since this is relatively a Monogatari Series, there are some parts which I don’t really understand. It is perhaps more ‘enjoyable’ for me compared to the other series is because it is short and each episode are not related to each other. Even the penultimate and final episodes are not technically related to one another. Each stories are standalones so if you don’t really see them in order, you won’t lose much. Of course if you haven’t seen the entire Monogatari Series, you’ll still be at a lost. I guess I’m the worst since I have been following it since Bakemonogatari and still can’t come to understand the deeper aspects. Although I did find out that each of the stories here are actually in chronological order throughout the Monogatari Series’ timeline and they do play important roles in the Owarimonogatari instalment. Too big of a gap for me to put the pieces together.

Now, the other aspect that makes it much different than the other entries in the Monogatari Series is that how each of the ‘problems’ are not supernatural or oddity based. While it might sound and look like one, the eventual answer (or punch line-cum-epilogue as narrated always by Araragi) has nothing to do with the supernatural but using common sense. In fact, some of the answers I could actually guess correctly and because of that I feel smart and proud! As though like it was trying to tell us that we might be just overthinking stuffs as the solution is just a simple one. Making us paranoid, huh? So perhaps this might be the point that either fans will love or hate. As Monogatari Series has been dealing with great supernatural and oddity stories all the while, to have an entry that has nothing to do with it feels like a slap in the face. On the other hand, this non-supernatural solution gives a fresh take and twist and easier for dumb people like me to understand and enjoy.

I would love to dub this series as Koyomi No Harem No Monogatari (Koyomi’s Harem Story) since each episode dedicates a ‘problem’ to a girl in his unofficial harem. You can tell which girl is featured from the opening credits animation (more about this later). Though, the some of the girls do appear more than once later in the epilogue punch line segment to help Araragi answer the question at hand. With that said, I noticed that there is a girl that hasn’t popped up. Remember Sodachi Oikura who made her debut in the first season of Owarimonogatari? Remember that childhood friend of Araragi? Not a single appearance of her. I guess this means she wasn’t meant to be part of his harem since at the end of her story, she transferred away to another school. Also, there was another girl, Rouka Numachi from the Hanamonogatari section but I suppose she was more involved with Kanbaru than Araragi so it’s understandable she isn’t in here. So these cute girls aren’t in his harem but Kagenui and Gaen are? Oh wait. Why am I assuming they are part of his harem?!

Speaking of the opening credits animation, they are nothing new as they are taken from the openings from previous instalments. Some of the catchier ones I remember vividly like Senjougahara’s Staple Stable, Sengoku’s Renai Circulation, Tsukihi’s Platinum Disco, Shinobu’s Mein Schatz and Yotsugi’s Orange Mint. There are no opening themes for Kagenui and Gaen since I suppose sh*t was going to get real. Ah, so I suppose they aren’t truly part of Araragi’s harem anyway. Wait. What the heck am I thinking? The only new song is the ending theme, Whiz by Trysail. Sounds like your typical genki anime pop. Just average and nothing extraordinary.

Overall, this series could be a hit or miss depending on how you like your Monogatari Series. It is somewhat like a light appetizer before the main dish that would see the end of the entire series. This little series entry did give me some motivation and hope that I will be able to enjoy the final instalment although in reality I doubt the opposite will be very much true. Unique or confusing, every story is up to each of us to interpret and come to our own conclusions. If only the solutions to the supernatural are as easy as this, the story itself would not have been so interesting in the first place. Araragi getting into all sorts of troubles and hence making the stories in all the series amazing and interesting, is that an oddity itself?

Time to adapt another RPG fantasy. Although fantasy genres are one of the top categories in my anime preferences, Granblue Fantasy The Animation might look like a typical and ordinary RPG game being given the anime treatment (it goes all the way back to Ragnarok The Animation over a decade ago) and nothing really extraordinary that stands out. At least from a synopsis point of view. A young adventurer who is in his teens and his merry party going on an adventure of a lifetime. From fighting the forces of evil to saving the people along the way, infused with lots of magic and fantasy elements, what made me really look forward to it was its game developer, Cygames. No, I have not played any of its games, mind you. So? They also made that freaking awesome Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis which was also adapted from a game they made. So this has also got be so awesome, right?

Episode 1
On an Empire army’s airship, Lieutenant Katalina Alize is taking Lyria to flee. Lyria’s pendant glows and blows her out of the ship. Conveniently the forests below cushion her fall. Seriously, can anyone actually survive a fall from that height? In the sleepy village below, Gran and his dragon (or is it lizard or fox) pet, Vyrn see the airship’s explosion. Gran tries to be a hero to investigate. He finds Lyria nice and in one piece. They quickly get to know each other because we have to move the plot along. Like how a couple of Empire soldiers have found them and wants Lyria handed back to them. Any normal kid who doesn’t want the wrath of the government would definitely do so but remember, Gran is main character material. So he fights and takes Lyria to run. Those guards must be useless for them to even lose to a kid like him. Of course there are more competent ones and that is why conveniently Katalina finds them in time to give them her much needed battle aid. Katalina briefly explains Lyria is a special girl that has been held captive in the Empire for a long time and is now chasing her down. Katalina doesn’t want Gran to get involved further but you know, main character. It is his duty to see them safely off this island. Whatever. Doesn’t it boil you blood to see those soldiers threatening and forcing villagers to help in their search? Yeah, time to really establish them as the bad guys. A few ass kicking here and there till the big boss of the ship, Captain Pommern finds her (typical baddie sex maniac look). He uses his trump card, the multi-headed dragon, Hydra to get things done. And that’s the problem with Gran trying to be a hero. He gets killed! OMG! Main character dies in first episode?! Game over?! Not so fast. With everyone so sad and Pommern commenting this casualty will be the only thing they’ll get off lightly compared to countless chaos and destruction when a certain person unleash her powers, Lyria then uses her power to bring Gran back from the dead! Together they summon a badass dragon, Bahamut!

Episode 2
Feel the awesome might of Bahamut because its blast almost destroys the mountain! Pommern is so scared that he orders the retreat. Reprieve for now. Once the threat is gone, Bahamut which is part of Lyria’s power, vanishes. Then Gran collapses. Don’t tell me he died again. Flashback to young Gran. He treasured a letter from his father that he has reached the ends of the skies, the Island of the Astrals. It is Gran’s dream to be a skyfarer like him. Gran wakes up much to Lyria’s relief. Katalina now expands her explanation of what is going on. The Empire has been researching the power of primal crystals to expand its domain. Lyria is that key. Katalina pitied her for being locked out and wanted to show her how big the sky was. Lyria’s power comes from the primal crystals as she is able to control Primal Beasts, relics of the Astrals. Unfortunately she has no prior memories before the Empire woke her up. How convenient and expected. So if it wasn’t Lyria’s magic that revived Gran (because apparently no magic in this world can do that), what did? Lyria merged her life force with his. Erm, doesn’t that sound like magic? Heck, it isn’t science that’s for sure. In short, they cannot be separated too far from one another or they’ll die. Geez, I guess this gives him a big excuse to go adventuring with her, eh? Especially of his dream to head to the Astrals and solve the mystery of the Astrals. And also take responsibility thingy. So that’s why when the villagers throw them a feast, he tells them he will be going on a journey with these beautiful ladies (and his lizard pet is coming too for the sake of the series’ mascot). Well, everyone agrees as it was to be expected. Except for his old friend-cum-rival, Aaron. Yeah, who is going to be around to pick on? Thankfully it is solved since Gran promises he will come back. So the next day, the quartet being their adventure. If Katalina wasn’t such a terrible pilot, they would have had a smooth take off. And it will be just hilarious if she didn’t climb in time and they crashed into the mountains! End of adventure! Holy sh*t!

Episode 3
I believe Katalina is really a bad pilot. She crash lands on the island of Eingana. The plane is a wreck though luckily they are in one piece. This guy passing by, Rackam even complains how a perfectly good ship is ruined. They head to the main town to find a passenger ship for their next journey but everything is fully booked. As Katalina tries to look for more available flights, the rest look around town. Gran’s fascination with airships attracts Rackam’s attention because he too loves them. Though, he has his reasons why he can’t fly them anymore. Currently he spends time fixing them. He has taken the liberty to haul back their wreck and if he manages to fix it, they can fly it. Free of charge. His only condition is to find a better helmsman. A couple of weirdoes, Drang and Sturm approach them. It seems they know about Katalina. Immediately they think they are part of the Empire despite not in uniform. They start running while being chased through the maze-like alleys. Gran wants to be a hero again by fending them off so Lyria could go find Katalina. I’m not sure how big this town is or how far they should be separated but don’t you think it risks them dying? Luckily they won’t have to since Rackam guides them through the underground sewers. Conveniently they pop out where Katalina is. Rackam doesn’t want to get further involved and leaves. Katalina learns what is going on and feels the need to make haste off this island. Then this petite Harvin kid, Siero knows an offer of a used airship on sale. Even if it is affordable, no one knows how to fly an airship. Well, there is a free helmsman sitting around. That’s Rackam, right? So they go find his base outside town. You can’t miss it. It’s that huge used airship sitting there. They have to start hiding when this bratty Harvin, Furias and his army planning to blow up town for humiliating him! Those opposing his intention gets killed! This horrifying sight gives Gran and co’s position away. Furias orders to fire there. Luckily they have escaped but now that they are known, Furias is pleased to see Katalina the traitor in the flesh. He can tell she was trying to escape this island on that used airship and mocks that piece of junk can’t fly. He isn’t laughing when Rackam is taking pot shots at them from a distance.

Episode 4
Gran and co retreat down the old underground passage. Rackam leads them back to his home. When Gran tells of their request, he has to turn them down. He points out to that used airship, Grandcypher. It was abandoned for a long time and it was his dream to fix and helm it. Over the years, he scavenged parts and repaired it and when it came to fly it, a storm took it out. Ever since, he couldn’t get it to start. Superstitiously it could be that Grandcypher didn’t choose him to fly it. Until he takes off with her, he has no intention to fly other airships. When they go to town to look for other options, Drang and Sturm once again offer to give them a lift off this island in exchange for Lyria. Once again they turn them down. I guess the only way is to fight. However a freak storm hits the place. Drang and Sturm retreat knowing that this is part of Furias’ plan to destroy the island. The storm is wreaking havoc all over as everyone takes shelter in the sturdy town hall. There is one airship left at the dock enough to carry women and children off but the helmsman is injured. Rackam has no choice but to fly it. However it is shot down by Furias! He then arrogantly explains how this place has a wind goddess named Tiamat. After prodding it, Tiamat got angry and unleashed her stormy fury as the people had forgotten about her by reaping its benefits without returning any offerings. Lyria believes she can stop Tiamat although her powers cannot reach her from here. I guess somebody needs to fly an airship close enough. Is there any available airship? So what makes Rackam think he can operate Grandcypher now? He believes Grandcypher was trying to teach him that he shouldn’t be arrogantly operating it alone. Perhaps it was for a time like this. And miraculously it starts up. Time to appease the heavens.

Episode 5
As they head closer to Tiamat, she senses them and attacks them with… Lasers? You bet with Rackam at the helm, Grandcypher can easily dodge them. When they’re close enough, Lyria tries to communicate with Tiamat but it seems she isn’t listening. It could be that pendant on her chest controlling her. Lyria wants to use the power of Bahamut. So what does Gran do? He jumps off the ship and heads up to Tiamat and strikes that pendant! Tiamat is free as she saves Gran from free-fall. When the wind calms down, Tiamat gives Lyria a stone gift. They return to the island and remind the people to reflect on their actions so as not to let this happen again. When Lyria and Gran touch the stone, they see visions of a certain location. Siero says it is a piece of a Sky Map, legacies of the Astrals. You need to gather all pieces to pass through Grim Basin that divides the skydoms. The location they saw could be Fremel Island on Valtz Duchy. Gran talks to Rackam and hopes he could be their helmsman. Learning Gran wants to go to the Astrals, he agrees. Katalina is worried she got another person involved but since Grandcypher is now moving, he wants to show it different skies. But their next destination is Valtz Duchy as Siero informs a client there wants to meet them for a job. The Empire doesn’t have influence there so they can decide after meeting the client. Oh, Gran is made the captain of this new merry crew because why not?

Episode 6
At Valtz, why is Siero also here?! Because she is everywhere and nowhere at once! So deep? It it’s just creepy. Siero brings them to meet a guy from the government intelligence who hopes they would lend him a hand. Their archduke Tzaka is missing and rumours has it that he has been kidnapped by the Empire and hence they cannot move so freely. But the people are starting to get suspicious. And because everyone is so nice wanting to help, Gran agrees to take up this request. First they ask the townspeople for information. They get a lot of contradicting detail. Tzaka is loved by the people as he works hard for the country. At the same time, some say he is making a mass weapon of destruction as he has been gathering resources lately. Next day they decide to venture to the outskirts for further investigation. They know someone has been tailing them yesterday but don’t need to bother to flush her out since she is being ‘bullied’ by the trolls. After saving her, Io explains she is Tzaka’s mage who taught her magic and she thought they knew something about his disappearance. She knows her master’s kindness and doesn’t believe he is capable of doing something bad. She decides to join them in their investigation. The more helping hands, the better, no? Io could sense Tzaka’s magic at some old stone quarry. It reveals a hidden underground factory. But guess who they find? Drang and Sturm! Don’t worry. They’re not here to fight. They are here only to accompany their master, the supreme advisor of the Empire and one of the 7 Luminary Knights, the Black Knight. The armour looks heavy… She claims they have been wrongly accused because the Empire funded a joint research proposed by Tzaka. They are looking for him since he disappeared with the research results. It has something to do with incorporating primal crystals into a machine. She warns them it is Lyria who is being targeted by him. Sounds familiar? A machine beast powered by Tzaka’s magic attacks them. Io tries to speak to her master but I don’t think he is listening.

Episode 7
They get away via a small passage. Io laments her voice isn’t reaching Tzaka so Lyria plays the motivational speaker not to give up. They follow Tzaka’s magic that leads them to a giant armoured creature, Colossus. Lyria could sense some Primal Beast within. When Tzaka shows himself, he is ranting about protecting Valtz. Thus he wants Lyria with the power to control primal crystals to activate Colossus. Watching Black Knight orders her doll, Orchis to infuse her power into Colossus to test. Colossus activates and attacks. I believe normal attacks can penetrate its armour. Not even summoning Bahamut for Gran put a scratch. Lyria then summons Tiamat to power up Io. The weapons of the rest also power up as now they have a fighting chance to take down Colossus. In the end, Io’s power takes it down. Tzaka is distraught over his failure so Io lectures him about protecting Valtz this way. Tzaka regrets doing so. As Tzaka recuperates, Io explains how after her parents died, she stopped caring. That is when Tzaka picked her up and brought back her smiles. He introduced her to magic and became her father figure. Wait. Lyria is crying over her story? Well, she is sad she doesn’t even know her own parents and feels for Io what it’s like if she loses Tzaka. Tzaka was ‘obsessed’ with Io’s smile because he views a nation has no future if its children cannot smile. With so many problems, how can one keep smiling? That’s why he wanted some kind of power to protect his people. Someone approached him and gave him this so called power source. His memories aren’t clear after that but he knows he did a mistake. It is his fault since he made the choice. Lyria gives him a Sky Map fragment from Colossus but he wants her to keep it. Touching it, they see visions of a blue island in the middle of an ocean. Could it be Auguste Isles? Next day as Tzaka sees them off, looks like Io is also coming along with them. She is going to be the best magician, as strong and dependable as Tzaka to protect the smiles. Since everybody agrees with it, welcome aboard our new party member.

Episode 8
The gang stops by an island for supplies. Siero thanks them for letting her hike on their ship and tells them about a client who has a request to find some ruins. Maybe Gran sucks reading the map. Finally they are at the entrance of the ruins when the ground caves in. I wonder how Vyrn can ‘fall’ since he is always flying. The party is separated. But Gran and Lyria can somewhat sense each other thanks to their shared life force. However, in their bid to reunite, they seem to be sensing each other all over the place. Luckily Lyria has Katalina by her side. You don’t know how many times she has been saved from all the traps she fell into. On Gran’s side, they stumble into a couple of treasure hunters, Mary and Karva fighting a sand golem. Care to join in? All their attacks are useless since it is made of sand and it regenerates quickly. What is the only way to deal with sand? Io summons her water magic to harden it before Mary tosses her bomb. Because she misses, Gran slam dunks into it! Conveniently Lyria comes sliding down to him. Now that everyone is here, they enter the chamber that the golem was guarding. Wow! Lots of gold! But what attracts Gran is a sword in the middle. When he pulls it out, it is shining shinier than all the gold! Then poof! All the gold turn into sand. Boo hoo! Because the ruins ‘disappeared’, Siero apologizes she can’t pay them because technically it isn’t found. Gran thought he could cheer up the treasure hunter duo by giving the sword but they don’t need it. Besides, they have got to keep a better treasure: Their lives and their friendship. But Karva didn’t learn her lesson as she plans to drag Mary into their next dangerous adventure.

Episode 9
Lyria dreams of all her comrades died. And the culprit is… HERSELF! Landing on Auguste, the beach could have been picturesque if not for some smelly blobs polluting it. They are told to stay away from it by an old guy, Eugen. Seems Rackam knows him from a long time ago. Eugen thought Rackam is here with his family. So wrong. As he takes them back to the beautiful capital of Mizarea, he explains Auguste is currently at war with the Empire as they have been dumping their experiment wastes here. He is confident they will win since they have the guardian deity Leviathan on their side. Our party makes themselves useful with Io volunteering to heal the injured, Katalina will train the people to fight better and Rackam (reluctantly) help tune some ships. What about Gran and Lyria? Why, they probably got the best job ever: Going out shopping. Well, if it doesn’t look like a date and if they’re too shy to admit it, I guess we’ll settle it as sightseeing. Nothing really much happening with today’s most ‘explosive’ thing is Katalina in the kitchen. Yeah, it’s really a disaster when she’s there. Never let her cook… Gran has time to even buy Lyria a blue charm. More precious moments, more special memories, I guess. And then he made the mistake of going to finish the last chore himself instead of taking her along. She gets kidnapped. Gran rushes to find her and when he does, why the heck does he need to shout her name and give himself away?! Chase all he want but the waterways are pretty much like dead ends to those not navigating on boats. Yeah, she’s gone. And all you can do now is scream her name.

Episode 10
The Empire’s ships led by Pommern also attacks the place. Lyria is brought to him as he tries to put some guilt in her mind that all this happened because she ran away from them. Lyria still resists him so he continues to remind her that she is a tool that destroys. He jogs her memory of her being some test subject and there were many other test subjects with her. What happened to them? They all died. Therefore as a weapon that destroys, she cannot walk in public or go travelling with her friends. They’ll all end up dead because of her. Hence the only safe place is in the Empire where they can control her destructive nature. You think Lyria will give in this time, right? Nope. But what makes her closer to that? Pommern destroys her blue charm. By the time Gran comes in and kicks all the soldiers’ ass (the entire troops are just useless), he gets even angrier seeing Lyria’s tears. That’s it. You’re gonna pay. At the same time, Leviathan wakes up and wreaks havoc by gunning down the Empire’s ships. Gran charges towards Pommern and not even a shot to his shoulder could slow him down as he gives a flying kick in his face to send him down into the sea!!! Leviathan then causes a massive tsunami engulfing everyone before returning to the sea. Thanks to Rosetta, she pulls out Gran and Lyria.

Lyria is in a comatose state and not responding as Rosetta explains to the gang that she has blocked off her mind like as though she is trying to protect something. Trying to force wake her might make it worse. This state of hers has nothing to do with the awakening of Leviathan as it became aggravated from the Empire’s constant pollution. Right now the only thing they can do is talk to Lyria but their words aren’t reaching her. You know what? Only Gran will be able to do it. Not because he is just main character but remember their lives are linked. She can tell them how but since some are sceptical about Rosetta, they need time to think. Katalina tells Gran about Lyria’s state before they met. She saw once the army conducted some dark research on Lyria as a weapons development programme on an uninhabited island. Some monsters as test subjects went berserk when received some dark essence. She isn’t sure what Lyria summoned but it was enough to destroy the entire island. It was deemed that she be confined and isolated so she wouldn’t lose control again. Katalina was then put in charge to look after her. At first Lyria acted more like a robot than human. But with Katalina spending time with her, she soon opened up herself and became interested in knowing more about the outside world. The rest is history. Safe to say that after meeting Gran, she changed tremendously. Gran blames himself for not being able to protect her. But Katalina feels it is her own fault for letting this happen to them. After Gran talks to the rest of his crew, he finally decides to take action. He talks to Rosetta he wants to save Lyria (obviously) so she will take him to the Primal Beast with the power to help him. So early next morning, they depart to the lush jungle in the Lumacie Archipelago.

Episode 11
Arriving at a tree in Lumacie, Rosetta brings them to a Primal Beast, Yggdrasil. They are quite acquainted with each other. She will help Gran enter Lyria’s mind. Before he dives in, Io gives Gran the blue charm. She fixed it back with Vyrn. Can he bring that into her mind? Gran finds Lyria reading books inside a huge library. She claims they contain her lost memories. The reason she doesn’t want to remember them is because they all bring misfortune. And so begins the ‘debate’ of Lyria blaming herself and at fault for everything (examples cited: Katalina lost her position in the Empire and Gran was killed the first time they met) while Gran tries to argue otherwise. So now Lyria thinks she has to disappear in order to ‘save’ everyone from future disasters. She is going to eject him out of her mind and will give all her life to him. Bye. The charm drops out and it calms her down. Really, how did that get into her mind? Chance for Gran to persuade her she didn’t destroy but created their bond, this journey. As simple as that, Lyria goes back with him and an oddly coloured rainbow as cue to make a vow they’ll always be there to protect each other. With Lyria waking up and Yggdrasil becoming part of her power, time for an emotional reunion. But it is cut short since Pommern is hunting Lyria down. Another round of argument that Lyria is a weapon versus Lyria is human. Pommern uses his crystal to control the wild animals and target them. But they are held down by Rosetta’s vines. With Lyria powering up Gran and the rest backing him, he is able to destroy the crystal. Lyria then summons Tiamat and blow all the baddies away. Rosetta is nowhere to be seen but Gran has a hunch they will see her again in the future. Lyria explains she heard Leviathan’s voice it wants to protect its land and the people but the pollution made it too weak to protect even itself and go berserk. I guess it’s decided. Next mission: Return to Auguste and save Leviathan.

Episode 12
Just in time. Leviathan is attacking the city and unleashing an army of, uhm, flying demon fish? Lyria can feel that Leviathan is trying to purify the sea but in order to do that, it is forced to take life of others, something it doesn’t want to do. But summoning the monster fish has only made it weaker. So I guess we have to keep those fish at bay, huh? How is Gran and his little merry company going to destroy all the fish? Don’t worry, there are other heroes who will help them. Aside Mary and Karva, the rest of the debutants look like weirdoes worthy enough to join an RPG party. Among them include a twin sword wielding sexy bikini furry, a twin sword wielding chibi uncle, a sword wielding butterfly girl, a sharp shooting lady, a cannon shooting lady, a strong manly uncle, a young lad who shoots lightning out of his fists, a short princess with a tall crown and a holy spear lady. Wow. Really diverse casts here. With Leviathan turning the monster fish into deadly whirlpool attacks, Eugen believes there is a commander among the monster fish. Easy to find out because it acts differently from the rest. So after he shoots it down, all other monster fish disappear. Cue for Lyria to use Yggdrasil’s power to help power up Gran as he destroys that cancerous crystal beneath Leviathan’s throat. There. The day is saved. Leviathan is absorbed into Lyria and what do they get from all this? A Sky Map. However the Black Knight has Orchis steal part of Leviathan’s powers from Lyria. Lyria wants to know more about Orchis but the Black Knight doesn’t feel it is that time yet. Bye. Naturally with the city saved, everyone celebrates a job well done. Eugen comes to ask Gran if there is any recruitment in his crew. Yeah. He wants to join. There is someone he needs to deal with and after witnessing Gran in action, he believes he can do it. He promises not to get in their way. Okay. You’re in. And so our heroes leave Auguste with the happy crowd cheering on them.

Episode 13
This is a filler episode and definitely an alternate setting. Instead of Gran, it is this cute girl, Djeeta who found Lyria instead. So all the adventures so far are the same, except replace scenes of Gran with Djeeta. I guess we need some lesbianism. Plus, they have recruited a whole bunch of new members from Mary to Rosetta and that bunch of weirdoes in the previous episode. They are on Auguste and Siero thanks them for helping with the opening his new shop by allowing them to go on vacation here. And so we have got our swimsuit fanservice fix with the ladies playing on the beach as well as seeing Lyria being a big eater. Yes, she has big servings of food and still wants more! But it’s down to the main ‘plot’ for this episode. Seems the resorts are running out of ice and the supplier isn’t telling why. As usual, our gang has to go investigate the cause because goodwill. So they investigate the cave where the natural ice comes from. There are lots of low level drones obstructing them but Djeeta cuts them down like as though it is training day. It makes you think those drones are made in China… To their horror, they discover Pommern and his soldiers trying to steal ice. What else? Fight! When the other female members arrive, I guess they get so violent that we can’t even see how they beat the sh*t out of their enemies. It must be. Because Katalina covers Lyria’s eyes and we can see from Pommern’s face how shocked he is from what he saw. Yeah, it scares the sh*t out of them as they run away. And so the day is saved. They have their shaved ice reward while watching the fireworks. Life is good. Adventuring is good.

Adventuring For Life
Well… It wasn’t all that bad but it wasn’t all that good either. Nothing really extraordinary that makes it feel very different from other similar RPG adapted into anime since the adventure is just taking off and lots of potentials and developments are abound from the way I see it as the series ends. At least this coming from a casual viewer and one who doesn’t even play the game. Heck, I never knew it existed until I heard of the anime. Not that I am interested to play after watching it either even knowing this came from the same creators who made Shingeki No Bahamut. Even I didn’t even play that one. So honestly if you ask me, Shingeki No Bahamut still is a better fantasy action adventure. Sure it has another season but the first season was much more awesome than this anime so to speak.

I don’t know but I’m starting to see a pattern here despite its short single cour season. Every time Gran and his party land at some destination, they try to help out the locals with whatever trouble. So once they solve the trouble and usually there is some Primal Beast involved, Lyria will absorb it into her crystal. And then they’ll receive a Sky Map as clue for their next destination. In the meantime, they obtain a new crew member. So if this trend keeps up, Gran will have hundreds of crew members and Lyria possessing powers of hundreds of Primal Beasts by the time he reaches the Astrals! I’m sure Grandcypher can accommodate them all. Or Rackam is going to need to build a bigger ship.

Well, it is going to be a very long journey after all. A journey that may last a lifetime and Gran might never return back to his hometown. Assuming his hometown is really at the far end of where he is heading. So why is it when some adventurer choose a destination to go, it must be very far away? Of course. If it was close by and easy to access, it wouldn’t have been such a legendary place to be. And yes, this is your basic plot to stop on all the different towns and locations along the way for all sorts of adventure. It wouldn’t be so fun if everything ended so quickly, would it?

The characters are a great potential to turn this series interesting and it is unfair to judge everything with just over a dozen of episodes. I didn’t play the game but I am very sure that the characters would be better fleshed out there. And with so much more potential characters as seen, things are going to be a lot lively. Some would be a hit and some would be a miss but Gran’s party would definitely be in the highlight because you know, why have a game/series named after somebody then? Alternatively if you have too many crew members as seen in the alternate setting of Djeeta, many would just make their cameos and nothing much is focused on them. After all, it is just only a single episode and there is hardly anything to develop and pack it in.

For Gran, it is very hard for me to truly look at him as a genuine character because he just reeks of typical main character material and cliché. He is young, he has got his set of justice and ideals to believe in and he is racking up friendships and crew members wherever he goes. The more the merrier? I believe Gran doesn’t have the best fighting ability in his crew. Even Rackam who shoots his gun feels like he is a better fighter in this sense. Heck, I don’t think Gran is even a very well trained swordsman. He gets some little power up help from Lyria and his awesome luck seems to have him defeat Empire soldiers. Yeah, speaking of which, it makes them look like ridiculous fools. Fully armoured from head to toe and with at least basic training, how the f*ck can they lose to such a greenhorn kid? Yeah… Because main character. See how hard it is not to stray away from that? I can’t say much about Djeeta since she makes her appearance in the final episode. She looks pretty decent and a bit retarded if you ask me as she is more of the brawns kind of character as you can see how easily she swings and destroys with her sword. But it is too early to judge her.

It is also hard for me not to see Lyria as a useless damsel in distress. Basically she needs to be so protected especially by Katalina and Gran because you’ll never know when those sneaky Empire bastards would just pop up and take her away. Without them, it’s as easy as taking candy from a baby. It’s like an entire game with that dreaded escort mission, know what I’m saying? I know she has a terrible past in which it unfortunately becomes her life sentence. I really do sympathize with her and hence to prove she is not a weapon and is just as human as any ordinary one, we see her grow her emotions and bonds among the crew members. Otherwise she is more of a support role during fights. Other than that, this cheery lady (when she’s not in gloom mood, that is) feels more like a side character whom viewers are waiting for the day when Gran x Lyria romance would materialize but know better it will never happen. But come to think about it, since Gran shares her life force, wouldn’t it be weird if they start making out because it’s like masturbating, playing with yourself? Oh sh*t! STOP!

The other crew members are okay, each having their own reasons to join Gran and his journey. Like Katalina feels like a big sister and big mother for Lyria. It’s like to show that the Empire aren’t made up of all bad people (despite many of them are as we are shown to believe they are big dicks – heartless Pommern and cruel Furias as your cliché examples) because with Katalina’s defection, at least we have this diversity of someone who knows a bit of the in and out of the Empire. I feel there is this odd relationship going on between Io and Rackam. Could it be there is some sort of romance sparking off between them? Gasp! Sure or not? Well, they often quarrel and make a mountain out of a molehill. What does this kind of sign tell you? It feels weird because their physical appearances don’t match their age. Rackam is a young man but looks a bit like an ossan while Io is a grown lady despite looking like a loli. I can see the danger if they ever get into a relationship because it would look like some sort of sick pedo thingy. Yeah…

I believe that Eugen joined Gran’s crew is because he is trying to hunt down his daughter which is greatly hinted as either the Black Knight or Orchis. I’m betting my money on the former. So it’s some family thing. Same thing with Rosetta. It is greatly hinted that she was on Gran’s father’s crew, thus the reason she helps him out without hesitation. As the most mysterious character in Gran’s crew (at least based on the opening and ending credits animation), Rosetta is shown to have popped up from time to time even way back at Eingana. She often watches over Gran. Why is she doing this? Could she better off somewhere else or at Gran’s father’s side? I don’t know, could it be that she is a ghost? And that Gran’s father is also dead? I mean, he is conveniently ‘missing’ despite the letter saying he has reached the Astrals. Come to think of it, if Astrals is such a faraway place and the letter reached Gran when he was young, would he be dead by now? Oh f*ck all that logic. Just send Siero to do the impossible. That Harvin kid defies all logic. He is like the unofficial crew member of Gran because he goes wherever he goes, pops up wherever and whenever he wants because apparently this entire world supplies are supplied by him. Yeah, everywhere and nowhere… Mind blown? More like mind f*cked. Since he is opening shops all over the place wherever the crew goes, will the Astrals finally have a shop there? Only time will tell…

Speaking about animal mascots and comic relief, I guess that is what Vyrn is. Basically he is the most useless character, even more useless than Lyria. I feel that his main roles is primarily to complain seeing that he has a bit of pessimism in his personality. I guess everyone doesn’t mind because he is cute. Wait. Nope. Not in my books. Man, he looks ugly this dragon or lizard whatever. The other comic relief is Drang who often reveals more than he should and thus often gets poked by Sturm. It’s their running joke. Heck, she even pokes him for no reason. It’s like she enjoys it. So whatever the Black Knights and her subordinates’ plans are, are yet to be seen and from my guts they aren’t the real antagonists despite that menacing and ominous looking armour.

Action wise, I feel it is pretty decent although somewhat predictable. Not to say that it is boring but it is anything hardly exciting because Gran and co basically use the same moves over and over again. I mean, how much more can Gran swing his sword? He has it only powered up if Lyria does so and even so that just makes his swing have more power. Then we have Rackam shooting his gun, Io using her magic and Katalina using a mix of her sword and magic of it and that’s about it. And of course they’ll prevail over whatever monsters and especially the useless Empire troops because they are main characters. Otherwise game over, no? It’s a shame that with Lyria accumulating lots of Primal Beasts, I believe I remember seeing Bahamut only once and that is when it first appeared. Maybe it was bidding its time in the other series, Shingeki No Bahamut? Just kidding. No, seriously. I thought both series are going to have some sort of connection with this dragon and maybe a crossover somehow. The more Primal Beasts Lyria has, the less she uses Bahamut because it’s like the big bad beast and using it would harm others, right? Well, with great powers come great responsibility. Now that Lyria knows her past, all the more to be cautious in using it.

I need to mention something about the art style visuals. Personally… It’s not that good. Okay, let me try to explain. I have this feeling (though it may be wrong) that they might be trying to emulate that pencil colour style visual trademark of Senjou No Valkyria. But it isn’t close to that here. The artwork of the characters looks very sketchy at some points and it is quite obvious. Like as though they were rushing to get this episode out or they were short of hands and employed some amateurs to do the job and thus some of the unimportant scenes are left unpolished and rough. Otherwise, it is the background and sceneries that steal the limelight as they look gorgeous with all those fantasy elements. Some may look sketchy too but it is better looking than the characters. CGI is also used sparingly especially on the bigger monsters but they don’t seem as bad or disrupt the blend with the 2D animation.

Also I want to add that the character designs feel a bit average and plain. Like Gran whose outfit is just really plain. Just slap on a few armour here and he is ready for a lifetime adventure. And why does Lyria look like she is going to dangerous places in her sleeping negligee. Oh, Katalina’s armour might look plain just to show her curves. Because you don’t want to be so overdesigned like the Black Knight whose armour is so intimidatingly ‘heavy’ that you wonder if it is for aesthetic rather than practical purposes. I guess that’s why Io’s dress doesn’t really make her look like a mage with just simple designs. Rosetta’s dress makes her look like some Spanish/Latin girl who is just ready to go tango. And Pommern’s dress… Is he like, wearing a skirt?! No wonder he looks gay.

Voice acting feels okay with a few recognizable seiyuus like Rie Kugimiya as Vyrn, Miyuki Sawashiro as Katalina, Nao Touyama as Lyria, Yukari Tamura as Io, Romi Paku as the Black Knight and Tomokazu Sugita as Drang. Heck, I recognized a lot more of them making their cameos especially those heroes making their cameos fighting Leviathan such as Kana Hanazawa, Ai Nonaka, Rikiya Koyama, Shigeru Chiba and Kana Ueda. It has been such a long time since I heard Rie Tanaka so I didn’t know it was her as Rosetta. Did she come out of retirement? Then there is also Minori Chihara as Orchis but I could barely hear her so I didn’t pick her out. For the rest of the other casts I didn’t recognize, they are Yuuki Ono as Gran (Isami in Shokugeki No Souma), Hiroaki Hirata as Rackam (Sanji in One Piece), Kazuhiro Yamaji as Eugen (Jabberwock in Beelzebub), Kanae Itou as Sturm (Sanae in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Emiri Katou as Siero (Akatsuki in Log Horizon), Akiko Hasegawa as Mary (Rena in Ro-Kyu-Bu), Juri Kimura as Karva (Kyouko in Seiren), Hisako Kanemoto as Djeeta (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume) and Wataru Yokojima as Pommern (Alexander Lloyds in Tiger & Bunny). There is a whole bunch of much more seiyuus lending their voice to the many characters in the series despite many of them just make their cameos.

Hearing the opening theme, Go by Bump Of Chicken for the first time, because of all the bells, it made me feel like Christmas time! It doesn’t sound like a typical Christmas song but just hearing the bell sound effects just somehow remind me of Christmas. The ending theme, Sora No Parade by Haruhi feels like the singer is a bit sleepy while she was singing this song. This song in a way feels odd because the lyrics alternate between English and Japanese. If the first line is sung in English, then the next would be in Japanese. Repeat pattern. It’s like for people who are bilingual because if you understand your basic Japanese enough, you can tell that the lyrics are continuous, just that it is sung in a different language every alternate line.

Overall, another one of those typical and cliché RPG game adapted into anime. If you love fantasy, that would be its greatest selling point to watch the anime. Otherwise, I have this feeling you would be better off indulging in more and have more satisfaction by playing the game. So with Gran and his merry crew setting off an adventure of a lifetime and achieving his lifetime dream, it made me think in the end what if all the bad guys in video games and series were actually once young adventurers with dreams but they failed to achieve it? Holy crap! Just like how all evil queens in Disney movies could be young girls whom the hero or prince failed to save. The price to pay for a failed adventure…

Sousei No Onmyouji

November 4, 2017

Time for another exorcism anime. I wasn’t impressed the last time I watched an eastern style exorcism in Tokyo Ravens so I didn’t expect myself to catch Sousei No Onmyouji. It must be this hope thingy I had that it would be different. World has some sort of supernatural contaminant wreaking havoc. Exorcists purify them to protect the land and people. Young talented main protagonists with troubled past forced to be together. In fact they are forced into an arranged marriage because they will produce the most powerful Exorcist ever so to speak. Fight more evil supernaturals. Bond closer. Plot revelation. Plot twist. Plot filler. Conspiracy. Current world will soon be cleansed-cum-destroyed. Our heroes fight big bad final boss. The day is saved. I hope that is as different as it can get.

* Kegare: Literally Impurities. The so called antagonists of the series because they try to kill humans. Think of them like Bleach’s Hollow. The only way to fight them are for Exorcists to enter a gate called Magano to an alternate reality to destroy them.

* Rokuro Enmadou: Main lead male character. Fang boy. Loser in love. Hot tempered. Has a tragic past. The only survivor of Hinatsuki Tragedy. Because of that, doesn’t want to get involved or become an Exorcist. But sometimes he has to because of circumstances. Uses his powerful right arm to fight.

* Benio Adashino: Main lead female character. Stubborn, cold, quiet and distant. Has a tragic past. Comes from a respected family of Exorcists but her parents were killed while on duty and she witnessed it first-hand. Because of that, tries to become stronger to exact revenge. Uses twin blades and a mask to fight. Loves those sweet ohagi treats.

* Kinako: Benio’s fox familiar who helps sense Kegare nearby. Totally loyal to her to a point you might say he ‘carries her balls’. WTF did I just say… In additional to being a mascot character, also a comic relief character because his ‘sparring’ partner is Rokuro.

* Arima Tsuchimikado: The big boss of all the Exorcists in Japan. Quirky guy. Makes his first appearance only in his underwear. And yes, a pervert.

* Twin Star Exorcists: Arima had a vision that he saw the advent of a Miko who will once and for all end the endless war between Exorcists and Kegare. After pitting a ‘fight to the death’ battle between Rokuro and Benio, since both are equal in strength, this means that they are the Twin Star Exorcists who will marry and give birth to that said Miko. Oh yeah. An excuse for Rokuro and Benio to be put together and live together. See how they hate each other at first before learning and understanding each other and then… Well, you get the idea.

* Seika Dorm: Currently where Rokuro lives with his other Exorcist family members like Ryogo Nagitsuji, Atsushi Sukumozuka and Shinnosuke Kuzaki. Also old farts living there include Zenkichi Otomi and Kinu Furusato. And after the Twin Star Exorcists were announced, Benio is now made to move in and live with them. Boy, every day is going to get livelier. However subsequently Arima has the duo live in a big villa of his to further deepen their relationship. Well, it’s going to take some time…

* Mayura Otomi: Zenkichi’s granddaughter and Rokuro’s classmate and childhood friend. Busty. One-sided love. Now that Benio is in the picture… I can see where this is going…

* The Twelve Guardians: 12 most powerful Exorcists serving under Arima. They inherit the names and powers of the shikigami of Abe No Seimei.

* Shimon Ikaruga: The first of the Twelve Guardians to show up and also the youngest. Because of his similar age to Rokuro and Benio, Arima has him demonstrate his powers to motivate Rokuro.

* Seigen Amakawa: Can you believe it this guy, one of the Twelve Guardians who looks old enough to be your brother and with bags below his eyes is Mayura’s father?! He is also Rokuro’s mentor. Might come off first as a non-likeable person as he doesn’t mince his words and very harsh. But that’s the truth…

* Yuuto Ijika: Benio’s supposedly dead brother who was killed in an exorcism event. After their parent’s death, Yuuto was adopted into a different family, hence his different surname. His shocking return shows us he is now on the dark side and making it worse and more traumatic for Benio is that he confesses how much he hated her.

* Hinatsuki Tragedy: Rokuro and Yuuto once lived in this dorm with other Exorcist kids their age. 2 years ago, a tragedy struck the dorm and it is widely believed that Kegare attacked and killed everyone. However the dark truth behind was that Yuuto was dabbling in the dark forbidden arts. With the pretence of helping them get stronger, he actually used them as human experiments to turn them into Kegare. Yuuto is forced to kill and exorcise his friends and in the process gained that right arm of his. This trauma made him leave the exorcism profession. Until today. When he realizes he doesn’t want to lose his dorm family guys, his best bet is to get back into the exorcism profession and protect what is important to him.

* Stronger together: Benio’s eyes are now opened to the truth. Rokuro goes out of control while making his futile attacks against Yuuto. It took Benio to put a stop to Rokuro’s rampage. After calming down, Benio apologizes for all the misunderstanding. They vow to get stronger together as Exorcists with their new partnership. Though, marriage still not in sight yet…

* Subaru Mitejima: Another of the Twelve Guardians (along with Tatara – speechless bread crumbs loving fox guy whose emotions can be seen on his paper mask via emoji) sent by Arima to train the duo. If you smell something fishy about her ‘training’, then probably it is because they seem to be like stuffs you do on a date. Of course at the end of it all, it is to test and see how strong their bonds are and how much they trust each other.

* Basara: A more powerful and humanoid form of Kegare. Able to think and act on their own as they are mostly born out of humans’ negative emotions and sins. Think of them like Bleach’s Arrancar. Their powers are on par with the Twelve Guardians.

* Kamui: First Basara to appear. Apparently he is the one who killed Benio’s parents. Emotionless girl now goes into rage trying to get her revenge since this is what she has been living her life for. Too bad she is too weak. Then Rokuro steps in. They do a double power combo thingy enough to drive him away.

* To Love-Ru’s Momo: What the heck is she doing here? Actually, Mayura turned into a Kegare for some reason (probably out of jealous). No hope to save her, you say?

* Resonance: Apparently the ultimate spell that only the Twin Star Exorcists can pull off. By touching each other, they are able to hear Mayura’s inner voice crying for help. Resonance also amplifies and boosts their combined powers. It’s the only chance they have to save Mayura. And guess what? They pulled it off with also the power of love!

* RIP Seigen: Once again Yuuto is here to cause trouble. That Mayura thingy was part of his plan to make Rokuro stronger. Sorry to disappoint. As the Twin Star Exorcists have no power left, Seigen is all that left to fight Yuuto. At the cost of his life and orders from Arima to protect them (to the point he had to play the villain and strict ass to them), he self-destructs with Yuuto. Too bad all in vain because no damage to Yuuto. While Rokuro may have saved Seigen from death, he is in critical condition. Even if he survives and recovers, he can never become an Exorcist again.

* The choice is yours: Yuuto sees potential in Rokuro and offers him to join his side. Since Rokuro refuses, Yuuto threatens to turn everyone into Kegare like he did to Mayura. He gives a day for his answer.

* Exorcist Union: A group formed to defeat Yuuto. Consists of the Twelve Guardians. Oops. Make that 11 since Seigen has ‘retired’.

* Red Master Star Armour Talisman: A cool Exorcist suit that Seigen wore that Rokuro would love to have when he was younger. Now that he is ‘gone’, he passed it on to Rokuro. For the first time in a long time, Rokuro is hell bent on becoming a true Exorcist and kick Yuuto’s ass and end it all.

* Hinatsuki revisited: The battle with Yuuto at this place of memories. Even with new Resonance moves like World End Overlay and Crimson Meteor Smash, Yuuto still comes out unharmed thanks to his high levels of Kegare.

* Deal with the demon: After Yuuto destroys Benio’s legs, mocks her uselessness and leaves her to die at the hands of other Kegare, she is saved by Kamui who is willing to give her powers. Why? For fun. Seeing Yuuto getting beaten to a pulp by Yuuto, her options are limited. She wants the power to defeat Yuuto. The power to defeat Kamui. She has to fight her inner demons and flaws before getting a power up that looks anything more like beautiful than impure. Benio is now able to beat Yuuto to a pulp. Too bad it has a time limit. She reverts back to being a handicap. Who’s next for a beat down?

* Screaming punching bag: Yuuto and Rokuro start punching each other while screaming at the top of their lungs. Of course Rokuro has to win because he is main character and also this weird scene of dead Hinatsuki kids supporting his back. WTF… So powerful their punches that it could be bigger than an atomic bomb explosion, leaving a huge crater. Don’t worry. Nobody dies.

* Sealed fate of the unborn: Apparently despite their ‘victory’ the Twelve Guardians (technically 11 of them now) want to punish Twin Star Exorcists for doing something dangerous. Yeah, they think they could have handled it themselves had they waited for backup. After being told off all they need to do is marry and have a kid, Rokuro trolls everyone by wanting to marry Benio and make a kid right now! His point is, he isn’t going to let his kid bear that burden. He will end it all before that happens. So Arima gives him 2 years to achieve that since his premonition told him a big catastrophe will occur. Otherwise, back to making babies.

* New look: Rokuro spent all his money trying to win a prize just to get Benio a new hair accessory to replace the ones from Yuuto. The cutest smile ever seen.

* Debutants: Mayura debuts as an Exorcist. Expect lots of clumsiness. Also joining in is Haruka Kaibara, Ryogo’s girlfriend.

* Playing house: Well, 2 years is enough to change people. Rokuro is working harder, has more friends at school and even girls who rejected him are starting to look his way! And there are some things that don’t change. Like Benio’s poison cooking… Benio is even mulling the thought of having a baby with him! One mission in the Magano, they find a cute little girl unharmed, Sae. She learns things fast and takes a liking for Rokuro whom she calls him papa. And so with her living with them, they’re looking pretty much like a family now, eh?

* Dragon Spots: Holes in the Magano that allow Kegare to just walk into our world like a big parade and unleash miasma that either kill or turn ordinary people into their kind. And yeah, only Twin Star Exorcists can seal them. Only them.

* Ecto-1?: Apparently Kinako can possess some caravan do give Twin Star Exorcists a ride all over Japan to seal Dragon Spots.

* Suzu: WTF is this hip hop hard punk metal rapping Basara?! Currently her mission is to observe Sae. Nice to meet you, ‘jan!

* Moro: Another Basara who is super strong, super fast, super tough and likes eating delicious people.

* Yamato: Why is this Basara looking a lot like One Piece’s Do Flamingo?! Just make him dark skin and turn him into someone younger.

* Momochi & Chijiwa: Not exactly Basara twins but 2 people who make one whole.

* Kuranashi: The big bad Basara boss who wants to free Magano. So badass that he killed Momochi and framed it on Twin Star Exorcists so that he could fuel Chijiwa with anger and revenge.

* Shimon x Mayura?: He just helping this weakling to get stronger…

* Kinasa: Why does this Basara remind me of Yugioh’s Pegasus? Only, he doesn’t use cards but rifles and whips. WTF is he talking about hospitality?!

* Tenma Unomiya: The strongest of the Twelve Guardians. You mean he is a guy?! With that girly looks and cockroach-like hairstyle?! So powerful that all he has to do is open his mouth and say simple words (as easy as Open Sesame) to close the Dragon Spots!!! Heck, they should send this guy to do the sealing instead of Twin Star Exorcists.

* Ame No Mihashira: The HQ of Exorcist Union houses and protects this giant and powerful tree underground which is the barrier keeping apart reality and Magano. However one of its branches broke off and the reason Dragon Spots opened everywhere. The simple solution is to of course fix the branch and guaranteed no more Dragon Spots. But you know there is a catch, right? So where’s the missing branch? Sae! It’s going to be a tough decision for the ‘parents’. Save their ‘daughter’ or save millions of lives.

* Heavenly Blue Earth Ritual: Nobody wants to sacrifice a little girl, right? Plus, the tree won’t be stable if they force her. So we’re going with this method whereby the Twelve Guardians are going to be stationed at 6 different spots to seal the big Dragon Spot. As they will be paired, one will do the ritual and the other will fight off the hordes of Kegare trying to stop them. But since they are short of one member, Rokuro and Benio are tasked to help fend off for Tenma.

* Don’t count your chickens: Apparently the ritual backfired. It was just an illusion as the power they used to seal the Dragon Spot is used against them. All of them are now sealed. Rokuro and Benio try their Resonance but they ran out of power and it had no effect whatsoever.

* Back to your roots: I guess the only way left is for Sae to return becoming a branch. Lots of don’t-do-this from her ‘parents’ but Sae now remembers this and that and thanks them, blah, blah, blah. Once the branch is fixed, everything instantly reverts back to normal. Cue for more crying.

* Final gift: Sae also left a picture story book as her present to Rokuro and Benio, detailing all the smiles and things they do. How touching… NOOO!!! Why you have to make us cry some more???!!!

* Arima dead?: It is believed that Kuranashi killed Arima during their fight. Knowing he wouldn’t die this easy, the Twelve Guardians mount a search for him. However to no avail. Therefore Arima’s aid, Mikage Tsuchimikado will now become the new head of the Exorcist Union. Later he receives a vision from the oracle ‘confirming’ Arima is really dead. Time to go out on a revenge spree.

* Who am I:? Rokudo finally gets the courage to ask Seigen about his origins. He doesn’t have memories prior coming to Hinatsuki. So where did he come from? 10 years ago Seigen picked him up wandering inside Magano. No wonder Sae clicked so well with him…

* So you think you can dance: Suzu makes her appearance after a while as she reveals her new objective is to observe the Twin Star Exorcists. Not too sure about their talk regarding elegance and life goals, but when Suzu starts to scream to her death metal hell song, Benio takes this ‘hint’ as to try something never done before. So the Benio and Rokuro start dancing to this song?! WTF???!!! It looks so weird???!!! So out of place!!!!! If this was a reality TV, I bet they’ll be the first to be eliminated.

* Sakura Sada & Miku Zeze: Both from the Twelve Guardians have a grudge against Moro because she was responsible in killing the man who was Sakura’s father and Miku’s crush many years ago. With the power of love and perseverance, they finally get their vengeance.

* New kid in class: Shimon becomes a new transfer student in Rokuro and Benio’s class as he is under orders to protect Twin Star Exorcists. I guess they are still as weak as they are so much so they can’t even protect themselves. Yeah. Time for Rokuro to bug/harass him for training.

* Mass disappearance: One night, many Exorcists all over the country just suddenly disappeared. During the Dragon Spots incident, while the Exorcists were helping people, they unknowingly absorb miasma and accumulated them in their body. Now that the time is right, Kuranashi summons them all into Magano and has them write talismans that serve as natural armour for the Basara to be able to fight in the real world without the need of filling the surroundings miasma.

* Puppet master returns: With this ‘armour’, Chijiwa returns to avenge his twin on the Twin Star Exorcists. Sadly they’re so weak that Shimon had to intervene and fight him singlehandedly. Could have kicked his ass had not Chijiwa took the entire school as his puppet hostage. In fact he is going to kill everyone to make them feel the despair he felt before granting them death. But of course, he won’t have his way since Shimon transformed into his ultimate phoenix form to defeat him. And if Chijiwa is going to blow everything up, this is where Rokudo comes in to simultaneously attack and stop all the explosions. Huh?! There’s some explanation for this but still, huh?!

* Be careful who you call ugly: What’s this? Rokuro receiving a love letter? And from a girl who once rejected him? And now she wants to go out with him? Not to say Rokuro is having his last laugh. He feels awkward. Too bad he has to reject her. Maybe there is someone he likes… Wanna bet Benio and Mayura are spying over this?

* The proposal: Ryogo finally pops the question to Haruka. In short, they’re getting married. Nice kiss to go with that. Wanna bet the rest of the gang are spying over this? So are Rokuro and Benio inspired to do the same? Maybe after a lot of staring and blushing… But damn this next disaster had to strike…

* Rikujin Shinka: Thanks to all the Kegare distraction so far, Mikado realizes too late that strong spell powers has been placed around town. Enough to form a barrier around it. All electronic devices go kaput. The only way to stop this is this ritual, Rikujin Shinka that requires all Twelve Guardians. But remember, they are short of one. Mikado will step in as replacement. As they start the ritual, giant Kegare appear to stop them. However they cannot be cut down and regenerate easily. It is revealed it is all thanks to the kidnapped Exorcists’ extracted power and then infusing it into these giant Kegare. That power culminates causing a huge earthquake across town and causing he centre to rise up like a floating island. Though Kuranashi is behind this scheme, the main power source behind it all is Yuuto.

* Kingdom of Noto: Apparently that floating island isn’t something new and happened before. You guessed it. Kuranashi was behind that one too. So it sprouts a giant creepy flower with many creepy eyes, shoots tentacles that steals your life force (why does it have to be tentacles?) and also laser beams that will destroy the town. Such a fine mess…

* Kuranashi unmasked: For the first time he meets the Twin Star Exorcists, he unmasks himself. He has normal human eyes. The more Kegare absorbs those powers, the more human they become. So apparently Kuranashi is treating this like a game. Hence he tells them they have 2 hours to save the day or kingdom come early. Even explaining the mechanics of how the ‘game’ is supposed to work. You have to destroy the bulb that is buried underground to permanently destroy it otherwise any destroyed parts are just going to regenerate, wasting your efforts. This is going to be so much fun…

* On to the next generation: As Kuranashi takes down Seigen and Mayura who are supposed to destroy the bulb, Seigen is not as powerful as he used to be and fast running out of steam. So he has to reluctantly transfer his Byakko powers to Mayura to end this game. So when you’re young and you have those same feelings of wanna be strong to protect, naturally deities like Byakko would instantly accept and give her the divine powers. Oh, she also rescued her mom from Kuranashi’s clutches. Wait. I thought she was dead?

* Falling: Rokuro and Benio kicking ass and talking like they’ve fallen for each other. Like it should have been? They destroy the mean Kegare as it disappears and now they are free falling. Don’t worry. Rokuro has some sort of spell for safe landing. With the Kegare gone, now the city is also falling. Don’t worry. The Twelve Guardians unleash all their might for it for a soft landing. And then it’s like Kuranashi got everything planned out from the start because at the end of it, he traps the Twelve Guardians again. A trap they will find it tougher to get out. Yet fallen for the same trick again.

* The real game begins: Kuranashi lures the Twin Star Exorcists to where he has the Twelve Guardians in his grasp. Rokuro can’t do anything to get them out because any attacks are absorbed and weakens them. He explains the plan he has been orchestrating for over a thousand years. He filled the land with miasma so the Exorcists could cleanse them but actually they were absorbing it. Once enough, he mind controls them into the Magano where he uses up all their power to create powerful Kegare. With all the small fries out of the way, he is able to concentrate on the Twelve Guardians who are the only threat to Basara. That floating island was a distraction to lure the Twelve Guardians out. He knows how to use Rikujin Shinka against them thanks to Yuuto. Kuranashi absorbs their powers while turning them into stone. He has left the Twin Star Exorcists alive because he realizes their growing powers. He will devour them when they are ripe and then become the king of this world and Magano.

* New look: Kuranashi is more powerful than ever since he has all the abilities of the Twelve Guardians. He has also got a new tight suit which makes him look gay…

* Tatara unmasked: Because Tatara is a shikigami and not human, it took time for him to break out from the spell that affects humans. Now we get to see his (angry) face, there’s lots of screaming, flashy powers and overkill in his bid to bring down Kuranashi. In the end, Tatara used his life to curse deterioration on Kuranashi. But he won’t stay weakened for long because he plans to absorb Yuuto’s power.

* Yuuto’s return: Once Kuranashi absorbs his power, his joy is only short-lived. He realizes he has been manipulated by Yuuto all along since Yuuto takes advantage of the situation to return in his body. Look who’s back?

* Here, there, nowhere and everywhere: So we’ve got the kids fighting each other again. They’re at a place between reality and Magano. How does Yuuto know all this? During his recuperation, he linked his senses with the founder of the Exorcist Union, the one and only Seimei. Apparently you can prolong your life by suspending your vital organs. So Yuuto is the most powerful Exorcist because he has absorbed the powers of Seimei and the Twelve Guardians.

* Wife beater: Yuuto still wants Rokuro as his gay buddy and hates his sister. So he beats the crap out of Benio to work up Rokuro’s anger so that he could turn into his ultimate beast mode.

* Rokuro’s true original form: He is a Kegare, you know.

* Arima’s return: You don’t think this pervert would be easily killed off, did you? He is back in time to distract Yuuto and save his precious Twin Star Exorcists. I guess they’ll have to have their rematch another day. Again.

* Pursuit of Ages Ritual: For Arima to perform this and go back in time to observe and learn whatever he needs, he needs to perform this ritual which makes him close to death. That’s why he used Kuranashi to ‘kill’ him. Back in the era where Seimei was still alive exorcising Kegare, to cut a long story short (some yin and yang thingy too), humans’ negative emotions created them. Seimei’s attempt to contain it but with those emotions kept increasing, it exploded into something twisted known as Magano. So by forming Exorcist Union and the Twelve Guardians to counter it, he also put forth his plan for Twin Star Exorcists to give birth to a powerful Miko that would end it all.

* Cataclysm King: Apparently Rokuro isn’t just Kegare. Apparently Seimei also tried to create this to cleanse human of this world. So that powerful incarnate yin energy known as Cataclysm King is Rokuro. So the only way to rid this is to bring forth the Miko. Something about his yin energy combine with Benio’s yang energy. Well, Rokuro is trying to be the considerate guy now. It’s like the perfect excuse he won’t bang Benio because he is not human. WTF. So now he sinks into some sort of depression, so much so Suzu had to even tell him it doesn’t matter he is Kegare, Cataclysm King or human. Rokuro is Rokuro. Wait. She knows he is Cataclysm King too?

* Yuuto’s bugging again: Oh geez… This guy too now knows about Rokuro being a Cataclysm King? I won’t be surprised if the whole world knows by now. Anyway, he is once again here to bug Rokuro to join him to destroy mankind since he has the power to do so. If he doesn’t he’ll destroy the world himself. And you guessed it. The only way to stop this is to beat him. Obviously. Don’t make him wait too long. He is itching to destroy the world. I mean, who else is there to fight him? The Twelve Guardians are out of commission, Arima and Seigen are powerless.

* She finally said it: Benio finally confesses she loves Rokuro! Well, if she only said it to him in person instead of Mayura.

* It’s over: Just when you think Rokuro wants to have an important talk with Benio, it turns out he wants to break up! WTF?! Well, it’s not like they’re really married or anything. So why break up as Twin Star Exorcists?! After that beating from Yuuto, he fears the next time would be fatal. That’s why he is going it alone. She would only slow her down. At least it isn’t because he is gay and decided to ditch this cutie pie. WTF did I just say?! Oh poor Benio, looks like she has to start crying again.

* Bromance: While Rokuro fights Yuuto, it seems Yuuto has been hinting some bromance with Rokuro all along?! He is happy he ditched Benio to come fight him alone like as though he has chosen him over her! And when Rokuro thinks of Benio, Yuuto gets mad and beats him up for doing so! In the end, what Yuuto wants is to enjoy the moment of fighting with him. He doesn’t care about the future or the results of the fight. As long as he can enjoy fighting to the death with him. Man, this is one sick twisted bromance.

* Burial Ritual: Rokuro is so considerate. He sought Arima’s help prior to implant some spell in his heart. If he ever turns into Cataclysm King, the spell will activate and kill him. Are you sure? You’re both turning into Super Saiyans in this ultimate fight.

* Masochist: Yuuto loves the pain and wants to get beaten up more by Rokuro! Oh well, it’s a ploy to make him so mad that he will turn into Cataclysm King. If Rokuro won’t fall into this trap, Yuuto beats himself up for more tremendous pain so he could turn into his Super Saiyan form. Wait. Does he not look like Frieza?

* Mikado’s true original form: He is Seimei, you know.

* Unaccounted factor: There is this crap explaining how Ame No Mihashira gave the yin and yang powers to Rokuro and Benio as part of Seimei’s big plan. However that plan didn’t take into account Yuuto. So his existence somewhat messes up all that plan since he wasn’t supposed to exist in the first place. Because of that, that’s why he challenged Rokuro to a final battle?

* The price to protect: More rage for Rokuro when Yuuto threatens to kill everyone. Because of his desire to protect them, he beats up Yuuto so hard that he starts losing his memories. Sure, Yuuto’s done for but this activates his Cataclysm King form. The end of the world begins. So Cataclysm King is a giant human torch?

* Survival of the fittest: So now the human torch is just standing there, causing big rains and sending out light signals? Yeah, whoever has weak spiritual power gets turned into stone. All part of the natural selection for the perfect world of Seimei.

* One woman showdown: Benio confronts Seimei herself because she wants him to turn Rokuro back. Well, you do know you’re no match for Cataclysm King who absorbed Yuuto’s power who absorbed Kuranashi’s power who absorbed the Twelve Guardians’ power, right? Seimei can guarantee he will return to Rokuro’s human form once he has done judging which humans are worthy for the next world. Because by then, Seimei will take over Cataclysm King’s body and continue his grand cleansing ritual.

* A boring world: So the world that Seimei intends will rid of all the yin power and hence no more Kegare. This means everybody will be like the same freaking zombie robot. Hey, but it’s peaceful, right? What do you mean you don’t want that kind of world, Benio? Are you saying you prefer this more corrupted and dangerous world because it is more dangerous and different?

* 2 become 1: Too bad Benio won’t see Rokuro even if he becomes human because Seimei needs 2 things to complete his ritual: Ame No Mihashira and Benio. Benio is supposedly the yang powers that flowed out and accumulated in her. So in order to give it back to him, he must consummate with him. Oh sh*t! Is this some sort of excuse to get pervy with her? Heck, even Kinako hates to admit the only one for her is Rokuro! Since we have some time, Benio wants to think about it. And so she decides she will join with Seimei. That was quick. Yeah, some tears to show us it wasn’t an easy decision.

* The merger: The results of Seimei x Benio are in. Ame No Mihashira is uprooted, Cataclysm King gets absorbed by it and Seimei just got whiter. Sorry people. No sex was engaged. In spite of all this, we only got lousy Rokuro back? Oh well, it was part of the deal.

* Blame: We’ve seen this coming. Rokuro blaming the hell out of himself and can’t understand why Benio chose to sacrifice herself despite knowing he is a Kegare. You should know better at this point. If Kinako has to point it out to you, you’re really useless.

* Kegare the musical: WTF???!!! Suzu singing a musical to get Rokuro back on his feet?! WTF???!!!

* Rescue Benio: What’s left of the Exorcist make a race against time to rescue Benio stuck inside Ame No Mihashira. The odds are close to zero but it isn’t zero. It gets cliché enough as everybody else gets owned by the obstacles and passes their power to Rokuro just so he can move on. The hero must always save the princess, right?

* The power of love: Long story short, let’s say the bond between Rokuro and Benio is that what busts her out. Also cue for quarrelling and blaming each other for being ‘stupid’.

* The most effective way to shut up: What happens if your woman can’t stop b*tching? You kiss her! If she doesn’t like that, what should she do? Kiss him back! And she dared complain she would have preferred it under romantic setting…

* Kamui returns: Because we have started to forget about him, he is back to fight Seimei and relishes fighting a strong opponent. Too bad he lost.

* Petals: Apparently in the final stage of the cleansing involves this huge flower and all its petals to drop. What about Benio’s union? Well, Seimei already absorbed all her yang powers. Why didn’t he do this before? At least we can be rest assured no unwarranted sex will ever happen between them.

* The power of more love: Twin Star Exorcists are using this excuse of protecting and love despite all the bad things they went through in this screwed up world. They don’t like his one-sided view of what the world should be. Yeah, your opinions don’t matter. In that case, your feelings don’t matter either! But that isn’t enough. Seimei has put his faith in humanity to change but he was betrayed by that faith.

* Kegare is good!: Apparently when Seimei says a good Kegare is a dead Kegare (not exactly but I surmise it is along this line), Rokuro argues Kegare isn’t a bad thing. He himself is a Kegare and a few other Kegare and Basara they fought did show some sort of compassion. So they’re not all that bad! So you’re telling based on this logic, the Ebola virus isn’t bad either?

* The vicious cycle: Rokuro and Benio think they might be doing some good exorcising Kegare. But they have gone through periods with negative emotions and that gives rise to Kegare. Because of such, Kegare is born. Thus the only way free from all that is Seimei’s ideal world.

* Home team support: Well, Twin Star Exorcists lost again and being put to sleep. However all those who were previously absorbed by Ame No Mihashira pop up to support them. This means from Sae to the Twelve Guardians, other Exorcists and possibly the entire townspeople cheering on for them. Why do they sound like cheering for a sports event?

* Aurora: Thanks to Rokuro and Benio reviving and putting a stop to Seimei’s plan, all souls are released back to its original place. And the entire world get to see a beautiful aurora phenomenon.

* See you again: With Rokuro and Benio spouting about love and wanting to be with other, I guess Seimei for once could laugh at his own failure. So he decides to give humanity a chance to see if they should go through this sh*t judgment again in a thousand years. Oh boy. He is making a big mistake putting faith in humanity once more… I suppose he hasn’t heard about once bitten, twice shy…

* Hitched: Ryogo and Haruka got married. Rokuro and Benio give their speech about fighting and living every day for the future. Wow. It’s like they’re veterans in life.

* Just get married already: Rokuro gives back Benio’s hair accessory. Puts it on for her. Benio smiles. Benio is happy. Kiss. Wedding date when?

Rewrite: Twin Star Weaklings
Oh boy. It’s like saying the world is beautiful because of its flaws and imperfection. Okay. Beauty is so subjective and depends on the eye of the beholder. Because exorcising Kegare is better than not exorcising any? Yeah, it’s like saying killing something is much better than having nothing to kill. Even if the world didn’t end in this anime, I’m glad the series did. Not too sure if I can handle it anymore if it has twice this number of episodes. It was really getting boring. So much so when the whole series ended, I came up with this conspiracy theory that Twin Star Exorcists were so adamant in preventing the cleansing of the world despite all the virtue signalling BS crap they spout is so that Ryogo and Haruka could get married and everybody lives happily ever after doing their normal daily routine. Uh huh. If the world is cleansed, we won’t be having a wedding ceremony… So that’s what we’re fighting for!!! Oh yeah! And of course, one day, just one day Rokuro and Benio will walk down the aisle together. All this would not be possible had they not stopped Seimei. Damn right it was worth it. Phew. Now to get back on track.

I have to admit that I wasn’t placing much hope on the plot and storyline and was expecting cliché stuffs. However the early episodes especially during the Hinatsuki Tragedy and the revelation of Yuuto being an antagonist was interesting. However when that first fight was over and they introduced Sae so they could ‘practice playing family’, I thought that was where it went downhill. It became boring and was just uninspiring as well as cliché and predictable. You know, going around defeating and exorcising Kegare, which is pretty much what the entire series is all about no matter how different setting or façade they put up. Sure, Seimei’s world cleansing and attempts to rewrite the world back to a clean slate was another twist in the plot but at this point I have already become so numb with the story that I didn’t feel anything. It was like I expected something of this sort to happen although I didn’t see this exact plot twist coming.

Character wise, personally I feel Rokuro and Benio as the main protagonists are also uninspiring and cliché. You get the feeling that when they are forced to get married and produce a child, it is predictable that they are so against it and to the point that they dislike each other. Thanks to the many episodes and the need of them having to cooperate to fight Kegare together, this serves as a mask to slowly turn their relationship around. Before you know it, they are like having good opinions for each other and they can’t live without the other. Like as though those early bickering never happened at all. Like it was all a dream. At this point you might just start asking when did they turn into this. I figure it must be around Sae’s time because that girl feels just redundant but for a particular plot in the story (aside for being the series’ cute loli mascot) and once she’s gone, it somewhat opened Rokuro and Benio’s eyes that they need to do this for everyone they love and possible the world.

In addition to that, I have this view that the Twin Star Exorcists are a bunch of weaklings when it comes to fighting Kegare. Just because Rokuro screams out with angst a lot and quiet type Benio has her pride, it makes them seem capable till you see them getting easily owned by the enemy. I know this is a catch 22 situation because if you make your characters overpowered from the start, it wouldn’t be fun and the fans won’t like it because it’s boring. But I didn’t think they are this weak because on many occasions they need their asses to be saved by somebody. Really. Sure, it is to show that there is room for improvement and that they can grow stronger or unleash some hidden power, blah, blah, blah. But from the rate I see them doing so, if they have improved, the others especially the Twelve Guardians have improved even more. Do you not believe that they are still lacking around 3/4 of the series? They’re just too freaking weak! And what was it again that Rokuro promising Arima in 2 years he will be the strongest? Look at all the sh*t everyone has been through since then! What a joke! Even making a baby seems to be a much better probability to save the world. Even in the last episode they fail to overcome Seimei themselves after giving all they’ve got. Even to the point of thinking about giving up when they have exhausted everything. So it’s like they ‘cheated’ when everybody boosted them up. So you get my idea why I view them as weak?

Talking about saving the world and everybody, the ideals they have because they are the main heroes can be said to be controversial and mind boggling at times. We hear Seimei’s goal to purify the entire world with no Kegare at all. No Kegare whatsoever. The price to pay is a world void of emotions, a zombie world, pure peace and tranquil. Sure, it might sound boring but isn’t peace and harmony the ultimate goal? And then you have clichéd heroes like Twin Star Exorcists who oppose that view because they prefer this corrupted and bad world. So you like to see more kids starve to death in Africa, eh? You want to see more child soldiers die for fat evil dictators in oppressed countries? I know that what they mean is that all the bad things they have gone through makes them who they are but do they not miss the point of the overall picture? The big picture of what mankind needs. But then again, if you put me in their shoes, I wouldn’t know which world to choose either. After all, when everyone is living like a zombie, you wouldn’t know anything at all. Just like if time stops, nobody would know a damn thing. So wanting to maintain this wretched world is like because they are afraid of taking the first bold step into the unknown. You know we won’t get anywhere if we stay in our comfort zone (tainted world in this case), right? And hence the reason why Rokuro and Benio best Seimei in the end so this is ‘proof’ that the current stinking world sucks. Imagine Seimei who was confident and invincible in his plan suddenly bows to those young punks in the end just because they had the better support and power of love. Dang it’s like they’re just delaying the inevitable because I believe human will hardly change and it’s back to the same thing again. So like pushing the problem to the next generation? Yeah, reality and logic is like love. So confusing and doesn’t make sense.

So the other characters are just rather okay. Nothing really too special or memorable. Like those Exorcist guys in Seika Dorm feels like to give that feeling that Rokuro and Benio aren’t alone in their quest exorcising Kegare. They are not as powerful and do battle less dangerous Kegare so as to give us the illusion that the Twin Star Exorcists are better. Remember what I said about them being weak because compared to the Twelve Guardians and some of the Basara, Twin Star Exorcists are that weak by comparison and that they are just above the average level of these average Exorcists. Get what I mean? If Sae is the cute loli mascot, Kinako is the cute animal mascot. Though I find his main role is to complain and b*tch about Rokuro (just to prove he is a staunch Benio supporter) and a signal to detect Kegare but often at times fail at his job because some of the more dangerous Kegare he can’t detect. Yeah, just stay cute and at most yap your mouth at Rokuro. Please don’t even possess a car or something. He did a freaking bad job in even keeping Sae in because she always lets herself out and for some reason he can’t catch her. WTF. Then you have Seigen with his tough love, the very casual and laidback Arima (because such characters are always as the head of something) a couple of old geezers sitting around Seika Dorm… I think that’s about it.

Special mention needs to be said about the Twelve Guardians. While some like Shimon and Subaru have decent screen times albeit still very lacking, others felt like they are there just to make up for the numbers. Heck, I don’t even know their names. I mean among them we have one robot loli who loves to spell or at least with her limited vocabulary she spells out letter by letter of that word, a woman who literally screams every word in her sentence (somebody forgot to lower her volume dial when she was born), a goth loli queen who is the oldest member among them all, a quack doctor, an accountant who only thinks about time is money and an emoticon face familiar. Wow. They sure look like an interesting bunch of weirdoes. However they don’t have too deep of a story to tell and some are just scratching the surface which makes it a little worse because it just makes it feel like fillers. And because of that, all of them got ‘killed off’ in the final arc. Good riddance? Nah. Just to show that Twin Star Exorcists can manage the final boss with them. Sort of.

Because Rokuro and Benio took too long with their romance and dragging their feet with it (because exorcising Kegare feels like an excuse to interrupt and put it off) and heck, they only get their double first kiss at the penultimate episode, that is why we have Ryogo x Haruka despite their very minimal screen time as ‘part time’ romance until the big one finally happens. Yeah, their big wedding day. Too bad I was hoping for some love triangle with Mayura but in the end I figure she is just there for fanservice since she has one of the biggest busts among the female characters. Oops! So what happened with her fascination with Shimon? Is something ever going to materialize out of that or is she still going to hopelessly pine for Rokuro despite knowing her chances are close to zero?

If there was a character I like, it would be Yuuto. Yes, this annoying bratty teaser is one of the best characters in the series because of the way he bows down to no one and how he enjoys the hell out of tormenting Rokuro and to a point Benio. This kid sounds so gay each time he talks to Rokuro like as though he might want to get into some big bromance with Rokuro as his end goal. He literally has Rokuro dancing in the palm of his hand because he makes him mad, beats him up, gets beaten and he still mostly laughs at all the farce. Yeah, this guy just really want to have a good time before the world ends. And even though he is rightfully defeated for plot purposes in the end, it was all worth it. You did well, Yuuto. Rest in peace. The other amusing character is Suzu because of the hilarious songs she sometimes sings. Especially that death metal rock and that musical. They’re so out of place that it’s funny. Even funnier how she sometimes gives Rokuro advice like as though she is his ally or something. I don’t understand what her role in this anime is. Unlike Kamui, she just bums around observing Twin Star Exorcists from time to time. So? We see her holding a concert for the Kegare. Do they go to concerts too in Magano? Heck, with the exception of Kamui, all the other Basara that appeared in the series are anime only characters. So much about staying faithful to the source. No wonder this series sucked…

Speaking of which, the next episode preview is a segment whereby the characters quote a famous line from famous people all around the world. Not that I can see how it relates to the next episode or the series overall. I think they’re trying to be funny but I don’t really get it. Even without resorting to these quotes I believe the usual banter will still be there. The famous quotes just makes it looks out of place. Because of that, I am beginning to wonder if this quote borrowing thing was borrowed in another anime series that sucked: Hand Shakers. Oh yeah. If you watched that show, you’ll know there is an annoying character who often spouts words from famous people as reference when she fights. So it’s decided. Having a series that tries to use quotes from other people is bad.

This series is supposed to be action battle but I hardly find myself enjoying them. They don’t really use confusing terms or skills but most of them are just chanting a talisman and then let its effect do the job. Then you have Rokuro’s Kegare arm and Benio’s feet to do some close combat quarters but how far and how much a variety can they offer? Apparently a few especially their Resonance combo but I don’t really remember them. That is why I am thinking maybe the flashy and colourful effects during the battle are some sort of distraction to divert you from the plain battle to the flamboyant effects.

I have mixed feelings for the art style and animation. At times they are rather okay but at other times they drop in quality. The characters do look a bit one kind and because I have seen so many animes over the years, many look like I have seen them from somewhere before. For example, Ryogo looks like Momoshiro from Prince Of Tennis, Atsushi looks like Grount from One Piece, Shinnosuke looks like Nodoka from Negima series and Benio looks like Ririchiyo from Inu x Boku SS. As for the Kegare, the Magano world has this sketchy-like art so in a way it is a bit refreshing from the usual 2D anime style. And it is funny that the Kegare have this large net emblem on their body because at first I thought they look like some huge tic-tac-toe that one could play over it if they ever get bored of killing each other. Just kidding. One more thing to point out. When Dragon Spots first made their appearance, I thought its shape look like a hamburger from Burger King! No kidding! Every time it appears, I would go like, “Oh, it’s burger time already”.

Speaking of Kegare, I can’t help bring this out. I am very sure that the producers have no skin colour issue because Kegare and Basara are always dark skinned. I believe the original presentation for this is to represent light and darkness, good versus evil. However in today’s politically correct world, I’m sure racist people can point this out. OMG. Am I a racist? Heck, I thought Kuranashi was Mikado in disguise because of their dark skin. Although both turn out to be different characters, but they are both still antagonist for the series, right? I know there is one dark skinned strong uncle among the Twelve Guardians but he is forgettable. Then Seimei turned white in the final arc and it’s like if you’re from the west, you’re going to blame white people that everything was their fault to begin with.

With a huge number of casts, a handful of recognizable seiyuus for me include Natsuki Hanae as Rokuro, Jun Fukuyama as Kinako, Junichi Suwabe as Seigen, Miyuki Sawashiro as Subaru and Daisuke Ono as Mikage/Seimei. The other casts are Megumi Han as Benio (Akko in Little Witch Academia), Ayumu Murase as Yuuto (Kazuo in Hatsukoi Monster), Daisuke Namikawa as Arima (Rock in Black Lagoon), Yuu Serizawa as Mayura (Tenma in Mushibugyou), Kaito Ishikawa as Shimon (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia), Kazuhiko Inoue as Kuranashi (Gildarts in Fairy Tail), Yuuki Ono as Kamui (Isami in Shokugeki No Souma), Tomoaki Maeno as Ryogo (Schubert in ClassicaLoid), Misako Tomioka as Haruka (Maria Himesato in Aikatsu), Yuuki Wakai as Suzu (Reona West in PriPara) and Hitomi Sasaki as Sae (Shiozawa in Urara Meirochou).

Many of the themes are rock based like Valkyrie -Ikusa Otome- by Wagakki Band (first opening), Re: Call by Iris (second opening), Kanadeai by Itowakashi (fourth opening) and Hide & Seek by Girlfriend (fourth ending). There are slow ballads like Eyes by Hitomi Kaji (first ending), the slow rock of Yadoriboshi by Itowakashi (third ending) and a special episode 30 ending, 15 by Girlfriend. These aren’t too bad. But the one that I prefer the most is the third opening, Sync by lol (yes, that’s the band’s name). The techno hip hop is quite catchy. It somewhat reminds me of one of the anime Beelzebub’s ending theme, Shoujo Traveler. It makes you want to get up and dance a little. But the weirdest one is Hotarubi by Wagakki Band. Although this is mainly a slow rock, it is some lines of this song that makes it feel weird. Because the singer sings like a computer slowly pronouncing syllable for syllable at certain verses, it sounded like a retard singing! But overall, it isn’t that bad since it has this frenzy traditional flute/fue playing and crazy shamisen picking in the background which are the catchy parts of the song.

In the end, the predictability and overused trope of its characters and plots that made it so cliché from start to finish is a huge disappointment for a casual and ‘veteran’ anime viewer like me. If you are new into this anime industry, everything is going to be wows, ahhs and oohs. I’m not sure if I can put this series on par, better or worse than Tokyo Ravens. It’s far too long and I’ve mostly forgotten. If you really want to watch a good exorcism series, I highly recommend the western influenced one like Ao No Exorcist. Can’t say about Nurarihyon No Mago, Kekkaishi or D. Gray Man as I have not watched them. I heard they are great but… If I was Rokuro and Benio, I would have just get over it and f*ck each other and bring forth the Miko. Leave your problems to the next generation! But then, history might repeat itself because parents with young kids always die and leave their kids in their grandparents’ care. And the whole cycle repeats itself again… It doesn’t matter how many stars you have, as long as you are born under a bad star, you’re screwed.

Amanchu

November 3, 2017

Initially I gave Amanchu the slip and really did not intend to watch it for the foreseeable future. Mainly because it is a scuba diving theme. Hah. Scuba diving. How boring. Right?! Plus, looking at the promotional poster, I thought some of the characters had this ‘scary doll look’ like that Zatch Bell character. I know, I know. I didn’t look close enough but at that point I didn’t want to scare myself despite knowing this diving themed anime would mostly be a very calming series. All that changed when I learnt that this series is somewhat a spiritual successor to the Aria series because they are written by the same author! OMG! Instant nostalgia hit! Must see this!

Episode 1
Just before Hikari “Pikari” Kohinata goes scuba diving, she smells her grandma boiling pork soup. Later, Futaba Ooki arrives at the seaside via her scooter. She seems depressed as she has just transferred here. As a newbie in the area, everything is new for her. Grandma talks to her and treats her to a drink. She realizes Futaba will be enrolled in the same Yumegaoka High School as Pikari. Futaba is awed by the waves of the sea and it lifts her spirits. Pikari returns and the other guys in her group are so freaking awed by the sea it’s like they’ve turned into a new character. At the point, Futaba has left on her scooter. Next day is the new first term of the semester. Pikari sure knows how to attract attention as she marches in with a whistle in her mouth and lets this strange cat, Aria ride on her head. Pikari and Futaba’s shoe locker are next to each other. They see a fancy card in it. Pikari is excited as it is some sort of map designed by their teacher to make it more exciting. It leads them to their classroom. Futaba is amazed at the beautiful chalk drawing on the board that indicates their seat. Pikari says it is their teacher’s love. Guess what? They both sit next to each other. Their homeroom teacher is Mato Katori as she has the class introduce themselves. Futaba is very nervous. What will she say? She flusters and just says her name. Pass. When it is Pikari’s turn, she starts whistling! Is this her way of leaving a first impression? She needs to get smacked by the teacher. Then she passionately introduces herself including her passion for scuba diving. While the students line up to get their textbooks, Pikari admires Futaba’s beauty, making her blush. Because of her thin eyebrows, she decides to nickname her Teko. In return, she wants her to call her nickname. Teko notices Pikari’s zipper open. She denies it while zipping it up. Teko notes even she can get embarrassed. Teko might still be anxious of the many firsts she will experience but is confident she will get used to it.

Episode 2
It’s going to be a lovely day for Pikari to go to school. Riding the bus, she doesn’t realize Mato is sitting behind her. So she opens the window and the wind messes with her hair. Pikari wants to press the stop button but Mato beats her to it. Mato gets down with her and wonders why she stopped at the shopping district instead of riding all the way to school. She woke up early so as to see the lovely route to school. Then it descends into a race to see who can walk to fastest. Pikari takes a big lead but then Mato has the last laugh: She hitches a ride with a motorcyclist. Is this cheating? Pikari won’t lose out and takes the shortcut through the woods. So imagine Teko’s shock when she is taking a picture of the sky only to see Pikari suddenly entering her frame. The landing is painful so when Mato tends to her, they realize they are both enthusiasts in scuba diving. Now they are best friends! Teko is left wondering how weird Pikari is. With the club recruitment drive next week, depressed Teko believes she’ll join none for the rest of her high school days. That is, until Pikari drags her along to the scuba club. Looks like somebody is already there. Aria? Pikari nicknames it Tea and believes it isn’t just an ordinary member but the club’s advisor. Pikari then explains the difference between the wet and dry diving suits. Before Teko knows it, they already try on the suit. Pikari dives and floats in the school’s swimming pool as Teko ponders how she has been dragged into her pace all the while. But she notes the fun she has while watching her do stuffs. It makes her heart beat in excitement. Teko takes a deep breath and dives in too. Pikari mentions about how the border of the body and sea cease to exist when diving. When that happens, she would like to think they were all born from the sea. She hopes Teko would try diving with her. Those sparkling eyes in her looks of anticipation… Well, no harm trying. She’s already gone this far.

Episode 3
Teko tries to make friends with others but since she is still scared, I guess another day. Luckily she still has Pikari around. On their way to school, Teko tells Pikari she came from Tokyo. Everything is still new to her so that’s why she is afraid to make new friends. She finds it strange herself that she is usually bad with talking about herself to others but yet can tell it so easily to her. Pikari admits she too is bad with talking to others. Probably this explains about her being scatterbrain. Because Teko is still worried if she can make friends, Pikari takes her to a street filled with sakura trees blossoming. She quotes from grandma about thinking to be happy then you’ll forever be happy. Besides, doesn’t Teko have her as a friend? Teko feels much better. The duo are now trying the scuba club as trial members. Mato as the club’s real advisor is waiting inside. First, she asks if they know something about last week’s intrusion. Somebody intrude here. Gulp. Teko is scared but Pikari quickly admits it was her. She gets smacked by Mato. Even more afraid, Teko also admits she was here. I think Teko looked so meek so Mato smacks Pikari on her behalf! Mato starts her first lesson by explaining about external and internal air pressure. The deeper you go, the less air you have in your lungs and other areas with air as it will be crushed. So the key is to keep breathing. But like the ear which cannot breathe, how do you clear it? There are a few ways as Mato has Pikari demonstrate them for beginners. Mato tests Teko about the most important rule in diving. At first she doesn’t know the answer but thinking harder and from the hints she just learnt, the single inviolable rule is to keep breathing. Teko starts breathing and it calms her mind while thinking the new experience she will have in this new town. This in turn makes Pikari excited and hopes Teko could join her diving together. Even happier when Teko calls her nickname for the first time. Teko narrates she was always waiting and praying for someone who would call out to her. She hated her cowardly self who could only wait. But even those feelings became a piece with meaning.

Episode 4
Teko will be observing Pikari dive with a couple of customers, twins Ai and Makoto Ninomiya. She learns of Pikari’s dream to become a full fledge diving instructor one day. Teko observes how everyone checks each other’s gear before diving into the sea. She talks to Pikari’s grandma and learns that the visibility of the sea at this time of the year isn’t good. She gets worried but luckily Pikari and co return safely. They swap their tanks and go back for another round. When they’re done, they start washing their gear. Pikari is embarrassed to see she left her panties out. She tries to telepathically communicate with Ai about letting her have it (since she doesn’t want to Makoto to know about it). Not that she understands but she allows it. Then it turns out to be a head hood for diving. Pikari frantically calls grandma for the customer’s number. Teko will have her first dive at the school’s swimming pool. Pikari and Mato will dive with her. After putting on the full gear, of course it feels heavy but it won’t be once she starts diving. Teko finds she is floating and it proves that the buoyancy works. After a while and a few dives, Teko can’t help emerge since she is not used to water getting into her mask and panicked. It also causes her a bit of breathing difficulties. Although she remembers Mato’s lesson on how to clear it, the water quickly seeps back in. This makes her scared and lose motivation. She wants to get out but Pikari continues to believe she can do it. If she doesn’t try, she’ll never do it. But Teko continues to remain scared so Pikari calms her down she is here with her. They go back underwater and Pikari helps her get rid of the water seeping and this gives Teko her confidence back. They manage to dive to the deeper end of the pool. When they return to the surface, Pikari is very happy they did it together. But when Teko tries to leave the pool, she has no strength because the suit has absorbed water and has become heavier. Time to work on those muscles.

Episode 5
Teko’s muscles were aching since but has recovered. They are expecting to do more scuba diving but Mato tells them to go job and build some muscles. I suppose Teko needs lots of practice. She’s slow and even catching her breath. Pikari runs ahead first and bumps into the twins. Ai is impressed with Pikari as an instructor and even wants her to join the diving club. Pikari remembers they are the senior members Mato told them whom they have never met yet. When Pikari tries to tell them this and Makoto reminding Ai that the club has already 2 new members, Ai starts to beat him up! She will not forgive those members for trespassing the club! Oh sh*t. By the time Teko catches up, Pikari fears things will get worse so she takes her away to explain. Ai remains stubborn she won’t meet her new members. When Mato says they are nearby, she runs off to find them! Teko and Pikari arrive to explain themselves so Makoto tells them to go home and won’t be blamed. Too late. That monster has returned! RUN!!! Hey, Teko is running pretty fast this time. Eventually Ai catches up and realizes who they are. How will the showdown end? Pikari prostrates herself and apologizes. Teko explains how Pikari brought her to the club that sparked her interest in diving. This leaves Ai in a lurch because it looks like she is the bad guy now. Ai might not admit it but you can tell she accepts them as she is going to beat the basics of diving into them by calling their first emergency meeting. In the classroom, Pikari asks straight up if Ai is still mad. Not really. To prove her sincerity, lunch is on her. Or at least Makoto is paying. As they discuss, Ai wants Teko to get her open certification as her first step to become a diver. This will allow her to dive with a buddy even without an instructor. You bet Teko is motivated to do that. When Pikari doodles sea animals in a chibi form on the blackboard, Ai counters that by drawing a surreal version! Makoto joins in and adds some effects and eventually Ai is roped in to colour. It turns out to be a masterpiece. Ai claims this is the first sea that they dived together. Sea of colours? After taking pictures, they erase it.

Episode 6
Today Teko will be having pool lessons with Mato. Alone. It only makes sense since the rest already have their licence. Feeling lonely? Well, the rest are actually hiding and watching from afar so once this is over they will give Teko a surprise congratulation. Teko is scared when Mato wants her to fill her mask with water and then discharge it. She is made to do it many times and it is to help her overcome her fear. Once she is done, she is now stripped all her gear and is told to go swim laps. However there is 1 big problem. SHE CAN’T SWIM!! WHAT???!!! Oops, Pikari and co got busted. So they realize why she is always afraid of water leaking into her mask. So as Mato test her to swim with fins without sinking, she sank immediately! End of today’s lesson. Teko feels down as she believes she is holding everyone back. Mato then suggests taking them for a drive. Actually Mato just wants to take her car out for a spin… At the station near the port, Teko talks about her gratefulness to get into the world of diving. They get embarrassed when Mato comments about their self-discovery and friendship. Teko feels she still isn’t as good as she should so Mato advises her not to take her own wish or ambition too seriously. It’s good if she has it but there is also nothing wrong about following someone else’s suggestion at first. As long as she keeps moving, she’ll be sure to find something. Pikari has found some ribbons whereby they can write their wishes and hook it up along the shrine. Teko writes her wish to dive 150 metres and pass her pool training. It might look simple but at least it is a wish she can grant by her own power. Pikari won’t let Teko see hers because it is embarrassing. What did she write? Her wish for Teko’s wish to come true.

Episode 7
It is the rainy season and the humidity is messing with Ai’s hair. Look at how many pins she has. But has she got to take it out on Makoto? He has more pins on his head… Mato watches Pikari seeing off Teko to her pool training. Then she notices Pikari sneaking off in the wrong direction. She tails her to the train station. Since she is deep in her thoughts, Mato is discovered by Pikari. So what is the meaning of this? When the time is right, the train passes by a lovely field of hydrangea flowers. It’s only for a moment so hope you see all its beauty. So Pikari just got this train trip just for this? Yup. It is the only season where they bloom best. Now that the rainy season is over, it is hot like hell! Is the end of the world coming? Club activities are out since it is a time for students to study for their exams. But the diving club quartet are bumming around in school. Pikari leads the gang to stretch their hands in the sunlight to test its warmth. Mato isn’t impressed so she has them play Red Light Green Light with Makoto as It. In this heat? We see Teko is really good at the game. She survives and wins most probably Makoto had to choose his sister. Not thrilled, Ai decides to play again with her being It. Again Teko is naturally talented in this game. Ai can’t even get her! Finally Mato decides to join in the game. It looks like Makoto and Teko won but Mato throws her slippers at them! Anything the It possess and touches you counts. Was this part of the rules? Mato is so happy with her victory, it prompts the rest to think she is the most child-like among them. So this is a lesson that even as adults, searching for answers can be still fun.

Episode 8
Makoto sees a letter in Ai’s shoe locker. She takes the letter and quickly runs! So when he finally manages to ask her about it, she points out to some baseball guy who wrote the letter. She finds it odd because they don’t talk much so why did he write that letter? She hasn’t read the letter yet but what are the chances it is a love letter? Makoto is shocked to see Ai blushing. So when she starts to read it, suddenly she has this unimpressed looks. She runs away! Actually puts the letter back. It seems the guy have put it in the wrong place and was meant for the other girl sharing her shoe locker. Ai claims she didn’t read the rest of the letter and stopped once she read who it was addressed to. Makoto fears for that guy’s life as you know what his sister can do. But he can’t be worried about him, Ai is going to take it out on him! Surprisingly she did not. Instead she acts cool and deduces that guy must be so nervous thinking about the letter that he put it in the wrong place. It takes a lot of strength to do all that. Ai is glad seeing others putting effort to make others happy and in a way grateful to him. Makoto notes that he is able to see the other side of Ai he never sees. However she returns to her old self beating him up. Back to worrying about her future. Later Ai cleans up Makoto’s messy locker in which he hordes stuffs from long ago including a magazine about diving. She notes worrying about his future. Teko hates the physical examinations. In the hall, she gets separated from Pikari. Because of that, she becomes clumsy during the examinations. So with Pikari around, it looks like she could do it decently. During the 50m race, Teko starts great. Wow. It’s like she can run now. However halfway she loses steam. Like as though she gave up. When it is time for the 1000m race, Teko gets scared and starts thinking negatively. But Pikari has a solution. First they start last and run slow to conserve energy. When the final lap is announced, they sprint all their might to surpass those ahead. In the end, they achieve quite a decently high position. As they catch their breath, Pikari realizes something about Teko. Could it be she is a sore loser? Even so, she is a lovely sore loser and respects her more. Uhm, is that supposed to be a compliment?

Episode 9
Teko continues taking pictures. Each one of them carries precious memories and she sets it up so each time she on her handphone, a random photo will pop up. When Ai suggests a group picture (Makoto is excluded of course – he need to take the picture), the memory card is full. As suggested, Teko should transfer out the data for more space. However it’s not that simple. It’s like the end of the world for her. Don’t laugh. You don’t know how deeply attached and important each of those photos are. Unlike us who keep taking and never once see them anymore :’(… Teko further remembers when she moved here, her friends sent her a handphone strap as a birthday present. Even if Teko was happy, she couldn’t help felt sad because it marked the start of separation. She felt lonely. Teko was a lonely girl who just existed until a couple of girls in middle school became her friends. Middle school? That late, huh. So she learnt the wonderful things of friendship and came to appreciate how precious it is. That is why even with the simple push of a button to transfer her data, she just can’t do it. She gets a call from her diving club to meet. There, Pikari then hands her a present. Ai takes her away to lecture her about suddenly giving a belated birthday present and putting Teko in a spot. Well, we can all hear you. The present is a digital photo frame. She can put her memory card here and display all the photos she has taken. Problem solved. Geez, I thought they would have got her a new handphone… Nah, this is cheaper. Now that she is able to snap more treasured memories, looks like life will continue fine and dandy as usual. Oh, Teko is crying? Tears of joy. You’re welcome. Teko continues snapping as usual. She picks up a call from her old friend. Looks like they have lots to chat and catch up. At this rate, it’s going to be full soon…

Episode 10
Teko and Pikari are at Ai’s house to pick her up so they can go out together. They are at the bookstore to pick out a log book. The designs are too cute and they are spoilt for choice. Then they go buy swimsuits. Once done, Pikari invites them to her grandma’s place so they can have fun in the sea (and probably test their newly bought swimsuits). After that, Teko talks to grandma about her treasured memories and how grateful she is for meeting Pikari. But she feels sad she has nothing to give her in return. She advises about the blinding light when stepping out from the darkness after a long time. But the light isn’t the one making the scenery. Everything has been there from the start. The light didn’t do anything. As long as she doesn’t block out Pikari, she will shine on her own. Later Teko talks to Pikari about feeling lost. Even if she passes her pool test, she isn’t sure if she will be ready. But she is really excited to go diving with everyone. She wonders if she’ll hold everyone back or worthy to be her friend. Pikari replies she sometimes get lost too. That feeling means you are dissatisfied with where you are. Therefore feeling lost is a good thing because is an opportunity. A chance to have more fun. So if you’re lost, then let’s go. Teko takes the pool test. Mato times her. After clearing 100 metres, she manages to float on her back for 10 minutes (this is her specialty?). With that, Teko passes and can now go diving with everyone. First stop, the sea!

Episode 11
Teko and Pikari see Aria walking off a path. They try to follow it but the path becomes blocked. At least for humans. Wondering if cats have their own secret path to walk and that Pikari doesn’t know every inch of the area as Teko thought she would, they decide to have their adventure of discovering new and unknown places together. So as they travel the path less taken, they see a crow bullying a little kitten! Shoo! Shoo! Time to squeal our hearts because the kitten is so cute rolling around! But time to head back to reality because they wonder if it is lost or abandoned. They notice it is hungry. Nothing like the internet to help search what cats eat. They head to the convenience store to buy milk and then go back to grandma’s place to make it. Kitten is crying tears of joy? Of course the problem now is what to do next. Teko’s place doesn’t accept pets and Pikari’s mom is allergic to cats. Oh, grandma can’t keep it here too. They could ask their classmates to adopt it tomorrow but for now, Teko will secretly let it live in her place for tonight. Next day in school, Mato senses something strange when the duo anxiously keep going back and forth from the club. Then they got busted for hiding the kitten there. Mato reminds them about the responsibility needed if they are to save it. Teko starts thinking how the kitten is just like her. Lonely. Because Pikari pulled her out of that, she wonders if she can be the kitten’s Pikari. Of course she could. As they try to look for anyone who would adopt it, the principal (black afro guy?) pops up. He is the owner of Aria and noting that Aria needs a bride and the kitten is female, he wants to adopt it. And since the cats like each other, case solved.

Episode 12
The diving club members head to a beach where it is the holy land for first time divers. This is also for Teko to do her sea practical. After checking the gear, the swim out to the buoy. While getting ready to dive, Teko realizes one of her fins is missing. Is it already over? Luckily a kind diver found it and returns it. Sliding down the rope to the bottom, they see lots of other divers there too. After experiencing and watching the marine wildlife, it is time for Mato to test Teko for her sea practical. From mask clearing to buoyancy to hand signals, Teko looks like she’s got it all under control. Surfacing back up, Teko can’t stop talking excitedly about her experience. Later Mato informs Teko about her sea practical’s result. She passed and is now presented her very own C-card, the badge of an open water diver. Of course, we must have that Teko-Pikari talk with Pikari describing her past self as one who was afraid of love and empty. She hated herself for that. Now she has totally changed and a complete opposite. She wants to find out more things to love and show them to Pikari. Because now Teko has come to love herself, this Pikari means Pikari will love her too. I hope that isn’t in a yuri sense. They look forward tomorrow. Fun for all, all for fun? What the heck. Let’s just go!

OVA
Teko’s friends, Chizuru Himeno and Akane Mizunashi visit her. They are happy to see each other after a long while. When Teko introduces them to Pikari, she is in fact very eager to be their friends. Pikari will be their guide today and guide them around. During lunch, the friends can tell Teko is fitting in nicely and their worries were baseless. After touring a few scenic spots, Teko asks her friends if they would like to do guided scuba diving. It felt like they’re waiting for this moment and eagerly say yes. Pikari calls Mato for it. When Chizuru thinks about this diving thing, she starts to lose her balance. Pikari catches her. However Chizuru feels something wrong. A tingly feeling in her heart. Something uneasy. She decides to hide it for now. Next day before when they go diving, Mato has them sign a form. They are not too pleased they have to fill in their weight… And a contact number in case something happens… Teko assures them everything will be alright because there are 3 certified divers here. After putting on their gear, Chizuru learns from Pikari about Teko’s nickname. She is not impressed. After diving in, Chizuru starts to feel pain in her ears. She stars panicking that she is going to die! Luckily Pikari tells her how to clear it. Pain instantly gone. However, it is panic once more when Chizuru starts spinning uncontrollably. Till Pikari takes her hand to join everyone else. Here she sees the beauty of the deep sea. It is like a piece of heaven. Back on land, while Akane enjoys every bit of it, Chizuru takes this chance to complain how it was hell! But everything was worth it in the end. She then explains at first how she was worried that Teko was a different person than she knew. She was jealous that Pikari had stolen her friend away but realizes Pikari is a great person. In fact, she realizes the Teko here is the real Teko. So yeah, it was fun. Thank you. As they leave, Pikari hopes they would come back again. Even if she did not ask, they will. So until then, please take care of Teko for them. Ai is full of regret when she learns Teko’s friends went diving with them. She really wanted to join in. Please don’t kick your brother for that missed opportunity.

ABZU: The Depths Of Calmness And Friendship
Well… Yeah… While writing this, I am having mixed feelings if I am bored or just filled with calmness. It’s a bit of both and that is why I am having trouble of deciding if it is one or the other. But you know me, it can be both. So honestly, this series didn’t really inspire me or anything because I am not really interested in the world of diving (the thought of sea creatures still scare the hell out of me) and there were many times I caught myself being distracted by something else that is not on my monitor. Therefore the only reason why I have this calm and ‘satisfied’ feeling is perhaps because of the nostalgia factor and how much it brings back memories of the Aria series. So in a way you could say that while I was watching this series and in the midst of being calmed by its overall theme, it was more of the unconscious thought of relating all this back to Aria that made me continue to watch this series to the end without complain. It’s like I’m watching Amanchu but my mind and heart is actually seeing it as Aria. Uh huh. Amanchu, the HD version of Aria, so to speak.

Forgive me if you are going to hear me compare a lot of Amanchu with the Aria series. Both series have so much in common but yet they are so different and unrelated to each other. For starters, the Aria series is more of fantasy as its setting was on a colonized Mars that looked very much like modern day Venice. Whereas here in Amanchu, the setting is based on the real location of the Izu peninsula. I believe there is a website out there that compares a few scenes from the anime with its actual real backgrounds and locations. Therefore even if both series had the same calming theme of friendship and overcome one’s fears, Amanchu feels more relatable and realistic as it is set in a real place. You can visit Izu any time you want but you can only visit Aqua and Neo-Venezia in your head. Or rewatch the Aria series again, that is.

There is basically no real plot in such healing anime series like this. Therefore its drive focuses mainly around the main characters and what they do. Hence the drama of friendship and overcoming your inner obstacles might a big yawn fest to those who aren’t into this kind of genre but hey, you have been warned or at least guessed when you read the synopsis. You did read it, right? So just like in the Aria series, the real charm is in its characters as they slowly transform and learn from the bond and everyday interaction that we see. So a big portion of the series ironically isn’t underwater but above ground and on dry land.

It might look like nothing much because Teko for start is just a new girl in town and naturally like everyone who has left a place they were so comfortable with for something new, there are fears if she would find her place and settle in. Well, Teko must really be a lucky girl for finding eccentric Pikari. Thank goodness she didn’t get into any bad company. I know it is impossible for this series since basically everybody are good people. Assuming that. Although Teko still has her fears and worries, she slowly opens up thanks to Pikari’s ‘guidance’ but that is only half of it. You might want to guess the other half is the other people but I lump them in the same half as Pikari. So this other half I am talking about is Teko herself. She gave herself a chance to change for the better. She might not have drastically changed and she is overall the same Teko we know at the start but she is better off in the end since she has lesser insecurities or at least more positivism than before. And yeah, Teko is like the Akari of the Aria series…

Pikari is in the same boat as Teko. But because she shows a lot more exuberance and confidence, it feels like she knows what she is doing. But then again, maybe not. I feel she is like the mix between Aria’s Aika and Akari since she can be cheeky but at the same time an airhead. Teko and Pikari make a great pair not for yuri reasons. They are like best friends who complement each other. Because at this point it is just odd to see one without the other. So could it be that their meeting was God sent? I mean, we don’t really learn the reason why Teko transferred here. So for them to meet each other has got to be the work of God and miracle, right?

The other characters are pretty okay in their own right. Like Mato the nice teacher and diving instructor. Then you have Ai who feels like she was ripped off from Aika because of her cheeky personality. It’s like a running joke and the only thing you’ll remember about the twins is how she loves to kick Makoto for absolutely every and no other reason. Everything is his fault. Kick him. If nothing is his fault, then kick him too. Please people, twin brothers are not meant to be abused like that. If this was the real world, Makoto might have murdered her and dumped her body in the ocean! Yikes! That’s why I say everybody here in this anime are so goody-goody.

Last but not least, Aria. Somehow I feel they want to leave some sort of Aria series legacy by having a cat named after the president of a gondola company as well as suspiciously looking as lame (sorry) as him. Aria doesn’t really intrude or interrupt the flow of the series and is just there for some cute factor, hence its very minimal appearance throughout the series. Though, ever since the kitten joined them in the final few episodes, Aria seems to be hanging out almost everywhere with them. Speaking of the kitten, I thought she was going to be like some sort of a running joke with reference to the Aria series. You know, President Aria was always trying to impress Hime but never gets her heart. Sad. I thought the same thing here because in the ending credits we see Aria ‘chasing’ after the kitten. So it turns out they really do like each other. Well, now it seems the kitten has this habit of sneezing. Is this a running joke too? I’m sure we’ll all goo “Aww…” when it sneezes because cats do it so cute, right? If it isn’t sneezing, it likes to suck on something…

Now, the biggest thing that hit me for my Aria’s nostalgia is the background music. They have this very similar and hence nostalgic feel to the many songs in the Aria series. Especially those gentle and calm acoustic guitar pickings. Oh man. I instantly fell in love with them when I first hear them. These background music are the ones that take the cake and the part which I love the most in Amanchu. I really need to scour the internet for its tabs so I can play them on my guitar too! Even if the guitar style is similar, they aren’t composed and played by Choro Club. Instead, they are composed and performed by Gontiti, a pair of Japanese acoustic guitar guys with lots of their own original compositions a decade ago. Also, there is a song in Amanchu that uses the voice as its instrumental piece, thus further reminding me more of Aria’s Barcarolle. In line with the calming theme of the series, both the opening and ending themes are also calming as you can get. A song worthy to be part of Aria’s theme if Amanchu never happened and Aria got another season. Million Clouds by Maaya Sakamoto as the opener and Futari Shoujo by Tekopikari (Teko and Pikari of course) as the ending are calming enough to complete your peaceful day.

Voice acting isn’t anything particularly special. Ai Kayano is the one of the 3 casts who played a role in the Aria series who also got a role in Amanchu. As Teko here, she was Anya in Aria The Avvenire. I think she did a good job in voicing Teko and make have that sound of insecurity in her character as well as the hope that she can overcome it. It feels like they want to pay homage to the Aria series because they had Erino Hazuki who voiced Akari returning as Akane and Chiwa Saito who voiced Aika returning as Chizuru. No wonder they sound a little familiar. Heck, their character’s names also suspiciously sound related to their Aria character they played… Hmm… Embarrassing remarks are not allowed! No, they didn’t say that but I wished they did. The other casts are Eri Suzuki as Pikari (Chinatsu in Flying Witch), Saori Oonishi as Ai (Aiz in DanMachi), Yuuichirou Umehara as Makoto (Mitsuhide in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime) and Shizuka Itou as Mato (Hinagiku in Hayate No Gotoku). Even Aria has his own seiyuu, Yurika Kubo (Hanayo in Love Live). Easiest lines ever. Shockingly I discovered Kikuko Inoue as the voice behind Pikari’s grandma. Hey wait a minute. I thought she is always 17???!!! Why does she sound like a real grandma here! No wonder I can’t sniff her out! Whoops…

As for the art and animation, nothing really too special. I would like to point out that the sceneries and backgrounds are gorgeous although I won’t go so far as to say they are masterpieces that should be displayed next to Mona Lisa. They are indeed nice to look at but not so much that it puts you in a trance that you really want to go live there now. At least not for me. Oh, remember what I said about the ‘scary doll look’ in my opening paragraph? Well, turns out it is this series ‘Pac-man’ look. And boy they sure have a lot of them. So it isn’t that scary once you get used to it. But it feels a bit odd that they put up this face for almost half the time since Pikari is being her usual idiot so that’s her Pac-man face and Teko is being nervous so that’s her Pac-man face. And yeah, the others too have their own Pac-man face.

Overall, this is beautiful series about friendship but with a scuba diving theme. There are a few lessons you can learn about scuba diving but it is just the very basics because if you are really interested, there are proper channels to pursue. Otherwise the series would be just one big bore. Personally, I still prefer the Aria series over this because of nostalgia and the fantasy setting although this isn’t too bad either but like I have pointed out, I’m not really into scuba diving. Also, Aria had more episodes and seasons so there was time for proper development and pacing to give it a proper ending as well.

I recommend that all of us watch such calming and healing animes once in a while. Because we definitely need some inner cleansing after watching Titans eating humans, females bumming out each other with their bums into the pool, lonely people trying to steal each other girlfriend/boyfriends, high school kids trying to lose their virginity, noisy rock music, warring kingdoms trying to outdo each other and a hell load of other anime controversies that could only be so because anime. So it’s like this series is trying to tell us sometimes we need to take a dive deep enough where it is quiet to clear our minds. Then we find our true inner peace… Embarrassing remarks aren’t allowed! Oh yeah? Screw that because when in doubt, let’s go!