Top Bishoujos of 2017

December 31, 2017

You know the drill. It is that time of year again. Uh huh. Time actually flew so fast that I can’t believe 4 seasons worth of anime in 2017 just went by like that. Despite the vast number of animes I have watched in the past year, the number of bishoujo candidates seems to have been reduced slightly. Yeah, just mere 55 of them. I know it is a huge number but when you consider the past few years whereby the numbers were just increasing like inflation, does this mean my taste in beauty has been downgraded over the year? Or does it mean it has gone even more sophisticated that the beauty standard threshold has somewhat slightly increased? Or am I just bored? Nah! So let me now present to you the winners of the Top 10 Bishoujos of 2017. Listed as usual in alphabetical order:

1) Akane Minagawa (Kuzu No Honkai)

2) Alisha Diphda (Tales Of Zestiria The X)

3) Io Yaginuma (Schoolgirl Strikers – Animation Channel)

4) Kae Serinuma (Watashi Ga Motete Dosunda)

5) Mari Fukami (Nana Maru San Batsu)

6) Ou (Cheating Craft)

7) Ririna Sanada (Koi To Uso)

8) Rumi Nishihara (Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu)

9) Tokine Amino (Nazotokine)

10) Waka Kisaki (Konbini Kareshi)

A very big congratulations to the top 10 winners for 2017. Another round of applause for them. So were some of them too weird for your taste? Probably. It’s my taste anyway so, deal with it ;p. Of course these winners didn’t just automatically pop up. Maybe some of them were. But all had to go through a thorough screen vetting (yeah, it sounded so ‘professional’). Listed below in alphabetical order are the next top 10 of shortlisted candidates that were so close into making the cut but unfortunate they didn’t. At least they’re in the top 20:

Claudia Enfield (Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Hanabi Yasuraoka (Kuzu No Honkai), Kokomi Teruhashi (Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan), Koyuki Hinashi (Fuuka), Kyouko Touno (Seiren), Lapis (Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni), Mary Kikakujo (Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism), Miharu Mashiki (Konbini Kareshi), Sara Iwami (Fuuka) and Shiho Kamakura (WWW.Working!!).

The list doesn’t end there. Those making up the top 30 are as follows in alphabetical order:

Diana Cavendish (Little Witch Academia), Katalina Alize (Granblue Fantasy The Animation), Kazuha Shibasaki (Girlish Number), Mari Ohara (Love Live! Sunshine!!), Mayuki Hiiragi (Hinako Note), Misaki Takasaki (Koi To Uso), Naho Takamiya (Orange), Rem (Re: Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu), Tae Hanazono (BanG Dream) and Yumina Ernea Belfast (Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni).

Last but not least the remaining 25 who didn’t make it past the first hurdle:

Akane Mizuno (Tsuki Ga Kirei), Aki Adagaki (Masamune-kun No Revenge), Arisa Ichigaya (BanG Dream), Chiaki Nanami (Danganronpa 3), Chisa Yukizome (Danganronpa 3), Elf Yamada AKA Emily (Eromanga-sensei), Haku Ryuu (Cheating Craft), Himari Takanashi (Demi-chan Wa Kataritai), Jinko Sasajima (Nana Maru San Batsu), Kouka (Gintama), Koume (Urara Meirochou), Maihime Tenkawa (Qualidea Code), Mizuki Usami (Kono Bijutsu Ni Wa Mondai Ga Aru), Moka Aoshima (One Room), Natalia Luzu Kimlasca Lanvaldear (Tales Of The Abyss), Neko Fujinomiya (Masamune-kun No Revenge), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (ClassicaLoid), Rumia Tingel (Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi To Akashic Records), Sayaka Sumino (Aho Girl), Subaru Mitejima (Sousei No Onmyouji), Suzu (Kiitarou Shounen No Youkai Enikki), Tear (Tales Of The Abyss), Tina (Toriko), Yuiri Haba (Strike The Blood II) and Yukana Yame (Hajimeta No Gal).

Oh. We’re at this part already. Don’t think I’ve forgotten them!

And so it comes to a close this segment and another year. Hope you have fun like I did. The same sentiments and hope for the next year. Watch more animes, catch more stunning hot bishoujos. Rinse and repeat. Ah, life is sure simple. Long Live Anime Bishoujos!

New Game S2

December 30, 2017

More girls making video games? Nah. Just another sequel of cute girls making video games, New Game S2. After that OVA that had our team of girls fully rested at a snowy resort, it is time to get back in creating the next big game. More drama, more bonding relationships, more new characters and more or less the same thing. We’re here for the cute girls doing cute character designing and programming, aren’t we?

Episode 1
It has been a year since Aoba joined Eagle Jump. She is nervously practising her introduction lines since she will be a senior. However Rin tells her they aren’t hiring any new staffs this year. Made a fool out of herself. Well, she isn’t the only one. Her other colleagues too think the same thing with Hajime full of zest while Hifumi is scared the newbie will be a meanie. With that, I guess Aoba will still considered a newbie. At this point of the year, their company isn’t busy so the staffs have some free time before the next project. Kou suggests going for flower viewing tomorrow. Hadzuki catches a glimpse of Hifumi’s smile so she can’t help join in the girls’ conversation and suggests they could help by coming up with some ideas of their own. Nene meets Umiko. It seems she has programmed a game but it is filled with bugs. She is slowly understanding the role of a programmer. Umiko agrees to help in some parts and Nene thinks she has talent. She hopes she could keep this a secret from Aoba. Hadzuki and Rin have a one on one meeting and evaluation with the staffs. Like Aoba who is wondering why the company is all females. Our age old question finally answered because like Hadzuki says, if she hires a man, he might steal Kou away! That’s a joke, right? We hear their wishes like Aoba wanting to make lots more of other types of characters, Hifumi wanting to get over her social anxiety, Umiko threatening not to change anything or she’ll flick the hell out of her forehead, Hajime handing in her own game proposal and Yun being a worrywart comparing herself to others. The ladies enjoy their flower viewing and at the end of it, Hadzuki makes an announcement. The plan for the next project is almost finished so she would like to hold a character design competition. The winner will be the character designer for that game. Aoba is excited to participate.

Episode 2
Aoba begins her character design but lacking ideas, she goes to ‘spy on the enemy’. This means looking to Kou for inspiration. Because Hajime has been watching a show all night long and is sleepy at work, the rest mistook it as overworking. Hifumi gives her some sweets to invigorate her. During the first round competition, participants go upfront to present their character designs. As Kou presents hers, Hadzuki comments the art is good as always. However it is too similar to Fairies Story. They want to create a new world and since she was free to design anything, she was expected to experiment a little more. Too bad, all rejected. When Aoba presents her, there is one design she accidentally slipped in based on a character in a sleeping bag. Hadzuki likes this and hopes she could fix it up by the next competition. Aoba is ecstatic but she notices Kou’s sad face. The next time Aoba goes to Kou for advice, she didn’t mean to say it this way but because she notes she hasn’t had anything done so far, Kou lashes out at her she just had everything rejected and had to design from scratch. Awkward. Aoba feels conflicted about it as Yun tries to cheer her up by saying that she herself is the lamest and hasn’t improved much. Still, Aoba is sad she didn’t want to see that sad face of Kou. Of course Kou also feels bad for that. Rin talks to her about it and they want to believe for what is best for Aoba. So Kou goes to help Aoba with her character design and all the anxiety between them blows away. So when the second round of the competition arrives, Hadzuki is fascinated with Aoba’s design. Though, it is primarily a collaboration between Aoba and Kou. Hadzuki decides to go with this prototype character but the final call will still depend on the art director. This means there will be 2 producers for the next project. Congrats to Aoba and Kou.

Episode 3
Kou checks on Hifumi’s animal character design as she has trouble deciding on the fur texture. She thought of making it more realistic but Yun disagrees saying it will cause a few problems like processing issues. This makes Aoba feel odd. It’s a character she designed and yet she can’t help out with the suggestions. Hifumi notices this and talks to her. Aoba shouldn’t be worried since she is inexperienced in 3D modelling. Well, that sure hit a nerve but it’s a fact. Nene and Umiko are respectively having programming issues. However, nothing like a few debugging to solve it. When Hadzuki talks to Umiko about accepting one’s failures, I guess this is her subtle way to plead that she wants to make some feature changes. I hope she hasn’t forgotten the promise whereby Umiko will flick her forehead. After taking ‘damage’, Umiko tells her the reason for doing so wasn’t about changing features but her heart for making excuses. If she had acted more apologetically like Kou, the flicks would be gentler. For real? I guess she didn’t learn. The girls bought bento for everyone to share. Kou comments how it might taste better than Rin’s so she gets annoyed while eating it. Hadzuki tries to feed Umiko. When she eats it without much hesitation or reaction, everyone is left surprised because they’d never think she would do it or at least be embarrassed. She has been working so long here and knows of Hadzuki’s antics. She would have gotten used to it. Also, ‘training’ by Nene previously… Speaking of her, she invites Umiko to her college to help continue with her debugging advices. It still has its problems but Nene has to continue to work hard and not be a lazy bum if she doesn’t want Umiko to walk out on this entirely. Umiko then tells her about Aoba. Thus Nene calls to congratulate her.

Episode 4
Hajime is in the toilet trying to buy online the tickets for the events to Moon Ranger. I guess the competition is so hot that the website crashed! And when it is back online, it is all sold out. Poor Hajime. This is found out by Yun who chastises her about ditching work for this. Later Hifumi heard about it. It seems she has managed to buy one and offers to give it to her. But Hajime can’t accept it so easily since Hifumi was the one who did all the hard work buying it. Subsequently Yun has an extra ticket for Hajime. Her father was supposed to go with her and her younger siblings but he isn’t interested. So guess who the lucky girl is? Hajime and Yun’s siblings are so hyped. They’re really like children. So I guess that makes Yun the adult, huh? Hifumi also attends the event but a different time slot, she bumps into Aoba and Nene who are also there for the event. Back at the office, Hifumi catches Kou smiling. So they begin an odd conversation about it and Kou ends up fooling about with her. Rin sees this and gets jealous with this misinterpretation. Hifumi can sense Rin’s resentful aura so she tries to steer the conversation that would make Kou support Rin. Like the beef stew she made, Rin would make it better. Unfortunately Kou likes Hifumi’s so much that it can’t get out of her mind. Oh no… Hifumi thought she could do some peace offering by giving the recipe to Rin. Accepted but she still wants to know what they were talking. Hadzuki wants Kou and Hifumi to meet her shortly. After a while, Umiko is angrily looking for Hadzuki. Looks like she made more changes. In the meeting, Hadzuki suggests Hifumi take over Kou as the character team leader. As expected, nervous, low self-confidence, the fear of disappointing everyone but with the support and words of encouragement, she accepts. Now here comes Umiko to bring Hadzuki away for another meeting. Hifumi fears this is what she’ll have to face. Especially Umiko’s wrath. Heard Hadzuki’s scream there. Oh sh*t… The results of the prototype is soon announced by Christina Wako Yamato who is the producer from the publisher. In other words, the highest ranking person around. With the positive feedback, they will continue making the game into an alpha version.

Episode 5
Hifumi has to go around checking the progress of others. It’s going to be scary… For her, that is. Since she is quite lenient, they better work hard not to miss the deadline themselves. One day Yun is a bit late to work due to some family issues. Feeling guilty, she wants Hifumi to scold her! Hifumi acts out one of her cosplay characters. Is this yuri? Aoba certainly had the wrong idea when she sees this before the embarrassed duo pull away. Hajime is stuck and the ideas aren’t flowing. She talks to Hadzuki about her general idea so she suggests asking Aoba and Yun since they handle the character and monster designs. At first she didn’t want to because of her pride. But when she puts that aside, her friends have a lot of ideas flowing. Now she is bragging it to Hadzuki. Let’s hope she won’t too full of herself. Aoba is trying to design the final boss of the game which is an adult queen. She seeks Kou’s advice but is told to think for herself since she would just copy what she will say. Then talking to Hadzuki about it, her idea for the queen is an ill little girl who is mean to others because of her loneliness. It gives Aoba some ideas. When she finishes and shows Kou, it looks great but Kou’s looks better. Aoba feels she’s bullying her… Aoba is happy to receive a message that her high school friend, Hotaru Hoshikawa has returned from studying abroad at France. She shows Rin some of the photos of their time together. And then there is one where they kissed! OMG! Not French kiss and just on the cheek. It’s a French greeting. So Aoba and Nene meet up with Hotaru as they hang out at the hotspring inn. Hotaru must have gotten so used to this greeting that she nonchalantly does it to her friends. Maybe she just wants to harass them? This evokes Aoba’s inner demons as she uses her perverted excuse to grope boobs as her form of greeting. It’s chaotic…

Episode 6
As Aoba is in charge of key visuals, Kou teases and scares her that her art will be the main face of the series. This means she will be tied directly to the sales figure of the game. Pressure… It has been 6 months and Nene has finished her game. She calls Hotaru and Aoba to meet up and surprises them with this. The surprised look on Aoba’s face was priceless and worth it for all her hard work. Now to play the game. Hmm… Graphics look cheap… But the girls had fun playing it. Aoba can tell she put a lot of effort into it. It makes her remember her own key visual job. Pressure… Aoba sits in the meeting with the rest. As Yamato reveals, the publisher is having high hopes for this new game, PECO. Being a new IP, they want to start securing sales and promote it as soon as the alpha version passes inspection. This means Aoba has to start on her key visuals. But there is one catch. Aoba will not be doing the key visuals. They want Kou to do it. Kou protests against this but Yamato says the credits will not be changed. Rin gets madder when Aoba meekly agrees if this is what they want. If Kou won’t draw, they’ll hire a famous illustrator to draw it. Aoba finally speaks her mind and hopes she gets a chance. Hadzuki approves her competition again with Kou for the key visual but the outcome will still be fixed even if she draws better than her. This is so they would feel better. Aoba goes into serious focusing mode as her friends are ‘scared’ to talk to her. She stays late to finish her work. Kou wonders had she not helped her during the competition, she would not be in this situation. Aoba doesn’t want to be treated like a child and besides, she requested for this. If things get bitter (like this black coffee she’s drinking?), she can handle it. When Kou shows her work, Aoba is awed at how magnificent Kou’s key visual is. So great that she starts crying?! Is this a sign that she has lost? Well, not sure if I can say she handled that well. Of course in the end, Kou’s art gets featured on the back cover of a magazine. We see Aoba’s not-too-bad visual too as it sits on her personal board.

Episode 7
Aoba isn’t sure why she needs to come with Umiko for an interview to hire a new programmer. That’s because the applicant is Nene! The friends are surprised to see each other. It might be awkward for Nene but Aoba is trying to control her snickering because it’s rare to see Nene on her good behaviour. Aoba asks a few questions like why she decided to work here (her part timer job as a debugger had her impressed with the company’s atmosphere and all). Once she has no questions left, Aoba is excused. So is it worse for Nene to be alone with Umiko? She’s overthinking. Because Umiko passes her for handling it well. As she is still studying, she will be offered a part time contract for 3 months. Umiko tells her that her programming skills aren’t up to standard yet but she negotiated with the company president to let her in. So do your best. She has high expectations. Is it okay for Nene to cry now? I mean, nobody really had expectations of her. Yamato talks to Kou to hand her requests from various companies. It increases her workload but it is also her job to promote the game. Mozuku then ‘attacks’ Yamato. Seems she had catnip in the charm that Hadzuki gave her. When Aoba tries to help her up, she screams not to touch her! Everyone is confused so Yamato explains she is not good with handling people close to her. Aoba tries to break the ice by talking about her French ancestry but that greeting kiss topic makes it awkward. Aoba is excited that new interns will come to work here. This means some of their places will be shuffled. Hifumi requests to sit next to Kou. Aoba is excited when she sees the new interns at the company’s doorstep. While Tsubame “Naru” Narumi is lively and friendly, Momiji Mochizuki is a bit unfriendly. Overlapping with Hifumi’s character? Naru will be under programming and Momiji under character design. When Momiji meets Kou for the first time, she nervously lets her know she admires her work and all. Overlapping with Aoba’s character? Momiji thought Aoba’s desk is where Kou sits seeing all the PECO designs there. But Kou clears the misinterpretation about the misleading advertising. It is Aoba who is the main character design. Momiji then connects the dots and realizes why certain art of PECO seems silly. Realizing Aoba is the same age and her and has done some amazing work, Momiji is fired up. But why does she look like she’s trying to challenge her? Well, if she could only get Aoba’s name right. She becomes embarrassed after Aoba corrects her.

Episode 8
The girls need to think of a place for a welcoming party. Better think fast before Hadzuki gives her own ideas. Oh, too late. She has the girls dress up in cat maid outfits and practice. Yeah, she can’t stop pressing the shutter button. Hifumi who is showing Momiji around sees this. That disgusted stare means she doesn’t want any part of this sh*t. Hadzuki manages to make Momiji dress as one (was she being baited she could take on this challenge?) before Umiko comes in to drag her away. Eventually Kou randomly chooses some burger and steak stall in which Aoba’s face lights up. She really wants to eat here. Umiko, Nene and Naru’s side are getting along well. But at Kou’s side… Everyone’s so stiff! Anyway they manage to break the ice talking about nicknames. Momiji doesn’t join the others for lunch and usually brings her own big onigiri. Aoba feels it is a bit difficult to get close to her since she is still reserved. Hadzuki points out Kou was like this so Aoba fears Momiji would turn into another Kou by sleeping in her panties! Hifumi talks to Momiji. She manages to break the ice by showing her pictures of Soujirou. Pets always do the trick. On another day, Momiji brings a smaller onigiri for lunch. She reveals her goal to earn more money so she could buy and eat more meat. Hence her lunches are often brought from home as she fears she would spend them all. Currently she is sharing a rented space with Naru. They come from Hokkaido. Later, Momiji is trying to hint to Aoba that she is a talented top grade genius like her. However Aoba isn’t cowed and could accept her challenge not to lose confidently. This isn’t how Momiji pictured how it should be. She starts feeling strange. Could it be love? Back at her office space, Momiji is glaring at Aoba’s work. Damn it’s good. Is that the look of dissatisfaction or jealousy? Why so serious?

Episode 9
Hajime is at a hero show with Yun’s siblings. Her old high school friend, Akki happen to be here so they catch up a little bit. When asked what Hajime is doing, she replies a designer. Well, not technically a lie but not accurate either. Later Hajime talks to Yun how she was an otaku in high school and tried to hide it. Yun feels a bit jealous that back then Hajime looked quite feminine and had some decent knowledge of fashion. Yun then shows her own photo of her during high school. Promise don’t laugh. She looks like a nerd. When Hajime decides to reveal her true otaku self to Akki, it seems she already knows it for a long time. Yun is surprised to hear Hajime cut her own hair short. Yun thought of wearing those glasses again so Hajime also copies her. Don’t they look smart? Momiji shows a game she did in school and it is pretty impressive. Maybe she just wants to be praised. The newbies are given some work to do. Naru learns how Nene became a programmer and from what she told, it looked like she got in here via connections. This doesn’t sit well with Naru as she vows to get in on he own skills. This makes Nene feel bad but now Naru hates her?! Momiji might look serious at work but back home she is a bit loose. She sounds like she loves eating. While Naru takes a bath, she hears Momiji’s scream. Looks like there is a black bug lurking around. Oh no. It’s hiding and making those scuttling sounds. Any moment now going into panic. Because they have no insecticide or magazines to whack it. Basically, no weapons and defenceless! So how are they going to handle this ‘threat’? Instantly, Naru takes Momiji’s bowl and covers on it! Now it’s Momiji’s chance to run out to buy insecticide. Hurry! Because of that, the next day Naru takes off since she has gotten a cold. Momiji arrives at work wearing her pyjamas top. She doesn’t mind it when Aoba points it out until she draws attention to her unkempt hair.

Episode 10
Naru creates a daruma mini game inside PECO. Hajime tests it but feels something is not right. Till Aoba points out the need to add other NPC players. She makes the changes and although it is better, this time Momiji points out how the NPCs could identify the player as the imposter from such angle. Time to rework it again. Because it will take time and hence deadline of importance, Naru wonders who will be responsible if the game is not delivered on time. Hajime might be a full time staff but Naru is still on probation and this affects her evaluation. Umiko learns of Hajime’s constant request change and advises Naru to blow off stress. A chance to introduce her to the world of airsoft? The final change is made and they show it to Hadzuki who loves it. She even suggests a few more features. More changes, I guess? Nene has finished her ball maze game. It has some bug in the end but she thinks it’s okay. Since Umiko and her debuggers are busy, she goes to bug Aoba. Too bad she is busy too. Returning to her place, she spots Naru having glitches. She can’t say because Naru also knows about her glitch and advises her to finish it properly if she is a pro. Nene thought she could weasel her way out by adding more special effects but it is going to be easier said than done. Eventually she finishes it and Umiko tests it. The easy mode seems pretty okay but the hard mode crashes since she has trouble incorporating those random special effects. Umiko passes her since she did complete the main project within the stipulated time. With the deadline looming, Umiko will have Nene use her debugging skills like last year. Get ready for more work! On the way home, Aoba and Nene talk about how they have improved. Aoba can’t forever depend on Kou. Rin talks to Kou who stays back late to finish her work. They talk about the changes that have been for everyone. Kou gives Rin a watch as a thank you present since nowadays she is hardly at her desk and always out. But Rin starts getting mad since Kou plans to sleep over in office and strips right away. That part of her has never changed.

Episode 11
Naru finishes her task fast and this earns Umiko’s praise. That smirk at Nene… However Nene spots some bugs so Naru tries to quickly fix it and ‘warns’ Nene not to tell Umiko. Nene takes the break at the cafeteria. Since Momiji is there, she asks about Naru. Sounds like a hardworking and reliable girl. Till she learns Naru’s parents were against her going into the game industry and wanted her to take over their inn. Therefore Naru had to work hard and finance her own living just to prove she can make it. If she cannot secure a job at Eagle Jump, it’s game over. Nene also talks about Aoba. She was playing around until her senior high school years till Hotaru came along and sparked an interest in the arts. Umiko calls Nene not because she is slacking but rather there are many bugs found in Naru’s programme. That’s why she managed to finish so fast and did not check. Naru feels bad. She thought this is the end of the road. Surprisingly Nene encourages her to fight on. As they have a deadline to follow, they have to work to patch things up and depending on how fast they can do, the mini games will be cut if they can’t fix it fast enough. Naru wonders why Nene is helping her. Doesn’t she hate her? At first she did but after hearing her family story, she wants to support her. Naru apologizes for being jealous and stubborn. So everyone puts in the effort and works overtime. Those energy drinks sure come in handy. In the end, it is all fixed and Umiko passes Naru and offers her a renewed contract to work here. Meanwhile Rin overhears a conversation between Kou and Yamato. Kou is going to leave Eagle Jump to work somewhere else. Oh no… With the game completed, the girls test PECO. Seems pretty fun and good. Everyone is having a good time. Except Rin. She’s really fidgeting and feeling uneasy…

Episode 12
Everyone is here for the pre-release event of PECO. Momiji finally learns the truth that Aoba was the one who designed the key visual but the higher ups wanted Kou for promotional purposes. She realizes Aoba went through a rougher patch than her. As Kou takes centre stage to introduce the game, she improvises and credits Aoba on the design of most of the characters. Later at backstage, Kou drops the bomb that she is quitting to go to France to hone her skills. This obviously leaves Hadzuki and the young ones in shock. She told Rin a bit earlier so she’s able to ‘handle’ it. Hadzuki tells her to come back when she’s done. But don’t take too long till she gets old! Nice one. Aoba is also reeling from the shock and forces herself to accept this. During the party to celebrate the event’s success which also serves as a farewell party, Umiko is also interested to work for another company that Yamato’s sister works. Yamato is even getting ready her contacts but Hadzuki stops her. She isn’t going to lose more of her precious paradise! After the party, everyone sees the face of Rin they have never seen before. She starts crying that she doesn’t want Kou to go. All Kou has to say is to hope she keeps watching over her or else she won’t be able to leave with a smile. A week later as Aoba arrives for work, she thought Kou is still around when she should be catching her flight today. Nope. False alarm. Just Mozuku. Momiji then walks in and sees her close to tears. She is going to bring her to say her real goodbye to Kou. Because it looks like she still has regrets over it. During the train trip, they talk about Kou like Aoba’s first impression of her when seeing her sleeping in the office in her panties. Pretty much the same irresponsible person then. Arriving at the departure hall, they see Rin in the midst of giving her a farewell lecture? With Aoba starting to get emotional, Kou hugs her as she thanks her for making her realize she needs to get better. After watching her work so hard, she realized she has gotten complacent. That’s why she is going overseas to learn more so that she can move further up. In gaming terms, that is like upgrade, right? They both promise to become better. By now, the whole gang has also skipped work to come say goodbye. After the plane takes off, Momiji realizes after Naru reminds her about her internship results. Oops. Looks like Kou forgot to evaluate her and left. Don’t worry, Rin says she passed. Another week later, PECO goes on sale and out girls go buy them. Hotaru being kiasu and buying all versions and editions? Aoba hopes to work harder so that everyone can work together again making great games.

Same Game, Next Level
Well, looks like it is Aoba and Momiji to be the next Kou. Life is just like a game. You can’t stay in that same level and do the same things all over and over again. You have to level up and move on. So even though it is sad that Kou is no longer at Eagle Jump, I’m sure as part of the game developing community, everyone will still be connected. Things may change again in the future. Kou may or may not come back and Aoba may or may not stay on. But we’ll cross the bridge when we get to it. For now, things are looking good for the company and the future of the young ones seeing the initial success of PECO. I mean, they are already dreaming of making the next game based on what they really want it to have.

The character development this season is fairly decent. While there is nothing too deep, I feel that because they have to spread the focus on some of the characters, some of them feel like they have shorter screen time. For instance, Hifumi. Ever since she got promoted, we hear very much less of her. This is compounded by the fact that Hifumi herself is a quiet girl herself so you don’t hear much of her originally and even so in her meek form. Even much lesser when Eagle Jump hires a bunch of newbies and the focus then shifts to them.

Even Rin seems to be featured less ever since she has gone corporate. It’s like she is sticking around because of Kou. But then that dramatic heart-breaking news of Kou quitting and hence no more yuri time? When everything seems to be going so well and easy at Eagle Jump, this kind of news that an employee is hopping ship and even Kou lashing out at Aoba seems like something serious. It provides the much needed drama for our characters to grow and to tug our heartstrings. So like I’ve said, there are some character development but it is just minimal. It just shows that after a year, there have been some changes to the positions of the characters and their job roles and how they moved forward. Otherwise, their overall character remains pretty much the same. I mean, you can’t expect the girls to remain in the same position doing the same thing again, right? Might as well go watch last season again.

The introduction of new interns and a ‘veteran’ newbie halfway through this season brings a refreshing direction to the series. Each has their own reasons and goals for coming to Eagle Jump. Like Momiji who looks up to Kou like how Aoba once was and her seemingly unfriendly outlook overlaps with Hifumi. In some ways I thought she was Hifumi’s character replacement since the latter now has less appearance, do not fear all those who love poker face girls because here is Momiji to substitute her in her absence. Something like that. I’m sure competitiveness is in their blood since right away Momiji and Naru begin making ‘enemies’ out of Aoba and Nene respectively. Considering their background and how they came about and ended up here, maybe that is why they need to prove their worth if they want to stay in this company. But once they get to know each other, it’s just another day at work. After all, everyone is working on the same project.

Nene is still my favourite character because of all the ‘troubles’ she brings in addition to that very cute squeaky voice that spells mischief. Surprisingly, she took on the challenge and became quite a decent programmer and is considered a pro veteran debugger. It feels like she was bitten by the debugging bug (no pun intended) last season and hence she decided to hone her skills and becoming one. Therefore I also feel that perhaps she is such a subtle masochist and loves getting scolded by Umiko, she came to apply for a job at Eagle Jump. Well, if she was that scary in the first place, she wouldn’t have done so. So rather she came here for that instead of to be with Aoba.

Umiko also seems to be less in trying to ‘recruit’ people to play airsoft. With so much programming to go, maybe there is no time to play her favourite outdoor activity. With her guiding Nene, I guess this eats up some of her time. She might play it at other times when we don’t see her but we don’t see her trying to bug others to accompany her playing the game.

Lastly, the pet mascots of the series, the cat and the hedgehog. Mozuku still hangs and bums about in the office like a cat boss. Hardly anything and just for some furry relief. Otherwise it is the most carefree character ever in the company. In fact, I think it is also the most bored seeing everyone is mostly too busy to give it some attention all the time. But from time to time when it crosses your path, it’ll surely make your day and relief some stress because who can’t resist petting a fat cat or play with its paws? Too bad Soujirou feels like it made even less appearance this season because I remember Hifumi often confides in her pet about her troubles at work but the hedgehog just don’t give a damn and all it cares is just to be fed. Why not? Hedgehogs can’t talk!

Mentioning how carefree Mozuku is prompted me to notice how easy going the employees at Eagle Jump are. I have not worked in a game company or seen one in action but the way they portray the girls doing their job seems like they are stressful. I know we don’t see everyone in every department but as for those we can see, it’s like there is no real stress to it. Everything looks like in order and is going well. Even during times when they rush, they don’t look all that stressful. Maybe women can handle stress better than men? I’m not saying the characters have it easy. There are tough times too but the way they portray it feels like as though making games looks like such an easy thing. Well, when you have bosses like Hadzuki who has free time to come mess with the girls, I guess everything is not that bad and under control. Well, at least everybody is dedicated and hardworking. Also, looks like my question to last season on why the company hires only women is somewhat answered. Workplace romance is going to affect productivity. But lesbian pairing is better than straight pairings? Whatever. Just make a good game.

Fourfolium (basically the quartet of Aoba, Hifumi, Hajime and Yun) who sang all the themes last season, return again to sing all of them. This season’s opener Step By Step Up has that same energetic and lively feel like in the previous season’s opener. This season we have 2 ending themes. The first one being Jumpin’ Jump Up which is also another genki piece and the second one being Yumeiro Compass which is a moderate rock pop. Adding to the existing casts are Arisa Suzuki as Momiji, Hitomi Oowada as Naru (Sana in Alice To Zoroku), Kaori Nazuka as Yamato (Nunnally in Code Geass series) and Manaka Iwami as Hotaru (Chiaki in Gamers).

Overall, if you enjoyed the first season, this season feels like an extension that adds a few new things but hardly changes the main core nor are there any major shakeups. Also, for those who can’t get enough of cute girls doing cute things, making video games version, this season will be very much up your alley with all the bright and vivid colours as well as the overly cute girls working in a company (thank Hadzuki for that – and his paradise is likely to go on as long as she can stop them from leaving). Hence this second season feels like something equivalent to cosmetic extra content rather than mandatory paid DLC or microtransactions that are needed to complete the game. Let’s hope this series doesn’t cut out content that should have been in it originally just to make an extra quick buck. Oh wait. Isn’t that what OVAs are for?

We are getting too attached and dependent on out Smartphones these days. Here is more bad news for you if you can’t leave a minute without bringing your Smartphone along wherever you go: You can’t bring your device along with you when you die! Shock! Horror! Oh no! How can this be?! Well, unless you are this lucky guy in Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni. He basically died. How unfortunate. But his death was a mistake and untimely so guess what? God felt bad about it and since He can’t ‘disrupt’ the order of reality (yeah, because bringing back people to life in the real world is much too shocking), He is going to resurrect you in another world. Sounds rather okay but not as farfetched with that fact that he is allowed to bring over his Smartphone! WTF?! I want to go to this world!

Episode 1
Touya Mochizuki. Is dead. God even apologizes for this accident. Say what?! However Touya is not mad thanks to his grandpa’s upbringing of not harbouring hate. Sure, imagine if you start hating God… Anyway God can resurrect him but not in his original world but another world. Because rules. What rules?! In this new magical world, he is able to take his Smartphone with him. Although he cannot interact with his old world, he can still read news feeds from it. Huh? Wow. He’s now got God as his personal contact. Hey… I hope this isn’t some rip-off from KonoSuba… Making his way to town, a man in a carriage stops and wants him to sell his high school clothes! He’ll pay gold coins for that! After doing so, he stumbles into a commotion at an alley. Twin sisters Elze and Linze Silhoueska are being hoodwinked by a couple of ruffians trying to cheat them of a delivered good. Touya wants to buy it at a cheaper price. Elze agrees. Touya then breaks it. The ruffians attack. Previously, God has given him super abilities so he easily defeats them. The sisters thank him and he mentions he is trying to look for Silver Moon Inn. Oh, that’s where they are staying too. As thanks for saving them, the sister help Touya look for a job at a guild. He can’t read and has no weapon. So after registering him and getting him a weapon, they take on several wolves as part of the request. Later, Touya hopes they can teach him magic too. So they explain the importance of aptitudes otherwise magic cannot be used at all. They demonstrate a spell using spell stones. When Touya tries, the magic is overflowing! Thank God, right? They also let him try other spells and it seems he can easily do all of them with ease. They are awed that he can use all elements but Elze remains sceptical because nobody can use all elements. I know. Thank God, right? Innkeeper Mika introduces them to Aer who is having trouble adding new dish to her menu. Believing Touya is a travel and has some ideas, he uses his smartphone to teach them how to make ice cream. Wait. This world has no ice cream?!

Episode 2
Their next job is to deliver a letter to the royal capital. They see a commotion in the streets. Ruffians ganging up on lone girl, Yae Kokonoe. Though she can defend herself, the trio help her before it gets overwhelming. Yae introduces herself and Touya thought she comes from a place that sounds familiar to feudal Japan. She is on a journey to test her strength to become a better warrior. They let her join their mission as Touya continues to learn all kinds of magic. Don’t have any naughty thoughts of stealing underwear with this drawing spell. Along the way, they stumble upon lizardmen being summoned by an evil mage. After defeating them, they hear cries from a carriage. Sushie “Sue” Urnea Ortlinde is devastated her butler, Reim has taken an arrow to his chest. Touya comes up with a solution that nobody seems to think. He uses his magic to draw out the arrow and then heal him! So easy! Reim introduces himself as a butler who serves Duke Alfred. The other girls kneel and Touya learns dukes are the highest noble title belonging to the family. This means Sue is the niece of the current king of Belfast Kingdom and Alfred is his younger brother. Grateful Sue brings them back to her palace and her father is so darn happy she is okay that he bows before Touya! They discuss that Alfred may have enemies who want him out and they were probably trying to kidnap his daughter for blackmail. Had they not have this letter mission, Sue would have been kidnapped or dead. Alfred would love to introduce him to his wife, Ellen but she is blind from an illness. Sue was on a trip to learn her late grandpa’s special magic that might heal it. If only someone had capable null magic… Why are all the girls looking at Touya with glee? Before Ellen, Touya uses his magic… And now Ellen can see! Woah! Too easy! Thank God, right? Alfred rewards handsomely Touya with 40 platinum coins as well as giving them family medals. This allows them to pass through any checkpoints with ease and to use any facilities only nobles could. After delivering the letter, Yae admires Touya’s strength and humility and decides to follow them for her training. Yeah, why not? The harem is just getting started. Oops, I mean their very own guild party.

Episode 3
Back in town, Touya finds a lost animal girl, Alma. Thanks to this smartphone’s GPS, he manages to return her to her sister, Origa. Touya buys a new coat the increases his magic resistance and properties he possesses. It seems a couple of store owners are now hooked on this shogi game Touya introduced them. Even Alfred is hooked on it and wants to keep playing with Touya despite it’s already night time. No more shogi for him… It’ll be a traumatic nightmare… The gang is trying to take on a new quest. The girls oppose vehemently about this slime one. Yeah, melts clothes… So they take on this dullahan one and after defeating it, they thought they could find some hidden treasure in the ruins nearby since this was where the old capital was. Underground, there is a large relief with writing that is unrecognizable. Nothing like the smartphone could do and snap a few photos. Trekking deeper underground, they stumble upon a strange glass statue. They realize too late their light is being absorbed by it as it activates. Touya uses his gate to escape to the surface but this high-tech magical beast that moves at super speed attacks them. They thought they had destroyed it but it regenerates. Elze is caught off guard and gets injured. While the rest deal with it, Touya heals her. Then it occurred to him about some shogi move. So Touya uses his magic to draw out its core for Elze to destroy it. It crumbles for good. They report this to Alfred and he will conduct an official investigation. Touya shows the relief so Alfred notes it could be a clue as to why the capital was relocated. There were no records whatsoever of why it was so. On another day Touya visits the palace, Alfred looks like he is in a hurry. He thinks Touya is God sent at such a crucial time. It seems his brother has been poisoned.

Episode 4
Alfred suspects the kingdom of Mismede because his brother tried to form an alliance with the newly established beastmen country. If the king is gone, his eldest daughter, Yumina would take over and he can sense there is someone trying to gain power through political marriage. He wants Touya to heal his brother like he did with Ellen. And as easy as always, the king is healed like as though he woke up from a bad dream. Wow. The young girls in the room are starting to fall for Touya. Like Yumina and Charlotte the royal family’s mage. Maybe she’s just interested in his magic. As they discuss who the culprit is, the ambassador of Mismede is summoned because it is believed the wine she brought is poisoned. Touya is surprised the ambassador is Origa. Touya requests to investigate the hall where the poisoning took place since it was left untouched. After scanning it, he calls everyone. He says the wine has been cleared of poison and has some of the men drink it. But Count Balsa seems reluctant. So when he is forced to drink, he starts screaming he is dying of poison. Touya reveals he already wiped the poison off the glass. Balsa tries to run away but slips from Touya’s magic. Yumina is totally in love with him and can’t stop staring! She finally decides she wants to marry him! Father agrees. So fast? Because Yumina has mystic eyes, she can tell a person’s personality. If she acknowledges him, he isn’t a bad man. Touya tries to play that legal age card. Well, since Touya is 2 more years to reach legal age, this means Yumina has 2 years trying to win his heart! The hole in the ground is getting deeper… Heck, even God calls him to congratulate and assure polygamy is okay in this world. Speaking of which, how would his harem fare when they learn about his future wife? Shock of course. Plus, Yumina is going to live with them as part of her training. This means joining a guild and their party and going on missions. Yumina shows what she’s got as the gang easily defeat a pack of wolves and monkeys. But Touya can’t keep sighing because of his harem, people are staring with jealousy. The girls don’t get it and blush when Touya explains they are cute. He just dug his grave even deeper… Later Touya summons a beast to make a pact with. A white tiger pops up and Yumina recognizes it as the White Emperor. It is a heavenly beast. Unless Touya can prove his magical superiority, the white tiger will not follow him. I guess he got drained by Touya’s awesome power. Now it offers to become his familiar, Touya names him Kohaku. He wants to be by his side always but since it would scare off others, how about this chibi form? So cute! Yumina can’t stop hugging him! Now all the other girls take turns to squeeze it to death. Not even Touya can help. How low the heavenly beast has fallen?

Episode 5
The girls are not happy for this next mission. They are to investigate an abandoned castle filled with slimes. Yeah… They find research documents belonging to the researcher. As they trek deeper,, they encounter never-seen-before slimes that seem to take on a more pervy nature. But each of such slime is labelled failure by the researcher. So when they find the researcher’s corpse, the ultimate successful slime is one that turns into a harem of naked girls! Without a doubt, the girls burn down the entire castle in the name of purification. Never again shall such monstrosity arise. In town, Touya spots Yae trying to help a crying girl find his lost mom. Touya’s magic search has limited range. So use his smartphone! Because of that, Yae requests him to look for her brother whom she has never since she left on her journey. She describes him as close as possible and he is resembling more and more like Touya. Yae gets embarrassed and dismisses the thoughts that she likes Touya or anything. Next, Linze requests his help to read some spell with ancient words. He creates some magic glass that enables her to fluidly read everything. Then she tries to learn a new spell with it to the point she exhausts herself. But she doesn’t give up and eventually masters her water bubble bomb. With the bashing of tough creatures, Elze’s gauntlet begins to crack. After getting a replacement, she sees a lovely dress being displayed at a store. Touya believes she will look cute in it and as expect she denies (I doubt it is low self-confidence). So he has her try the dress and despite she doesn’t think of it as cute, Touya does and buys it. Now the other girls want him to buy them theirs… Yumina receives a letter from her family that she and Touya are to return to the royal palace for Touya’s knighthood as reward for that incident. He would like to decline it but he needs to state his reason publicly so either way he has to go back.

Episode 6
So even declining the knighthood, Touya still gets a huge mansion in exchange?! Wow. This guy can never lose! The girls are shocked when Touya allows all of them to live here because it’s too big by himself. I’m sure it’s not the part whereby the king gave this gift to him that is the problem. And this guy is so dense not understanding the implication of what he says when he mentions he likes all 4 of them equally! Yumina isn’t jealous since she has no intention of monopolizing him. And he still doesn’t get it?! The mansion will have a few staffs. Namely the head butler Raim and maids Lapis and Cecil. Is it me or do the security personnel look like thugs? Anyway, Raim is the older brother of Reim and he intends to serve Touya for saving his brother as well this is his ‘retirement’ after serving the king for many years. Alfred and Sue drop by to congratulate on Touya’s marriage. They also mull over the idea of marrying both royal princesses. Remember, polygamy is acceptable here. On to business, Alfred informs the kingdom has decided to form an alliance with Mismede. This means a venue is needed for both kings to talk. Since travelling is dangerous, this is where Touya comes in as they need his gate. Since he can only open gates to places where he has been, yup, he has to travel there. Don’t worry, an entourage will travel with him. They include, Origa, Alma, Garen the commander of Mismede’s troops and Lion Blitz of the first knight squad.

After journeying for a day, they make camp. They detect several bandits surrounding them. Touya uses his smartphone to detect how many and even paralyzes them all at the same time. While apprehending them all, everyone could see Lion is smitten with Origa. This prompts Touya’s harem to hint a certain someone is dense. Still don’t get it? No wonder Touya doesn’t understand why he is being lectured. In town, they see Lion trying to get something for Origa. With Alma’s help on what her sister likes, Lion is able to pick with ease. Yumina hints she would have wanted one too but she’ll prefer a ring on her left finger. Hint, hint. While camping for the night, they spot a dragon flying over. Although dragons don’t leave their sanctuary, some do so to go rampaging. As they feared, the red dragon burns down the village. Touya distracts the dragon to an open area where Kohaku finds out it was doing this for its own amusement. Touya and his harem cooperate to take down the dragon. Even cutting its wings, it can still breathe deadly fire. So fighting fire with fire because using a huge magnifying glass to burn it? A black dragon then pops up. He is here to retrieve a renegade dragon. Learning Kohaku serves a human, the black dragon apologizes for his rudeness. OMG. If a dragon can respect a mere human like Touya, is Touya God?! Everyone returns to help the village. Touya’s hard work is paid off as he finds himself sleeping on Yumina’s lap pillow. The other girls look on jealously. No hard feelings because rock-scissors-paper decided the outcome. Women’s battles are so fearsome…

Episode 7
Not only Touya and his harem help heal the villagers, they also donated useful parts of the dragon to them. Wah. So noble. As reward, the village head hands Touya a dragon fang as reward. They also return him a knife plucked out from the dragon’s eye but Touya doesn’t recognize it is from one of them. At Berge, the royal capital of Mismede, they have an audience with the king, Jamukha. He is impressed that Touya had slain a dragon. Because he likes to challenge strong people, he wants Touya to fight him. His subordinates don’t like this habit of his and hopes Touya will beat the crap out of him! Touya easily wins using his slipping magic but Jamukha won’t recognize it and wants a rematch. Without the use of that spell. Touya fights him fair and square as well with a good amount of magic to keep up with his speed and attacks. In the end, Jamukha admits defeat. During the party, Touya shows Jamukha his Smartphone that could take pictures instantly. While wandering in the hallways, Touya stumbles into a teddy bear, Paula who brings him to its master, Leen. She is 612 years old from the fairy folk. Paula isn’t her familiar but is animated using her magic. After demonstrating it, Touya tries it out and does it better. She wants him to be her apprentice but since she doesn’t like forcing others, she leaves her door open in case he changes his mind. Touya uses the fang to create a gun with bullets. Wow. He makes and masters it so easily. He even creates one for Yumina and Linze. Touya makes a few improvements to his gun as it can also doubles as a sword. He names it Brunhild. On the way back, Kohaku senses somebody watching them. So Touya traces and confronts them. They escape but thanks to GPS he manages to track them. They try to escape again but he shoots them! Don’t worry. Rubber bullets. As they won’t talk, he body searches them for weapons. Boobs?! Turns out they are Lapis and Cecil. They are spies working for the king to protect Yumina secretly. This means Raim is also on this. The knife is from them. They hope he won’t tell Yumina otherwise it’ll defeat the purpose. Also, she won’t stop b*tching about it. Touya opens the gate for Jamukha to meet Belfast’s king. This prompts Leen to ponder about visiting her apprentice, Charlotte who is there.

Episode 8
What a long tiring day as Touya returns to his mansion. After sleeping, he enters a room where he sees all his girls changing! At the same time? Of course time for him to get lectured. Touya is making bicycles. The girls are trying to outdo each other for Touya’s praise. Wow. It’s like they suddenly get better at cycling. As Alfred requests more bicycles, Touya heads to town to get more materials. In the alley, he spots a girl, Renne being attacked for pickpocketing. He saves and even feeds her. When he learns she is homeless and has no family, he takes her home and has her become one of his maids. Touya and co spot Alma. Then they see Origa and Lion out together. Lion seems shy to hold her hand so Yumina is also hinting something at Touya about the same. What’s this got to do? They tail them and using Touya’s Smartphone, they get to see and listen what they’re talking. They bump into Jamukha in disguise. When trouble occurs nearby and the victim is being ganged up, Touya and Jamukha don weird masks to defeat them. Lion could instantly recognize Touya from his coat and voice. Origa could identify her king but he quickly escapes. Too slow for Touya. He’s got some explaining to do. Touya quickly deflects the ‘blame’ to Lion. He asks him if he would like to date Origa and such, in which he answers yes. There you have it. Now the duo are an item. Returning to his mansion, Leen and Charlotte are here. They want to discuss about the mechanical beast they defeated. She has been investigating this case. A village to the west of Mismede said a crack in the sky was discovered a few days ago. She went to check but the village was destroyed. It is believed such creatures are demons called Fraze and have translucent bodies. They once tried to destroy the world. Knowing that Touya can use the gate, she wants to head to the far east of Eashen, Yae’s hometown. As Touya can only open gates to places he has seen, Leen tells of a spell that could transfer memories and hence jump to that places of memories he read. Yae is embarrassed to let her thoughts be read. She can be selective of those. But they have to be in contact for the memory transfer. Like kissing. Just kidding. So they hold hands and put their foreheads together (other girls looking jealous). With that, Touya is able to open a gate to Eashen.

Episode 9
Eashen is so like Japan but of course. Even the names of certain people are suspiciously familiar to history. Yae takes the gang to see her family but only her mom is in. It looks like father and brother have gone off to help their shogun Ieyahsu to fight the Takeda clan’s invasion. They’re not faring well. Looks like it is up to Touya to save the day. Opening the gate to the fortress, they see lots of samurai zombies swarming the place. Touya meets Jutarou (Yae’s brother) as he uses his app to heal the injured. Learning the zombies will only stop in their tracks when their mask is cut off, Leen believes it must be powerful relics of ancient civilizations. No problem. His app can zap all the masks with accuracy! Then they meet Ieyahsu and Yae’s father who are grateful for their help. They believe the Takeda clan will attack again once they regroup. They heard their clan head, Schingen recently died and their strategist, Kansukay Yamamoto has taken control. He is likely holed up in his main camp. Ieyahsu is about to show them the way when Tsubaki, a ninja for one of the main generals of Takeda drop in to deliver a letter. It is a plea to help save the Takeda clan as all the generals but Tsubaki’s have been thrown into prison. Tsubaki’s master pretended to be on Kansukay’s side. Ieyahsu has no obligation to save them but this might cause trouble for his people. Well Touya, looks like you’re up to the task again. He has Tsubaki envision her camp since he needs to open a gate there. Piercing stares from his harem… Only Leen and Tsubaki follow him since too many might attract unwanted attention. In a harem sense? Leen uses invisibility on them and then starts groping Tsubaki’s boobs and blaming it on Touya. We’re in the middle of a mission! Touya heads to free the generals and then confronts Kansukay. However nobody can lay a finger on him as Kansukay uses Schingen to attack them. They can’t attack their lord even if he is dead. What is Touya to do? Just break Schingen’s mask! And since Kansukay is bragging about this immortal gem that has magic properties, Touya snatches it! Leen can tell its cursed properties and lets Touya destroys it. Kansukay crumbles into dust. The day is saved. With Yae bidding farewell to her family, the rest continue their journey to the ruins after receiving its specific whereabouts. They arrive at the beach and the girls are ecstatic to see the ocean. Oh no. Don’t turn this into a sexy beach episode…

Episode 10
I guess investigation of the ruins have to wait because it’s beach episode! Time for fun in the sun and sand. Not to mention swimsuit fanservice! So it isn’t going to be just Touya and his harem because they also bring the entire royal family here! This Eashen beach is starting to look like some private royal beach. Aside all the big boobs and flat boobs fanservice, time for Touya and Leen to get to work. As Touya dives in, he sees the underground ruin but of course he cannot hold his breath and has to resurface. Shockingly his app can’t make some scuba apparatus so Kohaku suggests making a pact with the Black Emperor. It’s a snake and turtle combo. While the turtle sounds condescending, why does snakey sound so gay?! Touya needs to challenge and beat them. Again he uses his slipping app to make them slip and turn turtle infinitely until they give up. That is how you get heavenly beasts under your thumb! With them acknowledging Touya as their master, he names them Kokuyou (the snake) and Sango (the turtle). Looks like the investigation of the ruins have to be put on hold further because Leen tells him to go have fun with the rest of the harem or else they’ll start suspecting he is spending too much time with her. Speaking of which, they are. So they’re asking who has the best swimsuit. Touya thinks he chose the safest answer by calling Sue’s but this only makes it worse since they think he is a lolicon. Making it worse is his Smartphone falling out and a picture of Sue and Renne being displayed. For memories, you say? I’m sure they’ll forgive him if he plays with them. Not in a hentai sense, that is. After Touya fulfils that, it’s time to investigate the ruins. I guess it is only for a single person since Kokuyou and Sango can only allow Touya to breathe and walk underwater like as though he is doing so on land. Inside the ruins, he activates a strange device and this leads him to a beautiful greenhouse. Francesca the android girl greets him. She is the terminal that controls this Aerial Garden of Babylon. The shocking thing Touya first notices about her is that she is wearing no pantsu!

Episode 11
After covering up herself, Francesca explains this garden has been floating in the sky for 5,092 years and was created by Professor Regina Babylon. The garden remained beautiful and everything still worked fine due to reinforced magic. You mean it can last forever? Francesca was also built by her as this garden’s control terminal. She isn’t 100% machine and contains several biological parts. Cue for her to make a scandalous statement that she can’t have children but still can have sex. And she is hinting he can do so to her any time! But gentleman Touya would never violate her, right? And it is a good thing too because this was all part of the test to see if he is deemed worthy to be this garden’s next master. Had he assaulted or allowed her to walk around pantless, she would have kicked him out. And she still has the guts to flirt and tease him… Meanwhile Touya’s harem seems to be ‘divided’ based on their boobs size. Just in time for Touya to open a gate to bring them to the garden. First thing they notice is the other woman. It does not help with Francesca putting it in an awful way she showed Touya her body and he is now her ‘master’. It looks like Linze has a big problem with this. She scolds him like as though looking at their swimsuits wasn’t enough. Wow. She’s really making a big deal out of this. Till Leen ‘stops’ her lest she makes her stance clear with him. This goes the same for the other girls. So stop b*tching about being a moral police unless you are officially his wife! Later, Yumina talks to Elze, Linze and Yae about their talk earlier in the mansion. She pointed out all of them loves Touya and as expected all turned red and giving excuses why they are not. However Yumina is okay with Touya having a harem because she cannot support him by himself. She cannot be selfish with the trivialities of wanting him all for herself. Sharing is caring! Let’s all be his bride! Wow. So inclusive! And now she reminds them have they made up their mind on their feelings yet. Still flushed with embarrassment and more excuses on the thought of marriage.

Back to the discussion on the garden, Francesca reveals there are actually more gardens floating. Each have their own unique facilities like the library, lab and workshop and are managed by her other sisters. Originally there are 9 of them but over the years, the parts may have broken up into more. Combined, they complete the Garden of Babylon. As each garden is protected by magic, it is not visible from the outside. Also, connection is severed so Francesca cannot contact her other sisters. Hey, why don’t we use the Smartphone? Great idea! None detected. First failure?! Hence the only way to get to other gardens just like this one is to find a teleport circle. I bet they are scattered all over the world. Francesca would like to complete the transfer of this garden’s ownership to Touya. How? By kissing him! French kiss! Wet French kiss!!! OMG!!! The other girls must be so dead. Yumina is most mad because she hasn’t kissed him yet. So much about the harem policy. Francesca’s ‘excuse’ is that this is the fastest way to take his DNA sample. Oh, is Linze going to be a moral police again? Touya is prepared for hellfire but surprise! Linze confesses she loves him and kisses him! I believe the true battle is going to begin and it’s going to get messy.

Episode 12
Touya brings Francesca back to the mansion. I guess she also works here now, huh? But now comes his biggest trial yet. Because Yumina sees him and she is mad. Oh boy. She is mad because he kissed others and not her first. She doesn’t care if he has 10 or 20 wives but the fact he didn’t kiss her. Yup. That’s the biggest problem. She’ll forgive him if he kisses her. And because he is the one who initiated the kiss, this means she is the first to be kissed by him. Technically. So all is forgiven. Phew. It’s really hard to please a woman. She then asks about Linze. He doesn’t hate her or anything and likes her. Yumina then calls out to Linze who has an invisible spell cast on her. She heard everything. Since Touya didn’t revert to her, she thought he hated her. After reconciling, Yumina suggests he takes her as his wife too. Polygamy is okay. They end with a goodnight kiss each. On the forehead. If you think that settles it, wait till next morning when he gets a rude awakening by Elze. Yup, another mad woman. She and Yae challenge him to a duel. Apparently they’re not happy he took Linze as his wife. If they win, he must listen to their request. To cut it short, they do and it seems they want him to put them as the same position as Linze. You mean be his wives? So why are you all flustering now? Yumina would love him to accept them too because they have discussed this before. However Touya can’t decide. He needs more time to think. Yeah, don’t go pressuring the main guy of a harem. So he is thinking in the garden as Francesca has a message from Regina. Conveniently the USB fits his Smartphone and does it have hologram feature?! Whatever. What is this BS he can converse with Regina in the past?! Oh, she has some tool that allows her to see and interact with the future? Load of crap… Anyway, after teasing him with her seductive ways, she gets down to business talking about Fraze. Her device allowed her to see the future until the Fraze appeared. She couldn’t see anything. She believes Fraze altered the future of her timeline. However the Fraze too one day disappeared and she could see the future again. She had fun watching Touya and his harem. Wow. Looks who is the peeping tom from centuries ago. So in exchange for watching this fun, she entrusts him her garden? I bet it was way damn fun…

Touya goes to see God of his problem. So he doesn’t have a consulting app? When you have to see God, you’re screwed. Heck, God himself isn’t sure so he calls for someone else! She is the God of Love!!! So can she solve his harem problem? From what I understand, she too isn’t really sure but what is important is to cherish them and don’t lie to himself. So it is okay for him to be selfish because it isn’t love if only one side is happy. All sides must be happy! Harem lovers rejoice this answer! And now he has found his answer, he calls the quartet. He tells them he isn’t marrying. Now, before you all jump the gun, hear him out properly first. What he meant is he isn’t getting married now. He will keep his promise to marry all of them if they aren’t against it. For now, he can’t shoulder that kind of responsibility. Excuse to delay responsibility or let their love grow? I suppose everyone is okay with it because imagine the only guy rejecting you because you’re being a forceful b*tch. Yeah, might as well take it slow. With this settled, Yumina suggests they all kiss him. Elze is first but she gets embarrassed and punches him in the gut. Well, there goes today’s kiss. Leen, Francesca and Charlotte are watching over this. Fun, right? Francesca calculates he will amass 9 wives at this rate. She wonders if Leen is part of it. From that group picture, yes. And a host of unknown ladies too! Well Touya, go find them. In the aftermath, he calls God to update about his resolved harem. He then helps a guy named Ende when he got the wrong currency to pay for his food. Touya finds his oddly shaped coin interesting but Ende finds his Smartphone even more interesting.

Jack Of All Trades, Master Of ‘Em All!
Well, I should have expected this. I mean, I should have seen this coming from a mile that this is what it all boils down to. Just some cheesy harem anime that everything and anything goes for plot convenience and to make the main character look good and hence harem lovers feel good. Because hey, why not? So who the f*ck is that Ende guy doesn’t really mean a thing because I believe it is meant to troll us all and throw us off our balance. He could be the future antagonist or the alternate timeline of Touya because of what Regina said about that Fraze thingy or could be just one random guy. Heck, in worst case scenario, he could be even Touya’s future partner!!! Whoever said his future wives and mistresses must be all females?! We must be inclusive! Be the first gay partner!

The entire anime is pretty cheesy and mediocre. The Smartphone is supposed to be the main draw but instead it became some sort of convenient tool whenever it is needed to solve something or a plot device, if I should go so far as to call it that. The rest of this series revolves around Touya and his harem going around in their mini adventure and basically, this is just another harem anime. Yup, look at how good and kind-hearted Touya is amassing his girls from the first episode right up till the end. In short, almost every girl he meets will end up ‘following’ him. And I don’t mean that by following one on social media because there is none in this world.

The plot itself feels a little lost because aside the random adventure of amassing his own harem, there is this ‘side quest’ of trying to find out more about the ancient threat of Fraze. Then it got side-lined into this Garden of Babylon thingy and hence more ruins to find. Or should I say, more girls to find. So what the heck are these Fraze and why they suddenly disappeared? Heck, who the hell cares?! As long as Touya is amassing his wives that’s all we ever want to know. Because at this point I’ll just do a conspiracy theory that the Fraze appeared and disappeared so as to allow Touya to have his harem. It is all possible thanks to Fraze. Yeah, f*ck it. They are the closest to being the series’ main antagonist in which it is seriously lacking. Yae’s Eashen home is just one-off. Dragons aren’t that bad and the rogue ones can be controlled by the wiser ones. The beastmen aren’t that all bad either and now they have established relations, heck there are literally no big bad guys here save for a few small time bandits. Nothing like Touya and co could fix up in no time. No wonder this world is peaceful enough for Touya to amass this much girls in his harem. Now wonder it is so interesting for the rest to watch it. I suppose they don’t have football matches in this world…

The characters are pretty cliché and mediocre themselves too. Like everything was a plot to setup whatever it is needed for a harem anime with no serious character development whatsoever. I should have expected it ever since I saw the promotional poster with Touya sitting on a king’s throne and all his girls flanking him. But I didn’t think it would be this bad. Pfft. Okay, I must be kidding and lying to myself. Because you see, the more girls Touya gets to his harem, the less significant they become because you know, the share of screen time is divided and this dilutes their worth. Like the sisters who are the first in his harem, you can feel that they slowly become less relevant as the series goes by and more girls popping up. Of course they are still relevant but it is not to a point that you would see them as main contenders or anything. Just lurking in the background and mingling with the rest till something convenient for them is needed pops up.

I don’t know if I should label Touya as one of the worst main characters ever because deep down inside me, I also want to be him. I want to have a Smartphone that does everything conveniently which also serves as a chick magnet. Touya is actually a weak character and has no real actual abilities or skills by himself. He is only made ‘strong’ because of his Smartphone that can miraculously do almost everything and anything. Hence, he is now somewhat an ‘overpowered’ character. There is nothing his Smartphone cannot do! There is an app for literally anything and only limited to his mind’s creativity. Somehow it works in this world where there is magic. Oh, how convenient! I bet his Smartphone and apps are going to worth billions in our world. The most coveted Smartphone ever! Oh wait. I just praised his Smartphone and not Touya himself. See, that says a lot, right? But damn you Touya for having a harem!

As for the rest of his other girls in his main harem, I guess like everybody else, they stick to him because he is such a kind and considerate guy. Not to say that Touya is a pervert and at times it is only natural to catch him starring at girls’ boobs but he isn’t a jerk kind of pervert in nature and that is why the girls stick to him. Also because he has a cool Smartphone that impresses. Because you already know, it can do anything and everything. Really, with just a click of a finger and all your wishes and solutions are granted. It feels like technology trumps magic in this world and that the girls here are like country bumpkins attracted to him mainly because of his cool never-seen-before gadget. I wonder what would be of him if his Smartphone dies out. No replacement! Can he ask God to buy the latest Apple iPhone?! We know one just recently came out, right? You see, I have a theory why he doesn’t duplicate another Smartphone for others. Not even his girls. He knows this Smartphone gives him the power. The authority. His trump card. Imagine if there is another one that rivals him. No competition, the better, right? Touya you sneaky bastard… Assuming if this is true of course.

So I don’t know what else to comment on them besides trying to fill up the harem trope as much as possible. You got the sisters, then you got the traditional eastern girl (because, which Japanese anime would be complete without at least one Japanese-like girl, past or modern), then you got the royalty princess, her little loli sister, a fairy and now he has got an android to the mix. How lovely. And those are the main ones. This is not counting the maids at his home which comprised of Yumina’s secret service agents and the random kid whom Touya picked up on the street. Let’s also not forget about furries like Alma and the magical assistant, Charlotte. It is only a matter of time and question when Touya will hit on MILF. Oh… The king’s wife… Off with his head!!! And what are the chances of Touya amassing more girls in his harem assuming he comes into contact with Francesca’s other sisters? Oh you bet he can do it! You bet he can make connections between all gardens working and easier again! All hail Touya! All hail his Smartphone! Heh. I didn’t even mention a bevy of beauties in that final episode scene. Just how many more wives and mistresses can Touya have?! That’s the question that I would love to find out. Can his app do a calculation on that?

So those in his harem that made an ‘impact’ are those who are bolder in their love for Touya, especially those who like to tease him like Leen and Francesca. Because if you have an entire harem who just blushes and gives excuses why they want to be with him (I sometimes feel the excuse of Touya being unreliable and hence they need to be next to him feels legit in a way), it would be just plain boring. With these girls, they get to stoke and fan the fire and push the harem in ways most cliché as possible. Hey, it’s already cheesy, mediocre and cliché, why not go all the way? Make these girls tell ero jokes whenever they have a chance! I mean, girls can get away with it if they talk dirty, right? And Yumina… She sounded magnanimous of wanting everyone to be Touya’s bride. But what she didn’t say and I feel is that she didn’t make that statement clear enough. I believe she meant that herself as his main and number one bride and the rest be his concubine. Hence, they rank lower in the pecking order. See where this is going? Eventually, it’s not wrong for Yumina to want Touya for herself since she is a woman too but assuming this is what she meant, she shouldn’t be this deceptive. Oh, women can be deceptive when it comes to the matters of the heart.

I also believe Kohaku, Sango and Kokuyou only exist to give some moe in the form of animal mascot. Ever since they ‘lost’ to Touya (I would like to attribute their lost to his Smartphone actually), they have become docile and it feels like an insult that they have to be in their chibi form so as not to scare off other people while tagging their master around. Seems legit, I guess. Like Touya’s harem, they hardly do anything worthy except tagging along. For instance, Kohaku may have just fought the rampaging dragon once but that was for a short while and he didn’t even show his true extent of his power. What a waste. Same can be said for Paula because I don’t see the purpose of Leen needing to use her magic to automate a teddy bear except for some animal mascot cuteness which is otherwise redundant. So if you’re not into girls, at least the animal mascot should satiate you. Heck, you shouldn’t be watching this series then, you gay furry faggot!

One of my biggest questions is if Touya dies in this world, will he get another chance to reincarnate in another world? And if so, is he able to bring his Smartphone along? Even if he can, will it be further upgrade? If that is the case, then Touya would be an immortal, don’t you think? Because for God to single him out as the special one who gets to survive in another world just because of one stupid mistake He made in his original world, then if you think about it, it wouldn’t be fair to a lot of other people in the real world who have untimely died. God should have brought them to this world then but clearly Touya is the first because had they been here, his Smartphone wouldn’t have been such a novelty. Maybe they died without carrying their Smartphone? Who doesn’t carry their Smartphone 24/7 wherever they go these days???!!! That’s insane! So yeah, the Smartphone is some sort of a free pass for the convenience of the plot and whatever that feels necessary.

Art and animation also feels mediocre. Well, it isn’t technically that bad but with my sentiments of this anime is already so, the visuals too are affected. They’re just standard and nothing close to a masterpiece. My only ‘complaint’ is how Touya’s design makes him look like Kirito from Sword Art Online. That generic look as well as his coat. Just replace his sword with a Smartphone. Feels like they are drawing some sort of parallel tribute to him because the latter too has his own sort of harem and is quite powerful in his own right. And doesn’t Leen look a bit like SukaSuka’s Nephren? Oh, does Regina look like the grownup version of To-Love Ru’s Yami or that Tearju woman? Production Reed animated this series and upon checking, they have been dormant for a while seeing they have only been producing 1 or 2 animes per year since 2010 with their most recent works like Nijiro Days and Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan. Back in their heydays, they made Ultra Maniac, Sousei No Aquarion, F-Zero: Falcon Densetsu and a host of other retro animes.

For the voice acting, I only recognize Kikuko Inoue as Origa is because she quipped and parodied her trademark line of always 17 years old somewhere in the series once. Here is another fact I discovered: Honoka Inoue who voiced Alma is actually her daughter!!! I supposed with mother being always eternally a teen, that’s why they are sisters in this anime? I hope it doesn’t get confusing in real life. But the other thing that shocked me is the cameo of Yui Horie as the God of Love! Oh God, it’s nice to hear her sweet voice again. For a while now she had been ‘missing’ so I was worried if she quit voice acting. But let’s hope she was just taking a break because looks like she is back and there are a handful of animes this season I noticed she made short cameo appearances. Slow but surely. Welcome back?

The other recognized seiyuu is Jouji Nakata as Belfast’s king. The rest of the casts include Katsumi Fukuhara as Touya, Maaya Uchida as Elze (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Yui Fukuo as Linze (Rika Hayase in Time Travel Shoujo), Chinatsu Akasaki as Yae (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), Marina Kouno as Yumina (Niwaka in Akiba’s Trip The Animation), Sumire Uesaka as Leen (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo koi Ga Shitai), Rumi Ookubo as Francesca (Aguri in Gamers), Nanami Yamashita as Sue (Nanami in Wake Up Girls), Yuki Kaida as Kohaku (Homura in Sekirei), Taiten Kusonoki as Alfred (Rock Bison in Tiger & Bunny), Yuuki Kuwahara as Charlotte (Konoha in Gamers), Himekawa Akaneya as Lapis (Honoka in ReLIFE), Madoka Yonezawa as Cecil (Ui in K-ON!), Yoshino Aoyama as Renne (Guri in Renai Boukun), Tetsu Inada as Jamukha (Sawatari in Linebarrels Of Iron) and Fumihiko Tachiki as God (Zaraki in Bleach).

The opening theme, Another World by AOP sounds generic. Lots of flashy synthesizer and sound effects that could have been mistaken for a dance song. Not really to my liking. Junou Emotional is a rock piece and there are different versions of it. Actually, depending on which of Touya’s harem is singing. Hence there are 6 of them. Namely Elze, Linze, Yae, Yumina, Sue and Leen. So I’m taking this are his official girls in his harem. Too bad Francesca. I guess you’re not in. Yet.

Overall, not entirely a bad anime and I won’t go so far as to call it as crappy because even though it is mediocre, I still somewhat enjoy this series since this kind of genre is one of my favourites. Mediocre characters and paper thin plots only to be overwhelmed by the harem factor and the overpowered use of the Smartphone sometimes make you feel that such shows exist because there needs to be at least one per season. It might give a misconception of how girls flock to you because of your cool and hip trendy Smartphone as well as how dumb we are because we rely totally on the Smartphone for everything. Hence its name. No questions asked. All hail and accept this God-given but manmade miracle! My only question now is with Touya’s expanding harem, I wonder how he will fit everyone into the picture if he decides to take a selfie. Well, clearly for Touya, his Smartphone isn’t his only friend in this other world.

The synopsis had it all. A potential series of finding hope and what is lost. The setting of Nora To Oujo To Noraneko Heart tells of a boy who just lost his parents and the other characters who live with him in their daily normal lives. Till he meets a princess of the underworld who came to Earth to destroy it only to be ‘defeated’ by him because of his ‘stronger energy’. He is then accidentally turned into a cat by her as she seeks the mysteries of life. And what’s this ero book found in the park that is part of the mysteries of life? Is this their punch line?

Episode 1
As narrated, Nora Handa who is a normal student was turned into a magic cat by Princess Patricia who lives in the netherworld. Now, the few girls who are taking care of him have their own ulterior motives of wanting him to be turned back. Like Michi Kuroki who wants him turned back so she could ‘practice her confession’. Or Yuuki Asuhara so she could get back the money she lent. Shachi Yuuri suggests finding the person who turned him into a cat but nobody knows where Patricia is now. Oh, Shachi says she is at her home eating right now! And somehow everybody joins eating the meal instead before getting back on track what they’re supposed to do. So how do you turn Nora back? You kiss him on the mouth. Yuuki has no qualms about that just to get back her money but Michi disagrees. Cats’ mouth are dirty! Don’t worry. Use disinfectant! A big struggle ensues and it ends up burning the entire house down. I guess the disinfectant was too strong…

Episode 2
Patricia and Nora head to school. She thinks it is a wonderful place but Nobuchina Takada vehemently disagrees. Yeah, she thinks it is a very bad place and how teachers like to fail you! Maybe you’re not studying enough? Her friend, Tanaka hopes she won’t upset Patricia too much. She is after all the princess of the dead. But Nobuchina is sceptical about this new transfer student and believes her as dangerous. As proof, Patricia summons an undead skeleton to attack Ida, the school’s delinquent. After learning a girl’s kiss will turn Nora back, Nobuchina had to point out and to make sure if the anatomical model, that undead skeleton and even Ida himself aren’t good substitutes to kiss him. By the way, Tanaka’s super sleuth has deduced the skeleton is a man! Patricia wonders if Nora is okay being kissed by a man. Looks like he doesn’t and runs away. Nobuchina calls him a pervert. How come that sounds so politically correct?

Episode 3
Patricia’s elder sister, Lucia barges in. She accuses Nora of deceiving her sister, the reason why she hasn’t returned to the netherworld. In her attempts to kill him, she accidentally steps on Patricia’s tummy! Lucia fears for her future but is glad Patricia is still sleeping. Nothing to worry about. She returns to kill Nora but this time accidentally stepping on Patricia’s face. Another critical hit. Don’t worry. She’s still asleep. Youngest sister, Eurasia barges in because she wants to play too and is bored staying at home. Lucia disagrees and when they struggle, Lucia is falling and realizes she is going to elbow Patricia. Then her life flashes before her. But she claims those visions are their future? So she is going to protect it and her sisters as she proclaims, “Patricia I love you!” before dropping a painful elbow drop on her guts. I’m sure this scene is up to us to interpret because it’s like this Godzilla has burnt down the entire city…

Episode 4
Beach episode! The girls are there with Nora but what is Nobuchina b*tching about? Ah, I see she is flat. She is offended and insulted especially by those of Lucia and Patricia. Therefore we see Nobuchina and Eurasia forming some sort of flat alliance to ‘defeat the rich’ and ‘redistribute wealth’. Down with the monopolists! Tanaka has just fixing the tank as per requested as the flat chest duo go all out to target the twin towers! They’re going to start a cup world revolution! Lucia and Patricia’s magic easily takes out their shells. So the flatties fire Nora who then accidentally rip off Patricia’s top. The ‘revolutionists’ are pleased with Patricia’s embarrassed reaction and then blame it on Nora for being a pervert.

Episode 5
Patricia hosts a quiz show whereby the winner gets a nice view of the gallows as well as the side prize of a million yen. She asks the first question in which the answer is Natsume Souseki. I believe because Michi is the smartest, her buzzer is rigged because no matter how many times she pressed, it just wouldn’t buzz. Thus giving dumb chicks like Yuuki, Nobuchina and Eurasia to give dumb stupid answers. Even when Patricia gives the most obvious hint (like part of the answer), they still give a variant of that dumb stupid answer. When Michi’s buzzer finally works, she answers wrongly because she has been retorting those dumb answers in her head. Feeling stupid? Say milk 10 times. What does a cow drink? Yeah… Psychology… But it is Nora who wins with the correct answer. And all he did was say “Nyaa~”. I’ll give Patricia the benefit of the doubt she understands cat language.

Episode 6
WTF?! ARE THEY TROLLING US?! What the hell is this entire episode just on real goats grazing on the grasses?! It feels like they failed to do any animation last week and hence they just took some boring random clip and turn it into an episode! Anyway, not too sure if the girls are adlibbing as goats are they actually turned into them. From what I hear, it sounds like the latter. Nom, nom… Hey, at least they don’t have to go to school and get yelled by the teacher. No exams or competition at all. Absolute freedom! Then they realize how hard it is being an animal and this is what Nora must have felt like. So how do they all turn back to humans? Patricia says we all know the answer. Well, I certainly don’t! Oh heck, I’m not even a goat so I wouldn’t know. Personally, I think this was a baa-d episode…

Episode 7
What’s this?! The girls are now sentai warriors trying to defeat a giant monster destroying a city?! Nora leads the girls to transform. Because Yuuki gets distracted thinking if they are getting hourly paid by this, they transform into a lame robot. Yeah, its ‘special weapon’ is to say sorry. No wonder it got defeated quickly. So Nora warns them one last time her magic can only save the world one last time. So here we go. Too bad again Yuuki gets distracted thinking about the long queues at phone stores. Now we have a female version of that lame robot! So what is its ‘special weapon’? To serve tea. I don’t think monster dude is appreciative. Then it comes charging with a handphone?! Must be a dissatisfied customer. Lucia gives hint to give good customer service. This means the robot prostrates itself to apologize. The monster instantly explodes! And so the day is saved! Come back again next time?

Episode 8
Everyone is at the beach at night playing sparklers. However there is a reason for them being here. It is the death anniversary of Nora’s mom. As Patricia learns, she was always drinking, kind but strict, helped them with their studies, cook delicious meals, drink a lot more and fall asleep. Patricia talks to Nora if remembering the dead makes him sad. As she is from the world of the dead, she doesn’t understand what it means to die. She wonders if it will be less painful to forget someone dear who died if you could never see them again. Shachi believes to more dear that person is, the more you want to remember them. This prompts Patricia to wonder if Nora will remember her if she returns to the netherworld. I think his meow says yes. Because everybody won’t either.

Episode 9
Panty shots episode! It could have been the best fanservice ever had it not for those damn paw censors!!!! GRRRR!!!! I guess Nora being a cat now has its perks because of his low angle view up the girls’ skirts. Who cares about the girls talking about skipping class, eating snacks or relationships when you can enjoy the best views from underneath! DAMN YOU PAW CENSORS!!! I guess our fun time ends when we also have a ‘pantsu shot’ of Ida. Why the heck is he pantless???!!! MYE EYES!!! ARGH!!! MY EYES!!!!!!!!!

Episode 10
A murder mystery game simulation! Patricia is the detective investigating the bloody death of Lucia inside a mansion. She seeks Nora’s help in solving the case. So we viewers are looking from Nora’s point of view as he tries to examine and ask questions. However we get silly answers that stray from the topic. What is it about your gamelan, Ida?! Eventually when the other characters mention they always hear a cat cry coming from this room, eventually Nora confesses. Nora killed Lucia?! The truth is shown that Lucia blamed Nora that Patricia won’t come home anymore. She tried to get him but Nora escaped. This caused a jar to fall over Lucia’s head. With all the shock and sadness, Nora is arrested as well as Patricia. Yeah, looks like she isn’t dead. So should not there be any murder case?

Episode 11
Patricia is dumping old grimoires she doesn’t read anymore into a magic circle. Yeah, literally she hoarded her entire collection in Nora’s room that seems to be bursting any moment. The magic circle then gets clogged like a toilet. Since using an ordinary plunger won’t do, Patricia uses Nora instead! Putting the cat to good use for the first time? Not really. However Nora gets sucked into it. Patricia enters to go look for Nora but finds a woman hanging clothes. Asking her about her lost cat, she points out to Nora nearby. However the woman notes that the cat’s name is similar to her son’s. It’s not unusual but because this woman is Nora’s mother! Nora is tempted to go to her but Patricia warns him not to. This is not the past. This is his memories. She warns the living cannot interact with the dead or else he will be stuck here. Nora doesn’t listen and is still tempted. However mom tells him to go on and take care. Sad Nora returns to the living world with Patricia who notes his name is a treasure given by his mom.

Episode 12
Suddenly Patricia collapses! Is this the end of her? Patricia. The end. Forgive the pun. In hospital as everyone sits around her, suddenly she gets up! But her heart isn’t beating. Well, if you remember she is the princess of the underworld and not having a beating heart is normal. She will be ‘dead’ if she is alive. Confused?! So once that happens, she is no longer the princess and can no longer use her magic. This means she can’t turn Nora back. Hence he must kiss her while she is dead. Nora instantly runs away! That bad? Or just embarrassed. Surprisingly, Ida comes to give him magazines about kissing and talks to him about life. Especially it would be disrespectful that his mom gave birth to a human and not a cat. Wow. You’d never expect such from this character. So here comes Patricia. Quick, kiss her! However her heart starts beating again so Lucia pounds it back till it dies! Patricia and Nora manage to kiss and he is now back to human form. However he is naked and the girls can’t stand him. So Patricia kisses him back so as to put some girly clothes on him and then change him back. Well, there is only so much a cat can take as he runs away. And hence the happy ending of how Nora forever changes back and forth from a human to a cat.

Stray Cat, Stray Plot
First things first. THE SERIES IS SO MUCH DIFFERENT FROM THE SYNOPSIS AND PLOT THAT WE WERE TOLD!!! Did they troll us? Like the synopsis that I have briefly said in my opening paragraph, none of that ever happened here!!! Well, this series was adapted from a game and I can see where the stories and setting come from. But if I do not read the synopsis in the first place I believe it still doesn’t matter and you will not lose much. In fact, reading it now makes me confused and ‘disappointed’ because all we got are very random episodes that has nothing to do with that plot whatsoever. It is like anything goes. Like as though that synopsis was the setting that already was and everything we have seen here is the aftermath of it. Are they trying to pull off something like Teekyuu? No tennis but only a black cat.

So much so, that live goat episode was the one that killed it. I felt a mix of emotions watching that episode. It was so refreshing and different. It is both good and bad. Good because, well, goats! Nom! Nom! Nom! Epic badass?! Cat life and now goat life? Bad because it looked like the producers were lazy and instead of animating our cute girls, they just put in some life footage and adlib some voices over the goats grazing green grasses. Alliteration intended. When you have episodes like this one and other random ones such as a detective simulation game, a beach episode and a quiz show, it summarizes how random and f*cked up fun this series is going to get. No wonder I sensed something amiss when the episodes are only 5 minutes long and it is labelled as ecchi. Hmm… Not that it is entirely a bad thing. I love the crazy randomness but like I’ve said, I wished they didn’t deceive us with that synopsis. But if they don’t, what would they have put up then? A boy who turned into cat and experiences chaotic hijinks in his everyday life. Yeah, maybe…

The characters are as crazy as this series. The crazier they are, the more lovable they seem. So like Lucia who adores and dotes on her sisters very much becomes the idiot of the series. Nobuchina and Eurasia also feel the same and Yuuki too but to a lesser degree. Others like Michi and Shachi don’t appear too much and they aren’t as big as idiots as those aforementioned. Tanaka feels like she has been stereotyped into some sort of handywoman or henchwoman since if you need some fixing done, you get her to do it.

Nora (whose name itself could mean stray) as the main character himself doesn’t feel like a main character since the rest of the girls are hogging the limelight. He feels like a side character animal mascot. There is that penultimate episode of him ‘reuniting’ with his late mother to stir up some feels but it was too fast and too late. Not too sure if everyone is interested in turning Nora back into a human because everyone seems to be okay living their lives and Nora too looks like he doesn’t mind. Hey, when you are a cat, you are adored! You are God! So I see no reason why he would want to turn back this instant when the fact that he can look up girls’ skirt and get away with it despite the girls know very much this black cat is Nora.

Thus it boggles my mind why Patricia doesn’t turn him back to human form easily when she can easily do so at any time. Just a kiss, right? Don’t give me that naked human form bullsh*t. I suppose with Nora as a cat, he would forever be her slave. Besides, cats are cuter to look at than a human boy, right? Yeah, an excuse never to draw how he looks like. So is Nora happy living his life as a cat and sometimes a human? Only he knows the answer…

Oddly, the next episode preview isn’t much of one. Just like how they trolled us with the synopsis, they also trolled us here by naming this part as A Cat’s Thoughts. Except that it isn’t what Nora is thinking because a cat can’t really talk, right? Even by the fact it is absurd that a guy can be turned into a cat but not a talking cat. I mean, look at that American series, Sabrina The Teenage Witch. It had a talking cat, right?! So anyway, what we hear are random thoughts and opinions of the girls that have nothing to do with what happened in that episode or the next episode (they also troll what comes in the next episode, which of course doesn’t happen). Just random chatter. Maybe this is what Nora thinks about them of what they think?

Art and animation lean towards the moe and kawaii side. Because when you have sisters of the netherworld to look this cute, I believe everything else in the world of the dead will also be looking this cute than anything scary. The colours and hue are quite bright and vivid that you might think it is a show for kids but some of the episodes have very mild fanservice so definitely not for kids. This series is jointly animated by a new studio, DMM.futureworks and W-Toon Studio who so far made that chibi Yuuki Yuuna Wa Yuusha-bu movie and Animegataris.

Didn’t recognize any of the seiyuu. Surprisingly but not, Nora even has a seiyuu and must be the easiest lines. This isn’t the only anime that has a dedicated seiyuu voiced an animal voice throughout the entire series but with such a short series having its own seiyuu for a cat that doesn’t talk and only purrs? Whatever. Handa is voiced by Ayaka Asai (Mio in Shinmai Maou No Testament). The other casts are Natsu Takamori as Patricia (Azusa in Orange), Atsumi Tanezaki as Yuuki (Mizore in Hibike! Euphonium), Eri Sendai as Michi (Yukari in Rocket Girls), Yuu Asakawa as Shachi (Motoko in Love Hina), Yuri Yamaoka as Nobuchina (Yuuko in Hibike! Euphonium), You Taichi as Lucia (Anzu in Prison School), Ayuru Oohashi as Eurasia (Ayumu in Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi), Juri Kimura as Tanaka (Kyouko in Seiren) and Takeaki Masuyama as Ida. The opening theme, Ne! Ko! by the voices behind Patricia, Yuuki, Michi and Shachi sounds like your typical genki anime pop.

Overall, this short anime is both good and bad. It is short and randomly funny that people like me would forgive the trolling storyline and the non-existent plot. If you were expecting something more than this, then too bad you will certainly be very disappointed. Hence, not for people who cannot stand being lied to. Told something but shown something different altogether. So if you really want to know if Nora gets turned back into his human form, it’s best to play the game. Or if cats aren’t your style, then you can try Goat Simulator. That actually exists. Otherwise, why disrupt the peaceful status quo when you can give an excuse to be by a cat’s side instead of sounding like some love bitten b*tch that you want to be by a boy’s side. I think in this sense Nora is pretty smart to remain as a cat because the girls will start hounding his ass as a boy. Now they have to adore him because he is a cat!

Konbini Kareshi

December 17, 2017

Wow. Convenience store really lives up to its name especially in Japan. It is a place where it is open 24 hours a day and can provide you with almost what you need. From food to magazines to stationeries and including a boyfriend. WHAT DO YOU MEAN CONVENIENCE STORES DO NOT SELL BOYFRIENDS???!!! Isn’t that what Konbini Kareshi is about?! Hence the name?! Convenience store boyfriends?! Because real Japanese men and boyfriends are too much of a hassle and Japanese technology has come up with super inflatable boyfriends to satisfy your lonely girl heart needs. Cheap and convenient. Oh. Oh… Oh, I see… It centres around a group of students who lives near a convenience store and conveniently that is where their romance takes place. Funny, right? Romance around a convenience store. Hardly one of the most romantic places to find love. Are they trying to make a pun of conveniently finding love at a convenience store?

Episode 1
Haruki Mishima and Towa Honda nearly get caught by the ‘aggressive’ recruitment drive of the handicraft club. If not for Masamune Sakurakouji from the student council giving her a yellow card as warning (is this football?), they would have been sissy hunks. Well, at least it looks like a mismatch for such hot guys to be in such a girly club. The student council president, Mikado Nakajima also advises them the other several grounds where other club recruitment drives are available. Haruki is reading at the convenience store and Miharu Mashiki also happened to be in the same area. Accidentally she bumps into him and like a ricochet, she accidentally bumps a few items off the cart. Haruki helps her to pick up the things and in return she buys him a gift. Towa witnesses this so he starts teasing Haruki that he still has a crush on her for a long time and now he is finally reunited with her. Next day, Haruki finds Miharu at the convenience store again. But the mood is ruined when Towa teases about the person he is looking for. Then it’s like karma for Towa because class rep Mami Mihashi admonishes him for being irresponsible as a fellow class rep and forgetting his duties. He teases how cute she is when she is angry so she just walks out. Then she bumps into Miharu. Quite clumsy she is these days, isn’t she? Apparently Miharu seems to know about Mami because she so happened to observe her a few times. Is this some kind of stalking? Their passion in books makes them click as friends. Miharu hints that they both have guys that they like and could help each other out but Mami declines any. For now. Towa catches Mami reading a shoujo manga at the convenience store. She didn’t expect to see him so she gets embarrassed and runs away! Towa catches up but apparently she is still quite embarrassed. She thinks cute things do not suit her. I guess it’s a cue that girls want to be assured so Towa says she is cute enough. Too bad she didn’t buy it. She stomps his feet and runs away! It’s like he got stood up.

Episode 2
Flashback shows Miharu read a children’s fairytale to Haruki when they were in kindergarten. She gave him the book and I suppose that is the last time he saw her till elementary school. He still keeps that book today. Towa continues to ‘harass’ Mami so she gives him that look and ignores him. He is trying to strike up a conversation but I guess he doesn’t know about women. You know, they don’t tell you straight when there is something wrong and expect you to know! Not like Towa realizes this either. Later Mami talks to Miharu about Towa bothering him. Miharu thought it is like a manga whereby the hottest guy in class is attracted to a plain girl. Well, that only happens in a manga. Mami says she likes intellectual guys. You mean like nerds? Haruki is shocked when Miharu wants to meet after his club practice. Enough to space out for the entire practice. If being nervous wasn’t bad enough, it gets weird when she introduces Mami to him. So Haruki hears about Towa’s ‘harassment’. Mami hopes as his friend, he could tell him to stop bothering her. He tries to paint Towa isn’t a bad guy but one who just have trouble with personal space but I don’t think Mami is convinced. When Towa visits his home, Haruki looks serious (to a point it looks comical) that they need to talk. Towa almost chokes hearing him mentioning Mami’s name. He is depressed to learn she wants him to stay away from him. Haruki realizes he likes her and advises he should try a proper approach. I suppose telling her straight in the face wasn’t it. Towa argues back at least it is better than him who didn’t even say anything. Then when they start to fight, Haruki’s little brother, Akira enters. They look like in a gay position so he tells mom big brother is gay! So when they calm down, Towa mentions how he likes the changes in Mami’s expression quickly. Sometimes she is nice, sometimes she is scary. He likes all girls but Mami is particularly special to him. Next day, the quartet meet up. Haruki hopes they can be friends. Mami looks like she doesn’t really want it still but after laying down a few ground rules, a little handshake seals the deal.

Episode 3
Towa bugs Haruki in class because he saw something this morning. Like it or not, he has got to listen. When he was visiting the hospital, he saw Miharu there too. But then he saw her talking to another guy. It seems like as though they know each other. Her boyfriend? Haruki doesn’t think Miharu is that kind of girl so Towa storms off since his ‘hard work’ wasn’t appreciated. So when Towa sees this guy at school again, he tails and spies on Nasa Sanagi. He wonders what he is doing in the cooking club so Nozomi Itokawa ushers him in. They aren’t really a club and just an association since it has only 2 members. So they ‘kidnap’ people to taste their food in hopes of spreading the word for more people to join. Yeah, this guy makes great cakes. Meanwhile Haruki notices a commotion at the hallway. Nobody dares to intervene in a showdown between Natsu Asumi and his fellow athletic club members. They are not pleased with him being a lone wolf and want him to be a team player. Librarian Kokono Minowa passes through but at that moment she drops her books. Fight on hold? Haruki goes to help pick it up. At this point the student council duo are here so the club members flee. Natsu and Haruki are taken in to tell what happened. In short, because they’re part of the commotion, they will be punished. They will help out as volunteers every day for the sports festival. Meanwhile Towa tails Nasa to the hospital. He claims he is doing it for Miharu’s sake but does he have to drag Mami along? No wonder she likes intellectual guys. Then they get busted. It’s raining so Haruki rushes to the convenience store to buy an umbrella. Not enough money. Luckily Miharu is there to cover for him. They walk home together and it seems she has been observing how athletic he was since middle school. She really sounds like the stalker kind. I guess Haruki like ice cream so much that even in the rainy season he eats them. The remaining block crumbles so Miharu tries to wipe it clean before it stains his clothes. He asks if she isn’t worried of others seeing them like this. Especially her boyfriend. She dismisses she has any boyfriend. Great relief? When he comes home, Towa calls him to relay the good news of his ‘all-day research’. He found out Nasa often visits the hospital to see a doctor who took care of him before and ran into Miharu many times. In short, Miharu is still single and available! Well, Haruki already knows it. Effort not appreciated.

Episode 4
Towa’s class is choosing people to participate in the sports festival. With Towa in almost every category, Mami notes he is an attention whore! Realizing the 3-legged race has no participants yet and no volunteers, Towa volunteers himself. Then he notices Mami isn’t in any race… If she can’t and starts being very pessimistic about not being able to do it, why did she join? Nobody wants it, huh? Eventually they have to start practising and since Mami isn’t athletic, they start with the basic running to build up stamina. Miharu isn’t participating in any of the events but she helps out by making charms for everyone as suggested by Haruki. Because of this, Mami decides to put in the effort. Now for the real deal in practising the 3-legged race. Mami is so self-conscious of their close proximity, she made it even worse when she struggles because he has to catch her falling and thus more bodily contact. So I guess she has to get over and used to it if she is going to make this work. The sports festival goes on well and though we didn’t get to see the results of the 3-legged race, I believe Towa and Mami did reasonably well since their teammates are praising they were not bad. At the end of it as they clean up, Towa covers for Haruki’s part so he could go talk with Miharu. She has him to thank for as she has never been involved in sports festivals before. Thanks to him creating this chance, it feels like she is participating for the first time. Suddenly it rains and they take shelter nearby. It is a bit cold so he lends his jersey while they wait for the rain to stop.

Episode 5
What’s this? Towa and Mami on a date?! Actually she wanted to repay him for the 3-legged race. So he wanted a date. Instantly she rejected him but compromised if Haruki and Miharu came. And so they’re here at the track event to see Natsu in action. But even at the end of it, Mami leaves in a hurry and doesn’t want Towa to accompany her. Miharu invites her over to talk about it but Mami isn’t saying much. Later Towa calls Mami if she would like to go and watch the fireworks. Just the 2 of them. Hasn’t the favour been repaid? This isn’t a favour. She has cram school. The day after tomorrow? Isn’t the fireworks tomorrow? Don’t you get it? It’s an excuse to see you! The mother of all conversation ender: I’m busy throughout the break. I think Mami tried to ask her father later but seeing his unimpressed face I supposed she backed out. So Towa’s depressed. Haruki talks to him about it. Even Miharu. She even feels bad. She believes Mami knows it but can’t work up the courage. She wants to believe him but is having troubles being honest about it. So the next day when Mami is on her way to cram school, Towa just drops in to accompany her. Quick date? She is still uncomfortable and tells him off not to bother her. Towa asserts he is serious. He has been the whole time. Wrong timing I guess, when other girls pass by and try to talk Towa into joining them to watch the fireworks. He’s trying to shoo them away and hint he isn’t interested but their stubbornness reminds me of someone… And it’s like Mami had little presence or none so they’re like ignoring her? Mami feels so weird out that she runs away. Towa catches up. She still isn’t convinced he is serious. She has low self-confidence that she isn’t as straightforward or cute like other girls. Well, he doesn’t mind. He likes her the way she is. So he’s saying he is a masochist because he likes being rejected by her? Or a sadist to see her uncomfortable? Anyway he finally says the magic words of I love you. Cue for a long romantic stare and what it looks like as a kiss. Can’t see clearly because the damn shot focused on the fireworks.

Episode 6
Haruki wakes up from this weird dream whereby Miharu gives him a towel after his swim. Then she suddenly turns into Towa! What a trolling dream. But does he have to interrupt Towa’s sleep for that? At the library, Towa is looking for Mami to discuss about the upcoming cultural festival. However it seems Mami is treating him like as though he is some sort of sex offender or something. She lies she has a meet-up with Miharu. It is so obvious written all over her face and body reaction that Miharu can tell something has happened. She praises her it is a good thing. Then it’s like Mami is trying to deflect the question and asks Miharu if there is someone she is interested in. That stumped look… With this bugging her mind, later she asks Haruki if there is someone he likes. He is shocked and couldn’t answer. Hence Towa the relationship master lectures him about losing his golden chance. But he has to shut up when Haruki reminds him he is in the same boat. Miharu tells Haruki her class will be doing a modern Snow White play. Seven doctors instead of seven dwarves? When she says she would like to write her own picture book, this prompts Haruki to say he had a favourite one. He wanted to say more about the Merman Prince but just couldn’t bring himself to it so he ‘runs away’ giving excuse of the festival things he needs to do. As the students work late into the night to prepare, Towa gets this idea to walk their respective crushes home. But Miharu and Haruki decide to walk around and remember some special memories (pertaining to the festival, that is). In a class that is displaying picture books, they see one on the Merman Prince. Haruki then says he started swimming after reading that. But that book doesn’t belong to him. There was a girl who read it to him before giving it to him. That is his important memory. Get the hint. Woah. Not sure if this memory was too much to handle because Miharu starts crying! What did you do?!

Episode 7
Haruki is down. It seems Miharu left that night without saying anything else. She has been avoiding him ever since. And he didn’t even confess. Towa feels bad for him and understands. He’s not talking, she’s not talking. No wonder everything so depressing and awkward. They’re not the only ones facing this sort of problem as Mikado too is facing something similar with his ‘sister’, Waka Kisaki who enrolled here this year. She comes to see him at work and it is quite messy. Mikado is working real hard to ensure he doesn’t leave any problems for his successor. Wow. The perfect student council president. This is even tougher than the elections. Since he will be working late, he apologizes he can’t walk home with her and give advice like he always does. Nevertheless, she is proud of him as her ‘brother’. Waka’s friend try to persuade her to join the student council but she declines as she considers herself a shy person. But when she heard about Mikado leaving, she rushes down to confront him. It seems after he graduates, he will be going to Hokkaido instead of staying at Tokyo. This means they can’t be together anymore. No more doing things together anymore. He wishes he could stay as he explains he now sees her more than a sister. He hugs her and confesses he loves her but she pushes him away and leaves. Rejected? Well, here is another depressed dude. So it’s like Haruki can tell this guy is facing that kind of problem as they talk about things. So what does God have to do with abandoning him? Haruki also talks to Waka about it because apparently it’s easier to talk about other people’s problems than your own. Waka starts thinking. The next day, Mikado is shocked to see Waka running for student council vice presidency. Last minute entry. She makes her speech to promise carrying on the current president’s will. Somehow this automatically heals their relationship and also Haruki and Miharu too seeing they’re smiling at each other (not talking yet but that’s good enough at this point). Must be the feel good factor. Don’t let it die down!

Episode 8
What’s this? Towa and Mami hanging out together at her favourite café? Wow. Their vibe seems good. It’s like she has accepted him somewhat. And then a phone call. It’s her family. Curfew time. Even the next day while they’re hanging out, a car pulls up to her. Family. Time to go. Bye. So Towa learns she comes from a strict family who is into this flower arrangement business. Oh, dad is a lawyer and big brother is soon to be one. Can’t be messing around. So the next time they talk, Mami says maybe she’ll try to work harder and improve her grades. Maybe then her parents will let loose a little. Ganbare ne. In order not to bug her, he avoids her. Nozomi rakes in Towa and Haruki to help Nasa collect gingko nuts. Looks like Mami isn’t the only one with family problems. When Towa returns home, mom talks to him about how stepdad wanted him to live here until he graduates. They can then talk about his future, etc. However he raises his voice at her that she does everything what he says. Awkward. He loiters outside by himself wondering if he should call Mami. Better not. She’s studying hard. Mami notices Towa avoiding her. It’s like reversed now as she is constantly looking over her shoulders looking out for him. So one day she stays late just to talk to him. He claims whatever family problems he had are over. Doesn’t sound convincing. Then he beats up himself by saying Mami has been doing all the hard work for their sake while he just sulks. When another family call rings, Towa then blows his top. How long is he going to wait? When is he going to be first? How long is she going to keep worrying what her parents think? That’s really shocking for a meek girl like her. Thankfully she keeps her calm. She apologizes. Maybe things can’t work out between them. End game for Towa.

Episode 9
While things are looking bright between Haruki and Miharu, it gets worse between Towa and Mami. They are avoiding each other and not talking even in the same class. So Haruki calls Towa and wants to throw him a Christmas party to cheer him up. But Towa can guess he is getting Mami to come and can see where this is going. Since both of them have family issues, it will be hard for them to come. Towa admits this avoidance is making him afraid of talking to Mami. It seem Mami is able to come for Haruki and Miharu’s party. But will Towa turn up? Apparently he is in a dinner with his mom and stepdad. From what they say, stepdad is being a considerate guy. Towa admits he was against mom’s remarrying and ran away despite knowing it was a done deal. If Towa is still unsure what to do, maybe this text from Mami that says she wants to see him sure did. Yeah, girlfriend more important than family as he makes a sprint. I don’t know how far away he is but it looked like the party waited and went on without him till it is time for Mami to leave. At that point Towa calls her and wants her to wait. Don’t go. Oh, but her family calls right after! Oh no. What will she do?! Good news: Towa manages to see her. Bad news: It was her back on the bus. Lucky news: She didn’t board it and is seen waiting at the bus stop trying to convince her family to wait a little while longer because this is something very important to her. With that, the duo talk and reconcile. Towa apologizes for his rudeness the other day but she understands. Because of their family problems, they get to realize something important. I figure if at this point they are holding hands, it means it is green light for them. Towa then ‘reports’ back to Haruki and Miharu and they’re glad of the happy outcome. It made her remember the first time they talked. Haruki thought it was at the convenience store but she notes that was not it. It was before that. She gives him a scarf. Not handmade but it’ll do. If you’re wondering why Towa and Mami are out in the freezing cold together (and it’s starting to snow), I’m guessing their burning love is keeping them warm. Haha!

Episode 10
The quartet had a good time visiting the shrine. Things are looking good. Especially Mami giving Towa some hand warmer in which he doesn’t hesitate to rub it on his face in public. Haruki is practising his swimming since a meet is coming up. He feels embarrassed to get advice from Towa it is better to have the one you have a crush on to support you. One day as Towa is visiting the hospital, he thought he saw Miharu there. She is absent the school the next day and though worried, Haruki believes she will come back tomorrow. How can he be so sure without contacting her? Yeah, it’s been 5 days since she’s absent. Something is wrong. Mami tries to call her but can’t get in touch either. As Towa’s mom works at the hospital, he tries to ask if there is a patient named Miharu. Of course she can’t give out such privacy details. Now a week has passed. Towa talks to Haruki about the presents they received from their girlfriends. Towa thinks Miharu might have been feeling the same way about Haruki but since she doesn’t say a thing, she might think he views her as just a friend. Before Haruki could clarify, Towa tells him he isn’t the person he should be telling this to. Eventually Haruki manages to meet Miharu. She talks to him about her love for books and the convenience store is a special place to her. She fell in love with him while he was reading there. She would pretend to stand and read just to be close to him. She is thrilled that nobody knows about her secret boyfriend. So that bumping accident she thought it was like some sort of punishment for choosing him as her boyfriend (WTF?!). Hence she sees him as a boyfriend who leapt out of her daydreams. It’s Haruki’s turn to describe he realized something during her absence. He thought over and over about it and finally understood. When he is about to say it, Miharu suddenly collapses! That’s what you get when you take too long! And why couldn’t he catch her?! She was just right before him in his arm’s reach?! You just stood there and let her fall flat!!!

Episode 11
Miharu is rushed to hospital. Her condition is stable but she is in comatose state. Haruki feels bad he has been so focused on himself and didn’t realize what is happening to her. Towa tells him not to overthink but if he wants to, help himself. Next morning, Haruki visits Miharu. Still asleep. He meets her mom and learns she was born with a weak heart. Surgery would have made it better the sooner but she was adamant to wait. Haruki continues to worry and visit her and each time buys some foodstuff from the convenience store. Man, at this rate it is going to fill up if she never wakes up. Nasa has made some pudding for Miharu and hands it to Towa to give it to her. Towa asks him if he knows about Miharu’s condition since he seems to know a lot about her despite not being in the same class. He reveals they used to meet there when they were young and often played. But there were 3 of them. The other was Miharu’s friend. Meanwhile Miharu’s mom finally recognizes Haruki as that kid from kindergarten. She thinks he was friends with Misora. Who? Showing her photo, she looks exactly like Miharu! Oh, I can see how all this is related now. Flashback shows Misora was also a weak girl. She was the one who read Haruki that book and gave it to him. One day she had to undergo surgery. She didn’t make it. When Towa is about to tell Haruki what he knows, well, he already knows. Haruki says he had important memories with that girl. This is why he always watched Miharu. Without those memories, he wouldn’t have talked to her nor would these feelings surfaced. He really loves her. Well, tell that to her, all of it when she wakes up. Miharu dreams some sort of trippy dream in the convenience store. The moment Haruki’s face becomes clear, she wakes up! I know it’s good to keep your emotions in check but it feels a bit strange they’re acting so cool about this. Here, I bought you a bunch of food in case you feel hungry when you wake up. Huh? Normalcy ends when she starts crying. Actually, she finds it funny she can’t eat all this stuff. Yeah. I guess we’re okay now.

Episode 12
With Miharu up, mom tells her to do the surgery for the sake of her friends. Why is she still hesitating? Haruki discovers then she has been in and out of the hospital so many times since. He also notices she has been crying alone and hiding her tears but he hasn’t the courage to say it. Towa tells him to just say it. Still can’t? Oh well. So he visits her every day to give encouragement. Then one day she lets him know about Misora. That’s the girl who he is supposed to like. But he tells her the girl whom he has always watched and had his eyes on is Miharu. However this is what she wants to point out. She is still reeling from the trauma when Misora was wheeled into the surgery room. She never came back out. That fear is what is holding her back as there is a chance the same might happen to her. Even with all that, Haruki continues to support her by coming to visit her. Nothing has changed. One night she finally tells him. She is ready to go for the surgery but it takes place on the same day of his swimming meet. They both promise to fight on. Miharu and her mom leave a day earlier as Towa and Mami see her off. Towa gives Miharu the Merman Prince book from Haruki. Inside there is a letter that states it was this book that made him go into swimming. It was this book that gave him the courage. He wants her to have that courage too. So we see her narrate that story and I guess Haruki must have been done with his meet and suddenly now he turns into a runner and runs all the way to meet her?! Wow. That’s really something. He finally confesses he loves her. Wow. That’s like some sort of morale HP booster and courage attribute level up. Maybe she was waiting to hear him say that. Spring time comes and we are teased that the duo walk together to school. I mean, do we recognize people by their feet?! Why don’t they show us their heads or faces?!

Inconvenient Romance
So I’m going to assume that everything turns out well and okay because it would have really sucked big time had history repeated itself. That is what I really need after the very draggy and melodrama final episode that could have just ended in less than 10 minutes. Besides, the Merman Prince fairytale had a good happy ending and since its story is somewhat closely to Haruki and Miharu’s life, why would it not be a happy ending too? And they can’t even show us a happy couple or the whole gang having a great start to a new year. Why do they have to leave this sort of things to our imagination and interpretation? So we’re going to agree that Haruki and Miharu are an item now? Well if you disagree, you should have specifically told us so. Happy endings for everyone! Now everyone can have happy endings after all the ‘inconvenient romances’.

Basically it all boils down to how much you love the romance genre. If you want love romantic comedies, you’re not going to find it here. If you love seriously tragic romance, well, not really this one either. This is one of those normal high school romances type because really, nothing really much happens. The guys take their time over the year to reach out to their love and for the girls to respond (each episode of this series is named after a month) so it could be a little draggy once in a while. Hence if you are not into this kind of normal romance, you will find it a big bore and yawn fest. Sure, they tried to give us some sort of scare with Miharu collapsing and a plot twist that she had a twin sister. It’s like those who have fallen asleep at this point, this is like the wakeup call to make us feel concern if things are going to pull through and if there is going to be a happy ending. Don’t worry. I always have faith in this kind of shows. Therefore I believed things will always turn out for the best. See, it happened, right? Convenient for the plot. Oops. Just made a pun there.

A big chunk of the series is on Haruki, Towa, Miharu and Mami. It is nice to see their relationship slowly builds up in which case it could be pleasantly gratifying or downright boring. Like I have said it all depends if whether you like such romance genres or not. They are just normal students with their own lives. And which family doesn’t have problem of its own? Like Mami who lives under a very strict family and has expectations of her so it is quite the challenge to see her take a bold step to break out of her mould. Did Towa’s constant ‘harassing’ do the job? That is why when Towa finally hooked up with her, it is like as though he won life’s lottery. Because for a girl like Mami, if I was in Towa’s shoes, the way she keeps rejecting him I would have been turned off. I would have dropped pursuing her even if she is just being tsundere (technically you can call her one. Just that her family issues got in the way and hence she has to act like she doesn’t like him). But Towa never gave up and tried and tried until he succeeded. That’s why I believe they deserve to be with each other. Even if Towa initially can’t accept his stepdad (assuming he is a great guy), perhaps he started thinking if he can’t accept him, why would his family accept his girlfriend then? I mean, like stepdad who is new in the family, won’t Mami also technically be new to his family? So the lesson learnt is that if you bug a girl long enough, she will eventually accept you into her life? That is a creepy way of saying that perseverance and persistence line.

It is a little more straightforward for Haruki and Miharu since they don’t have family issues hindering them like the aforementioned duo. However their romance is somewhat dragged out a bit since Haruki has got his feelings started because of a book a certain girl read once to him. Then he just kept pondering whether if it was really her or not. I believe Miharu on the other hand does not tell about her late twin sister because, why should she? It’s not like she and Haruki have been officially dating yet. Miharu looked like she was too young to understand when her sister passed on and bringing up the past may have put a lot of emotional stress on her in one way or another. That is why when Haruki brought up the book thingy, she was reluctant to say everything straight at first. She wanted to make sure he was the one because I’m sure there could be many other kids that age who has that book being read to them too. Oddly, with Haruki and Miharu hooking up together, it feels like as though the spirit of Misora lives on because technically it was her who interacted with Haruki. So technically a win-win situation?

While these couples get great ‘coverage’, I feel the rest are very well neglected. I don’t know, the way they portray the rest of the characters feel like as though they are also part of the main characters (as seen from the opening and ending credits animation). I mean, there are 6 couples, that means 12 of them. But we only mainly get to see the usual quartet. So it feels strange that they aren’t given much prominence and the most we get to see is that one off between Mikado and Waka. Nasa and Nozomi are like club mates and we don’t see them being so close to each other like lovers. Whatever happened to Natsu? What about that librarian, Kokono? She’s like totally irrelevant to all that has happened but yet she appeared in the opening and ending credits animation as part of the main cast. Therefore with all these ‘nicely paired’ couples, it is a waste that they didn’t get enough screen time. Perhaps the dozen episodes were just not enough to fit everything in.

I also want to note that from time to time, a couple of normal workers at the convenience store are seen. Although they just watch over the lovebirds and carry on working, sometimes I feel that these guys are like the gods of love watching over them. Serious! They don’t have any significant impact on the story whatsoever as they sometimes comment on a thing or two but nothing too serious. Well, it would be weird if the convenience store had no employees to begin with. So with the theme and setting taking place here, so I thought these guys are like the watchers or the gatekeepers to love or something. At least they give me that sort of impression.

The art and animation are just normal and decent. With lots of typically hot looking bishonen and bishoujo, I guess there is nothing to complain about. After all, this series is more realistic and this means no colourful hairs and outlandish hairstyles although I kinda noticed that short spikey hairstyles are the way to go with most guys. Animated by the veteran Studio Pierrot, they are responsible in producing mega hit animes and long running ones such as Naruto, Bleach, Beelzebub, Sousei No Onmyouji, Yuu Yuu Hakusho, Great Teacher Onizuka, Tokyo Ghoul and the new Boruto series. Hence this series feels a bit out of place if you compare it with their other bigger notable hits.

One thing that perhaps gained my attention for this series is the use of many notable seiyuus. It has been such a long time in which I have never identified so many seiyuus that I know. For instance, Hiroshi Kamiya as Natsu, Kenichi Suzumura as Towa, Takahiro Sakurai as Masamune, Ami Koshimizu as Nozomi and Yukari Tamura as Waka. One of the most shocking one is Rie Kugimiya as Mami. For a long time I have stereotyped her as a typical tsundere and I still can’t get this stereotype out of my hand despite recently I noticed she has been voicing roles that are away from this type. So it was hard to notice her at first because of how meek and shy Mami was. But there was a hint of familiarity. Hence it was quite refreshing to hear her again in a totally different role and did not once revert back to that tsundere voice anyhow here. Although Yuki Kaji is instantly recognizable as Nasa, after hearing him voicing hot headed and passionate characters like Shingeki No Kyojin’s Eren and ClassicaLoid’s Mozart, it is different hearing him voice a character with that same meekness as Mami. I was hoping he was going to break out into that typical voice but nope.

Another shocking thing I discovered Yui Horie had a role here. Who? Where? Who the hell is Aki Asukai?! Oh, Nozomi’s club mate. Very rare appearance. It isn’t the shock that I couldn’t recognize her but the fact she is in this anime. I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t stumble upon the list. You see, Yui Horie had a very long and illustrious career in voice acting and singing. She was really going steady and consistent. You could almost see her everywhere, at least you’ll hear her once or twice per season. And then suddenly out of the blue at the latter half of 2016, she suddenly disappeared! You could say that she was sorely missing for a big part of 2017. At least in the anime scene. I was wondering what happened to her. She must have taken a break. Otherwise, touch wood that nothing bad happened to her. So, uhm, welcome back?

In view of this, those characters who don’t make much of an appearance also slipped my radar like Miyuki Sawashiro as Kokono. For the rest of the casts that I was unable to pick out (sorry), they are Takuma Terashima as Haruki (Otoya in Uta No Prince-sama series), Sayaka Kanda as Miharu (Nadeshiko in Binbougami Ga), Shinnosuke Tachibana as Mikado (Tomoe in Kamisama Hajimemashita) and Mariko Nagai as Akira. So uhm… Where is Mamiko Noto???!!! Oh sh*t. I’m starting to delude myself thinking after hearing so many popular seiyuus in one anime, I should have my favourite one appear too.

Another big surprise is the opening theme Stand Up Now by Cellchrome. This song has such a very catchy and beat tune that the moment I hear this piece, it makes me feel like one to stand up now and dance. Let me hear that song one more time! The ending theme is a different story. I thought Milestone is sung by Daisuke Ono but apparently it is Orange Post Reason. Anyway, this slow song feels like a guy who just came out from a bar late at night after it closes, feeling a bit lonely and started singing on the streets on his way back home. That’s the impression I get. Because he doesn’t have the best voice and I could probably join in singing with him. An odd thing over this ending credits animation is how the characters line up before each other. Because I go, tall short tall short tall short tall short… Why are the guys so much taller than the girls? Except for Nasa who is the shortest guy and looks on par with Nozomi who is technically the tallest thanks to her ponytail. WTF… Aki is so short that her head is probably up until only Masamune’s heart. Shorter than his shoulders. WTF…

Overall, I still enjoyed watching this series despite the slow pace, a few odd but funny moments and not all the characters were fully utilized and fleshed out. It is quite decent if you want to watch some sort of down to earth romance. I’m over with the fact that you can’t buy love at a convenience store. Even if it’s in Japan. Yeah, only in Japan where you can buy and get sh*t like this. I suppose the closest you’ll ever get to buying love from a convenience store is a pack on condoms. Whoops! Still, I can’t get over the fact of this series’ naming. I still get the thought from time to time that it is about love taking place at the convenience store and girls who get hooked up there feels like as though they have boyfriends originating from convenience stores. Still a bit messed up if you asked me. Just like how they sell sex dolls in vending machines in certain parts of Japan… See?! Japan does have this sort of convenience! Coming soon to an area near you, Vending Machine Sex Doll Girlfriends… I’d pay to see that one ;p.

Netsuzou Trap -NTR-

December 16, 2017

Another netorare themed anime? It wasn’t too long ago when I watched Kuzu No Honkai and now we have another one, Netsuzou Trap -NTR-. Childhood friends have been close to each other since young. When one of them starts to have a boyfriend and is nervous about it and seeks the advice, her other friend starts to come onto her and sending mixed signals, confusing the hell out of her love and sexuality. On the outside they might look like normal healthy girlfriends dating their respective boyfriends. But behind closed doors they have a secret and passionate tryst of lust. I am thinking the one who makes out the best wins the heart.

Episode 1
The friends are at the karaoke. Hotaru Mizushina starts fondling the thighs of Yuma Okazaki, making her feel weird out and excuse herself to the toilet. But Hotaru follows her. Then she locks the toilet door and starts making out with her. She knows Yuma likes Takeda so this is practice. When they leave, Yuma and Takeda walk together home. Takeda also likes Yuma as he gives her a kiss on the lips. Back home, Yuma and Hotaru live next to each other. Yuma is still nervous from all that has happened today including her kiss with Takeda. The girls talk outside on their veranda and Yuma tries to look like she is mad for Hotaru’s pranks. She then learns about their kiss so she tricks Yuma that there is something on her cheek so that she could do a French kiss on her! Yuma did not like that and pushes her way. Why is she doing this? Hotaru reminds her this is practice. And also, since this is Yuma’s first French kiss, maybe she’ll beat Takeda and get all her other firsts too. Don’t worry. She’ll keep this a secret from Takeda. Yuma is left red faced but she somehow cannot find the will to fight back. But she notes Hotaru’s kiss was far softer, sweeter and tingly than Takeda’s.

Episode 2
Flashback shows Yuma protected Hotaru from a couple of bullies. Hotaru continues to harass Yuma by trying to hold her hand and blow in her ear. And they’re on their way to school. Yuma is in the same basketball club as Takeda. He is glad Yuma is friends with Hotaru because he always noticed she is alone. She notes what he didn’t know is that she tried to introduce her to her other friends but it never worked out. Yuma is surprised when Takeda invites her to stay at his home when his parents are away for the weekend. So when Yuma tells this to Hotaru, she starts kissing her as practice?! Luckily stopped when Takeda comes to eat lunch with them. Hotaru teases them they are so nice to each other that when they get along, she will not be needed anymore. Might sound like a sad story but Yuma knows better. In middle school, Hotaru got a boyfriend first and ditched her for a while. In fact, she is still boyfriend hopping and is dating one of the coolest guys in school, Fujiwara. Come the weekend, the friends go to the amusement park instead. Takeda seems to be thinking and considerate about Hotaru that they all should hang out together. Plus, they haven’t been dating that long and it wouldn’t be right to ask her to stay over. The mood is right for another kiss. Meanwhile over at Hotaru and Fujiwara. That guy is being forceful with her but when she refuses, he becomes aggressive to remind her place. It made her scared. Hotaru then talks to Yuma alone who brags about her second kiss with Takeda. What? More practice? However Yuma can tell something has happened since her kiss is not as assertive. Hotaru denies anything has happened.

Episode 3
The friends are staying at a ski resort. In the bath, because Yuma becomes self-conscious, it is a great chance for Hotaru to do her ‘practice’. Yuma is conflicted. She feels good with Hotaru’s molesting but has to keep her voice down or else the guys on the other side might here. It’s no surprise Yuma is pouting at her friend because she thought she was getting raped! Wasn’t she? When Takeda hints of what to do now, Yuma panics and hopes they could do more skiing tomorrow. Takeda must be butt hurt for that rejection. Hotaru mocks her a chicken. So I guess everyone isn’t going to lose their virginity tonight. Next day as they ski, Hotaru pleads for Yuma to teach her since Fujiwara is bad at teaching. Of course, an opportunity for Hotaru to greatly kiss Yuma. But nobody is seeing, right? Well… You don’t know… Fujiwara saw them and is spying… So when Yuma returns to Takeda and they’re like the happy couple, Fujiwara whispers what he saw to Hotaru. He thought the duo was always so clingy with each other. But his lesbianism he finds it hilarious. He thinks Yuma is toying with Takeda’s heart. He takes Hotaru away and plans to let Takeda make out with Yuma tonight.

Episode 4
Yuma knocks on Hotaru’s door. She is surprised when Fujiwara answers but even more shock to see Hotaru half undressed. Sorry to bother. So that night she thought of being considerate to sleep in Takeda’s room. Since thoughts of Hotaru is clouding her mind, Takeda could tell she is acting strange. So when they try to get it on, eventually he tells her to sleep on the futon while he sleeps on the chair. He gets this feeling that she isn’t into him. Ruined. Even on the trip back, they aren’t really talking. It gets awkward when they see each other at school. Yuma’s friends try to bug her for details but looks like it makes her even more depressed. When they remember Hotaru and Fujiwara was on that trip to, they warn her about the rumours that Fujiwara might be cheating on her because they heard he is going out with Maria Kawamoto. Yuma goes to her home to ascertain that. She is shocked to see her wearing an eye-patch though Hotaru dismisses as injury from falling down. When Yuma talks about the rumours of Fujiwara cheating, Hotaru isn’t surprised. Because she too is cheating. Who? You mean you can’t guess who? I guess she needs more practice. Hotaru starts making out with Yuma but a call from Takeda interrupts. He tries to apologize for what happened but hears something strange. That’s because Hotaru is continuing to molest Yuma while she is answering the call! Don’t make any weird sounds! But Takeda is sad thinking she is with someone else.

Episode 5
It looks like Yuma and Takeda’s relationship are back on track, even setting up their next date. Takeda feels pathetic so Fujiwara ‘consoles’ him that Yuma might not be a great girl he thinks. Girls have their dark side and he is worried she might be playing him for a sucker. Before Yuma leaves for her date, she visits Hotaru. She is shocked to see her black eye. She can tell someone punched her and suspects Fujiwara. Oh good, that guy is here. He has been staying here since yesterday. Yuma goes to have a talk with him and of course he denies. When Yuma wants to know about him cheating, he tells her right back she is the last person whom he wants to hear being accused of. Hotaru stops this farce and reminds Yuma she has a date. Oh right. She’s an hour late. He is gone. By the time she calls him to apologize, it seems he is hinting of a breakup. He feels she is hiding something from him and if she decides she really likes him, they’ll start afresh. Yuma sinks into depression, fed up with herself for all this and yet Takeda is being so nice to her. I guess the only person to seek comfort with is Hotaru. Oh… So that kiss is going to cheer her up? Well… When you’re heartbroken… In school, the moment Yuma sees Takeda, she runs away. Fujiwara approaches the girls. He found out they have broken up and that poor chap still doesn’t know the truth. He feels bad for him and wants to tell him the truth. Or he can keep it to himself in exchange he wants in the next time they both make out. Yikes!

Episode 6
Yuma slaps him. Naturally. It ends after Hotaru tells him to stop making such bad jokes to her friend. Later Hotaru tries to calm Yuma down but she isn’t pleased what Hotaru sees in that jerk. Hotaru’s twisted logic is that since she is a bad girl, it wouldn’t look right if she dates a good guy. That’s why guys like Fujiwara put her at ease. Yuma still can’t understand. Especially this feeling that goes way back. When she first heard Hotaru suddenly got a boyfriend back in middle school, she felt jealous. Even more so when she saw them kiss in front of her. Yuma doesn’t like her picking anyone else over her and doesn’t like there are sides to her she hasn’t seen. Attempts to get back with Takeda backfired. He really isn’t interested. So what is a broken hearted girl got to do but to seek comfort in Hotaru. This means opening herself for some lesbian teasing. But the ‘joke’ is on Yuma because now she is confiding in Hotaru how lonely she is so this prompts Hotaru to mock she is doing so just because she is in a rough patch with Takeda. Time for this episode’s lesbian make-out. Because Hotaru doesn’t mind if she plays the victim and puts the blame on her. She is going to make her feel better than Takeda. While they’re half naked and Yuma narrating her hypocritical self, suddenly they here a sound of somebody taking picture. It’s Fujiwara! He really caught them with their pants (skirt actually) down! Wait a minute. Wasn’t the door locked? How did he get in? He looks serious this time in wanting his threesome.

Episode 7
When Yuma tells him to delete it, Fujiwara threatens to send it to Takeda. Hotaru then takes his handphone and deletes it. She tells him they were only fooling around and practising for the real stuff. And by that she meant doing it with him. So Yuma feels awkward back in her room thinking Hotaru and Fujiwara are making out next door. Next day, Hotaru talks to Takeda. She tells him not to blame her for the late date since it was her fault to begin with. Takeda believes she doesn’t have feelings for him so Hotaru ‘reveals’ that there was this person who was interested in her but Yuma was persistent in rejecting that person. She never told him so as not to let him get the wrong idea. Hotaru assures that persona finally gave up on Yuma. So please give her another chance. That night as Hotaru talks to Yuma, the latter is still mad and confused. Hotaru admits she was jealous when she got a boyfriend since it felt like he stole her away. That’s why she did all those stuffs out of jealousy just to keep her. But her strained relationship with Takeda made it even worse for them. She is sorry and will stop now. So please talk to Takeda. It will work out. Next day in school, there is less animosity between Takeda and Yuma. For the new term, Takeda feels of going to cram school and asks Yuma if she would like to do the same. She mulls over the idea but Hotaru plans not going to college. She can just get a rich man and be his wife! Is she purposely making other girls mad? Later Yuma ponders on Hotaru’s future. Then she brushes it off since it has nothing to do with her.

Episode 8
Yuma and Takeda are back to normal although they still remain friends. She is surprised Fujiwara goes to the same cram school with them since Takeda recommended it. On the way back, she sees Hotaru coming out from a shop. Curious, she enters to see females dressed in cat maid outfits and serving men. Confronting her about this, a customer thought Yuma is one of the staffs but she shoves him away. He complains so Hotaru hopes he would forgive her friend. The manager suggests she can work here too if she wants. Because Yuma insists Hotaru not work here and won’t leave till she does, Hotaru tells the manager Yuma wants to work here. And so she has to put on the outfit and when Hotaru helps her do so, she can’t help fantasize little dirty thoughts. Too bad she couldn’t last out there with the customers. Yuma can’t handle those creeps and wonders why Hotaru didn’t pick a ‘normal’ job. Well, the pay here is better. It’s not like she is selling her body. Still, Yuma can’t accept it and since she is still b*tching about it, Hotaru hits back is she only allowed to have a job she approves of? Must she do everything the way she wants? Yuma actually feels that way (including her dating Fujiwara) but can’t find the courage to say it to her. Yeah, it’s like Yuma is her mom now. Yuma learns Takeda knows about Hotaru’s work because Fujiwara told him. So she confronts Fujiwara and ask why he did not stop her. Since she doesn’t know why Hotaru needed the money, Fujiwara tells it straight to her face it is to move out. Because she feels suppressed living next to her. Yuma is in shock because she never told her anything but didn’t hesitate to tell Fujiwara. With Yuma nagging recently, I can see why Hotaru needed the money to get away from her. Yuma tries hard to suppress her feelings since she feels she could blow up at Hotaru any time.

Episode 9
Wait. Yuma is going to work as that sleazy job she disapproves Hotaru of working at? She thinks she can handle it? I guess she wasn’t prepared for the guys watching full blown lesbianism between them. On their way home, Yuma explains she is working here to protect her so Hotaru brushes off she is no longer that same bullied child. We hear Yuma’s dark thoughts. She always thought of herself as a bad liar that is why Takeda saw through her and broke up. But it seems she can easily lie to Hotaru. In actual fact, it isn’t that she is worried about her but rather a part of Hotaru she doesn’t know. Whether or not she wants to get away from her, she won’t allow it no matter how much she will hate her. Takeda feels down since he can’t do anything to help Yuma so Fujiwara warns him about staying pure hearted lest he wants to be played out and exploited forever. Yuma skips cram school to go work again. Hotaru isn’t here since it is not her shift. Hotaru visits Yuma thinking she is home but only her mom is in. So when Yuma comes home, mom is going to have a talk with her as she called the cram school only to find she was absent. Due to this overworking stress, Yuma has high fever in school. She rests in the infirmary when Hotaru visits. Yuma plans of quitting that job. Hotaru is relieved since she didn’t want her to work in a place like that. This has Yuma fuming inside. More dark thoughts as she believes Hotaru is drawing the line between them. Why does it feel so far away when she is the closest person all these years? Impulsively, Yuma pulls Hotaru’s face close and kiss her. Too late to feel embarrassed about what you did because now Hotaru is triggered by her naughty side. You’re gonna get what you ordered. No backing out of this now. Takeda visits and is shocked to see this. Did his world just collapsed?

Episode 10
Hotaru gives an excuse that Yuma is still dizzy and is trying to hold her up. Well, he bought that. Yuma still has nightmares outraging Hotaru’s modesty and in reality, Hotaru gets bold enough to whisk her to some corner away from the main street and make out with her. Of course Fujiwara sees this and assures he didn’t take a picture despite being tempted to. He says he didn’t rat out to Takeda and that’s good enough but Hotaru thinks this wasn’t part of the deal. Flashback shows both of them broke up with their respective dates. The girl was crying her heart out she doesn’t want to and the guy refuses to break up and almost assaulted Hotaru. Since Hotaru and Fujiwara were so cold to their ex-partners, Hotaru suggested making a deal and they ended up being a pair in the eyes of the envious public. Takeda doesn’t understand when Fujiwara told him he hates girls since he dated a bunch of them. Oh, he does hate them but he loves the sex. So this gives him a free pass to beat up Hotaru if she is not in the mood until she relents? Yuma feels more anxious the more Hotaru isn’t with her because it’s like she could leave her and go far away. But at least at the same time her relationship with Takeda is on the mend. Hotaru has another bruise on her face after she tries to reject Fujiwara. Time to hide it again.

Episode 11
Things are looking great between Yuma and Takeda after the former apologizes. She then reveals about this certain person who has been always on her mind since (Hotaru). Although she tries to deny she is in love with that person but to Takeda that is what it exactly sounds like. That was how it felt like when he dated her. He’s not blaming her or anything. Yeah, Yuma looks shock to even think she has been in love with Hotaru. Takeda suggests asking that person how she really feels. She might not get the answer she wants but at least she would get her feelings across. Once so, that person might give a straight answer. Yuma agonizes over Takeda’s suggestion. She doesn’t want to be strung along by Hotaru but can’t stand the fact she is leaving her. She finally confronts Hotaru and confesses she loves her although it makes her feel scared to look Hotaru in the eye. However Hotaru knows it. She confesses back she loves her too. She then kisses her but no more lesbian stuff since Fujiwara is calling her. Later Yuma tells what happened to Takeda. She believes Hotaru tried to change the subject and pretended she didn’t say it. It makes her feel like an idiot. Ever since that confession, things had gotten more awkward with Hotaru. She avoids her and clings more often to Fujiwara. Yuma spots them making out on the stairways. She can’t take it and runs away. What to do but cry? Yeah, this emotional distress and heartbreak is even affecting her studies. At home, she hears a loud noise coming from next door. She rushes over only to see Fujiwara beating up Hotaru.

Episode 12
Yuma wants Fujiwara never to come near Hotaru again. But Hotaru blames herself as she didn’t honour the deal. When Yuma questions if that is what true dating is, Fujiwara quips back: Better than 2 girls being together. So in school, Yuma continues to bug Hotaru to break up with that jerk. Hotaru akin Yuma being irresponsible in feeding a stray cat. She only loves it when it is convenient to her and doesn’t plan to take care of it for the rest of her life. Yuma denies it but shies away from saying those magical confession words. This only allows Hotaru to tease her that her kiss jokes make her want her. And so now Yuma talks her friend’s problem to Takeda. He doesn’t know what is going on but tells her to not give up otherwise she’ll only feel sorry for herself when they reject her. Yuma is enlightened and realizes how great a person Takeda is. Regret dumping him? The next time she confronts Fujiwara, she lets him know she is not playing around with their lesbianism. If that is how Yuma feels, what about Hotaru? She asks about the deal they made so Fujiwara admits right up if she denies him sex, he gets the right to beat her up. Just sick. When Yuma tries to tell him how much Hotaru loves him, it made her realize something and also all the things she said to her before. Is this how Hotaru felt? Why hasn’t she realized it before? Too busy playing her mom and relationship manager, that’s why. So she goes around looking for her and finally confronts her. She realizes all the lesbian things she did and the dating of Fujiwara is because she wanted to gain her attention! Well, we figured out that a long time ago. So if that is what Hotaru wants, then believe in her! Hotaru tries to be realistic about the uncertain future but Yuma wants her to take that risk with her. After confessing she loves her, Yuma then quickly kisses Hotaru. In public! OMG! I guess nobody gives a damn about girls kissing in the busy street because this is Japan. It’s the norm! I suppose the kiss was too good that Hotaru ignores Fujiwara’s call. In the end, they continue being friends.

50 Shades Of Green With Envy
So that’s it? Lesbianism wins in the end?! Ah damn. I was predicting some sort of sad and tragic ending whereby Yuma finally goes away and leaves Yuma so broken hearted that she became broken. Haha! Not funny. So perhaps this was all part of Hotaru’s greater plan to make Yuma care for her once again? Now that she has got Yuma ‘hooked’ on her, it looks like she’ll be taken good care of for the foreseeable future. The stray cat has become an adopted cat. Whatever abuse she gets from Fujiwara is going to be all worth it since she got the main prize. Notice how many times she got beaten up recently just for rejecting him? Heck, she could now break off with that sex maniac.

Yuma might be a very confused girl but she is no angel either. We can blame Hotaru for instigating and activating Yuma’s lesbian love for her but I figure that was long buried deep inside Yuma’s heart for a long time. Because Yuma isn’t as cool of a cat like Hotaru, she tends to fluster a lot and is more emotionally expressive. Even more so when she is so confused about Hotaru’s actions and her feelings towards her. I am guessing that Yuma did not watch or read enough yuri animes or manga to even think she has been in love with her best friend. I guess there is this yuri rule that one has to be seme and the other uke. It applies to yaoi too, by the way. Despite all that naughty advances that Hotaru did to her and Yuma doesn’t seem to like it, she shows her selfish side that she wants to keep Hotaru by her side forever. It is starting to feel as though Yuma is her mother or something. Or is it because Hotaru makes her feel good and is addicted to her touch? That’s why she lets it happen, right? That’s why she wants to keep her, right?

She doesn’t approve of her relationship with Fujiwara but is forced to because you know, she isn’t her mother. So now the thought of Hotaru might be moving away far from her and she doesn’t like it? Is she controlling her life or something? Don’t think that just because she saved Hotaru from bullies doesn’t mean she owes you her life forever. She isn’t your lackey. One day she has to grow up and lead her life on her own, for better or worse. So for Yuma who wants Hotaru and Takeda both to be hers, it’s like trying to have her cake and eat it. Actually, more accurately trying to catch both rabbits and ended up having none. So when she finally made up her mind, I guess she at least got Hotaru by her side.

Hotaru isn’t necessarily a bad girl. Maybe she just had bad company. She might look cool and calm but it could she plays a better poker face in hiding her true feelings than anyone else. I am thinking she teases Yuma in suggestive ways is a way to escape her hellish nightmare with Fujiwara. It’s like if sex with guys is this bad and painful, maybe I can have my own fantasy by making out with my best friend. It was either lesbian sex or abusive sex for her. Does the pain from Fujiwara distracts and hides the pangs of love she has for Yuma? After all, Fujiwara dominates over her and maybe Hotaru releases some of that frustration by dominating over Yuma. Seeing Yuma fluster and panic gives her the thrills. I don’t believe Hotaru has bad intentions intending to break up Yuma and Takeda although she did get carried away in some of her naughtiness. Sometimes I also feel that perhaps this secret passionate fling is like Hotaru’s last parting gift to Yuma because if she goes away forever, at least she’ll have this passionate memories to remember them by. My best friend, my saviour, my yuri partner. If Hotaru’s real plan was to attract Yuma’s attention, it was one heck of an elaborate plan and in the end it somewhat succeeded, right? Because Hotaru didn’t go away and still hangs around her. Mission completed.

Bad boy Fujiwara feels like a real life clickbait. Looking good on the outside but his personality stinks. This guy clearly doesn’t care about girls as he himself admits it. He is just in for the sex. But I think it isn’t just about the sex. It is about dominating. He gets his way with Hotaru and if she doesn’t feel like putting up with him, his fist is quick to reach her face. He was probably bored of the same sex he always gets so easily from her and hence he wanted a threesome. What would be better than dominating over one girl? Why, dominating over 2 girls! Wow. Just like porn. Maybe one day he’ll upgrade and do some gay sex and have a foursome with Takeda in the future! Holy messy orgy-ness! And remember people, hitting your girl or any girl or anybody is a big no-no. I do not approve of violent sex where you derive pleasure from inflicting pain on others.

Takeda as I can see is the only normal and good guy among the main characters. So normal that he feels a bit out of place in this netorare game. He tried to make it work with Yuma but her heart is somewhere else. Proof that her lesbian heart is stronger than her straight heart. So I think it’s best for them to just remain friends instead of dating each other for now until this mess is sort out and Yuma is clear in her love life whom she wants. And now he becomes Yuma’s relationship advisor? Perhaps Yuma realizes she isn’t a great person worthy enough of him.

Art and animation feel standard. A few fanservice shots here and there because it wouldn’t be true lesbianism if girls with great bodies don’t take off pieces of their clothes and tease us with their great sexy lingerie. Tempting us to give lesbian porn a shot? Also, the end cards are illustrated by various illustrators. With the different visual art styles, some look normal, some a bit risqué because outright lesbianism and fanservice. Animated by Creators In Pack, this series has art that looks darker than the rest of their animated shorts like Ojisan To Marshmallow, Military, Ozmafia, Bernard-jou Iwaku, Danchigai and Kiitarou Shonen No Youkai Enikki thanks to its dark and mature theme of netorare.

Daisuke Ono is devilishly cool and wicked as Fujiwara. He sounds almost like the reincarnated high school version of Kuroshitsuji’s Sebastian. The others included in this small casts are Ai Kakuma as Yuma (Julis in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Hiromi Igarashi as Hotaru (Symonne in Tales Of Zestiria The X) and Ryota Osaka as Takeda (Zen in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime).Both the opening and ending themes are hard rock and have this dark feel to it, which is quite suitable for what the anime is about.

Overall, if you want a better netorare anime, Kuzu No Honkai still fares better. If you want a better yuri anime, there are tons out there (from mild ones like Sasameki Koto and heavier ones like Strawberry Panic). I believe Kuzu No Honkai has even both. Otherwise, might as well jump fully into hentai if you’re in for the sex. Is this romance anime, you say? What romance???!!! The characters are either confused or selfish lot with what they want. It makes them somewhat annoying as it drags out this whole drama lot. But is it better to love and lost than to never to have loved in the first place? If this is how it is going to turn out to be, I think I better stick to online hentai. Porn logic allows you the cheat and f*ck anything and everything! Internet sasou trap…

Princess Principal

December 10, 2017

Long ago, Germany was divided into two and separating them was a famously known wall because of a different ideology. Though that is very much gone, we still have the Korea peninsular divided not by a wall but by a DMZ that still stands today. Imagine if another country was also split into this fashion because of different ideologies. Imagine that country is the United Kingdom. One of the biggest colonial masters and rulers split in their homeland. Or at least in the fictitious steampunk world of Princess Principal, a country that resembles very much like Britain. Hence a perfect setting for spies from both sides undergoing stealth and backstabbing operations and missions to outwit, outplay and outdo each other. Sorry, no James Bond here. So you’ll have to put up with a small group of cute kawaii spy girls that kick ass.

Episode 1
As narrated, the Kingdom of Albion became a powerful air force since it monopolized Cavorite. However a revolution split the Kingdom with the London Wall separating the Kingdom from the Commonwealth. 10 years later, both sides are engaged in a secret war of spies. Just as we see Eric Anderson is trying to defect to the Commonwealth. He is being hunted down by the authorities but a group of young spy girls kickass to help him escape. They bring him back to their base and he is shocked to see it as a school. It is only right since they are all students. He meets their leader and is surprised Princess is a spy. Eric talks to Ange about lies and such. Because the truth won’t be interesting. He has a request if there is someone he could bring over the Wall with him. So the girls are wondering whether to take the extra risk to bring Amy over as well. Dorothy disagrees with it but since Ange is willing to gather more information and Princess feels it is a pity the siblings are separated, I guess they’ll do what they can since they have time left. So Ange disguises as a nurse to infiltrate the hospital where Amy is residing to determine whether or not she wants to defect. But Amy throws a tantrum and believes they are just trying to use her brother’s name to trick her into something. Ange sees her eyes and other deformed body parts due to Cavorite poisoning. Ange returns to Eric to ask if he is defecting to get money for Amy’s operation. 10 years’ worth of salary and of course he can’t afford. Then a mysterious man popped up and told him he would give him money if he defected to the Commonwealth with his research. All too convenient. He wonders if Amy wouldn’t have to suffer if he wasn’t a scientist. For Ange, spies aren’t the champion of justice. He starts to feel guilty when he hears Ange’s story of watching her family being murdered and then being taken in by the Intelligence Agency.

That night, Eric is surprised the plan has been changed and they are going to bring him over the Wall now. What about his sister? Don’t worry about it. So when the team splits up and Eric realizes they’re not going to save Amy, was he being tricked? Ange points out he also lied to them. They know he tried to send data to his employer with this pigeon and they caught it. The one whom he wanted help for Amy’s treatment was the Duke of Normandy. This defection was all an act to lure them out. Ange can tell from the first time she met Eric, the contents in his bag then and the feet of Amy is that of a ballet dancer. He wasn’t going to take Amy to defect. Meanwhile Dorothy and Chise are already ambushing the hideout of Public Security Minister Kimble who is the one behind this plan. They arrest him since their boss has some questions to ask. Ange takes Eric to an isolated place. She tells him to sign an insurance contract for those who are to be killed as part of their organization’s policy. Since he cannot defect or go back to his lab and the fact Amy will never be cured, he signs it. He asks if everything she has said to him was a lie. Yeah. It all was. So now is she going to kill him? No. Bang! Pumped a few bullets into him. Eric’s body is found a week later in the river. They make it so as not to be discovered immediately because the insurance company won’t pay up then. (It’s for Amy’s operation).

Episode 2
In this flashback episode, we see Ange being introduced as a new student at Mayfair Queen’s Academy. Because she is a bit clumsy, others find her cute and funny. Of course that was all an act so people would underestimate her. Also masquerading as a spy in this school is Dorothy and they are both on a mission to capture Princess. They observe her and note she doesn’t make unnecessary moves to be friendly with others. Hence she is always only with Beatrice, a lowly ranked noble. Ange suggests a ball and that is where they’ll launch a surprise attack. Control approves it and in no time the ladies are in beautiful dresses. As they attempt to approach Princess, suddenly Control changes their mission. To prevent a world war, they need to dispose some blueprints in the hands of Foreign Affairs Committee Morgan before he delivers them to the West. He holds a key to a vault and is scheduled to hand it over to Normandy in 30 minutes. So the duo have to change their plans. Dorothy thought of using the direct approach of seducing him but he has tight bodyguards all over. Ange has this great idea of killing 2 birds with a stone. She laces a drink with something before going up to Princess and request to be friends. When Princess agrees, Ange pretends to spill the drink all over her dress. Ange promises to get rid of it so Princess waits while she does so. Dorothy understands her plan now. Ange put some washable dye in the drink. Now she dresses up in that dress to pretend to be Princess. Wow. She looks exactly. Now incognito, she seeks Morgan to dance with her. She analyses the way he talks and acts and can tell his health condition. She whispers she can help his wife defect if he goes home with the key. But with Normandy’s men around, he cannot move. Give it to her and she will deliver it and his wife to him later. At first he is sceptical but she asks why he trusts Normandy. Given the same circumstances, would he better not trust a goddess?

After Ange returns the dress to Princess and they all head back to the ball, Princess wants Ange to stop pretending. She knows she is a spy. Her uncle is Normandy and directs all spies in the kingdom. Ange drops the act and asks her demands. Princess is the fourth in line to the throne and wants to become the queen. She is willing to sell out her own country for that. As the spies do not have authority, she wants them to ask their superiors. Or else she will expose them. Morgan tries to make excuse that he is unwell and wants to go home. Normandy just arrives and sees this. He quietly shoots him. He alerts the guards of an assassination and orders the entire to be cordoned off for a body check. Normandy can tell Morgan doesn’t have the key. He didn’t kill him and leaves him alive enough for interrogation. As everyone in the hall lines up, Dorothy tells Ange to throw away to keep and she can save herself. Fight another day. But Ange wants Princess to take the key knowing she will be exempted. In exchange, she will drag that yes answer from her superiors. Time is running short as Ange sends her coded messages back to Control. They too are scrambling for the best solution. Ange is confident as she assures Princess the church bell will chime as her superiors’ yes answer. Normandy meets Princess’ friends and as he is about to have them examined, everyone is confused to hear the church bell chimes. Princess leaves with the key. In the aftermath, Ange and Princess meet. Ange tells her Control was frantically trying to search a traitor within the organization and couldn’t figure out Princess knew them as spies. Oh, but Princess pointed out when she took her dress, she left a note. Another twist is that, Ange and Princess knew each other and it has been 10 years since they have seen each other. Princess welcomes Charlotte home.

Episode 3
Now that they are together, Ange wants Princess to run away with her. However Princess reminds her she still wants to become queen. Ange doesn’t like that and tells Morgan was killed on his way to hospital for the higher ups fear he would speak. This doesn’t deter Princess so Ange agrees to do it. She will lie to everybody, the world, Princess and eventually herself. Since the girls need a reason for them to be together, Dorothy introduces their ‘clubroom’. Now they need to figure out a club for what. Then they get straight down to business with their next mission. The orders are to board HMS Gloucester and steal back the stolen plates as Normandy plans to mass produce pound notes in the colonies to create financial instability. This is where Princess comes in. She needs to board it for an opening for them to stow away. You have been noticing that Beatrice had been opposing this and that. Princess no this, Princess no that. So much so her voice gives way. Actually she has a mechanical voice! Her sad story is that her father likes to tinker with machines to a point he experimented on his own daughter. You can say she became a bully victim. The only person to talk to her was Princess. That is why she is so protective of her only friend. As Princess visits the airship, Dorothy gets to work to allow Ange to be stowed away. Even at this point Beatrice is being a brat trying to stop Ange. Can an amateur like her do it? Well, I don’t know why Ange didn’t put her to sleep or anything and let her bark away with her childish threats like Ange is only here to replace Princess. Even almost putting them in jeopardy. Still b*tching about it, Ange warns her that if Beatrice gets caught, they might link Princess as a spy. Shut up and cooperate, that’s what she’s trying to say.

In the communication room, Ange hooks up all the switchboards and amazingly in the cacophony of voices, she can pick out which ones are talking about the plates. Because of that, she can determine where they are being held. It is at the other end of the airship. Well, take the route less travelled. Outside. As Ange uses the Cavorite power to help her march through, the lightning knocks her off. The bridge spots an unusual intruder and sounds the alarm. The guards start shooting but Ange gets back on her feet. The Cavorite power enables her to run fast with agility and protect her from those bullets. So you can’t say they’re such bad shots. Once she is in the correct room, she fights off all the guards and confronts one of Normandy’s men who has the plates. By the time Beatrice decides to stop being a coward or risk being caught if she stays behind, she drops in and sees everyone dead and Ange injured. Ange wants her to take the plates and parachute alone. Once she reaches ground, contact Dorothy. Beatrice is pissed off with this spy job thingy that puts their lives on the line. Ange shuts her up if she dies, she’ll die a spy. But if Beatrice gets caught, Princess will be suspected. Always b*tching about Princess and protecting her so put aside your pride and help do a greater good for her. When the guards threaten to blow the door open, Beatrice imitates a voice to assure them. When one of them doesn’t believe and asks a secret question, Beatrice is lost. However Ange has her follow what she says and that guard immediately believes and leaves. Ange knew because she heard his voice as one of the many from the switchboard! So they both parachute down and land safely. Just in time before the Cavorite device breaks. In the aftermath, Ange and Beatrice are like ‘friends’ as they ‘lie’ to each other. Is this how spies get along?

Episode 4
Dorothy sees her superior, L. The Cavorite scientists from the Kingdom has created a miniaturized Cavorite control unit. This could be detrimental to the Commonwealth and change history. Their mission is to steal its prototype. Dorothy thought a better team instead of an inexperienced one like them should be use. But L says they have Princess. Use her position to infiltrate the ceremony at the Cavorite mine. The rest are practising a stealth game and what better way than to do it in public. Eventually they try to think up of a name for their team when Dorothy returns. Then they head to the mines and with Princess having that royal authority, they get through easily. As the queen who is also Princess’ grandma is there, she has to go seek an audience with her. Ange leaves Chise with her as she is the most capable fighter. The rest then begin their infiltration as they seduce and sneak their way past through the guards. Chise’s master, Lord Horikawa speaks to her to ask if she has been suspected. He reminds that they are here to find out whether they can trust the Kingdom or Commonwealth. Normandy reminds the queen they need to talk about Princess’ marriage. She would prefer to wait after she graduates but Normandy believes the sooner they bind their countries through marriage, it will crush possibilities of a world war as well as strengthening their relationship with Moscow to stabilize all of Europe. Princess returns to Dorothy who remembers what L told only her. She was warned Princess might be a double agent and if so, action will be taken. They have not abandoned the possibility that she is their enemy.

When Ange finally hacks into the research facility, there is nothing. Did somebody leak info? She then remembers one of the guards talk about moving. So they moved the entire lab? Using the Cavorite power, it leads her to a secret pathway as she sees the lab being shipped to a dock. She quickly returns to the rest as they make haste to catch it before it leaves on a ship. Hold on to your horses because despite how bulky this car looks, it runs fast, handles corners pretty well and zips through alleys! Beatrice is screaming her head off but the good news is that you can turn off her voice! Meanwhile the Cavorite scientists are baffled about this sudden movement. Several agents have discovered spy equipment and are going to thoroughly check a mole among them. Ange and Dorothy will infiltrate the ship. Chise protests as she is made to guard Princess again despite she is a better fighter than Dorothy. Ange can’t put her in danger as she came to us under the grace of Horikawa. Now Princess decides to come too. Can’t because it’s too dangerous? Princess says she has always been in danger. If any of them fails, her secret is busted. So she has to put her life on the line to succeed. Dorothy believes if she is a double agent, she would not have risk her life. So she can’t be the mole. So everybody boards the ship and kicks ass to save their fellow spy from being busted as well as retrieve the prototype. In the aftermath, Dorothy reports to L that their mission was overwhelming successful since they also apprehended the scientists. She though Princess would be cleared of suspicions but L doesn’t think so yet. She is still grey. Keep watching her. Finally, the girls decide to call their team as Team White Pigeon. Pigeon because Noah send out a bird as a scout. That’s like a spy, right? Dorothy is okay with it since it isn’t grey.

Episode 5
Princess greets Horikawa and his entourage arriving from Japan. They are here to revise some treaty but have to beware of a fearsome rebel named Jubei Todo rumoured to show up and assassinate him. The westerners are stumped with the easterners’ culture of prostrating themselves to thank others. On board a train to London, Ange spots Chise riding on top and mistakes her for Jubei. They both fight and Chise shows her skills by deflecting her bullets with her sword! Eventually they are stopped when the Japanese side identify her as not the enemy. Horikawa can’t send Chise back alone so he will have her accompany him. A more so reason since she knows a lot more about Jubei. Ange protests since she doesn’t trust her so Princess has Ange be friends with her. If Chise is a threat, wouldn’t it make sense to put the person she trusts to watch her? So the duo awkwardly get to know each other. Ange is stumped about her country’s mystic and supernatural ways. Chise reveals her obsession in chasing down Jubei is because he killed his father. It is revealed that Normandy despite not having interest in the eastern nation, hired Jubei to get Princess involved in an assassination plot since nobody can be sure someone won’t move her up the rank in line to be queen. Dorothy catches a spy among the royal guards. But her attempts to stop him were too late as he blows up and separates the front carriage from the rest. Then another train pulls up parallel with them. It is Jubei and his rebels. They hook both trains together and if one slows down, it will derail. Oh, the tracks will soon merge ahead.

Ange and Chise cooperate to fight and take down the rebels. Jubei makes his move as he boards the train to assassinate Horikawa. Beatrice tries to protect princess but gets her throat slashed. Thankfully we all know something mechanical is in its place. As Chise has a fine swordplay showdown with Jubei, Ange and Princess try to stop the train. When they manage to do so, Chise defeats and kills Jubei. Jubei pats her head and notes she has gotten stronger. In the aftermath, Chise is praying to Jubei’s tombstone. Ange can tell Jubei is Chise’s father. But Chise disagrees. Her father was the one who taught her the sword and is dead. This man resting here is nothing more than a traitorous assassin. She doesn’t need sympathy. She is proud she has surpassed her father. With her vengeance done, she cannot stop crying. Back at the clubroom, it seems Chise has joined them as their new transfer student. Their respective superiors have struck a deal to help each other and Dorothy has introduced Horikawa to Control. When Chise is about to prostrate herself to thank Ange for making it possible for her to fight Jubei, Ange won’t let her and teaches her their western culture on how to thank people: A handshake.

Episode 6
Dorothy teaches Beatrice to pick a lock. Because Ange is too fast. Because Chise just cuts it. Bad teachers… Dorothy meets 7 who is part of Control. She has a mission for her to retrieve a cipher from a corpse at a morgue. Thing is, they don’t know the name or looks of that person. So is she expected to search every body? Don’t worry. There is an accomplice working there whom she knows. He is Danny MacBean. Her father. Dorothy and Beatrice start working at the morgue. Dorothy instantly recognizes her father. He has not changed. Loudmouth and a scum. Danny is glad to see his daughter (whom he addresses as Daisy) but the feeling isn’t mutual. Dorothy notices a group of debt collectors led by Franky harassing Danny for his debts. He keeps assuring he will pay them but needs more time. So when they see his beautiful daughter, this prompts Dorothy how she doesn’t want to end up like daddy the loser. The tears are real. He starts throwing a tantrum and abusing the furniture. Beatrice tries to stop him but he gets rough with her and messes with her voice box. Dorothy pushes him away and Danny feels bad. Now he starts crying about being lonely and all. I can see why Dorothy dislikes him. Dorothy tells Beatrice about her past. After dad lost his right hand in an accident, he changed. He blamed and envied everyone and everything. Dorothy became his object of constant abuse. Mom couldn’t take it and abandoned them. (By the way, mom’s name is Dorothy). After every beating, he would apologize. But there is only so much she could take so she ran away. The same day the revolution happened and she was glad it did since she didn’t have to see him again. The only thing she is grateful for is that dad never abandoned her like mom did.

Dorothy carries Danny home. This rotting place still brings back old memories. When he sobers up, he tells her they’ll get rich soon. They need to find a corpse with a cross on his palm in which there is a hidden note in his tooth. If she finds that body, tell him. Later the debt collectors come by to harass him again. This time offering him a chance to sell his daughter and all debts will be cleared. Beatrice finds that body so Dorothy extracts the tooth for the cipher. She plans to make a copy instead of taking it so as not to make Normandy suspect anything. Also, she wants to help dad. When Dorothy hands it to him, he is so happy and praises his daughter. He takes it and makes his way. Not before telling her to meet him at the pub. They’ll be celebrating. Danny meets Normandy’s secretary, Gazelle and wants to see the cash before he gives it. Dorothy and Beatrice make their way to the pub. It seems the debt collectors are there. They think Danny threw in Dorothy’s best friend as well. Dorothy is seething with anger realizing Danny has sold them out so she beats the crap out of them when they make a move on Beatrice. When the wimps had enough, they reveal they thought Danny agreed to give his daughter to repay the debts since she popped up alone. However back then, Danny kept pleading not to take his daughter. Despite all the beating, he kept repeating that. Meanwhile Danny is ranting about his bright future with his daughter. We’ve seen this coming from a mile. Gazelle kills him. So while Dorothy and Beatrice wait at the pub, feeling really grateful to Danny despite being a worthless father, little do they know Danny’s body is now in the morgue… :’(.

Episode 7
The girls are on a mission working incognito in a laundry mill. Ange is acting out of character as angsty delinquent. There is a serial killer going around killing those who supports the Commonwealth. Going by the nickname Poison Gas Jack, they discover the nerve gas he uses is banned under the convention and thus such chemicals could only be obtained from the military. It could be the culprit is from there. Also, before the convention, there was gas produced and lying unused in military storehouses inside the Wall. There are military barracks there and a good chance the culprit lives there. However disguising as soldiers would be dangerous as being female makes them stand out. It is suggested the laundry mill since all men’s uniform are sent there for washing. So as they get to work, Princess will pour certain chemicals on the uniform to sniff out the culprit. However the machines often break down and malfunction so the laundry mill head, Marilla has the girls take breaks. This puts a damper in trying to catch the killer fast. So when Chise refuses to take a break even being forced, one of the girls, Rita almost gets burnt by a short-circuited wire. Chise realizes the scars on their arms as Marilla explains they have to take breaks because they can’t work these machines hard or there’ll be injuries. This means time out and no money. Franky comes in to see the foreman. Looks like he owes some debts and if he can’t pay up, the place will shut down. And you know what it means for these women’s livelihood, right? Princess then waltzes in and says she will buy this laundry mill. They think she is joking but when they try to get rough with her, Ange beats them up with her angsty teen attitude. Later the girls discuss about Princess’s actions. She doesn’t have enough to cover the entire mill but just needs to hold out long enough till they find the culprit. Also, she intends to make this mill into a profit one.

The first step is to rearrange the haphazardly placed machineries and service them so they work efficiently. Yeah, even Chise has some ideas. Now we have ‘Japanese technology’! So when the rest come in to work the next day, they are surprised at the changes. Heck, so efficient that they actually finish their job! Dorothy then suggests they can make more money by getting from other sources. They go source from the men at the coal mines. I’m sure they can’t resist the pretty ladies. Oh, they’re stripping right now! Before we drift too far into this happy washing business, we see the culprit does live in the barracks. The reason he is not caught yet is because he does his own laundry. But one day his comrades took the liberty to send it in on his behalf. Oh no… Soon enough, chemical stains are discovered on his uniform. Princess seizes this evidence. At this time the culprit tries to sneak in but is caught by Chise. They both fight and Chise knocks him out before he could blow the entire place up. Marilla sees this and is in shock. Chise and the girls have not appeared for work for a few days. Then Princess calls for a meeting. She tells them she is resigning as foreman. They are shocked but Marilla reminds them they have seen many come and go and believes they have their reasons. Princess hands over the foreman position to Marilla. At first she isn’t confident but with other girls volunteering for it, Marilla decides to take it because if they’re in charge, they’re going to introduce more breaks and increase the wage. Yeah… With that, our spy girls can be assured that the laundry mill ladies are strong enough to stand on their own.

Episode 8
Lord O’Reilly has been meeting someone in secret in a certain location. The girls are tasked to find out who that person is and a stakeout is more suitable because if they tail, the other person would most likely be a spy and they will be discovered. Princess wants to help do the stakeout but Ange disagrees. Princess argues she is tired of all the formalities she needs to do and once in a while needs to take a step outside. Ange relents. Everyone takes turns staking out. Princess spies from a rented building across, Ange masquerades as a painter while Chise hangs upside down like a bat from a tree? Ange notices a girl, Julie trying to pickpocket but always fails. So she teaches her how to ‘survive’ by telling her to attack from the front instead from behind. Julie is successful and becomes friends with Ange. She often hangs out as long as the stakeout is still in operation. Julie loves hearing Ange’s stories especially those from Black Lizard Planet. Today she will be telling a story about a princess and a pickpocket. Once upon a time, there lived a princess who was fed up living behind the walls and wanted to go outside. Accidentally she stumbled upon a pickpocket who resembled closely to her. They become good friends having fun together, learning together and pulling pranks together on the palace staffs. One day the princess really wanted to go outside the walls and switched places. But to her horror saw how gloomy, filthy and poor everything is. Instantly she is attacked by a man who claims to be her employer, she is beaten up for being lazy and if she doesn’t work, no dinner tonight.

When O’Reilly finally meets the secretive person, the girls cannot ascertain her identity because of her veil. As she is leaving, Julie tries to accidentally bump into her to pick her pocket but she swiftly takes it back. During that accident, her veil lifted slightly and Ange was able to identify her as Gazelle. Then she goes to ‘eliminate the evidence’. Julie is going to be beaten up by her master for failing at her job. That’s where Ange comes in to beat the crap out of him. Though grateful, Julie fears he will be back for revenge. Ange gives her a recommendation letter to a certain orphanage. Seek help there. Why is she doing this for her? Because Julie did what Ange told her to go after that veiled woman despite her failure. Julie wants to know what happened to the pickpocket girl in the story. A revolution broke out that day so the princess rushed back and was reunited with the pickpocket. The princess asserts she will become queen to change this country. A cannon blast separates them. The guards find the pickpocket girl thinking she is the princess and that she must be too scared to admit her own identity. It would have looked like a happy ending for the pickpocket girl but she heard how bloodthirsty the adults were. What if the royal family found out about the switch? Her head will roll. Thus she slogged extremely hard under intense pressure to learn what a princess should do. And she exceled in them all today. From one who couldn’t read is now fluent in 9 languages. From one who didn’t know music to one who is the Kingdom’s leading pianist. Princess meets O’Reilly and hints of the woman he is seeing. She tells him she works for Normandy and her plans of defection are lies. He wonders if he should turn himself in. Not really. Princess could do him a favour of getting him across the Wall. Later Princess and Ange talk. Princess still believes she is empty despite her princess-like skills surpassing Ange’s a long time ago. Ange reminds her that she wanted to run away together when they recently reunited. Now it was her who wanted to change the country just like Ange once wished to. She is a real princess now. Princess is happy to hear it as it means a lot to her.

Episode 9
Chise writes a letter to her sister in Japan on the everyday life of a student-cum-spy in the western world. You bet there is going to be a lot of cultural confusion. Like Chise loves her ‘smelly’ Japanese food but finds the western ones to taste ‘horrible’. She also mistook fencing as some easy western sword fighting and the poor teacher got hit on the head when he tries to stop her. As Princess has always a bodyguard following her, toilets are the only place for secret meetings. Like Lily Gaveston who is the daughter of the Kingdom’s chief justice. She isn’t trained as a spy but you can tell she is a snobby b*tch. On missions, Chise is usually left out as she is often left on standby. She feels she wants to contribute more. One day while admiring a butterfly emerging from its cocoon in the nearby forest, a group of boys led by Cameron kicks it away since Chise was ‘in their path’. She becomes upset and challenges a duel. However the boys are not interested as she keeps insisting. Ange and co arrive to see the commotion as they tell her to back down with Ange whispering to her to choose he battles wisely because spies are not supposed to make themselves stand out. Later Princess visits Chise not with the intention to reprimand her but to tell her how to actually do a proper duel. Wow. In the name of fairness there are sure a lot of steps. This means Princess wasn’t opposed to the duel.

Soon a duel is called between Chise and Cameron. The way the boys mock her tells Chise they still have much to learn about Japan. Yeah, that’s China they’re referring to, right? They will stand some distance apart and take turns to shoot each other till one is injured. After all 6 shots, bygones will be bygones. Lily is made to be the fair witness. Of course the gun that Chise was given is old and rigged but that can’t be proven, right? So Chise uses a slingshot for the bullet instead and injures gravely Cameron’s arm. The boys don’t want to give up at first but after seeing Chise’s determined looks and how she can aim the next shot to be between his eyes, Cameron is forced to admit defeat and apologize. Chise makes her periodical reports to Horikawa. He needs her opinion on this operation since the Kingdom is pressuring him to sign the treaty quick and he would like to use any information available to help determine it. Later Chise is called for a ‘meeting’. To her surprise, the girls are putting up some lame sumo entrance ritual as celebration. Cultural appropriation? Yeah, looks like this is how much they know about Japan too. However they want to thank her particularly because of her who ‘stood out’ as an oriental, their mission went smoothly. During the duel, Dorothy and Beatrice managed to search Lily’s room and found she has a hidden direct telephone line that reports back to the Home Secretary. Of course they tinkered with it. They hear one of Lily’s comments describing the weird oriental Chise is but to Chise, all you westerners are weird! Straight up Japanese honesty. Chise gives her opinion to Horikawa about the operation. She doesn’t know if it is possible but she wants them to be victorious.

Episode 10
Deep in the woods a training facility known as the Farm was used to intensively train young girls to become spies. If they weren’t up to it, the next morning they are gone and hence no time for goodbyes. Control briefs Dorothy and Ange about their next mission whom they will meet up with an ex-classmate from the Farm on Christmas. With Beatrice, they drive to the estate of the First Lord of Admiralty where Eleanor works as the secretary to retrieve some top secret documents. They sneak in to meet up with Eleanor and she is as strict as ever from those days. It seems the trio are the only girls left from that class. As they work together perfectly to sneak past guards and obtain access, the final obstacle is in a cellar but guarded by dogs. Don’t worry. Beatrice uses her voice with high frequency to order them to lie low. The documents are retrieved and they celebrate their success with a drink. Eleanor excuses herself to the washroom. It seems she is shaking from some syndrome and needs to inject herself with a serum. She returns to the rest but only Dorothy is there. It is past the kids’ bedtime so time for the adults to drink more. They talk about that Christmas exam in which Eleanor thought they had failed for good. Dorothy brought her to the funfair but thanks to Ange doing all the work during that time while they had fun, they passed. Eleanor asks if Dorothy has someone she looks up to. Not really. Eleanor has. Somebody whom she wants to be like badly. Meanwhile Ange tells Beatrice their real mission is to determine if Eleanor is a double spy. She is not told anything as her acting of the knowledge might give them away. So they are in her room searching for evidence. Since they find none, they leave.

When Eleanor returns to her room, she checks for footprints underneath the carpet trap. She knows she is on to her and packs her bags and leaves. Dorothy and co are waiting outside. Noting that she is on the move, it is true then she is a double agent. Ange purposely left those footprints so as to make her act. Their plan now is to surround and apprehend her before she gets to the train station. However Ange tells her to surrender as Eleanor realizes she fell into their trap. She still has a trick up her sleeve. Her luggage shoots bullets that ricochet off the steam pipes. The steam gives her the perfect cover to run away. Eleanor notes Ange has changed. She now has a heart because the old Ange would have just shot her from the back. Dorothy chastises Ange for jumping the gun. Does she think she can beat Eleanor herself? Is she trying to proof she is the better spy than her? Dorothy manages to get onto the train and secure a room. However Dorothy manages to catch up and jumps aboard. With Ange on sniping position outside, who is handling the car? Oh, Beatrice crashed it. Dorothy ‘congratulates’ Eleanor for ‘beating’ Ange but Eleanor reveals Ange was not the one whom she looked up to. It was you, Dorothy. She never cared about grades. She just wanted to be a good student not to disappoint anyone. Then she got tired of it all, took a break, got careless and they got to her. She claims that funfair time was her first and it was so fun she still dreams about it. Dorothy wants to bring her back to introduce her to her team but that’s not going to happen. Eleanor slowly reaches into her pocket and pulls out a gun. However she points it at her own head. This is her Christmas present. Goodbye Dorothy. She pulls the trigger. On the way back, Dorothy realizes Ange jumping the gun was trying to make sure she didn’t have to shoot Dorothy. She replies it was only to increase their mission’s success. When they return to Control, L has been transferred and General now takes over as the new head. He is impressed with their previous mission that he wants them starting on the next one: Assassinate Princess.

Episode 11
Dorothy opines Princess is their ally and have yet to see any intent of betrayal. However General puts it that they don’t want to take risks and didn’t ask for her opinion. Ange agrees to do it. Later Dorothy and Ange clash over their opinions. Dorothy doesn’t want to kill Princess but Ange views them as spies and are to follow orders. Dorothy calls her a liar. Later when Ange tries to sneak in to meet Princess, the security is heavy. This sharp girl, Zelda spots her. She is Princess’ new bodyguard sent by Control. She also tells her that with the reshuffling, she is now in charge of this operation. Ange is worried because what does this mean of Dorothy? Well, she is no longer around. Ange realizes it is very hard to get close to Princess since there are many bodyguards from both sides, Normandy and the Commonwealth. She even tests by slipping in a blank paper and Zelda could even seize that and check it out. It is too risky to contact her. Later Ange secretly meets with 7 to ask what happened to L. A shakeup in the top is all she can say. Follow your orders if you want to stay alive. Soon, Chise is transferred out but rather she is recalled by Horikawa. Zelda tells Ange they will assassinate Princess tomorrow and Ange would like the honours to do it. Meanwhile Normandy is with an audience with the queen when Gazelle seeks his attention. She received info that part of the army has gathered at London and many are from overseas colonies. He tells her to call back the Home Office forces stationed in Rouen. As for the queen, he will decide to tell her or not.

Princess and Ange go out together in what it seems like a normal outing. But Ange can tell there are spies everywhere watching their move. Zelda is also watching and this is all to test Ange’s loyalty. Oh, there the pair goes running away. The spies start chasing them as they hide in a shop. After that they switch identities and run in different directions to give multiple targets to confuse them. Finally a smoke bomb obscures the area as both the girls meet up and manage to give their pursuers the slip. Ange takes Princess to an airship headed for Casablanca. There will be a house there for them. Princess at this point is perplexed Ange has been acting strange so she reveals she has been targeted for assassination. However Princess can’t run away. She has things she still needs to do for this country. Ange tries to persuade her but ultimately she blows her top that if she wanted to run away, she should just leave her out of this. Her life is not hers to play. If the operation means one of them has to disappear, then Ange can disappear without her. This is goodbye. Chise returns to Horikawa to learn rumours of a faction in the royal army unhappy with the Kingdom. It seems Princess is the centre of it all. Princess returns to Zelda and the other spies. Or is it Ange in disguise? She claims to have killed her. Zelda then introduces her to Major Yngwie and the rest of his men. They lament the state of the country and are prepared to assassinate the queen to make Princess the next ruler. They’re going to war.

Episode 12
The plan for this revolution is to let the cathedral ceiling fall on the queen! It sounds funny but no joke, they’re doing it! Of course Princess doesn’t want this revolution but Zelda points out it will most likely fail. Even so, Control seems to be backing this despite it knows it is going to fail. Zelda warns her not to try anything funny or she’ll kill her herself. She will turn this revolution into a revenge war. Meanwhile Ange is really on a flight to Casablanca thinking of the old times. But she can’t sit like this forever. Hence she starts a fire in the room so that others could let her out! It seems Princess knew she would do this and left a parachute in her name in the parachute area! First she needs to find out where Princess is. As luck would have it, she overhears a guy talking about the queen’s assassination. Nothing like a bit of rough tactics would get him to talk. The plan is to assassinate the queen and put Princess in the centre of it. She would have actually killed him had not Dorothy intervened. That guy was actually having a conversation with Beatrice on the other end and Ange ‘interrupted’. Dorothy reveals their true mission as they are to figure out Zelda’s plot. Hence Control was playing musical chairs with the military and they got stuck in the middle. Ange feels disappointed when Dorothy mentions rescuing her friend wasn’t part of her mission. But she was just trolling her. That’s what you get for always lying and not by yourself, right? So they ride all the way to the cathedral. Princess tries to get Yngwie to give her hold the key that activates the ceiling. Zelda knows what she is doing and breaks them up. So when Zelda tries to keep the key herself, Yngwie finds it missing. Zelda warns Princess but the latter tries to make a run for it (smashing the key on the window as a mark for you know who). Zelda tackles Princess and gets the key back.

Ange tries to disguise as Princess at the gates. But the guards are suspicious as they heard Princess had already gone through. What’s next? Just barge through! A weird chase ensues because the train carrying the soldiers can pull right up next to the car but none of the soldiers can shoot straight at them at this close distance! WTF?! I know they’re moving but they are this close in the narrow tunnel! Anyway the car turns turtle and the soldiers are ordered to kill them by Gazelle since she got approval by Normandy to kill the infiltrators. Corpses are much better to deal with, right? They could have been done for had not Chise helped them out and take them to escape (she is at the cathedral with Horikawa to celebrate with the queen but she sought permission to go off on a personal mission). Princess tries to change Yngwie’s mind that if he starts a revolution via bloodshed, others will retaliate the same way. Zelda doesn’t want him to listen to her lies but he is willing to give her a chance to talk. However Zelda shoots her leg but Princess continues. She is adamant she will become the last queen and knows her fate will end in a guillotine. All she wants is to fulfil the promise of her friend. She never understood why she wanted the Wall gone but now knows why. Many people like them have been torn apart by it. Yngwie wants Zelda to give them more time to contemplate the best way but she shoots him! Before she could kill her, here comes Ange and Chise barging in. Ange is forced to take Princess away as she has lost a lot of blood. Chise stays back to fight Zelda. At the same time, Dorothy and Beatrice cause a ruckus in the hall by dropping smoke bombs. Zelda makes her escape. Ange and Princess take this time to reconcile and Ange showing some real tears. If the girls had only been honest in asking for help in the first place instead of being this discreet. In the aftermath, Gazelle reports her failure to Normandy but he is not fazed since they have uncovered something important from all of this. General is frustrated his plan failed. However L has returned and since General’s plans are uncovered, he is taken away. L is back at his usual spot as he wants to know the whereabouts of his spy girls. Holidaying in Casablanca, sir. Right. Contact them. There is a job they need to do. So our girls need to quickly finish their job and finding out what this African general is doing and then get back to their vacation.

Spy Vs Spy: Live And Let (Others) Die
It’s over? Aww shucks. It was getting pretty exciting. Forgive me. It has been exciting ever since from the start. It’s totally a shame that this had only a dozen episodes. Because as we can see that there are lots of potential development and things can go in any direction. It isn’t just the Kingdom versus the Commonwealth but there could be more parties involved each with their own goals. Like Zelda who conveniently escaped means she will be back in the future to realize her goal. But for now, let’s give the girls the break they all much needed while they still can. They’re going to really need it. A spy’s work is never done. I mean, have you ever seen a spy handing in her request for vacation? The only time she can go on leave is a permanent one. And when she’s no longer breathing!

The plot might not be new and mainly revolves around a group of spy girls carrying out their mission. However the execution done for each mission is what makes it interesting. There are lots of intense thrillers and the likes as one would expect from a spy movie. You’ll watch in baited breath wondering if they could ever it off despite in your heart you know they can because, main characters. Hence each mission never feels old with all the drama, espionage and stealthy moves going on. There are one quip liners that will make you smirk and there will be heart moving moments especially when it touches on the tragic pasts of the characters.

The episodes might feel like standalones independent of each other and sometimes the chronological order is jumbled up in terms of viewing order. For example, this week episode shows a future mission before jumping back to a past mission. Fortunately it isn’t confusing as you’ll notice each episode title starts off with a case number. If you rearrange all those cases in sequential order, the story makes a lot more sense in chronological order. With so many case numbers in between missing, I can only ‘regret’ not being able to watch what kind of stealthy and exciting missions they have to pull off. I am very sure they were 100% successful because had they not, they would have either made their maker or Control would have dismissed them with some sort of punishment and penalty.

The characters are quite interesting especially the main spy female quartet. Each has their own personality and back story to tell although I feel that more could have been told had not the series being just a dozen episodes long. Not just because they are kawaii and cute but their team effort and set of skills slowly want to make you root for them. So when the team somewhat unfashionably breaks up (not by their own accord), it broke our hearts that they aren’t together.

Ange and Princess are the main focus among the quintet. The swapped prince-and-pauper story isn’t original but it is amazing to note that the duo despite coming originally from very different backgrounds managed to pull through and become what they are today. It really took them a lot of effort and sacrifice. Because otherwise they would have been dead in this so called adult world. So while they have a tragic past, they do have a goal to work towards to for the future. Oddly, the original princess wants to only be with her look-a-like and get away from it all but the non-royalty who took her place has taken upon herself to change her country and improve the livelihood of her people. When you have pretended to be in a particular role for so long, you practically morphed into and changed into an entirely different person.

I want to add that Ange is a bag full of lies. Not in an entirely bad sense seeing that her normal face is the usual poker face lacking any emotions whatsoever. Not sure if her Black Lizard Planet which she always claims she is form and hence she is not a human is some sort of lame joke or poor cover up. Not funny. Not convincing. After all, you can’t blame Ange for being so as lying is part of her profession. So I have to caution myself from time to time on what Ange says sometimes. Could she be lying? Many would love to blame the Wall for this because it might have torn many others apart but it has also caused many like Ange to build another wall around her own heart. So you see the irony of having a physical wall and an invisible one? Yeah, walls really do keep people and things apart, do they?

For the rest of the other team members, I supposed Beatrice is often portrayed as one of those characters who isn’t like the rest. For starters, I believe she panics and flusters more than the rest of the team especially when they’re doing high stakes chases and things that are adrenaline pumping and dangerous. It’s amazing and lucky she is still alive. Compared to the rest, she is the most ‘useless’ character seeing her only real ability is to mimic voices. I’m sure she has a few set of other skills but what she can do, the rest can do better. You don’t often see her spearheading a mission, right? Plus, before she was part of the team, she was some sort of loli servant to Princess and lapping up to her. Dorothy’s running joke is that she likes to drink and how she has to rebuke others about her real age. Her greatest assets are her greatest assets. Get what I mean? Who else is as well-endowed as her? Chise tries to adapt to the western culture but without forgetting or replacing her eastern roots.

Despite their profession, I won’t outright label them as bad or even if this spy and espionage mission is all part and parcel of their job. Of course it is but in many instances we see that they could have not cared for anything else and just did what it takes to complete the mission. Like that laundry mill case. They don’t have to literally give a damn sh*t about the other female workers. They claim it is all part to smoothen their mission and increase its chance of success but being the veteran and pros they are, I’m sure they could have pulled it off without resorting to ‘playing nice’. In the end, the girls left Marilla and co a future that they are able to sustain themselves and be independent. Spies with a conscious and heart? Maybe we should ask if this is the norm on Black Lizard Planet. There was also Amy’s case and although Ange ‘gifted’ her with insurance money to pay for her operation, it was in a way rightfully ‘funded’ by her brother. His circumstances would have been pretty much dead wherever he goes so this was the only ‘dignified’ way he could go out and let his sister live. All would not have been possible had not the girls being this thoughtful. Aww, how considerate.

Normandy is a very suspicious character and it looks like he has lots of ulterior motives. He might look like he is aligned to the queen and against Princess in ascending the throne but it could be more than meets the eye. Therefore this kind of men are often the dangerous types to look out for as he is politically powerful and gets to pull a lot of strings behind the shadow. I feel that his loyalty isn’t to the Commonwealth or the Kingdom but himself and his own interest. I won’t even discount the fact that he might be a spy for a foreign European country, say, Germany. He could be a Nazi in disguise and a double agent for all we know! So whether he is the antagonist or the most unlikely of allies in the most remote of cases, he is a man whom you want to throw caution around. After all, Normandy and the spy girls have not directly fought each other because of their different methods of fighting. While the girls are more directly physically involved on the battlefield, Normandy plays his hand pulling strings and playing politics in the background. So I don’t think there would be a chance they’ll be facing off directly unless there is a mission that calls for his assassination.

The spy action thriller scenes are also one of the highlights of the series. Many are exhilarating to watch especially for a casual viewer like me who doesn’t watch spy themed movies. One of the exciting fight scenes I like was the one Chise fought her own father on the train. That was really good. One thing I have been pondering is the use of Cavorite. I only see Ange monopolizing it. It gives some excuse for her to perform some superhuman moves. I know there is some sort of limit that prevents her from turning it on all the time. But I don’t see other team members often using it. There are but very rare. Are only certain chosen people allowed to wield them? I wished more of this would be explained otherwise it feels like some sort of excuse to justify impossible action. Not that it is entirely a bad thing either.

The art and visuals are gorgeous. The steampunk environment of alternate Britain really gives you the chills as of how depressing and gloomy the state is. It is hence the perfect environment for such espionage thriller with all the detailed details. The gothic fashion of our spy girls are also good although I can’t help feel that some of the characters look pretty familiar. Like I’ve seen them from other anime. For instance, when I first saw Dorothy, I was shocked that Rozen Maiden’s Sousei Seki had returned! Desu?! Her usual dark green garb is another reason why she quickly reminded me of that doll. Also, doesn’t Ange look like Nagato from the Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu series? It’s like after she ‘disappeared’, maybe this was where she temporarily went. Is it me or does Beatrice look like Akari from YuruYuri? Or that Yuuki girl from Shokugeki No Souma? I find Chise also looking odd. Firstly, those eyebrows… Next, I thought there was something weird about her head and body proportion. Seeing her in her skimpy ninja outfit, she looks like she has a small body size and shoulders compared to her head. Maybe she is that skinny. And finally Normandy himself. I thought he had that uncanny resemblance to Michael Caine’s character in that Hollywood movie, Kingsmen: Secret Service. By a long shot, doesn’t Gazelle look like New Game’s Umiko?

Voice acting I only recognize Miyuki Sawashiro as 7 and Daisuki Ono as Yngwie. The rest of the casts are Ayaka Imamura as Ange (Yuriko in Sakurako-san No Ashimoto Ni Wa Shitai Ga Umatteiru), Akira Sekine as Princess (Miyabi Fujiwara in Aikatsu), You Taichi as Dorothy (Anzu in Prison School), Nozomi Furuki as Chise (Yukari in The Rolling Girls), Akari Kageyama as Beatrice (Ebina in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Takaya Hashi as Normandy (Inuarashi in One Piece), Mie Sonozaki as Zelda (Hazuki in Happy Lesson), Takayuki Sugo as L (Wanyuudou in Jigoku Shoujo), Yuko Iida as Gazelle (Mei in Witch Craft Works), Ayaka Ohashi as Eleanor (Momoka in Sabagebu) and Akari Kitou as Lily (Yonaga in Alice To Zoroku). On a trivial note, in addition to her original main seiyuu, Beatrice’s character has also been credited to numerous other seiyuus albeit only a few lines or so due to her voice imitating ability.

The opening theme is a very vocal powerful piece. The Other Side Of The Wall by Void_Chords featuring Maru is refreshing in a way because it does not sound like your typical anime song. Almost as though this song was from America seeing the entire lyrics are in English. That’s not all. With all the jazzy fanfare and the funky bassline, this is actually one exciting piece to listen to and it befits the nature and genre of this series very well. The ending theme on the other hand brings up a more nostalgic feel. A Page Of My Story is sung by the main quintet of the spy girls and another song totally in English (or rather, sounds like Engrish). This piece sounds so familiar to Spice And Wolf’s Ringo Biyori ending theme. Every time I hear this song, I am quickly reminded of the latter and I can’t get that song out of my head! It’s funny for this song to be here since it has this fun and relaxing feel to it but it isn’t all that bad. If the BGMs sound familiar, it is because they are written by the renowned Yuki Kajiura whose trademark sounds can be heard in Mai-HiME, Tsubasa Chronicle and Sword Art Online. But personally, these ones didn’t resonate with me.

Overall, this is a very exciting and enjoyable spy thriller. Maybe I didn’t have any expectations at first but it surely exceed all expectations (wait, weren’t there none?) and it shot right through the roof. And here I thought that the cute and kawaii girls would be the factor to appeal to the audiences but I was totally wrong. These girls could stand and kick ass highly on their own and for that reason you will respect and love them for who they are rather than how they look (on the outside, that is). I highly recommend people to watch this even if you’re not into the spy genre. It has likeable characters and the plots and actions are well planned out. Who knew a wall cutting in between a nation could create so much spying and espionage. We can only wonder what would happen had Trump actually built a wall between America and Mexico…

Nana Maru San Batsu

December 9, 2017

Question: What is the first anime ever created? They sure can make an anime out of anything. That is why I was curious that they could even make a series out from the quiz bowl itself. That is what Nana Maru San Batsu is all about. A group of students taking challenges from various meets, meet all kinds of quiz nerds, answers lots of questions, experience and learn the strategies on how to even answer and anticipate answers of questions that isn’t even read finished???!!! Woah. It’s too technical. It’s too deep. I have a feeling I might end up with a headache at the end of it but my curiosity is high enough to want to make me check this out. I hope I learn something from all of this.

Episode 1
The clubs are aggressively trying to recruit new members at Busou High School. Especially the quiz bowl association. Shiki Koshiyama is a plain guy who doesn’t stand out and is overwhelmed by all the aggressiveness. He takes a look at the quiz paper he was given. He tries to answer as it starts off fairly easy. In class when the teacher asks volunteers to be the library rep, because he is so meek and a tall guy blocking him in front, Daisuke Inoue takes to post followed by Mari Fukami. A few other girls note this and gossip about him being a loser. He seeks refuge in the library. Fukami accidentally trips over him. Nice shima pantsu… Oops. She leaves in a hurry and he notices she dropped her quiz paper. He sees strange markings on the questions. In the hall where the clubs introduce themselves, the quiz bowl association is introduced by Gakuto Sasajima. He has 3 volunteers to come up to stage and then randomly picks another 3. Koshiyama is that unlucky dude. Not only he has to be in front of the stage, he is next to Fukami and each time he sees her, he only thinks of shima pantsu! Sasajima starts off with a variety of questions from straightforward to trick questions. Fukami then struts her stuff when she buzzes before the question is read finished and answers them correctly. No, she isn’t cheating. This has Koshiyama realize about her advice where there are some questions you can predict its answers (hence the markings on her quiz paper) and literally you need to be fast enough to earn the right to answer. Since you have 5 seconds to answer, you can use that time to think of the answer. When Sasajima asks the last and toughest question, Koshiyama is able to beat everyone and answer correctly without the question being finished reading. Everyone is awed at him. Later when Koshiyama returns Fukami’s paper quiz, she concludes he is a smart person as he got a hang of it in a short time. As the last question was hard, even if she heard that question till the end, she could not have answered it. That’s why she will forgive him for seeing her shima pantsu (?!) if he joins the quiz bowl association with her. Is that a quiz question for him? She believes his abundant knowledge and quick thinking will be his weapons to become quiz king!

Episode 2
Fukami sounds ambiguous asking Koshiyama out tomorrow. Are they going on a date? Nah. It’s a quiz meet at Sekigaoka High School. Inoue is interested and wants to come too (he is probably interested in Fukami). At the train station, they meet up with Sasajima. Yes, the quartet are the only members of the newly formed quiz bowl association. At the hall, we see a few potential rivals like Takumi Niina and Yousuke Ashiya who know Sasajima well. On the girls’ side there is Chiaki Sonohara from Asagaoka Girls’ High. Also from this school is Yuki Kouzuki who is Fukami’s childhood friend. The quiz begins and is divided into 2 groups. The first 3 to have 5 correct answers advance to the next round. Fukami is in the first group and after testing the buzzers, Hajime Sasaki races to become the first one to qualify. There are many close instances of fast buzzers as Koshiyama realizes the 0.01 second of chance of victory needed in pushing the button and answering the question. Since he is so awed, Chisato Mikuriya chides him for that. You can tell they’ll be rivals. Fukami and Kouzuki pass to the next round. Before the next group begins, Sasajima evaluates Fukami’s performance. She might be good in the classics but it isn’t good enough since the next round will be harder. What are classics? Frequent questions. So to have better chances, usually one would memorise them and find a pattern. Koshiyama and Inoue are up in the next group. Mikuriya shows his stuff as he flawlessly becomes the first to qualify. While Koshiyama excels in literature, Inoue does well in the otaku category. It is a neck to neck race for the final spot between Koshiyama and Fumika Kenmochi. A literature question has Kenmochi beating Koshiyama to the buzzer but she is unable to answer. This is also a tactic to stop Koshiyama from answering. Koshiyama is so tense that he buzzes too fast to an otaku question. Thank goodness he learnt what zettai ryouiki was today or else he couldn’t have spit out that answer that earned him the next round.

Episode 3
During the break, Koshiyama seems down because the quiz bowl is a lot more competitive than he thinks. Sasajima motivates him that the classics are updated from time to time so it is impossible for everyone to memorize it all. This gives everyone a chance and it is fun because you’ll never know what can happen next. The next round is a format whereby all contestants have to write their answers. For the one who buzzed, a correct answer earns 3 points but a wrong one means deducting that amount. For those who didn’t buzz, a correct answer earns them a point but no penalty for a wrong one. As it begins, Mikuriya is buzzing at very crucial parts of the question where the rest can’t make head or tail what the question is. And he gets them all correct! So much so he eases off to give others a chance. Koshiyama then realizes it could be because of the accentuation of how the host emphasis the words in the question that might give clues on what the second half of the question is. Koshiyama gets a hang of it although he still misses the mark but Mikuriya notes how close his answers are. In the end, the top 3 to advance to the final round are Mikuriya, Sasaki and Kouzuki. The final round is harder since the questions are longer and the contestants have to wait to hear a big bulk of it before buzzing. Koshiyama also ‘plays’ by answering in his head while watching from the side lines. In a question whereby Mikuriya buzzed earlier but then realize his answer might be wrong, Koshiyama goes deep into thought and when he arrives at the correct answer, he blurts it out! This is clearly against the rules and the question won’t be counted as Sasajima takes him out of the hall. Koshiyama is embarrassed and apologetic but Sasajima doesn’t blame him since he didn’t teach him the proper etiquette. Only those with the right to answer can do so, hence pretending to do so without that right is just inappropriate. His advice is to improve his technique of answering and then store up his knowledge. Quiz bowls are more than showing off one’s knowledge as it includes rules and strategies. It is no surprise Mikuriya wins the meet so he tells Koshiyama to come the next regular meet in June to get his revenge.

Episode 4
Koshiyama tries to greet Fukami on his way to school. He picks her up on his bicycle but has no strength to peddle! No, she isn’t heavy! However Fukami switches places with him and the ride is easier! He’s so light! Yeah, awkward stares at them… With the trio joining the quiz bowl association, Fukami starts off asking Sasajima on how to win competitive quiz bowls. However he tells them they can’t win. He rephrases his words that they should get to know about the world of quiz bowls before thinking about winning and losing. This has Koshiyama re-evaluate his goal. He needs to defeat quiz bowl itself before defeating others. Now we get on to the technical aspect of explaining the category of straight or parallel questions in quiz bowls. I’m dumb. I don’t get it. As they don’t have their own buzzer (one costs a lot) so they use a calculator as substitute. Low class but it works. Fukami meets up with Kouzuki to ask if her school has extra buzzers to lend. They don’t. She suggests working part time to buy time and in the mean time she could broaden her horizons with different experiences. Koshiyama is at his usual spot at the library when a zombie girl crawls up to him! Actually Jinko is just hungry and eats half his lunch! She was so wrapped up in her hobby she spent all her money on it. Because they are so close, Fukami spots them. She gets jealous another girl is eating his lunch when she herself has not and runs away. WTF?! Inoue is crying out loud that Koshiyama is popular with the girls. Please be quiet. This is the library. Koshiyama looks like he has his hand full with these troublesome people but he is liking it? Youth, he calls it…

Episode 5
Koshiyama looks at the book Jinko dropped. It looks complicated but it is somewhat related to quiz bowls. In class when the teacher asks Koshiyama for an answer, he doesn’t find it specific enough and asks if he could word it like a quiz bowl! No wonder the teacher blows his top. Today Buzou will have a joint practice quiz bowl match with Miyaura High School. It is where Mikuriya and Ashiya come from. Miyaura has also new members to take part, Maruyama, Mukai and Kiyosumi. This joint practice means they are using a real buzzer instead of a calculator. Sasajima shows an old buzzer he has that somebody once gave him. It is broken so he hides it in his pocket and just presses it. The quiz bowl will be a team match. A correct answer adds a point while a wrong one subtracts one. Although a team buzzes, anyone can answer. But to test the cohesion of the team, if multiple players from the same team answer simultaneously despite the answer is correct, it will be treated as wrong. So it is better for the buzzer to answer. First to reach 10 points wins. Oh, Mikuriya is staying out and keeping the score. He’ll decimate these rookies if he plays. The game begins with Buzou side making a good head start before Miyaura catching up. A few instances the Buzou team saved each other. Like when Fukami buzzed too early and is unable to answer, the guys manage to answer on her behalf and score. Fukami’s specialty also lies in foreign languages while Inoue is good at maths. With Buzou having a good flow, Sasajima notes they are having fun and should remember this feeling. This is much needed when they play competitively later on. Miyaura has a short breakdown with their members answer wrongly or usurping and then answer wrongly, causing them to accuse each other. But the fight is close and in the end, Miyaura wins by a point. Fukami felt a bit disappointed since she forgot what was important and started panicking thinking about her own failures and abilities. But the most pissed off one is Mikuriya. He is not happy with Miyaura’s performance. He wants to fight the Buzou side 3 on 1 right now! However all the buzzers are being taken apart by Jinko! Oh no! She is Sasajima’s sister! Nobody could guess since they are so different even in their accent. Seems Jinko is an electronic craft nerd and is willing to make them a buzzer each. Cheaper and better. The box might be complicated but it is not an impossible feat for her. That book she dropped was about instructions to make a buzzer system.

Episode 6
Doing a cat maid job with Kouzuki is not what Fukami had in mind to earn some cash. It’s embarrassing and if somebody were to see them… Close by, Sasajima and Jinko are at the electronics store to get stuffs to make their own buzzer. Koshiyama and Inoue are at the arcade playing a quiz game. There are also other formats like multiple choices. Several answers are displayed and you pick the correct ones. You earn a point for each correct one but get entirely zero if a wrong one is picked. Soon they realize they are playing against Mikuriya! Ashiya is also here and decides to help the newbies as part of his service. Another format of quick buzzing is how answers (right or wrong) pop up one at a time and the fastest to buzz in wins the point. Mikuriya is faster in all of them until one whereby no hint pops out and Koshiyama buzzes in and gets correct. I don’t understand this technical stuff of how he did it but Ashiya noticed that Koshiyama isn’t a fountain of knowledge but has also theoretically analysed the rules in order to do better (like coming up with a set of answers to answer easier when a question pops up). A couple of ruffians try to ruin their game so they can play on their machine. Ashiya doesn’t want trouble and takes the guys to retreat. There is this strange devil cosplay girl who was watching them. She didn’t like how they jumped the queue so she challenged them to a fighting game. She instantly defeated them and those chickens run away. Now she wants to play Koshiyama too but Ashiya says they need to get going. This prompts her to mock them as quiz bowl nerds. Koshiyama blows his top about insulting this. So what being quiz freaks? He might have stepped over the line but it made Ashiya happy that somebody is quite passionate about the quiz bowl. When they leave, they are given hand-outs to a store’s quiz event. Oh, it’s Fukami and Kouzuki. She’s dying of embarrassment now. When Koshiyama wants to get Mikuriya’s contacts, he refuses and just reminds him about the meet. Ashiya thought that was mean but Mikuriya’s idea is that Koshiyama has the potential to become a lot better. In that case he doesn’t want to get friendly or show any mercy. Of course Koshiyama won’t be the only opponent and there will other much tougher ones.

Episode 7
As schools around the nation take turn to host a quiz tournament, this time it will be Asagaoka. You bet Koshiyama and co want to enter since the more experience the better. Sasajima has them take a paper quiz first. The last question is always a question of estimation in case of tie breakers. That question is Jinko’s weight! Though Inoue got it correct, he scored the lowest. Koshiyama of course has the highest score. However Sasajima sounds harsh in his advice that this won’t do. Veterans would ace in this and Koshiyama won’t even have a chance to make it to the buzzer round. A point can determine a winner or loser. Koshiyama knows he needs to get better and gain more knowledge outside literature or else he will disappoint Mikuriya. Later Koshiyama asks why Fukami joined the quiz bowl. It was due to Seiji, her brother’s influence as he used to be part of it. She was impressed by the way he owned the competition. He is now in Kaijou High School, a pretty elite school. However he won’t be participating in any more quiz bowls because he quit to focus on his exams. Speaking of the devil, here he is to pick her up. Quite the elite gentleman he is. Seiji notes she has joined a club and when he guesses it is a quiz bowl, she dare not answer. He reminds her competing in the quiz bowl is pointless. Sasajima has a heap of quiz questions he collected from other schools. Yeah, be prepared to read them all. Koshiyama finds a few book on local places of attraction and Sasajima believes such information could be useful. Confused Fukami asks Sasajima why he entered the quiz bowl. He rubbishes that question. Do you need a reason to fall in love? Because Fukami admires him, the guys think she has fallen for him. Is she going to say it out loud now her confession? Well, it’s her love for quiz bowl. Sorry to disappoint. Jinko has finished their buzzer. But it comes with weird animal sounds… What a distraction… Sonohara looks through the list of entries for the meet. Remember that devil cosplay girl at the arcade? Turns out to be Sonohara’s cross-dressing brother, Akira. Why am I not surprised? When he mentions about meeting an interesting person named Koshiyama, Sonohara feels she has heard the name before. Oh, it’s on the list of participants from Buzou. I suppose now a reason for him to join his quiz bowl club that he wasn’t interested in the first place?

Episode 8
The quiz bowl at Asagaoka will be taking place in their chapel. So the girls of this school are dressing up as nuns, praying to God are some sort of distraction? We get a glimpse of a few top contenders from other schools. Currently the top quiz player is Kunimitsu Ookura from Kaijou and although he looks intimidating, he gets emotionally happy that Sasajima is here to participate and now they can face off with each other. The first round is a paper quiz. Koshiyama feels he didn’t do well since it is laced with current events and pop culture. He lets the rest know why he prefers classics because of his late dad. The top 10 of the paper quiz will automatically go to round 3 while others will participate in round 2. Sasajima takes top spot and although Ookura has the same marks but is ranked second because of the estimation question. The rest are: 3) Ashiya; 4) Harumi Konoe (Kaijou); 5) Koutarou Tozuka (Leoneil High School); 6) Hiroki Shibuya (Kannami University); 7) Masaru Shibata (Kaijou); 8) Minoru Hanabusa (Kannami); 9) Atsuyoshi Hosokawa (Kaijou). And propping up the final spot is Mikuriya. For the second round, participants are paired with another. It will be a numerated question as up to 2 participants can buzz an answer. This unorthodox format means there will be 2 answers and the pressure is on the second person to answer as it will be dangerous if he/she only knows 1 of the answers. Only a pair from each group advances. For the first group, Fukami is paired with Yagi from Kannami. They manage to qualify for the next round thanks to Fukami understanding the rules and her partner very well (she was able to answer and cover harder questions for Yagi). Next group has Inoue and Maruyama as a team. They fall behind not because they lack knowledge but the speed to buzz. However they get disqualified after 2 wrongs since either one only knows 1 of the answers and in Inoue’s case, he buzzed in too early and the chances are 2/3 correct. He picked the wrong one. Koshiyama is up next and looks like Akira is also in this round.

Episode 9
Koshiyama and Akira are paired together. As it starts, Koshiyama finds himself slow to buzz in. Then, before the first word of the question can be read, Akira buzzes in! Huh?! It looks like there is a loophole. Because the host will continue to read the question until the second buzzer buzzes in. Of course this is a sneaky plan to catch everyone off their timing. So when the next round comes, some nervous pair did the same trick but couldn’t answer and they get disqualified. Sasaki pair is leading and Koshiyama knows he is too slow. Therefore Akira suggests buzzing both their buzzers together by putting one on top the other. This isn’t against the rules because it does not say how one can press the button. Plus, Akira technically has his hand over his buzzer so it still counts. Sonohara is forced to allow this because it’s not in the rules. She knows her brother views this as a game and his intention is to rile everyone up. So when the next question is asked, Koshiyama and Akira’s buzzers buzz first. They answer and qualify for the next round. The others stare at Akira with disgust so he mocks those losers and reminds them how his strategy was the one that made them win. When Akira returns, Niina who is his club president admonishes him for his bad behaviour. He can go home now. Everyone has never seen Niina this mad before but then Akira then starts crying crocodile tears. It softens Niina’s heart and makes him look like the bad guy. Akira just wants to have fun seeing he is new to the quiz bowl and promises he won’t do it the next round. I guess that’s that. When Akira hints himself at Mikuriya, they now recognize him as that cosplayer from the arcade. They note they have to be cautious of his tricky and sneaky tactics and that’s why they can’t lose to him.

Episode 10
The 18 finalists are divided into 2 groups. Sasajima and Fukami are in this first group. The first question has multiple answers to determine their starting scores. You get a point correct for each correct answer but a wrong answer automatically earns you zero. Sasajima aces this with full 12 points. The next round of questions begins with the system of those buzzing in and answering correctly will earn 3 points or have that deducted if answered wrongly. In this stage they can choose how to distribute the points like keeping it all for themselves or use it to subtract points of others. The first 3 to reach 20 points qualifies for the next round. Sasajima quickly buzzes and scores maximum points. It’s like he is blowing the competition away. The veteran players know who they are up against with so it is wise to let that higher skilled person win. When Sasajima qualifies for the next round, Hanabusa cheers for him about being an ex-Kaijou student. This shocks many. As Ookura explains, he was in Kaijou up until last year and he with Seiji were a formidable pair. However, something happened between that made Sasajima quit Kaijou and Seiji the quiz bowl. Because of that, Fukami can’t concentrate and kept wondering. She couldn’t hear what questions were asked and is lagging behind. Till her teammates cheer her on to concentrate did she really start to claw her way back up. It’s like she got her much needed boost and is starting to kick ass with this revival. She is able to use the points strategy to keep those from coming close to qualify to remain in the competition. But in the end, it is Hanabusa and Tozuka who made it through. Now for the second group in which Koshiyama, Mikuriya, Ashiya and Okura are in, it seems Akira went ‘missing’. Sonohara doesn’t care and will start anyway.

Episode 11
Before the next round starts, Akira returns but cross-dressed as a girl! This shocks everyone and some believe that his intention is to distract everyone from doing well in the quiz. The multiple answer kicks off and it looks like Ookura and Koshiyama end up having the highest points. Mikuriya gets zero since he has an answer wrong. However when the game proper starts, his fast fingers allow him to earn points fast and in no time he claws his way back up. Akira is really being annoying. Because whenever he wins points, he uses it to subtract points from others, causing one of the players to go out of the game. He also messes around by buzzing in before the question can be read, hence nobody gets it right. Sonohara must be up to here and embarrassed with her brother but what is there to do? It’s all within the stipulated rules. With Akira targeting and trying to reduce Ookura points, eventually Ookura is the first to qualify. Niina is next although he subtracts a point from Mikuriya as he sees him as the next threat. With one place remaining, the quiz gets really intense. It looks it might be either Koshiyama or Mikuriya depending who buzzes first and answer it correctly. However that tempo is once again ruined by Akira. And this time the question is some date probability. Well, dig deep into your thoughts and knowledge for the answer. I’m not holding my breath as we wait…

Episode 12
We have everyone presenting the reason why they arrive at that particular day as the answer. Like Mikuriya using maths. I don’t follow Koshiyama’s convoluted method of using some third party relating to history. I would have been like Akira using his guts! Anyway, despite different approaches, these trio answered the same correct answer. Akira mocks everyone again and since Mikuriya tells him to hurry up and not waste their time, Akira subtracts the most points from him. But since he isn’t fazed, Akira just loses interest and walks off! Sonohara wanted to give him an earful but has to finish her hosting duties. So we are left to Niina to admonish him outside. He believes Akira is doing this because he has no friends. He takes him back to the hall to watch the rest. By that time, it is the final question and it would either be Mikuriya or Koshiyama. The question has something to do with Christ’s pilgrimage and Koshiyama buzzed in too early as he was panicking trying to beat Mikuriya to it. Because of that, the question is very wide open and all participants have different answers. Again we hear Koshiyama’s convoluted thoughts on how he deduces what kind of question that befits this round to be the answer. Well, I guess he is still inexperienced since Mikuriya is the only one who got it correct and advances to the next round. Akira leaves again and his sister promises to punish him back home. Niina still throws him hope to come to the club and join them in the quiz bowl. Niina and Sonohara then apologize to the rest for his unruly behaviour. We skip the rest of the final rounds because main character isn’t in. Also, Sasajima won the entire thing by a large margin so I believe it is no fun. With his victory speech for everyone to look forward to the next meet, it motivates our young ones to take on more challenges. Later Koshiyama thanks Mikuriya but he caught him on his bad mood. Mikuriya tells him off if beating him is his only satisfaction. As there are many other better than him, he will not wait. He acknowledges people who are aiming higher. Koshiyama also sets his goal higher and the duo acknowledge each other and rivals. Fist bump.

Buzzer Beater
Oh. So there is the Nationals for quiz bowls now? Okay. I’m out of here. I can’t take it anymore. My brain has always been empty from the start. Plus, all the trivia bits from the questions in here just went in from one ear and out the other. I learnt nothing. My brain has been empty for a long time and somehow it hurts despite nothing sticking to it. Argh! I don’t want to relive my school days of studying, studying and studying! Anyway, before I start complaining about my old life and dumbness, let’s just say that even though this series feels incomplete because of how it ended, there is still a long way to go considering this final arc is just one of the major meets the characters have to go through. But that’s for another time if we all still care to stick around. I guess that is how quiz competitions should end. Less fanfare. Back to more studying.

I find it very strange that despite I know nothing and got all my answers wrong (that is, questions that I attempted to answer), I find this series is quite interesting. I know I’m confusing myself right now. It isn’t the questions asked or the knowledge/trivia/info that I should be deriving from it (heck, I have forgotten it all by the time the next question is popped), but rather the way and the method they make it look so interesting. They can actually drag a particular segment of the quiz with all the drama and thoughts of the characters and it is done in a good and interesting way that made me stick around despite I still don’t understand the finer points of the strategy or the answer. So you see, even when I’m such a blur head and my mind stopped thinking and trying to participate in answering the questions, my mind is still interested to stay till the end of the episode to find out what happened.

Sadly, watching this series at the end only makes me feel how dumb I am. Not that I have always thought that I am a smart person myself. Heck, I have even admitted I’m not such a smart person in my blogs from time to time. Seeing I know nothing and have come nowhere close to even eke out an answer, this proves that my head is just as empty. Can’t blame school. They never teach you all these facts there. Even if you give me twice or thrice or even unlimited time limit to answer them, I’ll never get it right. Not even if I’m just simply guessing and hoping my answer will hit the mark. So should I start reading now? Nah! Why do I need to know such useless trivia and facts if I’m never ever going to use or have some sort of relevancy in my life? That kind of loser mentality… No wonder ignorance is so bliss.

As shown here, having a wide area of knowledge doesn’t guarantee you a winning spot. Victory hinges mainly on the strategy and knowing how the particular set of rules and format of the quiz is being played out. Therefore if you are the smartest person in the world and know everything like as though you are God, you still won’t win because you do not have the right to answer or do not play your cards right. Thus the other interesting aspect of this anime is seeing how the characters use the particular quiz format and their strategies for the best outcome. It is quite enlightening to know that there are so many types and varieties of formats and how freaking technical this competition has become. Remember, you must be both the fastest and the most knowledgeable if you want to have a chance of winning. I mean, by hearing part of the question and knowing where the stress and intonation can actually determine and predict what the question is? Holy sh*t! I thought karuta was the only game where you need to have lightning quick hearing and reflexes. With karuta only being limited to the classic and traditional poems, could you say that the quiz bowl is an even more broader competition and challenge?

One thing I find strange about this series is how many of the characters do not look like they’re of the quiz bowl type. Stereotypes are one thing but when I first look at the whole cast for the quiz meet, of course I am not expecting everyone to be looking like a nerd. This is anime. You need to have different types of characters too for the sake of diversity. With a predominantly male participants, my first thought of seeing the bunch of guys from different schools and colleges were that, are these guys part of the tennis club?! Holy mother of Maria! Perhaps Prince Of Tennis was the only manly guys-only anime that I have watched. Because I sure didn’t watch that volleyball, basketball (the recent one and not the old school one) and diving gay anime. Hence I thought these guys look like they are more suited to play tennis or some sort of physical sports rather than a quiz bowl. I mean, look at Ookura. He is quite a build. It looks like a mismatch that he is participating in this ‘sissy’ game if you compare his size and stature. Of course don’t judge a cover by its book since he is smarter than me anytime. Is it me or is it the guys from Leoneil look like they are arrogant evil characters bent on taking over the world via quiz bowl?

If they expand the series beyond a dozen of episodes, I am sure they could flesh out the characters better. Because right now there are too many potential quiz bowl masters that Koshiyama has to ‘defeat’ (because he is main character, right?) but too little episodes to get to know them. Heck, even our own Busou characters don’t really get much of some background story. So guys like Koshiyama, we mostly know that he loves reading and excels in the literature genre. He gets more and more fascinated with the quiz world because that is where he gets to put his trivia and reading into good use. Otherwise it could have been the uneventful and most normal high school life he has ever had in his entire life. Since he is the main character, many times we hear his thoughts on how he derives the answer. Correct or not his deduction, it sounds so freaking confusing and random that I thought he just read it out from the script. I mean, in all that split second to just answer a question, it took like several minutes for all this dramatization effect to take place, analysing the question and deducing the answer.

So the interesting back story for the Busou counterparts is Sasajima’s past with Fukami’s brother and something that happened between them that caused the split and the end of the legacy. Too bad the quiz bowl won’t be asking that kind of question because nobody is going to give the right answer. Yeah, invasion of privacy. So this is the only thing going that is interesting for Busou’s history as I am sure the other schools too have their own history. Therefore it gives some sort of connection to characters like Fukami and a reason why she enters the quiz bowl world instead of just being one of the few female leads there just to look pretty. Sorry to disappoint but don’t expect any sort of Koshiyama x Fukami romance brewing. The few foreshadowing feels like trolling. Strangely, Fukami’s trademark of lifting her long hair over ear with her hand to hear better as she concentrates to listen looks like as though she is ready to give a blowjob… OMG what the f*ck did I just say?! Inoue feels like the weakest link but he too has his strong subjects, though not often quizzed. If he is here to get chicks, I believe there are other clubs that has better chances of him doing so. Oh well, girls do love a brainy guy, right? Hope he likes nerdy girls…

Jinko feels like an annex to the team. She isn’t part of the active team but as a supporting role. You know when you have a bunch of race car drivers and part of the crew and team member is the mechanic? Yup, that’s Jinko’s role. So far her biggest achievement is to make Busou’s own buzzer (why do I get the feeling the school is a pun named after the buzzer?). Otherwise she is a pretty forgettable character and even more had she not been such a cutie. Sasajima himself is a big mystery since he has his own ways and pace to teach the newbies. He tells you what is necessary since the best way for one to learn is to experience it first-hand. The world should have more senpais like him even if he is a bit eccentric.

Even if this is just a quiz bowl series, somehow I have this feeling it might go the shonen anime route because characters like Mikuriya who is Koshiyama’s current biggest rival, might become his ally in the future. It doesn’t look likely as the quiz format is usually every participant for themselves but I am looking at the perspective of Mikuriya and Koshiyama acknowledging each other as worthy rivals and then they go around facing other tougher challengers together and grow and learn more. Yeah, that kind of bromance feeling I get from them. Oh heck, some girls are already getting some yaoi thoughts over Niina x Akira.

Akira is interesting as an ‘antagonist’ because of how he surprises everyone with his devilishly unexpected ways. Thanks to him, the quiz meet isn’t as boring as it should be although purists would definitely want this troublemaker out. His approach of thinking is different than the rest since his ultimate goal isn’t to win but to have fun. And by that he messes around with others but tries not to make it illegal. Almost. And if he gets scolded, those crocodile tears and puppy dog eyes sure come in handy. I mean, who could be seriously mean to a sissy guy who cross-dresses, right? Perhaps Akira is to Sonohara what I would call a test from God. You can see her patience running thin but since she is from a missionary school, I guess she must learn to control her feelings and not give into rage. Wow. The house of God also has a little devil in it. In the end, perhaps all Akira want is some attention. Because, what better way than to get everyone’s attention on you by deliberately pissing them off.

Art and animation are rather okay. Standard Japanese anime style and nothing too complicated. I know people come in all shapes and sizes but like I’ve said before, it feels out of place to see people from of varying looks to take part in quiz bowls. A reason why I mentioned the Prince Of Tennis reference because I thought some of the characters here resemble them. Like Sasajima whom I thought reminded me of Sadaharu Inui, Ashiya prompted me to remember Kunimitsu Tezuka while Mikuriya closely resembles Akaya Kirihara. I think Niina and Renji Yanagi (or even Shuusuke Fuji) look almost alike since both have closed eyes. Akira? I thought he shares that same craziness as Jin Akutsu even though they don’t very much resemble each other. Do Ookura and Kaoru Kaidou look alike? No? Okay. Must be just me. Lucky for Koshiyama, I don’t see him anywhere close to Ryouma Echizen. I thought he is fitted more to be in shogi like 3-gatsu No Lion’s Rei. While not a must, is it me or do I notice that smart people wear glasses? Sure there are exceptions but it’s like half of the main characters wear them. Sasajima, Koshiyama, Niina, Seiji and that Leoneil guy. Hey, at least they make them look smart.

I didn’t really recognize anybody in the voice acting department. Well, there is only Ayane Sakura as Sonohara but I couldn’t identify with her. Recently she has been voicing characters that sound different than that bratty stereotype that I have known her for like Kaji in Tsurezure Children. Umika Kawashima, the seiyuu behind Fukami’s voice feels a bit raw. I won’t go so far as to paint her as anywhere near Saori Hayami but it feels like as though her voice isn’t refined. Not to say it is a bad thing whatsoever but her anime voicing roles I checked are so far only in Star Diver and Hunter x Hunter movie. She might sound like an amateur (there are hints of nervousness in it, not sure if it is on purpose or it’s part of the character) but I’ll try to look it from a refreshing perspective point of view since seiyuus who overdramatize their character is far worse than this.

The rest of the other casts are Shun Horie as Koshiyama (Hiyama in 12-sai: Chicchana Mune No Tokimeki), Takuto Satou as Sasajima (Tatsuya Yuuki in Gundam Build Fighters series), Satsumi Matsuda as Jinko (Hiroe in Saki: Zenkoku-hen), Tasuku Hatanaka as Inoue (Kaminari in Boku No Hero Academia), Kaito Ishikawa as Mikuriya (titulat character in Kyoukai No Rinne), Wataru Hatano as Ashiya (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Tomoaki Maeno as Ookura (Junichi in Amagami SS), Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Niina (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai), Takuma Nagatsuma as Akira (Lacus Welt in Owari No Seraph), Mao Ichimichi as Kouzuki (Papika in Flip Flappers) and Hikaru Midorikawa as Seiji (Lancer in Fate series). Nothing really special about the opening theme, On My Mind by Mrs Green Apple. I wonder if the lively rock music is suitable for a quiz themed series. The weirdly named ending theme, OOOOO by Babyraids Japan is another rock piece. By the way, those are not the 15th alphabet and are circles which means correct.

On a trivial note, I find it funny that the official English title of this series is called Fastest Finger First. Technically that is what mainly the quiz participants have to do and hence appropriate. But if you hear this title without knowing what this series is about, to some it may sound like a porn title or some video compilation of pranks. I mean when you notice its initials as FFF, doesn’t it just sounds funny? Even in Japanese the name of this series can be written as 7O3X, in reference to the quiz format of seven rights and three wrongs to determine you advance or go out. Looking at that title without knowing what the series is about also evokes thoughts that this might be some sort of futuristic sci-fi anime.

Overall, this anime isn’t for anybody or like it will be something that is mainstream. The lack of any physical action and the action being mainly confined inside the halls and the buzzer might turn off many. Even more so when you realize that they could dramatize how to answer the questions, the strategies they used and how their thoughts are dramatically narrated for this effect, then rinse and repeat the entire thing again would only appeal to nerds. But then again, if you’re more interested in accumulating knowledge and trivia, you won’t be sitting around and watching this anime in the first place. The questions asked are just the tip of the iceberg. Oh heck, just a speck of dust from the vast sea of knowledge. No, the stars in the universe! I mean, who the f*ck wants to know or should know what happened specifically on 5 April 1722, 22 January 1905 and 15 May 1932! OR WHAT FREAKING DAY OF THE WEEK THOSE ARE!!! Hell, I know I wasn’t born then. And out I go!

Question: Will this anime have a sequel? Answer: Only time will tell. Zero points for lack of originality!

N/B: Answer for the first anime created? Astro Boy? If you consider it as the first popular anime. Katsudou Shashin? Not officially recognized by the anime industry due to different method and unconfirmed origins. Dekobou Shingachou: Meian No Shippai? Seikai!

Tsurezure Children

December 8, 2017

Looking at the poster at first, I thought Tsurezure Children would be some sort of teen superpower superhero series. You know, a group of tedious children as in what its name suggests but got involved in some sort of national conspiracy and hence bringing forth their latent powers to save the country and ultimately the world from disaster. Oh boy, such vivid imagination I have. I should start writing such stories no matter how cliché it sounds. Anyway, this series is nothing of that sort. It is a compilation of shorts regarding these kids on how they deal with love during their high school years. Yup, just your average romantic comedy of teens discovering and experiencing love.

Episode 1A
Haruhiko Takase is being called out by Saki Kanda. He knows she is going to confess him but they have been standing in the cold for 10 minutes! Then she asks if he has anyone he likes. She is really being picky of the words he uses to say no. Takase is about to leave but she won’t let him. Is she finally going to confess? Well, she wants him to come back here same time tomorrow. So that she can confess. WTF?!

Episode 1B
Jun Furuya doesn’t like how Yuki Minagawa is slacking despite becoming a class rep with him. Her answer is simple: She likes him. She starts teasing him and no matter what issues he throws at her like all the admirers she has, it all boils down to her liking him. Well, this one is quite the brave one in confessing. And any negative vibe Furuya has, she positively brushes it aside and believes he is just shy.

Episode 1C
Masafumi Akagi the student council president catches Ryouko Kaji smoking. He will not report her if she kisses him. Yes, he’s serious. He wants to see if he could fall in love with a woman. No, he isn’t gay. Kaji thought she could brush him off that she’ll kiss anybody for money. How much. 100,000 Yen. He has that much money! When he gets serious, she starts trembling. He points out this is proof she has never prostituted herself before and should value herself more than that. He is still serious about that kiss but the stench of nicotine is killing him. He advises her to give up smoking. What is he? Her boyfriend? He doesn’t dismiss that idea. After kissing, he believes he can fall in love with her. With a condition she quits smoking.

Episode 1D
Satsuki Sasahara is in love with her senior, Hideki Yukawa. Tomorrow he is graduating and tonight is her last chance. Thing is, she has confessed so many times but made a joke out of it that he is sick of hearing it and doesn’t take her seriously. As she tries to set the mood, she can’t help going back to joking about it. So when she confesses seriously, it makes her nervous that he has this serious look. She gets scared and jokes about it. Blew it. She starts crying she’ll never get to confess to him again. He tells her he is still sick of it but would like to hear it for one last time. She confesses but I think it’s hard to take it seriously when she is still crying with that kind of face.

Episode 2A
Hotaru is Furuya’s little sister and she is happy to enrol in the same school as him. As she happily goes to see him, all that turns into horror when she sees Minagawa with him. Immediately this brother complex sister starts clinging on to dear brother. Anything Minagawa says, Hotaru becomes hostile. Even more so when Minagawa says they are friends. For now. Hotaru tries to make Furuya reject her since he hasn’t properly reply Minagawa yet. “I don’t hate you”. Standard middle ground answer. Hotaru continues to brainwash him he doesn’t need a girlfriend. His little sister is all he needs! But Furuya can’t give her a serious answer now because there are serious future things to consider like marriage and kids… More devastation for Hotaru but Minagawa views her too cute to hate. Unfortunately the hate is strong for Hotaru.

Episode 2B
Sasahara tries to recruit Yuuki Kaga to her astronomy club. He isn’t interested but since she is persistent, he tries to ask a few questions and she couldn’t answer! He can tell she isn’t even interested in the club. She sounds impressive when she tells him about the Spica star. But that is ripping off what Yukawa told her before. Still not interested? She goes on ranting about other things and Kaga sees this cute side of her. He realizes he has been a boring normal person for so long, maybe he has been looking for something to like. So I suppose he is joining because he likes her smile.

Episode 2C
Takeru Gouda sits next to Ayaka Kamine. He thought she hates him since she doesn’t say things properly. When he learns she dropped her contacts, he helps her look for it. Thinking she has something to say to him, he gets on his knees and assures he will answer it to his best. Okay. She is hinting how kind he was for lending his book earlier on. Didn’t get the hint? And now she wants his answer? About his feelings. He prostrates and apologizes he isn’t good in telling how girls feel. So please accept him the way he is. Not exactly what you think he is saying but Kamine starts crying. So when he is panicking about it, Kamine finally says it that she loves him. Now it’s his turn to panic.

Episode 2D
Chizuru Takano forgot her umbrella so Takurou Sugawara lends his and goes off himself in the rain. However he tripped. She felt bad and walked with him. She notices his shoulder getting wet and sticks close to him, making him fluster. He worries if her crush so them or anything but she assures she doesn’t have any. So he hypothetically asks if someone were to confess to her, in a straight face she says she will turn him down! Gulp. She sees herself as gloomy so he points out her good points. As he is about to confess, her bus is here. Oh, he gets on with her. He finally confesses he likes her. No reaction. Same deadpan face. Is she a robot? Takano takes it the wrong way he was trying to cheer her up. Heartbroken Sugawara alights and you can see his dramatic collapse. And all Takano could think of is to bake cookies for him as thanks for the umbrella.

Episode 3A
Kana Ijima punches Chiaki Uchimura! I guess when you’ve been dating for a year, physical abuse is allowed? Well, as long as it is not the other way round… However despite dating this long, they have not kissed. Hence their relationship looks more like the sibling type than lovers. So when Kana tries to talk about this, he jokes about it. More abuse. Then this is the real wake up call. Chiaki has never thought they were dating! Say what?! When she confessed to him a year ago, he thought she was joking and so he joked back he loved her more! Time for epic breakdown… Kana feels like a fool for thinking like that so Chiaki suggests they hook up properly. Seriously? Serious. Yeah, he even gives her permission to smack him. So let’s continue be the comedy duo. Ah, there’s your cue smack.

Episode 3B
Ayane Matsuura confessed to her crush but gets rejected. Naturally she is sad but her senior, Shinichi Katori tries to console her. Only if he isn’t talking and posing lamely. The cringe is strong. Very strong. Because of that, you can’t blame her for punching him. Or kicking him. Yeah, it sounds like he is teasing her. Even if he intended to let her hit him to relief her frustration, I think his cringe killed it. Double flying kick when he goes overboard saying she has fallen for it. You deserved it.

Episode 3C
Takao Yamane is panicking because Chiyo Kurihara is asking him out. I guess this is what otakus will react if a cute girl does so. Flashback shows he saved her from being groped on the train. So as they are out ordering their food at the café, Kurihara is telling all his good traits. However Yamane is thinking too much. Overthinking. You can obviously see him nonstop panicking. So negative. So pessimistic. And when Kurihara is about to confess, he hits his panic button. Time to order food.

Episode 3D
Sugawara helps Takano on her cleaning duty. She thinks he is a clean freak. Since he can’t explain himself, she thinks she is doing a lousy job at cleaning! Sugawara is worried about her knowing his feelings so when she says he is helping because he noticed her, he replies he is interested in her. Of course she mistakes that he wants to get better at cleaning with her. Sugawara realizes rushing in won’t do it any good. Take your time. And as expected, Takano thinks it is cleaning related. And about just letting her know his feelings? Yeah, just learn to clean quicker. This is going to take some time…

Episode 4A
Kana finds Chiaki’s porn magazine! Awkward! Being the tsundere she is, she dares him to do it with her. Itadakimasu! He wants to grope her boobs first but somehow she is reminded they never kissed. Right, there is an order to things. Crazy things are flowing through his mind when he suddenly poops! WTF?! It killed the mood. She ups the ante by taking off her clothes. But he isn’t allowed to see?! Okay… It’s taking some time to get the mood right again. Oh yeah. Sexy romantic time is here when suddenly Chiaki’s mom enters to serve some snacks. Oops. Sorry to intrude. Please continue. Then she tells the whole family not to come upstairs. The duo try again but mom had to pop back up to ask if they want to use the pill or borrow hers! WHY YOU RUIN EVERYTHING???!!!

Episode 4B
Kaji confronts Akagi to remind him that they aren’t officially dating and she isn’t quitting smoking for that. He wants to make it official so she gives excuses he doesn’t know anything about her. Then he describes how he has been watching her and knows her habits. It proves he has her on her mind for some time. He teases her she is an easy woman and will sleep with anyone if asked. Had he been a player, she would have been done in by him. She dares him to do it to her now so being the smooth operator he is, he says he wanted to take her for himself before anyone else did. He wants to make her his. Kaji is backed to the corner. There is no way out but to say yes. Sealed with a kiss.

Episode 4C
Furuya thinks he needs to answer Minagawa. It’s like she could read his mind and pesters him for it! Since he is shy, she thought he could communicate via messaging. He thought he is toying with her but it backfires when she says because he cannot answer, she isn’t sure if he is serious or just playing around. Guilt… She continues to teasing him through messaging and he is relieved she puts off the bugging for now. She is happy for now he was looking at her.

Episode 4D
Takano’s friend hands her a love letter to pass to Sugawara. So when she calls him to meet, you bet this happy dude gets the wrong idea. So happy when he gets her letter till he finds out the truth. Disappointed? He tries to hint about confessing to Takano herself but she quickly brushes it off it won’t be fun dating her. They discuss about hugging their loved ones and eventually he decides to give up confessing on her. He doesn’t want to be friendzoned and she won’t know what to do either. She still believes she isn’t the person he likes. As for her friend, he will personally turn her down tomorrow. She had the courage to go through all that (but not in person?) so he wants to honour that. Takano notes he is a nice person but if it were to happen to her, oh well, she doesn’t think it will.

Episode 5A
Kanda thinks of confessing via texting to Takase. I guess after that long winded writing, she just deletes it and writes hi. As they text back and forth, both sides are nervous and fidgeting on what to say. When it eventually takes too long to reply and Kanda finally decides to go all out in confessing, both send their text at the same time. Kanda receives his message that he thinks she has fallen asleep and should meet him tomorrow so he could tell her about the person he likes. Oh, he also hates those who try to confess via text. They’re the worst. Meanwhile Takase receives her full confession and to go out. They’re so dead…

Episode 5B
Sasahara is glad Kaga has recruited a new member, Kaoru Nanase who is his childhood friend and neighbour. It seems they hate each other as Nanase teases Kaga likes someone… When Sasahara leaves to attend a teacher’s call, Nanase accuses him of joining the club just because of Sasahara. There is no way he likes the stars. She wants him to reject her. Then she accuses him of ignoring her since middle school. He argues he thought people would think it would be odd for them to be together but she hints she doesn’t hate that idea. Now accusing each other of hating the other, if Nanase hates him, why would she come to this same school? Still don’t get it? He tries to apologize and console her. But it irks her when he is doing it because they are childhood friends. So more hate you hate me stuff. So if they hate each other, why is Nanase kissing him?! Cliché moment when Sasahara returns and sees this. So awkward…

Episode 5C
Kamine and Gouda are dating but he is keeping his distance. She wonders if they should have stayed as friends and her presence is making him uncomfortable. He drops the bomb when he wants to stop doing this. This is his first time dating so he doesn’t know what to do. It’s not doing them any good. Kamine cannot help cry but finds enough courage to thank him for going out with her. But she is shocked when he suggests holding hands for a start. Wait. Weren’t they breaking up? What Gouda meant was they should stop being so tense around each other. He thought it would be weird to start acting like a boyfriend. He was avoiding her because he was shy and sweaty from club activities. She doesn’t care as she jumps to give him a big hug.

Episode 5D
Nanase is probably regretting kissing Kaga. Nope, she is. Kaga is also embarrassed he was seen by Sasahara. She has likely gotten the wrong idea. When mom wants him to send apples to her, he doesn’t want to and claims she hates him. Mom thinks they got into a fight again and thought Nanase had a crush on him. He is surprised to hear that as mom realized that was still a secret. So he reluctantly goes over to hand over the apples.

Episode 6A
At this rate I think Kaji is going to have a mental breakdown the way Akagi is teasing her and it’s just pissing her off. Like he claims he likes her cute face and boobs but what about her inner character? He doesn’t. Because she herself said so that she is crappy. And yeah, throwing a few kisses to increase that stress. She wants to break up but she gets confused when he continues to say he loves her despite all that. She is so cute that he wants to bully her. As smooth as he is, he has her say she likes him before kissing her lips again.

Episode 6B
Kana feels weird to talk and even think about that cock block incident. Even odder, Chiaki wants her to aid in his FBI-alien comedy skit. While going with the flow, Kana realizes his face came too close. Was he trying to kiss her? Then they reverse the roles and it looks like he wants to kiss her. So she prepares herself but he pulls back. Apparently he isn’t sure about the punch line that is supposed to come here. Both still embarrassed decide to just go home.

Episode 6C
Yamane is being asked out by Kurihara for tomorrow’s date. However his fellow otaku buddy, Tomomichi Motoyama also invites him for a movie tomorrow. Yamane tries to give excuses he can’t so Motoyama suspects a girl. Yamane lies he is a middle school friend wanting to catch up so Motoyama backs out. This makes Yamane to feel bad so he comes clean about the truth. Upon hearing that, Motoyama punches him! So you got a girlfriend?! No more friends?! But the shocking thing is how Motoyama supports Yamane. He is happy his friend has found a girl even though their relationship is platonic. Yeah, lots of manly (otaku) tears. Yamane invites him if he would like to come along. Sure, if she brings her friends. Any of his friends is perfectly acceptable to him.

Episode 6D
Kazuko Hosogawa might have given many others love advice but she herself has never fallen in love before. That is, until she sees Katori saving a cat from a tree. It must be his cheesy lines and poses too that did the trick to steal her heart. She wants him to be her prince but he rejects her since he belongs to everybody. He warns her she will get burnt by doing so. She doesn’t care. And when she tries to hug him, she realizes it was only his after image. Hosogawa is frustrated to she decides to become a cat stuck on a tree. Save me! But she falls and when Katori tries to catch her, she accidentally elbows his gut! Critical damage! Being the ‘cool’ guy he is, he brushes off his injury and continues to play it cool that it is a prince’s job to save a kitten in distress. Looks like she loves him even more.

Episode 7A
Hotaru notices her brother being happier these days. It must be a woman. So without permission she hacks into his handphone and sees his conversation with Minagawa. She thought of sabotaging it by telling her to stay away but instantly Minagawa can tell it is Hotaru. And so it begins as Minagawa trolls Hotaru with some ambiguous words that little sister has yet to learn. She doesn’t even know what sleeping with each other means until Minagawa points out a child in her belly. OH NO! TRAUMA ACTIVATED!!! When Furuya returns, Hotaru is going to tell mom about it. Poor guy is left confused.

Episode 7B
Kamine is nervous as she hints to Gouda to tell his opinion about her. He thinks she wants him to take her out on a first date but after all that flustering she finally tells him she wants him to say in his own words that he loves her. He hasn’t said it to her yet. Kamine feels awkward since it might be forcing him but Gouda declares proudly he loves her from the bottom of his heart. Her face is so red but dense Gouda thinks she is mad.

Episode 7C
Continuing from that texting blunder, Takase things he has screwed up since Kanda seems to be avoiding him. At the toilet, his troubled face catches Katori’s attention. More cheesy lines and poses. He can tell Takase is having woman problems and he understands because he too made a woman cry before. Before Takase could think about asking him for advice, Katori announces he is the dating master. So his advice? He doesn’t know. All he can think about is go to her and hold her tight. Takase is impressed and will take his advice. But the moment he turns around to thank him, he is gone.

Episode 7D
Takano recently feels lethargic and her chest hurts a little. Oh, she can’t stop thinking of Sugawara too. As she heads to the infirmary, Sugawara is also there. She thinks she has a fever so it got him a little worried that her face was a little red. She flusters upon hearing that. However he is cool because he thinks she isn’t the kind who would fall in love. Takano wonders if this isn’t fever, what is it that she is having? She takes her temperature. Normal reading. Oh no. What could it be? I wonder…

Episode 8A
Kamine wants to tell Gouda what she truly wants but is too shy about it. Even if she did, she worries he will worry about her. So she asks if he likes being possessive. Not really. How about in moderation? Maybe. Like holding hands while walking. How about holding hands while sitting? Okay. Kamine gets permission to inch closer to him and doesn’t mind him being sweaty and all. Asking if he would like to cuddle her more since she won’t mind if he says so, Gouda would like to ask her one thing. He suddenly kisses her! Hey! He didn’t ask first! Kamine was clearly unprepared for that first kiss and she is embarrassed because she coughed. Want to have another go at it? Maybe after things calm down a little…

Episode 8B
Rumours of Kamine and Gouda kissing have spread. Because of that, Kana is ‘upset’ with Chiaki because in the eyes of everyone they are a couple and yet they haven’t really kissed. So we have them hinting and arguing using football terms if Chiaki should score or not. When Kana is in ‘stoppage time’, Chiaki thinks this is a good chance for him to kiss her. However at his angle it makes it very hard. When she checks to see what is taking him so long, he accidentally kisses her nose! Missed the shot! Awkward. But Chiaki feels confident with this and wants another shot at the goal! Can he do it? Well, with everyone watching them, I guess the match is over.

Episode 8C
Kaji is satisfied after Akagi helps her study. But now he wants to touch her boobs. Wait. What?! Of course she gets mad and won’t allow. He continues to bug her because he believes she will eventually give in. Then he argues that he is the one holding back, etc. I’m sure the pressure has gotten to her so when Kaji finally allows him to grope her boobs, he doesn’t want to do it. He says it was never his intention as he just wanted to know how much he was holding back all this time. Kaji is left embarrassed because it makes her feel like the needy one and that it implied that she needed something more out of this.

Episode 8D
Hosogawa is sad over her lost love. Till she sees Katori injured by a tree! She wants to call the ambulance (dramatic) but he doesn’t want to as he will be discovered. He blames himself for being famous because he flirted with a girl who already had a boyfriend. He wants to know how to be less popular. Since he needs to go into hiding for a while, Hosogawa is more than happy to let him stay at her place. However he tells her the ones after him are not the scary ones. It is the one who made him popular. You mean God? Hosogawa tries to hug him and this time she manages to keep up with his after image. But he can still break free. He stops her with a finger. How? He kisses it. He warns she will burn if she continues to fall for him. He won’t let her since he is going to find the God of romance and beat the crap out of him to become less popular. Until then, stay clear away from the flames of love. So cool! But cheesy too. Now she loves him even more. Get ready to burn…

Episode 9A
During pool lessons, Sugawara and Takano are stealing glances at each other, each wondering if the other is looking. It gets awkward when they wave to each other but no reaction, thinking they’re waving to someone else. Takano doesn’t think it is her but when she eventually asks him and he tells her straight it was her, she starts pondering why he was doing so and such. So when she finally tells him she was also looking at him, it is the wrong guy! Gouda wonders if he should tell that to Sugawara. No thanks… Hazukashii…

Episode 9B
Kanda wonders if their relationship is over since Takase hasn’t replied her confession since. She is also avoiding talking directly to him and only replying via texting, making him wonder if it is too late to reply. So when they try to talk again, it felt a bit awkward since Kanda misspoke. Because the way she says it sounded like she doesn’t like him anymore. And the way he asks back is like he is relieved she doesn’t have feelings for him anymore. So when they sheepishly agree to be friends again, Takase regrets he was too late to confess to her while Kanda regrets being friendzoned.

Episode 9C
Kamine hopes to try kissing with Gouda again since she baulked the first time. However Gouda thinks she is upset from that sudden kiss and is acting weird since. He thinks he will never do that kind of thing again. Of course Kamine really hopes he would do it. So she tries to recreate that atmosphere again by feigning she is sleepy and wants to sleep here right now. She ends up sleeping on his lap. This is sure to get him in the mood, right? HE FELL ASLEEP!!! Oh my! He really got into that mood. He wakes up, catching himself almost touching her face. Kamine is now frozen in embarrassment. Or was it disappointment?

Episode 9D
Minagawa once again trolls Furuya with more I love yous. He is upset they are not serious. On the contrary she says they are but also aren’t. Are you sh*tting him?! She explains the different type of loves and this one is the kind where he makes an angry face but is cute kind of love. Furuya would love to give his answer but he can’t do it if she isn’t serious about liking him. So she puts on a serious I love you face and then pulls it back since it’s hard to be serious. She thinks she can’t express it in words so she has him close his eyes as her face inches closer to his. Damn curtain blocking our view to see what happened. He is mad that she used her fingers to pretend she was kissing him. But she continues to mess with him that he can’t tell if it was her fingers or if she was serious.

Episode 10A
Motoyama meets up with Yamane. But what is he doing here with Kurihara?! Apparently it was Kurihara who asked to meet but since he was nervous, he thought he called Motoyama to come along. WTF. Motoyama can tell that Kurihara has made pudding for Yamane but since both of them are dense, he is forced to play the relationship manager. Since Yamane is too nervous to accept it, Motoyama has to pretend Yamane beat him up real good (bad acting anyway) just to hint that the girl is more important than his friend and thus he will take his leave. Once he is out of the way, he spies back and it looks like Yamane could accept calmly her pudding as much as Kurihara could calmly give it to him. So was it Motoyama’s presence that made them nervous?!

Episode 10B
Kamine is jealous because Gouda is nice to the other girls. And when a girl says nothing is wrong and pouts, you better realize that it is your fault and start thinking on your own what it is! He can’t put his finger on why she is mad so he meets up to apologize. But she’s back to normal. It’s her logic to make him worry about her if she is a little mean. Since he will hear anything she has to say, she starts listing down the things she doesn’t want him to do with other girls. So she’s being over possessive of him? Now she wants him to call her by her first name. Nothing comes out… Probably that was the hardest demand he has to comply.

Episode 10C
Chiaki and Kana see Kamine and Gouda together at the park. They spy on them since the duo are serious in class and never knew they were this lovey-dovey outside. They comment how people change with love but they themselves didn’t change much. They also observe all the bold things they talk to each other. And then the ultimate when Kamine wants Gouda to kiss him but he surprises her with a quick one. So the clowns now start to reflect on themselves and compare with this. So are they going to do it? It took a while for them to prepare but Gouda and Kamine are just leaving and interrupted. What are you doing here? Oh, nothing. And you, what are you doing here? Oh, nothing too. What a coincidence!

Episode 10D
Chiaki invites Kana to his house to study. Note, his parents are away on vacation. Looks like his plan to kiss her is going well. While studying, he tries to ask permission to kiss her but always chickens out. When he goes get something to drink, he returns drunk. He boldly wants to kiss her right now. Kana refuses as she doesn’t want to kiss a drunk Chiaki but the normal one. Because their first kiss is going to be a precious memory. Chiaki then drops his act and quickly steals her lips! Then he starts teasing her with their usual comedy act jokes but she is not impressed. She punches him and leaves in tears. Oh no. He can’t react to that one…

Episode 11A
Takano’s friend can tell she is in love as she stares into space. Of course she denies it but her friend brings up Gouda and Kamine. Speaking of which, here comes Kamine. She starts asking her about some details of her romance as embarrassed Takano continues to deny she is in love. But as Kamine explains how she would look and think about Gouda unconsciously, the more Takano starts to panic. Are you sure you’re not in love with somebody? She then stares at Sugawara and contemplates he is just a classmate. Too bad they could guess it right that she is thinking about him since there are rumours floating about Sugawara liking her. When Kamine is asked how she did her confession, everyone gets embarrassed and returns to practice.

Episode 11B
Chiaki is in real trouble. Kana has avoided talking to him on purpose and in her books they have already broken up. But is she okay to let this go on? Back home, Chiaki is thinking of texting to her one last time and if she doesn’t reply, he’ll give up. Similarly, Kana is waiting and willing to forgive him if he replies one more time. But Chiaki wonders if he should write a long letter… She’s waiting… And when he finally sends, her handphone drops in the bath! OMG! Hey, aren’t handphones these days supposed to be waterproof? Poor Chiaki thinks she had really given up on him. Kana tries hard to turn it back on. She’s never been so sad and desperate. Then mom comes in and learns her problem. She beats up the handphone back to life! OMG! It really worked! At this point, Chiaki can’t give up on her and calls. Kana to her relief answers but is cut off. Poor Chiaki thinks they are done but Kana’s handphone has died for real. Curse you technology!

Episode 11C
During the test, Kanda is running low on her pencil lead but doesn’t want to ask Takase in fear of him suspecting some ulterior motive. Likewise, he also thinks the same. She tries to ask Minagawa but she tells him to ask from Takase instead. Eventually Takase lends her and their relationship is back to normal. Just as simple as that.

Episode 11D
Kaji is really struggling doing last minute studying. It is one of those I-told-you moments because now she is regretting she should have done better. She even told mom she wanted to go to college but now thinks if that is even possible. She starts comparing herself to other classmates who are definitely looking smarter. Akagi isn’t helping her this time as he believes this is part of her practice since she’ll be alone during the exam. But Katori can tell he is the one who is holding it in and trying not to freak out. During the test, Kaji’s constant review makes her feel confident she can get through this. When she accidentally drops her eraser, she feels embarrassed to ask the teacher, thinking others would think of her as weird. Because you know, delinquents don’t study or take exams. Luckily her friend asks the teacher on her behalf. Everything went smoothly. So much so she starts crying right in the middle of the exam! It’s like life is giving her a second chance.

Episode 12A
The boys are having a football tournament among the classes. So we see some of the girls cheering for their crush. We have Chiaki and Sugawara wondering if they look cool in front of their girl or at least a chance to do so. When a ball is accidentally kicked towards Kana, she couldn’t react in time but Chiaki blocks it with his face! It hurts. He tries to act tough but ultimately they end up arguing like usual. So much about making up. Chiaki’s class is losing so the girls decide to cheer and support them. When they do so, Chiaki thinks only Kana isn’t part of the cheer. Why would she cheer for him? Suddenly all by herself she shouts out to him to stop fooling around and go impress her. It’s like he suddenly powers up on his skill as he waddles his way through the defenders. He is about to score but then is blocked. The other team scores and wins the game.

Episode 12B
As summer vacation is coming up, the girls are inviting some of the boys to go to the beach. Some are unsure. Kana thought this is a chance to make up with Chiaki but Sugawara interjects before her to ask him if he is going to the beach. Sugawara isn’t sure to go as Takano will be there and he thought it will be awkward. He gives an excuse he won’t come due to club activities when in actual fact there is none. Because of that, Takano’s eyes are like dead fish. Kana is waiting for a reply from Chiaki and hence waiting for this chance to patch things up. But that reply never came. Damn his handphone ran out of power again. So when he eventually sees her, he tells her they’ve already broken up. So? He believes if he does so, their relationship won’t go anywhere and break up properly. Heart break? However, once that is done, he wants to confess again. Seriously. He does so and it brings tears to Kana’s eyes. Meanwhile Takano is practising alone in the classroom and admitting she has been thinking a lot on Sugawara lately. She fees sad if he doesn’t go to the beach. When Sugawara enters to take his forgotten wallet, she asks if he would like to come. He still think he won’t be coming when she blurts out it won’t be fun if he isn’t there. Looks like he has to go buy a swimsuit. That made Takano happy. Look at her beaming smile.

Crazy, Stupid Love
And so love goes on for our high school children. Nothing really much. Just some of the troublesome pairs have gotten back on good terms so a happy ending? After all, Chiaki-Kana and Sugawara-Takano pairs are the only couples who were having it rough in the end. One wasn’t official yet and the other have somewhat broken off and there is a threat they could break off and drift even further. Compared to the other pairs who were already going steady, so are these 2 pairs going to break the streak and have a bad end? No way!

Despite there are numerous different stories put together (I believe there are like 9 or 10 of them), each story doesn’t feel too heavy or confusing. Thanks to the short duration of each episode of 12 minutes each and in each episode is divided into 4 mini stories. Each of the lover’s stories might be short and condensed and not all of them will be featured in every episode. It might look daunting at first if you’re worried and wondering if you could remember them all by the time the series ends. By the end of the day, you might not remember every technical details of what accurately happens between each of them but you have a general idea of who loves who and how their relationship is faring. In a way it is good but in some ways it is also bad. While shifting between the stories is good, having been thrown too many different stories makes it look like it is all over the place as the stories take place in a connected universe (the same school, that is) but in a mini world of their own. Therefore the straightforward love story can either be intriguing or boring since no love triangles. Okay, Kaga-Sasahara-Nanase as well as Minagawa-Furuya-Hotaru might look so but there is nothing really serious going on.

Like me, after a while when you get used to the characters, at the start of the next skit, my brain will be like taking some ‘processing’ time to remember who they are and how they’ve been. Sometimes it takes a few seconds to recall their names. But as I’ve said, splitting the stories is also good because for example instead of remembering one long sentence, you break them up into smaller sentences to help easily remember them. Or when you are reviewing your studies, you don’t study a particular subject for long periods of time. You take a break and then try reviewing another subject. I’m not a psychology expert but this mixture of diversifying helps the mind to recall better. Except when you’re doing last minute rushing and cramming in of course.

With so many different characters, each character and relationship has its own quirks and moments that makes them unique. But the only thing in common that I can see in all of the relationships is that everyone has this undecided and uncertain outlook of varying degrees when they are dealing with love. This is what mainly drives the dynamics of each relationship and each story to be interesting, hence making the characters interesting in their own right. There might be a few that looks confident, namely Minagawa, Gouda, Akagi and Katori. Like Akagi he looks like he stringing Kaji around only because her reactions are fun to watch as. Especially a delinquent teen like her, love seems so out of place. So he is just messing with her by playing the cool cat but in actual fact deep down inside he is as nervous as hell and doesn’t show it on the outside. The same can be said for Minagawa who keeps teasing Furuya and just enough so that guy won’t find it annoying enough to never want to see her ever again. Gouda looks like the taciturn type but you often here his thoughts and indecisiveness of whether his actions are right. Katori? I think he is full of drama and that drama covers up nervousness. His is dubbed the love master but not in a relationship himself? Suspicious…

One of my favourite couples goes to Chiaki and Kana because the duo have been a manzai comedy duo for a very long time. They take a jab each other while at the same time trying to properly grow their love for each other but at the same time they get cold feet and use that comedy stint to cover it all up. So much so they couldn’t tell what is a joke and what is love. After all, I believe they are the couple who has been together for the longest and the only ones who have tried to take a step further in their relationship. As in, they almost had sex, right? If not only for mom’s timing… Mom, why you have to go spoil it when the things are getting so good?!

Most amusing couple award would go to Akagi and Kaji. This guy has really strung her and made her dance right in the palm of his hands from start to finish. It is fun to see Akagi being the smooth operator while embarrassed Kaji trying to resist it all due to her pride but eventually caves in. This guy is the Jesus of romance if he could fully rehabilitate a bad girl like her under his thumb. Also amusing to watch is Minagawa and Furuya but only when Hotaru is in the picture because little sister thinks her precious big brother belongs to nobody else except her. She can never beat Minagawa as long as the latter doesn’t see her as the enemy.

If there is one couple that is plain draggy and boring, personally I have to point out Takano and Sugawara. Both are being super hesitant although Sugawara is trying to take the initiative but he still lacks confident. On the other hand, Takano is probably the densest character even with hints pointing right in her face, she just can’t seem to get the hint that he likes her. And when she starts to develop strange feelings (it’s called love), she becomes more uncertain. I believe their relationship is the farthest if you compare it to others. They weren’t officially a couple at the end too. They just started to get better with each other’s company. Watching them feels painful as sometimes you want to scream out to them to just realize it and confess to each other already. Making it slightly worse is the fact that their story is one of the most prominently featured with more skits (hence, screen time) compared to some that are not as notable like Yamane-Kurihara and Kaga-Sasahara-Nanase pairs.

Art and drawing feel pretty standard but plain and simple. But it certainly feels lacking if you compare it to other Studio Gokumi works like Kiniro Mosaic, A-Channel, Seiren, Yuuki Yuuna Yuusha De Aru and Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru. At least these had some moe and bishoujo effect. Well, maybe on the same level as the Saki series.

There are a handful of recognizable seiyuus, namely Kana Hanazawa as Minagawa, Yui Ogura as Kamine, Daisuke Ono as Yukawa, Hiro Shimono as Yamane, Ayane Sakura as Kaji and Haruka Tomatsu as Hotaru. Other casts include Kaito Ishikawa as Sugawara (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia), Inori Minase as Takano (Rem in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatstu), Seiichirou Yamashita as Chiaki (Kakeru in Orange), Akari Kitou as Chiaki (Yonaga in Alice To Zoroku), Kensho Ono as Akagi (Arata in ReLIFE), Daisuke Namikawa as Katori (Italy in Hetalia series), Kouhei Amasaki as Furuya (Takeshi in Mob Psycho 100), Tomoaki Maeno as Gouda (Takeru in Maken-Ki), Kentarou Kumagai as Takase (Aston in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans), Haruka Miyake as Kanda and Souichirou Hoshi as Motoyama (Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi).

The opening theme is Aimai Moko by Inori Minase. A decent lively anime rock pop. Not too bad. As for the ending theme, Dear, I had mistakenly thought Yukari Tamura was singing this slow piece. Funny I thought she had no voice acting role here but had a singing one. Then I later found out it wasn’t her but Yui Ogura instead. Up till this day I am still straining my ear to confirm whether it is really her because I still ‘hear’ the sound Yukari Tamura singing no matter how hard I try. Most probably because there is no real ending credits animation so the song is played quiet softly in the background as the skit is still ongoing. Looks like there is going to be another person whom I will be confused with if she starts using her trademark cute squeaky voice to sound similar to another trademark cute squeaky voice.

Overall, this short series is actually fun to watch if you are in the mood for some light high school romance and comedy. Despite the fact that generally each story is just a repetition or copycat of one another but it feels different thanks to the different approach. Sometimes it feels like your high school romance (if you had any) falls into either one or more of the stories featured here. Well, they sure had a supporting love role but they had none on gays and lesbians. It’s a must in today’s politically correct era! Thank goodness it didn’t. Let’s just allow the children to fall in love naturally the way they see fit, okay? That is why, to each their own. Hence, Sorezore Children. Oh, did they subtly make a pun on this?

Koi To Uso

December 3, 2017

Imagine a future whereby your future spouse is decided by a few complex and sophisticated calculations by the government. That’s right. The government selects the person whom you will be marrying with. What the heck is this?! Is this some sort of marriage communism? Heck, it still feels like matchmaking of the olden days but at a government level and with all the ‘sophisticated’ variables to match your partner. While it may seem draconian, this plan is to enhance the quality of life and happiness for the married person’s life and family. But you know how love works in mysterious ways. Not everyone ‘accepts’ this law. So what happens when the person you totally love is totally different from the person the government has assigned you? Well, that’s what happened in Koi To Uso. A guy has liked a girl for a long time. Confesses it. Finds out girl likes him for a long time too. Wow. Super. Happy ending, right? Nope. Government technically shows middle finger to that and assigns him a more ‘suitable’ partner. So you accept this proposal or reject it but with consequences. But don’t worry and take you time because it’s not like we’re rushing you into marriage, right?

Episode 1
As narrated, to combat low birth rates, the Yukari Law was passed 40 years ago. It is a nationwide matchmaking scheme. You are not allowed to marry anybody else as recommended by the government. It is illegal to do so. But thanks to that, birth rates have increased and the average intelligence of the population has gone up. However Yukari Nejima doesn’t like this system. Apart from the fact he likes another girl, it’s embarrassing to know he is named after the law. When his friend, Daiki Takeda gets a notification of his future wife, he protests and vows never to get married. Nejima and a few of the other friends also make the pledge but they are shocked that Misaki Takasaki also joins in. Are girls not allowed in this oath? As you can tell, Nejima is in love with Misaki since elementary school. It started when he broke his eraser in half to give it to her since she forgot hers. She whispered thank you in his ear. That was the beginning of his love. As Nejima’s birthday is looming, he too will be getting a notification and his parents are very excited. Not Nejima himself. Thus he needs to confess to Misaki as soon as possible. He talks to her that he will wait at the park and to make matters worse, she doesn’t remember they were in the same class back at elementary school! So Nejima waits. And waits and waits. So he made some burial grounds from the sandpit to kill time? Maybe she isn’t going to turn up after all.

As he leaves, here comes Misaki catching him. She made it. Now she’s catching her breath. After that nervous long winded talk, Nejima finally confesses he likes her. Yatta! Oh wait. You made her cry! But here is the surprise. She shows him the broken half of the eraser she has always been keeping! Yes, she too likes him. Everything feels so weird but soon they hug. And then they upgrade to a kiss! And another kiss! Yahoo! End of story. Just kidding. Could have gone further had not it been ruined by Nejima’s handphone. His parents. The notification is here. Dang. As he reads the unclear message, it states his future wife is… Misaki!!! OMG! Is this for real?! He is literally hitting the jackpot. Why is it at such crucial times the handphone power has to die? Shortly, a couple from the ministry of health, labour and welfare, Kagetsu Ichijou and Motoi Yajima pop up to hand him an official notice for his future wife. Wait a minute… Who the f*ck is Ririna Sanada?! He tries to argue the notification on his handphone saying Misaki. However they point out it might be a mistake and the black and white makes it official. No doubts about it. Bye. So in all the confusion, Misaki wishes him happy birthday and thanks him for giving her the motivation to live on. Something feels strange. Her hands are cold and shaking. Now she’s crying and running away. He manages to catch up to her as they both embrace amidst the confusing tears.

Episode 2
Nejima is not pleased his parents already arranged for a marriage meeting. So when he ditches and goes to school (he got permission for leave of absence), everyone is shocked. They didn’t think he really believe their oath! He even got detention. Misaki talks to him and is appalled at what he is doing. What she was trying to tell him then was to keep this as memory. Nejima was in shock that he just went with his parents to the marriage meeting. The first time he sees Ririna, OMG he never knew she was this cute?! Anyway as the meeting gets underway, Nejima stays silent while the rest talks. This makes Ririna blow her top for being rude. She storms out and Nejima is forced to go look for her. He finds her alone in a room and looks like she is as nervous as him from it all. Still, he realizes he was running away unlike her who was facing this head on so he apologizes. For some reason, he has to tell her about the girl he likes and Ririna makes him spill everything! In fact, Ririna is very fascinated with their love story! Heck, she even volunteers to help him figure out how Misaki feels for him! They go back to their parents pretending to hold hands. At this point I wonder why Nejima had to point out her button is undone so he had a sneak peak of her bra. She slaps him in front of everyone.

In school, Nejima’s friends are admiring how cute his future wife is. Strangely, Yuusuke Nisaka goes over to Misaki and asks her if she would like to see Nejima’s future wife! She’s giving off that what-the-f*ck face. Nejima goes to Ririna’s all-girls school to meet as requested. He finds her sleeping in the infirmary. When he talks to her how he heard rumours people keep calling her tapeworm (sanadamushi), she starts panicking and then explains the whole damn thing without her skirt on. Really. Something about her being socially awkward since she always have a hard time talking to other girls. They realize they are talking normally but can’t help ponder their relationship. If they are not friends or lovers, what are they? Too late for Ririna to realize she is without her skirt. That’s the second slap for him this episode… On the way out, Ririna wants to know more about Misaki. Speaking of her, look here she is passing in front! I don’t know why Nejima has to point out it is her so Ririna approaches her and introduces herself as Nejima’s future wife! Strangely, the girls talk it over as Ririna asks what Misaki likes about Nejima. She explains a few weird things about him she likes. Even more surprising, Misaki wants to continue talking more about Nejima! See the glow in her eyes. At the end of the day when they part, it’s like they’ve become friends! Ririna is crying thinking she made her first friend! Oh wait. It could have gotten more confusing since Ririna thinks she likes Misaki! We’re not going down the lesbianism road yet!!! In his bid to calm her down, Nejima being the idiot he is somehow spills how he already kissed Misaki. Oh, tell her more about it. But Ririna isn’t mad. She has an idea. Go kiss Misaki one more time.

Episode 3
Apparently Ririna also told him to kiss Misaki once a day. Every day. Since when is she their love coach? Nejima is thinking too much about it that Nisaka remembers the first time they met at cram school. Nisaka was being harassed by a guy whose future wife couldn’t stop thinking about him because of his flirting. Then Nejima saw this harassment and called the cops! Nejima is invited to Ririna’s place. He didn’t count on Ririna inviting Misaki too! It’s really awkward for the 3 of them in there. Nejima might look out of place since the girls are having fun talking among themselves. Then Ririna changes topic and tells Nejima to quickly kiss Misaki. She doesn’t mind. Both of them awkwardly prepare to kiss as Ririna watches it eagerly like some TV romance. Just inches away from their mouths in contact with each other, Nejima pulls back. Misaki finds it funny but Ririna has this disappointed looks on her face. As Misaki leaves, she tells Ririna that she wants her to fall in love with Nejima as she might not be the right girl for him. She might not mind they kissed now but she will soon do. Ririna returns to her room breathing hard. She really wants Nejima to kiss Misaki once a day. Every day. When they are out in the streets, they stumble into Nisaka. Ririna immediately snarls like a cat? Shockingly, Nisaka points out Ririna is a virgin. Erm, aren’t all girls her age are supposed to be? Well, I can say they’re not going to like each other.

During PE, Nejima notices Nisaka and Misaki staring intensely like each other like as though they are rivals. The thought that the most attractive guy and girl in class as an item just worries him. Yeah, Nisaka has his own unofficial fan club in which girls swoon when he just as much walks passes them. When Misaki asks Nejima about Ririna after she left her place that day, he reveals about the daily kiss. So want to try? And here is today’s first kiss. Oh, a second one. And another one! Each time it gets more passionate! Man, they’ve filled up a week’s worth of kisses! Nisaka passing by, is shocked to see this. Later Nejima wants to ask Nisaka something but since the latter has club activities, he has to wait. He must have waited so long that he fell asleep. When Nisaka arrives, he sleeps his sleeping face… Those delicious lips… HE KISSED THEM!!! OMFG!!! DIDN’T SEE THIS GAY THINGY COMING!!! Now I understand why about Nisaka… By the time the idiot wakes up, he asks if Nisaka has someone he likes like Misaki. He brushes it off. The simpleton feels relieved. We all know why and where his true heart lies, right?

Episode 4
You know it is awkward when Nejima’s parents ask the lovebirds if they have kissed. Not only Ririna spilled the entire mayonnaise on her food, she even asks why they kissed! Not that they’re too shy but rather eager to tell them how they’re still so in love with each other. I guess it’s good but it’s just awkward in front of the kids… Ririna enters Nejima’s room. Messy as hell! Glad she cleaned it up. Good future wife. Looking at his old photos she starts asking this thought provoking question if he likes Misaki when he gave her the eraser or because he liked her he gave it to her. Yeah, need to be specific when he fell in love with her. Nejima asks if she has her first love. Yes. An anatomy model. Bear with me. The doctor told her the anatomy model came in a set, a mother and ‘son’. Since the children’s wing opened, they were ‘separated’. So the ‘son’ is alone. Just like her. They clicked. It made her heart beat faster. Yeah… Ririna asks about Nejima’s kiss with Misaki. Sure, he did it. She goes into analytical mode. Conclusion? Kiss her more! Ichijou and Yajima are here to explain about the Science of Red String. It is determined via many surveys and tests they have taken throughout their childhood. So they compile all that data for the best matchmaking. Studies also show that marrying one based on physical looks tend to fail. Therefore the scientific conclusion is that people don’t fall in love with outward appearance. They ask them about their feelings for each other. Of course they’re still confused. More awkwardness when Ichijou says it is fine to even start having sex because they’re going to get married after all so why not make a head start? So pre-marital sex is okay this instance?

As they leave, Ichijou asks for directions to Misaki’s house but refuses to divulge any more information. That’s privacy. It makes Nejima go blank that she too has received a notification. Ririna tries to snap him out of it by asking if this is how far his love for her. Otherwise she threatens she won’t help him anymore. Nejima feels he doesn’t want to kiss Misaki anymore just because Ririna asks him. It just feels weird. She notes it is even weirder for a world to forbid you from kissing the person you like. At school, Nejima is really curious to ask about Misaki’s notification. So he waits for a chance after school to do some errands together. She does confirm a couple of people from the ministry did come to her house but they were dealing with her parents. Big relief? This prompts Nejima to wonder what kind of future husband she’ll get. She replies it doesn’t matter because they’ll all be the same. Nejima will only be the special one. Wow. Before you know it, they start kissing. Today’s quota automatically fulfilled. Back home, Ririna calls Nejima about his family camping trip. As she was invited to join, what shocked Nejima most is that Ririna also invited Misaki to come! Panicking, he wants to bring a friend. Okay. Too bad Nisaka outright rejects him! Oh please, don’t start begging… Eventually Nisaka relents but finds out too late that Ririna and Misaki or on this trip too.

Episode 5
The young ones meet up at the train station. Ririna can’t stop complaining to learn Nisaka is the friend he has brought along while Misaki and Nisaka have this intense rivalry look at each other again, prompting Nejima to really think they like each other. At the camp, the guys make curry. Nejima goes to call the girls but gets super embarrassed to see them in their swimsuit by the river. So he goes to hide and peek?! Ririna spots him but as she approaches him, she slips. She twisted her ankle. Nejima carries her like a princess since she doesn’t want to spread open her legs and touch his body via piggyback. I think this is even more awkward since his hands are touching her skin so I’m not sure if that face is orgasmic or pain. Either way, she looks like she is struggling to hold in her composure. And all the thanks he got for carrying her back is being called baka. Thanks a lot. Nejima sees Misaki and Nisaka chatting together again. Ririna’s dad puts ice on her foot as he learns Nejima has a great interest in burial grounds and hopes to pursue a course in college related to that. That night, Nejima is still bugged about Nisaka liking Misaki. So he goes up to him to ask if he is keeping a secret. Nisaka thinks it is that gay kiss. It is hard for him to keep his composure when his face is so close like that. Nisaka looks nervous and when he is about to confess, Ririna calls them to go do kimodameshi. On purpose she pairs Nejima and Misaki together. So the duo take the chance to hold hands but while being distracted by a light, Misaki slips down a cliff. Nejima tries to catch her but she pulls him down instead. Thank goodness the cliff was just a few feet high. But the fall leaves them in a compromising position. In fact, Misaki wants to stay this way for a while.

While Ririna is lecturing Nisaka to stay a metre from her, he asks why is she so desperate in trying to make Nejima and Misaki a pair. Although she isn’t doing anything that is breaking the law, how does she fit into this relationship? If Nejima chooses Misaki, the arrangement is cancelled and she will be an outsider. She can still be their friend but can she stay so once they get married? Ririna might get a man who is much worse than Nejima. Even if Nejima rejects this arrangement, Ririna will be fine but Nejima will have a penalty to pay. It will be on his permanent records that he rejected the matchmaking and thus it will be some sort of ‘handicap’ if he is out looking for a job, etc. So all Ririna is doing is leading him to a disaster. Ririna starts to feel scared. She is doing this because she loves them both. She just wants them to be happy. Sorry girl. That only happens in fairytales. They see Nejima and Misaki down the cliff. Caught in the act? If Nejima’s guilt look and robot act didn’t give him away… They stumble into a firefly sanctuary. Nisaka is really afraid of bugs. Afraid of one laying eggs on his face?! The quartet enjoy the beautiful scene, forgetting the world of marriage and love for that moment. When they are back in town, Nisaka seems apologetic about the thing he tried to hide and this only makes Nejima worry more that he does like Misaki. Ririna tries to be nice to Nejima by asking him to take her to some burial grounds. That guy is so happy that he can’t stop talking about it… In fact he wants to bring her there as soon as possible. Well, school comes first.

Episode 6
Nejima is aggressive and bold in making out with Ririna. Oh wait. That was just Ririna’s dream?! So she does more research on French kissing and doesn’t like what she finds… Yeah, exchange of millions of germs… She is called by Arisa Mimasaka who wants to be friends with her. Wait. Who the f*ck is she? She is the sister of the intern doctor who looked after Ririna 6 years ago when she was undergoing treatment. Arisa heard stories about her and is amazed. So she wants to hear more? Sorry, Ririna rejects her. It’s not like they have anything to talk about. Heck, she doesn’t even know what friends are supposed to do! Well, you had Misaki, right? Nejima attends the special government programme for the newly paired couples. He thought he spotted his old classmate from middle school, Shuu Igarashi. Takeda is also here as he introduces his future wife, Haruka Yoshiki. Wow. She’s a cutie. But not as cute as Ririna, right? When she arrives, she gives him a haniwa keychain as a gift. He gets excited like a nerd! In return, he also gives her a haniwa keychain but with cat features. It’s cringey looking at them but hey, it’s love, right? For some reason, Ririna is still embarrassed about that kissing dream but why she had to be a tsundere and tell him she has never dreamt of it?

The lecture starts out normally. Till they start passing out condoms. Woah! Are they really trying to shoot some gangbang here?! Naturally Ririna doesn’t know what it is but Nejima had dig his own grave and says he doesn’t too? It gets awkward when the speaker talks about the benefits of having sex. It’s a feel good factor. She’s saying like it’s nothing! Then they even show clips of sex! What is this?! Training for future porn stars?! Nejima feels so weird out he has to start thinking about something else or he’ll start fantasizing about making out with Misaki. Then he looks around. Ririna looks like she is clutching her haniwa and praying to God (huh?). Everyone else looks uneasy too. But Takeda and Haruka are already making out?! WTF?! It gets weirder when Yajima talks to Nejima about the dilemma if he would choose the one the government chose or the one he loves. Did he troll him about watching them in the next room? Super weird. Even more awkward when Nejima heard others saying that if you don’t bang, you get penalized. Woah! If only reality was this easy! And now for the main show. Nejima and Ririna alone in the room. Better look out for hidden cameras and devices. Hope they’re not shooting illegal teen porn. But Nejima decides to screw all that baseless anxiety. Because now he is going to screw Ririna and pushes her over the bed. Well, nothing changes if you don’t take the first step.

Episode 7
Nejima thinks of pretending to make out with Ririna. Don’t worry. Just remember it like the movies. First kiss… Oh no. She’s crying. Screw that. More kisses… Oh sh*t. She’s crying more. It killed the mood. So when Nejima explains that surveillance thingy and his pretending, Ririna shoots it down because it is illegal and the people will lose faith in the system. Nejima must be feeling stupid right now. Because of that, Ririna now feels uneasy around him and is scared to have him touch her so she wants them to keep their distance for a while. For the rest of the demonstration, it’s just awkward that nothing else happened between them. Nejima then confronts Yajima for lying. His reply is that this proves he would have done it with the other girl. Nejima returns to his class. They’re practising a Romeo and Juliet play for the cultural festival. Only, genders swapped. And Misaki and Nisaka are playing them. A minor accident has Nejima got his hand hammered by a classmate making the props. Misaki rushes down to the infirmary to talk to him. She can tell something has happened. He tries to change the subject like how she has gotten more popular without him around. Huh? Misaki says she banned herself from him. What? Eventually she makes him spit out the truth. He believes he has hurt Ririna and he looks very shaken about it. Hence Misaki calls Ririna to hang out and talk things over.

Nejima sees Yajima at his school (since this was his alma mater). He tries to help out with this story of a guy he knows (that’s himself, right?). That guy once dated a girl before. Then she got a notice and told him she will reject the assignment if he loved her. Though he loved her, he did not have the confidence to marry and make her happy. Then he got his own notice and realized she was precious to him. In the end, they broke up. There was only one truth to it all: He should have been honest to his feelings. So for Nejima’s case, he shouldn’t think so much and just act. This motivates him to text Ririna to hang out next time. However she never replied. But one morning he receives a handwritten letter from her. Her feelings are still confused and that’s why she couldn’t answer him yet. But this letter is okay? There are lots of words of encouragement for him especially for him to do best at the cultural festival. That made his day. But it’s not so for Misaki. She remembers Ririna telling her how she didn’t want to see Nejima but felt lonely. That is what love is, Misaki said. She fears she has become selfish because on one hand she is glad Ririna is Nejima’s chosen partner but on one hand she hates it. He might even be in love with her by now. Why is it such a cruel thing loving someone?

Episode 8
The sketch for the dresses of Romeo and Juliet play is ready. While everyone loves it, it seems Nisaka doesn’t and wants to quit. So Nejima tries to convince him to do it for the class, do it for him but that’s not going to cut it. When Nejima tries to touch him, he swats his hand away. A guy pops up before them. Nejima tries to run but is caught. Who is he? Nisaka’s dad! OMG! I thought he was his brother! At the sushi restaurant, dad tells his son not to hit his friend. Nejima thought he could justify that by saying Nisaka has good looks and hitting him may rub some on him. So hit him more. Wait. Seriously? No wonder dad’s laughing. Dad adds that Nisaka doesn’t talk much about school and must have his reasons for building a wall around himself. He hopes Nejima could continue to be his friend. Later when the friends walk back, Nisaka explains he dislikes being the centre of attraction. Nejima argues he really want to see him play Juliet. When Nisaka likens the old play as idiots in love who don’t give any thought about their social position, they fall in love and then they die, Romeo and Juliet are just like them. Others are trying to deny their love but only to them their feelings are the truth. Well, I’m sure Nejima hasn’t got the slightest idea on the dark truth. Nejima likes the old story because it is as old as burial grounds? Let’s not go there… I guess with Nejima convincing him that much, Nisaka is going to play Juliet after all.

We see the double standards when both the lead players take their size measurements .The boys are not allowed to peek when Misaki is getting measured (although they can still hear what’s going on) but the girls can come in and see Nisaka getting his. Some even thinking of putting pads for his chest for the play. Later when Nejima and Misaki talk, he asks her opinion of Nisaka. Trying to paint him as a cool guy, she then asks him has he fallen for Ririna. He can say Misaki is the one he loves but what makes of Ririna then? This makes him ask the question: What is love? No, not that Haddaway song. And so Misaki explains her growing love experience from staring at him in elementary school to thinking about kissing him in middle school and wanting to go to the same school as him. It looked like everything went her way and even the guy she loves also loves her back. This is the best dream. However she wants to end it here. Because in the end, she was not picked to be his wife despite how much she loves him. The more she falls for him, the more she realizes there is no hope for them. As the notice is your destined partner, any other love will seem like a lie. She doesn’t know if he loves her but her love for him continues to grow stronger. With the steady flow of tears running, Nejima hugs her as she continues. She knows she is happy having him touch her but those feelings will one day hurt her and yet she can’t throw them away. So she asks him back: What is love? Why you want to make me sing that Haddaway song so badly?!

Episode 9
Nejima is handing out fliers for the play. He can’t help notice how beautiful Misaki is in her Romeo outfit. No wonder all the females flock to her. He then remembers what she told him the other day after crying about what is love. She still likes Ririna and doesn’t want to see her sad. Nejima sees his old middle school classmate, Mina Koyanagi talking to Misaki. They don’t get along so he tries to tiptoe away. However Misaki’s other friends soon spot him creeping out of here. Nejima talks to Yajima about the investigation about his notice that popped up Misaki’s name. Although there isn’t anything wrong, he did notice some sort of interference. However there is no evidence of that either. Then what made him think there was interference in the first place? Eventually, Ririna is his assigned wife and he checked the calculations again. There were no mistakes. He asks him what he is going to do if the notice is wrong. Knowing he can’t answer, he just tells him to make up with Ririna. Nejima knows Ririna would be coming here. But does he have to look this surprised when they bump into each other? Didn’t know she could be this cute, huh? Anyway she just takes his flier and runs away. Nejima thinks she still isn’t talking to him. So he goes to talk to Nisaka about his fight with Ririna. He is sure she didn’t come all the way here to be mad at him. He worked hard at this and she came to see that. So Nejima tries to make himself useful by helping around but it isn’t like urgent help is needed everywhere. I guess he needs to seek more ‘advice’ from Nisaka. After everything they have done together, Nisaka doesn’t want him to have regrets. Just watch the play. He is going to blow his regrets away and show him proof that this love wasn’t meaningless. The play begins. It is wonderful and amazing that the crowd gives a standing ovation in the end. Nejima is so glad he watched it because true enough he forgot all his regrets. Well, that won’t last long. Because soon he bumps into Igarashi. She asks him what happened to the notice that paired him with Misaki. He is shocked to hear this. She further asks him about the play. Does Misaki look cool as Romeo? She could predict what Nejima would say word for word about her being a beautiful mirage vanishing into thin air. She concludes Misaki is his true partner. Apparently this talk is also overheard by Ririna. Another person in disbelief.

Episode 10
Ririna spams lots of questions so Igarashi says Misaki has something she wants to protect even if she has to break through her lies to do it. Hence Igarashi is going to protect her. Nejima and Ririna are confused as they have more questions than ever about the pairings. But since they are officially paired, they decide to call a truce for now. They thought of asking Misaki but looks like she is busy attending to the swarm of fans. Ririna didn’t know it is Nisaka playing Juliet. She praises such a beautiful person till she learns who he really is. Awkward. Not as awkward as Nisaka’s brother who is here to tease him and can still laugh while Nisaka is choking him! See what I mean when Nisaka’s dad looks young enough to be his brother because I couldn’t tell him apart and thought he is his brother! To thank Nejima for the other camping day, he wants to invite him and his friends to a family wedding next week since some of his other relatives can’t come. Nejima tries to be friends with Igarashi on the social site. Instant rejection! So he is complaining about it to Ririna like the end of the world?! Well, sulk more because Igarashi accepted Ririna’s friendship instead and they’re already messaging each other. They are invited to come to her school where they will talk things out. Ririna asks right off the bat if Misaki is Nejima’s destined partner. Igarashi doesn’t want to discuss so openly and changes the place. A cat café?

Igarashi remains steadfast about protecting Misaki. She learns about Ririna’s reason of supporting the duo, it feels like some sort of stimulation. She wants her to stop being selfish and impulsive because it is hurting Misaki. In that case, why did Igarashi said Misaki is Nejima’s partner if she is not going to support them? She notices a bond between them that is more than just on paper. Igarashi used to hate Misaki as she is popular and cheerful. One day she saw her trying to buy class trip photos of another class and realized she likes a boy named Nejima. Igarashi offered to help buy it for her since Misaki didn’t have the courage. Misaki smiled and thanked her. It was the first time she saw the real her. They soon became friends as Igarashi tries to find out more why she likes this plain if not useless guy. Misaki felt her own feelings are important but they might not be together in the future and wants his assigned wife to understand that he has some good points. Igarashi asked what if she is his assigned wife then. She’ll cry. Ririna and Nejima find out that Igarashi’s grandma is the one who created this notification system. Igarashi isn’t sure about this system of matching people with their love of a lifetime. She wants to know such feelings and Misaki’s feelings shone so brightly she wants to protect her. The talk is interrupted when Yajima is here to stop Igarashi from confusing the kids. The calculations on Nejima’s assigned partner is correct and that’s it. Igarashi ‘agrees’ she shouldn’t have said all this for someone who has no plans to choose Misaki. She will be the sole protector of Misaki. To keep quiet about this, Igarashi has Yajima pay for their bill. Now Nejima and Ririna are even more confused. She wonders if she was wrong in supporting them and if he is going to choose Misaki. Nejima says her being straightforward is one of the things what he likes about her. He takes her hand as they walk along.

Episode 11
Nisaka and his friends head over to his brother’s wedding reception. In the hallway, an event coordinator is searching for couples to be models for a pamphlet. So how does the idea of 2 lovely ladies putting on mock wedding dresses for a photo shoot? Why you asking Misaki for permission, Ririna? She wants to try out. So will you? Nisaka’s brother and his bride enter the hall. Their supervisor plays their life story ever since matching them 4 years ago. This has Nejima wonder if this will happen to him to. It’ll be embarrassing to dig out his love for another girl. Everything in the wedding seems so wonderful so Misaki hopes Ririna would invite her to her wedding when she gets married. After the group photo, Nejima realizes he forgot to take his handphone at the table. There, he sees Misaki overwhelmed by emotions. She is sorry she lied but can’t tell him. He wants to do anything for her. She wants him to say he loves her even if it is a lie. Quickly he takes and kisses her. Ririna happen to walk by and sees this. When they depart for home, Nejima thought it was a careless thing to do and regretted it. He starts thinking he must have been always hurting her when he didn’t need to. Ririna and Nejima’s family head to the hotspring together for a vacation. Ririna tries to act normal but she can’t help think about that kiss. The parents set them up to spend time together and even have them stay in their own private room. This only reminds them of that awkward ‘sex’ scene during the special government programme. Although still technically on a truce, so much has happened since so they just forget about it and start enjoying their stay. When they soak in the outdoor hotspring (separated by a wall of course), they discuss about Igarashi’s words on destined love. Nejima doesn’t understand it but he explains why everything he has done up till now is because of Misaki. She made things fun. It felt like a goddess was directing his fate. That night they can’t sleep as they lie awkwardly facing away from each other. Then Ririna wants to talk. She looks serious. She wants him to choose Misaki over her.

Episode 12
As she explains, her life is one big bore. Nothing but studying and studying until she met him and Misaki. Life has become more fun. She made new friends in her own class. She changed. Their love had the power to change her. Ririna has also researched on a way to get this official assignment dissolved without him getting black marked. Something about keeping up the lie that they’re not compatible and the fastest it would take would be 6 months. But Nejima starts crying and says no. Don’t want what? No to Ririna or Misaki? Yes Nejima, we know you’re in love with Misaki for a long time. Ririna says she loves Misaki’s smile. The smile that looks like she is in love. She wants to protect that smile. Nejima then confesses about that kiss he had with Misaki at the wedding. Just so you know. Good, she’s not bothered. She mentions she would like to fall in love with the next person she is assigned to. So she wants to practice kissing with him. Wait. What?! Whatever. I thought a goodbye kiss was a better reason. Anyway, he kisses her. Once isn’t enough. Another time. And then it descends to a great kissing session. Strange to see 2 sad people making out like that. At this point they’re both confused what love is (cue Haddaway song…) but they decide to ignore it because there is someone more important whom they want to protect.

A week later, today is supposed to be the day Misaki and Ririna attend the bridal shoot. Nejima doesn’t want to go and holes up in his room. Nisaka visits and hears about him being confused over his choice. He finds him pathetic that he is feeling guilty to see either one of them for fear of hurting either one of them. Nisaka tells him it isn’t his problem if someone falls in love with him and gets hurt over it. If they really you, you can make them happy as easy as you can hurt them. This is love. He doesn’t need to be fair. They just want him to acknowledge them. And with that, Nejima suddenly changes his mind and puts on his running shoes. Nisaka remembers Nejima asking him if he had ever lied. At times like these. Misaki and Ririna and getting into the bridal gowns as they talk about the love and lies. Misaki is willing to make the lie the truth just to protect this love. The duo are stiff during the photo shoot. So the cameraman tells them to relax, think of the guy they like. Oops. Even stiffer. And then here comes Nejima. Their face lights up. The moment he says how pretty they both look, Misaki starts crying. Ririna notes she is a bad liar. They also invite him to take a picture with them. Wow. It looks like the most ideal perfect ending if it was real, Nejima flanked by 2 girls he love and marrying them. If only monogamy wasn’t the law…

Nisekoi: Seikatsu Wa Kimi No Uso
Uhm… So did they decide to dissolve the official notification or not? So after a long deliberation in the final episode, they still can’t decide whether to dissolve it or maintain? Can we make it an exception that he marries both of them? Hey, if you can’t choose, choose them both! After all, if their official union is dissolved and they are assigned new partners, assuming they are worst off and they repeat this whole dissolving process again, wouldn’t that take another long time? It would be kingdom come before they get what they want. They’ll be dead! Who knows what algorithms the government used for the matchmaking so Nejima and Misaki may never end up together.

The concept of this sophisticated government level matchmaking seems interesting at first because it potentially sets up love triangles and misunderstandings. You know, the kind of ‘ingredients’ such romantic love comedies and dramas need. However along the way, it starts to get a little boring. Because you see, the entire plot of the series mainly revolves around the main trio who are just confused as f*ck about their own feelings. So they’re like playing the wait and see game to see if there is anything that would change their minds or something. And that is where the drama drags out and the entire series starts to become mundane. Personally if you ask me, had Ririna not been such a cute and technically a nice girl, Nejima would have outright rejected her. Screw whatever punishment he will get because I’m not going to spend the rest of my life with an ugly b*tch. Assuming that she has a not so spectacular personality too. I mean, you have got to admit that Ririna is on the same level of cuteness as Misaki, right? But Misaki has bigger boobs… Whoops! But you get the idea that he has to choose between 2 angels, it is going to be a tough choice, right?

So this system brings up a few questions like for example, what if you are gay or lesbians. I believe Japan is still predominantly a traditional culture so they’re not going to let this western culture seep into it. Too bad Nisaka will never be paired with Nejima, that’s for sure. But what if you’re a minority like gays and lesbians, do you have a say in this too even if straight young people don’t? Also, what if you don’t want to get married and stay single? Or even if you have been assigned but both never get married? Will there be a penalty. Hey, can’t get penalized if you never reject the marriage in the first place. Just keep delaying it till kingdom come. It also brings about the thought of how perfect the system is. We are shown in this anime that the success rate is very high but that doesn’t mean it is 100% perfect. The initial plan for a happy family is good but if the government starts taking control on who you should marry, what’s next? Telling you what kind of job you should have and the way you should live your life? The freedom of the ordinary people is soon being taken away. Therefore sometimes people only put up with this so as to look good in the eyes of the government.

But let’s not stray too far and remain within this Yukari Law system context. By having this system itself, does it show that the government doesn’t trust its people to make their own decisions and hence decide for them? Or is it the people are not smart enough to decide their own future and therefore the government had to step in with this some sort of programme. Either way, it is a good thing that we see many people who have been paired off in this anime to marry happily and give their thanks to the system. But it feels like they’ve been brainwashed… It’s like saying without the system, they would never have met their destined partner, etc. Well, it depends on how you look at it. There is always that question that if they could have met a better person or one that is far worse. And I guess that because of the high success rate of this law, nobody is particularly complaining. That is why they allow this to happen. Wow. The government got something right for once?

The most WTF and mind boggling event for this is the special government programme whereby young kids who are still in high school are being taught about love making. Wait a minute. Are kids too dumb to figure out about sex and go with instincts?! That was my first thought when that episode played out. Of course for plot purposes, it is meant to ‘bring in some excitement’. Too bad no sex scenes ever happened. What about porn? Kids their age in this era would have been experts in using the internet to find out about porn. Therefore the make-out session during the programme doesn’t really make any sense and my Spidey senses are tingling it could be one big scam to film some unsolicited high school porn and sell them to horny gaijin overseas. Or it could be just one big collateral. You know, you made out with me then, now you have to marry me. That sounds more like blackmail…

The main characters aren’t anything special. Like I’ve said, they’re just confused with the entire thing because what your heart wants isn’t necessarily the same as what the government wants you to have. Like Nejima who is just a pretty normal guy with nothing eventful going on his life. They make him have this bizarre fetish of burial grounds so as to give him some sort of character but more than that, there isn’t anything more. Misaki and Ririna are trying to be so considerate by playing the nice girl that they go so far as to hide their feelings. All for the sake of Nejima’s happiness and the other girl. Well, it made Misaki into some sort of walking emotional time bomb. Ririna trying to be some sort of freak interested to watch the ‘illicit’ romance between Nejima and Misaki I feel is somewhat a way to suppress her feelings. Because if Nejima really goes for Misaki then she wouldn’t have to feel so bad that he never loved her before in the first place. I guess if it is a smile that they want to protect and in makes them happy, so be it.

Nisaka was a surprise because I never thought he really liked Nejima on this sort of gay level. There were faint signs but I never gave it much thought. I believe he doesn’t want to lose the status quo of being his friend and staying close to him. When your friend is a straight person and suddenly you confess that you like him as a gay. Super awkward. I mean, Nisaka don’t mind being next to him but how will Nejima react the next time? The guys are always together and knowing the simpleton Nejima is, he is going to freak out and avoid him more than he is nervous to Misaki or Ririna. Hey, at least Nisaka is good looking too. Why does the plain guy like him always get the attraction of hot people?! It’s a good thing Nejima is too dumb and dense to realize this. Arisa might be a very minor character and I feel that she is very much wasted and pretty ‘useless’. I don’t know why they need to introduce her in the first place as the girl who makes friends with Ririna. I guess it’s to tell us that she too has a friend. Isn’t Misaki one? It isn’t like Arisa became her friend before she knew Misaki. Heck, it was after.

Igarashi is being one big mystery because I still don’t get it why she is trying to do it all for Misaki. Heck, I believe she is partially responsible for all this mess and messing with Nejima’s head about that fake notification. Had it not been sent, I believe Nejima won’t be this confused and devastated at first. Like how Nisaka is being gay for Nejima, perhaps Igarashi is being lesbian for Misaki. After all, you can see that she doesn’t like Nejima very much. Yeah, this was all to screw with him but it also ultimately screwed with Misaki. So I don’t really get it why she sent that fake notification assuming if it was really from her. It just made everyone darn confused. Maybe it did some good and maybe it did not but for sure it was one of the weirdest way to mess around.

One of the things that kept ‘bugging’ me throughout the series is the art style. Everything seems simple and plain and for a romantic comedy like this one it is acceptable. However the thing that stands out a lot is how big the characters’ eyes are! I’m not kidding you. Not to say that they are monstrosity big but they are obviously big enough to make you notice that they are. If you thought 12-sai: Chicchana Mune No Tokimeki had big eyes too, but that series covered it up with all the moe and kawaii cuteness. Hence a show which looks like it is technically for kids and it wasn’t that distracting.

However as for this series, it gives the characters this very strange look. Even if Ririna and Misaki are cuties, because of big eye art style, they look cute in the strange sense. Like life-like dolls… Kinda reminds me of that Cyclops girl in Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou. Oh heck. Wait a minute. Doesn’t she look very close to Misaki?! Just take away and eye and you get this… And here is another odd freaky fact I noticed: Doesn’t Misaki look a bit like Kana Hanazawa, the one who voiced the character? Must be the hairstyle… Animated by Lidenfilms who did Yamada-kun And The Seven Witches, Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi To Akashic Records and Terra Formars.

Aside Kana Hanazawa as Misaki, I only recognized Akira Ishida as Nisaka’s dad. I didn’t realize it was Eri Kitamura behind Igarashi’s voice since the last few animes I watched with her in it, she was voicing haughty characters. So this very quiet and mysterious character didn’t really make me think it was he behind it. I also mistakenly thought it was Tetsuya Kakihara behind Nisaka’s voice but it turns out to be Shinnosuke Tachibana (Tomoe of Kamisama Hajimemashita). He other casts are Ryota Ohsaka as Nejima (Marco in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yui Makino as Ririna (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle series) and Kishiou Taniyama as Yajima (Jean in Shingeki No Kyojin).

Surprisingly, the opening theme, Kanashii Ureshii by Frederic is quite catchy. At least at the beginning. It has this very playful and prankish tune to it when the song starts off. Quite fun. And then as the song progresses, it gets really monotonous and weird. Maybe it was the drum beats in the background which felt like it was banging something else. Somewhat a reflection of what this series feels like? Starting out great and then it went slightly downhill. At least the overall for the ending theme isn’t that bad, Can’t You Say by Roys. The hip hop beat of this song makes it quite likeable. There are also quite a few nice BGMs to listen. My favourite in particular is the ubiquitous Confession which I believe is the main theme song and overplayed several times in every episode. Because of that, I believe there are a few variations and versions of this.

Overall, this series started out interesting and with an interesting concept too. But unless you are a hardcore fan of shoujo manga type of drama and romance, it will soon turn into a drag with the young ones pondering about their love as they stumble along what is truth, what is lies. Yeah, expect lots of blushing moments here as they stare deeply into each other. After all, they have only one future and have to make it right. If not now, then when? Sometimes it feels like love and lies go hand in hand. You keep lying to yourself you love that person or vice versa and at the same time love is so irrational it makes you do and say crazy stupid things. Yeah, love and lies are like accomplices to mess with the humans’ heart. No wonder men always fail to say “I do” at the right part. No, not the part where the minister tells him to take him as his lawfully wedded wife but the part where he should object by speaking now or forever hold your peace! Haha! Sorry, bad marriage joke. Is it love? Is it a lie? Well, it’s just life.

Alice To Zoroku

December 2, 2017

Little girl with strange powers escaping a lab and ends up in the care of an old man. Sounds interesting a premise for Alice To Zoroku. It’s very rare to have an old man who is a grandpa as a main protagonist. Even interesting to see the people from the lab and various secret government agencies trying to get their test subject back and standing in their way is a normal old man? Make that grumpy old man. A grumpy old man with no supernatural powers whatsoever. Just loaded with life’s experience. I guess that’s why old people are so hard to deal with.

Episode 1
In this hour long episode, the Red Queen is seen escaping from the facility. Her movements are being tracked Kouichi Kitou and his team. He is not panicking to capture her in a hurry since this will also be a good chance to collect data. However some of the surveillance team has trouble tracking her. They blame low budget and outdated surveillance equipment… Eventually Red Queen is discovered. Miriam “Minnie C” Tachibana is dispatched to retrieve her. Though Red Queen is exhausted, a maid character pops up to fight Minnie C. She gives Red Queen some nourishment and tells her to visualize the next town and jump there. By the time the fight ends, Red Queen is gone. Kitou orders the continuation of the tracking but since the bridge has collapsed, he orders their return. Zoroku Kashimura is in a shady business with a yakuza. After he gets his payment, he leaves. At the convenience store, the cashier points out this strange girl (Red Queen) who has been staring at the food for 3 hours! So call the police? Can’t do. The owner hates the cops. When Zoroku tries to talk to her, it seems she can read all his personal data. She gets cocky to make a deal with her and she’ll grant him any wish. He doesn’t understand what is going on so this frustrates her as she just vanishes. Actually, she disappears into his car. She is still bugging him to make a deal. However they have to start running since a wrecking ball is coming their way! Literally, it came in like a wrecking ball! Red Queen realizes the sisters, Asahi and Yonaga Hinagiri are after her. It becomes a chaotic and helter-skelter chase with the sisters unleashing their arrow and chain powers in their attempt to get them. And the bystanders? They must be filming a movie! When the car crashes, the girls confront each other. The sisters are adamant to bring her back to the facility but Red Queen doesn’t want to go back there and instead wants to destroy it. The spat ends when Zoroku beats them for misbehaving. They are having their statements taken by the police. The chief finds it hard to believe Zoroku but when he sees a footage how Red Queen just suddenly disappears, what else left is there to say? Zoroku is given his stuffs back and doesn’t know the police does quick car repair service. They don’t. They found it in good condition. Apparently the commotion and damage created by the chase, all effects have been erased. Like as though it never happened. Zoroku remains sceptical so the first thing he does is to sell the car.

As Zoroku eats at his usual place, here comes Red Queen popping back to bug him. So in addition to wanting his food, she wants him to be her servant? WTF? You don’t mess with this old dude! At least he hears her out. She explains there are many others like her. They are called Dreams of Alice. When she escaped, she realized she couldn’t do anything but looking inside his head, she could tell he is a good person. Then they hang out at the park. He asks her name but she doesn’t have any except being called as the Red Queen. Sana is also her name but that was given by the sisters. Zoroku will let her stay at his place but she must help with his work. He warns her not to use that strange power of hers again. Imagine if she does and she ends up killing other people. Furthermore, she can look into his mind and try to make a shady deal. It’s like blackmailing him. He won’t do crooked stuffs like that. First he wants her to fix her twisted temperament and value her friends. That facility thingy is for the adults to solve. Kitou shows to the committee the Wonderland that the Red Queen created. She can materialize anything she imagines. Anything. As they are continuing to study her, letting her remain in the outside world may create a psychological unstable state for her. Losing her who is a very valuable sample means a massive loss for the country. He would like to conduct her capture in secrecy since it would be detrimental if an accident would bring this light to the public. Sana returns to Zoroku’s place. She is amazed with all the beautiful flowers. Zoroku is a florist. So that shady deal he made with the yakuza is because he is nervous in wanting to make a move to court a woman. Zoroku’s home is a short walk from the shop. He prepares the futon and clothes belonging to his granddaughter but Sana is already fast asleep.

Episode 2
Zoroku watches the morning news. None reported yesterday’s chase. Sanae, Zoroku’s granddaughter returns and is fascinated to see Sana. Not for Sana. Immediately she goes into defence mode. Sanae isn’t surprised since grandpa told all about her. Sanae thought she could break the ice with some lame pig hand puppet show but Sana materializes real pigs to flood the room! Oink, oink! Yeah, they’re all over Sana. Sanae calls Zoroku to update what happened. It’s like a natural reaction that Sana is scared to hear his name. Sanae plays her big sister by giving her clothes to wear and does her hair. Since she is hungry and can’t wait for Sanae to make pancakes, she materializes a huge one and loses energy. Oh no. The pigs are here! Invasion of bay of pigs? I guess Sana has to now wait. While waiting, she explains her time at the facility. That is as far she can remember. The only thing she knew then was hunger. The researchers put all kinds of things into her body (nothing hentai) and she never understood language as she didn’t need it. One day she was introduced to the sisters and that is when her world starts to change. She realizes how different everyone is and starts opening up to them. The sisters taught her a lot of things. It was fun times. Then one day Sana saw something horrible happen to other subjects in the facility. It was then she got scared and decided to run. There were so many things happening there she didn’t know. Sana then takes Sanae on a whirlwind adventure. Literally teleporting here and there! Wow. Real adventures! Even petting the penguins at South Pole! But they have to go home soon. You know how cranky Zoroku can get if he doesn’t find them home. So when Sana teleports them to the flower shop, she somehow teleports the pigs too! Invasion of bay of pigs again?! So now the pigs stampede all over the place! Zoroku’s old friend, Ryuu Naito and Shizuku Ichijou arrive only to see Sana crying. She got scolded… At least the pigs are under control…

Episode 3
Kitou talks to Minnie C on several stuffs. She loves wearing the kimono as it reminds her of her husband. It calms her down as she could feel his warm arms wrap around her. His big hairy white American arms. Ichijou talks to Sana and calms her down. She notes they have met before but Sana doesn’t remember. Then it’s back to this… Zoroku wants Sana to apologize but she remains stubborn and throwing a tantrum. This is going to take a while. Naito takes over to assure they are here to protect her and can’t let those guys take her back. He gives her a pin which is a tracker. More flashbacks from Minnie C spending her times with her husband. He was in the military and they loved each other very much. Till he died in a bomb diffusing incident. Her world came crashing down. She suffered from insomnia but when dreamt of her husband’s big hairy white American arms embracing her, she calmed down. It was then she became a Dream of Alice. Naito asks Sana if she would like to become a family member of Zoroku. Grandpa doesn’t like it one bit despite Naito will make arrangements for everything to be provided for. Knowing Naito, he knows there is an ulterior motive. If Sana is going to live with him, there is something she has to say to him first. Oh no. Not this again. As usual, Sana won’t say it and gives excuse she needs to go to the toilet. While relieving herself, she is suddenly kidnapped by those big hairy white American arms. The rest realize something is wrong when she is taking too long. Yeah, the toilet is ‘missing’. They detect the tracker moving as Ichijou tries to follow it. However they realize they have been tricked when the toilet ends up somewhere and Sana is not in there. She is tied up in a vehicle with Minnie C. To hide their tracks, they hide inside a trailer. Sana tries to struggle so Minnie C uses those big hair white American arms (I should stop saying this) to pin her down and warn she could easily kill her. She remembers Kitou showing her Wonderland. She was amazed at all the stuffs Red Queen could materialize and there is no end to it. Each Dream of Alice has only a Card and even so, getting the power they want isn’t guaranteed unlike Red Queen who can easily conjure anything. Kitou asks Minnie C if she could get this power, what would she wish for. It should be no surprise she would do anything to see her husband again.

Episode 4
Sanae blames herself for bringing Sana here. Naito assures those guys won’t do any harm to Sana as she is precious. Minnie C is disappointed despite Sana’s vast power in Wonderland, she is powerless in the outside world. After all, she isn’t actually human. In fact, she wasn’t even a living thing 13 years ago. Just an unknown being mimicking human stuffs. That is why living outside is impossible and Wonderland is the only place for her. Naito reveals that similar info to Zoroku and Sanae. Of course there are factions that believe they can coexist with humans and others who don’t and just want to confine them. Sana meets a florist who looks like a grownup version of her inside her consciousness. The first thing Sana says is how flat she is and even Sanae is much bigger! The florist hints to her to call out someone’s name. Sana thinks and calls out Zoroku’s name. In a blink of an eye, that old guy is whisked beside her. Minnie C tries to subdue him with those hands but he is stronger! He assures Sana help is on the way. Because they continue to make commotion, Minnie C shoots Sana’s leg! She warns the next one will hit Zoroku. This has Sana blame herself for the troubles she has brought just because she isn’t human. She doesn’t want all this and uses her remaining energy to rewrite the scenario. This means her wound is gone. At that moment, Naito’s team is able to track Sana’s whereabouts for a short while. Minnie C explains this joint research between Japan and America to benefit humanity by researching Dreams of Alice and building an energy base of it. Zoroku doesn’t care about all that. All he sees Sana is a little girl. Even if Sana might be a weapon of mass weapon masquerading as human. Sana still blames herself as a monster and needs to go back to the facility to prevent any more people from getting hurt. Time for Zoroku’s lecture. If Minnie C claims Sana isn’t human, isn’t ironic for her to shoot a child? Who isn’t human? Plus, what defines as human? Sure, Sana might have caused trouble. Everyone does that. She might be a nuisance but she has no malicious intention and has a heart. No matter what she is, in tough times she should be with others. Zoroku has no intention to let her being taken away by these people and doesn’t like shady stuffs. I mean, she left the facility because she wanted to see what is outside, right? End of lecture. Sana, you may cry now. That is short-lived since Ichijou rips open the car’s roof to save the day.

Episode 5
With Minnie C fighting back, Ichijou surprises her by using several different types of Cards. Ichijou hides Sana and Zoroku and gives her a candy to replenish her strength while she fends off Minnie C’s arms. Well, those arms come in mini sizes and invisible as well. Minnie C recognizes Ichijou as that maid who got in her way. When Ichijou is cornered, she is forced to use her trump card. She transforms into that maid outfit and kicks ass. I guess that is why that Card is numbered #1 :-). The more Ichijou fights back, the more desperate Minnie C gets till she eventually loses. Out of energy. Ichijou reveals herself as some walking weapon because her Card absorbed some maid anime on TV that contains 666 weapons and 13 grimoires. Wicked. She arrests Minnie C for several violations. Minnie C can only wallow in regret. Sana tells Zoroku that she might be going to cause troubles but she wants to do a lot of things. She wants to be human. She must be talking for so long that her stomach starts to growl. I guess a candy bar wasn’t enough. Sana takes him for a night flight as thanks. The authorities clamp down and arrest Kitou and all his accomplice. If in real life they were this efficient… Before that happens, he tells them to erase all data on Dream of Alice. In the aftermath, the facility is shut down, the faction opposing Naito quiet down, Minnie C is deported back to US due to some protection agreement and Zoroku and Sanae has an additional family member. Sanae can’t wait to spoil her and Sana just can’t wait to experience all that.

Episode 6
Sana is living the peaceful life. However she still tries to use her power and gets a stern reminder by Zoroku. Sana follows him to the florist where he goes to make floral preparations for his client’s engagement party. It’s that yakuza. And his future wife is a high school kid? Long story. Sana learns the meaning of engagement and being married. Something like being a family. As Sana’s hair is too long and she keeps stepping on it, Zoroku suggests cutting it. Sana is excited to go to the beauty salon (I guess a barber isn’t enough). As it will take roughly and hour, Zoroku goes off to do some errands. Sana is delighted with her bob cut. Because Zoroku is running late, she decides to go look for him. Imagine Zoroku’s horror when she isn’t in the beauty salon. Weren’t the staffs keeping an eye on her? So happy Sana sings and walks around. Not sure if she knows where to look but hey, she looks happy. And nobody else cares. She gets distracted by a cat. Zoroku is running around trying to find her. It’s going to be bad for his heart. Sana realizes she is lost. She wants to use her power but remembers Zoroku’s words. Oh no. Time to start crying… Zoroku eventually receives a call from the police. She is there and a passer-by spotted a lost girl and brought her here. Zoroku carries her home and says next time when this happens, call him out like she did before. It is okay to use her power but to use it wisely. Back home, Zoroku shows her the adoption papers he got from Naito. With this, Sana will become part of the Kashimura family. How does that sound? Like getting married, right? Oh Sana…

Episode 7
Ichijou accompanies Zoroku and Sana. Sana learns how to use the train system for the first time. Meanwhile Asahi is on a spree buying up all the food she can get in China Town. Huh?! Yonaga tries to stop her from spending so recklessly but I guess this is what freedom is about. Then they bump into Sana. Instantly they run and Sana gives chase. Oh, how ironic. Not too long ago it was the sisters chasing after her. So in Sana’s attempts to catch them, they materialize all sort funny stuffs. Others must be thinking how cool those special effects. Eventually Ichijou had to intervene and punish the trio. So while the twins join them at a restaurant, Sana is still acting haughty and frazzled. She has never felt like this before. Slowly, the sisters apologize to Sana for all they once did. They missed her ever since she left the facility. It wasn’t the same. Flashback shows the sisters were abused by their father. They couldn’t take it anymore and killed him. They were sent to the facility and never left the place. It was much more fun when they got to know Sana. They never meant her to be their doll since they never taught her about the outside world. When she left, their world changed. Right now they are going to a local American school where they house those from the facility. They are happy with life now. Sana forgives them and they become friends. That night, Sana wakes up in tears and she doesn’t know why. She still has this frazzled feeling. Sanae talks and comforts her but it feels more like teasing. Maybe that is her love to Sana. Sana and the sisters now frequently keep in touch via messaging. Technology. Not even Dreams of Alice can beat that.

Episode 8
Hatori Shikishima is praying to God. She blames herself for not being smart academically since her parents are always arguing and that she is their source of bickering. One day, suddenly they made up and become good parents like she always dreamt of. Talking to her best friend Ayumu Miho, they wonder what this magic is about since they notice Hatori can actually make people stop dead in their tracks and do her bidding. She thought she was bestowed some magic by some witch but was warned if she used it for evil, she will turn into an evil witch. Of course they have some fun with this power until they realize those affected don’t really turn back but become zombies waiting for their next order. Hatori realizes that her parents are just being nice because of her magic. As long as she is here, this house is nothing but lies. So the best friends decide to run far away. In town, they just freeze everybody like that? Meanwhile Sana must have got used to her florist chores when suddenly Zoroku and the rest cannot move. Hatori and Ayumu talk about things when they notice Sana moving among the crowd. She is the only one not affected. They go talk to her as Sana is trying hard catching her breath trying to find an answer to why everyone suddenly cannot move. Ayumu asks Sana if she knows anything to undo Hatori’s magic so that she doesn’t have to run away from home anymore. However Sana upon knowing they are responsible for this freak accident starts to get mad. Her scream nullifies everything and returns everyone to normal. But that’s not enough. Sana is still mad. So she materializes a giant Santa with hammer?! However it soon disappears. Both girls try to battle each other via their power but it keeps nullifying each other. When all else don’t work, girly fist fight time! Man, Sana is weak. Hatori and Ayumu run away as Sana collapses after running out of energy. Hatori views herself at fault for this incident because it shocked Sana’s world. She believes she has become an evil witch.

Episode 9
Hatori returns home and although mom greets her, she isn’t sure which version of her she is. Sana wakes up one night worried about Zoroku. Nothing has happened to him. In her relief, she starts crying and hugging him. Awkward… Asahi and Yonaga are here to stay over for a night as requested by Zoroku. The little ones have fun as the sisters observe Sana has gotten used in doing daily chores. When Zoroku returns late from work that night, it’s like Sana could sense him coming back and goes to hug him and won’t let go! So now she’s a leech? But the next morning, Zoroku has to go to work to fix some flower arrangements that was messed up yesterday. He is supposed to be off today. So apparently Sana blames this on those evil witches and is going to get them. Wow. She really isn’t letting go of this grudge. Ayumu is shocked to hear Hatori isn’t going to run anymore but stay here forever. She doesn’t mind if it’s a lie as long as her parents get along. Naito and his assistant, Noriko Yamada are outside Hatori’s house wanting to talk to her but her mom answers the call. They leave once they are done. But something is amiss. Naito has been keeping a marker somewhere and realizes they have been had again. This is the fifth time. Hatori seems to have the power to control others and only allows those she approves to go near the house. He thinks perhaps someone close to her might be able to help. Ayumu is going around town asking for people’s help if they have seen Sana. Nada. Ayumu remembers Hatori telling her never to come again for fear she might hurt her. Suddenly Cheshire cat’s face pops up before her and she is sent falling through a rabbit hole (though I would like to think it is a manhole). She ends up in a strange fantasy land whereby Sana as a little queen riding a turtle is going to teach her a lesson. WTF?! What does a turtle have to do with this?!

Episode 10
Sana wants to make Ayumu reflect and apologize. Ayumu will do so but wants her to tell all she knows about this power. Still not satisfied? Sana hears Zoroku calling her. That worried look… She should be. Because she teleported the toilet somewhere else to pull off this crap! Later Sana talks to Ayumu but is confused when she painter Hatori as a good person. Zoroku and Sanae call Sana for dinner but she didn’t answer. When they go check on her, she left a note saying that she went to catch an evil girl. Huh? Hatori is at home when she follows a little rabbit into a magical door and into a magical fantasy world. Hatori is now before Sana (masquerading as some box king). You think Hatori is scared of her? Nope. Starting to panic now, eh? It throws Sana off her pace since Hatori admits she is evil. What’s the use trying to tell her not to do evil stuffs? Didn’t she just say she is evil? Sana is more confused remembering Ayumu’s words about Hatori being nice, kind, smarter, etc. Ayumu is jealous and wished she had those powers. Sana is still bratty but lets it slip she is trying to help her because of her friend. Hatori becomes mad and the tables are now turned as she tries to make Sana spill the beans if Ayumu put her up to this. As she won’t tell, Hatori uses her power to order her. But it clashes with Sana’s. Because of that, the entire world starts crumbling. This also cause some sort of anomaly in the real world. Yamada detects Wonderland expanding. Strange things pop up in reality and certain people start to have Dreams of Alice. Ichijou calls Zoroku to check if Sana is in. It only confirms that she is stuck in Wonderland with somebody else (Hatori and Ayumu’s parents are out looking for her). Zoroku is going to come along because it’s an adult’s job to bring the kids back. Sana is trapped inside a box. She can’t use her power and is too bratty to ask for help. Hatori easily frees her. Awkward moment. Hatori is willing to apologize as long as she is sent home. However Sana can’t do that. They might be stuck here forever.

Episode 11
Zoroku and Sanae are brought to Wonderland. Ichijou goes with them but she is soon plunged into a hole. A rabbit hole? With no leads, I guess they’ll have to follow this little spotted pig to wherever it brings them. This place must be one big abstract memory of Sana as there are many huge monuments of what she did with Zoroku. Sana doesn’t have any power and she is unsure of this parts in Wonderland. Hatori doesn’t give up and tries to follow the path she thinks will lead her back. However the door is nothing but a door. Sana needs to work out as she has been catching her breath for a long time. So resting in a house, they talk about things. Like Hatori believes her mom hates her because of her poor grades and the reason her parents are fighting. She loves her mom but thinks her mom wished she wasn’t her daughter. This talk of existence has Sana reveal she was born from this place and that she has no mom like others. Sana believes after talking to her, she must be some sort of communication device as she is part of Wonderland and humans are curious to know about it. So she ponders about her own existence if it is necessary. That made Hatori cry? Wow. Must be such a sad story. Sana continues she also found joy and happiness and hence there are things she needs. The girls reconcile as Sana messes with her hair (because that’s what Sanae always does) and Hatori hugging her (because that’s what mom always does). Hatori really wants to see mom again and requests Sana help her.

Episode 12
It has been 10 days a relentless search is put out for Hatori. Ayumu also helps look as she remembers a place they promised to go together. She wonders if she has gone there by herself. Hatori realizes her handphone is missing. They notice it is in the hands of the rabbit. After catching it, Hatori realizes there have been messages left by Ayumu. Earlier on she noticed there was no signal. Having such messages mean the rabbit is somehow connected to the outside world. They continue to chase and follow the rabbit. Is it leading them on a wild goose hunt since they’re traversing dangerously? They finally end up in a place where there is signal. Hatori calls Ayumu and it connects. The friends are glad to hear each other. Ayumu is relieved she thought Hatori hated her and had run away. With the battery running low, Hattori and Sana tell her they can’t use their powers and hence cannot get out. As Wonderland is big, it is hard to find the exit from within unlike in the real world which is ‘smaller’. She has to find the rabbit hole. Ayumu rushes back to town to the spot where Hattori disappeared. A door pops up and she enters. The friends reunite and at the same time the pig leads the grandpa and his granddaughter to them. However the place starts shaking. Something is wrong. It is detected Wonderland is expanding into reality soon. Guess what? Zoroku lectures it to stop this crap and the shaking stops!!! WTF?! The expansion stops and everything stabilizes. The rabbit fears him and gives him a button to press. It releases Ichijou from wherever she was, dropping from the sky. The exit leads them back to Sana’s room. Sana is happy but better take off your shoes before you get another scolding from Zoroku. Zoroku and Sana walk Hatori and Ayumu home. They apologize and know they have a lot to atone for. Ayumu lets Hatori know how her parents searched for her every day. When she returns to them, they instantly hug her. In the aftermath, the government makes an official statement about the Dreams of Alice phenomenon and is planning to make a response office. Ichijou and Yamada wonder what kind of change the world is going to have. Naito doesn’t care as long as the children are happy and healthy. Sana leads a happier life. She now goes to school and is good friends with Hatori and Ayumu.

“What A Strange World We Live In”
And so it leaves with this mind boggling narration about a story of a girl who will continue to search for herself so she can become me. Huh? Yeah, almost forgot about that Sana grownup clone. Don’t tell me that is Zoroku’s daughter trapped in some parts of Wonderland. After all, why was she thanking Zoroku for everything to be alright now? Or is this the future Sana? I don’t care anymore. I’m already bored and I don’t have the energy to be further confused with this ending ‘plot twist’.

Initially, the first half of the series was interesting since a small group of people were trying to take Sana back. It might not be the most exciting of such plots and thrillers but it is certainly better than the second half which was just plain boring. Because ever since Sana is freed from her pursuers and living the normal free life, it might be all peaceful for Sana and that is good for her and those around her. However the plot of the story suffers from that. Like as though there aren’t any more threats to her and the producers feel like they have to fill the remaining episodes of the season and come up with this really boring plot of another conflicted girl. It didn’t really did quite live up to the excitement and drama in the first half although I use those terms loosely. Yeah, maybe it was so that Sana could end up having friends her own age instead of being super clingy to an old guy in which if you think about it is just creepy since they aren’t actually blood related. And to avoid Sanae monopolizing Sana as her plaything…

As for the main characters, Sana and Zoroku, I fail to see how they would capture our hearts. Blame me for expecting something out of it but even if there were some close bonding moments of the duo (if that is what I should call it), at the end of the day it still doesn’t make me feel that they are close enough to be a close knit family. Even with Sanae around, it just fails to drum up another sort of emotional factor that they are a close family unit. Yes, Sana is new to the family and her surroundings. But even by the end of the series I didn’t feel they’re as closely knitted as they should. It’s like they’re just together because now Sana shares the same family name.

For Sana, even if she isn’t really human and something that has learnt to become one, personally she isn’t that likeable. She may have this strange power learn things but this doesn’t mean she understands them. Because of that, it feels like as though she is a retard but all that is covered up because of her cute factor. She looks so cute in almost anything she does that I’m sure we wouldn’t mind. Another thing why she is unlikeable is how pushy she was. When meeting Zoroku for the first time, she thinks she can boss him around but usually gets owned. It feels like Zoroku’s hand crushing over her face as punishment is like a running joke of the series. This gets even worse in the second half when she starts holding a personal grudge on Hatori. She just couldn’t let go. Sure, it might be traumatic for her to experience that time stopping incident. But does she have to go all her way out to seek her own brand of revenge? She was becoming annoying and borderline hateful. I thought she was going to be the antagonist. Ah well, all part of learning, I guess. One reason why I think Sana was being such an annoying brat towards Hatori is because if you remember the Alice In Wonderland story, the Queen of Hearts was a menacing b*tch, right? Sana is nicknamed the Red Queen, right? See the connection? Does this mean Sana isn’t actually the hero but the antagonist?!

Zoroku isn’t particularly special as I hoped for him to be. At times he might give Sana some advice and put her in her place but there is nothing more to that. He isn’t the flashy kind and with his grumpy exterior, he is like that one grumpy grandpa or uncle that all of us has. Maybe that is the only thing that makes him stand out. As he is calm and doing things his own pace, he isn’t the kind of character who jumps in flashily using his fists to punch away the baddies and then dispenses his great wisdom in a lively passionate voice. Nothing of that sort for Zoroku. Or maybe it is just his ‘scary’ voice that could even make something inanimate as Wonderland obey his command! Imagine if heaven and hell did that then Zoroku must be God! That was really mind blowing but come to think of it, if Wonderland was created by Sana, then Wonderland is part of her so it could be that Wonderland fears Zoroku is because Wonderland is Sana. Think about it. But at least overall he is still more likeable than bratty Sana. He might not show it but he still loves Sana like another part of his family. Imagine if Zoroku starts fawning and blushing over a new granddaughter. Creepy as hell!

As for the other supporting characters, I guess they’re just rather okay. Like Sanae feels like somebody close to Sana as her big sister so that she will not feel lonely and it won’t make this strange family unit look like a pedo type. You know, an old guy with a young girl living alone together… Naito and Ichijou are watching over them just in case and Yamada must be some sort of freaky fan girl of Ichijou whenever she dons her maid outfit. I understand her. I know I would to. Yonaga and Asahi have become irrelevant when the lab has been taken down but even during their hot pursue of Sana, it’s like they were never that prominent either. Now they are so tame like as though they’ve been friends forever. Well, they are. Only when Sana decided to escape, they became temporary enemies.

The thing that boggles my mind is Kitou. Not this guy entirely. He is very calm in cool in his mission to retrieve Sana. And when he was caught, he went meekly. And everything was over the moment that happened. So it made me wonder that if this is a very large secretive experiment done, would he or other research teams just drop this research just like that? This is assuming they are locked up properly and can’t move the slightest. So much effort has been put into the research and data collecting and it is abandoned just like that? For now it looks like Naito’s faction is taking care of the facility but nothing really important happening.

So for the people who were initially trying to take back Sana so badly, they then got defeated and were never heard of again. Like that strange kid with powers to rewrite everything back to normal again with his sketch. Who the heck is he? He was with Kitou and the sisters during Sana’s chase. He doesn’t talk much. Everything else about him is a mystery. So when Kitou is out of the picture for good, we never hear of him again. I thought another sort of antagonist would appear because this experiment had too much potential to leave it be but then like I said, Sana became the annoying ‘antagonist’ for the remainder half. Think about it. Having a little girl with so much potential power be wasted and live a normal life? You think the government would let that slide? Assuming they are the ones funding the research. Now that it has gotten official (I believe thanks to a little threatening and string pulling by Naito), all isn’t lost. Minnie C wasn’t really the villain. She was desperate to have something she wanted back real back. She failed, so does this make her wrong? Just like Sana, she’ll have to learn and accept reality that there are some things that cannot be brought back to life. Not even Sana’s power can do that, right?

Therefore it is convenient that not much of this Dreams of Alice power is explained. We do not know where they came from all how it all started. Not even why Wonderland is always expanding. Like as though it is some mini universe within Earth but expanding infinitely. Damn, I’m confused. We are also unsure why some people manifest such powers. How it really works and what are its characters are also a big question mark. So we just accept it for now that it is part of the plot device. Well, doesn’t sound like a good one. Heck, I believe there are other specimens in Wonderland, each with their own unique Dreams of Alice power. I mean, Sana and the sisters (and that other kid too) can’t be the only ones, right? With Sana being the most powerful, I figure the rest aren’t as exciting or intriguing and would be more or less like Asahi and Yonaga or worse. So my only conspiracy theory that I can think off why Sana clicks with Zoroku so well instead of any other old guys other than the fact he was there at the wrong place and wrong time, well, you know this anime’s title, Alice To Zoroku? If you take its initials, it sounds like A To Z. From A to Z. The alpha and the omega. They are the ones with the power to destroy and create a new world! They are the gods! That is why Sana could manifest anything and Zoroku ends it all with his hand crush and his voice telling off others! Haha! Just kidding. Maybe.

The art and animation aren’t the best. For one thing, the character designs have this very simplistic look. I thought the characters were taken after Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. Heck, I thought I could see some similarities from both series despite both being written by different authors and animated by different studios. Because of that, at first glance the series looks more like a bit like a children’s cartoon. Then there is the use of CGI especially in the first episode. It really feels odd like that car chase sequence. It makes it feel unreal. So dreamy. Like Wonderland. Like as though some game creator amateur wannabe used this as a testing ground and the producers okayed it because what the heck, it looks passable. Not by today’s standards.

Voice acting, needless to say that Mamiko Noto still owns it as Minnie C. Maybe she is the reason why I prefer the first half of the story. And the reason why the second half sucks… Maybe. Just maybe. Although her character didn’t die, I do feel bad for her character. Other recognizable seiyuus include Ami Koshimizu as Ichijou, Aki Toyosaki as Sanae and Houchu Ohtsuka as Naito. The rest of the casts are Hitomi Oowada as Sana (Tsubame in New Game), Akio Ohtsuka as Zoroku (titular character in Black Jack series), Akari Kitou as Yonaga (Aryabhata in Taboo Tatoo), Natsumi Fujiwara as Asahi (Chihiro in Shonen Maid), Masaya Matsukaze as Kitou (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Yuuki Hirose as Yamada (Tomoe in Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-Bu), Shuu Uchida as Hatori and Minami Takahashi as Ayumu (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma). The opening theme is Wonder Drive by Oresama. Lots of synthesizers used to make it sound as lively as it should. The ending theme is Chant by Toi Toy Toi. Heck, I thought it was Mamiko Noto singing it! This song has this fantasy fairytale-like feel and that dreamy singer’s voice gives off that similar feel of that ending theme in Flip Flappers.

Overall, this series had its potential to be more interesting but falters where it needed to become better. Some heart-warming scenes to tug the heart strings but ultimately it’s like they are masquerading a show about a grandpa and a granddaughter with some supernatural stuffs. And if you want to watch a show with some old people bonding with their younger child, they are better shows out there. Like Usagi Drop. Okay, the parent isn’t an old guy but you get the point if you want to see a good parent and child story. I read Tokyo Godfathers is also good but I didn’t see that movie. If there is a sequel, let’s hope the Dreams of Alice could do something to fix it. Or we’ll never hear the end of it from old people b*tching about those good ol’ days and how it was supposedly done.

Aho Girl

December 1, 2017

They say that smart people tend to have no confidence while stupid people are full of confidence. That being said, I guess this means the entire world is full of idiots either way! Having said that, I guess one can guess the mayhem and chaos to be expected when you have an anime title like Aho Girl. It feels like the Japanese version to the western’s dumb blonde. Even the synopsis tells you the hard facts of how the titular character is one hell of a stupid girl!!! An idiot beyond all belief! How she managed to survive all these years is beyond me. Maybe it’s the bunch of bananas…

Episode 1A
Yoshiko Hanabatake is really dumb! She proudly shows Akuru Akutsu she got all zeros in her proficiency tests! He warns her about not being able to survive for being stupid but as you might guessed it, she’s too stupid to understand. She hints to be somebody’s housewife but Akuru isn’t going to marry a stupid girl like her. Does this means he has a girlfriend? No? When she teases he doesn’t understand girls, he uppercuts her in the chin. More dramatic stupidity when she declares how much she loves him. Especially how he feeds her bananas. Yeah… Bananas… He isn’t considerate following her to the same school since this is the closest to his home. She calls him a tsundere and would allow him to see her panties. Then she remembers a banana shop selling top quality bananas and needs to go get them. School isn’t over yet…

Episode 1B
Akuru sees Yoshiko sleeping in her undies. Don’t even try to pull off that seducing look… Even Yoshiko’s mom, Yoshie regrets her daughter is so stupid. She hints she will be less worried if Akuru dates her. Not a chance. Who wants to date a monkey?! Oh dear, she is begging to him! At least make her human! He will try but if that fails, he plans to make her commit a misdemeanour and get her locked up. In class, Yoshiko calls Sayaka Sumino cute. Akuru agrees so Yoshiko thinks he is hitting on her. Because of his scary face, Sayaka forces herself to agree with him they’re not dating. Yoshiko continues to be shameless about letting him see her undies this morning so he does a German suplex on her. Put on some clothes then! I think Sayaka is totally afraid of him now.

Episode 1C
Yoshiko as usual doesn’t understand a damn thing in class. Sayaka believes she must be good with at least one thing. No, bananas don’t count. Standing above others? Impossible. Sayaka herself isn’t confident of her own abilities so Yoshiko tells her to have more confidence. She’s the one to say. Akuru tells off Sayaka to just tell Yoshiko off whenever she fools around. But he looks so scary it just made her cry. Yoshiko warns her of his temper but Sayaka still believes he has a few friends. Yoshiko shows his handphone’s contacts. Only Yoshiko’s number. With that Sayaka will be his friend. She realizes he isn’t scary once she knows his tragic story. What… It’s so insulting that it’s depressing.

Episode 1D
Yoshiko has this wonderful idea to cut out pictures of her face and paste it over sexy models in a gravure magazine. But putting the bait right in front of his doorstep? Step to crush! There is a spot check at the gates by the discipline committee led by Fuuki Iinchou. Yoshiko can’t throw away the magazine because it is part of her! When Iinchou finds out about it, she blames Akuru for encouraging such. Yoshiko then accuses Iinchou of indecency because her boobs are bigger than hers. She bribes her 10 Yen to grope them. In the name of science! When she wants to bribe bananas, Iinchou gets the wrong idea she meant a dick. Being horrified allows Yoshiko to grope her boobs. She becomes mad they are higher quality than hers. Akuru beats her up till she knocks out. He apologizes to Iinchou and if that idiot ever causes trouble again, please let him know. Iinchou starting to like him?

Episode 2A
Yoshiko invites herself to play with a few kids at the playground. At first they didn’t like her but because she sound so cool with her stupidity, they look up to her. Until Akuru comes to take her away to study. Yoshiko points out he is the bad guy so the kids get scared. The only way out of this stupidity is to play the game so he takes one of them hostage. Yoshiko tries to go rescue but it looks like she is enjoying every moment of Akuru’s swinging until the pain reaches her. When the kids defend Yoshiko, Akuru exposes her stupidity. She even confirms it herself so the kids lecture her about having responsibilities as an adult. Akuru shuts her and takes her away. This makes the kids think they need to work hard and not be like her. A blessing in disguise?

Episode 2B
On the way home, Akuru and co stumble into a delinquent, Ryuuichi Kurosaki. He tries to hit on Sayaka but Yoshiko thinks she is the cute one. Each time he shoos her away, Yoshiko insists he plays with her! Yoshiko guesses he too is a lonely soul who has no one to play with. She understands his pain. When he continues to resist, she slaps him and tells him to shut up and just play with him. Seeing her (idiotic) serious eyes, he realizes his own moronic self and wonders if she will still accept him. Of course. She is an idiot. The idiots embrace with full drama an emotion.

Episode 2C
The girls visit Akuru’s home. Sayaka learns he has a little sister, Ruri. Good thing she hates Yoshiko and doesn’t want to catch her stupidity. She insists she is not like Yoshiko because she studies hard despite the latter’s attempt to convince they are the same. Akuru then sees Ruri’s latest test scores. A big zero! OMG! Another idiot?! The sad part is that she puts in effort but yet she gets this result. Yoshiko is scaring Ruri and tempting her to the idiotic side. Akuru assures that he will take care of Ruri even if she is an idiot her entire life. That’s not a compliment! Now she hates him. Though, she hates Yoshiko even more. Sayaka tries to cheer her up that she will overcome her stupidity one day. Might not be the best but at least it makes her feel better.

Episode 2D
Iinchou spying on Akuru? Definitely fallen for him. With all her flustering, I’m sure it’s not hard to tell. When spotted, she gives excuse that she is here for another spot check fearing Akuru might bring another erotic magazine. Since he tells her she can search all she wants, she misinterprets she can violate his body! Oh no. She is going to do just that. Yoshiko can tell (nose bleed giveaway) and won’t allow it. She gropes her boobs. Iinchou realizes her technique has become better although Yoshiko is distraught they have gotten bigger. Iinchou does a suplex on her to knock her out. With no one in the way, she targets Akuru. He avoids her since she is scary. Eventually she knocks herself out and when she comes to, she is in his arms. I guess that is enough for that and will be back for more next time. The satisfied nose bleed says it all.

Episode 3A
Yoshie is shocked when Yoshiko introduces her to Sayaka. She is afraid this cuter girl will steal Akuru’s heart and put a damper to her retirement plan! She tries to warn Akuru about girls like Sayaka who are the silent type but are actually gold diggers. She knows. She’s speaking from experience. When Sayaka sincerely says they are just normal friends, Yoshie wants her to prove that by showing her panties. Eh? What? She can tell a girl’s intention from the panties she wears. Because of that, Yoshiko wants in and the crazy mother-daughter pair handcuff her to the table. Also from experience, Yoshie? Before they could violate her, Akuru stops them. Sayaka doesn’t want violence so she agrees to show them. The verdict? Yoshie allows Akuru to be friends with her. Shut Yoshiko up before she reveals her kiddie prints…

Episode 3B
Yoshiko plays with the kids at the playground again. This time a huge dog chases them. Yoshiko has this idea to ride it. Even so, it still chases them. Not too sure about this move of hers of doing a suplex with her legs. Eventually the weight of the dog is too much for her and the dog falls on her. Cool scene ruined. They see a note on a dog’s collar and realizes it is a stray. Yoshiko wants to keep it so she can ride it.

Episode 3C
Yoshiko loves the best bananas grown by Satou. So she takes Sayaka to personally go thank him. Yeah, they run the entire trip. So instead of getting refreshments from the store, Yoshiko bought an ugly mascot. No more money. Oh, there is still some. Buy the mascot’s kids. Now they’re out of money. Sayaka is so frustrated that she kept running. Happy Yoshiko follows suit. They finally reach Satou’s farm as Yoshiko thanks him from the bottom of her heart. So are they going to run the entire way back too? Sayaka forces herself to prostrate and beg for train money.

Episode 3D
Akuru despite scoring very high marks is still dissatisfied. Yoshiko got the cheek to even say he is clumsy and not able to finish the job for a perfect score. Because of that, Yoshiko has this idea to cheer him up like what mom does to dad at night. Wait. What?! So she handcuffs him and strips her top to treat him like a baby?! Wait. What?! Then she smothers him in her boobs. And even takes a selfie and sends it to Sayaka! Luckily Sayaka is smart enough to know what is happening and could only pity him. Now that Akuru is so mad, he is able to kick the daylights out of Yoshiko even when tied up. Well, at least he is back to normal. Before Yoshiko ‘dies’, she tells him the key is in her skirt. The torture continues. As he struggles to get them, Ruri comes in and sees this… Death a high school student confirmed.

Episode 4A
Ryuuichi is now Yoshiko’s follower and will do anything to protect her. So as he faces off with Akuru, he loses. He likes his punch and wants to be his friend. That gay look… Yoshiko takes those park kids to a rooftop hero show. Disappointed? Yoshiko is eager to be taken as the hostage but Nozomi was taken instead. Wow. Yoshiko is really eager to fight and save her. The guys are forced to join Yoshiko for fear Nozomi would like Yoshiko and become dumb like her. So with their scary faces, they force the villain to just be defeated. And the day is saved. And Nozomi hugs and thanks Yoshiko instead. Doomed…

Episode 4B
Yoshiko trains Ryuuichi to be Akuru’s friend by having him prostrate to a badly made cardboard of him? Yoshiko continues to fail her test. Even her teacher, Atsuko Oshieda has had it. However she always get dragged into Yoshiko’s flow. Buying bananas for her? When Atsuko has her answer a question, Yoshiko deflects it back to her regarding her empty love life. Her convincing stupidity has Atsuko losing it. Oh no. She has let the stupidity got to her head and is now seriously reflecting about the consequences of Yoshiko’s words! Now she turns to Akuru and wants him to show her love! Too bad he has to beat her up too. He notes if she gives up, nobody will ever teach Yoshiko anything!

Episode 4C
Ryuuichi confronts Akuru as he begs him to be his friend. He agrees. Alright! Because of the way he worded, he realizes too late he became his dog instead. As tomorrow is Akuru’s birthday, Yoshiko has this idea to sneak into his room to find out what he wants. So she’s dragging Sayaka into this? Iinchou hears this and wants in too. Yes, her boobs are as big as her feelings and that qualifies her. So as they sneak in, Akuru has already laid out all the traps expecting them. Poor thing Sayaka is the one who has to pick up after their carelessness. Hang in there. So the idiotic duo fool around with his boxers. When the argument gets too loud, Ruri enters and Iinchou accidentally slams her head! Then they continue to argue sleeping next to him or give him a kiss. It ends up Iinchou sleeping and elbowing Akuru’s gut! The awakened demon is mad… That is when Sayaka blows her top to scold all of them about their real goal here. We’re sorry… Damn Yoshiko already fast asleep…

Episode 5A
Summer vacation is here. Because Akuru plans to study, Yoshiko calls him an idiot. Beat down! Yoshiko has tickets for a magical girl show. Akuru thought Ruri doesn’t like it but seeing the tears welling in her eyes, I guess he is all for it. As expected, Yoshiko is going to get noisy so he has luckily brought tape to tape her down. Even Ruri is starting to sound like Yoshiko and big brother almost beats her up! It gets from bad to worse when the heroine is losing and the girls start crying!!! No choice, Akuru knocks them out and leaves. When Ruri comes to, she doesn’t understand why she is back home. Was she not at the movies? Akuru says she has been studying all day and was just perhaps dreaming. Phew. Meanwhile Yoshiko is back home and thinks she has teleportation powers.

Episode 5B
Yoshiko won a raffle for a free trip to the hotspring. I guess Iinchou wants to come along. Oh, Ryuuichi too? So the first order is to shop for swimsuits. Akuru isn’t impressed when the girls ask his opinion but Ryuuichi too?! Then Akuru drops the bomb he isn’t going. Shock! But why?! Sayaka argues if he doesn’t go, it is pointless because these people want to be his friends. He doesn’t want to be with these weirdoes. But she points out he is also a weirdo because he doesn’t want to make friends. That’s because everyone around him is a weirdo. So if he goes by this logic, it means Sayaka is also a weirdo and hence the only friend he will ever have is Yoshiko! So won’t you be friends with Sayaka? Cue for puppy dog eyes. OMG. You can’t argue with that. Because of that, he’ll go. The trip is saved. They want to wear matching swimsuits but Akuru won’t allow it.

Episode 5C
As they wait for Akuru to arrive, Iinchou has lewd fantasies of him. Iinchou meets Yoshie for the first time. Mom can tell this woman too wants to seduce Akuru. So she steals her swimsuit and draws nipples on it! Yoshiko does the same on hers so she won’t feel left out?! When Yoshie threatens to cut nipple holes, Ryuuichi stops her. She cries molest but still that isn’t enough for him to let go of this old hag. Oops. Taboo word. Yoshie does a judo throw as she lectures them about being a millions years behind her. Because no one gets Akuru except her! Ah, so that’s her intention. Speaking of him, here he comes. Even she is not spared from his pain when she tries to push the blame on Iinchou. She distracts him with her bra and runs away. But she promises to be back. Sayaka has been hiding all the while and wonders if it is safe to come out now.

Episode 6A
Break the watermelon? Yoshiko uses her head! Because Iinchou is trying to hint giving permission to let Akuru see her body (in which he is being gay and won’t), Yoshiko accuses her of trying to seduce him and thus buries her in the sand to ‘flatten’ those tits. Since that didn’t work, she makes a giant sand dick on her! After Yoshiko is beaten up for being too noisy, Akuru sees this abomination. Now don’t look at her? He can’t touch it too because it’s like part of her body? In that case, he kicks it down! The pain must be real… The pain of the heart, that is.

Episode 6B
Soaking in the hotspring, Yoshiko tells how small Akuru’s dick is. But that is because she remembers it as a child’s. She wants to go peep but of course Iinchou tries to stop her by giving reasons how ugly the dick now. Even so, she still wants to go peek. Even though there is a 99% chance she’ll be beaten up, hey, there is still that 1% miracle. And so Iinchou decides to go peek with Yoshiko. Yoshiko immediately gets a weapon thrown in her face. Panicking Iinchou gives excuses that she is doing this out of his wellbeing. He understands and backs down. Phew. She is glad it is a good thing but clearly Sayaka doesn’t think so.

Episode 6C
As Yoshiko will be away visiting her grandparents, Akuru is going to enjoy every second of peace and quiet. Too bad Yoshiko left the dog with him for company. Akuru is disappointed seeing he doesn’t like animals (remember, Yoshiko is also an animal, a monkey). However he notices the dog has intelligence and able to understand him. They even bond with some classical movie he likes. Yoshiko suddenly returns to catch him having an ‘affair’ with the dog. He denies and calls it dumb, hurting its feelings. Akuru feels bad but the dog does a hand signal from the movie so Akuru understands they’ll play again someday. Of course Yoshiko doesn’t get all that is happening.

Episode 6D
At the Bon festival, the neighbourhood association guys are going to stop Yoshiko from stealing the limelight again. Because last year her energy and stamina managed to captivate everyone’s attention. Looks like she is at it again as she is wearing a Brazilian samba bikini outfit. They thought of shutting her out and before they know it, she appoints them as their backup dancers! They try to block her during the dance but she slips out and starts prancing around. Since they don’t want to lose out, the guys strip to their fundoshi and unwittingly help Yoshiko in her dance. They’ve been had again this year.

Episode 7A
Back in school and Atsuko has already being dragged into Yoshiko’s pace. Yeah, she’s asking about how her summer vacation went. She wanted to get some experience in love but no luck. Yoshiko hopes Akuru could practice with her. However he unintentionally breaks her heart when he mentions her age. As Atsuko is being depressed over her loveless life, suddenly she stumbles into a cute boy. Actually it is Yoshiko cross-dressed! With all the cliché and cheesy moves, can’t blame Atsuko for falling in love because as you know, she’s an amateur. The cheesier it gets, the more Atsuko falls in love. Wow. Such heavy drama. And more cheesy lines to go with it. Like Yoshiko can’t accept her kiss because it is so sweet it would cause her diabetes! OMG! Since when was Yoshiko this smooth? Unless that’s a stupid line. Yoshiko leaves Atsuko with confidence to try out love again but has no idea what to do if Atsuko actually falls for her.

Episode 7B
Yoshiko calls her dog, Dog. Appropriate? Shouldn’t there be other better names? So Akuru wants her to properly name it but since she calls it Cat or Car (because you can ride it), I guess it’s up to Akuru to name it. George? So it becomes a competition whose name is better. Dog or George? Whoever the dog goes to, that is the name they’ll settle with. However the pressure is too much for the dog as it runs away! They don’t understand why until Sayaka explains it loves both of them and can’t possibly choose. While the idiots understand this, they go back to insulting and blaming each other. Yeah, doggy is the one most stressful and worried.

Episode 7C
Yoshiko goes to talk to a few gals in her class. They try to ignore her but she just won’t back down. Don’t waste your energy on idiots. When they try to leave, she follows them. Playing tag? So they trick her into playing hide and seek as Yoshiko will show them how to hide. Good riddance. The next day, Yoshiko didn’t turn up into class. The gals think the humiliation of being abandoned must have gotten to her. 2 days later, she still didn’t show up. Sayaka texts her and it seems she is still in the midst of hiding! The gals feel guilty that they might be responsible for her death and go all out to search for her. Eventually they find her hiding in the drain. She still has the energy? She realizes she is hungry and heads home. Play again next time? No way!

Episode 7D
Everyone celebrates Ruri’s birthday. What did Akuru get for his little sister? A book guide on how to get through life without a degree! He is okay for her to give up! So insulting! That’s not helping her at all! No wonder she locks herself up in her room. So after pestering on what she actually wants, this is her reply… A better big brother. Right back at you!

Episode 8A
Time to bug those gals again. This time Yoshiko is asking if they have any boyfriends. One of them has. Oh no. Time to bug her to spill the details. Not sure why she obliges but if you resist, the bugging will get worse. So bit the bullet and tell all. As expected, Yoshiko is so thrilled to hear it all. But when she hears she hasn’t kiss, hold hands or even say “I love you” back, since when did Yoshiko become her relationship manager?! She is forced to call him right now to say those magic words. Of course she can’t do it and runs elsewhere alone to do so. After making that embarrassing call and declaration, she realizes too late Yoshiko and her pals are watching. Yoshiko is so happy for her that she tells the entire school about it. YAMEROU!!!!

Episode 8B
It’s the park kid’s school field trip and Yoshiko is going to buy snacks with them? She notices an expensive deluxe snack and accuses the shop owner for placing it there so that they couldn’t buy other snacks. Oh well, not like Yoshiko had enough money in the first place. As the guys go to get their own snacks, Nozomi chooses that deluxe snack. Then they realize this… Because her snack will stand out from the rest, could it be her scheme to trade other snacks? She can have anything! Wow. So deep… With the idiots feeling they were underestimating all this, kind Nozomi shares the snack with them.

Episode 8C
Yet another delusion from Iinchou… So Sayaka calls her out to talk to her to stop stalking Akuru. Of course she is giving excuses she is only watching over him, blah, blah, blah. Could it be she is a masochist who likes his unfriendly stares? She continues being delusion thinking she is a charming and perfect beauty in Akuru’s eyes. Sayaka’s reaction says otherwise. Iinchou wants to really know the truth of what he thinks of her. Can she handle the truth? After all the misdeeds she has done so far, Iinchou is a crazy maniac! At first Iinchou brushes it off (denial?) but is forced to come to terms with it. Sayaka is forced to lie it was just a joke to ‘bring her back to life’. But looks like she dug the grave deeper with more lies that Akuru is close to falling for her.

Episode 8D
Yoshiko brings Dog to meet Sayaka’s little pet dog, Pome. Of course Dog has fallen in love at first sight but dumb girl thinks he is afraid of her. So acts of romance, Yoshiko misinterprets them to be some sort of showdown. Like Dog giving her bone only to be rejected because she isn’t hungry, Yoshiko thinks it is some peace offering rejected. Could it be Pome is stronger than Dog? When Pome licks Dog’s feet and he ‘collapses’, Yoshiko can’t believe Dog has surrendered. Yoshiko runs away in defeat.

Episode 9A
Yoshiko volunteers to be on the cultural festival committee. And she doesn’t know what that is. Or a cultural festival. Akuru allows it hoping she would fail big time and realize her stupidity. However Akane Eimura disagrees since it is an important event. Hence begin an argument between Akuru and Akane with her pals. The latter mock Akuru for being a study freak and has no friends. Akuru mocks them as ugly. Oh wait. Akane is actually crying?! Oh no. Akuru is looking like the bad guy now. Yoshiko wants to work together with Akane but she punches her in the face. In the end, Akane becomes the committee member with everyone voting for her unanimously.

Episode 9B
Akane and friends are behind schedule for the festival. Yoshiko suggests staying overnight to finish. Secretly. Why do they have to go along with her plan? Because Yoshiko has brought cards and video games to play! They have to follow Yoshiko’s pace because Akane seems to be eager to go night visiting to various places in school. And when they’re playing video games, the friends remind them to finish up the work. A few more minutes. Hours later… Just a little while more. It’s already dawn. Well, there’s always another night. Yes! We have defeated the final boss! And so no work was completed or even started the next night.

Episode 9C
YES! MAID CAFÉ!!! Yoshiko tries to fool around by putting an apron over Akuru but gets punched. Ryuuichi will gladly support their profits. If only Yoshiko didn’t get his name wrong all the time.

Episode 9D
Yoshiko sees Iinchou rejecting a guy confessing. Yoshiko feels bad for the guy and lectures what if the person who likes Iinchou turns her down? Imagine Akuru rejecting her and dating Yoshiko. NO WAY!!! So what do you want as a memory? A kiss. And hence Yoshiko wants her boobs to be fondled. Because for girls it’s a kiss and for guys, boobs fondling. Don’t argue. It’s Yoshiko’s logic. Iinchou is actually prepared to do that and let that poor guy fondle it when Akuru passes by. Instantly she beats the crap out of the poor chap and runs away.

Episode 9E
Sayaka and the gang are at a karaoke party. However Akuru and Akane and co are still hating each other. The ignore Sayaka’s pleas to get along and continue insulting each other. Yoshiko? She’s just singing happily like nobody’s business. Suddenly Sayaka puts her foot down and starts scolding them. Oh dear. Looks like she got drunk. Although her drink order was wrongly brought and she has not drank it, the smell was enough to make her drunk. She’s crying they have no respect for her and Yoshiko makes it worse it is because of her flatness. She thinks she can make everyone laugh if she shows her boobs. She undresses her top. Hey, she has nice proportions. Until the pads come off. So flat… WTF Yoshiko?! Why are you calling it Sayaka Plains?! We don’t know to cry or to laugh… Or maybe cringe at it all…

Episode 10A
Akane wants to pierce her ear but is too scared sh*t. Let Yoshiko do it! No way! Akane even believes Yoshiko’s dumb theory of how she will suffer and die from all the bleeding. Yoshiko teases her of wanting a man and this causes Akane to break down to the truth. So she’s jealous her friends have boyfriends and she wants one too. Yoshiko is touched and so she decides to help her. Because you can’t pierce the ear with unsteady hands, can you? Too late to back out. Akane is freaking out as Yoshiko does it for her. Here comes the pain! Oh. Nothing. Well, that wasn’t so bad, right? How about the other ear? Maybe next time.

Episode 10B
Yoshiko takes a wild ride on Dog. I don’t know how fast Dog can run but he can rival a speeding motorcyclist on the highway! He takes this as some sort of challenge but seeing how stupidly Yoshiko is enjoying this, I guess you could say he lost to this stupidity. Beast defeats machine?!

Episode 10C
Yoshiko joins the park kids to play with their toys. Yoshiko insists on playing Micca while Nozomi plays Michael. Right off the bat, Yoshiko is already playing something scandalous with Micca. The boys want to leave but accidentally stomp their monster toy over Michael. Micca gets all dramatic about his death and vows revenge, only to be easily owned. Now Micca is offering her body for the monster. To her horror, the monster isn’t even interested. Don’t worry, a happy ending when Michael revives and they continue to live a happy life.

Episode 10D
Let me get this straight. For Iinchou to get to know Akuru better, it is vital to get closer to his family. So is this why she is stalking on Ruri?! Pity little sister got all zeroes in her test again. Iinchou is interrupted by Yoshie as mother shows how she could easily console Ruri. Yoshie then proceeds to tell Ruri about this stalker while Iinchou tries to deny all that. Then in a flash faster than the wind, Yoshie steals Iinchou’s panties! Now Yoshie is claiming her as a crazy stalker and an exhibitionist. A few power punches traded as Iinchou tries to get them back. But Yoshie gets the better of her. Now in her stranglehold, Yoshie is going to prove Iinchou is an exhibitionist who doesn’t wear panties. But after lifting up her skirt, Ruri sees she is wearing them. Yoshie then realizes during all that commotion, Iinchou in a flash faster than the wind somehow stole Ruri’s panties! WTF???!!! You mean she can fit in it?! Both ladies leave with that serious look of settling this another day while Ruri is left confused. Ruri cements her status as a stupid girl since only when she returns home and goes to the toilet did she realize her panties are missing.

Episode 11A
Once again… Ruri scores zero in her test! Poor thing. Yoshiko suggests things she should do… She can’t name one! But Yoshiko maybe has a point when she says Ruri is bad at studying! So in order for her not to be a total failure, they try various stuffs like cooking and sewing but in all instances Ruri fails. Can she be this useless?! I mean, Yoshiko looks more capable than her! Say it isn’t so! Ruri decides to master riding a bicycle. Not tricycle! However with Yoshiko as usual getting distracted instead of helping her, she gets injured one way or the other. Adamant to master at least 1 thing, Ruri keeps on trying no matter how many times she painfully falls. Pity seeing her like this. In the end, she fails to master cycling and they end up in some shouting contest. See who can shout the loudest…

Episode 11B
Yoshiko is sad her favourite banana sundae is out of stock. Ryuuichi decides to help find other places but returns from the next town all bruised up. He did find a store selling that but a bunch of delinquents got ahead of him, bought it and ate it. They commented it was ordinary and threw it away. Ryuuichi tried to stop them but got his ass handed to him. Yoshiko is mad. Seriously mad. She will not forgive those who will insult and waste her banana sundae!!! You punks are dead!!! So she waltzes into the next town’s high school and beats up all the delinquents by power stuffing their mouths with bananas till she reaches the last boss, Sudou. Oh wow. Yoshiko knowing kung fu and such?! Don’t mess with her! Sudou thought he punched her after distracting her with a non-existent flying banana. However that punch feels like nothing. Not even close to Akuru’s. He got defeated in the most epic and embarrassing fashion. How many bananas can you stuff in your mouth? With that, Yoshiko is satisfied she has avenged her banana sundae. Nobody cares about you Ryuuichi…

Episode 11C
After forgetting to leash Dog to his kennel, he takes a walk and plucks a flower to give to Pome. However a boy is seen drowning in the river as Dog goes to save him. Now he lost his flower so he has to chase it down and get involved in other stuffs like saving a kid from an accident and running away from dog catchers. He ends up saving a bank from a robbery in progress! Holy cow! Did he do that Matrix bullet dodging trick???!!! A little girl is still traumatized from the ordeal so Dog gives her his flower to make her day. He might not have the flower eventually but Dog is one happy dog even when news of a dog saved a bank reached the ears of Akuru and Yoshiko and they don’t believe it.

Episode 12
We got back in time 10 years ago to see that fateful day when Akuru met Yoshiko. When Yoshiko’s family moved next door, Akuru knew he was going to be in hell. Just look how stupid Yoshiko was! She keeps bugging him to play despite he kept refusing her. He thought of giving her a banana to appease her hungry. However this is the first time she sees a yellow dick (she knows what a dick is but not a banana?) and loves its taste! She takes this as a sign he loves her! Yoshiko continues to harass him in the name of love. After Yoshiko traps and kisses him, that is when he realizes he needs to become stronger. He trains like a boxer to get back at her with his fist. However he trained too hard and falls sick. He learns from mom he slept the whole day and Yoshiko took care of him. For real? She stayed with him hoping to catch his illness. By kissing him the entire time! Look how sloppy his mouth is! That is the power of love! When Akuru receives his test result from the gifted programme, he just got average scores. He fears he will go down the stupid path and forced to marry that stupid girl and bear stupid children. Never! So the next step to keep her away is to learn what kind of people she hates. Uhm, anything else than people covered in poop? Perverts. Now the tables are turned with Akuru being a monster trying to peek at her panties. Hey, it works! Suddenly he stops because Yoshiko is really crying! Oops. Went too far? But it turns out she is so happy he is loyal to her that even though she isn’t ready yet, she will show him her panties! The tables are turned one again and Akuru gets screwed over. Here’s your panties! Take responsibility please… And now, Akuru believes his feelings 10 years then didn’t change a bit. Yoshiko still remembers that day and is now wearing those panties. Oh sh*t! It must be damn tight! This time Akuru is able to land a super uppercut that sends Yoshiko flying sky high! Hey, at least his punch has gotten stronger.

Dumbing Down Of The Dumbest Dumb & Dumber
Oh well, like they always say, birds of the same feathers flock together. I’ll bet that Yoshiko will not learn her lesson and will still continue to receive more ‘love punches’ from Akuru if we had more episodes. Day in, day out it’s the same thing. Ah, all is right when this is the order of the world. Eventually, even though stupidity is endless, this too has to end. Oh my. Did this enjoyably funny series ended too prematurely? I want more of my Aho Girl!!!

Dividing each of the independent stories into mini skits per episode is good because I wonder if the series can hold our attention if it was the same story for the entire duration. And the series itself is already short with only 12 minutes per episode. At least this way we can see more exploits and laugh at the different variety of misadventures our stupid girl and those around her get to go through. It’s random, it’s hilarious, it’s fun.

I guess I could say all the human characters are delightfully likeable because how dumb everyone is. Absolutely right! You think Akuru is the wisest person ever? He is as dumb as the rest too. Don’t be fooled by the fact that he is competent and is academically smart. The fact that he manages to put up with Yoshiko’s stupid sh*t proves that he too is an idiot like her! But it is her who always drags him into her shenanigans, you say? Well, we can clearly see Akuru definitely hates to be by Yosihko’s side and no doubt he has no choice. If he was that smart, he would have found a way to have moved somewhere (I think if he goes to another town, there’ll be another resident idiot to bear with so it’s more or less the same wherever he goes), got rid of her permanently (okay, we’re not going to resort to cruelly killing her or sending her to some war torn country) or in the most impossible way of curing her stupidity (I figure this proves stupidity can’t be cured anyhow). Heck, beating her up many times proves it is not working and might be contributing to her getting worse (disclaimer: Abusing your idiot is not encouraged). Plus, he has got no other friends in his handphone contacts except for Yoshiko! Failing any of which means he is still as dumb as the rest but to a lesser degree! Haha! At least going by the logic of this anime. See, I’m also dumb. Oh wait. I’ve been like that since like forever! Yoshiko, my brethren! The only thing good coming out from Akuru’s meeting is the meeting of Dog. He said it himself.

Speaking of Yoshiko, it is very hard not to hate her despite being annoyingly dumb and that eternally dumb agape smile on her face. She really lives up to her titular name. However the one good thing about that is that she doesn’t look so much like a retard while being stupid. Damn you anime for making 2D girls look so kawaii!!! Every time you want to hate her for being so stupid, each time she makes you laugh with her dumb antics. You can’t help but love her in all her silly ways and even hope to see more of her tomfooleries. Oh dear. Am I addicted to her stupidity?! Oh well, birds of the same feathers flock together… Never change, Yoshiko. Never change. And we all thought of wishing the world to be a better place. Till Yoshiko came along. Can being an idiot be this fun? From her case, it is fun! I somehow feel making Yoshiko a banana maniac is equating her to a monkey in a satirical sense… Also, the way she endures Akuru’s beatings feels like she is immune to all sort of pain because she bounces back like nothing. Reminds me of that Ataru idiot from Urusei Yatsura… So who says life is hard but even harder when you’re stupid? Ask Yoshiko! Ignorance is bliss! Now you know why genius has its limits but stupidity is limitless.

The rest of the other dumb characters are also as lovable. Like Iinchou who is some sort of perverted tsundere and to think she has fallen from grace this far. Yeah, love makes you do stupid things. I hope Akuru putting up with Yoshiko’s stupidity doesn’t turn him gay. Then there is Yoshie who is partially responsible for Yoshiko’s dumbness because all I can say it runs in the family’s genes. Can’t blame her for giving up in trying to make her daughter a better person because like I’ve said, there is no cure for stupidity! Instead, she now tries to shift all her responsibilities to Akuru whom she views as her insurance and future retirement plan. At this rate, I don’t think she can even retire… Yeah, maybe 10 years after she dies! Haha! Oops. Akane feels like Yoshiko’s competitor but she gets strung along all the time. Does that make her dumber than Yoshiko? Sayaka might be another character whom you’ll argue that isn’t as dumb as the rest. She is always so nice and friendly. But what if under all that niceness hides a really idiotic monster? You saw it when she accidentally got drunk. Maybe some things are better left kept hidden. Atsuko fails as a teacher since she always gets dragged into Yoshiko’s pace. The educator getting ‘re-educated’.

I find the most pitiful character is Ruri. She really tries her best but it is like as though fate and God is f*cking up her entire life just because one main idiot isn’t enough. But unlike Yoshiko who doesn’t even view herself as stupid, at least Ruri has the decency to recognize this weakness and tries to fix it. Albeit with no improvements at all. So it is sometimes ‘disheartening’ to see such a cute little sister to not let her hard work pay off. Again, it feels like fate and God is trying to set her future up as the next Aho Girl because once Yoshiko is no longer around, there is somebody to take her legacy. If that doesn’t happen, there is the ‘insurance’ in Nozomi because it looks like she is being influenced by Yoshiko… I don’t know if Akuru is being insulting because he has ‘given up’ on Ruri trying to be smart and tries to console her that it is okay being stupid. See what I mean when I told you Akuru is also dumb? How can you do this to your own little sister but not the idiot girl next door?! Last but not least. I think this is the best and the only character that is not stupid. Hah! You’re pointing out that I am contradicting myself when I said everyone is stupid. Well, Dog isn’t human. Technicalities!

Artwork and animation are pretty straight forward and simple. Nothing really special. But I do notice that obvious potential idiots here tie their hair twintail style. See the similarities in Yoshiko, Ruri and Nozomi?! Yoshie tied half of it so she’s only half bad? There are also a few fanservice scenes here so thank Yoshiko for being shameless and know nothing about a modesty when it comes to girls showing their skin. This anime is animated by Diomedea who did Shiryaku! Ika Musume, Seiken Tsukai No World Break, Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei No Kyoukan, Handa-kun, Akuma No Riddle, Mayoiga, Fuuka, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu and Kodomo No Jikan.

Aoi Yuuki is absolutely delightful playing Yoshiko. It’s like she is having fun voicing her character and I believe she has done a very good job in bringing ‘idiotic justice’ to her character. In many instances, Yoshiko will always be screaming at the top of her voice as part of her stupidity. That is not easy if you’re doing it on a regular basis. I hope she didn’t have to get herself high to pull it off. So hats off to her for this amazing job. I hope her throat won’t be sore after all has ended. Tomokazu Sugita as Akuru feels a bit out of place. I don’t know. He voiced goofy and serious characters like Gintama’s Gintoki but in here I just can’t find him to be suitable playing Akuru. Not idiotic enough or too serious? But overall I think he is still passable. Yoko Hikasa is also delightful as Yoshie. Not her first time voicing a maniac or idiots as I remember something similar as Shino from Seitokai Yakuindomo, Aya from Gokujo, Hana from Seikon No Qwaser and Stephanie from No Game No Life. The rest of the other casts include Sayaka Harada as Sayaka (Chiya in Urara Meirochou), Sumire Uesaka as Iinchou (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Sayaka Senbongi as Ruri (Chitose in Girlish Number), Mao Ichimichi as Akane (Renge in Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda), Taku Yashiro as Ryuuichi (Hayato in Mayoiga).

The opening theme, Zenryoku Summer by Angela is delightfully hilarious. The singer herself is singing in a hilarious opera manner, the lyrics are nonsensical and the pacing of the song is frenzy. And yes, lots of bananas. A big hint as what to expect from this anime. Making it more delightful is how each opening credits animation is slightly different. From Akuru waking up to the nightmare of Yoshiko’s face spamming every space and corner of the screen to just a lazy notice board too lazy to animate anything because they are away on vacation to Dog hogging the limelight to Yoshiko trying to make out with a dakimakura of Akuru and Iinchou fantasizing about Akuru from afar before being molested by jealous Yoshiko. Personally the best one has to be Yoshiko falling off her banana ride to give us free fanservice of her pantsu in our face! The ending theme is Odore! Kyu-kyoku Tetsugaku by Sumire Uesaka. This song is rather okay and isn’t that obvious since it is played in the background while the mini skit is still ongoing (no fixed ending credits animation).

Overall, silly and fun animes like this one remind us that good shows are still around. It doesn’t have to be convolutedly smart and thought provoking to be good. It can still be enjoyable and be mindless and harmless fun but just remember to leave your brains at the doorstep before watching. Or risk getting infected by Yoshiko’s stupidity. I don’t know. It sounds so absurd and crazy that it might actually happen. Yeah, why take the risk? If Yoshiko entered every funniest home videos contest, she would win every category hands down all the time. She would have been the most viewed video on line and will be the longest defending champion of the Darwin Awards. So you see the importance of the need of the existence of stupid people? Otherwise where can smart people shine? Like light and darkness need to co-exist for each other to exist. As I find this series a-peel-ing, I hope they don’t slip up and make a sequel. Otherwise I’ll go bananas!