OMG! I didn’t really expect this to have a sequel since the series somewhat properly ended. Is this the ‘prophecy’ that Favaro hinted to us last season that Bahamut cannot die and will someday return?! So it seems there is more to tell so I can’t complain. New characters, new plots. And hence, I couldn’t contain my hype and shock to learn Shingeki No Bahamut: Virgin Soul graced the airwaves. It was such an awesome series and for the sequel to get twice the amount of episodes from the first season, it means it is going to be even more awesome, right? I know that isn’t a good indicator of whether a show is good or not by the number of episodes but I’m just going to ride the Baha-Max wave. Baha-Baha-Baha-Soul! Here we go!

Episode 1
Heaven looks like in trouble again. It isn’t the demons attacking the sanctuary but humans?! Wow. Humans coolly killing angels? We see how vile humans have become as some are even trafficking poor demons as slaves. However those traffickers are suddenly killed by a ‘saviour’ known as Rag Demon. He is being hunted down by Kaisar (captain of the Orlean Knights) but escapes before anything could happen. Nina Drango is such a lively and cheery girl. Oh, did I mention how super strong she is? She can do several men’s work in construction. She sees a painter painting a big mural about the legacy of humans. How under King Charioce XVII resurrected the capital Anatae from despair. Also in the painting is Bahamut. Nina remembers its destructive force 10 years ago because it razed her village. Nina is here to make money as a bounty hunter and send it back to her village where her mom lives. Currently she is staying at Bacchus and Hamsa’s place. Bacchus is annoyed he didn’t invite her to stay. Charioce summons Kaisar for his failure to capture the Rag Demon. He gives him one last chance not to disappoint him. A trap is set out to lure out the Rag Demon. A short clash with Kaisar before he runs away. He bumps into Nina. She recognizes him from the reward poster and starts to chase him. However she blunders with her whip and accidentally hits Kaisar. She can’t apologize decently because seems she has a thing for hot guys… It sets her heart racing… So as she tries to scout for the Rag Demon from a high place, the Orlean Knights think she is Rag Demon’s accomplice for hurting Kaisar. They try to shoot her down from the tower. The Rag Demon looked like he flies there to save her when actually it was his other kid accomplice, Mugaro who was coincidentally at that same spot. Oops. Saved the wrong person. Nina’s close proximity with the Rag Demon who is a hot hunk himself sets her heart racing. She can’t take it anymore and then boom! After crashing down into the buildings, what pops out is a fiery red dragon! Kaisar orders his troops to retreat. Next thing Nina knows when she wakes up, she is in Rita’s room. Since when did zombie girl became a doctor? Oh, quack doctor.

Episode 2
Nina remembers she transformed into a dragon and ran rampage throughout the city before blacking out and being brought here. She still writes to her mom to update about her life in the capital. Rita introduces Nina to Rocky the hand. Yes, he is just a hand. Like the one from Addam’s Family. If you remember from last season, this is Kaisar’s chopped off hand. Charioce summons Kaisar again. I guess he failed. Because of that, this duty to capture the Rag Demon will be reassigned to the Onyx Knights. Kaisar accepts his fate but his subordinate, Alessand Visponti is disappointed his captain did not fight back for another chance. Charioce wants an Onyx Knight to keep watch on Kaisar. Those who have watched the previous season should know that the Rag Demon’s identity is no other than Azazel. He confronts Nina and wants her to join forces with him. He needs her power that is devastating on humans. Nina is reluctant so Azazel will show her reality. He takes her to the slums where demons are being made slaves. They are in a pitiful state. Charioce waged war against the demons but sought the powers to defeat them from Heaven before turning against them. So yes, Azazel hates humans. He also explains about Mugaro who was sold into slavery. He is a mute because they crushed his windpipe. Nina is reluctant to get involved but Azazel continues to bug her until Rita puts a stop to this harassment. Time for Azazel to head to work but he still won’t give up on Nina. Azazel and Mugaro work in the Coliseum picking up dead bodies of demon gladiators. Kaisar can tell Azazel is the Rag Demon from those same eyes. That night, Azazel continues to play his Rag Demon role by killing humans who mistreat demons. Kaisar catches him in the act and wants him to escape since Charioce is serious about hunting him down. Will murdering humans improve the situation? Azazel shocks his naivety by showing this place is also where humans torture and experiment on helpless demons. He asks back if his chivalry includes demons. Azazel won’t kill him because he is lower than others he killed. The Onyx Knights surround Azazel and is about to kill him with their magic. However Mugaro’s heavenly magic paralyzes them as he retrieves Azazel.

Episode 3
Heaven learns that a certain blessed child is still alive. They need to find him if they are to regain man’s faith in the Gods. Azazel is being treated by Rita. He remembers picking up Mugaro after killing all the humans in a building. Mugaro clung onto him. Hamsa is making tons of money by challenging strong men to arm wrestle with Nina. No chance! She’s stronger than all of you! So strong that you can even fly away! Meanwhile Sofiel talks Bacchus about his last chance to return to Heaven. He must help them find a certain child or forever be exiled. Nina now faces a challenge from a handsome guy who leaves some sort of royal ring as his entrance fee (Hamsa thinks it’s fake). So much so she needs to blindfold herself! But touching his hand even sets her heart racing. Although this guy is as strong as her although he ultimately loses. Nina still can’t get over his handsomeness so Hamsa calls it a day after raking in a fortune. With the Rag Demon continuing to kill humans, Charioce is going all for broke. He plans to lure him out by executing demons in the town square tonight. Kaisar is against it because provoking him will only do more harm. However Charioce warns him not to invite needless suspicion for defending demons too much. With the earnings, Nina gets to buy a feast. Not that Hamsa is happy since half of the earnings were spent on it. Everyone is shocked to learn that Nina’s master is no other than Favaro! I can see the similarities in their idiocy… Nina hopes to learn more about him but Rita knows a person who knows better. Speaking of that demon (human actually), here comes Kaisar running in to asking Rita about Azazel’s whereabouts. It is awkward at first for Nina to meet again ‘Rocky’s father’ but she eventually apologizes for the other night. Azazel leaves Mugaro a message not to come near the square no matter what happens. If he dies, go to Rita. Unheeding Rita’s advice, Nina instantly rushes towards the square to catch Azazel. Charioce is about to execute the first demon when Azazel shows up.

Episode 4
Charioce’s forces brings down and does lots of damage to Azazel. Now Charioce knows the Rag Demon’s identity. Nina is running along when she stumbles into Mugaro. Conveniently Azazel crashes nearby. She won’t let him return to fight or he’ll die with those injuries. I think he is willing to do that. Nina has no choice but first makes him promise not to tell this to anyone. Now hug her. What? You heard her. The moment he does, she turns into a red dragon and goes on a rampage. Charioce challenges her but Kaisar comes in between. While she does damage, everyone retreats and Charioce is left admiring the raw power. When it’s done, Nina reverts back and Rita quickly picks her up. Charioce commends for Kaisar’s performance but orders him to disclose his connection with the Rag Demon. Azazel killed his father. So why not kill him? Because he has someone with him that is more powerful: The red dragon. After dismissing him, Charioce comments he is a poor liar. Nina wakes up and is still left embarrassed while reminding Azazel not to tell how she turns into a dragon. Men who set her heart racing would trigger it. Her dad’s a dragon and mom’s a human. Yeah, I wonder how that union is even possible… Nina sucked at transforming into a dragon. Till one day a handsome guy visited and she transformed. She damaged the picturesque village! Mom scolded her and told her to stay away from handsome guys. It was easy since the village is full of old people but the city is filled with hot guys. In that form, she has no memories of what happened. Azazel knows a way to control it. If she can’t, he will by making love to her! WTF?! It causes Nina to run away in embarrassment. So that is more embarrassing than streaking across the area in just a towel? Azazel decides to go into hiding for a while and wants Mugaro to stay with Rita. Just great. She’s already got a lot on her hands (sorry, bad pun). Charioce sees Jeanne in the dungeons to remind her of his offer to team up and crush demons and Gods. She remains silent and praying. He lets her know her son was spotted and knows it was quite smart and cruel of her to hide him among the demon slaves. Azazel enters the hideout for demons. They are not impressed to see him here. He tells them he is the Rag Demon and the time to bring back their lost demon pride is now.

Episode 5
Azazel’s plan is to use the red dragon to defeat the humans. Nina takes Mugaro out shopping. She can get away with free or discounted stuffs as she challenges the shopkeepers to arm wrestling. Isn’t that technically arm twisting? Along the way back, they stumble into a cruel master abusing his demon slaves. Nina is the only one with balls to go tell him off. She even dares challenge him to try and make her his slave! So when he and his goons are going to make their move, Mugaro’s eye suddenly flash. It breaks the demons’ collar chain. They are free and turn on their human masters. Sofiel senses something and rushes there but by that time, everything is settled down. Since when is Rita a counsellor? Because Kaisar is here to seek her advice. He tries to troll us to believe he wants to confess his feelings to only Rita. Turns out it is about his worries as Orlean Knights’ captain. Oh Rita, are you so disappointed? You must be. Because he keeps complaining and complaining without stopping! Even zombies can’t stand nagging as she punches him! After 10 years, he has descended into this cry baby. Yeah, you tell him, girl. Sofiel talks to Bacchus about something happening today. Since he ignores her, she believes he really wants to stay in this world. Hamsa really wants to go back to heaven and is willing to be her pet but gets ignored. She warns Bacchus to just follow her orders and find that child. When Nina returns, she brags about what happened. You mean Bacchus and Hamsa doesn’t know Mugaro is that child?! Kaisar talks to Charioce as he believes his ways will only lead to more violence and uprising. Charioce assures he will always find that power to crush his enemies and calls Kaisar’s vision to have all 3 races to coexist as naïve. Even if Kaisar tells him about humans, Gods and demons uniting to defeat Bahamut once, Charioce says everyone has the right to live their life they see fit. But if he gets in his way, he will show no mercy. Bacchus and Hamsa try to peek on Mugaro’s eye while he is asleep. Oh Nina… We’re just admiring how cute you are. Perverts! She kicks them out! Of their own carriage?! Well, at least they confirmed Mugaro’s different coloured eye.

Episode 6
Wow. Nina still hates Bacchus. As she runs errands for the festival, she is being confronted by the slave trader. He brought his pals. But she can’t fight back because they are all handsome men! Luckily that handsome guy whom Nina arm wrestled and won the other day beat them up. If you haven’t guessed it, he is Charioce in disguise. The hooligans leave when they see his bracelet. Charioce is nice enough to put back all of Nina’ stuff. To thank him, she invites him to her stall for the festivals. Meanwhile Azazel relays his plans to attack during the festival’s parade. It looks like it will be relying heavily on the red dragon but they have no choice but to place their trust in Azazel’s words. Nina is spacing out in love throughout the festival. Except when it comes to Bacchus. Rita’s stall is selling spicy chicken. Charioce actually visits but embarrassing Nina even more is how Bacchus suggests he takes Nina out to the festival. Charioce actually takes up that offer. So they spend a good amount of time together (and a good amount of time she has been blushing this whole episode) and even dancing their heart out. She hopes to dance again with him and asks his name. He says it is Chris. Nina can no longer hold her emotions so she sprints the whole way back until she bumps into Azazel. He tells her to go up to that tower when the parade begins tomorrow.

Episode 7
Kaisar wants Charioce to not attend the parade since the demons are moving suspiciously. But he believes it would be more fun because today was the day the demon capital fell. Sofiel bugs Bacchus again for that kid. Heck, I guess she doesn’t even know that Mugaro is that kid even if he is right before her eyes. Though she is suspicious, Bacchus lies he is just some demon kid he picked up to work on the stalls. Hamsa wonders why he lied when it’s their ticket back to heaven. Bacchus has a bad feeling about this. While demons are planting magic bombs over the place, Kaisar is trying to look for them. Funny, he should at least spotted Azazel since he likes to hang out on the roofs overlooking the city. He is annoyed that Nina didn’t show up but that’s because she is enjoying the parade. So he finds her and whisks her away. Then he tries to hug her. Nothing happens. Again. Nothing happens. Nina must be feeling weird out. WTF is going on? Desperate, he tries to kiss her! She punches him away. I guess she isn’t transforming. At the same time, the bombs go off. The crowd panics as Charioce orders his men to stand and fight. As Azazel goes off trying to stop the battle, the demons wonder if Azazel has betrayed them. Besides, the red dragon isn’t showing up either. Charioce sniffs some of the demons out and orders their head so a huge battle between men and demons take place. Almost all are killed by the time Azazel arrives. He uses himself as bait for the rest to escape but unfortunately they got killed while escaping.

Episode 8
Before they could kill Azazel, Mugaro’s holy light petrifies the guards. Azazel fights Charioce but Kaisar comes in between. It then becomes a messy 3 way fight. However Kaisar is able to unarm Charioce and defeat Azazel. He won’t kill him since there is no reason for him to die here. At this time, Sofiel and her angels have popped up to reign in Mugaro (Bacchus and Hamsa are also taken in). Nina also arrives but she is confused. Azazel tells her to transform now. After seeing dead bodies, Mugaro in pain and all that dramatic starring, nothing happens. She can’t transform! Game over. You lose, Azazel. In the aftermath, it is announced that the Rag Demon has been captured. A knight captain was aiding the demons and will be sentenced along with Nina. The people cannot believe Nina was involved and thought it was a mistake. They try to seek a revision but are threatened to be thrown into prison if they side the traitors. Kaisar and Nina are read their charges for treason and aiding the demons to kill the king. Charioce sentences them to be imprisoned in the prison tower indefinitely. Nina looks surprised. She thought it would be just 3 days! She then starts shooting her mouth at him for being a bad king. She accuses him on picking on demons. This city was built by demons so it shows he needed them. He is just like a big bully and a worthless king. Everyone may be scared of him but not her. Charioce laughs and asks if she is the red dragon. She denies. Take them away. Mugaro wakes up in Heaven. Gabriel speaks to him. His name is El, named by his mother, Jeanne. If they work together, he can see her. Bacchus and Hamsa are imprisoned. Sofiel wonders why Bacchus hid the child. He felt like it. She reveals their intention for the kid because he has a power of breaking the forbidden magic used by humans. As humans have lost their way, Gabriel intends to guide them back and have them return praying to Gods. Bacchus doesn’t want Mugaro to be involved because it would be like Jeanne’s case all over again. Nina hears Azazel is being tortured to reveal information of other colluders. Too late to regret thinking if you have transformed then. Charioce talks to Azazel to ask if he knows about Mugaro’s true identity. Azazel remains silent. Charioce reveals his plans to kill that kid before he fell into the Gods’ hands. But now the Gods have him, it doesn’t matter since they will be overconfident. He’ll just have to kill them all. By then, that woman will stop praying. Nina is thrown in a cell and she sees Jeanne praying in the cell across. Also, Kaisar is thrown in his and he hears a familiar voice mocking his pathetic state. Hey… It’s Favaro! So that’s where he’s been. Rita must be so lonely know that everyone is gone…

Episode 9
Hard labour is nothing to Nina. Although the food is little, at least she gets a ‘special’ room all for herself. This is prison, you know… Kaisar talks to Favaro how he ended up here. During his journey, he stumbled into Nina’s village. One night Nina crept into his room and wants to become his disciple. He didn’t want to at first but after she display her strength as proof, he runs for it! Too bad she can outrun you. No choice, he teaches her the ways of the bounty hunter. One night he soaked in the hotspring and saw her naked, she turned into a red dragon. He learns her secret but why was it only then she could transform? Maybe his afro makes him look like an ugly guy? After he has nothing more to teach her, he lets her know a few stuff and some cheesy lines, Nina is left awed. No wonder she’s a bit twisted… When Favaro enters the next town, royal guards surround him. He has been imprisoned then but believes Charioce has been toying with him for his own amusement. I suppose Kaisar is the last to know Nina’s true identity. Meanwhile Alessand is drunk at Cerberus’ host club. He is complaining his captain is in prison and his dream of joining Orlean Knights was to see his favourite woman, Jeanne. Cerberus suggests he becomes the next captain. Nina and Jeanne become friends. She tells what happens and Jeanne is interested to know more about Mugaro. Speaking of him, because he still will not open up, there is not enough time so Gabriel is going to start the ritual to turn him into godhood. Sofiel apologizes to Mugaro for separating him from his mom. As she was also once saved by her, rest assured she will save her. Jeanne now wants to break out and meet Mugaro to ascertain something. Nina is impressed and will support her. Well, if she could have just kept her voice down… Because the other prisoners are applauding?

Episode 10
7 years ago when Jeanne was still the captain of Orlean Knights, she fought a giant demon invading the city. Although the demon was eventually slain by Kaisar, she failed to save a child. As she was injured from the fight, this prompts other knights to badmouth her that she is not fit to be captain. She even loses in practice duels. Despite losing her holy powers, she still intends to trudge on until she loses her captaincy. When Charioce took over the throne without the Gods’ blessing and vowed a change for mankind, Jeanne disagreed his ways of severing ties with the Gods. There is something he wanted but they refused him and thus the only way is to take it by force. He gave Jeanne the ultimatum to pledge her loyalty to him or leave the castle. She decided. And so for a while Jeanne lived a happy farmer life outside the city. Her only solace was praying to Michael. Then one night it’s like God heard her prayers or something and made her suddenly gave birth to a child! It just popped out from her stomach! Is this considered Caesarean?! Woah. Jeanne like Virgin Mary… So “Mama” is El’s first word? Anyway they lived the happy family life till one stormy night Sofiel crashed into their place. Jeanne hid her before the Onyx Knights break down their door and threaten her. It is then El unleashed his magic to stun them. Mother and son then fled. Charioce receives reports of this and realizes the potential of that child if he were to fall into the hands of the Gods. He orders them to be captured dead or alive as long as the Gods don’t have them. With the routes cut off, Jeanne and El are forced to hide in the city. They stumble upon a torture chamber for demon slaves. With Onyx Knights hot on their table, Jeanne has no choice but to pour a dead demon corpse’s blood all over El and cut off his wings. This is to make him look like one of the demon slaves as she runs off with the corpse and bait the Onyx Knights to chase her. She is shortly captured and has not known of El’s whereabouts since. Nina is so touched with her story. She’s crying! This strengthens Nina’s vow to escape from here but the prison lady says no one has done so before. Then she’ll be the first! Always be positive no matter what.

Episode 11
During the break, Jeanne and Nina make a break for it. At the same time, Rita and Rocky sneak into the place. And by that I mean beating up all the guards along the way. Gabriel convinces El to use his power to save this world so he can live a peaceful life with his mom. El is now restored to his angel form and regains his voice. During a battle at the Coliseum, Gabriel descends to demand Charioce return their rightful stuff and release Jeanne to them. He dare them to take it by force. With the humans booing the Gods, Gabriel uses this chance to further brainwash El how mankind must be corrected. But some of the people are not happy Charioce waged a war with the Gods. They are protesting outside and as a result they get beaten up by the guards. Nina shows her strength by beating up the guards guarding the elevator to the top. If she is this strong, why did she not beat up the guards from where she was all the way instead of sneaking around through holes? When Jeanne gets to the elevator, here comes Charioce. Just in time. He needs her. As the Gods have declared war, he wants her to pledge her loyalty to him and convince them to back down. Otherwise he will slaughter them all and most likely her son will also die. Nina continues to badmouth Charioce as a bully. But when she takes a closer look at him, she realizes he is that handsome guy she went out with. Dumbfounded. Shocked beyond words. At least for once she shuts up. Jeanne decides not to follow Charioce as she cannot betray the Gods and those who believe in her. In that case she can stay in her cell and wait till everybody dies. Nina is conflicted about Charioce in her cell but she is all smiles when Rita and Rocky drop in to rescue. Took her this long?

Episode 12
Now for the big break that includes Nina throwing rocks at the guards to slow them down and a wild mine cart ride that flings them to the men’s side. Gabriel rallies her angels they will no longer forgive mankind, punish those who wronged them and return balance to the worlds. Wow. She sounds like a war god. Sofiel fears El’s power is untested but Gabriel is confident since she has seen him strip human of their power. So Heaven is here. The citizens some have evacuated and others are protesting for Charioce to lose. When El activates his power, the humans become powerless. The angels easily slaughter the humans. Man, this is overkill. Charioce then orders the device to be activated. With the commotion in the men’s prison area, time for Favaro to signal their escape. He tells Kaisar to use his mechanical hand. Following his instructions to make the fingers in certain position, it then explodes! Well, thank Rita for putting that bomb inside just in case. The guys and the girls coincidentally run into each other. Kaisar and Jeanne are glad to see each other. Favaro is glad to see Nina. Or at least her developed body. Lonely Rita has to play the straight man to remind them to escape. Suddenly they get engulfed in this giant device that looks like it is a love child between Tron and Cybertron. So this giant orb thingy is the key weapon to defeat Heaven?

Episode 13
Apparently Dromos is the weapon men stole from Heaven. It could obliterate the Gods. If only Gabriel told the other angels why they’re retreating instead of having them disobey her. Heck, she even wanted to retreat herself but El says it’s no go. They haven’t save his mom yet. Charioce powers up Dromos. My, what a powerful blast! Enough to send the heavenly ship crashing down! With that, the soldiers are able to kill the angels easily. Jeanne goes crazy seeing the angels murdered before her eyes. Nina was blown away by the shockwave into Charioce’s arms. It seems he has lost an eyesight as the result of using Dromos. When Nina wakes up, she still has conflicted feelings over Charioce. But seeing Kaisar and Rita in trouble as they are trying to help Jeanne, Nina wants Charioce to help her. Hug her, that is. He does so and she transforms into the red dragon. She fights on the giant golem and protects Jeanne. She emerges victorious and is now face to face with Charioce. However she runs out of energy and reverts back. Charioce wants to take her but Rita will not let her touch her. Kaisar buys the ladies time to escape in Bacchus’ carriage. Then he surrenders and gets beaten up by the soldiers. Charioce doesn’t want him killed and since the Gods have retreated, they’ll head back to the palace for now. El is still unconscious and Gabriel is in despair and in disbelief that man could create such a thing. Dromos existed before a time man, demons and Gods roamed Mistarcia. It is a weapon that could destroy the balance of the world just like Bahamut. Rita decides to go back down to the capital to check on Kaisar and missing Favaro. Nina’s job is to guard Jeanne as they are now wanted criminals and can’t go back. Jeanne’s next goal is to go to Heaven since she believes her son is there. However she doesn’t know where that is. Nina knows an old lady from her village who knows about it. Time to return home.

Episode 14
Kaisar is tortured while interrogated but he his lips are sealed. He is visited by his comrade, Dias Bardolomew and tells him of his meeting with Jeanne. They believe the Orlean Knights will rise again. Nina and Jeanne arrive at the village. The kids are glad to see Nina again. Nina takes Jeanne to see granny, the head of the village. First she tells the history of how the Gods and demons worked together to defeat Bahamut 2,000 years ago. She took the tired Gods back to this village to rest. There is a picture of granny in her majestic dragon form in her heydays. Nina continues to taunt her so granny starts pouting and won’t tell the location of Heaven. Oh, now she falls asleep. Try again tomorrow. So the ladies soak in the outside hotspring as Nina teases Jeanne being ‘naughty’ to have a son. Jeanne is cool with it as she asks Nina back about a man capturing her heart. She too plays it cool. She is conflicted about her feelings for Charioce since he is a great guy but has done lots of horrible things. She can’t bring himself to hate him. Jeanne doesn’t find it strange for a man to have contradictions. She too has many faces. When eating dinner, the kids are eager to hear stories of this Mugaro kid. Jeanne can’t sleep that night and talks to Nina’s mom. She learns Nina’s dad died 10 years ago while protecting the village from the fireball. Jeanne feels guilty since she was partly responsible for that. Nina’s mom hope Nina isn’t too much of a bother. Ever since her dad died, she would turn into a dragon whenever she nears a man like him. Almost as if to avoid painful memories. Jeanne feels bad and doesn’t deserve her thanks for taking after Nina. But mom can tell how kind she is to her. Jeanne breaks down. Next morning, granny will take them to Heaven on her back. Nina teases the old fart couldn’t do it but she has to eat her words. Granny is still a majestic dragon! You were saying, Nina? And what’s that about bringing an angel back as souvenir?

Episode 15
The surviving demons are biding their time in some wasteland. They will follow Lucifer’s plan to wait and see as they lack the means to fight humans. They wonder how Azazel is doing since he stormed off by himself to the human capital. He is now one of the gladiators in the Coliseum. Everybody wants him dead but he easily kills his opponents. Granny can’t fly further through the storm as the barrier has become stronger. They must go by themselves. She tosses the carriage all the way up to Heaven. Sofiel wants Bacchus to take care of El since he is sulking ever since. Initially Bacchus won’t babysit but since she’ll reward him with wine, he’ll gladly do it! Nina and Jeanne arrive in Heaven and are almost attacked by angels. Jeanne lets them know who she is and her intentions so Ridwan first takes them to a hall with magnificent lights. They represent the Gods and angels lost during the fight with Bahamut. Recently more were added after their recent loss to mankind. That is why so few Gods are here. She blames them for being ingrates of biting the hand that feeds them. Nina notes even Gods hate mankind but can’t stand the idea of Charioce being hated by everyone. Meanwhile Charioce has everyone working hard to their limits to break the seal of Eibos. It will be even more dangerous and Charioce will stand to lose his life but he will not hesitate to sacrifice himself. Jeanne is brought to Sofiel and they are both glad to see each other. Jeanne wants to see her son but Gabriel mentions he is being confined. After being used for the war and lost, he has lost faith in them. Perhaps Jeanne could help persuade him. That sneaky smile… El is so happy to see his mom. Cue for emotional mother and child reunion. Even Nina is in on it. Even more emotional? Sorry Bacchus and Hamsa, not you. Time to catch up on stuffs as El narrates how he was being sold as a slave but Azazel saved him. As per her instructions, he followed the first person who rescued him. El wants to leave for the human world and believes he can bring peace. Someone must stop the evil from spreading and he has the power to do it. Sofiel disagrees so El counters that by saying Gabriel cannot save the world. On he can do it. That evil confident grin…

Episode 16
Nina comes to talk to El but he is sulking since mom is against his idea to return to the human world. So Nina is back on good terms with Bacchus because she’s really teasing him about falling in love with a human since his exile from Heaven. He claims being worshipped isn’t his style and left. Nina dreams of being seduced by Charioce. Too short to kiss him? But that turns into a nightmare since Charioce becomes the evil king. When Nina wakes up, she realizes he clothes are gone. Not only that, El too. Bacchus and Hamsa know they will be in trouble if they don’t find him. Yeah, no more wine. El has worn Nina’s clothes in an attempt to escape. He is trying to use Bacchus’ carriage but good luck trying to pick out from the hundreds of similar looking ones. Meanwhile Kaisar is sentenced to fight to the death in the Coliseum with Azazel. At first he only defends and keeps running away since he couldn’t fight with a hand. Favaro among the crowd then throws him Rocky to turn the tables. So he fights better with both hands? Although besting Azazel, he doesn’t kill him, earning the ire of the crowd. If you’re wondering why Favaro is dressed up so fat, that’s because he has lots of smoke bombs. Enough for them to escape. Nina, Bacchus and Hamsa fail at communicating and flop in capturing El. The chase is on. Nina tries to jump on him but falls short. It’s a long way from Heaven to Earth. El dives to save her but they have to go through the stormy patch. When the other angels surround Bacchus and Hamsa and accuse them of freeing El, they jump off too but not after summoning their carriage. In good timing they rescue falling El and Nina as they safely arrive back on Earth. Bacchus warns if El plans to fight, he’ll bring him back to Heaven. He assures he isn’t. He is here to bring peace. But what about Jeanne? He will fulfil his mother’s duty. Kaisar, Favaro and Azazel meet up with Rita. Kaisar has to return his hand to her? Oh, Rocky is hers. Anyway, Azazel wants to part but Kaisar needs his help. Charioce is building a secret weapon that rivals the power of Bahamut underneath the capital. I guess he can’t say no. Oh, that goes the same for you too, Favaro.

Episode 17
Gabriel wants El back but Jeanne wants to go find him in their place as she will not leave this matter to those whom El doesn’t trust. You mad, Gabriel? Sofiel wants to help Jeanne. Guess what? Jeanne jumps off! Sofiel dives down to save her as they descend into the human world. Jeanne knew Sofiel wouldn’t let her die. So a human was testing an angel?! After promising she won’t do anything reckless, Sofiel agrees to help her. After all, Jeanne did ‘threaten’ Sofiel was indebted to them for saving her life then. Nina and co all reunite in a secret underground camp. Rita in some weird devil outfit? They talk about the great weapon Charioce has and the need to neutralize it. Rita notices he was controlling it via bracelet so El gets eager to steal it. But Bacchus warns about his promise. After Rita has Nina wear a strange devil outfit (is it Halloween?), she runs off outside herself. She is shocked to see Charioce in disguised at the graves. Trying to hide failed. She learns he is visiting the grave of his mother who was one of the king’s many concubines. She was discarded as soon she had a son. She kept dreaming in poverty she would return to the royal life but died waiting since Bahamut attacked 10 years ago. With this and royal blood flowing through his veins, that was when Chris became Charioce. He then has Nina take her to the demon slums. He buys a pendant and even plays football with the demon kids, risking his identity. He whispers to Nina they are being watched by the Onyx Knights so they make a run for it. At a cave, Nina is confused of him. He is a bad guy as king but treats her nicely. She wants to know which of him is real. There is something he must achieve at all cost but cannot tell her what it is now. All his actions as king was for this. His convictions were never wavered until he met her. He would have led a cushy king’s life if he had not met her. Surprisingly Nina hugs him! She wants to help him overcome whatever he is dealing with. It gets awkward because they kissed! It is then Nina realizes now she could control her transformation into the red dragon. She takes him flying through the night sky all over the capital and in the end he gives her the pendant. Wow. It really looks like a date. She really looks forward to meeting him next time in which he will tell her his goal. A big hug before she leaves. The Onyx Knight captain has been watching them and believes Charioce is under the red dragon’s spell.

Episode 18
Nina returns a happy girl. It’s written all over her face. Mugaro is back but Azazel ignores him. Did he not recognize him? With the prison island heavy on the security and the lots of soldiers patrolling the streets, their movements are restricted. The only clue they’ve got is Charioce’s bracelet. Nina confirms he is always wearing it. Oops, almost gave away you dated him. Charioce will hold a ball at his palace in a few days and they need somebody to sneak in to move in on him. Nina wants to be it and even proves how she can control her transformation. Azazel is shocked to see this. Too late? He’s crying?! I don’t think it is tears of happiness. Charioce continues to force the activation of Dromos. This means no rest for the workers. Mugaro tails Azazel around and he feels guilty the latter is revisiting the site all his friends were killed. However Azazel doesn’t blame him and they reconcile. Alessand is getting drunk with Cerberus. He approached the Onyx Knight captain to join his force but is told he is worthless. So much so he accidentally punches Kaisar who is in disguise at this place! What will he do once he realizes his mistake? Punch him again! Once things calm down, Kaisar tells of his plans to stop Charioce. He needs their help. Especially Alessand who comes from a noble family and will have no trouble attending. At first Alessand refuses and blames Kaisar for the downfall of Orlean Knights. But after he considers them his precious subordinates and not useless, I guess he has to relent. Nina thought nobody is around so she screams out I love you to the open sky. Too bad Favaro is there. Busted. He doesn’t care what she is hiding and advises her to think hard before she acts. He became a bounty hunter in order to live freely but at times he too had to make hard decisions. Must talking about Amira, huh? Since she won’t admit she loves Charioce, Favaro starts howling to the open sky I love you. Embarrassing! Annoyingly noisy! Meanwhile the Onyx Knight captain hires some beast guy to kill the red dragon.

Episode 19
What’s this? Gabriel is depressed and locked herself in her chamber? Is she now a lost angel? Jeanne and Sofiel take refuge in the capital as they continue to search for El but Jeanne is getting impatient to reunite with her son for each passing moment. Rita tells everyone her plan. Nina and Alessand will infiltrate the ball as nobles. Once Nina locates Charioce, she will be on standby. Favaro and Dias will also infiltrate but through the knight’s barracks. Once so, she will give the signal to Nina to transform into a dragon. This will be a distraction for Favaro to steal the bracelet. After that he will hop on Nina’s back and fly away. As for the rest, they are to secure routes for their escape if the plan fails. Mugaro wants to join in but with Azazel hinting him not to, he backs down. You wonder if Nina can pull this off because the moment she steps off the carriage, she trips on her own gown. Then she pigs out at the food table. She notices a line of ladies queuing and waiting to dance with Charioce. But Nina doesn’t need that crap. She herself is a free pass to waltz up to him and extend her hand! Charioce is surprised to see her and you guessed it, he takes her hand. Take that all you b*tches! They start dancing and wow, is Nina this good? Super wow. They’re perfect! At the end, Nina is one happy girl. But Charioce looks serious. He tells they will never see each other again. You serious? Then what was that ‘date’ all about? Was it a lie? Yes. Oh, don’t go breaking her heart. I guess this means he won’t tell her his goal. Favaro then interrupts as he points his crossbow. Hand over the bracelet. No can do. It’s stuck as long as he lives. Then he’ll have to cut off his hand. However Nina protects Charioce. You’ll have to shoot her first! I guess it is finally heartbreak hotel when Nina confirms Charioce will never dance with her again. The guards now surround them. Favaro throws smoke bomb for them to escape. Guess what is left behind? Nina’s high heels… Rita gives Bacchus to signal the failure of this plan. Nina realizes just got dumped but needs to put this behind her to escape. Yeah, she is running faster than usual. Alessand manages to escape but bumps into Azazel and Mugaro. On their way out, they bump into Jeanne and Sofiel. At the port, Favaro and Kaisar are subdued but the Onyx Knights. Nina is faced with the beast guy.

Episode 20
Beast guy badmouths Nina’s tainted dragon blood in a bid to provoke her. She transforms. He does too. Bigger and more ferocious. Jeanne wants El to come back with her but he cowers behind Azazel who in makes him face reality. El senses Nina in trouble and off everyone goes, leaving confused Alessand behind. Nina gets owned by beast guy’s might. Before Onyx Knight captain kills her, Favaro tries to play the card that Charioce is in love with her. However Onyx Knight captain says Charioce only views her as a disposable toy. Proof? It was his order that he is sent to kill her. That broke Nina’s heart. Favaro and Kaisar break out to protect her who is at this point very much like a vegetable in shock. El arrives to magically paralyze the Onyx Knights while Sofiel and Azazel ‘cooperate’ to destroy the beast guy. Back at the base, Favaro explains the failed plan to Rita. Kaisar asks Sofiel about the weapon Charioce has. Sofiel is unsure except that it is an artefact from an ancient era that existed way before the time of Gods and demons. Because the Gods are not even sure what it is, they sealed it, only for Charioce to march in and steal it. So how does Charioce know how to activate it? Beats the Gods too. When El is told to return to Heaven, he argues his power is meant for a higher purpose. Bacchus blows his top about his crap. He is born for his mother. I’m sure he is just pulling it out of the air but it made El repent and will return with his mom. But he’ll go tomorrow as he wants to say goodbye. Meanwhile Nina is really heartbroken. She’s throwing a tantrum and destroying that pendant gift. She has to stop and put on a brave face when El comes to say his goodbye. Charioce will soon leave for Eibos and is confident of breaking the seal. Onyx Knight captain lies he killed the red dragon. Sofiel asks if Bacchus would like to return to Heaven. I don’t think he wants too. I’m sure there is punishment or banishment waiting. But she now understands why he did so as she came down without Gabriel’s permission. She wants him to stay here to discover Charioce’s true intentions. El is emotionally in his goodbye to Azazel. But on his way back, he gets stabbed by Alessand!

Episode 21
Alessand stabbed El out of jealousy that he was a wuss and couldn’t join Onyx Knights. Favaro finds dying El and brings him back to Rita. Can she revive an angel?! If surgery doesn’t work, try CPR! Jeanne must have never prayed to God so hard. In the end after all that shocking drama, El dies. Wait. NOOO!!! Azazel crying?! Azazel suspects Dias or Alessand because they are outsiders so Kaisar ends up in a heated argument with him. Favaro then reveals it was Alessand because he saw him running away. Jeanne and Sofiel return to Heaven. You mean they just left Mugaro’s dead body here?! Alessand shows the tainted dagger he killed El to Onyx Knight captain. Can he join now? He is taken to a room where the Onyx Knights are suffering in pain from the effects of a magic stone. If he joins, he must embed this stone in his body which sucks his life force but allows him to use abilities. He will use his life to serve Charioce. Is that what you want? Alessand chickens out and now regrets killing El. Too late. Well, at least he is made the captain of Orlean Knights. Kaisar tells what happened to Dias. They don’t understand why Alessand did this. Dias in turn reports information he threatened from one of the top vessels that Charioce has secretly left last night to Eibos. Jeanne sees Gabriel and tells her El is dead. She will take down Charioce and Gabriel WILL help her. Sofiel transfers her life to her and now Jeanne is an angel? Azazel sees Lucifer and wants him to take action now as Jeanne will soon make a rebellion. However Lucifer is reluctant to believe him as they have lost once. Without any assurance of victory, all they can do is sit back and observe. This angers Azazel who steps over the line to claim Lucifer a coward and only ran away. Even if Azazel failed to save his brethren, he managed to survive by choosing to fight alone. Lucifer will need to see if Azazel can keep his words or not. Nina has been keeping herself busy cleaning from the recent heartbreaks. Then the tears naturally flow. I guess the last time she cried like that was seeing her dad’s corpse. When Favaro talks to her, she has this very determined look that she is going to stop Charioce to avoid him from taking those dearest to her. Thus she is packing her stuffs and heading to Eibos. Jeanne through Gabriel’s power announces to the world she will be striking down Charioce and those who serve him. Those who suffered by his hands can join her and take up arms at Edith’s Hill.

Episode 22
Jean rallies the humans, demons and angels who have risen up to fight against Charioce. Making their way to the capital, Kaisar stops Jeanne. He tells her that Charioce had no hand in El’s death and it was solely Alessand acting on his own. He will take responsibility for this. But to Jeanne, that doesn’t change the fact her son is dead and even when alive, Charioce targeted him. Negotiations failed. Some of the castle soldiers are having low morale. They wonder they too should have defected because if you have a wuss like Alessand leading, they’re doomed. Soon Jeanne’s forces storm through the capital. Meanwhile Nina’s side has reached Eibos. She kicks ass all those who stand in her way. She fights Charioce in a bid to stop his madness and easily overwhelms him. However she cannot kill or cut off his hand. She just can’t. Favaro wants to know if it is his plan to revive Bahamut. However the priest brushes off that silly idea and is doing the opposite. Charioce plans to slay Bahamut and that is why Dromos is needed. As explained again, 10 years ago when a guy (who is now Onyx Knight captain) discovered a secret room and a manual belonged to Martinet. It has meticulous detailed about the sealed weapon as well as Bahamut’s path of destruction. After studying the texts further, they conclude Bahamut would inevitably return to these lands. To avoid such danger, a king with incredible mental fortitude was needed so they could put forth their plan to slay Bahamut (that included invading Heaven and stealing the sealed weapon). Of course that requires a price and it isn’t going to be just his hand but eventually his life. Oh Nina, you look so shock. Favaro has him answer one last question. Why was he surprised when he saw Nina? Because this means Onyx Knight captain lied to him that she died and that eliminating her was a lie too. Because if he wanted her dead, he wouldn’t have let her leave the ball. He also didn’t order El’s death because if he is going to slay Bahamut, getting into a fight with the Gods is the last thing he’d want. Oh, looks like it is time. Better run as fast as you can since the place is crumbling. Favaro and Nina mange to escape in time into Bacchus’ carriage. Amidst the big explosion, look who is back after 10 years? Why, it’s big daddy Bahamut! ROAR! Long time no see. Charioce orders to lead it back to the capital.

Episode 23
Jeanne storms into the castle but thinks Charioce could be at the prison island since all the offensive is coming from there. When a giant floating monster arrives, all the demons rejoice. It’s Lucifer! Azazel teams up with Jeanne to kick ass and they make a pretty good combo. Kaisar and Dias run into their old comrades trying to kill demon kids. Kaisar is forced to knock them out. Dias spots Alessand running away and wants to take care of this. Alessand still thinks he is not at fault and while he might sound repentant, he stabs Dias thinking he let his guard down. Too bad big guys like Dias can hold off your puny stab. Alessand turns into a coward and runs away screaming when he sees Dias going to kill him. You lost your chance and honour. As he hides, he spots that demon kid hiding. He thought of making friends with him but he let his guard down and gets stabbed by him. Still with regrets of not wanting to die, too bad his last sight is Dias’ angry face. Kaisar wants to head to the centre of the battle so instead of swimming in which case he will definitely not make it, Rita summons the dead, turns them into zombies to form an undead wave to take them across. With Charioce’s returning, this boost the soldiers’ morale. Jeanne and Azazel drop down to fight him but his loyal Onyx Knights fight to their very last breath to protect him. The magic stone has consumed too much of their lives. I don’t know why Jeanne was hesitating. Was it how much toll it took on them? Onyx Knight captain could have killed her had he too not run out of steam. And now the duo fight Charioce. As he too is at his limits, before the duo can kill him, Kaisar jumps to defend him. OMG! Kaisar dead?! No wonder everybody is so shocked! But save your shock later because here comes the real shocker: Bahamut. Feel its rage!!!

Episode 24
Bahamut is blasting everything to bits! Angels and demons join hands in protecting everyone but I guess that’s not enough. After Nina carries Bacchus, Hamsa and Favaro to safety, her master tells her the truth of how he sacrificed a girl to choose this world. What shall she choose? Without hesitating, Nina will choose Charioce! Then don’t worry what happens to the world. Go tear that dragon to shreds. Nina dashes all the way to Charioce who is powering up Dromos. She isn’t here to stop him but if he is going to sacrifice his life, she will do the same. Double the life force, double the power? Dromos turns into some digital dragon? Black dragon versus digital dragon? OMG! Its blast is so powerful that Bahamut is blown to bits!!! For a brief moment, Nina met Amira. When the light of dawn shines, everyone rejoices to see Bahamut’s corpse! Bahamut literally died standing. Hooray! We survived! Nina narrates the aftermath. The success means Charioce has lost both his sight though he still remains king. What about Nina? What price did she pay? She lost her voice. That’s pretty light if you ask me. Dias becomes the leader of the Orlean Knights. Humans and demons might still have their animosity but they are getting along fine and there are no slaveries like before. Jeanne returns to live in Heaven but before that she prays at El’s grave. Azazel also pays his respects before leaving for parts unknown. Nina continues to crash at Bacchus’ place. Sofiel stays with them because she and Bacchus are a couple. Yeah, believe it. Before Favaro leaves for his usual life of wandering, Nina tells him she met Amira in Bahamut’s light. She wished him all the best. Thought we could see him tear up a little there… Finally, Nina manages to sneak into the palace and dance with Charioce. One day, the corpse of Bahamut just disappears. Favaro knows it isn’t dead yet. Oh dear… Last but not least, Kaisar lives! As a zombie! Oh Rita…

Man Becomes The Demon When He Plays God
OMG! OMG! OMG!!! EVERYTHING WAS SO AWESOME!!! I can’t feel happy and sad at the same time the way things ended. Well, there is a price to pay for peace. There is a price to pay for everything. So with Bahamut not being dead, I guess this leaves room for another season? And it feels like the efforts and sacrifice of all is for naught, eh? But it’ll take a while before Bahamut returns to terrorize again. Then sh*t starts to happen all over again. Enjoy your peace while it lasts. Because if Bahamut is dead, it’s like saying Amira is also dead. Well, good thing we all know she is alive inside Bahamut.

It has been one helluva interesting and exciting ride from start to finish. This sequel could be even possibly better than the first season if that is the case. I think it is. It was really a fun and interesting ride from start to finish and there wasn’t a moment where I was bored since my attention was being so captivated and fixated on the screen that my eyes never strayed from the monitor. Really. There might be some slow moments but I won’t go so far as to call it boring. Watching this season feels like I have been losing track of time because whenever the episode ends, I would be going like, “Aww, it’s already over?”. I can’t help feel really excited and hyped for the next episode. Uh huh. This means when the season really ends, I was like going, “Aww, it’s already over?”. This itself is a good testament of what an absolutely good series should do and leave a mark or impression on its audiences.

I don’t know where to begin with to say how awesome everything is. But I have to start from somewhere. You can blame me for being very impartial and waxing lyrical about this season and this series overall since I am being blown away by the awesomeness of everything. As long as it is a very good thing to me, I’m okay with that. So this season seems to like have a hand in almost every movie genre. It has action, adventure, fantasy, comedy and even romance. The romance bit might feel like a distraction and a bit out of place but it is all part of giving the characters and plot more depth. Maybe just missing out on the musical genre but I’m sure it would be weird to hear Nina and Charioce break into a song. Not that I won’t mind seeing them but it would definitely be an eyebrow raiser. A distraction. After all, such a great season doesn’t need such a distraction when you have so many awesome things going on.

The story itself is interesting and there are enough developments to keep the viewers intrigued. There might not be any ground breaking twists (how can a good looking king like Charioce by such a black hearted king? There must be some sort of ulterior motive…) and there were some parts which were predictable (like how Alessand was going down the bad road and paying for it – seen that coming from a mile). Like I said, it was really one helluva ride from start to finish the moment Nina was introduced. A nonstop roller coaster ride that sees the storyline ranging from a demon rebellion, Nina being sent to prison, Heaven launching an attack on humans but failed, a trip to Nina’s hometown and then a ride up to Heaven, a ball infiltration before the climax of the biggest and ultimate battle with the big and baddest antagonist of it all. Speaking of which, I was wondering how Bahamut is going to play out its role considering that dragon is after all the name of the series. I was thinking that it was going to be only mentioned in flashbacks and legend until the climax. Well, here’s my wish of Bahamut making his very late appearance. Yeah, just like last season in which the dragon finally moved in the final episode. And also got defeated too. I thought there would be the mother of all battles, you know, Nina versus Bahamut. I guess she is smart enough to not take on that might alone. Red dragon versus black dragon… Why does it sound like a Mortal Kombat reference?

The characters add live and depth to the plot and you’ll find most of them likeable. Well, most of them. Because nobody likes that complaining Alessand to the very end and I’m sure nobody shed a tear when he rightfully met his fate. Right? Even Azazel is more likeable than him despite he is very hot tempered and rash. At least Azazel tries to do something even though things fail and don’t go as planned, he doesn’t give up. Unlike Alessand who just complains and dreams of the bigger stuffs but when the real deal comes, he chickens out. At least Azazel is more human than him. The fact he saved and took care of Mugaro says a lot even if he himself doesn’t want to admit it. Yeah, there’s this very odd relationship between a half angel and demon…

Anyway, Nina has been an absolute interesting character ever since making her debut. She is lively, she is spunky, she is funny and she goes at her own pace. It makes her quite likeable in that sense. We all love a headstrong and independent heroine character, don’t we? She isn’t technically human (her monstrous strength is supposedly a giveaway) so I guess we can’t compare her to what constitutes and the ethics of being human but spending most of her time in human form, I guess she too has developed some sort of human emotions like falling in love. Of all people, the king, right? Yeah, which girl doesn’t dream of marrying the king? It was one of those conflicting moments for her but she is able to get up and move on (albeit it took a bit of a while) and continue doing what she believes is right.

I figure they were trying to paint Charioce as an absolute baddie king here but my guts tell me that there were more than meets the eye. After all, when you have a king this good looking, anime cliché tells us there is more to it. Of course his heartless actions isn’t totally heartless at all. Therefore in this aspect if he was trying to act and play the bad king for his ulterior motive, man I swore I could have seen through his act from all that ‘bad acting’ right from the initial episodes. Because he doesn’t act very much like a ruthless and merciless king. Okay, maybe his gentle and suave ways make him a smooth talker but still, if he really was a cruel king, he would have gone about a much violent way. So by playing the bad guy all the while, does that make him a considerate guy? Maybe that is why Nina clicks with him, despite their romance feels a bit weird. Cheesy? Cliché? After all, commoner girl falls in love with powerful king is quite an overused trope. Hmm… Is this the Virgin Soul the second title might be referring to? Virgins in love, that is… It is a bit sad that both lost some of their sensory so Charioce can never see and hear Nina while she can never speak to him again. But as long as they’re together, they can forever dance beautifully.

Fans are delighted that last season’s characters also appear here. So there is some sort of continuity instead of this sequel of being an unrelated new story. I remember last season Kaisar started off as an annoying guy who keeps chasing Favaro around. He doesn’t do that anymore here or even b*tch about his family’s past honours but as the leader of the Orlean Knights, he still feel pretty much a wuss. I mean this guy opposes violence and he tries to settle things the non-violent way. I don’t know. Despite his noble intentions of wanting peaceful solutions and all the races to live in harmony, in a way it might do more harm than good because everyone else are just cruel pieces of sh*t. That’s the cruel fact of this world. So trying to be passive and accommodating just makes him look like a weak loser. No wonder weaker people like Alessand started to lose faith in him. But thank goodness for loyal Dias, right? Now Kaisar has found true peace in death and as much as I want to find that funny, I couldn’t. It is with mixed feelings to see Rita revive him as a zombie because he isn’t technically the same again. After all, Rita was the most affected by his death as their odd relationship goes back a long way since the first season. And to think Rita thought he wanted to confess to her…

There was this initial fear that Favaro wasn’t going to appear at all seeing that he was nowhere around in the first half. Well, thank goodness he did around halfway point. What an unlikely place to make your first appearance this season in the prison. Favaro hasn’t lost his edge but he isn’t the main character and hero he was in the first season as Nina now takes over that role. He is more like the master sifu role now. Still funny in his own way, still sharp and smart. He must have learnt a lot ever since Amira’s passing last season. It pretty much feels the same for Rita since cool zombie girl became a quack doctor treating demons in her hideout and her role is like to provide sarcasm, voice of reason and a bit comic relief. Don’t worry, she has Rocky by her side so I’m sure she isn’t lonely. Too bad Rocky doesn’t leave as much impression as I thought it would. Not that it would become as famous as Addams Family’s Thing. Bacchus and Hamsa still feel like the comic relief pair from Disney. And now this drunkard is an item with Sofiel, it’s like a match made in Heaven, right? Only on Earth. Only they’re not royalty. I swore I could have guessed Sofiel had a thing for Bacchus from the start as she kept bugging a disgraced God for a simple task of finding a kid which I believe she could have done it herself. Of all people, right?

It was really weird to see Jeanne having a child when she is still a virgin. It made me wonder if this is what the Virgin Soul is supposedly refers to. It feels like the case of déjà vu for Jeanne because in the last season, she absorbed Michael to obtain power. This season, she absorbed Sofiel to power up and gain revenge for her son. She is after all human. Can’t blame her. And you know what they say about hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Especially a mother whose child got killed. Ironically, El never get to live up to his destiny or role. He is supposed to be the key hindrance and target of Charioce’s plan and he is supposed to bring peace to the world but look what happened to him. Sad, right?

If you’re here for the action, you won’t be very disappointed. Fans who were awed by the amazing action spectacular in the first season can expect even more power action in this season. It doesn’t disappoint to say the least with all the power and magic play in the battle, it is anybody’s game. Just don’t get hit by any one of those magic blasts because they’re really powerful. Like Dromos being the mother of all blasts. Not even angels can stand up to its power. And you thought creatures from Heaven would be all mighty and invincible but that might just be our perception. It’s a different case for them in this world. But still, they’re no pushovers with their heavenly powers. But I suppose the Gods are not useful enough that Charioce had to do it himself to get rid of Bahamut. Prove that if you want something done, do it yourself. And yeah, praying to God won’t get anything done. Period. Whoops! As excuse for more destruction on the human side, hence they have giant golems so that they can be toppled and destroyed. Not to say that there aren’t body counts from actual humans from the knights but I suppose it lessens the impact of watching a fellow human being cut down. They’re just stones and machines, right? What am I saying…

Art and animation are still top notched. Many of the main characters have this bishonen and bishoujo looks so characters like Charioce, Kaisar, Azazel and even Lucifer have this pretty boy looks. Even in Heaven with all the male angels are tanned and muscular, female angels all have very big boobs. Mmm… But all is not pretty and good looking when you consider the demon slums. Yeah, those really look horrible. Not the quality of the animation but rather you can feel the very neglected state of those areas. CGI is also used especially on the golems and Bahamut. Pretty much okay, I guess.

The old casts are retained and continue to do a fine job reprising their roles. Sumire Morohoshi did a good job as Nina to make her really sound spunky and lively. Although she sounds like as though she is newbie in voice acting and has this raw sound to it, she has been in the industry for quite some time (going all the way back to 2010’s Kuragehime’s Clara although this isn’t technically her debut role but one her early roles). I didn’t really know it was Rie Kugimiya behind Mugaro/El’s voice. Firstly, the character didn’t even speak until the latter half. Even so, it was one of those boyish roles Rie Kugimiya played unlike her stereotypical tsundere character role so it took me a while to realize it was her. The other new casts added are Yuuichirou Umehara as Charioce (Mitsuhide in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime), Maaya Sakamoto as Sofiel (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Hiroshi Shirokuma as Onyx Knight captain (Warrod in Fairy Tail), Yasuhiro Mamiya as Dias (Naomasa in Drifters) and Kensho Ono as Alessand (Seiji in Renai Boukun).

If you remember the first season’s hard punk heavy metal acid rock-like opening, this season is no different either. Yup, the first opening theme, Let It End is sung by the same band, Sim. Not really my kind of music because of all the screaming like as though you can burst your lungs if you sing too hard. The second opening theme is more bearable, Walk This Way by The Beat Garden. It reminds me of that ending theme in Devil Survivor 2 The Animation. Not bad and epic in its own right. As for the ending themes, they are weird and unique in the context of this series. The first ending theme is Haikei Goodbye Sayonara by Daoko. It’s like a techno rap song and the credits animation is very video game-like. But all that is nothing compared to the second ending theme, Cinderella Step also by Daoko. The song is very fairytale-like as well as its animation. It is most amusing and I believe this is one of the very few animations in which I enjoy because there is a ‘twist’. With Nina being Cinderella and Charioce as Prince Charming, what happens when the clock strikes 12 at the ball? Why, they go disco dancing!!! OMFG!!! This is way too funny and creative!!! I really love it. Everyone, let’s get down on the dance floor! Also worth mentioning are the epic voices used as BGMs during epic sequences. It really makes everything so grandeur and epic.

Originally, before this season came out, there was supposed to be another Shingeki No Bahamut series, Manaria Friends. However it was cancelled indefinitely in 2016 and no news of any progress has been made since. Because of the poster picture of Manaria Friends, it made me wonder if it was connected to the Shingeki No Bahamut series in the first place and hence why I thought Virgin Souls could be a totally different and unrelated to the original. Heck, I saw the list of seiyuus being casted and they were all for totally different new characters. I wonder how things would have turned out had Manaria Friends actually aired. Would it have been a hit? Would it have been a miss? Would it have affected Virgin Souls? Was it why Virgin Souls was made instead? Whatever the reasons were, I’m glad I got to watch this season.

Overall, this series is so amazing and awesome and at this point I might be sounding like a broken tape recorder. In recent seasons and years, there have only been a few good animes and rarely a few in a single season. I supposed when you have been going down and reached the lowest (obviously it didn’t but just for argument’s sake), the only way left is up and good stuffs. So other than this series, we had great second seasons like Shingeki No Kyojin, Boku No Hero Academia and Uchouten Kazoku (can I also consider Teekyuu’s ninth season as awesome?) as well as new ones like Princess Principal, Kakegurui and Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou No Sho that really saved the season. If you really love action, adventure and fantasy all into one, this is the series to go to. Till the next rage of Bahamut, keep your Baha-Baha-Baha-Soul to the Baha-Baha-Baha-Max. Baha-Baha-Baha-Amen! The wind is certainly blowing in the direction of tomorrow!

Battle Girl High School

January 27, 2018

Is it me or does Battle Girl High School have this very similar feel to Schoolgirl Strikers? Both are based off a social network game and have this group of girls divided into teams in which when they transform into their outfit allows them to use special weapons and powers to fight against the invading aliens and defend planet Earth. Only this time we have a mysterious new girl joining the ranks as they continue to fight off the invaders while trying to lead a normal school life. Heh. Anything is beyond normal if you send school girls to do the fighting.

Episode 1
Miki Hoshitsuki, Subaru Wakaba and Haruka Narumi attend a concert. However they are recalled by Sensei who has detected a growing miasma threat. So our girls need to go into action for the sake of the concert to keep going. Weird alien creatures known as Irous attack the people as our girls transform to beat the crap out of them. I suppose this is a good excuse to introduce a whole bunch of them. Yes, all of the team members as they join in to help kick Irous’ butt. Also, not forgetting their teachers who also keep a check on their stats, data, etc. And as expected, the day (night, rather) is saved thanks to the girls’ efforts. We see them leading ordinary lives at school. Anko Tsubuzaki and Sakura Fujimiya are called by the student council because their club has done nothing but goof around. Therefore their club is on the verge of being shut down and their clubroom seized for other clubs. Dumb excuses not acceptable. They are given a chance to find new members or hold suitable club activities or face the music. We also see them in mock training among each other until this strange girl with a big claw weapon drops in to attack. The school’s president, Botan Kamine assures everyone she isn’t dangerous. Misaki is their newest team member.

Episode 2
A narration tells the back story of this setting. Miasma descended upon the world and girls garbed in celestial suits fought against it and put off the Irous invasion. But a very large scale attack left Earth devastated and the remaining humans escaped to orbit where they sought refuge in the Colony by the Holy Tree. It is here where a new team is trained to recapture Earth. The Holy Tree is successfully back on Earth but the girls at Hoshimori are ever vigilante to stave off the continuous Irous threat. This is a history video shown by Sensei to Misaki as protocol for newbies. As the girls form teams to take turns fighting the Irous, Misaki is the odd one out as she often jumps into battle without any directives to fight them. Some are not happy she doesn’t have good discipline to follow orders while others cut her some slack since she did save their comrades’ skin. Since everyone notices Misaki is a loner and doesn’t mix well with others, they want to hold a welcome party for her so they can get to know each other better. The girls divide their tasks and we see Miki sucks in cooking. I don’t know, maybe she could use this to kill Irous. Unless your sense of taste is dead like Sakura… Everyone surprises Misaki but she doesn’t look surprised. The lamest has got to be Asuha Kusunoki whose lame pun just ruined everything in addition to embarrassing herself that no one is laughing. But wait! Misaki is laughing her ass off???!!! Strange taste in jokes… Sorry to ruin your party girls, but we’ve detected some Irous. Haven’t fought some this episode, right? There is a new type of Irous never seen before in the fray. Of course they don’t know its traits, etc. Misaki once more breaks protocol to jump in and fight it, successfully defeating it. Miki is impressed with her but Misaki views that wasn’t good enough. Sensei senses something amiss because no doubt Misaki is good, it is as though she almost knew how to defeat it.

Episode 3
The sun! The sea! The beach! Swimsuits! What a paradise! Hate to break it to you girls but we’re not here for fun and games because the purpose of this trip is to train their ass off. So get to it! No mercy from the demon teacher, Furan Mitsurugi. Look at her smirk. It’s like she enjoys seeing the girls in pain! Thanks to that, even with all the delicious food, the girls are in no mood to eat. Tired and sunburn. Oddly, they are also here to learn how to dance because apparently the celestial suits draw power from certain motions. I guess like martial arts, form and rhythm are important. That night, Anko, Nozomi Amano, Sadone, Sakura and Hinata Minami head for the nearby ‘spirit’ island to play their own kimodameshi. The reward for all this is the view of the beautiful city lights across. They realize suddenly there are 2 moons. Wait. One of them is getting bigger. Then it turns into a giant spider Irous (War of the Worlds?) as it forms a barrier locking them in and releasing miasma. They try to break out but the barrier is too hard and at this rate they will slowly collapse from inhaling too much miasma. As everyone gets sortie, Misaki can’t wait for the slow pokes and disobeys orders again to head in to fight the Irous. If Misaki can’t even break through it, you think the others can? Well, don’t give up (important lesson of the episode, I guess). But remember your training. That dance training. And with all the proper moves they have learnt (including some friendship flashback thingy), the barrier is broken and the friends saved. In the aftermath, Asuha lectures the ‘adventurers’ and Sadone learns from Miki that Misaki was the first one to rush to their aid. She knows why Misaki is always tough on us and it’s because she doesn’t want them hurt.

Episode 4
Shiho Kunieda and Kanon Kougami of Fortissimo are on their last leg of their high school tour when something unfortunate happened. Miki and co are big fans of them and are even praying at a shrine for success. Despite the relatively decent luck they get, there is a little warning that their wish won’t go their way. And that bad news comes in the form of Fortissimo staff being unable to arrive in time. The bus they were travelling in were blocked by a landslide. They got food poisoning while waiting and are all sick. The logical step is to cancel it but seeing how fully booked the concert is, that is why the duo are here to plead to the Hoshimori girls to be part of their staffs. Gladly. Yeah, free labour. So all get to work and their roles being assigned quickly. Everyone is surprised Misaki volunteers to work out instead of skipping. They work really hard and you can’t blame them for being tired at school. It gets worse when Irous come to attack. Shiho and Kanon thought of helping out and although they successfully defeat the Irous, Kanon sprained her foot. It isn’t that bad and she doesn’t want to disappoint fans and can still go on. Shiho believes in her. And so concert day is here. Fortissimo puts up an exciting concert as usual. Miki and her team had to partially miss it since those damn Irous show up. The faster you kill, the faster you can get back to the concert. Before the penultimate song, Kanon’s bandage broke. She still thinks she can go on but this will be risky. Misaki volunteers to dance in her place since she is the same size and height and her. Kanon disagrees at first but since the crowd cannot wait… Everyone is awed seeing ‘Kanon’s’ dance move. It is then her pals realize she is a hardcore Fortissimo fan. Kanon’s foot has healed enough for them to head out and sing their last song. The concert is a success and to thank the Hoshimori girls for their hard work, they sing an encore for them in private.

Episode 5
Once again, the girls are in a pinch. Once again, Misaki comes to the rescue and destroy the Irous with a single punch. To the crotch???!!! When the girls converge for their usual training, Yuri Himukai blows her top because again Misaki isn’t here. Is she exempted? Well, Sensei did ask her to join but Misaki believes she will not gain anything. Later Kurumi Tokiwa talks to Misaki how Yuri once resembled her. She used to fight alone. Misaki believes by being weak only puts others in danger. Kurumi takes it that she once had a team. Yes she does. However she relied on them and grew weak. That’s why she wants to grow strong enough not to seek help from others. Kurumi believes there is strength in teamwork. Meanwhile, Nozomi also notes to Yuri how similar Misaki is to her. This prompts Misaki to remember Nozomi also used to skip out on training. Time for flashback. 2 years ago, another lost to their seniors prompted Yuri to want her team to start training. Nozomi didn’t like the idea. Their relationship soon strained as Nozomi reveals her reasons to Kurumi. She feels scared to lose when mankind’s future rests on their shoulders. She can’t do it. So when the next emergency call comes, Nozomi is nowhere to be heard. She didn’t even pick up the call. Everyone heads out to fight the Irous and Yuri thinks she can tackle the big one herself. Too bad she failed. Before she gets owned, look who changed her mind and came back to save her? Nozomi! She admits her fears especially the thought of losing Yuri. That is why she came. They both cooperate and kick Irous ass. Misaki wakes up in cold sweat from a dream of running up the endless stairs to be stronger. She sees Kurumi planting irises. She planted them as a sign of Yuri and Nozomi getting back together. It is a flower that stands for hope.

Episode 6
Renge Serizawa and Kurumi are in some nice dream? Turns out they were hit by an Irous attack. Thankfully no tentacle rape but those tentacles sure made them have those dreams. As usual, Misaki destroys it. Now it is all back to the normal school the next day but Renge notices something amiss. She is in Kurumi’s body! They have swapped bodies alright. Since retard Kurumi didn’t realize it, she has to quickly take her away to give her a pep talk before anyone suspects. Hence, they decide to live each other’s lives for now. Of course this is Renge’s ulterior motive to take more sleazy shots of the girls. Too bad Kurumi is a little absent minded and needs to be reminded. And Kurumi starts harassing everyone… Is this how everyone thinks of Renge? Renge begins her ‘mission’ by having Urara Hasumi and Kokomi Asahina pose as her models. Before they could suspect her acting like Renge, she gives excuse about their brilliant performance as Fortissimo’s backup dancers. This also leads to a bigger ‘catch’ as Shiho and Kanon volunteer to be her models. Renge is now ‘addicted’ and goes on a sleazy secret photo shoot of everyone. The last is Misaki. Speaking of which, it could be her best chance yet as Misaki wants to wash the back of ‘Kurumi’ as thanks. Had Renge not start fantasizing her delusions, Misaki would not have suspected this is the fake Kurumi. Because of that, Misaki suspects this fake must a humanoid Irous and attacks her! Later when the teachers discover how Renge and Kurumi swapped bodies, looks like the only way back is to get hit by that Irous’ attack again. Yup, go get assaulted again. They manage to switch back as Renge apologizes to everyone. Especially to Kurumi for using her body to do sleazy stuffs. She won’t do it again because she would prefer to do it all as herself! Didn’t learn a damn thing!

Episode 7
The girls are having a hard time fighting this mean Spyro-like Irous. Because its metallic skin is really hard. So when it uses up its energy, it just stops dead in its tracks and will rest up to recover. But at this point because half its body is in another plane of existence, the girls cannot even do harm to it until it moves. They’re screwed, right? So they take this time to discuss how to take it down and I’m not sure why Misaki is silently seething in anger about the girls trying to use brute force to bring it down. Eventually they deduce of concentrating their attacks on its head where the energy is being gathered that they believe is the weak spot. Okay. It’s moving again. Off to the battlefield. However it is as hard as hell as ever. As the Irous inches closer to school, Botan plays it safe by evacuating everyone. Renge and Nozomi get light injuries during the ensuing battle. Misaki is being pessimistic? Because she believes it is best for everyone to retreat and let the city fall. What happen to just clawing her way through her enemies? Well, she can’t claw through this one so I guess it makes sense if she can’t defeat it, no one can. However Miki won’t give up. And so do the other ordinary school girls. They start cheering for them and suddenly they have this glow that powers them up. It’s the Holy Tree. Of course Miki and Misaki has to power up the most because they are the ones to destroy the Irous. Their combo smashes it to smithereens. Everybody rejoices and the girls get thanked. Also, odd to see Misaki being this happy? Something about realizing the true power of Hoshimori team.

Episode 8
Miki must be having bad luck. She draw the short end of the stick and this means for the holidays, she has to stay back at school to watch in case of any Irous attack. Although Haruka and Subaru also draw the short end, at least they don’t have to study like Miki since she failed her tests and need to make up for it. Meanwhile we see the rest of the other girls having fun their own way. The oddest one I think is Yuri because she is pulling off that iconic pose from Titanic. One night, Haruka thought she heard a burglar in one of the dorm’s rooms. Because nobody but them should be around. So as they prepare to tackle the burglar, their thoughts change, what if it’s a ghost! Eventually they barge in and they only discover Anko. Didn’t she go for a trip? Yes. On her VR. Apparently Misaki also stayed behind to learn some sort of sneaking tactic. Yeah, there was one time the girls were sleeping in the gym, Misaki snuck in to sleep with them. Huh? Miki continues to be frustrated with her studies and thinks the teachers have it easy. So when Misaki tells how Sensei has been working hard nonstop, Miki realizes he has been thinking about them in ways they don’t normally see. They decide to bake him a cake but they fail so hard and messed up the kitchen that ironically Sensei had to come to their rescue. At the same time, all the other girls have the same idea of returning home a day early to give Miki and co souvenirs.

Episode 9
It’s time for the school’s cultural festival. But the Hoshimori girls won’t get to choose what they’ll do since they were late in submission and all that is left is to do a play. As they have no time, they decide to do a play based on the costumes available. A variety of costumes, some looking too big and loose while some are just too tight and revealing on others. Either way, Renge is having a field day. So the play is some screwed up fairytale. I believe Renge is the lead character and very much appropriately the wolf because she tries to hound other characters like Red Riding Hood and the 3 little pigs but they end up ditching her ‘love’. Twisted but hey, let’s just go with it because nobody could come up with better stuffs. The festival gets underway and everything is looking fine. Yeah, so fine like as though Irous marked their calendar so as not to disturb the girls on this special day. Anyway the Hoshimori girls are now in session. Of course it had to go well until things don’t go well. The teachers detect an Irous reading within the school. A strange hooded character drops in on stage to attack but luckily Misaki is there to protect. The teachers cannot risk panic or else there will be casualties. So… Carry on? Luckily the crowd thinks this is one damn good play. When other Hoshimori girls back up Misaki, the shady character escapes and vanishes. The play ends with everyone giving them a standing ovation. So good that it was so real! Ignorance is sure bliss… Misaki has a bad feeling about the person she just fought. It could be somebody she knew…

Episode 10
I guess with no Irous detected recently, the teachers decide to give our Hoshimori girls a vacation. Yeah, just wait and see… Miki invites Misaki to stay at her place since she has nowhere to go. She meets Miki’s mom and little sister, Miku. Is it me or do they all look like Miki clones? Anyway despite their first time meeting, Misaki somehow knows about Miku. Did Miki once tell about her? Even more so it feels like they have been family for a long time. This should raises some suspicions about Misaki’s identity, if you know what I mean… So apparently something is wrong about Misaki because late at night when everyone is sleeping, she runs away from ‘home’. Of course this is when the hooded character attacks her. The teachers sense this Irous reading and send out the emergency notification. Miku is worried Misaki left with her bags. With the notification’s timing, Miki assures her it could be Misaki just went ahead for the usual. Misaki gets owned but luckily Miki and some of the other Hoshimori girls come to her aid. You think they have the numbers, right? Well, hoodie girl also brought her hoodie pals to even the odds. They are faster and more powerful! OMG! Is this Hoshimori’s doom? When the hooded character is unmasked… Miki???!!! Misaki calls out to her as her big sister. Miki clone did not say anything. All of them just walk away and vanished. They didn’t run away. They just let them go. Apparently this is the plan of the big bad villainess, Iris who has been watching them all the while. She wants them to further fall into the darkness of despair. With Miki seeking answers, Misaki explains she is the Miki from another world. Don’t hold your breath but we should have seen this coming that this means Misaki too is from another world.

Episode 11
We see Misaki and her sister at their limits fighting Irous. And then they get absorbed into some strange alternate space dimension that is supposed to be a place where worlds connect via Holy Tree. As they can’t stay here long, sister use the last of her powers to push Misaki out to another world. So when she lands in this world, Botan was the first one to find her. And now Misaki reveals to the other girls that she isn’t from this world. There is this simple explanation of parallel worlds to the dumb girls but I can’t say I understand it myself. It’s not that simple of just an example of taking the left route or right route. In Misaki’s world, the victory over Irous never came. They have been constantly fighting Irous as the Holy Tree lost its light and fell into darkness. It is known as the Wicked Tree. It might have found its way to this world. So why is everyone worried they have to fight Misaki’s sister? Looks like Iris is in possession of the Wicked Tree and relishes pitting the Hoshimori girls of different worlds against one another. Botan and the teachers try to deduce of all the parallel worlds, why Misaki ended up in this one. Did the Holy Tree brought her here as answer to Misaki’s sister’s prayers? In that case, it shouldn’t have brought the Wicked Tree along as well and that it must have been brought here by answering the call of the evil desires of someone in this world. Misaki is reminiscing all the good times spent with the Hoshimori girls. And what do you know? Everyone realizes she is missing and goes out looking for her. Because we all know Misaki is going to have a final showdown with her sister to settle things. She is doing this because she doesn’t want her new friends to be put in danger. She believes they are so because of her arrival. Too bad Misaki gets owned. She plans to sacrifice herself and take her sister along. Just in time here comes Miki to stop her. Why? Because we’re friends! Right. With the other girls being grateful to her as well, I guess it’s not a time to be selfish. Now a flying dragon turtle Irous appears. This one is more dangerous than ever. More powerful in fact. Because the Wicked Tree is riding on it. What else? Let’s take it on together!

Episode 12
As Misaki and Miki move forward, the other girls take on their dark counterparts and other Irous in the way. To cut things short, they took out each other. Just as the duo find the Wicked Tree, Iris sends them to another dimension. Looks familiar this dimensional rift? Déjà vu? Stuck. Meanwhile the teachers are worried about the girls. Botan gives the usual believe in them speech. So Sensei communicates with all the girls to relay to them the bad news that Misaki and Miki are trapped in the rift. Because of their determination to help them but they lack the energy, the Holy Tree starts resonating. The girls also start resonating. Their powers being absorbed by the Holy Tree to be given to Misaki and Miki! F*ck yeah! Power of friendship! The duo power up enough to break out from the rift and back to reality. They receive a new battle suit to reflect that power up. Uhm, looks like a wedding dress… Misaki now faces off with her sister. All the clashing didn’t work and what did was her yell to tell her not to lose out to the Wicked Tree. With that, big sister returns to her senses. That easy, huh? Big sister than powers up her weapon so she could help Miki slay Iris and the Wicked Tree. Mission completed. Time to rejoice. All is not lost for Misaki’s sister. The Wicked Tree is now a small sprouting bud. It then glows and opens a portal to allow big sister and the rest to return to their own world. However Misaki is staying because she has things that needs to be done. Friends > Sister. Apparently. I expected big sister and the rest wanting to stay here too but I guess they have better things to do back at their own world. Bye. And so our Hoshimori girls continue to live their happy school life with lots of fun.

Battered Girls High Schoolgirl Strikers
I know this is supposed to be a feel good happy ending but I can’t help feel the cringe ever since the final arc started. Probably everything was so cliché and predictable that I had already lost my enthusiasm. Heck, I think I lost it earlier on. Because with Misaki now staying in this world and becoming part of Miki’s family, she looks a lot happier and my theory for her to do is because her original world sucks. You know how dark and gloomy it is, right? With her original world so gloomy, I don’t think she even has any friends but her sister there. So while her sister and other counterparts are probably doing their best to rebuild things, Misaki is going to have fun with her friends here. Yeah, smart girl. And she gets ‘join forces’ with Miku to pick on Miki who is a retard and klutz at times. Now I can see why she wants to stay. Everyone is so friendly with her that they even gave her a second welcoming party in the end.

Forgive me if you are going to hear me compare this series with Schoolgirl Strikers because of how similar they are but yet different enough that I don’t get confused of which is which. Firstly, like I have said in my opening paragraph, the plot and storyline generally feels so similar. At the end of the day, it doesn’t make it any better because I find this series as boring as ever. Heck, it could be even worse than Schoolgirl Strikers. There is hardly anything that would make for an exciting story because other than the fact the girls need to battle Irous feels forced and necessary in an otherwise a much more boring show to begin with. While they are not battling the ‘unimportant’ monsters, we get a glimpse of their so called school life. Which leads to the next big problem of the series. Then they add this twist that Misaki is not of this world. Oh, such original plot. Saw this coming right from the first episode because when new girl doesn’t fit in and gradually does, it is a tell-tale sign that she is an alien. In that foreigner sense, that is.

This parallel world thingy is a subjective subject and it can be good or bad depending on how well it is played out as the plot. It isn’t a good one here. With the plot of parallel worlds being introduced, somehow it feels odd that everybody just accepted the fact that it is like normal. This is assuming that nobody knows that other parallel worlds exist but even in the case they do, they would have at least suspected something different about Misaki since she is able to fight new Irous with ease. But nobody cares as long as they’re happy living their school girl life, right? And with Misaki being able to traverse time, this raises the question of Irous being sent from other parallel worlds to screw up other worlds too. I am sure they can obtain victory by doing that but I guess that will be too much for our puny brains to handle because all we want is to see the Hoshimori girls have some yuri fun, right? Yeah, screw this parallel world thingy. Just for plot convenience. And the final part whereby the Hoshimori girls send their powers to bring them back is all part of the BS so that history doesn’t need to repeat itself as neither girls would need to sacrifice themselves to send the other back. All hail the power of girl friendship!

Now, one of the biggest issues of having a short series and so many main characters is that you will never have a fair share of screen time for all of them. Hence this makes some of the less popular characters to be even more obscure. Heck, there are 18 main girls of the Hoshimori team! Oh, make that 19 ever since Misaki joined them. Schoolgirl Strikers I believe have slightly more than this number (20, I believe) but the reason that series doesn’t feel as bad as this one in terms on the focus of the characters is because that series mainly focused on one group. The rest are totally like supporting. It is not the case for this one. Here, the girls are grouped into 3 per team and the team is categorized by their high school grade. This means you have seniors, sophomores and juniors of both high school and middle school. The line is blurred because you don’t focus on just one team but a few of them. I know I said that some of them feels like they lack the screen time but with the focus on few of the other girls, one could easily get lost as in to figure who is supposed to be the main heroine. Though, from the so called plot we would deduce it would be Miki and Misaki.

Therefore the characters themselves are a big miss because some feel they are just generic and cliché to give us a variety a personalities although many of them aren’t memorable. So much so by the time the series ended, I don’t think I could remember the names of even half the Hoshimori girls! Sad but true. Even the mid-intermission that shows the bio-data of the girls from their birthday and likes didn’t help much. Unless you’re really interested to know more about them, such data is pretty much insignificant. Just one of those things to prove they have some personality after all. Aside Miki and Misaki, I suppose if I had to pick which is the most memorable one, it had to be Renge because she is a pervert. Ah, such personalities are usually a stand out, right? I also remember Anko but not because of her personality but rather her big fluff of hair that looks so heavy that it could break her head any time. Kanon and Shiho are only because they are the only idols in the team but other than that, I don’t remember anything else about them. Some whom I remembered not because of their name but rather the seiyuu they voiced them. Alas it is not the retard and cutie pie I remember in Kurumi and Sadone but rather I refer to them as Saori Hayami and Aoi Yuuki respectively. Speaking of seiyuus, this series has way less recognizable seiyuus lending their talents compared to Schoolgirl Strikers. The only other ones I recognized are Tomokazu Sugita as Sensei and Shizuka Itou as Iris.

Speaking of Sensei, I believe he is the only male in the sea of females. As I discovered, he is the only character to appear in the anime and does not appear in the game. So having him in this series feels so out of place because Schoolgirl Strikers don’t even have any males in their line of casts to begin with. With Sensei painted as a considerate and caring teacher, it only makes him feel even out of place and sometimes my mind can’t help drift that he is some sort of lolicon. I know he isn’t but this guy sounds like a wuss as he is constantly worried about the Hoshimori girls. And I mean, he really worries about them. Take for instance in the final episode. The girls are in trouble. He goes all out to communicate with them. The girls are victorious. He is the only one screaming in joy (making him sound cringey) while the rest of the teachers were just cool cats. The other 2 teachers who assist him aren’t memorable either. What’s their names again? Oh, why do I care? One looks like the kind who would be the sexy infirmary teacher and the other looks like the brainy type because, you know, glasses. To further screw with us all, Botan the president looks fit to be an elementary school kid but she holds the highest power in school and authority over the Hoshimori girls.

So now moving on to Misaki and Miki, with Misaki appearing for the first time and her cold lone wolf exterior, it should have raised a few flags that there is something off about her. I mean, the girls have been fighting Irous for so long and with Misaki being so adept in destroying never-seen-before ones, that should give you a big hint of who she at least is. Misaki feels like Schoolgirl Strikers’ Tsubame’s case. Because they are not from the present world. And when you have spent a decent time with nice people, you too open up your heart and become part of the gang. My only question is that if they are each other from parallel worlds, are they considered to be sisters or even step sisters? Oh man, this sci-fi thinking might open another can of worms so I’m going to drop this. As long as they are happy, everyone is happy, I am happy, the world is happy, everything is fine. Simple.

The fight against Irous are as inspiring and bland as they can get. They are just a tool and excuse needed to showcase the Hoshimori girls beating the crap out of hostile aliens. Otherwise, there is nothing more that we know further about them. Even the villainess Iris is uninspiring. From time to time you can see her observing everything from her monitors inside her dark cave, snickering to herself because like as though she has some sort of bigger plan to it all. Even in the end when she was defeated, we don’t know if she was defeated for real or not. She is so shallow and one-dimensional that they don’t even give her a background or why she is trying to do all this. To spread the misery and sorrow? Maybe some people just want to see the world(s) burn to the ground. She could have been some nameless villain but I think that will make it even worse. Heck, I don’t think I have ever heard her name mentioned in the series. It was only stated in the ending credits. Way to go girls. Fighting an evil villain boss without even knowing her name. Like we all care, eh? And our Hoshimori girls using their oversized weapons in battles just feels meh. Either they are swords, spears or guns. Nothing that inspiring.

If you are considering the art and animation of this series, they lean more towards the cute and moe type. Personally, Schoolgirl Strikers look better because they are the bishoujo type (at least they had a group of maids) and since I’m not a lolicon, all the Hoshimori girls ranging from middle school to high school, they all have this moe and kawaii look. Like as though they are all the same age. Sometimes they look so similar that it is hard for me to tell them apart. Thank heavens for different hair colours and hairstyles, right? At least now I know why Miki and Misaki look same. Heck, their names are so similar too. And your mind will be blown even further if you realize their fighting outfits resembled closely to each other. No wonder I get confused sometimes. But lucky me, I could still tell them apart because of their hair length as well as somebody doesn’t smile as often as the other. In worse cases, sometimes I mistake Yuri to look like them too. On a trivial note, is it me or does Haruka’s battle suit make her look like Frozen’s Elsa?

I read that the game itself has lots of music because of the idol characters in it. But as far as the anime is concerned, the opening theme, Hoshi No Kizuna which is sung by the entire cast of the Hoshimori girls (man, that is one heck of a big crowd) and it sounds like your typical hyper lively rock pop that fits the nature of this series. The ending theme, Melody Ring by f*f (the voices behind Kanon and Shiho) feel no different either. There are a few other insert songs they sing throughout the series but it didn’t resonate with me since I’m not really into that pop idol music stuff.

Overall, this is largely disappointing and boring. Unless you are a hardcore fan of the series, I am guessing and believe would be right that you are better off playing the game instead of watching the anime. Take that from a guy who doesn’t even play the game or even heard of it before the anime version was adapted. After all, the only reason why this was adapted was because to celebrate its first year anniversary of the game. So let me get this straight. The game debuted in early 2015 and a year later they decided to celebrate this by making an anime but we only get it in the latter half of 2017? So… Happy belated anniversary?

While many consider this series to be no different than Schoolgirl Strikers and in extreme cases slightly better than it, personally I prefer Schoolgirl Strikers slightly more but that too is itself an extreme case. So why do we keep sending in high school girls to keep aliens out? Where the heck are all the guys anyway? Right. Who wants to see high school dudes fighting aliens unless they ride an awesome mecha? Girls don’t need to ride giant robots to save the world. All they need is their cute outfits and the power of friendship. It’s like saying high school girls are the only hope for our dark future. Very dark indeed. I guess that’s why we never learn.

Kyoukai No Rinne S3

January 26, 2018

As promised by Sabato and Bijin at the end of the second season, I guess they were not pulling our legs or deceiving us to buy some useless products of theirs because indeed we did get another season of Kyoukai No Rinne. Fans of the series and/or Rumiko Takahashi would expect more or less the same thing as seen in the past 2 seasons and for us who are expecting more, let’s hope this season would answer and solve a few issues that we would want to see resolved. But of course there are some things that can never be resolved otherwise everything else in the series loses its charm. Like Rinne being a poor shinigami… Ouch…

Episode 1
Rinne goes to the census to get his payment. It depends on your shinigami ranking. So if Shouma has a gold card, does this mean he ranks hire than Rinne? Turns out to be fake. Kain then explains there have been fake gold cards being going around. It is a crime so whoever catches the mastermind will be promoted. You bet Rinne wants in. Then they see Ageha buying one from a vending machine. She goes a step ahead by bombing it to shut out other rivals! But the Damashigami runs away so they chase it till they arrive at its HQ. They believe Sabato is the culprit since he has printed many copies. But when they see one with Sabato’s ID on it, they think it is fake. But Kain checks it to be real! How can this be? For one to achieve it, one must purify 2000 spirits. That’s like 10 years of continuous hard work. If Sabato was a slacker, how can he get it? Simple. He got it during high school. Everyone goes back to Tamako and she confirms it is real. During his high school years, his frustrated teacher gave him the ultimatum to purify 200 souls before sundown. Luckily there was a group of girls practising nearby. So he helps them by semi-purifying spirits before they complete the job. That at most was only 100 spirits. His teacher is so sad since tomorrow he will go for reincarnation so he challenges him to a duel whereby he laid his gold card on the line. Because defeating such holder means you are a worthy opponent. Sabato could only defend from his aggressive attacks. But those girls cheered on him and before he knows it, Sabato wins. Up till recently, Sabato forgot about the card and made the fake copies using it. Tamako suggests Rinne fight Sabato for it. Sabato seems serious but his scythe’s handle breaks. So he goes to Sakura for duct tape and now she’s involved. Sabato makes a run for it so Kain uses some spirit attraction tool for spirits to slow him down. Sabato manages to semi-purify them. Rinne is in a dilemma if he should complete the purification because it would mean owing him. But screw all that because money is more important! Sabato’s scythe breaks and hits Rinne’s head. Technically he lost. Sabato escapes. In the end, Rinne has only himself to blame for eating expired food. The fake gold card eventually couldn’t sell because of how cheap it looks.

Episode 2
Riku Hayata is the ace of the track team. But he keeps tripping each time he runs. Sakura sees a ghost hand latched on to his leg. Hayata’s senior, Shu Kazami is injured and is worried of Hayata as the preliminaries are around the corner. The injury stems from Hayata carelessly throwing a banana peel and he slipped on it. Kazami doesn’t blame him but Hayata is insists it is his fault. After observing Hayata run and tripping again, it is revealed the hand latching onto his leg is Kazami. At least his living spirit. Hayata hopes Rinne can solve this without telling Kazami. Talking to the living spirit, it doesn’t harbour grudges for that incident. Since on the day of the accident, both were to race each other, Rinne bought an expensive doll to recreate that race. It ends with no regrets but the living spirit is still there. Rinne goes to spy on Kazami at his house and finds something shocking. So he brings the gang here as they discover Kazami is being haunted by a living spirit of Hayata! It is regretting throwing the banana peel. So with the duo making up, the living spirit disappears. Reward for solving this? Boxes of bananas… Hurry and it all up before they expire. Next day, there are cases of males from clubs involving drawing getting their face smeared by black paint by a faceless ghost woman! It seems she wants them to draw her face but they don’t know how she looks like and just drew. That earned her wrath. When Rinne and Tsubasa try to catch it, they realize it is not a ghost or evil spirit because it cannot be exorcised or materialized. When the ghost appears before Suguru Egawa, the president of the art club, she panics and doesn’t want him to draw her face and runs away. Egawa explains she was the former president of this club. Rinne follows the ghost back to her home and finds a faceless girl sketch. Next day, Hitomi Egusa comes running to the clubroom. Rinne had left a fake blackmail letter regarding the sketch. Egawa confirms the sketch belong to him but was stolen. He is willing to burn it to solve this incident. As Sakura talks to Egusa, she learns that she was worried how Egawa would draw her. It’s not that his drawing sucks, the original drawing had her wear glasses. She did wear those before she moved onto contacts. Egusa didn’t like it and tried to secretly erase it but erased the entire face. When Egawa is heard coming in, she tore the page and ran away. With everyone hearing about it, Egawa claims he wanted to give that drawing as her farewell gift. The old Egusa with glasses is always in his fond memories. The rest realizes the duo have a secret crush on each other and hence the faceless ghost incident is no more.

Episode 3
It’s time to clean the reincarnation wheel. No pay but there is certainly great BBQ after that. However Suzu is ‘sabotaging’ as she doodles all over the place and Sabato trying to steal their scythes and in an attempt to get them back, the dropped scythes scratched the wheel. In the end, they have to hire a professional cleaner. Talk about saving costs… But everyone still had great BBQ, though. Later Raito and Refuto want Rinne to purify a scythe. When they sell it, they always get sold back. When Ageha comes by, she immediately buys it and attacks Renge next door. Seems this is part of the curse as well. The siblings remember they went to some site to mine for iron but it was contaminated by evil spirits who harbour hatred towards shinigami. Now Renge buys it and intends to attack others. When Kain comes into the picture, she plays the victim and points out the fault to the siblings. Kain then forces them to fix it all for free. Ken Amano seems to have a dark rainy cloud over his head ever since he got a new dog, Kotarou. Rinne and Sakura hears him out it could be a grudge from the past. When he was young, he and his friends stumbled upon an abandoned puppy, Bero. Due to their circumstances, they took turns to feed it. One day when it was Amano’s turn, his parents brought him to the amusement park and he forgot all about it until he came back. It was raining then. Next day, Bero was no longer there and Amano lied to his friends he did feed it. He thought he was taken but this curse could be its curse. Using a device to show what happened that night, Bero did stray from his box. It looked like he was being hit by a car but a young girl took it in and nurtured it properly. Wow. Bero had a more luxurious life than all of them. The rain cloud then turns into Bero. It pats Amano’s shoulder before passing on. They deduce Bero’s passing was at the same time Amano adopted Kotarou. Amano might have unconsciously called Bero’s spirit. The raincloud was because it was their shared memory and perhaps Bero wanted him to remember their moments one last time before he passes on.

Episode 4
Sakura tells Rinne about a fortune teller, Annette Hitomi Anematsuri who can predict with accuracy at the mall. She felt something off about her and the crystal ball so Rinne checks and the crystal ball has been a lost item. When they try to see her, she already left a note that the shinigami won’t get her. She must have seen this coming. But it didn’t take long before she returns. They start chasing her but obviously she can see the future of what is going to happen. However she trips and the crystal ball fall into the pond. In the end, she escapes and they couldn’t find the crystal ball either. The next day, a note is left saying she has retired. In school, they are shocked that Annette has become their teacher! Confronting her again, she reveals the crystal ball was passed down by her ancestors who are witches. As she has French ancestry, they made a deal not with the devil but a shinigami for the crystal ball in exchange for bread. Her ancestors were able to avoid witch hunts and generations later, her grandpa moved to Japan. The crystal ball seems to return to her no matter how she loses it. As for why she is working as a teacher, she saw her future with no job. She became a bum but her mom told her to go find work or else. She saw this part time fortune telling at the mall. So this teacher job was just her getting a normal job. Rinne confiscates the crystal ball. Annette sees the future and has no qualms giving it to him. As he is about to return it, he sees the future of repairing it and Annette rewarding him. Can’t go against fate, right? Sure, Annette did pay him. But just to cover the costs. With the crystal ball back in her hands, she becomes more popular giving free divinations to students. But her greatest challenge yet is when Manami Ubukata has problems with her boyfriend. It seems an old man ghost is haunting her. She promises to fix it but goes to Rinne for help. Yup, she can only see spirits but not purify them. Rinne wants to be paid but she isn’t willing to part with her money. When Ubukata’s relationship gets worse, she blames Annette for not fixing and others start to think she is a scam. Desperate, she looks for a saviour. Tsubasa? His sacred ash didn’t manage to do the job. So they look into Ubukata’s past. It turns out this old guy is her father. In fact it is his living spirit. He didn’t like her dating a boy so he unwittingly cursed they would break up. The spirit stops showing up when he realizes about it. Though, he still hopes they would break up. Annette sees more spirits but wants Rinne to help purify. No money, no talk.

Episode 5
Rinne is tasked to train Sansei, Kuroboshi’s grandson since that black cat wants to retire. Although Sansei can detect spirits faster than anybody, he is actually scared of them! Attempts to train him to overcome his phobia fails. Sansei even tries to bribe Rinne not to report this! Oh, money! So eventually Tamako takes over the training and Kuroboshi has to fork out money for it. Retirement is a long way off… Sabato seeks Annette’s help since the money he put in the lucky pot is missing. She sees the culprit… Rinne?! Sabato thinks he knows where he misplaced it as Rinne chases him back to the store. All his lucky pot merchandise is unsold so they try to break the pots to see which one has the money. None. They remember only 1 customer bought it. Well, they’re in luck because dumb Ageha returns to complain. Rinne manages to snatch it away and as predicted, he got the money. However that is short-lived since the landlord confiscates the money for due rental and reparations. Rinne is out picking bamboo shoots and he isn’t particularly interested in a rainbow one since there is a penalty for misusing it. But with Renge wanting it to so it could grant her a wish and Kurosu wanting to sell it on the black market, you bet Rinne is hard up to fight for it. The rainbow bamboo shoot seems to have a mind on its own as it tries to escape its pursuers. We see it change hands frequently from Ageha boiling its outer skin to Kain mistakenly accusing Rinne for trying to steal it and Suzu trying to roast and eat it. Eventually the rainbow bamboo shoot cannot take all of this anymore and wishes itself to become a grown bamboo tree. With no more wishes, I guess it is safe from the greedy predators. Kain covers it up that there was no rainbow bamboo shoot sighted.

Episode 6
Shouma hands Rinne a little yatagarasu for him to keep as he wants to show it to his friends tomorrow. Rinne won’t have any part of it since it is illegal. But for 5,000 Yen for the job?! Okay! However the bird eats up all the food. Shouma fishes it out and plans to return it to its sanctuary since the reward is double. 10,000 Yen! So as they try to retrieve it, it eats more food and it grows bigger. Too late because when it is an adult, it will return to the sanctuary itself. This means no reward. But does it feel grateful for Rinne giving all his food? Well, the reward is only reimbursement for the food it has eaten and 10,000 Yen is its limit. So with Rinne’s ramen, he only got 140 Yen reimbursed… Rumours of a wandering veiled bride. Rinne and Sakura spot it enter a café and looking for a nearby chapel. Talking to her, she seems to have died in an accident while on her way to a chapel. It could be really a tragic love triangle since the café’s owner’s late husband is the same as the bride’s supposed husband. As they try to replay the events that day, the veiled bride is actually the husband?! He owns a chapel and the lack of marriages is making him in the red. He needs to do a promo but lacks money to hire a bride model. His wife was pregnant and couldn’t fit in the dress so he dressed up as a bride himself. As he ran out of film, he rushed out to buy one but on his way back got hit by a car. The case is solved when Rinne takes a picture of them. And he is trying to sell it to the café’s owner?! Rinne finds a transparent safe containing a 10,000 Yen. This is part of Masato’s plan to see Rinne fail as the safe is made out of the strongest ice from hell. So he gives Rinne free items to see him fail in breaking the safe. He is enjoying it. So when Rinne starts to catch on that it might be somebody’s prank, Masato tries to leave but here comes Renge after all that commotion. She recognizes the safe because it was stolen by Masato from the fair organized by Damashigami. Rinne gets the key from her to open it but gets a sucker punch. Oh, the bill is fake too. In the end, after forcing Masato to restore his place back to normal, he is thrown into the depths of hell. Ungrateful…

Episode 7
Sakura hears a power stone at the shop beckoning her. The shop assistant insists in giving it for her free. Turns out there is this little jester devil who claims he can grant her any wish. But he lazily does it and often fails. Tsubasa takes a look at it and realizes this is the legendary wandering stone in which he will bug you until you say the right wish or pass it on to others. As different stones give different luck, this little guy won’t let him inspect and pushes him away. Despite the strong push, Tsubasa feels more relief than pain. He uses other stone spirits to help determine but they smirk at the little guy. He then reveals he is unsure of what his stone does and is going about trial and error. It is soon discovered it is a rock salt. Mmm… Nice delicious tea… Sakura visits her classmate, Yumi Kariya who recently moved into this place. It is dirt cheap because it is haunted by a poltergeist. See those flying plates and bowls? Rinne is called in and the poltergeist haunting is some weirdo pervert balancing the dishes?! Turns out he was the previous resident of this home and trying to look for a job. He found one on welcoming parties so he bought several stuffs and practised himself to death. His lingering regret is to make people laugh. So Rinne has Kariya’s family watch his comedy show. But they become disgruntled upon seeing what kind of ghost was haunting them. They get mad he broke their dishes! Can he never find peace? Till Kariya’s dad lectures him about being true to himself and not hiding his face. That is how you make a good impression in finding a job. He takes off his disguise and he looks quite handsome! Before the ladies swoon over, I guess dad has his face doodled again. The case is solved and he is able to pass over. Ageha realizes there is an expired wandering spirit house under her bed. There is a taboo and penalty for not turning it in on time. So she dumps it at Rinne’s place. He too is unsure if it was his fault and tries to find a way to illegally dump it. Luckily dumb Suzu crashes into him. It gets mixed up in it. She brings it back to Kain and he too is unsure if this expired house was his. When it is his shift to collect those houses, Rinne is before him. He tries to sneak in the house but Rinne can read his moves. They try to outdo one another until Ageha starts dumping a whole lot of expired houses right in front of them. Well, she does live in a big house. Of course she gets reprimanded. And if you’re wondering why the other shinigami are so kind to help, looks like they have a heap of expired houses too! Yeah, the taboo is not so rigorously followed.

Episode 8
Ageha finds an old box from elementary school. Suddenly something bursts out. A cursed straw doll attacks Renge at school. Flashback shows how the duo were paired to learn counter cursing. You put the hair of the person you want to curse in the straw doll and wait for 7 days. If it passes that day, something bad will happen. I guess it’s going to get worse since Ageha forgot and many years passed. She hires Rinne to get rid of it but each time he hurts the straw doll, Renge gets injured. Renge gets her revenge by putting Ageha’s hair in it so it starts attacking her. Then they blow each other up. Rinne returns with many counter curse straw dolls borrowed from the elementary school to deflect all the curse back. Case solved and a rare good ending for Rinne since he got paid for doing nothing. Raito and Refuto give Rinne a reward to test out a silver scythe. But the more he purifies, the silver peels off. Is this fake? Because there is an amount behind the peel, they remember some cash reward system to motivate shinigami to work hard. With a thousand yen as reward, you bet Rinne is going to work hard. As more peels off, OMG it is worth a billion yen!!! The siblings then steal it from him to claim the reward for themselves. A struggle ensues and eventually Rinne turns it in. Hmm… The highest cash reward is only a million yen. Turns out the predecessor who made the scythe lost count in how many zeroes to put in since the difficult part was engraving the cash amount. No reward then… Rinne and Sakura meet a spirit of a girl who passed away a week ago in front of the hospital. She knows about shinigami since one guided her to the Sanzu River but he disappeared. If she can cross the river with him, she’ll rest in peace. As she describes him, Rinne becomes less thrilled because that shinigami is Matsugo! They go see him and Matsugo is so happy that his gay tendencies are showing. And Matsugo doesn’t remember who this girl is but pretends to do so. As advised, he takes her to ride across the river. But with Rinne. The girl isn’t satisfied so Matsugo as advised rides his white steed. Guess what? He lets her chase after him! After more advice, he lets her ride it. Still not satisfied? This time he takes her on a date and everything goes pretty well surprisingly. The girl is satisfied and passes on. So what was Matsugo’s success? Kuromitsu whispered to him to take this as training for his date with Rinne. Oh dear. Now Matsugo wants to ‘date’ Rinne, he is nowhere to be found! But Matsugo continues to bug him by always waiting for him outside his place. But nobody’s home… I think he ran away like forever.

Episode 9
Sabato is praying at his father’s grave when he spots a gold mackerel can. Tamako calls Rinne because there is a thief in her house. Turns out to be Sabato. But he has mackerel marks on his face, proof that he fell for Tamako’s trap at the grave. As it cannot be normally washed off, he must go seek forgiveness at the altar at home. However Tamako has laced various portals in the house, making him unable to reach his destination. Well, there is a way. Through this messy room. Rinne tries to escape but Tamako will pay him to help clean up. As father and son does so, they find an old savings book with lots of money. Perhaps Tamako had forgotten about it. So they try to search for the stamp and all hell breaks loose. Eventually grandpa mackerel simply have to guide them to the altar to apologize as they’re taking too long. But after that they continue searching for it but nothing was found. Tsubasa invites Sakura to study at his home. She had to invite Rinne so Tsubasa distracts him to eat his high grade tuna. Apparently Sakura’s friends are also here. Tsubasa receives a parcel from his father. A spirit pops out from a bottle named Minerva. Tsubasa lies it is a goddess of wisdom so Sakura’s friends want to touch it to be smart. Of course Sakura can tell it is a spirit so they have to catch it. Rinne is also roped in because the spirit ruined his tuna meal. The spirit is seemingly playing pranks on everyone. Tsubasa reads the instructions on how to catch it. With a banana? The spirit is actually a monkey. Everyone settles for tuna since it is rich in DHA. The shinigami are cleaning the Sanzu River. Those who cross cannot bring their belongings and are forced to dump them. So during clean up times, those who get it can claim possession. Rokumon finds a gold bar. Imagine all the things he can but. And even resign from his job! He tries to hide it from Rinne but eventually is found out. As they try to outdo each other to claim the gold bar, soon everyone starts tussling for it. In the end, it is flung into the deep end of the river and clean up time is over. I guess they’ll have to wait for the next time. For now, it’s back to the poor life.

Episode 10
Suddenly boxes of bombs drop into Rinne’s room. Sabato orders them in his name and wants him to pay. Not a chance. Turns out somebody has started a union and spread the word to his Damashigami employees to fight for better wages and refusing free overtime work. So as they try to figure things out, Sabato almost uses his inflammable tools to cook or light up things but is luckily put to a stop. Damashigami employees are then seen stealing the boxes. Meanwhile, it is Renge who is the leader of the union. She thought nobody turned up but it turns out everyone was too dumb to get here. As Rinne tries to follow the Damashigami, it leads him to a party that Sabato and his employees are having fun in. The sold the bombs for a profit. Renge? She went home to sleep, frustrated that everyone is so dumb. Sabato tries to get Renge to steal Annette’s ball to sell it on the black market. Of course she doesn’t want to but the thought of stealing it herself and profiting from it without him. Also, Annette can see this future so when Renge sets a trap, it all went according to prediction. Annette shows Renge a future where she will get cuffed by Kain. Will her identity be revealed? She brushes it off and later is shocked to learn Kain is here to collect the ball upon hearing rumours it still exists. At first she thought of finding it fast or she’ll be arrested but realizes if she is near the ball, she’ll get arrested. She tells Sabato she wants out but he doesn’t listen. He throws her a fake ball to switch with the real one. So why doesn’t he do it himself? She throws it back to him but hits Kain! He seeks her explanation so she blames it on Rinne. So Kain and Renge face off with Rinne to arrest him but another fake ball knocks Kain out. Rinne pulls Sabato out but soon Kain goes to chase for the scumbag. By this time, Annette sees a new future for Renge in which she attacks Kain in her cuffs. Resisting arrest? Kain returns with handcuffs to arrest Annette. However she pushes Renge towards him and she gets cuffed instead. So it was her fault? Rinne notices something strange about this Kain. It turns out to be a doll version, a trap set by Sabato. Renge attacks it out of frustration. Sabato returns to steal the ball this time but from all the confusion it is fake when he tries to sell it. Annette still holds the real one. This is destiny?

Episode 11
Kain has been missing for 3 days after trying to investigate the dying flower fields. No motivation to find him? There’s a cash reward. Let’s go! With all the related parties jostling each other for this, eventually Kain is found but he refuses to go back and let Rinne have his reward. Turns out he needs to get to the bottom of this. Somebody has been digging underground tunnels and thus denying the flowers the nutrients. After another round of chaos because money faced people will do what it takes to get him back, the culprit turns out to be a mole spirit who got lost. Kain returns but Rinne didn’t get his reward… During the test, Sakura notices a different spirit hand substitutes Rinne’s hand to take the test. Because of that, he ends up in the top 10. Renge calls him out for cheating as she notices this. Rinne admits he did. This breaks Sakura’s heart and she feels disappointed with him. Rinne then brings them to the spirit world hotspring and introduce to them smart people who died without being able to use their smart talents. The only way they could pass on if they take the high school test. And this season if they do so, they get double points or something. Even so, this doesn’t hide the fact Rinne didn’t put in the effort and is still cheating. When Rinne is forced to take the make-up test because he failed English, the rest are puzzled. Didn’t he had a foreigner take his English test? Apparently the foreigner didn’t know how to read questions in Japanese. Everyone is humbled by Rinne’s act. He knew he would fail and yet he allowed it so the spirit could rest in peace. Well, in actual fact, Rinne regrets picking the wrong person and tries to find a spirit who is proficient in both language before his test. Study himself for once, please? Annette invites Rinne to her house since the reports cards are missing. When Suzuki tasked her to help, she decided to summon fairies to do the job. Of course she needs to reward them with a French cake. Seeing the shops don’t sell it, she made it herself. You don’t need to see the future to see what happened to them after eating this charcoal. Failure to reward means there is a price to pay. This means the report cards are returned covered in charcoal and the fairies start throwing ink. They realize the burnt cake is used for the payback and it will end once all is used up. Eventually the entire house is covered with charcoal when the payback is finished. Now Annette wants Rinne to help clean up the place before mom and grandma gets back. Too late. She feigns she was marking the report cards. Should have done this all the while, no? The students wonder why the reports card are so dirty.

Episode 12
Rinne is tasked to investigate a haunted beach house. But first, have fun at the beach! When they decide to investigate, they start cleaning it first. They’re going to stay here as part of their vacation?! Turns out the central pillar is haunted. Rather, a tree spirit. He explains he was born in the mountains and longed to see the ocean after hearing about it. When he was finally chopped down and made into this house, his joy is short-lived because he is facing the wrong way. Hence all the poltergeist activities are actually him trying to turn around and causing the things to move. Rinne has an item that allows him to see the ocean. Everything would have been fine had not the rest start causing havoc and blocking his view. In his anger, he forcefully turns around and the entire house collapses. At least he has a clear view now. A granny refuses to go home on an eggplant at the end of the Obon. She visits her old house which is dilapidated. As she hates eggplants, they can’t force her to go back so Rinne peaks into her past. She used to grow this garden with lots of eggplants and converses a lot with her neighbour over the hedge. She likes him as he reminded her of her late husband but knew she was too old for such romance. She wanted to give eggplants as thanks but on that day when she died, he came over to help her. This dream guy of hers looks like an eggplant! Now, he thinks Sakura is her granddaughter and leaves some flowers. It calms granny’s heart as she returns home. Rinne has a request to bust a Damashigami for a meagre 500 Yen at a festival. Seeing Renge doing a con job at the water balloon stall (people who play the game get their soul suck into it), he believes he can nab her in action and use the reward to have fun. Unfortunately Kain is here to investigate too so Renge drops her bad girl act and does legitimate business. She decides to close her store to have fun with him but Suzu has made him broke so he goes off. Renge is back to shady business and Rinne is left to wonder if he should spend his money to patron and catch her in the act. He couldn’t decide so Renge goes free. Too bad Suzu busts all her balloons and frees all the souls.

Episode 13
Rinne is at the pawn shop and sees an unredeemed scythe that belongs to the legendary shinigami, Otome who suddenly went missing 10 years ago. Also pawned with it is her platinum licence. Rinne sees the licence and is shocked. Going back to confirm with Tamako, Otome is indeed his mother. She was a very good mother and wife. Too good for that lazy ass Sabato. They weren’t exactly on bad terms but the day she went missing, Sabato pawned her scythe. Maybe that is why. Also, anything that belonged to her also went missing that day. They tried searching for her but to no avail. Back in school, Sakura tells Rinne that a new family moved into a house nearby but their daughter, Ichigo could see spirits sensed a ghost haunting it. Rinne purifies the ghost that turns out to be a living spirit. The previous owner bought the house but business went south and was forced to give it up. Kids these days, Ichigo ‘abuses’ the living spirit to get the hell out! And that case is solved. Rinne would like to be paid (no mercy) but Ichigo wants him to hear her out then. It seems for a long time she has this feeling something is watching her. Rinne and Sakura spots a camera from the other world spying at her. Rinne gives a pendant to block the camera from filming. He’ll be charging for that too. When he goes home, he sees Sabato knocked out in his room and Otome’s scythe is missing. Sabato then purposely sprays an evil spirit scent on Rinne. He is forced to purify them all. His purpose is that when a shinigami purifies evil spirits, they get paid. Suddenly here comes Otome purifying the rest of them. She’s back like that? She beats up Sabato for being a lazy ass. Rinne is mixed seeing his mom again. However… She doesn’t recognize him! Heart break! Even more so, she thinks Rinne is going to pay her. Mother or not, nobody takes his money! Sabato causes more mischief by unleashing more evil spirits over town. Otome and Rinne compete to see who can purify more (and thus get paid more). She isn’t a platinum licence holder for nothing. It is revealed Otome has been working hard to earn money for her young son since her husband is useless. Could it be her memory stopped at that? Ichigo is being chased by evil spirits and Rinne goes to help her. But when Ichigo sees Otome, she knows who she is.

Episode 14
Otome suddenly turns into a doll! Apparently the doll is from Sabato. Care to explain? He used to licence as it is Otome’s only belonging left to try and find out the truth why she left. However after creating the doll, it whacked him out and took the scythe and left. Sabato cannot understand why she left. Things were going great between them. True, it was. Otome even had a good relationship with Tamako. Sabato desperately looked for her and found her sandal by the Sanzu River. He traced it and it looked like she went into the reincarnation wheel. Suddenly Ichigo takes the scythe and beats the crap out of Sabato! She has fully remembered. Ichigo is Otome reincarnated! She isn’t aware he even pawned her scythe. On the day Rinne first walked, he accidentally tripped over a bag of books that Sabato bought from the pawned scythe. It contains list of names whom Sabato claims he wanted to call to make project deals. However one of the books she saw terrified her and she decided to get rid of it. After throwing it into Sanzu River, a herd of gnus dragged her along into the reincarnation wheel. She reincarnated into a fish, followed by a canary an anteater before as Ichigo. Sabato tried to track her reincarnation and sent out numerous spy cameras. He has proof of many photos of Ichigo. And other women? However this doesn’t explain why she took all her belongings and a certain book.

So we go back in time when they first met. They were doing some work at the shinigami youth society. It was love at first sight. He proposed to her that day but she had something to do and came back 3 days later with an answer. Within a week, they got married. Sounds like a happy story so far. Now, one of the books contained an old yearbook. It seems the general knowledge is that Otome is 2 years older than Sabato. However she lied about her age and took all her stuffs relating to her so as not to miss out anything and threw them away. Before they married, Otome snuck into the census office to alter data about her age. Sabato doesn’t mind if she is 10 years older because he still loves her. So how old is she actually? Two years younger. Hey, that’s not bad, right? Well, 2 years younger… Than Tamako!!! Holy sh*t!!! No wonder she clicked so well with Tamako because they’re from the same generation! No wonder she is platinum licence holder. Who could have purified so much spirits lest you are that old! Sabato is in the greatest shock because nobody lied to him before in his life. So will they get back together again? No way. Sabato isn’t a pedo and Ichigo has a new life to live. With the case solved, Ichigo gives Rinne an allowance of 500 Yen. She might be reincarnated but she is still his mother. Well Rinne, so glad you still have a kind mother, right? Until later he realizes he didn’t get reimbursed the full amount of all the tools he used which amounts to 2,000 Yen.

Episode 15
Weird to see Ichigo coming to Rinne’s school for help. She and her friends played Kokkuri and now the spirit won’t leave and keeps bugging them. Ichigo purposely makes the spirit visible so the school could see how Rinne purifies and hence earn money. However they don’t sense anything malicious from the spirit who seems to be targeting Ichigo. Heck, he could even talk. His scary look is because he died while working in a haunted house. He fell into the Sanzu River and Otome was passing by. He signalled her help but was told to wait as she got rid of the yearbook. Of course we know what happened and he waited and waited till he was somehow dragged back to the real world. Since Ichigo cannot purify him anymore, she introduces his son. Here comes the money! Mother hatches more scheme to use Kokkuri to get more money but the school bans it. Rumours of a spirit forced students who pass by the park to pay up. Rinne investigates and it turns out to be a cursed maneki neko. Actually Sabato is behind it. Flashback shows he entered some haunted house to steal something. He saw this and took it. Now his hands are stuck to it until he could fill it up with money. There is an amount in the front to show the remaining sum to be filled up. But it has not moved since. Rinne busts him as he has never put the students’ money into it but his own pocket! Sabato escapes to continue his unholy business so Rinne chases after him. He manages to knock it out of his hands but it becomes a time bomb only dangerous to spirits. Greedy Sabato tries to grab at and gets caught in the explosion. Luckily he didn’t get purified and in hospital he thinks of making copies of it to sell. Tamako has Sansei clean the storeroom but it is filled with spirits so he freaks out and breaks everything before running away. Because of that, Tamako won’t speak to him and ignores him. He bribes Rinne to come apologize with him. However Tamako continues to ignore him and treat like as though he doesn’t exist. Checking out the storeroom doesn’t reveal anything much. Tamako hires Rinne to clean it. Sansei tries to help but is treated roughly and the way she says thinks, it looks like he is fired? Poor Sansei. Is it that bad? As they try to figure things out, it finally dawned to them that Tamako cannot see and hear Sansei. Sansei remembers he ate some buns sent from the shinigami association as thanks for Tamako. It is meant for spirits and you won’t see them for 7 days. Sansei is glad she doesn’t hate him but still has to bear with her ‘abuse’. It wears off in 7 days. Two more days to go…

Episode 16
Rinne is investigating a restaurant with creepy crawling marks all over. At the same time, Annette needs his advice because she can’t stop splurging money. Well, she is letting him having seconds and ordering what he wants. The waiter points out that Annette is the woman whom they realize the strange marks started appearing. It is discovered a snake spirit is haunting Annette. She reveals she bought a wallet supposedly with the charm to save money. However at this restaurant as she examines the wallet, she thought this salmon skin leather inside was creepy and threw it away. It is actually a snake hide and is the lucky charm. After purifying the snake, she manages to get the charm back as it is still inside the trash bin. The charm forgives her after she vows to take care of it. But for now it is going to sleep for 100 years. Rinne bugs Annette for payment. Come back in 100 years. After another beat down by Rinne, Masato tries to steal Annette’s crystal ball because if a demon curses it, it alters its future vision. So to everyone’s shock, they see Rinne holding a stack of cash in this altered future. Rinne thought this could be his lucky day. He thought his 2,000 Yen could bring lots of savings. However he missed the deadline and finally when he bought and won the lottery, he won only 1,000 Yen. Cheated? You bet Rinne is going to help Annette find a cure for this even if he has to work for free! She has something in a box that would cleanse this curse. However she lost the key. And her house is messy. Better start looking. They see visions of Rinne stealing money from her wallet. Could this be fake? Rinne’s attempt to find Masato hiding in her house has him stumbled upon the wallet. Rokumon and Masato try to convince him to steal it since this is all Annette’s fault to begin with so this ‘compensation’ is nothing. Annette almost kills him but in her wallet she finds her key. But now the box is missing. I guess she got lazy to find it so she thinks it’s easier to beat up Masato and break the curse. So the house becomes even messier and chaotic. During all that, the box is found but you need to pay 1,000 Yen for its contents! Rinne got his bill stolen by Masato so Annette uses her own money. It’s a clean cloth? Anyway it did wipe away the curse. Hell hath no fury like a Rinne who lost his money so he beats the hell out of Masato. In the end, Annette and Masato got reprimanded by the former’s mom and grandma who returned only to see the house in a total mess. Annette blames Masato…

Episode 17
Annette seeks Rinne’s help since she noticed a head has been watching at her at times before disappearing. It turns out that head isn’t a spirit but a human. Rei Kuroki is a student of the school. He admires Annette but she never teaches in his class. One day Annette held a flea market and Rei in disguised bought a funny suit thinking it belonged to her (it’s her grandma’s). After he put it on, he realized he became an invisible man and cannot take it off. Only those who can see spirits of course can see him. He tried to go to Annette for help but each time she beat the head away. Attempts to take it off failed. They see a note in the outfit that is supposed to free him. However it is in French and Annette can’t read it! Doomed? Luckily grandma returns to save the day. Guess who got reprimanded? Annette thought she could make it up to Rei by ‘dating’ him tomorrow but she conveniently forgot about him and stood him up. Poor guy… Rinne sees Raito and Refuto making an altar on his roof. They’re supposed to offer dumplings to the moon deity and in return will receive the spell for a prosperous business. So Rinne and Rokumon are hired to guard it and must endure the temptation to eat it. One dumpling gone and they have to pay compensation. However the dumplings attract other spirits so they have to guard it with their life. When the moon deity arrives, they can’t believe this fat rabbit doesn’t want it. He is on a diet and has a cavity but the siblings force the rabbit to eat them all. So what’s the spell? Can’t hear him with his mouth full. If you’re curious, it’s telling them to go find a part time job. And Rinne is bugging for his payment. Kain has the shinigami participate in the saury festival. They realize they have been duped because they are to repose a giant saury who wasn’t grilled properly. They don’t want to work but Kain says the reward is food. Yup, the saury they will repose is the main dish. But it is shooting fireballs and coming onto land?! They thought it is easier to just purify it but Rinne realize at this rate they won’t be eating it. So he borrows all their scythes and place it over some high grade charcoal to make a big grill. The saury is then relaxed and when it is time to eat it, it got purified. And so they have their meal with the saury. What a bummer.

Episode 18
Rinne loves Sakura feeding him food. It’s the food, not her. However she soon turns into Matsugo! Weird dream. This happens several times as they soon discover a dream demon is responsible for this. Tracing it back, it belongs to Matsugo. He is in some training from his school to catch the dream demon. Yeah, he dreams of having gay time with Rinne but Anju always ends up with him. Apparently some dream incense connects all their dreams together and you’ve guessed it, Matsugo illegally put one in Rinne’s room. Until the dream demon is caught, I guess they’ll have to relive this dream-turned-nightmare. Hence Rinne is forced to ‘sleep’ with Matsugo to put an end to it. He has to put up with the gayness and can’t wake up or else the entire thing will restart again. With the rest slowly falling asleep, we see a helter-skelter mess. Besides the usual Rinne and Matsugo dream-cum-nightmare, we have Renge dreaming of Kain but is always busted by Rinne as well as Tsubasa having a nice life with Sakura. A big heartbreak for Rinne when this Sakura hates him. With Rinne trying his best to stomp out the dream demon, the rest are trying to sabotage him because they don’t want the dream to end. Eventually Sakura falls asleep as we see her dream is for Rinne repaying her in full the money she loaned him as well as the food she cooked for him. It’s the truth but Rinne feels hurt by it that and tries to punch it. However he accidentally squashes the dream demon and everyone is back into reality. Well Rinne, let’s hope your promise to repay won’t remain a dream. But when the dream demon returns and Matsugo continues to invade Rinne’s dream to continue his gay dreams. That’s because since the case was solved by a person outside his school, Matsugo has to redo it again. Stop the gayness!

Episode 19
Rinne can’t believe the steamed bun has no fillings. Ageha thought she could soothe his heart and steal it with hers but they are all empty too. Turns out some steamed bun spirit is on a rampage devouring only the fillings. From the entire football team’s snack to Sakura who purposely bought some for him. That’s it. No more nice guy. It is revealed a guy next class created this ‘mascot’. During the cultural festival, the class was to do steamed buns and he was in charge of marketing. When he has made the mascot, they changed their minds to something else. Hence, the regret of not being used. But eating up all the meat isn’t going to solve the problem so Rinne puts the steamed bun over his head and instantly it purifies. The guy gives them red bean paste buns as reward but it is also empty. Oh, did he tell you he made a ‘girlfriend’ for the mascot too? A steep hill part of the school’s marathon route is what the students dread the most. However they cannot go up further and those who do will get their face slapped. Turns out Rinne has put a barrier there. As students run up, they give out negative emotions that has built up over the years. He is about to cleanse the monster devouring those negative emotions but gets accidentally hit by it and is now lazy. Tsubasa tries to do his job but is also hit with the same fate. It is all up to Sakura as Rokumon says only this big ball is able to purify it. How is she going to throw something this big? Roll it downhill! Case solved. Rinne receives a prized matsutake mushroom from an unknown sender. Believing this must be a trick to make him pay later, he is about to send it back but Rokumon betrays him and decides to eat it himself. Rinne is hot on his tail as they both try to outdo each other. In the end, the mushrooms get grilled and since there is no turning back, they both make a truce and decide to eat it. However it tastes horrible since they’re supposed to grill it in a foil. Wasted. The sender turns out to be Tamako who forgot to write her name.

Episode 20
What’s this?! Masato trying to do good?! But it is just a façade to trick others. However each time he does it, something bad befalls him. Turns out he is cursed with angel wings?! When he went to illegal dump something at a swamp, amidst the garbage there were angel buns. So happen an angel was living in the swamp and liked it and blessed him with angel wings. At this rate, Masato will turn into an angel. Hence, Rinne will go all out to help him turn back into a demon by making him do bad stuffs. How nice of him. Turns out Rinne too has ulterior motive because today is a day shinigami get points for eradicating evil spirits. No matter how Rinne gets back at him, Masato doesn’t get mad. Wow. Rinne looks like the bad guy. When he has exhaust all avenues, Rinne goes into depression and so Masato arrogantly laughs at his pathetic state and refuses to help him. That is when he got back his demon wings. Oops. A hippo at a zoo just passed on. Shouma as part of his school’s assignment has to reign it in but is having trouble. Ichigo helps out with the intention to fulfil her unfulfilled desire of not being there when Rinne was younger. Actually, it is to sell Shouma tools she bought at double the price. Eventually Shouma succeeds but Ichigo has earned tons of money from it. Shouma gives a gift to her as thanks. It’s a cute bunny doll instead of money as she hoped. Maybe he has a crush on her? When the broadcast at school plays a cassette tape and everyone hears a girl screaming in it, Rinne and Sakura investigate the broadcast room that has this eerie feeling ever since it was played. Turns out there is a ghost haunting it. Though taking the tape away, the haunting stops, the ghost, Oribe is ‘stalking’ them. He mistakes Sakura to be a girl named Miya whom he has a crush on. He tells his story that he and Miya were fans of some old band. She managed to get a live recording of that band’s performance. When he played it, he is shocked to learn she was with some other guy. Perhaps she already got a boyfriend. He couldn’t concentrate and accidentally record over the tape. This made Miya mad and hence that scream. Oribe feared she would hate him and decided to go find if there is another recording. At that time his parents changed jobs and he transferred school. Luckily there was a guy in the new school who had this recording. Happy but sad. Because he soon died in an accident. So they trace this Miya girl who turns out to be Sakura’s mom. Oribe manages to give her the tape and passes on. Too bad Sakura’s household has no tape player anymore. All CDs. Luckily mom has a CD recording of it. She confirms she was on a date during that concert but won’t say if it is her husband.

Episode 21
A vending machine at school seems to eat students’ money and not give anything in return. Worse, the money put in goes missing! This has everyone suspect Rinne stealing it and even Annette’s crystal ball sees this. The accusation gets worse when the pennies he won from a dart game drops out from his pocket. Rinne is determined to get to clear his name as he examines the vending machine. There is a portal in it that sucks him it. It leads him to some black monolith that sucks all his money. But each time he hits it, a few more coins drop out. The monolith flies away as he gives chase and the rest try to follow. Unfit Annette decides to rest at a nearby convenience store but its vending machine is out of order. Turns out the old lady running the candy shop nearby says it is going to be shifted as her store is closing down. Long ago this place was bustling with kids so it could be the spirit of this vending machine. True enough it is and it returns to its rightful place once Rinne strikes it dry till there are no coins left. Good news: Nobody accuses Rinne anymore. Bad news: That is after he returns all the money. Easy come, easy go. There is a notice at an alley that tells students to use this shortcut. It leads to a dead end and the granny of this house is a spirit. It seems she tries to help late students to use her place as shortcut. However she opens up a portal and the students often get lost as it sends them everywhere. So when Rinne wants to close it, she is reluctant and instead pushes him into the portal. Rinne has a hard time finding his way back since there are many other portals inside it. Luckily Tamako is here doing a job to close them and tells him this granny is on the high list of spirits that must be purified. Meanwhile Sakura and Ichigo hear her story. Her late husband was the school’s former vice principal and he was friendly enough to let students pass through. But a few years ago he died and although the students attended the funeral, they continue to use the alley as if it was nothing. Granny was mad at first and set up several traps like tying the grass as knots. But she fell victim to it and passed away. She felt bad when those students also attended her funeral. The reason why she is reluctant to close this portal is because she painted the fence behind it with sticky pine tar. She regrets it now. After passing on, Rinne and his family now have a serious discussion about the money they spent on tools to close the portals.

Episode 22
Ageha calls the gang because it is her last chance to save Bijin. Apparently Sabato proposed to her! So what does this mean? Bijin will be Rinne’s mom! No can do! After Sabato has Bijin stamp on a paper, lucky the gang intercepts. They find the paper is actually a sales contract. So he is making her buy the ring? Bijin still believes in him till many rings and contracts drop out. This is when Bijin gets disappointed. She returns to being an elite shinigami and is coming for his head! Sabato doesn’t learn his lesson as he tries to sell the ring and contract to others. It is discovered that he is commissioned to sell 100 of them. When he does so, he gets a free trip to the hotspring and he wanted Bijin to be the last one so he could take her there. Now she is back on his side. Later the gang receives a photo of their trip. Turns out to be a company trip and Bijin looks so disappointed. Something is wrong when Rokumon doesn’t want food. It is already a week and it is discovered he has been eating food in place of a cat’s spirit. He never told Rinne because he couldn’t eat cat food anyway. Talking to this cat spirit, Tora, they discover granny puts food for her to eat. That’s all. That is as far their relationship goes. But Tora died somewhere and granny might not know about it so she feels bad and that is when she met Rokumon and struck this deal. Further investigations shows granny knows Tora is dead because from the photos she took, Tora looks transparent. Can a human camera do that? Probably Tora can’t rest in peace is because she never let her touch her. Too bad anybody who does so would immediately get scratched. Good thing or not, granny is allergic to cats. Knowing that Tora has always thought of her, granny is happy. Tora also feels at peace and soon passes on. I suppose granny isn’t going to feed Rokumon from now on… Sansei participates in his first black cats’ children’s meet. He teams up with Rokumon, Oboro and Suzu for an obstacle race in which the winner gets a year’s worth of expensive food. This race is also to test their aptitude and with Sansei being afraid of ghosts, Kurosu is going to write it all down till Kuroboshi bribes him not to see anything. Meanwhile Suzu is having fun teasing Sansei by dragging ghosts to him. As the obstacle race gets tougher, many other teams fall victim to traps that typical cats love to distract themselves with. Rokumon’s team manage to bypass all the obstacles after cheating by stamping every page with the same stamp. However they fail in the last obstacle and nobody wins it since they fall for the comfort of the kotatsu.

Episode 23
Rinne sent his scythe for maintenance and it got stolen! Turns out Sabato is the culprit because some good luck wax put on it makes it a magnet for coins. You bet he is going on a coin magnet spree. Luckily there is a cream to get rid of that wax but do you think Sabato is going to give up that easily? In the end, although Rinne manages to apply cream on his scythe, Sabato still refuses to give up. He waxes his entire body to become a magnet himself. Too bad all the coins hit him like a bullet. And yeah, they must return all the coins to their rightful owners. A mannequin chases after Rika and it turns out it is trying to get her coat. Rika remembers she bought it from a flea market dirt cheap and lots of other freebies were thrown in. That should have probably given us a hint… Further revelations from the coat reveal that the coat and mannequin used to hang out together at a display shop till it closed down. That’s when they were separated. As the coat got new owners, the mannequin often pops up, scaring the owner and making them to sell it off. The coat thinks the mannequin is jealous of her new life and when they lure the mannequin out, the coat gets violent on her! Of course we have to listen to her side of her story. After the shop closed, the mannequin was thrown into the dumpsite. She realized something a long time ago but never intended to tell her as long as they were together. It seems there is a broken needle stuck on the back and she tried to warn her and hence looking like a stalking ghost. The coat feels bad for suspecting her. They make peace and pass on. Rinne hands in his claims to be processed and is typically told he will get his money by the month’s end. When the time comes, nothing is done and there are other unhappy shinigami complaining over this as well. Turns out a ghost goat is eating all the receipts! With Kain washing his hands off this like a typical government employee (come back again next month), everyone tries to catch the goat. Good luck about that. After all the mishaps, Rinne finally captures it. He is furious to find out Kain purposely didn’t process his claim but since he owes him for this, he will make it his priority. A month later when he comes back, all rewards and claims has been offset with the compensation of damage.

Episode 24
Ageha missed a class and is forced to take a supplementary class to catch fierce dog spirits. However there is a dog with a human face (Jinmenkei) that is making it tough for her. She conveniently lets Sakura handle it while she ‘forgets’ and goes on a ‘date’ with Rinne. When Sakura finally confronts her to take back the responsibility, it is revealed the Jinmenkei is actually a human but the collar Ageha put on him turned him into a dog and confused him. However he still wants to put on the collar? It seems the guy is a rocker running late for an audition. He forgot his choker and ran back to get it but was met with an accident. Rinne takes him back to be purified. Sakura is with Ichigo at the food bazaar when she notices a strange person. Ichigo points out that is the money spirit and it is over once you notice it. Legend has it money that has been kept in drawers become spirits to come down to the human world to spend money to relief some steam. Once its identity is found out, something bad will happen. Tsubasa tries to confront it head on but is beaten up and all his money taken. Rinne and Ichigo try teaming up to steal his money without making him notice. But Renge has a better plan. She sells to him food and rips him off at an expensive price. That’s how it’s done. Rinne thinks he has no money and hence nothing to lose and attacks head on. The money spirit realizes he has been discovered and escapes. So what does Rinne get? Just his food receipts… Renge seeks Rinne’s help to help out an evil spirit haunting a ramen store. The owner wants to give Rinne free ramen but the evil spirit always ruins it. I’m sure Rinne would want to force purify it but Renge could have done it herself. Instead she wants him to help talk to reveal things. It is learnt the evil spirit is jealous of this current ramen owner’s success seeing he was the previous owner of this ramen shop but ran out of business. However he did save up 300 million Yen but can’t remember where he put the money! So that’s why. After further help, it seems he hid it in a safe in his attic. So it becomes a race between the poor souls to get it. But the safe is empty? Further revelation shows there is no way a stack of 300 million Yen could have fit into that small safe. What actually happened was he bought lottery tickets and hoped to win that money. But he got drunk and forgot about it. Yeah, he still has those tickets. None are winning numbers. After force purifying him, Rinne and Renge are so dead even if they got a free ramen as payment. You don’t know how much 300 million is worth…

Episode 25
Rinne is invited to Matsugo’s school’s cultural festival. At first he is sceptical because you know, gay moments. But Kuromitsu assures he is working on the committee so no time for gay. Rinne brings his friends along and they really see him working. Could this mean he is really over Rinne? He invites them to enter this haunted house. But they have to follow this Orpheus Rule in which boys cannot look back and girls cannot go ahead of the boys. Doing so results in disqualification. Pairs who made it to the end will receive a free yakisoba! You bet those misers are going for it seeing how ‘expensive’ everything else are sold here. Soon Tsubasa and Renge are tricked and taken out. Rinne and Sakura are the only ones left. However this haunted house has a ‘curse’. Couples who made it eventually break up. The logic is that when a girl screams for help, the boy can’t look back and help because of the rule and hence continues to move forward. This causes the girl to be mad and soon after breaks up. And you bet this is part of Matsugo’s plan to break Rinne up with Sakura. But as he tries to scare Sakura, we all know she is so accustomed to spirits so nothing really works. However Matsugo exploits this loophole. Because Rinne cannot look back, he doesn’t know if Sakura is behind her. Thus Matsugo switches place with her after dumping her in a pit. Luckily Anju foils his plan and lets Rinne look in the mirror. I guess that is legal. But this causes another dilemma. Although Sakura is back behind him, Rinne doubts if it is the real her. On the other hand, Sakura too starts thinking Rinne places more importance on the yakisoba than her. When Sakura yet again falls into another pit, Rinne is faced with his big dilemma. Head forward for the yakisoba or turn back to look for her. He chose. He decides Sakura is more important and looks back. But she isn’t there. He goes to find her but unknowingly steps on her head while she is crawling out from the hole! Rinne sees lot of mad couples and fears that Sakura might be doing the same thing. When Sakura comes to, she thinks Rinne has gone ahead without her. She looks a bit sad she lost to a yakisoba. By the time Rinne gets to the exit, he wonders if Sakura has passed through it. Nope. He could still hear her voice. Where is she? Fallen down another pit! He helps her out but gets disqualified. Well, Matsugo’s last laugh, you could say. In the aftermath, it is a good thing Rinne didn’t go for the yakisoba because it tastes horrible! Although Sakura didn’t find the haunted house scary, it was scary in another sense for Rinne. But now he can breathe easy. Just when Rinne thought he could have a private picnic with Sakura alone, all the other characters of the series pop up together to ruin it. Because. Last episode.

Poverty Is Not A Crime But It’s A Sin To Be Poor
Say… Since there is nobody announcing anything about another season in the final scene of the last episode, does this really mean this series isn’t getting renewed for the fourth season? What’s more, when you have the entire main and supporting casts gathering together for one big group picture and saying thank you to us, it is a big sign that it has already reached the end. Is this the end of it? A trilogy of seasons and that’s it? Or is this part of their sneaky plan to announce it later when nobody least suspects it? Either way, no more Rinne for now. By the way, that last group picture I managed to pinpoint all the main and supporting characters but I noticed Bijin is missing! Holy cow! Is she not considered part of the casts? Did they somewhat forgot about her? Oh wait. Matsugo and Kuromitsu aren’t there either. And Anju. And Kuroboshi too. I feel like I’m forgetting someone too… Oh well. Not so complete either. I mean if they can feature Rika and Miho…

Well, sad to say that this season doesn’t feel any refreshing as the last. It is very much following the same formula with Rinne and the other characters getting into their usual antics. Those hoping for big developments would be mostly disappointed. I’m not saying there aren’t any developments at all but if you are hoping for something that will turn the series upside down or head in a new direction, you’re not going to find it in this season. In fact, I believe that this season has more short antics than the previous seasons combined. What I mean is that in many of the episodes, an episode is split into 3 short stories. If the story is a bit long, maybe 2 per episode. This season alone has more than 3/4 of such episodes. That is 75% of this season consisting only of short story antics. It is both good and bad because if you really love random funny moments from the gang, it’s cool. But it gets tiring after a while and since we’re already in the third season, perhaps we have come to expect something more than just casual pieces. I’m not say that it is entirely bad and as an overall, but just that it feels like there is no meat left to advance the plot so they resort to this for some little laughs.

Hence the only most interesting plot for this season comes from the revelation of Rinne’s mom, Otome. Seeing the direction of this season as mentioned in my prior paragraph, the age old question of what happened to Rinne’s mom has finally been answered. It was indeed a mixed of bittersweet emotions to learn what she has went through and at the same time a little weird because now his mom who was as old as a typical grandma is now a young little girl and could be one the youngest characters in the series. Sadly, I thought Otome/Ichigo would be more prominent after her debut halfway through this season but alas she didn’t make as much impact and hence relegating her to other supporting characters of the series.

Which brings me to my next topic: The characters. This season, only a handful of mainstays make their debut. As mentioned, Otome/Ichigo and the other being Annette and Sansei. That is all. Both good and bad, this means with the wide line up of characters this series has introduced over the seasons, the screen time to be focused on them is very much reduced. There is only so much characters you can bring into one story and making it even worse is how short the stories this season feel. I can’t even make head or tail who appeared more or who appeared less like Tsubasa, Ageha, Renge and Kain. Of course Rinne being the titular character takes up the bulk and I believe could be the only one who appears in all the stories. I’m sure Sakura is next in line. But for the rest, it’s like playing musical chairs. Even Masato feels so much less here as well as Matsugo (I’m figuring they don’t want to spam and overplay that gay antic). Heck, all those bunch of black cats that were introduced last season felt even lesser here.

Having said so, this means that some of the main issues that have been bugging us from the start remains unresolved. What do I mean? Will it be Rinne or Tsubasa that ends up with Sakura? Or will it be some other guy? Yup, the romance factor here feels very much non-existent and if you’re new to the series, you won’t really guess that there are very subtle crushes between these characters. That last episode was just teasing-cum-trolling because to have Sakura for once this season stating her concern that she loses out to a yakisoba in Rinne’s books is just to get our hopes up. Then it all goes back to square one. That’s not what we want! They’ve been on so many exorcism and misadventures together and it’s like second nature for her to join in (fate, as some might call it) each time something supernatural happens. So it doesn’t really quite cut it that the final episode merely hints about this but as usual doesn’t even develop the slightest from there. Most probably the typical status quo is needed and often played out in series that relies on polygon romance because once a romance is ‘solved’ (a couple is officially paired), it causes a domino effect and breaks the chain connecting everyone. The fun ends. That is why you won’t see much about Renge ever getting closer to Kain or if Anju would ever stop stalking Matsugo or Ageha would smart up in some ways to win Rinne’s heart. So I guess those pictures of Rinne and Sakura dressed very nicely together in the ending credits animation are just to troll us?

In the end, the characters all remain the same as they are as we know them from the start. Rinne is still the poor shinigami who cries blood each time he has to spend more money, pushing him further into the red or when he loses all the cash. He is so poor that even the slightest normal treat sends him into ecstasy. Yes, it is that bad for him. It’s like a running joke to keep him poor because that is where all the comedic moments come from. The mind boggling thing is that seeing that Otome has gone through reincarnation and somehow retained her memories, shouldn’t Rinne try something similar to have a better chance to escape poverty? Yeah, that wouldn’t be fun if Rinne looks different. It is also mind boggling that with Ichigo doing all she can to help Rinne, it makes me wonder where all the money she makes go. Because as I can see, Rinne is still living the poor life. Unless she isn’t making enough to turn things around.

Therefore all the strange shinigami tools that he buys and introduced throughout the seasons feel like one big damnation because he can’t solve the case without the tool but when he does so, the rewards aren’t enough for him to be compensated or reimbursed. Speaking of those tools, I know this is the nature of the series to be comedy but sometimes I feel that the tools are just so much more of a convenience than anything. It’s like there is a tool for almost anything for the right price. It is like an excuse for all the antics we see and the plot to head in that certain outcome. Shinigami tools. Bane or boon?

What else can I say for the rest? Still the same. Sakura and her poker face sarcasm. Tsubasa throwing his holy ash (though I feel he doesn’t use his Bible’s corner as often or that power stone. Remember that one?), Tamako still giving Rinne a noogie as he continues to call her grandma, Rokumon still a loyal black cat to Rinne (except when it comes down to money and food – though he is totally loyal to Ichigo after she somehow won over him), Sabato continues to be a greedy sneaky swindler, Renge is still a sly devilish fallen shinigami, Kain still picking his fight with Rinne and using rules of the census to his advantage for free labour, Masato still picking a fight with Rinne but his stupidity gets in the way, Ageha still the dumb one and it proves money can’t buy intelligence, Suzu still the dumb troublemaking simpleton, Oboro still doing the bare minimum and causing trouble for Ageha, Kurosu still working strictly from 9 to 5 and moonlighting to earn extra income, Raito and Refuto still trying to scam Rinne in buying their useless products via hiding it behind some ‘good’ deal, Rika and Miho still running away the moment they see spirits popping up before them (and they have no qualms flirting with guys who would spend money for them. Or they think they would – that’s you, Tsubasa). Oh right, I almost forgot. Bijin. The only other interesting revelation of this season is that this is her real name! Shocker, right? And you thought that was some sort of moniker or something. Dad must be a real confident guy to name his daughter like that at birth.

As for the new characters, they do add some variety and colour to the already extended casts. Like Annette who is quickly established as a shady fortune teller because she too is lazy and tends to blame others for her own wrongdoing. She is also a cheapskate miser but seeing Rinne is willing to work for peanuts like as though he never got ‘this much’ before, she often gets to hire him. But you know what they say, you pay peanuts, you get… Heck, I think Annette and many others who hire Rinne usually end up not paying him eventually when the case is solved. I mean, do you not notice how many times this running joke that Rinne is seen bugging them for his payment when the story ends? Sansei is less memorable seeing the only trait that stands out is his phobia for spirits. I have already said for Ichigo earlier on but I suppose she is the most disappointing of the new characters in terms of appearance. No doubt she makes her debut halfway but I thought she could have done more but alas that wasn’t the case.

With the previous seasons’ casts retained, the few new ones are added and I only recognized Miyuki Sawashiro as Annette. I didn’t realize it was Megumi Hayashibara behind Otome/Ichigo. It has been such a long time since I heard from her so did I start forgetting her voice? Or did she grow old… Oops! Sansei is voiced by Emiri Katou (Akatsuki in Log Horizon).

For this season, the first opening theme, Shiny by Yoru No Honki Dance doesn’t sound appealing. Generic rock piece with the lead singer sounding like a gay. Really. However it is the second opening, Setsuna Yumemishi by Keytalk that gained my attention. Because this song sounds so freaking familiar to the best song (still is) of the series, Ouka Ranman! Like as though it is a spiritual successor! Or did they just copy and do a little tweaking? Anyhow, it sounds great. Of course, it is sung by the same band too and that is why it sounds familiar. I still like Ouka Ranman best but this one isn’t so bad after all since the other themes weren’t so catchy and this one came as a surprise. The first ending theme is Suki Nano Kana by Softly. A bit of hip hop and a bit weird itself. Not that bad but I would rate it as just slightly above average. The second ending theme is Puzzle by Mone Kamishiraishi. Not really liking this one. In both these ending themes, how come the singers sound like they’re singing softly? As in, they’re lacking energy in singing them. Plus, don’t they sound the same? I tried Googling but I couldn’t find any results about them being related seeing how generic that word is. I know I’m lazy… Damn it, hit that Roberta Flack search results again…

Overall, the third season is still as enjoyable in its own right but it still doesn’t resolve anything and those hoping for some sort of progression would be disappointed. Not to say that the short comedy bits are bad. They are okay and entertaining but it could be a double edged sword since the jokes are more or less the same thing and this could be boring to some looking for something refreshing. But like they say, if it isn’t broken, why fix it? Oh Rinne, even if you are fated to be poor for the rest of your lives, at least you are rich in the sense that you have a bunch of characters, allies and enemies, winners and losers, all hanging around you. What’s that you say? They don’t put food on your table? Well, have you ever considered paying Sakura back a little? Well then, I guess you’ll have to be content that you are ‘rich’ with so many people around you. It sucks to be poor…

The Reflection

January 21, 2018

Looks like the superhero phenomenon isn’t going anywhere soon. At least the western kind of superhero. So it feels like they are trying to expand into the Japanese market and see if it will hit big with The Reflection. Giving weight to why this series has all the ‘hype’ is because it is co-created by Stan “The Man” Lee himself and Hiroshi Nagahama, a Japanese director who is famously known for directing Mushishi. This isn’t the first time Stan Lee has tried his hands in creating and making an anime with superheroes as he already did so back in 2010 with Heroman. Too bad I didn’t see that one. The synopsis is as vague as it can get. After a certain incident a few years ago, certain individuals obtain several super powers. Some become heroes, some become villains. How and why this phenomenon came to be? Tune in to find out. I hope it isn’t just lazy writing and hence the obscurity of the synopsis to cultivate ‘interest’ to tune in and watch. Because from the guy who created lots of Marvel greats like Spiderman, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, the Hulk and the X-Men, I’m having high expectations here…

Episode 1
In New York Times Square, there is an aerial battle raging on between uhm, iron-man with uhm, frog-man and bat-man. Don’t mind the property damage and all the citizens snapping and filming away with their handphones. Iron-man defeats frog-man by making him stuck in some sewer hole. Meanwhile, journalist Eleanor Evans stumbles into uhm, x-spidey fighting against uhm water-astronaut. Being distracted, Eleanor is then taken hostage by uhm, tentacle-hoodlum. However she has some sort of power that is able to free herself. X-spidey seemingly gets stabbed by water-astronaut. But he absorbs his power and leaks him. Then he also absorbs tentacle-hoodlum to defeat him. Then there is this uhm, flame-woman appearing before him but he disappears since the agency reinforcements are here to round up the defeated baddies. Iron-man finally defeats bat-man. The press interviews him. They want to know his name. He is called I-Guy. WTF. I feel like making a joke out of iPhone… The crowd wonders if he will continue to protect New York. Sorry, he lives in LA. As the baddies termed as the Reflected are being transported away, their comrade, Steel Ruler easily breaks in and frees them. Today’s events make the news as they talk about the Reflection incident that happened 3 years ago when the world was hit by strange smoke and light. Many recovered, some died but others suffered some sort of side effects. Nobody knows why it occurred but it wasn’t a terrorist attack. This could be what manifested in today’s events. Eleanor returns to her home and is surprised to find x-spidey there. She notes that what happened to them 3 years ago wasn’t something that affected everyone equally. They were chosen.

Episode 2
We get a glimpse of those strange smoke and light descending on the world 3 years ago. Now, 3 years later in New York, the mayor is giving his speech for this memorial when his talk is being hijacked by Flaming Fury (flame-woman). She accuses everyone of forgetting them and did not care about their suffering. They will open their eyes. This stunt is actually to lure out X-on (x-spidey) but he is already in the crowd taking out some of the Reflected. Flaming Fury didn’t realize or know about I-Guy and wonders if X-on has an ally. X-on looks through Eleanor’s files. Is she his stalker? He praises her thorough research as he can tell she too has powers although unstable. Eleanor explains she is a survivor of that incident. But gaining such powers made her a bully victim. She felt lost until she came to know about X-on. She hopes he could make her his disciple to help control her powers and make the best of it like he does. However he doesn’t want to take that responsibility. Instead, he hopes she would shift her attention to Wraith. Who is that? That’s for her to find out. Yeah, I think he doesn’t know either. I-Guy (real name Ian Izzet, but he is no Tony Stark) returns to his base in LA where his team celebrates his successful debut. I think all that air sickness makes him vomit and passes out. He dreams of that incident 3 years ago. He was hit by the light but survived. He was once a singer too. Also, we play clips of I-Guy’s fight with bat-man and frog-man but this time with dialogue with his team. I-Guy continues to be the new hero of LA as he sweeps crime and the people love him. He’s even got a red carpet treatment. Steel Ruler and Flaming Fury are speaking with their comrade, Mr Mystic (Stan Lee?!) as they discuss about the Reflected are those who were hit by the smoke and light and became criminals. It is their job to take them in. They are going to let I-Guy work had so they are able to find more Reflected.

Episode 3
Eleanor looks at the footage of Times Square before the ceremony. She thinks she spotted a suspicious person but isn’t sure. There were also lot of weird happenings then but the one who caught her eyes is the disappearance of Jennifer Allen who works at a boutique. Strangely, 2 days before, her cousin May from Dayton, Ohio also disappeared. Footage also shows a strange figure there. Eleanor’s place is suddenly on fire. Luckily she manages to escape. X-on knows this is the work of Flaming Fury. It means she is on the right track that they have something they don’t want to see. With nowhere to go, Eleanor wants to follow X-on to Dayton to investigate. Along the way, they talk about that smoke and light incident. It is believed those hit by the smoke turned into violent monsters while those hit by the light gained powers from some internal change. At Dayton, Eleanor almost runs into a wheelchair girl, Lisa Livingstone. As precaution, she takes her to the hospital but nothing serious. Her father a cop, isn’t pleased with the outsider but Lisa claims Eleanor is her friend and has invited her home for dinner. X-on follows a suspicious person. He knows he has been tricked since at this car junkyard, Steel Ruler can bend and twist metals to her will. However she escapes since she doesn’t need him anymore. Lisa’s dad tells Eleanor about the incident 3 years ago. A repeat drug offender took Lisa hostage. His team went in when the Reflection happened. Luckily nothing serious happened. Dad blames himself as he has made many enemies. That’s why he wants to protect Lisa. But Lisa never thinks of herself as unfortunate nor has she blamed anyone. What dad is doing is only holding her down. After Eleanor picks up X-on and they return to Lisa’s place, her home is in a mess. X-on calls Deborah for a place of metal stockpile in Dayton. Steel Ruler and blob-man are torturing Lisa and her dad. They believe Lisa is a Reflected although Lisa denies. X-on arrives to fight Steel Ruler but blob-man is going to crush Lisa with his inner cutters. That is when her wheelchair turns into some awesome robot loaded with guns and missiles! Woah! Mini mass weapons of destruction! She is able to defeat blob-man and save her dad. Dad has never told Lisa but during that incident he saw green lights absorbing into her and her wheelchair. Lisa can’t stay with him anymore as she will only bring danger. She wants to learn about these powers and flies off. Steel Ruler is pleased since they have made some progress.

Episode 4
Eleanor thinks Lisa’s power is great. Well, her robot ran out of energy and they almost crashed! Eleanor has also done more research on the Allens. It seems that there are several kidnappings with women of that surname in a few cities close by. It’s like as though they’re kidnapping those they think are the Reflected. There is another one, Michelle in New Orleans. That’s their next destination. I-Guy continues to be the hero defeating villains. However the media paints him as an irresponsible one because a few hours later, the villains escape and had to be rearrested. Not his problem! Also, Ian seems to have a problem about being jealous of I-Guy because he wants to show who the true star is so he has his producer set up some show. At some party, he is about the sing that 80’s one-hit wonder, Sky Show but did he forget his lyrics? It seems the moment he opens his mouth, the glass cracks. He is taken off stage as Ian believes his producer was right. The world doesn’t want Ian now. So he plays Sky Show as I-Guy? At New Orleans, Eleanor goes to do her investigation. But at the bar, the master says Michelle has already been taken by Merchant and Trader for being a Reflected. The duo are something like buying and trading Reflected. Eleanor sees a kid, Ben being bullied by punks as they believe he is a friend of that Reflected. When Eleanor uses her power to save her, she receives the hostile attention of the crowd. The local police, Warren Dallas wants to take her in but Merchant and Trader pops up to take her away. Reflected shall take care of the Reflected. After all, their goal is the same: A world without Reflected. Lisa is mad that X-on isn’t going to do anything to save Eleanor as he is pondering about Michelle’s case. Fine. She’ll find her by herself. Eleanor wakes up in a mansion. She enters a room crowded with people.

Episode 5
Inside the mansion, these people have powers. Michael Hoden explains that ever since that incident, the fear and hatred for the Reflected grew. People would become violent with them and then claim self-defence. So much so the police were also joining in to attack them. Thus he has searched for the Reflected and sheltered them here. Lisa is looking around. She almost gets mixed up in some bar brawl but Ben saves her. Looks like Dallas is also on the take from Steel Ruler. Eleanor finds Michelle but the latter is not pleased to be holed up here. She insists she is not a Reflected although Michael believes she is. He may be blind but he can tell. 3 years ago, he was gambling his money away when the incident happened. He returned to his wife, Vy who was mad about throwing away their money. She turned into some armoured beast and shortly after he lost his eyesight. But the only thing he could see are the Reflected. Hence all those here are those Reflected hit by the light. Those hit by the smoke don’t want to have anything to do with them and are more violent. Eleanor mentions about other Reflected trying to mobilize and doing something but Michael is bent on protecting Vy and others from the outside world. That is why he is given this power. It is his atonement. Ben tells Lisa that Merchant and Trader do not eat Reflected as widely believed but sheltered them. They are then kidnapped by men who force Ben to reveal that location. Ben tells them it is deep in the wetlands otherwise Lisa is shot. And those guys are actually the police under Dallas. When he mobilizes the force there, Michael confronts them and doesn’t want to fight them. Dallas doesn’t believe a word since he has lied to him all the while. The police opens fire as Vy protects Michael. Her armour chips away to reveal her original human form. Is this time for some romance? Well, the police cuts it short by firing again. Vy returns being an armoured beast. Eleanor uses her teleport power to try and take down as much police as she can. Steel Ruler is here as she orders electro-guy to attack. Electricity and metal don’t mix… Luckily here comes Lisa and X-on. Not even electricity can beat a huge missile in your face. The baddies escape, the police rounded up and Michael feels he now wants to let the sheltered Reflected out into the world so they can fight together. Eleanor wants to relay that message but no one is left in the mansion. Too late?

Episode 6
Eleanor has done more research and from all that confusing computation, it looks like the place where there are lots of Allens living is San Antonio. Time for another road trip. Since Michael and Vy are tagging along, I think Eleanor is going to need a bigger car. However the evil Reflected have been stealing the Allen women from our heroes. Like this sea-dragon-guy who gave Vy and Michael the slip because he swam too deep. Lisa failed to apprehend shadow-cat-guy because her robot is too big to move inside the museum walls. Eleanor lost tack before clone-maker-guy made everyone look the same. X-on failed to follow Dead Wing (bat-man) because of his ultrasonic wave. With the news reporting the daring Reflected crimes, X-on calls Jim, his detective friend. I don’t know what hacking he did on Eleanor’s laptop but the next target is Nina Fischer. Not Allen? Women change their name when they get married, right? At this barber store, this grumpy woman isn’t Nina but her mother, Margaret. She hasn’t seen her daughter in 20 years as she has gone to LA and never contacted since. Michael could see her as a Reflected so looks like she is forced to come along. Flaming Fury and Dead Wing try to intervene but this is just decoy truck by Jim, Michael and Vy. The rest are on their way to LA. As Margaret lectures Eleanor about being an adult, Eleanor suddenly sees a vision of Wraith. He claims only she can see him and wants to talk to her. He acknowledges her power and needs her on their side to make this world their own. It is what Darkness desires. Eleanor will not betray humanity but is told Darkness will decide that. In LA, mother and daughter reunite. They are hostile at first but soon the tears keep rolling. But it is short-lived as Steel Ruler is here. She wants the last of the targets to be handed over and Eleanor won’t get hurt. Since they refuse, she is going to take them by force. You know bullets won’t harm her, right? I-Guy crashes into the place.

Episode 7
Steel Ruler makes a cage to trap them but I-Guy breaks out. Flaming Fury aims for the ladies but has to face X-on who absorbs her powers and fights her head on. Steel Ruler is about to back her up but here comes Lisa keeping her company. Dead Wing has spotted Eleanor taking the ladies to run. But now he has to play with I-Guy. Panther-guy catches up to Eleanor and beats her up. Meanwhile Margaret and Nina are being absorbed into some shadow. Margaret seems to have some power as she teleports Nina away but at the cost of her life. When all the heroes and villains converge, Steel Ruler receives word from Mr Mystic that this is an unfortunate incident but they have enough to move forward. Eleanor is distraught at why they are doing this. Steel Ruler says this is all for the plan. Everyone is part of it and they cannot escape. You and me. When I-Guy tries to welcome them to LA, he gets punched by X-on who blames him for his interference. He could have saved the family. He accuses him of playing a hero and just a lighthouse whose mindless light attracts and lures out those with abilities. Back at the motel, Eleanor tells X-on about her vision of Wraith. He thinks he is the perfect bait then. In that case, she’s not going to hide around. I-Guy returns to his base and he is sulking over what X-on said. So as he plays his guitar on the streets and reminisces the good ol’ days, Wraith suddenly pops up before him. He thanks Ian and gives him tons of cash for doing what he is supposed to. He has done so much for them and now it is his time to ‘retire’. As a hero. Leave his future to him as he needs a fool who is empty and listens to orders. Ian rubbishes it but Wraith replies I-Guy only exists because of his team. He will welcome him the Hollow King any time. Ian rushes back to his base to see all his team dead. He plays a recent recording from one of them talking about how they believed they could do things together, etc. Ian lost his singer job because his voice became a weapon and that’s why he became a hero. Since it is ridiculous to have so many people to put on his outfit, a hero should transform by himself. That’s why they have just finished creating a version 2. They want him to test it. This sports car? Eleanor waits and sees Steel Ruler before her.

Episode 8
I-Guy (dark version?) beats up street punks in order to find out about Wraith. He could have killed them had not X-on stopped him. Eleanor avoids Steel Ruler’s attack with her teleportation. Eleanor wonders why they even bother with them because if they’re not their targets but still keep coming after them. Especially her. First it is to test her abilities. Secondly it isn’t fun for Steel Ruler. She claims Wraith will envelope the world with darkness and make it equal for everyone. She might sound twisted saying if she cannot grasp light, let darkness envelope everything. Flashback 3 years ago she was a victim of a robbery. Left for dead after being stabbed, those smoke touched her. She became who she is and killed her perpetrator. The hostages they took in New Orleans, she is willing to release them if Eleanor comes to their side. If Eleanor is going to ask X-on for an answer, don’t bother. He only finds answers for himself. He won’t save his friends. After handing her a pendrive, she tells her to meet her here again at dawn if she agrees to the terms. Eleanor is then taken in by Deborah in her surveillance truck. It seems her unit has been monitoring the Reflected. Eleanor is not amused with all that is happening, they did not take action. Since their mission is to find Wraith’s goal, she hopes Eleanor can help them. By being bait? Even if it is a trap, will she go? Eleanor asks her connections with X-on. She doesn’t know anything about him and only deal when their interests align. Eleanor checks the pendrive. Some newspaper clippings, footage and info on people. She goes to confront X-on to ask what is she to him. Nothing to say? From the pendrive, she learnt of some fire incident 20 years ago. All died except a boy who survived. This boy ‘x’ went missing. Is it him? Not answering too? How about if he lets his friends die? He admits he does. Eleanor also admits she is weak and can’t do anything but she isn’t going to sit around and abandon people. I guess this means she is going to accept Steel Ruler’s terms. Deborah meets Jim and X-on back at the motel and discuss that fire incident. X-on tells them what he told her and Jim thought they agreed on it so that nobody could have regrets. With Eleanor going to Wraith, Jim believes it is a trap because there is no way they’ll keep their word. We’ll see. Because she is already meeting with Steel Ruler.

Episode 9
Despite Steel Ruler telling her this is an obvious trap. Eleanor doesn’t care and still goes with them. After entering their truck, Deborah and her team try to tail them. To shake them off, a Reflected makes them see snake illusions crawling everywhere, sending them into the panic. Deborah takes over the wheel as she overcomes the illusion so another Reflected has the truck drive straight through walls. I think Deborah knows the place like the back of her hand so she is able to keep up. It ends when Volt (electro-guy) turns them turtle. He could have killed them had not Vy tackle him. With the SWAT team arriving, Volt flees. Meanwhile Lisa pretends to wake up from her sleep. Yeah, she heard everything. Doesn’t anybody find it strange she was sleeping with her glasses on? Anyway she is grateful for them for giving her this chance and to continue believing in Eleanor. She is about to go alone to find her but the SWAT team has surrounded the place. Seriously, nobody heard them? They are brought back to their secret base. This is the LA branch for the Anti-Reflected Squad who is headed by Clarence. He explains they have been monitoring the Reflected and termed those who were hit by the smoke as Darkness Reflected and those by the light as Brightstar Reflected. No prizes guessing which side is which. Their surveillance somehow stopped working like as though someone from the other side can turn it off. Deborah says it is no surprise since they have been dancing to their tune all along. The whole time they wanted them to see what they could do, thus they never bothered about being watched and always retreated. But this time it was different. Since they have Eleanor, Deborah feels they were really trying to kill her. As Eleanor refused to cooperate, that’s why Clarence brought our Reflected heroes here to monitor them until they know what’s going on. Lisa will not have her freedom taken away and transforms to defy. This also causes Vy to do the same. However Michael can see her trying to tell him that the other side is calling her. He tells X-on that Darkness is calling her so X-on wants her to go there so she can lead them to Eleanor. Okay. But why does she need to bust out and leave the place in a mess? Ian’s car is like Knight Rider. It can detect and inform nearby Reflected as Ian begins following her. Michael thought X-on’s plan was to offer Eleanor to see Wraith’s plan despite being risky. However X-on views Wraith as not the problem but Eleanor. Speaking of her, Mr Mystic greets her, sure their master is looking forward to see her.

Episode 10
Eleanor goes off on her own and Mr Mystic doesn’t want the rest to go after her since she will find her way to their master. Lisa and co have arrived at the mansion. They are greeted by Mr Mystic who gives them a warm welcome by letting Flaming Fury and Volt dispose of them. Lisa thought she saw Eleanor wandering around so X-on goes to tail her only to be obstructed by Steel Ruler. I-Guy has arrived too and faces off with Dead Wing. When he learns he is the one who killed his friends, his energy spikes. His blast vaporizes Dead Wing! OMG! This is the power of anger! Eleanor tries to find the hostages and ends up in some weird cave where she meets Wraith who is glad she has come to him. You know all those times she was researching him? Yeah. He thinks she is really into him. Like a stalker? Weird. Eleanor considers him the enemy for all they had done but he says they were merely gathering the Reflected. He asks despite they are always a step ahead but allowed her to follow behind. It’s because she is connected to him. She chose him. Not X-on. That guy has no friends and would not hesitate to betray. This leads to Wraith mentioning about how her parents abandoned and never cared for her. Because all they cared was his dead twin brother, Ethan. That’s why she strayed from them and reached out her hand to cling to X-on. But he didn’t. Because she meant nothing to him. But there is someone who needs her. Those hostages are not kidnapped. He reached out his hand to them. Their existence matters and are necessary fragments part of something bigger. Take his hand and be acknowledged. When X-on manages to dispose Steel Ruler, he follows Eleanor to a cave. This is a trap set by Mr Mystic to lure him there but he didn’t expect Steel Ruler to also closely follow X-on into it. By the time X-on arrives, Eleanor looks like she has reached out to Wraith. Because Wraith has now possessed her. Using her body, he transforms to his actual form: Ethan. And if you still don’t get it, Ethan = Wraith.

Episode 11
Steel Ruler is shocked Eleanor is Wraith. Wraith says Eleanor was only in the way and would have never gotten this power had she remained so. In order to eliminate her, she needed to wish herself to disappear. He thanks X-on for that. That is why he brought him here to witness this. Because of him, Eleanor knew her true self as worthless. Wraith begins a ritual. In this desert of White Sands, New Mexico where approximately 500 Reflected are teleported here, they see a group of those Allen women. All except Nina has died during the ritual. They had this teleport power and hence to teleport this large number of people, hence they were kidnapped. Wraith and his merry little band of Reflected pop up. Some pledge their allegiance while others wonder who the f*ck this bastard is. Wraith addresses the Reflected about being discriminated since their appearance 3 years ago. While some want to kill the discriminators, Wraith doesn’t believe it can happen because of their small numbers. What they can do is change the world into one where they can live in. A world of Darkness. That is why he has gathered them here as he needs their powers. Some rubbish this and walk away as others follow suit. X-on gets a call from Deborah that the military has detected them and is sending the army to deal with it. Get out of there. Well, too late. They’re already here. Why is it at such times is the US Army so quick and responsive? Actually they are here not to harm them and just want everyone to leave. But chewing-gum-guy hypnotizes one of them to fire. This causes the panicked Reflected to fight back. And so all hell breaks loose. X-on signals to the heroes to stop this fighting otherwise Wraith will get what he wants. Michael can see Brightstar Reflected turning into Darkness Reflected thanks to the hatred and rage. This is Wraith’s plan. So as they try to stop the fighting on both sides, Wraith also mobilizes his henchmen. But it seems Steel Ruler has a little hesitance in her heart. Dead Wing is back to face I-Guy. Yeah, version 2 because he is all mechanized. In the end, Wraith just zaps everyone. WTF.

Episode 12
Wraith is controlling all the Reflected. We get another I-Guy vs Dead Wing fight. Let’s hope this settles this dysfunctional fight once and for all. Dead Wing’s ultrasonic microwave is paralyzing him and causing pain. Luckily he is saved by the appearance of magical girls!? Power Rangers version?! Finally those Japanese high school girls make their ‘proper’ appearance. They help take down Dead Wing before I-Guy disintegrates him for good by absorbing and using his own ultrasonic microwave against him. When all the Reflected stop dead in their tracks, looks like Wraith has gotten enough power to make forth Darkness. It’s getting pretty dark and windy in here. This means all Reflected who are still alive lose their Reflected power. Vy reverts to her human form. Too bad Michael can’t see her. Is this time for some cheesy romance? X-on asks Wraith’s goal so the standard protocol for villains to tell everything now is that he will have everyone become one with Darkness where nothing and eternity awaits. For that, it is why he let Eleanor die. Everyone struggling to get close to Wraith but they get blasted back every time. Oh look who is peeking out of that darkness window? That’s Darkness? Wraith is shocked to see Eleanor before him. Or is this her ghost?! She tells him that everyone has walked a dark path in their life and hence they aren’t tainted by his darkness. WTF. Are you saying Wraith’s darkness is just pussy level darkness?! Wraith is confused (so am I) that Eleanor succumbed to him. Yes, she did but she can’t hold on to him forever. From what I understand, Eleanor created Ethan to cope with his loss or something. Her darkness was her dead brother. Since she can’t hold on to herself or make herself disappear, she decided to live with her darkness. If that is true, then who is Wraith?

At this point, X-on has grabbed on to Wraith and absorbs his power. This enables some light back in and the Reflected heroes get their power back. X-on makes a stunning revelation that everyone has misunderstood: He is not a Reflected! It is heroes versus villains (including the ‘highlight’ of those Japanese girls owning a frog family?!). Steel Ruler defects and fights Flaming Fury. Everyone cooperates to take own Wraith before I-Guy finally blasts him to smithereens. Full light is back. And Darkness is like, oh, guess I don’t need this. Bye. Great happy news to go with the happy ending is that Eleanor returns once Wraith is gone. All the other surviving villains retreat. Those who are not so fortunate like Steel Ruler get taken into custody by the Anti-Reflected Squad. These people always arrive in time just for this, huh? I-Guy and those Japanese girls strangely click with each other. Eleanor talks to X-on and regrets doing something awful. He notes using the power of Darkness to create someone who shouldn’t have existed but she eventually was the only one who could defeat him and she did. You are the one who can only decide on how to use your own powers. Eleanor and X-on have different views about darkness and light. The former believe both exist among each other while the latter each exists separately. Suddenly there is a huge phenomenon getting bigger over the sky. Green light and purple smoke. Second wave?

The Rejection
And so we are left with a typical cliff-hanger soon after a happy ending for the current arc. Leaving enough for another potential season because other main baddies like Mystic Man and Flaming Fury are still running free. But as far as this season is concerned, I would rate it as somewhat average. I believe this isn’t going to be the next big mainstream hero thingy since my guts are strongly telling me this won’t be overtaking classic Japanese heroes or even dethroning current popular Marvel and DC superheroes. For every successful hero and villain series, there are many more which don’t necessarily succeed. Maybe some will shine for a while before falling back into the darkness of time where nobody will ever remember it again. The neglected, I’d say.

I don’t know. The story and plot feels a bit awkward for me. Although it sounds like your typical and cliché superhero good guys versus supervillain bad guys, the entire series feels like one big chase across the United States to prevent the baddies from realizing their goal. It is somewhat laughable when you think about it because the villains are so ‘considerate’ enough to tease and let them follow on their tail but enough time for them to escape. It’s like the villains have always been toying our desperate heroes and leading them from one point to another. Got played and danced right into the palm of their hands? And playing that Reflection incident card feels like a weak link because it wasn’t properly explained. Maybe it didn’t have enough episodes to flesh out so basically for some strange reason to give people strange powers, so basically the Reflection can be said to be something like this: You get hit by light, you is good. You get hit by smoke, you bad. Basically, a term used to describe mutants which is otherwise trademarked by a certain series. And of all places, the final fight had to be in the middle of a desert. Hardly the most exciting of places but I guess it is an excuse not to animate detailed buildings and backgrounds. Yeah, makes it a lot easier.

The main characters themselves also don’t feel that inspiring. Like X-on who is supposedly the main star and hero but most of the time he keeps to himself and only speaks whenever necessary. In this modern age and day, the line is further greyed so it is understandable that X-on isn’t as goody-goody as one might hope to be. But he is still a hero so he still has to have some heroic qualities, right? He never explains things straight up, whether why his goal is Wraith and about his sketchy and tragic past that is only teased and hinted. Maybe that is why those who rarely speak are such a mystery. So when X-on revealed he isn’t a Reflected, I’m sure we are searching for answers how he got such weird super powers. He could have been a victim of some experiment gone wrong. That slightly explains why his powers are so different than the rest. Eleanor is a lost soul who got even more lost and till she finally meet Wraith, she got lost forever. That is what happens when the superhero you look up to don’t reciprocate your feelings. You turn to the dark side!

Every hero isn’t perfect and has some sort of problems. I-Guy feels like that hero. First he has got an ego problem getting jealous that his superhero side is more famous than his musician side whom he wants to be remembered for. I don’t see how his heroic antics are more bane than boon and even so, that just feels miniscule. So he is like the unwitting tool for villains and goes into further depression when his friends are killed. Don’t worry. They’ll live on forever digitally in that Knight Rider and suit of his. For most of the entire series, I-Guy looks like his role is to brood and seek revenge for his buddies. Is it me or does Dead Wing feel like a character who is created to be a mockery of Batman? It is hard not to think it is not related to anything politically correct these days because that is what I feel Lisa is for. It feels like she is needed to show that handicapped people too can be superheroes. Or maybe they just need some sort of excuse to turn something into a mecha. Super powers come in all types of forms. So I’m not sure if Michael’s ability to see different Reflected is of anything useful. Because otherwise he has not fighting skills and mostly clings on to Vy as that iron monster-cum-Godzilla Hulk smashes her way through things.

It just boggles the mind that Wraith wanted to get rid of Eleanor and the only way he can do it is to psycho her into wishing that she doesn’t exist. It just feels so awkward. He looks like the big bad boss but he isn’t that powerful considering he has to do this roundabout way just to eliminate her. Maybe just to take over her body as vessel? So Wraith is her dead brother? Or rather she is Wraith? Just a figment of her own imagination? Was she the main bad guy and the main hero who defeated herself? Wow. So original plot twist. I’m so confused about her and Wraith in the end that it didn’t matter anymore because if the baddie is gone, that means good ending, right? There are a handful of very strange villains but sadly with their very limited appearance, it makes you wonder if they are just there to make up for the numbers. Like some you see them once and then you never see them again. Did they forget to include them later? And then some new ones just pop up later and make you go, “Who the f*ck is this guy?! Haven’t seen this dude before”. Yeah, some of their names are really an eyebrow raiser. Like… Liquid Terror… Like, WTF. I guess it is slightly better than X-on and I-Guy. I mean, don’t you feel those names are like weird even for a superhero? Like X-on, let’s get it on! I-Guy, You-girl. I-good, you-bad… Like, WTF.

Throughout the series, you will notice there are a group of Japanese high school girls who seemingly aren’t related to the story and the plot of what is concurrently going on. In almost every episode the quartet get a few seconds focused on them as they hang in school, at a fast food joint before hopping on a plane to America for their school trip. Yeah, those English lessons better come in handy. Anyway, they are the Japanese all-girl pop group, 9nine. They somewhat play as themselves here and initially their roles aren’t as clear because they seem to look more like a detached distraction from the main story. Since the setting of this story is in America, let’s not forget that there is some sort of Japanese involvement in this too. And what do American people think most about Japan? High school girls! Wait, what?! Anyway that is how I think these girls are shoehorned into this series that would otherwise have no effect on the main storyline whatsoever. Not at first. It’s like a little deal to promote 9nine. After all, can normal Americans name 1 Japanese idol group? I think they can name a few Korean ones…

And for some odd reason they finally make their ‘proper’ appearance in the final episode. I mean, it would be a waste for them to just make cameos here and there without getting into the action, right? If it was so, they would have been even more forgettable. I know this is a superhero movie but the thought of them conveniently finding those costumes right in the middle of the desert and then suddenly after putting them on they know how to control and use their powers effectively is rather absurd. Unless you’re saying Japanese high school girls are always perfect as heroines. Making it funnier is how everyone in this series is speaking in Japanese although that is for convenience to the viewers. It gets odd when the girls and I-Guy don’t understand a thing they say despite speaking in Japanese. Get what I mean? The Americans speaking in Japanese are ‘automatically translated’ into Japanese so that’s why it feels funny to hear them all speaking in Japanese when it is supposed to be American English. I believe this would be even stranger in the dubbed version. Assuming they dubbed the Japanese girls’ voices into English. If they remained, then all makes sense.

One of the notable aspects of this series is the visuals. In other words, the animation looks like it is straight out from a comic book. Either you love it or you hate it. Anime purists who have been so used to the typical conventional Japanese style anime may not like the very comic book style art, the shading and tone of the overall because in some ways it does make the series look like low quality. I mean, if you compare it with your typical Japanese anime visuals, this one looks below average. The comic book visual style somewhat gives it a reason and excuse for this ‘quality’. Just take a look at some of the backgrounds. It feels like it is lazily done. Then it is covered up in the name of this comic book style visual. Besides, with many of the heroes and villains having a mask or their face covered like X-on, I-Guy, Steel Ruler and even Wraith, it reduces the need to animate their mouth whenever they speak. Even for those like Eleanor, you just kinda feel a bit odd the animation when they speak. Heck, the final episode whereby all the Reflected got zapped and turned into some purple lump of blob feels like everything was done so lazily.

I am not a comic book fan and have been out of the scene for many years. Yes, I was once into Spiderman during my youth buying a few comics to read and that was a pretty long time ago before I got ‘corrupted’ by anime. Even so, I feel that the character designs especially of the Reflected are just average and somewhat meh. Like for instance X-on, I thought they mesh in Spiderman, Deadpool and I think that old X-Men costume of Cyclops. I think. I got a feeling that I-Guy was inspired by Iron Man but at the same time his armour costume design somewhat reminds me of Star Wars’ Boba Fett. Same thing I feel for Flaming Fury like as though they drew inspiration from Overwatch’s Zarya. And Vy’s monstrosity design feels like they’ve just given up and just designed some lump of sh*t for the character. Seriously. This is a bit far-fetched but sometimes when I look at Steel Ruler, I thought I see X-Men’s Storm in her.

One thing I noticed that kept bugging me throughout the series is the flickering of lights. As in, in certain scenes, I noticed the background will start to flicker for a few seconds. It is not that obvious but it is noticeable enough and too many times it becomes a bit annoying. I thought it was my hardware problem but I don’t seem to have this problem with other animes I watched. Could the source of the video be corrupted? If so, all of them? So it made me wonder if this strange flicker is some sort of subliminal brainwashing message that the producers hid throughout the episodes for some sort or ulterior motive and agenda. Well, thankfully I think I’m still okay. Not that I want to rush out to buy American comics or Japanese manga. Maybe all this paranoia is just me, huh?

Superhero genres need to have this action, right? Meh. Just so-so for this one. The ridiculous plot of our heroes chasing down the villains from time to time are just an excuse for some sort of little skirmish and clash. It is nothing spectacular. Compounded with the visual styles, maybe it is better to read a comic book and then let your imagination run wild. Like X-on who has got this lasso thingy that is why I thought he resembles a bit like Spidey, plus I think he has some ability to absorb other powers and this gives him a free pass to use it whenever the plot and scenario conveniently compels him to. I-Guy shoots lasers from his suit while Lisa’s machine isn’t exactly anywhere near Gundam so don’t expect any sort of flashy arsenal or fireworks. Essentially, characters who live up to their nicknames in using their power like Flaming Fury’s flames, Steel Ruler’s steel and Volt’s electricity. Hardly anything exciting but I guess it is better than nothing. Oh, the one thing I think it parodies about Hollywood action in this series is that helicopters explode! Did you notice them?! Yeah, only in Hollywood, helicopters’ existence is to be exploded no matter the reason. Well, we had our fun here.

Voice acting is just okay with me recognizing Miki Shinichiro as X-on and Youko Hikasa as Steel Ruler. Stan Lee who has always made cameos in his Marvel movies also plays Mystic Man here. Of course he voices that said character in the dubbed version. His Japanese equivalent is Tomomichi Nishimura (Anzai in Slam Dunk) and he sounds close enough. Stan Lee also lends his voice to the original Japanese version although that is only left to reading the next episode’s title and previously on The Reflection. No, not the entire summary. Just the lines, “Previously on The Reflection”. What the heck is Excelsior anyway? What does it have to do with anything? The other casts are Mariya Ise as Eleanor (Levi in Fairy Tail), Satoshi Mikami as I-Guy (Sloan in Durarara!!x2), Satomi Hanamura as Lisa (Anise in Galaxy Angel Rune), Toshihiko Seki as Michael (Senketsu in Kill La Kill), Yuko Sanpei as Flaming Fury (Sasha in Seikon No Qwaser), Kouki Miyata as Wraith (Hanatarou in Bleach), Mika Doi as Deborah (Coby in One Piece) and Ryusei Nakao as Jim (Frieza in Dragonball series).

There isn’t any opening theme but if it is, I suppose this nameless orchestra piece is as epic as it could ever get and it is definitely made for superhero movies. The kind of grandeur you would expect to hear at the opening of any superhero movies you go to. So it is kinda fitting for this sort of superhero theme. The ending theme is of course sung by 9nine, SunSunSunrise. It feels like a dance pop beat like how I vividly remember and like the other only song I heard from them: Shoujo Traveler which is one of the ending themes for Beelzebub. The ending credits animation feels a bit trippy because you see silhouettes of them dancing and prancing about amidst the fanciful colours and patterns ripping across the screen. For the first few episodes where I-Guy was still making decent appearances, the insert song of Sky Show (although credited to Trevor Horn who produced the series’ soundtrack, it is originally written and performed by Christopher Braide) is constantly spammed in the first few episodes. Like as though it was going to be the theme song of the show before it somewhat faded into obscurity. Is this the reality and reflection of one hit wonders?

Overall, this isn’t the deal breaker for western superheroes or one that would greatly penetrate into the Japanese market or even the rest of the world. Hey, even if you are the great Stan Lee, there will always be some hits and misses. He scored more hits of course but this one feels more like the latter. Mediocre storyline and poor as well as uninteresting characters leave a lot to be desired. Some might use this as ammunition as to why western and Japanese comics can never mix. A total rejection of anything non-Japanese. If this was their idea to save anime or give it a new leash of life or direction, well I guess it didn’t. So let’s hope this series would be given a proper closure, given its dues and criticism and then we all should move along. Otherwise like they say, you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Maybe that is what Stan Lee’s cameo here means???!!!

Centaur No Nayami

January 20, 2018

Again? Another comedy series that involves monster girls? After Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou and then Demi-chan Wa Kataritai, now we have Centaur No Nayami. At first I wanted to skip this one thinking that monster girls aren’t my cup of tea. Especially now we have a Centaur as the main focus, she looks a bit scary even if the general art feels cute and all. Then I decided to give this a try because I too am curious what Centaurs worry about while growing up in a normal high school life. Wait. What?! I’m interested to know about a Centaur’s life. Thanks to that internet thingy…

Episode 1A
Himeno “Hime” Kimihara kisses Nozomi Gokuraku. Everyone is shocked. Despite this is just a play, should she really have done it in this practice? Apparently her script says the kiss is a must. Well, somebody’s handwriting is there. The one who passed her the script was Makoto Komori. Previously he was supposed to play the prince but when it is discovered he rigged the vote, he was replaced by Nozomi. There goes his kiss for Hime. But the question is, would Hime have really kissed him? The rest notes Hime has always being playing princess roles is it because of her name? The preparation and practice goes well. The actual play also goes well. But no real kiss. Except the props they were standing on start to collapse due to Hime’s weight. Luckily Hime uses her agility as a Centaur to save herself and Nozomi. Once landed safely, Nozomi pecks her on the cheek. Everyone loves the play and they get great praises.

Episode 1B
There is some origin of the evolution of ‘humans’. Sounds like sophisticated BS. But anyway, these dominant humans evolved into 4 groups: Fauns (or those with long ears or tail), Angelfolk (dragons include), Centaurs (Weretigers were included but became extinct) and Merfolk. There is also a tragic past how these people discriminated against each other as well as the possibility of amphibians evolving. Kyouko Naraku has no stamina in running. Though, she can eat all she wants without getting fat but she is really ‘flat and straight’. They wonder how fast Hime can run so she demonstrates. As fast as a horse. Too bad she forgot how to stop and almost crashed into a car! An accident could have happened! Despite her horsepower, she is the slowest of the Centaurs and a klutz in all other areas. When the midterm exam results are out, Nozomi is devastated. She scored 299 overall and those scoring below 300 have to take supplementary lessons and make-up tests.

Episode 2A
Nozomi is unsure if the model on this magazine is Hime. Mitsuyo Akechi confirms it is so. She then tries to blackmail Nozomi to become a model for her as she hints working part time is against school rules and will get her expelled. No choice, she goes to her home only to discover she has been set up to wear her cosplay outfits. She doesn’t want to do this anymore till another blackmail how expelled students will find it hard to get letter of recommendation. Later Nozomi asks Hime if she is hiding something. No, not the extra doughnut you ate. Apparently Hime’s mom’s friend is an editor-in-chief of a magazine and since there were no Centaur models around, she begged her for this role. But isn’t it against school rules? Not if you don’t get paid! Of course Hime doesn’t plan in going into modelling since she finds the editor-in-chief’s eyes scary. She would prefer to be a veterinarian, fishmonger or medical research. Later Akechi’s lesbian partner, Michi Inukai whispers a juicy detail to Nozomi who then confronts Akechi about working part time in a maid café. Now she threatens her of expulsion but Akechi is confident she won’t because she is her friend. In that case, is Hime her friend? She runs to hug her. Yes she is.

Episode 2B
It’s such a cold day so Akechi teases Manami “Tama” Mitama by wrapping herself around her warm angel wings. This encourages Kyouko and Nozomi to lie themselves on Hime’s back. Looks funny and embarrassing as they keep walking like that. This prompts them to remember a time where they visited the school for Merfolks and the place is obviously submerged in some water. The Merfolks are quite beautiful people but of course both sides were curious with each other. Like how the guys were trying to hit on Kyouko. Despite being almost naked all the time, their biological construct of course differs from others and can stay warm in the cold water. Meanwhile Takamichi Koma is always seen carrying the Mermolk, Ruru Shizuura. They get teased by their friends but they soon realize why he keeps doing this is because Shizuura is his childhood friend, beautiful and has boobs. You girls just lost. Later Shizuura wants him to buy a Centaur-like robot that will help her walk around instead of him always having to carry her but it’s too expensive.

Episode 3A
Hime’s young cousin, Shino comes over to visit. As they take a walk, they bump into Tama and her triplets little sisters, Chiho, Chinami and Chigusa. The triplets are the kind who love to kiss to show their love so when they try to kiss Hime, Shino puts a stop to it. Nobody kisses her Hime but her! And so at the park, Shino explains all she knows about what is love. But when they ask if their big sisters kiss each other, they say girls don’t kiss each other when they grow up. Till Akechi and Inukai pop up and show them how it’s done! And then pecks Tama on the cheek! Another form of love?! Tama beats her up. Poor leek got damaged… And when Akechi wants to kiss Hime, Shino blocks her. Now the triplets want to kiss Shino. She doesn’t want it and runs away. And so begins the world’s slowest chase… Luckily they end up being friends and play with each other. Nothing naughty there… Though, they get all their clothes wet and their sisters have to come pick up after them. Back home, Shino is still confused and asks Hime about the meaning of girls kissing. Maybe she’ll understand when she grows up. Hime thinks that is when she’ll have boobs as big as her.

Episode 3B
The triplets aren’t happy when they need to watch over the house since Tama has some work and needs to go out. Tama has to explain about society. Not really in detail but their dad has to work to earn money and can’t stay home all day to play around. So that’s what weekends are for? In exchange, the triplets get to call some friends over and play. While doing so, their youngest sibling, Sue suddenly falls ill. They believe she is always so when she runs around a lot. So instead of playing outside, why not play inside! Meanwhile Tama is in her student council meeting and she is rushing for time. She wastes no time in admitting she needs to be home by a certain time to cook for her family. This stem from her stubborn late grandpa who always put his dojo first. When he was on his deathbed, he called out to wife and wanted to go home. That was when she decided to put family first. When Tama goes home, she gets mad at the triplets for letting one of their friends look after Sue while they go play. Well, they kept their promise by staying at home. At the end of the day, the triplets realize something eerie because there seems to be an extra friend whom they didn’t invite nor showed up late. Dad thinks it is a zashiki warashi and it’s a good spirit.

Episode 4A
A guy gives Hime a love letter. But in the train? But she gets scared and runs away when her stop is here. So her friends later talk to her why she acted so. Turns out a trauma she had when she went on a school’s field trip. You know those cows? Those udders? A kid teased her she had them. To put it bluntly, she is worried about her vagina. Well, can’t blame her because, can Centaurs see their own crotch? With this complex, she can’t date anyone. Nozomi assures they will show theirs and they can check hers out. Twisted. But if it is what gives her peace of mind… Nozomi goes first. Looks… Unused… Nozomi then forces Kyouko to show hers. Erm… Hairy? Let our imagination go wild! Finally they check Hime’s. Uhm, beautiful? With her fears allayed, the next time the guy gives her the letter, she is able to take it with confidence. However when she reads it, she gets disappointed. The next time when he waits for her answer, she rejects him. Her friends find out why. The letter wrote and described her big and beautiful boobs.

Episode 4B
Nozomi is being lazy. She doesn’t want to study so Kyouko and Hime are forced to make her do so. Even so, Nozomi lacks the motivation. So they play psychological with her that if she stays back a grade, they couldn’t do things together anymore. Well, that did the trick. While studying, Nozomi thought she saw a UFO. This leads them to discuss about aliens and more practically, those reptilians who live in Antarctica who possess technology that the rest of the world doesn’t have. The next day as they head to school, they notice the place is tight on security. Even more so at their school. In class they notice an extra table. Could it be an important transfer student? Yes. It is Sassassul “Sassu” Quetzalcoatl from Antarctica. Hime is tasked to show her around. She’s scared. Yeah, those snake eyes are scary…

Episode 5A
Hime must be wondering if snakes like to eat horses. But she faints upon seeing Sassu’s fangs! Later as she wakes up at the infirmary, her friends learn her fear of such stems from an old movie about a reptilian eating a Centaur, spitting out her skin and masquerading in it! Yeah, pretty traumatic. But is that a Psycho reference? Sassu comes by to apologize and explains she was just trying to smile. Yeah, it was sure a scary smile. So when they tell her about that movie, they go and watch it. Is Hime’s trauma going to be reactivated again? Well, it was scary enough for both girls to hug each other. At the end of the day, Sassu dismisses some of the myths like how their jaws are too weak to bite like that and they cannot kill via constricting like snakes. Asked if she is going to sue to movie producers, Sassu says the reason she is here is to quell such myths. She hopes they can be friends. She smiles and once again Hime passes out. Maybe she really needs to work on this.

Episode 5B
The classmates are spamming Sassu with questions. She explains them all to quell all the myths surrounding her people like they are more warm blooded like birds rather than reptiles and the unfounded claims that they rule the world from behind the shadows. When they try to ask her love life, it all turns back to something pedantic again because only the queen can lay eggs and they themselves are not sure about emotions and if it were to be the same as the other humans. Back home, Sassu sees the news that an American ship was sunk near Antarctica and this causes some tension between both nations. She feels guilty about it and tries to hide her face in public? Well, she looks like attracting more attention looking like a burglar. Hime and co talk to her about it and assure everything would be fine. It’s not her fault to begin with. Also notice her strange clothes which she based on monks, they take her to shop and buy some clothes. Sassu hangs out with them. She hopes to understand more about others. Not because of work but because as duty.

Episode 6A
It must be one of those days Hime got up from the wrong side of the bed. Despite mom keeps pestering, she still wants to tug in and there is this ‘fight’ with dad over the use of the toilet, causing her to run late for school. Oh well… In school, she and her friends talk about their hairstyles because for some races, it is really troublesome to keep them looking good. This also extends to some races with hair on their tail. Hime’s friends then notice her red hair which is supposed to be rare for Centaurs. She claims she got it from her mother’s side. Once a teacher detained her thinking she dyed it but he got arrested for discrimination! Yikes! Hime relates the supposed story that her ancestry was of a royal family. A princess got kidnapped from Japan and taken to Europe but her siblings chased all the way there to bring her back. There are many other exaggerated legends like how an arrow sunk a ship but even if it sounds far-fetched, there are some records of it.

Episode 6B
Kyouko is like the secretary to her father and is very strict in making him meet his deadline for a publisher. It is a good thing because otherwise he wouldn’t have gotten any work done. Yeah, looks like she is his life manager as well, doing all the cooking and such. Meanwhile Tama arrives at Kyouko’s neighbour to help solve a cursed box she is having. This is a way for her to make ends meet for her family. When she returns, her siblings are sleeping and father is cooking. What she proceeds to ask dad is quite thought provoking. As he alternates between a contractor and painter, she asks if he is really a painter. He thinks she is implying if it puts food on the table. But what she meant was when he is off work, the kids are asleep. He should be using this time to paint. Inspiration, he says? She then tells him if he is a painter, he should continue doing so if he hates it and when even his daughter hates him for it. Can he be both? But does he have the talent to manage both? If he isn’t dedicated on being a painter, this means he is working as a half contractor too. It also means it makes him a lousy father and is trying to earn compensation on Sue due to her medical conditions. Wow. So deep… At least Hime is having it easy sleeping and being pampered by mom.

Episode 7A
The triplets meet Sassu for the first time. They are fascinated and can’t help toy with the ‘dinosaur’. Snake being toyed by kittens? All of them head to the pool. If you are curious how a Centaur puts on its pants, be fascinated on how they do so here. Oddly Sassu is scared of water as falling in one back in Antarctica means certain death. Her kind also lack sweat glands so they don’t bath. Then the triplets naughtily bring her into the shallowest part of the pool. Well, she’s still alive. The triplets want to follow Shino to another section of the pool but Tama stops them since that area is only for Centaurs. They pout as they learn swimming under Tama as Shino learns under Hime’s guidance. When it is done, the triplets sulk when Shino wants to play with them. But all return to their playful self when she starts splashing water on them. On the way home, the young ones get sleepy but luckily there is enough ‘manpower’ for each one of them to carry each of them. But when Hime starts to feel sleepy… Nobody is going to carry that heavy half horse back home.

Episode 7B
Hime and her friends are part of the occult club. The club’s president, Buchou wants them to stay here overnight and tell ghost stories. He is inviting Towako Yachiyoda too. The girls think this is his subtle way to ask her out but he says she won’t come if it is just the 2 of them so she won’t feel so lonely if the rest come. Not only that, they can gather scary stories, submit it as their activity and hence the club will receive increase in funding and budget. Killing 3 birds with a stone! If this is the real reason, it just sucks, right? So I guess everyone is in since they’re interested to hear what kind of ghost stories they can tell. Towako also tags along but she isn’t really impressed. So we hear lame ghost stories from Kyouko and superstitious stories from Sassu. But the lamest has got to be Buchou’s because he is talking about some ghost of an extinct dinosaur animal and the punch line is to show his ‘scary’ face. In all cases, Hime freaks out and almost chokes Nozomi to death. In the end, Towako can’t put up any more with this crap and wants to go to the toilet but wants somebody to accompany her. Is she scared? She denies but nobody seems to believe her…

Episode 8A
Hime is part of the archery club. But her junior, Ayaka Wakamaki doesn’t seem to like her as she doesn’t look serious in her practice. Plus, a tournament is coming up so Ayaka tells her to put more effort in it although she won’t be putting her hopes too much on her. This hostility stems from a past tournament in which Ayaka was doing badly and Hime tried to cheer her up by doing a funny face. It only distracted her. But it worked on Shino… At the tournament, Kyouko knows for a way to motivate Ayaka. She whispers to Hime to make a bet with Ayaka. If Hime loses, she will have to date her. Oh dear. Now Ayaka is only more distracted. She is only thinking of what to wear during the date! Is she tsundere?! I think so. Ayaka gets serious and focuses. Her date is on the line. In the aftermath, Hime and Ayaka go on a date. I guess she really won. Hime’s friends are hiding and tailing them but because of Sassu, I guess they are easily spotted.

Episode 8B
Those Merfolk guys must be really lucky. The females actually swim around topless and it is nothing to them. They just put on something to cover when other races visit. So some Merfolk guys are still looking at soft porn of other races. Why? Because it is fun when you have your boobs covered! You lucky bastards! I think these guys love flat chests too because their favourite is the idol, Eri. It must be the way she acts embarrassed too. Eri for the first time is tasked to sing for a festival as celebration to a local god, Tamon. As she starts singing, a good sign is when man-dolphins (aren’t they just dolphins?) start swimming and dancing about. However they get scared and run away when the waves get violent. A large monster fish appears and proclaims he is Tamon. The elder recognizes it as an imposter and takes Eri to swim as far as away. He tells her the god they worship is only a rock as living gods can’t exist among them. They head back to shore to report to the coastal guard. Well, those snake people coastal guards examine it but I’m not sure what they do with it. Meanwhile Sassu talks to her friends about gods but they don’t really believe such exists. Nozomi thinks of asking Tama the ‘master’. At first she is thinking of brushing it off but has this devilish thought of how she can ‘defeat’ them (source of income seems to be the key) and tells them how they exist because of all the good luck charms they bring. Meanwhile Tama’s father thought Sue is playing alone. However he can’t seem to see this ‘god’ kid she is playing with. Anyway she beats him flat.

Episode 9A
Hime notices this frog guy, Jean Rosseau recently all over in advertisements online. He is a president of a conglomerate company as Sassu explains his past of how he was picked up by a French missionary after being found almost dead in the jungles. He was brought up and discovered has quite the intelligence. He went on to achieve greatness to where he is today. He will soon be giving a speech at the school. But first we see him in one of his daily dealings. Like meeting and making a deal with a president of another company. Then he dons his traditional tribal wear to visit his tribal folks. However they believe he has been corrupted by the mammals. Rosseau is sad that their warring attitude is what makes them like mammals and his advice to coexist with others fall on deaf ears. After giving his speech at the school, he accidentally burns his tongue on hot tea.

Episode 9B
OMG. What is this?! A remake of the Holocaust?! Nazi Centaurs beating up Angelfolk Jews?! Actually there are all species on both side of the divide. We focus on a young Angelfolk boy who has been sent to the concentration camp and being worked to death. He learns about discrimination as he watches other prisoners gang up and beat a Centaur dude for colluding with the Nazis. One day, Angelfolk boy thought he was going to die after he didn’t have the energy to continue working and is taken away by Centaur guy for a beating. However he gives him his food portion instead. He can tell kids like him are good guys and must live to make the world better. He knows he himself will not survive the war. If stays a prisoner, get executed. If freed, executed as a traitor. Soon the liberation army liberated the camp. Angelfolk boy finds Centaur dude hanged by dissatisfied fellow prisoners. They were going to hang him too thinking he is a traitor but a soldier protected him and even adopted him into his family. He is now an old guy and president of a company who just made a deal with Rosseau.

Episode 10A
What’s this?! Sassu on a date with Taito Nakafumi? Cue for Hime and friends to tail them. No matter what disguise Hime puts, she’ll always stand out. Also hot on the tail of this date are Sassu’s SPs but they’re being very stealthy about it. Oddly, they are at the art museum as Nakafumi’s view about art is enlightening. For instance, watching a famous movie 10 times won’t give you 10 times the satisfaction. That is why some art remains abstract and subjective so they don’t capture its actual essence. After all, it is up to everyone’s interpretation. Hime accidentally bumps into Tama there. Hey, is she on a date with a guy too? Too bad they have not enough resources to tail both dates so they continue with tailing Sassu. Then the biggest fear: Are they going to a love hotel?! Are you curious how a snake person makes out with another species? The SPs begin implementing their plan for ‘juvenile protection’. Thankfully or disappointingly, they walk pass the love hotel and into a used bookstore. Next day in school, Hime and co learn about Sassu’s ‘date’. She was trying to understand different forms of art. Not that she quite get it either. Meanwhile the guy Tama was dating is actually a girl.

Episode 10B
Now we see what happened on Tama’s side. She went out with Makoto Omaki and the triplets were pouting they had to stay home while she goes out on a ‘date’. On the way because there are punks trying to hit on girls, Omaki’s boyish looks make it the perfect cover to make them look like as though they are a couple as they hold hands. After Hime bumps into them, Omaki is interested to tail them but Tama reminds her they’re here to visit the art museum. Tama asks Omaki’s advice about her dad being a painter. His art is average and he doesn’t want to paint abstract art but remain painting normal stuffs. There are many students who draw better than him. He too isn’t bringing in much income because if he is to be an illustrator, he has to draw as clients request but he draws as he wishes. So he is doing it as hobby. Tama feels bad and cannot tell him to stop because he has been doing it even before she was born. Omaki tells her she is being soft on him. She might be shouldering responsibilities of an adult but technically she is still a kid. Wouldn’t it be weird for her to plan out her dad’s life? Having faith to support someone is important too. Tama feels better and when she gets home, she gives dad her support to continue his painting. Next day Tama thanks Omaki for her advice.

Episode 11A
Sue is so cute that others want to kidnap her! The triplets relay a few cases whereby a friend’s dog wanted to keep her and a random little girl suddenly wanted to become Sue’s older sister! We see Shino trying to explain to her kindergarten friends about the different flowers as well as shapes. I guess it must be confusing for a kid but well, don’t give up. Next day, her friend is shocked that the flowers are gone. Although the teacher explains it as weed, she is still sad. Till Shino explains the seeds are somewhere and will one day bloom as flowers again. Wow. Shino more adult than the adult? And now she knows what it is like being a grownup and that how hard it is for Hime to be a big sister. Remember kids, don’t neglect your studies!

Episode 11B
The triplets teach Sue how to move her tail. I think they’re teasing-cum-bullying her because of their longer tail, they can make other shapes. Tama assures them when the triplets were younger, they had very short tail too. This leads them to discuss holes in pants and skirts so they are able to move their tail freely without any wardrobe malfunction and discomfort. Tama shows a younger toddler self so the triplets cheekily ask why she didn’t stay this cute. Otherwise she wouldn’t be able to cook and take care of them. When Sue calls Tama the prettiest girl in the world, the triplets disagree. They think this will get to her head as they preach about there will always be someone better. So if you think you’re important, there’s always someone important. Not sure if they’re trolling when Tama says father is most important of this house and they go into deep thinking! And so begins the triplets’ goal to find other pretty woman. Their kindergarten teacher? Nope. Hime and friends? Not really. They even think Nozomi is a boy! That is insulting. At the end of the day, they won’t give up and believe the world is so big and there is bound to be someone prettier. Yeah, they won’t leave it at Tama being the prettiest. Otherwise one day she’ll grow up to be an ugly old hag. In that case, the triplets and sue will be the prettiest. Really? If they be good girls and do as they’re told. I don’t think they look too convinced about Tama lecturing them again.

Episode 12A
RPG version! Hime the archer, Nozomi the fighter, Kyouko the mage and Sassu the dancer? Oh, priestess. They fight through hordes of monsters and earn meagre coins. Then there is this slime monster that serves as tentacle rape. I think Kyouko purposely doesn’t want to help them and leaves it late till their armour is all eaten. They reach the final boss who is Tama the queen. Queen as in the dominatrix kind? They ‘defeat’ her after noting her fake boobs thanks to all the padding. She runs away in defeat as the place crumbles. Turns out it is a story written by Akechi. They ponder the point of it all and Akechi ‘agrees’ it is somewhat useless to have some of them wear bikini armour because they have no boobs…

Episode 12B
The girls are holding an arm wrestling tournament. Hime is the favourite as she is the strongest. Given her monstrous Centaur strength, she hears others whispering about that natural gorilla strength of hers and purposely loses. But nobody is buying it and warn her if she does so again, they’ll personally inspect if her boobs are real! Replaying her match, she instantly wins! Brute force! The tournament is down to the last 4: Hime, Tama, Nozomi and Inukai. Nozomi takes on Tama and after putting up a fight, Tama wins. A mother’s love beats the strength of a dojo. Hime vs Inukai. No contest. Hime easily wins! Again! Too bad Akechi’s love isn’t enough to stand up to brute force. Finals. Hime vs Tama. As it begins, Tama looks like she is struggling. A lot. Hime isn’t breaking into any sweat. And then the inevitable. Hime wins. Looks like brute force overwhelms a mother’s love. Hime is declared the winner but her answer of why they’re holding this tournament is never answered. Because final episode shenanigans?

The Centaur Of Attention
Can I say this series falls under the category of cute girls doing cute things? Even if you tell me the definition of cute, I’m going to say that despite the girls here are cute but they aren’t cute in my books. Oh. I just confused myself. What I’m saying is that they might not look scary but if I were to imagine myself to date any one of them, I wouldn’t. Discrimination!

Therefore there is really no plot or storyline throughout the series. When it first started, we are already thrown into this very odd world and as we learn a bit more as we go along. And of course, it had to end in a somewhat familiar fashion where there is no closure or anything that would hint of something really ominous. You know, like say, a darker species trying to wipe them all out! Too bad we don’t have any of that so basically every episode is the same slice of life but infused with some supernatural creatures. If you’re not into this, you’ll definitely find it boring as it does fit the characteristics of what constitutes to be a cute girls doing cute things genre. Which is still pretty odd for me to call it so.

However not all the episodes are pretty boring. Heck, let me just be honest. There was only 1 episode which was really interesting. It was that Holocaust one. It was really different than the boring high school daily life as we get to see a different aspect of life in the past although the story is hardly new and is probably a rip-off from some other war story. Heh. Even when they are different species, they fight among each other. This also prompted a provoking thought mentioned here that even if they look exactly the same, humans will pick on something else to fight over about like different clothes, etc. It is so damn true. I guess that is why humans will always be humans.

Before I go into the other aspects of this series, I want to point out something mind boggling about the setting of this series. All the creatures and species here are referred to as humans. Yeah, it gets weirder and weirder. I am not sure if they evolved from us actual humans or this is completely a different and alternate world where the term humans is generally referred to all the intelligent life forms on this planet. Oddly enough, they do sometimes make reference to their animal appearance like snakes or frogs so this shows that such animals exist in this world too, right? So it’s like a rose is still a rose no matter what other name you call it, except this is the visual version of it. Humans will still be humans no matter how different they look physically. Here is another odd thing. In addition to these humans, the animals are not just animals. What I mean was, did you notice that normal dogs in this world has 6 legs?! WTF???!!! Like as though this is the aftermath of some sort of nuclear fallout and hence everyone got mutated into something weird but history worded it in a nicer way called evolution. Keeps us all from freaking out, eh?

Sometimes this series feels like a bit of propaganda. With a few types of humans, it is made clearly how any sort of discrimination towards the other kind is forbidden and illegal and it could land you in prison. Hmm… Are they trying to imply something in the real world? No wonder I can see why everyone is living so peacefully and not insulting each other the different race they are from. I’m sure that all the characters you see here don’t give a damn about it either. You see interracial marriages and hence siblings coming out mixed as in the case of Tama and the triplets. Sure, discrimination is bad but sometimes they really make it sound like it is the end of the world if you ever cross that line. Because if you noticed Sassu has lots of SPs working in the background and almost everywhere just to keep watch on her. I am not sure if she is aware of it but it feels like as though if something bad happens to her, a world war will erupt. It feels like they’re taking this discrimination thing a bit too far although in some ways it is good to keep certain people on their toes. Never take peace for granted!

Speaking about Tama’s household, it brings a whole new question of how different species can mate and produce offspring. Because screw science and DNA, right? I guess this is why they coin the term humans for all of them here. Despite you looking so much like an alien, as long as you are man and woman, you are able to f*ck each other and form a whole new family. Yeah, I don’t know if I am supposed to be curious or utterly horrified to think how it looks like when one species f*cks another kind of species. Definitely weird.

On to the characters of the series, despite they have their charm points, overall I still find them boring. Hime doesn’t steal the limelight and I believe she doesn’t even get half of it although it feels she takes up most of it compared to the other characters. So instead of giving us a dozen of episodes showing what Hime worries about, we also see the other struggles of other characters. Which is sometimes a bit odd considering that this series is called. But it isn’t like Hime is having a hard time in life nor is she facing some sort of crossroads in her life that makes her stuck in a dilemma to choose. We see a bit of insights like how Centaurs wear pants but nothing so much as thought provoking. Heck, if Hime was a normal human instead of a Centaur, I’m sure her troubles are no different than a normal girl.

Tama is the other character given the most prominence because of her family household. She acts like the responsible adult given her circumstances but she is still a child legally and isn’t as perfect as you might think of her to be. She isn’t such a strict uptight person you first thought. Like I’ve said, her circumstances has her to be more responsible than carefree than her classmates. If I had to point out the best character of the series, it had to go to the triplets. They’re the funniest because of their kid-like honesty and hence the sarcasm in the innocence. They are cheeky in that sense and in a way it makes them cute. Hey, they’re just toddlers!

For the rest of the other characters, well, not so much leaving an impression in me. Like Nozomi who is tomboyish and Kyouko who seems to have that sly and ulterior motive. Sassu is the transfer student on the series as she tries to understand the ways of the human culture. Then there is the lesbian pair of Akechi and Inukai whom you’ll slowly forget they are ever one in the first place as well as Shino who has this big sister complex. For a short series, it does have a lot of other characters although they only make their appearance once. Like that Koma and Shizuura case. They appeared so short and that their part could have been done without. Like as though they are there just to fill the remaining duration of the episode. I thought they would play some sort of role later on but looks like they have been forgotten. Even that Eri Merfolk story also feels out of place because at the end it just made me go, “So what?”. What happened to Ayaka? Wasn’t she going to be some sort of lesbian junior to Hime? I guess we don’t need any more lesbian couples. Did Buchou get Towako in the end too? Remember Sue’s real imaginary friend? No? So do I. Hence many of these once-only characters feel like fire and forget.

Talking about the art and animation, it is leaning more towards the cute aspect and this is one of the elements that I find conflicting within myself. This is more of a personal taste than anything since this aspect is rather okay and not too bad. Seeing these supernatural creatures is definitely odd for me especially if the setting is a normal high school setting. Because like Hime as a Centaur, to me she looks pretty ‘intimidating’. I like my girls to look like bishoujo, cute and kawaii so someone like Hime just doesn’t quite cut it and not really pleasant to my eyes. Discrimination! At least she doesn’t look as scary as those in Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou. Still, seeing other characters with ears, tail and wings still somewhat puts me off. But the scariest of the lot has got to go to Sassu because she really looks scary with her snake head and eyes like as though she is some sort of alien ready to pounce on you if you let your guard down. Discrimination! Okay, okay. Call me a racist if you love to as long as I don’t have a girlfriend looking like this because it’ll give me more nightmares and fuel my fears instead of giving all my love, get what I mean? Haha! Oops.

Another surprise I discovered is that this series is animated by Haoliners Animation League. They produced mainly series that has Chinese setting and influence so it threw me off with this one since this series has nothing very Chinese-like. Of course the original manga it was adapted from was written by a Japanese. I don’t see many of their other works being that crappy and silly To Be Hero still as my favourite. But this series, it was definitely a surprise to know it was from them.

A bunch of large seiyuus lend their voices to this series. But I’m just going to state the main ones. The only one I recognized was Yukari Tamura making her small cameo as Eri as the rest are mostly newbies. They are Seria Fukagawa as Hime (Touko in Glasslip), Yuuki Kuwahara as Nozomi (Tooru in Kobayashi-san Chi No Maid Dragon), Haruka Shiraishi as Kyouko (Kirie in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Yuu Ayase as Sassu (Stylet in Frame Arms Girl), Yuna Kamakura as Tama (Ema in Yugioh! VRAINS), Emi Miyajima as Akechi (Mayu in High School Fleet), Honoka Kuroki as Inukai (Ruise in Seiren), Akane Kiryu as Shino and Atsumi Tanezaki tripling as the triplets (Mizore in Hibike! Euphonium).

The opening theme is Oshiete Darwin by Purely Monster. Yes, there is a cute all-girl idol group by this name. I’m not making this up and initially I thought that was the name of the group formed exclusively for the seiyuus of the main casts to sing. But the song is a typical lively anime pop piece that you’d expect from an all-girl idol group to sing. However the other surprise is the ending theme, Edelweiss by Asaka. Sometimes it feels out of place but yet it is curiously interesting. This is quite a dramatic piece that you would not have expected to hear in at least this kind of genre. Even more so, the credits animation shows only Tama like as though she is an angel going through hard times. Really weird. But interesting, though.

Overall, this is a very strange anime. Although mostly light-hearted moments, it has some thought provoking moments as well but the characters in the form of supernatural mythical creatures and calling themselves as humans are somewhat a put off for me. I guess a real and impartial person who isn’t a racist can only see past the physical and skin deep aspects and enjoy this series. And to answer your question why I decided to watch this anime because of the internet arousing my curiosity of Centaurs recently… Because I wanted to know how Centaurs masturbate given their body structure and all. HOLY SH*T!!! NOW YOU CANNOT UNHEAR THAT!!! Curse you internet! And curses, Hime didn’t really address that question of mine in any of the episodes. I really hoped she would at least give a hint instead of making me look for the answer on the internet. Sighs… Hentai no nayami…

Owarimonogatari S2

January 19, 2018

The end is finally here. After 7 years of animating every story and chapter in the Monogatari series (more than 10 years if you want to count the start of the light novel), we have finally reached the final part in Owarimonogatari S2. The ultimate showdown with the mysterious antagonist and entity known as Ougi is what I believe is this finale will be about or at least most focused on. And some other stuffs too. Isn’t that why they split this final season into 3 arcs with 7 episodes? I just hope that I can understand the important stuffs in this long running and long winded and convoluted story. I’ve come so far so it better be! Or it will be the end of me.

Mayoi Hell

Episode 1
Taking off from right where the final episode of Koyomimonogatari ended, Araragi is so glad to see Hachikuji that he molests her! He feels her! He licks her! Time for her counterattack to bite him. Araragi explains all the things that has happened since the last time they parted. She corrects him that this isn’t the shrine he was killed at or the park they first met. He is in the lowest level of hell! His sin is saving a demon. So it’s not the case of her appearing before him but him appearing before her. Though he is in shock, what is more shocking is that means Hachikuji is in hell too?! Not sure about kids going to hell if they die before their parents. She was piling stones at the banks of hell but someone who supposedly knows everything told her he is coming. Hence she was able to make her way here to pick him up. Hachikuji is going to bring him to that person so they could resurrect him. Along the way, they go through several important decision points of what-ifs over the series had Araragi chose differently. Like had he not saved Shinobu then or becoming friends with Hanekawa or saving Senjougahara from that fall. Because for that last one had he not, Kaiki would then soon return to town and Senjougahara could have gone back to him. Then there is something about Yotsugi being Hachikuji’s successor. This prompts Araragi to note about balance as he once had a debate with his sisters about one trying to correct mistakes is different than doing the right thing. After all this talk, Araragi realized that the person he wanted to talk most about is Ougi and finds it strange her name didn’t cross her mind all the while. They have finally reached their destination. A shrine. The person who told Hachikuji of Araragi’s arrival: Tadatsuru.

Episode 2
Refresh your memories that this guy was killed by Yotsugi in Tsukimonogatari. He claims being killed by her was all part of a bigger plan. A plan to fall into hell ahead of time and to prepare resurrecting Araragi. Tadatsuru further reveals his true self died a long time ago and the one Yotsugi killed was a puppet he controlled. Nobody else knows this except Gaen and Oshino. He has this skill to create dolls and after creating the one called Yotsugi, he parted ways with them. But Gaen kept pressuring him so he hastily tried to come up with a forbidden technique. A doll named Tadatsuru. But he failed and this is where he ended up. Despite so, he continued to ‘live’ through his dolls. He faked his own death because last month he received a request to solve the anomalies happening in town. Araragi and Shinobu are part of the targets. However in Gaen’s network, they were considered harmless. Request or not, Tadatsuru had to make them his target and hence pulled off that kidnapping act. Had he not done so, he wondered if he could have escaped unscathed. He heard from someone else that was the middleman between him and Gaen: Oshino. He contacted him and made him feel like a free man. At that point, he realized his identity as a doll was known and it was probably a threat to make him do his bidding in which otherwise his real identity will be exposed. He argued as long as the duo are left alone, nothing will happen. That is, until a special case like when they collude among themselves and Araragi continues to turn himself into a vampire. If such events were to happen, he would receive a request to hunt down vampires. He was told to forget his past grudges and seek contact with Gaen as she cannot move and must hold her position. But in reality, things went exactly like he thought it would. So when the request to exterminate them came, it scared him. He also found it strange that Oshino didn’t want to do this on his own if it concerned him so much. He thought of playing along with his game.

A thread drops down from the sky. It is Araragi’s ticket back to the real world. Miss this and he will forever be stuck suffering in hell. Araragi continues to ask if he could have just turned down the request. Tadatsuru wanted to do this to find out their intent as well as this was a necessary measure to stop Araragi’s progression into a vampire. His role as the bad guy made him fit for this job. Araragi seems to be stalling his resurrection as he spams more questions. Like the shrine and park he was supposed to be. Tadatsuru explains that park was previously the name of that shrine and over the years due to corruption and misspelling, it became named so. Since Araragi feels guilty to be resurrected, Hachikuji punches him. He can say all that because he hasn’t experience true hardships yet. Still, he feels there are many more deserving to be resurrected and with him getting this, it is as though he is cutting the queue. Hachikuji without a doubt believes he has all the right and should be the first in line. Yeah, after naming all the parts of girls he loves, if he isn’t alive, he can’t cherish girls at all! Not quite exactly what she intended but that’ll do. After all, he was someone who loves being alive and has come back from the brink of death, narrowly escaping them many times. As Araragi gets pulled up, he can’t stand the fact Hachikuji will be left behind to continue piling stones in hell. It is like he shoved her aside to be resurrected. He can’t stand the fact to be parted with her again so he grabs her along as the thread is pulled up. Tadatsuru lets him know one last thing. The enemy who requested Araragi to be exterminated is Ougi. Gaen welcomes him back and even more so bringing Hachikuji along. With Shinobu ready to pounce on her throat, she backs down since Araragi is back and there is no need for needless killings. Araragi knows that in all cases, this will be bad as he wonders if Hachikuji fulfilled the conditions for the darkness to be triggered. With Araragi’s miracle, Gaen thanks him they have a slight advantage because the lost girl pawn is what she needs. For now, he has to go take his entrance exam. He can still make it. Everything will be settled before graduation and with White Day tomorrow, it is perfect timing to end the story of this town where a white snake once reigned.

Hitagi Rendezvous

Episode 3
Araragi narrates his love for Senjougahara. Then she makes a surprise by breaking out of her character and proposes to date tomorrow. And since they haven’t been with each other for so long, let’s cram 6 months’ worth of it into that date. But taking up the whole day is impossible as by evening she needs to be back for the main event which is to have dinner with her father. Back home, Araragi talks to Yotsugi about this and she’s like hinting she wants to tag along. He asks about Tadatsuru since he sent his regards to her but she doesn’t really care. There is this discussion about Kagenui not returning. What will happen to Yotsugi? In that case, she will forever follow Araragi. Yotsugi suddenly plays dead when Tsukihi barges in to take her doll back, accusing Araragi for taking it without her permission. She can tell he will be going out on a date with Senjougahara tomorrow but don’t worry about her, she has become best friends with Sengoku and plans to hang out with her. When Araragi goes to Senjougahara’s place, it isn’t only her Hanekawa hairstyle that surprises him but she has a driver’s licence! While he was studying for his exam, she too was studying and taking a different kind of exam. She will drive him to their place of date, the planetarium. More surprises in store for him as she mentions Hanekawa contacted her and has found Oshino’s hiding place. Or at least she narrowed it down to 2 possible places. But since Senjougahara wasn’t interested she didn’t listen properly. Senjougahara also reveals she consulted with her about today’s date and such. Araragi learns that Senjougahara’s dream is to learn astronomy. She has been fascinated with the universe and the stars for some time. Especially the space map that isn’t your ordinary 2D world map. It is in the shape of an ougi (hand fan). Araragi didn’t react to that word.

Episode 4
Since mentioning that name, I guess here pops up Ougi. This is definitely Araragi’s dream as pointed out. Ougi points out the Hydra constellation being the biggest among the 88 and how it reminds her of Shinobu because of its immortality. There is also another snake constellation, Serpens that isn’t part of Hydra but also has something to do with immortality. It is also the only constellation that is split up into the western and eastern parts. Despite being ‘split up’, in the middle there is this snake charmer, Ophiuchus dubbed Asklepios the sage magician. His medical skills were so remarkable, he was able to bring the dead back to life. And that itself is a sin and against all rules as he was struck down. Yotsugi is one of those resurrected and all parties that resurrected her (Tadatsuru, Kagenui, Oshino and Kaiki) will have to pay a price and had curses placed on their bodies. Hence, the question is what kind of penalty Gaen will pay for reviving Araragi from hell. Then she talks about the difficulty in doing the right thing since there are also attachments along with it, right or wrong. As long as you are right, you shouldn’t be doing the right thing. And if a mistake always comes when you try to do the right thing, everything balances out to zero. Thus Kagenui and the Fire Sisters’ brand of justice isn’t doing the right thing but correct mistakes and injustice. Ougi also considers herself as that type and it is her role to eject those who have broken the rules. As it is time to wake up, she hopes he will make the right decision. He asks her true identity but she can’t say much now except that she is the principles of the universe. The good news is that she doesn’t have to be concerned with him anymore so long he doesn’t do what Gaen tells him to. With Shinobu in her complete form and Hachikuji lost in this world after resting in peace, she really hopes he will make the right decision to forsake them.

Araragi wakes up with Senjougahara lying next to him. It must be a tiring day at the planetarium. But they continue their date doing various things. Including a bowling and karaoke contest in which she suggests a penalty game whereby the loser must swear absolute obedience to the winner. In both instances, Araragi won. I don’t think he’ll be making any lewd requests as she is hoping. But she did make him carry her like a princess all the way back to the car. Then stopping by the seaside, she then talks how ‘disappointed’ she was. As today is White Day, she had been hoping perhaps he was planning some sort of secret surprise for her. Nothing. Sorry. I guess he is forced to pledge his absolute obedience to her for life to stop her from killing herself. So the first thing she wants him to do? Call her by her first name. Araragi realizes maybe that is why she set up the penalty game. If not for opportunities like these, it would have been something he would have never been able to say. He calls her by her name with ease and so does she. When Araragi reaches home, Ougi is waiting at his gates. She was being ‘considerate’ not to interfere with his last date. He corrects her. His last date in high school. When he tries to ask why she wanted him exterminated, she brushes it off as false accusation. There is no way she would hurt him. So what about his decision? Without a doubt he will not forsake Shinobu and Hachikuji. He isn’t sure if it is the right path but it is one he must take. Ougi is ‘disappointed’ he hurried in his decision. She would like him to voluntarily withdraw but that will be going over her boundaries. She corrects his understanding of her: She is not the darkness. Ougi lets him know that she has one regret in spite of all that is to happen. She has to do it even if she has to put everything else aside. She must fall into Gaen’s trap. She pleads to Araragi to help fight on her side.

Ougi Dark

Episode 5
All the players are at the park. Gaen, Shinobu, Hachikuji and Yotsugi. All getting ready… To play baseball? With Shinobu in her true completed adult form, she ‘bullies’ Yotsugi with her might for all the insult she has thrown all this time. After Araragi returns the talisman to Gaen, she reminds they must exterminate Ougi who is the main enemy tonight. Will she show up? She has to. Otherwise she will not be Ougi and there will be no more other chances. But first, Gaen narrates a little history of the shrine. 400 years ago when Shinobu visited Japan and crashed into the sacred lake, it was more like a blessing as she ‘took over’ and became the new local god. Previously the gods that were worshiped at the lake took the form of a water snake as well as the mountain snake for the minority faith. Gaen’s initial plan was to enshrine Shinobu as the god of the shrine. Before she continues, she wants to hear Araragi’s stance since she brought him to pull off a miracle but a disaster could also happen. He would like to do something for Hachikuji and Shinobu especially the former who might be swallowed up by the darkness at this rate. Of course he is also worried about others around him. Gaen notes since he isn’t concerned of his own safety, they can come to an agreement. As for Shinobu’s stance, if could really desire it, it is to return to her young girl form.

Now Gaen goes into the minimum requirements needed to meet all their objectives as well as exterminate Ougi. As said, previously Gaen wanted to enshrine Shinobu as a new god but now Hachikuji is a better fit. I mean, for one to go to hell and come back, that has got to be legendary, right? Otherwise, the other options are she goes back to hell again or she gets swallowed up by the darkness. But can a snail replace a snake? Heard of a 3 way stand-off? A stand-off between a snake, frog and slug. Araragi finds the slug familiar as he remembers the fake apparition Kaiki used on Sengoku. A slug is closely related to the snail. All Hachikuji needs is to swallow the talisman to become god but if Araragi doesn’t want her to become so, it’s his call. This has him prompt to ask maybe they have mistaken Ougi as the darkness. Gaen says she already knows. What gave him the impression she was one? Perhaps it was the way she talks and acts that over time he came to that conclusion. Gaen explains although Ougi isn’t the darkness, she plays its same role. So if they leave Hachikuji as she is, the darkness might reappear in town. But if Hachikuji becomes god, Ougi might play that darkness role and attack her. That is why they must exterminate Ougi or the story will not end. Araragi doesn’t appreciate she keeps using the word extermination, like as though Ougi is an apparition. Well, she’s got news for you, buddy. Ougi is indeed a normal apparition!

Episode 6
When asked on what basis she called Ougi an apparition, she asks back on what basis he calls her Ougi. Just because she called herself so, he believed her. It is true that her relation to Oshino is a lie and the reason she derived that name is a little complicated. So what is she? Right now, an unknown. Gaen’s initial plan is to slay her with the demon sword she created, Kokoro Watari AKA Apparition Killer. As a specialist, she can use a standard approach to exterminate Ougi. Does she mean she predicted Ougi’s appearance? Not quite. But she had seen something familiar. Though, it was her older sister, Tooe who is Kanbaru’s mom who experienced it first-hand. Her personality somewhat reminds her of Araragi. So she wants him to be the one to do the job. He must disclose Ougi’s true identity to cause it to collapse. Apparitions who lie about themselves get swallowed by the darkness especially Ougi who is playing the darkness role, the punishment will be most severe. Araragi agrees to not save Ougi but on one condition she tells him her true identity.

Meanwhile we take a detour to see Tsukihi helping Sengoku with her manga. After she’s done, she leaves but waiting at the doorsteps is Ougi who offers to give her a ride home. They talk on several things like Tsukihi being satisfied living in the present. This has Ougi noting that she is dependent on others as her family is keeping her family alive. Otherwise she would have died during summer break. Tsukihi notices she is going the wrong way so they stop to check for directions. They are at the abandoned cram school so they check it out. Ougi talks about the suspense in mysterious novels and when the mystery is known, everything is no longer fun. She wishes things in reality were like this. But Tsukihi has a different approach. She thinks it is more dangerous when the culprit is discovered. Because the real story only begins when you know who they really are. Knowing the true identity may not be correct as there might be a bigger twist. Ougi is enlightened that true identity may be seen as right body. Ougi mentions her true identity is unsightly. Ougi has unfinished business so she has Tsukihi take her bicycle to go home. Because now she meets Araragi who is waiting for her. He wants to know what they were talking. Well, she didn’t get to finish her job at talking. Knowing Tsukihi as a phoenix is beyond what she can handle. A monster can be exterminated once its true identity is disclose but not Tsukihi because she has the eternal love of her brother. But she knows she herself will get exterminated once Araragi discloses her true identity. She hints she has been pleading for her life by asking him to side her. But it looks like Araragi has chosen not to. Ougi notes that is the right decision. Even so, she wanted him to decline that. It is then Araragi discloses Ougi’s true identity: Ougi is himself!

Episode 7
Gaen explained the apparition called Ougi created by Araragi. It was how Tooe created an apparition called Rainy Devil. You could say Ougi is Araragi’s desire to criticize himself. It was last August when he learnt the meaning of darkness and what is wrong is wrong. Then there is some incident with Shinobu and Kanbaru that I didn’t understand or have forgotten. But mostly can’t understand. It is Oshino from Shinobu’s name that Ougi originates from. The argument of Araragi creating an apparition to attack himself stems from the guilt from helping all the other girls. Like when he helped Shinobu first, he wanted to face the consequences. When he became friends with Hanekawa, he worries if he is worthy if he could live up to her feelings. Like when he helped Senjougahara, he ended up dating her and wondered if he was taking advantage of her weakness. It is all because if it was unfair to use his immortality powers freely. That portion of his mind manifested itself entirely in the form of Ougi. Ougi still has some things left undone like Tsukihi. That is why Gaen used her as a lure. She might have no evidence and only speculating but Araragi knows himself better than anyone else. That is why it must be him who discloses Ougi’s true identity. It is a battle among himself. End it with his own hands. After all, killing himself for the sake of others is something he does every day.

With this revelation, a black hole appears to suck in Ougi. Araragi is shocked that Ougi knew this would happen and yet she came. There are some fights you have to fight even if you know you’re going to lose. At least she was able to make his youth right. In that case, he doesn’t want what is right. They note some of the cases they were right or wrong. And since Ougi will be disappearing, it shows Araragi was the one who is right. It might not be the end of his life or the world but perhaps the end of one of his many stories. As they say farewell to each other, suddenly Araragi has a change in heart. He saves her from being devoured by the darkness at the expense of losing his entire right arm! Remember, he is no longer an immortal but a normal human. Ougi is shocked he would do such a thing even for a person who brought nothing but misery to him. This makes him the worst person ever. But Araragi corrects her. He saved himself. Because all the girls saved him. What is the point if everyone saved him and he didn’t save himself? So they’re going to die together? Until Oshino pops up! In the flesh! And here comes Hanekawa running in, collapsing while trying to catch her breath. Ougi is shocked that she really brought Oshino back from Antarctica. The moment Oshino acknowledges Ougi is her niece, the black hole disappears. This signifies Ougi’s existence as herself. With that, Araragi’s youth comes to an end.

In the epilogue, before Araragi leaves for his graduation, he talks to Karen about what she finds justice to mean. Helping others. He advises her to start helping herself too. I am guessing he doesn’t want another apparition to pop up because of that. A lesson well learnt? On his way, he meets Hachikuji who has now become a god. He teases nobody is going to visit her and the town will be left godless. Well, there is always him. He can visit her shrine, her home any time. Previously, Gaen talks to Shinobu as she heals Araragi’s arm about wanting to be sealed again in Araragi’s shadow. Her reason is that she is tired of fighting and wants to be harmless. Originally she planned to retreat to the mountains and live a secluded life after healing his arm. But seeing Araragi declined to turn back into a vampire, it is only right she declines her own desires. And also, there are no doughnut shops in the mountains. At school, Araragi talks to Hanekawa. She has no time as she will be leaving soon. It seems in order to bring back Oshino, she sold off a bit of her brains! Don’t worry, they’re a good institute so she needs to chase them to get it back. They deduce if Oshino was in Antarctica, Kagenui must be in North Pole. Yotsugi wanted to go there but Kagenui declined so she’ll continue to live in his house. Oshino and Gaen has again left. Hanekawa teases the good vibe between Araragi and Senjougahara. Walking upstairs, a troubled girl zooms pass them. Hanekawa and Senjougahara tell him to do what he needs. Looks like he is willing to skip his own graduation ceremony to help this random strange. Maybe he’ll let the girls pick up his diploma for him. He passes Ougi along the way as she notes he hasn’t change. On the contrary, he says he is but no matter how much he changes, he will still be him.

The Be-All And End-All Of The End
Well, guess what? It isn’t entirely the end of the end yet. There are more stories that came out after this but those are like additional side stories. As far as this one is concerned, the main story has ended. So far, nothing has been said yet about adapting those works but what are the chances that SHAFT will adapt them seeing they have adapted all of the arcs of the main story so I guess that if they ever run out of new projects in the future, I have a hunch they can fall back on this one. Like they say, the end of a story only heralds the beginning of a new one. Yeah, and some people say they can’t let this series end and rest in peace. How could they? Not when you have a cult following.

So let’s get back to my thoughts on this finale season and the series overall. As usual, not to say that I have understood everything completely and entirely but well, I guess it was good enough to not leave me with unanswered questions. Heck, more accurately I have mostly forgotten about the previous stories and seasons so I can’t really recall. Can’t be confused if you can’t remember a single thing about it. So the biggest twist in revealing the true identity of Ougi didn’t blow my mind away but at the same time I was a bit surprised. It was the biggest moment that I have been waiting for ever since Ougi appeared. Because of all the confusing stories and plots, it is mostly why I never could have guessed she was Araragi’s apparition. Hardcore fans may have picked up clues along the way and guessed it but I was busy having my brains thinking about the story so I didn’t bother about thinking Ougi’s identity. When I think back a little, it does make sense why Ougi is Araragi. Like especially when she often claims she doesn’t know anything but it is him who does. That should have been the biggest hint.

To say that the final season was a long winded story to end it all is not exactly entirely accurate either. Because you know how fast everything could have ended without all the long winded story telling in between. I suppose that is the main charm of this series. Despite being confusing at times, the way it is executed and told are interesting in its own way. That is why they were able to drag out stories into many episodes and spanning many arcs (also to confuse simpletons like me). Imagine if all the other arcs in the Monogatari Series had not been this long but just a few minutes, I don’t think that would have quite cut it. That is why the Monogatari Series is named so. It is the way they tell the stories. Like I’ve said, it is still overall confusing but I consider it to be done in a good way. I mean, being confused and interested are 2 completely different things. Despite my confusion in trying to piece together the pieces, I was not bored and kept watching. That says a lot. Kudos to the series and those who wrote and produced it.

In view of all that, sometimes I feel if the ending of this season and the overall could be somewhat unfashionable. Actually I am myself to blame for expecting some sort of epic fight and showdown with Ougi. Yes, I actually expected there would be some sort of battle! I mean, when you have Gaen and Shinobu gathered in your ranks, it looks more like a mini army ready to take on the last boss, right? After all, expect the unexpected. That’s me trying to sound smart and look like I’ve learnt something from following this series but failed. But no showdown in the form of fist fighting, sword swinging or spell casting. Staying true to its roots, all we see, or rather hear, are just words and dialogues. Like they say, some battles can be won without lifting actual weapons. And just like that, the big story comes to a close. I suppose it tried to give us a good ending as well because we presumed Ougi had been a villain but she wasn’t and is just a dark side of Araragi. So a good ending has to be given to her as she now exists as a separate entity on her own. It also gives closure to Oshino’s whereabouts (as well as Kagenui’s), otherwise we will be forever wondering where the hell that guy has been and further speculate if he is a ghost or just a figment of imagination in Araragi’s mind. Even if his appearance was just bloody short, he played an important role to help end this particular story.

So you can say that the entire story was about Araragi fighting against himself and it is quite true if you piece together all that has happened. Each time he helped a girl in trouble, you could see there is some sort of guilt forming after that. It would have been even worse had he not helped them because a more terrifying apparition could have formed from the guilt of turning a blind eye. It’s like he is in a catch-22 situation, damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. So while he deeply cares for all those around him, it is a bit odd that he questions himself if he has the right or worth to do all that. I wonder if this is the extreme case of being humble. Imagine all the trouble that has happened in town just because of one guy’s guilt. I know life generally isn’t a bed of roses but this is taking it to the extreme.

But thankfully it all turned out right for him and the girls as we can see. Senjougahara is his lovely girlfriend (not a crazy tsundere and yandere type), Hanekawa is still his friend, Kanbaru is still his respectable (but pervy) senior, Sengoku doing fine with her manga (no longer a crazy yandere if you remember and a scam victim), Kaiki is dead (no more scamming others but I don’t see him anywhere in hell), Hachikuji perhaps won the biggest share of the lottery as she is now a god, Yotsugi is pretty much harmless staying his place, Shinobu is still loyal to him and pretty much harmless staying in his shadow, and finally his sisters are doing fine at their own pace and continued to be loved by him. Not forgetting Ougi is now her own existence herself. Things cannot get better than this, right? I guess it is pretty much a good ending after all that has happened. Well, I was just thinking why Ougi still looks as creepy like as though she popped up from some horror novel. Couldn’t they at least ‘normalize’ how she looks? Nah. Maybe not.

In the end, this series has been one very compelling tale. It is filled with lots of curious and interesting things but at the same time a very confusing and long winded one. For those who weren’t taken in by the storytelling, at least creative and unique art and visual styles are certainly there to catch your eye. Don’t blink or you might miss something funny or creative. There are also the good voice acting as well as the many different variety of theme songs, some of which are quite catchy and were my personal favourite (Staple Stable, Kimi No Shiranai Monogatari, Platinum Disco and Renai Circulation to name a few) but others didn’t really attracted me. With this, another long story chapter has come to an end. It felt really hard to say goodbye and suddenly it prompted me to remember another similar series made by SHAFT that had ended a long, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Oh man. Still remember that one? I suppose whether we like it or not, stories need to end and find a closure otherwise a new one cannot begin. Unless you prefer to eternally watch reruns. I wonder what kind of apparition would form from that…


January 14, 2018

Oh no. Not again. Do we need another anime about high school student and video games? Oh come on. In that same season we already had a sequel of a group of girls working in a game company and not too long ago there was a club of a high school that only consists of only girls in making video games (that personally didn’t really fare well with me). D-Frag! too had this theme although it is mostly random wacky stuff. And now we have Gamers. Is it a trend these days for high school students and video games to blend together? They’re getting lazier in naming the series and just named it as a group of people who plays games. Is this what it has become? Wait. What’s that you say? This isn’t about a group of students of a video game club? It’s about the love polygon between them? Oh. Okay. Sure this isn’t some dating simulation either?

Episode 1
Keita Amano is a plain guy who likes playing games. Well, not every game. This time it’s some dating simulation with blondes. And when the school’s top beauty and idol, Karen Tendou approaches him and talks to him about joining her game club, you bet this guy has all the reservations if this is some sort of new tactic in bullying. Meanwhile we take a detour to see Tasuku Uehara being easily winning a crane game to get his cutie girlfriend, Aguri a cat plushie. But does he have to go this far to note Keita is a loser since he doesn’t have a girlfriend like him? Keita learns more about Tendou that she came to Otobuki High School because there is a famous game club. However by the time she entered, it fell apart. This year she worked hard behind the scenes to try and revive it. Luckily it all paid off. Tendou has to leave because of her curfew and invites Keita to come take a look. He is happy with this prospect as he helps a fellow online gamer, Mono in some online mobile game. Next day, Keita is introduced to Eiichi Misumi. She also invited another person to come check out the club. Inside the clubroom are 2 seniors who are still glued to their screens playing their respective games. Folks, meet Gakuto Kase who is a pro in FPS (is this CSO a hybrid of Call of Duty + Counter Strike?) and Niina Oiso who is a pro in fighting games (nobody can talk to her when she is seriously concentrating). Tendou also shows off all the trophies the club has won during the year. Yes, this is the hard work she was talking about.

Kase has them play CSO. It might be fun for a few rounds but after 30 rounds… Keita is ‘dead’. Plus, Keita is such a noob that if this was real life, the toxic community would’ve killed him. So it makes Kase’s ‘criticism’ look like child’s play. As they take a break, Tendou asks why they became gamers. Kase’s dad tried to train him to be mercenary and Niina tried to bring a friend back from a dark side. Seriously? So Keita’s reason of he just likes games is weird? Not as weird as Misumi’s amnesia thingy. Are these people joking? So how is the club for these newbies? While Misumi would love to join, Keita won’t because they don’t play the games he likes! Don’t know why he is regretting the next day but Tendou confronts him and pleads for him to reconsider. When a cute angel with a cute smile reaches out her hand to you like that, you take it and not answer your online friend’s call for assistance! OMG! Keita must be gay to do that!!! He adds he wants to play games for fun and not for competition. He will play the game the way he likes. Poor Tendou. Slipped on a banana and cried all her way out. Keita you meanie!!!

Episode 2
In the eyes of others, it looked like Tendou got rejected! So Tasuku and his friends are talking about this and because Tasuku and Aguri are like day and night, the friends wonder how they ended up dating each other. Tasuku remembers he wasn’t given a chance to reject. Aguri doesn’t care as long as they’re happy together. Well, Tasuku doesn’t look like it… At the arcade, Tasuku accidentally bumps into Keita who recommends him one of the games he likes. Tasuku finds it weird for him to be at the arcade as he thought he likes gaming (of the console or mobile kind). Tasuku then suggests they play a game together. Tasuku whoops Keita’s ass in this Persona fighting game. It’s not that he is very good. Keita sucks like hell. However he notices Keita is having fun despite his heavy defeat. They play many other games as Tendou is spying from a corner. She looks like a stalker. When Keita realizes Tasuku came here with his friends, he calls it a day. Tasuku didn’t like that tone of it and ditches Aguri (who has been waiting for him) just to track down Keita to give his piece of mind about him running away. He gets a bit rough on him as he lectures Keita about grouping people together and thinking his style of gaming is better. Some short clips about Tasuku burying his nerdy side after stereotypes from around. When Tasuku calls Tendou’s club stupid, Keita fights back. Woah! Is he going to throw him down the pedestrian bridge???!!! Long story short from his ranting, Keita doesn’t like how Tasuku insulted Tendou who worked hard and was kind to him. Thankfully everyone cool their heads before somebody gets a permanent record of becoming a young killer.

As they leave, Tasuku notices Tendou watching from afar in awe. Safe to say that she has fallen for that plain guy. Now Tasuku has to deal with Aguri. To make up for ditching her, he has to get her another cat plushie from the crane game. He asks what she likes about him and he is shocked to learn she has liked him since middle school. A dark time when he was a nerd. He remembers coming here to this arcade and she used to observe him playing the games here. In fact she got her first plushie from him then. So when she heard they are going to the same school, she worked hard to become prettier for him and it’s like they both won the lottery because he too ditched his nerdy side and became a handsome hunk. Is it just me that I find the original Aguri to be cuter? Anyway, Tasuku is left shocked that he runs away? Next day in class, Tasuku reconciles with Keita. They become friends so he hopes he would recommend some good games to him. He is in a happy mood lately since he is having a blast with video games. Meanwhile Tendou can’t stop thinking about Keita. She is shocked he is at her class. Unfortunately he is here not to see her but another girl. WHAT???!!! Poor Tendou… I hope the shock didn’t kill her.

Episode 3
Keita and Tasuku are like gaming buddies now. But sometimes Tasuku can’t help get mad at some of the games he recommend because they are really crap. I guess it is all about taste. Be careful not to be too aggressive or the fujoshis will start having wild fantasies… Tasuku tries to be a nice guy and help ‘alleviate’ Keita’s loner status. So he shows her a girl in Tendou’s class, Chiaki Hoshinomiya how is also a loner gamer like him. With Aguri bugging Tasuku to hang out with her, Keita is left to his own devices. But why does he have to go through this? So Tendou was snapped out from her love struck daydreaming and ‘died’ hearing Keita is here for another girl. Then she ‘dies’ again hearing he wants to be friends with Chiaki. So dramatic… At first Chiaki is afraid of him but when Keita finds out Tendou too approached her to join her club and she declined because the games aren’t her type, they instantly clicked. Suddenly they become good friends! They share the same tastes like as though they are mirrors of each other. Well, almost. Just a slight different in philosophy has them ending up arguing. Games are this deep too.

So Tasuku is forced to moderate between them. So when they start talking the things they like, they’re back to normal. Because Keita earlier insulted Chiaki for her seaweed hair, Tasuku tries to sooth her that he likes girls with natural messy hair. It sounds and looks like he is trying to hit on another girl! Well, at least from Aguri’s perspective. He even goes as far as to suggest she cut her hair. Aguri is ‘dead’ and Tendou is left to rue who this Chiaki woman is so close to Keita. Aguri is visibly upset so when she asks Tasuku about his new friends, he can’t read the atmosphere that explaining Keita is his gaming buddy and was just meditating a fight with Chiaki made it worse. The next day, the guys at school are abuzz with a cute new girl. Actually it is Chiaki cutting her hair short! She really did take Tasuku’s advice. How can one level up so much by just cutting her hair?! It gets worse when Tasuku comments how cute she is and Aguri heard it! Keita tries to go after her but bumps into Tendou. Sorry girl. He is not looking for you this time too. So sad… Relationship drama… When he catches up to Aguri, I guess he didn’t plan things out and asks her to go out for a drink with him. Okay. Now what? She is still depressed. He tries to cheer her up that Tasuku still loves her and that he is rooting for them. So it may seem that things have calmed down for now but little do they know they are just in the eye of the storm. Here is the shocking scene they see from across the street: Tasuku hanging out and being overly friendly with Chiaki! Hand on her shoulder… Indeed relationship drama just ramped up a notch.

Episode 4
We peek into Tendou’s daily life before she became a love wreck. Ah, everything she does is so on time and with elegance and class. Even the toughest part of rejecting those asking her out, she is truly respectable. And now this is her daily life after meeting Keita. She can’t stop thinking about him, waking up late to the point of doing her homework that morning, clumsy, forgetful and even disrespecting those she rejected during their confession. If that is not bad enough, her gaming skills are getting worse. Bedtime, she stays up late lying in bed thinking all about Keita. Basically, Keita on her mind 24/7. She knows what the problem is and needs to fix it quick. So this chance meeting with Keita on the streets could be that chance? Nervous at first, she manages to convince him to go for a walk with her. Looking a bit like a date… After stopping by a game shop, they head to the arcade. Tendou gets worried when she hears him talk about the new game buddy he has. She can’t help think it is Chiaki when it could also be Tasuku. Please don’t abuse the game machine… Tendou then challenges Keita to a coin game. This is part of her plan to get over her slump. Well, not only Keita is a noob but he lost everything! Even if Tendou won big, she still feels dissatisfied. Then Keita borrows a coin from her and bets it all on a horse racing game. He lost. She is shocked to hear that he wants to win since this is a challenge or else it is no fun. Hence she is confused if he declined joining their club because of their difference in playing, how can he want to win and at the same time only cared about having fun? Girl, you do know that both can exist in the same sentence, right? You play games to win and when you win, you have fun. There will be good and bad times, you make a big deal of it either way. Enjoying wins and fretting losses are all part of the thrill of gaming. He declined joining the club because he didn’t have the tenacity to win. Tendou feels better and has the mood to go home to play games. However… Her gaming skills continue to suck and is now worse than a beginner! Every time it starts getting fun, she keeps thinking of Keita’s face. So in the end, it is still all his fault after all?

Episode 5
Flashback a few moments ago, Chiaki followed Tasuku because she wanted advice on game development. She drops the subject and plays her mobile game when he mentions Keita’s name. Tasuku then realizes Chiaki’s online name: Mono. She is also playing with her best online partner, Tsucchie whom Tasuku knows is Keita. When he tries to ask her opinion on both guys, she hates Keita and likes Tsucchie. He couldn’t get more appalled than this. Even more so when he hears how she chose that online moniker which is exactly how Keita chose his: Based on their mom’s maiden’s name. Do gamers think alike? Trying to solve this tangled relationship, Tasuku hits an idea. So he calls Keita and Chiaki for their first gamer’s meet-up. Oh, they still hate each other. He also invited someone else. Guess who that eager beaver is? But I suppose Tasuku didn’t tell Tendou that the duo are in this meet-up so imagine her shock-cum-disappointment seeing them together. And it’s not because they both turned her down to join her club. Chiaki tells her problems about creating games. Her games are more popular when she plays it safe but it’s no fun. Keita might sound disdainful when he doesn’t care. What matters if the game is good or not. More importantly, just make the games you want. Chiaki is touched but Keita had to ruin it with his honest sarcasm that he doesn’t really care about the games she make. Tendou seeing this misinterprets they like each other. Tasuku senses his plan will fall apart so he assures Tendou they are like this. Besides, isn’t it partly her fault that Keita and Chiaki hang out together? He is just trying to start by talking to a fellow gamer. Because of their good vibe, Keita and Chiaki now think Tasuku and Tendou like each other. Keita spots Aguri spying. She also misinterprets what she saw. Keita excuses himself to go with Keita. More misinterpretation when Chiaki mentions Aguri might be Keita’s girlfriend as she has seen them together many times. Poor Tendou and Tasuku… Ended up crying… First gamer’s meet-up failed. It could be their last as well…

So Aguri is crying her heart out and complaining loudly while taking out her frustrations on Keita? Please don’t bother other diners… Keita wonders why she likes a guy like Tasuku. She tells him you don’t do love. You fall in love. This touched his heart so he is motivated to bring them back together. This passionate declaration is spotted by Chiaki. Keita tries to explain to her but she doesn’t look convinced. What did he say? He is explaining Aguri as the best girlfriend ever. Hey. You didn’t say whose girlfriend… Aguri is also motivated to help Keita talk to Tendou. Meanwhile, Tasuku is going crazy thinking about Aguri and Keita as a pair. Hey. You need to insert coins to play the game. And it’s like some sort of foreboding because Keita plays his blonde dating simulation and gets a bad ending of being killed by a character that looks like Tendou… Yandere route… Next day in class, Keita and Tasuku talk. Tasuku thinks Keita should start making a move on Tendou. However Keita views he is not in her good books. He doesn’t think hanging out with her that day makes him her friend. Well, from Tasuku’s point of view he is already talking normally with Tendou. And with the other girls… Keita thinks Tendou is just nice to him so she can get close to Tasuku. Tasuku can’t believe Keita being denser about friendship. It’s about to get more complicated since Keita is happy Tasuku is concerned about him and that they are friends. Chiaki walks in and again misinterprets this passionate declaration. Wow. Now we have a gay connection. She runs away and Tasuku chases after her.

Episode 6
Tasuku and Chiaki are talking things out. Chiaki still thinks badly of Keita but admires Tendou. She asks him about his opinions then. Tasuku tells of Tendou’s good points albeit it is meant as sarcasm but Chiaki takes it the wrong way that he likes her. Instinctively he pats her head to cheer her up so she panics and runs. Keita and Aguri were eavesdropping and are shocked to hear this development. Now it’s their turn to discuss. Keita views life relationships like a game so Aguri tells him about this world that 1 + 1 isn’t equals 2. Rather, 1 + 1 = Love! Huh? Aguri believes if he really wants to be friends with Tendou, he won’t have trouble saying the necessary words. It might look like Tendou is practising her brutal rejection lines. Too bad she took it all out on a guy confessing to her. I hope he doesn’t turn into a delinquent given how a bad mood he has become. Misumi had to point out how brutal she was and advise of her very dismissive personality recently. Tendou thinks she needs to be more open instead of rejecting outright. Though, Misumi honestly can’t see her narrowing the gap with Keita. Keita is playing his blonde simulation for the umpteenth time and always gets a bad end. Frustrating. With some indirect advices from his pals, he plays the game again but with a different outlook. There. Good ending. So the lesson of it all is to not treat people like crap even though they treat you well? Wait, what?

Tasuku has purposely set up Keita and Tendou to meet after school and spread this throughout school. At first Keita isn’t appreciative till he explains about trying to make others respect him, some witnesses to see everything instead of rumours circulating behind his back when he suddenly becomes friends with Tendou. He bought it. Meanwhile we see the others ‘analysing’ this meet-up. Like Aguri who has drawn a ‘complicated’ love chart. Yeah, more complicated than her math class. Chiaki is also getting distressed thinking Keita is being played out by Aguri and that he might want to be Tendou’s friend just for the money! Thus it is Keita’s SOS for help! Tasuku’s real reason for this setup is so that he could watch Aguri’s reaction to determine if she is cheating or not. Although all also thought of how bad it could end if it doesn’t turn out the way they expected, they brush it off it won’t turn that bad. Fat chance… Anyway they are so deep in thought that their body actions and facial expressions are just bothering everyone. Even Tendou is starting to think this meeting is to end their relationship! After all, she has been bugging him. She tries to be positive and needs to tell him how she feels openly and honestly. So the much awaited meeting is here, all the related parties and a huge crowd have gathered. Tendou trying to hold back her emotional self so when Keita looks around, he sees his pals not looking at them but staring at each other! Maybe they pity him knowing he will be rejected? Tasuku and Aguri are intensely staring at each other and start to believe this reaction means the other is really cheating! Chiaki is staring at both of them means they are going out and will freak out at what Keita might say! As Keita is about to ask for Tendou’s friendship, his life flashes through his eyes. It ends with him winning his blonde simulation. Thus he blurts out for Tendou to go out with him. She instantly says yes! He realizes too late he messed up because now everybody is in shock! Can we undo this? Was there a previous save point?! Oh no. The game level has just increased its difficulty hundredfold.

Episode 7
Keita is now so ‘famous’. The stares from everyone are scarier than any horror movie. But the misunderstanding from the related parties is still there. It’s only going to get worse. Like Tasuku hinting he doesn’t know how to face Aguri because a certain guy likes Tendou. Obviously he is referring to Keita but that guy thinks Tasuku is referring to himself. Definitely cheating! Then Chiaki talks to Keita and when the latter confirms he isn’t dating Aguri in the first place, she believes he has quickly gotten over it. And then later with Aguri, she blames him that everything has gone downhill ever since she met him. Especially with the fact that Tendou and Chiaki knew Tasuku through him. This makes Keita depressed as he thinks Tasuku is using him. The duo decide to stay positive. So Keita calls Tendou to meet at the rooftop. She is nervous as hell as she jumps the gun believing he wants to break up because it has been hell for him ever since the confession. But she is in for a surprise when he wants her to go out on a date with him. Wait. What?! Why?! Hey, they’re in a ‘relationship’, right? Clearly Tendou doesn’t understand but Keita doesn’t want to lose to Tasuku. He puts it in a gamer’s perspective that it is wrong to disconnect before the winner decided. That resonated with her so she accepts going out with him.

They’re both here at the gaming centre and have lots of fun. There is also a pool section so she teases him about wanting to see her in her swimsuit. If you don’t want to, you’re gay… And so Keita ‘betrays mankind’ to see Tendou’s godly body in exchange for ‘losing a life’. They play some water splashing game but it makes them look like a lame pair of lovers in comparison so they stop. They see Chiaki being harassed by guys. Chiaki runs and clings on to Keita to force those flirters to leave. Because the duo continue to argue and she is still clinging so close to him, Tendou gets mad. Chiaki came here with her little sister but they got separated. Keita wants to help find her but Tendou doesn’t want him to flirt with more chicks and tells her to go wait at the arcade. She’ll look for her sister by herself. Not sure whether they found her or not (I suppose they did) because Tendou and Chiaki now join Keita playing a kart racing game. In the end, Tendou couldn’t stop laughing at how pathetic Keita lost. He had a rare item that could have made him won the game but he didn’t use it. He managed to entertain all the onlookers and made the whole thing fun. That’s what she likes about him. Keita notes he also likes how she didn’t go easy on him because he wouldn’t have enjoyed the game if she purposely let him win. Looks like their vibe is good so they continue talking about a recently released game.

Episode 8
Konoha is a model student and in the student council. But away from the public eyes, she is a pervert who loves sniffing the butt heat on the chairs of her all-girl student council. One night she dresses up like a man to go buy a hentai game. Also at the store are Keita and Misumi. Keita chose a really old game and gives his in-depth opinion about it. It makes Konoha feel bad and guilty for labelling him as a typical normal guy. Eventually she buys that game and we learn she is Chiaki’s younger sister. Tasuku dreadfully narrates the happy marriage between Keita and Aguri while all other parties look in dread. It turns out to be a board game of Life. Since Chiaki’s mom won it, Tasuku thought of an idea to gather them and talk things out. Well, it isn’t going to be easy. Everyone is so intense. Because it seems Keita is like a pervy guy who keeps adding more children to his family, Chiaki is like a jobless graduate and Tendou the rich workaholic with zero love life. Is it me that the fates sound mostly negative or discreetly an accurate depiction of their current relationship? Tasuku thought he could reset things if his player marries Aguri. He got Chiaki. Suspicions further increase. Also, Keita and Chiaki seem to land on the same space. When Chiaki temporarily leaves as Konoha is calling her. At the same time, Keita gets a notification of his online mobile game. Tendou watches him play and looks like their vibe is good. Tasuku and Aguri also take this chance to get back together. Tasuku holds her hand and Aguri worries he is doing it in front of Tendou. He replies she has nothing to do with it. When Chiaki returns, she hears everything how Keita praises Mono for always helping him and is his precious online friend. That devastated look on Tasuku’s face because he knows the love polygon is going to get worse. Chiaki might be late to the game but she now spots this I’ve-fallen-for-you look on Keita.

Episode 9
Chiaki narrates how her interests in developing games began. So she is a one woman show under the name Nobe, created many mobile games by herself. However she never enjoyed them with the mostly negative feedback. But she kept going because of one person who always appreciates them. So Chiaki is now trying to get ‘assurance’ from Konoha about her position with Keita. Too bad she isn’t sure what she is talking about. When Chiaki goes to get some stuffs at the convenience store, she bumps into Keita. They talk about a few things and since he starts praising the games she made, I guess it soften her heart again so she invites him to her place. She has him wait in the living room while she goes back to her own room to hide ‘evidence’ she is Nobe and Mono. However Keita comes in to alert her it is raining and her laundry is outside. In her fumbling attempt to cover up, it only exposes her more. Keita then sees the contents. Could it be? Chiaki is about to confess something important but Konoha just woke up sleeping on her bed. Chiaki then points out Konoha is both Nobe and Mono! Why you complicate things further?! Obviously shocked Keita tells this to Tasuku later and he too his shocked at this ‘lie’. Keita can’t put his finger on it because he can’t see Konoha as a game developer and player. The person he admires isn’t what he had in mind. You don’t say… Tasuku would have love to tell the truth as ultimately the decision lies with Chiaki. Since he can’t be happy if things work out between Keita and Tendou, he is going to root for Chiaki. Keita goes to the store to buy a game. At the same time, Konoha not incognito also buys the same game. Awkward. So she’s trying hard to be in character but ultimately goes with Keita’s suggestion that she has split personality. She doesn’t want him to tell others that she buys adult games. She asks his opinion about Chiaki. Nothing much really. What about Nobe and Mono? I love your works! Konoha punches him! Then they bump into Chiaki and she is puzzled why they are so close. I guess Konoha is trying to hint they’re talking about the games ‘she’ made and getting close together but Chiaki is not impressed a scumbag like him is hanging out with her bright sister. Chiaki gets a surprising call from Tasuku. However after he seriously blurted out a short “I choose you!”, he hangs up. Is he playing Pokemon? I don’t know but everyone thinks it is a confession! It’s just getting confusing.

Episode 10
Keita invites Aguri to join the gamers meet. She gives excuses she isn’t into gaming and the fact Tasuku and Tendou are going to be there isn’t going to sway her. But he’ll let her have this cake. Agreed! Keita is glad since he feels bad for her that Tasuku confessed to another girl behind her back. A few days ago after Tasuku’s surprise confession, the trio discuss about it and Chiaki can’t find a reason to turn Tasuku down. Hence Keita called Tendou to ask her advice on how to break up! You’re already breaking her heart. Thinking he is planning to use it on her, of course she tells him to think himself. She is so sick that she feels hurt and Keita thinks she is really hurt. He would definitely come to her rescue and this makes her feel better. She says she loves him and hangs up. Did it just get worse? Keita then asks Konoha for advice since she must have turned down lots of admirers for being this cute. She can tell off people as she is busy as the student council president but Chiaki can’t use that excuse. Thus Keita suggests a meet where all parties talk things through. And here they all are. Keita is about to make the important announcement but he chickens out and blabs about some game he wants to buy tomorrow so don’t get in his way. Back home, Konoha comes to check on Chiaki to ascertain her feelings. Still undecided? Better decide soon since her position as Mono and Nobe are getting shakier by the minute. Make up your mind if you want to get closer or always fight with him. It’s not going to be easy…

Tasuku wants to talk to Chiaki about Keita and of course she gets the wrong idea it’s about the answer for his confession. At the same Tendou wants to talk to them both. Meanwhile Aguri meets up with her old classmate, Sarina. She and her guys are like totally delinquents. They badmouth Aguri’s gamer friends thinking they are smelly fatty nerds. Even if they’re not, Aguri doesn’t want to stay around them. Because she has better fun with those smelly fatty nerds. Sarina gets mad for her attitude. If her boyfriend isn’t one of those nerds, why should she get mad? Aguri leaves her in a stitch, hinting about Keita being her boyfriend but not quite. She gets desperate to call Tasuku but he doesn’t answer. That’s because he is accompanying both ladies as Tendou speaks about her problems. She likes Keita but can’t help think he is always with Aguri. Tasuku assures she views him as some high maintenance brother. Chiaki adds Keita puts gaming first despite being a wuss. Tendou feels sad that Keita would rather choose gaming over her. At the same time, Aguri sees them. What makes it worse is how Tasuku is putting his hands on the girls’ shoulder! Aguri runs away in tears, believing he has been cheating on her. They run after her as the girls assure they see Tasuku as some bug and are way over him. It’s odd hearing Aguri commenting on Tasuku being called a cheater by the girls he is cheating on. Desperate Aguri calls Keita for help. When things calm down, here comes Keita rushing to her. Was he supposed to be out buying his game? He put that on hold. This is more important, Aguri calling him for help despite being exaggerated. With Keita and Aguri being so casual with each other, looks like the rest is starting to develop some sort of suspicion…

Episode 11
Tasuku and Tendou talk about Keita and Aguri. It only makes them more depressed. However they haven’t given up as Tasuku hatches a plan to turn things around. Tendou calls Keita to go on a double date with Tasuku and Aguri at the amusement park. He can’t say no because he wants to answer her wishes like a man? So here they are, Keita and Tendou are so happy like kids since the park’s theme is like an RPG game. The cringe is strong… Tasuku and Tendou’s plan is to look like they are dating with each other so as to break them up. Yeah, the duo seeing them like this are already starting to feel depressed instead. When they are about to take things further by a step by holding hands, they are spotted by Chiaki and Konoha. Apparently Konoha overheard about this double date planned and tricked Chiaki into coming along. Because if she doesn’t want to go with Keita, maybe Konoha will go with him. After a few rides, the real challenge now is the haunted house. However before Tendou could go further with Keita, he is already ‘gone’. Konoha had taken Keita and Chiaki to a shortcut exit so as to get them alone together. However Chiaki has been afraid all this time and she soon passes out only to wake up sleeping on Konoha’s lap. Keita carried her here. Konoha leaves to go buy drinks so as to leave them alone. Chiaki gets nervous with him although she would hate it even more to be left alone. She asks what he thinks of Nobe and Mono. His usual earnest opinion. Of course he thinks everyone else is also important. That includes you, Chiaki. Though he plays down Tendou, Chiaki just tells him to stop trying to be that cool. Their conversation is interrupted when they spot Konoha spying on them. It’s late and they should reunite with the others but Chiaki wants to go home. However Keita takes her hand and brings her to the parade where the others are. After explaining what happened, I guess Keita needs to spend some time with Tendou too so he agrees to hold her hand so as not to get lost. Chiaki most probably lost it as she breaks out of her character after all of Konoha’s teasing. She vows to make Keita fall slave to her charms. This outing is at least good for Tasuku and Aguri because they’re back on very good terms.

Episode 12
Before we forget who Misumi is, we see him narrate his life. He was wandering on the streets till he saved a rich girl, Riki from being kidnapped. She took him in and his basics in life were covered. However he has to face tortures, experiments and jealousy. Now he is in some video game tournament final and the person he is facing off is no other than Riki! Back to our proper story, Tendou has the gang go on a ‘serious training camp’. How can you have a training camp at the hotspring? Anyway, since she imposes the rule of no flirting, Keita and Aguri better not get too friendly with each other otherwise it’s those piercing stares. And Tendou shouldn’t break that rule herself because she is dressed up so nicely. Like as though she is trying to attract someone… The big ‘catch’ of this episode is how we see Aguri who is a non-gamer reasoning from her own perspective and all the irrational things gamers do, hence earning their ire. Especially DLC. Yeah… It really hits hard when she cannot understand one would spend money for clothes on your digital character when you can use that same money to buy real clothes! So true! Then there is this ‘trap’ of how DLC lures unsuspecting people to buy more and Aguri falls into it easily when Keita puts Tasuku as the object. She would love to spend and give her money all for him! So in the end, Aguri accepts DLC and concludes that games are real sh*t! So true for today’s industry! We ‘level up’ as now we hear the girls talking more about it in the hotspring. Is there a DLC to unlock those steam censors? They talk about game difficulties and how some like harder games and it makes them like some sort of masochist. They also talk about epilogue DLC and that this entire DLC thingy should be removed and if needed to be added, it should be one helluva crazy stuff. Back together with the rest, Aguri has now understand the concept of DLC as she explains it by substituting game with desserts and the extra toppings you buy at the shop and find it all very sh*tty. Keita also talks about a game his parents wrongly bought. It was crappier and more expensive than the clone and he couldn’t have the heart to tell them about it. But it wasn’t all that bad when he started playing. That was what makes it memorable. Games gives you the flexibility and freedom to make as much emotional investment as you want. There will always be terrible games out there so it is up to us to enjoy the games to the best of our ability in each of our own way. With that, Keita wants to play this crappy game but everybody tugs in for the night.

Game Of Love And Lies
Wow. The final episode was really different and enlightening. It actually highlights one of the biggest problems that today’s gaming industry is facing. This finale isn’t actually as bad except that it might be a little draggy and boring considering we have been watching all the comical hijinks and misunderstandings all the while and then they drop this ‘surprise’. It is enlightening and interesting but at the same time it is lacklustre and tedious especially if you are not from the gaming industry or even a decent gamer yourself, you will not understand what they are trying to say. Thus it is with mixed feelings that they decided to end the series this way. Or at least the ‘stage is clear’. Because with the relationship problems taken a backseat, maybe the next level of the ‘game’ would begin when they get back. But that is another story. Or a DLC! Curse you DLCs!!!

The entire premise is built on one big messy misunderstanding. This in itself can be a double edged sword. While it is fun and funny to see how the misunderstandings can carry on for a dozen episodes, the never ending mix-ups and confusions compounded from all the ambiguity and misapprehensions, at the same time the entire series gets a little draggy. The longer everything is dragged out, the more confusing it gets. Despite there are only a handful of players (you can literally count them all in one hand), trying to mentally come up with a love chart flow ended up me being confused of who is perceived to have mistakenly fall in love with who during a particular period. At the end of the day, I just screw all that and come to the conclusion that everybody loves everybody! I mean take for instance, Keita who first confessed to Tendou and then later everyone thinks he is hooking up with Aguri but at the same time Tasuku believes Chiaki has a crush on him. Same goes for Tasuku. Aguri is his real girlfriend but he is misinterpreted to be two timing her via Tendou and Chiaki. So you see, in the end all of them thinks the other loves somebody else but is gravely mistaken. Confusing? Sighs, if they had only been honest with what they want to say, this whole mess wouldn’t have occurred. But then again, where lies the fun in that?

Therefore I can’t say much about the characters because basically all of them are bad in communicating with one another for fear that the other would misconstrue and trying to be considerate but of course it backfired. That itself is a charm and curse for this series. Like Keita who is just really a plain guy and has nothing that stands out other than the fact he likes to play games. Tasuku is also somewhat similar except that he has a cooler perspective of life. Not so cool now that he’s gotten into this mess. From what I can see that he is the one mostly responsible for prolonging this misunderstanding drama because we hear his thoughts how he would like to quickly solve this problem but eventually things don’t go the way he wants and his entire plan takes another turn. Tendou has turned from somewhat a respectable cool beauty into one who keeps bugging Keita for his friendship. To a point that we can see she is some sort of Keita attention whore. I hope she doesn’t turn into some yandere. That would be real life bad end for Keita.

Aguri is the only one of the main characters who isn’t interested in gaming. Her misconception that Tasuku has strayed from her has led her to be involved in this complicated game of love. It could have not been such a big issue and this overall love complication not being blown out of proportion for so long if she had perhaps confided with a female person instead of a guy like Keita. Maybe Sarina is too b*tchy to talk about anything. Who else is so ‘understanding’ as Keita? So when a girl like her confides in a guy like him, you bet others will see them in a different light. Then there is Chiaki who started out as Keita’s verbal spat partner and that slowly evolved into love. When you argue with somebody so much, you eventually fall in love with that person. Don’t ask me. That is the logic of love. So she is like the tsundere of the series, trying to get her feelings across to Keita but at the same time trying to maintain that status quo of being his enemy. Say what? For now I don’t see how Konoha could enter the mix but I foresee that the more she want to play matchmaking for her sister, the more she will eventually find herself fall in love with Keita. I guess watching her sister in love is much more fun in playing her hentai game.

Sometimes it feels a little bit deceptive why they call this series so. Sure, video games are a theme but it is not the main focus. Those club members in Tendou’s gaming club are soon forgotten once this crazy romance antics start to roll. I beat they are still honing their FPS and fighting game skill while Tendou is out ‘chasing a boy’. So I’m thinking that the main quintet that got involved in this messy affair that could be viewed from another perspective as a game. You know, the first one to clear this mess ‘wins’. Game over when normalcy is achieved and the situation reverted to how it once was at the beginning. And that Misumi’s cameo in the appearance was one where it trolled us all and threw us off our balance. Because while we were watching the quintet in their silly misunderstandings, he has been fighting his own battle against a cutie pie that we will sadly never get to see. Don’t you dare suggest a DLC for those who want to watch this! Maybe his amnesia reason wasn’t a lie…

The art and drawing feels pretty standard. Animated by Pine Jam, they are a relatively new anime studio. This series is their first normal length animated series since previously they have only animated anime shorts like both seasons of Mahou Shojo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara and Getsuyoubi No Tawawa.

I have no problems with the voice acting. But somehow I just find it weird that Keita is voiced by a female. It is not unusual for boys’ roles to be helmed by a female but for Keita’s case, it makes him sound like a wuss. Yeah, maybe he is one. Just like that wuss main character in Tsugumomo. Keita is voiced by Megumi Han who did the titular character in Mushibugyou. The rest of the casts are Hisako Kanemoto as Tendou (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Tasuku (Mikado in Durarara), Rumi Ookubo as Aguri (Chinatsu in YuruYuri), Manaka Iwami as Chiaki (Erina in Re: Creators), Yuuki Kuwahara as Konoha (Tooru in Kobayashi-san Chi No Maid Dragon) and Natsuki Hanae as Misumi (Takumi in Shokugeki No Souma).

The opening theme is the same name as this anime and sung by the trio behind Tendou, Aguri and Chiaki. Sounds like one of those generic all-girl pop songs although they try to put in some video game-like sound effects in it. Not that I really like the song either but I prefer the opening credits animation since there are a few video game parodies like Street Fighter II, Super Mario Bros and even Super Smash Brothers. I might be mistaken, but isn’t there one that mildly parodies that very gay Cho Aniki game? I thought the same trio sung both the ending themes since they sound so alike. Apparently it was an all-girl group, Luce Twinkle Wink. The first ending theme Fight On sounds more like rock pop while the second ending theme, Koi No Prologue plays to a slower pace which I thought felt more suitable for a love romance drama genre. But among all the themes, I prefer this one.

Overall, this is still a fun and enjoyable series to watch. Especially those who love romantic comedies whereby boy-meets-girl-but-lots-of-funny-stuffs-happen-along-the-way-and-things-get-blown-out-of-proportion. Even though the plotline is wafer thin and cliché but at least they make it funny and amusing from the chaos that ensued. Those who are additionally decent gamers could spot a few game trivia here as well. I once thought that video games would in some ways help as practice for real life situations like dating and love. Then I realized it could just be a form of escapism. Because in real life there are no buttons to pause, restart or redo from an earlier save point. Heck, there are no save points! You don’t have 3 lives but only 1 chance to make it right. Otherwise it’s game over. Nobody checks the programming bug permeating in real life, hence all the communication glitches. Sadly, DLC in real life is also applicable if you have the cash to splash for easier access to everything. It’s all about the money. No wonder games today are so sh*tty. No wonder today’s quality of life is so sh*tty. And damn there’s no DLC for a better life.

This is what I didn’t have in mind when I heard Luck & Logic was going to have another season. Heck, I believe ordinary people wouldn’t have thought it was the sequel so they had to put it in the name just to tell us. Yup, make no mistake. Hina Logi – From Luck & Logic is not exactly a direct sequel of the original. Instead it takes place many years after the Foreigner threat has been stabilized. There is now world peace. At least humans and Foreigners are somewhat coexisting. So what is left to tell when you don’t have alien baddies from another world to harm us? Why, you have a group of cute lolis in a school that trains them to be future Logicalists to maintain the future and world peace. That’s about it! So, this has turned from some sci-fi action fantasy into some cute girls doing cute things?

Episode 1
Liones “Lion” Yelistratova hitches a ride from the countryside to arrive at Pirari Academy, a training school for Logicalists. Nina Alexandrovna sees a huge backpack before her. My, what a cute blue little furry critter. Turns out it is Lion crushed under the backpack and she knows Nina. Belle is her pet familiar. After feeding the hungry girl, Nina is tasked by the teacher to show Lion around but since she is dirty, shower time first. Lion then meets Rino Fujisaki, the assistant homeroom teacher and is given an ALCA card. Lion is nervous introducing herself in class. Yayoi Tachibana the class rep warmly welcomes her to make her feel at ease. Now we have a short review of generally the terms in this series so as to refresh our memories what are Logicalists, Foreigners and the likes. Lion has lunch with her classmates. They learn she is the only child of a royalty of a small country and despite being a highly ranked, she is unsure of what it takes to be a Logicalist. Like she already has Belle but has not make any contract with it whatsoever. When they want to analyse Belle, it starts jumping about mischievously. In all that confusion, Lion worries what she’ll do. Her card then activates as she turns into some plant whipping princess? Not only that, her character has changed into a playful one. The vines go out of control so Nina believes she is Trancejack. Nina transforms into her sci-fi magical girl form to turn her back to normal. While Lion is unconscious, she dreams of this mysterious woman. Later, Lion talks to Nina and she knew her because she saw her on TV before. She admired her and wanted to be like her, her reason for coming here. However Nina lets her know she is only here because of orders from her superior. Therefore she isn’t confident they can become friends as she might go back to HQ soon. Lion remains positive that even so, she’ll be right behind her tail. Lion must be overflowing with love so she tries to hug Nina and they end up falling over the bridge into the shallow river. Cue for all the girls to take a bath together. They further learn Nina snuck away to this academy since her father was against her enrolling here. It’s like she ran away from home but her mom knows she is here.

Episode 2
The girls take their midterm exams. Wait. Lion doesn’t even know what that is?! It’s no surprise she can’t answer and is damn right she should be worried about her score. I guess Lion is cute enough that she becomes the object of tug of war between the student council president and her vice, Mizuki Azuma and Yuuko Morigaya respectively. They note how the world is peaceful enough that Logicalists on active duty are able to transfer to study here. Later we have mock practice battles between the girls like Nina vs Yayoi in which the former wins. Homeroom teacher, Shizuha Kagura has Lion register Belle to her card. Lion is transported into another dimension where she comes face to face with that mysterious woman, Rosa. She wants to stay with Nina and be stronger. With that, she is able to transform without being Transjack. The results are out. Lion scores 15%. Hey, at least it isn’t zero. Nina remembers her superior, Veronica wanted her to study and train at Pirari despite having understand all the fundamentals and possessing capabilities of a university graduate. There is something she wants her to learn there. Nina thinks this is her way of telling her she is weak. She will prove herself and then apply to reinstate her previous mission. Lion, Nina and Mahiro Kyoubashi make their way to go flower viewing. Nobody trusts Mahiro’s device because it always malfunctions and explodes in the end. They manage to find the place and enjoy themselves. I guess it was worth it even though Nina remembers she missed today’s training.

Episode 3
The girls are alerted when the alarm is sounded. Was there supposed to be a drill. Lion’ sharp eye could spot something approaching. It is a man in armour riding a missile! All the anti-aircraft guns can’t take it down. Kagura’s bazooka took down the missile. The man then barges through the door and fights Kagura. It all comes to a stop when Lion tells her stupid dad to stop! That’s her dad?! Oh, he is the kind of father who dotes on his daughter (he even named her after his kingdom). No wonder Lion is so embarrassed and doesn’t like him. So hate is his taboo word and he’ll get emotional if that ever happens. He is here to see his daughter. Because he keeps bugging, the vice principal is forced to allow him to stay and watch. It must be weird, awkward and downright embarrassing for Lion to have her dad following around and cheering her. The only time she opens to him is when he serves lunch. But even that she realizes how embarrassing it is and wants to be left alone. Poor papa… During a mock practice battle between Lion, Nina, Yayoi and Mahiro, Mahiro didn’t want to lose and messed with that missile (why the f*ck is it still there despite being cordoned off?) and they all blast off towards the snowy mountains. Nina couldn’t stop hugging a cute bear cub. Father bear takes this the wrong way and gets mad. Time to run. But Nina still won’t stop hugging… Hiding inside a cave, Lion uses her plant power as a mark to pinpoint where they are. The bear corners them. For once, Lion is praying for dad to save her. And you bet this Russian dude is going to trek and climb all the way to save his daughter. There is no man stronger than a father protecting his daughter. One punch is enough to knock the bear out. Seeing the cub crawling back to it, father understands they are the same. Best reward for him when Lion comes hugging him. Back at the academy. Lion is grateful and realized daddy was worried about her. But worry no more. She has her own friends. Should papa be sad? When it is time to eat, Lion takes all the containers to share them with her friends in her dorm. Oh, only women are allowed in this dorm. Sorry daddy, your little girl has flown the nest.

Episode 4
Mahiro is updating Yuuko’s PC. It seems her password is very easy to remember because it is her birthday. Then the girls realize that today is her birthday! So Yayoi and the rest have a secret meeting to give Yuuko a surprise birthday party (Yuuko is kept busy with all the updates and installation progress). All is set for a pyjamas party when Nina points out what about the presents. You fail as birthday organizer! Yayoi, Nina and Lion head to town to shop for a present while Mahiro, Karen and Karin Kiritani try to stall Yuuko. As the party will be in her room, they need to get her out. Mahiro uses her remote to spam fake viruses. So she leaves to go find Mahiro. Since she could come back anytime, they have Mizuki lure her away by saying there is a bomb in her room! Those virus alerts must be it. Mizuki wants to invite Yuuko to her own personal birthday party but she is taking too dramatically long and Yuuko is gone. With nowhere to go, Yuuko cleans the bathroom. Does she need to Trance just to clean? Meanwhile, because Lion is having fun eating here and there, I guess they got some delay in buying a present. They bump into a little crying girl who insists on getting a dahlia. They ask all the flower shops but coincidentally dahlia has all been sold out. One shop only sells the seeds but this is enough for Lion. She uses her Trance to water and grow them. The little girl is happy and goes on her way. By the time they get to the store, it is already closed. But Nina points they already have a present. After Yuuko is done bathing, she sees an invitation card in the basket asking her to come to her room dressed in these pyjamas. The girls surprise her (honestly, she doesn’t sound THAT surprise) and it is the best birthday party ever. They hand her dahlias as present but she hands them back each a piece as thanks. Mahiro has created a long ass password that is better fool proof. They look like random letters and numbers… That little girl could be the school’s principal in her chibi form? Mizuki continues to eagerly wait for Yuuko…

Episode 5
In addition to the written exam, there will also be a practical exam for these future Logicalists. Yayoi trains hard as she wants to be number one but it seems Nina can do her training even better and without sweat. Trying hard to catch up? Fujisaki explains the practical exam whereby they have to move ‘victims’ in the form of cute stuffed dolls past certain spots to safety at the principal’s office. I wonder if they will be listening to the rest of the rules like the limited number of times they can Trance and not allowed to hurt others. If their victim gets injured or they lose it, they get disqualified. Veteran Logicalists like Chloe, Mana and Yukari helping out. The first part of the test sees Kagura standing before them. Are they going to fight her? Hell no! Jump off the bridge and into the water to bypass her! While climbing the rocks, Mana snipes at them while Yukari helps out. Yayoi falls off but Lion Trances to save her. Yayoi wants to disqualify herself but is told their mission is to get the victims to safety. Nina duels with Chloe and although she beats her, she gets taken about by Mana-Yukari combo. Yayoi then comes to face Chloe and the latter warns her comrades not to help her. Yayoi feigns and gives Chloe the slip since she has a secret help from Lion. I guess that’s what you get when you don’t allow your pals to help. In the end, Lion takes first place and Yayoi allowed her to do so since it was her strategy that made her realize what is important. So while everybody has fun soaking in the hotspring, only Nina looks miserable. Later Kagura has Lion undergo a test by letting her hold a mirror. As she thinks about Rosa, the mirror starts to glow green stuff. Kagura explains the mirror shows her balance with Rosa. As a Logicalist and Foreigner share half their Logic and become one, Lion is entrusting too much to Rosa. It is bad as it could damage herself and her surroundings. She must learn to retain her own will. Nina continues to train hard but she still doesn’t look happy.

Episode 6
Everyone is at Lion’s home and kingdom for the summer vacation. Why does the air-cond in the place have to break down at all times? I’m sure Lion’s mom’s great hospitality would cool things down. Except when she’s going to teach her husband a lesson for all this. When school just ended, he came to pick up Lion back home. However Lion wants to stay with her friends a little longer. He ‘enticed’ them that back home has got lots of food, luxurious amenities and a place to explore Foreigners! Wow! Please let us come! Only Nina has no interest but with Lion begging with puppy dog eyes, that’s how the whole gang is here. Meanwhile Lion and Mahiro are out in nearby forests researching about Foreigners. Mahiro explains her entire family are ALCA researchers. They’re so obsessed in researching, she wonders if they’ll ever come home. They didn’t find any Foreigners here so Mahiro hopes perhaps Belle could have some clues. Lion isn’t sure and views it as a family member. Thanks to Lion’s dad using his might to create a pool, the girls can now rest easy and cool off. After a nice BBQ, they head to the nearby woods to watch the stars. Seeing a shooting star, they all make their wish. Mahiro blurts out hers as wanting to go to the alternate world. She is really curious about Foreigners and wants to see what their world is like. Her parents were against it since it will be dangerous as a human body is not very adaptive. So why not ask Belle? Well, if that critter can talk. Nope. But it can sing! Maybe Lion taught it? Lion also hums along. The girls have not heard it before so Lion’s dad points out this song is not from this world. It used to be a song Rosa sang. Mahiro is excited and wants to meet her but Lion left her card back at the academy. Looks like she’ll have to wait till they get back. The next day the friends leave. Nina had to ‘assure’ Lion she’ll come back to the dorm early to give her some hope. Maybe she doesn’t want to be too long with her baka dad? Even if dad wants to have fun with her all day? But mom tells her to finish something important first: Her homework!

Episode 7
Mizuki is at her usual spying on Yuuko in the morning. She almost gets spotted and I don’t think acting like a bird will do the trick. Luckily a call from Lion that she is coming home tomorrow (daddy is heard crying so badly in the background) distracts her. But Mizuki is now stuck on the tree. Yuuko is in a dilemma since she will be having a career discussion. She doesn’t know if she wants to join ALCA once she graduates. Here comes Mizuki to give her opinion. I guess it sounded exaggerated because of some grand revolution nonsense. But as she explains how ALCA has put a lot of effort to maintain the balance in all the worlds, it sounds very true and realistic. Yuuko remembers she had many dreams as a kid including being a patisserie and florist. She joined this academy but her powers are not suited for battle. Mizuki on the other hand couldn’t form a covenant but is proud that she is able to see the world the way she does. As Yuuko is still uncertain in her life, Mizuki says to do whatever she wants. There is no better motivation than that. She wants to invite her for the Bon festival dance competition but Lion has returned and cuts her off. Maybe next time. With everyone back at the dorm, it’s time to prepare for the festival. But first, those who didn’t finish their homework are forced to do so. Luckily Lion has already done hers. All thanks to tiger mom. We see the girls in their yukata enjoying their evening at the festivals. Some moments together between Lion and Nina. Then an incident. The prize for the dance is stolen. Black feathers are seen around it. Of course they’re going to find it and it’s cue for your girls to Trans this episode. It doesn’t take a genius to know the culprit is a crow and no time for them to retrieve it. Lion sees Yuuko spying at them from a tree branch and climbs up to go join her. This makes the other girls fluster since she isn’t wearing anything underneath. Strange, because everyone is doing the same. They don’t have to get Mizuki down since she falls off after a massive nose bleed. Everyone goes back to have fun. Yuuko tells Mizuki she likes it best seeing Lion and her friends have fun. She likes their smile and wants to watch them grow up. It sounds creepy but if that is her dream, so be it. Oh, Lion won the dance.

Episode 8
The girls are showing their summer research projects. Mostly as weird as it gets. Then it’s Mahiro’s turn. She is really eager to show her mecha that allows human to enter the Paradox Zone. Too bad she spent so much time, the teachers won’t let her demonstrate it. Then Mizuki announces their school’s cultural festival and hopes everyone could pitch ideas on what to do based on the theme of coexisting with Foreigners. So the girls start thinking of what to do until Mahiro hits the idea of singing that song Lion hummed. They should be able to learn Foreigner culture from such songs. Since they have only 1 song, Yayoi suggests making a play out of it. This means Mahiro is made the project leader and has to write the script. Responsibility feels so heavy… You can tell how hard she works as she falls asleep in class with lame mechanisms to make it look like she is still awake. The teacher isn’t going to bother her… The rest have a mock battle. At the end of it, Lion still has that green glowing stuff. Kagura suggests she’ll need to train her in more ways. Especially of the heart. How? Kagura feigns attacking Lion and she immediately Trance. This shows she is too sensitive. With threats as small as this, her emotions run wild. Lion isn’t only having trouble trying to be the best Logicalist. Nina too is pondering how to get back to ALCA. Lion doesn’t want to bother Mahiro so she sleeps at Yayoi’s room. She notes that Mahiro always puts in a lot of energy to do things. Of course she has failed many times. But she wouldn’t be Mahiro otherwise. Mahiro has finally write up the script. She makes her casting announcement with Lion and Nina helming the starring roles. While Lion is ecstatic, Nina isn’t.

Episode 9
It’s funny. Lion’s father engaging his entire maid force just to rescue a cat stuck high up. They make it sound so dramatic. But then he has to leave for a more important mission. It’s the school’s cultural festival. Preparations are coming along fine. Except for Lion. Her acting sucks. However she can only act whenever she is in Trance. Otherwise, normal Lion is just as stiff as ever. During the festival, since the play will be in the afternoon, the girls go visit the various stalls. Lion notices a number on Yuuko and it seems those with them are candidates for a popularity contest. And suddenly Lion gets one too. Yeah, you bet her father is promoting very hard to make her win. He has got competition from Mizuki since she is also promoting for Yuuko’s victory. It comes to a crashing halt for big daddy since his wife is here to take him away. Oh, that cat mission was a success. During the play, everything is going well with Rosa in Lion’s place. Until the climax part Lion accidentally slips and is snapped out of her Trance. She gets stage fright. Nina quickly improvises and calms her down so they manage to sing the song together and end the play on a high note. Lion later hugs her mom and ignores her dad. Nina gets a surprise visit by Veronica who is glad she has adapted to high school life and wants her to continue enjoying it. Mizuki announces the winner of the popularity contest: Yuuko! Poor Lion’s dad can’t stop crying. But why do I have a feeling the result is rigged? Yayoi talks to Mahiro that although their play got second place, everybody worked hard for it and believes Mahiro’s message was delivered. Too bad Mahiro is fast asleep.

Episode 10
Lion must be happy winter break is coming. But first… The exams… Not so happy now. Like the last time, there will be written and practical exam. The latter will be in knockout format and it looks like Lion will face Nina in the first round. Nina talks to the principal and is confident she will be placed first in everything. She is requesting for a chance to go back to ALCA. She didn’t give a straight answer but I’m figuring it’s a no. Lion continues to suck at practice with Kagura. I don’t see any improvements at all. So Nina and Lion’s fight is here. Surprisingly, it is Lion who goes on the offensive. This makes Nina mad because it is as though she is hiding her strength all this while. She tries to go easy on her then but Nina feels insulted for being pitied. Sh*t hits the fan when Nina doesn’t consider Lion her friend. Wait. If she isn’t your friend, but you’re worried she is now crying? That is when Lion loses it and her powers go berserk. Rosa takes over and wrecks the place. Nothing like a few shouting from her other friends to bring Lion back. But when Nina tries to talk to her, Rosa takes over again and escapes. Nina volunteers to look for her and Belle is brought along since it has this power to balance her out. When Lion is found, Rosa’s vines start attacking her. Nothing like whipping a few pain and scratches to stir up some emotion. Finally Belle gets to Lion and, uhm, starts glowing. Lion reverts back once Nina manages to touch her. Kiss and makeup, okay? As Nina passes out, Lion notices they are lost in the middle of the icy desert. She seeks Belle’s help and at this point Belle turns into her true majestic Foreigner form. They both make a pact. This means a new Trance outfit for Lion. They return safely. In the aftermath, they are told that the practical is cancelled (but of course) and they’ll calculate their scores based on something else. They also have to report to ALCA in detail. It doesn’t matter who is at fault as ALCA will be the one who decides. That will take some time. More importantly, the duo are back safely. Lion and Nina further reconcile and return to the rest of their friends who are already all geared up for the Christmas party.

Episode 11
The friends leave for the winter break. Nina is only left at the dorm. She is happy because she can now watch her reserves of comedy. What? And also study something about the universe. Huh? All that comes crashing down when she sees Lion in her room. Didn’t she leave? Apparently she heard Nina wasn’t going back and decided to stay. I guess it’s better to be in her company than her dad’s, eh? If you can’t beat them, join them. They got addicted to the kotatsu that they’re so lazy in answering the door. They do a staring contest and Lion loses immediately and laughs like mad. Nina is insulted since she didn’t do a funny face. But Belle is laughing too… It seems someone delivered high quality crabs. From who? Don’t know. But after eating it, they realize it is sent to the wrong person. Fujisaki seems to be waiting forever for it when it finally arrives. She is going to share this with Kagura but something tastes off… It doesn’t tastes like high quality crab… In actuality, Nina and Lion rushed to the store to buy crab sticks and replace them before delivering it to the right doorstep. As Yuuko is making Valentine Chocolates, Lion and Yayoi help out. Lion accidentally spoils the oven but nothing like Mahiro can fix it. But you know how she fixes things… The oven ‘attacks’ Lion but is luckily taken out by Nina’s arrow. Lion gives the chocolate as thanks but after Nina eats it, she feels different. Suddenly Nina confesses she loves Lion and starts hugging her! OMG! First lesbian loli sex?! Why you so freaked out Lion? Didn’t you like this? It is believed Nina’s arrow had some sort of effect so they need to dispose the rest. How? Mahiro eats one! Now she has lesbian loli sex with Yayoi! Karen and Karin walk in to see this betrayal. How will they protect her? Join in and make it a foursome! Yuuko needs to dispose the last one but bumps into Mizuki. She thinks the chocolate is for her and eats it. But we aren’t surprised seeing we know her character. I don’t think she is under its influence as she gets down to her knee and proposes to Yuuko. But Yuuko isn’t shocked. She believes the effects will wear off and returns to the rest. Mizuki feels so rejected. The affected girls return to normal. Nina must be in damn shock to learn what has happened. It’s Lion’s turn to get lovey-dovey with her. Though Nina still gives her own chocolate to Lion and this makes her very happy.

Episode 12
It looks like Lion and Nina won’t be punished by ALCA. However Lion will need to take extra supplementary classes. Later Fujisaki and Kagura talk to Nina privately. They hand her a letter from ALCA commending her actions. Does this mean she has a chance to go back to ALCA? Yayoi and Karin heard this and report it to the rest. The only one still overreacting is Yayoi. Even Lion is happy for Nina. But her happiness looks fake… And then seeing Yuuko packing her stuffs because she is graduating in 2 more days puts a lot more damper. Yayoi thought of hatching up a plan to make it look like there is a reason for Nina to stay but you’ll know it will fail. Like this lavish dinner, the topic of Yuuko leaving permeating the conversation. Then there is this leaving photos of Lion and Nina as a trail. Nina finds it creepy and the one who fell for it is Lion. Yayoi and Mahiro best Karin and Karen to win the right to face Nina in their challenge letter. Nina takes on both of them and in the end she beats them both despite not even going all out. Graduation ceremony is here. Mizuki has lots of fan girls crying over her. Not sure why Mizuki is ‘sad’ when Yuuko tells her juniors that she has been assigned to the same ALCA office as her. Is it because she knows she considers her as troublesome? Is this a hint she doesn’t like her? Suddenly the withered sakura trees bloom back to life. This could only be the work of Lion so Nina starts finding her. Apparently Lion must be so important that Nina purposely runs pass Veronica even when their eyes met. Pretend to look the other way? Eventually Nina finds Lion and learns she did this as a parting gift. Lion promises to catch up to her. Is 5 years enough? Okay Lion. Stop pretending to be tough. It’s time to cry. Nina hugs her and drops the biggest news: She is staying. How could she leave all her previous friends behind? Now everyone can be all smiles again. After they see off Yuuko and Mizuki, they walk home holding hands. They tell each other the kind of Logicalist they want to become. Nina whispers softly that she looks up to Lion. Care to repeat that louder? They return to their waiting friends. Lion bursts the bubble telling them Nina considers them as previous friends. Big smiles! Big group hug! But don’t overdo it! Too late. Lion did so and they all fall into the river. How the heck can Lion catch a fish?!

Screw Logic! Because, Friendship
I guess that is the price we all have to pay for peace. Everything looks so boring unless you enjoy little girls having fun hanging out together you lolicon! It was really kinda expected of Nina to remain because it will be totally sad that if Yuuko goes, it will be double blow for another one to go. I mean, who is going to fill in that freaking huge friendship gap?! Make new friends?! At this point where the anime has just ended?! Screw that. Even happier ending when ALCA decided not to fully punish them because it is a crime to just punish lolis. They might lose some brownie points if they do so because some higher ups might have that sort of fetish. Oops… So another day, another year and another term. I’m guessing more or less the same thing will happen to our friends because what else could happen if there is nothing bad or evil lurking in this time and world but only good and fun times? We better be grateful for those Logicalists who fought and sacrifice their lives for this.

I don’t know. I feel that if the series had not been associated with the original Luck & Logic and stands on its own and everything, I’m not sure if I would feel this way. Because it still is one boring cute girls doing cute things. Sure, there are some cute and light hearted moments but nothing in general that would make it stand out from the numerous cute girls doing cute things shows that I have seen throughout the seasons and years. So for familiarity and nostalgia sake, they use a few familiar terminologies like Foreigners and Logicalists as well as making some of the characters in the original series to return. But they too don’t add much to anything. After all, what plot is there to tell when the Foreigner threat has been subdued? I can only blame myself for expecting that this sequel would be close to the original despite I wasn’t that impressed with the original and had this hope this sequel would make it up. Well, it didn’t. Maybe if I don’t compare it with the original, this spin-off sequel does have its own merits. Like cute girls doing cute things. That can’t be entirely a bad thing, right? Better than seeing cute lolis being sent to battle and fight hostile aliens and seeing them being injured. World peace is the best!

This means whatever questions you want to know and development or things you want to find out about the other worlds especially the Foreigners, they will not be answered. We have no clue about the other world these Foreigners come from or the history or why they have been hostile to us and that curious song that Lion knows that belongs to Foreigners. But screw all that, right? Who cares about Foreigners who look like cute adult humanoids when you can have a bunch of cute lolis.

As for the characters, the main concentration is on the Lion and Nina pair. It’s to showcase their ‘beautiful friendship’, I guess. Because in such peaceful times, Lion is ‘forgiven’ to be helming the role of the airhead, ditz and klutz. We put up with it because she is cute and have that moe charming effect on us. We don’t hate honest girls like her and since she is super genki and lively, all is forgiven. Yeah, I can’t even find myself to consider her annoying as much as I want to. Because you know, moe factor. For dynamism in many friendships, we need to have another character who is at the other end of the pole. That is where Nina comes in. At first she doesn’t show any emotions and isn’t as bubbly as Lion. Slowly she opens up her heart to her and finds that it isn’t bad having her as a friend. It was interesting to note why she was sent here by Veronica instead of continuing her stay at ALCA. I suppose Veronica had some sort of vision of Nina’s attitude and wanted her to experience something that only schools could provide. For better or worse, Nina does change a little. She might not put up big smiles but at least eking out a little smile is better than no smile. Even when she decided to stay and I saw this coming from miles away, it wasn’t really a surprise. From a girl who looked so bent in returning to ALCA has succumbed to the temptations called friendship. Yeah, it can really do wonders even for a strong willed girl like her. My worry is that if Lion drags her down and doesn’t buckle up, they will join ALCA much later. But that’s okay. They have each other, right?

As for the other characters, there isn’t much to note about them and it feels like they are there for a bit of variety. Because there is the danger of us getting bored if they spam too much Lion-Nina time. So like Yayoi, she sounds and looks like a typical oujo-sama although she has her pride, it is a good thing she isn’t the arrogant type like how most oujo-sama types always turn out to be. She is friendly and helpful at times. Her personal bodyguards, Karin and Karen also feel like poles apart. Because with Karin being the more responsible one, Karen is the airhead and ditzy one. Is there some sort of trade off for that because as a result for being the more responsible one, Karin is as flat as a washboard while Karen is so well-endowed. Is this where her brains go to? Mahiro’s running joke is that whatever inventions she makes or fixes, it will tend to blow up in her face. Is this what we all want to remember her by?

Then there is Yuuko and Mizuki. It also feels like a running joke that Mizuki is trying so hard to charm Yuuko but all that always fails and backfires because Yuuko ignores it all or she doesn’t give a sh*t. Maybe it is because of Mizuki’s dramatic over the top acting. Sorry to say this, but perhaps Yuuko isn’t accepting you isn’t because of all the fakeness and bad acting. You should be yourself if you want a better chance of Yuuko accepting you. Or maybe this is Mizuki’s true self? Or Yuuko is just one big blur head and doesn’t know it even if it is spelled out in front of her eyes. Well, keep trying. And keep being disappointed. At least we’ll give you points for being perseverance. Not too sure if Mizuki is trying to be something like Revolutionary Girl Utena because the way she dresses reminds me of so although I didn’t see that anime.

Adding to the mystery aspect is the principal and vice principal. They barely show up unless necessary but the principal herself is a big bag of mystery. I’m sure we have many questions about her existence like why is she always playing a harp in her spare time and why is her hair such an odd colour or maybe if she is some sort of hybrid between a human and Foreigner. But with all the focus on our moe young girls, why do we care about older women anyway?

For added cuteness and the need for an animal mascot of the series, hence the reason why Belle sticks around with Lion. Perhaps the same reason why Pikachu follows Ash instead of being cooped up in the Pokeball like other Pokemon. Because as I have noticed, the girls do possess multiple contracts with several Foreigners and is able to switch and Trance between them. So for Belle to be besides Lion everywhere she goes, it is like a subliminal plot to have them enter a contract eventually. In which in my case, so what? I guess it is better than popping up a random never seen before Foreigner.

Personally, the most interesting and my personal favourite character in this series is not any one of these girls. Yup. The only guy in this series is Lion’s father. Not that I’m being gay with him after being hit with all the loli lesbian fanservice but this guy is just funny. This macho guy isn’t so macho once you get to know how much he dotes on Lion and then gets depressed when his little girl ignores him. The way he overdoes his love and ‘protection’ of Lion is just funny. But I guess that is a father’s love for you. He might be the king of his own little kingdom but he can never be king of Lion’s heart. Because Lion must be going through that puberty phase. Only his wife can put a stop to his extreme ways to spoil his daughter. This guy should get more appearance. And ruin Lion and Nina’s lesbian loli moments? I’m sure papa would approve. As long as it isn’t a boy. I can already imagine this big guy’s reaction if there is ever a time Lion falls in love with a real boy. Imagine that kind of ‘foreigner’…

One of the funniest segments has to be the next episode preview. In many instances, we see the teachers of the school drinking at the bar and mostly Fujisaki and the vice principal complaining about something. Especially about finding her Mr Right. Typically how a frustrated single woman who isn’t getting younger by the day would cry and blurt it all out over a few cups of alcohol. I guess they’re desperate they’ll take on any advice. Even taking some from Lion’s mom who appeared once as a guest. At the end of it all, we see Belle giving us that smirk. Is it trying to imply something about these no hopers?

The action scenes in this sequel isn’t really something to look forward to. It feels forced. Because mock battles between the girls feel necessary from time to time to remind us what this show was about as well as to showcase their magical girl outfits and the transformation scene. Yeah, only in such weird outfits that these girls could pull off special powered moves. Otherwise, the fights are just as boring since it feels like the lesbian loli fanservice is the factor that they are trying to focus on. So if you like your women mature, look somewhere else. So no real fights with dangerous Foreigners because they’ve all been tamed enough so our girls can have a good time frolicking with each other.

Art and animation are very bright and colourful. Important when you want to highlight how cute and moe the girls are. Well, I guess having them in normal school uniform and the occasional magical girl-like outfit when they trance is better than the original’s ALCA uniform whereby the crotch area looks freaking weird. Imagine the female characters wearing those… Just too weird. Animated by Doga Kobo who also did the original series, they also did lots of moe anime like YuruYuri, Koihime Musou, New Game, Love Lab, Sansha Sanyou, GJ-Bu, Gabriel Dropout, Himouto! Umaru-chan, Hidan No Aria AA and Mikakunin De Shinkoukei. I’m sure they have perfected the art of drawing moe girls.

Voice acting feels okay with me only recognizing Rikiya Koyama as Lione’s father, Kana Ueda as Yuuko and Yui Ogura as Karin. The rest are Madoka Asahina as Lion (Nene in New Game), Hibiku Yamamura as Nina (Hibiki in Anne Happy), Natsumi Takamori as Mahiro (Miyano in Tanaka-kun Wa Itsumo Kedaruge), Suzuko Mimori as Yayoi (Sherlock in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes series), Kaede Yuasa as Karen, Maaya Uchida as Mizuki (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Mai Aizawa as Kagura (Neris in Shining Hearts: Shiawase No Pan), Tomoyo Takayanagi as Fujisaki, Akiko Yajima as the principal (titular character in Crayon Shin-chan series) and Atsumi Tanezaki as the vice principal (Mizore in Hibike! Euphonium).

The opening theme, Butterfly Effector by True is a heavy rock piece and didn’t resonate with me. But what I find creative in the opening credits animation is the cut out paper stop motion animation that is used amidst some of the real life backdrop. It is pretty cool and creative. Another rock piece for the ending theme, Baby Bird ~Gakuen Logic~ by the trio behind Lion, Nina and Mahiro. The song also isn’t to my liking but again what I find amusing is the ending credits animation of how we see the trio chasing far and wide after their egg rolls away. When they finally grab the egg and it starts hatching, it pops out another egg! It rolls away and hence another repetitive cycle of chasing it down.

Overall, this sequel is just decent and appeal to those who are very much into moe lolis and cute girls doing cute things. Otherwise, fans of the original series would be in for a shock to have discovered how different everything has become. Perhaps another season to explain what happened in between? You know, that goal Yoshichika and Athena supposed to have and do at the end of the original season? No? Don’t remember? So do I. So we have to thank the efforts of the Logicalists who have worked hard to bring peace between the worlds. That is why we are able to enjoy seeing lolis having a good time being lesbians with each other. Ah, good times. Maybe that is why the Foreigners stopped attacking because they too are intrigued and getting a boner in seeing little girls getting overly friendly with each other. Because f*ck logic as long as we get to see cute (lesbian) girls doing cute (lesbian) things.

Jigoku Shoujo: Yoi No Togi

January 12, 2018

What, what WHAAAAAAAAT????!!!! OMG!!! I thought it all ended?! But here it is, the fourth season, Jigoku Shoujo: Yoi No Togi! I never knew it would happen since it has been 8 years since the third season last aired! Why now?! What is this nostalgia they’re playing at?! Hell, what do I care? As long as I get to hear Mamiko Noto again I’m more than happy to watch this horror series, the only horror series that I will ever approve myself of watching. But hmm… There is a catch. In its synopsis it is already stated there will be 6 new episodes and 6 ‘reminiscent’ episodes. Oh no… RERUN!!! Ippen shinde miru ka?!

Episode 1
Shizuka Mayama is constantly being bullied by her classmates. At least on the social messaging service, everyone calls her names. Especially a gasball since she is chubby. She thought of calling Enma Ai. She wants to send a few to hell but is told only one at a time. The harassment continues and Mayama would definitely have played into their hands if she responded but Yukawa ‘saved’ her by distracting the teacher’s attention. Yukawa hangs out with her and they both become friends. After lecturing her about continue to get involved by listening to the nasty harassment, she invites Mayama to join a social messaging she created only for loners. The only other person is Yokota. Mayama seems a lot happier messaging in this group. She even gives suggestions how others should die. Enma Ai and her team continue to watch over her when a strange girl pops up before Enma Ai asking her if she is sure about doing this before disappearing. One day, Mayama sees her classmates acting strange. There is a laptop on her desk that reveals the loners’ conversations. Thinking Yukawa couldn’t be the one, Mayama heads over to the next class to find Yokota. She isn’t sure what she is talking about and laughs. Then she finds Yukawa also badmouthing her in the other conversation. With anger building up, Mayama contacts Enma Ai. She is now given a straw doll. Then she goes to confront Yukawa. She reveals that she was the one who started this harassment because she found her annoying (like always apologizing for no reason, etc). But she didn’t think it would turn out this bad and would die out. She felt bad and became her friend. Mayama is not convinced since she still posted bad things about her. Yukawa denies it was her. Maybe it was Yokota. But Mayama says she met her and that’s how she knew Yukawa and Yokota are the same person. She pulls the string. Yukawa suffers a handphone nightmare with an app deleting all her innards before being sent to hell. As Enma Ai rows her to hell, the strange girl views all this is wrong. Enma Ai doesn’t care. This is work and has nothing to do with it. Mayama becomes badass in the aftermath, not caring about anybody. It is revealed that there is another person with the same Yokota name in that same class. A boy.

Episode 2
Enma Ai gives Haru a straw doll. But she gives it back as she cannot do it. Hone interviews a famous comedian, Nanako. Her comedy partner is Haru. She looks like the dumb and clumsy type and is always doing Nanako’s bidding. However behind the face of the public, the roles are reversed. Haru is the brains and Nanako is her obedient subordinate. Sounds more like an avid fan girl who is grateful for picking her up. The strange girl continues to bug Enma Ai. When Wanyuudou asks about her, all Enma Ai says is that she has forgotten her own identity. Ren becomes their manager as he continues to observe them. One night as Haru is racking her brains for new materials, Nanako mentions she saw her former partner in audience. He might have quit show business but seeing how Haru has become famous, maybe he wants her back. Wow. Yandere look… The next time she sees him, she wants to report a stalker. After all, he once abused her and all. Haru is crept out seeing how clingy Nanako is and slaps her. She accuses her of sleeping with the producer to get her first gig. Later Nanako goes to see what new materials she had come out with: None. Haru goes to see her former partner to complain how weird Nanako has become. He finds it odd that she was the one who picked her up and now she doesn’t want her. Flashback shows how Haru saw Nanako in a lame act on stage. For some reason she asked her out for a drink and a weird partnership formed between them. Haru was able to do it because of Nanako but now she feels she is a baggage. She realizes she has become like him in abusing her. Haru goes home and starts anew, discussing new materials with Nanako. After doing another successful show, at the backstage, Haru pops the message they should break up since she is at her limit. But Nanako views this as her being abandoned since she wants to get back with her old partner. Haru assures he has nothing to do with it and also doesn’t blame her. But what’s this? Nanako has a straw doll in her hand?! Nanako believes she won’t be happy even if she quits comedy and that’s why she doesn’t want to live anymore. Haru realizes Nanako has always understood her. Of course. She is her partner. Nanako pulls the string and promises she’ll be there soon. Haru will be waiting too.

Episode 3
Each of the grownups in the Nagata family have some sort of disturbing personality problem. So it is hard for the young kids, Akira and Arina to live in such a sick family. It’s literally hell. One night, Akira sees his mom pulling the string on the straw doll and the next day, grandma is gone. Akira talks to Arina about this so they decide to do something. They call the adults their parents who have an affair with as well as their eldest sister’s bully victim. They want them to help send them to hell. Once they’re gone, the siblings will inherit the assets in which they will distribute to them. However they throw caution that the penalty outweighs the benefit because they themselves will go to hell. Besides, they know they are afraid of going to hell themselves and therefore requesting them to do it on their behalf. It’s a no go. One day, eldest sister brings back home their cousin to live with them. She has an affair with him and he too has a nasty personality. When the parents try to tell him to go home, he becomes violent and beats them up. So he is hurting them for hurting him by not being sensitive to his feelings? Crazy. Akira is okay with the abuse he puts up with him but he line is drawn when he tries to rape Arina. After the parents left home with their ‘respective reasons’, the cousin gets even more violent with the kids. After tying up Akira, he goes to rape Arina. That was the last straw. I mean, he got a straw doll. He is going to send the cousin to hell. At the same time, the bully victim also has one and plans to send eldest sister to hell. They discuss how they have found the resolve to do this because as long as those demons are alive, somebody will suffer. They are going to sacrifice themselves for their sakes. Besides, knowing they will go to hell, they won’t be afraid what kind of person they’ll meet after this. They pull the string. In the aftermath, Akira and bully victim team up to murder the latter’s tormenters. Hey, it isn’t murder if their body isn’t found, right? Akira’s parents never return home and Arina continues to be a vegetable. Sad…

Episode 4
At a retirement home, Sakura is being lamely scared by a fellow senile old woman, Tamie. I’m sure she’s just fooling around as it looks funny than scary. Unfortunately the abusive workers beat her up and bring her back to her bed where she is tied up. Sakura tries to save her but is also abused. Thus Sakura seeks Enma Ai. She has lots of people she wants to send to hell but since she can only send one, that person is Saeko Yanohara who is the facility’s director who covers up the abuses and profits from it. Working in this facility is Tsugumi. She is one of the few kind workers but has no power to stand up to authority. Wanyuudou also disguises himself to investigate and he and Sakura clicked since the latter thinks he looks like her former school teacher, her first crush. Oh, the flame is still burning strong in these old people? I mean, Wanyuudou seriously takes a liking for her? He talks to her why she never reported this to her family members. She doesn’t want to worry her family as she does not worry about them. She asks him about hell and if it is right to curse someone at the end of one’s life. One day, Wanyuudou sees her collapsed on the floor and her hands dirtied. She wanted to watch the sakura trees bloom. So he brings her there. One day when Saeko brings the reporters to show them how good her facility is, Wanyuudou is shocked that Sakura has lost her memory. Tsugumi attends her and it seems she still remembers. She hints to the old guy that Sakura has forgotten whom she wants to send to hell and it is better this way. Another facility staff tries to expose the cruelty of this facility in front of the reporters. That is when Tamie happily says Sakura keeps a diary of all the abuse. That night, Saeko and the workers storm into Sakura’s room, abuse her to look for the diary. They only find the straw doll as she tosses it out. Wanyuudou realizes Sakura buried the diary near the sakura tree that day before losing her memories. Tamie comes in trying to save her but gets abused too. Wanyuudou put back the straw doll and this time Sakura is able to reach it and pull the string. In the aftermath, Sakura looks calmer now that she is in the hands of Tsugumi.

Episode 5
The strange girl slowly remembers herself as Michiru. There is a joint funeral of 3 families whose sons died. When another family comes to pay their respects, they are shooed away and they blame them for their son, Satoshi is the only one who survived the tragedy. Flashback shows the family are transporting their sons on a trip. Not only they bullied Satoshi but they disregard safety advice from his parents. Then an accident happened. Those with seatbelts on are still alright. Those without are flung out and it’s a horrible mess. Michiru feels sorry for Satoshi as she could relate to him. She lives in the feudal era and her father helped bring electricity to the other tenants. The landlord is not happy about this. So his son and his friends try to lure and push Michiru into a pond but they drowned instead. She is the only one who survived but her family gets accused for killing the boys. The villagers even turn their backs on them. Therefore Michiru thinks it is wrong for innocent Satoshi to be sent to hell since one of the boys’ mother has written down his name. Enma Ai tells her she’ll have her answer once she remembers everything. Continuing the flashback, as Michiru’s family has been ostracized, she goes around to find food. However she is lured and trapped in the landlord’s shed where they left her to die. Michiru uses her last ounce of strength to climb to the top window to place a wind chime. Her parents searched for her for days but couldn’t find her. Then they hear strange wind chime sounds and follow it to the shed. They break down the door and see her. At this time, the landlord and villagers are going to burn down the place. Father tries to reason with them that they will be charged for murder but nobody’s listening. Yeah, if the police can’t find any evidence… The shed is burnt down and father instantly died after taking a blow to the head when he tried to fight back. Michiru believes she has remembered her memories and her decision still doesn’t change. She is pleading to Enma Ai to stop the mother to send Satoru to hell. However the mom throws away the straw doll. Enma Ai explains when your situation changes, your allies change too. What is right or wrong is no more than a person’s feelings. There is more that Michiru hasn’t remember fully yet. When her mom died trying to protect her from the flames, Michiru let out a curse. The flames then burnt everyone down and eventually the entire town. She has committed an unforgivable sin and must atone for it by becoming Jigoku Shoujo! That is her answer.

Episode 6
Michiru refuses to become Jigoku Shoujo and she believes Enma Ai has been persistent in trying to turn her into one. She denies and says it is this spider from hell who wishes it. She doesn’t believe and leaves but the rest knows no matter how much she escapes, she’ll come back here. Tetsuya and Yui are dating and soon he pops the question. Happy story, right? However Yui has been visiting JT every midnight but never goes through with it. Yui then takes Tetsuya to see her father in hospital. He is in coma and on life support. She reveals the truth. Her father once ran a food delivery service. One night 5 years ago he was assaulted and left for dead. Although the culprit was caught and sentenced to only 3 years. Yui noticed Tetsuya who was supposed to be the culprit’s colleague not satisfied and left. Yui then worked in his company to find him and learn the real truth. The only clue was he had a mark on his chest. Of course it was hard and she was about to give up and by accident she spotted it on him. Tetsuya reveals on that night, there were 5 of them. A couple were drunk and when they accidentally bumped into Yui’s father, they got violent and beat him to a pulp. The rest were too scared to stop. The ringleader is Kogure who is now the president of the company. Suzumura is his accomplice but he is no longer around. He died in an accident shortly after that incident. Michiru has been spying on this case so Enma Ai notes it is for her to decide. Yui is going to enter Kogure’s name in JT but Tetsuya stops her. He doesn’t want her to go to hell. He knows about it because he was the one who sent Suzumura to hell. Shortly after that incident, Suzumura raped his sister who worked in the company. She was threatened not to tell and Tetsuya only knew about it after she hanged herself and left a note. Tetsuya contacted Jigoku Shoujo and immediately pulled the string. Tetsuya is going to set things straight. After quitting the company, he goes to the police station. However Yui contacts JT. Michiru is now Jigoku Shoujo???!!! She doesn’t hesitate to pull the string. We see Michiru in action. Is it me or does she look cute than scary? Yui is satisfied it is over as she unplugs father’s life support. She is shortly arrested. Tetsuya is disheartened to learn what happened. All she can say is that she is going to hell with Kogure while her father goes to heaven. Now Satoshi sees Michiru and wants to send himself to hell, thinking he would be trouble around his parents. Of course that isn’t possible so Michiru tells him how sad his parents will be without him around. It might be impossible now but do it for his parents’ sake. Please smile too so that one day they can meet in heaven. Kikuri is mad because Yamawaro has ‘dumped’ her to be Michiru’s assistant. After all the constant abuse? I can see why.

Episode 7
Mamoru Hanagasa is a talented baseball player. Lots of girls admire him. Lots of his comrades admire him. Away from the prying eyes, Hanagasa beats up fatty Shinichi Muroi and frames Daisuke Iwashita that they were fooling around by the river and accidentally pushed him over. So when Iwashita sends Muroi home, he has to pretend and go with Hanagasa’s story. That was the last Iwashita saw of Muroi. He never come to school and a few days later, the school announces he has sadly passed away. At his funeral, everyone blames Iwashita as the culprit. Even his own father punches him for it. Hanagasa also pays his respect but he is a good actor shedding crocodile tears. It gets worse when the detectives want to question him because autopsy reveals Muroi had ruptured organs. Iwashita panics and runs away. Later that night he contacts Jigoku Shoujo and is given a straw doll. Next day he confronts Hanagasa to take responsibility. However he won’t and even ‘thanks’ them. Due to this, he doesn’t need to play in the tournament and it would save his shoulder. He did plan this all on purpose. Iwashita cannot accept this anymore and pulls the string. And so we see Iwashita’s baseball torment as well as his judgment from the Jigoku Shoujo team. He remains arrogant till the end and does not own up to his responsibility before being sent to hell. Hanagasa has disappeared and others are talking how a witness came forth to reveal he beat up Muroi with a baseball bat. Iwashita moves away to his aunt’s place and notes it will take time for him to settle down.

Episode 8
Namiko Todaka is the wife of the local branch manager and beware those who crosses her path. The unfortunate for Keiko Yasuda as she has been harassed and living in fear. Even her daughter, Haruka is not spared from the harassment by Todaka’s daughter and her friends although to a lesser degree. The harassment even reaches her husband who for some reason gets accused for no reason by the branch manager. One day the harassment got too much as Todaka sent a guy to harass her at home. When Haruka comes home, she sees her mom unconscious and gas building up in the closed area. She starts to have a grudge on that woman and contacts Jigoku Shoujo. However Enma Ai warns her she cannot save her mom and only provide revenge. After understanding the T&C, Enma Ai shows her what happened. One day they were walking home, her mom saw Todaka making out with a man from her window. Todaka spotted her and became enraged. Soon, she framed her mom by hiring guys to make it look like she had a fling with them. If she exposes this, she will implicate Haruka too. Haruka witnesses her dad beating mom up and not believing what she says. Haruka cannot take this anymore. Her family is ruined so she pulls the string for Todaka to face hell. In the aftermath, her mom smiles more often and it is rumoured Todaka ran off with another man. Her daughter becomes the talk of town and is ashamed of what her mom did. Almost a target for bullies. Haruka notes her life might have become better for now but knows she’ll have to pay a price once she dies.

Episode 9
Akane Sawai locks herself in her room despite her teacher, Yoshiki Fukasawa keeps knocking on her door to talk to her. Ignoring his pleas, she only contacts with an online friend known only as Cheppo. With Fukasawa being persistent, Cheppo suggests she try contacting JT. Of course Sawai is in a dilemma to pull the string. We see Fukasawa constantly doing this is because the vice principal has been pressuring him. Truancy is bad for reputation. One night, Sawai is surprised he visits. So she finally explains about the hell that is society. You have to put up with something even if you don’t want to do it. When she can tell he has been pressured because of his reputation, he blows his top and yells back to not speak like she knows everything. He realizes his outburst and apologizes. He then admits all that and leaves. This makes Sawai even more confused. She doesn’t know what to do. She seeks Cheppo’s help but she too is unsure. Next day, everyone is in shock that Sawai turns up to class. Later Fukasawa talks to her in the teacher’s room but had to leave for a while to attend something. Sawai then contacts Cheppo but notices Fukasawa’s handphone ringing. To her horror, Fukasawa is Cheppo! She demands an explanation so he takes her to an abandoned house where he admits he is Cheppo but unaware Sawai is the person whom he is corresponding with. He explains he never knew why kids skipped school until he became a teacher. After she lets him know she entered his name on JT, he wants her to send him to hell. He is tired of it all and wants to be at peace. Really?! Hell is peace? Sawai is unsure at first but as she observes, Fukasawa continues to teach but the students never paid him attention and he often gets lectured by the vice principal. She finally pulls the string. Fukasawa is glad to see Enma Ai who then shows him the consequences of what he has done to Sawai. I guess he didn’t know she is going to hell too as he sees her crying and murmuring how she will join him there. Too late to regret now. He’ll forever be in regret.

Episode 10
Wanyuudou hitchhikes with a truck driver on a coastal road as he reminisces his past on this path. But the truck driver asks him if he has heard of JT. Because at the end of this road there is a stubborn old man living alone in a house. He refused to move out despite being given compensation and it is believed he is being greedy. Because of that, the road has to be built around it and this has caused accidents and death. The truck driver’s younger brother died in an accident here. Even after that, the old man refused to move out. The truck driver entered his name in JT but Jigoku Shoujo never came. He is going to avenge his brother by himself. Meanwhile Hone stays at the old man’s house as a wandering traveller. She learns all his family is dead and he is the last one left. He tells her he was born in this house, lived all his life here and wants to die here. People think he is greedy but even if they relocate him, do they expect him to live in a new environment with strangers? The old man starts coughing. The truck driver is going to ram into the house but that is when Enma Ai appears before him to hand him a straw doll. He wanted to pull it but he was a second too late. The old man has died. He doesn’t believe it and still wants to crash his truck. Till he tries to avoid Kikuri and had not Wanyuudou stop it, he would have died in the same place as his brother did. Soon the truck driver sees the old man’s peaceful body. There is a letter addressed to him in which he leaves all his property and compensation of his brother’s death to him. The house then ‘dies’ along with the owner and collapses.

Episode 11
Akira Kitakami keeps staring at Mitsuko who is manning the electrical shop. It’s not that he likes her or anything. Maybe he does. But the thing is, her husband Seiji is very abusive. He thinks she is trying to seduce that kid and always tortures her. Worse, Akira secretly spies on this torture. Even when Mitsuko is slow in answering the phone, he tortures her. Akira contacts JT but is still unsure if he should pull the string so he talks to Yuzuki for help. He is confused why Mitsuko doesn’t run away and keeps staying by his side and take in all the abuse. Maybe this is a form of love? Ultimately Yuzuki tells him to not get involved. One day he visits the store again and this time he is serious in wanting her to run away from that creep. He will help her if needed. She is reluctant since he will always hunt her down. Too late. Hubby’s back. He gets even violent in beating her up. Pipsqueak can’t even take him down. Trapped beneath the rack and Mitsuko continues to suffer, his only way out is to pull the string. It’s over. Next day, he comes to see her again. The store is still in a mess but Mitsuko is missing ever since.

Episode 12
Kaede Inao is believed to have a fox spirit named Gon that does as she wishes. So when a classmate sends in a curse request and it becomes true, Inao who was once a loner and ostracized is now ‘famous’ and getting all the attention she wants. With friends requesting curses, she does them and it all turns out well and as per wanted. Of course the Jigoku Shoujo team know there is no such spirit and all that has happened are merely coincidence. One day a classmate wants her to kill a stalker and nothing happened to the stalker, Inao becomes more and more desperate and her classmate is starting to get impatient and threatens to expose her as a fake. Inao went to great lengths and performing ridiculous rituals just to get this stalker killed but in the end he still breathes. Now even more desperate, she contacts Enma Ai and pulls the string even before she could finish reading the terms of the contract. With this case ‘solved’, the classmate is so glad the stalker has disappeared. Oh, she lied about the stalker and just didn’t like his face. Now she introduces a friend who has a request of someone killed…

To Hell With Everything!
WTF???!!! Is this how it ‘ends’???!!! I’m sure many viewers and long-time fans would be cursing the producers for deceiving them about this season. Yeah, rerun half the season with old episodes and call it a new season. I have this bad feeling so many people are contacting Jigoku Shoujo to send them to hell. Furthermore, the way it just suddenly ‘ends’ without further explaining about that Michiru’s case rubs further insult on wounds. More on that later.

After a long absence, watching the same old formula of vengeful people sending others to hell still feels interesting and intriguing. Yes, it worked on my nostalgia side too. The new stories are nothing new or original, at least not that it brings in any fresh ideas because it is still people with twisted vengeance and motives sending the ones they hate or ‘love’ to hell. They also try to put this mysterious Michiru girl in the mix. At first it sounds interesting because you’ll be guessing who this girl is and what her connection is to Enma Ai. And when her past and all is revealed, she is supposed to become the next Jigoku Shoujo? Or at least another colleague? Erm, didn’t they try that in the third season whereby Yuzuki was supposed to be the next Jigoku Shoujo but that didn’t happen and hence Enma Ai continued to helm that role?

But it was most mind boggling, confusing and disappointing to see how Michiru’s story ‘ends’. Because she has been against Enma Ai’s ways and refused to become Jigoku Shoujo. And what do you know? Suddenly she becomes Jigoku Shoujo in the end! WTF?! How the hell did that happened? What exactly happened?! Did the master of hell brainwashed her into accepting her role? Well, the only good thing Michiru became one is how Yamawaro is now her subordinate and this should shut Kikuri up. Yeah, I love seeing that annoying brat getting tormented now that the object of her bully has gone over to the other side. That’s the best way to get back at someone who has been tormenting you ever since. They’ll only appreciate it when they find themselves no one and nothing to torment anymore. Come back!

The way the new episodes ‘ended’ just to pave way for the reminiscence episodes is one reason why I felt disappointed with this season generally. Not only did I not get enough explanation about Michiru’s end result (maybe it is just that, Michiru becomes Jigoku Shoujo. The end), the reminiscence episodes are just reruns of an entire episode from previous seasons. Damn copy and paste. Are they trying to hint something here using this method? Well, this isn’t the first time a series does this as Gintama did it in one of their seasons. A few other animes have also done this but that is more of a recap episode rather than entirely copy and paste. The only difference that prevents it from being 100% copy and paste is that at the start of each episode, we see a mix of paper cut-out and real life animation of the Jigoku Shoujo team in a bar reminiscing one of those old episodes. The only good part about this segment is how Kikuri gets owned and bullied, her plans backfired because of her brattiness. It’s like getting a taste of her own medicine. They should have just made this part longer and renamed it, Kikuri Gets Bullied. Anyway, watching the reruns in a way made me feel mixed. Because I couldn’t remember a damn thing! It was as though I have watched this for the first time! Serious! I didn’t actually recall any of these episodes. So I was going like, “Did I see this before?”. Only that truck driver episode I remember hints of it but still I forgot many parts of it.

Because I vaguely describe such episodes in a sentence in my previous blog, it didn’t help jog my memory. Yeah, I was even being lazy then. Therefore if they rerun the entire 3 seasons, I might as well have watched like as though it is new since I have already forgotten about them. So I believe this reminiscence episodes are like teasers for audiences new to anime so that they can go back a decade to watch the original seasons. I also feel that this fourth season is like the producers and writers ran out of ideas and thus they needed some reruns. This is also why the fourth season is the shortest among all the other seasons at it only has a single cour to it whereas all first 3 seasons were double cours. Heck, this fourth season had only half of an actual cour. More people being sent to hell, more back stories of the Jigoku Shoujo team to find out and the other third party who is trying to stop them. And this is why Michiru as the new character and latest addition to the Jigoku Shoujo team feels wasted and disappointed.

In a way, the reminiscence episodes aren’t so bad since it brings some nostalgia as we get to see the entire old process of how Enma Ai and her team fly into action. Right down from handing over the straw doll to the person who called her and saying the T&C, to that mysterious granny’s shadow who is always turning the spinning wheel and when the string is pulled we see again how Enma Ai puts on her kimono as well as Wanyuudou’s fiery face on the fiery wheel fly over the horizon to take the targeted person to hell. But still, it is overall bad for the series because if we wanted to watch reruns in HD, which is already available a long time ago, we would have gone watched them.

I tried to come up with conspiracy theories of why certain episodes were selected for the reminiscence arc. As much as I scratch my head about it, I can’t find a connection. Because some episodes show young Tsugumi and some show Yuzuki. It is truly copy and paste. So if you have not watched previous seasons and wonder who these girls are, you’re going to be very much confused. I thought the episodes were multiples of 3’s but one of them broke this combo. Damn. That was the closest I could find. Or maybe they just selected them at random. Just to screw with us. Even if we were told there are 6 new episodes and 6 reminiscent ones, we kept hoping one of them would be different and especially when it reached the final one, there would be something absolutely different. We were wrong. Why oh why do I even ponder about this kind of things?

Of course there are a few questions that I once asked in the previous instalments of this series and it made me ponder again but with no real answers in sight. For example, I remember asking what if the time isn’t exactly midnight, can you still contact Jigoku Shoujo? What I meant is that if you turn your PC clock back or forward, will you still be able to contact her? Because we always see people connecting to JT right on the dot. What if multiple people hand in their request at the same time? Assuming they are at the same location in a similar time zone. Because you know, there is only one Enma Ai who has to give the straw doll and explain the T&C. Now with Michiru joining the team, I guess it lightens the load. But you know, human grudges are so endless and it is unrealistic that there is only 1 request per night. And some who requested do not pull the string immediately but they wait for a few days. So what happens in between those days while the team is waiting? Besides, the Jigoku Shoujo team has only ‘limited staff’ and hence limited number of straw dolls Enma Ai can hand out. Imagine if there are 100 people who request a grudge that night. What do you mean that won’t happen? Imagine the aftermath of a football match in which a controversial goal was given and hence a controversial victory to the traditional rival. Yeah… There’ll be thousands who are going to hell tonight! They should have been addressing such questions rather than putting in those reruns.

Art and animation for the new episodes seem to be updated as they are sharp and vivid. There is a stark difference when you compare and watch to the reminiscence episodes. You can see how a decade changes stuffs like technology. Imagine just 10 years ago we were still using CRT monitors and television. 10 years ago we didn’t have Smartphones with apps and the latest were like those Motorola Razr flip phones. Heck there is even landline phones! Rarely see those today, right? And USB pendrives were like 8MB!!!! That’s so big at that time!!! Wow. Really nostalgic.

As for the voice acting, I still love Mamiko Noto all these years and this is probably one of the earliest anime series that I watched featuring her that made me fell in love in her voice in the first place. It’s really nostalgic. Her character might be saying the same lines over and over again and her other dialogues may not be varied but I never get tired of her voice. More Jigoku Shoujo anyone? More like, more Mamiko Noto for me!!!!!!!! Oops. Anyway, as for the opening theme, Noise by Mio Yamazaki feels odd. It is such a lively rock piece. I shouldn’t be surprised because previous seasons of the opening themes like Nightmare, Tsukihana and Sakasama No Chou has this lively feel to it. Like in all season, Mamiko Noto sings the ending themes. This season’s Irogami still has that creepy feel that makes it feel that it is a good thing she isn’t a full-fledged singer? Hey, I love her voice but not exactly when it comes to singing.

Overall, I still love the Jigoku Shoujo series and mainly it is because of Mamiko Noto. But if you’re talking specifically about this fourth season, I would say it is disappointing. It only seemed a bit better because of the nostalgia factor that hyped me up. Having reruns in already a short cour isn’t the good way to go and the new story itself as well as the new character isn’t satisfying enough. Maybe the hint is already in the series’ name itself. The series is already at its twilight. If this is its way of going out with a bang, it sure wasn’t it. In conclusion, it goes to show that people never change. The grudges will always be there. The vengeance will always be there. The money milking drive from nostalgia will always be there. The suckers will always be there. When are we ever going to learn? Curse you all! O pitiful shadow bound in darkness, bringing torment and pain to others. A soul drowned in sins. Want to try dying for once? No thanks. I’d rather keep my soul in case the next season comes around.

They say meritocracy is fair. If you have the skills and talents, it would allow you access to almost anything. But doesn’t that just increases the gap between the skilled and the not so skilled and hence a window for discrimination? Those at the top will be favoured much more than those have nots at the bottom. And so it is interesting to note that Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi No Kyoushitsu E has a top elite school that lets students do anything they want. Literally a paradise for any student who gets to enrol in here because you will be set for life if you do well. However the sad truth is that only the superior receive favourable treatment. I guess it is only human nature… Or would that be human habit actually?

Episode 1
Kiyotaka Ayanokouji is on a bus as he witness Kikyou Kushida trying to advice this arrogant blondie, Rokusuke Kouenji to give up his seat for the elderly since he is sitting in a priority seat. However he talks back that he is not legally bound to do that and doesn’t intend to contribute to society. Kushida asks others but nobody dared make a move. Finally a kind lady decides to give up hers. Ayanokouji arrives at Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing High School, a government supported school to nurture futures for the future. Outside the entrance, he meets fellow student Suzune Horikita who was also on that bus. She doesn’t like that he is looking at her so he points out she is the same like him who didn’t give up their seat. She brushes him off and tells him not to assume she is the same as him. It must be a big coincidence that all these students end up in the same classroom, 1-D. What are the chances Ayanokouji and Horikita are even seated next to each other? Yosuke Hirata has this idea of everyone introducing themselves before the teachers arrive. Some participate, some don’t. Ayanokouji is profiling what kind of person they would be from their speech. When it comes to Ayanokouji’s turn, it’s boring and normal. Sae Chabashira is the homeroom teacher as she hands out manuals that lists the rules for this school. Among them include they will all live in dorms and have limited contact with the outside world as this place has all the facilities they need. It’s like a mini kingdom? Also, they will use points as currencies and each of them gets 100,000 private points at the start of every month. At the store, Ayanokouji bumps into Horikita again. He tries to talk to her but she isn’t interested in becoming his friend. More so, take his advice to buy more expensive stuffs instead of cheap ones. Outside the store, they see fellow classmate Ken Sudou being mocked by other students. He wants to fight but they just laugh and go away. Ayanokouji and Horikita ignore all this.

In a few days, groups are formed. Kushida talks to Ayanokouji and thinks he is close to Horikita. Well, he is the only one she talks to. Kushida’s aim is to make friends with everyone and was turned down by her. Yeah, need his help. So after school, Ayanokouji invites Horikita to join him at a café. When Kushida joins in, Horikita wants to leave immediately. She knows she has been setup. Kushida begs for her to be her friend and is again turned down. Horikita doesn’t mind being alone. In fact she has been alone for 9 years and never felt like so. As time passes, Ayanokouji notices his classmates skip classes or do their own thing even when the teacher is teaching. Even so, Chabashira didn’t take action and continued teaching. A month later, the classmates realize their points didn’t get refilled. So they as Chabashira about it. She tells them they have already been allotted. But they didn’t get any… She mocks them for being idiots. After listing down all their violations, she reminds them evaluates their grades and performances and points are given to you based on this reflection. Therefore she has evaluated them to be given zero points! Time to hit the panic button. She further adds salt to injury by deriding them that they think there would be no catch to this. In short, they are all worthless. They are all garbage.

Episode 2
Class 1-D enjoying themselves in the pool? It’s like nothing happened. Or are they taking their mind off from that mind blowing revelation? Flashback reveals Chabashira revealing a bit on the assessment of the S-system. She is ‘impressed’ they managed to blow all their points in a single month. She also explained about the class points they can earn and if they earn enough, they can overtake 1-C and swap places with them. She warned them for the next test, those who fail will be expelled immediately. Hirata tries to rally the rest to try and get some points but some like Sudou aren’t interested. Ayanokouji is stumped when Horikita treats him to an expensive meal. So once he digs in, she tells him their classmates are holding a study group for the tests. Only 3 opted not to join: Sudou, Kanji Ike and Haruki Yamauchi. At this rate they will fail and their class must not only lose points but gain them. Her idea is to hold a study group for them and it is Ayanokouji’s job to gather them for her. That’s why she treated him. Oh, she hasn’t forgiven him for his conspiracy with Kushida. A woman’s grudge runs deep… Her goal is to climb up to 1-A. Of course when he tries, all reject him. Time to push his responsibilities to Kushida and make her the goodwill ambassador. The eager beaver does her job and manages to have all of them agree to come! Amazing. I can’t help speculate maybe she flashed her boobs? In exchange for this, Kushida wants in on the study group. However Horikita rejects and will not entertain this any further.

Kushida joins the study group anyway. And it is off to a bad start as Sudou is mad at Horikita for calling him incompetent. He continues to mock his dream of becoming a pro basketball player since the world isn’t that easy and he lacks commitment and dedication. He quits. Ike and Yamauchi follow. At this point Horikita decides not to waste her time on them. If they are going to bring the class down, they’re better off being expelled as soon as possible. Kushida still won’t give up and this prompts Horikita to mock her motives to join this study group. Is it to sabotage her? Kushida feels hurt to hear that. That night when Ayanokouji goes out to buy stuff, he sees Horikita talking to her brother Manabu who is the student council president. She promises she will get to 1-A soon but he is not impressed. Calling her fool to come here and hasn’t realized her own shortcomings. He blames her that because she got assigned to 1-D, it is him who bears the shame. He is about to teach her a lesson when Ayanokouji intervenes. When Manabu fights back, Ayanokouji is able to dodge all his attacks swiftly. Impressive. Manabu recognizes him as the student who scored exactly 50 points in all tests. Middle ground. Was it on purpose? Coincidence. Manabu leaves as he warns his sister about mistaking isolation for independence and if she wants to reach the top, struggle with all her might. Ayanokouji and Horikita talk. As she is still persistent those 3 losers are a waste of her time, he tells her that her shortcoming is assuming others will hold her back. Isn’t it because she looks down on others that puts them at a distance from the start and got herself in 1-D? The test come and go. Every student in 1-D for every single subject achieved high scores.

Episode 3
Most of the guys are praising Kushida for saving them. Horikita wonders if Ayanokouji had done something. Flashback 3 days ago, Ayanokouji spotted Sudou getting into trouble with other students only for the fight to be stopped by Honami Ichinose who warns she will report this. Ayanokouji tries again to convince Sudou for the group study but he isn’t interested. After Sudou finishes his basketball activities, Horikita approaches to hand him summarized points. She gets psychological with him that if he stays, he gets to play basketball. Of course she is doing this for her own benefit. Ayanokouji and Kushida approach a fellow senior of Class D. He is willing to trade points for his past test papers. With Kushida being pleading in a cute way and all, I guess they struck a deal at 15,000 points. Ayanokouji’s logic is that the test questions do not differ much. In fact, they confirm it is exactly the same. He doesn’t want Kushida to reveal them to their classmates so soon as they will become desperate in trying to memorize the answer. He also makes a condition he wants her to take all the credit. With 1-D in a high, Chabashira is impressed they did well. However, she points out on the average score, Sudou has failed. Oh… Just by a point. He will be expelled. Kushida tries to find a way to save him but rules are rules. Later Ayanokouji confronts Chabashira. They talk about equality and such. He wants to buy a point for Sudou to pass. Remember, you can buy anything in this school with points. She charges 10,000 points. Can he afford? Horikita will help cover that. As they do not know the penalty of an expelled student on the class, she views the merit of having Sudou sticking around. Chabashira agrees to sell it but notes they are an interesting bunch because no Class D in this history of this school has ever advanced to a higher tier.

Later Ayanokouji talks to Horikita about doing this for herself. Because he knows she realized Sudou is weak in English so she herself purposely lowered her own score to lower the class average. So those barely passed party in Ayanokouji’s place. Kushida asks how they manage to rescind Sudou’s expulsion. He lies that Horikita argued with the teacher and none could counter her. The guys are amazed at her but Kushida feels something amiss. Later Kushida asks Ayanokouji if he likes Horikita because they are always seen together. He denies and that she is just his classmate and neighbour. After everyone leaves, Ayanokouji notices Kushida left her handphone behind. As he tries to follow her to return it, he sees this shocking display of a change in her personality. Her voice becomes hoarser as she curses Horikita while vandalizing public property. Eventually Ayanokouji is caught. She warns him he will pay dearly if he tells anyone about this. Those killer eyes… How will he pay? She is going to cry rape. False accusation? She puts his hand on her boobs. There. Fingerprint evidence. Don’t mess with her. She looks serious. Then she returns back to her bright sparkly angelic personality. At this point Ayanokouji wonders which is the real her.

Episode 4
Class 1-B has a rise in their class points. Many thank Ichinose for it. However there seems to be a system glitch today so the provision points to students of 1-C and 1-D are delayed. Ichinose calls Ayanokouji to meet so she could ask advice on how to deal with the love letter she got. When her friend arrives and misinterpret the situation, Ayanokouji gives his advice on how hard it is to confess. Wow. He sounds like a pro. In the after math, we see that friend leaving in tears. I suppose she was the one who confessed and got rejected. Ichinose feels bad she tried so hard to focus not to hurt her but ended up doing so. She hopes everything will go back fine tomorrow. An incident happened as 1-C has made a report that Sudou assaulted and injured them after basketball practice. Sudou claims he fought back in self-defence but nobody believes him since with the threat they might have points forfeiture, they start thinking he is better off expelled. As usual, Kushida rallies the class to help solve this. This means Ayanokouji is forced to help out, right? After all, he notes that there might be demerit points they cannot see since they don’t know how the system works. It might not be deducted now but in the future. Kushida and some of the guys try to find witnesses but to no avail. Ichinose hears about this and volunteers to help as she owes Ayanokouji. She posts on the bulletin for people to contact her classmate, Ryuuji Kanzaki if they have any information. An information streams in saying that one of the guys who fought Sudou, Daichi Ishizaki had a pretty violent history too. They feel something doesn’t add up because it’s like they willingly get beaten up to set up Sudou. When Ichinose doesn’t know how to transfer reward points for the information, Ayanokouji helps her. But he can’t help saw her total points of 2.6 million! How did she get so much?

Ayanokouji returns to his room. Looks like the usual gang has duplicated his key to make this hang out place. Horikita has new information. There was a witness. She is Airi Sakura and from their class. She knows because when Kushida pleaded for help from other classmates, everyone looked at her but Sakura kept looking down. However even if she is willing to testify and Sudou’s self-defence, it will not mean anything. Later Kushida ponders about what she meant so Ayanokouji gives an example. If there was a murder and 2 people were suspected. One with a history of killing before and one is a clean law abiding citizen. Who do you think would be suspected in the event of lack of evidence? So Sudou’s terrible personality makes a bad impression to those around him and his behaviour and history brought it upon himself. Since Sudou doesn’t feel he has done anything wrong, the reason why Horikita was reluctant to cooperate. The next day, Kushida tries to talk to Sakura in person. However she refuses to say anything. As she struggles to get away, she drops her camera. It isn’t working now. She continues running and mumbles something about not wanting everyone to know about her true self.

Episode 5
Sakura asking Ayanokouji and Kushida to accompany her to send her camera to be fixed? Ayanokouji can see why because the salesman is pretty shady and intimidating and Sakura needs the numbers. However she is still too afraid to fill up her details so Ayanokouji writes his instead. The guy is appalled but with Ayanokouji’s dead serious eyes, I guess there are no legal issues here. Later while they chill out, Ayanokouji observes from Sakura’s behaviour that she does not trust Kushida, thus why she confides totally in him. He tells her to drop all the burden she is carrying and just do it for her own sake. Not for others but for herself. Later Kushida drops by Ayanokouji’s room to show him pictures of a girl in sexy poses. It looks like Sakura but he cannot be sure is her. However one of the rooms looks like their dorm so it could be a big possibility it is her. This has him note that the glasses Sakura wears is fake. Back in school, Horikita tells that Sudou’s trial will be held today after school. Both sides attend and is presided by the student council treasurer, Akane Tachibana. However, because Manabu is also here, Ayanokouji feels this has hindered Horikita’s ability to perform. As the hearing begins with both sides giving contradicting circumstances and the only thing similar is how Sudou’s victims are injured, the guys start a shouting contest. And because Horikita is spacing out, Ayanokouji pinches her waist! Awkward! He tells her if she doesn’t fight, they will lose. So she begins by asking about why they brought Ishizaki into the picture as he isn’t a member of the basketball club. For insurance. He knows martial arts to fight against Sudou’s violence. If so, why were they injured so badly? Like as though they wanted to be beaten up.

Horikita then brings in Sakura as the witness. Because of her nervousness, she is grilled for not stepping forward immediately. She is even accused of being forced to act so to save Sudou. Sakura sums up her courage to show proof she was there. Inside her memory card are those sexy poses. There is one where she took a selfie with Sudou and the rest fighting in the background. However it doesn’t proof who started the fight. It is suggest that both sides compromise. 2 weeks suspension for Sudou and a week suspension for the 1-C guys. Horikita states her opinion on this. As she chides-cum-advises Sudou about the need to reflect his behaviour, this trial is supposed to free him of his guilt. In other words, she wants nothing more than Sudou’s innocence. She claims Sudou has been intentionally set up. Manabu has to decide. He notes one side is lying and state his judgment at tomorrow 4pm. However he has expulsion on his mind. Later Manabu talks to Ayanokouji because he thought he had some strategy. He did not. So Horikita just went rogue there defending Sudou. Manabu then turns his attention to Sakura. She asserts she has told the truth. Ayanokouji believes her. He dodges a quick attack by Manabu who wants to know if he can prove it. Maybe.

Episode 6
Sakura narrates she doesn’t interact well with others. That’s why she is okay being alone and putting on a mask. She masquerades as an internet idol under the name Shizuku. When one of her fans wants to come and see her, she gets scared. She then finds lots of fan mail in her letterbox and they contain pictures of her everywhere! OMG. Stalker! As Ayanokouji and Horikita ponder their next move, it then hit her that the place the fight took place did not have security cameras. As Sakura is still jittery, Ayanokouji assures to call him if she ever needs help. Using a fake email from Kushida to the 1-C ‘victims’ to meet at a special annex, they aren’t interested in talking to Ayanokouji and Horikita until they point out security cameras around. They start panicking. If their fight was recorded, why wasn’t it brought up in the trial? The school is trying to test their ability to solve this. So if this gets out, they will be charged for lying and expulsion. The only way out is to withdraw their complaint. A school can’t take action if there is none. Ishizaki wants to make a call but Horikita snatches his handphone. He gets rough but she reminds him those cameras. They give up. Sakura is walking alone when she notices somebody following her. She tries to call Ayanokouji for help but that creepy salesman overwhelms her at an alley. He claims he is her biggest fan and sent her all those letters. He is about to rape her to prove his love when Ayanokouji takes a picture of him in action. He is going to be ‘famous’ tomorrow all over the news since there are security cameras all around. He tries to escape but Ichinose has called the police to arrest him. He then rants about him being Shizuku’s biggest fan but Sakura tells him off she doesn’t consider him as one and to never see her again. With his heart broken, he switches his story and starts calling her ugly and such. Later, Ayanokouji shows the GPS in her handphone that allowed him to know where she is. Sakura then takes off her glasses and decides to stop lying. Keeping up with lies was really hard.

Chabashira calls out Horikita and wants to know what strategy she used to make 1-C withdraw their complaint. She won’t say anything so Chabashira advises her if she plans to make it to 1-A, try and understand Ayanokouji as much as she can. Otherwise it might be too late. As Class D is viewed as a place for defective people, Ayanokouji in her eyes is the most defective. Ayanokouji stumbles into Manabu. He too is surprised 1-C withdrew their complaint. Ayanokouji claims it was all Horikita’s doing. Manabu wants him to join the student council as the secretary. Of course he refuses as he intends to live a normal life without expending too much effort. Manabu accepts but warn not to disappoint him. Ichizaki and co are being beaten up by the big boss of 1-C, Kakeru Ryuuen. He is displeased they withdrew the complaint without his permission. There goes his plan to see what reaction the school will have with an expulsion. He wants the names of those who set them up. Later he crosses path with Arisu Sakayanagi of 1-A. He mocks she is already playing the queen. He tells her his intention to crush 1-D, 1-B, 1-A and then her. Because there can only be 1 ruler. Horikita confronts Ayanokouji about his idea to plant fake cameras at the annex. This is forging false evidence. She wants to know what he is thinking since he never cared for his friends so why is he doing this. Did she not forget she forced him to help her get to 1-A? Ayanokouji has only this to say to her. He will get her to 1-A as promised. In exchange, don’t pry into his life.

Episode 7
Horikita didn’t want to answer a call from Ayanokouji. But he is persistent… And when he asks if she would like to come to the pool, she hangs up. Horikita sees Hirata and Kei Karuizawa as a couple. The irony of her telling them she doesn’t need companions is that she meets up with Ayanokouji and the rest to the pool. So what changed her mind? Apparently everything looked like normal fun and games for everybody. However there is a very secretive operation going on behind on all. Sudou, Ike and Yamauchi are conducting an elaborated scheme to put hidden cameras in the girl’s changing room. Hideo Sotomura is the ‘control operative’. Wow. Those are elaborate hand signals there. With Sudou and Ike trying to keep the rest in the pool area, Yamauchi is fixing the camera but he has trouble installing them. Because of that, since the fake maintenance sign at the changing room, this means there is a long queue to the toilet near the pool and it is getting suspicious. Even more so when Yamauchi is gone for a long time. Yamauchi can’t do it so he eventually returns to the gang but switches places with Ike. Things are about to go from bad to worse because Ryuuen and his gang disregard the fake maintenance sign to head in. Ike is trapped. Sotomura signals Sudou for help as he fakes a cram to go stall Ryuuen’s side. Sudou might be caught in the middle because Sakayanagi and her gang are also here. Big showdown… That’s not over. Manabu drops in to see what the problem is. This is where Sotomura signals to Ayanokouji for help. Yup, he is in it. Ayanokouji then wants Horikita’s help. She then makes a commotion by drawing everyone’s attention by declaring how the defective class can be better than all the other classes above them. During that, Ike manages to leave in one piece. At the end of the day, it seems Horikita knew about the cameras and has the memory cards in possession. When Ayanokouji called her for the pool invitation, he also told her about Ike’s plan to put hidden cameras and then retrieve them after the pool is closed. If Ayanokouji opposed, they would have done it secretly behind his back. So it is better to let them try and fail. Horikita could have just taken out the memory cards beforehand but the interference of other classes made things more difficult. Since Horikita still prefers being alone, Ayanokouji pushes her into the pool as a joke. He tries to pull her out but she pulls him in. Then everybody gets the wrong idea and starts jumping in and splashing water. Back in her room, Horikita receives a group photo of them. She notes being alone is easier.

Episode 8
Chabashira talks to Ayanokouji that the school received a message from an anonymous man to expel him. Of course he is protected by the school rules. Unless he does something. He assures he won’t but Chabashira disagrees his intentions. If she decides he is a problem, that’s what he is. A threat? She wants to make a deal. Aim for 1-A and she will cover for him. Otherwise he will be expelled. Ayanokouji grabs her by the collar. Is that a yes or no? She’ll regret manipulating him. Don’t worry. Her life is already full of regrets. The school is on a vacation on a luxury liner. Ike decides to confess to Kushida but gets cold feet and is satisfied with calling her by her first name. Now this makes Sudou want to do the same to Horikita. I guess these guys aren’t ‘civilized’ enough to know what is on the French menu and act appropriately so a guy from 1-A tells them off. Sudou is about to get nasty when Kouhei Katsuragi warns to stop this provocation. Even if they are on vacation, they may still get penalized. He also advises the 1-D counterparts to learn some manners. Later Ayanokouji meets Horikita as she requested. She talks to him about this trip being more than just a vacation because their destination is a boarding house owned by the school on the South Seas. They are interrupted by Ryuuen who tries to flirt with her but she rejects him. He ‘warns’ her he will deal with her personally next time. His classmate, Mio Ibuki comes in to protest about his ways. She has had it with how he does things. However she is mishandled away by his ‘bodyguard’, Albert Yamada. Ayanokouji tries to talk to Ibuki but she isn’t interested. Horikita notes Class 1-C may be on the verge of collapsing. When the liner nears the island, the students are assembled on the deck. They are made to wear a wristband in place of their school’s ID. If they take it off without permission, they will be penalized. They are then given a brief rundown of what’s to happen. This will be their first special test. For a week, they’ll be living as a group on this deserted island. It is up to them to make whatever decisions. Some students are in shock to hear this. Well, vacation’s over.

Episode 9
Class 1-D take stock of their items on shore. Reading the manual, each class are given points which can be deducted if there are injuries, pollutions, stealing or even used to buy stuffs. Points can also be added if they secure certain spots on the island. The first snag hit is that some of the girls can’t use the basic makeshift toilet. Although a decent one can be bought, some guys prefer not to recklessly spend points and want them to tough it out. Hirata suggests to give the girls some peace of mind and reduce the anxiety of this test. Also, it is for hygienic purpose. As they walk around to find a suitable spot to set up camp, some volunteer to go look for spots. Divided into groups, Ayanokouji is with Sakura and Kouenji. Kouenji is so athletic he is swinging from branch to branch like a monkey! Is he Tarzan reincarnated? Too bad he goes off on his own. Ayanokouji and Sakura stumble upon a cave mouth but have to hide since they see Katsuragi coming out. Flashback shows Chabashira explaining about the secured spots. A class can occupy it for 8 hours and can only be done by the class leader who is given a card. At the end of the test, classes can try to guess the other class leaders and earn big extra points but get one wrong, the penalty will cost them big points too. Thus they can search for other class leaders and try to hide their own. Katsuragi looks like his is the leader for 1-A as they overhear his conversation with another fellow classmate. Ike has found a spot by the river. Class 1-D meets up and decides to select this place as their base. As for who should be their leader, Kushida suggests that since Hirata and Karuizawa stand out, they need someone who doesn’t and is responsible. Horikita fits that bill. She accepts the role. Class 1-D is setting up camp and the basic needs for survival nicely thanks to Ike since he has experience in camping with his family. Yamauchi thinks of confessing to Sakura and tries to look good in front of her. But they spot Ibuki bruised and sitting alone in a place. They want to help her but she refuses to accept their hospitality. Hirata then discusses the use and rationing of points. What and how they should spend it over the week as the leftover points will be added to their class points. It seems pretty decent and achievable. Ibuki is brought to 1-D’s camp and she cannot believe how nice these people are to accept her into their group. Suddenly they receive bad news. Kouenji has reportedly went back to the liner after calling it sick. This means there will be points deduction for them. It puts a damper to their plan. And what do you know? Kouenji looks pretty fine…

Episode 10
Ayanokouji and Horikita pair up to scout the island as well as the camps of other classes. Hey, there is no rule in preventing them to check things out, right? Checking out Ichinose and her 1-B, they seem to be holding their base well. It seems they are also housing a guy who was driven out by 1-C after a falling out. Next they check out 1-A at the caves. Katsuragi allows and dares them to look but if they try anything funny, there’ll be war. Finally 1-C is like having a beach party!!! They notice Ryuuen is ruling with an iron fist. He does what he wants, the way he wants it. Ayanokouji knows 1-C has spent all their special points on the first day. Because points cannot go into the negative, this negate whatever effect the penalty they will get. They’ll just get zero points, that’s all. Hence they’re not planning to tough it out all week and once they’re done, they just call it sick like Kouenji and return back to the ship. Could this be one of the correct answers for this survival? After all, the test is about the freedom to choose in every sense of the term. That night when everyone is asleep, somebody sneaks in the girls’ tent and takes a look at Ibuki’s belongings. She has the card.

Next day, Ayanokouji and Sakura pair up for more reconnaissance. Looks like 1-C’s beach party is over and everything is packed and gone. They stumble into Ichinose and Kanzaki. Ayanokouji asks if she knows anything about Katsuragi. Currently he is the de facto leader for 1-A since Sakayanagi is out (she was ill before the test started). It seems their ideals are at extreme poles and always butt heads with each other. That night, Sudou and Ibuki almost get into a fight seeing the latter remains uncooperative. Next morning, the girls wake the boys up. It seems somebody has stolen Karuizawa’s panties. Yeah, it’s a big deal… Since they suspect the guys but have no proof, Hirata will allow the boys to handle checking their own bags for privacy. Ike realizes he has the pantsu. He starts to panic. He didn’t steal it and believes somebody put in there. Panicking, he gives it to Ayanokouji. He’ll think of something, right? Funny, why didn’t he just throw or hide it somewhere else? Once the search is over and none of the boys are suspected, the girls still aren’t satisfied. Time for a body check. Ayanokouji has no way out this time as Hirata frisks him. However, when he notices something in his pockets, Hirata clears him. Later Ayanokouji talks to him why he didn’t turn him in. Hirata knows he isn’t the kind of person to do such stuffs and that is why he believes in him as not the culprit. He takes the panties and thinks would be the least damaged by being named the culprit since Karuizawa is his girlfriend. Hirata wants Ayanokouji to help find the culprit but when he does, inform him and not tell anyone else first. Because no matter who it is, the truth is best buried.

Episode 11
The friction between the boys and girls of 1-D gets worse. They want to move their tents farther but the boys won’t help. Since Hirata is such a good guy, they allow him (because Karuizawa said so). However Horikita can’t entirely trust him either and to speed things up, she recommends another trustworthy guy: Ayanokouji. Ibuki talks to Ayanokouji about the theft since most of the guys are suspecting her. She is surprised Ayanokouji believes her. Later Ayanokouji talks to Horikita. He can tell she has been sick before this survival test started. They have been holding out fine so she thinks she can tough it out. While gathering rations, he asks to see her card since he saw one from 1-A but isn’t sure. At this place? It is safer than at the camp. She shows it to him but he can’t tell if other classes have the same and each card might be assigned different colours. Yamauchi tries to tease them for being close. He dumps mud over her head! Horikita judo throws him over Ayanokouji! If she didn’t do that, he would have died! So Ayanokouji broke his fall? Later, Horikita wants to talk to Ayanokouji in private. She admits it is her fault and mistake since her card is stolen. He doesn’t want the rest to know to avoid panic. Horikita suspects Karuizawa and Ibuki. But since Ayanokouji can vouch where Karuizawa was, all that is left is Ibuki. They have to rush back seeing there is fire and smoke coming from their base. Somebody lit the manual on fire. Horikita suspects Ibuki but she looks in shock. After putting out the fire, the girls and boys accuse each other again. First a panty thief and now an arsonist. Is there a traitor among them? It is then they realize Ibuki who was just around is now nowhere to be seen. At this point Hirata is on the verge of going crazy because of all the bad luck. Ayanokouji nudges him back so he returns to take command and give orders on what to do next. Horikita has gone after Ibuki and has caught up. She wants her to return what was taken but Ibuki doesn’t know what she is talking about. She lets her check he bag but it is a feint as Ibuki starts her kung fu kicking moves on her. Although Horikita is burning up, she is still fast enough to avoid. Ibuki then admits she is the one who stole the card. Horikita has her guard down when Ibuki also reveals she was talking in a roundabout way to find out if she was the one who started the fire. When Horikita visualizes the suspect, she got kicked and knocked out. Ibuki then meets up with the person who has requested her to steal Horikita’s card.

Episode 12
Ibuki contacts Katsuragi about retrieving Horikita’s card. The latter calculates the special points 1-A can get and is set to win this game. When Horikita wakes up, Ayanokouji is beside her. She tells what happened and he tells her to drop out. She gets desperate to set things right even if she has to do it herself and curses herself for having no allies. He tells her straight she is not strong enough to do it by herself. If she can’t fight by herself, fight with another. Ayanokouji brings her to the teacher’s base and requests that Horikita be dropped out. Ayanokouji tells Hirata all this and he becomes frustrated at all the points they have collected but is set to lose. All he wanted was everyone to get along and now this sh*t. Don’t worry. Ayanokouji has a plan. On the final day as all the classes line up, everyone is shocked to see Ryuuen returning. He never left. This is what happened. On the first day, Ryuuen and Katsuragi made a pact. 1-C would transfer 200 special points’ worth of goods to 1-A as well as other info his class would find about other class leaders. For safety, Katsuragi wants proof. Hence, Ryuuen beats up Ibuki and another guy meant to be spies for 1-D and 1-B respectively. They have to look the part that they hate him to defect. After 1-C dropped out, Ryuuen hid himself on the island alone. What Katsuragi didn’t know is that Ryuuen also made a pact with Sakayanagi’s faction. Ryuuen calculates that their penalty points will be well overtaken just by guessing the leaders and that it is his victory. This is the result: Fourth place: 1-C with zero points; Third place: 1-A with 120 points; Second place: 1-B with 140 points; First place: 1-D with 225 points!!! Everyone is in shock but 1-D rejoices with this shocking outcome.

Back on the ship, Masayoshi Hashimoto contacts Sakayanagi who believes everything has gone according to plan. Now everyone is pointing fingers at Katsuragi as he believes Hashimoto has sold them out. Horikita seeks Ayanokouji’s answer. How did he do this? Simple. Horikita isn’t 1-D’s leader, hence everyone named her wrongly and lost points. Based on the rule, a class must have a valid reason to change leader. Her failing health was valid. Ayanokouji replaced her as the leader. He knew Ibuki was a spy and destroyed her camera, forcing her to take action to steal the card. He then made a deal with Yamauchi to dump dirt on her and also force Ibuki to steal the card. He then started the fire to make give her the chance to run and to meet up with Ryuuen. Ayanokouji explains how he knew Katsuragi wasn’t 1-A’s leader from that cave observation thingy. He also knew Ryuuen was on the island because when they visited his party, he noticed his radio. Ibuki had a similar one so it means she must be contacting him who is still on this island. At that point, he switched from spot occupation tactic to leader identification to earn points. He left 1-B alone because eroding their alliance in the long run is disadvantageous. Before she could find out his intentions, other 1-D students flank Horikita. They are impressed after hearing she is the reason they won and other lies they have been fed to. Later Ayanokouji meets Chabashira. He believes that man who is his father is the one asking her to expel him. All she has to say to him is that his father believes he will be expelled by his own accord. Ryuuen shows Ibuki a contract he has that he will receive hundreds of thousands of points every month till he graduates. This is provided he fulfils certain tasks and is approved by all 1-A students except Sakayanagi. This is Ryuuen’s main goal, to get this contract and he doesn’t like others interfering with it. Horikita confronts Ayanokouji again after finding out about the lies he told others to make her look like a hero. He reminds her about the allies she need. She thinks he did it for her and starts to blush. Once she thanks him, she starts sounding like a tsundere… But we hear Ayanokouji’s dark thoughts. He never thought of her as an ally. Not Kushida. Not Hirata. Not anybody. He views others as tools and will use whatever means to win.

Classroom Crisis: Solitude Is Better Than In Bad Company
Just as I feared, it couldn’t end at a point where it gets the ball rolling. Or at least when things are starting to look interesting. Ayanokouji revealing a side of his that we never knew. Okay, maybe we might get a rough idea of his character but we didn’t expect that he will have this kind of dark side. Or maybe he is just phrasing it in a metamorphic way. Maybe not.

Although generally the series itself is quite interesting, in some ways I find it a bit draggy and the pace could be a little slow at times. Especially the final arc of the season whereby the first years are thrown on an uninhabited island to fend for themselves for a week. It is almost like Survivor but Japanese high school anime style with all the drama and power play. There are some tension, trust issues and a possible traitor amidst the group and though the final episode’s explanation was quite interesting to say the least, well, too much thinking for a simpleton like me feels like a put off. So perhaps it is me for being impatient because the draggy parts of this Survivor game serves to build up all the twists and revelation in the end. But still, even if it is a bit confusing, it is still highly interesting.

I have this feeling this anime is a mix and borrows from a few other series. Since this series separates students’ abilities via classes and the lowest class gets discriminated, there is also a points battle system whereby classes can overtake that position if you have enough points to overhaul. Hence, I thought this series was some sort of comedy at first as this was what Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu was all about. No idiotic idiots around for comic relief. With Ayanokouji’s analytical narrations, it reminds me of the similar nature of the main character in Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru. Also since the last class which is where our main protagonist and focus are gets the least favourable treatment, it somewhat reminds me of a similar system in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu. Hence they work their way to prove otherwise. Competition is healthy, right? Well, not if you have really dark ulterior motives to do whatever it takes to keep those lower than you where they are.

I don’t know if this ‘scare tactic’ is a great way to get people to motivate and work hard. Because our mothers are always trying to drill into our young heads to study hard and get good grades to get high paying jobs. Otherwise you can only work as a garbage collector! See, you don’t need the government level people to tell us that. Mothers can be this strict too. You better listen to your mother’s words or else you’ll grow up with regrets regretting you should have listened to your mom to study hard then.

It also brings about the question of how this school actually grades and separates the first years into their respective classes. Because if 1-D is believed to be the most defective, should not they be allowed to be enrolled here in the first place? Like Ayanokouji who screwed up in the entrance exam, he got placed in the lowest class. Had he done better, he would have placed in a higher and better class and would things have turned out differently from him? Some like him may shine later and the school system allows him to upgrade if he does better. But remember, the other classes would have also improved. That is why sometimes making first impression and having a good start counts. Despite class 1-D being labelled as so, they are not totally useless. It could be just something that is ‘undesirable’ that the government doesn’t feel it is beneficial or advantageous to society or the nation in general. Like say, being an otaku? Something defective doesn’t necessarily it cannot be fixed. So being labelled as defective shouldn’t become a life sentence. But you know, society…

One thing interesting about each episode title is that they are based off a quote from a literature of various European philosophers. Mostly I can see taken are from French philosophers but there are German and Danish ones too. The quotes itself are interesting as it tells the dark nature of humans as perceived and observed by another human from a cynical perspective. You think man is smart and superior? Everyone has their own ulterior agenda and motive and it is quite interesting to note how these quotes subtly fit nicely into the episode. It makes you think that all the meritocracy and the likes are perhaps just a big fancy term to hide something more sinister like keeping yourself in power and keeping others below you. Basically, survival of the fittest too.

Also interesting to note is the mid-intermission section whereby it will display information pertaining to the school rules and like for the final arc of island survival, guidelines of how the survival game is played out. It is quite insightful and if you didn’t catch what the rules explained over in the episode proper, perhaps this part could be useful enough as a summary to pause and read through if you are ‘too lazy’ to go back and start finding out more on the rules later.

The characters are a hit and miss. It is not that they are very likeable but I noticed that the main ones and if possible all of them have something to hide. There is a Japanese saying that everyone has 3 types of faces: One you show the world, one you show to your closest friends and family and one only to yourself. This is what basically summarizes the main characters. In short, everyone lies or at least doesn’t seem to have that trustworthiness or the ability to trust others. Like Ayanokouji who looks like a sluggish guy who prefers not to get involved in anything but eventually gets dragged into it, we see snippets of flashbacks of his young past during the course of the series. It could be some sort of tragic child experiment since he eventually became the only one left. Despite his lethargic facial expressions that is even reflected in the way he speaks, he is a very capable and sharp person. Like as though this is a façade to conceal something and his set of extremely high level skills. You know what they say about being clever to hide your cleverness. He has got this great vision and has planned ahead to stay many steps ahead. Because so, I get this feeling that Ayanokouji could be the biggest antagonist of them all. Much darker and more brutal than Ryuuen or Katsuragi. Yup. He may be the bad guy and has taken us all for a ride making us think he is the main character. Who says main characters cannot be villains?

Then there is Horikita whom at first glance many would love to call a b*tch because of her high and prideful attitude. She thinks she is smarter than many others and I can’t blame her if she thinks so. Because if you have inferiority complex, you’ll never get to the top. And it looks like she is in a hurry to get there. So you might think that this is all Horikita has to show but as we have seen, there is a totally different side to her when she faces with her big brother. She admires him but the feeling is not mutual. So until she gets to the top, she’ll do whatever means necessary (legally of course) to get there. It feels like she has this big brother complex too because her rush to the top is so that she could gain Manabu’s acknowledgement. Like that’s her end game.

This dozen of episodes are too short to do justification to the many characters even for the main ones. If Ayanokouji and Horikita already have this much focus but yet we are still clueless about them, imagine the other characters. Like Kushida who isn’t really a nice girl and has a very dark and evil side that unfortunately Ayanokouji had the misfortune to come across. Even there is more than meets the eye for Hirata. He might look like a reliable and nice guy but we saw him at breaking point at one time. Again, it prompts us to ask if he is really all that seems and is there something darker lurking beneath the surface. After all, another saying about still waters run deep rings true for most and possibly all the characters in this school. Sakura is more straightforward as she admits she does not deal well with interacting with others and hence that masking personality, the other face, the internet idol Shizuku whom she pretends to be.

Sudou, Yamauchi and Ike are also more straightforward since they aren’t the brightest and are mostly simpletons. But just because we haven’t come across something that would put their talents to good use doesn’t mean we can write them off as useless. We would never know Ike was good at camping knowledge had this survival test did not come up. I believe one of the most ‘disappointing’ characters in 1-D is Kouenji. Because this vain guy is so full of himself and he cares about no one but himself. He is the least cooperative among the 1-D classmates and he looks more like a sleeping villain biding his time to take centre stage. I thought he would play some sort of a major role or at least something like Ryuuen but Tarzan boy for now is just in a world of his own. Just admiring his good looks, not giving a f*ck about the rest… You’re so vain, you think the song is all about you…

Although Class 1-D gets the main focus and it is unfortunate that we do not get to know the composition of the rest of the class (because again, the dozen episodes are not enough to squeeze everybody in), the other classes of the same grade too are interesting to watch. And it is unfortunate that there is not enough time to flesh out all of them. All we know that 1-C is currently being run by a dictator, there is some sort of secret power struggle between 2 opposing factions in 1-A and perhaps the best and most peaceful class is 1-B but they lack being perfect thanks to their homeroom teacher who is a klutz and drunkard. And that I mean of the cute anime girl kind of klutz and drunkard. I wonder when she’ll start talking about her love problems… She is the only faculty member to look so out of place because even Chabashira is no angel (a devil in disguise?) and a menacing teacher herself and she sounds like she too has an ulterior motive trying to blackmail Ayanokouji to get to 1-A. Even 1-C’s teacher looks like some sort of sneaky evil lawyer kind of person. Serious. Even if 1-B looks great and nice, if this series has taught me something, it is to suspect everyone and trust no one but yourself. They may look nice on the outside but even nice people have their problems. Just that the world doesn’t know. All these characters really look interesting with their different approaches too. It looks like they are heading for a huge collision course but too bad we won’t get to see it this season.

Art and animation looks rather okay but nothing to shout about. I just feel that some of the students here, especially the intimidating looking ones feel a bit out of place. What I mean is that they don’t really look like they are high school students. I know it is bad to judge a book by its cover but this elite school isn’t exactly a delinquent school and yeah, it houses all sorts of students of different shapes and sizes. For example, bald guy Katsuragi looks more like some sort of president’s bodyguard rather than a high school student. It’s like he got into the wrong show. The same for that black American guy, Yamada. Like as though he was hired straight out from America because he really only speaks with that American accent. It makes you question if this guy is really a transfer student. Kouenji looks more like a villain than a high school delinquent if you ask me. Ryuuen looks fit as some sort of a pimp or criminal mastermind ring leader than one too. Sudou isn’t that bad since I thought he looks like that guy from Yuu Yuu Hakusho or that delinquent basketball newbie in Slam Dunk. This series is animated by Lerche who did Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, the Danganronpa series, Kuzu No Honkai, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku and Monster Musume No Iru Nichijou.

Voice acting is pretty normal too. Because the main character duo of Ayanokouji and Horikita sound so monotonous and deadpan, it feels like they need to talk because they have to. Therefore hearing the very lively Kushida by Yurika Kubo (Hanayo in Love Live) and Sudou by Eiji Takeuchi feels so much better since they bring some emotions to their character. And handful of seiyuus I recognized include Ayana Taketatsu as Karuizawa, Mikako Komatsu as Ibuki, Nao Touyama as Ichinose and Rina Satou as Chabashira. The rest are Shouya Chiba as Ayanokouji (Kotarou in Tsuki Ga Kirei), Akari Kitou as Horikita (Yonaga in Alice To Zoroku), Mao Ichimichi as Sakura (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Ryota Ohsaka as Hirata (Zen in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime), Toshiki Iwasawa as Kouenji, Masaki Mizunaka as Ryuuen, Satoshi Hino as Katsuragi (Saito in Zero No Tsukaima), Rina Hidaka as Sakayanagi (Ririchiyo in Inu x Boku SS), Daiki Abe as Ike, Mutsuki Iwanaka as Yamauchi and Yuichiro Umehara as Manabu (En in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love).

The opening theme is Cast Room by ZAQ. Surprisingly this is quite a catchy tune incorporating some hip hop elements in it and funky bass line. At least that was the beginning part. Then slowly it turns into some fast beat pop. But overall this song isn’t that entire bad. The ending theme, Beautiful Soldier by Minami plays to a slower beat. Also not too shabby. In the ending credits animation, we get a glimpse of the total points of certain individuals as well as the total class points. Not like it really matters because I don’t see how the class points really play a pivotal role or significant part in this anime. At least not in the current plotline. I mean, so what this guy or 1-A has this much points? It means they can afford almost anything but knowing that doesn’t really change anything.

As long as there is a ranking system, somebody has to be top, somebody has to be bottom. In trying to strive for a perfect world or system, we make it even more imperfect. It shows that all of us aren’t born with equal talents in the first place. It brings for the debate of equality versus equity. Would you rather have everyone have the same starting point (equality) or the same outcome (equity). Sometimes the sad truth is that some who genuine work so hard their entire lives will never end up getting anywhere. It makes us truly ask if humans will ever be equal to each other. Not expecting to be perfectly perfect but do we even come close to that ideal.

This series is interesting that it examines the psychological aspects of human nature. Although if you want to go into deeper and more technical and complex matters, there is a whole subject and books and researches for you to check out on your own. As far as this anime is concerned, it has interesting characters and setting but the pacing might be a little bit slow and ultimately it is too short to resolve anything in a satisfying way. So basically being human is one big contradiction itself because there will always be 2 sides of the coin and the sword will always be double edged. For everything good, there is something bad. Vice versa. So for an elite school that promotes meritocracy and talents for future sustainable generation may be good as it fosters competitiveness and as such brings out the best in people. But it also creates a dog eat dog world and brings out the worst there is just to be at the top or to just survive. You can never be perfect, but you can be better. After all, there is this saying that goes: Mankind makes living contradictory.

Clione No Akari

January 6, 2018

Bullying seems to be rampant in all parts of the world. This includes the online portion. Japan isn’t excluded as well. Hate to break it to you but the land of the rising sun isn’t all sunshine and roses either. At least not that where we can obviously see. Clione No Akari centres around a girl who is bullied by her classmates. Making matters worse, she has some sort of illness and they are all elementary school kids. My, how unfortunate that even young children ‘naturally’ resorts to this whether it is for power, dominance, pure entertainment or out of peer pressure. A couple of her classmates try to befriend her but things seem to take a turn for the worse when she gets hospitalized and has been absent for months. No news or anything. But one day out of a blue, a mysterious text message was sent to them to meet at the summer festival.

Episode 1
Several guys are badmouthing Minori Amamiya as slow and rumours of her being seen dating older guys in town. Takashi Aoi wants to tell them off but I guess he has no balls to do it. As narrated, Minori has a weak body and spends most of her time in the infirmary. Her parents just passed away and her aunt to her in. Because she has no money and freedom, she became the object of bullying by others. It started with only a handful of people before spreading to the whole school. Even Kyouko Tsukihashi sympathizes with her but she too cannot do much if others gang up on Minori. During the test, Minori forgot her pencil case and nobody lent it to her until Kyouko did. Even so, everybody made fun of her and not heed the teacher’s warning to be quiet. That bad, huh? Later Takashi and Kyouko feel bad and guilty. They know Minori is being bullied and yet they couldn’t do anything to stop it. They feel weak and are cowards fearing something would happen to them if they side with her so all they can do is watch helplessly and worry.

Episode 2
The class is blaming the person on duty for the near death of their class pet goldfish. Guess who? And they’re making a big deal out of it to the teacher. After school, Takashi and Kyouko see Minori trying to console a puffer fish ride. It looks retarded and material for bullying since Minori thought it is a fish who ran away from the shop! When they call her, she responded. It made them happy because they wanted to see her smile. Kyouko says like the fish, all of them are running away from class. The trio start to become friends and hang out together. They try to get each other’s contacts and preferably each other’s mail address because kids are so advanced these days, whoever does outdated stuffs like mailing? Sure. Only a problem. Minori has no handphone whatsoever. She was told she doesn’t need one. So they give theirs first and in the event she manages to get one, please let them know hers. Minori starts crying not because she thought this was some sort of blackmail but rather she is happy they are so nice to her. Kyouko then hands tickets to the aquarium this weekend. Unless Takashi can cook seafood, his ticket is going to a seafood chef. Nah, just kidding. He can come along too.

Episode 3
The girls are wondering why Kyouko is wearing only 1 shoe and even so that shoe is not for indoors. They thought she is still daydreaming and leave her alone. She is actually hiding Minori. However Nanami Yukine sees this so Kyouko hopes she won’t tell anyone about this. Nanami sounds nervous about it but assures she will start supporting them. Kyouko notes that everyone started going with the flow watching Minori get bullied because they fear of being bullied themselves. Hearing what Nanami said give her the courage to do so. However she still feels depressed that although outside school she can call out to Minori easily, in school she is still a coward. It’s like being full of herself and it doesn’t make her feel any better. Takashi also knows that their situation isn’t as simple as giving Minori the courage to stand up to the bullying. They also have to respect Minori’s wish not to cause trouble to anyone or they will end up hurting her. As Minori rests at the infirmary, Nanami comes in to do her duties. She hums a song while drawing some health poster. Nanami becomes embarrassed knowing Minori heard that. But when her handphone rings and it sounds like a plethora of funny animal sounds, they start laughing. Minori confides in the puffer fish ride about causing trouble for Takashi and Kyouko despite their kindness. She starts to feel unwell.

Episode 4
The trio meet at the aquarium as promised. Kyouko makes Takashi the tour guide since his parents are marine biologists. They believe Minori likes puffer fish so that’s where they head first. The rest of the episode sees them really having fun watching the marine life (Takashi being the pro in explaining things) and watching the dolphin shows. If only fun times like this could last forever. Meanwhile Minori’s aunt gets a call to come to the hospital. Something about her niece that needs to be explained in person instead of over the phone about last week’s test.

Episode 5
The aquarium fun continues as the trio watch some mollusc called clione. They have no shells and swim closely to the surface of the water and it makes them look like mini angels. You know fun times won’t last forever because it’s closing time. Yeah, time just flew by that they spent the whole day there and now the souvenir shop is closed, Kyouko can’t buy any gift to commemorate this special day. On their way to the bus stop, they passed by a shrine but don’t remember seeing it on their way earlier. Minori then asks if they like the summer festivals because she hopes they can all go next week. So when it seemed like everything looks okay, Takashi narrates that they might have all just been doing this to ease their guilt of watching Minori getting bullied and saying nothing. Because, what exactly did change? For a while now, Minori stopped coming to school.

Episode 6
With Minori absent, the class is getting paranoid because they don’t know who will become the next victim. And it looks like Nanami because the pet goldfish almost died again and it was on her watch. She can’t take the pressure and starts crying. Kyouko had to console her so the bullying stops for now. Takashi and Kyouko try to ask for information from their teacher if Minori is in hospital or anything but she refuses to give out private information and just tells them to wait for her to tell them personally. If she ever comes back, that is. The duo then hang out at the aquarium. They thought they saw Minori but it is Nanami. She lives nearby and often comes here since none of their other classmates does. If that’s the case, she thought they should hang out with Minori here. We see Minori in hospital. She requests her aunt to give her old handphone. Takashi and Kyouko receive an anonymous mail talking about the festival in the next town. They believe it is Minori as attempts to reach that number resulted in undelivered mail. So when they arrive at the festival grounds, they see Minori waiting. Happy days are here again.

Episode 7
The trio are having fun at the festival. The girls fail their goldfish scooping so Takashi gets a puffer fish plushie for Minori by winning the shooting game. As the trio walk along, they pass by their class bullies who are working at a takoyaki stall. The cringe is strong when the bullies start rapping about them being takoyaki brothers! WTF?! They start mocking Minori looks well and is skipping school. The trio make a run for it but the bullies give chase. In a secluded area, the trio stumble into Nanami as she helps hide them. When the bullies arrive, there are also their other female classmates. They saw what happened so they tease the guys they left their stall unmanned. This means free takoyaki? Plus, they threaten to tell the teacher that they are working since school rules strictly prohibited it. The bullies relent and head back. Minori and co descend the steps to the beach.

Episode 8
Sitting on the dark side of the beach, Takashi notices a lone lighthouse shining in the darkness and equates it like Minori. However Kyouko gets mad at him for saying that. Minori then starts running towards the lighthouse while the duo try to keep up. She shows them the beautiful city lights from this view. Takashi then apologizes what he said and Minori the same too because she just wanted Kyouko to be good friends with him. As she is always getting bullied, watching them being friends made her forget all the bad things she felt. Kyouko is still dissatisfied they never did anything in the first place. But in Minori’s heart, they are like twin clione. Even in the cold icy waters, they could make you feel warm and happy. Kyouko cries and hugs Minori. They then thank her for the text she sent but hopes to leave her number so they could contact her in the future. However Minori claims she never sent it to them. Weird, right? And looks like Minori’s aunt has received the bad news from the doctors. Her hospital bed is empty…

Episode 9
Minori confirms she didn’t send the message but did write a lot of messages to them from her hospital bed. As she doesn’t have a contract as it will burden her aunt, she didn’t and couldn’t send them. When her illness worsened, she realized she cannot be with them like usual. She didn’t want to bother them but didn’t know what to do. So she kept dreaming all the things they would have done based on the unsent messages she wrote. It became her treasure box full of future memories that might happen for them. For some reason, she decided to delete them all except one. As it starts raining, Takashi and Kyouko rush back. For some reason, Minori just stood there and watch their backs. The duo realize she didn’t tag along, turn back to grab her hand as they take shelter back at the beach. Minori would love to watch over them for now and forever so Kyouko corrects her that it should be the 3 of them. Then they look at their shadows that resemble like tetrapods. It means no matter what big wave comes at them, they’ll be fine. Oddly, Takashi and Kyouko could sleep there till morning arrives. By the time the rain has let up and Minori is nowhere to be seen. Just her handphone left behind.

Episode 10
Takashi and Kyouko look around for Minori but she is nowhere to be found. Nice timing when the bullies pop up. However they are not going to give in and force them to help look for Minori. Because if anything happens to her it is their fault! Okay, okay. Kyouko also calls Nanami and the other girls to help search. In the end, a call from their teacher sends shockwaves to them. Minori had passed away shortly in a hospital before dawn. Kyouko is in so much shock she is still in denial and believes Minori is still around. They were just only together last night. Need to go find her. Takashi stops her and lets her know the teacher wants them to call Minori’s aunt as requested. The real story goes that Minori stopped coming to school because she was being passed from hospital to hospital as her illness worsens. She didn’t want to leave town but had to for a bigger hospital. Although she got a handphone, she had not contract so she is unable to contact others. Others thought she was communicating with her imaginary friends. Looking inside her handphone, there are no sent or received messages. Just a draft saying how she hopes to hang out with Takashi and Kyouko someday. Kyouko loses it and starts weeping uncontrollably. Nanami thinks the mystery text that was responded by Takashi and Kyouko was in actual fact they sent it to themselves. They don’t think so.

Episode 11
This episode Minori narrates her entire handphone log AKA diary. It starts from the first day her aunt gave her a handphone. Others include she bought a red and blue clione as a handphone strap as she views Takashi and Kyouko as so. She made friends with a little boy who is excited to go to elementary school and make lots of friends. One night, the nurses were in a commotion. Seems an old man who was kind to Minori had passed away. It made her wonder where people go when they die. Will we meet in heaven or just disappear? Minori also got a notice from her daughter that her stay at the hospital has been extended and it put a damper on her plans to go to the festivals. So she daydreams about having fun at the festivals with her friends and talk a lot about other things. Then she kept watching them till she disappears and nothing but her handphone is left behind. She slowly felt being swept away by the dark ocean. It was her grave. Then she had a dream in the morning whereby she saw an adult version of Takashi and Kyouko. Or at least they curiously look like them. That little girl might be their daughter. They were so happy together. Despite all the bad things that have happened to her, Minori still wants to go back to her town. Most probably her friends are waiting there. She wishes she could fly straight to them.

Episode 12
Everyone is in shock and doesn’t know what to do. They thought of visiting the hospital but she might not even be there. Even if so, how would they face her? Takashi and Kyouko thanks them and allows them to leave. So we hear their thoughts, the girls blaming the bullies for being the worst but they too blame themselves for taking advantage of that and are no better. It hits them hard about life and death. They want to say sorry but it’s too late. She’s gone. Nanami tells us she was a bully victim too. She knows how hard it is. She was terrified to be bullied again and became a coward. Takashi and Kyouko continue to bum around the beach. They still feel awful. They believe her handphone is filled with her memories and promise to keep it close to them. With so much crying and regret, suddenly time stops. Or they go into another dimension. They see a vision of a future Minori happy and smiling. They vow to write long messages and believe Minori is no longer alone. The 3 of them will always be together forever.

Keep Calm And Carry On Being Friends
Yawn… What a boring… Oh wait. The final episode was like trying to stir up emotions with all the friends regretting but at that point I am left confused with just everything. Because who the hell sent them the mystery text? They don’t know. How did her handphone ended up in their hands? Don’t know. Lazy writing. And what is that vision of Minori they have? Is Minori still alive? In the future?! Because I thought she died? And the ‘funniest’ as well as the ‘saddest’ part is that Takashi and Kyouko from my point of view seems to have lost it. They have gone crazy being in denial that Minori will always be around. Sure, in their hearts but from what I can see they are now treating a dead girl as their imaginary friend. If that is how they can carrying on living, well, whatever works for them.

While I appreciate this series trying to tackle the issue of bullying, I feel that this series is still overall boring. What am I expecting? Some sort of God-like intervention and miracle? Not quite. It is basically and mainly a couple of classmates feeling really bad for her and trying to not make her feel so isolated by becoming her friend. A big part of the series is like them trying to befriend and hang out with Minori. Oh, but the plot twist of her being dead and that time spent at the festivals with her could be her spirit or something. Thanks to that foreshadowing before the festival trip, I had expected this sort of twist and therefore it wasn’t a surprise. I mean, something needs to happen otherwise this series is just as boring as f*ck, right? A boy and a girl befriend a bully victim. Have fun together at a local summer festival. They become friends for life. The end. Happy ending. Doesn’t quite cut it, does it? Or maybe this could be all just a big dream… If that was true, worst writing ever!

Even with Minori being out-of-body experience thingy, I still feel that this part is still boring. Perhaps this show was intended for children so we can’t be too heavy on the twist. I mean, the trio have fun together that night and the next morning, Minori is gone without a trace leaving behind only her handphone. Now doesn’t that sound like some cheap horror story to frighten children?

As much as I want to sympathize with Minori, I just can’t. Maybe just a little. Okay, maybe I just don’t feel the connection, the heart strings the series is supposed to pull while showcasing Minori’s case. She might not be showing it upfront but from my perspective she looks to be handling it reasonably well for a girl her age. Of course bullying is bad and I don’t condone it ever.

As for Takashi and Kyouko, scoffing them off won’t be right either because I imagined myself in their shoes and what I would do if I were them. Probably worse. I’d ignore everything, turn a blind eye and pretend I didn’t see it all! Keep calm and keep walking away! So I understand why they sometimes feel like they want to be friends with Minori is for self-satisfaction. Ease some of the guilt for being an observer all this time. Now that they have the courage to at least be her friend, it is some form of atonement. They even admitted to this. At least these kids have some level of conscience. If they had never managed to become her friends and the bullying continued, I am most certain that Minori will return as a ghost and haunt them for the rest of their lives. And then kill them one by one… Yeah, this show will turn out entirely different then. Imagine Minori as the next Carrie… Chilling…

Same can be said for Nanami and some of the other classmates. You can’t blame them for being scared to become the next bully victim so it is only natural they would either join in the taunting or pretend to ignore everything just to save their own skin. It’s just basic human nature. Better somebody else than me. Eventually Nanami’s conscience also creeps up to her because I’m guessing she can’t sleep soundly at night knowing she has had a hand in bullying Minori and wants to atone but doesn’t know how or have the courage to do so. With Takashi and Kyouko bravely taking the first step, at least it was a start.

For the bullies who kept harassing Minori, it is just mind boggling to think what the adults are doing. Do they not know of this? Or they wash their hands off and because it is just kids ‘fooling around’, they don’t give much attention. You know how this would spawn even more bully victims in the future because the traumatized bully victim will grow up to be the next bully. Well, can’t call in the army each time a bully case is mentioned, right? As I understand the other classmates do not want the backlash and hence do not report to the teachers or even parents, do the teachers not see what is going on? You fail as educators! It shivers me to think the kind of upbringing and personality of those bullies’ parents.

Therefore when all of them suddenly have a change in heart in the final episode, I don’t really feel sad for them. Sure I pity them but with all those tears trying to make us change our minds that they still have a conscience, it didn’t quite get it there yet. Because I believe even though they are kids, it is in a way a befitting punishment and fate for them. They will carry on for the rest of their lives having this sort of guilt in their heart. The poor soul whom they tormented is now gone forever and they have no longer any way to make up for it. If it changes them to become better people and advocate against bullying, good. Or they may go crazy later in life. Either way, it stays with them and that is the most important lesson that we learn from this series. Therefore a bully and a bully victim are both cursed. So people, say no to bullying.

If the art and drawing feels a bit low quality, please forgive Studio Drop because this is their first debut anime. That explains why the characters look very plain and sometimes a bit cartoonish, like as though the show is intended for younger audience. Yeah, if they appeared in Pokemon, I think they might blend in nicely. It might be just me but I think Minori looks a bit like a retard. Not sure if her character design was intended to be this way. Oh, doesn’t Minori look like a kid version of Code Geass’ C.C.? No? Must be just me then.

Voice acting just feels average. Nothing special. Minori and Takashi’s seiyuu, Sayuri Matsumura and Shunya Ohira respectively, this is their first anime debut. So forgive them if they sound a bit like amateurs especially Takashi’s seiyuu who sounds a bit more obvious. Others include Natsuko Hara as Kyouko (Tokine in Nazotokine) and Rico Sasaki as Nanami (Kyouko in Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Girls). The opening theme is the same name as this series and sung by Aki. Sounds pretty okay. She also sings the ending theme, Sora Wo Tobu Kaze which is quite a beautiful slow piece and you can’t help feel sad in hearing this song. Even the insert song, Hyakunichi No Hana by Rico Sasaki also has this same feel. I guess these songs are the only parts of the series that made me feel some feels in the heart.

Overall, this anime is just one big drama of kids trying to befriend a bully victim. It lacks content for it to be interesting and that spirit thingy feels like a cheap twist. It is nothing ground breaking or earth shattering in a way that it would change bullying anyhow. At least it sheds some light and could be relatable to some. So be careful who you call ugly or bully during your school years. Because what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger and they will come back in the future with a vengeance. Who will be having the last laugh then? Once the bully is now the bully victim. Uh huh. Just an eternal vicious cycle of bullying. Sometimes I feel we should all just be a clione. Happily floating and shining around in the dark ocean while minding our own business.

HAPPY BELATED NEW YEAR 2018! And so another year has come and go. What else is there left to do but as always, starting off the year with another blog. It has been a while since I did my last blog entry on some sort of anime variety so for a change of pace of starting off the year with this entry instead of another anime summary-cum-blog.

What are the most effective ways for learning in a classroom? A good teacher? Good students? Good learning materials? A conducive environment? What about class size? Don’t you think that the smaller and less number of students, the concentration rate should be better? Maybe. Having a class with only a handful of students may mean that your class is some sort of special elite or it can just mean that it isn’t as popular. So we take a look at some of the anime classes with only a few students.

Anime: Special A.
School: Hakusen Academy.
Class: A Class AKA Special A (SA).
Number of students: 7.
Members: Kei Takashima, Hikari Hanazono, Tadashi Karino, Akira Toudou, Jun Yamamoto, Megumi Yamamoto and Ryuu Tsuji.
Teacher: Nil.
Qualifications: The top 7 grades only from all grades qualify.
Comment: Perhaps the most famous class with only a handful of students. It pays to be in the top 7 because this class has a huge greenhouse of their own and they can basically do whatever they want. But if they are so smart in the first place, why the need to come to school in the first place? Why aren’t they out there making the world a better place? The eighth highest person must the most frustrated person in missing out…

Anime: Akuma No Riddle.
School: Myoujou Academy.
Class: Black Class.
Number of students: 13.
Members: Tokaku Azuma, Isuke Inukai, Kouko Kaminaga, Hitsugi Kirigaya, Shiena Kenmochi, Haruki Sagae, Suzu Shuutou, Otoya Takechi, Chitaru Namatame, Nio Hashiri, Sumireko Hanabusa, Mahiru Banba and Haru Ichinose.
Teacher: Ataru Mizorogi.
Qualifications: Assassination techniques.
Comment: Twelve assassins, one target. Imagine a classroom that only exists to see who can kill the target first. You only get one chance or you get expelled. Because the reward of getting any wish granted for successfully eliminating the target sounds more tempting than graduating together. Yeah, nobody pays attention to the teacher when you’re much more interested in assassinating the target. His lessons are so irrelevant to their goal… And he should have been suspecting something amiss when the girls keep transferring out one by one…

Anime: Medaka Box.
School: Hakoniwa Academy.
Class: Class 13.
Number of students: As its name suggests, 13.
Members: Myori Unzen, Shigusa Takachiho, Kei Munakata, Itami Koga, Youka Naze, Mizou Yukuhashi, Oudo Miyakonojou, Gunki Itoshima, Otome Yunomae, Hamaya Hyakuchou, Yutori Chikuzen, Yamami Tsurumisaki and Shoko Kamimine.
Principal: Hakama Shiranui.
Qualifications: Abnormalities far more abnormal than any other and must participate in Flask Plan.
Comment: When you have abnormal powers so refined, developed and over-the-top badass, why the heck do you need to attend classes anyway? You’d rather spend time experimenting on your powers further by playing the antagonist. Only can be dealt with if you are way stronger. A freak show that you definitely don’t want to mess with.

Animation: Danganronpa The Animation.
School: Hope Peak Academy.
Class: Not specified.
Number of students: 15 + 1.
Members: Makoto Naegi, Kyouko Kirigiri, Yasuhiro Hagakure, Hifumi Yamada, Kiyotaka Ishimaru, Junko Enoshima, Chihiro Fujisaki, Celestia Ludenberg, Mondo Oowada, Leon Kuwata, Aoi Asahina, Sakura Oogami, Touko Fukawa, Byakuya Togami and Sayaka Maizono. Mukuro Ikusaba is the hidden student.
Principal: Monokuma.
Qualifications: You need to be some sort of super duper high school level talented dude in your related field to be part of this special school.
Comment: A school that gathers the best of everyone for mutual killings? Somebody is going to get sued for that fake advertising of being luckily selected to enrol in this school. Either you live here for the rest of your life or the only way to graduate by murdering your classmates and getting away with it. A perfect crime.

Animation: Kamisama No Inai Nichiyoubi.
School: Gola Academy.
Class: Not specified.
Number of students: 9 + 1.
Members: Volrath, Run, Tanya, Hardy, Gigi, Mimi, Meme and new transfer students Ai Astin and Alis Colour. Momo is the third sister of twins Mimi and Meme and lives within them. So that’s counted, right? I don’t consider Dee Entzie Stratmitos as one since she is a ghost and currently possessing Alis.
Teacher: Magiita Houzento.
Qualifications: As long as you are a child with special abilities.
Comment: I know when God abandoned the world, people stopped dying and children ceased to be born. But who the heck pays a hefty sum for to a school per student? No wonder when you enter this place you can’t leave. Can an 80 year old grandpa still enrol in it? Besides, what are you going to do with all that money in this dead world?

Anime: Grisaia No Kajitsu.
School: Mihama Academy.
Class: Not specified. A plural class.
Number of students: 6.
Members: Yumiko Sakaki, Amane Suou, Michiru Matsushima, Makina Irisu, Sachi Komine and Yuuji Kazami.
Teacher: Chizuru Tachibana. She is also the principal.
Qualifications: For “fruits that have fallen too far from its tree”.
Comment: Not only you have a class with so few students, heck, you have the entire academy to yourself! It’s like a ghost school or something and only these ‘lucky’ few can enjoy all the amenities and facilities offered. Okay, it might just be a prison guise in the form of a high school.

Anime: Ao No Exorcist.
School: True Cross Academy.
Class: Cram Class.
Number of students: 8 minus 1.
Members: Rin Okumura, Shiemi Moriyama, Izumi Kamiki, Ryuji Suguro, Renzo Shima, Konekomaru Miwa and Nemu Takara. Noriko Paku was a former member and quit after thinking she cannot keep up with the studies and not willing to put her life on the line.
Teacher: Yukio Okumura. Shura Kirigakure who disguised herself as a student joins the teaching staff after her identity is revealed.
Qualifications: Having the resolve to fight demons is a good start.
Comment: You need to go to school just to fight demons and ultimately Satan himself? Well, demons aren’t anything like humans so you need to hone all sorts of abilities and exorcist skills to combat these unearthly beings. Nobody is a born genius. Everyone needs to go through proper training with sheer determination, willpower and perseverance.

Anime: Non Non Biyori.
School: Asahigaoka Branch School.
Class: Unspecified.
Number of students: 5.
Members: Hotaru Ichijou, Renge Miyauchi, Natsumi Koshigaya, Komari Koshigaya and Suguru Koshigaya.
Teacher: Kazuho Miyauchi.
Qualifications: What qualifications?
Comment: In the countryside where population is scarce and not densely populated, you can fit an entire school with the same grades into a single class!!! Saves time, saves space, cost effective. Efficient, no? What more, everyone does their own self-study most of the time so why the heck do you need a teacher to supervise them when she herself is mostly napping. Heck, life is so simple there, you don’t need to study all that syllabus and thus doing away with that stressful exam thingy.

Anime: Gen’ei Wo Kakeru Taiyou.
School: Sephiro Fiore Nagataki branch. This is actually more of an organization than a school.
Class: Not known.
Number of students: 4.
Members: Akira Taiyo, Seira Hoshikawa, Luna Tsukuyomi and Ginka Shirokane.
Teachers: Etia Visconti, Ariel Valtiel Westcott, Priscilla Twilight and Meltina Melvis.
Qualifications: Able to wield the power of the Elemental Tarot.
Comment: Hmm… An organization under the guise of a fortune telling school to fight Daemonia? Well, they do act like a normal school when not battling the threats of Daemonia. I suppose a well-balanced life is in need because you’d go crazy fighting Daemonia 24/7. And to put such burden on teenage girls…

Anime: Juuou Mujin No Fafnir.
School: Midgar Academy.
Class: Brynhildr Class.
Number of students: 8.
Members: Mitsuki Mononobe, Iris Freya, Lisa Highwalker, Firill Crest, Ariella Lu, Ren Miyazawa, Yuu Mononobe and Tear Lightning.
Teacher: Haruka Shinomiya.
Qualifications: Able to materialize your dark matter that will be useful in the frontlines of the battlefield. Being a Type D is already a given since you have to be that to be enrolled in this school.
Comment: You isolate a group of Type D people on an island away from any civilization so that horny dragons who want to find their mate can head straight there without having to destroy the precious city. Sure, why not put them on the moon. Or Mars. And if fighting ‘undefeatable’ dragons, why put the responsibility on this handful of students of a small class? Can’t the rest fight?

Anime: Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream.
School: Pretty Top.
Class: Actually, more like the idol unit is named MARs.
Number of students: 3.
Members: Aira Harune, Rhythm Amamiya and Mion Takamine.
Teachers: Pengin sensei and Yamada.
Qualifications: The will to entertain your fans and perform the jump.
Comment: I guess this barely counts. I was in a dilemma to put this in because you know, idol units under the guidance of a mentor do not really count (eg- Wake Up! Girls). But I decided to just put it in because there is an agency-cum-school for idols and from time to time you see the teacher giving lessons but he girls are mainly left to train and practice on their own. I know MARs is their best idol unit but I don’t see any other groups around under this agency. Who needs them when you have MARs always taking top spots in tournaments?

The Chosen Few…
There are a handful of other animes that I didn’t list down because of that perpetual dilemma of mine whether or not it fits this category. For example, the Night Class in Vampire Knight. What we see are the handful of hot and beautiful vampire students of the class. However there are many ‘unimportant’ ones that are not focused, therefore it only seemed like the class may have a few students but actually isn’t. As for Angel Beats and Kamigami No Asobi, the ‘true’ students are only a few but because of the manifestation of NPCs and other spirits respectively, it makes the classroom looks full and thus I decided finally to not include it. Prison School is out too despite the guys being incarcerated separately doesn’t constitute a different class.

It also wasn’t clear cut in Kono Aozora Ni Yakusoku Wo because the setting is about the declining population of an island. Despite the anime focuses on the only characters living in the dorm who attend high school, this does not signify that the classes they attend are short of students. At least, not that I can remember of. Love Live is definitely out because although it started out with the school’s enrolment figures decreasing and proposed to be shut down after all its current students graduate, current year classes still do have the average number of students. I also didn’t include Gakkou Gurashi as it isn’t technically a class but a small group of friends banding together in the wake of the zombie apocalypse.

It is yet to be seen how effective those classes are with only a handful of students. Theoretically it is supposed to. At least you have an easier time remembering the names of your fellow classmates! Easier workload for the teacher because there isn’t going to be much homework to mark. Haha. But what about funding? Because don’t more students mean more income for the school? I noticed that many of these schools have a wealthy sponsor sponsoring so this is not a worrying factor. After all, when you have such an exclusive class like that, money is the least of your problems. And like what they say, quality over quantity.

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