Houseki No Kuni

March 25, 2018

This is going to be a gem. Literally. Somebody had this bright shiny idea to take several gemstones and give them human personalities. Hence you get this anime Houseki No Kuni. Oh, you bet these characters made out of precious stones are going to be very precious and priceless. As a matter of fact they are. Because aliens from another world constantly invade their peaceful land and try to kidnap them to be brought back to their planet where they serve as decorations! Holy cow! It sounds as ridiculous as it is interesting. So these jewel people have to fight and stave off the invaders before they end up as someone’s ornament. Is this the price to be paid for freedom? I guess this is even more valuable than all the gemstones you can find and collect.

Episode 1
Phosphophyllite AKA Phos is frolicking around when she is called by Master Kongou for a job. Meanwhile the Lunarians begin their attack as Morganite AKA Morga and Goshenite AKA Goshe intercept them. Kongou explains the enemy often come here to harvest them as jewellery as decoration on the moon. There are only 28 of them but the Lunarians are infinite. As many of them work in pairs and different jobs, there was none whom he could rely Phos on. Kongou goes down to the field to see Morga and Goshe defeated and their gems being harvested. One power voice shatters the enemies away. Phos is also shattered. Therefore he brushes off Phos’ idea of wanting to join in battle since her hardness level is only 3 and the job she is most suited for is compiling their encyclopaedia. It is a job that requires creativity and intelligence. Phos is not happy about it but it is this honesty that Kongou has her for this job. Rutile the doctor puts the pieces back on them. As long as they have enough pieces, they won’t lose memories as their bodies are home to microscopic organisms. Phos tries to get the duo to help her get out of this boring job. So Goshe suggests swapping places. In her rashness, Phos takes her sword but quickly tumbles. Thankfully she didn’t break. They suggests asking Cinnabar if she wants to know more. However she has not met her before as she is always on night patrol. It seems that she is the only one who can see at night and unlike the rest of them, she doesn’t need to feed off the sun. Also her silvery poison can destroy anything it touches. It seems like the perfect fighting machine but only 1 problem: Lunarians never invade at night. So a meaningless night patrol?

Phos decides to make Cinnabar her helper but she needs to find her first. She keeps looking until dusk and when she sees her, she is in the midst of fighting off Lunarians. Despite in a dilemma of not wanting to kill her surroundings, she continues fighting them to protect Phos. Phos tries to save her when she falls off the cliff but her hands break. Later Cinnabar reveals she is the weakest of the lot and has only a hardness level of 2. While getting fixed up by Rutile, she further explains to her how gifted Cinnabar is but because of this flaw, they are forced to put her in the night. At least in a way it gives meaning to her existence since all of them cannot die, they have to face these problems till they find an answer. Later Phos returns to that spot and Cinnabar isn’t amused she hasn’t learnt her lesson of how dangerous this area is. Phos hear her wish to be taken by the Lunarians. At least she will be of use as decoration. They never showed up until Phos did. Cinnabar helps a little in Phos’ compilation as Phos vows to find something better for Cinnabar to do. So stop saying she wants to go to the moon. Later Cinnabar notices Phos has dropped her notebook. She sees her own hand mark on it when Phos tried to save her. It makes her emotional.

Episode 2
As narrated, a shooting star visited this world and fractured into 6 moons. All life forms fled to the sea or shores but those who were late sunk to the depths of the ocean. They were consumed by microorganisms and over time became gemstones before rising to the surface once more. Phos is now bugging Jade and Euclase for some ideas when Rutile interrupts to give an unwanted impact test on Jade to test her hardness. In tip top condition as always. Phos volunteers to have one but Rutile shoots her down. She knows she is one of the weakest. Bummer. To get her off her back, Jade tells Phos to find Diamond AKA Dia since she might have some new fighting moves. Indeed she goes to bug her as Phos plays out her sob story of being stuck in this job. But then the Lunarians arrive. Dia goes on the offensive. She looks impressive swinging back those arrows. However Phos feels something isn’t right. What is that cracking sound? To her worst fears, it looks like Dia is cracking. Luckily Bort is here to save the day and easily destroy the enemy. Dia explains 10 is the maximum hardness level as all of them in the diamond class are. Dia might be tough but is fragile under impact. Unlike a monocrystal like her, Bort is some sort of microcrystal synthetic and no impact will shake her. Thus the hardest of them all and the one true diamond. A weak diamond is not a real diamond. Sometimes Dia has this thought if only Bort wasn’t around…

Bort then angrily approaches Dia and rips off her arm! It makes that cracking sound. Bort is mad she told her not to fight because of her body condition and yet she did. Dia doesn’t want to always be protected. Phos foolishly tries to vouch for Dia but Bort doesn’t appreciate her antics. Calling her a nuisance, she is going to get rid of her when a new enemy appears. However it passes them and hovers across the school. Say, isn’t Kongou in the midst of meditation now? A giant shell crashes near Jade and Euclase. Bort attacks the enemy and tells Dia to stay out. Because there is nothing she can do. Bort easily cuts down the enemy. Jade and Euclase leave Phos to research on this shell and of course she tries to weasel her way out of it but fails. Suddenly the shell springs to life and devours Phos. She feels hot and cannot move. As the others try to save her, it seems whatever touches this snail causes them the melt. Not even Bort can get close. They think this might be a new weapon sent from the moon. Bort tries to call out to Phos but she isn’t answering. Phos is gradually melting and dissolving into nothing as she laments for someone to save her or else Cinnabar will never be free. Worry about yourself first than others, please.

Episode 3
Dia notices that the some parts of the shell has turned in Phos’ colour. She believes Phos was trying to show the snail’s weakness. She slides down to tear out its guts. In the aftermath, a little docile snail appears in its place. The rest go dive underwater where the shell has fallen to find traces of Phos but to no avail. Where has she gone to? Noticing how annoying this little snail is, could this be Phos?! They had to break Rutile’s break to get help but eventually Dia can’t leave it with her because she wants to dissect it! Dia begins to wonder if Phos’ transformation was she took her advice literally about changing from within. Yeah, looks like it. Dia shows the new Phos to everyone but nobody really cares about turning her back. Maybe she is better this way? Dia also starts to wonder if she is better off like this because she will not have to worry and bother anyone anymore. Cinnabar does her night patrol and thinks Lunarians are here. But all that bright is just Dia as she has fallen asleep. Do diamonds shine this bright in darkness? Dia introduces Cinnabar to this snail and hopes she can find a way to turn Phos back. But like the others, she too believes she is better off like this. Dia remains positive (or perhaps she took it all the wrong way) thinking Cinnabar is in love with Phos or something. As Cinnabar explains the various snails around the land, it then dawned to Dia on a way to save Phos. Could it be that Phos has turned partly into the shell? So she runs back and gathers her comrades to pull the shell out of the water. Then for every piece of that coloured pieces they chip it out for Rutile to put them back together again. Voila! Phos is back! However she is not happy with the snail and tries to attack it! She is so comical that everyone laughs and believes the snail is smarter than her! Phos seems to be arguing with the snail while everyone else wonders who she is talking to.

Episode 4
Kongou finally wakes up from his sleep meditation. Jade reports what happened but since Bort took care of it all, everything else is fine. At first I thought Phos was having so much time adlibbing the snail. Turns out she is the only one who can telepathically communicate with Ventricosus. Because of that, everyone thinks Phos is having a mental breakdown talking to herself. Even Rutile wants to tear Phos apart and rebuild her to regain her sanity! After Kongou learns about Ventricosus, Phos misinterprets what she says to him. Ventricosus wants to date this hunk but she translates that as wanting to be his slave! Kongou feels the need to maintain equal amiable relations and since Phos is the only one who can understand, she is made to look after it. Phos then asks about Cinnabar’s pointless job. Kongou reveals that she was the one who suggested doing the night job. He is still finding a way to solve her problem. Ventricosus suggests coming with her back to her home in the sea as there is a creature that looks a lot like them and might offer hints. Hence Phos steals some powder from Rutile and Red Beryl (who needs it to finish her new uniform) so as to go underwater. She is caught in the act and Kongou forbids her to go there. She argues it is for the encyclopaedia but he tells her to finish the hills first. He has not gotten a single report from her since.

Ventricosus grows weaker seeing it needs food instead of sunlight to replenish itself. They talk about life and death and with her wish to see her home one last time, Phos decides to go against Kongou’s warning and venture into the sea with Ventricosus. She then turns into her beautiful almost humanoid form. If this is The Little Mermaid’s Ursula and how she looks like if she was hot? Well, almost. Ventricosus talks about the legends of her people. Once this world were inhabited by creatures called humans. Everything endured for 5 moons until the sixth one came. They took to the sea and split into soul, flesh and bones. What she meant was they split themselves into 3 species to survive. Ventricosus’ people, the Admirabilis are said to have come from their flesh. The bones are said to have struck a deal with other life forms, gained longer lifespans and returned above water. The soul is said to have found ‘new lands’ and now they seek the flesh and bones to bring about a revival of humans. The soul could be what we know as Lunarians. Because the soul have no other enemies and lust for battles, it may speak volumes of what humans once were. If that is the case, the rest of them have changed for the better. After almost a day, they arrive at supposedly Ventricosus’ home. Nothing. Barren. Tired Phos lies down to rest when Ventricosus apologizes she has someone important to her as Cinnabar is to Phos. Lunarians’ arrows attack and shatter Phos. It seems Ventricosus has made a deal with them to offer Phos in exchange for her brother, Aculeatus.

Episode 5
A search party is held for Phos. They believe she went to the sea and true enough there are footsteps leading there. Phos is fished out by the Lunarians. Ventricosus is not happy they want her to lure more before they return her brother. When she refuses, they attack her. A large Pokemon-like creature pops up. The Lunarians attack it and in pain it attacks them and cause their entire ship to crash. It turns out to be Aculeatus as he turns into his humanoid form. Dark tentacle prince? He notes they must escape now as word of this would have reach the moon. He praises Ventricosus for using Phos to rescue her and pulled it off without handing her over. After hearing that, Phos can’t feel mad at them. She agrees to be used as a negotiation tool in exchange Cinnabar is kept out of this. Kongou sees off this girls as they head into the sea. Cinnabar watching from afar is trying to convince herself she is not part of this. Then a weakened and repentant Phos washes up behind her. For some reason she doesn’t tell the rest and drags her back to the school. Because of that the others are still out there looking for Phos. They tire easily as they are not used to underwater. As Rutile heads back to get more materials, she trips on Phos. Oh dear. Looks like everyone is trying to help put her back together and quick because they hear the thunderous steps of Kongou! Be fearful! Then they all go hide as Kongou’s scolding is enough to shatter some bits. However he has her rest and will hear the rest of her report tomorrow. And with that report he calls off her encyclopaedia research. As Phos lie motionless, most of her parts are recovered except her legs. There is a couple of bones from the Lunarians’ ship that was washed up with her. It is some sort of quartz called agate. Rutile is unsure to use this as her legs. She tries it out but Phos cannot still walk. A bit of bad news as Phos cannot remember some of her comrades like Jade. Don’t take it too personally… As Phos struggles by herself, thoughts of Cinnabar flashes across her mind. Suddenly she stands up and vows she cannot be weak. Well what do you know? Now she can walk! Even better, run faster than Sonic!

Episode 6
Yellow Diamond and Zircon are being chased by the Lunarians. Zircon protects the former and shatters. Yellow takes her back to Rutile to be fixed as they talk about Zircon being the second youngest after Phos and Yellow as the oldest of the lot, they don’t even know what they’re fighting for anymore. Yellow notices Phos is gone and goes look for her. She finds her but is she running away from her? Actually, her legs are so fast she can’t control where she wants to stop. Yellow challenges her to bump into her. This allows Yellow to catch her. Phos thinks her true potential has awakened and wants to join the battle. I believe everyone has their doubts so Kongou has Obsidian hand him the smallest sword. Phos can’t even carry it. Looks like only her legs powered up. He asks why she is so eager to help. Simple. She wants to help because he is special to her. Don’t blush now. Kongou has her team up with Amethyst for the lookout job. He wants her sea report. Wide and big… Can’t blame her. She doesn’t remember much. But when she mentions humans, Kongou becomes shocked. End of report. Yellow introduces Phos to Amethyst. Seems she can split herself into twins called 33 and 84. Phos is eager to go on a patrol with them for the first time. Too bad her first day has exerted so much energy trying to wield the sword. Let’s hope she can keep up the next day. On the third day, she is just tired and slacking. Too tired to move. When the twins suggest practising her sword fight, she springs to life. Too bad she will have to learn on the spot because Lunarians are here. The twins show how adept they are as they easily slice through the Lunarians, even the big boss. Unfortunately they let their guard down as they get devoured by a trap. Phos could only watch helplessly and in shock as they crumble. Luckily Bort arrives in a flash to take out the ship and it is ultimately Kongou’s super gem shot skill that destroys it. Bort angrily confronts Phos and demands an explanation.

Episode 7
Though the twins are pieced back together, Phos prostates herself before them. She was scared that she couldn’t move. But they apologize too as they got careless and were trying to set an example. Alexandrite AKA Alex barges in and wants the twins to tell if the enemy’s blades were made from Sapphire. They can’t remember much and think Phos would as she saw everything. But looks like she has run away to do some reflection time. She sees Cinnabar on her patrol but dare not face her. As winter is near, the ladies setup the place for hibernation. Light is weak and it will only tire them. If Lunarians attack, Kongou and Antarcticite will help protect the place. The latter exists in liquid form but when the temperature drops, her body crystalizes. Once Antarcticite is up, she goes to get her annual hug from Kongou. Only, Phos is watching! Can’t sleep. Kongou decides to pair them up, much to Antarcticite’s dismay. Even she knows how useless Phos is. Halfway trekking, Phos is already tiring out. So crawling the rest of the way there? She is shown a huge ice floe. When the sea freezes, segments with microorganisms from the sea floor will wind up like that. After it sinks, it pops up again and makes a shrieking sound. This eerie sound is when the icebergs collide and it is their job to cut it down to avoid disturbing their sleeping comrades. They are once called sinners by Kongou. See how Antarcticite easily break them apart. Phos whines but also tries. Most of the time she breaks herself. And she already tires about doing the same thing every day. Why not just leave the disposing of ice floes entirely to Antarcticite? She is doing fine on her own, right? One day while cutting icebergs, she thought she is going crazy when the iceberg talks to her. Although they do ‘talk’ but it is in a language they can’t understand. Plus, they don’t speak on their own will. Gee, Phos can understand them now? Antarcticite reports Phos helping out nicely. Her only complaint is that her arms should have matched her legs. Phos has this weird idea of cutting her arms but backs off. Then she hears the iceberg trying to convince her to do so, even bringing Cinnabar’s name into it. Phos accidentally slips into the water and when Antarcticite pulls her out, both her arms are gone.

Episode 8
Antarcticite dives in to find them but it’s like those icebergs have this conspiracy to crush her. In the end, she couldn’t find her arms and she blames herself for being careless and not used to working as a pair. Kongou doesn’t blame her but Antarcticite still feels at a lost over this huge blunder. He tells them to head to the Chord Shore. It is a place where all of them were born. At this place is a huge rock where deposits from the sea work their way up over millions of years to be born here again. Currently there are only gold and platinum all around but they are extreme soft but heavy. No harm trying. It seems Phos’ body accepts it but she is having trouble pulling around all that weight. Suddenly it goes berserk and starts engulfing her. At this time, the Lunarians attack. Antarcticite fights them. Back at the school, the Lunarians are trying to impede Kongou with traps. Antarcticite continues fighting a new type of Lunarian as reported by Alex. She is slowly breaking up from its hook traps. Eventually she manages to use enough might to overcome and destroy it. She is still alive but chipped from head to toe. Also, Phos is now trapped in her own gold box cell. Antarcticite tries to break her out and Phos is complaining how rough she is? Yeah, gold can be quite hard… Suddenly Antarcticite shatters from a Lunarian attack. Phos’ screams are muted by the gold (forming hands to cover her mouth). Antarcticite’s last words are to take over her winter duties and not make Kongou lonely. The Lunarians pick up pieces of Antarcticite. Phos becomes so mad as she commands the gold to do her bidding. She breaks out and the gold now forms part of her body. They look like replacement arms and extended parts of her body. The gold also automatically protects her from attacks (like as though it is now part of her blood stream) as Phos races to rescue Antarcticite. But they are all in vain as she falters and chips off in the end. Kongou catches her. Phos is sad Antarcticite suffered for her. Kongou says the blame is his to bear.

Episode 9
Spring is looming. What’s this? Phos has a makeover? New hands. New hairstyle. New serious personality. New abilities. Super kickass?! OMG! Is this really Phos! She could easily take out the Lunarians herself! Although the weight of the alloy is straining her body, Phos refuses to rest as Kongou suggests, she continues to work on Antarcticite’s behalf. She goes to ‘talk’ to Antarcticite (all that is left of her) about her day. She has fears sleeping in which she would see visions of her. A trauma she is still reeling from. Phos even sews Kongou’s new robe. When spring arrives, the other ladies awake from their slumber. At their usual meeting, everyone is shocked that Phos is now different. Phos uses her new abilities to describe the events that day. At first it freaks out everyone but soon everyone is so awed with her that they want to touch her, experiment with her and if you’re like Bort, want to cut her up! However with all the amazement, there seems to be one minor flaw: Phos doesn’t remember who Cinnabar is. Phos’ popularity rises as the others start chasing her down like a super idol star while she expends energy to run away. Even Kongou is telling them to line up for a piece of her! OMG! Can this monk joke?! Must be some sort of lesson about great power comes a sense of solitude. You mean not responsibility? Just kidding. But is Kongou also referring to himself? Phos stumbles into Cinnabar. Doesn’t remember much but not like the latter cares anyway. Phos ponders she used to dream fighting out here but now realizes it is really dangerous work. When Lunarians show up, it is Phos’ turn to show the Amethyst twins how easily she could kick ass. While they are so amazed with the new Phos, not everyone is because Bort certainly doesn’t look impressed. No longer the strongest, eh?

Episode 10
Phos is sure in demand. She explains in detail to Alex the Lunarian she fought. Then Bort wants to team up with her so they could cover each other’s weaknesses. Phos thinks for a while and eventually agrees to that. She tells Dia about it and she looks shocked. But Dia accepts it since she was the one who asked her to change so she can’t complain. As news of Bort and Phos’ teaming up spreads, Dia is the hardest hit. She might say she is okay but from the looks of her dejection… A new massive Lunarian appears. It seems to be stuck in the rift it is trying to break through. Bort and Phos attack it but its multi-hands and very hard impenetrable skin makes it all the more difficult. Bort then takes Phos to retreat as the Lunarian chases after them. Bort has Phos ring the bell 6 times. This is not to call for reinforcements but to signal to everyone to hold their positions. Her plan is to draw that Lunarian their way as they go and wake Kongou up. As it starts chasing them inside the school, it then disappears. Because this plan hinges on everyone to be outside school, if somebody is still in here, the plan is screwed. And the Lunarian’s ‘disappearance’ could be it found one of them inside. And that one of them is Dia. Shocked at the new Lunarian, she makes a run and hides from it. I don’t know why she just couldn’t run outside but running around inside while barely trying to avoid being caught. Bort and Phos are checking if there are any others inside. Alex is but she tells them she saw Dia being chased by a Lunarian. Through with running, Dia thinks she has to settle this herself and faces the enemy. It didn’t take long before she realizes it is a bad idea. She is smacked and struck, each time bits of her body pieces breaking off. Bort arrives too late to the rescue as she is now gravely incapacitated. Bort and Dia realize how important they are to each other. Bort prepares to face the Lunarian who has now split itself into two.

Episode 11
The Lunarian splits itself up. One attacks Phos and Alex. When Phos is restrained by it, Alex turns into some berserk Tarzan and slashes it apart! Split personality? Phos then helps Bort with the rest but the more they cut up, the more it revives… Into cute little puppies???!!! WTF???!!! Too cute to kill! Then it runs all over the place bugging the other girls. So cute!!! Eventually everyone picks all of them up and puts them in a cage. Then it turns into that original Lunarian. It starts attacking them but in a playful manner. Phos tries to lead it to Kongou but gets caught. When Kongou appears and the Lunarian attacks, Kongou gives a series of dog commands like sit and roll. It obeys! Its name is Shirou?! When everything calms down, Phos asks Kongou if he knew about Shirou. Not really. Huh? Phos thinks hard about the possibility of Kongou and a Lunarian when she bumps into Cinnabar. Oh, there’s a little pup with her too. When Phos notes Kongou might be hiding something, Cinnabar says everyone knows about it. Well, at least they have their suspicions but they choose to believe in him no matter what as their unspoken agreement. Phos feels the need to know the truth but dreads the courage she needs to go ask him. When she returns, she sees Shirou cuddling up to Kongou before vanishing. Returning to the moon? Not quite. Just found its peace. Phos sees visions of Antarcticite and to her worst fear, it hints that she too might know about Kongou’s secret. Kongou asks Phos about her partnership with Bort. Excellent. Everyone should team up with her once. Phos needs answers so what better way than to wait for the Lunarians to show up. For 10 days they never did. Heh. It’s like they’re trolling. Rutile informs her the Dia is back to normal but is jealous she didn’t get to cuddle a puppy but Beryl made a replica for her so all is well. When Rutile mentions she is still looking parts for Padparadscha, Phos is glad she still remembers her. She used to be Rutile’s partner and second strongest after Bort. But with holes in her body, she is now in comatose state. Rutile kept modifying her body in hopes of waking her up and this is how she became a skilled doctor. After they find more parts of her popping up on Chord Shore, the moment of truth… Padparadscha opens her eyes.

Episode 12
Padparadscha is feeling fine. After 231 years and 300,000 operations? Phos talks with her about her wish to talk to a Lunarian so Padparadscha tells her she wants Rutile to stop treating her and take that burden off. That would provoke some kind of reaction in ways one will never imagine. So for the truth to reveal itself, be calm and be mindful of your actions. Right after that, she collapses and goes back into slumber. Zircon is being partner with Bort. She feels so scared? Even when ignored, she feels scared in fear of doing something wrong. Hence she goes to ‘harass’ Phos for answers! The next time Zircon talks to Bort, the latter tells her that her weakness is Yellow because she is trying to protect her and utilize her full potential. She needs not concern herself when with her and should give all she’s got. Phos sees the old notes that Kongou once taught her. Too bad she can’t remember much of them. Not sure if she goes to have some trivia quiz with Alex about Lunarians because the latter looks worn out after that. Phos asks if it is possible to talk to Lunarians. Not sure. Not enough info. Asked if Alex likes Lunarians as she keeps thinking about them every day, researching is the only way to overcome her condition because Chrysoberyl was taken from her before Phos was born. So she thinks about them so as to never forget that hatred. As it is dusk, Lunarians start appearing. Phos engages them and tries to make one of them talk. Well, if she didn’t strangle it. When it looks like it is eking out something, Cinnabar destroys them all. Later that night when Phos looks for Cinnabar, the latter runs away! Phos is always a foreboding of something bad! Since when did this turn into a comical chase? Anyway, Phos has got a new job for her. A job that she can only do. Oh Cinnabar, don’t get picky and technical with the words she used now. Anyway, that job is to help uncover the truth about Kongou and the Lunarians. The more Phos tries to get closer to the truth, the more off things seemed. She can’t tell if she is looking the right way anymore. Cinnabar won’t help if she has not thought out what she’ll do if Kongou turns out the opposite. This is why Phos needs her for she is prudent and smart. She’ll come again to ask but Cinnabar hints that if it is just teaming up, it’s okay. Eh? Why acting so shy? Phos gets called by Kongou as she reminisces her old and simple spoilt self that she is now envious. She sees Kongou and remembers Padparadscha’s words to be calm and mindful.

May The Phos Be With You
It sucks. I mean, when you have so many questions at this point and this is how it ends, it sure really sucks to not have that satisfied feeling when the series ends. Sure, you can tell me to go read the original works which are chapters ahead and there could be more revelations but then again, they could have adapted it to 2 cours? Right. Who am I to order people around when I don’t have money, precious stones or gold to my name? All I am saying is that the mystery and plot thickens late in the series (when Phos became more mature and responsible) but it piles up so much and things don’t go everywhere (plus the fact the other jewel girls aren’t even bothered to look further into this despite knowing because status quo in life is the best), it sounds interesting as it is giving the series a direction to where it is heading but all comes to a grinding halt because a season we can only have a dozen episodes. In short, too many questions and potentials but no answers.

Not sure if I am missing the plot here because despite the synopsis saying about these jewel girls protecting and fighting off the Lunarians as the basic setting, all I can see the rest of the series is about Phos trying to find her reason for existence. While that is not entirely a bad thing, it feels like the plot isn’t going anywhere. As though this entire series is about Phos’ transformation from someone immature into someone with responsibilities but still retaining some of the quirks that will always make Phos as Phos. The other aspects aren’t too clear like the origins of the world (which was briefly touched about by Ventricosus) and the island that they are currently occupying. We have only heard from one point of view and assume the Lunarians are the villains but what actually goes on the other side? What does their world look like? Is the setting we are initially told the truth then? There is more than meets the eyes to this. At least those are the sentiments I feel and thoughts meandered while trying to watch and understand what is happening. There are parts which are supposed to be funny like Kongou’s interaction with Shirou and how he jokingly told the girls to line up to ‘harass’ all-new Phos but somehow these just pass off as odd. Because Kongou doesn’t look like the kind of person who can joke. Seriously.

The characters are a hit and miss. Phos gets the big bulk of the screen time and as I have said, the entire series is about her trying to find what she is suitable for and then her slow transformation from just a completely pure gemstone into an amalgamation of various other alloys. Always the carefree and my-pace character among the group, she is like the joker and comic relief character compared to the rest. Sometimes it is funny, sometimes it is annoying. She wants to go into battle so much but is always side-lined but it took the death of just one of her comrades to wake her up. Suddenly she became so responsible and matured overnight. A totally different character. Like as though she had some sort of personal bonding with Antarcticite. Maybe. There wasn’t anyone else to keep her company during those cold winter days when she just couldn’t sleep. I suppose that is a good thing since we get to look at the new Phos with new powers. Literally from zero to hero. I’m not sure if there is something being hinted that gems change under pressure. Heck, I know nothing about them. Then there is this personal of mission of hers to help Cinnabar. It seems to get side-tracked every time. As though it is never going to happen. They keep trolling us each time they meet just to somewhat remind us but nothing comes out of it. Even right till the end, it just hints to us they may team up but nothing more. After all, Cinnabar has grown tired of her night patrol and needs to escape this ‘hell’.

Kongou is the mysterious of the lot as he is the leader among the gemstone ladies. Funny, I always have this thought that he is human just because he is male (I believe everyone is genderless but since the gemstone girls look so feminine…) and dresses like a monk. He acts differently from the rest as he needs to sleep and meditate. However I don’t see him eating… He could have very well be a gemstone too because his name too already suggests it. Adamantite, the hardest gemstone around. There is always an air of mystery that makes you suspect if Kongou is more than what he seems to be. He might look like he is defending the girls from Lunarians. But in the hints peppered throughout the series, could it be that he has some connections to the Lunarians? Could he be one of them and defected? Worse, this conspiracy theory that Kongou may be the real villain who kidnapped the gemstone girls and the Lunarians are just trying to take them back to their rightful place! Horror! After all, why is he the only one alone on this planet? The reason he treats his precious girls with care is because, well, which idiot would abuse and roughly treat their precious stones?! Treat them with care… ‘Coz you girls are looking so beautiful…

As for the rest of the other characters, only a handful receives their due screen time. Like Bort who is the strongest is often using her brute strength and a little boorish and uncouth as compared to the kind and gentle Dia. Then we have Rutile the mad scientist who likes to break things apart as her experiment, Beryl who loves designing their team’s uniform (not sure if I can consider those as hot pants they’re always wearing) as well as Alex who has this knack for sketching Lunarians and now we see she has some sort of a berserk personality. Then there are Jade, Euclase and Amethyst who stick around more often but can’t find any reason to remember them. There are other gemstones too but they make their appearance so miniscule that they are just forgettable. Heck, I don’t even know their names. As for Cinnabar, it’s like she is going through some brooding phase as she is always trying to be the lone wolf type. Every time you see her, it’s like “Oh, it’s her. She’s not going to join in anything else as usual”. It’s like they can do without this character but need her from time to time to prop up some drama for Phos.

You may be wondering if the series was going to use gemstones as their theme, why are they naming many of their characters after gemstones that we have never heard of and are hard to pronounce? Yeah, try pronouncing and even spell Phos’ full name the first time you see it. It was once stated that the likes such as sapphire, ruby and opal did once exist but were taken away by Lunarians. So when a gemstone is taken away by the Lunarians, it will never rebirth again on Chord Shore? Not really sure how this works too. Too complicated for my simpleton mind. Hence on this planet we are stuck with gemstones we never probably heard of in our lifetime like Phos and Bort because the popular ones were taken away and introduced to us on a commercial scale. Oh wait. There’s diamond who still isn’t captured… So unless you are a gemstone enthusiast, such names won’t ring a bell. Heck, if you love gemstones, I’m sure you’ll find the mid-intermission eye catch screen a little informative as it lists a few details of some of the gems like its category, formula, crystal system and Mohs scale. Yikes. Too technical for me. Not going to bother.

Ventricosus and Aculeatus are perhaps the only original organic living organisms on this planet. They are another bunch of interesting characters with their own ulterior motive but sadly after the end of Phos’ kidnapping, they have gone to parts unknown and are mostly forgotten. It gives the possibility of other living creatures in the depths of the ocean. Because from what I can see, the island is just a pretty small place. The ocean is vast an endless and there might be other islands and countries with other lifeforms out there. You may never know. There might be another island filled with other gemstone ladies living their life in this similar fashion.

The obvious factor which catches your attention at first is the visuals. It is entirely done using CGI. This isn’t the first anime using such animation style as it was previously done in Sidonia No Kishi and Ajin. Though I didn’t see both those titles thus this series is considered my first. It won’t be the same high level quality as Pixar or Disney but it is pretty decent. After all, at this age of modern computer technology, there is no excuse for putting up crappy CGI effects. Also, when you have characters in the form of gemstones, CGI sounds like the best option to make them shine and have those shiny effects. The animation might look a bit odd especially the movement of the characters but keep in mind that the characters aren’t really humans themselves. They are more like the shinier versions of golems. One of the mind boggling ones is the hair of the characters. Sure, they are made out of the same gemstone material but yet they wave in the wind like as though they are soft like real hair? Doesn’t make sense. But still, the overall feel of the animation is smooth and fluid enough that only nit-pickers would see faults in them. Otherwise newbies may be awed and casual viewers like me won’t really bother going into the high specs of the quality.

One thing I would like to note about the designs of the Lunarians. It looks like their designs are mainly taken after deities or gods of the eastern culture especially of the Buddhism and Hinduism side. Seeing that I come from such cultures, hence the looks of those Lunarians sometimes looks a bit scary to me. I guess back when I was a child, you get scared and traumatized for life after hearing ghost stories from your grandmother. Even more so when you visit such temples that often houses such deities and statues everywhere so as a kid it could be quite creepy. It gets even creepier when the BGM when they appear is played. Oh, those traditional bells really do give me the creeps still even if they aren’t that scary in the first place.

Action wise, it is pretty decent. After all, when you’re bored with all the drama and the shenanigans of Phos, the fights with the Lunarians are pretty okay. Thanks to the fluid animations and some of the camera angles, it makes the fights a little more enjoyable. You get to see the girls slicing the Lunarians in half and it is like the former is on some semi-god mode on because even if they sustain heavy damage, they can’t really die unless you have every piece of you taken away and not pieced back together. Phos having new powers and being a gemstone version of Mr Fantastic (stretchable limbs thanks to her gold alloy), it is fun to see what kind of creative ways she’ll fight the enemy.

There are quite a number of veteran seiyuus lending their talents here. The most notable ones I recognized are Jouji Nakata as Kongou, Saori Hayami as Goshe, Mikako Komatsu as Cinnabar, Rie Kugimiya as Alex, Chiwa Saito as Ventricosus and of course to my utter delight who else but Mamiko Noto as Euclase. Ayane Sakura was unrecognizable as Bort since she was doing her angry low voice instead of that stereotyped bratty high pitched voice that I am so used to. At first I thought Satomi Satou was behind Dia but was actually Ai Kayano (Inori in Guilty Crown). Tomoyo Kurosawa did quite a versatile job as Phos from her naughty and carefree days into someone who is serious with bits of sarcasm. If her character sounds all too familiar somewhere because Kumiko from Hibike! Euphonium also sounded somewhat in this fashion. Just without all the initial hype.

The other casts are Yumi Uchiyama as Rutile (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Ayahi Takagi as Jade (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear), Kanae Itou as Amethyst (Sanae in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Maaya Uchida as Beryl (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Mariya Ise as Antarcticite (Levi in Fairy Tail), Junko Minagawa as Yellow (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis), Mutsumi Tamura as Morganite (Sonya in Kill Me Baby), Romi Paku as Padparadscha (Edward in Fullmetal Alchemist) and Yuko Sanpei as Aculeatus (Sasha in Seikon No Qwaser).

Personally, I find the opening theme, Kyoumen No Nami by Yurika to be a little weird. Maybe it is the little effects of the song. Plus, when you have the animation in CGI style, all those gemstones floating about in the screen sometimes it feels a bit trippy. The kaleidoscope of gems… But it is not as weird as the ending theme, Kirameku Hamabe by Yuiko Oohara. Is it me or does the singer is singing in such a way that makes the song sound flat? Also, it sounds like she is trying to hold her note a little longer than it should, hence it sounds like she is trying to sing her lines without resting and in a continuous seamless manner. I don’t know, I just feel that way. The special ending for episode 8, Liquescimus by Tomoyo Kurosawa is quite a sad piece as it is very fitting for the demise of Antarcticite. There is one BGM that attracted my attention and also ‘scares’ me a little. The one that uses the traditional Chinese string instrument like the erhu. It is calming and different to hear a piece that is Chinese-like but at the time sending a little shiver down my spine because this is the kind of song back in my younger days I heard watching some sad Chinese period soap drama.

Overall, this series is visually beautiful and stylish in terms of CGI. The plot and story might not be sufficient for this season and some might feel it leaves a lot more to be desired. Like yours truly. Perhaps the slow and careful build-up of the characters and outline this season might leave some unsatisfied and some yearning for another season. But I suppose it is better than rushing and squeezing everything into a dozen episodes and ruin the overall sentiments. After all, if you want to do this series, better do it right from the start. I believe the cost in using CGI for this series must be costing an arm and a leg. Figuratively speaking. They’ve put in so much effort to make this series so it would be a blow if it was severely underrated. I mean, people love shiny things, right? Like gamers love that pseudo-gambling loot boxes thingy, right? Guys love their shiny new sports car, right? The age-old idiom of diamonds are a girl’s best friend still rings true, right? After all, do you not see how happy a woman’s face lights up when you give her something shiny like a diamond ring? Oh wait. Somebody has to fork out the money… Sometimes all that glitter is not gold…

Imouto Sae Ireba Ii

March 24, 2018

Wait a minute. Another little sister anime? Many would think Imouto Sae Ieba Ii would be Eromanga-sensei v2 because of the glaring similarities. The all-important little sister, check. Perverted character, check. Nudist, check. Fanservice, check. Writer profession in his/her teens, check. That’s all the ingredients we need and know for this anime. The main protagonist doesn’t have a little sister but is infatuated and them so much that he writes and incorporates them into his novels. Good thing this is Japan so a lot of creepy stuffs are allowed as long as you don’t cross too far from the line. Then there is this group of friends in the same profession he hangs out with. Also some budding non-sisterly romance trying to unfold. Wait. Really? And did I smell a little sister hidden among it all? This is definitely not Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru either.

Episode 1
Imagine having to be awakened by a hot younger sister, sitting naked on top of you. Using her bra to wipe your face and letting her feed her delicious panties into your mouth. F*ck this sh*t!!! No wonder Kenjirou Toki rejects this piece of sh*t by Itsuki Hashima. This novelist is literally crazy about little sisters and wishes for one in real life. Toki is his editor and tells him to come up with another story before this month’s deadline. We meet other characters who soon converge at Itsuki’s place. They include the very reliable but girly step brother Chihiro and other fellow novelists Haruto Fuwa, Nayuta Kani and college student Miyako Shirakawa. Why do groups always have girls like Nayuta who has a dirty mouth and tries to flirt with Itsuki but always get rejected because his force with little sisters is stronger. They play some lateral thinking game in which a scenario is given and players take turn asking yes or no questions to deduce the right answer. Right off the bat everyone can tell the answer to Itsuki’s scenario has something to do with a little sister. Then we have one from Haruto in which the meaning for deadline can be substituted as closed in the novelist world. After Haruto and Miyako leave, Nayuta stays around a little longer to flirt with him. Itsuki’s defence is still strong. Accidentally she spills he drink on herself and this prompts a short flashback of how she was introduced to his work and found a reason to live. At an award ceremony she ambiguously confessed to him (when it was his work she loves) and then vomited on his jacket!!! What a way to make an impression. The next time she met him, she properly confessed she likes him and his work as well as to go out with her. Of course he replied he will think about it. Itsuki read her work and found it so good that it brought him to tears. Once everyone is gone from his place, Itsuki gets serious in starting his work.

Episode 2
The girls arrive at Itsuki’s place only to catch him in the act of acting out a little sister pleasing himself. Awkward… Weird… After the girls leave, Nayuta asks about Itsuki since he came from her same college. 2 years ago he was a loner and always obsessed writing his novel on his laptop. Nobody gave much thought about him except Miyako. She tried getting close to him by reading one of his works. As she is unable to understand, he starts going into an outburst and calling her names like slut and b*tch, causing her to cry and slap him! Awkward… He apologizes blaming a negative review for this uncouth reaction. Soon they started hanging out together (but not as a couple) when suddenly he dropped the bomb he is quitting college. Something about he believed his works is going to enter the top 10 charts and hence college was just a waste of time. Miyako was disappointed but vowed not to give up staying by his side. Then there is the first time Miyako and Nayuta met. Nayuta tried to quickly establish their position and declared her love to Itsuki since he saved her. Snippets of her being an abuse victim. Miyako was so touched that she hugged her and had only wished she was there to kick all of their asses! Nayuta takes Miyako to the hotel where she is staying (and paid by her publisher so she could make progress in her work). Nayuta strips naked as this is the only way she can work. Needing a reference for a scene, she persuades Miyako to strip so she can fondle her boobs. And then her ass. Meanwhile Itsuki gets drunk complaining he is going to create an ultimate little sister one day. It seems Itsuki is jealous that Haruto has a real little sister although he ‘insults’ her as not being the perfect one of his ideals. As Haruto leaves, we see his flashback and why he might be hanging out with Itsuki. 3 years ago, his work has less than stellar reviews whereas Itsuki’s had tons of positive reviews and proclaimed to have a future. Haruto is working hard to progress further than all those called genius. He goes home only to get an earful from his little sister but he pays no heed. When you have it, you don’t appreciate it…

Episode 3
It’s freaking cold and the heater is broken. What to do? Head to Okinawa! Itsuki has Miyako and Nayuta come along since Haruto is busy in his anime meet. During dinner, Nayuta tries to flirt with him but Itsuki pretends he doesn’t hear her and makes silly puns with all the words she is trying to get through him. Cue for some fanservice too because he feeds her an egg in which she starts licking so erotically… Later Miyako asks him if he has ever thought of going out with Nayuta. He did reply her confession the day after. It was heart breaking when he rejected her. The next day Nayuta started visiting regularly and talking more vulgarly. I guess that broke her. At least it’s good to know Itsuki wasn’t a scum who strung her along to turn her into a pervert. He asks if she has read Nayuta works. If she has time to read his, she is better off reading hers. The gang has a nice time around Okinawa before they head the beach. The girls have no swimsuit so how? Dive in naked! Itsuki better not look. You bet. He isn’t interested. So what inspiration does Itsuki have after this Okinawa trip? A whale shark little sister romance?! He is showing this story to illustrator Setsuna Ena. Although he loves it, too bad it was rejected. I guess one of the problems was how a whale shark was going to make out with a little sister. This has Setsuna crave for some salmon roe. So in Hokkaido, they try out lots of food till they get stomach indigestion. When it is time to take a flight back, Setsuna wants to stay a week longer for some snow festival. At that point Itsuki gets a call from Toki not only about his looming deadline but Setsuna’s. Apparently he hasn’t drawn this month’s cover illustration. Toki is going to get him real good if he sees him when he realizes the airport announcement in the background. Where are you now… Hang up! Itsuki remembers Setsuna wanted to be the illustrator for his series but he declined him. Not because his art is not good but it is the other way round. His series isn’t worthy of his art and someday he’ll write one worthy of it.

Episode 4
Despite not finishing his volume, Itsuki still has to come up with a summary that is needed for publisher’s website and bookstore announcement. It’s tough seeing he needs the right amount of info without giving away too much. While everyone is enjoying their chocolate stout and chocolates, Toki comes knocking on the door. Oh right, Itsuki has missed the deadline. Does he want to hear how Toki cornered Setsuna in Hokkaido and made him finish the job? Toki is also here to give him and Haruto chocolates from their fans. Although Haruto’s series sold more, Itsuki has more female fans though technically it’s for his character. Itsuki will soon expect a tax accountant to visit as he plans to get some tax returns withheld by his publisher. Folks, meet this petite blonde, Ashley Ono. She is surprised his place is clean and his documents are well organized. She has researched a little on him and knows his fetish on little sisters. She points out to all his little sister figurines that can be deducted as research materials but Itsuki will not have it and not sully the little sisters’ reputation as materials. But when she says he can save and buy new little sister figurines, research materials they are. She also has him explain the plot of long ass weird adult games, in which he basically just reads the title again. Yeah, she’s screwing with him. Noticing he spent lots on online (loot boxes), she believes he too can get some deduction as research materials if he includes them in his work (like how his characters reference them). But Itsuki will not as it will ruin the character and if he has to choose, it is story perfection over tax deductions! It must be a tiring day since she has him explain about porn and adult games… Yeah, she got her kicks… The next time she returns, Haruto is here. I guess she must have done something similar to him as we see him prostrate before her. Then she goes to sexily tease him with his maid fetish and allows him to lewdly imagine her as one just to see his messed up orgasmic face. Works like a charm. She would also be willing to play as Itsuki’s little sister if he gets her some sake. Onii-chan will do it!!! Sly woman…

Episode 5
So why is Itsuki at the karaoke and not to sing? To complete his work! But then Toki bursts in to take him back. How does he know he is here? GPS in his handphone. That’s a crime! He’ll play the villain just to get the novel release. Back at the publisher’s office, since Itsuki still can’t work, he escapes. MGS style? He bumps into Setsuna who suggests peeking at woman’s ass. That means frolicking at the hotspring. Too bad only old hags there! While Setsuna is pleased to talk with them, this freaks out Itsuki. As he baths alone, suddenly Toki comes in! But how?! He turned off his handphone. Tracking device on his clothes! So now Itsuki is trapped in a ‘cell’ where he is forced to complete it in 3 days. Yeah, look at all the writings on the wall crying for help… Since screaming and kicking a fuss won’t do, the only way is to finish it. Unfortunately he is having it rough as he dreams of Toki hunting his ass down. Haruto then visits and tells him he can give up since editors aren’t that cruel and will just delay the release. But after learning Haruto has a new series coming soon and already through revisions, he gets back to work. More motivation when Haruto hands him Chihiro’s lunch, chocolates from fans and a sexy fanservice picture of Nayuta and Miyako. The feeling of wanting to be with these people again (and perhaps Ashley to call him onii-chan too) powers him to finally finish his manuscript. Itsuki and Haruto’s volume both come out on sale on the same day. But it seems Haruto ends up selling more. It can’t be help since his work is getting the anime treatment. Itsuki has the right to feel disappointed since he worked so much harder than before to produce what he believes is the best masterpiece. Of course both believe their own work is the best in the universe. Itsuki gets a call from Toki. Congratulations that his novel will get a manga adaptation.

Episode 6
Itsuki and Toki meet manga artist, Kaiko Mikuniyama and her editor, Kouhei Tokuyama. She will be drawing the manga for his novel. Itsuki goes into ecstasy when he sees her amazing sample. Shy girl now rants how much she loves his work ever since and they click like as though they know each other for years. So the gang hold a sakura viewing party to celebrate this, Haruto’s anime debut as well as Chihiro and Miyako proceeding well in their academic studies. No, no marriage celebration of Itsuki and Nayuta. Nayuta is not happy that Kaiko is a woman so she claims nobody loves him more than she does. He counters that by saying she can’t stand talking about little sisters all day with him. True, but she’ll make it up with her love! As it is getting late and Chihiro needs to go, this prompts him to remember a groping incident. One night as Setsuna passes him, he somewhat finds Chihiro’s ass perfect and wants to see it! Of course he freaks out and won’t let him. This has Setsuna forcing himself to pull his pants down (is it me or is that pantsu Chihiro is wearing?). Luckily Chihiro beats him up and no perfect ass was seen that night. While waiting for Haruto’s anime to air, they play a party card game that involves using your cards in hand to solve a situational problem. Mostly weird and ‘creative’ stories. Like how Nayuta goes on a killing rampage… When the anime airs, there are lots of positive and exciting comments. But once the anime runs its course, slowly more and more negative comments on how sh*t it is surface. Yeah, it’s that bad… Haruto tries to stay positive but it is hard when everything is so bad. He lets out his frustration in a full blown rant that is just heart breaking. So much so Miyako emotionally cries! She might not be an author but she knows how it feels to try so hard on something and it didn’t turn out well (is it me or is she hinting about her love on somebody?). Haruto leaves to stop his friends see his pathetic self. But he knows despite all the negativity, Miyako’s concern made him feel a little better.

Episode 7
The next episode sucks. Haruto’s anime, that is. At this rate this anime will be doomed when it finishes. To cheer him up, Itsuki suggests calling the gang and play some table top RPG. With Haruto as the game master, the rest are players as they pick their characters. Why does everyone wants to be Itsuki’s sister? Since Miyako is the eldest sister, Itsuki isn’t thrilled. Even though he likes little sisters, being one isn’t his taste. But eventually he believes this isn’t bad too. So we see their characters they make like Miyako a magician (she has an ability like from a certain railgun), Chihiro a ninja girl (a nullifying ability like from a certain magical index), Itsuki a knight (I swore I heard a character who can reproduce weapons somewhere before) and Nayuta the uhm, one who increase abilities when exchange body fluids. So the first scenario has them getting into trouble in town. The ‘highlight’ of it is Nayuta trying to power up Miyako so they strip naked and begin the process. Yeah, Nayuta make it sound like some sort of erotic scene. This is RPG, right? Then they get thrown into prison for public indecency but the princess frees them in exchange they deliver a letter to a sage. Then there is fighting goblins and relaxing at the lake in which cue for some tentacle rape fanservice. At the sage’s castle, they purposely open the letter to discover they are sent as sacrifices. So they burn down the entire place and return to defeat the princess who is the evil mastermind via tentacle rape. End of game. Everyone celebrates how fun it is and hopes to play another session next time. Haruto feels better because this RPG that has them create something, it makes him happy to see people enjoy creations of others. It is a fact all their hard work isn’t a waste. After Haruto sees Miyako’s angelic game character personality, he asks Itsuki if Miyako has a boyfriend.

Episode 8
Itsuki catches on what Haruto means. So what is the fastest way to know if Miyako has a boyfriend? Ask her directly! When he does so, Miyako is shocked and gets the wrong idea that it is Itsuki who is hinting something. She replies not really. So why did he ask? Oh, nothing. Just felt like it. Nayuta talks to Itsuki about Miyako’s upcoming birthday. They discuss on what to give her and somehow it turns into a conversation of Itsuki giving sh*t to his female characters in his stories. That as in real faeces. WTF?! Thinking a book would be best, Nayuta asks her which author she likes. Miyako thinks there is some hidden agenda to this but takes it at face value. She replies Itsuki. This makes him happy to know she is a fan of his work. Miyako gets a nice birthday surprise when she drops by Itsuki’s place. After the birthday party, they talk about relationships in which Miyako admits she has never been into one and thought had betrayed their expectations. On the contrary Nayuta doesn’t think so and loves her instead for being a mature b*tch. Yup, that’s what she says and it’s supposed to be a compliment. Miyako isn’t offended either. So touched they both hug and gives the guys yuri fanservice. Yeah, they even think of kissing each other! Too bad Nayuta’s lips belong to Itsuki. Nayuta hands her a memory disc in which she has written a story that puts Miyako as the protagonist. The adventure fantasy turns out into something erotic… So addicting she can’t stop reading. It makes her think about her future and if she is okay with this. Haruto expected Itsuki to help him get closer to Miyako during her birthday but looks like he forgot. Haruto thinks he is making up for it with a double date at the amusement park but he claims it is for research for his romcom title. Itsuki seems pretty afraid of the high speed ride. With Nayuta being pushy, there is no way out left but to ride and ‘die’. He already said his prayers… Surprisingly Itsuki now loves such rides and wants to go on more! As the duo have fun together, Miyako and Haruto are left together. They talk about things but nothing too deep. Miyako notices how close Itsuki and Nayuta are and just wish they start dating. But Haruto sees the tears welling up in her eyes and understands what this all means. He suffers the heartbreak in silence. On the way back, he just tells Itsuki nothing happened between him and Miyako despite the chance he gave them. From now on, he’ll just move at his own pace and he doesn’t need Itsuki’s help anymore. Because it’ll be too cruel… :’(.

Episode 9
Itsuki takes a look at Kaiko’s manga art of his novel. Everything looks exceptionally good until a scene which is supposed to be naked, his character is wearing underwear?! This makes him mad as he confronts her. She admits she is an underwear fetish as opposed to his nude supremacy. As both stay steadfast on their ideals, they start arguing and throwing insults at each other. So much so their ancestry is even brought up? Setsuna drops by. He takes a look at Kaiko’s work and sides with Itsuki over this blasphemy. But it seems Setsuna is another problem as he is in the middle ground. The bra can stay but the panties must come off! Setsuna wants to draw for Itsuki but Itsuki would have done so had not the other scenes been so awesome. This small little part is just the main problem. Hence a competition is called to see who can draw better. Before it starts, Kaiko unwraps her ribbon which is her panties and wears it like a mask! This is her work mode. Itsuki shouldn’t be surprised since Nayuta always writes naked. In the end, a unanimous vote to Kaiko. Setsuna’s art is also great but it felt like a single picture than a manga. Whereas Kaiko has sewn in some story into the underwear. In the aftermath, Itsuki is looking up lingerie sites. Nayuta finds out and is not pleased that he has been corrupted as he has realized the wonderment of underwear. So Nayuta confronts Kaiko and they begin arguing. Nayuta even ropes in her partner in crime Miyako that they both do naked things together (although all that was in a game). A drawing competition is held but obviously Nayuta’s drawing sucks. I guess complaining about her ruined future dream and sex life with Itsuki won’t do any good. Nayuta gets desperate as she strips naked to teach her the benefits of nudity. She then teases her she has never touched those parts of other girls before and hence using underwear to cover up. Could have been some awesome lesbian wrestling if not for the censors. To show Nayuta she didn’t run away, she doubles down and starts molesting her. Man, Kaiko is good and making Nayuta climax! In the end, Kaiko acknowledges nudity is also worth exploring. But since she only know their bodies, how will she draw Itsuki’s character? Nayuta hints somebody who is an exact model… Start stripping Miyako! And so you have a room of naked girls that you might misinterpret if you did not understand the context. Miyako sends in her finalized draft. It is a mix of both underwear and nudity. Perfection! It brings Itsuki to tears. A day where both nudists and underwear lovers win.

Episode 10
Itsuki narrates his mom died when he was in middle school. A few years later, his father remarried and Itsuki didn’t like it. He hated him for it and their relationship soured ever since. It seems Chihiro has got a part time job offer from Ashley. Woah. Is he going to be a tax accountant? Well, he is just going there to organize and clean things up. Nothing unusual. She too would help him study about tax accounting and though it isn’t his dream job, it is just to help Itsuki out in any way. Arriving at her clean office, it is her living quarters that is worse than a pig sty. Challenge accepted. Chihiro the cockroach killer… He is so good at his job that Ashley’s room looks like a different room altogether. As reward, she prepares the bath for him. And for those who have always suspected Chihiro’s gender, the moment of truth. Ashley catches Chihiro changing and sees her wearing female undergarments. Chihiro admits she is actually a girl. She dresses and does everything like one. Only Itsuki thinks she is a boy. Ashley teases to reveal this to Itsuki so Chihiro begs her not to. Of course she knows she cannot hide this forever and will have to tell him one day. Imagine the surprise look on his face then… Itsuki has written a new story. Toki rejects this sh*t story and reminds him to write a better one or does he need to go back to ‘prison’. Yes sir! Itsuki and Nayuta are at the zoo. They notice the giant panda eating, relaxing and showing off his balls. This prompt them to compare it like an old guy. For the rest of the day, Nayuta has taken pictures of other animals’ balls! Hanging so freely… Now all she needs is a human balls… Don’t look at Itsuki! Oh, she has got a naked butt pic of him from then. On another day, Itsuki takes Chihiro to the aquarium. He narrates he did everything he could to avoid his new family. He wonders if Chihiro was trying to respect his privacy and keep some distance despite helping out all the time. We see Chihiro being conscious of herself like being squished in the crowded train and when Itsuki talks about Nayuta’s animals’ balls collection. They take a taxi home as Itsuki drops Chihiro at her place. It gets super awkward when dad is here. Both of them still not on talking terms. A short thanks whatever gift Itsuki sent him. Whatever. Chihiro still won’t give up trying to mend things between them. Itsuki knows but he just can’t. Haruto’s anime adaption has finally aired its final episode. Crappy till the very end. His sister being a tsundere talks to him how sh*tty everything is and refuses to accept it. Haruto promises to do better to not let it happen again.

Episode 11
Itsuki is super tired after finishing his novel. So he has Miyako send it to Toki instead. That guy too is having rough as she sees him sleeping on the floor having nightmares. Miyako then visits Nayuta. Is this now a ritual that she has to get naked every time she enters her room? She witnesses Nayuta complete her novel as she types in super speed. Then she sends it to her editor who is in a lot of headache to proofread Nayuta’s work since it has lots of typo errors. But she wouldn’t want to quit otherwise she couldn’t read her works first. Toki too is stressed with whatever problems as he heads to Itsuki’s place. In the aftermath, Itsuki and Nayuta’s new volumes will soon be published. The gang convenes to celebrate this. They play a storytelling game in which one tells a story based on the cards they have and try to work towards the ending card in their hand. So there are lots of hijacking and intervention as the story twists and turns in the weirdest ways. The highlight of this story is how everyone is naked and Itsuki as the main character has a super big and flexible dick that he can use as a weapon and tool! I’m sure they get great ideas for their next chapter but don’t expect such obscene story would get an anime adaptation. After the rest has left, Haruto talks to Itsuki and hopes he could date Nayuta. Because reasons. He won’t of course and has rejected her. Let’s say they do date and end up getting married, the publishers and media will all be abuzz because Nayuta is a very famous novelist. Itsuki will then be a secondary character in her life. This is not what he wants. He wants to be the main character. Right now he is a nobody. Once he is equal to Nayuta, then he can go after her. Right now she has to wait. Next day, Toki calls Itsuki with good news. His novel is going to get an anime adaptation.

Episode 12
More flashbacks on Itsuki’s past. After his mom died, dad became a workaholic and was rarely home. He hired a housekeeper, Mitahora to tend to Itsuki’s needs. One day her daughter, Ayane dropped by. Because mom doesn’t stop talking about him and always compared them, she wanted to see what he was all about. He lets her see the manga collection is reading and as per her suggestion, introduces her to a manga he is currently reading. Guess? What is this anime’s title? She continued to hang out as she came by weekly. Naturally he fell for her. One day, she was sad. He asked and it looked like the guy she had a crush on rejected her. That’s when Itsuki put his foot down and also confessed he likes her. However she can only see him as a little brother and nothing more. The mood soured between them. He told her never to come back because he doesn’t need an older sister (she mocked back he has no little sister either) and that’s the last time they saw each other. Itsuki became frustrated Ayane liked a guy who is technically much more boring than him. If she is a minor character and he got rejected by her, what does that make him? This is when he started thinking he wants to be the main character. After he graduated, he had this spark of revelation and started writing a novel. Itsuki wakes up from this dream and Nayuta had a little panic when he says he dreamt of his ex. Oh sh*t…

Later the gang converge to celebrate Itsuki’s anime adaptation. Toki isn’t thrilled because it was supposed to be a secret but he went to blurt it out all over the internet. Then they play a board game that is supposed to depict the life of a novelist. Don’t really understand the workings as I just see them role the die and read their fate. Itsuki can’t seem to debut big while Nayuta and Chihiro are making it big. Halfway through, everything just seem to fell apart because of all the negative aspects. In the end, everyone has their happiness level in the negative points and Itsuki ‘wins’ technically because he has the lowest negative point in happiness. It is so because of his late debut and nothing much happens on his hand. Toki notes how eerily weird this game resembles real life. No kidding. After everyone leaves, Miyako talks to Toki and she is interested in becoming an editor. Haruto hears more comments about some people dissuading others not to buy his novel because of the sh*tty anime but the other guy heard the novel was damn good and never heard of any such anime. A reminder he needs to do better. Itsuki remembers when Toki called him about his work getting adapted. It was only because another anime project fell through and his was a replacement. It doesn’t have a proper planning and budget and may fall through like Haruto’s but he doesn’t care and wants to go ahead with it. Nothing will happen if you don’t move forward. Itsuki may have his doubts now but he takes heart that as long as he doesn’t have a little sister and yearns for one, he can go on forever! Oh, if he only knew… Speaking of which, Chihiro is still pondering when to tell Itsuki the truth…

Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Aru Wake Ga Nai
So are we going to get another season? Not if fans and viewers start calling this a sh*tty and crappy adaptation! Haha! It will be so ironic if the show falls into this trap that it made for one of its characters. So far I don’t see this show to be extremely that bad. I can’t say too much since I didn’t read the original works so I can’t compare. But by just watching the anime itself, it is rather okay. Not on the shortlist of being the worst anime of the year nor the best anime of the year. Somewhere in between where other animes in the same zone will ‘drown it out’. Minus 100 happiness points…

Alas, there isn’t anything special about another little sister themed series. Heck, of all the little sister series that I can think of, this one has the least little sister involved. While Itsuki does have a little sister in reality, he doesn’t actually know it and is more confined to his fantasy works. Haruto has his own little sister but she is more than the tsundere type. Unless you like the kind of little sister who shows her affection by badmouthing and criticizing you, she isn’t your ideal type of little sister too. Heck, better than that one in that Umaru series whereby a little sister just hates her big brother and doesn’t hesitate to get violent on him whether he does something wrong or not.

After all, the mid-intermission and end card illustration are mostly short details and descriptions about other stuffs that aren’t related to the otaku culture such as the board games they played, the beverage or alcohol content that was featured in the episode and even the whale shark. Yeah. Whale sharks… Oh, there is an even better one. The one whereby it teaches you step by step how to fold your panties into a hair ribbon! No, I did not try that out. Yes, there are other definitions pertaining to the otaku industry like a novelist, proofreading, stuck inside and of course the explanation of little sisters too in case you forget what previous imouto means.

Although the overall series isn’t that bad but personally for me, it just floats slightly above the average borderline. I mean, as you can see this entire series is about Itsuki and his bunch of friends hanging out together and the interaction between them. That is all. If you want to call that character development, I suppose you could in the broadest sense. It doesn’t focus too much on their work and success in the industry so we don’t really see how popular and famous they except from what they tell us.

So we have Itsuki as the typical main character in the light novel industry. Nothing really special except his undying love for little sisters. Therefore the strained relationship with his father definitely looks more interesting than all the perverted shenanigans Nayuta puts him through. We do have an interesting flashback on how he came to love little sisters more. Too bad his first love to an older woman sparked his twisted love even more. Speaking of Nayuta, does the fanservice and naughty jokes seem less ‘offensive’ because Nayuta is a girl? It was the same dilemma in Eromanga-sensei as the ‘pervert’ is the little sister. Imagine if the pervert was the guy, say like in Mangaka-san To Assistant-san To. Not going to quite cut it in today’s politically correct world, eh? Therefore the bulk of ‘jokes’ stem from the dirty talk of Nayuta as she tries to steal the heart of the one she loves via this unholy and unconventional way. Yeah, she practically has no qualms of asking her senpai for his dick without batting an eyelid. As though words like dick are like those natural ordinary daily words other normal people would use.

Generally, every guy would love his girl to talk dirty. But then if you think about it a bit more, it doesn’t seem so pleasant, doesn’t it? Soon she would sound more like a nympho begging for sex. Because Itsuki doesn’t take her seriously and shrugs her off, she continues with her antics and this makes everything look like they are just joking and like as though this is the way they communicate. Also, the bulk of fanservice would stem from Nayuta as she prefers to go in her birthday suit when she starts writing. As though clothes are some sort of limiter that prevents her power from shining.

The other pervert is Kaiko. An underwear pervert who is at the opposite pole of nudist supremacists like Itsuki and Nayuta but still a pervert nevertheless. I guess in this sense that birds of the same feather flock together. Somebody who is of the same perverted mind can only draw at the same perverted level of Itsuki’s story. While others outside the industry and the public might frown upon this especially for a girl to have such a dirty mind, it is just another normal day in the otaku world.

The only reason why Miyako who is so out of place among this circle is her secret crush on Itsuki. It serves a potential love triangle and possibly harem but I hardly see things moving from there. It is like everybody is waiting and just doing status quo until somebody does something. Especially Itsuki. Because once he moves on, then the rest of the pieces will fall like a domino. Until Itsuki finds his place, Nayuta will continue to be in the first waiting line. Miyako will continue to wait along the queue. Haruto will continue to wait and see if Miyako is available by then before attempting again. Chihiro… Oh, maybe Itsuki making it big is what she needs to help in her bid to reconcile her family. My guess for Miyako hanging out with love rival Nayuta and becoming nude friends with her is that if Itsuki eventually confesses to Nayuta, she won’t feel so bad about it. At least she lost out to her friend, someone she knows rather than some unknown b*tch.

Haruto feels like the most sensible one among the group. He too is going through tough times because of his badly adapted anime. This is what every creator fears when their works get adapted. Everyone else quickly criticizes with ease without knowing the labour of love put behind all that. Yeah, I am guilty of so many series I put down as average or mediocre. Including this one?! So, a warning to budding writers who want their works to be adapted by anime? Naturally it takes time to deal with it emotionally and with his love life also not working out (for now), it is a good thing he is slowly picking up the pieces and moving forward. Sometimes I want to sing to broken-hearted people like Haruto and Miyako this song from The Beatles: All you need is love, all you need is love, love, love is all you need.

I had always this hunch that Chihiro was never a boy. That gut feeling and trap sense ringing so hard inside of me. True enough, Chihiro doesn’t have a penis. Oddly with Chihiro being so girly and not showing signs of the slightest masculinity, is Itsuki that blinded by his love for little sisters that he can’t even notice the least of it? It is true that Chihiro is younger and his testosterone levels might be developing slowly and in Japan it might not be rare to see boys acting so effeminate. Just take a look at Setsuna. Even though questionably dressed like the opposite gender, I knew from the start this is a guy. A very effeminate guy. What is it about him being an ass fanatic again? Then there is Toki. The most stressful character ever. Period. Man, is he going to die of stress at this rate…

However there is one character that stands out the most and is refreshing because she attracts my attention: Ashley. Not because of her sadistic and dominating personality but rather of her tax accountant tax profession. In fact, that episode that featured her as she explained some of the tax accounting in the industry was by far most the most interesting of all the episodes. It really did enlightened my on some of tax ways in the industry and country although I myself is not so knowledgeable in this area. Often characters in such genres always fall somewhere along the anime and game industry. So when a character who is a tax accountant pops up, it sure was refreshing and interesting. How often do you know an anime character who is of this profession? None, right? Even professions like priests and politicians are featured more. Tax accountant? That’s something new!

The art and animation style has the character designs looking moe and cute. It might look like Eromanga-sensei but this series is written by a completely different author (though this series was written by the same one who did Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai). Can’t blame you for thinking they are from the same author because some of the characters look almost similar. For example, I thought Nayuta look a bit like Sagiri because of their silver hair and perverted character. Then there is Ashley whom I thought resembles a bit like Elf. Change hair colours for Miyako and you get Tomoe? Almost. Doesn’t Haruto’s little sister look like Megumi? This one is by a long shot but Chihiro sometimes remind me of Senju. I know, I know. They look totally different from the way they dress to even their facial expression. Most probably the short haircut that made the connection… Kaiko is the one not resembling closely to any in Eromanga-sensei but Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru. Remember Konoe?

There are a few trivia to note in this series. Of course when you have an anime that is set in the otaku industry, you are bound to have all those anime and manga references. Although not much, there are a few I noticed that are real titles like Zero No Tsukaima and Kanokon. Not too sure about their connection and hence the copyright whatsoever since all are written by different authors and animated by different studios. Of course the most blatant one is promoting their own title inside the anime. Like an anime parodying itself?

I thought Nayuta’s voice sounded familiar and couldn’t put my finger on it till I discovered it is Hisako Kanemoto. Although I still can’t freely recognize her voice till this day, Nayuta actually sounds very close to that Ika squid girl in Shinryaku! Ika Musume. No wonder so familiar… ~de geso… I haven’t heard Tsubasa Yonaga’s voice for a very long time but I was still able to recognize him as Setsuna because of his very girly voice… The rest of the casts are Yuusuke Kobayashi as Itsuki (Subaru in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu), Ai Kakuma as Miyako (Julis in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Satoshi Hino as Haruto (Kamui in Gintama), Nozomi Yamamoto as Chihiro (Yukimura in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai), Akane Fujita as Kaiko (Sagiri in Eromanga-sensei – looks like she voiced another panties pervert character?!), Manami Numakura as Ashley (Tomoe in Seiren) and Kousuke Toriumi as Toki (Kiba in Naruto).

The opening theme is Ashita No Kimi Sae Ireba Ii by ChouCho. Sounds like a generic anime pop rock, nothing special to me, really. But it is the ending theme that attracts me. Donna Hoshizora Yori Mo, Donna Omoide Yori Mo by Aira Yuki has this catchy jazzy hip hop feel despite being a moderately slow song. The cool and jazzy opening guitar riffs sealed it. Hearing this song would automatically make me tap my feet to it. And that feeling that made me feel it is going to be an alright day after all.

Overall, is this the spiritual successor to Eromanga-sensei or other little sister series? Not really sure. Many others don’t think it is in the deeper aspects. It has its own charms and funny moments but also lack anything special. The tried and overused tropes of a teen having a job in the otaku industry and the fanservice plus jokes that come with it depends on your taste and views of this industry. Is it funny? Yeah, sure. I mean, is it really that funny? Oh, not really. Just okay. Sexily funny? Dirty jokes are so offensive and immature!!! Well then, be sure to stay away from this series and genre then because it looks like more of such will be coming in the future if my hunch is right. You can’t stop the production of this kind of series anymore. Somebody is going to have to do it eventually. This is the future of anime. Where huge dick swinging swords are the norm. Where female nudity flows freely without scorn. Where everybody has a little sister in any form. Yup. Sometimes a little madness is all you need.

Gintama: Porori-hen

March 23, 2018

OMG! OMFG!!! It’s like they could read my mind and heart! Gintama was certainly coming to its closing stages when they have really heavy story driven arcs in the recent previous seasons. Fans knew the time will come when the series will end. And what do you know? They surprise us again by giving us another season which is not related to this final story! Yes, people. Gintama: Porori-hen as the sixth season has gone back to its original roots of nonsensical slapstick comedy that we have all come to know and love. It is like before the big finale, before the sh*t gets real, let us watch and laugh one last time at their antics. Oh Gintama, you certainly know how to please our hearts. So we’re not crying with tears of joy. We’re going to laugh at all the silliness, stupidity and ridiculousness instead. And then we cry.

Episode 329
After a fake recap that rips off popular anime titles, we see Umibouzu worried about Kagura getting married to a jerk and then divorced and lead a tough shady life. Why is she fat, tanned and ugly?! Anyway, his fears come a step closer when he sees a boy giving her a letter and when she reads it out loud, he wants her to be his girlfriend. So what has a father got to do but go bug Gintoki for being a bad guardian or something. Even when Kagura tells them about her boyfriend and date tomorrow, it took them a while before reality hits them. Are they mad? Are they panicking? The best way is to ask her directly but the adults are just chicken sh*t to ask her and got distracted with their own nonsensical talk and fighting. So when Shinpachi finally asks and she honestly explains she isn’t sure what love is but is willing to try out because that boy put his heart into writing the letter, you bet the fathers aren’t going to allow this. Not that she cares what they say anyway. They allow her to go on her date but on a condition they meet her boyfriend first. So the adults get drunk and ironically Shinpachi the kid lectures them on what being a grownup is. Probably they take it too literally because they are now waiting with creepy smiles and in a huge body! Yeah, this is what they think growing up is. I guess they never thought it would apply to the brain or mentality. When Kagura is here, they think her boyfriend won’t come in is because he is having cold feet meeting them. Turns out he is a giant! A big baby!

Episode 330
Folks, meet Dai. Kagura explains the one who gave her the letter was Dai’s friend as he is shy and too big to write a letter. Oh, did she mention Dai is the prince of Planet Titan and was introduced by Soyo? Oh, look at all those Titan bodyguards… Dai does away with this formality crap and talks casually. In short, one can see his is a big jerk. It seems Dai plans to bring Kagura back to his planet and marry her. I guess that is shocking enough. So the fathers try to dissuade him by badmouthing how useless Kagura is as a wife? No wonder she is mad. So while the fathers keep punching each other (probably taking Shinpachi’s advice of being an adult literally), Dai and Kagura are long gone on their date. Kagura feels bored on the date and doesn’t think it will work out. Besides, she isn’t ready for this marriage thingy and is okay with long distance relationship. But Dai won’t accept this and puts her to sleep. Gintoki and Umibouzu confront Soyo. Why do they make her sound it is her fault? Anyway she reveals the Titans have this particular habit of taking brides from other planets. Once they do, to keep their DNA pure, they will destroy the entire planet of the brides. Technically, isn’t Kagura a Yato and not an Earthling? Dai initiates the wedding ceremony with his Titans wrecking the place. As the priest gives them the green light to kiss, Shinpachi kicks them and Dai accidentally kisses the priest! Shinpachi lectures him about the feeling of a daughter being taken away from her fathers. Dai won’t listen and sends his Titans to attack. But it is raining Titan blood? Turns out Gintoki and Umibouzu beating them to a pulp. You don’t know how scary fathers are. Eventually Dai gets beaten up but Kagura also beats them up for forgetting about her. In the aftermath, Dai sends a letter to Kagura. Looks like he has turned over a new leaf and is grateful about fathers. He will respect them and the family when he gets a girlfriend next time. But why does he sound scared about fathers too? The ultimate creepy twist is that Dai has found a new love: The priest! OH SH*T! Must be some twisted father joke…

Episode 331
Ikumatsu narrates that an old scruffy man always show up at her ramen store on New Year’s Eve, ordered a bowl and shared it with her and her husband before leaving. When her husband told her to keep up this tradition, that was when her husband soon passed away and that man never showed up anymore. She wonders what happened to him as she never got the chance to return his scarf. So Katsura and Gintoki are going to get to the bottom of this (is it because Katsura has hots for her?) as they assimilate as homeless people at the park? They are introduced to the Lawd who is no other than Hasegawa! He is speaking through a translator?! Is he that holy?! Actually the ‘translator’ is the Lawd. There is also a rival group of homeless people led by a ruffian who was done in by Katsura and Gintoki. Meanwhile Shinpachi and Kagura try to investigate more about the scarf as it has the crest of the famous Nishikiya on it. From what we hear it sounds very much like Ikumatsu is the heiress of Nishikiya whose father died 20 years ago. Ikumatsu admits to this but doesn’t remember how her father died since she was too young to remember. When the brand was booming, he started to flirt with employees and mom kicked him out. He is said to have died on the streets via illness. She could only remember her mom’s sad face. Well what do you know? That old scruffy man is supposed to be her dead father! The ruffian’s goal is to kill him. He forces Katsura and Gintoki to bring his head or else who knows what his men waiting outside Ikumatsu’s shop will do. This is his revenge on them. Lawd has a plan. Instead of looking for her father, they need to ensure Ikumatsu’s safety first and hence leads the morons out via sewer. Oh boy, Hasegawa is going to have his hands full saving them from stupid plunging jokes.

Episode 332
It is revealed that Ikumatsu’s dad saved a drowning boy on a bad weather. Though the kid was saved, he went missing. Many years later when he was found, he was seen with another woman. More accurately, he has amnesia and forgets everything by the next morning. The saved boy grew up to marry Ikumatsu as he kept searching for her dad until he found him at the park. He begged him to come eat ramen at their place to see his daughter even if he doesn’t remember. Strangely, he often wanders about on New Year’s Eve and into Ikumatsu’s store because of an old memory his family used to eat together. It turns out Lawd is Ikumatsu’s father. Gintoki fights the ruffian boss and his gang to let Katsura deliver Lawd to Ikumatsu. At the same time, Kagura and Shinpachi fight off the homeless hordes to let Ikumatsu do a ‘delivery’. Ikumatsu laments how she could forget about someone whom she loved so much. She accidentally falls into the river. Katsura is passing there as Lawd swiftly jumps in to save her. It seems Katsura only manages to pull Ikumatsu out. In the aftermath, Ikumatsu talks to Katsura and ponders if those last words she heard from her father were real. She is still grateful to him for if not for him, she could not have met her husband. She makes ramen for him to eat but he refuses because he is not related or part of her family. However he can still share her suffering as friends. The greatest news of all as her dad on a wheelchair is wheeled in by Gintoki. Ikumatsu immediately hugs him. We take a small detour as we see Hasegawa on the verge of jumping off the bridge. However he is told to appreciate life by an assassin who is about to snipe at someone! Suicidal man versus assassin. Who has more right on the views of life? Stay tuned…

Episode 333
Hasegawa suggests shooting him but Isshen won’t waste his bullets. However if he jumps from the other building, he can snipe at him and his target with one bullet. When Hasegawa treks up the other building, there is another assassin, Irron trying to snipe at Isshen! Hasegawa tells what is happening. Too bad Irron won’t kill him but only scumbags like Isshen. So Hasegawa has to go all the way back there to bait Isshen in hopes Irron will kill them with one shot. Back there again, Hasegawa is close to dead from all the running so Isshen is going to bring him to hospital! Life is more important than his job! What a nice guy! When Irron starts shooting and miss, Isshen tells him to go back there while he becomes the decoy. Hasegawa has to run back there again but Irron has injured himself. Then the baddies take him hostage and it turns out Irron is Isshen’s cross-dressed little sister. Hasegawa came here to die and became implicated in such complications. He has had it and takes Irron to jump down. Isshen then fires a shot that saves them from free fall. Looks like somebody will continue living today.

Matsudaira is conducting some lecture but Hijikata and Sasaki start arguing some crap that has them and their lazy partners do a case study via VR. It looks like somebody killed Momotaro and they must solve this whodunnit case. At first looks, it seems grandpa and granny might be suspects in killing him but further observation shows he has already been killed beforehand and stuffed inside the peach to frame them. Then they all go crazy with their theories as they suspect Momotaro’s comrades. With x-ray evidence showing he choked and he ate his animal comrades, Hijikata deduces after they slew the demon, they were drifting back and ran out of food. Momotaro gave his dango to his comrades but it soon ran out and they all died. Hence he ate them to survive. Finally when there is nothing left, he ate the dango bag and choked on it. A sad ending but the shocking revelation as Matsudaira says is that this isn’t Momotaro but the demon in disguise. After he ate the animals, he tried to make his way to eat more humans but died without achieving his goal. Cause of death? Brain tumour. WTF… Trolled…

Episode 334
As Tetsuko is looking through the swords, there is one without a scabbard. Gintoki nonchalantly throws it away in the incinerator. It comes alive and sticks inside his ass! Oh, it’s a talking sword. Kusanagi is from Planet Excalibur and came to Earth with his wife, Sayako the scabbard after smelling war. As time passed, he became blunt and tossed away. They only took Sayako who remained beautiful. He wants to be reunited with his wife so the gang conducts a free sword check. But why does Gintoki and Kusanagi sound like they are catcalling? Kusanagi starts resonating when his kind is near. It seems Kusanagi fears this dangerous guy, Senbei. But Senbei has to go since the cops after chasing him. Sougou couldn’t catch him so he arrests Gintoki for public indecency as replacement. Back at the HQ, Sougou rips Kusanagi out from his ass! Man, it looks like some sick bloody porn… Kusanagi realizes Sougou’s scabbard is Sayako. As he tries to talk to her, unfortunately she doesn’t remember him. She is very much in love with Sougou who saved her while being put on display in a shop in New York. They are leading a nice life now so she wants Kusanagi to stop bothering them. Kusanagi is so hurt that he sticks himself deeper into Gintoki’s ass! Since this won’t do, Gintoki challenges Sougou to a sword battle (buttle as they call it) over Sayako. But first they need to get the sword out from his ass. Looks like tying him to a tree and pulling it out via a truck isn’t going to work. With Kusanagi’s morale so low as he is obviously blunt, Tetsuko promises to beat him back into shape. Well… She broke him in half…

Episode 335
Kusanagi breaks again when reforged. At least his sarcasm is sharper… Tetsuko can tell it is because of his old wounds. Indeed. Sayako belonged to another sword initially. He was the cursed sword named Maganagi who consumed the life of all other swords and scabbards. Kusanagi couldn’t bear see his childhood friend become his latest victim and fought him and barely escaped with his life. Meanwhile Sougou is confronted by Senbei and as they are gearing up for a fight, another horrifying truth is revealed about Maganagi. Unlike Kusanagi who sticks in ass to be friendly with the wielder, Maganagi consumes the soul of the wielder. Hence Senbei isn’t actually himself but just a vessel for Maganagi. However Sougou easily defeats him! The day of the buttle is here. To Kusanagi’s fear, it seems Sougou is now the wielder of Maganagi. However it is Sougou who has tamed him! The real Senbei has been reduced to a vegetable state in hospital. He goes into trauma each time he thinks about being consumed. Hijikata realizes the horrifying implications of this if the greatest cursed sword falls into the hands of a super sadist. So the buttle begins with Gintoki and Sougou picking up coloured turds with the swords? And they’re throwing them at each other? After we’re done with all the poop jokes, the sword fight gets real.

Episode 336
At this point, Sougou has been consumed by Maganagi. The Shinsengumi try to arrest him but he is quick to slash their swords. They could have been goners had Gintoki didn’t distract him back to their fight. Gintoki is able to avoid all of his attacks because even though Maganagi took over Sougou’s body, his movements are now sluggish and easy to read. But shortly, Kusanagi goes flaccid. Ran out of juice? Maganagi is now quicker and sharper, doing some HP damage to Gintoki. This is when Sayako comes in between them. She doesn’t care about the swords but Sougou. Kusanagi thought she has really forgotten about them but Maganagi reveals the truth about her. She is Kusanagi’s daughter! WTF?! How can swords give birth?! It seems Sayako was pregnant with his child after he left and since it isn’t easy for a single swordless scabbard to protect a child, she housed many other swords even if it meant betraying her husband. By the time she was exhausted from it all, Maganagi freed her from it. By killing her. He is here to keep his promise to her so that all the family could reunite together in death. The shock kills Kusanagi as he disintegrates. As Maganagi tries to consume the scabbard, Sougou regains control of his body and doesn’t want the fight to end yet. Gintoki did the unthinkable as he becomes the scabbard to revive Kusanagi. Yup, he sticks the broken sword in his ass! Sougou won’t lose out and stabs Maganagi in his own heart. Both power up to astronomical proportions and explode upon clashing. In the end, Maganagi lost and disintegrates. Kusanagi is also on the verge of disintegrating but we get to hear his last rites of gratefulness. In the aftermath, Sougou and Sayako continue their normal life. Tetsuko and Yorozuya pick up all the disintegrated iron they could find. It took them a while but Sayako plans to forge the dullest sword out of it. Even so, Sougou hopes he could get it when it is ready as he is okay having a sword that doesn’t cut anything because the sword and the scabbard will never be apart again.

Episode 337
Otsu might still be a good singer but Gintoki argues that as a solo artist, her popularity would soon wane and she might be doing shady stuffs to keep relevant. Hence it is suggested she teams up as a unit. So they had to pick Kagura as her partner? Whatever. I’m sure we can see she has some talent aside from that nose picking thingy. Gintoki becomes the producer while Shinpachi becomes the manager (and everything else) in this duo unit called Hanakuso Diamond 48 (HDZ48). There is also some silly argument over the roles that they would be taking on that pretty much obsessed over some producer called Daisuke as well as the bands of B’z and Wands. Otae enters the scene to give her 2 cents worth of opinion about backup dancers and bands being the more dangerous enemies than fans. I guess it’s her cue to introduce herself and her all-girl band comprising of Kyuubei, Tsukuyo and Ayame as their backup band. They know nothing about music… With HDZ given the green light, it seems not all parties are happy. Like this intergalactic idol group as well as Otsu’s loyal fans who do not approve of her being in a unit. Looks like Shinpachi as their captain is going to be answerable to his hypocrisy. Gintoki arranges a sleazy handshake event that attracts perverts. But with Kagura’s strong grip that ‘destroys’ their perverted hands, Gintoki tries to cover up by selling stuffs and throw in idol service as extras but with unexpected consequences. Like a lap pillow, Kagura knee kicks them! Yeah, each cover up sounds more and more like some shady TV shopping channel. The disgruntled fans has have had enough when the intergalactic idol group drops in. Galaxy Kingdom Bitches 48 (GKB48)!!! I’m not kidding you.

Episode 338
GKB48 has private curtain rooms for their handshake. Makes you wonder what ambiguous stuffs they’re doing behind the privacy. Poor Otsu is so disheartened that all her loyal fans have deserted her, she runs away in tears. However GKB48 won’t let it end like that. As Otsu locks herself up at the agency, a new scandal surfaces. Superimposed pictures that make it look like Shinpachi and Gintoki are flirting with her. You know the journalists are going to be hard on their asses. GKB48 soon announces their debut on Earth. It will be on the same date of Otsu’s release. They are also planning to hold a concert for this debut and invite Otsu to battle with them. The winner gets to release their album while the loser quits forever. Otsu may not stand a chance but Yorozuya won’t go down without a fight since they are technically her last standing fans. GKB48 are insulted when Shinpachi and Gintoki dress up as new female members. Furthermore, Otsu didn’t show up. Her replacement? But HDZ48 has the backup band as support. The competition begins to see which side can get more handshakes from their fans. It seems the fans are all rushing towards GKB48’s gate while HDZ48 is a ghost town. HDZ48 plays dirty as the backup band girls start insulting those at the end of the queue. While this looks like they are only alienating fans, they quickly put up an apology act. The perfect tsundere act has some fans defecting to them. As Gintoki puts it, this isn’t a competition to see who the best idol is but the biggest slut alive! Hey, they started it so don’t regret. Gintoki then introduces their own private handshake room: Toilet stalls! Don’t understand his explanation but it sounds very shady and perverted that the backup band girls beat the hell out of him. At least more fans are coming their way, right?

Episode 339
It gets even worse when Otae and the girls are just arguing among themselves to be the centre. Don’t even talk about abusing the fans in the process. So are they serious or not? Not too surprising, the fans abandon them. With GKB48 taking an immense lead, Shinpachi dons his headgear as Otsu’s fan club captain. He is going to settle this once and for all. Yup, he is going into that private curtain. After all that big talk, he couldn’t even last a second inside! But did he? Actually he tore out an antenna that is supposedly mind controlling all their fans. Not only their fans revert back to normal, GKB48 revert to their ugly true form. With GKB48 disqualified for cheating and HDZ48 gaining fan support, GKB48 of course is going to get some payback. Kagura and the backing band keep them at bay with their immense strength and rotten music respectively and ultimately defeat them. And while they talk about dreams and ideals, Otsu who heard their sincere heart, makes a return to stage. Her fans are delighted as she starts singing for them. In the aftermath, Otsu shines as bright as before. HDZ48 got disbanded even before it lifted off. But I guess for all those who know, the legend of HDZ 48 lives in everyone’s heart.

Episode 340
A blatant promotion of their Gintama Rumble video game but also badmouthing and criticizing it in their usual fashion. So Yorozuya sneak into the game company with Tama to hack and change the game. First it spoofs the Tales series by giving some lame ass main protagonist who can only answer S or M. Then some outbreak disease that is so horrifying that it kills you in no time if you don’t do anything. Trying to scare us NEETs, huh? The zombie outbreak leads to a change in genre, a survival horror game Resident Evil style before a mission to save the princess that parodies Mario. Safe to say this game got cancelled.

Shinpachi broke his glasses so he sees a shady optician who gives him glasses that would make him see ‘clearer’. Turns out he could see ghosts latching onto people’s back! Cursed glasses! When he tries to return to the store for refund, it isn’t there anymore. Ghost store? He returns home only to find a terrifying deity-like ghost (Asuraman) haunting Gintoki. It turns out to be a vengeful spirit trying to kill him?! What about Kagura? She’s got an alcoholic Pikachu rip-off (Alchu)! Maybe that’s why she’s always in a bad mood when she wakes up. Then everyone attends a local race. Too bad Shinpachi could see dead warriors and fighters itching to kill each other…

Episode 341
These are the other ghastly things Shinpachi sees: Hasegawa is a ghost too?! Asuraman and Alchu sabotaging their own team because more spoils for the victors?! Other characters also have their ghosts haunting them like Otae has this super majestic monster Buddha, Kondou has his from his balls (?!), Katsura is a Toyota Corolla rip-off as well as Hijikata a Maserati rip-off?! Also, Hasegawa, Asuraman and Alchu combine to form one hideous (in a funny sense) sphinx beast or something. In the final game, it is kibasen mixed with a few other games to save time. It seems ghosts are also invited to participate! Naturally everyone targets Shinpachi’s team and as he resigns to his defeat, suddenly he sees a vision of that shady optician. Turns out he is his guardian spirit and just wanted him to see what their world is like. Giving him his original glasses, should he put them back on, he will never return to this world. And so Shinpachi takes it and uses the power of his glasses as his weapon and fails. His glasses break too. Time to get another one.

Do Not Slip Up Now!
Okay. I’m ready to do this now. I’m ready for it all to end. I’m ready for the final season. I’m ready for the final long arc as announced at the end. Unless they troll me hard again. But I could accept that. Anyway, back to this season. Well, I’m glad the same ol’ Gintama formula is still there. The funny exaggerated slapstick moments and the sudden ‘lessons in life’ that would instantly give you the feels are all too familiar and very much welcomed for veteran Gintama fans. It is a roller coaster ride from laughing and feeling touched. One minute you’re laughing out loud like a maniac, the next second you could be welling up some tears in your eyes. Oh, Gintama. That is why we love you throughout the years. It is that same love that we are going to see it end.

It is great for this ‘light-hearted’ season to feature some of the characters who didn’t appear in the couple of previous story arcs like the Shinsengumi. They were obviously and sorely missing from the previous Rakuyo Arc. This could have been well before that arc since Sasaki is ‘revived’. But you know, Gintama doesn’t really need to stick to all that who-lives-who-dies timeline just to make us some great entertainment. Also given more screen time this season are Hasegawa and Otsu who have been one of the few ‘favourite’ minor supporting characters throughout the long running series. Oddly for Katsura’s focused episode, I wonder what the heck happened to Elizabeth. That fake duck mascot character has always been by his side and they are like inseparable. So it is quite odd (at least for me) to see Katsura without his trusty sidekick for a long period of time especially a short mini arc even if it is just for 2 episodes. Of course Elizabeth is seen back in the final ghost haunting race for a short while and owning Katsura like he does sometimes.

I theorize why they called this season as Porori-hen (Slip Arc) is because they slip some random weird non-related arc into it. Okay, that is not what the slip for porori actually mean. At first you might think there would be some crazy-like fanservice because porori is often heard in anime when a female’s top gets loose. This is Gintama. We’re not expecting any bare breasted females for shock but there’s still that chance. But could it be there is a deeper meaning about this series slipping down? Maybe it doesn’t mean degrading in quality but while heading towards straight towards the final arc, a staff slipped on a banana and hence the production decided to take a detour, hence the slipping from its original path. I think.

This season’s opening theme, Blue Encount by VS feels reminiscent like their past songs like Pray, Donten by Does and Giniro No Sora. But if it sounds a bit more similar to DayxDay that’s because Blue Encount also sung this song. Then ending theme, Hankou Seimei by Ayumikurikamaki is quite a fun and lively rock piece. It has this cheeky and playful beat to it. The ending animation credits might troll us because we see many of the series’ characters in wedding outfits like as though somebody (or all of them) is going to get married. Turns out to be one elaborated birthday bash for Kagura. Do people use wedding theme for their birthdays? How else are they going to dress up so nicely then?

Overall, what needs to be said about Gintama has been said. What I wanted to say about Gintama has been said (unless I have forgotten). There is nothing else for me to comment on this season but just another reminder (might sound like a nag after a while) how great this series is. It’s so weird and random that it’s just funny and good. At this point, to a godly level. Unless you have no taste in comedy than that’s a different story. Now that the fun time is over, it’s time to get serious and look into the colour of Gintama’s soul. Unless somebody laced the entire pathway with bananas then more potential porori. Oh, we’ll get there. Just a bit later…

Kakegurui

March 18, 2018

If you think Kaiji was too dangerous in its gambling theme, you haven’t seen Kakegurui yet. Equally as dangerous because it is a high school setting where students are allowed to gamble and winners triumph over losers. Money rules. A gambler’s paradise or a gambler’s hell, depending on which end your fate throws you. So if you can’t stomach any form of risk, don’t even think of earning any quick cash if you can’t afford to bet a strand of hair on the table. Why bet something so small and insignificant when you can bet your entire life! Oh sh*t…

Episode 1
Ryouta Suzui is in a gambling game with Mary Saotome. He lost. He believes the rest of his life is doomed until Yumeko Jabami becomes the new transfer student in his class. As he shows her around Hyakkaou Private Academy, she notices his ‘dog tag’. He explains this school’s gambling tradition in which if you lose and is unable to repay your debts guys will be tagged as dogs and girls as cats. Basically, house pets AKA slaves. Yumeko seems excited to receive an invitation to gamble but wait no more because Mary throws her that invitation. In this version of rock-scissors-paper, classmates will draw one of the three before putting it in a box and each of them will draw 3 cards from that box. They will pick one those cards to play. If no clear winner after 3 cards, the game is a draw. As they place their bets, Yumeko starts small and wins. In the next round, she makes a daring jump to bet highly. She lost. Then she reverts to betting small and wins. Then high again. But this time 10 million in cash! You scared, Mary? Cocky Mary takes on her challenge because she knows the game is rigged. Many of the classmates are on her side. All she needs to know is what kind of cards most of them will draw and pick that one that will guarantee her win. To Mary’s shock, Yumeko suddenly accuses her that her classmates are collaborating with her. Mary thinks it is her way to nullify the match if she is found cheating. On the contrary, Yumeko relishes that the true gambling starts now. Confident that the match is hers, Mary puts forth her winning card… And loses! Not only Yumeko has reclaimed the amount she lost to Mary but now Mary owes her 8.8 million! Mary has no way out left as she pleads for some time to repay her.

Later Suzui asks how Yumeko saw through Mary’s trick. Yumeko knew Mary was manipulating the game but needed to know which card would be voted the most. However it would be hard if there was no one to orchestrate which card to draw. She was observing Mary and she did not give any visual or verbal hints. Then she notices everyone’s eyes not on her but on somebody else. The person who would decide which card to draw. And that person is Suzui who was standing behind her. How does Yumeko know that? A handy hand mirror. But as for how Yumeko drew that winning card, it was really down to her luck. Is it because she enjoys the thrill of the risk? Certainly having too much risk or too high advantage isn’t fun. Suzui plans to drop out of this school because of his debt. He tried to earn money to repay his debt via gambling but fell even further. To his shock, Yumeko pays him the amount needed to clear his debt. This is her way of thanking him for introducing him to this school’s gambling and was able to enjoy a great game. Even if he was Mary’s slave, Yumeko hates game she knows she will win or lose. Today’s experience was the kind of thrill she wanted in gambling and it’s all thanks to him. Suzui can tell from that smile of her she isn’t just a gambling addict but loses herself gambling.

Episode 2
Mary is now a cat. Yesterday she is one of the elites. Today she is a slave and everyone is mocking her. Truly a quick fall from grace. Suzui explains that is the norm in this school as many children of politicians and businessmen are sent here and gambling is a way to pick up negotiation skills so that they can perform under pressure and take advantage of others (?!). The student council monitors all gambling and a hierarchy system is updated frequently. Of the 3000 students, the bottom 100 become house pets. Previously the discrimination wasn’t strong until the current student council president, Kirari Momobami defeated the previous one and now the body consists of the school’s strongest gamblers. This didn’t scare Yumeko and this makes her want to gamble more. Speaking of which, she’ll have her chance with Itsuki Sumeragi, the daughter of Japan’s most famous toy maker. She is also part of the student council although she bought her way in. Never lost a card game? Even better for Yumeko… They’ll be playing this memory game. But using 2 packs of card, the numbers and suit must match, therefore only making only 1 possible pair. Both start off equally well. They have never missed a card that has already been opened. Sumeragi wins in the end and with Yumeko betting 20 million, can she repay it? Yumeko emotionally pleads for another game and this is when Sumeragi starts to get creepy. She shows her nail collections that she has collected from losers. It would have been easier to buy them but it’s much more fun to tear them out! Suzui doesn’t want Yumeko to accept this but if she doesn’t, how else will she repay her debts?

Of course we all know why Sumeragi is so confident is because the cards are rigged. There is a small portion that will reveal a mark at certain temperature. She only has a few seconds to remember all those marked cards before those marks fade. With no proof, she’ll never be caught. Or so she thinks. So when Yumeko mocks her for betting so small compared to the market value of her family’s corporation, Sumeragi starts panicking if she knows this secret. Because it will be bad for her company as this means they have been selling cards for cheating. Too bad Sumeragi will never have a chance because Yumeko pairs it all on her first go! She has noticed the markings and they are the same as the pack before. Had they been different, she would have lost. Thank goodness, right? Sumeragi realizes Yumeko may have memorized the cards during the first game and pretended to be desperate to let her guard down. Yumeko is addicted now to continue gambling. This time they can tear the loser’s fingernails and toenails. Come on, let’s play! Too bad Sumeragi is so afraid that she starts crying and can’t do it. She regrets it but this only further disappoints Yumeko. No fun. Apparently after school, gambling stations pop up everywhere so you can bet Yumeko is going to visit them to gamble more. This leads her to the traditional culture research society. They see Mary in a desperate gamble against the society’s president, Yuriko Nishinotouin who is also on the student council. Mary lost. Further spiralling into debt. Screaming will not erase your debts…

Episode 3
More explanation how house pets have the right to challenge official matches but only once. As long as the wager is reasonable, it cannot be refused. Therefore they usually go after the student council in hopes of erasing their debts quickly but often fail. You bet Yumeko wants to play Nishinotouin. She explains this special roulette game known as Life or Death. 10 swords are thrown in a cup so they will land on a board with 30 numbers and holes. They bet their chips in hopes of the sword would land on the number. However if the sword lands face up, you win 30 times the amount you bet but if the sword is face down, you lose 30 times that amount. They play until all their chips are gone and the loser must pay the difference. Yumeko starts betting small to test waters. Neither lost. Before their next game, Yumeko starts mocking Nishinotouin as a despicable woman. She is referring to Mary’s game in which she was given a glimmer of hope but people like her only drive them to despair. Then she continues to make fun of Nishinotouin’s name because it sounds like a combination of numbers and thought the swords would have landed on them. This angers Nishinotouin but she keeps her cool and proceeds with the game. Before the swords are revealed, Yumeko apologizes for offending her because she just was just saying what’s on her mind to bet all her chips on this number, 24 (a combination pun of Nishinotouin’s name). That’s because she is cheating. Yumeko notices that all the members in the society has some sort of metal piercings on their hand. She believes one of the swords is magnetic and it will take the dexterity of the dealer to control the sword and land it face down in a hole.

Nishinotouin argues that if she was cheating, she would have won all the time. But Yumeko knows the best part of this trick is that she doesn’t need to win all the time. The success rate is low considering the magnetic sword might not fall into a certain hole or there are other swords blocking the hole. All she needs is just a slight advantage. That is why Yumeko provoked her to ‘cheat’ on this game. So if the sword actually lands face up on that number, Nishinotouin could stand to lose almost 3 billion in this single game! Nishinotouin is really panicking. She is in deep trouble because if she loses she will be kicked out of the student council in addition to the debt she cannot repay. She will lose everything she has built up. Thinking of negotiating, suddenly Kirari barges in and wants to watch the rest of this interesting game. So please reveal the swords. It didn’t land on 24 but it did land face down on a number Nishinotouin bet. It is Yumeko’s loss and Nishinotouin’s small miracle win. In the aftermath, Yumeko explains to Suzui about the old trick where Japanese houses usually has spaces below and this is perfect for accomplices to cheat in gambling via a very small hole. Yumeko deduces the sword did land on 24 but Kirari somehow managed to magnetically pull it out from the space above. She is excited and wants to gamble with Kirari. Yumeko is now a house pet as her classmates ridicule her. However Yumeko finds cats cute and starts acting like one! Those mockers freak out and leave since Yumeko wants to gamble them and absolve her debts. No takers?

Episode 4
Suzui pays some money back to her to cover her debts but she declines since the student council has not asked her to repay them. Instead, like him, she has a booklet called Life Programme. Mary also has this so she confronts student council member, Runa Yomozuki about this. Seems her entirely life is planned out. From who she will marry to how many kids she will have. Have a problem with it? Then repay your debts… Yumeko is then called by Jun Kiwatari who wants her to strip. When she declines, he is going to rape her. But then Midari Ikishima of the student council wants in and settle this via gambling. She wants to play Russian roulette. Only 1 bullet in the chambers of 6. She will fire and if it is empty, he gets her way with her or else he dies. When he isn’t interested, she makes it more interesting that he should pull the trigger on her instead. However he refuses and leaves. Ikishima is disappointed since the odds were not stacked against him. So she tries it on herself. And lives! She enjoys this thrill and starts masturbating herself. She will make good on Yumeko’s gratitude. An event is held. Student council secretary, Sayaka Igarashi relays the rules for this Debt Exchange programme. They will be divided into groups in which the group winner will take on the lowest debt in the group. But what if the one with the lowest debt wins? Full exemption of the debts. Mary is wary of Yumeko and hopes not to be grouped with her. Too bad fate screws with her and ends up in her group. In that case, there is no choice but to collude with her.

The game is Indian poker. Players are allowed to see their first card but their second card is placed over the forehead. The strongest is a pair followed by same suits. Different coloured chips are provided for each player because the value of the chips are 1/10 of the player’s debt. Also, the student council who will referee the game will turn a blind eye even if there is cheating unless it is brought to their attention. In Yumeko and Mary’s group are Kiwatari and Nanami Tsubomi. Kiwatari is not a house pet but he does owe a small amount to a friend so he is eligible to participate. He is just playing for some pocket money. The game starts off with Kiwatari being confident. Mary folds but Yumeko goes ahead and loses. Next round, Kiwatari also wins after everyone folds. Next round, Yumeko calls a raise and Kiwatari follows suit. Yumeko wins. Mary realizes that if she wants to win, she needs to move in. Her Life Programme is indeed a cushy life. An ultimate life that every woman dreams of. But she doesn’t want it as she doesn’t want others to tell her what to do with her life. When she calls for a raise, Kiwatari is still confident. A single loss to Yumeko will not deter him. After all, he knows they are working together. Because why so confidently bet high when they cannot determine the other card? Unless. He folds but Mary unveils her cards and has a dud.

Episode 5
For the next few rounds, when Kiwatari calls, they fold and if he folds, they have duds. Yumeko and Mary know Tsubomi is obedient to Kiwatari and by the way she places her cards, it signals to him what suit she has. Yumeko even tells Tsubomi a fool proof trick to use hand signals beneath the table. With Kiwatari panicking and telling Tsubomi how to play her hand, it only lets the duo know what kind of cards he has. On the penultimate round, Kiwatari wins and jumps into first place. On the final round, Kiwatari just needs to fold to win it. However Yumeko and Mary get into an argument to bet more chips. At this rate, they will overtake him. When he tries to force Tsubomi to fold, Yumeko talks to Tsubomi if she is okay being used like this. This is her chance to break free from her house pet status. Unless of course she is scared of rebelling and wants to stay one her entire life. This has Tsubomi remember the traumatic time she became a house pet. Kiwatari cut her long beautiful silky hair and she has been ‘dead’ ever since. All her pent up anger and frustration released, Tsubomi rebels and bets a chip instead. Kiwatari is mad but he wonders why Yumeko would do this unless she is sure she would win. The round ends with Tsubomi winning. The total balance is summed up and winning this game is Mary followed by Tsubomi, Yumeko and lastly Kiwatari. Kiwatari is not happy since he has 5 Yumeko chips and this should be worth almost 60 million each. Yumeko and Mary start laughing at him and it seems the duo swapped their debts. It was stated in the rules that you play with whatever debts you reported. The difference Mary handed a cheque to Suzui. Kiwatari is now resorting to violence but Igarashi tasers him out. Now that Kiwatari has incurred the highest debt in the group, he will become a house pet if he cannot repay it. Although Tsubomi is still a house pet and still has her debts, she is no longer angry and thankful to Yumeko for giving her a chance. Mary retrieves her cheque back from Suzui. He isn’t going to cash it in, right? Yumeko is quite happy with their splendid act and gets all touchy with Mary. She wants to be her friend! Does she have a reason to say no?

Episode 6
Now that Mary has cleared her debts and no longer a house pet, those b*tches are being friendly with her again. Mary talks to Suzui about Yumeko. She actually has more than enough money to clear her debts but yet she chose not to and remained a house pet. She believes Yumeko wants to officially challenge the student council. Igarashi has done some research on Yumeko. It seems she has a very vast fortune. Her parents are deceased and her only living relative is an older sister who is in a hospital for treatment. The kind of treatment that needs enormous amounts of money. Yeah, we see her making paper cranes with money! Thinking that Yumeko’s intention is to gamble with Kirari, Ikishima panics and needs to find her first before Kirari ruins her. Hence she quickly ‘arrests’ Yumeko and Suzui for a gamble. In this ESP game, the players and the dealer will be placed in separate soundproof rooms. Only a surveillance monitor connects the rooms. The dealer will deal the cards face down. The players will do the same. Once done, all will reveal their cards. Whoever has more matching cards with the dealer wins. The difference the winner gain as points. But it seems Igarashi will not wager money. She wants to use guns. The winner gets to pull the trigger for every point they have! Both of them will fill up a gun’s chambers with any amount of bullets they want. Be it none or all 6. They put it inside a chute as they will later randomly pick it up. The first player to get shot loses. Don’t worry about getting killed. The president will usually do something to cover it up. Suzui doesn’t want to play this game and leave so this makes Ikishima mad that he is trying to ruin their fun. Kirari won’t play with her so her only chance left is Yumeko. If he insists, she will shoot him! Of course Yumeko intends to play this game as Suzui is horrified how both perverts are on the same psychotic level.

Meanwhile Mary is summoned by Kirari. It seems she wants her to join the student council since she was able to do a rare feat of clearing her debts. Mary tries to decline but Kirari intimidates her by wondering why she would refuse such an offer. Being on the student council has lots of perks. She allows Mary to defer her answer and likes people like her whom she can’t understand. Yumeko sets her conditions to play. They will play for only 3 rounds, Suzui is the dealer and the loser will lose a billion yen. Ikishima is okay with it since she doesn’t care about money. In that case Ikishima adds a condition that she cannot miss if she has the right to shoot. Suzui panics as all he could see is Yumeko’s death. Besides she did tell him that all they need to do is collaborate and win. Just do a sign. What sign???!!! He believes Yumeko wants Ikishima to think they can win with a signal and hence she won’t be so reckless if she knows if she is going to lose. He does some hand signal. Whatever that means. After Suzui places his cards, the girls load up their gun. Ikishima goes for the maximum 6! The big reveals sees Ikishima matches 3 cards while Yumeko only matches 2 cards. Ikishima quickly pulls out a gun and is going to fire at her but Yumeko warns her not to pull that trigger on that gun.

Episode 7
It seems she loaded it with her lipsticks and it might misfire. Ikishima doesn’t care so Yumeko admits she lied. It isn’t loaded. Before they begin the next round, Yumeko asks why she invited her to play this game. The thrill of life and death. She doesn’t care if she wins or lose. Then she shows her missing left eye. Flashback shows gambling didn’t make her happy. So when she lost to Kirari, the latter notes Ikishima is the kind who would rather pay with their lives. She suggests paying back her debt with her left eye because she is curious to see how the back of it looks like. Oh, she’s too lazy to read up on it too. She will prepare for tomorrow’s surgery but Ikishima quickly stabs her own eye! Now that Kirari has seen it, she lost interest. The thrill of pain has Ikishima wanting to gamble with her again. She’ll bet her other eye. She is then invited to join the student council. At first she wasn’t interested but after Kirari says she will kill her someday, she agreed. Suzui is racking his brains on how to line up his cards and decides to go with Yumeko’s first order. Thanks to that, Yumeko got all correct and Ikishima only 3. Ikishima relishes being shot at. She even orgasms before Yumeko pulls the trigger. However Yumeko knows it is her own gun and all the chambers are empty. Well, because Ikishima loaded hers full, she can tell the difference of the gun’s weight. Before Suzui could start the final round, he notices Ikishima is cheating. He is forced to deal his cards now or she will shoot Yumeko right away. With no time, he just deals them. After that, Yumeko pulls her loaded gun on Ikishima and is disappointed in her. Ikishima likes it and believes she is the kind who gets her kicks exploiting others rather than bearing risks. She matches Yumeko by loading only 2 chambers.

When the cards are revealed, Ikishima gets all wrong. Yumeko then reveals she knows Suzui is right handed and previous footage shows him dealing with his left. Also, one of the card patterns is reversed and this means the video is horizontally mirrored. Only the final round he played with his right. This also means Suzui’s feed also shows the girls in mirrored positions (the cheating Suzui claimed). Hence Yumeko accounted for this and he played his cards like she expected. From the first round, Yumeko can tell Ikishima doesn’t care of her own wellbeing and her conditions for victory is being killed. Yumeko reveals her cards. She got them all wrong too. Yumeko couldn’t have loaded none and got it all correct but by doing so and loading only 2 bullets, if someone won by 5 points, it would certain fire. Ikishima thought it would be impossible to tie if she played all her cards wrong. But if she decided to play 1 or 2 correctly, there was a chance Yumeko might be shot. She views this as an insult to gambling. Gambling is interesting because both parties suffer. Ikishima is only interested in suffering herself. She is not gambling and just wants to die. She hates this kind of people the most. Ikishima is turned on by her craziness and wants to be her slave! Please shoot her! Politely declined. Kirari is still waiting for Mary’s answer so the latter asks about the house pet system. She talks about the strongest of the fittest in her aquarium but if you put all the strongest together, they can only be one who is the strongest. Sometimes the weak steal from the strong too. She is interested to see what happens if it is applied to humans. Mary refuses to join and is not obliged to give an answer. Mary is upset inside that Kirari tried to make a fool out of her. She doesn’t view house pets as humans and only objects below her. Her view of justice is warped. She is going to make her pay for that. Yumeko asks Suzui why he continued to play the same cards despite knowing the trick. He didn’t have time to think and hoped she didn’t realize he didn’t know what to do. He was just praying for the best. His answer makes her feel better.

Episode 8
Yumemi Yumemite is the school’s top idol. She is on course to be the world’s best idol. She has a crazy fan club and it is expensive to be a member. When Kirari decided to take leave from school, Igarashi didn’t hear anything about it and begged her to stay. She told her to f*ck off. It has been a week since and Igarashi is growing worried that without her presence, things may fall apart. Especially the treasurer, Kaede Manyuda who is craving for power. Why is Igarashi so scared of him? Yumemi plans to take care of Yumeko and Manyuda agrees to support her and do the necessary preparations. Sumeragi is trying to be friends with Yumeko. It seems her dad has warned her that it is her job to be part of the student council (too bad she got fired) and make political connections. If she cannot do that, she will get disowned! As Yumeko’s rounds of defeating student council members become more prominent, this has given hope to many house pets who believe she is aiming for the president’s seat. In that case, Sumeragi is planning to support her all the way. Yumeko isn’t interested in the seat but as long as she can gamble that is good enough. Besides, she already considers Sumeragi her friend. Only, if she didn’t have to rub her fingernails… Remember your place…

Yumeko soon receives an invitation to meet Yumemi. She is thoroughly checked by her manager, Saori before entering. Yumemi shows some variety show they will be appearing after her next concert. This show is to help select the next new member. The wager is 50 million and enough to clear Yumeko’s house pet status. But if she fails, she will form an idol unit with her. From the way Yumemi describes the glamorous idol life, Yumeko then shoots her mouth. She hates her fans, right? It seems Yumeko has collected and pasted back ripped fan letters for her. Yumemi admits she hates them but Yumeko wants to know her goal otherwise she cannot find a reason to gamble with her. Yumemi wants an Academy Award. She dreamt of getting one since young but the rate she is progressing, she will never ever get it. So what better way to rise up fast in this school and be an idol. Becoming a world class idol would be easy with this school’s power. This is why she is able to put up with the fans and continue her job. She continues to badmouth them like shaking hands with her with their sweaty palms. Yumeko is amazed of her dream and can carry on despite hating her fans. But it won’t be fun if they do not bet their livelihoods on the game. Yumeko has recorded their conversation and will make it part of their wager. Of course she will not make a copy of it. See you on the day of the concert. But it seems Yumeko didn’t intentionally have those ripped letters and recorder. Somebody sent it to her. Yumemi also believes that only someone with a master key could have got into her room where she shredded her letters. The concert is here and after it, Yumemi introduces Yumeko to start their idol championship.

Episode 9
They will play a series of games in which the winner gets a mark they will put on a tic-tac-toe board. You know how to win this, right? It starts off with singing. Yumemi sings an idol song and scores high. Yumeko sings a boring school anthem and she almost scores perfect?! As the game drags on, we hear Yumemi saying winning and losing is all part of the plan otherwise it will be too easy. But don’t bet that Yumeko doesn’t even know. In a game that has them guess a random fan’s birth month, Yumemi thought she would win this and everything since she knows every damn fans’ birthday. And that lucky random fan called is… Mary! Who the f*ck is she?! Yumemi panics. She watches Yumeko’s writing and can tell what month she is writing. But wait. Could this be a trap to lead her on? In the end, both got wrong but since Yumeko’s is closest, she wins. Too bad, Yumemi. You were just overthinking. Yumeko didn’t lose this on purpose. She really didn’t know Mary’s birthday! As Yumemi has lost, it is time for her to pay up. Suddenly Saori slams the money wager on the table. She is willing to give more so as to have Yumeko keep quiet about the recording. However Yumemi says to play it. If she needs to be an idol, she has to have luck. Losing here means she isn’t meant to be one.

The recording of badmouthing the fans is played. The fans are confused. Yumemi confirms it is her. Just as she resigns to her fate, her fans suddenly declare their love and support for her. They have loved her from the start and even more now that she has come clean with her feelings. Renewed hope for Yumemi. You think everything is nicely over now that the dream girls are singing a duet on stage. Not for Yumeko. The torn letter was also the wager as she reveals somebody anonymously sent it to her. With the fans angry and wanting the culprit to show up, Yumemi thinks that because everything was resolved nicely, this would be meaningless. But this is a matter of their pride so she too calls out for the culprit to own up as she calls out to Manyuda. After all, he is the only one with power who can change this event to fans-only and assured them of winning. Manyuda coolly takes to the stage and brushes off all allegations. He has done nothing of that sort and swears on his position and ambition to take over Kirari’s seat. There is lack of evidence so there is nothing Yumeko can do with her accusations. Well, they are not in court so she doesn’t care. In fact she wants to gamble him. He quickly shoots her down that there is no merit in doing so and reminds her of her position as house pet. Speaking of which, she invokes that special right to play an official match.

Episode 10
Manyuda agrees to gamble her. She is a compulsive gambler and doesn’t care about winning or losing. He’ll just have to factor that in. Igarashi is in a bind. If Yumeko wins, 2 of their student council members would have lost in the same day. If Manyuda wins, he will be a step closer in taking Kirari’s seat. The student council vice president becomes the dealer of this choice poker game as she explains the rules. In this version, one cannot fold or call but only raise a bet. After changing their required cards, they are to bet. The one with the higher bet wins the right to choose if the round is won via strongest order or weakest order. There is no bet limit but must play to their fund limit. This of course puts Yumeko at a disadvantage as she has limited funds. The first round goes as Manyuda calculates the reasons and chances of Yumeko doing so and the cards she most likely have. Yumeko wins the bet and calls for the weaker order. She wins. Manyuda is now confident after witnessing her actions as well as hers from previous student council battles, he knows her character well. In the next round, Yumeko not only throws away her pairs but bets all her chips! Of course Manyuda matches hers and raises by a chip. The results: Yumeko has nothing. Manyuda wins. Sumeragi is f*cked because this means all her dreams and hopes she put on her are dashed. Yumeko then calls out to Sumeragi. Could she borrow some money? I mean, they’re friends, right? Friends should help each other out at times like this.

Sumeragi is definitely in a bind since Manyuda notes that she has joined Yumeko’s side after being kicked out of the student council. He badmouths her as having no skill and no right to walk the path of rulers. Yumeko disagrees because who is he to decide Sumeragi has no value. Only she herself can determine that. In order to obtain something, something else must be sacrificed. So either she choose peace as an incompetent or risk her own destruction to reach the top. Sumeragi thinks hard. Manyuda’s path seems to be the safest and she can get what is needed of her. Yumeko is riskier but she gets everything she wants or lose it all. Flashback shows Sumeragi talking to Itsuki and wanting to join the student council. She thought of putting in more money if that is what is needed but he tells her to give up. Being part of the student council also means shouldering a great responsibility. Graduates of their school make up the backbone of Japan and they all have their eyes on it. If their trust is betrayed, it is the end of them. Does she have what it takes to be part of it? She declares she wants to be the student council president. This gets his attention as they both share the same ambition. He will personally recommend her to join and they will both take the throne together. Sumeragi was happy when she was accepted and that she had a secret partner in crime. She realized too late that he was only using her as a pawn. She was despised. Now she is going to pay him back as she personally places 100 chips for Yumeko. She’ll take the throne herself.

Episode 11
Yumeko changes her pair of queens! Manyuda thinks she is going for the same trick again. So when they start betting and raise each other, of course Manyuda is going to win. But Sumeragi decides to help sponsor Yumeko and uses her funds to help raise for Yumeko. Even so, Manyuda is the treasurer and he has billions in his account. When Sumeragi is at her limit, Yumeko suggests they bet everything. Yumeko can bet her Life Programme and Sumeragi who stands to inherit everything from her father’s empire, can bet her life too! The astronomical amount has Sumeragi shivering in fear. However with Yumeko reminding if this is as far her resolve will go, Sumeragi decides not to run anymore and bites off her nails to show her resolve! She’s betting her life! Manyuda rubbishes all that because they are supposed to bet money and betting one’s life isn’t an accurate collateral. But Yumeko reminds him that whatever school rules, the one holding the power is the dealer. And so she allows it! Manyuda objects but she reveals her mask: Kirari! Look at the shock at his face! Didn’t see this coming. Manyuda is in a pinch as he thinks the combined bet of Yumeko and Sumeragi is at 12 billion. If he loses this, his influence and goal will be over. Flashback sees Manyuda’s dad telling him about money is king and the path he must achieve to get all that. What if he fails? Then he is worth nothing. Manyuda then decides to bet his life. Sumeragi panics. His net worth is definitely way higher than theirs. She thinks of having Mary and Suzui chip in their lives too but Kirari tells her they aren’t even worth millions. Ouch. With Manyuda winning the bet, he chooses the strongest and shows set of 8’s. Sumeragi starts to break down. Manyuda thought he has won it but Yumeko lecturing him about how he lost his path, it turns out Sumeragi was just acting all along. Yumeko shows her cards. 3 pairs too. But jacks rank higher, right? In short, his loss is because he underestimated Sumeragi. Manyuda becomes devastated his life is over that he collapses and his hair turn white!!! Truly his world has come to a crashing halt. But looks like the big showdown is on the cards. Yumeko vs Kirari. Supernova explosion indeed.

Episode 12
Sumeragi puts down all the trick tools and equipment for Yumeko’s gamble. Of course she is not going to use all of that. Where’s the fun without the risk? They go meet Ririka and Runa will oversee their match. First they lay down what to wager. Because they consider this school as utmost important, the loser will forever leave Hyakkaou. Mary protests because there is nothing for the winner. Kirari disagrees because if you think about it, gambling bears no fruits and only leads to loss. Even so, people indulge in so because such risks are entertaining. The game they’ll play will use ta tarot cards. They will pick 3 cards from it. But if it is faced up, it is a positive score based on the card’s number and inverted a negative one. Yumeko will be positive while Kirari the negative. Whoever has the most score on their side win. All except for one card called The Fool. Its value is zero. If upright, Yumeko wins. Otherwise it is Kirari’s win when inverted. The duo will pick a card each and they select Suzui as the third picker. At first he sees this another big role too much to shoulder but thinking back, there is something he wants. Yumeko goes first and only gets a +1. Next is Kirari. First she talks about predetermined fate and then flips her card. A -21! Looks like the pressure is on Suzui. He laments his fate because what are the odds of pulling out The Fool? Yumeko assures him the loss is only hers to bear. However he disagrees. He reminds her he wants to watch her play and be with her more. Thus this is also a risk for him! Is that a confession? Suzui thinks hard which card to pick. He notices that there is a marked card. One that Kirari pulled out when she told them The Fool card was the joker. Could it be Kirari set it up so he would pick it? However he won’t flip that card because it is a huge risk. He will not leave that best part to someone else. Yumeko is so thrilled at his words and climaxes?! He leaves it to fate as he picks a card. +20! A draw! This means neither would have to leave! Wow. Everyone so relieved. Especially Igarashi. She can continue to be with her beloved. Sumeragi and Mary get into opposing arguments why Suzui didn’t pick that card. Had it been The Fool, why didn’t Kirari pick it? Perhaps it wasn’t because when Kirari showed that Fool card, she might have stacked another card behind it. But they’ll never know as Runa takes them away and runs. In the aftermath, Kirari does a shake up to the student council and Yumeko continues to gamble at her pleasure.

God Of Gamblers
Looks like fate has it that both Yumeko and Kirari will continue to stay on and meet again one day. This means another season, right? After all, Yumeko hasn’t fully taken down the entire student council and there might be new additions to the body, right? Yumeko hasn’t exactly gambled everyone and dominate the entire school, right? Oh man. I’m getting too excited that there should be more! Am I getting addicted to this series? Sure, it is good and amazing. Having a dozen episodes isn’t merely enough! Need more! But for now, looks like I have to be contented with this season. What to do? No more money, can’t play.

Even if the gambling games are not as creative as I expected, they are still interesting in its own right. In fact, the more interesting aspects are the psychological mind games the players are engaged in. Like the first rock-scissors-paper with a slight twist and variation isn’t much but an interesting concept and variation if you would like to think of it. Sumeragi’s memory game isn’t anything special or out of the ordinary that the focus isn’t on the game itself. Even the poker match between Yumeko and Manyuda is just a freaking normal poker match. Just with an added variation of either you want the strongest or weakest combination to win. Even if you have not heard of Nishinotouin’s roulette game before, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t lose much. You can learn on the fly and it isn’t not as complicated as it should be. After all, the idea is to gamble and not to make complicated rules for, uhm, pure fun and entertainment?

Hence like I’ve said, what makes this a good series is how they execute the psychological mind games among the players. We delve into their mind to see how they think. Usually, many who challenged Yumeko would mostly underestimate her. Even if they don’t, they still are. The problem is they don’t really know much about her. And it really bites them back when she counters it all like they’ve never seen it coming. It really hits them hard. It is those parts perhaps we love to see, the panic look on their faces when Yumeko turns the tables on them for being too overconfident and cocksure that they have it in the bag. Well, always be prepared and expect the unexpected. For now, the plot doesn’t look like it is going to pull off something suspenseful or a mind blowing twist unless more is revealed about Yumeko or Kirari’s home issues. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out to be something like Yumeko is Kirari’s long lost sister!!! No way!

Yumeko as the main character is as enigmatic as she is interesting. We don’t know much about her except that she is filthy rich and has this love/habit/addiction for gambling. Gambling is like sex to her. What makes her a frightening character is how sharp and observant she is. And she plays it cool enough that you won’t even think she has noticed it. To rub further insult, she acts like a ditzy dumb fool at times. You know what they say about being clever to hide your cleverness. Sometimes I think Yumeko is like the devil reincarnated. She might seem going around to defeat the evil student council body and mostly does so. Even if she losses, she has other ulterior motives. Her sharp observation may awe you and sometimes dumbfound you. Because like I’ve said, it’s like as though she is the devil reincarnated and can read the minds of her opponent. Like as though she has the series’ script and has read it beforehand! Yumeko is even ‘superior’ than God in the sense that she doesn’t need to pray to Him like most other low level desperate gamblers do when they need luck. Heck, many of the characters here do not need to even do so. They all depend on their luck and skill and only have themselves to blame if they fail. I mean, it is you who is gambling, not God, right?

So think thrice if you think you can beat her in any form of gambling because I’m sure if you really want to cheat, you would have automatically have lost. So to have a chance of winning, you’ll have to leave that chance to gambling. That is, play fair and by the rules. But in this school where the high stakes are everything, you’d think everybody would be such a goody boy and goody girl and play fair? One must think if Yumeko is such a talent to see through her opponents or she must have gone through a lot of hell and practice to attain such skill. I think it is plausible to believe the latter. After all, Yumeko is no angel or God (that’s why I call her the devil) because it might seem she is going around and helping those who are in dire need like Suzui but in actual fact she hasn’t done anything for them and is just happy to just gamble. Nothing more. Nothing less. It is more fun to gamble and beat those with bad intentions rather than those who are struggling just to purely stay out of debt, right? Where’s the fun in taking down those who are cornered?

Not surprisingly when you have a school that allows such rapid gambling, there are certainly many other weird characters too. Especially the student council body. They’re all a bunch of freaks, right? You’ve got the cruel Kirari to the lollipop sucking carefree loli Runa to the extreme masochist Ikishima who should be locked up in a mental asylum to the manipulative Manyuda (still out in coma, poor guy), the all-that-glitters-is-not-what-you-see idol Yumemi and the Japanese ghost clone Nishinotouin. I’ll say that the ‘worst’ one is Igarashi because she looks like Kirari’s lapdog. Always concerned about her, the moment she is seemingly away, she starts to descend into some panicky state. Like as though her head will roll if the student council loses its reputation. Maybe. We don’t know what Kirari is capable of. But to see her in that jumpy shape in contrast to when she first appeared and coolly refereed the Debt Exchange programme, it really feels she just went downhill. With Yumeko going around defeating them one by one, I’m not sure if there is a pattern for those she has defeated because some become her ally after that. I guess those people who have lost to her know better which better ship to jump. I wouldn’t say that Mary and Sumeragi are her allies but they have the same common enemy. The enemy of my enemy is also my friend.

Having said all that, the most normal of all is Suzui. He considers Yumeko his saviour and follows her around as a friend. And hence my theory is that so he plays the role to ramp up the dramatization effect. In a game of high stakes where no normal people would have placed such high bets, they would often go into that shocked and flabbergasted expression. Despite believing in Yumeko, he can’t help fall back to being pessimistic at times. After all, the odds are usually stacked against Yumeko. It is not like Yumeko has a 100% record of winning. Therefore Suzui as a spectator must be having a roller coaster ride of emotions and his heart must be real strong to see Yumeko make bold decisions. But usually the outcome turns out in her favour. He gets more prominence in the final episode because the fate of both heavyweights now fall on his shoulder. For once he wasn’t a wuss or a follower but a man of his own. Did he finally get a taste of the thrill of gambling after following Yumeko long enough? But still a long way off if you think there is going to be Suzui x Yumeko romance. I wonder if being in that kind of relationship is riskier than gambling.

In true human spirit, we see how one can actually fall from grace the moment you are in an undesirable position. Mary’s case is a great case study as you could see she was one of the top elites and had control over almost everyone in her class. Then it took a humiliating loss for her to drop right at the other end of the table. Typically we can see how others turn on her and treated her the same way as she treated them. Tit for tat. Just desserts. Karma. I guess this served as a good lesson for her because now that Mary has experienced herself what it is like to be a slave, looks like her eyes are opened and she is going to do something about the school’s system. She can’t do it alone. Wild cards like Yumeko are always a good start.

The setting of this anime is particularly interesting and disturbing in the sense that when you think how the entire backbone of Japan’s government and large corporations are run by such manipulative people. I guess in this dog eat dog world where survival of the fittest counts, you have to start them young and ‘train’ them to be ruthless and manipulative-cum-calculative people. I mean, if you can’t succeed here, how are you going to succeed in an even more cutthroat environment? Therefore to think that Japan in this world is built on such foundation, it is quite troubling indeed. Like as though all the good people are dead or they only helm low level jobs. Why can I only see Suzui as a normal salaryman? Japan being a ruthless nation built upon such people may be a cruel thought because who would ever think of Japan as so? Wait till you see the other crueller atrocities in other countries…

One thing to note are the dramatization of certain visuals. The characters may look normal in every other normal scenes, but during gambling or other scenes that require some sort of ‘baring of the teeth’ to the opponents, this is where the dramatization goes several notches up. For instance, you’ll start seeing the characters having this very evil appearance and expression. Like as though this is the true colour of their soul. Could be my imagination because when you’re on the losing streak and the other person is dominating, it would seem the other party is like the devil, eh? Like when Yumeko teamed up with Mary or Sumeragi, when they expose that they have been in cohorts, you see them in their devilish lesbian mode. Seductive or eerie? Not too sure if this can be considered as horror because Yumeko looks like some sort of ghost when she goes into her gambling ecstasy and orgasm. Ghosts might even be afraid of seeing her!

The other visuals to note are the eyes. The zoom in on the pupils also ups the dramatization effect because look how real they are. So even if Yumeko has those dead fish eyes, when she is in crazy gambling mode, her eyes change to this surreal. Also, sometimes their eyes glow in red like as though they are Terminator or something. I thought they would just burst out of their seats and start gunning everything down with their machine guns like a robot but that is just me fantasizing too much.

Saori Hayami did a very excellent job in portraying the gambling crazy Yumeko. At times she is in delirium, lost in her gambling addiction. That sometimes make her sound as scary as she is interesting. Long ago I once considered Saori Hayami as Mamiko Noto’s clone. With her voicing Yumeko, it is like as though this is her horror character to Mamiko Noto’s Jigoku Shoujo’s Enma Ai. The other crazy one is Mariya Ise as Ikishima. I don’t really recognize her voice till this day but to think she was the voice of Fairy Tail’s Levi and The Reflection’s Eleanor, I didn’t think she would sound this crazy. Kudos. But this isn’t really her first time being casted as an unconventional character. There was that time she did Medaka Box Abormal’s Unzen and can you consider Stocking from Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt to be one too? Other recognizable casts are Miyuki Sawashiro as Kirari, Tomokazu Sugita in full serious mode as Manyuda and Yuka Iguchi surprisingly as Tsubomi. The others are Tatsuya Tokutake as Suzui, Minami Tanaka as Mary (Minami in Wake Up, Girls!), Yuuki Wakai as Sumeragi (Miton in Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desu Kara), Ayaka Fukuhara as Igarashi (Lugh in Trinity Seven), Yuu Serizawa s Yumemi (Tenma in Mushibugyou), Karin Nanami as Nishinotouin (Kojirou in Duel Masters VS) and Mayu Udono as Runa (Elza in Nyanko Days).

Adding to all the craziness is the opening theme, the aptly named Deal With The Devil by Tia. The song catches you with its very playful tune and the way she sings it. It might sound a bit out of place because with all the jazzy music and fanfare like as though this was a song for Broadway in the 30’s or 40’s. Weird but unique. Even more so its animation is like one big weird dream. Fish, fruits, feasts, dancing… Lesbianism? The ending theme, LAYon-theLINE by D-Selections is just okay, heavy on the bass beats. But the animation feels like as though it is going through Yumeko’s mind. We see her walking through the rain and strange flashes of lights while petals flutter all around. Looks like she is enjoying the feel of it all. Is this what she feels when she orgasms from gambling?

Overall, this is quite an interesting anime. On par with Kaiji but better than other gambling themed anime series out there. Looking at you, Rio: Rainbow Gate. If I could even consider that anime to be of the gambling genre. Heck, those are the only gambling themed series I have watched and I have ever known. But those who aren’t into the psychological mind play and drama might find it a turn off because this is where all the ‘action’ is. I believe this show isn’t meant to encourage one to go into gambling. Too bad and my condolences if you are. Yumeko’s character should be a big warning never to go into gambling unless you are willing to risk your entire existence for the sake of this thrill. I would love to bet for this series to have another season but since I am not willing to go so far to stake my life, I guess I’ll just be silently hoping. Praying to God then…

Blend S

March 17, 2018

Here we go again. Here I go again. It is time for another anime to be choked with all the moeness of moe. This season will be Blend S whereby a group of girls work in a café and each of them has some sort of personality to serve the customer. If you like tsundere, we sure do have one. If your tastes are sweet girls, you’re in luck. If you prefer big sisters, we have one too. Little sisters? No problemo. What’s that? You want a sadistic girl? Uhm… Erm… Oh… Oh look. Just in time. We have hired a new who is naturally just that just for you. So order away you lousy piece of sh*ts! You’re really going to get that extra bang for your buck… Definitely value for your money.

Episode 1
Maika Sakuranomiya is in despair. A notice came. She didn’t get the job. It puts a damper on her plans to save up and go study overseas. One day in town as she ponders if her face was weird, she was making faces in the reflection of a café’s window. Apparently the café owner, Dino likes her cute looks and harasses her in. Don’t blame her freaking out thinking he must be some kind of pervert as he nose bleeds before her. The good news is that she gets to work here as a waitress. The catch is she has to be a sadist to her customers. Oh, think she can’t do it? She’s a natural! Unwittingly. This café has its waitresses act according to their personality. Like Kaho Hinata who is a tsundere. The other is Kouyou Akizuki who is a kitchen staff along with Dino. Maika’s first day on the job is nervous. But because of that, she looks naturally sadistic and is a hit with those masochist customers! Maika is thrilled to learn Dino is a foreigner from Italy as it is her dream to go overseas. She’s in love with other countries, not you, Dino. Next day, Maika sees Dino being abused by loli Mafuyu Hoshikawa. She is the café’s supervisor and is reprimanding him for slacking. She might sound gloomy and negative but as a waitress here, what is her personality? A lively little sister! Onii-chan! Maika accidentally sees a picture of Dino being kissed by a hot woman. Embarrassed, Dino explains this is his aunt and the kiss is a form of greeting. Italian, right? Maika’s innocence only serves to excite Dino but make the other piss off at him. After work, the girls hang out at the arcade. Kaho excels in the dancing simulator. Lots of people are gathering not to watch her excellent moves. It’s those bouncy twins! Viva those twin peaks! Kaho also excels in the crane game so devilish Mafuyu has something she wants her to get. Next day, Maika thought of giving Dino a peck as a greeting. It’s sending the wrong signals…

Episode 2
Maika tries to practice her sadism. Sounds like she is cursing… Unknowingly she is sitting on Dino. Must have had the best dream ever? Maika thought of smiling more at her customers. But you know how scary it is. Because of that, she is raking in lots of fans! When Dino is speaking English to a foreigner customer, Maika wishes to eavesdrop so she could learn some English. Too bad that scary smile… The gang then has a meeting to come up a new item for the menu. It is side-tracked with Akizuki complaining this café needs more female customers and of the yuri kind. Dino suggests bringing his girlfriend. He has no girlfriend. Kaho? Only online friends. Sad. Then they experiment with Kaho and Maika feeding each other sweets. Maika takes this too seriously that she turns on her sadist mode and almost ruins everything. Kaho spent all her pay on the arcade. Hence her tons of prizes. One of them is a prized magical girl figurine that Mafuyu and Dino want. Ready, fight! Mafuyu won. When they get back to that new menu item discussion, everyone is now heated up to compete. Whoever wins this will get a wish of theirs granted. Serious. They are split into teams but Mafuyu isn’t thrilled she is paired up with Maika. Mafuyu doesn’t like how Maika has no ideas since she is agreeing to everything she says. Maika eventually gives her opinions. The new item on experiment is served to the customers. Despite Mafuyu-Maika’s parfait tastes horrible, the customers think it is her limited time sadistic special! Are they happy or not? So we learn it is made out of salt, vinegar and tabasco. Eventually they still win because the customers ‘like’ it. But too bad it can’t be put on the menu. They are entitled to a prize but Maika believes she has already got it. No prizes for guessing that valuable prize. But for Mafuyu, the next day she forces Maika to cosplay that magical girl outfit and starts snapping like crazy. Yeah, she is her prize!

Episode 3
Learning that Dino likes anime, Maika is interested to learn if Italy has their own anime. They do but he isn’t interested in them. Because no black hair Japanese girl. Dino learns her fascination with other countries stem from her very strict and traditional Japanese background. To his horror, she is bored with it! So one day when father brought home a foreigner guest, that was when she became interested. But her scary looks got her kicked out from the room. So that look goes all the way back… So much so she wanted to dye her hair blonde but her parents misinterpreted she wanted to be a delinquent and shot it down. There is also her first love and staring showdown with the statue of KFC’s colonel. And not to mention when she learnt about Santa Claus, she wanted a chimney so she could capture him! You heard that right. Dino can’t miss this chance when she offers him her lap pillow. A win-win situation as she gets to fiddle with his blonde hair. When the rest enter, they misinterpret he is sexually harassing her. It gets worse when Maika looks like she is crying but it is from the numbness of her thighs. Later Dino is thrilled when he asked Maika out and she agreed. He didn’t count she called Akizuki and Kaho to come along too. At the end of their outing, Maika and Dino gave each other the same bear strap. After the café is closed, Maika notices a customer left behind a magazine. She freaks out upon seeing it. Let’s say it is some erotic high school bondage. Kaho is left curious and it is killing her since Mafuyu confiscates it and won’t let the underage see. As it is left in the staff room, Kaho thought she had that chance during her break but is caught in the act. The next day, the customer didn’t come back to claim and since they can’t throw it away, Maika suggests asking the customers indirectly. Too bad with that evil face she is asking them if they like bondage or how they would like their girl in sailor suit done in! Eventually a notice is written and placed outside the café. After closing time, a woman comes in looking for it. This shocks Maika so much that she is literally close to being dead. Welcome to reality.

Episode 4
Maika is shocked that bondage magazine lady is working here! Folks, welcome Miu Amano. Maika literally dies again when Maika reveals she is the author of that magazine. Since her secret is out, this is the reason why she wants to work here as it makes things easy. Also, she is trying to look for new material for her latest work. She usually does yuri and BL but is trying her hands at normal love in which she finds it hard to find. Akizuki asks for her autograph since he is a big fan of her doujin. Miu is the big sister type and this makes Maika wanting to step up her game. She actually wants to be like her but unwittingly becomes even more sadistic. Depressed, Dino thought of consoling her but she is back to her usual sadism. Watching the duo, Miu suddenly has new ideas for her new material. Later she learns they aren’t dating but relishes the idea of their relationship being status quo because if he is rejected outright or they end up together, the interesting story will be over! At the end of another business day, Dino reads out the comments some of the customers have for the girls. Mafuyu is of course the most popular. Miu might have a new awakening hearing ideas about the guys being together. As for Maika, the customers want her to be even more sadistic. Can she do it? Mafuyu suggests having her say a few curse words. Not working. Dino then suggests everyone help train Maika into a sadist. So they make her watch very sadistic shows, play very sadistic games and read very sadistic materials. I wonder if this is going to traumatize her. And now it is time to show the fruits of the training. Behold! The new sadistic Maika! Uhm, does she not look like a dominatrix queen? Dino becomes her masochistic slave and since this is going to turn the café into something entirely different, they tell her to smile in which Maika could actually put up a sweet smile. Not sure if this is what the customers want. But her feet is still on Dino’s head while she happily squeals she doesn’t need to be this sadistic. Or does she?

Episode 5
Miu is selling a new doujin based on Maika and Dino: A sadistic maid and her weakling butler! With the café trying out different hairstyles, when Kaho teasing unties Maika’s hair and suddenly it ‘explodes’ with static electricity! So she helps tie it up ponytail style. Customers seem to like this style and this makes Maika happy. But when they comment they still prefer the old style, this activates her sadist mode. Kaho and Akizuki are somehow ‘hiding’ as they play their game in the staff room. So engrossed that they didn’t know Dino has closed the café. It took them a while to realize that the place is dark but even so, started arguing about their favourite character. So when they realize the door is locked, is it time to panic? Akizuki calls Dino but he isn’t picking because that Italian is happily walking Maika home in the rain. Kaho’s handphone battery is almost dead… No choice, they hang out and remember how this scene looks pretty familiar to some manga or game. Then they realize a certain manga and game is out today. Panic now! When Dino returns, he hears strange banging noises. Ghost? When he opens the door, the duo quickly run out to do the necessary while blaming him if they fail to buy what they want. Next day, Maika calls in sick. She walked home in the rain after he sent her to the train station. Dino is beating himself up for not giving her his umbrella. So they visit her huge traditional Japanese home. No doorbells… Dino looks around and since he is acting so suspiciously, he almost got arrested by the police. Eventually Maika’s elder sister, Aika opens the door. She is shocked Maika has friends! They are also introduced to Kouichi, their elder brother. He too is shocked Maika has friends! Recovering Maika talks with her friends when Aika comes in to serve tea. Seeing Dino is a foreigner, she serves a few of them. Not wanting to be rude, he drinks them all. Oh, there are more types she can prepare for him. Sadistic? Then Kouichi comes in with his various snacks. Hard as a rock. I don’t think those are tears of joy. Then they start interrogating Dino of his relationship with Maika. Yeah, they want to know the weather, what they were wearing and the exact words said! This causes Maika to blow her top as she goes into her sadist mode to warn them. Wow. She must be the scariest sadist of them all for them to cower in fear like that.

Episode 6
The gang head to the mountains for an outing. Too bad indoor people like Akizuki, Kaho and Miu are ‘dying’ outdoors. Dino becomes the BBQ manager grilling meat for all. But Mafuyu brought an entire tuna? Mafuyu might be of legal age but watching her drink beer is so conflicting. Miu has her own drinks: Energy drinks. The deadline for Summer Comiket is coming… The next outing would be the beach but Maika doesn’t have her own swimsuit and she suggests Dino come buy one with her. He almost lost control of his driving and killed everyone… Even Aika is shocked Mafuyu is going on a ‘date’. At the store, unsure of what swimsuit to buy, Dino texts the other girls what would look good on Maika. All sorts of suggestions… He thought of asking them what swimsuit they have but all reply back as sexual harassment! As Maika remembers she gets sunburn easily, Dino proposes to wrap up with clothes that make her look like a suspicious person. It’s not even a swimsuit anymore. Eventually Maika settles for a regular outfit that comes with a swimsuit. Dino almost died of blood loss. So here we are at the beach and Akizuki is being ‘intimidated’ by Kaho’s sexiness. He is not used to such 3D godliness, I guess. It really scares the sh*t out of him when her humongous boobs are too close to his face. And there is Miu concocting some sort of tentacle hentai of Akizuki when he is buried in the sand. Burst out! Maika hugs Dino’s hand as they wade through the water. Dino loves this sensation as her boobs are also touching his hand. Till he sees her scary face… Later as they walk along the beach, Maika realizes she has a small burn on her feet. Dino panics and goes overboard to treat it. Must take care of delicate Japanese skin! Eventually her entire leg is bandaged like as though she broke her leg or something. Later a tiny band aid will do and Maika notes she had lots of fun today and Dino looks ‘big’ because he helped her in so many ways.

Episode 7
Kaho returns to the beach and is all tanned. This makes Dino think Maika will be the same. Nope. Still as fair. Dino then comes up with an idea and the next day, the entire café is now like a tropical jungle! So authentic… How the heck did he get all those props done in a night? Despite a small place, Maika can even get lost showing the customers to other places than their seats! Mafuyu is in a monkey outfit and acting like one while Miu is being lewd with the banana. Even Akizuki gets lost. In his frustration, he accidentally touches Kaho’s boobs. However he gets disappointed! So much so he ‘heals’ himself by touching Dino’s chest! WTF?! It only gives Miu some weird inspiration. After the café reverts back to normal, Dino notices they are out of strawberries and goes shopping with Maika to get them. However the supermarket is out of stock. Dino doesn’t mind because this feels like a date. Head to the next supermarket. Also out. Is there some sort of conspiracy because all strawberries are out of stock! But Dino doesn’t mind since it prolongs the ‘date’. They’ll go over to the next town then! Finally there is 1 strawberry pack left. But Maika and a young girl grab it at the same time. Because of her scary face, poor little girl cries. Mommy comes running. Dino apologizes on her behalf. Because of his good looks, the girls are taken in and give him the last pack. On the way home, this prompts Maika to believe she is not cut out for this job. Dino comforts her and praises all the lovely things about her. But does he have to say it aloud passionately? Looks like he got arrested and will be spending time in the police interrogation. With the café being so busy, the girls are stressed up and accidentally act out of their assigned character. It prompts them to think of hiring another staff. Akizuki wants a man and this only gives the rest weird ideas. What he meant is another guy to help in the kitchen. Dino brushes that idea off and will never hire another man for fear he might become his rival! Akizuki argues with him that he rarely doesn’t do anything in the kitchen (Dino’s untapped potential is a fancy word for being lazy. Oh, and their argument gives more inspiration for Miu) and hence Miu suggests cross-dressing and swapping their roles. The girls look good in waiter outfits. This means the guys have to wear waitress outfits. Gee, why do they have the right size for them too?

Episode 8
Folks, meet cutie idol wannabe Hideri Kanzaki. Wait a minute. Dino, what do you mean you aren’t going to hire her yet?! He worries her character overlaps with Mafuyu’s loli grandma type. After getting his ass stabbed by her and the insistence of others, he agrees. Hooray! Since there are no extra uniforms, Maika lends hers. Hideri is quite a hit with the customers. When a cockroach is spotted and the girls start squealing, Hideri coolly smacks it with her hand and throws it out! It is then revealed Hideri is actually a guy! So why this cross-dressing thingy? He believes God made him look cute so it is his dream to become an idol. In his first step to that, he wants to gain fans here first. Otherwise he will have to inherit his family farm in which he doesn’t want. As Dino sucks in picking up girls, Hideri offers to ‘coach’ him on how to do it. Just compliment how cute he is. Easy, right? Not for Dino. He is eking it out like as though it’s the end of the world. But all the plans backfire. When Dino compliments Maika, she thinks she is not up to her sadistic role. He tries to help her but interferes with her work. What about showering her with gifts or anything she wants? She takes it as a ‘last supper’ sign and is going to get fired! When he is going to confess straight to her, he changes what he wants to say. Maika thinks likewise and also mutually replies the same. Are we disappointed or relieved? Miu stumbles into Hideri in the streets and they go shopping for clothes. Because Hideri thinks of himself as super cute in almost any clothes he wears, this irks Miu a lot. Soft punches to the gut? When Miu notices Hideri needs to go to the toilet, he disagrees idols don’t go to toilets. Wanna get punched? Hideri is reminded to go to the correct toilet. This makes all the men wonder if they entered the wrong toilet in the first place. Hideri didn’t buy any clothes in the end seeing they’re too expensive. How about making his own? They’ll be out of fashion when the season is over. Miu has this idea to ask Mafuyu for clothes she doesn’t need. Hideri thinks it is kindergarten clothes. But it is a lot worse since Hideri is forced to wear a magical girl outfit and realizes too late he is their plaything while they snap pictures like crazy. It is going to get even worse when they bring out those kindergarten clothes…

Episode 9
Maika finds an abandoned dog and brings it back to the café. Because everyone has their circumstances why they cannot keep it, looks like they are pressuring Dino to do so. Even if it has does begging eyes resembling Maika’s, Dino is in a pinch. Akizuki thinks Dino will have a valid reason to keep it since Maika can come visit him every day. Oh, Dino lives only upstairs of the café. Time to put away all those otaku stuffs… Eventually after all the pressure, Dino agrees to keep him until its owner is found. Now what she we name it? Owner. Who is the boss around here? Apparently Dino learns the harsh way that raring a dog is no easy feat. Almost biting off his figurines and bugging him to go for walks as early as 5am, his late night anime life is ruined! I guess the only reward he has is that Maika will bake him sweets every day. So with Maika starting on it, Aika wants to know how far her relationship has progressed and decides to visit her at her workplace. But must she come with agents and in a limo? Aika mistakes the café’s month special collaboration cake as their wedding cake. She calls Maika for every unimportant thing until she has to be told off. Is that sadism part of her job or personality? Dino thought he is screwed when Aika wants to talk to him directly. Oh nothing. Just encouraging him. When Hideri teases Maika might be an outsider because her eyes look slightly different than her siblings, Maika actually starts to believe it is so. Dino tries to calm her but almost gets killed by Aika!!! Where did she get that spear?! She thought he made her cry and jumped the gun. But still, he gets threatened to protect her or else… After Aika leaves, Kouichi is seen crying in a corner lamenting Maika didn’t invite him. Everyone starts to notice Dino is getting fat! No, it isn’t late night snacking. But soon the culprit rears her head. Oh look, Maika is giving him today’s pound cake. Yeah… Maika feels guilty for messing with his health but Mafuyu says it is okay for her to continue giving him sweets. Somebody needs to work out… Oh no…

Episode 10
Mafuyu coldly rejects a customer who confesses to her. She explains to her colleagues that their height gap as well as the way he asked her was the reason. They try to have Dino do some romantic simulation on her but it’s not working out. Back home, we learn Mafuyu’s reason why she doesn’t want a boyfriend. Dating boys would cut her free time to watch kids’ anime in real time. Kaho just failed her maths test so why is she playing video games instead of studying? Well, her mom warned her if she fails the make-up test, no more video games! So by her logic, she is playing all the video games she can! No wonder Mafuyu is mad. Time to be the Spartan teacher. Even more so after she learns her Tablet is filled with nothing but games (no matter what excuses she gives). Kaho puts in more effort after learning Mafuyu changed her shift times so she could tutor her. With Kaho burning the midnight oil, the bags under her eyes are visible. This won’t do to serve customers so Mafuyu helps apply some makeup. As the girls experiment with the makeup, sly Hideri makes Akizuki enter the room. Now he becomes their experimental subject. How does Akizuki look now? He’s like a girl! Did they just redraw his character? Anyhow, he looks creepy considering his mismatched body and face. Dino notices Maika’s makeup applied by Mafuyu. He tries to compliment her but accidentally comments she looks like a camel. Fortunately (or not), she thinks camels are cute creatures. Kaho tries to make Akizuki notice her makeup. But he breaks her heart saying she doesn’t look that all cute. What he meant is that she is already cute enough without makeup. This is where you are supposed to be tsundere… Kaho scores quite high in her make-up test. She is grateful to Mafuyu but is sad she won’t be seeing her on this regular basis again. You don’t say because Mafuyu is telling her she must continue studying hard so as to not fail again. I guess this means more Spartan teaching… Said too soon, Kaho. Too soon… Say goodbye to video game time.

Episode 11
Maika goes out with Dino to walk Owner. Does this feel like a date? The park is filled with families so Dino thinks they look like one. He is surprised when Maika also thinks the same and thought she read his thoughts. It seems Owner is smitten with a fellow dog (let’s call her Lassie). Even dogs can be scared of trying to court their love? Maika will help Owner as they go talk to her. Too bad they put up the scariest smile. And that’s the last you’ll see of Lassie. Kaho is down because due to some error, her game data was deleted. Akizuki brushes it off, making her upset and even more depressed. It soon starts affecting her work. Her customers notice this and gives her a present to cheer her up. Akizuki feels bad and makes a parfait for her but seeing she is back to her cheery self, he feels awkward and makes Hideri eat the parfait instead. Later Kaho learns the truth from Dino and goes apologize to him. Akizuki then reverts into a tsundere in accepting her apology. Maika accidentally trips over Hideri. Dino sees this and misinterprets the scene. In fact, he is jealous. As he separates them, Hideri teases him about his jealousy so Dino says he could corner her if he wanted to. Maika doesn’t understand what it means so he has a hard time trying to explain. Cheeky Hideri then pushes Dino as he corners her to the wall. This is what cornering means. Too bad she misinterpret it is some sumo push. Not romantic at all. Now Dino falls into depression and after a little pep talk from Hideri and Akizuki, he tries again. Too bad he freezes up again before her and starts overthinking. Because of that, he gets in her way as she tells him in her sadistic voice to get the hell out of her way! I think Dino is done for. Depression beyond recovery. Of course that won’t last forever as later Maika corners him to make him swoon. Why are all the guys so sissy this episode?!

Episode 12
It’s snowing. So? Dino brings them to a skiing resort! Mafuyu and Miu are shivering from the cold. Miu warms herself up on Hideri and it’s of course her ploy to get kinky ideas for her story. Hideri is excited the kind of story he will be in. Belly punching fetish? Dino is cool in snowboarding. Looks like he has the chance to show off to Maika and teach her till Mafuyu slides by and is as cool as him. Now the rest wants to learn from her! Hideri tries to play the clumsy person to gain sympathy but gets snow piled all over by reckless Dino. At the end of the day, the gang take a bath in the hotspring. Maika feels Dino has done so much for her and wants to repay him. On the other hand, Dino is planning to confess to her but he gets that chance sooner than he thinks when he bumps into her outside the bath. As they talk about things, the rest start spying on them. When Maika leans on his shoulder, he takes it as a sign. A few chickening outs before he finally confesses. Too bad she is asleep. What a waste. He carries her back to her room so the rest have to rush back. Why are they catching their breath so hard? Kaho’s slip of her tongue has her reveal they were spying. Next day, Akizuki assures everyone is supporting for them but Dino pouts he won’t confess anymore. It’s not because he is sulking but under those conditions if he can’t, it means God doesn’t want him to and will find another chance. So he is blaming God? The rest notice Maika looking red. She is not sick as she reveals she had an embarrassing dream last night whereby Dino confessed to her. Only, it wasn’t. They wonder if she had replied in her dream. Yes. She replied she loves him. And also how she loves the rest. I guess it’s not that kind of love they were hoping for. Maika feels bad every time Dino has to apologize for whatever reason. Here comes that sadistic mode to make him stop… Back at the café after they have finished their Christmas sale, they all finish their leftover cake. Dino takes this chance to tell how Akizuki and Kaho were the first staffs and they were so awkward with each other that it’s hilarious. Beating him up won’t change history… Next is Mafuyu and when he approached her, she called the cops thinking he is a lolicon! In the end, he ‘kidnaps’ her back to the café. It seems this rough method was Maika’s experience too. Dino feels bad about it but she is glad he did so otherwise she wouldn’t have been working here. She has met wonderful people and made great memories so it’s no surprise she loves them all. Hey, that’s a pretty nice smile.

Bland Silly…
What else can I say? Nothing really special for me. Season in, season out, lots of moe anime series come and go. A few will be remembered, some just for a while and others will forever be lost and wandering in the back, the dark far reaches of my memories forever. Yup. This series looks like it is heading for the latter.

Just like any other moe series that depend on their characters, there is relatively no plot whatsoever. The general synopsis could be the entire plot of the show. That’s it. Like Hinako Note. A group of girls running a café-cum-bookstore and part of a small theatre group. See their quirky daily life. Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka. A group of girls working in a coffee house or tea house. See their quirky daily life. Urara Meirochou. A group of girls studying divinity. See their quirky daily life. Pan De Peace. Girls + bread. See their quirky daily life. Hence if you have seen one, you will certainly almost see them all. So for Blend S, it is pretty much the same and following this pattern. A group of people and most of them young girls working in a café. See their quirky daily life in the service industry. That’s about all.

The characters are cute and all but as one who has seen so many in such genres, they hardly make an impact. Sure, each of them has their unique traits and characteristics but they hardly excite me anymore at this point. Main character Maika is a nice girl and naturally a sadist if you think about it. Because she does have her cute face when she isn’t trying to be nice. It is only then you can see her sadistic side pop up. So the lesson here is not to overdo it? Maika turning into her sadistic side when she didn’t intend to is the most often played out joke and staple funny moments of the series. Mafuyu can act all nice but is naturally an emotionless and possibly a sadist as bad as Maika. Kaho the lively one… Boobs! Oh, we have to add a BL enthusiast and a cross-dresser too because traps are probably a current trend today. Basically all these girls a freaking good actresses as they play out their roles given to them. On the other hand, you can think of it as their other hidden personality.

So as not to feel this is some sort of harem anime, that is why there are 2 main male characters. But is it me or do I notice that the kitchen staffs are only always manned by 2 guys. Take a look at the Working main series and spin-off. Only 2 males all the time. They have more waiting staff than those making the foods in the kitchen. Not sure how busy the café is at times but waiting is relatively an easier job compared if you are working in the kitchen. Food preparations need to be done before the shop opens and you have to make the food that is being ordered.

We know there is some sort of romance trying to happen between Dino and Maika. More appropriately for now it is just one way street. Despite their different cultural backgrounds, their cultural preferences also clash so you wonder if they would eventually hook up or not despite all the shenanigans and fails (mostly Dino’s). Because Dino as a foreigner is one of those typical anime foreigners who love the Japanese culture. Maika on the other hand comes from a typical traditional Japanese household. Too much of it and she becomes sick of it (sort of) and yearns for the culture of the west. Reminds of that particular character in Kiniro Mosaic… Well, let’s wish those two all the best. Like they say, opposite attracts. It’s a good thing Dino didn’t make that no romance policy in the workplace because he would be the first to break those rules. Speaking of romance, there is another one happening too and obviously it is Akizuki and Kaho. One can guess a lot from their body reactions with each other. Sometimes it gets a bit frustrating as you want to scream to them just get over with it and date each other already. After all, they both love playing games and are almost the same in the tsundere personality.

Art and animation style are obviously of the moe type. Girls so cute you want to squeeze and hug them like your bunny doll. Just kidding. Don’t do that. But you get the idea. Therefore you can see hints of the moeness in the characters from other similar genres like Gochuumon Usagi Wa Desu Ka, Ikoku Meiro No Croisee and Kiniro Mosaic. Maika is so Hina Doll-like she looks like many of the main characters from these series. One look at Kaho I thought she was Mai from Musaigen No Phantom World. Sometimes I mistake Hideri for being a Nyaruko clone… This series is animated by A-1 Pictures who are more famous for Sword Art Online, Ao No Exorcist, Nanatsu No Taizai, OreImo, Kuroshitsuji, Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso, the Working series as well as the Uta No Prince-sama series.

Didn’t recognize anyone from the voice acting department as many of them are newbies. They are Azumi Waki as Maika (Galko in Oshiete! Galko-chan), Tomoaki Maeno as Dino (Junichi in Amagami SS), Anzu Haruno as Mafuyu (Moka in Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun), Akari Kitou as Kaho (Kana in Tsuredzure Children), Atsumi Tanezaki as Miu (Mizore in Hibike! Euphonium), Sora Tokui as Hideri (Nero in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Akizuki (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai), Rei Matsuzaki as Aika (Nagahide in Oda Nobuna No Yabou) and Shinki Satou as Kouichi. Both the opening and ending themes, Bon Appetit S and Detaramena Minus To Plus Ni Okeru Blend Kou respectively are sung by Blend A (Maika, Mafuyu and Kaho) and are your typical lively and genki anime-like pieces that fits this genre like a glove.

Overall, if you still love the cute girls doing cute things and that moe passion in you is still burning as strong as ever, this series should rank quite high in your books. If you are like me who is starting to find such genres a little blend, not even the combined personalities of the sweet, tsundere, big sister, little sister, idol and even sadist could help serve a better dessert. It’s all in the service, I guess. Okay, okay. This series isn’t that bad per se since I can sense Maika starring with killing intentions over my shoulder. I don’t want her to poison my gateau au chocolat cake. But if I may suggest there would be a bunch of maids, I’ll take and order everything this instant! That kind of blend I would definitely consider as ‘S’ for superior!

Himouto! Umaru-chan R

March 16, 2018

Don’t really remember if this series was going to get a sequel. It wasn’t that long ago but I guess the original was popular enough so we get Himouto! Umaru-chan R as the second season. Ah yes. The beautiful and elegant sister who could do no wrong in the eyes of the public. She is the dream girl whom every guy would love to date and marry. Until you know her terrible true personality of being a spoilt brat behind closed doors. I salute to thee, big brother who has always put up and tolerated her selfish ways. Because now he is going to do all that again in this season. Hopefully, perhaps she’ll grow and mature in some ways instead of annoying us.

Episode 1
Taihei will be away for work since the deadline is near. This means Umaru is going to stay up and do whatever she wishes! Play all the games she wants, eat all the junk food she wants and certainly watch all the late night anime she wants. This is the life. Then she falls asleep and the next thing she knows, it is tomorrow’s night! OMG! She slept through 16 hours?! So when Taihei returns that night, Umaru couldn’t be glad to welcome him back. Umaru is forced to voluntarily help Taihei and Ebina pull weeds around their apartment. Because what would others think if she starts getting lazy… At first she finds it fun pulling them out but when she almost hurts herself, she starts turning into a cry-baby and threatens to call it quits. However seeing Ebina carrying on, Umaru sucks it up and continues helping her. A class football match is coming up and since UMR pulls off an accidental skill, Sylphinford wants her to teach her. UMR thought of doing so if this means she can talk to her easily. And after that ‘world class’ training, on match day it seems they scrapped the class match thingy and just randomly put girls in one team. This means it will be Umaru’s side (containing a hell lot of never-seen-before weirdoes like as though this is some shonen anime) against Sylphinford’s side. You bet she is powered up with her training. From what I see, it is basically one (wo)man team Sylphinford against Umaru and her weirdoes. The only highlight is how the ball bounces off Ebina’s boobs for an amazing own goal. In the end, Umaru’s team fought back for a 3-2 victory. Umaru thought Sylphinford was saddened by the loss after putting so much effort but seeing how her teammates are praising her, there’s nothing to worry about. Then there’s the volleyball tournament coming soon… Oh no… Umaru thought an anime about a friendship being struck just because they walk home together is crap. But in reality, looks like she yearns for that. While talking to Ebina, she sees the ‘stalkers’ following behind. Umaru invites them to walk home together and a beautiful friendship begins.

Episode 2
Alex and Bomber arrive at Taihei’s place for dinner. This is the first time Umaru sees Alex and has this strange familiar feeling (he is Sylphinford’s brother) especially when he starts to like anime. Soon she deduces he might be her rival’s brother but in the end, the power of anime has them become good friends. Taihei and Bomber discuss about Alex being hired in the company in the first place and they’re unsure. Could it be he is a spy? He sounds like he is making a suspicious call about making contact with Umaru but is promptly hung up. Umaru uses the ear pick and doesn’t put it away so Taihei accidentally steps on it. Though he plans to buy it later, he didn’t count of Umaru’s ear itching soon after. It’s hell when she can’t scratch it. Eventually Bomber helps buy many types of ear pick much to Umaru’s relief. The best ear pick is always when someone does it for you. It reminds Taihei how mom used to do it for him. Is Bomber kidding when he wants that service from Taihei? No way! Umaru hears strange rumours that her dad is German and Taihei is a famous actor. When Sylphinford invites her to her place, Umaru sees the anime posters sticking out all over the place like a sore thumb in this very traditional Japanese house. But underneath this spooky basement is a well-respected library. It seems Sylphinford brought her here to study for their tests. It is then Umaru realizes the people got mixed up the rumours of Sylphinford’s heritage with hers. Taihei teaches Umaru how to clean, especially putting things away nicely. Those that can’t? Throw it away! Then she threatens to throw away this cleaning motivational book in which he is reading. Okay, she can keep some things. But because Umaru has a habit of not putting CDs back in its original case, Taihei has a hard time doing so and allows her to leave things messy. Umaru and her friends go watch a movie. In this Detective Conan spoof, Sylphinford is fast asleep and Ebina is embarrassed her stomach would growl but thankfully the loud noise of the movie covered it up.

Episode 3
Kirie’s sanctuary at Umaru’s place is threatened now that Alex is a frequent visitor. Plus, their anime conversations are so deep that Kirie is lost. Alex brings a new dating simulation to play. At an important crossroad, Kirie uses her own experience for the decision. Alex the so called expert disagrees. In the end, Kirie’s decision turns out right, sending the anime master into despair. Taihei notices Umaru has been spending hours on a new game just to get a rare item. Not only that, he notices others around him doing the same. If you can’t beat them, join them? Taihei buys the game and plays with her. However he only restricts it to an hour a day. Responsibilities, you know. This is his way of showing her that the game can be enjoyed this way. When she finally gets the rare item, a sequel is announced. Long nights are here to stay… Bomber tells Umaru how Taihei is once nicknamed a demon because of his top scores at school. Exaggerated but not totally a lie. When they try to steal taste his cooking, Taihei becomes mad like a demon that he actually looks scary! It causes Umaru to cry! They too realize they are in the wrong because they could have done something dangerous. Kirie’s join turns into disappointment once more. Yup, Alex is here. It seems Alex has presents for them. Yes, even you Kirie. But an erotic figurine? Kirie takes it and leaves, contemplating of throwing it away. But when she remembers how her strict family doesn’t celebrate Christmas and she never receives presents for her birthday, I guess she’ll be keeping it. After all, Umaru praised her for getting a present so it isn’t all that bad. After watching that McDonald spoof ad (more like a fake Pennywise!), Umaru now wants to eat hamburgers. So she and her friends go down there to order a hamburger combo. Oh yeah! I’m lovin’ it! Umaru notices everyone around is enjoying their burger. She used to enjoy it too but does it alone. So it’s more fun eating with others, eh? She notices Ebina ordering tons of them though she says it is for later. But for now, let’s enjoy the warmth and tender juiciness of their burger before them.

Episode 4
Taihei and the guys attend an anime concert while Umaru and her friends hang out in town. Sylphinford then invites them to a Christmas dinner at her home. There is an extra place so Umaru thought it is for Alex but it turns out to be for UMR! Uh oh. Will the secret be out today? It might be somewhat exaggerated that Sylphinford starts singing praises of her friendship with UMR but everyone knows whoever this person is, is a good person. Unfortunately, UMR didn’t turn up so after everyone leaves, Umaru decides to go back to do something. This leaves Ebina alone to walk home. It won’t be for much longer as Taihei accompanies her. But this risks them of being called a couple by a kid. When Sylphinford was young and first met Santa in her home, she wanted a wish: To have Japanese friends! Santa was so confused! She talked to Alex about it and learnt that he is going to Japan to study. It made her sad since they have always been together. Not long, she soon found some company in video games. Sylphinford wakes up from this dream and guess who is at the doorstep? UMR in Santa outfit. Couldn’t be happier. On New Year’s Day, nothing wakes Umaru up more than New Year money! So after getting an envelope from Taihei, she notices another envelope. She thinks he meant to give her 2 and takes it. Then the moment of truth. He is supposed to give it to Ebina. Oh sh*t. That guilt look is all over your face, Umaru. Knowing better, she returns it. Umaru starts realizing that Taihei has always been good to her while she has been a dick to him. Yeah, took you long enough. Not wanting others to think she is always pushing him around, she starts treating him nicely the first thing he gets home from work. However he has ‘bad news’. He has been chosen to go on a business trip and he will be away for quite a while. Aww, you don’t know what you’ve lost till you lose it. Sad Umaru cries as she cannot imagine being without her dear brother for months or years. Then it turns out it will be only for 2 weeks. Disappointed? Mad? She shows her repulsion by telling him to get out of here and stay away for 2 weeks!

Episode 5
Taihei packs his bags for the trip. He gives Umaru 10,000 Yen as allowance but when Bomber comments that isn’t enough, he doubles that amount. Umaru so happy! However when she hears the business trip to Hanamatsu is famous for its eels, she throws a tantrum and insists of coming along. Taihei and the guys take a trip there. They wonder why Kanau is coming along since she has got nothing to do with it although she planned the trip. It’s written all over her face so we can guess why. To Taihei’s dismay, Umaru actually tags along! In fear of getting his bonus cut, he doesn’t introduce her and has her sit somewhere else. Upon arrival, Kanau realizes she messed up the time. The meeting is supposed to be 8pm and not 8am. This means they’re free to do their own stuffs, right? I’m sure Kanau misinterpreted Taihei’s words about looking for the future because there’s a bridal ad nearby so to speak… Taihei and Umaru do some sightseeing. This is when Umaru asks about Kanau. Don’t worry. She is her boss and the CEO’s daughter. Not dating or anything. Yet. After Umaru has her delicious eel meal, she goes home. Taihei and the guys are supposed to help a restaurant with their customer data but they end up being the chef’s assistants? The chef is sure strict. He can even tell Taihei that he has a very spoilt sister from the way he prepares the food! Then they learn he is the older brother of Ebina, Kouichirou. Taihei remembers Ebina telling him there was a particular restaurant she was looking for that her brother was working in. He left home for Tokyo 10 years ago and never heard of him since. She hopes he is doing well. The trip ends with Taihei feeling good but not Kanau. Nothing she wanted (with Taihei) was done. When Taihei returns home, the place is in a mess! Time to blow his top. All that goodness from the trip out the window. Of course he wastes no time in restoring the place back to normal. Taihei and Umaru go to give Ebina an eel foodstuff souvenir. The same for Sylphinford but she has a feeling she has seen them recently. Yeah, Alex brought back a few boxes of them. A few days later, Umaru suddenly breaks down and cries. What gives?! She starts bawling how lonely she was while he was gone. Time for some big brother comfort.

Episode 6
Kirie won third place at a prefectural swimming tournament. Her classmates praise her but she keeps her guard up. Later as Kirie shows her certificate to Umaru, accidentally a storybook Kirie wrote using Umaru as the main character drops out. Fearing this is insulting, on the contrary, Umaru is interested to read it despite Kirie very much embarrassed about it. Sylphinford wears a kimono to school. Though it is a few days late past Hinamatsuri. As Umaru and the rest wore kimonos last year, Sylphinford feels the need for all of them to wear and take pictures of it. This time at her home. Meet her young Japanese mom. And since she is some kimono champion, the kimono that she puts on them must be perfect! Because of that, they do lovely and beautiful. They enjoy themselves with some refreshments. Kirie still believes her art is not there and wants to sketch Umaru. But as Umaru is conscious, Kirie will use her special skill of removing her presence to observe Umaru in her ‘natural habitat’. After a few sketches, Kirie feels something is missing. Till Taihei returns, she puts all her tools away in a flash. It is when Kirie realizes Umaru’s biggest smile is when she is around Taihei. Kirie then goes to shop for art tools but Taihei and Ebina stumble into her. She tries to hide them and Taihei asking some questions makes her feel uncomfortable. He then realizes Ebina was trying to be considerate and cover for her. He prompts Ebina as a kind person and this makes her fluster. Now Ebina is too conscious being around Taihei. Umaru is complaining it was so hot last night and couldn’t sleep. She bugs him to use the air-cond but he dismisses of using it so early. Something about the body will fail to regulate temperature if grown too dependent on it. Huh? I think I’ll buy the high cost reason. Eventually he got a stand fan from Bomber to cool things down. Umaru sees him lying in an awkward position near the glass door. Wow. Look at all the stars! Taihei sure knows his stuffs as he points out all the constellations in the sky. Too bad Umaru is already fast asleep. I don’t think he was that boring… Next morning, it looks like nobody got a good night’s sleep. What’s the problem this time? Mosquito bites.

Episode 7
Kirie thinks it is going to be a fine day today. At least this is what her horoscope fortune says. Although she gets to go to the amusement park with Umaru and co, ‘bad luck’ starts happening to her like tripping on her shoe lace, not tall enough to ride certain rides and her hairband snaps causing her to scream (more like opera singing). Umaru takes her to ride the Ferris Wheel as Kirie laments she is such a boring girl that Umaru will never invite her out again. But Umaru puts on a big smile and says she had fun. It raises Kirie’s spirits as they go ride the next ride. Well, with the rest of the friends. And Ebina’s boobs are constantly in Kirie’s face… Thank physics and momentum… Umaru goes to receive an award for being the top of her academic grade. Also receiving this award is a loli named Hikari Kongou but she is from the special advanced placement class. She feels she has seen her somewhere before. Snippets hint to us that Taihei taught her about the stars. Umaru asks Alex if he ever feels lonely and wants to go back to Germany and be with his German friends. He reveals he had none as he spent his time watching anime in his room. Until a ‘saviour’ suggested he go study at a Japanese high school. He is grateful for that because he made lots of Japanese friends and had lots of great time with them. After Alex leaves, he gets a call from Kanau. He quickly rushes to her place after hearing Hikari’s award and feels the need to celebrate it by watching the entire anime Blu-ray collection? No thanks. Hikari will pass. It is revealed that Kanau is his ‘saviour’. 10 years ago at Akita when Ebina was suffering from heatstroke, Kouichirou assured her she will not die and cooked her a great meal. That was the last she saw of him. By the time she recovered, he was gone. Though she knew where he went, she never understood why he left (for a job). So when Ebina moved into this apartment, meeting and interacting with Taihei made her nervous because he reminded him of her kind brother. Although she still flusters around him and has that same fuzzy feeling when she had a heatstroke, this one isn’t scary but a happy kind of fuzzy.

Episode 8
The horror! Kirie’s parents will be away and she will be left alone with Bomber! So seeks for permission to stay with Umaru in which Taihei agrees. So as not to leave that afro guy alone, Taihei will stay there in Kirie’s place. Kirie and Umaru have a great time together. It brought back some old memories where Kirie used to love Bomber very much. But at Bomber’s place, that drunk guy is crying and complaining to Taihei how Kirie now doesn’t love him. Tough times… After reading a romantic comedy manga and Umaru’s advice to believe what she wants to, Kirie decides that she is going to support Ebina. So by asking her straight up she is in love with Taihei? Oh my. What can Ebina say? That is why she is going to discuss that with her and shall root for their love. Yup, this is awkward. With Umaru spending too much time indoors, Taihei decides to get her outside and this fireworks festival is the perfect excuse. She agrees to come but calls her other friends too. Sylphinford has a makeover for all of them in traditional kimonos before they hit the festival grounds. It was a fine outing. In school, Sylphinford and Kirie describe a kind person Taihei is but of course their love is not of the romantic kind. Still, Ebina is dead shock. When Umaru goes home and thinks she can ‘scare’ Taihei from behind. However Hikari usurps her and hugs him, calling Taihei her onii-chan. He doesn’t recognize her as Hikari snarls at Umaru. Taihei has to be the kind guy by inviting her in (thinking she is Umaru’s friend). There is a ‘standoff’ between the girls as Umaru thinks Hikari knows about her secret lazy identity when she was actually talking about herself. Taihei finally remembers who Hikari is. She is Kanau’s little sister. Umaru is not impressed as she still calls Taihei her onii-chan. Hikari leaves but will come back another time. One last snarl at Umaru… Umaru questions Taihei about things like why Hikari calls him so but it’s been so long he can’t remember.

Episode 9
Bomber gives Taihei his camera since he has a new one. Umaru notices old photos in it so Taihei takes it out as not to be rude. Then they take many photos of each other. Apparently this is Bomber’s ‘gift’ to Taihei as he wants him to take pictures of Umaru now as she will not be the way she is forever. When the usual arcade is closed, Sylphinford suggests heading to an old department store. It’s quite a nice but quiet place and it soon becomes their hangout. Sylphinford is quite sentimental hanging out. Umaru doesn’t understand why until the place is closed down and demolished. Hence Umaru suggests to her friends to hang out at an amusement park the next time. Ebina visits to cook and join them for dinner. Apparently this is part of Kirie’s plan to support Ebina to get Taihei. So that way is via cooking? Oh well, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Being this close to him makes her very conscious. Umaru tries to help out to hide the fact she cannot cook but blunders. So much so a huge fire scares Ebina and Taihei had to catch her. Umaru is sorry and reveals she cannot cook but Ebina can’t hear since her mind is going all fuzzy with Taihei holding on to her. Umaru is not amused when Taihei brings Hikari back for dinner. Coincidence? She thinks not. Time for a showdown… They compete among each other to make pancakes. Fail! Ultimately it is Taihei who makes the best pancakes. However he is eating their failed creations because they said they were making for him. The girls feel bad as Hikari apologizes for lying that she met him by coincidence when it is in fact intentional. Umaru returns the award she left behind the last time but soon she gets mad because nobody praises her for getting that same award too. Umaru plays with her hamsters but gets lectured by Taihei for treating them as toys. He warns her of the stress little animals can die from. For the next few days, Umaru doesn’t take them out until one night Taihei works late. But it might be the hamsters that are considerate towards Umaru because they notice her feeling the blues that her big brother is not around so they play with her. When Taihei comes back, he scolds Umaru for playing with his hamsters. Yeah, they look like having fun…

Episode 10
Once again, UMR ‘bankrupts’ the video arcade’s vending machine prizes. Sylphinford is impressed as usual and invites her to her home. UMR learns she has the same feasting habit on snacks while watching anime. When Sylphinford is interested to play this Pokee game (thinking it is a tradition of Japan), UMR raises her voice to protest because it’s a game where 2 people eat 1 end of the stick until it leads up to a kiss. She apologizes and they go watch an anime. So happens that anime has the characters play Pokee. Sylphinford gets embarrassed and understands what she meant. Hikari visits again one night but Umaru has caught her with her pants down because she left her home without telling Kanau. Hikari is obviously panicking as Umaru tries to hint to Taihei to let Kanau know. However Umaru knows what it is like to eat alone so she allows Hikari to finish dinner with them before reluctantly giving Taihei the green light to allow her to visit once in a while. When Hikari gets home, she gets scolded by Kanau as she knew she snuck out of the house knowing she would be working late today. Sylphinford talks to UMR she was in Japan many years as a kid before. She fears the place she last visited has changed a lot. But UMR brings her there and surprisingly it has not changed a bit. This also prompts sad memories because it was the last place she visited before returning to Germany and will not see Alex anymore. They end up having a boat ride as this was what she did with Alex. Ebina is nervous should would fail her tests. Sylphinford suggests a study group at her library. Ebina claims she is weak in all subjects but it turns out she does pretty well in them. Umaru believes she has performance anxiety. They suggests way to allay her anxiety but it only made it worse. Ebina remembers the first time she transferred to Tokyo from Akita. She felt like a ‘foreigner’. She wanted to talk to Kirie but heard nasty rumours about her. She tried Sylphinford and because she was the first one to speak to her, she took Ebina’s words as a challenge. When Umaru comes by, Sylphinford throws another challenge to her. Looking back, Ebina wondered if they could be friends and now they are. She starts laughing and feels better. She has no troubles acing her tests and hopes to continue hanging out with her friends forever. Though, she still feels anxiety when Sylphinford offers any sort of challenge.

Episode 11
Bomber couldn’t find Kirie so when he visits Taihei’s place, he finds her there. He then discovers she stole his cream puffs to share it with Umaru. He doesn’t get mad at her but is glad she has a place to hang out instead of being alone at home. Just when the siblings look like they reconciled, it’s bad blood between them again when they discover they each call Umaru by a different nickname. Umaru then makes peace with both of them over a cola. Taihei visits the bookstore to get Umaru some book. He sees Kirie there but she panics and runs away. Because it is raining outside, she cannot get far. She tells him about her dream to write about Umaru and was doing research. She has low self-confidence of her dream but Taihei believes it is a great one because unlike him who was just studying all his time. Umaru comes to pick him back home but on the way he realizes he forgot to buy her book. Kirie’s next plan to hook up Ebina with Taihei takes them to the ice skating ring. Only one problem: Taihei doesn’t know how to skate and hence can’t teach her. Umaru and Sylphinford are naturals but Ebina is just totally a clumsy noob. Though Ebina is happy to hang out like this, Kirie feels disappointed the goal wasn’t reached. Hikari hangs out at Taihei’s place for dinner again. After that they look at the stars outside and this prompts Taihei to remember he was the one who taught her the constellations. Flashback shows Hikari was always alone and Kanau always scolding her for eating only bread. Who is she to say because… One day she brings Taihei home so she could give him some recipe book. Hikari could tell Kanau likes him and pesters Taihei to stay so that Kanau could cook for him. Thing is, Kanau can’t cook! So as she stares at the cookbook for hours, while the rest wait, Taihei teaches Hikari about the stars. Now Hikari hugs him as thanks for remembering her. I wonder how long Umaru can tolerate this. She would have told her off had she not see the tears in her eyes. Both girls clinging onto him hard and he can’t move. Don’t know who gave up first but eventually when Hikari goes home, Umaru sheepishly says see you soon.

Episode 12
It’s a bit cold so Sylphinford has the girls cuddle up together like an old children’s game. In public. Thankfully the warmth isn’t from the embarrassment. Umaru wants pizza so Taihei looks fired up to make it. Bomber and Alex are invited to join in and to Umaru’s horror, she learns they are making okonomiyaki instead. Technically, Japanese pizza. The guys are in a dilemma what to include it as filling. Up to you Umaru. Mix everything! It turns out delicious thankfully. Umaru bugs Taihei to buy some very expensive special limited edition game she already has for her Christmas gift. He doesn’t say anything so she assumes he will buy it. Too bad he has to work on Christmas so she’ll have to hang out with Ebina. Umaru panics when she asks what present she will give Taihei. Selfish girl never thought of that, eh? So the duo go to shop for presents. Ebina gets Umaru a hamster cap. Then they decide to wait for Taihei to show up here after work and ‘ambush’ him. Boy, is he surprised. They hand them their presents and he asks what they would like. Umaru reminds him about the game… Kanau narrates how Hikari have been acting strange lately ever since she knew Taihei. Kanau also got some school achievement award like Taihei and was fantasizing her usual. This made Hikari think she would be praised if she also got such award. She managed to do so and despite Kanau praising her, she wants to be praised by Taihei. Kanau is in a bind because she plans to invite Taihei over to dinner as her present for Hikari. She can’t. She thought of spending Christmas alone with Hikari but Hikari knows what she has been doing for the past Christmas. Watching rented videos alone before going to bed. Sad! Sylphinford invites her friends to her home to celebrate New Year. In their kimono they play traditional badminton (they call it tennis?) as well as other games. It was a swell time. After Umaru gets her New Year’s money from the guys, this year she decides not to give into her greed and save them. It might seem silly she exchanged them for all small coins but this way it is hard to spend too much at once. Uhm, you mean she has one coin left in the piggy bank? She’s hinting he could help contribute some… Then it hit her all her money is gone! Taihei isn’t going to help her this time but seeing how she is sad she can’t make good her promise to do something together, he helps donate a small sum. Umaru then lectures about how such small value isn’t much these days and hopes he could increase the amount. Why you ungrateful brat! Is sorry too late?

Hamsters Of The Same Fur Flock Together
Another year, another season. Not too sure if they would surprise me with another season seeing this series is popular enough in Japan so don’t count that out yet. Basically if you have watched the first season, this sequel feels very much at home with lots of things staying mostly the same with a few new and nice little developments but nothing much that would overhaul and change the entirety of the series. Umaru will always be the Umaru we have started to know her from the beginning and looks like she will continue to remain that way until at least she graduates high school. Don’t fix something that is not broken?

Just like the last season, the episodes feel like standalone fillers and each episode is divided into skits that may or may not be related to whatever that theme was for that episode. Hence hot really much of a plot to being with in the first season so what is the point of having one right now? So if you are watching this sequel without watching the first, you won’t lose much. But highly recommended to watch the first season as it sets up the characters and their relationship. This season expands that albeit a little. Of course we have a few new discoveries and introductions like Ebina’s brother, Kanau’s little sister and that Alex and Sylphinford are blood related.

So speaking of that, basically if you have watched the first season, you will see that this season enhances the friendship between Umaru, Sylphinford, Ebina and Kirie. It looks like there is still a long way before their relationship would hit the BFF type but they are making enough strides to head that direction. After all, the quartet each has their own quirky personality and even Umaru herself isn’t spared. She might be a genius and elegant lady in public but hides another personality whom many would never know it is the same person because of her extremely good ‘transformation’ skill of turning into that chibi character. In this group of weirdoes, we also have the overzealous and hyped Sylphinford (~desu wa!) who looks more like Umaru’s friend than her rival now, the shy and panicky Ebina and the socially awkward Kirie who is now somewhat Ebina’s relationship manager. So odd no wonder they stick together because everyone else in their school are so normal.

Interestingly, Umaru is much less in her spoilt tantrum throwing brat. I don’t even remember if I have seen her in this state this season. Even if it was in the beginning, it was mostly forgotten. Because this season sees Umaru slowly converting into one who has learnt to appreciate Taihei in his absence. Sure, Umaru is still basically the same slackster we all know and generally she still is. Even last season, Umaru too wasn’t as bad and annoying as we thought she would be (still irritating nevertheless) but here it is like as though she somewhat has matured a bit. It is just hard to imagine Umaru going into her chibi mode and start screaming her head off at this point. Perhaps with Kirie and Hikari hanging out more often, there is not much personal time for herself or even Taihei who is required to work late more often. So at least in this aspect, I believe Umaru has grown up a little and learnt to appreciate the sacrifices of Taihei. The thought that one day they can no longer be like this is a scary one. Better value what you have now and count your blessings if you know what is good for you. Because now it feels the more annoying one is Kirie hating Bomber. At might look like the series’ running joke but after a while, it just feels annoying because Bomber is trying to be the nice big brother (he still has lots of areas to improve, though) but it’s like the moment she sees him, he is public enemy number one and does not hesitate to beat him up. Like, what’s the problem, girl?

Hats off to Taihei for being the most patient and understanding brother of all time. One of those in running for the Best Big Brother Award of the year. Often siblings hate each other as seen between Kirie and Bomber which is a very common occurrence everywhere. Therefore Taihei’s patience and kindness sometimes feel wasted on Umaru for viewers who don’t know about them. After all, Umaru is his only sister and family member around and it won’t do him or Umaru any good if he goes overboard. The occasional getting mad at her is okay (because it is also mainly her fault) but it won’t go so far as to physically abuse her or control her life. Umaru is already a grown teenager and she should be able to decide by herself.

This season introduces Hikari as a new character. Nothing really much about her except now that she has become Umaru’s rival for Taihei. Another reason why she should appreciate her brother more often. Because if you don’t, some genius loli is going take him away. Hikari’s debut also gives Kanau more reason to appear albeit still very much less. With the revelation and confirmation of Alex being Sylphinford’s big brother, it opens up some heart-warming stories and flashback between them and how they come to Japan and love its culture. Heh. Which foreigner in anime doesn’t love Japan’s culture? Even Ebina has her own but that is not as focused as those aforementioned. But it is good to know that she too has some family matters. Now all that is left is to know how Kirie came to hate Bomber so much while growing up because we have seen they were so close and cute together as kids. Eventually fate has all these characters related to some way or another.

This series could potentially turn into a harem series but I highly doubt that because many of the girls seem to have a thing for Taihei. Like Kanau who is still having nervous feet around him but she is too slow in doing anything that would make an impact. Is it a good thing that Taihei is dense? Ebina is the same but I also doubt under the guidance of Kirie there would be progress. There is a chance Kirie would also fall for Taihei since she is helping Ebina and with him being so kind to her, it is not impossible although the chances are remote. Of course there is Umaru for his sisterly love and now Hikari for some loli love. Man, this guy is sure popular. Now, how to fit Sylphinford (~zushaa!) into this equation…

Last season I remember there were a few trivia from the otaku culture to spot. I am not sure about this season because I don’t remember seeing any. Maybe that took a backseat in exchange for the character development. Art and animation remain the same with Sylphinford (~shupaan!) still looking the weirdest because of those petals (or was it stars again) in her eyes. Hikari can join that list of looking weird too. In her chibi mode, her eyes really look weird. I don’t know. It feels like as though she might turn into a crazy killer… Also, Hikari’s general design of having white hair and bushy eyebrows make her look some sort of anomaly, like as though she was some specimen who escaped her experimental tube. Do geniuses look like this? Okay, Albert Einstein… Hikari looks so different that you won’t even know she is related to Kanau.

This season’s opener might not be spamming that U-M-R line and make you go crazy, but Nimensei Ura Omote Life by Aimi Tanaka (voice of Umaru) still retains its spunky liveliness. The draw this time is the ending theme, Umarun Taison by Sisters (Umaru, Ebina, Kirie and Sylphinford). Despite all the fast paced techno frenzy effects, this feels like one big odd callisthenic exercise song. Even though seeing the girls in their chibi form doing those cute callisthenic moves, I figure that I shouldn’t follow them because I realized how silly I looked. The girls are alright because they are cute to begin with… Puura, puraa, puura, puraa, puura, puraa… Okay, swing your hands like a pendulum now… Old casts retained while the new ones added are Inori Minase as Hikari (Hestia in DanMachi) and Nobuhiko Okamoto as Kouichirou (Bakugou in Boku No Hero Academia).

Overall, this season feels a bit better than the previous because Umaru doesn’t go into her spoilt brat mode and the characters are more developed this time. It still maintains its own brand of quirkiness and cuteness altogether and hence enjoyable in its own right. But just like everything else, this will all soon come to pass and this would end up as just a phase in life and only remembered in memories. We can only take so much of the childish shenanigans and all the glittering-cum-energetic ~shupaaaaaaatz and find it cute and funny before it turns into something irritating. We all have to grow up one day and change. Okay, maybe some of us don’t. Ugh… Too lazy to change…

Animegataris

March 11, 2018

Another anime about clubs? I suppose we have sports clubs and video game programming clubs so I guess now it is anime’s turn to have its anime club series this season. So what else is there in Animegataris about a bunch of people in a club who talk, discuss and do stuffs all related to the otaku world? Anime fans should love this as it is going to be filled with lots of trivia. See how many you can spot them. Will your pause button be destroyed first before you finish this series?! Anime is such a horrifying destroyer of life…

Episode 1
Minoa Asagaya can’t remember if she watched anime when she was young. Asking her older sister, Maaya, she did mention a few of them but none rings a bell. We are introduced to a few characters in Minoa’s class. Her athletic tomboyish friend, Yui Obata. Miko Kouenji who is an anime lover and currently reading a very complicated anime title. Rich girl Arisu Kamiigusa whose snap of the finger can have prompt service from her butler, Sebastian. If only real life service was this freaking fast and awesome. Tooru Roppongi the very effeminate homeroom teacher. Later, Minoa is being called by Arisu to meet in a room. To her surprise, Arisu is an anime fan as she starts ranting her love for anime. She thinks Minoa is one too as she noticed she talked to Miko about one this morning. She tries to find common ground by listing animes she probably likes but Minoa is already so lost. When Arisu loses her enthusiasm, it’s Minoa’s turn to have that fervour. But it is more of because she has always thought Arisu as unapproachable and never knew she was into this sort of thing. Minoa seeks her help to identify an anime she watched she was young. She only remember a handful of scenes and sometimes dream about it. Arisu searches for a few but they aren’t it. I guess the only place left to ask is where there are lots of anime fans. Yes, the anime club. Unfortunately it has been inactive for quite a while as you can see how messy the clubroom is. But because it is a treasure trove of a few anime magazines, they get this idea to form an anime club. The minimum number of members is 6. Minoa didn’t want to join initially but Arisu didn’t give her an option so I guess she has to. Yeah, here’s a bunch of her anime collection for her to watch and catch up. After summoning her butler and maids to clean up the place in no time (I really wish I had this sort of service), Arisu finds a locked door. She thought of asking the student council for the key but when Minoa tries to open it, it feels like somebody is trying to hold it close. She forcefully opens it and what’s inside are a cat and a beret. When she touches the beret, it’s like she entered a trance for a while. Oh well, nothing suspicious. Let’s go home. On her way home, Minoa enters a short trance before losing the beret. The wind blows it to some depressed guy. She realizes her handphone is missing and goes back to the clubroom to get it only to be shocked it is in the hands of the cat. And he is talking!

Episode 2
Minoa has a dream of that unidentified anime. Only, replace the main character with Arisu! I guess that entire night of binge watching anime must be the cause. She’ll experience her first early morning embarrassment when Arisu dresses her up in a bunny outfit to hand out flyers and recruit more members to their club. They manage to get Masato Gomon as their supervising teacher but I guess he doesn’t really care or mind and lets them do what they want. In the clubroom, they are surprised that Miko is here. Looks like she is joining them. Because Miko reads original light novel works and Arisu only watches the anime adaptation, this has them clash in a lot of aspects like cut out scenes and rewatching. So deep. Minoa must be so lost. Senior Erika Aoyama decides to join them and upon their request, she becomes the club president. She has another person she wants to recommend joining this club. Folks, meet Kai Musashisakai. Basically, still in chuunibyou mode. The anime club discusses about several stuffs but as usual, Minoa is lost. When everyone leaves, the cat (Neko) talks to Minoa about not forcing a conversation if she doesn’t like it. He asks about the beret in the room and since she doesn’t remember what happened to it, he tells her to keep 2 promises: Let no one know he can talk and always close that room’s door. Later as the club members discuss about activities and put forth suggestions, each time Minoa does so, it is so unrelated that it makes her feel out of place. So they ‘re-educate’ her about what makes anime interesting and a classic. Seems that everything can be constitute as interesting and a classic. Really. Can porn scenes make an anime interesting and classic? But this sets up yet another argument between Arisu and Miko regarding omission of a chapter in anime. It got so bad that Arisu tells her to quit and Miko takes up on that offer. Minoa stops it all by passionately expressing how everyone has their own preferences. To each their own. Anime won’t be much if we keep rejecting each other over different preferences. This well said speech has senior Kouki Nakano impressed as he decides to join the club. He is a popular guy in school with his own fan club (damn his good looks) but of course Minoa is clueless of who he is. And yeah, he is a hardcore anime fan. With that, Miko revises her decision and decides to stay. Just when things are looking good, suddenly the student council barges in with a warrant that bars the anime club from using the clubroom effective immediately.

Episode 3
As the club is not approved by the student council despite having the required number of members, that is the basis for them being kicked out. Gomon isn’t even trying to help them and so that’s it for our anime club? Erika decides to bring everyone to Akiba and Minoa is like a country bumpkin being here for the first time. She introduces Minoa to cosplay before the rest head to a store selling various anime merchandises. Kai is surprised that Minoa is paying attention to all his chuunibyou ranting. Because she finds it interesting. At the end of their trip, the gang discusses about the ‘sacrilege’ and how common it is for viewers to drop watching an anime after the third episode if there is no twist or reason to make them want to stay and watch. Next day in school, there is a notice for a meeting to abolish the anime club. Well, it was Gomon’s idea since they pleaded for him to try and think of something. So he thought of proposing if the anime club can’t debate why they have to exist, the only next best reason is for it to be shut down. Erika isn’t so keen on voicing her opinion. If they really want to fight and keep the anime club, she’ll support them since she prefers to keep the club to more of an out-of-school activity like the Akiba trip. For some odd reason (maybe bad decision), Minoa is chosen to go out on stage to give a speech. I guess with Arisu and Miko writing the script… As expected, she is like a robot and being nervous. All over the place and even saying stuffs like she doesn’t know anything about anime. Crowd must be confused. Because the student council has already given their fiery speech of bashing anime of how worthless and a waste of everything. Enough to make all anime fans boil. Just when it seems like the end of Minoa, Kai gets up and takes over. He makes his passionate speech and likens this to a battle anime whereby the heroes’ side with the weak to defeat the tyranny and the oppressors. At the end of the speech, Kai is a bit wobbly so Nakano helps him out and this gay scene ‘woke’ a lot of people up. So in the end, I guess that must be the clincher as the anime club is overwhelmingly voted to be kept running since half the males and a very great number of females voted for it. Minoa is so happy that she now has a clubroom and they can talk about anime longer. But she starts regretting since she is dumped a new heap of anime collection to watch. Anime 24/7! And now we have a clubroom for it.

Episode 4
The student council president, Tsubaki Akabane seems to have a grudge against the anime club as she is still bent on shutting them down. So she sends her underlings, Ayame Osaki and Matsuri Toda to dig up dirt on them. Arisu orders a stack of anime discs as they discuss how animes aired on TV won’t make money and hence products and events to cover the costs as well as the collaboration of companies for a production committee to budget anime. And there’s also a talk of multiple of the same copies anime diehards will buy. Suddenly here comes the student council to rain on their parade. They have discovered an expensive spending of club funds in a single receipt. Arisu accepts this is her own money but still the rules state a newly founded club cannot spend that much. Erika decides to take responsibility to Tsubaki throws her a challenge they will help other clubs for a week without compensation. Of course she is not expecting anything from them as she views them as useless. Disagree? Then prove it. Depressed Minoa gets her hopes up talking to Nakano why he entered anime. He drew inspiration from an anime depicting high school students fighting their own student council body to save their school. Sounds familiar… Erika cosplays and hands out flyers to offer help to other clubs. This has other club members helping her out. We see them helping out other clubs but they screw up somehow. All of them. Finally Nakano comes in with a request from the drama club to make outfits for their play. Erika becomes stumped and disheartened after her failed sketches. It reminds her of her time studying overseas alone. With Nakano saving the day again with his motivation via some idol anime, Erika gets back on her feet and delegates the duties. On the day of the play, the student council is sure the anime club would have failed. But they are dumbfounded to see how well everything was done. Eat your words. Even so, Tsubaki still won’t approve! Shifting the goal post? Now Erika lashes back that anime isn’t as worthless as she thinks. It saved her during her lonely years overseas and doesn’t Tsubaki remember their anime childhood together? With other clubs thanking the anime club for their help, Tsubaki lets this slide. But of course there is a hidden hand and higher authority working in the shadow as Tsubaki makes a call regarding her failure to shut down the anime club. It’s out of her hands now.

Episode 5
The anime club will be attending the Summer Comiket. Minoa thought it would be a breeze in the park. Well, reality is going to hit her real hard when she finds the train more packed than usual. That’s nothing, though. After meeting up with her pals, now they have to wait in the long queue. Before that, they have to go stock water to stay dehydrated. That is even a long line. And if you want to go to the toilet, there’s also a long queue. Thankfully Minoa and Arisu did their business but find themselves lost. Luckily this Chinese girl, Yang Beibei help guide them back. Do they know each other? She is the girl standing behind them in the line. Soon they become very good friends. The day is getting hotter and when the line starts moving, looks like it is going to take another hour to enter the hall! They finally manage to get in as all split up for their own respective interests. Minoa and Arisu have a field day buying merchandises. Erika dresses up in a cosplay and meets an old cosplay buddy manning a booth here. Her friend introduces a fellow colleague, Mutsuki who is also from the anime club. He has this impression that Erika’s school’s anime club is very impressive as heard from a graduate there but this surprises Erika a little. At the end of the day, the girls part ways with Beibei who wants to hang out a little longer. Minoa realizes too late they forgot to exchange contacts but Erika assures her as long as they are anime fans, they will definitely meet again here. The girls take a refreshing boat ride and very much enjoyed the day. Except for Kai. The beloved limited merchandise he wanted to buy has sold out. His Unchained Golden Wallet remains unused…

Episode 6
The anime club members are going for their first anime pilgrimage tour around Japan. A short discussion on such several places in Japan due to the booming popularity of the anime industry. While on the train, the sudden jerk causes Miko to accidentally trip and her boobs fall over Kai’s dick!!! This has Kai start overthinking the hidden message behind this. Even while during the tour, Minoa could notice Kai is acting differently. So much so it scares her and the other girls had to tell him to stop ‘fighting the other world’. The girls are disheartened when their lodging has no TV or DVD player. I guess with the limited funds, this is the best Gomon could do. Kai asks Nakano about his problems and the latter knows it is the matters of the heart and advises accordingly. This makes Kai believe what Miko did was deliberate instead of an accident. Even more so when he receives a text from her asking the guys to come over to discuss about Minoa. And a heart mark left at the end of the message. The rest talk about Minoa being depressed and how she is an important member. They realize she is not around. That’s because she is lost on her way to the outdoor bath. A search is conducted by you wonder why Sebastian had to mobilize the entire army to go look for her. Kai continues to overreact his delusion that Miko likes him. But WTF?! Screaming and running around naked???!!! Nakano eventually finds Minoa. Even if she is sorry for screwing up the trip, Nakano lets her know how they were just talking about her. In no time the other girls come running and are relieved she is okay. This is ruined when they see Kai in his birthday suit. Scariest kimodameshi ever? Give thanks to the ‘God rays’ blocking the necessary parts… In the aftermath, Kai sums up his courage to confess to Miko. But why does he have to say it to Nakano?! Because of that, Miko gets the wrong idea and has truly awakened! See how excited she is? So much so she wants to build a church dedicated to them! Now everything they do together will automatically give rise to whatever yaoi fantasies she has. Some win big, some lose big…

Episode 7
The anime club is going to do an anime screening for the cultural festival. Of course the student council is there to shut it down and reject the plan. And a reminder if they don’t do something impressive, they’ll be shut down. As they ponder what to do, Minoa suggests they do their own anime. At first the rest brush it off over the amount of work it takes. But don’t worry, with a snap of a finger, Arisu can have Sebastian do everything! Of course for the good of everyone, they better do something themselves. So each come up with their own proposal on what kind of anime they want to do based on their preferences. Miko then suggests to do an anime short that lass 3-5 minutes. Although Miko writes its script, the rest keep revising it till she gets fed up and wants to quit! While trying to calm her down, Minoa accidentally opens the forbidden door. Inside she sees storyboards. It is all over the place and it has all of their preferences. Then Minoa remembers this is that anime that she once watched. Minoa has an idea everyone should come up with their own idea and voice it. But Miko is done doing the scriptwriting. Leave it to Erika the producer to smooth talk her way to convince her to do it. Minoa as the director does the storyboard after she is done. They also ask other clubs to help out and the production is making great progress. Then everyone does their dubbing and we get a little insight on how it is done. But if you’ve watched Shirabako, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Even Neko gets a few meow lines but is told to sound more like a cat. Insult? In the end, they get a cake as one of those rewards of post-dubbing. As the anime is near complete, Tsubaki puts forth her evil plan. She orders all clubs to cease cooperation with the anime club or else their club will be shut down! Evil… Soon all the clubs cease their support and it gets worse when Tsubaki has prepared a special place for the anime club at the festival. A special stage will be built on the track field and they must fill it up or their presentation is deemed a failure. Pure evil…

Episode 8
With lots of stuffs still not finished, it is impossible for them to finish on time. Plus, everyone is already so tired. Minoa is in a pinch, she can’t give up yet and wants a day to think things through. Back home, dad gives her a mini recording set that allows her to do small time recording. The daughters wonder why he is so passionate about this as mom reveals he is an otaku. Shocking at first but even more shocking is that dad was at the Summer Comiket too as a human traffic controller. After Minoa leaves a message for everyone, she worries when none of them replied. Neko thinks they have given up as they really think they couldn’t make it. Minoa punches his face (like a sponge?) and tells him off how everyone has worked so hard despite all the snags they’ve hit. She doesn’t give up and does what she can. To her surprise, everyone else comes in with their respective completed work. They were too busy to read her message as they were focusing on the task at hand. The anime club also recruits other students to come up to the stage to talk about their clubs. On the day of the anime screening, looks like the student council is starting to worry as the capacity is already filled at 80%. Among the crowd is Beibei. Apparently she is Maaya’s classmate and heard about it. The screening is ready to go but the only things unfinished are the ending song and art. Nevertheless, Minoa thanks them from the bottom of her heart but Nakano has an idea. The anime starts its run. Uhm… Low quality as expected but how come it looks like it was done using MS Paint? I’m not sure many of these people have never seen anime before because they are cheering how good it is! You kidding me!? Okay, maybe for first time amateurs it is good (barely) but to get this emotional? I can understand for family and friends but total strangers? Man, they’ll be blown away if they see the real deal. Yeah, they should open their eyes more often about their surroundings because anime is literally everywhere in Japan. Anyway, what will they do for the ending? Minoa, Arisu and Miko go out on stage in their pretty idol outfits and start singing and dancing! Now, this is the better and best part of it all that is worth moving to tears.

Episode 9
The anime club members celebrate their success. We aren’t hearing anything from Tsubaki since she is out from a cold. Thank goodness? Soon, there are other clubs streaming in to seek their advice on how to make their club better. Because you know, anime do have that exaggerated bit in making sports ‘better’, right? And so the anime club members happily dish out their ridiculous recommendations. From exploding baseballs to mallets in basketballs, who needs to do high jump anymore when you have those boots boosters! Truly the clubs in school are now looking like over the top anime exaggerations. Minoa is shocked that Nakano can converse with Neko like normal. With their growing popularity, Gomon relays the good news that they will be interviewed by the TV station. Everyone starts dreaming and getting ahead of themselves. All but Minoa who feels there isn’t something right. Nakano talks to her about the power of anime and how it makes everyone happy. Hence what she did together with them wasn’t a mistake. After the interview, it seems the crew gives Gomon some gratitude money. At first he refuses but Nakano whispers to him to take it as he can use to get a new VHD deck. Erika receives a warning from Tsubaki to be careful but doesn’t give much thought about it. The next day, the student council barge in to declare the anime club shut down. Nobody is surprised. Another false alarm maybe. However they say the directive this time comes from the principal himself. Nobody recognizes this William Shakespeare clone because his bust looks more handsome… It seems the anime club has violated one of the school’s code to not receive funds from outside. Nakano vouches he saw Gomon taking it. And looks like he already spent it on a new VHD deck. With that, the principal suspends the club and relieves Gomon from his duties. Everyone is in shock and mad that Nakano sold them out. WHY???!!!

Episode 10
With the club losing their room and everyone depressed, Minoa gets a great example advice from her dad. Even if their house is gone, they are still family. Next day, the gang are in for a surprise as all the students are protesting over the anime club’s closure. Worse, the principal threatens he will close the school down. The students try to confront him in his office but it is tightly shut with hi-tech door. Neko leads Minoa through a secret passage that takes her directly to the principal’s office. The others outside can only eavesdrop what they’re saying. First, the principal calls their anime production low quality (which is very true) but Minoa takes it as a compliment. She proclaims her love for anime especially that one she saw. As best as she tries to describe it to him and he suggesting titles, it seems they are all not the anime she is looking for. The rest outside do a little research on the principal. It seems he was part of the anime club and those drawing in that room was his. Nakano makes a shocking return when he prostrates and apologizes for his ‘betrayal’. The truth is that he has many siblings (clones?) and is working hard to support them. The principal often patrons his stall and that’s why he can’t go against his order. And with that, they forgive him and are back in good terms. It seems the principal was also an anime director. It hits him hard when Minoa wants to create a second episode. Because now he goes berserk claiming everything is over once your first episode is cancelled. He blames the fans and the nit-picking of the internet. It got so bad that his office is now a thunderstorm! As he has shut off his heart, looks like anime can only save him. So the rest go far and wide to seek help from everyone around the world for the name of that elusive anime. Nobody knows. Their topic has gone viral and trending (with lots of trolling too). With so much people on the subject, you are bound to hit one. Finally that anime’s name is known: Ultra Katharsis Koritsi Eternal Symphony. The principal admits he is the director of that anime which got canned after the first episode. Although he is still depressed, Minoa sings praises of it and loves it very much till this day. Outside his office aren’t chants of protests. People are holding up posters and merchandises of Eternal Symphony! Wow. Suddenly they are everywhere? Such a crappy an obscure anime? In the aftermath, the anime club gets their clubroom back and the principal leaves. To end with a twist, when Minoa revisits the office, she sees the principal’s yearbook. To her shock, Nakano was part of his anime team!

Episode 11
Minoa experiences a few strange anime-like occurrences. Faces of people turn into that old retro anime style, there is that 4:3 visual strip, Sebastian is now a maid and can talk, people have sparkly eyes and more. Everyone thinks Minoa is weird as they don’t know what she is talking about. Heck, they even rewind to the opening to check if everything is okay. Then they discuss about what genre they should put for this anime. For some reason, Neko decides to explode several times. So this is what is called comedy? Neko explodes so much that he ‘dies’ as a real cat for realism. Thankfully, he survives. Later Minoa asks Nakano if he has an older sibling by 20 years. Nope. Hmm… More anime weirdness for Minoa because her family members are now black and white old retro anime style and animation! With more crazy stuffs at school, finally Arisu confronts her. Perhaps the reason she is acting weird is because she is rejecting anime! What?! Minoa can’t help feel so sad. In her room she starts going crazy and crying uncontrollably. Maaya could only hug and comfort her and tell her to hang in there. Because the ending is soon… Next day in school, everyone is starring at her like as though she is the enemy of the state because they believe she hates anime. Luckily Minoa finds some refuge in Nakano as he is the only one who believes what she has seen. He hints the cause of it all so Minoa goes back to the anime clubroom and accuses Neko as the cause. He is a talking cat, right? She then opens the forbidden door to solve this. But then a large flash. The door goes missing and outside is chaotic with all the anime clichés. Oh no. Is this all part of Nakano’s plan? Who is this Observer that is missing and what does he mean that order will be gone now? Neko accuses Nakano to be from the other side: The anime side. Nakano claims this world will soon be engulfed in anime. With the arrival of some guy in beret, Nakano gives Minoa wear some glasses that sees everyone’s true form as sketch lines!

Episode 12
There’s some dramatic narration about ‘revelations’ that sound a whole load of crap. What’s this about the real and parallel anime world existing side by side? Something about anime created into this world and spread? The narration kills off the beret guy that could have changed things. Minoa wakes up back in class. Her friends are normal. Was everything a dream? She senses something amiss and heads down to the anime club. The door is still missing. Indeed she is still trap. Then she goes home. Her family talking and looking normal. However they ignore her like as though she doesn’t exist. Going into her room, strange mushrooms trying to coax her to come to the anime side. Even her hologram clone is doing the same. However she rejects all that and rejoins Neko outside. He tells her they need the beret back to the other side of the door and bring back order. Nakano has found it and puts it on in hopes things have changed. Nothing. He is distraught he is still called Aurora (a name everyone calls him since he came back to them after the ‘betrayal’). The world starts disappearing, a sign it is going to be erased. Minoa thinks everyone is against her but she has some allies in a couple of characters from the animes she cherished. She rides a mecha to drill through some barrier. Before the door is Nakano and the beret. Still worried about his name as he passes it to her in hopes it will change. The other friends stop her and try to tempt her to join them. She refuses and explains how each of them helped make her love anime. It seemed she hit them right but too late they disappear. When she opens the door, a barrier still blocks the door. She falls through the abyss but her friends pull her back up. They have come back to their senses but still need to do something about that barrier. Remember that crappy mecha they designed for the cultural festival? Yup, use that. Run out of money? Don’t feed it more money! Feed it with passion! With that, the barrier gone, Nakano and Neko take the beret and return to the other side. Too bad Minoa gave him the wrong name… In the aftermath, it seems time has restarted to when Minoa hasn’t joined the anime club. She loves talking about it and gets to know Arisu who also loves doing the same. Surprisingly they are recommended by Tsubaki to join the anime club. All her usual friends are there but who the f*ck is that new member, a cat girl?! Kai is designing a new character that looks a lot like Nakano. They are curious to see what is behind that door and when they open it, a treasure trove of anime merchandises and goodies!

Anime Catalyst! This Is Not A Sh*t Anime!!!
So are they living in which anime world now? How many anime worlds are there again? I’m confused. Well, we basically don’t care since we get a typical cliché good ending that all our friends are back together happily in the anime club doing what they love. Because they refuse to believe this is a crappy series and I too personally believe this isn’t a crappy cliché anime, therefore anime is saved! Hooray!

Even if the overall plot doesn’t seem all that spectacular and nothing extraordinary, this series doesn’t take itself seriously in the first place. In fact, it is a parody of its own self. A parody and cliché with everything that has to do with the otaku world for otaku fans. Therefore veteran anime and manga fans would definitely appreciate the tons of trivia peppered throughout the entire series. In almost every scene, there is guaranteed to be such references if you pay close attention. Or more accurately, if you know your anime and manga stuffs well enough.

Thus the most obvious of all trivia that one like yours truly who is the simplest of all otaku forms can appreciate are the blatant parodies of anime titles. And boy, there are really tons of them in every episode. Sometimes when the characters start discussing or suggesting anime titles, they sometimes go into this streak of naming those parodies. Call it that copyright thingy but the way they ‘creatively’ parody those titles makes it really hilarious. For example the more obvious one include PreFae (PreCure), Slash Dunk (Slam Dunk), Tarako’s Basketball (Kuroko No Basket), Ace Of Bench (Ace Of Diamond), Autumn Wars (Summer Wars), AnoSuba (KonoSuba), Girls & Tank (Girls Und Panzer), Nakimushi Saddle (Yowamushi Pedal), Akibako (Shirobako), What’s Up Girl Zoo (Wake Up, Girl Zoo), The Girl Who Slept Through Time (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time), Previous Genesis Everstrike (Neon Genesis Evangelion), Bakusou (Bakuon), Gaka Stray Dogs (Bungou Stray Dogs), Amaama To Yokozuna (Amaama To Inazuma), Dezumon (Digimon), Ange Visual (Ange Vierge) and Cinnamon Roll Z (Dragonball Z) just to name a few that I recognized. There are more I recognized and smirked at but I would have filled up an entire page of it.

What happens when The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air decided to take up tennis and win the Wimbledon championship? You get Fresh Prince of Tennis! OMG! This is one of the most hilarious and creative ones I’ve heard. Thankfully, they didn’t go with Teekyuu… Sword Art Online was so popular that it was Sold Out Offline! Haha! It is such an irony that a vuvuzela could be joyful and yet so sad in The Melancholy Of A Happy Vuvuzela. Played any New Game recently? Nah. They’ve become Old Game! What happens when you switched genders of the protagonist in Time Travel Shoujo? You get Time Travel Shounen! What happens when you have hedgehogs instead of hamsters as stars? Haritaro desu! Sorry Sonic… Some of the spoofs I find aren’t that creative like Hero School (Boku No Hero Academia) and Ru: Zero (Re: Zero) and as they strike me as a bit bland. But the one that takes the cake with its freaking long ass name is, take a deep breath, A Certain Report On The Irresponsible And Depressing Chronicles Of Me And A Certain Eccentric Childhood Friend! Yeah, the Toaru series just got even more complicated with its title.

Some of the parodies are not very obvious and it takes a while to discover which ones. For example when they spoofed Thousand. Such a vague and general word there. Unless you’ve seen that (disappointing) harem anime, Hundred, you won’t be able to find its connection. There is also Dub Tone which is very much a parody to Love Live and if you don’t pay attention to what the characters are saying while they describe this, you won’t be able to make the connection either. Even for Toramiko, I thought it was Tora & Ushio before realizing Kuma Miko was the one. Others that took me a while to get it include Gachiemon (Doraemon), Replica (Paprika), Shikabari (Koutetsujou No Kabaneri) and Shake (Saki). Even obscure anime shorts are not spared and are referenced like Yasuda & Iwakura (Ishida & Asakura) as well as Immun-kun (Ketsuekigata-kun). Don’t forget Malcom Gakuen which is a parody of Falcom Gakuen which is a parody of the Falcom video games.

Parodying anime and manga titles aren’t the only trivia around. If you listen closer, many characters talk and parody synopsis of other titles too like that Dub Tone AKA Love Live. They will describe a certain situation that very much makes you wonder how similar it is to that anime. Of course they are making a reference to it. The series also takes a dig at its own industry, the peculiarity and quirks that you can only find in the otaku world like the unofficial rule of thumb in dropping watching an anime after the third episode. It doesn’t apply to me because I watched it till the end! Also, such references make good awareness of the industry though not in an in-depth manner but still it is nice to know that something that quirky like that often happens in the industry.

For those who are even more experts and veteran in the area, the other references can reach as far as seiyuus of a character saying a certain line of a character they played in another anime. For instance if you noticed Yui at one point was helping doing her recording lines for the anime club’s crappy animation, one of her dubbing lines include “Explosion!”. Sounds familiar? Yui’s seiyuu is the same one who voiced that explosion maniac wizard in KonoSuba. Pretty neat, huh? There are also visual parodies too so instead of keeping your ears busy, now you have to multi-task and keep your eyes busy and watch out for them. It’s like blink or you’ll miss. For instance, Erika wearing a butterfly hair accessory that resembles the one from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai’s Sena. There are way more trivia and references than I can point out here (because my knowledge is so limited) so happy hunting those of you who wish to go back and find more Easter eggs.

The characters in the series themselves aren’t anything special. They fall into that cliché line of what mainly anime characters are. You have the typical main character Minoa who is pretty much clueless in the field that everyone else is an expert but stands out because of her different viewpoints (also applies to shonen battle animes where the protagonists are like the Luffy, Naruto and Natsu type). You have the chuunibyou in Kai, you have the BL lover in Miko, the rich oujo-sama in Arisu (a silent butler thrown in for added bonus), the kind-hearted big sister type in Erika and the double-crosser-cum-character-with-complicated-circumstances-and-history in Nakano (or was it Aurora. Or Grovel Boy now?). Oh right, we have a talking animal pet mascot too. Because Yui doesn’t have much screen time, in many episodes her screen time is mostly devoted to see short clips of her doing something random or for blatant mild fanservice purposes. It has nothing to do with whatsoever the anime club members are doing. Since this is the high school setting, the ‘antagonists’ are usually set aside for the student council members (Kakegurui, Prison School, Kill La Kill) so we have Tsubaki as the b*tch type and her underlings as her typical underlings.

Don’t think too much of the plot because most are probably just distraction. For example that forbidden door that Neko told Minoa never to leave open. You kept wondering in the back of your head about its implications and from time to time the series does tease you to remind you, or rather troll you that there could be something really important, like the most important revolution and plot twist ever in the history of anime that something of that magnitude might happen. What do we get at the end? Okay, it was something of a ‘big deal’ that links the anime world within this anime world. At least it didn’t end up being a red herring that many would hate. Even with the principal as the misguided antagonist who came to terms via words because he once shares the same passion as Minoa feels cliché in terms of swaying the villain via power of words. Either that you could just beat the crap out of him in other ‘violent’ ‘action’ series. What about Nakano’s ‘betrayal’. Twice. He acts like the bad guy and not too sure his litter of pigs siblings is true or not. Feels like the perfect cover up story and escape route… Too convenient… Oh wait, he came from the other side. Yeah, I guess it’s hard to tell which anime he came from since an anime inside an anime looks pretty much the same. Remember that Erika’s senior about her impressive anime club thingy? No. Neither do I. Probably this is one of the red herrings to lead us astray when it just meant nothing.

Art and animation are nicely done with everything looking so bright and colourful. Some character designs felt like I have seen them from somewhere before like Miko whom instantly strike me as a watered down Date A Live’s Kurumi. I was waiting for the day she would troll us and burst out into this psychotic character. Didn’t. Then there’s Minoa reminding me of Sakura from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Nakano looking like Kodaka from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai’s Sena and the principal himself as an evil version of William Shakespeare. There is something about Kai looking all too familiar too but at this point I can’t pinpoint from where. CGI is also used but most notably for that idol dance sequence. It looks a bit odd but I guess they want to parody the Love Live, Wake Up Girls and AKB0048 animation style when they’re up singing and dancing on stage. Animated by WAO World who did Time Travel Shoujo and Shouwa Monogatari. Despite being an old company, they don’t usually make much series on their own and are usually involved in 2nd key animations of many other series.

Voice acting sounds pretty decent as everyone does feel like they are really into their roles. I only recognized Kana Hanazawa as Beibei. The rest of the casts are Kaede Hondo as Minoa (Kon in Urara Meirocho), Sayaka Senbongi as Arisu (Mumei in Koutetsujou No Kabaneri), Hisako Toujou as Miko (Chiaki in Hinako Note), Anju Inami as Erika (Chika in Love Live! Sunshine), Setsuo Ito as Kai (Mob in Mob Psycho 100), Junta Terashima as Nakano (Mamoru Fujimura in TsukiPro), Hironori Kondou as Neko, Asuka Nishi as Tsubaki (Shinobu in Kiniro Mosaic), Makoto Furukawa as Gomon (Banri in Golden Time), Rie Takahashi as Yui (Emilia in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu) and Inori Minase as Maaya (Noel in Sora No Method). I like the opening theme, Ai Kotoba by Garnidelia. It is quite catchy as it has the funky techno beat that makes you want to get up and dance to its tune. The ending theme is Good Luck Lilac by Gatalis (Minoa, Arisu and Miko) in a typical idol-like style.

Overall, this is a fun and entertaining series for otakus to enjoy. It might be a cliché of everything because it is. Anime parodying anime is like life parodying art. Uhm… Close enough, I think. The more you know about the otaku industry, the better off you are enjoying this series. Therefore if you are an amateur and newbie who just got into anime like a month ago, you are going to have a tough time trying to understand and appreciate its deeper aspects. But then again, it is also the perfect anime for beginners to much because of how much it parodies itself and hence new anime lovers can expect what it is like if they want to ‘love’ this industry. Maybe Neko and the forbidden door are like the Schrodinger Cat of this series. Everything is possible until you open the door. But once you have opened it, there is no turning back (like yours truly). Enter anime at your own risk. You have been warned. Unless the whole industry just collapses because reasons. That won’t happen ever, RIGHT???!!!

The Tower Of Druaga

March 10, 2018

Before modern MMORPG gamers had to climb that floating castle known as Aincrad, they had to climb another tower known as The Tower Of Druaga. Just kidding. Another one of those old RPG themed animes in the late 2000s that sees different groups of parties trying to climb the aforementioned tower supposedly housing all sorts of demons and monsters. Like in another other typical RPG game, defeat all your enemies including the big bad boss at the top of the tower, you will be rewarded with something that could grant you any wish. Of course with different parties each having their own agendas, you bet there are going to be some conspiracies and the likes as they race to the top.

The Aegis Of Uruk

Episode 1
Jil prepares to fend off the hordes. He is successful and his party rejoices. As narrated, the hero Gilgamesh destroyed the Tower of Druaga 60 years ago but it was slowly rebuilt back. Many parties were sent but none were successful. Till the goddess Ishtar bestowed Jil as the chosen one and was given a sword to slay the evil. Jil gathered his allies but Neeba doesn’t approve of him and challenges him. Jil won’t fight his friend because if he wants to do that, he must fight him first. Huh? WTF?! Neeba is defeated and his armour disperse in a punch! High School DxD?! Jil even has some romance with the princess whom he promises to marry after he returns from his mission. Along the way, he meets a tough adversary in the name of Black Knight who killed his comrade, Utu. Jil fights and avenges him but does not kill him because he views him as not evil. 10 years later, they reach the tower. Fatina gets tentacle rape the moment they enter the door and all the guys are waiting for the right moment to save her. Anytime now… While facing off with a dragon, another one of his comrades, Kally is killed. Jil tries to avenge him but gets owned. Surprisingly he is saved by Black Knight who views himself as the only person to defeat Jil. Unfortunately he got done in by the dragon. After Jil defeats it, he defeats Neeba who wanted to stay back to buy Jil some time. WTF?! Fatina is scared and wants to run away together but Jil assures a miracle can happen. Because when this is over, he will marry her. Eh? What about that promise to his princess? Jil goes on to defeat more boss knights before reaching the final boss. Hmm… Druaga is a little tiny, isn’t he? Not scary. Cliché moment when Druaga says he is his father! Jil transforms into his final to take on him but fails. He rues his defeat when Ishtar appears to tell him he has the power of all his friends and defeated enemies supporting him. With that, Jil powers up and defeats Druaga. The day is saved! And now back to reality because Jil was knocked out instantly when the first horde came into contact. His party is running away and they are all blaming this newcomer for being a wuss. As they are cornered, Jil has the cheek to even ask where they are. Isn’t it obvious? Inside the Tower of Druaga!

Episode 2
The monsters run away when they hear the drum beats. It is from the Uruk Army, the Special Guard Unit that is on patrol. Kelb the leader has Neeba state his reasons for climbing the tower. Under the request of the Meskia Society of Commerce, they came to rescue a missing caravan. Unfortunately they were all wiped out. Kelb can tell Jil is a newbie and mocks Neeba to get a better Guardian or he’ll get his ass whipped. Returning to town, everyone still blames Jil especially Fatina. It seems it is that bad because Neeba’s name is sullied. Because of that, Neeba fires Jil as he is not ready to climb the tower. Jil pleads for a second chance but with the Summer of Anu coming (a period where all monsters are weakened), even if Jil is his brother (but of a different mom) he can’t wait that long for him to improve. Depressed Jil gets his gear fixed as he learns the people don’t really want true peace because fighting monsters keeps the economy running. At the employment square, he is tricked to go on stage to relay his thoughts and recruit men to climb to the top tower (something nobody has done). Everyone laughs at him but when Jil mocks them as no more than thieves, they beat him up. However when they hit his head, nothing happens! Everyone leaves. Even those who tried to steal his gear gave up because it’s too heavy. At an alley, Kaaya is mesmerized by his speech and has been looking for him. She points out he is injured. So his head is now bleeding? He passes out only to wake up in Kaaya’s rented home. After healing him, she is looking for a Guardian (one who protects others) in her bid to climb to the top tower. Also, her friend Ahmey will be joining this party. A parade passes through and it looks like King Gilgamesh is here to inspect the army preparing for the Summer of Anu. Jil thought he saw Neeba and co among the crowd and tries to tail them. He overhears a plot to assassinate the king. His clumsiness alerts their presence but he manages to hide well. Jil tells this to his party and plans to stop the assassination. As they wait at the sewers (seemingly the place where you can infiltrate the guest palace), a few hooded men arrive. Jil calls out to them. Bad move? They move in to kill him but Jil and his team can fight. When the leader runs in, Jil goes after him. His girls tie up the rest and that is when Neeba and co show up. Is it me or the place is so lax of security? Too late because Gilgamesh is killed! Jil is dumb enough to not go after the perpetrator and inspect Gilgamesh’s body. Oh lookey. Here comes the guards. Busted.

Episode 3
A short flashback on the heroics of Gilgamesh. He saved somebody but in the end, some sort of curse is placed on him. Neeba stuns the guards to take Jil to escape. Jil feels guilty and wants to turn himself in so he can tell about the killer but Neeba tells him he’ll understand about it tomorrow. As Jil still can’t stop b*tching about it, Kaaya puts him to sleep and takes him back. Ahmey notices the town like normal and not in high alert. Next day, Gilgamesh looks fine and healthy as he inspects the army. Last night shortly after he was stabbed and all his subjects arrived, he just woke up like as though it was nothing. Meanwhile Neeba meets the supposed killer, Pazuzu. From his reaction, he can tell that Marf (Gilgamesh’s aide) was the one who hired him to kill the king. When Neeba returns his comrades, Pazuzu kills them. A slime drops in town. Jil thought he could be a hero to save a kid stuck inside it. He fails and needs to be saved. That kid, Coopa after learning they are Climbers, decides to thank them and bring them to her master who is also seeking members to climb the tower. Too bad Melt is in a drunken state. Probably depressed about being fired after his first day joining a party. Sounds familiar… Melt is a mage and with Ahmey suggesting an extra magic user could be helpful, Melt is more than happy to let the ladies join. No, not you Jil. The army then surrounds them and arrests them for the attempted assassination of the king. Melt tries to charm his way out but gets punched. So while they are waiting in prison, Kelb calls out Kaaya since the king wants to see her. Seems they know each other. Learning she is planning to climb the tower, he notes this will be their parting and gives her his sword. As the Summer of Anu approaches, some monsters randomly drop into the city. One conveniently on the prison. As Jil uses his Guardian power to obstruct the monster, Melt shows why he is a great mage and easily petrifies it before Ahmey crumbles it. Kaaya returns to them and hands the sword to Jil. They need to make haste to climb the tower as other Climbers have already begun their journey. At this point they can’t be picky with their party members so the 5 of them will do.

Episode 4
Things aren’t going great on their first day. Whatever plan they had against those spiders failed and they’re running away pathetically. They only managed to win thanks to Ahmey’s strategy. Later she asks if anyone has experience climbing to tower. No one. Looks like she is the only one but even so she didn’t get far. So time to explain about the tower how its levels are divided into 8 shrines and in each shrine there are several gardens. Not surprisingly, they are at the very bottom of the tower. While Fatina is bathing, a strange woman, Succubus pops up before her. She tries to nuke it but she disappears. Relating this to her comrades, Neeba looks around and stumbles into that woman. They know each other. She flirts with him and wonders if his party can actually reach the top. He is confident they will. But she asks him even if he is able to defeat Druaga, what happens after that? She kisses him before disappearing. While camping for the night, Jil learns Kaaya’s reason to climb the tower. Her brother has been ill for a very long time so she thought of obtaining the Blue Crystal Rod, supposedly able to cure anything. She then detects a group of monsters breaking through her barrier and coming their way. Because of their strength as well as their inexperience, they will die if they fight them. Ahmey suggests running away and splitting up too to increase their chances of survival. However Jil disagrees. The higher levels will have stronger monsters and if they run now, they’ll never reach the top. So they decide to go for broke. By the time Neeba’s party arrive, they think Jil’s party has been wiped out. Except that those wiped out are the monsters and Jil and co are sleeping soundly from exhaustion.

Episode 5
When Jil steps on a trap, everyone turns into a retro pixelated top down dungeon crawler form! Apparently if you take this shortcut route, they are laced with lots of Ziusudra’s Trap that when stepped will temporarily turn you into various funny forms like furries and gender swapping! And you bet the guys are being curious over their new body. Especially when there is a hotspring that separates male and female. Which side shall we go to? Too bad they stepped on another trap that turns everything pixelated. Can’t see anything good. Once the spell is off, the guys get a good earful from the girls for being perverts. Wow, Jil is like so ashamed. But blaming the devil? Then they arrive at the exit whereby this strange door tells them to do a performance if they want to pass. Melt goes first and his lame stand-up comedy has him down the trapdoor into the mud and then spit out. He goes again. Does the same thing. Same result. Ahmey is next but she got stage fright and time’s up. Down she goes. Kaaya does impressions but the door is not impressed. These ‘losers’ have their pride so they retry again and again only to be met with the same result. Finally all eyes are on Jil since he hasn’t do his first performance yet. Jil remembers father teaching some weird Ropey dance. Before he starts that, he steps on a trap that turns everything pixelated. I guess we can’t see how stupid the dance is. But as expected, the door doesn’t like it as he has seen it before. Down you go. In the end, our dejected party treks their way back to try another route. I guess they now know why other adventurers were like this when they first entered here. But it seems Neeba’s party passed because he did that Ropey dance! Apparently he saw father teaching it to Jil. Yeah, it was weird sh*t.

Episode 6
While climbing the mountains, Jil saves a grumpy old man, Gigi who came here to see his son. Ahmey recognized him as a famous Guardian but he brushes off that nonsense. In this level, there is a small town that acts like a pit stop. Jil got his wallet stolen. When Coopa is making dinner, Melt didn’t like she is putting ingredients he hates. Because of that he fires her and they part ways. What about food? Coopa stumbles into that thief boy, Yury and gets Jil’s wallet back. Funny, he gave it back. Maybe it has no money. She hangs out with him at some water tank. A little bit of kiddie romance but don’t expect too much because boys his age tries to act tough just because you’re a girl. She learns Yury’s mom died of an illness while dad left for some dangerous mine by himself and his whereabouts unknown. He was accused of stealing a spear and ran but Yury believes he did it for his family and the village. Yury’s secret plan is to head to the mines to clear his name. Because of that, Coopa shall accompany him. It is no surprise when Gigi sees the village head, his son is Yury’s father. Learning Coopa is with him, everyone decides to go find them. On the way to the mines, they are encountered with several monsters. Yury and Coopa too have to run from them. But being kids and you know how boys think they must protect girls and all that. Eventually Coopa as a Climber uses herself as bait. Did she just corner herself? Luckily Jil and co rescue her. Coopa and Melt reunite, put aside their differences to help slay the monsters. The group then stumbles upon what is supposed to be Yury’s father’s grave. Gigi talks how the village was lost to the epidemic and everyone perished. Despite his son being reckless, he was only trying to protect his family. Gigi and Yury see off Jil’s party taking a lift to the next level. A little mouse is given to them? Everyone is glad Coopa is back with them as they can rest easy they don’t have to worry about food anymore. Yeah, Kaaya sucks… But it is back to the usual bickering between Melt and Coopa.

Episode 7
Jil’s party could have been killed by some black balls swarm since they fell into some sleepy trap had not Neeba’s party come to their rescue. It seems all the Climbers are ‘stuck’ here because there is a one winged red dragon in their path. Everyone is adopting a wait and see approach as the Uruk Army is tackling it now. Neeba’s strategy is to let them tire the dragon before he goes in for the kill but Jil is against this because it means sacrificing lots of Uruk men. Jil decides to go rally all the Climbers to help but they ignore him. Who is going to pay attention to a pipsqueak? Then he goes to plead to Kelb himself but is ignored and tossed aside. Kelb’s lieutenant, Ethana believes in his strategy and hands him a bag of gold to go recruit others. Still not much luck. Seeing how hard he is trying, his members help him out. Kaaya using her seduction, Ahmey her gambling skills and Coopa is a great motivational speaker relaying the benefits of the dragon’s parts. And so everyone is in. So as Kelb faces the dragon head on, Jil and the Climbers sneak up on behind the dragon and attack. Some helter-skelter and although the Climbers rein in the dragon, it is only temporarily as the dragon gets back up. Before Jil and Kelb become roast kebab, Neeba distracts it and tells the dragon’s weakness is its fire sack. Jil and Kelb stab a sack each, sending the dragon on fire and it plummeting into the abyss. Don’t worry, Jil and Kelb are still alive. Everyone is praising Jil but why is Melt trying to take all the praises? Succubus is trying provoke Neeba that he is jealous of Jil’s success. Because Neeba’s party was wiped out by it while Jil saved many lives. He will become stronger and someday will be beyond his reach.

Episode 8
With Jil being famous and a hit with the chicks, I guess Kaaya is somewhat jealous so she feigns she has some sort of incurable disease (lame acting!) and the only cure is a stone slab in which he must get behind that door. Hmm… A tower inside a tower? They think this is the old tower that Gilgamesh fought Druaga in. But this episode is like a video game parody. Putting in a coin into a machine, Jil is transported into the first level of this tower whereby Kaaya uses a gamepad to control his movements! Heck, there is even a game guide to hint how to pass each level! This is going to take a while but there is a shop selling snacks nearby so they can get refreshments while they see Jil getting ‘abused’. If Jil ‘dies’, they have start all over from the first floor again. Don’t worry. They have lots of coins! By this time, the other Climbers have arrived. They hang about and party around the shop and even take turns controlling Jil. Then the fun gets old and they leave. But Kaaya is still adamant to win this game. Isn’t she just trying to get back at Jil? Anyway at the penultimate floor, Jil has to fight Druaga. Oh, they’re out of coins too. Jil gets injured trying to fight and dodge the attacks but eventually wins. Despite reaching the final floor, he runs out of steam. But then some goddess, Kai awoke from her slumber and tells him he will encounter 3 betrayals. But do not give up for what he seeks lies at the tower’s top. When Jil comes to, he is back with his party. Like everything was just a game. But in his hand is a stone slab in which he hands to Kaaya. Almost forgot about her illness, eh? Yeah, she’s miraculously cured now. Is it me or was she looking fine the entire time?

Episode 9
An attack that collapses the ground leaves everyone separated. So we have Jil-Fatina (always arguing), Kaaya-Neeba (always praising), Coopa-Utu-Kally (cooking nagging), Ahmey-Kelb (past reminiscing) and Melt-Ethana (flirting failed). As all separate parties try to head to the next settlement, we learn a few things from some of them like Ahmey who was once in the Uruk Army but quit 3 years ago. Something about a guy, Owen who proposed to her but couldn’t give him an answer. He did at the end of the Summer of Anu and probably Ahmey wanted the Rod not to bring him back to life but to tell him her feelings. Then there is Jil who gets work up when one is quick to point out he would desert his party when the going gets tough because he vows he wouldn’t. Something about his dad was accused so and died. When Kally discovers a coffin from Pazuzu that contains something horrific, Pazuzu kills him. Neeba and Kaaya tell their reasons of climbing the tower. Kaaya thinks she is the only one who can purify this tower but Neeba digresses. Kaaya believes in Jil and thinks he would come up with something but Neeba again doesn’t think so because Jil doesn’t know. When all get back to their rightful party, Succubus whispers into Kaaya’s ear that she will betray everyone. Fatina is distraught hearing Kally’s death and Neeba is indifferent as he now has her take on the role of backup.

Episode 10
Trekking through the icy blizzard, one more shrine and they’ll be in the final top level. Jil sees visions of Kai warning him about something. Fatina is having doubts if Neeba can slay Druaga. She threatens to leave now so he shuts her up by kissing her! I’m sure now they believe they can defeat Druaga. Succubus appears to tease Neeba for being a playboy stringing Fatina along and she doesn’t even know his true goal. As for defeating Druaga, Neeba says the real Druaga died 80 years ago. Even if this one isn’t a god, he is still formidable. But the real problem lies after that. Succubus tells him that Summer of Anu is ending soon. Pazuzu’s group catches up. Utu and Fatina want revenge for Kally but Neeba won’t allow it as Pazuzu controls the wind and it will be their deaths if they fight him here. Jil thought of cheering things up by talking about the Rod. But Melt tells him that it can only grant 1 wish. Yup, only one. Usually many will wish for money and that could be split up but take a look at their own party whom each has different goals. That will be tough. They might have worked together up till now but from now on it’s a different story. Because of that, Jil thinks he doesn’t want the Rod and defeating Druaga is enough. Kai thinks he just wants to be a hero and exonerate his father’s dishonour. With those feelings, he cannot defeat Druaga. Life continues even after becoming a hero. She warns Neeba is in danger. Pazuzu is going to kill him. Jil wants Kaaya to use her magic to make him light so he can ‘fly’ to rescue him. But Kaaya wants to know his intentions with the Rod. He doesn’t know or care. Jil miraculously manages to wound Pazuzu and save Neeba from falling. Heck, he even carries him to the top. Since when this pipsqueak is strong? But Neeba isn’t grateful and believes he should have been left for dead. When Jil suggests teaming up, Neeba declines because their goal is different. Since Jil is dense, he spells it out for him that Jil has no ambition. He is just satisfied playing the hero. This attitude will get his friends killed. Unlike him, Neeba and the rest has something they want to achieve. That’s why they can’t team up. When Jil vows to save his friends, Neeba warns him not to say it so lightly. He lets him go with a warning not to save him again. Everyone is so in a bad mood. When the survivors reach the top of the tower, something starts to activate. All the ice pillars crumble, revealing millions of monsters. Now they cannot turn back if they want to. The final fight is here. Summer of Anu has ended.

Episode 11
Neeba believes this is a trap. Activated when certain number of people reach the top. With the monsters cutting off all exits, the survivors will be wiped out. Guess who is here to do that? Yeah, Druaga is prowling the tower. Fatina wants to confirm if their goal is riches. He blatantly lies it is. On to the business of defeating Druaga, Neeba has 3 Void Arrows crafted by legendary mages. He will fire it at the back of Druaga’s head so he needs the rest to act as diversion. He manages to fire one to break down its defence but it is not enough. Before he could fire the next, Pazuzu interrupts and wastes his shot. Pazuzu will not let him take his prey and tries to kill him. Ultimately, he thinks his suicide bombers got him. Utu and Fatina are in trouble so Jil is going to save them. Kaaya stops him and asks what about them. What about his promise? Too bad, he still wants to save them. Kaaya’s disappointment must be so high now. Before Utu gets roasted, Jil’s shield saves him. He rallies the rest to not give up but even with Druaga’s barrier down, it is just too damn tough. Jil giving up the first time? Not until Ahmey reminds him what his only redeeming quality is. While Jil distracts Druaga, Ahmey tries to go for the back of its head. Too bad she got pierced. Oh Jil, don’t be a vegetable now. If not for Kelb’s flash stun, they all could have died. While hiding and resting, Kaaya cannot fully heal Ahmey. And hence her last words to her party members. Nice meeting you all. Ahmey could ‘see’ Owen and is going to be with him. She has her answer. She wants to become his wife. RIP Ahmey… :’(. I guess everybody is giving up now. They realize they don’t have the weapons or energy to defeat Druaga. Well, Kaaya has some block that could but I’m not sure why she can’t use it now. And with Jil depressed, it’s good as game over. Pazuzu is preparing to take down Druaga with his coffins. Is he going to summon demons from hell? Too bad we won’t get to see it as Neeba kills him. Kai talks to Jil and instead of blaming himself, she reminds him what he wants to be. Jil realizes he wants to be a shield to protect everyone. And so he gets up and has everyone fight again.

Episode 12
Jil explains his plan how they’re going to defeat Druaga. To prevent him from moving around so freely, the highest floor is reasonably small and with obstacles. Jil will be the bait to lure Druaga there as everyone waits for the right time to spam and attack it. Succubus returns the last Void Arrow to Neeba who comments Druaga was once Succubus’ master. She mentions Druaga died in his fight with Gilgamesh and she was sealed away in the depths of this tower by someone’s power. Neeba was the one who broke her seal and a newly reincarnated her is to aid him to the top of the tower. Before everyone gets moving, it’s sure like everyone has something to say to each other. Like as though they’re not coming back? Well, the highlight has got to be Jil with Kaaya. He is saying things like as though this might be the last time. Kaaya can’t take it and hugs him, confesses she loves him and kisses him! Oh my. He get it all in one fell swoop. Too bad, can’t stay longer like this. Time to go. When Ethana wants a hug too, Kelb agrees to let Jil hug her! Oh Kelb you baka! Druaga’s premature attack begins. Please Kaaya, stop calling out Jil’s name. Too late to worry and change your mind. After a tough struggle, Jil leads Druaga to the top where everyone gets to showcase a bit of their skill. But still, Jil’s the hero, right? Jil is about to be squished by Druaga and look who is here to repay his debt? Neeba’s Void Arrow allows Jil to break free as he uses Ahmey’s spear stuck on its back to drill through and decapitate Druaga! The day is saved! All monsters all over the land disappears and the Rod pops up. Good ending you might think. But Neeba intercepts Jil. He says this is the fake Rod and only a key to open the door to the next mythical tower. Yup, this is just a halfway point and the Druaga they just defeated is just a guardian. SAY WHAAAAAAAAT??????!!!!! Fatina and Utu are mad that Neeba betrayed them. He had to or else they will not play their part. If they forget this, he will allow them to join him. Jil is not too happy Neeba betrayed his friends but Neeba points out he too has a betrayer in his party. You can step out now, Kaaya. They use the fake Rod and unlock the stairs to the mythical tower. Bye. Oh Jil, is it now your turn to scream Kaaya’s name? With that, everyone is flushed back down. Gilgamesh kills Marf and knows the real Rod exists because he has it.

Special
This is what happened behind the scenes while Jil was out before this whole adventure started. When Jil was called to step up to his job as a Guardian. I guess all that full heavy armour didn’t stop the monster’s rampage from knocking him out upon first contact. Neeba manages to break through as the team make their escape. What’s worse than Jil being knocked out? Jil sleep talking those delusions of his. Even more embarrassing, everyone misinterprets from his sleep talk that Jil loves Utu! Meanwhile Kaaya is talking to an innkeeper about wanting to climb the tower and Ahmey getting into some trouble with gamblers at an eatery. Though she beats them all up, she is still left with an empty stomach. Jil’s sleep talking almost gave them away as they hide from the monsters. Neeba agrees to Fatina’s idea to leave him behind. But not abandon him. They’ll come to get him once they’re done. So why is Fatina feeling guilty about this? However Jil’s dreaming can still be a handful. Yeah, he rolled down the deep abyss. I can’t believe he is going to survive that fall. Yeah, must be his thick armour. Meanwhile Melt is part of a party and is forced to carry heavy bags. Weak and complaining. Thank goodness for Coopa carrying his portion, eh? Jil somewhat lands on top all those luggage. It’s time for Melt to show his magic to save his team from these tuber monsters called Ropers. Too bad the magic also hit his friends. Hence they fire him on the spot. The commotion has Jil being taken to the Ropers’ nest but his dreaming continues and so he continues to tumble. Neeba’s group is cornered by the big Minotaur boss. Jil drops on its head! This allows Neeba’s side to escape. By this time, Jil has awakened from his sweet slumber and back into harsh reality. The rest is history.

The Sword Of Uruk

Episode 1
It has been 6 months since the defeat of Druaga. All monsters from the tower (now renamed as Tower of Gilgamesh) has disappeared and hence the place is now developed and brimming with human civilization. Fatina is trying to earn a living as a tour guide but with cheapskate tourists, she isn’t doing well. Meanwhile Kai is being pursued by Gremica. Although she manages to lose her, she runs out of energy and reverts into a child form. Kelb and Ethana are running a tavern. Some feel sorry for him for being fired from the Uruk Army although he claims he quit. When Kelb tried to request the rewards for the Climbers, his idea was shot down. They even suggested Gilgamesh should take the credit for slaying Druaga, in which the king agreed. Disgruntled and disillusioned, Kelb left. Fatina is depressed but not as depressed as Jil who has been holing up in his room and she is somewhat trying to take care of him. Can’t blame them for feeling so down after being betrayed. They tried to climb back the tower after that but the mythical tower is no longer there. They thought of relaxing by watching a play but it’s about betrayal. Made it worse. So they go watch a wrestling match instead and since they’re still sore over their betrayals, Fatina suggests they start anew together. Flirting moments got disrupted when they notice a little girl hiding underneath their seats. The place is then surrounded by the Golden Knights led by Uragon. Stupid knights don’t know how to handle kids and got owned. They stumble into the ring in which they get help by a wrestler who is actually Utu. So this is how this guy looks without his armour. He has the crowd engage in a free for all for a big reward. As everyone beats up each other and hinder the knights, this allows them to escape outside. Gremica snipes at the guards to allow them escape. She lets them go for now despite knowing that girl is the key to the mythical tower as she wants to watch them struggle a bit. Seeking refuge, Jil is surprised to realize this is Utu. Didn’t know he was this handsome? God, don’t make those gay jokes come true… Then they turn attention to the girl who introduces herself as Kai. She shows Jil a vision that Kaaya will be killed. If he doesn’t want this to happen, bring her to the top of the tower.

Episode 2
The soldiers are looking at every nook and corner. But they bypass Kelb’s place because many of those low level soldiers still respect him. Yeah, that’s where Kai and co are hiding. Utu joins in but nobody recognizes him without his armour on. Also, customer Henaro was taking too long in her meal so now she is trapped with them to discuss Kai’s fate. It seems everyone agrees to climb the tower with Kai except for Fatina. She is so against it since she already has a new life and doesn’t care about Neeba and Kaaya. Guess what? Cheeky sticks a spoon up her ass!!! WTF???!!! Anyway she isn’t going to join them. Uragon updates Lady Amina about the search and she warns him not to let the priestess slip or it’s the end of him. Therefore he takes extreme measures by tearing down the poor side of town. Eventually Uragon discovers Kai hiding in Kelb’s place. I can’t believe those soldiers could lose to Kelb’s waitresses. Utu takes Jil, Kai and Henaro to escape as the soldiers start hilariously chasing them down. When cornered, look who decided to quit her tour guide job and join in on this more exciting adventure? Oh yeah. Fatina is back and you can count on it. Highlights of this ‘skirmish’ include Jil testing his new shield in which the soldiers start throwing gradually larger objects at him in which Jil deflects all of them! There Kai goes again sticking spoon up asses! And did Uragon just lose to a mouse? In the end, Ethana allows them to get away as they ride the express elevator up the tower. Fatina throws Jil the ultimatum that if they don’t find anything this time, he’ll have to give up for real. Also, as a Guardian he must properly protect her. But of course.

Episode 3
As the gang prepare to head to the snowy part of the tower, they are surprised it is now a booming ski resort! And it’s owned by Melt! His face is everywhere! Greeted by Coopa who is now his head secretary, they wonder why there is a billboard that says Melt and the 131 heroes who defeated Druaga. Melt is doing business with the vice president of Meskia’s chamber of commerce. He will not be bribed so Melt suggests his name to be included as the 132 heroes who defeated Druaga! Sounds good! Accepted! There’s your story… Melt also tells his ‘humble’ beginnings from rags to riches. Sounds more like a Ponzi scheme… Oddly, there are Ropers working as his servants. Though the monsters from the tower had disappeared, he imported them from outside and this is to show he is a true hero by having their once enemy work for him. Don’t worry, they’re pretty much docile. When Jil requests his help, Melt declines since he has some relationships to maintain. Yup, he is in cohorts with Uragon. Jil and the rest are thrown into prison while Kai is taken away by the Golden Knights. At first Coopa was disappointed Melt sold out his friends but then thought he played the villain to save them. Too bad she is now utterly disappointed that in exchange for this, Uragon gives him a permit to continue his Ponzi scheme. Jil and co notice a Roper factory nearby and looks like they are being forced to work and power the entire resort. Also across them are several Ropers trying to dig their way out but who knows how long they’ll take. A little Roper accidentally drops out from Kai. Uragon accidentally steps on it. Its cries infuriates all the Ropers as it starts digging their way and causing the entire place to be covered by avalanche! This saves Jil and co to escape. Melt is furious his losses run into billions and tries to get back at them. Too bad he stepped on a little Roper. Now he becomes their punching bag. Jil and co make their way to the top of the tower. Melt’s woes isn’t over. Uragon forces him to come with them as he needs someone who is familiar with those people. Melt caves into his pressure and agrees.

Episode 4
Jil’s party is at the top of the tower. Nothing much happens until the Druaga guardian appears again. But because the tower has lost its power, it collapses under its own weight. Still, Jill and co are going to take it down. When Jil strikes Druaga, he enters a strange dimension where Kai exists in her natural form. Kai is the legitimate queen to Gilgamesh. Although she died a long time ago, that was her physical body and this is her spirit. At the same time, Kelb makes his journey to an abandoned abbey where Kaaya and Gilgamesh came from. Also, Amina makes Ethana the special guard of the city as Uragon is away. These various scenes enlighten us about what is going on. After Kai was awakened, her task was to assist Jil to the tower’s top. She was unable to do that at the time as she didn’t want to take him to the mythical tower. At least Ishara didn’t will it. Ishara who? Kaaya. Kai lost her power after the tower fell silent so she constructed a temporary body to look for him. Babylim and Sumar had been sworn enemies for a long time. They were forced to form the kingdom of Uruk by Gilgamesh. There are suspicions that Gilgamesh is immortal as he has lived over a hundred and shows no signs of weakening. 80 years ago after he defeated Druaga, a curse of immortality was placed on him. After so many wars and conflicts and watching the deaths of his sons, he is already tired and at his limit. Before he turns to the dark side, Kaaya embarked on a mission to cure his immortality. You see, there are 2 Gilgamesh. One is back at Meskia and the other at the top of the mythical tower. If the latter is killed, the curse is lifted and Gilgamesh can find true peace. Kai warns Jil that if he plans to enter the mythical tower, he cannot return alive. It is a one way ticket. Jil returns to reality. Defeated Druaga turns into a key that reveals the stairways to the mythical tower. At this point, Gremica and her men take Kai and Henaro hostage. They need Kai at the tower’s top. Gremica is one of those from the old Sumar factions who defy Babylim. Jil warns Fatina and Utu about the one way ticket but they are as resolved as him to take the risk. Melt has led Uragon’s troops here. Uragon will not allow him to turn back as the troops march on.

Episode 5
Jil’s side enters a strange desert land. Good news: They find Henaro unconscious but safe. Bad news: There’s a dragon attacking them now! Good news: Without doing anything, the dragon disintegrates into bones. Bad news: There are hordes of shadow creatures hot on their tail. All other parties too are being chased by them. If you get caught, it’s the end of you. It didn’t take long before they realize they have to hide underneath the shadow. Because if those shadow creatures enter any shady area, they’ll vanish. But better think fast for their next move as the sun continues to rise and there will soon be no shadows left to hide under. Meanwhile Gilgamesh is marching through a parade. Some guy pleads to him to stop sending soldiers for war or the country will experience famine. Gilgamesh kills him! In front of his daughter! And then carries on with his parade like nothing has happened. WTF?! Gremica has Kai activate some spell. This allows everyone to see some sort of footprints left behind by Neeba that leads them to a door that would take them to the next level. Problem is, it is right in the middle of the open area. I don’t know how Gremica’s side got through there because I am pretty sure the hordes were surrounding the little shadow space they were occupying. Same thing for Jil’s party. Not sure how they run from shadow to shadow. In the final stretch, Jil has this idea to topple a tall pillar enough for them to run to the door but it falls short and they have to fight the rest of the way in the open. Melt helps out by destroying a big portion of the pillar. This causes a smoke screen. The shade kills off the shadow creatures. Now all parties can go to the door safely. Gilgamesh tries to kill himself but his inner self won’t let him, mocking him how God has abandoned him and all. He tells him he has the right to be angry like Druaga. Gilgamesh prays for Kai to save him.

Episode 6
Remembers those ‘demons’ Pazuzu brought? Turns out they are artificial soldiers turned killing machines. They kill anything in sight. Neeba and Kaaya are wandering through the dimensions. It is fluctuating as it is believed to be a reflection of Gilgamesh’s heart. This could mean that he has weakened or somebody is trying to influence him. To them, they have only been travelling for 10 days. As they rest, Kaaya talks about her believe that everything is God’s will. So Neeba thought of demonstrating if this is God’s will as he attempts to rape her! Is she crying? Anyway Neeba isn’t such a dick and ends this experiment. Jil’s party is separated in the next level which is a hot and humid tropical jungle. Jil and Henaro see Gremica’s group. Is he nuts trying to take on all of them by himself? It is interrupted when psycho emo girl and trigger happy robot start attacking them. Fatina and Utu reunite in time to help stave off the attack but they are faster and more powerful than any enemy they have faced before. Anyway with a little effort, they manage to temporarily defeat them and head to the next level. Meanwhile Neeba and Kaaya are being hunted by warrior dude and icy woman. Kaaya assists by powering up Neeba with her magic to help defeat them but they fall deep into the sea. Conveniently there is a door at the bottom. Jil’s party arrives at a peaceful prairie. Gilgamesh is starting to lose it has he is preparing for war with other kingdoms and crucifying those who opposes him.

Episode 7
There is a big garden house there. Jil and co thought somebody is ambushing them nearby but it turns out to be Melt and Coopa. They have been separated from Uragon’s side when they walked through the door. Fatina still has some beef with Melt but everyone is shocked to see before them: Ahmey! Plus, there is Kally too! No, not ghosts since they are aware of what is happening up till now. It is nice for them to spend some time together again but Jil seems to be eager to head to the next door. Well, it is close by but Ahmey says they need a key. It is somewhere in this room full of boxes. Start looking. As they open up boxes, most of them are items from their childhood. Utu seems to have found the key but he pretends he didn’t since he wants to stay here longer. Uragon has also reached here but his entire force is wiped and only him and his lieutenant, Kum survived. For some reason, Kum carried psycho emo girl along. Kum is surprised to see his sister who has been dead since young. Off they go together, leaving Uragon bitter he has no one from the dead for him. I guess that’s what you get for being a jerk. So he has to spend time with psycho emo girl? But she too sees Kally and hugs him. Apparently when Kally opened a coffin, it was hers. She imprinted his face as her ‘mother’. Henaro might feel left out but she actually isn’t. She encounters Pazuzu who is actually her father! It seems she is sent by Amina to retrieve those assassins. Amina wants to protect Gilgamesh’s shadow. To Henaro’s heartbreak, Pazuzu mentions he never loved her. She is forced to kill him. Eventually those assassins are here and tear down the place. After Utu reveals he has the key, Jil and co make haste to the door. It is sad that Ahmey and Kally cannot go with them as they are illusions. Everyone knows but is still sad they cannot be together. They move forward as the illusions disappear. When Kally is gone, psycho emo girl goes crazy and attacks her own comrades. They retreat after sustaining damage. For some odd reason, probably Uragon must be feeling lost and lonely so he picks up psycho emo girl and heads for the door. Kum? Looks like he is happy staying here with his sister.

Episode 8
Kaaya has weakened considerably. Neeba leaves her to rest as he goes find the next door. Did Fatina just confessed to Jil?! Feels weird. Like no emotions in it. It’s her way of getting over it, huh? When they find the door to the next level, an attack by the trigger happy robot separates them. This means Jil and Neeba for the first time reunite this season. Meanwhile the rest stumble upon Kaaya’s sleeping body. No matter what they do, she doesn’t wake up. Jil needs answers from Neeba who confirms time flows differently for everyone here since they are able to catch up. Because back in Meskia, it has been 3 months Amina has heard anything from Uragon. She thinks the whole lot died as Gilgamesh’s shadow is still safe. She talks to Ethana about rumours of some officer trying to rebel against the kingdom. She quashes it of course. Many arrests are made of those suspected of being connected to the uprising. Later after Ethana receives a secret letter from Kelb, she goes to meet the members who are taking part in the uprising. Jil and Neeba continue to run from trigger happy robot. Some talk about their family past. Neeba calls Jil a liar, that’s why he can’t work with him. When Jil decides to fight trigger happy robot, Neeba is then faced with Gremica who was his mentor. She is upset he ditched their goal of resurrecting the Sumar empire although he believes he has been carrying his given mission. Gremica thinks Succubus has possessed him but Neeba says he is doing this on his own will. Neeba manages to kill Gremica’s close aide and then free Kaaya before returning to help Jil who is being owned by trigger happy robot. They finally manage to defeat it once and for all. Jil continues to question Neeba’s goal. He talks about the grudge that has been building up since young. After his father died, Gremica took him in and trained him. She let him see what the real cruel world was about. It made him question the existence of God. He believes God has been toying with them and that is what he cannot forgive. Druaga’s tower is more than just the Rod. It has the power he seeks.

Episode 9
Henaro makes her biggest reveal as Amina’s employee as well as her mission to stop them from defeating Gilgamesh’s shadow and retrieve the assassins. She has been playing dumb all the while. She has warrior dude and icy woman under her control. When everyone attacks, they are easily defeated. They take Kaaya and for some reason Coopa (she was gravely injured while protecting Melt, but nothing of that sort Kaaya couldn’t heal). Kai is forced to go with Neeba and Succubus as they continue their journey. Jil returns to his party and shocked to learn the truth. Instead of blaming them, he prefers them to go after Henaro. Speaking of her, she is now at the tower’s top presenting Kaaya to this young snobbish punk Gilgamesh. He then mocks his old fart Gilgamesh how his trick failed. It is time for a new stronger king. Because of that, the old geezer believes Amina is behind this and strikes her down. Then he orders the slaughter of the uprising. No one will be spared. Yeah, Ethana’s rebels need to retreat. I mean, how can a mere group of 500 fight against a force of 2,300?! When Uragon stumbles into Jil’s group, everyone has the wrong idea he has psycho emo girl with him. He doesn’t know what they’re talking with him when they accuse him of collaborating with Henaro. He still thinks of completing his mission to capture them for the glory of Uruk even if he is by himself. Shockingly the maddest is Melt as he beats up that guy! To hell with Uruk! He wants Coopa back! Too late to realize how precious that girl is, huh? They are soon joined by Gremica who knows Henaro has betrayed them. She knows about the assassins because they were originally knights from Sumar. Henaro must have used them to reach the top. Neeba on the other hand has Kai and Succubus, both who possess power to intervene with the tower’s system. Gremica’s mission is to defeat Gilgamesh’s shadow but Jil isn’t sure if he is going to do that because their original mission is to catch up with Neeba and Kaaya. Kaaya regrets all that has happened. At first she had no feelings for Jil and decided to use him and lie to him all the way but all that changed during their journey. We all know how it works… Kaaya is summoned by Gilgamesh to show all the illusions are disappearing. He has taken over his old self and has no need for such illusions. This means the landscapes are disappearing fast. Neeba finds the door to the top while psycho emo girl opens up a door for the rest.

Episode 10
Gilgamesh believes he will become God once he is perfected. Kaaya quips he will be more like the devil. Kai warns Neeba she saw his fate during her slumber. That is why she brought Jil along as he is an uncertain factor. For him to reject Jil means he is following the path of his fate. Like he cares. As the related parties have reach to the top of the tower. They have to fight hordes of guards. Unfortunately Gremica’s party abandon them and go off on their own. Similarly, Melt goes off to find Coopa. Speaking of her, this must be the dumbest guarding ever. Not sure why there was a chain pulling mechanism inside her cage and then she lamely screams for help and when a guard comes, she drops the cage she is in on him to knock him out and takes his keys. WTF. Thankfully she is reunited with Melt soon. Ethana’s side is heavily under-sieged. She could have lost had not Kelb return and with a huge army from other countries. Yeah, the royal army chickened out. Enough time for Ethana to romantically reunite with Kelb. Jil confronts Henaro who summons Uragon to his side since he has psycho emo girl. Why does Uragon look unsatisfied? Jil believes Henaro isn’t all that bad because she took Coopa with her so she could let Kaaya heal her. Even if it was for hostage, she could have killed the rest of them. She is only betraying herself. Enough talk as Henaro orders icy woman to kill them. Jil goes down so Fatina uses all she’s got to defeat icy woman. It just leaves her exhausted. Jil wants to push on so Utu wants him to give them a reason for pressing on. I thought they had their own reasons? Anyway, Jil’s answer is to reinforce and remind us he has no clear mission and climbs the tower because he is a Climber. So that is enough of a reason? Whatever. Then they reunite with Melt and Coopa. Right before the final tower. All too convenient. Neeba fights and defeats warrior dude. Then he faces Gilgamesh who dares him to come at him but plays dirty when he shows Kaaya as hostage.

Episode 11
Kelb returns to fight old Gilgamesh. At the same time, Neeba fights the young one. Neeba might have the advantage with Kai and Succubus on his side but Henaro unleashes psycho emo girl to distract him and as Gilgamesh turns Kai into her kiddie self. By the time Jil’s party arrives, they see Gilgamesh killing Neeba. Gilgamesh is going to kill Kaaya next so he could be reborn. Cue for Jil’s party to fight him but eventually all are no match for him. Gilgamesh abuses and badmouths Jil. Moments before killing him, Henaro out of pity decides to help Jil and sends psycho emo girl to fight Gilgamesh. This allows Jil to free Kaaya. Save your guilt trip for later. Also, you know Jil isn’t the kind who holds a grudge, right? Gilgamesh kills psycho emo girl and ironically it is Uragon who is most devastated. Gilgamesh is going to make Henaro pay for her betrayal but he has to face a revived Jil who receives power up from Kaaya. Well, Jil lost again but you know there would be some ‘twist’. Who is it who saved him this time? Woah. Uragon stabbing Gilgamesh in the back?! Because he is pissed his woman is dead?! This distraction is enough for Jil to cut him down. Just in time too because Kelb is moments from being owned when the old fart just collapses. Kai thanks Jil and then goes to dying Gilgamesh’s side. He laments he never wanted to become a hero nor a king. But he feels so at peace now. He dies and Kai vanishes along with him. Neeba almost resigns to his death fate but Succubus b*tches to him he must take the Rod now or all they’ve done will be wasted. Henaro takes the Rod but assures will give it to Jil since she doesn’t know how to use it. Too bad she got some karma because Neeba kills her and takes the Rod! He activates it and joins both towers, sending Jil and everyone back down. Is this always the case to go back to ground level? It seems the tower’s true function is a strategic weapon for fighting the gods. Neeba finally gets what he wants as he test aims a cannon. Woah. A mountain is gone! Neeba the next Druaga?

Episode 12
So Neeba is firing at the sky. Do gods live there? Apparently. Because they’re firing back! Because of the ‘star wars’, everything below gets decimated. Run! People of Meskia! On a side note, now that Neeba has control of this tower, it will now be called the Tower of Neeba. Haha! Meanwhile Jil has time to do a simple burial for Henaro. Then Gremica for some reason gives Jil details of Neeba’s exact whereabouts in the tower. Kelb and Ethana of course hand Jil their sword and shield since I suppose he is the only one worthy to defeat Neeba. Up they go to the tower. With tower guards heavily guarding their path, the rest will stay back and fight them to let Jil and Kaaya go ahead. Fatina slaps Kaaya just to get even. I guess this means goodbye. Adding more cheesy romance is how Utu asks if Fatina would like to get married after this. Rejected! Jil finds himself at the garden house as Ahmey and Henaro tries to tempt him to stay. Luckily Kaaya snaps him out as this is an illusion created by Succubus. With Kaaya stalling her, Jil goes ahead to face Neeba who is just fresh off killing Gremica. How the f*ck did she arrive so fast? Anyway Neeba taunts him he gets to play hero again. Because Neeba is the new Druaga and since his transformation is incomplete, there is still a chance to defeat him. So we see Jil get owned and his armour being torn to pieces. After hearing Neeba’s complaints about him, Jil has finally realized. Neeba has always been afraid of him. Because Jil has steadily been growing stronger and would one day surpass him. Is today that day? Somehow Jil powers up and manages to defeat and kill Neeba. Power up from self-realization? Neeba admits defeat and he might have been obsessed with Jil all along instead of the gods. He wants him to carry on living as proof he could carry this burden. Well, if he can escape the tower. When it looked like Jil is going to fall off, his friends arrive in time to pull him up. In the aftermath, everywhere is being rebuilt and a funeral is held for Gilgamesh. Not too sure if that young Gilgamesh and Kai are spirits because they are overlooking the funeral. Plus, Gilgamesh wants to be a Climber and Kai sticking a spoon up his ass?! WTF?! We see snippets of what the others are doing. Notable ones include Kelb and Ethana getting married, Melt becoming some royal minister whatever with Coopa as his aide, Fatina and Utu return to help Kally’s village, Jil and Kaaya still go adventuring together (I think) and is that the shadow of Neeba I see?! Has Succubus been reborn into some chibi baby under his care?! WTF is going on?!

Towering Mess
I don’t know if there are any such towers in the world if there are wars to be fought in other countries because it looks like from the ending snippets there are a bunch of adventures gearing up or at least the adventuring market is booming. It was also a bit confusing as they try to showcase what happened to all the survivors. Because I thought I spotted Neeba and reincarnated Succubus hence I am not sure if this is heaven or they’re in limbo in some alternate dimension. It would have been so much easier to kill them off. F*cking mind boggling is how the gods didn’t really rain their wrath and destroy the world. I know it is immature for gods to destroy the world just because 1 guy decided to fire at them but to think the world got off that lightly, hmm… Suspicious… I’m thinking the gods were sweating in their pants while dealing with Neeba so when the firing stopped, it’s like they heaved a sigh of relief and promised not to harm mankind as long as they carry on with their lives. Yeah, we all know where you gods live now. Oh, is that old geezer Gilgamesh I spot in that snippet too? I thought he died and got his funeral? Man, this is confusing. Thank goodness it’s over.

The first season was pretty okay even though it wasn’t that spectacular and the supposedly mother of all twists that the tower’s top wasn’t really the top and the real boss wasn’t Druaga. Then came the second season whose plot was just going here, there and everywhere and it felt the whole thing just went downhill from there when they decide to climb the tower again. Jil and his party trying to chase after Neeba, Kaaya trying to do grandpa a favour, Neeba trying to achieve his mysterious goal and being bugged by a certain ghost, spineless yes-man Uragon chasing the pack for whatever reason just to prove he is some loyal Uruk dog, some rebellions by Ethana against the king, Gilgamesh had a shadow who wants to take over and what do we get all that in the end? Turns out the Druaga’s Tower was just really a weapon of mass destruction. WTF?! If it was a weapon meant to slay the gods, what the hell was it doing there in the first place? You think the gods would be so dumb to leave some ancient mechanism lying idle around, wouldn’t they? Yeah, they think humans must be too dumb to work it and let it be. See the mess there? Forget it. Let’s just say the plot is crap despite they want to bring in some twists (lots of side missions AKA fillers too by the way like that video game parody and that trap level) but it all turned out ridiculous. The most ridiculous being that illusion level even if it is done by Succubus but having dead people like Ahmey, Kally and now Henaro being up to date with the current circumstances is just too much.

Heck, I don’t even know why the second titles of this series are about Uruk. Aegis of Uruk. Sword of Uruk. I don’t even see how they are connected to the overall storyline. What protection of Uruk? Are they climbing the tower in the first season to defeat Druaga is the sort of aegis they are giving Meskia? What sword are they talking about? I don’t see the characters looking for a sword. Maybe it’s the shield and sword Jil wielded, huh? Don’t see how it did any good for him either. Even if they shoehorned in some silly plot that they need some key in the form of a sword to go the next level, it won’t be as bad. Okay, it is still that bad. That’s why they use girls like Succubus and Kai instead as the key. Whatever. But I can’t understand why they even name this after Uruk since it is nothing about them. Nothing that I could see or relate them to anything. Also, before I knew what Uruk was, thanks to The Lord of the Rings, I thought they were in reference to the bad guys… You know, Uruk-hai… Subsequently I discovered that many of the terms are based on Babylonian culture. And this series was based on the video game of the same name that came out way back in the mid-80s! Wow. Feeling so old. Though, the adapted anime has all new stuffs from characters to plot and takes place after the events at the end of the video game.

The characters are as disappointing as they are. Many of them look more like jokers, clowns and comic relief characters than anything serious. Even if they try to look as serious as they should, it just didn’t feel they are up to that standard. Like Jil who is the main character is already a clown himself (see his pathetic position in the first season’s mid-intermission eye catch). One would have guessed something is very wrong when the first episode of this series feels like a big joke and parody. Is this what the entire series going to be? I would be disappointed if it was but thankfully it did not but then again, it still is disappointing. Yeah, so hard to please me. I’m sure they make Jil weak enough so that he could grow into some strong character. Well, at least strong enough to achieve his goals. Even that isn’t something complicated. The first season has him wanting to defeat Druaga. Ah, pure simple hero dream. Then in the second season, it was more about getting even with Neeba and Kaaya. He just wants some explanation and hence the need for another such adventure. And because he is main character, when the time calls for it, he manages to pull it off because otherwise he isn’t worth to be the main character.

Neeba feels like he has got some trust issues. He believes in nobody but himself. That is why he has this distant looks and always plays the lone wolf. I guess it is highly true that if he tells everyone his real ambition, nobody would have believed him nor helped him. He thinks he can do everything by himself and even though he has the required skills to see him through, sometimes you can’t just do everything by yourself. He has this fear of being overshadowed by his younger brother and with all the ‘brainwashing’ from Succubus, looks like he has turned into this superhero example of either you die a hero or live long enough to become the villain. Yup, that is what mostly Neeba has descended into. I hope it was all worth it for his goal. I guess there is this logic if you blame something for toying you, you destroy it. Gods aren’t spared too apparently.

Not sure what to say about the other characters but many of them are a big disappointment too. Not as big because they aren’t main characters so I let that slide. Like Fatina who reeks this girlfriend-of-main-character role because that what she seems to be after being jilted by Neeba. Like as though she needs some main character to exist. Utu as the team’s strongest member isn’t really much except you’d remember him for his running jokes of nobody recognizes him without his armour on, his penchant to tell ghost stories at the worst of times and his role in the second season seems to be mostly a guardian for the younger kids (Kai and Henaro). Oh, don’t forget those subtle gay jokes with Jil… Melt and Coopa’s relationship is amusing and at the same time annoying to watch because spoilt master brat is always complaining and ungrateful and each time she has to scold him just to remind him of his place. If you need some sort of stand-up comedy-cum-argument, the duo are your go-to characters.

I initially thought Henaro’s character was just very redundant. She has been tagging around more and could have actually been done without. Like as though Jil’s party needed an extra member just to fill in a missing member. RIP Ahmey… And before you can write off Henaro as a useless character, here comes one of the biggest plot twists of the series, which isn’t hardly that surprising if you pay attention to her actions moments before her actual betrayal. Even her role as that feels minimal. To show she isn’t a cold hearted b*tch, that’s why she decided to do a little good and paid the price for it. RIP Henaro… I thought those assassins too would play a major role in something but they’re just stepping stones and could have been soulless characters (which they really are too) and not needing to have any sort of background at all. What a disappointment. That psycho emo girl had more screen time than the rest just to showcase further even more Uragon’s pathetic side. Sure, he got attached to her for some reason because I suppose this guy doesn’t have a woman in his life who fawns over him so when this cute girl showed up, you bet she looks way better than that fat pig Amina. Honest!

I don’t even know why they need to introduce Gremica. Whatever that Sumar revival thing feels all so out of place and unnecessary. Not that Jil’s story would really care even if her group kidnapped Kai just so as to separate Jil’s party. It is something to just link in with Neeba because he turns out to be the ‘final boss’, right? Other than that, they don’t fight together when it matters so her side in this sense feels unnecessary and unimportant. I found out later that the Void Arrows he got was stolen from her. But that doesn’t mean a thing. At least not where the story is at this point.

One of the worse things is perhaps how they try to drum up some drama and get viewers to feel some emotions for some of the more stuck up characters. Like Melt who has always been unappreciative of Coopa suddenly there was this one outburst just to show us he really cares about her. Too late. After all this mistreatment, you think this one show of affection that isn’t just even before Coopa, I don’t think we’re going to buy it. Then there is Uragon whom we all love to hate and ignore. Some (non-human) woman comes into his life and he starts to know what compassion and wrong or right is? WTF. At least he turned over a new leaf at the end. And of course Fatina, as long as she had Neeba, she was kind of a b*tch towards Jil for being a wuss. Then when she got ditched, you see her being reduced to a pathetic state. Whatever. Then she got ‘ditched’ again because Jil still has feelings for Kaaya. Better a betrayer than a b*tch, I guess. I suppose the only true love that ever came true was Kelb and Ethana. No matter how tough and strong a manly guy you are, you’re still a nervous wreck on your wedding day.

RPG means having decent fights but many of them here feel mediocre. Low quality. Did you see the final fight with the new Gilgamesh? It was horrendous! Not sure if the animators didn’t put in enough effort or the characters themselves feel like they aren’t that motivated to fight each other because you know, the script says so and so should lose at this point. The only interesting ‘fighting style’ that caught my attention is Melt’s way of using his magic sticks. He looks like playing golf with it! Fore! No wonder Coopa sometimes looks like a caddy, recommending or taking out the magic sticks requested. The rest are like using swords or magic so they’re pretty standard. And of course, who could forget that one time little Kai used spoons up enemies’ asses. F*cking hilarious but effective… I wonder if it will be effective enough if shoved up Druaga’s ass… If Druaga even has one.

Even though the anime came out in 2008 and 2009, from this point in time since I have watched, it is already a decade. Can’t blame retro anime for the low quality animation. Although it is not very bad, but it is bad enough to know it is one of the anime series at the other end of the lower tier because in those years we had some great visually looking titles like Code Geass, Clannad and even Gintama if I should say. Sometimes I mistake Kai and Kaaya to look the same and can’t tell them apart. Is it me or does Kaaya matured in the span of a season? In the first season I assume she is around the same age as Jil. But in the sequel, she’s like a mature woman now. Time spent with Neeba in the mythical tower sure has her aged, huh? I find Henaro as the weirdest outfit. Is she wearing some sort of leotard for yoga and at the same time that headgear as though she is going boxing? If not for those boobs, Henaro is a character whom one will identify as a male at first sight. Also, at first Druaga looked a bit scary to me because I believe it is taken after some eastern deity. Eastern gods are scary, right? Druaga is one of the few things that are animated using CGI. Can’t say much about the technology back then.

I can take heart that I recognized some of the seiyuus lending their voices to this series like Takahiro Sakurai as Neeba, Yui Horie as Fatina, Hiroki Yasumoto as Utu, Minori Chihara as Coopa, Akira Ishida as Kally and Kana Hanazawa as Henaro. Wait a minute. Mamiko Noto has a part here?! Where?! As the younger version of Jil?! Serious?! OMG! Couldn’t recognize her!!! WTF???!!! This only asserts my belief that she isn’t really suitable to voice young boys’ role. Girls Bravo and Kanokon anyone? The other casts are Kenn as Jil (Jinbei in Mushibugyou), Fumiko Orikasa as Kaaya (Rukia in Bleach), Hozumi Gouda as Melt (Leorio in Hunter x Hunter), Yukana as Succubus (C.C. in Code Geass), Masaki Terasoma as Kelb (Kanbei in Samurai 7), Risa Mizuno as Ethana (Najenda in Akame Ga Kill), Akiko Yajima as Kai (Kohaku in Inu Yasha), Michiko Neya as Gremica (Melissa in Full Metal Panic), Takaya Hashi as old Gilgamesh (Sadasada in Gintama), Tomokazu Seki as young Gilgamesh (Hajime in Nanbaka), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Uragon (Naraku in Inu Yasha) and Risa Hayamizu as Ahmey (Maya in Matako in Gintama).

One of the weirdest things for this series is the opening theme and its animation for both seasons. Swinging by Muramasa as the first season’s opener and Questions by Yu Nakamura for the second season might sound like typical anime rock pop. Considering the pace and setting of this series, I don’t feel it is quite suitable. But that isn’t as mind boggling as the opening credits animation because the characters are seen living a typically cliché anime high school life! WTF?! Rushing late for school? Train packed with people heading to work or school? Playing baseball? No homerun. All fouls and out. The same can’t be said for first ending themes. Still a rock outfit, Touchousha-tachi by Kenn looks and sounds it should have been the opener. But then again, it wouldn’t do any difference. For the second season, it is Mahoutsukai Desu Kedo by Fumiko Orikasa. It is more light hearted and more like anime pop. Just average, if you ask me.

Overall, a big disappointment like as though this show was produced because they needed some sort of fantasy RPG series for that season. Uninspiring plot as well as uninspiring characters make it a dull watch and this is compounded with the low quality animation permeating throughout the series. Suddenly it makes modern RPG themed animes like Sword Art Online and Log Horizon a whole lot better. I mean, they are already good in their own right but putting this crap next to them makes them look godlier! Damn it, if I was one of those Climbers climbing up the tower and managed to defeat Druaga, I made a wish and turn this entire series into that joke of a parody as in the first episode. Then we can all wake up from this joke of a nightmare and feel relieved it never happened. Yeah, I can live without marrying the princess happily ever after for that.

I really didn’t expect a remake of this series, Kino No Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series. But considering the way the series is played out, sometimes it is hard to wonder if calling it a remake at is appropriate all as each story is independent of each other. However it is clearly stated that it isn’t a sequel whatsoever. Completely a remake. Either way it doesn’t matter because the basic premise is still the same. The titular character travels with his trusty talking motorbike companion from country to country staying not more than 3 days as they encounter different people and their country’s different and peculiar ways of living.

Episode 1
Kino and Hermes are ‘soon’ to enter another country when they see a young man resting by the river. They ask each other about the country ahead and it seems the young man believes it is a country where anybody can be killed and it is not considered a crime. He came from a country where there is such a strict order and he hated it. He also heard a serial killer named Regel is living there. As Kino registers his stay and being warned about the odd law, Kino finds that this cowboy turn is pretty normal. Everyone is interacting and living their daily lives as usual. Public order everywhere. Nothing to worry about. While buying groceries at a shop, Kino notices the owner’s shotgun. Is it to deter theft? No, it is to kill people. You’ll never know when you’ll need it. On the day Kino is to leave, he joins an old man for breakfast. He talks to Kino about settling down here because he suits the place very well. How so? Because he can kill others. Of course Kino declines. As he is about to depart, the young man comes buy and wants Kino to hand over his belongings so he could sell and finance his lifestyle. If he doesn’t hand it over, he will kill him. Kino won’t and hides behind Hermes. Before the young man could fire, an arrow pierces through his hand. Writhing in pain, he then notices all the townspeople converging around him with weapons. He is further confused when the old man says this isn’t a country that doesn’t permit killing but also agrees with him that murder isn’t prohibited. You see, those who have killed or tried to kill have been killed by all of them here. In other words, not prohibited is not the same as permitted. Think about it, if everyone is allowed to kill, nobody would be left, right? Therefore murder is only allowed on those wanting to murder. The old man reveals himself to be Regel as he stabs and kills the young man. Everyone returns to their daily lives. As Kino leaves, he sees another young man resting by the river. He asks Kino if the country up ahead is safe because he comes from a country where he had to kill to survive and is sick of it. Kino is pretty sure he would love it there. Kino leaves and Hermes asks why he only stays no longer than 3 days. A traveller once told him it is just the perfect length.

Episode 2
This is a condensed version of the original 2 part episode in the original series whereby Kino enters a country whereby he is forced to fight in a Coliseum. The winner gets to become a citizen and make a new law. We see this pattern of Kino facing off with a strong cocky opponent. Kino asks for them to yield but they refused. After being stunned by his quick draw, they surrender. Kino learns the current situation is brought about by the current king. The previous king was kind but strict to his son. All that stress exploded one day as the son killed his father to assume the throne. He also killed all those who stands in his way. His wife committed suicide and his children ran away. The citizens have become accustomed to this lawlessness ever since. In the finals, Kino faces off with Shizu who asks Kino to yield. He won’t. Shizu is able to deflect Kino’s shots until Kino pulls out a hidden gun. Shizu admits his defeat. With the crowd chanting for death, Kino then signals to Shizu who then ducks. Kino’s bullet kills the king. Too bad that glass wasn’t bulletproof. Kino then ‘apologizes’ his stray bullet killed their king but as the winner and citizen, he makes a new law for everyone to fight. The last one standing becomes the king. The entire country falls into further chaos as Kino leaves. On the outskirts, Kino stumbles into Shizu leaving. It is discovered he is the son of the current king. He was planning to slay him had he won. Shizu has a talking dog named Riku who thanks Kino that Shizu doesn’t have to dirty his hands. Hey, if you have a talking bike, why are you surprised if there is a talking dog? Anyway Hermes is jealous of Riku since Kino pets him. Kino asks why Shizu wouldn’t want to be the new king. He planned to assassinate his own father and thus doesn’t have the right. Shizu suggests travelling together to the next country but Kino declines. Riku whispers something to Shizu (probably about Kino being a girl) so Shizu understands and hopes to meet again somewhere on their journey.

Episode 3
Kino and Hermes enter a country that is literally a giant moving fortress. Greeted by the officer who also acts as a guide and policeman of his country, he takes them to tour the giant nuclear reactor that powers this country. This is the reason they have to keep moving as heat inside it will build up. Also, they are like Kino who love to see different sceneries in their travel. Their only regret is the trail of destruction it leaves but everyone has come to terms accepting that. The officer also shows them the top of the fortress as well as a group of students painting a mural outside. This was the last scenery they passed and after every 500 days, the next graduation class will paint the next mural. Soon the country hits an obstacle. They are going to collide with the walls of another country. As that country runs across the plains, it would not be feasible to go around it so they are requesting to go through it. The general of course will not allow them to. With that, the fortress is shielded up as the general orders the firing of missiles. Nothing happens. The fortress then fires its own super laser that easily cuts a hole in the wall! Then it goes over the agricultural land as the general lambasts their inhumanity for causing trouble to others. Soon, the army is trying to fire their puny missiles at the fortress but at the mural. As they don’t want casualties, Kino suggests sniping out their homing device. Hence Kino shows off his sniping skills to accurately destroy them and even stray missiles heading his way! Cool! The fortress finally leaves the borders of this country as the general wants them to pay compensation. No can do. Bye. Before Kino leaves, he asks the officer their country could easily take over the world. Certainly but they like their current lifestyle and do not want to make enemies of the world. Every country is like every man in the sense they cause some degree of bother by existing. After leaving, Hermes wonder which country was the troublesome one because that walled country sealed off the plains to extort money for those passing through. Kino is embarrassed by the fact that the fortress might paint a mural of his cool sniping.

Episode 4
Shizu and Riku board a ship country. They meet the rulers called Tower Clan. They want Shizu to watch over the citizens to prevent rebellion and will be rewarded. However he chooses to do the same labour as the citizens as he is a humble person. Hence the elder of the citizens is pretty much surprised over a kind traveller like him. He is given Tifana AKA Ti as his guide. Strangely she doesn’t talk and shows him around. When the ship shakes from time to time, Shizu could sense something amiss. There are some parts flooded. Asking Ti to take him to the place with blueprints and point out similar flooded areas, he has come to believe the ship is going to sink. When parts are damaged, they are not replaced. He goes talk to the elder who says the Tower Clan knows everything but the citizens are happy with their current lives. Shizu then decides to negotiate with the Tower Clan but is given the reply the citizens belong to them and whatever fate befalls on them is only theirs to blame. Shizu fights a member but loses. But he soon recognizes his enemy as Kino! When the Tower Clan decides to change route and will not be heading to land for a while, the duo team up to fight off the Tower Clan until they reach the final boss. Shizu is asked if he will be the citizens’ new king. If he has to. They leave it in his hands. Suddenly they ‘drop dead’. Puppets? Once the ship lands and Shizu tells them they are free, the citizens are not happy. They are not used to this and wants to go back. Even when Shizu says the ship will sink, they do not believe him. Shizu laments but accepts their path. He tells Ti to go back with them but she stabs him and for the first time mutters she has nowhere to return. Hermes then reveals as he heard from a Tower Clan about Ti’s background. About 600 years ago, this ship named Tifana drifted into an abandoned country. All the children went on board as the adults perished due to some disease. The citizens are their descendants. The Tower Clan is an AI system to manage and keep them alive. As these people don’t know how to live on land, the Tower Clan cannot guarantee their safety. Many years ago, a couple of travellers boarded it and gave birth to a daughter. When they left, they abandoned her. As she isn’t related to those citizens, she is treated like an outcast. But the Tower Clan named her after this ship, looked after and raised her. Shizu feels sorry for not knowing her past. He vows not to abandon her but as he lies there dying, ‘sad’ Ti doesn’t want him to abandon her. She plans to bomb themselves but Kino swiftly shoots the grenade off her hand. In the aftermath, Shizu is patched up and has taken in Ti. If Shizu has settled down in a country, he will definitely welcome Kino the next time.

Episode 5
A curator shows Kino and Hermes the items left behind and used by the country’s first president. Every single item. But the highlight is a bike similar to Hermes in which he used to travel even when he became president. It is believed it spoke too but after the president passed on, it probably fell into silence due to sadness. After the curator leaves, Hermes talks to it and he indeed can speak. It seems he views this museum as hell. As a bike’s existence is to be ridden and not be put on display. He wants Kino to help him out or destroy him. Kino will do neither and so the bike can only lament his cursed fate. As Kino leaves, a young boy is excited to become a traveller like him and wants to know how. Kino isn’t sure but maybe he should talk to the president’s bike and maybe something could come up from there.

Kino enters the next country whereby a young man suddenly asks him if he heard any message from his lover left him 5 years ago, had any messages for him. None. He goes back disappointed with his housekeeper. Kino then learns from the other townspeople about his case. This country was ruled by a tyrannical king. The people plotted to overthrow the royal family and that young man was in charge of assassinating them. A year before the revolution, he fell in love with a beautiful girl. It seemed they would have married and settled down. But when the revolution date was decided, they parted ways. It is believed he forced the parting as he did not know if he would survive the revolution. The revolution succeeded after he assassinated the royal family. However they discovered one of the princesses is his girlfriend. As he couldn’t handle the fact he loved the princess he should’ve hated or killed her with his own hands, he lost his mind. It got so bad that the doctor lied she went on a trip and to wait for her. So he started living in the woods near the gate in hopes for her return. As for his housekeeper, many couldn’t last being one for out of pity. But the current one was once a traveller. They found her on the verge of collapse 3 years ago and as an outsider, they thought she would a great fit. She has been doing a great job since. But he shows no signs of improvement so everyone will have to keep lying to him till he dies. After Kino helps the housekeeper’s carriage out from the mud, she thanks him by inviting Kino to tea. When she mentions somebody coming at the gates, the young man quickly dashes in hopes it is his lover. But this is just a lie so the housekeeper could talk to Kino. She is actually that man’s lover and the princess. She is currently happy living his life with him even if it is a lie. After she got info from her spies, she told her father about it. Their doubles played their part well and all their family members are living well in neighbouring countries. She heard about his state and decided to return to take care of him. She wondered if she was okay for him and it made her happy when he told her he will be happy to have her till she returns. Even though she has been lying to him from the start and will continue till he dies, at least she is happy. The young man returns dejected and wonders if his lover has forgotten about him. The housekeeper assures she did not. Never will. When Kino leaves, the young man tells him a little secret. It seems he is actually sane and was just acting! He knows his housekeeper is his lover and because he doesn’t want to ruin anything again, he keeps up with this charade. He is happy this way. And that completes the circle of everyone in this country is a liar.

Episode 6
A group of roaming merchants just bought a slave girl from the previous country. As usual, they abuse and mistreat her. Despite all that, she will not hate them because of teachings of her priest. She takes this as her future being challenged. She will not kill and would rather take her own life. While her tormentors try to tell her the rotten world of men, she still believes the world is a wonderful place. As the group prepares to eat dinner, slave girl realizes the herbs they collected is poisonous. Feeling guilty she couldn’t warn them at first, she tries to drink it to die along with them. However her bowl is knocked off by a brat. His actions are praised by all. He even wants father to sell her to him so he could kill her, detailing how he would do so. Something about becoming a man and strong. Everyone approves his actions! Slave girl then starts to scream. Before they could shut her up, the effects of the poison kills them. The only one left is an old man who didn’t like vegetables so he didn’t eat much of them. Slave girl feels guilty she killed all of them and wants to be killed. Old man will teach her how to use a gun but it is a trick to get her to kill him. Slave girl hears a voice teasing how sly she was to kill everyone for her freedom. It turns out to be a talking bike, Sou inside one of the carriages. As they talk, she still feels guilty and that she should have warned everyone when she had to chance. But Sou tells her straight that they would never have listened to her and will beat her up instead. Their luck ran out. It is her who is lucky. She still thinks she needs to die. Sou tells her to live. Because every creature who lives will one day die. Sou will teach her how to drive the truck and load all the essentials up. There are places Sou would like to travel with her. As she has no name, Sou will think up of one when the time comes. In the aftermath when Kino and Hermes arrives, they see only the corpses. Many years later, Sou narrates slave girl wandered and struck it big as a photographer. She settled in a country that took her in because of her vast wealth. She remains honest to goodness and her love for photography has people called her Photo. Sou notes she is living a very happy life now.

Episode 7
Kino tells Hermes one of the many stories his Master told him. She was travelling with a fellow traveller to this next country that is run with an iron fist by the corrupted military police. Soon they get arrested and her partner was thrown into the slammer on suspicions of possessing drugs. Master manages to convince her interrogating officer to exile her as punishment and will leave her partner behind. But she wants to talk to him first. Her partner pleads he has been set up but since she has no time to waste and wants to go visit another country, slowly face your trial here. Master takes his belongings but notices the money and other valuables are not there. The officer tells her they assume it is capital for drugs and confiscated it as evidence. Master checks the goods of her partner. It seems inside a suitcase there are assassination tools. Master is reported to have left so the soldiers are put on alert never to let her re-enter the country again. But that night she comes sneaking back. She causes a commotion by lighting up fire and bombs around the country. She goes to rescue her partner who is actually her apprentice. As it is impossible to leave right now, the option is to hide for a while. But Master has a better place to hide and that is the clock tower in the centre of this administration building. As everyone is distracted with the commotion, they load up ammo and food up the tower and destroy the only lift up there. They announce they will defend their position till they die and snipe every policeman in the leg who enter the compound. Short of killing them. This would create a shortage of manpower as well as resentment among the people for failing to stop this farce. So when the police decide to surround them and give them the ultimatum, the duo continue to tease and snipe. This goes on for some time until the police force grew tired of this and surrendered! Please leave! Master would take up their offer but would like to be paid to leave. Yeah, the government got extorted… Kino finally enters this country as he sees a memorial dedicated to 2 brave travellers who freed their country. An old man tells them how this led to the people marching in protest, forcing the government and police to be ashamed of their deeds and change their ways. The country is now peaceful and prosperous. Kino notices that many of the old man walk with canes like as though their leg is injured. He is embarrassed to tell.

Episode 8
How does Ti fish? Bomb the hell out of the water! In the next country, Shizu reminds Ti that they are not travelling for pleasure and that he is looking for a country that is suitable for them to settle down. This country seems okay so they decide to check out its other town. While filling up gas, suddenly a man soaked in blood approaches them as he carries a decapitated head. Shizu knocks him out. It is further discovered this professor killed his entire students in college. The police chief thanks Shizu before more there could be more victims. He then narrates the dark history of this country. Slaves were imported and the cruel king inserted some chip and have them do his bidding via radio waves. So this hideous killing could be its effect. Shizu is puzzled if the chip is handed down through generations but he is told they are historical facts. As for why they didn’t go destroy the radio post, one who goes closer to it will become crazier. Shizu offers to go take photos of the radio post. It looks rundown. Showing the police chief those photos that it could have not been in operation for decades and that people committing murders are from their own instincts, he and the other townspeople refuse to believe it. They think the photos are fake and Shizu is under the radio wave’s influence. Before they try to arrest him, Ti takes a baby hostage and threatens to blow up! She doesn’t care radio waves or what. Nobody will get in their way. Shizu pretends to be affected by the radio waves and needs to leave. But taking the baby with them? No. The police chief will be the substitute then. After leaving the country, Shizu throws the bomb away. Boom! He then tells the police chief those photos are of the old post. The new post is nearby and he put it to maximum output. The people will feel the effects tomorrow. It was their plan to take over this place but they failed. Bye. Riku wonders if the people will stop believing the influence of the radio waves if nothing happens tomorrow. Not sure. If only everything was easily transmitted as radio waves. On a lighter note, Shizu goes out to earn money so Ti is left in Riku’s care. Luckily she has his guidance or else she wouldn’t know how to eat the croissant with jam. At the end of the day, Riku tells Shizu how ‘talkative’ she was today. Shizu believes it is her first time spending the whole day with him so she has to be top of things. She thinks about a lot more than they assume she does. Riku feels guilty she was ready to kill her when she wounded Shizu but he is glad they avoided the worst outcome. Now they have grown closer and Ti considers Riku her friend.

Episode 9
A bandit apprentice and his master prepare to snipe at Shizu’s party. But the former asks if he is worth sniping. Yes says the apprentice. No says the old dude. Look at Ti. She has a hand grenade! And the dog would probably sniff them out too. Next, Kino passes. Is he worth it? Yes says the apprentice who thinks Kino is a beautiful girl. No says the old dude because for a girl who is capable of travelling alone means she is capable of doing many things. He reminds him that their goal is to target those who carelessly go after people stronger than themselves. He remembers an old story whereby his old team ambushed a pair of travellers. They were like the devil and killed everyone but him! They were Master and her apprentice! The old dude still reels from that trauma. Kino is in a country whereby an old man tells him you get points for doing good deeds. Of course you get points deducted if you do bad deeds and if your points reach negative, you will be thrown to prison. This system is better because there are times when one has done so many good deeds but one bad deed has others think you are a bad person, vice versa. However the old man seems to be in a dilemma. He has accumulated so many points in his life that it is enough to kill someone. But he can’t think of anybody to kill. He just wants to kill and is running out of time. It is his childhood dream. That is why he is telling Kino this and wants to kill him. Too bad he knows Kino already has his hand on his gun ready to take action. In the end, he couldn’t kill when a woman asks him to hold her baby. He thinks of killing him but realizes this innocent life has nothing to do with it. He whispers he hopes he will not grow up to be a failure in life like him.

A country with chefs are excited that a wandering chef will enter their country and leave his recipe. Because nobody knows that chef’s identity, they assume Kino who just happen to drop in. Kino obliges by making his curry chicken. Not sure if he killed all those who ate it but he thinks it must be good since they gobbled it all down. But the country likes it so much that it becomes their signature dish. But the next traveller comes and reproduces it with a few tweaks. When they try it, it tastes good too. So now they have 2 popular dishes. When Shizu visits, he is given a choice to try Kino’s original chicken or mild chicken. Kino? In a country where people write on a paper and stick on a statue for it to come true, Shizu gives it to Ti since he prefers to act rather than wish. Ti earns the admiration of everyone since she writes for everyone’s wish to come true. Her reason is that doing any of this does any good. Kino and Hermes are arriving at a country that Master once visited and can’t forget. However she refused to tell him the details. Kino enters and then when he leaves, he is in shock. He just arrived but how could he be leaving? Hermes says he entered, stayed for 3 days and left. But he can’t remember everything! Hermes points out to a letter Kino wrote to himself. It seems a condition to enter and stay in the country is to leave your memories behind. They don’t want what happens inside here to reach outside. Hermes remembers everything as he is not human. However as his promise to the country, he won’t tell Kino. He assures Kino was his usual self but notes this is the country he enjoyed the most. Proof? Another letter that contains his crappy drawing of the happy people. Of course he doesn’t remember any of that. Frustrating. Now he knows why Master wasn’t able to tell him.

Episode 10
Another remake of the last episode from the original series. The one whereby Kino and Hermes enter a country rumoured to be rude to all travellers. Instead everyone treats them so nice and good. They meet a little girl, Sakura who becomes their tour guide and shows them around. They learn it is her dream to inherit her parents’ inn and be a tour guide. Kino also sent his gun for repairs and the guy does it for free. He also gives Kino his gun he used to travel with. He wants to know if Kino knows about this traveller whom everyone calls as Master who travels and helps others, earning spite and respect. Kino says he doesn’t. Shockingly, Kino wanted to stay longer but is told to keep to his promise and leave after 3 days. As he camps outside, the volcano erupts and destroys the town. Nobody survived. Kino reads a letter by Sakura’s mom she packed for him in his lunch before he left. The town was informed of the eruption a month beforehand. They had a choice to leave or stay. They chose the latter because they have nowhere else to go. It is true they have been mistreating travellers but realized they wanted to leave good impressions on others. But that is when travellers stopped travelling here and Kino was the first with only 3 days left. She hoped to coax Kino to take Sakura with him but after learning of her dreams to stay, they couldn’t. After reading this, Kino is ‘happy’ he didn’t take Sakura with her. Do you think she could take it seeing her country destroyed? Plus, Hermes isn’t meant to fit 2 people. Not sure if that’s a joke. There is also a letter from Sakura hoping he would not forget about them.

Episode 11
Yet another remake but this time of Kino’s past. Those who watched the original would know Kino is originally a girl. A traveller named Kino came and stayed at her parent’s inn. She talked to him about his travels as well as the bike he is fixing. He gives her the honour of naming his bike in which she asks his old friend’s name. Hermes. Guess that will be it. She tells him of this country’s rules that kids turning 12 will undergo surgery to become an adult. They discuss what constitutes being an adult but there’s no clear answer. As she likes singing, she sings for him. Though beautiful, she cannot be a singer because of the country’s rules for a child to inherit their parents’ job. On the day before her surgery, she asks her parents if there is any other way than the surgery to become an adult. This enrages them as they scold her for being ‘defective’. They blame Kino and confront him. He is reminded that each country has their own laws and as a traveller he cannot intervene. Kino agrees and is about to leave but sees the girl’s father taking out a knife. He is going to kill his own daughter and it is his right since she is his property. Immediately Kino jumps to protect her and gets stabbed. She stares in shock when she hears Hermes asking what she should do next. She would rather die and live to undergo the surgery. Does she really want to die then? Not really. Hermes tells her to hop on his back and ride to freedom. She does so before father could have a chance to kill her. Hermes guides her how to ride him as they zoom past their walls. For the first time she sees the beautiful world. At a distance as they stop to rest, Hermes assumes she is called Kino. She decides to take in that name and travel together. To wherever it make take them.

Episode 12
Arriving at a field of sheep, suddenly they start chasing after them! Run! Hermes quips maybe they’re out for revenge since Kino did kill and eat sheep meat before. But ahead are more sheep. Taking an off road detour, they are stopped dead in their tracks as there is a deep ravine before them. Hermes wants Kino to leave him be and climb down. Kino can’t leave him but Hermes is definitely going to break apart if he is thrown down. No choice and with the incoming sheep, Kino takes his stuffs and climbs down. He can’t climb back up the other side as the rocks are too soft. Hermes suggests to walk upstream till he can find a way out. Kino vows to come back for him. As he walks, he notices the sheep also follow him and keeping a close watch. Creepy. Scary. That night he camps and the next morning, he notices the sheep gone. He manages to climb out and see the herd grazing the grass far away. There is also a truck nearby. He investigates and is shock to see a skeletal corpse. He deduces his truck was stuck in the thinning ravine. He broke his shin and couldn’t escape from the sheep’s wrath. Kino uses the ramp parts in the truck to cross over. After making a grave for the dead, he borrows the truck to return to Hermes. By now the sheep are alerted and continue to chase. This time Kino show no mercy because he bangs them! Bowling?! Got to give those sheep credit as they keep ramming the truck despite losing. If some sheep get too close, Kino opens fire! Kino uses fuel to encircle the area where Hermes is. He creates a fire barrier and then shoots more sheep who are caught inside it. Then he makes a makeshift ramp and is going to ride Hermes across. Seriously? Serious. A sheep gets in the way. Bang! Off Kino flies on Hermes and they miraculously land on the other side. They continue their journey till the next country in which the guard is happy to receive a traveller. None has passed this side of the country for so long. When asked if he saw any sheep, Kino says lots of them. He is relieved as he explains those were fighting sheep. The country’s past time used them to fight against each other in rings and went so far as to modify them not to fear anything. Of course animal rights protested and they had no choice but to release them into the plains. He is glad they are still alright. Kino enters the country and gets the best sleep ever on his hammock. I wonder how many sheep died during the production of this episode…

No Country For Travellers
Can’t remember the last time I saw an anime that has undergone a remake. But assuming my memory serves me well, this has got to be one of the best remakes that I have seen. Better than that Kyou No Go No Ni downgrade. As I have not seen the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the latest Hunter x Hunter remake (I heard they were much superior), I guess I can’t say. Maybe Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works but I didn’t see the original condensed movie version though the original and first season of the TV series was a completely different route. As for Kino No Tabi series, I can tell it has been superior and a lot better in every sense ever since I watched the first episode. So definitely the remake did a good job in rekindling some of my nostalgia. It didn’t ruin or replace the older one but somehow allow me to accept both the new and old Kino side by side.

As I have said in my opening paragraph about this remake doesn’t matter being a remake or sequel, I suppose I have my answer now why they call it the former. In addition in having some new episodes, a handful of episodes were remakes of the original. This is truly a remake as they have put in new animation instead of reusing the old ones. Obviously. Therefore it isn’t so much like that disappointing ‘cash grab’ repeat in Jigoku Shoujo: Yoi No Togi whereby the second half of the season were just replaying the same old episodes exactly the way they were without adding anything new. The remakes of the episodes in this season are mainly reserved for the more important stories and events in Kino’s life while the newer episodes for new adventures are very much welcomed. Having 1/4 of the series as remake isn’t so bad in that sense. So again the question if this show is entirely a remake is debatable because it only feels so for those remade episodes. Maybe the other newer adventures were also from the original but we did not have enough time to see them all. Besides, the timeline of Kino’s journeys are not very clear either. We don’t know if they happen before or after a certain date but most certainly some of them occurred after the Coliseum country.

While Kino and Hermes mostly remain the same character as we know before, reserved and keeping a low profile, this season does not entirely focused on them as we have Shizu and Riku (now with Ti added) as variety. I suppose that is why that Coliseum episode was redone so early this season. In the original series, that was Shizu’s only appearance. Now we get to see adventures of another traveller and this doesn’t make the season entirely boring. Sometimes an episode can be neither of them. Like that Photo’s episode. Kino rarely had any involvement in that and was just passing. Therefore with other characters in the travelling business, we won’t be just anticipating what kind of country will Kino and Hermes visit but also whose travels are we going to see next.

Therefore there isn’t anything much that I can say any more about Kino and Hermes as I have said they are practically the same as we have known them before. I don’t know how long they have been travelling but being a veteran traveller, I am not sure if Kino has seen his fair share of horrors on his travels to lose his emotions or he learnt the traveller’s code of staying neutral and not getting involved in a country’s affair and hence that poker face look. Because definitely the Kino of now is very much different than the lively and cheerful girl Kino. Not too sure if this is the price to pay for freedom. No self-expression. Sure, Kino does smile once in a while but that is if she needs to otherwise it’s that bored expressionless face. Of course Kino is no saint and if he needs to use his gun to kill for his own survival, he will not hesitate. Don’t think you can beat him in a quick draw match. But sometimes I do notice that Kino doesn’t stay to his 3 day stay rule only. There are times when he stays longer but often due to circumstances. Well, it isn’t an ironclad rule he has to stick to it and if he breaks it, it will be the end of the world.

A completely different story for Shizu’s party. Unlike Kino who is just travelling for the sake of travelling, he is travelling to find a place to settle down. After all, he has got his own family. A dog and a little girl can still constitute as a family, right? He might not have a talking vehicle but I guess a talking dog is good enough. Looks like he is going to take a while to find that country. I have this feeling that no countries are perfect, so they will forever travel? Despite taking different paths of travel, sometimes fate has them meet up at certain countries. As though this is a sign that they should be travelling together. But I mostly disagree in them doing so. Kino has always been a loner so it just wouldn’t feel write he would have another non-human companion. Kino and Shizu might look like they are the same type but we do not know much more about them because I believe you will start to see more of the other person when you travel together. There will be disagreements and different ideas and approaches. Eventually they might break off and travel solo again. That way they have more freedom in their journey and only themselves to blame if they screw up.

One of the charms of this series is the different countries and their very peculiar customs and traditions. It doesn’t leave you very deep in thoughts but it makes you think the funny and strange ways humans live their lives as a community. Some countries are totally okay with certain things but some are not. That is why certain countries love travellers while others hate them because for the latter, bringing in new unconventional ideas that go against their beliefs that will lead to the unknown for better or worse is dangerous. We can see how a society is shaped based on the laws of the country and some sure do give off very strange personalities. Stories that give you that heart-warming feeling and some stories feel like they are reserved for tales of the strange. It goes to show that the world out there is wide and being a traveller is perhaps one of the most eye opening and thought provoking professions there is. You don’t have to stay in the same place and do the same dead job till you die.

However with this said, I feel that this season didn’t really delve too deeply in the residents of that country of the episode. Sometimes missing the point of showing us what the flawed by beautiful world should be. Like the first episode about a country that supposedly allow murders. The somewhat twist comes at the end but it hardly makes you feel anything meaningful. Then there is that episode of a moving country that ‘trespassed’ another country. You don’t know anything more about the country except of what is being told and there are no interesting issues that would make you think that this is an interesting country and would love to know more about it. Instead they focus on the trespassing and what is being done currently rather than a character who has lived there and done something profound. And that country you are supposed to leave your memories behind? Feels like lazy writing sometimes because it is like telling us to just imagine yourself how great that country is. You don’t feel that the supposed character of that episode (if there are any) is telling his/her reasons from experience and the likes. Hence making a connection to the country he/she is living in and why he/she continues to do what he/she is currently doing.

One of the obvious biggest and refreshing of the remake is the visuals. The visuals are now looking gorgeous and the colours and hues are much brighter. If my hazy memory serves me well, the original has this bland and monotonous colour that paints the world in such a boring setting. But that was way back in 2003 when the original TV series aired. This means this season’s Kino looks way much better than the original one as he is slim and slender unlike the original one who just looks a bit chubby. Really. Heck, I think many of the characters are also like that. Some may argue that the original had very simple drawn characters (to the point they look cartoonish) compared to the latest one which gives too much detail. To each his own. Also I noticed that this new Kino prefers to wear his hat and goggles over his head more often than the original. Not to say I have not seen this new Kino without his head gear but to a lesser degree compared to the original whom I always remember his ‘bare’ head and hair. Taking over from A.C.G.T. who animated the original is Lerche who did Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, the Danganronpa series, Kuzu No Honkai, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku and Carnival Phantasm.

One thing I want to note is the last episode’s use of CGI for the sheep. They look so odd and funny. Not the sheep themselves but the animation of ramming and being rammed. You know, when you ram into an animal like a sheep, I am not sure how to explain this force and motion thingy but certainly I can tell you that the physics of the sheep being knocked away are pretty hilarious and weird. Like as though knocking empty carton boxes away. It made me think if they are really sheep in the first place. Even though as explained they are modified, they are still very much a sheep so the way I see them fly away feels as though they are hollow. Another weird physics goes to how Kino shoots the sheep during the fire trap. They fly away and out of the fire?! From that angle and can that tiny bullet make the sheep fly like that? This isn’t some video game, you know. Poor sheep. RIP sheep. Sheep lovers gonna hate…

Also there are major changes to the seiyuus. The one drawing me to also watch this series is Aoi Yuuki who plays the titular character. I have a hunch of how she will voice Kino so it is no surprise she did justice to her character. Sometimes I can’t help think that perhaps the very laidback and relaxing sounding of Kino is due to the fact she screamed her head of as the main character in Aho Girl. Therefore she lost all that voice and energy and hence the perfect person to play Kino. Because in this same season, she too voiced another lead character who is devoid of all that screaming and spunkiness and is so ‘dead’ unlike what you hear her as in the Symphogear series’ Hibiki, Juubei in Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls and Tatsumaki of One Punch Man. See Boku No Kanojo Ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch Na Ken to see what I mean.

Oh, here is another fun fact. It seems this remake isn’t the first time for Aoi Yuuki. In fact, she did have a role in the original as Sakura! Wow. Talk about fate and rebirthing in another universe-cum-remake. This season’s Sakura is voiced by Amano Kokoa whose other debut role is Urahara’s Misa. Fact: She is only 13 years old when she voiced this role. Slightly older than Aoi Yuuki who was only 11 when she did Sakura! Oh, how time flies… Now I’m feeling so old…

For the rest of the casts, it would be their first time as they take over the roles of their predecessor. They are Souma Saito as Hermes (Kain in Kyoukai No Rinne – interestingly, he also voiced a character named Hermes in DanMachi), Yuuichirou Umehara as Shizu (Ushii in Juuni Taisen), Kenichirou Matsuda as Riku (Halter in Clockwork Planet), Lynn as Master (Maya in Sabagebu), Minori Inase as Photo (Rem in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu) and Megumi Ogata as Sou (Naegi in Danganronpa 3). The original Kino traveller is voiced by Daisuke Ono and I instantly recognized him despite not hearing him in quite a while. However I couldn’t make out it was Ayane Sakura behind Ti because of her limited and ‘retarded’ lines. Due to the nature of this series, the rest of the cast list is a very long one as many seiyuus only voice a cameo in a single episode.

This season’s opening theme also has that calming and easy feel although it has that techno beat to it. If Here And Here sounds quite familiar is because if you have heard some of Nagi Yanagi’s songs as the ones in animes like Ano Natsu De Matteru, Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru, and recently in Just Because, you’re going to feel a lot at home. She also sings the ending theme, Satoutama No Tsuki. A much slower ballad and not too bad either.

Overall, this remake isn’t perfect but it is still a good one. There are some that may argue the original is better because of the stories but for a casual viewer myself, they are still interesting in their own right. I wasn’t bored or confused so that itself is already a great sign. It still keeps its charm of telling a story that doesn’t need to have such crazy drama or a mind blowing plot twist to keep viewers’ attention. The updated visuals are pleasant to the eye unless you are hardcore lover of retro anime style. Not too sure if this series will get another season, or a remake or reboot or retelling, whatever you want to call it these days but Kino will stay Kino as long as he can travel. Have bike, will travel. Men and countries come and go but stories are legendary and forever. Somebody just needs to tell them.

Oh dear. With a name like Boku No Kanojo Ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch Na Ken, I am sure you can guess what kind of anime this is. Furthermore, if you take a look at the promotional poster whereby it is shown from the point of view of supposedly the leading male character. From his first person perspective we see all the girls in the series gathered before you as they stare in curiosity, delight, amazement, shock or horror the banana that you are showing them. Mmm… So delicious. Oh yeah. That really says it all. If you think what this series is going to be, then you bet it is so if you have problems with this kind of ecchi fanservice show, this poster is a good indication (as well as that long ass b*tch title) to stay away. Me? I want to know what it is like to have a b*tch as a girlfriend. Really. Okay. Maybe not. I’m just here for the dirty and sex jokes.

Episode 1
Akiho Kousaka lifts up her skirt to let Haruka Shinozaki see what’s underneath. She’s not wearing anything! Damn dream… Haruka narrates he has always liked his class rep, Akiho. One day he manages to confess to her and she accepts to go out with him. Yahoo! It should have triggered alarm bells when the next thing she says she will remember all 48 sex basic positions! It gets even stranger when she wants to know his fetishes. Because she heard guys will get sexually frustrated if their girlfriend doesn’t understand their sexuality and is trying to resolve this quickly! Whenever Haruka tries to help her, she tries to think and associate he is some sort of masochist and tries to reply in that appropriate way. Haruka asks for a picture of her. Better be more specific or she’ll send you her naked body. Just her face will do. An erotic face… Haruka’s childhood friend, Shizuku Ariyama comes in to bug and tease him. With those ambiguous words, it makes him sound like a pervert. She is introduced to Akiho for the first time and with more of those ambiguous words, she makes it sound like they’ve got it going for a very long time. When Shizuku gets too clingy on him, this activates Akiho’s yandere face. Luckily Shizuku gets the idea and backs down. She then takes them to an arcade so they could have their pictures taken together as atonement. However she photobombs it and makes Haruka pay. Since Haruka ignores Shizuku, she tries to get his attention by fondling Akiho’s boobs. This might have given Akiho some weird ideas that they need to make their relationship more intense. Could it be secret sexy time at the gym shed? Nope. Some weird gym clothes dominatrix play… She tries to hint if there is something he would like to try out in this erotic magazine she planted in his bag. But taking a look at them is too much for her. Need more studying? Akiho gets desperate to intensify their relationship by planning to hug him from the back and whisper in his ear. But he turns and her boobs got in the way, causing her to fall on top of him. As she is still worried about their relationship, he tells her not to think too much of what Shizuku says. It is something they will decide and will be resolved in time. When she calls him by his first name, he flusters. She thinks he wants to be called pig instead. For the umpteenth time, he isn’t an M.

Episode 2
It’s raining so Akiho thought she could run through the rain just to let Haruka see her bra line. But s is disappointed when he has an umbrella to share. Kanata is Haruka’s little sister. She enters his room to bug-cum-seduce him as usual. Then she finds out he has a girlfriend. World crumbling? She tries hard to hide she isn’t jealous. Next day in school she meets Akiho for the first time. The moment she lays her eyes on this beauty, Kanata tries to show her standing by mentioning all the stuffs she did with Haruka. Ambiguously of course. And Akiho believes them all! Haruka manages to resolve that misunderstanding but Kanata comes to bug them again during lunch time. During the fuss, she accidentally pushes Akiho. Akiho is alright but just disappointed it didn’t turn into some perverted situation. Kanata regrets what she did and in no time, the girls now become friends. The school cleans up the local neighbourhood. Of course Shizuku and Kanata doing very ambiguous stuffs just to tease their guy. When Akiho hears some guys talk about switching girlfriends, this causes her to worry as she asks Haruka if he throws away his belongings. He would but then again he wouldn’t because he would have gotten attached to it. Akiho is so relieved and she hopes he would continue to treasure them. He doesn’t understand why she likes his stuffs. Inspired by an anime, Akiho decides to make bento for Haruka. From the looks of it, it doesn’t look good. Here comes Shizuku to show off her cooking. And tease she specializes in cooking and men… Akiho then begs her to teach her how to cook. Master, please! Got more than she bargained for. And so Shizuku teaches Akiho how to flirt, oops I mean cook. Yeah, can’t help insert all those sexually charged and ambiguous lines, eh? After eating the beef stew, Shizuku teases she wants to eat his banana. What’s this? He agrees?! Shizuku panics and flusters. She didn’t think he would let her. But that’s just it. Letting her eat that banana fruit. Her sexual teasing power has considerably decreased… Haruka walks Akiho home. As it is raining, she pretends she doesn’t have one so she could share it with him. Everything looks fine and dandy until he comments they better walk faster or else they’re going to get wet. She doesn’t mind a guy getting wet, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink.

Episode 3
Natsuo, Akiho’s dad is shocked when she tells him Haruka is visiting today. Your wonders on Akiho’s sexual awkwardness is answered here because she got it from her mom, Fuyumi. When Haruka arrives, only Fuyumi is at home so she entertains him and he is starting to see how this is running in the family genes. A few flashbacks regarding Fuyumi’s ‘education’ of Akiho. No wonder. Double whammy? So when the rest get back and Haruka seems to be happy that Natsuo is a normal guy, the girls think he swings that way! Dad is shocked learning his daughter will go on a first date with her boyfriend. Don’t worry. Just go watch a movie. If mom could not give those ‘extraordinary’ advice… As advised to do research, that head tilt advertisement has Akiho tilting her head to the exact degree to be attractive. Not that Haruka would notice anyway. During the date, Akiho seems to be concentrating on observing others around her. Like the lewd ugly couple about to make out on the train and the movie despite a romance genre has a few soft porn scenes. At the end of the date, Akiho realizes too late that she was so focused on her research that she didn’t do anything fun with him. He tries to cheer her up by inviting her to see the sakura blooming next week. She might be too eager as she is thinking of preparing large portions of everything. So serious that she falls sick in school. Man, the way she drops on her knees and coughing is like as though she is giving him a blowjob. WTF?! Taking her to the infirmary, yeah the busty nurse, Aoi Koshimizu is another of those sexy cock teasers. While Haruka waits for Fuyumi to arrive and pick her, looks like Akiho is starting to break down as she starts spilling drink all over her body. Mom better get here fast or the sexual ambiguity will be getting worse. Oh wait. It doesn’t make a difference. It runs in the genes. Thankfully she gets better and they head to see the sakura blooming. Unfortunately they have withered from last night’s rain. Akiho fails badly in trying to hide her disappointment so Haruka tells her they can come back here next year and watch it. This makes her very happy and for the first time we see her most beautiful smile.

Episode 4
Rina Saijou was from a super rich elite all-girls’ school. Guess whose class she transferred into? At first she sounds like a normal person wanting to make friends. Till she mentions her hobbies are romping with hairy males. WTF???!!! It’s no wonder other girls shy away from her. Akiho and Haruka soon discover the ‘hairy males’ are her pet dogs. Dogs are treated equally like humans in her home. As Rina comes from a school with only girls, so her transfer here is to research on relationship with men? Uh oh. I can see where this is going. And hence you’ve got all the sexual innuendoes from her like how it is a natural thing for Rina to molest Akiho as a girl’s greeting. And Akiho had to recommend Aoi to coach her about guys… When Shizuku learns about Rina, she claims she is Haruka’s mistress. Rina is ecstatic and wants to become his mistress too! Then there is comparison between their boobs. Shizuku is flat enough that she starts crying. It looks bad on Haruka like as though there is some harem fight so Akiho dispels the misunderstanding there is no adultery. Because Haruka is a loli pedo! At the end of the day, Rina leaves the duo in more shock as she gives a goodbye kiss on the cheek. Haruka and the girls hang out at the zoo and you can bet they are seemingly more interested at the animals mating… It gets worse when there is a dog petting section and they start comparing the dog’s to Haruka’s, you know, that. And hence all other subsequent animals are now compared to him. Haruka is now the most observable ‘animal’ at the zoo… Meanwhile Kanata is also here visiting with her friend, Misaki Aikawa. Her tendency to nickname her ‘sakicccho’ causes her much distress and confusion because it roughly means the tip. Also at this zoo is Natsuo and Fuyumi as part of their old people date. As Natsuo sprain his ankle, Fuyumi had to support him on the way out. There is where they bump into Haruka and Akiho. It gets even awkward because they are right in front of a love hotel! Yeah, we can rest here…

Episode 5
Rina finally gets a handphone. She test calls Akiho and as expected, they talk about dirty stuffs. She has Haruka teach her how to take a selfie and edit it with effects. When she wants to show others, she lets the whole world know she got a facial pic with Haruka! You mean facial filter? In order to be a better girlfriend, Akiho doesn’t want Haruka to tell her anything so she must guess what he needs. At first all her guesses are correct (and surprisingly non-sexual) to provide to his needs. But soon in the eyes of others it looks like he is turning her into a slave. Rina and Shizuku also join in on this but you can expect what kind of prediction they are going to make. With Haruka looking tired from it all, Akiho thinks it is because she didn’t have the power to summon the ghost of a young girl. During the meeting between class reps, Saori Igarashi is always wary of Akiho because of her tendency to suggest seemingly lewd stuffs. Like there’s this one time somebody suggests a changing room for the boys, she doesn’t think it is a good idea because it will turn them into gays! Saori has to spend most of her time shooting down her ideas. And now, refusing her suggestion to allow guys to bring their own porn magazine because of individual fetishes. Akiho then brings up she overheard Saori doing some ‘tongue training’. Although it was for her saxophone practice, soon everyone falls into Akiho’s pace to really think it was a different kind of tongue training and sully her character. Akiho has hiccups and methods that seemingly protrude the boobs don’t work. As she is putting lab items away with Haruka, Shizuku is hiding in the closet hoping to scare them. Then she hears very risqué and ambiguous words from them. Panicking, she gets busted. I’m not sure about this strange method Haruka is trying to cure her hiccup. But all is cured when she sneezes. However now Shizuku has hiccups. Haruka has her drink some water. Yeah, she is ‘swallowing’ it. Kanata didn’t realize she got a box of condom in her cart. Because it had chocolate flavour written on it, she assumed it’s a snack and puts it back on the snack aisle. Misaki sees it and is shocked to see a box of condoms there. However she thinks she might be thinking too much. It could be just some high premium snack, right? So when she buys it, the cashier feels odd. Because they’re talking different things, she thinks she is going to do in several guys because ‘one box isn’t enough’! And she is going to use it and share them right after school! Bon appetite! Imagine all her friends’ shocking face when she decides to share it with them. And then her smile turns into tears when she truly learns what it really is.

Episode 6
Seiya Hoshikawa returns to class and all the girls swoon over him. Yup, he is that popular. This has Haruka thinking if Akiho would fall for him too and his worst fears might just come true as he sees her talking to him. Seiya showing off his chest?! Haruka goes a bit crazy as he thinks of hugging Shizuku to show it to her. Eventually when he sums up his courage to face Seiya, long story short, it seems Seiya wants to be friends with him. That is why he was talking to Akiho who is his girlfriend. Phew. Nothing wrong about that. But when Haruka says something about a hole, this turns on Seiya and wants to prepare one for him! OH SH*T! I THINK I UNDERSTAND WHERE THIS IS HEADING! Even this is sending shivers down Akiho’s spine! Everyone writes their wish for Tanabata. As usual, lewd wishes. Haruka thinks Akiho might have done the same thing too but she really gets disappointed he thought like that. Her wish is to spend next year’s Tanabata with him. As Akiho puts away some gear in the storeroom, she sees Haruka and Seiya in a compromising position at the back! Holy mother sh*t! What the f*ck are they doing?! After all that ambiguous gay talk, the real deal is actually Seiya teaching him how to bat. So when Akiho confronts them, Haruka doesn’t want to let her know that he was practising his batting and wants to show it to her in tomorrow’s game and hence only raises her suspicions about them being overly gay. The next day as the softball game begins, it is Haruka’s turn to bat. He will put all that he learnt to use. Too bad he bats into Seiya’s balls!!! Not painful but EXCITING???!!! Great stick handling?! Making the situation worse is how Haruka goes to ‘examine’ it, making it look even more ambiguous! Thankfully Akiho is a straight girl after witnessing such gay antics for so long and she can’t bear to watch it anymore. Later she learns the truth of his practising and notices the bruises on his right hand. She considers it as proof of thinking of her while he was at it. If you get that lewd joke…

Episode 7
Haruka and Akiho stumble upon a weird dog at a park and play with it. It fetches back weird things. Like this bondage thingy. Then it sniffs up on Akiho’s crotch but looks down on Haruka’s. This dog turns out to be Rina’s family member. Akiho’s class will be going camping so she thought of handing out a pamphlet on understanding outdoors. Why does it sound like it is for a dog? Saori thought she could show off her genius by helping her classmates with the outdoor questions. Looks like everyone knows what to do. So disappointed… Till the other class reps show up to ask her for help, she couldn’t be happier. At the camp, Seiya’s cooking attracts the animals. Yeah, they are going for his ‘mushroom’. Haruka thought he brought real mushrooms but luckily Akiho stops him from going over there. With Haruka away, Shizuku hugs the wrong person and Kanata waits anxiously for her brother to call. When he does, she acts like he is the one who misses her. Night falls and the class plays kimodameshi. Haruka and Akiho are paired up and with Seiya’s encouragement, Akiho uses this chance to cling onto his arm and Haruka thinks she is scared of the darkness. Saori and the boys try to scare them but some slipup occurred. Saori finds herself in the unfortunate fanservice end as the boys take picture of her instead. When Rina’s scream is heard, it seems she and others who were playing the ghosts are also passed out. Turns out to be Seiya in a weird getup and I don’t know how in all that confusion, they end up in a pretty ambiguous position. So much so when Saori decides to scare them herself, she sees this ‘horrifying formation’ and freaks out. Yeah, she is the one who is most scared and traumatized by it that she wants to sleep with Sayo Shizumori. Not that she minds being lesbian with her… Later as the girls take to the bath, they learn Akiho has a boyfriend. This leads to various talk and certain ‘outdoor fetish’ and night visits. The boys are eavesdropping every part of it since Saori is the one blowing her top. That night as Akiho wonders if Haruka will pay her a night visit, he suddenly shows up. Why does he have this sexual harassment look on his face? He takes her to a quiet spot as her mind starts to go crazy if he has decided to go that far. In that case as his girlfriend she shall honestly answer to his needs. Turns out he just wants to walk hand in hand with her to a nice scenic spot. Disappointed? But she accepts his invitation and laments her lack of experience being his girlfriend.

Episode 8
Saori notices after the camping, there are now lots of couples. Noticing a pair just came out of the science room, she checks to see if anything fishy. Sayo hiding in the closet and breathing heavily. No, not an illusion. I guess she got turned on watching the previous couple’s amazing performance. With someone coming in, Sayo forces Saori into the cramped hiding. Lesbian fondling? Haruka and Kanata come in. She gets down on her knees, touch his something and suddenly white stuffs squirt all over her face! What is it that he said about everything comes out with a touch?! Actually it’s a milk packet and they are here to eat lunch. He tries to find a cloth and opens the closet. Lesbian fondling? Saori and Haruka are on different wavelengths. She thinks he is being horny and he thinks it is about his lunch. When he gets a clue to what she means, he says Kanata is his sister but this causes a bigger misunderstanding as she thinks he is into incest. Later Saori forces Haruka to write an apology letter. Little does she know, her skirt is tucked into her shima pantsu. Haruka notices this and he knows he will be in a situation where damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t tell her. The only option is to make her realize it herself but his gestures sound so lewd! With Akiho coming by, Saori thought she could get her on the same side but with Akiho noticing her slip, her answers are mainly towards that and not Haruka. When Saori finally realizes herself, she realizes Haruka has been trying to hint to her. She fears he will not forgive her for doubting him. Not sure about Haruka now being some enlightened angel to erase all her fears. She also goes along with his pace but feels confused by everything. In the end, he still has to write that letter.

Akiho realizes she forgot to bring her panties. She wore her swimsuit initially but forgot about the latter part. With Sayo noticing this, she gets her thrills by observing the sticky situation she is put in. Akiho’s ‘faith’ is being tested when Haruka suggests doing many ‘dangerous’ activities that has a high chance of lifting her skirt. From getting bread at a crowded area and then having lunch together in the secluded forest, every step is such a heart pounding paranoia for her. Finally it gets to the part where she thinks everything is all clear so she tells him she is going to show him her no pantsu! Haruka realizes what is going on but had to smoke out spying Sayo. She really wanted to see more… Haruka is glad Saori isn’t here to catch this for who knows what might happen. Meanwhile, she has this premonition somebody is talking about her. History repeats itself as her skirt is again tucked into her pantsu. Akiho is pretty flexible during stretching but Haruka is stiff. She sends the wrong signals to all the guys believing stiffness is good for a boy’s health. Rina on the other hand is also stiff. She thinks she is soft but this sends all the wrong signals to the other girls over that soft part. As Rina puts away the net, she trips and somehow ends up in a BDSM position. Haruka and Akiho try to free her but the stupid teacher lock them in without checking. With Rina afraid of the dark, she is holding onto Haruka in a compromising position. Even Akiho trips somewhere… Haruka needs to take control of the situation and turns on the lights. Akiho and Rina in a sexy 69 position!!! How did this happen???!!! When Rina’s agents bust in and see this, they commend Haruka for his NTR. Later they send him an inflatable doll for him to use. Returned immediately! It’s a good think Kanata doesn’t know what it is.

Episode 9
As Haruka waits for Akiho at a mall, he gets a call from her that her dad has sprained his back so they’re taking him to the doctor. While it is unfortunate their date is cancelled, fate has a way to replace it. And because it is time for Shizuku to get her fair share of screen time. Spotting Haruka there, she has him go out with her. We see her trying to sexually tease him like having him open the changing room while her bra is unhook and then having him go shop for a swimsuit with her (which backfires because the saleswoman just revealed her A-cup size). Then she hints to come to her place because her parents aren’t home. However she panics when she didn’t get the desired reaction because it seems he is okay with it and doesn’t want her to be alone. At her place, suddenly she screams for help. Looks like she is handcuffed in her room. Is there a robbery? Nope. She thought she tests this out but somehow she forgot where she placed the keys. And hence another round of making Haruka do things for her with lots of her usual teasing style like going to the toilet and brushing her teeth (so erotic…). She hopes he would romantically carry her back to her bed but he carries her over his shoulder like a rug. So disappointed… Some flashback how Haruka used to come stay at her place because he was scared and despite they both have changed a lot, she notes he still has not changed. At least not his kindness. Haruka then realizes the key is in her own pocket. Somebody trying to play dumb. As he tries to get it, she makes it sound like he is f*cking her.

Akiho needs to make up for the date. She overhears Shizuku wanting to make lunch for him. In order not to make it sound so obvious, Akiho also hints about it but Haruka can see how obvious and tempting she is. I guess he too has to play along a hints he wants somebody’s cooking. As Akiho cooks, Seiya comes from Haruka’s behind to teach him how to use a knife. If that wasn’t bad enough, Akiho is in shock staring at them that she didn’t notice her cooking is on fire. Haruka wants to warn her but Seiya holds him back. This back and forth motion makes it looks so gay!!! OMFG!!! Looks like somebody got eaten! In the aftermath, Akiho hypnotizes herself her burnt cooking is good. That’s why she loves it even when she eats it. For further proof, she lets Rina eat it. Hmm, nothing happens. But behind the scenes, Rina is almost dead! She doesn’t want Haruka to let Akiho know because of this friendship thingy. Eventually Akiho finds out and is disappointed about herself. She thinks Haruka is trying to be considerate when he wants to eat it. She doesn’t want him to get sick. In that case, she’ll just have to take care of him. The fact she made it for him makes him happy. Akiho is so touched and happy that she is ready to take care of his body. From top to ‘bottom’. Shizuku who has already made something for Haruka, decides to let Akiho steal the limelight. Later Akiho and Shizuku discuss the things in Haruka’s trash. Used tissue papers, silicon pipes and a bunch of little girl pictures?! When he protests he has nothing, they get the wrong idea it means he is fantasizing about someone. Even more ‘shocking’ when Haruka wants to prove it all by inviting them to his room so he can show it properly to them. Gasp! What are they thinking?!

Episode 10
What’s this? Haruka is dating Akiho who is acting like a pretty decent girlfriend?! This is the kind of girlfriend he always had in mind. Could this be a dream? Yup. It is. F*CK!!! Haruka tries to study maths when Seiya comes by to help out. Oh no. However he cannot go further after hinting his knowledge is only in ‘filling holes’. Kanata wants Haruka to teach her about insemination! Actually she meant biology. Misaki works part time at an ice cream shop. Shizuku comes in and is asked if she wants a cone or cup. Mega cup size please, while crying… Next is Seiya. He orders a popsicle and gets another one free. He gets excited because he has never done it with ‘both hands full’ before. Akiho orders her topping with double scoop and a banana. What male anatomy does this look like? Then she takes a selfie of doing ambiguous stuffs with it. Misaki becomes worried and paranoid wondering if she is the one with a dirty mind. Finally here comes Haruka. He can’t remember the name of the ice cream so he describes it as something round, has a tip that pokes out and milk comes out when you suck it. Misaki really lost it. So much so she starts thinking if she has to give sexual advances to customers!

Haruka fell asleep in class and even when it is time to go home. Attempts to wake him up fail so Akiho thought of touching his head. Suddenly he wakes up from some loli nightmare. This forces Akiho to ‘improvise’ as she pretends to sleep. When they walk home together, Haruka wonders if he has done something wrong as he thinks she is mad. She then says how unfair it is for him to pat her head while she didn’t get a chance and wanted to. He thinks she is trying to kiss him from the way she prepares herself but she pats him with both hands. On a hot afternoon, the class has to go outside and sketch. Haruka doesn’t know the danger of sketching with Seiya because he is suggesting to sketch something bitter and slimy! Luckily Akiho is there to take him away for a change in scenery. Haruka then sketches Shizuku and Rina. He wasn’t looking when the wind blow up their skirt so when they tease for him not to get excited, he exclaims he wants to look at it even in more detail! This causes embarrassed Shizuku to beat him up and only subsequently he realizes what it was all about. Finally he settles to sketch Akiho. Looking at her reminds him of all the times they spent together. She looks so beautiful as he sputters he loves her. Embarrassed Akiho took a while to regain her composure before she also returns the favour by confessing she loves him too. Later he shows her his finished sketch. Well, we don’t get to see how bad it is because Akiho is obvious pouting. Nothing Haruka can do to fix this. If they were on a sexual relationship, I guess this means no sex.

Life’s A B*tch. Then You’re Screwed!
Oh wait. So that was the end of the TV series? Man, I didn’t know it just ‘ended’ like that. You see, I thought this series had a dozen episodes but subsequently looks like they only have the same number of fingers on both our hands (the balance was probably reserved for the OVAs). Because that little feel good moment between Haruka and Akiho didn’t feel like the series had ‘ended’. I thought it was just one of their usual ‘progress’. Yeah, so it did caught me off guard a little there. After all, they’ve already been out on a date so what is a little sketch in the woods and hand holding got to do? Oh, I should have read the signs. When Akiho says and does something really sensible and Haruka coming to summarize how much he still loves her, that should be the hint. The catalyst to bring about the ‘end’. Oh heck. I’m going to b*tch about something even if it does try to end properly. You can’t really ‘end’ this kind of show at this point, can you?

The bulk of the dirty jokes and fanservice comes from the girls themselves. Feminists would surely be screaming off their heads about the sexual objectification of girls but anime and Japan don’t give a f*ck to those b*tches. It is definitely male fantasy to have girls acting and talking dirty because for many of them here, it looks like they could be potential porn stars! And also, having females being the perverts look less ‘offensive’ because if it was the guy who is that freak, everyone would just scream rape regardless of the context.

You know you’ll be in for some fanservice ride when the opening credits animation shows our very Akiho choosing her panties to wear. What a starter. More fanservice too with the ending credits animation as we see the girls posing seductively for a camera. Are they really in a porn shoot because it looks like a movie studio… With moves, expressions and camera angle shots that parodies closely to porn to the ambiguous one-liners in the mid-intermission eye catch throughout the series, either it will force you to be turned on and go fap after the episode is over or you would get so irritated with the shallowness and cheapness of it all that you’ll… Nah! Since when did you get over your immature and childish dirty jokes for something more refined?! It’s okay to like sleazy and sh*tty fanservice too!

The ambiguity of sexiness continues even till the end of the episode at the next episode preview. Not really so much of a next episode preview as it is a series of Haruka and Akiho’s trip to the love hotel! Gasp! With ambiguous lines and that slow sexy jazzy saxophone in the background, it leaves us up to our imagination of what the duo might be doing as the journey sees how they end up in a love hotel room and get it on. Of course, don’t expect it to really happen and falter in some unspectacular fashion. Disappointed or relieved? And what the f*ck is this Matrix-like room?! Just to promote the OVA?! Can’t leave until you ‘get some excitement’?! Oh, looks like the journey isn’t over. On to the uncensored of the BDs!

Therefore when you have decided to watch this kind of show, you are going to have to set your expectations that some of the characters are going to be dirty minded and hence lots of sexual innuendoes abound. Some of them but not all of the girls here aren’t actually as horny as you think they are. They just sound and look like it but they are far from being a nympho and just wanting to get laid. For example, Akiho who contributes to most of the sexual innuendoes is primarily a socially awkward person. You can partially blame her mom since she got half her genes. In her bid to please her boyfriend, and I mean please in the normal sense to make him happy in a normal couple relationship, she thinks too much and hence making her look like some sort of pervert. But one good thing I find about Akiho is that she is straight instead of being a bi, lesbian or BL fanatic. This is evident each time she sees Seiya getting close to unsuspecting Haruka, she would panic and hope for her boyfriend to realize and get away!

At first I was thinking why Akiho is considered a b*tch since she doesn’t act like one. If there needs to be a b*tch, it would be Saori’s character. At least she is closest to it. But then again, my definition of b*tch seems to be a woman who is hard to please and makes life difficult for others. It’s a slander, right? Then I found out this b*tch term could also refer to a lewd and immoral woman. Well, I figure in this context Akiho fits the bill then. I also thought Sho-bitch in the title was a play on words meaning, sure-bitch but it is just short for shoujo-bitch. Can guys be b*tches too? Well, long ago, many decades ago, a famous American video game programmer once proclaimed his next greatest game ever that he will make you his b*tch. Sorry that didn’t happen.

Shizuku is the other dirty minded girl but she is only acting so. She is not a horny girl who wants to have sex or let Haruka do her in. This is evident as we see her often tease Haruka in a very sexually ambiguous way in hopes to catch his reaction. However when her plan backfires and it might seem the potential of getting on with some sex act is real, she panics and withdraws. It goes to show that Shizuku only wants to see Haruka’s embarrassed reaction and is using her childhood friend status to get it. Kanata on the other hand may also look like a horny little sister but all she wants is the attention of her big brother. Not really sure if she is really ignorant at her age because there are some sexual terms she is unaware of its meaning. Maybe if she was in elementary school maybe but she is like a year younger than him. Hard to believe that girls in this anime has not lost their innocence yet. Innocence of the mind, that is.

Rich girl Rina too sounds horny at times but only because she has lived a very sheltered life and treating her dogs as equals. Rich in wealth but poor in sexperience… Oddly for girls who come from an all-girls’ school to not freak out seeing a man her age, she is kinda cool. Maybe she has interactions with men before outside her school but if the reason for her to transfer here is just to explore more about the opposite sex, is she in that desperate of that experience because very rarely a popular onee-sama of a school would leave all her imouto slaves behind just for a dick. Really. Sure, online research can only do so much. And of all guys in school, why Haruka? Because other guys are being pussies for not liking girls who explicit talk dirty even though she isn’t. No wonder Haruka gets all the dirty talking girls. And there seems to be this small running joke that she often ends up tangled in a 69 position with Akiho. Just somehow. Lesbian fanservice?

Non-perverts like Saori and Misaki are in danger of becoming perverts themselves. Because when you have so long been surrounded by girls who talk dirty, the influence is sure strong. Saori tries to play by the book, the strict b*tch whom guys wouldn’t like. Most of the time her plan backfires and this makes her look bad. Like as though fate is trying to corrupt and tempt her to the dark and dirty side. On the other hand, I blame Misaki for being around Kanata for so long that she is starting to fantasize and overthink non-sexual and normal stuffs into some sexual delusion. But unlike Akiho, Misaki is already embarrassed at the thought of it while Akiho has no shame and says all that comes to mind.

There are true perverts too here. Especially Aoi as the school nurse. I don’t think she is socially awkward and all the sexual innuendoes that she posed are actually on purpose. This is one dangerous woman and if you’re not careful, you’re going to be eaten alive by her. Sayo is another pervert but she is more of the watching kind. She likes to observe the actions of others and gets her kicks with all those heavy breathing and possibly wetting herself in the process. And Seiya… Oh God. Girls scream when he enters the scene but his true love can be the one and only guy who has the name of a girl. Yeah. Each time Seiya pops up, I’ll be screaming, “Egads! It’s Seiya!!! Run, Haruka!!!”. It will be everyone’s worst nightmare if gay things were to happen. Far worse than that running joke of Haruka being falsely labelled a pedo loli. Or a masochist.

Last but not least, Haruka himself. The most normal guy ever like any other main leading protagonists who is surrounded by perverts. Especially girls. See Seitokai Yakuindomo and Shimoneta to understand how it feels to be a guy trying to be normal but dirty minded girls around him just keep forcing him to make him resist like hell. You got to respect Haruka for trying to be the best boyfriend that he can. He is trying to resist the urge to devour Akiho although he won’t likely turn into that big bad wolf because he is such a nice and considerate guy. Sometimes it feels that Haruka’s case isn’t like winning the lottery but biting off more than he can chew. In the sense that he confessed to the girl he likes and instantly got her to be his girlfriend. Hooray. Then suddenly she wants to show him her pantsu. Got more than he bargained for, eh? It’s not such a bad thing for a guy but there is always this worry that even though guys love their girls to be sexy and horny, there is a possibility this might attract other men and she doing the same to them as though it is nothing. Because, men, right? It’s good to see Haruka and Akiho taking things in the right direction albeit a very slow one. But I’m guessing he has to endure more sexual innuendoes and misinterpretation because it doesn’t look like Akiho is going to change any time soon. I suppose to truly love a person is to also love all their faults.

The art style of this anime makes the characters look a bit leaning towards the moe side. If you have seen series like NouCome, Kodomo No Jikan, Astarotte No Omocha, Ro-Kyu-Bu and Shinryaku! Ika Musume, the characters look almost like these. Those series are animated by Diomedea and jointly with Studio Blanc. One think I would like to note is how some of the girls’ faces have this slut and nympho-begging-for-sex look. Especially Shizuku and Aoi. Just by looking at their faces, they have this I-wanna-get-banged-now look. Also, something about their eyes that make them look weird too. I don’t know, do they look a little bigger than they should? Uhm, come to think of it, it makes them look a little like aliens… Must be just me.

One thing to note is Aoi Yuuki as Akiho. From my guess, it is like she has lost her voice after voicing and screaming her way through that idiotic main character in Aho Girl. Yeah, it takes quite a lot of energy to pull off that character. So for this season, I figure she might need a little rest and hence the very emotionless and ‘tired’ sounding Akiho. Well, this isn’t the only series in that particular season that Aoi Yuuki is voicing a character in this similar fashion. Because in that same season, she also voiced the titular character of the Kino No Tabi remake. But as far as this series is concerned, there were a few times when she almost went into her usual trademark voice especially when Akiho is in shock or surprised but didn’t cross over that line.

The rest of the other casts in the series include Mitsuhiro Ichiki as Haruka (Kazuya in Freezing), Rarisa Tago Takeda as Shizuku (debut role), Yuki Yagi as Kanata (Gabriella in Augmented Reality Girls Trinary), Natsumi Yamada as Rina (Nico Saruwatari in Busou Shojo Machiavellianism), Juri Nagatsuma as Saori (Hayuru in Masou Gakuen HxH), Marin Mizutani as Misaki (Sadako in Brave Witches), Miki Hase as Sayo, Iori Nomizu as Aoi (Haruna in Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka), Jun Miyamoto as Natsuo and Aya Saitou as Fuyumi (Satoshi in HaruChika). The voice behind Seiya is Arthur Lounsbery who is an American born Japanese. He has roles in other animes which I didn’t see like Haikyuu and Starmyu.

Aoi Yuuki sings the opening theme, Eien Labyrinth. Not to say that she is singing in her usual upbeat voice in this generic anime pop. Her singing still has that cuteness in it but sometimes I can sense that there is that tiredness from Aho Girl. I know it’s all a coincidence and she might be singing in this fashion to be as close to her character. The ending theme is very idol-like, Ai No Himitsu by Pua:re (a quartet idol group consisting of the voices behind Kanata, Rina and Misaki. The fourth member, Miyuu Ogura is only a singer).

Overall, definitely one of those low quality and cheesy productions of the season and year. I can see why so many with ‘refined taste’ bombarded this series mainly targeted for loser otaku males as they find it so cringe worthy. Oh well, I guess there are more sophisticated porn out there that you can get if you pay a little extra. But since I am such a simpleton, I did laugh and find all the sleazy sexual innuendoes funny. Yeah, I had an enjoyable time. Somehow those childish dirty jokes never get old. At least not for me. Because one day all the good stories will run out and we have to revert back to tasteless sex jokes and cheap fanservice. One day when all the women have more refined and superior tastes in men and all things, the power to choose and reject whoever they want, whose b*tch will you be then?

Ousama Game

March 3, 2018

I want to play a game. But not many would dare play the Ouija board because of its supernatural context whether you believe it or not. So we go play a safer game. Something like Truth or Dare. Something like King’s game AKA Ousama Game. Ah, what a harmless game to play, right? All you have to do is obey what the ‘king’ says otherwise the penalty for non-obedience is some little punishment. No harm done. Boring, you say? How about we make death as the penalty non-obedience. You don’t obey, you die! Hahaha! Don’t believe me? Just wait and see till your friends die in a horrific fashion in 3, 2, 1… BLOODY DEATH!!! Now you believe?! Feeling scared now, are we? You can’t quit this game no matter what and there can only be one survivor. Are you ready? Ready or not, first order is here…

Episode 1
Nobuaki Kanazawa is a new transfer student. Natsuko Honda quickly befriends him but he is always sad and distant. When others try to make friends with him, he tells them to leave him alone. Then for the sports festival, Natsuko invites him to run a relay race since she is the fastest anchor. At first he was sceptical but after hearing about Natsuko’s parents’ tragic death, he accepts. They won the race and Nobuaki thinks life will resume to be normal for him. That is, until he gets a text from the King. When he comes to class, everyone also has this message and thinks it is a prank (Nobuaki is to kiss Natsuko). When he tries to tell them the dangers of this game, they find him disgusting and stop being friendly. Nobuaki could only lament this is exactly the same reaction like the last time. Later Aimi Murazumi wants to help Nobuaki to hook up with Natsuko but he dismisses her effort and makes her upset. Nobuaki has resigned to himself that he is going to die and might as well be the first one to do so. But does he have the right to bring down Natsuko with him? It will be soon 24 hours before the punishment is exacted (the task must be carried out by then) when Natsuko surprisingly pops up before him. First she asks if he likes someone. There was a girl. He tries to push her away but she is adamant to see this through. She admits she likes him the first time she saw him and kisses him. Nobuaki feels strange (not because of the kiss) because the punishment hasn’t come. He realizes he screwed up as he thought the text from Aimi was the punishment text. Scrolling past all the texts, he finally sees the text from the King. It seems if anyone sleeps, they will die via hanging. Nobuaki frantically tries to get Natsuko to call all their other classmates while he heads to the nearest home of one of the classmates. Too late, he is already dead. With a few deaths already, all the frightened classmates who are gathered at the park seek answers. Nobuaki reveals he knows all about this because he played it before and is the only survivor. This prompts Aimi to chide him if he knew the risk and didn’t want to kiss Natsuko, it means he wanted her dead, right? Right. Everybody gets mad and some of the guys beat the crap out of him. They even think he is in cohorts with the serial killer whatsoever. Then another text comes in. One of those guys will bleed to death for disobeying the King’s orders. He starts bleeding and his innards explode!!!

Episode 2
Seeing is believing. So does this mean Natsuko will die if she doesn’t have sex with Teruaki Nagata? Time for some flashback of how gruesome the game is. When it first started, everyone thought it was some sexual harassment prank because some guy needed to grope a girl’s boobs. With the girls being disgusted, it was eventually not followed through. The next day, everyone is shocked both of them died via hanging just as mentioned in the text. It leaves everyone in shock and confused. Some in anger especially Shouta Yahiro because his girlfriend, Misaki Nakajima is to have sex with Daisuke Tasaki. In fear of the game, they eventually did it and this has Shouta beat him to a pulp. Because Shouta is currently the King, he orders Daisuke to die via hanging. It leaves him traumatized so Nobuaki talks to him to brush this off. They talk about their dreams as Nobuaki learns Daisuke wants to be a musician instead of following his father as a doctor. Daisuke then brings him to his big rich mansion where they jam and rock till midnight. See, nothing happened. Hooray! Nobuaki then gets a call from his girlfriend, Chiemi Honda worried about Daisuke. No worries. He is alright. Till a text comes in confirming Daisuke’s obedience. He hanged himself. And so Nobuaki tells everyone the need to cooperate if they are to survive this. Natsuko is terrified and doesn’t want to have sex other than the person she loves but terrified Teruaki makes it look like she is going to rape her. Suddenly Natsuko changes. She is through pretending and strips herself. She’s going to do it right here in front of everyone. She swears to survive this game. Oddly, Nobuaki who told her to decide about having sex is stopping her from doing so? No wonder she’s pissed off calling him a hypocrite. Since he is still annoying, she takes him somewhere to talk. She berates his idea of wanting to save everyone when it is human nature to just want to save themselves. She believes he backstabbed his friends to survive. Natsuko then cries rape. Easy. Nobody believes Nobuaki and he gets beaten up again. Because Mizuki Yukimura is the current King, Natsuko wants her to order Nobuaki to die. Don’t worry, it’s not like she is killing him. She’s just sending a text. While everyone is scared at Natsuko’s sudden change in character, nobody is giving a f*ck at Nobuaki pleading for help. Till Kenta Akamatsu calls out looking for him.

Episode 3
Nobody dares mess with Kenta as he seeks an explanation who beat Nobuaki up. Natsuko then wants Mizuki to also send a text to kill Kenta. Mizuki is distraught in what to do when Nobuaki agrees she puts his name but also the other name should be Natsuko. Even more distraught now, she won’t even do it. Kenta will bring Nobuaki for treatment. Mizuki tags along but when Natsuko also wants to, Kenta slaps her! It seems Kenta has got a message from the King too that he must give an order to his class that must be followed. He promises he will send himself an order to protect Mizuki and save her life. To further elaborate how scary this game, Nobuaki continues his past. After Daisuke’s death, everyone is in shock. Another message from the King telling the class to hold a popularity contest between Kana Ueda and Naoya Hashimoto. The least popular one will be punished. Everyone is torn on who to vote because the loser will die. So it becomes an intense fishing for votes as Nobuaki pleads to the class to save his best friend’s life. Because Kana’s friends aren’t too sure about voting her too, she decides to whore herself to get some of the votes. Shouta regrets his actions but can’t help think their actions will be no different. Nobuaki tells him even if they kill someone, they would also save someone. After the votes are counted, Naoya beats Kana by a single vote. She becomes so enraged that she jumps out of the window! Though she survives and is in ICU, her punishment is to confess to the person she likes. Of course she dies before she could do that and shockingly Naoya has to obey an order in her stead. That is, to have sex with somebody. Quickly Nobuaki sets up his best friend and girlfriend to make out. This is so twisted. And time is running out. Naoya would rather die than betray both his friends so Nobuaki knocks him out so that Chiemi could do the necessary. Can a guy maintain erection when he is out? Obedience is complied. Nobuaki confirms himself as the worst man alive as Chiemi has him promise he won’t die before her. Kenta views Nobuaki as a good and the one to blame for all this is the King. He did what he could to save others and has lost a lot of important things in his life. So stop crying and save it for the joyful moments. Nobuaki seems to have dropped his handphone at the park and Natsuko picks it up. Uh oh…

Episode 4
Nobuaki believes there is a village where this game originated. He thinks of going there to find clues on how to stop it. Kenta and Mizuki agree to go with him next morning. They discuss on the King’s identity and Nobuaki knows it is not among the classmates. He thought it was so previously but was wrong. Flashback shows Nami Hirano got an order to do something for herself and she had herself touch the King. This is her plan to smoke out the culprit behind this as an obedience text is sent once it is confirmed. But what if the King is not among them? Don’t worry. Nami believes Nobuaki’s theory is right. So they start with the boys first. None. Then the girls. Ria Iwamura is the most suspicious as she is the most distant classmate. Before Nami touches her, she claims she is the King. But she tells Nobuaki that doing so won’t end the game. The only way is to kill the King. Can he do it? This puts some serious doubts in his head. When Nami touches Ria, nothing happens. The subsequent girls too are cleared. Nami becomes distraught and runs away. Nobuaki chases after her and accompanies her as she wishes till midnight. Nobuaki doesn’t want her to bear all the burden since it is his fault to begin with. When midnight strikes, Nami is punished as she becomes blind. Nobuaki receives a subsequent text that he must lose something important. But he doesn’t tell this to Nami. Oddly for a blind girl, how can Nobuaki lose sight of her?! Yeah, she is at the beach preparing to drown herself. She calls Nobuaki to confirm if she is important to him. Of course. He goes home to wreck everything. I guess material possessions aren’t that important, huh? Then he calls Chiemi and insults her so that she could break up with him. By this time, Nami can’t stand it all anymore. Bye. When Nobuaki reaches the beach, only Nami’s footprints into the sea. So Nami became one with the waves? Sorry, bad pun. Oddly, for a blind girl, how can she write her confession on the sand so perfectly?

Episode 5
Ria mocks the irony of Nami’s death. She wasn’t punished to die but yet killed herself. Nobuaki gets rough on her. She maintains she is the King and Nami didn’t exactly touched her. She made Nami touched her instead. Oh, technicalities? She dares him to kill her. He will. Only when he confirms she is really the King. That’s when she zaps him with a taser. She reveals she isn’t the real King because he would be dead by now. She was just testing his resolve if he was ready to fight the King. Guess not. Why is Ria doing this? To have fun. She is going to beat this game and defeat the King. Nobuaki believes there is another way to beat this game without more deaths. They’ll each do what they think it’s right. Just when Nobuaki has lost all hope, Yousuke Ueda calls him and has found a clue to this game. It seems all the dead victims receive an additional text but with just a character. This gives Nobuaki some hope as he asks about Ria. Yousuke isn’t too sure about her except that she was once a cheerful girl until she got raped by her dad. Shortly, a text from the King comes in. Don’t do anything unnecessary. Right after that a few people will die for disobedience. One of them is Shouta. Nobuaki tries calling him. He is suffocating to death and his last word is something about blocking. This has Nobuaki think you can’t block or cancel your subscription. So as he calls others to warn about this, instantly they get a punishment notice! They didn’t do anything and they’ll die?! Nobuaki realizes what unnecessary means is that you can’t cry! Damn, people are going to drop like flies. Amazingly Nobuaki who is always looking like he is going to cry from all the trauma manages to hold back his tears. He gets a call from Yousuke getting a major clue. He has found news clips where this game originated, Yonaki Village. He wants him to head there but Nobuaki has given up. But Yousuke can’t do it too. His time is up. Yup, he cried. He hopes Nobuaki will take care of his girlfriend, Kaori Maruoka. Yousuke manages to send important data to him before his body gets torn apart. Later, Nobuaki gets knocked out by someone. He wakes up in a storeroom and is confronted by Kaori who is mad as his lies. She tried to call Yousuke but he didn’t pick up. So when Nobuaki called her and assured everything was alright (technically at that point he wasn’t lying), she believes he is the King. Nobuaki argues how much Yousuke is doing to help this game and his feelings for her, blah, blah, blah. She frees him but soon collapses. Which girl wouldn’t get emotional after hearing words from her boyfriend even though it is from a third party?

Episode 6
Naoya is worried about Nobuaki when he gets a call from Toshiyuki Abe and Keita Yamashita about the next King’s order. It seems there are 10 of them left and one of them must roll the die. The number correspondences to how many of them will die. The name via the roller’s choice. Oh, the roller will also have to die. If nobody rolls or gets named, everyone dies. Ria then calls for everyone to meet. At this point, one of them is unable to come because she is in hospital after attempting to kill herself. It becomes a heated discussion between Toshiyuki and Chia Kawano because they hate each other and hope the other will be called. Toshiyuki then tries to convince Toshiyuki Fujioka to roll the die and save him because everyone will name him first. Nobuaki stops him in time and since this disappoints the bully and reveals his true colours, he takes Chiemi hostage. Everyone do as he says or he’ll kill her. He shows how crazy he is and stabs her thigh. He wants either Nobuaki or Naoya to give the order. Nobuaki is willing to do it but Naoya usurps him and rolls. Well, all be damned. A 6 is rolled. The maximum number! Naoya accidentally names Keita and his head decapitated! With pressure from Toshiyuki the bully, he names the other girls (including the one in the hospital). Toshiyuki then punches the bully and tells Naoya to name both of them. After that, Naoya’s limbs start to rip itself off! Cue for emotional farewell. Ria then moves to take down the King before midnight. As she was also researching the game, she was able to get closer by adding Yousuke’s data. Yonaki Village was the first that recorded mass deaths. A group of scientists deduced some sort of virus is responsible for this. Something about the effects of hypnosis and how powerful suggestions could cause reactions and deaths. Since it wasn’t eliminated, the virus went on the spread itself over the internet. Wait a minute. An organism virus became a digital virus? WTF?! Ria couldn’t complete the words left by the deceased so she created an anti-virus programme to eradicate it. Yeah, genius hacker makes it look so easy. Then it is too good to be true because a message comes in saying Ria has violated the game and will be burnt to death! OMG! She’s on fire! Human torch, literally. But why is she still working normally and not in pain? Ah, ‘credit’ goes to her father’s daily torture. But of course she can no longer go on as she tells Nobuaki and Chiemi (the only survivors left) that this game gave her a purpose and it made her not want to die. However it is not that she wants to keep living. She just wanted to win this game. She leaves it to the duo to defeat the King. Duh. Who else is there left? Bye.

Episode 7
Nobuaki and co finally reach Yonaki Village. With Mizuki’s looming order, Kenta wonders who should be the ones named. Without hesitating, Nobuaki says Natsuko and Haruka Momoki. The latter because there was an order for her boobs to be touched but that person is already dead so she is as good as dead too. Kenta disagrees because to him all life is precious. In this abandoned village, there is a house formerly occupied by the Honda family. Nobuaki goes in to investigate and sees a picture of Chiemi and her father. Could it be her dad was a participant in this game? More baffling, father left an apology letter to her. Then there is another picture of a younger father carrying 2 babies. He thinks father killed himself for dragging Chiemi into the game. Nobuaki sees behind the picture the names of Chiemi and Natsuko. It makes him wonder if Natsuko is a survivor of the game. When Mizuki goes missing, Kenta goes to find her. A text from the King is received that 7 people are now dead due to disobedience. Just like that. When Mizuki is found, she wants to name Natsuko and herself. Therefore this is goodbye and wants Kenta to tell her she is pretty. It makes him awkward and it makes her sad. But in the heat of things, he hugs and kisses her. Then it gets twisted. Mizuki wants them to die together and make their love eternal! Kenta remains level headed that it is over once you’re dead. There is only love when you’re alive. Not happy, she tries to run away but Kenta knocks her out. Kenta then uses her handphone to type in the names but uses her finger to send. Technically that counts as her sending, right? When Nobuaki finds them, he is disheartened to learn Kenta will die. Because of the promise he made to protect Mizuki, if she dies, he dies. Looks like Kenta and Mizuki will also die for disobeying orders. Kenta struggles as he tries to reach Mizuki who has just woke up. They both reach out to each other but drop dead. Sad Nobuaki lines up their dead body together, commending Kenta as an amazing guy for putting his life on the line to protect others. He gave him hope. Nobuaki gets a call from himself. It is actually b*tch Natsuko on the line and she is mocking if Kenta and Mizuki are still alive.

Episode 8
Natsuko claims she has been waiting for the text that says Mizuki is dead. The moment she got it, she quickly f*cked Teruaki as per her King’s order. Wow. It must be a real quickie then. So when her obedience confirmed text was sent, it was to confuse everyone especially Kenta who misunderstood it. So poor boy tried desperately to save her but all in vain. At least they died together. She is going to target Nobuaki next. Teruaki needs to warn the others about Natsuko’s insanity but gets his handphone confiscated and a threatening warning. This b*tch is crazy! Nobuaki reads a journal of a participant of the game in Yonaki Village. It states that the single letters sent to handphones after a person dies is some sort of mutation that not even the King predicted. It is the key to end this game. Huh? He gets a call from Riona Matsumoto to meet. Because she has some information, she thinks she can be bossy over him? Anyway, she was researching the game too and found and article of something similar in another school. Natsuko came from this school. She also stumbled across Ria’s name. She has Nobuaki explain who she is as well as the letters sent to the dead. Riona breathes some good news because it looks like all the letters from the previous games are the same. Their meeting is cut short when Natsuko is here to gather all of them at the park for the next King’s game. A game to kill him. Nobuaki confirms with her that she was a previous participant and that she killed everyone including those precious to her to stay alive. He mentions Chiemi’s name as well as his relationship to her. The sisters could have been separated since young. Natsuko is shocked although she brushes off his dumb talk thinking he thought he could get away just because she is related to his late girlfriend. With 11 survivors left, this game involves breaking any number of your own fingers. Right fingers are +1 while left fingers are -1. You can assign those points to others too. At the end, those with negative points will die! Of course there is an option to pass and nobody has to lose. Going in accordance to the seat numbers, after half of them have passed, it is Teruaki’s turn. But first he talks to Nobuaki and cuts his hair?! Why does it feel like a bad omen when he starts talking about his hair stylist dreams? After Nobuaki’s hair is trimmed and nice, Teruaki breaks a right finger! He has colluded with everyone to get back their handphones and of course Natsuko. He takes a rock to smash all his left fingers!

Episode 9
Unless Natsuko gives back their handphone, he will send all the negative points to her. But even after she does so, Teruaki sends 4 negative points to her, 1 negative point to Aimi and 1 positive point to Nobuaki. This means she and the rest after her have to break their fingers for her if she wants to be saved. Natsuko isn’t willing to break her own fingers and passes. The rest all pass and Aimi is the last one. Natsuko is begging desperately for her to break her own fingers to save her. Aimi looks hesitant so Natsuko breaks it for her! Why isn’t anybody stopping her?! Apparently this was pre-planned. Aimi told Teruaki to give a negative point to her to see if Natsuko would save her. And looks like she didn’t. Natsuko explains in her own twisted fashion how everyone is so pushed to the brink that their mental states are weakened and can’t think straight. Then there’s some flashback how Natsuko became friends with meek Aimi and ‘saved’ her. Aimi is then ‘convinced’ so she dedicates her broken fingers to Natsuko. I mean, at this rate she’ll die and their goal is to avoid anyone dying, right? Having said that, Natsuko breaks Aimi’s thumb so that she could send it to herself and avoid death. Nobuaki asks Aimi’s meaning of friendship. Bond. Yeah, that’s one twisted bond she has. After getting their hands patched up, all of them converge again. Many would like Nobuaki to be the leader and lead them out of this but Natsuko disagrees as only such will get in their way. She wants to challenge Nobuaki before the next order. But Nobuaki laments she hasn’t changed. She snaps back about his half assed ideals when everyone well knows there can only be 1 survivor. So why did she let Aimi live then? To pay back the favour. She needs her for her survival. Looks like Aimi is so trance by her she agrees. Best friends forever, I guess. When midnight strikes, it sees a message comes in that Teruaki will die for disobeying orders. Because he forgot to lock his handphone, Natsuko blocked the King, which is like quitting the game. Teruaki’s neck starts bleeding. A few emotional talk with Nobuaki before his head finally falls off! Natsuko’s theory is that Teruaki might be thinking of dying since his hair stylist dream is as good as dead. The one who can’t take Teruaki’s death is Ryou Sugisawa who still pretends he is alive. Nobuaki notices everyone is breaking down and can’t tell from wrong or right. Their attachment to life is going numb.

Episode 10
The next order is to run to Nuegakubi by foot without the help of any transport. Every 8 hours, the furthest away will be punished. As usual, Natsuko dashes off first. Nobuaki notices Aimi staying behind. So she wants to get killed? He persuades her to tell her piece of mind to Natsuko. It got her running. Meanwhile at the other running pack, while running up the pedestrian bridge, Takuya Sakamoto purposely pushes Masatoshi Ooi down. With him unconscious, Takuya breaks alliance with the rest and goes on his own. The rest are in a dilemma to save Masatoshi but are forced to leave him behind. Nobuaki and Aimi catches up with Riona but since she is still tired and needs to rest, they go ahead and catch up with the group. Nobuaki leaves Aimi with them and after learning what happened to Masatoshi, wait, he’s not going back to save him? But he goes back to get Riona? Luckily Masatoshi somewhat catches up albeit still injured. Nobuaki hears his inner demon (in the form of Natsuko?) telling him to leave the duo behind. He is reminded by Masatoshi he is always caring about others and it makes him hypocritical. No use wasting energy arguing. Just get running. As dawn breaks, Riona is too tired and Masatoshi’s bruises are getting to him. They rest by the cliff but Masatoshi loses consciousness and falls into the sea. Against Riona’s wish, Nobuaki dives in to save him. I don’t think underwater CPR is going to work. Eventually Masatoshi drowns himself. Nobuaki’s morale is at the lowest but the ghost of Kenta, Mizuki and Teruaki force him to not give up. He makes his way to shore where Riona hugs him to transfer her body warmth and also to cry about how worried she was for being left alone. As they make a final dash to Nuegakubi, looks like time is up. Who is the furthest? Is that why Nobuaki pretended his shoelace was untied so that Riona could be ahead of him?

Episode 11
The one who is furthest away from Nuegakubi: Masatoshi. Phew? Riona slaps Nobuaki for pulling that stunt. So, thanks? As they keep running, looks like the next selection is up. Nobuaki suggests doing rock-scissors-paper to decide. Riona at first was against it but choice do they have? She loses. But Nobuaki will run behind her? Apparently he won so he gets to choose. WTF?! She kicks him in his balls! Worse than death! Not sure why she is talking about his next girlfriend who must be better than her? Anyway Nobuaki runs backwards. For a guy to be kicked in the nut like that, he can sure run. However it is Aimi who got punished. It seems she has started running backwards after realizing she needs to repay her thanks to Nobuaki for all the encouragement. Bye. As Nobuaki and Riona race to the goal, he tells her the ending of the previous game. One of them has to kill the other. Nobuaki can’t do it so Chiemi kills herself instead. Guess what reward did the winner have? A choice to either continue the game or get punished! Holy cow! You can’t just win this thing. Natsuko has reached the summit first but she isn’t going to sit there idly. First she changes the sign on the forked path and lures Takuya into a trap she made. Then she breaks his legs and leaves him to die! Next to arrive is Rina Minami. Natsuko tells her to take this route but she doesn’t believe her and goes the opposite. Thing is, Natsuko was telling the truth! Nobuaki and Riona has caught up with Ryou and Aya Matsuoka and try to play catch up. Lost Rina stumbles into Takuya who is pleading for help but she ignores him and lets him die. This is what it feels like when he abandoned Masatoshi, right? Eat your own medicine! Rina then stumbles into lost Yuuna Kobayashi. The latter slips down a cliff and is barely hanging in there. She pleads for Rina’s help. At first she does but decides to change her mind. She’s not going down with her. Bye. When Rina reaches the summit, Natsuko plays psychology with her that she killed many to reach here. Because Natsuko killed her entire class the last time, can Rina do that? Now Rina sees hallucinations of her zombie pals trying to get her. She carelessly runs away and falls off a cliff. Time is almost up as Nobuaki’s side nears the top. But standing before them is Natsuko.

Episode 12
Nobuaki rams Natsuko like a bull! Everyone arrives at the top safely. It seems those who are punished are those Natsuko left for dead. Ryou suddenly knocks out Nobuaki with a rock! It seems the next order is here. They are to cut off each other’s limbs and torso to make a human doll! Basically a group effort but also looks like everybody is still going to die. Ryou has lost it. In his desire to be strong, he is going ahead with this order. Natsuko throws him a chainsaw (where the f*ck did she get it?) and Ryou uses it to cut off his leg!!! Natsuko helps out. Too bad Ryou dies after that. Aya tries to strangle Natsuko but apparently she got sliced in the gut. I’m sure Natsuko would have gone for Nobuaki had he not woke up. He learns what is going on and then all of a sudden, why Natsuko is like being friendly with them? In the sense that Riona and Nobuaki show her the single text messages they have received from the dead. Natsuko also shows them the texts she has collected. She noticed this pattern from the last game. So they pool their texts together and it reads something like the game will not end if one of them survives! Holy cow. So either all of them dies to save humanity or else one of them will be enough as the carrier to spread this virus to others and the game will go on forever. Natsuko is back to her mad b*tch mode. She claims Nobuaki will sacrifice himself to save mankind but she will not. She will do what it takes to survive. She strangles him while explaining how she has been playing the villain all the while because you too would lose your sanity if you see your friends and loved ones die before you. So the reason she ‘hates’ him is because he gave false hope to others by trying to play the saviour? Well, she does have a point there but still.

Perhaps she was so into strangling him that she didn’t hear Riona take the chainsaw and gut her back. Dead. Finally. So we have Nobuaki and Riona having their final cheesy romance because they are so deep into it that before Riona could confess to him, Natsuko got back up and took the chainsaw to slice his throat! I CAN’T BELIEVE NOBODY HEARD THAT UNTIL THE FINAL MOMENTS!!! It’s just ridiculous. Yeah, you deserve to die. Oh, what’s this, Natsuko? Better kill the one you love than have them being killed by others? She won’t let Riona kill him? Oh, so it’s about a boy in the end, eh? Oh Riona, screaming and ordering him not to die won’t make him live. And that’s the end of it. Nobuaki wakes up in what it seems to be heaven. He sees all his dead friends there happily waiting for him. Yeah, now they can go to paradise together. Even Natsuko is there. Heh. Even b*tches like her can go to heaven. Poor lonely Riona. All alone. She drags Nobuaki to the beach where they lie down there ‘romantically’. It’s hard to make out with a corpse. No amount of begging could bring him back to life. So I guess in the end, she takes his body with him and drowns together. Oh sh*t!!! I guess that’s for the best. Hooray! Mankind is saved! Not quite… Because somewhere in Japan, some kid receives the first message from the King that they are about to play this game. Oh sh*t…

Survivor: Outwit, Outlast, Outplay & Out You Go
WTF???!!! TO BE CONTINUES!!! OH NO!!! I DON’T WANT THIS GAME TO CONTINUE!!!! LET IT END, FOR GOD’S SAKES!!! Oh dear. This series that started out interestingly soon became such a mess. My only respite is that finally everybody playing the game is dead. The current one and those in Nobuaki and Natsuko’s previous class. Even if it had just suddenly end there with Riona killing herself, I wouldn’t complain. Even if that final episode felt a bit cheesy and rushed (especially the final killings but the chainsaw that didn’t make sense because do you know how much strength you need to exert just to hold up one?). I wouldn’t mind. Because all the annoying people are dead. But they had to put a teaser of another potential game in the works. Holy sh*t. This better not get another sequel. I hope that’s just that. Or I fear that I might have been infected by this virus and compelled to watch it.

It is very unfortunate that despite the interesting premise, the overall flow and pacing of the story is largely very disappointing. I knew something was wrong and it started to get boring once Nobuaki started his flashback story of the previous game. Sure, we got one King’s game instead of just one. But the problem is in the pacing and how the story is being told. I believe the producers want to put more focus on the drama and the story rather than on the deaths. That is why you tend to notice how the dramatized drama is so dragged out that it becomes annoying that you wish for everyone to just die and end it. Also, sometimes you get a few or none who die and at other times they just kill off a bunch of them just to save time. It makes it feel like as though those characters are not important enough so let’s make them die in a big group death. Yeah, suddenly one big chunk of students just died like that. And we don’t even know, remember or care about their names. The counter at the end of how many has died and how many is left is mostly useless. Because it’s not like we care about everyone suddenly dying at one go, right? It’s like a dramatic effect tool so that some of us may go, “Oh no. There is only xx number of them left. How many are going to survive?!”. Well, if you had known what happened in the last episode. Sorry to disappoint you hopefuls…

One of the biggest gripe and confusing thing about this series is how the King’s game works. Not so much of who or where the orders come from or what they must do but rather how one gets punished. You see, in the initial stages of the game, some orders or so ambiguous that it feels as though they want to do some mass killings to kill off a big group to save time. So if you’re the kind who understands things slowly, just too bad for you. Out you go. The most mind boggling one is Kenta and Mizuki’s death. I thought all those punished would die a horrific death. But how come they get to die so peacefully?! I don’t understand. I think they are the only ones who get to die with their whole body intact, notwithstanding some sort of injury to their bodies whatsoever.

The other big problem is the King’s game itself. You mean a virus is causing all of this to happen? If you say biological virus, then I would be more inclined to believe even though the plausibility is still low. But a digital virus? Come on. This is just crap. Is this some sort of hint to say that if you are addicted to your handphone 24/7, you can get infected by such viruses? Possibly. With everyone being such a zombie these days. It is as though they are trying to warn and scare us not to be addicted to our Smartphones. I think this series tried to emulate that hypnosis thingy from Danganronpa 3 when the people kill themselves. But then again, if an AI can do this to humans, is this another warning of how technology will grow smarter than us and make killer robots to wipe us out? Oh, who needs Terminator or Skynet when you can just annihilate mankind this way while enjoying and watching us like hapless rats fighting for survival. We are at the whim and mercy of artificial intelligence, so to speak. In the end, the King is just one big sadist because its true goal is not to have anyone survive in the end. The one who survives the longest is the biggest loser since he/she have to witness all the killings and deaths. If this game was created by an alien, this would be the most effective way to wipe out humans since naturally humans are just selfish creatures. It’s just going to take some time… But it’ll be fun watching them at that.

The other thing that doesn’t make sense is how the students are playing this game like as though they are the only humans in the country or world to play this game. I mean, what happened to the adults? Their parents where?! Do they not care about their kids and just let them do as they wish? Especially that final arc where some had to run all the way to Nuegakubi. Oh, where is my son or daughter? Not around? Okay. No problem. WTF. Sure those survivors would have told their parents and the parents of the dead would have done something. If this King’s game origination is a digital virus, where are the world’s famous hackers to stop this game?! I believe getting help from outside parties is not stated as one of the general rules (unless it is pertaining to playing the game) so why don’t they seek help from others? Oh Nobuaki, you keep thinking you can save everybody but you never thought of asking help from others to help save them. You trying to be the tragic hero?

At first I didn’t want to watch this series because I saw the horror tag in it. You know me. I’m still a chicken and horror averse person so I would prefer to stay away from horror anime titles (unless it is Jigoku Shoujo because of a certain seiyuu…) but changed my mind after thinking that this could be more of a survival type. Well, certainly nobody is technically wrong. However the horror stuffs are merely reduced to when the limbs suddenly get cut off or contorted till they rip apart and the head suddenly gets decapitated. That’s about all. Although it is scary but not that scary enough because of the poor animation quality. Yup. Sometimes I though they looked a bit funny… Plus, most of those decapitated parts are censored out by those ‘black hole’ censors so there isn’t much to see.

The next big problem comes from the characters themselves. I thought I wanted to call this series the Crying Shame Game. Because that is what many of the characters will do when somebody dies. The biggest offender is Nobuaki. He is the biggest cry-baby ever. Thanks to the series trying to ramp up the drama and the feels, you get many of such weird scenes of Nobuaki shedding his tears and screaming in agony he has failed to save another life. Again. Damn this guy is going to turn into some traumatic psychopath if he lives through this. I know there is only so much a person can take when he sees his friends die before his eyes again and again so frequently but it feels like routine. Somebody going to die. Nobuaki desperately tries to save them. Tears. Crying. Oops. Too late. Dying. Tears. Crying. Last words? Okay. Now die. Scream. Tears. Crying. There’s some anger in between too. There. The cycle of the melancholy of Nobuaki Kanazawa. So much so it gets so annoying that I started looking at this as a running joke.

The more interesting character is Natsuko. She is also the ultimate b*tch character whom you will love to hate. She is the physical antagonist of this series because we don’t really know nor can we see the mastermind behind the King’s game. Natsuko’s self-preservation and selfishness is a very good food for thought of what humans like her would do just to stay alive. I am not sure if I myself would resort to that kind of sneaky ways just to stay alive at the expense of others. Will I turn to my dark side and instincts for survival or will I stay a pussy and pay the price with my life? Not sure. Only in such a true test that my true self will reveal. I hope it will never come. Hence Natsuko is able to survive this long because of how she manipulates and steps over everyone else who is in this case either too dumb, weak or gullible. Too bad karma took a vacation and just desserts were sold out for Natsuko’s case until it is too late. The final episode did hint that she was just playing the villain in order to keep her sanity. Yeah, she played it for too damn long and at this point nobody would have thought of her as that. So it all boils down to one cheesy romance affair because she loves him, Riona loves him and now they can all be joined together in the afterlife. Wow. What a ‘happy ending’! What a cheesy romance, including the one with Kenta and Mizuki. Sheesh. Till death do them part, eh?

I don’t even understand why the connection was made between Chiemi and Natsuko. I mean, it could have been done without. It serves no more than a distraction and it becomes a red herring towards the end of the series. So what fi Chiemi and Natsuko are sisters and they come from the same village? You might think Natsuko is playing this game then to get her revenge on Nobuaki but then again it doesn’t make sense because she too didn’t know about her sister as they were separated. So this connection is one of those WTF things that would leave you scratching your head wondering why they put it in here in the first place.

As for the other characters, like I have said, they don’t really matter. Those who died so early in the game don’t even matter anymore and they’re just there for the body count. I guess for these early deaths, it is a blessing because they don’t have to put up with all the emotional torture. And for those side characters who somewhat do, it is usually a death flag and indication that their time is probably up so they do something final before they go. And more crying from Nobuaki. Sheesh… When they die, you don’t care for them anymore. Amazingly in the final stretch of the game, it was Natsuko trying to kill off everybody. Heck, she should have done that right after her true colours were revealed. Just go to the shop and buy a machine gun and gun them all down! Oh, can you get guns in Japan freely especially for an underage? Or just get a sword and cut everyone down! Natsuko is one who can do it. Perhaps it will be too risky if there are too many as in the beginning as everyone will team up and bring her down. Better to do it when the size is smaller and they are all separated. Plus at the end stage of the game, everyone is losing their sanity because of how close it gets to the theme of there can only be one. So you bet everyone is getting selfish and jittery.

I don’t want to go into too deep in the voice acting department because of all the dramatization of the characters screaming, crying and being angry. I suppose that is expected when you play a game of life and death. The list is a long one seeing in a class you have like over 30 people and since we also have Nobuaki’s previous class, that’s double the amount. But I’ll just note Mamoru Miyano as Nobuaki. It has been a while since I heard this guy (though in smaller cameo roles, this my first as him in a leading role) but his boyish voice makes it suitable and at the same time for Nobuaki whenever he starts wailing. Is it me or now I’m starting to think that his natural voice sounds like as though he is going to cry. The other one to note is Yui Horie as Natsuko. After a year’s hiatus and returning with a few small cameo roles in the previous season, looks like she is back helming a main character. She still hasn’t lost her touch and is versatile going from a sweet girl to a devilish crazy woman.

I have a dilemma wondering if the hard rock opening and ending themes sound suitable for this survival horror series. Feed The Fire by Coldrain and Lost Paradise by Pile may give you that adrenaline rush with their hard rock style of rocking but it would have been fitting had the series been of the action type. People being killed off via decapitation or amputation and the over-dramatization of the series don’t make it sound like it should have some hard rock music. I don’t know. Maybe it’s like the trauma of seeing these people die in such a manner that you might resort to take drugs and start hallucinating to fight off the horrific trauma. And what better way to complement all that with such hard rock music. Just kidding. But what if everyone as we have seen playing this game and getting killed is because they are all high on drugs?! No way!!!

Overall, this is a very disappointing series that fails in so many aspects that it is bad enough that it is good. And funny. At least I felt that way. The characters and the pacing of the story messed things up. After a while you won’t even want to care for the characters and even root for the King to just kill everyone off. Thank you very much even if the King didn’t actually directly kill everyone. Because everyone is just so annoying and weepy that a whole load of Kleenex won’t be enough to wipe away those tears. And you thought a tear jerking movie was bad enough with the tissues. Or porn for guys ;p. If you want to watch survival series, it is best to go for Danganronpa and even the old school Gantz. Compared to this mediocrity, even Mirai Nikki, Umineko No Naku Koro Ni and Btooom look better. If there was a King’s game among all such survivor series, this one would be end up in runners up or third place. Because there is nothing more frustrating than slogging all the way only to go out and lose one step before ultimate victory. Better to go out early if you’re not going to win, right? Ironically, a fate worse than death itself.

Here we go again. This season like the previous two has done it once more. Inserting a short hentai title among the list of animes of the season. We had a monk and a college student and then a cross-dresser and a college student. This time we have a teacher and a high school student. Actually, the teacher is the hot stunning babe who is going to get f*cked. Omiai Aite Wa Oshiego Tsuyoki Na Mondaiji looks set to be an illicit love affair between a teacher and her student. Though, this isn’t the first time we had an anime with such a theme because long ago we had a high school girl secretly married to her teacher (Oku-sama Wa Joshi Kousei). And that popular one way back then whereby a student had to marry his alien teacher and keep it a secret (remember Onegai Teacher?). But those had no sex scenes whatsoever and were more of romantic comedies. Now this one… I hope if you’re still in high school and have a very hot teacher, don’t get funny ideas using this as inspiration. Damn they should have just labelled this as porn. More importantly… Why the heck am I still watching such genres???!!!

Episode 1
Nano Saikawa is a school teacher but there is a student, Souji Kuga who is always truant from her class. She tries to talk to him but he brushes her off. She notices his bruises and thinks he hates her. As her parents are bugging her to go for a marriage interview, she attends one and finds Souichirou Takamiya attractive. As they spend the day together, he asks about her teaching job as she tells him about this particular troubled student. She starts feeling a little tipsy as Souichirou kisses her and wants her to be his fiancée. Chance for him to make out with her. She finds it odd he starts addressing her as sensei and then a sense of familiarity of seeing him somewhere before. Then she notices those bruises. Kuga?!

Episode 2
It seems Kuga switched the picture with his brother. The different surname is because their parents are divorced and he is living with his mother. He wants to continue sex as she tries to stop him. He only stops when she starts crying. Sly guy starts playing psychology with her. He says his father was very happy to see them engaged. Because Nano’s father and his got along very well and since uncle took care of her many times… You know where this is going. You’d bet how upset he would be if this engagement fails. In school, Nano recalls calling uncle about it and he really did sound happy despite realizing the mistake. Nano didn’t have time to explain since he hung up. Even when she tried to tell this to her own parents, they are okay with her getting engaged with her own student! Such a free world! Kuga suddenly pulls Nano in and starts to make out with her. Still worried about that student-teacher relationship? Well, she has already given her body to him and if she has forgotten, time to ‘remind’ her again…

Episode 3
Wow. Kuga fingers her until she cums. Too bad the bell rings. Time’s up. Nano you don’t look happy. Can’t let this go on, you say? In class, she realizes he is somewhat popular with the girls too but he often brushes them off. Remembering he always hangs out on the roof, she goes there to talk to him. No she isn’t going to make out with you. She wants him to stop. Age difference? Doesn’t matter. About college? Not going. He’ll take over his dad’s job. Doing this just to please his father? Kuga claims she should have figured it out as she responded to his feelings. There was this time she told him he could talk to her if he wants since she too is a lonely person. Kuga hugs and confesses he has liked her all these years.

Episode 4
Nano meets the real Souichirou and talks to him about Kuga not wanting to go to college. Don’t worry. He’ll talk to him. Souichirou quips he felt frustrated Kuga stole her away from him. Kuga has now filled up his college survey form simply because Souichirou told him if he doesn’t go to college, he can’t make Nano happier. Kuga wants assurance she loves him but she thinks it is just a passing feeling. To prove it is not, he will study hard and get into the top 10. When he does, please consider. Kuga puts in the effort and you can see him turning into a zombie! Wait. Nano feels bad now? She blames herself for taking this lightly? The results are out and Kuga scores third overall. While she can’t seriously answer him now but promises she will seriously consider his proposal. Of course Kuga wants his other reward now and he starts making out with her. Time to try penetrative sex…

Episode 5
Kuga realizes this is not the right place to do it. So he guides her to masturbate him!!! WTF?! In the end he cums all over her tummy!!! He teases her that he is turned on seeing semen on her and wants to f*ck her again. That priceless shock look on her face when it is all just a joke. This is somewhat porn so I won’t be surprised if he can f*ck her again and cum. When Nano hears Kuga has fallen ill, Souichirou brings her to see him. She feels guilty that he studied too hard and ended up like this. As Souichirou has to leave on a business trip, he has her stay with him for the night. He teases her to kiss him to get better. She actually is going to do it and he freaks out! Actually he doesn’t want to spread his illness. She assures him she is stronger than she looks. So a French kiss can heal him faster? Kuga wonders if her assertiveness today means she is serious to marry him. She isn’t sure but doesn’t dislike it when he touches her. So to say he will heal faster if she makes love to him? Or does this mean they can do more if he gets better? Yeah, he’ll heal in no time. Meanwhile Souichirou holds a picture of Nano and him holding hands as kids.

Episode 6
Nano goes to the beach with Kuga. Yeah, their families come along too. So no horny stuffs until later. When several beach ruffians try to hit on Nano, the brothers come in time to stop them. Kuga wants to fight them but Souichirou tells him to stop and the most important thing now is Nano. Later Kuga apologizes to Nano for still being a kid and unable to protect her. He thinks Souichirou is better for her. Nano dismisses it as he did come to save her and getting mad on her behalf makes her happy. Time for shower make out. Then it moves on to the bed. Remember to wear your condom. The first time it hurts. Kuga covers her eyes as he doesn’t want to see his funny orgasmic face. But she wants to. She finds it cute and gets turned on. Yeah, now they’re really getting into it. What a satisfying first time. While Kuga hopes she will love him one day, Nano can’t tell him yet but she is already in love with him. Thanks to his great sexual prowess maybe?

Episode 7
Nano wonders if he would like to participate in any of the class activities. Of course not. She quips too bad because he is quite good looking. I guess this prompts him to get sexual on her. She promises to let him come to her home this weekend instead of doing it right now. That ‘blackmail’ was easy. In her room, they go through her photo album. He gets jealous seeing all the high school guys with her in the picture. She claims she never talks much to boys. Still, Kuga laments he should have been the same age as her and be in the same class. She argues had that been the case, they would not have met (and hence no great sex). Cue for the sex starved couple to make out. The highlight is him kissing her pussy before f*cking deep her pussy. Strangely but not, it doesn’t hurt for Nano because ultimately she feels good. In school, Nano passes by a class when she sees a girl hugging him.

Episode 8
Nano looks depressed so Souichirou talks to her and learns about that hugging incident. However Nano knows it just a misunderstood situation as that girl was taking his measurements for a costume. Yet it made her anxious. She feels bad he has so many things to do at his age and doesn’t want him to feel obliged to her. Souichirou asks a hypothetical question if he was the one to pop up at the marriage interview. Would she be free of doubts? Showing her that picture, it is true that they met before and she was his first love. Because Kuga loves her, he will have to give up. But if this is not what Nano wants, he will be happy to take her. So does she love Kuga? Yes. Nano had a little too much drink so in his car when she is acting a bit horny, Souichirou tests waters by making out with her! She thinks he is Kuga and likes it! Luckily he stops before it gets worse. In school, Nano thinks that make out was a dream. She hears the good news that Kuga would participate in the cultural festival since she said she wanted to see him in a waiter uniform.

Episode 9
Kuga looks hot in a waiter outfit. Souichirou visits and the girls also view him as hot. They think Souichirou and Nano are dating as they look like the perfect couple. Also, this has many to think that Nano who has been seen hanging out with Kuga lately, to misinterpret it was actually his brother instead. Kuga overheard this and doesn’t like it. He talks to Nano later and although he knows she isn’t dating Souichirou, he still doesn’t like it she went to see him behind his back even if it is for advice. Kuga claims his brother is the perfect guy and probably has someone on his mind. Hence he will never love her. Are you sure? Thinking she would fall in love with the ultimate guy, he wants her to stay away from him. Now that’s just jealousy talking. As they cuddle, she tells him about the rumour of 2 people dancing as a pair at the night dance will be together forever. If he wants to go with her, then wait for her in the classroom. Apparently his libido cannot wait as he starts to make out with her. Yeah, he wants to f*ck her every day (although he at least does that every episode). The delicious fingering stops when the bell rings. And to think he wanted to put his ‘hot and hard thing’ inside her… Later, Nano’s student, Kayama seeks a favour from her. There is someone she wants to go to the dance with. That shock look on Nano’s face… Oh dear. Later Nano tells Kuga to meet her at the stairways instead.

Episode 10
Souichirou finds Nano crying. She feels guilty that she set up Kuga to meet another girl and wasted Souichirou’s support. It’s like the more she likes Kuga, the more doubtful and guilty she feels. He tries to comfort by hugging her but then Kuga enters. Souichirou must love his brother so much that he just leaves. However Kuga gets the wrong idea Nano set him up so she could be with Souichirou. Because of that he rapes her!!!! WTF????!!! I guess the penetration hurts. He shuts her up by kissing her so she can’t explain herself. Kuga gets this sick idea of opening the curtains of the window to let everyone see them just to know she is his. Or maybe cum inside of her. But he can’t. So he cum outside. Damn her clothes are all messy. WTF?! Man, orgasms are supposed to be wonderful but it made him even sadder. In another twist, Nano hugs him and apologizes for hurting him. Kuga begs it is okay if she doesn’t love him. Just don’t love his brother or anybody else. WTF???!!! It’s like saying either you love me or you cannot love at all! WTF?! Well, he throws her the ultimatum no matter how much she feels about Souichirou, she is going to marry him anyway. His worries are unfounded because we see Nano thinking so much about Kuga and likes the way he touches her. She wants to see him so much.

Episode 11
Kuga must be feeling guilty so he talks to Souichirou. Even more so as he learns Souichirou has loved Nano even before he was born. Wow. How old are they? And so long ago that does he mean he loved her when they were babies who cannot walk and talk? Kuga regrets raping her and thinks Souichirou should be the one to marry and make Nano happy. Souichirou calls Nano out. She has been listening. So you’ve heard it from the man himself that he should be the one to marry her. However Nano says the person she loves is Kuga. She is happiest when with him. They reconcile as Souichirou couldn’t be happier because both the people he loves are happy together. Don’t feel bad about it. It was him who loved her first as an adult (and the first to f*ck her, that is! Haha!). Of course if he makes Nano cry again, he won’t forgive. And what a way to celebrate their getting back together again with sex! Oh, glorious sex scene. You know it is so amazingly porn when they both enjoy and cum at the same time. F*ck you, Kuga! Don’t you dare say you’re dreaming! He’d do anything for her, he says, huh? Yeah, as long as the sex keeps coming in. Haha! My life sucks… :’(.

Episode 12
Hmm… They’re waking up together. Naked. They’re cooking together. Clothed. Kuga’s resistance must be strong. They talk about worrying about others who aren’t familiar with them know about their odd relationship. Kuga wants to bath with her. She declines at first but after realizing they can’t do many stuffs together outside, might as well. This is your this week’s hentai scene as Kuga plays around with her genitalia until she cums! Did he wash or mess up those parts? It ends with them sharing a non-sexual tender moment. He is happy she is looking at him as her fiancé. As long as he f*cks treats her well, right? After all, only half a year till he graduates.

Hi, I’m Your Teacher… F*ck Me, Right?
And once again we have the predictable ending of the female finally falls for the male because of how good he makes her feel. Screw that marriage thingy. That feels like an excuse to cover up their sex act. I don’t know who is more adult here. Getting married means a lot of responsibilities and sex can’t be the only big motivation, right? Well, perhaps in this porn universe, it is the only logic that is needed. As long as they keep f*cking, things will work out just fine.

Looks like this season of borderline hentai has just gotten slightly bolder. Because this time we see a little more screen time of a man’s penis (though still censored out and mosaic) as well as a few semen drops. I don’t want to sound like I am a hentai watcher expert but the sex scenes here are just pretty normal. Nothing really that outrageous if you compare to the more hardcore hentai series. Again to note, I don’t watch hentai. But I do check short clips just for comparison and ‘educational’ purposes. It’s fine if you can’t believe me. Nobody does especially if you mention you watch porn. Here, we have a few fingering, molesting and of course some real penetration scenes but nothing that would shock you out of the ordinary unless you are a total newbie. Wow. Why do I sound as though I am bored? What am I expecting to see anyway?

I don’t know if this should be a dilemma because the plot is getting worse compared to that monk and cross-dresser series. Heck, you don’t even need a plot in porn but this one is just your average high school student f*cking his own teacher. A few decades ago this might turn heads and scream tabloid headlines but by today’s standard, pretty meh. So again, porn logic dictates that if you f*ck your woman long enough, young or old they are going to eventually fall in love with you. Because all women love to be screwed by their man. Which women don’t want to feel good after all? Therefore screw your moral code whatever. As long as you can make me feel good, I love you. Remember, porn logic.

This series has Nano quick to be falling head over heels for Kuga unlike in previous instalments where it took the female up till the last episode to finally officially declare her twisted love. This is because it is established early in the ‘plot’ that both are supposed to marry. That means it is a green light to f*ck each other, right? Plus, parents don’t care so less one obstacle to worry. Therefore Nano is one of those generic porn girls who looks pretty enough so that she can be screwed all over while Kuga is your typical grumpy and moody guy because he is a teen and going through that rebellious phase. That is mainly because he is such an insecure character and the only way he thinks he could get what he wants is via sex. The only way to make Nano his is to screw over her many times. Enforcement through repetition. Sex is power. From time to time he needs some sort of assurance Nano loves him because he still has that inferiority complex to Souichirou even right till the end.

I suppose if there is anything ‘better’ than the previous series is the side character, in this case, Souichirou. Compared to irrelevant and useless side characters of those other series, Souichirou here at least plays a decent manly man. Though, his childhood days with Nano may seem irrelevant. He loves his brother and Nano so much that he is willing to forgo his own feelings for them. Though it might seem he still falls under that category of irrelevant supporting character gets rejected and fading into obscurity, at least Souichirou fares better as he has more screen time and plays a better supporting role compared to others in those other series. Better than that Kayama girl who was like a stepping stone for a plot device. I wonder if she is crying uncontrollably in her room, thinking why Kuga rejected her. Maybe a plot to kill him… Nah! But after Nano chose, Souichirou too has fallen into oblivion. No longer part of the equation and would be a third wheel if he still pops up.

Overall, this series may not be as warped as that monk and cross-dresser series but that is what makes it a little bland. The same ridiculous porn logic always applies that if you sex up your girl long and frequent enough, she’ll come to love you. Even faster if she has some added guilt. After all, Kuga is already at legal age of marriage so there isn’t going to be anything that is going against the law except for the cultural and traditional stereotypes and taboos. Still, it is best to remember that to deal with a problem child at school is anything but sex. Because sex is one subject that you should learn at school but not bring home as homework. Is society to blame if we get our sex education from the internet? Porn education, more like it… No degree, no certificate and no graduation ceremony even if you ace this one.