Yuru Camp

May 27, 2018

Hmm… More girls doing outdoor stuffs? The last time we had that was a group of girls climbing a mountain. So now we need a group of girls doing camping? Okay. That is what basically Yuru Camp is all about. And no, not that camping in first person shooter video games, mind you. At first I thought YuruYuri had some sort of spin-off but taking a closer look, everything else is so different and unrelated. Next time don’t jump to conclusions after reading half the title’s name and make assumptions. Sorry, can’t help it. Not after that sinfully ecchi Nanatsu No Taizai and that misleading Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou No Sho fantasy.

Episode 1
Rin Shima peddles her way to the campsite. She sees Nadeshiko Kagamihara sleeping soundly on the bench with no care in the world. Ignore her. At the lake, Rin sets up her tent and starts reading a book. She doesn’t want to like a fire despite the frigid cold as she doesn’t want it to be smoky or have things catch fire. But eventually night is falling soon so she has to go pick up some acorns and dry wood to start a fire. Get your notes ready as we have some short notes on how to start a basic fire with these items. She takes a break and heads to the nearby toilet and now sees Nadeshiko ‘moved’. She’s sleeping on the ground now. Night camping goes well. Then another toilet break. But a big scare of her life as Nadeshiko is crying before her! Scary! Run! Being chased! Back at her tent, Rin hears Nadeshiko’s story that she just moved here. She cycled here to see Mt Fuji but got tired, dropped everything and slept. She forgot to bring her handphone and doesn’t know her own number. She only has a deck of cards and an empty stomach. Want some curry ramen? Cough up some cash. Just kidding. It’s on the house. Please don’t pay in instalments. After having their amazing dinner, they are able to witness the majestic beauty of Mt Fuji on a clear moonlight night sky. Then Nadeshiko remembers her sister’s handphone number. Sakura comes to pick her up while apologizing as well as being thankful to Rin for taking care of her idiot sister. I think Rin feels a bit bad seeing Sakura shelling out some sisterly abuse. Rin gets kiwi fruits as well as Nadeshiko’s number as her reward. The new school term starts. What are the chances Nadeshiko goes to the same school with Rin? Maybe it might be the only school in town…

Episode 2
Nadeshiko is all excited to join a club. There are only 2 outdoor clubs. The other being hiking seems athletic so she’ll choose this more relaxing one. Since nobody is in, she sifts through the stuffs and got caught red handed by Chiaki Oogaki and Aoi Inuyama who think she is a thief. With the misunderstanding cleared, they welcome her to the club. I guess they need members badly. Why is their clubroom so cramp? Apparently they are using an old storage room and since their club only has 2 members, I guess they don’t need to take up much room. Of course their activities are all outside. They show Nadeshiko a tent they’ve bought. Almost a thousand yen and it might sound expensive, wait till you see other tents that range into tenths of thousands! This will do. So they try building a tent in the school courtyard. As it is right across the library where Rin is stationed, she realizes Nadeshiko goes to this school. She doesn’t want to associate with her and hides her presence. Her friend though, Ena Saitou decides to go help the stooges fix their broken tent (I guess that’s what you get for being cheap) and then points out to Rin for reference. Oh no. Here comes Nadeshiko running towards Rin. Warning. Idiot alert! Idiot alert! Thank goodness for the window. I’m surprised it didn’t crack. On a clear sunny day, Rin sets up another camp with the majestic Mt Fuji in sight. As this site doesn’t allow fires on the ground to prevent the grass from being burnt, she is mulling over renting a fire stand but that will cost her. Rin remembers Nadeshiko inviting her to join the outdoor club but she showed the most disgusting rejecting face. Yeah, she prefers her camping solo. Speaking of the devil (or idiot if you prefer), here comes Nadeshiko! Let’s camp together and make nabe too. How did she find her? Saitou told her.

Episode 3
Nadeshiko was camping outside her own house when she receives a message from Saitou on Rin’s whereabouts. So she hitches a ride on her Sakura’s car to head there. Nadeshiko makes the nabe and it is warm and good to eat on a cold chilly day. Rin apologizes for being rude the other day so Nadeshiko hopes she could join them the next time. But for now, the club has got lots of supplies to get. Is that why Chiaki is getting a part time job at some liquor shop? The duo stay out to gaze at Mt Fuji at night. Not sure how or when, Nadeshiko is now sleeping in Sakura’s car. Just in time for dawn to arrive so that she could see the first light of the day over the mountain. Too bad it got too comfy in her seat that she fell asleep. Then she goes into Rin’s tent to continue sleeping. And it is rise and shine for Rin. I guess she got a ‘souvenir’ in the form of taking a picture of Nadeshiko’s smug sleeping face.

Episode 4
The outdoor activities club trio are taking stock on what they have for camping. They go through a catalogue of sleeping bags but with a lot of them pricey or unsuitable, I guess they have to experiment with the cheap one they have. How does it feel? Cold. When they add aluminium foil and cardboard box, it really starts to feel warm. Only one problem: You’re locked in and cannot get out. Yeah, you look you are ready to be shipped to a foreign country. So they get all the other items they need and then prepare for the day to hike to their campsite. At first Chiaki and Aoi are kind enough to offer to help out carry Nadeshiko’s stuffs since she brought the most and it looks heavy. Yeah, it is really heavy and they’re regretting it. Maybe they should ask her carry theirs? Don’t worry. Only a few more metres to their next pit stop. Too bad it’s uphill all the way. I don’t think anybody is going to give them a ride at that short distance. Thankfully they manage to reach the place. A nice beautiful view and of course pampering themselves to the ice cold treats at the nearby café. Meanwhile Rin has begun taking a journey to Kirigamine for a solo camp. Resting at a café, she finds some of the items expensive. Will she have enough money after saving up for essentials? Well, she just got paid so I guess no harm to splurge a little. The trio are making their way to the hotspring when Nadeshiko receives a message from Rin about her whereabouts. It is a link to a live camera at an intersection and Rin is waving hi! Hoping for a reply?

Episode 5
The trio just dip into the warm hotspring. Ah… So nice… Rin is just so jealous as she makes haste to the nearest hotspring. It’s 2 degrees, you know… After the bath, the trio get tempted to snack and rest since there is plenty of time to hike to their campsite. Rin finally arrives at the destination and hotspring here she comes! Oh… What’s this? The establishment is closed?! FFFFUUUU!!!! Adding insult to injury, the scene overlooking the town from the mountain top is covered with clouds. Rin will not give up and decides to look around to camp and make food. After all, she can still go to a hotspring on her way home. The 3 Stooges finally wake up and realize they have overslept! Rush! Rush! Rush! Luckily they arrive in time and begin setting up their tent. They use a Swedish torch in which logs tied together are filled with a kindling in the middle and its burning make it look like a giant candle. Looks good and different at first till the aluminium wires snap and the logs fall apart. Good thing nobody got burnt. They cook and enjoy dinner before retiring to bed. However their tent is too cramped for 3 people. So they draw a lottery. Well, Nadeshiko got the raw end of the stick as she gets to sleep alone. Thus she bugs Rin on how she is doing. I don’t think she is sleeping if she could reply. With her pals already fast asleep, Nadeshiko braves the cold night to head to the scenic top and take a picture of the beautiful town lights below to send to Rin. Amazed by its view, Rin also reciprocates but I wonder how long Nadeshiko had to wait since Rin had to ride and then hike up to that place (her tent is a bit far from that site). Next morning, everyone make preparations to head back. And Rin finally got her taste of hot bath.

Episode 6
Rin finally receives her ordered a package: A compact campfire grill. Now she can have campfires at places that do not allow burning on the ground or grill meat. Dear Saitou, this is not a small offertory box. Rin wants Saitou to help deliver souvenirs to Nadeshiko. Do it yourself. Well, she doesn’t have to walk all the way to the clubroom since Nadeshiko is found sleeping on the floor in the library! After learning she has this grill, she invites her to go camping with her this weekend since Rin offers to test it out. With Sakura chauffeuring them, it seems Nadeshiko’s intention to head to Lake Shibire is to investigate Chiaki’s claims that there is some legendary fish there. It may taste good over BBQ. I see. They stop by the supermarket to get some supplies first. However all the meat they want aren’t available. Only pork ribs and kalbi. Looks like BBQ is in season. I guess chicken skewers and Hamburg steak are their next best option. At the counter, they see Aoi. She is currently working here part time. Meanwhile Chiaki is surveying the next possible site for the club’s camping trip. She sees a classy old man cooking a classy meat in front of his classy but simple tent. He spots her and invites her to taste his meat. Nothing hentai, mind you. Delicious enough that it makes her consider want to buy a pan. Rin and Nadeshiko arrive at the lake in which they need to head to the campsite by foot. Rin heard rumours that this place has some cow ghost. Say what? Oh, Nadeshiko is paralyzed in fear now.

Episode 7
Nadeshiko makes a prayer at an altar. It better worked. Oh, that classy old man turns out to be Rin’s dad as he packs up and returns home. Like father, like daughter? Rin and Nadeshiko set up their tent. The latter then explore the surroundings. She visits a couple of campers nearby. She is impressed with their tools and believes they are veterans. Because the girl is somewhat drunk, Nadeshiko minds their business and leaves. Oh, that girl is his sister. Rin has a hard time trying to start the fire with her coal. Nadeshiko gets help from the camper neighbour as he gives a different and easier to burn coal type. It might not last long compare to Rin’s one but at least the fire can be started. Camping is saved. Night falls as the duo start cooking their nabe while wrapping themselves in blankets to be protected from the cold, making them look like some secret society members. They share it with their camper neighbour and the sister is still drunk. Did she not stop? I can see a few bottles on the table… Rin and Nadeshiko start grilling their meat. The true event they’ve been waiting for. Once they have their fill, the coal is still burning so they continue to use it as campfire. Rin asks about her life before coming here. She used to live in the outskirts of Hamamatsu and on a clear day she could see Mt Fuji although very small. That’s why she was so happy when she could see it close up. Also, she fell asleep during the car trip and couldn’t see Mt Fuji close up, thus the reason she went biking on that day. When it is time to sleep, Nadeshiko wants to sleep alone but Rin doesn’t want her sleeping space to be so cramp. You’re on your own. When Rin couldn’t sleep, she takes a night stroll. Suddenly a cow ghost appears before her! Yikes! It must be the fastest sprint back to her tent. We all know it is drunk sister but I can’t blame Rin since it was too dark. Has Rin ever prayed so hard? The longest night ever for Rin? Fortunately nothing came about for the rest of the night. But the next morning, Nadeshiko finds Rin sleeping next to her. What did she say about sleeping together again? Nadeshiko snuggles closer to her.

Episode 8
Chiaki shows Aoi the mini table and other assortments she got. During their last trip, they spotted a couple with fancy tables and chairs enjoying their time. Yeah, the trio only had a candle on a tarpaulin. So sad… But the mini bowl is too small to hold anything decent and because it is made of wood, there are lots of don’ts instead. The duo then experiment in using an iron pan with Saitou helping them out. They also discuss the next camping trip for Christmas. Aoi says she’ll be spending it with her boyfriend, shocking Chiaki. Just kidding. The ultimate troll. But Chiaki trolls her back when Aoi mentions she spends Christmas with her family, prompting Chiaki to be shocked she has a family?! They invite Saitou to come for a day trip too. She is not sure as she hates the cold but it sounds fun. She will tell them after the exams. After the exams, Chiaki and Aoi take Nadeshiko to an outdoor equipment shop, Caribou. She is warned that many of the items here are expensive. They are at awe with the variety of burners and lanterns but I suppose they can only watch and hope to come back with enough cash to buy it. At least the shopkeeper is nice enough to let them take pictures of the items. The trio then get some mats that will help them keep warm while sleeping on the ground. As they talk about working to earn money to get more stuffs, it reminds them of a teacher named Minami Toba who is rumoured to love drinking and hence the nickname Miss Chug. Nadeshiko has a feeling she met her somewhere. At the end of the shopping, the trio get nice and warm delicious steamed buns nearby. Nadeshiko couldn’t resist eating them and goes to buy more once she finishes. There goes her savings to buy the next camping equipment. Maybe the buns are that good because Aoi does the same… Screw camping, maybe they should just have a steamed bun eating club.

Episode 9
Rin invites Nadeshiko to camp with her at a riverside. Eager beaver wouldn’t miss it for the world. Too bad next morning she is down with a cold. She thinks she is okay but Sakura stops her. If she says she’s not okay, then she is not okay. Oh well. Rin is used to solo camping. But when she arrives at the place, it is cordoned off. With no alternative, she turns back. As she is resting, she meets a fellow camper who informs her that the road to that campsite is always closed. To preserve the nature of the area, private vehicles are not permitted and there is a shuttle to take them there. Before she leaves, she gives Rin some tea to keep her warm. So Rin returns to take the right route and path so as not to waste her trip. She sends pictures to Nadeshiko. As Rin visits a temple that worships dogs, Chiaki comes to visit Nadeshiko. Chiaki is supposed to make some food for only Nadeshiko but her whole family now anticipate her cooking. Can she live up to their expectations? It is way better than expected. Rin’s trip now takes her to a hotspring. Is her hotspring revenge still not over? She orders an insanely huge katsudon serving. So full that she starts dreaming this strange dream that a dog ate her salad bowl and Nadeshiko is some sage on a journey to defeat some monster monkey. I hope the food isn’t drugged. Rin wakes up from her sleep and realizes she overslept! I know the place lacks staff but nobody thought it was a weird a girl just slept at the table for hours? She could have been dead for all you know…

Episode 10
Oh dear. Rin is running late after oversleeping. She is rushing on her bike. Ride safely. As she nears the campsite, she panics because the road is blocked. Taking a detour means a few more hours. She calls Nadeshiko for help. Luckily Chiaki is able to help by telling her to just go through the blockade but push her bike. Eventually she manages to reach the campsite and sets up her camp. She might have to use a bit more energy chasing down her tent and other items due to the windy forecast. Can you say that setting up her camp was in-tents (intense)? Haha! Sorry. After dinner, Chiaki calls her to explain she found out that roadblock was forgotten by the construction workers. She thought it was odd there were no signs to say why it is blocked and it was only occupying half the road. Chiaki invites her to join their Christmas camp. Sorry. Nope. After that Saitou calls her as Rin updates her situation. Saitou tells her she is invited to their Christmas camp and hopes Rin would reconsider. At school, Saitou tries out the outdoor club and as practice, they do a dry run for their Christmas camp. Saitou wonders if they are going to exchange presents then but the girls are too poor to buy gifts at the moment. And nobody is going to believe Chiaki’s philosophical crap that Christmas comes from the heart. Nadeshiko suggests showing hospitality as their present like cooking for each other. Meanwhile Toba dreads over being a club advisor because this cuts into her drinking and foreign drama series time. She sees the outdoor girls burning outside and misinterprets they are starting a fire. She goes to lecture them but they tell her they got permission from Oomachi. They go to see him and he thinks of letting Toba handle the outdoor club since has so many other clubs on his hand. Wait, what? The girls rejoice! Toba regrets. But she can breathe a little easy since this club isn’t that busy and she doesn’t mind a little camping once in a while. When Rin suggests the Asagiri Highlands for their Christmas camp, Toba could think of bacon and beer as the best fit. This prompts Nadeshiko to remember her as the drunk lady!

Episode 11
Christmas camp is here! Toba, Chiaki and Aoi are the first to arrive as they register at the reception. Toba is already out drunk. Rin arrives next but do not see them so she walks around on her own until Nadeshiko arrives. Rin gets a text from the duo that they are at the nearby dessert station. This prompts Nadeshiko to be hungry (although she just had lunch) but since she is short on cash this month, Rin helps make s’mores (marshmallow biscuits). Wow. They look delicious! Chiaki and Aoi have bought some firewood but since it is too heavy to carry back and Toba is drunk, they ask Rin for help. Her scooter is a big help but it seems that she leaves one bundle for them to carry back since it is already too heavy for her bike to carry. Take it slow and easy… Saitou announces her arrival by ‘sending an assassin’. That’s her dog, Chikuwa dressed as a bunny? Immediately it hides under the warmth of Toba’s seat. To lure it back out, Saitou gives Nadeshiko a chicken sausage. Now she has to run for her life. She is still at it when the girls finish making their camp. Heck, there are other kids joining in on the chase. More mayhem when they add frisbee into it. When it is evening, Toba has awakened from her slumber. They give her cocoa but she adds rum with it. The girls then start making sukiyaki for dinner and fully enjoy their meat. Except for Toba who might be regretting she didn’t bring more liquor along. To add to the fun, all of them dress in the Santa outfit they brought. This is a Christmas camp, right? But they soon realize they look like a bunch of mall Santas gathering after work. The sukiyaki affair continues with tomato added. But then the gas goes out. Nadeshiko is supposed to have extras but she realizes she forgot them. Horror! Toba has a spare but it too soon runs out of gas. Are they doomed and tomorrow’s breakfast is not possible? Don’t worry. Rin will ride to the nearest convenience store and get some stuffs. The camp is saved.

Episode 12
Time skip? Because it is like 10 years in the future with the girls camping and drinking alcohol. They talk about Nadeshiko who is now the CEO of a giant firm in USA. The BS ramps up with Nadeshiko arriving in a flying tent! Damn her imagination is so vivid and she’s not even drunk. As they take a bath, they ask Toba about her brother. She corrects them that is her little sister and she is often mistaken as a boy due to her tomboyish looks. Damn I knew I was right! Paranoid Nadeshiko now wants to ascertain if Chiaki is really a girl! But Rin still cannot put her finger on that cow ghost she saw then. Once everyone is done, they tie up their hair like Rin’s bun. Except they make Nadeshiko’s one look like a cactus… Not sure if they are spoiling the outdoors camping fun because now they watch tons of videos on Chiaki’s mini iPad. Can they see all that with the campfire in the middle? As they hit the sack, Nadeshiko and Rin talk about their future like finding a job. Nadeshiko thought she spotted a slow UFO but Rin thinks it is a satellite. Next morning before dawn breaks, they get up to make breakfast and just in time to enjoy the sunrise peeking out from Mt Fuji. Then they pack up return home. Saitou looks like she is being hit by the camping bug as she borrows a book on one. However she still won’t join the camping club. One day, Nadeshiko tries solo camping. She is proficient enough to be independent but a few slip ups here and there. At the site, she messages Rin about it and coincidentally she too is doing solo camp. She has this idea to take a picture of their campsite and guess where the other is. When Rin sends hers, Nadeshiko is baffled to see her tiny self in it. She then realizes Rin is right behind her. Coincidence? Great campers think alike? But so much about solo camping.

Episode 0
This short takes place before Nadeshiko joins the club. A time when Chiaki and Aoi just got the clubroom. They are surprised it is cramped and messy like hell like a storeroom. What do you expect? Aoi borrowed a camping magazine from the library so the duo relive their camping fantasies with the featured items. Until they realize how costly all of them are. This has Chiaki wonder why special camping items are needed instead of ordinary household items like bringing your own knife (looking like a murderer), bringing your own futon (looking like a thief) and cooking your own food (with a lighter?). Chiaki relates camping with her family once when she was younger. She loved it and wants to do it again with her friends this time. Aoi finds some poles in the room and turn it into some makeshift camping tripod. They then go through all the boxes in the room and use their imagination to turn what they can find into some lame hobo camp? Not going to fly. They find a cheap tent online and even though it is out of order, no harm in trying to place their order now in hopes it will be available for next week’s Golden Week. At least this is a start. They get confident and dream all the great camping things they will do from now on. But then, autumn has arrived and they have done nothing… Keep dreaming…

Hora Camp
Although this special loosely means BS Camp, at first I thought I thought it was Horror Camp… It is for Nadeshiko… It all started when the outdoor club girls are talking about different camping styles in different countries. If it sounds unbelievable then it is only because it so. When Aoi has those weird eyes (why do they remind me of Amanchu?), it is a sign that she is talking crap and nonsense. Later Nadeshiko is shocked when Aoi has shrunk! Mini Aoi? Even her boob size has gone smaller. Then the real Aoi pops up. This is Akari, her little sister. What’s she doing here? Asides cosplaying as her sister, she is here to officially apologize about the mix-up Aoi made between the sobau (type of bird) and soba udon. She joked sobau don that a dish was made using this bird and hence lots of calls rang to complain about it even though it doesn’t exist. It’s hard to wonder if they are sincere since both sisters are making those eyes. When Akari asks Nadeshiko about the view of Mt Fuji from her prefecture, Akari suddenly puts a face of displeasure. Apparently there is a conflict from the Yamanashi and Shizuoka prefectures of the better view of Mt Fuji that could lead to war! Nadeshiko starts getting scared when Aoi says how she’ll be branded a traitor and locked up forever but you can tell they’re pulling her leg. Those eyes again… Later when Rin pops up to says she’ll be moving to Alaska to devote herself to winter camping, Nadeshiko isn’t buying it and knows it is Akari as Rin. Yeah, Rin can’t be this small. But suddenly a bigger Rin enters (Sakura in disguise). At this point Nadeshiko is not only shocked but scared because everybody else also follows Rin’s buns and surround Nadeshiko. Horror! She calls the real Rin (comfortably snoozing away in the library) desperately trying to find out which of them is her.

Survival Camp
The girls are going to Australia for their camping! Thanks to Saitou’s dad’s friend who helps pilot them there in his private jet. It’s like Saitou jinxed it by saying this is going to be safe because the instruments are starting to go out of control. Heck, the pilot says no worries even with the alarm ringing like hell! I’m sure he doesn’t want to scare cute little Japanese girls. Too bad all of them already bailed and parachuted away! WTF???!!! IS THIS EVEN POSSIBLE???!!! But thankfully they landed on a deserted island. At least God is giving them a survival chance. At the end of the first day, they manage to make a decent camp. However they have no food and some are already starting to eat imaginary bananas! Is this what you call going bananas? I guess everybody take turns eating a strand of emergency ramen until there’s no more. With everybody thinking how this would be like a survival camp, can’t do that on an empty stomach, eh? Only Saitou is sleeping like a baby. It’s like she says f*ck all this and just go with the flow. Next day, probably God didn’t want our cute girls to starve so they manage to find a bunch of real bananas! More luck as Rin manages to fish a huge fish and they also have coconuts for drinks. Now their fun survival camp can begin as they cook different varieties of banana, make a banana frisbee, go diving and even Rin is surfing on a plank?! OMG?! Pay your homage to the Banana God! As they continue to relax, suddenly it dawned to them this is no survival camp. They are really stranded! I wonder how far their voice can reach if they scream at this very edge of the island? Yeah, maybe they are at the wrong end because this deserted island seems awfully close to Japan. Mt Fuji? And yeah, only Saitou is the one still sleeping like a baby.

Camping No Susume
Sorry girls, watching this anime didn’t make me feel like wanting to go camping or even do any outdoor activity. I’m feeling so lazy that I could even fall asleep at my desk right now. Is that a fancy way of saying that this series is boring? If you are that bloodthirsty adrenaline junkie or perverted kind of person, just saying… But I’m not that cold hearted of a person and despite its slow pace of nature, I can still find the calmness within to appreciate this series. After all, I already know what I am getting into when I decided to watch this anime.

The plot and story might seem boring because it is just a group of high school girls camping outdoors. But when you compare it with another series in that same season, Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san, this one fares better because at least this has substance. That ramen show felt like a big advertising for ramen. Sure, this one also tries to promote camping (because who these days aren’t glued to their Smartphone screens and the internet?), but this is done with at least some story and character development, albeit a bit. Of course if you are really interested into camping and a newbie who wants to try this out, there are other better and comprehensive sources to do so. This series no doubt has some camping hints, do’s and don’ts in every episode but those are just the basics. Nothing too deep and complicated. After all, the best way is to get experience yourself.

The series might try to paint camping as fun and easy but it is as true as that. If you have the basic tools and knowledge, (don’t forget your basic etiquette too), you can make a pretty decent camp. So for what you see here are not exaggerated feats. You can pull off the same things they do. It sounds ridiculous at first using high school students going camping and it looks possible only because it is anime. But we’re not slaying dragons, fighting Satan from hell, piloting mechas to stop a takeover or busting evil machines from another dimension so mostly everything here is believable. Yeah, no skimpy outfits too. This is one of the few shows where girls really cover up! Sometimes from head to toe. Literally.

I keep drawing parallels between this series and Yama No Susume. You can obviously see both series have young school going girls doing an outdoor activity. Mt Fuji seems to be the centre of attraction too. Whether it is hiking up or camping before its magnificent view. To show the minimal and decency that any normal person could do such things, hence you see affordable equipment and tools from both series get (as well as comparing more expensive ones) as they make do with their budget for a simple climb or camp. Don’t forget the dynamics of their interaction and friendship bonding in the wild that makes both series such a calming one to watch.

The characters are lovable especially with Nadeshiko being the resident retard and glutton of the pack. I feel that without her, the group of camper girls will not be as interesting and lively. Yes, we have Chiaki but she only plays the comical parts when the time or scene calls for it. Nadeshiko is like, you can expect something overtly funny from her most of the time. At least a simpleton like her makes her honest in her emotions and thoughts.

Rin is also interesting because she started out as an introvert and solo camper. But with persistence (AKA continuous bugging) from Nadeshiko, she too falls under her influence and becomes open to the idea of group camping. She still has her reservations but at least she is slightly much better than before. Saitou is also an amusing character although it feels she has this enigmatic aura around her. Her interactions with Rin over the social media feels a bit weird. The jokes she makes to Rin feel subtly one kind but not cheesy or distasteful. It’s like she is the wait-and-see kind of person and prods Rin from time to time if ever the need arises.

Toba feels like a character who screams I-wish-I-wasn’t-here-doing-this. My guess is that despite being forced to be the advisor of this club, she generally has no qualms about it because she gets to drink all she wants in the wild. I mean, who is going to stop her? She can get drunk without being a total nuisance unlike in society. But just don’t leave your liquor around and turn curious bears into rampaging drunks terrorizing campers. Boy, that sure escalated quickly. Last but not least, Chikuwa as the animal mascot of the series to ramp up the cuteness and kawaii factor. Wow. Camping life so perfect. Good scenery and spot, good food, good tent, good friends and a good furry pal. Camping out is so much fun, doo-dah, doo dah…

Now, you have got to agree with me that for most of us who have heard the opening theme, at first we would all go into ‘shock’ of how similar its opening theme, Shiny Days by Asaka sounds to Jackson 5’s I Want You Back. OMG! Did they just freaking rip off the opening solo part from it???!!! I mean, heck I thought they were actually going to play I Want You Back!!! Yeah, I am already seeing memes over the internet of our camping girls having afro hairstyles… But yeah, because of this song, it makes it quite fun despite the rip off. Damn, now I think they should have just totally ripped off the Jackson 5’s song instead of spoofing it. Yeah, I really feel like singing that song. From now on, this song will be associated with camping! In line with the calming pace of the series, the ending theme, Furu Biyori by Eri Sasaki is a very slow and calming piece. Sometimes it makes you want to sleep. Not in the boring sense, that is.

I believe one of the main draws of the series is also its BGMs. There is a variety of them and some of them are to my liking. Mainly there is one or two that sound close and worthy of being an Aria The Animation or Amanchu BGM! Not kidding. The very soothing guitar picking does bring back memories of those series. Others that caught my attention include the fun whistling-cum-banjo-picking one. Yeehaw! Then there are a couple of flute BGMs that make it sound like as though it has some Irish or Celtic influence. Even though you’re camping in the countryside, hearing such music can transport you into the magical fantasy world of your own imagination.

Voice acting feels pretty fine and laidback. Well for most of the time whenever they’re not flustering or panicking for comical sequences. Aki Toyosaki is very recognizable as Aoi as she sounds like one of her trademark characters (Yui from K-ON!). I could barely recognized Marina Inoue as Sakura (and at first mistakenly thought it was Yoko Hikasa) as she has been slowing down in the anime scene lately. At least, not in animes that I have watched. Didn’t manage to recognize Nao Touyama as Rin too as I haven’t been hearing her as often lately. Oh, Shizuka Itou is behind Toba’s voice. Am I so laidback that I can’t even recognize her now? The other casts are Yumiri Hanamori as Nadeshiko (Hanako in Anne Happy), Sayuri Hara as Chiaki (Rhythm in Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream), Rie Takahashi as Saitou (Akua in Renai Boukun) and Akio Ohtsuka as the narrator (titular character in Black Jack).

The art and animation for the characters are pretty standard. But it is the background and sceneries that take the cake. They are beautiful to say the least. This is after all a camping series. The sceneries like the lake, the forest landscape and Mt Fuji are hand drawn and if you don’t focus too much, they sometimes look like a real photo shot. It really gives a sense of calmness while watching this series, taking a break away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. Animated by C-Station, a relatively low key production studio who only have a few titles to its name, namely Seikoku No Dragonar, Starmyu and Hakyuu Hoshin Engi.

Overall, if you are tired of all the anime crap produced throughout the seasons and the current season has too much anime of being anime, perhaps this could help rejuvenate and renew your beliefs that not all anime series are bad. While this might be considered as boring at first and on the outlook, you’ll find that there is a calming and soothing charm to it even if you are not into camping nor an outdoor person. It is so comfortable that I don’t want to go outdoors and continue to sit back in my comfy chair and comfy room continuing to watch (not necessarily comfy) animes. I think I can get used to this sort of ‘camping’.

Miira No Kaikata

May 26, 2018

Warning. This series contains extreme cuteness. If you cannot tolerate everything that is moe and kawaii, stay very far away from Miira No Kaikata. You might be suffocated and die from all the cutie goodness spamming in your face. Despite its name, it is not a horror show nor is it some sort of documentary on how to take care of a mummy. Of the Egyptian kind, that is. Yup, the mummy here isn’t scary. So cute and small that you want to own one. So last chance saloon. If you are not prepared to let your heart go kyun~ in every episode and risk puking rainbows before dying of a heart attack from excessive cuteness, go ahead. You have been a-cutely warned.

Episode 1
Sora Kashiwagi receives a Dracula’s coffin from his father?! Inside is supposed to be a mummy and he is supposed to take care of it. Because dad thinks so. Wary of the ‘dangerous’ stuffs dad always sent him before, Sora takes precaution. But out comes a cute little mummy! KAWAII!!! Sora remains cautious and plans to send it back to Egypt where his dad is now. However the mummy starts crying! Because it is so frail and weak (and adorable), Sora keeps it for now. Reading the thick letter dad sent, it doesn’t give much hints on how to take care of a mummy. Trying to research on mummies, his dog, Pochi comes in for attention. The mummy won’t lose out and starts to imitate its bark and then jumps and clings on Sora’s back! The dog and mummy fight for his attention till Sora had to stop them. When Sora calls it Mii-kun, the mummy feels part of the family and this is the place it belongs. Now Sora has to figure out what Mii-kun eats. Cucumbers, nope. Apples and shirataki noodles, okay. I wonder how it can eat with its entire face bandaged. Later Sora sees Mii-kun sleeping next to Pochi. Best friends already. Next day, Sora tells his friend, Tazuki Kamiya about Mii-kun and invites him over to see. When they arrive, Sora is shocked to see Mii-kun almost dead! Uhm, isn’t this what a mummy is supposed to be? After letting it drink water, it revives! Tazuki is sure confused. Tazuki wonders if Sora has told his aunt, Kaede about this. Too bad she is busy rushing for some deadline and locked herself in her room. When Sora introduces Mii-kun to Tazuki, it starts to fear him. It should because Tazuki has this devilish idea to toy with it! Too cute to resist? After Tazuki leaves, Sora takes a bath. He is surprised Mii-kun likes water and floats! But at the end of it, its bandages absorbed a lot of water and is now bloated.

Episode 2
Mii-kun wants to help around the house so Sora makes a little makeshift blade for it to cut cucumbers. We see Sora being gymnastic in saving Mii-kun whenever it is clumsy. Tazuki comes to visit and Mii-kun is still scared of him. In Mii-kun’s vision, he sees Tazuki as some demon. Tazuki manages to get close to him but it is a trap to grab him. He is curious to see what is underneath the bandages but luckily Sora stops him. He warns that the bandages might be Mii-kun’s skin and do you really want to see what it’s like being skinned? Think not. Tazuki makes up with Mii-kun and now they’re friends. Because Mii-kun seems to dry up whenever Sora is at school, he thinks of bringing it along. Of course the deal is for Mii-kun to pretend to be a doll. However Asa “Mogi” Motegi thinks she heard Mii-kun sneeze and thinks it is cute. Sora does a bad impression that it was him who sneezed. Isn’t that coughing? We get a shock when Sora asks Mogi if she wants one. Actually he made a few dolls of Mii-kun. So good and similar that you can’t tell them apart. Yup, Mogi took the real Mii-kun. They can’t skip gym class to go find it or they’ll be looking suspicious. Mii-kun is sitting on a shelf in the girls’ locker room. Seeing a hole in the wall, it thinks it can crawl through and reach Sora. Of course it got lost in the labyrinth and then got the bad luck of being chased around by a rat. Surprisingly, this little bundle has got lots of stamina running away from the rodent. Sora asks Mogi about the doll and is pondering if he should barge into the girls’ locker room to get it. Thankfully he doesn’t have to because here comes Mii-kun still being chased. Luckily the guys save Mii-kun and all is well. Later Mogi apologizes for losing the doll but he manages to give her the fake one and claims she dropped it on the hallway. As Mii-kun didn’t dry up while with him, Sora asks if Mii-kun would like to follow him to school from now on. Although school is scary but being with Sora outweighs the cost.

Episode 3
Kaede finally finishes and is out of her room. Sora introduces her to Mii-kun. She is impressed but not scared as she has met creatures like it before. Sora then collapses. Looks like he has fever. Is it time to press the panic button? Well, no harm taking a little precaution by wearing a gas mask. I guess being apart from Sora makes Mii-kun start to cry? So much so he shrivels up? Mii-kun reverts back to normal as long as it is with Sora. With Kaede having more work, it is back to the workstation so Tazuki takes over. This means handing over the gas mask. Deep in the night, Sora’s fever worsens. Mii-kun remembers what Kaede did to cool his head. So Mii-kun goes to absorb water into its bandages and then sleeps on Sora’s head as a wet towel. Next morning, Sora is well but it looks like Mii-kun is now sick. Instead of staying in bed, Mii-kun hints of going outside. Not sure what it is doing by digging a little hole. When Pochi digs a hole, Mii-kun covers it up and buries itself. Huh? Sora waits for Mii-kun to resurface but he never did. Flashback shows Sora picked up a dying bird but Tazuki scolded him for doing so since he will be the one who will be hurt most. True enough, when the bird died, Sora cried his heart out. Mii-kun then resurfaces. It is well again. Just a second ago its bandages were all dirty and now it is clean? Kaede celebrates their recovery by cooking for them. However when she puts on glasses, her character changes into a dominating flirter. Tazuki flicks the glasses off, returning Kaede to her normal self but embarrassed. Sora continues to write his observations of Mii-kun like how dirt cures Mii-kun’s sickness. He notes there are lots more about Mii-kun he doesn’t know.

Episode 4
Tazuki is walking home late after a part time job when he notices a little oni critter following him. He tells him to go to Sora’s place instead as he is not interested in such little creatures. I don’t know how long Tazuki took to get home but it seems the oni is waiting outside his window. He tries to ignore it but hours later it is still waiting there. Freezing. So just for tonight he lets the oni stay. Next day at school, Tazuki tells Sora his problem. Sora thinks he should just keep it despite he has let it go in the yard this morning. Too bad it never left and is now part of the household. Tazuki remembers he knew the existence of such creatures since young. All because he met Sora. Such creatures tend to pop up at his feet. He learnt about them through him. Something about how they help humans when they need help. However there was a hurt little dragon creature he failed to save and it has since become his regret. Tazuki learns the oni wants to stay with him is because they both have the same scar on their arm. One day, the oni is mad seeing the stuffed doll of Mii-kun. It tosses it away. Tazuki is confused and thought it likes it. So he brings the oni to Sora for the real deal. Uhm, intense staring showdown? Suddenly Mii-kun starts chasing the oni! WTF?! Oh, they’re playing tag. Looks like they’ve become good friends. Sora suggests naming the oni but Tazuki gives him common human names like Tanaka and Satou. In the end, he goes with Conny (derived from child oni). Then they make handmade sushi to get close to each other. Tazuki may sound he isn’t interested in this socializing but from his actions we still see he cares. Sora knows this very well since Tazuki has a list of what Conny can or cannot eat. Conny now likes the Mii-kun doll and sleeps with it. Conny won’t respond unless Tazuki calls it by name. Conny gets mad when Tazuki lists out its negative traits but being so weakly violent makes it look more cute than anything menacing.

Episode 5
A classmate leaves a toy lizard on Tazuki’s table. Although it is life-like, nobody is buying it. Mii-kun is curious but I don’t think it can get along. Meanwhile Mogi is not afraid of any kind of bugs but is afraid of lizards. When she goes home, she is shocked to see a chibi dragon in her room. She mistakes it for a lizard and goes berserk trying to kill it. Although it tries to be friends with her, she continues to panic. Yeah, her house looks like a storm just went through. Luckily Sora is passing her house so she seeks his help to rid of the menace. She is still uneasy despite Sora explaining it is a dragon. Sora ‘communicates’ with it and learns it was only trying to help Mogi who injured her knee while she was trying to run away from it. Mogi realizes she is wrong and apologizes. Now they’re best pals. He invites her to his place for dinner. It must have been ages for Mii-kun to be waiting for Sora to come back. When he does, it immediately runs to him. Only, Mogi is there and sees it. And who is this dragon critter?! Poor Mii-kun is so confused. Of course it doesn’t take long for them to become friends. Sora tells Mogi about such creatures in secrecy and how they must remain so in fear for some unscrupulous humans who would want to catch and take advantage of it. Tazuki joins them and learns about the dragon too. Unlike Conny, the dragon seems fussy and doesn’t eat meat, vegetables, cheese or anything. For now it goes along with tofu. Kaede wakes up from her slumber and learns about the dragon. What will Mogi name it? Isao. Uhm, okay. Sora walks Mogi home and tells her how dad sent Mii-kun to him. It prompts him to wonder if Mii-kun misses his homeland. But when he tried to send him home at first, it refused to go back. Although it is unsure why Isao came to Mogi, Sora is glad it met her.

Episode 6
Mogi almost reveals Isao to her friends. Sora and Tazuki advise her to hang out with them if she would like to talk more about Isao. Hanging out at Sora’s home, we see Isao giving his pals a flight ride. Mogi reveals that Isao can even write simple Japanese to communicate. Tazuki gets an idea to teach Isao romaji to see if he can understand. Amazingly he does! Mii-kun and Conny also learn and now they can write simple Japanese too. It soon turns into some Easter egg hunt as they put small hidden messages around the house for them to find and read. Conny starts being naughty by pulling out a mandrake in the garden. If not for Sora’s quick action, one could die from its prolonged screaming! Apparently dad sent it to serve as Kade’s alarm clock. The mandrake then escapes as they start chasing it down before it kills the entire town with its shriek. Once again Isao shows how dependable it is by saving the mandrake after it floats down the river, reducing Conny and Mii-kun into blundering bundles. While Conny doesn’t care, Mii-kun feels depressed. Sora understands Mii-kun’s problem after seeing it take care of carefree Conny. Mii-kun has been troubled after Kaede noted it is more of the being cared for type. After the friends part, Sora takes a bath with Mii-kun and then reads him 2 storybooks. Mii-kun really gets emotional if it’s a sad one. Oddly, Sora dozes off before finishing the second one. Conny’s mischief as usual causes more trouble for Tazuki while Isao being so independent could do things on its own without being told. Before Mogi knows it, it’s already done. So dependable that it even tries to cover her up when she seemingly exposes herself to the cold while sleeping. Isao sleeps next to her and she takes it the dragon wants to sleep with her.

Episode 7
Daichi Tachiaki always has nightmares. It gets worse when he starts screaming in class and it doesn’t help he has a violent reputation. Of course all that is about to change when he collapses on Sora. As the infirmary has banned him, Sora takes him to rest with his friends at the rooftop. More nightmares as he almost punched Mogi before returning to his class. Sora is still worried so he talks to him on his way home. He learns he lives alone as his parents kicked him out for his violent tendencies. You see, not only he has nightmares, he destroys things while sleepwalking. Even charms don’t work. Yup, charms all over the place. Sora draws him a baku (mythical tapir that eats nightmares) to put under his pillow. That night, Daichi wakes up and sees a baku eating his nightmares. He is unsure what it is so he calls Sora that something is sucking his soul! Kind Sora runs over only to find this cute chibi baku. So fluffy and warm. Daichi is also introduced to Mii-kun. For the next few days, Daichi becomes absent from school. When he returns, he looks so refreshed that he is like a different person! Apparently he caught up with his sleep and slept through. So this entire nightmare thingy that began since elementary is worth only 3 full days? With Daichi somewhat friends with Sora, welcome to his circle. But it is very awkward between Tazuki and Daichi since they’re so different. Oddly, Mii-kun mediates for them to become friends. Awkward still but they got used to it. The friends and critters gather. Other critters love jumping on Mukumuku (the baku’s name) because of its fluffiness and it always pushes them away. Can’t resist the fluffiness… Daichi has Sora to thank for without his intervention and Mukumuku, nothing would have changed. Later Daichi has a favour to ask of Sora. As he always lock the doors and everything, he wonders how Mukumuku could get in. Sora stays as his place to find out. After Daichi sleeps, it seems his sleepwalking habit has him open the door to let Mukumuku in to devour his nightmares. However Sora soon discovers that it is Mukumuku who controls and makes sleeping Daichi do so!

Episode 8
Mogi heard a couple of shady guys looking for some oni kid. Telling this to Sora and co, they wonder if there is a safe place they can leave their little ones while they go to school. Sora knows the perfect person for this. This person turns out to be a jizou statue, Ojizou. But the one who will be looking after them is the shrine god. So this is going to be like a day care centre? At least they can go to school with a peace of mind. If they don’t stay too long under the good hospitality, that is. One day, at the shrine as usual, Mii-kun sees a gap in the door and goes out to pique its curiosity with a lady bug. The shrine god notices the gap and closes it. Mii-kun is now trapped outside and is forced to hide from unknown humans passing by. Yeah, the shrine god just failed at her watching duty. Mii-kun is surprised to see Conny who thinks he is lost. Mii-kun agrees to follow it. It brings Mi-kun through the forest where we see all sorts of mythical creatures living. Yeah, a unicorn with an ass of the universe! Meanwhile the shrine god finally does a head count and realizes one is missing. If Conny is there, this means that oni kid must be an imposter! But too late to start panicking and searching. Mii-kun is brought to the home of this oni kid that looks like some magic garden. Mii-kun gets worried when the oni kid wants it to stay here forever. It then realizes Mii-kun wasn’t lost and was just trying to get into the shrine. Oni kid then brings Mii-kun back. Shrine god can now breathe with ease. Mii-kun relates what happened today to Sora. He suggests to leave a thank you note next time in which Mii-kun did. The oni kid picks it up and hangs it in its home like its favourite painting.

Episode 9
Tazuki’s little sister, Tsukiyo is once again left in tears after Conny eats her cake without permission. Time for Tazuki to get tough with the little oni. He warns to listen to him or else get out! Next morning, Conny isn’t around. Could it be Conny left for good? Tazuki isn’t worried. It’ll be back in no time. However when Conny never returned, Tazuki starts to worry. It is so obvious to his pals since he is doing simple things the wrong way. When they learn about it, Tazuki insists they should not find Conny because it left on its own volition. Sora is not convinced because he still cuts that worried looks. The worrying gets to Tazuki as he remembers his past. He was running away with a little dragon while injured and being chased by a violent man. Eventually Tazuki starts running around to look for Conny. He thinks he spots Conny and relays directions to Sora to catch it. Unfortunately it’s not Conny. Luckily for Tazuki, he spots the real one. Stuck in a hole in the wall?! After pulling it out, he has lots of things to say but first needs to tell his friends the real Conny is found. Or else they would have been on a wild goose chase hunting down Conny’s pants that was floating down the river. Conny reunites with everyone, much to their delight. After everyone leaves, Tazuki apologizes to Conny for saying harsh things. However Conny too is in the wrong. Tazuki relates he once tried to save a dragon from a collector but ended up hurting it more. That’s why he never felt he could protect Conny. After Tazuki accepts Conny back, Conny for the first time starts crying. Conny now has a family (in the past it was always alone or bullied). Next day Tazuki updates his friends that Conny was trying to find a flower for Tsukiyo and got stuck. Things are looking better now because Conny listens to what he says. No more the rebel kid. Sora believes all it wants was his attention and wanted to hear from him that it could stay. Sora hopes Tazuki could be more honest with himself too. He might say mean things but his face and heart don’t mean them.

Episode 10
Sora receives another strange box from dad. It’s growling… Taking extreme precautions (armed with a bat with nails), the box then opens and something inside speaks! It is disappointed at Sora for showing hostility. Folks, meet Aayan the Anubis. Because it is a statue, it cannot freely move by itself and can only speak. It tells Sora how his father put a lot of thought into choosing a gift for him. He thought many things would freak him out and thought the statue of a dog would be nice. Aayan did not say anything because it wanted to see the world. Too bad it was put inside a box. Aayan meets Mii-kun and nibbles it to see if it is a real mummy. No it’s not. Real mummies are dead, right? There is another gift in the box: Egyptian sand. Sora overthinks and becomes overcautious in handling it, thinking it might be a trap. He is so disappointed it is just normal Egyptian sand. His other friends visit and get to know Aayan. Sora believes Aayan is more of a tsukumogami rather than the real Anubis as it is more like a spirit that inhabits an inanimate object. Just like Ojizou. When Sora has hiccups, Tazuki seems relieved that this guy too has an embarrassing side. They talk about the old wife’s tale that one could die after 100 hiccups. This scares the little critters. As they heard scaring might help, Mii-kun scares the sh*t out of everyone by untangling its bandages. Tazuki gets this devilish idea to finally see Mii-kun’s skin and holds Sora back. A blinding light blinds Tazuki. When Sora gets Mii-kun, his hiccups have stopped. Sora realizes they were only trying to help. The little ones get shocked when Tazuki says that it is only superstitious and nothing to worry about. When they Sora tries to put Mii-kun’s bandages back, he doesn’t know where to start. Distracted by his friends leaving, Mii-kun’s bandages are mysteriously wrapped back. The friends note how this place is like a mini zoo and Pochi is the only real animal. But Sora replies Pochi is already 50 years old and its kind lives to 100! Aayan might not have been able to see the sea but is glad to have come here as it is fun.

Episode 11
Sora and co investigate the rumours of sightings of an inugami. At the shrine mountain, they split up to investigate but find nothing. However they feel something strange. There are no animal sounds at all. Sora then realizes today is summer solstice. It is the festival for the spirits. Long ago, he invited Tazuki to one but he declined and told him not to get involved with such stuffs. They should stick with human friends instead. Suddenly Sora feels a shift in the atmosphere. The monster reception wants them to show their invitations. Sora tries to solve this himself by asking that only he would be sacrificed or worked to death. WTF?! However the monsters get angry as they are not invited and decide to do them all in. Mii-kun then take out the leaves in Sora’s pocket. These are the invitations so the monsters let them in. Tazuki is mad at Sora’s actions and punches him. As Sora tries to talk to him, Yamada the demon is glad to see Sora. They know each other. It seems the invitation leaves were given by Yamada. Wait a minute. They were inside Sora’s clothes for how long? Okay, they may not rot but he never emptied his pocket?! Asking about the inugami, Yamada says they are safe here. The pair, Aa and Uu and were seen by humans a few days earlier. To let Uu escaped, Aa made a distraction and was seen although it managed to escape too. However both dogs are now fighting as Uu is made at Aa for doing so. Easily solved by Sora and Tazuki since they’re experiencing the same thing too. With the dogs reconciled, it’s time for the guys to do the same. The reason Tazuki told Sora not to get involved with such creatures is because he might go crazy. There is a secret he must keep and will lie in order to stay friends with him (that dragon saving incident). Sora has always thought he distanced himself from him. He was afraid he would be gone one day and was preparing himself for that day. Friendship saved when Tazuki assures he will not leave him. Meanwhile a collector has tricked the reception with his leaf invitation. They realize too late it is bloodied. So when Mii-kun is bathing at the waterfall, how come nobody notices a strange man kidnapping it?! Mii-kun was just literally right next to them at the river bank!

Episode 12
Time to panic, Sora. Like the world is going to end. I know. Mii-kun was like snatched right under their noses, right? Oddly, the patrol guards lost track of the collector?! WTF?! You’re saying the human is more effective?! No wonder Sora is so anxious. Daichi then remembers the shrine god tagging Mii-kun and suggests if it works as a tracker. And so Sora starts shouting at the top of his voice. Thanks to the collector stalling and curious about Mii-kun’s bandages, Mii-kun heard Sora’s cries and the tag starts to float like a kite. Tazuki’s super sight allows him to see through all that mist. It looks like Mii-kun is over the waterfalls. Sora has no choice but to climb it because the only way around it was through the reception area. Then how the f*ck did the collector get up there?! If he climbed, shouldn’t they have seen him?! Sora slips but luckily Aa and Uu grab him as they swim up the waterfall. Should have done this in the first place. Thankfully the collector was trying to rid of the tag so Sora was able to catch up. Hand over the mummy kid. The collector thinks he is a rival who is out to sell Mii-kun for money. But you know, the power of family is more important for guys like Sora. As they struggle, the land god as found the collector and strikes him with lightning. You know, this is his domain and for the land god not being able to instantly detect the intruder is just big fail. The collector is taken away and punished while Mii-kun is reunited with Sora. End of drama. After the festival, the friends converge at Sora’s house. The other critters are sulking because they didn’t get to go. But don’t worry. Sora shows a big box from the land god as their gift. It contains a mini set of the festival. Now they can have their own festival but with a little supernatural twist. Having fun, aren’t we? So much fun that they plan to do more festivals in the future. From camping in the mountains to hotspring and the beach, they’ll do them all! Oh yeah. Life is certainly good and happy.

Pocket Monsters: Gotta Care ‘Em All
I know we needed some kind of tension and drama so as not to make this entire series look like one big cute bore. Really. How can something be so cute that we could fawn over about and yet be such a bore? It’s like they mind controlled and hijack my brain to love all the cuteness they have to offer and to put up with it all. I suppose I did until the nonsensical final episode drama that throws logic out of the window just for the sake of drama and family bonds spoilt everything. Almost. Actually, it was so bad that it was funny. Such dramatic tensions for a cute show would be considered a fatal heart attack level. So with Mii-kun almost becoming some collector’s bounty was the much needed wake up call for all of us who are either dozing off or being hypnotized and loving all the cuteness.

As we have come to expect, this anime is actually one big boring series that only lovers of cute things would only appreciate and fawn over. AKA foam all over their mouths. Even contradicting to the title of this series, you don’t really see the ways to take care of a mummy. Not directly, that is. Sora might have received a thick manual on doing so but you won’t see him going through each and every point that would be the staple of the series. So instead we have Sora and friends, Mii-kun and friends living their daily lives in a cute way. That is all there is to it. Sora and Tazuki may have some sort of supernatural past together but it is not something that we would all fret over about. It looked like something it could expand on especially if that dragon Tazuki failed to save was in anyway related to Isao but I figure we don’t need such complicated details to spoil all the cuteness.

Therefore if you want to talk about the characters, there is nothing really much to it. After a while, you could guess their personalities but nothing that edgy or mind provoking. The only character development that you will get to see is how close the creatures will bond with their masters. But that is to be expected and shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary. Their relationships are satisfying enough to give that feel good factor. Seeing them having the slightest argument might even cause us to have a little heartbreak. Oh curses. When did we become so emotionally weak after watching this show?

Like Sora who is trying so hard to be the best, the kindest, the nicest, the gentlest kid in the whole wide world to these critters that at first looks it may pass off as annoying. I mean, he is really a nice kid but I suppose if there is nobody who cares about these cute little things, who else would care for them? Hence I am guessing that if such creatures are being generally persecuted by humans, all of them should come to Sora’s house to seek refuge. Heck, he could open a shelter for abused and lost cute little creatures! Guaranteed to have the best hospitality ever. But it did bug me that if Sora has been dealing and knowing such supernatural creatures since a young age, why did he get suspicious and freak out when dad first sent Mii-kun to him? Sure, he is cautious of dangerous things but did he assume Mii-kun is going to be dangerous? Better safe than sorry? Because after that, any other critters that appear would be like, yeah I’m okay with that. The creature he wanted to send back so eagerly at first, now he cannot part or take his eyes of it a single second. Yeah, in a way Sora is more attached to the chibi mummy than Mii-kun. Say… If assuming Sora doesn’t have a mom, could Mii-kun as a mummy be his substitute mummy as in mother only in title? Crap, I know. But it’s just a thought.

Now, all the other little critters look more like they are worthy to be Pokemon characters. Especially Mii-kun who doesn’t look like a mummy and is so just because it is wrapped in bandages. Funnily, Mii-kun is the biggest scaredy-cat in the series. Heck, he could be the weakest too. I believe this is to enhance the cuteness of everything because I’m sure that everything Mii-kun does is supposed to exude everything kawaii. Trying to make you go “Aww… So kawaii!!!” at every go. Mii-kun constantly needs Sora’s ‘protection’ because otherwise it would start crying or do something silly or dangerous that would give the series the much needed boost in suspense and drama. And I bet Sora doesn’t mind Mii-kun being this weak because when you see cute little things, you want to protect and love it with all your might, right?

Like I said, we think Mii-kun is only a mummy because it is covered by what is seemingly bandages. However Mii-kun has done mind boggling stuffs that science and common sense cannot explain. Like how his bandages could come off and go back again without an end. He doesn’t even show traits of a typical mummy so could it be some other supernatural monster wrapped in bandages? What is it actually? But we don’t care as long as Mii-kun looks cute, no? And since there are so many other creatures out there living in secrecy, I bet there is going to be a Pikachu since there was some sort of unicorn too. Just that nobody found or caught it. I’m sure Ash would have if he existed in this anime…

As for the other human characters and creatures in this series, I guess they’re rather okay and passable. Tazuki has his issues hence looking quite distant most of the time. He is an odd pair with Conny because despite the selfish little oni doing as it wishes, weakly (and cutely) beats him when it is mad, Tazuki still cares for it. Unlike Sora’s loving love, Tazuki is more discreet. He doesn’t openly show his love but it’s there. Imagine if Tazuki were to get all cozy and lovey-dovey with Conny. I’m sure that would send even more shivers down our spine (or hearts aflutter for those who really dig this kind of cutesy stuffs) because we already have Sora and Mii-kun so we don’t need another overlapping characters.

Mogi, Daichi, Isao and Mukumuku feel wasted. Like as though the series needs to have more friends and critters so it could look like a decent party. Because a dozen episodes of just Sora, Tazuki, Mii-kun and Conny would be boring. We need a little more variety than that. Just when you thought that was enough, Aayan is introduced. Not like it needed to be anyway because it can’t even move and just provide lip service. If Sora’s dad keeps sending these weird stuffs back thinking Sora would not reject them, my prediction that he will open a refuge house for such creatures will come true. Kaede only exists because it just feels wrong to have a kid living in a house all by himself. Is dad’s calling to travel the world so great that he is okay leaving his son alone? Well, not the only anime to have this sort of setting. Otherwise an aunt whose running joke is to stay up late just to beat her deadline is totally unnecessary. With Sora now focusing on Mii-kun, I suppose that Pochi who is revealed as not your ordinary dog would have no company. So what’s the point of making Daichi her biggest fan anyway? I thought he was too busy fighting his nightmares and being grumpy-cum-tired than to go admire some model’s work?

Art and drawing are definitely cute and kawaii kind. The series is also bright and colourful that at certain points you might pass this off as a children’s anime. Nothing literally scares you. Even those spirits and monsters at the spirit festival don’t look that scary. Unless you are a super chicken like Mii-kun. Hopefully this doesn’t give the wrong impressions that mummies are this cute. The real deal are much scarier and malevolent. Thanks Hollywood, for leaving that impression. Just want to note that one of Sora’s classmates look strikingly familiar to Kateikyoushi Hitman Reborn’s Tsuna. I thought he was making his cameo here. This series is animated by 8bit who did the Grisaia trilogy, Infinite Stratos and Rewrite.

Voice acting is nothing special. Although the critters do give out little soft squeals and squeaks, perhaps it helps give off that cute appeal more than their human counterparts. Proof you don’t need to talk to remain super cute? Yeah, just look at Wall-E. The voice acting casts include Mutsumi Tamura as Sora (Sonya in Kill Me Baby), Keisuke Komoto as Tazuki (Raul in Yuushibu), Himika Akaneya as Mogi (Tamarai in ReLIFE), Seiichirou Yamashita as Daichi (Kakeru in Orange), Ai Kayano as Kaede (Inori in Guilty Crown) and Ryusei Nakao as Aayan (Mayuri in Bleach). The opening theme, Fushigi Na Tabi Wa Tsuzuku No Sa by Tsuribitto sounds like your generic anime pop. Lots of cuteness in the animation of course. But the strange one is the ending theme, Rosetta Stone by Iketeru Hearts. In addition to have that Egyptian feel to it, the animation sees the human characters doing really weird dances. Because of their series looks on their face, not really sure if they are in some sort of trance and doing some evil resurrection ritual. Serious. Tempting but not infectious enough for me to try out.

Overall, if you are tired of cute girls doing cute things, but still not tired of the cute genre, now this series shows us that even cute creatures doing cute things could also do as equally well. Everything so cute, everything so adorable and if I sound like a broken tape recorder because this is what the show is mainly about. Sorry for the spamming but at least everything is so kawaii that you’ll forgive and forget how boring it is. A light hearted feel good series that everyone needs before they go to bed and have a good night’s rest. Until grandma comes back with all those scary old wives’ tales and scare the wits out of us again. Damn those old ghost stories heard from young aren’t easily forgettable.

Feel that the original series did not have the obligatory hotspring scene? Also, there wasn’t enough fanservice when we have a decent bevy of beauties? I figure this was the reason Bushou Shoujo Machiavellianism OVA was created for. Now you can put away all the stuffs that is related to the plot and go with these much needed scenes since you paid your worth for the BDs.

Exciting! Five Swords’ Inn Trip
Taking place after that clash with the Empress, Yoshino calls upon the Five Swords (minus Tsukuyo) to talk about this. As each of them claim they are personally responsible for this, Yoshino believes that had they worked together, the outcome would be different. Hence to foster cooperation among them, she will send them for a school trip to the hotspring. Doesn’t make sense but whatever. It is rumoured that they can bring a student along with them. I know who that lucky guy is. And they know who they want to bring but cannot say it because of pride and obviousness and thus waiting for the other to say so or circumstances to let them. I don’t think they’ll be able to say it… Meanwhile Nomura sees Tsukuyo and since he has become her disciple, he undergoes some sort of training. Nomura receives a painful surprise from her palm. He thought it was her spirit bullet but it is actually just her putting lots of force into her movement. Tsukuyo is disappointed after a few moments of training and he claims he hasn’t recovered from the fight yet and needs a vacation. You don’t say… Meanwhile for the other Five Swords, they are still hoping but this time their sisters hope they would bring them. The situation just got worst. Just in time for Tsukuyo to come in and suggest Nomura. Everyone agrees since he defeated Amou. However Yoshino says he cannot go as he has yet to take his exams (for transferring in). If he fails, he will have extra classes and cannot go on the trip. Hence our quintet become his teachers for the day. Too bad they are arguing who should be teaching him and decide the one with the highest overall score should do so. Unfortunately all of them have the same score. A draw. Yeah, should have taught him together. Uh huh. It took the whole day to decide this and now Nomura is gone. In fact he is back at his room with Masuko coaching him! Fat tranny better than beautiful snobs.

I take it that Nomura has passed because he gets to go with them to the hotspring inn. The girls are happy and why isn’t Nomura? Because he has to carry their bags. I believe this isn’t just the reason why they want him around. Warabi being cheeky has Nomura choose a girl he likes to be with. So which did he choose? He starts to imagine… Amou! Naked sexy Amou washing her body and tempting us!!! YEOW!!! Yeah, he likes strong girls. So the rest are curious of who he imagines and it is damn if he does, damn if he doesn’t if he picks either one or none. Oddly, Nomura is having food all by himself in a small room whereas the Five Swords are like enjoying theirs in a spacious hall. Doesn’t it feel a bit lonely or empty? Heck, even their sisters are being civilized eating dinner together. Just lots of sighing they could have been with their onee-sama. Then they hear rumours that the first to enter the bath will have their wish come true. Hence Five Swords (minus Tsukuyo who just goes to eat elsewhere) fighting among themselves. Yeah, can’t they all just get along instead of being selfish b*tches? Look, even their sisters are enjoying the bath together. Our first fanservice finally when Warabi cuts off Rin’s robes to stun her when her underwear is exposed. With Satori defeating Mary due to her fencing limitations, Warabi rushes off first. Satori is close behind and both girls strip naked at this point. Does less clothes means faster and less resistance? Hell yeah, fanservice is all I know. Before Warabi could jump into the hotspring, Satori knocks her out with her sword and ‘wins’. Tsukuyo isn’t rushing as she notes there are 2 baths and can enter one that isn’t empty. Too bad she enters the men’s section where Nomura is right now. Despite being blind, she gets super embarrassed to know he saw her naked loli body. You know she is scary when she opens her eyes. Oh, there goes Nomura into the sky. He crashes into the women’s section where all the girls are now. But he is all over Satori and this was her wish: To bath with him. Now the rest gets embarrassed and get ready to kill him. Yeah, this guy can’t catch a break and this trip made it worse.

Unarmed By Clichés
Uhm… I am not sure whether I should feel let-down or not because this hotspring and fanservice cliché wasn’t cliché enough. Because for one thing, Nomura doesn’t feel like the main character here and he is tossed aside for the most part. I was expecting the Five Swords to tussle over him but that didn’t really happen. Good in a way because they have stooped low enough in the TV series that having them stoop even lower would make the obvious seem so much more obvious. But it is bad because it takes out the fun to see those farcical Machiavellianism b*tches get owned by him. So we’ve got a slight distraction of Five Swords trying to coach Nomura but never got the chance. It feels that this part wasn’t even necessary and as though they needed to add some more scenes to the running time or else this OVA would be shorter. For the hotspring inn scenes, the main draw is the girls supposedly fighting each other and the fanservice is for the ‘reward’ for sticking to the end. And Nomura becomes a tool of comedic convenience because he was so dominating in the TV series that they now need to make him as mini punching bag. Yeah, that’s it for the hotspring scene. Just like that. Like, did anything get better? I doubt they would cooperate even further. Perhaps all just a ploy from Yoshino just to make their lives interesting by throwing Nomura in the mix.

Overall, this OVA feels a bit disappointing because it doesn’t lead anywhere and it is just something extra and light for fans who really love the series. Not that it would have been a lot better if it did. Yeah, damn if it does, damn if it doesn’t. It doesn’t break any new ground or development either since it tows the line with some of the most cliché of clichés like the hotspring fanservice and the guy being struck into the sky after being blamed for seeing their oh-so-pure-bodies even though common sense and circumstances says he isn’t. Yeah, the guy always gets the blame in this kind of situations no matter how strong or intelligent you are. Perhaps this is the Machiavellianism of the series. Forcing upon us such clichés after clichés, seasons after seasons. It never ends. Hmmm… Not so bad after all. Maybe I can live with this kind of anime Machiavellianism.

It is about time ramen gets an anime dedicated to it. After all, it is one of the most recognizable dishes internationally as well as one of the most favoured back in Japan. But if you’re expecting Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san to be some sort of shonen battle action anime like Shokugeki No Souma or Yakitate! Japan, you’re way off the rail. Instead, it is about our titular character who enjoys eating ramen. That’s it?! What and where is the fun in seeing a cute high school girl slurping down a variety of Japanese noodles?! Oh, okay. I think I can accept that. I wonder if watching this series will make you hungry for ramen or the ‘flesh’. Wink, wink. Oh, this isn’t that kind of sleazy show either. Thank goodness.

Episode 1A
Yuu Oozawa seems to be interested in the new transfer student, Koizumi. However many like her friend Misa Nakamura doesn’t like her because she keeps to herself and is unfriendly. On her way home, Yuu sees a long queue outside a ramen store. Then she spots Koizumi in line and somehow ends up lining up with her. Attempts to talk to her end in vain. She is blatantly ignored. But Yuu being an optimistic person never gives up. But Koizumi being a stubborn person… When the store opens and they take their order, Yuu is shocked to learn Koizumi orders a ramen with extra vegetables and garlic oil. For some panicky reason she orders the same too. Then she sees Koizumi turning into a ramen monster as she chows down every strip of ramen and lovin’ it. Now it’s her turn to eat before it gets soggy. I guess she couldn’t handle the garlic. Yuu would love to hang out with Koizumi and visit more ramen stores with her. Guess what? She refuses. But Yuu gets more motivated to talk to her again tomorrow.

Episode 1B
Koizumi continues to ignore Yuu despite her attempts to be friends. Misa still doesn’t like her and hates anyone more popular than her. Well, Yuu doesn’t hesitate to say she likes Koizumi more than her! Traitor! During lunch, Yuu eats with Koizumi and notices the tonkotsu ramen she is eating. It has black patches of sauce in it and as she remembers, she thinks it is ‘horse oil’. However Koizumi points out it is pronounced as maayu and it is more of chicken broth. Koizumi continues ranting more on the technicalities as Yuu starts fantasizing a beautiful her. She invites Koizumi to go to a ramen store she wants to try. Shot down again. But Yuu is happy she got to talk to her a lot today. Next time Yuu sees a ramen with ‘chicken oil’, she thinks it isn’t made of chicken… Yes it is.

Episode 1C
Yuu has turned into a Koizumi stalker as she follows her to her next ramen place. Telling her to stop stalking her won’t do. Anyway, Yuu notices her eating a ramen with thick soup that is like carbonara. So as Koizumi explains the different broth and sauce combinations as the base (which is becoming too complicating for Yuu and me), Yuu realizes her ramen has gotten soggy. She apologizes for interrupting and running her ramen. However this is how Koizumi intended it to be. She eats half of it and then eats other side dishes before scarfing the soggy noodles down. Next day at school, Yuu wants to visit that ramen store again but as expected, Koizumi isn’t interested. And as expected as well, Yuu thinks today is a good day as she got to speak with Koizumi first thing in the morning.

Episode 2A
Misa can’t go out with Yuu because she’s got a date. Too bad her boyfriend dumps her because she’s too popular?! WTF?! When other guys try to hit on her, they change their mind after seeing a cuter girl pass by. WTF?! Isn’t that Koizumi?! Grrr!!! Hence jealous Misa stalks her eating at the ramen store. To take out her stress, Misa also orders ramen but ends up ordering the spiciest hokkyoku type like Koizumi. Note, Koizumi saw her getting dumped. Good thing Misa loves spicy food so the duo chow down their ramen satisfyingly. Like how alcohol works for drunkards, probably spiciness has the same effect on Misa as she starts crying about her ex-boyfriend. When they leave, Yuu is shocked to see them together. Almost turning into yandere mode, she gets the wrong idea Misa ditched her to be with Koizumi. Even more annoying is how Misa got Koizumi’s contacts first before Yuu! Maybe she should try to be less annoying?

Episode 2B
Jun Takahashi scores highly in the overall mid-term exams. However Koizumi fails and must undergo supplementary classes. This is quite shocking considering she scored highly as a transfer student. After the teacher talks to Jun, she as the class rep talks to Koizumi about her failure. It seems she handed in a blank paper. She explains she was on a journey up north. The train service was delayed so she stayed another day. When she returned, it was on the day of the test. She managed to arrive but fell asleep due to tiredness. She continues about her trip to try custom flavoured ramen. Although Jun is curious, she doesn’t particularly like ramen. But on the way home, she gets curious to try out the pineapple flavoured ramen Koizumi was eating earlier on. At the store, she orders one and likes it. Koizumi arrives and sees her enjoying her meal. Didn’t she say she dislike ramen? Well, whenever she eats them, it fogs up her glasses. Everyone used to laugh and tease her about it. She can’t eat without glasses as she is blind as a bat. Jun thanks her for telling about this place. Koizumi later passes her supplementary exam and as thanks, tells Jun other places of ramen that might interest her. Yuu is disheartened the duo has become friends.

Episode 3A
Another day, another rejection. For Yuu, that is. Talking to her friends about this, they wonder if she eats nothing but ramen. The best way is to ask her straight. Has she eaten at McDonald’s before? She did. Two months ago. She ordered ramen from there! Wait. Do they sell ramen? At least in Hawaii they do. With all the name confusion, Yuu is further confused when she tries to look it all up.

Episode 3B
Another day, another rejection. For Yuu. Again. This time she throws a tantrum she is friends with Misa and Jun but Koizumi denies ever being one with them. Yuu suggests they should because they are fellow humans. Correction. Noodles are her only friends! With Yuu acting up even more, Koizumi agrees to her suggestion they could just meet at a restaurant and then part. Yuu is delighted with this first step to close the gap. However this ramen store they are going to dine in, it has individual cubicles! Since it is packed, available seats are far apart! This means Yuu is seated furthest away from Koizumi. Although both girls order and enjoy their ramen, at the end of the meal they part ways and this only makes Yuu sad she didn’t get to talk to her. All as planned… Sneaky Koizumi…

Episode 3C
Yuu finds Koizumi collapsed on the ground! It seems the ramen store she wants to eat at is closed. Don’t worry. Yuu to the rescue. She is going to bring her back to her home and cook her noodles. Well, if she can get past her delusions of touching Koizumi for the first time. Koizumi wakes up in Yuu’s home and she has just finished cooking her ‘instant’ noodles. Koizumi enjoys her cooking but declines to compare homemade and restaurant made ramen as they are both completely different. Yuu offers to make some more. Koizumi agrees to wait and taste all that she dishes out. Man, she can be a glutton when it comes to ramen. Does she have a black hole specifically for ramen? Anyway they are all good. Next day, Koizumi leaves a bunch of ramen coupons in Yuu’s locker as thanks. Yuu’s good mood is even ballooned further since this give her the motivation to bug Koizumi more. Let’s eat together again! No, thank you. She just can’t catch a break, can she?

Episode 4A
A few guys ask Koizumi to hang out with them. Cocky Yuu knows they will be turned down because her first love will always be ramen. True enough she did. Told you. When it is Yuu’s turn to ask to hang out, she too gets turned down. Right back at you. When the guys wonder if Koizumi has a boyfriend, Yuu starts to worry. Sure, ramen is her first love but there is still that possibility… Worried, she tails her and what do you know? Koizumi is waiting in front of a western restaurant?! OMG! With her delusions running wild, her worst fears come true when a guy approaches Koizumi. Make that a bunch of guys! Yuu hits the panic button and jumps out of her hiding. Awkward stares… Then the guys leave. It turns out there is a small ramen corner at the side of this western restaurant. Because of limited places and the guys were here first, Koizumi waited for them to finish. Phew. Now Yuu has some explaining to do… They order and enjoy their ramen. Yuu is relieved that ramen is still her first love.

Episode 4B
Misa and Yuu check out a newly opened store. However they start ordering ramen. Looks like Koizumi’s ‘poison’ has gotten into them. Because the ramen you can choose between the red or white set, Yuu starts thinking which set Koizumi would have chosen. She goes for red thinking it stands for aggressiveness. They enjoy their ramen and shortly after leaving, Koizumi arrives. She orders the white set instead and other side dishes that are totally the opposite of what Yuu ordered.

Episode 4C
Jun has no appetite seeing she didn’t do well in her mock exam. At the convenience store, she is surprised to see Koizumi buying some ramen. Jun never thought this convenience store has a good ramen selection. This triggers Koizumi to explain the different types of ramen a convenience store sells, how some manufacturers pair up with well-known brands and the pleasure of having customized ramen at a convenience store. Before Jun knows it, she too bought one. The girls look so appetising eating their ramen that all the other customers start buying ramen. Jun feels better and has had her fill but Koizumi is going for another round.

Episode 5A
Koizumi narrates her current favourite ramen is one with tomato. Then she gets technical and philosophical about it. I knew something was wrong when she said she is doing all this to be better friends with Yuu. Yup. Yuu the stalker is adlibbing as Koizumi eats. When Koizumi is done with hers, Yuu’s ramen is just out. This means Koizumi leaves Yuu to eat all by herself.

Episode 5B
After a class about microorganisms, Misa and Yuu mistakenly talk about the beauty properties of euglena. This prompts Jun to do a correction monologue. This leads to Koizumi also remembering how euglena is also used in green ramen and it makes her want to try. Koizumi and Jun are at the ramen store that has euglena in its ramen. Feel the natural goodness flowing through your body! After finishing, Koizumi suggests going to another ramen store that actually puts euglena directly into the ramen. Jun is already full but somehow manages to eat another bowl. Bloated.

Episode 5C
Yuu is shocked when Koizumi says she doesn’t like standing in queue for ramen. This has Yuu deciding to stand in line for her so that she could smoothly switch her spot. Nice friendship delusion she’s got there. While queuing, the guy in front of her calls his friends to join him in line. Yuu is shocked at them cutting the line and tells them off but they don’t care and mock her. Koizumi arrives to admonish Yuu for being rowdy. Yuu explains her intentions, which isn’t any better than queue cutting. Koizumi lectures what it means to be a true ramen lover. She will have none of this nonsense and queue properly at the back. Yuu decides to restart and join her too. The groupies too feel guilty and follow suit. After enjoying their ramen, Yuu asks Koizumi about queuing because she said she didn’t like them. True, but it is that moment of impulse that made her change her mind. Besides, once you start queuing, it isn’t all that bad. Next time, Yuu wants to go queue with her. Go queue yourself. Koizumi has her remember some of the queuing rules. She got it all right. Till Koizumi reminds that stalking her is also against the rules. Checkmate. Yuu panics and feels the need to watch over her so that nobody does something like that to her. I guess some rules don’t apply to certain people.

Episode 6A
Yuu’s brother, Shuu is on the phone with her. It looks like he had a late shift last night but needs to get up early for his college class. His sleepiness is suddenly dispelled when Koizumi passes him. Suddenly he feels the need to eat ramen and there is one nearby (where Koizumi just walked out). Describing how a beautiful girl with sardine smell in her hair prompt him to try out, Yuu thinks Shuu is just really tired.

Episode 6B
It is so damn hot and made even hotter with Koizumi passing by. Or at least for Yuu’s case, everything becomes cool. And yes, Koizumi is going for noodles. But not just any noodles. Cold noodles known as hiyashi. With Yuu following her, Jun and Misa eat on their own. Jun relates her hot summer experience of wanting to get something cool to eat or drink but waiting in line in a restaurant that has the air-cond at full blast eventually made her want to eat something hot. To circumvent that this year, she is wearing a thick sweater. This store also sells hiyashi so they get curious to try some. Meanwhile over to the other duo, Koizumi is explaining some brief points about the different hiyashi ramen as well as the vegetable fat oil used. Anyway all the girls enjoy their cool hiyashi ramen.

Episode 6C
Koizumi is dressed in a lovely yukata that makes head turn. A little German girl, Hannah is lost in the alley. She thinks Koizumi is her mom and although Koizumi denies, Hannah continues to follow and stare at her while at the ramen store. Koizumi tries to ask the staff but they think she needs an extra bowl. With Hannah’s stomach growling, I guess they can go look for her mom after ramen. She shares it with her before starting their search. Eventually Hannah is reunited with her mom who is wearing almost an exact yukata pattern and colour. Grateful, she gives Koizumi a coupon for a German ramen nearby. Yeah, it was worth it. She tries it out and is ‘transported’ to Deutschland. The taste of Germany. After finishing, she passes by another ramen store that offers ramen from New York. From Germany to America now, huh? Is there any ramen that isn’t to her liking?

Episode 7
School’s out. Yuu invites Koizumi to hang out with them and of course she refuses. This time however it is because she is going on a trip. So we see the trio having fun at the amusement park, dressing up in lovely yukata and visit the shrine among other things. I guess it would be so empty had they not make some references to noodles or Koizumi. Yeah, they had some noodles and even joked Koizumi might even be here right now. You don’t say because she just passed by… When the friends leave for their own business, Yuu bumps into Koizumi. So her trip is just starting now? Eager beaver Yuu wants to tag along with her ramen adventure and who is Koizumi to stop her? Hence we see the duo doing a nationwide tour around Japan as they try different ramen in different places. From the humble begins to Asakusa to tonkotsu in Kyushu and then back to Tokyo, the most important is that they enjoy all their ramen meals. A nice and well-timed fireworks display to top it all off. Yuu so captivated by Koizumi’s beauty lit underneath the fireworks. She invites her to go on a real trip next time (because she wants to see her in a swimsuit). Rejected. As expected. When Yuu returns home, she gets scolded by Shuu whose stomach must have been growling for ages. Yeah, it was Yuu’s turn to make dinner and she forgot and went on a trip. I’m surprised Shuu didn’t die of hunger yet. Maybe all that hunger became anger?

Episode 8A
Yuu and Misa are at the beach. I guess it’s no fun when Koizumi isn’t around. It seems she is at the library with Jun. Jun is concerned about her own future. She wants to run a bookstore and read books all day but with the direction she is going, she might end up in publishing. Not that Koizumi cares. When Jun asks her dream, it is a secret of course. Koizumi takes her to a store that displays instant ramen from every prefecture of Japan. Wow, hear her explain into detail each and every one of them! OMG! Your head might explode if we didn’t cut out! As they pick their noodles and enjoy them, Jun believes Koizumi’s vast and wide ramen knowledge means she must want to be doing something in the ramen industry. So when she points this out to her, Koizumi is blank! She has not even thought about it! When she is eating ramen, she can think of nothing else. That’s all. Jun understands the feeling when it comes to books. Asking her dream again, Koizumi repeats it is a secret.

Episode 8B
Shuu and his college mates are talking what to eat next. Since they’re on the topic of ramen, he brings up how ramen should be eaten. For his case, putting rice in ramen soup. One of them vehemently disagrees. This is how war starts. So others have their own opinions too but I guess they settle for having an iekei style ramen. Each has their own ideas on the system of what to eat first. I suppose if you’re tired of seeing cute girl eating, now you can see hot hunks eating ramen. When the question of this out-of-place nori is asked, Shuu uses it to wrap around rice and spinach to eat it like sushi. It’s got its own good taste. Now the nori is not enough. Don’t worry you can order more. Of course this series wouldn’t be complete without the ramen goddess. Koizumi enters and orders similar ramen like them but eats it in a different way, enlightening the guys. In the end, the guy who was opposed to ramen now ends up being a fan boy of it and can’t stop talking and bragging.

Episode 9A
Koizumi treks up the mountain and stops halfway to make ramen to eat. Now all the hikers can’t help think of ramen when they hike up. Koizumi continues but she is losing her breath and will she make it to the top at this rate? Well, the summit isn’t her goal. It is of course a ramen store on the mountain. I guess the trek was worth it.

Episode 9B
Kenta was teased by his friends when he couldn’t finished this buta yarou ramen. Now alone in the shop, he is determined to finish one. He sees Koizumi ordering the same but at a mega size. Not knowing her, he thinks she is just showing off and cannot finish. Wait till you see her gulp down the entire thing. She intensely stares at him to finish his before it gets soggy. Kenta manages to do so. Koizumi orders an ice cream after she is done and he follows suit. When he finishes, he realizes Koizumi has left. He goes out to the streets to find her but she is already gone. We learn Kenta is Misa’s brother. He thinks Koizumi’s stares were for him and now he cannot help think about her. Or is it the buta yarou ramen?

Episode 9C
Misa has been training to lose weight. She has the misfortune to bump into Koizumi. Of all people. She then remembers the guys were noting how Koizumi is getting more beautiful lately. This irks her because she is dying her ass with dieting whereas Koizumi’s skin is getting better and better. But she does note there is something about her that is different lately. So Misa bugs her for her secret. It is no surprise that Koizumi takes her to a ramen store and orders a ramen dish filled with back fat! Maximum fat! Yeah, her ‘sin’ is that she has been eating this every day. This grosses out Misa who won’t touch it. Okay, maybe just one bite. And suddenly she is hooked! She can’t stop eating and slurping down the entire bowl! The look of satisfaction when you have your fatty ramen… For the next few days, addicted Misa eats such ramen and puts extra heavy on the fat side. Thank goodness being addicted to fat isn’t a crime. Screw the diet, eh?

Episode 10A
We see Yuu the stalker as she keeps a record of the weird ramen colour Koizumi is eating! Not only that, adding some sauce turns it to another colour. But if she is happy eating her ramen, then all is well. In the end, Yuu is confused what goes into that ramen and she thinks it is alkali! Now we move on to see how creepy and scary she is as a stalker. She has log books detailing her experiences with Koizumi as well as pictures of her all over the wall! OMG! And Shuu thinks she is studying late into the night…

Episode 10B
Yuu and Shuu are at a sushi conveyor belt restaurant. Guess who Yuu spots there too? Koizumi?! Is there ramen here? Apparently there is. She watches her order her set ramen meal like a pro and then digging in like usual. But she notices Shuu also staring at Koizumi. She gets this jealousy tendency that he might fall for her. Woah. Evil aura. What’s this she was her friend first? Turns out Shuu is in the mood for some ramen too. So they ditch the sushi and head over to the ramen section. As Koizumi leaves, Yuu once again goes into that jealousy rage when Shuu notes Koizumi looks familiar. Oh, it’s that girl who ate 3 bowls or ramen. Safe.

Episode 10C
Jun gets a distress call from her mom. Looks like she ordered something big from the Chinese restaurant and she cannot cancel it. Don’t worry, just bring her friends and help finish it. She’ll foot whatever bill. So for the first time the 4 of them are eating together. Why Yuu so sad? She persistently tried to invite Koizumi only to be turned down but Jun invites her once and she agrees. Yeah… The big dish is a huge gyoza. So huge that it looks like 100 gyoza pack into one. They have to eat this? Even more boggling, Koizumi orders ramen too! Don’t worry, she will eat her ramen as well as her gyoza portion. Thankfully the gyoza is delicious so they are able to finish it by trying out different sauces. But for Koizumi, for each ramen she finishes, she orders another! OMG! Never ending ramen order? At the end of their meal, they notice there is a jumbo ramen meal for competitive eating. Koizumi knew it was on the list but is not really into competitive eating. Is it because of the time limit? Nope. She doesn’t think she can eat enough to enter such contest with confidence. WTF… And here she has got the guts to order another bowl of ramen. The girls are so sick of gyoza now that they don’t want to even hear about it. Jun’s mom is baffled how many friends she brought because the bill is sky high. You wouldn’t believe it about Koizumi…

Episode 11A
Yuu is trying to recreate a ramen from Osaka she ate when she was young. Of course this is to lure Koizumi and bait her to become her friend. As she can’t quite remember the ingredient, she calls Shuu for help. He remembers it as tasty ramen and gets scolded. The smell of ramen has attracted Koizumi so she eats what Yuu makes and tells her about the Osaka ramen she was trying to recreate. She knows there is a branch here in Tokyo and brings her there the next day. Yup, that ramen is called tasty ramen. Better apologize to big brother later. After having a good meal, this gives Koizumi the motivation to visit Osaka. It’s been some time since she has gone there.

Episode 11B
We see Koizumi going on a ramen spree at Osaka. This is interrupted when several local guys try to hit on her. She is saved by a local, Ayane and she can tell Koizumi isn’t local by the way she eats her stuff. Ayane is further surprised that she is here only for the ramen because Osaka doesn’t pride itself in that. Koizumi argues otherwise. As Koizumi has trouble navigating though the guys who want to date her, Ayane becomes her ‘bodyguard’. So they visit several ramen shops and enjoy their meal. Yeah, these girls really have a black hole stomach. Koizumi learns that Ayane just quit her job. Hence today is technically her last day in Osaka as she will go to Tokyo for a job that her relatives got for her. So the only way to fight all that depression is to have more ramen! In the end when they part, Ayane hands Koizumi her contacts. Guess what? Ayane is Yuu’s cousin! Oh no. At the train station, Yuu ignores Ayane just to greet Koizumi. But imagine the shock when she learns Koizumi was spending the entire day with her. Jealous? Koizumi ignores her and takes her train home.

Episode 12A
Jun gets a distressed call from Yuu. She is lost at Nagoya with no money! It seems she was on a train with Shuu and Ayane when her super zooming vision has her spot Koizumi! Seriously?! As the train stops at the next stop shortly, she dashes out. No Koizumi in sight. Her friends assure they will get help by contacting Koizumi. Wait a minute. They have her contacts but Yuu doesn’t???!!! With only 500 Yen in her pocket, she finds a ramen shop that could get her a decent meal. She is baffled she is given chopsticks and what it seems to be a fork-cum-spoon utensil. As she ponders which to use, Koizumi sits down next to her and tells her to use the one she feels like using. In Yuu’s relief, it’s the real Koizumi! Not imagining. I’m sure she is trying to hold in her fan girl squealing as Koizumi explains that utensil is designed specifically to eat ramen and egg together. With Yuu feeling ‘safe’ with her, they go explore other ramen shops in Nagoya. Apparently Koizumi was on her way home when she thought about Nagoya and stopped by here. They try out some super spicy ramen using a spoon filled with small holes. When it is time to go back to the train station, Yuu once again tries to ask Koizumi to be friends and at least have her contacts. It looks like she is being ignored but Koizumi sends her a text containing her address rejecting so. Passive aggressive? Anyhow, Yuu is so on top of the world. But now he has to face Shuu’s wrath after a missed million calls. Yuu never got any more text from Koizumi after that…

Episode 12B
Koizumi is sick? Even her friends are surprised. So sick that she has to be absent. It wasn’t just for a day and since it is dragging out too long, Yuu becomes so worried she is asking the teacher for her address! She needs to be by her side now! As the days passed and Koizumi not turning up, Yuu turns into a serial worrywart and wonders if she is eating right. What is she?! Her mother?! I guess she was sick of Yuu. Haha! Oops… 2 weeks later, Koizumi returns. Jun and Misa wonder why Yuu doesn’t look happy. Yuu had thought to ask her out to celebrate her recovery with ramen but realized that she has barely eaten anything during her sick period, this means she has had no ramen during that period. This will be the first time in 2 weeks she will be having ramen. Oh, is Yuu being considerate?! So when Koizumi tastes her first ramen in a fortnight, she cries and gets so emotional! Tastes so freaking good! Man, I don’t think if her parents died, she would ever cry like that. Oops. Sorry. And I take back what I said about Yuu being considerate because she is spying outside on her and is glad she is alright. Now she goes to bug her. Oh, I think Yuu as a disease is real… Jun and Misa also feel like joining them for ramen. Koizumi gives ‘permission’ to do as they please. But she has to draw the line when Yuu wants to eat ramen with her every day. Okotowari shimasu. Please don’t spoil the taste of ramen…

Oodles Of Noodles, Ramen Amen
And so our friends continue to seek out every nook and corner enjoying their simple and unique ramen meals while Yuu continues to desperately seek Koizumi’s friendship. I bet and guarantee that Koizumi would have eaten all the different types of ramen in the world before Yuu could ever be her friend. There is a difference between being persistent and being an idiot not knowing when to give up. So I guess I have had my fair share of visually eating ramen so looks like I’m done and good for now.

The real stars of the show are the variety and different types of ramen. I read that the ramen stores and places the character visits are real. So is this like some sort of big advertising and promotion? Who cares as long as we can enjoy quality ramen? With so many types of ramen and its variation, you can literally open a ramen museum. Oh wait. Wasn’t there one already? Anyway, I believe ramen lovers and those who are not so into ramen could find this anime useful because in a way it serves as a guide to some of the ramen stores in town. So if there is one ramen place you missed out, maybe it was shown here and now satisfy your curiosity by visiting it and satisfy your stomach by indulging the ramen.

Therefore if you are hoping to find some sort of plot, you would be sorely disappointed because there is literally none except Koizumi and other characters going around finding a ramen store and enjoying their ramen order. In other words, if you do not enjoying seeing Koizumi’s orgasmic face slurping clean her ramen bowl, this is one hell of a boring series for the season. Like I said, this series is one big advertisement for Japan’s ramen. Hmm… I wonder if they’re trying to indirectly compete with sushi? It’s the other internationally well-known Japan dish and more likely foreigners would associate with Japan because ramen still has Chinese connotations. As in ‘la mien’ (hand pulled noodles) so to speak.

While the character designs and animation style are totally generic and standard anime style, they put all the effort and detail into the ramen itself. So for every ramen dish featured in every episode, you can see the intricate details they put into it. It makes it delicious enough to make me hungry. Heck, you don’t even need to make super exaggerated food as seen in other exaggerated cooking shows like Shokugeki No Souma or Chuuka Ichiban to even make you hungry. Thankfully I didn’t bite my computer screen. If I were to easily give in to my hunger pangs, I would have bought so many monitors in my life… So yeah, good job in really promoting the ramen presented here. I’m sure the real deal would look even better and tastier.

The characters take a secondary role although they are still lovable in their own rights. Enigmatic Koizumi (do we even know her first name?) is one who gets to live her dream by doing the thing she loves most. In some ways I can relate to Koizumi because despite being an expert in anything ramen (I assume her knowledge would even put some ramen experts, professionals, masters and historians to shame), it has never crossed her mind that she would want to pursue a career in the ramen industry. Just like me. I love anime but never have I actually sat down and thought deeply I want to be part of this industry. So just like her, we just want to appreciate and enjoy what we like presents to us. Because I am sure her thinking is like mine. If we were to go work in that industry, would we be able to enjoy as much as we did right now? Do you know all the strenuous effort that it takes to make and prepare ramen? Do you know all the tight schedules and deadlines in the anime industry? Oh, better be the consumer and just enjoy it. Less stress, more fun. She will always have stomach space for ramen and even if she has a stomach for dessert, it will run out or she will use it for only ramen. Just like me, having an infinite love for anime and will never grow out of it ;p.

Yuu is a character that stands out mainly because of her comic relief position. All of us come to know her as a girl who became infatuated with Koizumi and wants to become friends with her. Uh huh. She looks like she is turning into an annoying friendship bugging harassing monster. But the more eager and desperate she becomes, the more she is pushed down the pecking order of becoming friends with Koizumi because do you not notice that everybody else can be said to have become friends naturally with Koizumi? Even if they don’t admit it, Koizumi is less hostile and is more naturally inclined to hang out with them than Yuu. That’s right. They don’t bug her. I don’t think the mere-exposure effect of Yuu being around Koizumi for long periods of time is working for her. Or she’s doing it the wrong way.

Well, Koizumi isn’t normal to begin with. Could she be an alien in disguise? So by the time we assume Yuu finally becomes her decent ‘friend’, Koizumi would have made 1000 more ‘friends’. Is ramen buddy the correct term for her? I wonder what jealousy meter Yuu would be at that point. The jealousy power is over 9000! Yeah, Yuu is yandere potential. Don’t you even dare date or marry Koizumi (of course she would never) because Yuu will stalk and kill you! Thus there is no love lost seeing Yuu failing in her bid to become Koizumi’s friend. In fact, that feels like the running joke of the series. After all, so infatuated in trying to become her friend that her friends surpassed in her having her contact details, etc. So keep up with this bugging and you’ll find yourself not knowing anything more about her or be the last to know.

The other side characters are okay as well. Misa being the popular girl who wanted to usurp Koizumi in popularity but ends up being an indirect fan girl of her. At least this doesn’t make her a total b*tch. At least she is not as annoying as Yuu whom you want to strangle to death each time she goes into her Koizumi-please-be-my-friend tirade or Koizumi-is-my-friend-damn-it! charade. Jun as the brainy one isn’t so much of a ramen fan but gets pulled into Koizumi’s pace and finding enjoyment in some of the ramen she is exposed to.

When I first hear Koizumi, I thought it was Yukari Tamura behind her voice. However something felt a bit off behind that ambiguously soft spoken voice. Luckily I managed to realize it was Ayana Taketatsu behind the titular character. I think in recent times I must be failing to recognize Ayane Sakura. On so many accounts recently I failed to notice with her. I should have spotted her this instant when I heard her as the lively eager beaver Yuu but that never crossed my mind. I’m so ashamed of myself. But thankfully I still recognize Yuuichi Nakamura as Shuu and Kana Ueda as Ayane. But not so thankfully for the rest I didn’t recognize like Akari Kitou as Misa (Kaho in Blend S), Yumi Hara as Jun (Albedo in Overlord) and Ai Kakuma as Hannah (Est in Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance).

The opening theme, Feeling Around by Minori Suzuki starts off in a weird sense. It feels like a short trippy acid drug trip perhaps because of the music special effects. But overall this song has a bit of a Chinese feel in it. Somehow the ending theme, Love Men Holic by Shiena Nishizawa is a song that seems very much fitting to appear as one on Shokugeki No Souma. This rock piece has quite catchy electric guitar riffs and having recently watched the recent season of Shokugeki No Souma, maybe that is why. Also to note, the short jingle that sings the series’ name is quite catchy.

Overall, this series is like the food porn ramen version. Just a big advertising for the ramen industry and it would be much better if you visit one instead. Because ramen is best eaten, not seen. Duh. So yeah, generally this series is boring and it puts other ‘boring’ series of the season like Yuru Camp to look like it has much more substance, which is particularly true. Sometimes it feels this series may be purposely made as boring as it is so it forces you to go out and have ramen. Have your soul and tummy filled with real one, that’s what they’re telling you. Of all the different types of ramen around, which is the best seasoning and spice? Hunger. I think this is also particularly true for most of any other food. Note to self: Never watch a food anime on an empty stomach no matter how boring it is…

Slow Start

May 19, 2018

Here we go again. Time for the cute girls doing cute things trope for the season. Uh huh. So what is the setting this time for Slow Start? Apparently our main character missed the important high school entrance exam and is now a year behind. Her new school mates are not aware of this but she is hell bent in trying to catch up with everyone else. Yeah, that sounds like a yawn fest but if this is cute girls doing cute things, they’ll try to cover that up with some friendship bonding thingy that will have you squealing in all the cute and moe fashion. Gyah~!!!! So kawaii!!!

Episode 1
Hana Ichinose receives her first year high school uniform from her cousin-cum-roommate, Shion Kyouzuka who is excited to take pictures of her in it. Hana gets message spam from her mom about her first day. After the entrance ceremony, Hana sees Eiko Tokura reunited with a petite childhood friend Kamuri Sengoku whom she has not seen since kindergarten. That’s because Kamuri has not grown too. Hana feels lonely as everyone else has already made friends. Even more so when she sees Eiko introduces Tamate “Tama” Momochi to Kamuri. When the homeroom teacher, Kiyose Enami begins class by having everyone introduce themselves, Hana is first on the register. Being shy on her first day, she didn’t put much enthusiasm in it. Enami then realizes today is Hana’s birthday. Embarrassed, surprisingly everyone claps and wishes her happy birthday. Later, Eiko, Tama and Kamuri give her birthday presents and one of them includes a road safety charm given out for free at the train station. They become friends and decide to show Hana the sakura trees at the station. Along the way, they discuss the origins of their name. While Hana is simply from spring season, Tama is embarrassed to be called her full first name as her parents named her after that folklore box. Kamuri is also an unusual name and it might be derived from some crested serpent eagle. The girls would love Hana to tell them more about herself but since she only moved here a year ago, she can’t say much. Hana invites them to hang out there sometimes. Back home, Shion celebrates her birthday as well as her first day at school. She can tell Hana is in a good mood and has made friends. Aside the umbrella present from Shion, she also gives that road safety charm. Going to school will sure be a lot safe. Before going to bed, Hana calls her parents to tell she has made friends and doing well. Next day at school, Hana fears her pals have forgotten her name as they keep calling her as yesterday’s birthday girl. Luckily they still do. It is just that the birthday part had a great impact on them.

Episode 2
Flashback a year ago, when Hana was supposed to sit for the high school entrance exam, she got mumps followed by high fever. She was forced to miss it and got well after it is all over. She became disheartened about being a year behind all her friends so mom suggested to go live with Shion who is the landlady of her uncle’s apartment. In a new environment where nobody knows her, it will be good to get a fresh start. The friends are eating lunch together. They tease Hana for perhaps dating Shion since she made quite a lovely bento. Eiko’s little sister always makes soup for her. Despite studying for her entrance exam, she goes to great lengths to cook for her. This triggers Hana to rap Eiko to take better care of her sister. Yeah, she feels so strongly about entrance exams. When Hana returns home, she apologizes to Shion she can’t go out with her. WTF? The girls are having a physical sports test. Hana is of course very unfit. Kamuri seems to be able to run faster than the average (less wind resistance?) so a girl who is impressed with her starts praising this and that, scaring the hell out of Kamuri. Luckily Eiko was there to ‘save’ her. Hana continues to flop in many of the tests. Until the final hand-grip-strength test she finally nailed a normal score. However she starts to have cramps. Her friends immediately head to the infirmary to get some compressors but soon get distracted with the new ice cream vending machine. Mmm… Nice ice cream. Meanwhile Hana is still in pain so they think some banana flavoured ice cream would help. Didn’t. It tastes bad too. Luckily Hana soon recovers. However she might not be when she hears the test will continue into afternoon too. As the friends go home, Kamuri just wears shoes without socks. It is an odd sight since she is often wearing knee socks. Hana has a hard time trying to tell Shion not to make bento that would give her friends the wrong idea. Well, Shion gets the hint although she says it right in her face she knows how much a pain she is after living here for a year. Ouch. And so the bento now looks like they have broken up.

Episode 3
The girls are discussing what they’ll be doing for Golden Week. Eiko leaves for a while when a girl from another class calls her. This makes Kamuri shy even around Tama and Hana. So when Eiko returns, Kamuri gives her a big hug! Like as though she has never seen her in years… Tama suggests hanging out on Golden Week so Eiko thinks it would be better to form a study group as the test is around the corner. Even Hana agrees! You lose, Tama. Since they want to see Hana’s place, she agrees to make her room their study group session. During the week, Hana’s parents visit her and are glad she is doing fine. The next day, Hana’s friends arrive. Even after a year moving in, her room is so empty. Well, she always goes to Shion’s room for meals. But what does she do in her own free time then? Study. Oh. Before they get to that, Eiko and Kamuri surprise the duo with a happy birthday confetti (oh great, now the ‘clean empty’ place is all messed up). Although today is not Tama’s birthday, hers and Hana’s fall in the same month so they think it is good to celebrate it before their study. They also give a proper birthday present this time, twin teddy bears. When Kamuri notes they are now the same age, Hana starts crying. Uhm, I don’t think that can be passed off as tears of happiness. Blissful moment is here when they have some cake and start feeding each other. Then the study session begins. When Eiko leaves for the toilet, Kamuri again becomes shy. The duo try to ask questions but she gets scared and runs. Tama starts chasing her! Luckily Eiko returns and hence the ‘bullying’ ends. The friends leave at the end of the day and they hope to come back again even if it’s not to study. Hana opens her birthday present from her parents. It is a beautiful snow globe and she puts it next to her teddy bears. At least her room is less empty now.

Episode 4
Shion forgot to bring a package for Hiroe Hannen, the tenant who lives upstairs and since she is busy with cooking, Hana offers to do it. But knocking on Hiroe’s door for the first time is scary because Hiroe thinks this is a scam. The last time was a busty woman (Shion) and before that an old man (her uncle). When all calms down, Shion introduces the duo. Both are nervous and shaking while shaking hands. It seems Hiroe is staying here as she is studying for the entrance exams. However she failed them all and is still failing! Hana knows the feeling. You know it is too good to be true because it is just a dream when Hana tells her friends about her situation and they quickly accept her. Hana sends another package to Hiroe. She feels like invading her privacy although Hiroe invites her to stay for tea. As she doesn’t have much, she always orders via online. Besides, she can’t just go out to the convenience store as she has no proper clothes to wear. Flashback reveals Hiroe was a top student and had everything going for her until the day she took her college entrance exams. It was snowing heavily and she got stuck for 2 hours. Everything went downhill from there and that’s how she ended up here. Yup, Hana knows that feeling and reveals her similar situation. To improve her makeover, Hana thought of lending her clothes but it’s too small. Shion? Let’s say it is too roomy in certain areas. So she calls her friends to help. With Eiko exerting her dominance over her, I hope Hiroe doesn’t get traumatized. Hiroe has a complete makeover till the others almost doesn’t recognize her! Cast away all that fanciful makeover, Hiroe looks quite decent. Now they are all able to go out and help her shop for proper clothes. Bought quite a lot. Those salespeople must be really pushy. Oh right. It’s her first time outside since. At the end of the day, Hiroe is thankful to Hana for being ‘dragged’ out of her room. Otherwise she would never have changed. This motivates Hana to tell her friends her situation when the time comes. Well, take your time. Hiroe is now able to go out with confidence and looking presentable.

Episode 5
Looks like Kamuri forgot to wear her skirt to school! Hana is panicking so much that the rest don’t need to panic. Besides, it’s not like she forgot to wear her pantsu. Everyone wears pantsu underneath their skirt too, right? No big deal. Problem is solved with Eiko lending her gym shorts. Tama theorizes she forgot to put on her skirt is because she had dirty thoughts of Eiko. This leads her to show photos of Eiko that were being sold at dirt cheap prices in middle school. Tama doesn’t need them anymore and gives it to Kamuri. Oh yeah, she’ll frame them up. However Eiko feels something off. The Eiko she saw last year looked different. She had long hair unlike in the photo which has short hair. Hana also has this similar feeling because she too thought of seeing someone that resembles Eiko. Meanwhile Enami is wearing sweatpants because the head teacher told her off for wearing some skirt. Tama remembers about the inspection of checking for flashy panties and teases Eiko she might be wearing them. Enami wants her to show her panties! If not, she flips up her skirt! All okay. First time seeing Eiko having a mental breakdown. Don’t worry. Her mental gauge is restored with Kamuri’s petting and hug. Later the friends discuss the possibility of Eiko having a doppelganger. And something about if all of them meet, somebody has to die! Gullible Hana believes them?! Then they think they saw her clone. Kamuri approaches her. Looks a bit different. Eiko? She says yes?! Real Eiko pops up. OMG?! Doppelganger?! Actually, this is her little sister, Miki. She replied so because she thought it was the right thing to do, which isn’t. Kamuri relates last year’s experience when she thought she saw her on the street (it was Miki). She tried to approach her but she was on her handphone. All she heard was the school she might be going to and that’s who she applied here. It was a big gamble because there might be a chance she won’t even enrol here. Anyway, time for their usual big hug that brings tears to the gullible. When Miki mentions she will also be taking the high school entrance exam this year, this triggers Hana as she thinks her breath could jinx her. How long can she hold her breath? Not long. I don’t know how Miki interpreted this to be educational.

Episode 6
Because Shion will be away for a reunion, Tama will be staying with overnight with Hana. Shion and Tama are being dramatically polite with each other over Hana that Hana is embarrassed and confused. Later the duo go pick up Eiko and Kamuri. On their way back, they pass by an eel shop and this brings back memories for Tama who once worked at such a place. It was less than pleasant since lunch wasn’t provided. Didn’t think she could eat eels for free, huh? But since Tama is on a tight budget, she can’t splurge. So she often cooks for her grandmothers and this has the others praising her. Tama is surprised because even though she wanted them to praise her, she didn’t think they would be this serious. They chance upon Hiroe who is coming back from a convenience store. However she is back in her jerseys. I guess she has gotten lazy and hence forgot her fashion sense. They help her regain that sense and in exchange she helps them with their homework (this sleepover is still a study session). Thankfully she hasn’t lost her touch but the rest didn’t think she was this good. What were they thinking of her? They take a bath, have dinner and play a galge (somehow master Eiko aces all the girls so fast). When it is time to sleep, Tama wants to tell ghost stories. Oh, Hana looking scared. Eiko’s lazy story is that she doesn’t remember everything but only everyone dies in the end. Hana is already scared! That night, Hana can’t sleep because she kept thinking how a loose screw she found in her room could topple the apartment. Tama assures her the building’s structure isn’t that flimsy. And something about comparing dating simulations to how different everyone is and hence Hana is an admirable girl for doing her best to live on her own. It puts Hana’s heart at ease. Next morning, there is an indent on Kamuri’s face. She claims it is Eiko’s hard nipples! But Hana fears it is the curse of the screw! It is actually the button on Eiko’s shirt. Hana then finds the loose screw origin. It comes from a switch cover. Why was Kamuri having it?

Episode 7
It’s Eiko’s birthday and everyone gives her hairpins. She’s wearing a bunch of them on her head too. Enami too has a cheeky one: A paper clip. Eiko then cheekily bends it into a heart shape but Enami isn’t a fan of that so she ‘warns’ her to remove all her hairpins before the start of class. Enami might have a weird sense of humour but this is what Eiko likes about her. So she likes hard to get type? One morning, Enami wakes up back in her apartment fresh from last night’s hangover. Enami is sleeping on the floor with her hands gagged! Oh my. What just happened? It seems she had too much of a drink with her friend last night. Eiko saw them and offered to bring Enami home. Enami’s mind was fuzzy and all as she didn’t oppose to Eiko staying. Fearing she would do a prank while she is asleep, she told her to put out her hands and she’ll tie it. Enami feels guilty about it and this only serves to make Eiko laugh as she loves the sight of Enami looking meek. Enami freshens up herself and they have coffee. Eiko thinks of going home to bath but Enami smells her and thinks she smells good. Eiko felt embarrassed and leaves. Like as though she was winning and then suddenly Enami pulled off an upset move and wins it. So in school, Eiko is a bit cautious when Enami is going to get close to her. Later Eiko takes Hana to her secret spot. Panic trigger. Because it means something dangerous is going to happen? Eiko assure it isn’t something like that. Eiko reveals the necklace that Enami is wearing is made by her. She likes making accessories and seeing her wearing them makes her feel happy. I guess Hana was so touched that she started crying. This is Eiko’s first time telling this secret to others. That means you’re the first, Hana. This prompts Hana to wonder if she could share her secrets with her friends.

Episode 8
Hana is supposed to have class duty today with Nanae Takahashi but ends up late. Although Nanae is cool about it, it only worsens Hana’s guilt. When Hana’s friends learn about it, they also learn this is the first time Hana talked to Nanae. In fact, she has never spoken to half of her classmates before since there was no chance as a reason to. Hence the friends help organise the other classmates to introduce themselves and talk to Hana. Looks like Hana could normally talk to them. No big deal. At the end of the day she writes her report on this and hands it in to Enami who advises her she doesn’t need to go out of her way just to talk to people. She is who she is and it is okay. Hana and co are thinking about getting new swimsuits. I guess the flat chests are up in arms when Eiko mentions hers don’t fit anymore. Mob mentality! At the store, Eiko tries a daring one that flaunts her body. Hana tries out a cute one while Tama wears a weird one with stars. As for Kamuri, she already bought hers without trying. Apparently she tried hers during the same time with Eiko and was hiding behind her. On the way home, they ask Hana if she can swim. Nope. Now she acts like a retarded penguin? Is she trying to prove a point that she’s not a penguin? The friends promise to save her if she drowns. They also plan before their next outing to the beach, perhaps they could stay over at Hana’s place. Next morning at school when Hana sees Nanae, she is anxious at first but decides to greet her as planned. And when she says hello, everything from then on flows smoothly. There, it wasn’t so hard, was it?

Episode 9
The girls are so looking forward for tomorrow’s beach trip. Too bad, it’s raining cats and dogs. Wow. It’s like the end of the world for Hana and Tama. But don’t worry. Eiko has this idea of not putting their swimsuits to waste. They can wear it in here instead. Hopefully no peeping toms. Tama is concerned that Hana’s boobs are growing so Eiko gives hope by saying if her chest hurts, it is a sign they’re growing. Hence Tama beats her chest like a gorilla. When Hiroe visits to give lychees, she sees this unholy activity. They won’t let her leave and force on an extra swimsuit on her. While Eiko’s swimsuit has lots of strings for decoration, Hiroe thinks hers is the same and pulls it. Almost gone commando over there! Shion then visits after hearing a commotion. Oh. Closes back the door. Time to panic? Yeah, maybe she’ll kick you all out for good. But then she returns in a swimsuit! I take it she wants in. I guess it is hands down she has the biggest boobs. Shion suggests they can go swimming in a nearby hotel’s pool. The adults go have a body massage while the young ones take to the pool. Hana can’t swim but even wading in the shallow end makes her scared. They also help teach her how to swim. As Hana is resting, she accidentally drops Eiko’s bracelet as it rolls into the pool. She panics and wants to get it and puts on a float. How the f*ck did she get stuck like that? But if you think about it, if she is going to dive in, why the heck does she need a float? Anyway, Tama gets it so Hana doesn’t have to. Eiko thanks Hana for being concern despite not knowing how to swim. When it is time to change, the girls except Eiko realize they forgot to bring their underwear. So what’s the problem of wearing it underneath your normal clothes? No, Eiko is not going to lend you hers. Luckily thoughtful Shion has bought some but they are a bit showy. Only Hana has a problem with it because it literally has a hole at the back despite it is supposed to be some pattern. Hiroe’s has lots of string so Shion assures it is for decoration and pulls it. Commando part 2!

Episode 10
Hiroe is at Hana’s doorstep. She looks a bit messed up and a bit panic as she screams Eiko’s name. OMG! Did Eiko rape her?! This is what happened. She was trying a shirt Eiko bought her but couldn’t decide to tug it in or leave it out. Panic, she called Eiko for help. She is fine either way and let her decide before hanging up. Poor Hiroe got so confused and with her bad coordination, that’s how she ended up looking so. Now she is bugging Hana for an answer. Too pressured to answer! Hana runs to Shion and makes it look like Hiroe was going to rape her! Shion has her answer but it looks like she might be turning into a different character. Eiko stops by to help out. She explains she was out shopping with her sister so she wasn’t free to entertain her call. As Eiko leaves, she gives Hana a flower hairpin. Next day in school when Hana bumps into Enami, she talks to her about her dilemma about keeping her gap year a secret from her friends. She feels uneasy doing so. She fears that if she tells, the status quo will change. From Enami’s perspective, things will not change either way. Just don’t overthink it. When she returns to her friends, she gets a shock when Eiko mentions about Shion saying about the gap year thing. Actually she was referring to Shion taking an unemployed gap year. Hana realizes she was too preoccupied with herself to even notice this. Talking to Shion about this, she mentions she did so to focus on becoming a landlady. Hana wonders what Shion will do after this. So I guess need some cousinly bonding as they bath together and Shion giving her a shark pyjamas for her to sleep. Weird… Hana asks more if she would continue to remain as the landlady. Shion admits she was stressed while trying to find a job especially all he friends already got one. She is still mulling over it. It was lonely at first being the landlady but at some point she realized it suited her. She could have met many people if she works but she likes it for who she is now as a landlady. More reminiscing when Hana first came here to stay. She was quite shy and Shion tried to make her feel at home. Hana cut her hair as Shion said it suited her well. Hana is thankful to have her as her landlady. This has Shion motivated to continue as a landlady. She notes everyone staying here is experiencing some gap year. They should call this the Gap Year Apartment. Hana disagrees with hers but it’s lights out.

Episode 11
Hana is sad that they won’t see each other during the summer vacation. However they have plans like visiting the fireworks festival. So prepare your yukata and get ready to gear up for more fun. First up, all the friends meet at Tama’s place as she introduces them to her mom and grandma. Then they head to the mini vegetable farm to pick up some fresh vegetables. They enjoy their tomato but Hana doesn’t know how to eat it and almost stain her white dress. So hang a plastic bag over her ear and eat it? The old ladies help the young ones put on their yukata. They note Hana as a very kind person. It makes her face beam with pride but this somehow embarrasses Tama because of some flag like a dating sim whereby a character’s favourability goes up? Huh? At the festival, they bump into several of their classmates. One wants to hug Kamuri and another one had her sandal broken and when Tama uses her handkerchief to temporarily tie it up, she insists she does not. Please take back your handkerchief. Shion and Hiroe are also enjoying themselves at this festival. It takes a great deal of burden off Hiroe’s shoulders about her college stuffs that she is stressed about. The quartet stumble into Enami. She claims she is on patrol duty to watch the students but something tells me she’s a bad liar. A little adult moment when Eiko wipes ice cream off her face and instinctively Enami licks her finger! System shock for Hana. The girls play sparklers and Tama wants to know the wish they made at the shrine. The rest won’t tell but Hana notes hers was more of thanks because school has been fun for her every day. Cue for terrific fireworks display. Tama and Kamuri return with a stash of seemingly super big fireworks but they turn out to be some mini black snake fireworks that soon sputter out.

Episode 12
Hana receives an envelope from her mom that contains some money. Hana starts crying but is not tears of joy. She thinks mom doesn’t want her anymore! A quick call to mom as she assures her that this is her allowance as Hana is now a high school girl and would love to get her own clothes. In school, Hana discusses with her friends if it is strange to wear clothes that mom picks out even though she is at this age. Each has their own opinion but essentially to each her own. They agree to go out shopping for clothes together. After a tiring day, Eiko hands Enami a candy. It is the type she likes but as she pops it in her mouth, the head teacher calls her. Enami puts the candy back into Eiko’s mouth and tells her to hold it for her. Of course by the time she is done, the candy is also gone. Eiko hints the taste is still in her mouth and gets a knock on her head. Eiko actually had another candy but I guess teasing tastes better. Hiroe tells Hana that she has registered herself for a summer course and shows off the school uniform she is wearing from Shion. But Hana notes that it is summer vacation so nobody is going to be walking around in those clothes. That night, Hana had a strange dream whereby Shion the spring fairy has her choose between a gold or silver Tama. Since she wanted neither, she praises her for her honesty. Her reward is that all of her friends reveal they have a gap year. In turn, Hana also reveals the truth and everyone laughs it off. But it’s not the same in reality as Hana regrets believing all that in her dream. Hana and her friends make good their promise to shop for clothes. Then they buy coloured teddy bears to represent their friendship and unity. Hiroe is before the summer course building and she has cold feet whether to turn back and procrastinate. Excuses, excuses. Thankfully she sums up her courage to take the first step. As promised, Hana takes a photo of her newly bought clothes with Shion to mom. Shion distracted her so please forgive that slightly funny face.

Slow Moving…
Sure, Hana’s happiness is slowly moving along but my real main concern is how long is Hana going to keep a secret her gap year? I know it is not really of a big deal or issue to me but it is one that is plaguing her throughout the series. That is why it is still remained a secret. Hence if she procrastinates and delays it year by year, by the time she is an adult and assuming she is going to reveal her big secret then, would it really matter? Yeah, it would have been like, it happened so long ago, girl. Why now? Why should I care? Or she can take this gap year secret to her grave and nobody could ever find out. Just live the rest of her life with that anxiety that someone would find out…

As usual, the plot doesn’t really matter and if you have seen this kind of show seasons in and season out, you can expect very much the same. Just presented in a different way and setting. Hana starts out as a socially awkward person because of her ‘disability’ but because after spending time with her closest friends, she feels at home and starts to open up more. The girls bond and grow their friendship to a point that this could be the best point in time for their memories. Uh huh. Don’t expect much from the storyline except for the girls in their daily shenanigans that also provide a few chuckles.

Even though a one year difference might not seem much but during schooling years I figure it feels very much like ages for a young person (after all, how long has a young person started living in this world?). With bullying and ostracizing on the cards, it feels like starting from a young age people like Hana has already learnt to lie. It is a situation of damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. But knowing the trend of this anime and the friends that she has made over the year, she would have very well known that her friends are not the kind to start mocking her because she is a year older. Maybe they’ll tease her about it but won’t go so far as to intimidate or tease with ill intentions. I mean, let’s face it. We have seen generally the characters of Eiko, Kamuri and Tama. Are they the kind of people who will do such a thing? If so, they are not worthy to be her friends. But I am betting 100% that they aren’t.

Therefore Hana being scared to tell them their secret despite this sometimes feels it makes no sense because she is so just for the plot device. If she is quite comfortable and feeling at home with her friends, perhaps it is time to let the cat out of the bag? But then again when you think further about it, no matter how close you are to a person, perhaps human nature and guts will tell us to still be wary and not tell all of your secrets. I mean, what is human, right? Nothing but a miserable little pile of secrets! Oops. Wrong series. If her friends are her true friends, then revealing her secret would be best described as the people who matter don’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter.

About the characters, they are as generic as they can get in this kind of genre. Nothing out of the ordinary. But I guess I need to be a little fair too because these been-there-done-that type of characters give the series its own charm. In the sense that it is likeable in its own right as with other cute girls doing cute things series.

So like Hana as the main character has some sort of flaw to overcome. Hence in her bid to play catch up, she becomes the panicky type so as not to get her secret busted. Because it is greatly assumed that if you are a year older, you should know a lot of things, am I right? Yeah, kids always think they know everything. I can understand why Hana doesn’t want to look dumb before her friends but it also makes her look more gullible. Despite her slow start, she is making steady progress. But just like in a race, if you are catching up from behind, you need more stamina and power to draw level. Will Hana run out of steam by the time she does so? Will she even reach the finish line? These questions will not be answered this season. For now, just keep running.

Eiko stands out as a lady killer because it is her character’s personality as well as the series’ running joke that she can land any kind of girl with her natural charms in any second. If she was a guy, I figure the other girls would just die swooning over her. It is no surprise since Eiko has quite a mature body and is a little bold when it comes to ‘flirting’ (in the loosest sense). It is hinted that Eiko might have a thing for Enami since she is probably the only girl who won’t easily fall for her charms. With a face like that, is it any wonder why Enami is still single? Haha! Oops. Sorry. But I’m wondering because she is seemingly the most mature for her age, could it be that Eiko too holds a secret that she is a veteran gap year? Like that dream? Is she really 20 years old? Nah. Then there is the obligatory shy and emotionless petite girl Kamuri. It feels like either she is part of Eiko or Eiko is part of her because without that tall girl around, she ceases to function properly. Rounding up the quartet is Tama who is the usual obligatory noisy one. Yeah, every group needs one like her so as not to be seen as too boring because the other trio are like mellow enough that sparks cannot be lit.

Adding variety with other characters outside the circle are Shion and Hiroe. Fellow gap year residents staying in the same apartment feels like it is really staying true to the idiom of birds of the same feather. With Shion playing the big sister role and Hiroe who is already a ‘veteran’ being behind, Hana would have all the support she needs to get through this. With such people around her, she just cannot fail. I mean, she can’t right? Isn’t that why Hana got sick on that important day and then who knows what the heck she has been doing for the rest on the entire year. It isn’t like she is hibernating or anything. So call it a blessing in disguise that this delayed start of hers abled her to meet such wonderful people. I am sure she would have equally met others her age but there’ll be no setting for this series already. It will be overly generic already.

This brings me to wonder has Hana’s old friend really kept in touch with her? I mean, assuming she has normal friends back in middle school, shouldn’t they feel something is wrong when she ‘disappeared’? Oh right. She never told them so we won’t know if they have been fervently searching for Hana. New places, new faces. Hana is so afraid to go back to her old place in fear of the negative reception (she thinks) that it’s like as though she is living a life via witness protection agency. Just short of changing her identity. It would have been a much darker story if we see their side of the story. Her old pals looking for her in vain but became worried sick and disillusioned when they cannot ascertain if she is alive or not. Imagine if they bump into Hana and her new friends on the streets. It will be interesting to know the kind of reaction everyone will put up especially Hana.

The art style and animation feels so generic like other similar titles in the genre such as Hinako Note, Blend S, Sansha Sanyou, Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka, Ebiten, Acchi Kocchi, GJ-Bu and Wakaba Girl that sometimes I get confused if I am watching the correct anime. Especially Hinako Note because Hana has a very uncanny resemblance to the titular character. Oh great. Even their names sounds close enough for me to get confused. Heck, both are also similar in this characteristic trait that they are somewhat not good with other people. No wonder I’m so confused! Is it me or does Kamuri resemble Chino from Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka? Or Eiko like Blend S’ Miu? And Tama like Kyouko from Ebiten? By a long shot, Hiroe reminds me of a chibi version of Morioka of Net-juu No Susume. Animated by A-1 Pictures who brought to you many of your favourite animes like Sword Art Online, Kuroshitsuji, Nanatsu No Taizai, Ao No Exorcist, OreImo, Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata and Fairy Tail.

Voice acting feels generic. Nothing extraordinary that catches my attention since I recognized none of the seiyuus since the main casts are mainly newbies. The voice talents include Reina Kondo as Hana (Kaede in Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS), Tomomi Mineuchi as Eiko (Yae in Yakiniku-ten Sengoku), Maria Naganawa as Kamuri (Tamaki in Stella No Mahou), Ayase Itou as Tama (Arisa in BanG Dream), Mao Ichimichi as Shion (titular character in Space Patrol Luluco), Maaya Uchida as Hiroe (Eruza in Killing Bites), Manami Namakura as Enami (Saya in Dagashi Kashi) and Tomori Kusunoki as Miki (Hazuki in Marchen Madchen). The opening theme, Ne! Ne! Ne! by STARTails (the main quartet) is a typical lively anime pop befitting such genres. Same case for the ending theme, Kaze No Koe Wo Kikinagara by Sangatsu No Phantasia although it goes by a slower pace.

Overall, nothing spectacular as usual. Everything that is charming is mostly confined within the anime itself. It is okay, not that bad, not too shabby but it is not memorable in the long run. By the time the next season rolls out, the next cute girls doing cute things for that season would have overshadowed this one. So having a slow or delayed start isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I mean, what’s the rush? But don’t take too long and start idling because it will be much worse when you then turn into a NEET. It will not be the case of slow start anymore but rather, never finished. It is worse than never starting at all.

Mitsuboshi Colors

May 18, 2018

Did Ichigo Mashimaro get some sort of revival? No they did not? Okay. Must be my imagination. Because seeing the poster of Mitsuboshi Colors instantly reminds me of that show. So if you’re into cute girls doing cute things, this is another one of those series falling into that category of the season. Only this time we lower the age of our cute girls. Yup, lolicons rejoice. Our main characters are young girls who go around town doing errands and protecting their town from evil. I knew I shouldn’t have believed it at face value when they said the policeman was the bad guy… It’s not that kind of show…

Episode 1
In the base of Colors, Yui reports a big problem but Sacchan and Kotoha aren’t interested till she mentions about a cat that looks like a panda. When asked to draw it, she draws it like a monster! Thinking they need to slay it, they seek the local police dude, Saitou for help but he shoots them down for having too much time on their hands. He feels guilty when Yui starts crying. He dispenses information about a panda-like cat who has been bothering the people by stealing stuffs. So if they can catch it, they can protect the peace of this town. They go on the case and find it but to no avail. Sacchan thought she could crawl around to get a cat’s eye view but this unleashes Kotoha’s sadism as she steps on her head. Eventually they find it hiding in their own base because they remember it stole something from it and did a stakeout. Saitou wants them to take care of it because if left to him, he will have to leave town forever. Saitou thinks he has washed his hands off this case but the girls promptly ‘thank’ him to pay for cat food. The cat is now named as Colonel Monochrome. The trio bought a rocket launcher from Oyaji’s shop and threaten to shoot Saitou for being corrupt! We know it’s fake but it looks real and Oyaji has a reputation of selling really strange things. They fire but nothing happens. Saitou notices the launcher has a safety button and tells them all about it but snatches it from them. Now he will blow them to smithereens! Only Yui is crying? Does she know what smithereens is? The girls call for a strategy meeting but eventually run away. Saitou fires and its head really launch! Though, it’s fake and Sacchan catches it by her hand. She throws it back to him and it hits his crotch! I guess that ‘exploded’. Saitou grovels in pain while Kotoha steps on his head… Victory. Oyaji brings a safe to Saitou’s police box. It seems a perpetrator left this and a message to whoever gets to crack the code, gets a treasure inside. Colors are excited to solve this case. But they need to solve the riddle of what ‘pan’ cannot be eaten. From bread to trying out puns of frying pan, panda and even panties, eventually they got it right as the code is underneath a panda-like mailbox. Inside the safe is a cat bowl. The mastermind is Oyaji and he noticed the girls went to his shop looking for a food dish for Colonel. Now he leaves it to Saitou to bring the heavy safe back. But the girls are now not happy because the bowl doesn’t look treasure worthy.

Episode 2
Sacchan has Yui dress up as an oni and then make her count because they’re going to play hide and seek. The moment she is done with that, they ditch her and go hang out somewhere else. Poor Yui… Because Kotoha is playing a game that allows her to earn more passes to more similar players are nearby, they decide to hang out at the station. Saitou catches them loitering around and has this idea of getting rid of them by telling them to head to another place with lots more of such passes. He is so happy that they’re gone. Yui is scared she can’t find her pals and starts crying at Saitou’s box. Better tell them where they are before others think you are being mean to her. When she finally finds them at Akiba, Sacchan didn’t even really care. Not even Kotoha. She’s glad she has gotten all those passes. Colors are supposed to help clean up the shopping district. Instead, they see no trespassing signs and think there might be some murder cases behind it. They defy those signs and head into those no entry zones. Each time, a guy tries to tell them to get out but this only reinforces there is something going on and to further defy. In the end, those forbidden places are so because there are wet paint. Yeah, Colors ran around town and it is easy to see their footprints and where they went. Sacchan mom gives them natto. However she warns them not to throw it in the pond. There goes their whatever weird plan of cleaning up the pond. Huh? In the meantime Sacchan and Kotoha enter some weird looping shiratori word game among themselves that loops between only earthworm and moose. At the pond, they meet their friend, Nonoka who learns of their intentions. I guess they saw on some TV how they throw sticky-like substance to filter the water. Not going to work with this one. Sacchan somehow messes herself up with sticky natto all over. In the end, Yui starts crying because she feels guilty of unable to fulfil her promise of cleaning up the pond. So eat the natto as not to waste it? Then Yui comes up with this revelation that maybe it is okay for the pond to stink and in return, the day is saved and mankind is saved. Huh? Then it’s back to that mindless shiratori loop between the duo like as though they’re not giving up on some word war…

Episode 3
When Sacchan’s mom calls her, they rush down to her fruits store to see what the big problem is. So the problem is she has unsold bananas? Yeah, if none gets sold, they’ll be eating bananas for days and nights! Horror! So she wants them to sell them all and in return they’ll get a reward. So the girls get excited to sell them. Like how they trick Oyaji to taste one and then buy a bunch. Oh, he also has to buy the bunch they are eating! Sneaky. Sacchan tries sneaky but not illegal ways to sell them while Yui starts crying because nobody buys hers?! Well, some gullible sympathetic people did. And the ‘best’ part is how they ‘defeated’ a few yakuza guys and sell on their turf. With one bunch left, they decide to sell it to Saitou. He won’t buy it. A granny asks for directions when suddenly Kotoha feigns pain in her stomach and accuses him of police brutality! Others follow suit and grandma believes! To stop the commotion, he buys the bunch. With all the bananas sold, the girls get their reward, which is some creepy cabrilla monster costume they’ve always wanted. Then they go ‘attack’ Saitou but he saw it coming from miles and locks them out of his box. I’m surprised granny didn’t die of a heart attack seeing them. Oyaji gives Colors a bomb. They’re supposed to cut the correct wires or else the town will go boom. But first they need to decipher the clue to which coloured wire they must cut. It says cut the same colour as the eye in the middle of the shopping district. So they go down to the market to see if there are shops selling eyeballs. Not sure about Sacchan as she goes around asking people about poop. Even getting philosophical about how all living things once pooped and how everyone will die and become poop. So deep… Eventually Kotoha realizes the answer. She dangerously climbs on top of the shopping district’s sign. AMEYOKO. Get it? A-“ME”-YOKO. That’s the ‘eye’. It sure did caused some commotion with everyone watching. Oyaji praises them as the girls become ecstatic as they have saved the town yet again. The epilogue shows that if the girls cut the wrong wire, the bomb will shoot out some stink juice. Too bad Saitou bore the brunt.

Episode 4
When Sacchan receives a mail from Nonoka, they quickly rush down to her bakery. A big case is going to happen. As they try to find out which level of seriousness her case is, Yui somehow talks about poop disappearing to where if you don’t poop it out and when you do somehow they end up back in your stomach later. So magical… So deep… Anyway Nonoka claims somebody is going to take over her shop. Oh look. Here is that person. Momoka, her big sister. Momoka doesn’t know how to use a handphone but she has Kotoha act as an intermediary for her to break up with her boyfriend or stalker who keeps calling her! Brutal! Anyway, Momoka’s dream is to take over dad’s bakery after she graduates. However, the thing that has Nonoka disagreed was that Momoka wants to sell onigiri. Of course Momoka made a condition that she must be able to produce dad’s flavour if she wants to retain this shop. She has done so and lets them taste it. Kotoha is smart to let her pals taste how yucky it is. Momoka can’t let her run this shop with bread tasting like that so she lets Colors sample her multi-flavoured onigiri. An instant hit. Now they are on her side. Traitors! Yui and her school are participating in a local parade. Kotoha and Sacchan come to watch her. After the dragon troupe, not sure why Sacchan got disappointed with some baldy parade. Then it’s Yui’s school. Later they see Saitou but since he is working hard and not slacking, they think he is an imposter and leave him alone. After the parade, the pals meet up so they can head to the festival organized by Yui’s school. They see many wearing twinkling pendants so Sacchan teases Yui she can glow like that. Yui makes her face ‘glow’ but feels insulted when they ignore her. They get those pendants and continue to have fun at the festival. Sacchan’s mom picks them up when it’s over. Yui’s pendant stops twinkling so Sacchan quips Yui can sparkle on her own. Yui reluctantly demonstrates with that ‘glow’ face but it leaves everyone speechless and dumbfounded at this lameness that they want an explanation. Yui regrets that everyone should have ignored her instead.

Episode 5
Oyaji dropped a box of retro childhood toys. The girls explore some of them but it looks like Kotoha has taken a liking for the kendama as she whips everything like a nunchaku. Later, Sacchan starts crying after reading a sad story about an elephant died of malnutrition. Just so to make an elephant pun? Yui reads it and genuinely cries followed by Kotoha. They get this idea to visit the zoo to protect them from starving. I guess kids their age can enter free of charge and run around wherever they like. We see Sacchan making a few animal puns along the way while Kotoha tries hard to hide her giggling. They see a tiger eating a big bone and the only big guy they know is Oyaji. Is he dead?! Yeah, this zoo has not much food that they had to sacrifice Oyaji for tiger fodder. They visit many of the other attractions and could identify the common animals. Then they get stumped by this shoebill. Never seen an animal like that, huh? The girls even own some of the adult staffs with their kiddie logic. Like even if the tiger was eating cow bones, it is still bad to sacrifice other animals to feed! A panda’s meal may cause thousands but some people’s daily eating expenses are just a pitiful fraction of that… At the mouse petting farm, they learn mouse can multiply quickly but since there isn’t many here, they think they are being sacrificed as food! Of course it isn’t but since the guy looks a bit like Saitou, they can’t trust the face of a liar! These kids… With more Sacchan animal puns, they finally realize to head over to the elephant’s section. They look pretty okay. Sacchan throws an apple as it chows it down in one bite, impressing them. With everything happy and okay, when Yui tries to make an animal pun, nobody finds it funny. Oh, didn’t they read the no feeding the animals sign? I wonder if this story would turn dark if the elephant died from the apple and the girls are now blamed for its death! OMG! Koroshi-zou… Sorry, bad pun…

Episode 6
Colors are trying to find edible plants in the park and eat. From the book, a dandelion would be good. They also find some blue flower and clover to the mix. So after Kotoha goes to get a pot for them to cook, time to dig in. Tastes horrible. But of course. Then they get scolded by Saitou for trying to cook in the park that could start a fire. Colors are in a meeting to identify their weaknesses. Sacchan points out Yui’s weakness as a cry-baby. Well, she is denying that. While crying. Sacchan tries to fix this by making her wear a fake moustache and change in her speech. Nope. Failed. Yeah, I think she is just making fun of her. Sacchan points out her own weakness is being too cute. Kotoha smacks her face to fix the problem. As for Kotoha’s problem, Sacchan will not let Yui say that secret. Since curious Kotoha insists, with a smile Yui says she sucks at video games. The biggest shock! Have you ever seen Kotoha going into such fit? But in the end despite her weakness, they all still love her. I don’t think it makes her feel better. Colors are wondering why the statue of a last samurai is famous. They think it is photography so they head to Oyaji to buy a little toy car for Colonel to take pictures? What’s this plan to take pictures of panties and be made into a statue?! Oyaji comes up with a better plan to take all kinds of pictures. One of them should be amazing. The girls bet if they don’t get one, they get to take a picture of him without his sunglasses. So around the shopping district they go as Colonel randomly snaps. In the end they found one in which they want it to use as a killer move against Saitou. But Oyaji shows them a picture that could be their next big case. It is a picture of that cabrilla monster! Obviously superimposed but it got Colors hooked on it. Too bad it is curfew time so the girls give up and go home.

Episode 7
Have you seen Yui this annoyed? I mean, Kotoha has been playing her new game for a few days and has not cleared the first level. Yui is so annoyed that she mocks Kotoha she’ll never clear it till she becomes an adult and will clear it for her! I don’t know how Sacchan resolved this because now Yui is crying and begging for forgiveness. Colors are tasked to pick up trash. So they think they can kidnap Saitou in this small plastic bag? Not going to work. He then tells them a trick to quickly finish their job. Find a recycling bin and put all the trash in theirs! Sneaky… Later Colors smell something stinky. They think it is a corpse and run all around town to find it. What would other people think? Plus, do you not think corpses would answer? It is discovered that the gingko nuts are giving off that stinky smell. They collect a bunch of them and then pelt Saitou’s police box with it! Yeah, now the place stinks. With the town in Halloween mood, the girls decide to play a zombie game. It seems Yui must defeat the zombie boss while the rest go and create more zombies. How do they do that? They write on a piece of paper whoever reads this will become a zombie! I guess some people are so bored that they play along. After waiting a while, Yui goes to look for the zombie boss. She’s a bit confused to see some people as zombies. And then she reads the paper. Oh no. Is she now a zombie? But wait. There is a way not to turn into a zombie. Strip down to your pantsu and scream something embarrassing. Will she do it? Will she not? I think she did. Twice. Finally at the park where all the zombies gather, Yui avoids becoming one of them by closing her eyes and then heads straight for the zombie boss (some wooden doll) and kicks it away. With that, everyone is freed from the zombie curse and they praise Yui as their saviour. Do they even know what is going on? I don’t think they do but they felt fun. Really? That was fun? Whatever. Meanwhile Saitou anticipates Colors to play a prank on him. But they never show up. I guess that stinky durian chips trick is going to waste.

Episode 8
Sacchan thinks of finding a new member so they can have a tsukkomi. Yui claims she is good at that part but apparently the rest don’t think so after her lame comeback. So the place to search is the museum? At the rocket exhibit, they think it belongs to Saitou and try to steal it. Too bad the guard stopped them and they got an earful. Next is the taxidermy section and Yui was gullible enough to believe the story of backdoor deals for these animals to not move and thus can’t go to poo. Next up is the dinosaur exhibition. The curator notes they are interested in dinosaurs like him as he explains to them about the T-Rex. I don’t think Colors can just take its bones… With their recruitment drive failed, Yui makes another lame comeback when the duo claim they should visit the next museum in England. Colors find a raffle nearby. It seems you need to buy from selected store and earn 5 tickets to allow you to have a spin for the top prize to Hawaii. Since Nonoka’s shop is on the list, they go bug her. Of course she won’t give them for free and knows they will only mess up if they help. Kotoha comes up with this brilliant blackmail plan that she must give them the tickets not to help and mess up! Win-win situation! Nonoka is so confused that she gives in! OMG! It works! With 3 tickets in hand, they need the balance. Sacchan has this idea to get loads of free pocket tissues being distributed and then trade them. Well, Yui is too shy (till the point she forgets why she is doing this), Sacchan is being annoying and Kotoha being sneaky by trapping and luring people. In the end, they failed. They think of turning their tissues into pocket tissue missiles and their first victim is Momoka. She gives hers in exchange they don’t throw their tissues at others. With enough to spin, not sure if Yui is panicking as she spins the wheel with all her might. So what prize do they win? A pocket tissue! Disappointed? Pocket tissue attack!!!

Episode 9
With a coin each in an eye and one over her mouth, Sacchan is now One Coin Sacchan! Anyway Colors pooled their money so they could buy a weapon?! I wonder what 1500 yen will get them. There is a real weapon store but luckily the owner doesn’t sell to kids. So Colors go to Oyaji instead and with this right price, they get walkie-talkies each. Yeah, have fun. Colors go pray at the shrine as Sacchan and Kotoha pray for the evil to run amok in their town! Their logic is that Colors only exist because of them and with evil around, they can keep the peace. Yeah… Then they spot Colonel and decide to tail where it goes. It looks like it is walking all over the place and the girls are just trying to keep pace. Yui loses her hairband along the way but I guess it is better to follow the panda cat. Eventually after that long walk, it leads them back to their base. Oh, it has got Yui’s hairband too. Then off it goes. Looks like Colors are beat for now. Next time, Colonel. We’ll discover your private life! After eating cookies from a tin, Colors decide to use it as time capsule. They need to bury in a place big enough that they’ll remember and dig it up in 10 years. So Saitou’s police box? Thinking he is the greedy type who wants to steal their treasure, they change their mind. They find the largest tree but Nonoka wonders if the tree will still be around as the park is constantly under construction. She adds her stuff to the time capsule, a photo of her young self eating bread. Colors find it creepy she carries it around with her… Before they bury, Nonoka raises the question that the tin will corrode in 10 years. And so they give it to Oyaji to keep. Yeah, he is the biggest thing they can remember. Oh, he better be alive in 10 years when they come back for it. Are they implying he is that old?! Those rascals… Ah well, 10 years will zoom by in a flash. Or they’ll just forget…

Episode 10
Colors play around in the snow. As they sleep in it, they realize they just missed a poo! Sacchan wants to cover all those poo traps but the rest have a better plan. Threatening to pelt Saitou with snowballs. But there’s a catch. One of the snowballs has poo in it! Hide in your police box while you can! When Colonel brings in a shrine plaque that says “Your secret is out”, Colors think their base is discovered. So they go on a covert mission to head to the shrine to find more clues. I don’t think they know what covert means. Because this involves Sacchan using herself as a sexy distraction while her friends run past him. Sorry, he’s not a lolicon. At the shrine, they see the caretaker. However with the wind almost blowing off his wig, they think this might be the botched secret and tell it right to his face about his baldness! Sacchan’s mom calls Colors as there has been a ‘robbery’. Somebody took their maneki neko and left a note they took it. Colors take up the case to go find the culprit. They try Oyaji’s place first but he doesn’t have any maneki neko that is familiar to Sacchan. Having no lead, they return to their base to discuss their strategy. Taking a look at the note again, they notice a strange powder as well as some weird scribble. When Kotoha gets it, she is usurped by Sacchan. Angry Kotoha loli wrestles her and banishes her never to speak! They head over to Nonoka’s shop as she admits she is the ‘thief’. Actually the maneki neko belongs to her. Sacchan wanted to borrow it but she never returned it. The ransom note was just a normal note to note that she took it back. I guess her handwriting is so bad, hence that garbage doodle. It’s supposed to be her name. I guess Sacchan now has permission to speak. Apologies solve everything. Sacchan then cheekily asks Yui if she was really cute while she was quiet. Just normal. That has got to be the longest period Sacchan ‘shuts up’. Do we like it that way?

Episode 11
It’s hay fever season so expect sneezing. But the one badly affected is Nonoka. Colors try to help her overcome this allergy that she doesn’t want to admit. When she is about to sneeze, Kotoha punches her in the gut! Oh sh*t! Pain is real! It looks freaking weird when lolis are beating up a high school girl! Nonoka beat down! So much so Nonoka admits her allergy and heads off to see the doctor. Now Colors want to avenge Nonoka by destroying all the trees in town! Never knew there were so many trees, eh? But they can’t simply knock down good ones so they go find bad ones. Like the one where they buried their time capsule. I think they’ll break down in pain before the tree will even move. Not a scratch. Momoka is passing by and sees Colors ‘abusing’ the tree. She learns what happened and tells them cryptomeria is the tree that Nonoka is allergic to. So are there any of such trees around? None in this park. This means Nonoka’s allergy is all in her mind. This means Nonoka is a liar. While poor Nonoka is going to get owned by lolis again, at least all the trees are safe. Phew. Colors use their walkie-talkie to play hide and seek again. Yui is it but since she doesn’t want to hear where the duo are hiding, she starts making weird noises to drown out the noise. She goes in search of them but bumps into Saitou. Evil policeman spoils it for her and tells her where they are hiding because he saw them. Yui manages to find Kotoha hiding openly at the station. They then go look for Sacchan but they better hurry because she sent a mail that she can’t breathe… They see a fallen cabrilla monster as Kotoha beats it up. We all know it is Yui in it. I think she’s dead… Because the cabrilla monster is between panda statues, they think the town is being taken over by them. So they rush off to find Yui… Girls, I think you really missed her…

Episode 12
Colors are doing an interview with some of the people in town they know as part of their guide. Taking turns filming and interviewing, we see them interviewing Oyaji (we find out his real name is Daigoro Kujiraoka) but bad camera angles and the guy being too big tires Yui’s arms. There is also an interview with Sacchan’s mom. Daughter praising mom to be pretty and with all the flattery going on, Kotoha zooms in on Yui’s cringe face… Also Nonoka trying to promote her bread and for Saitou, they play a prank by stealing his bicycle and answering a phone call on behalf. Kids, do not even try this. Colors are supposed to head to a granny’s shop for some case but instead got distracted and played at the playground. Colors want to buy mini castella so they get permission from Sacchan’s mom to sell strawberries to people at the hanami. Sacchan impresses with her smooth talking so I guess the rest are fired up to sell them all. Well, if Kotoha doesn’t crash into people’s party (but they still feed her because she is cute) or lie about curing baldness, it would have been one ‘boring’ affair. And I believe everyone is buying from them because they know who they are. They have a last box left to sell so they target this guy who is depressed after failing to land a job. I’m sure it’s natural he wants to talk about his problems since the girls approached him but they tell him straight they don’t care about him! It’s about us! They then force him to eat a strawberry for a special bonus. And that they mean scattering sakura petals all over him. It makes him feel better and motivated to try his luck at the next job. Learning he only has 500 Yen left, they deviously sell the last box to him at that price. Yeah, you’ve been duped. Happy Colors are able to enjoy their mini castella. Lastly, we see Colors dragging a futon into the middle of the park, lie in there and sleep. It’s part of their surveillance thingy too. Saitou doesn’t even bother because this is peaceful, right?

Himatsubushi Colors
And so the town is once again kept peaceful thanks to the heroic and tireless efforts of… Saitou and the rest of the townspeople! Haha. You think I’m going to say Colors?! They’re just running around having fun. I mean, take a look at the last episode whereby they just did the unthinkable of sleeping in the middle of the park with people in broad daylight. Nobody cares because WTF. I’m sure the town knows them well to leave them alone because there will be hell to pay if you disturb them from whatever they are doing. Let sleeping lolis lie.

The series is kept funny with the charms of Colors. Is it because they are little girls running around town like as though they own it, the reason why we see them as being cute instead of annoying? I am pretty sure that Colors are of the age where they attend school. At least kindergarten. But why don’t I see them ever going to school? Does this series take place during an entire summer vacation? Oh, now I remember that Yui has a school she attends but we don’t see Colors attend any. That is why you see them so free running around and doing what they want. They’ll need all that when they grow up because oh boy, I’ve got news for them when they reach adulthood or even their teens. Thus everyone in town who knows them let the girls roam freely because otherwise there would be responsible adults who get worried seeing unsupervised children running around and send them to the police box and whoever their parents (we only know Sacchan has a mom) will have their kids taken away by the agency for child neglect.

So our adults in town let these 3 kids run around and do as they wish. So much so they think they are some sort of heroes of justice and protecting the town when they are just having fun with so much time on their hands. Heck, they might even get away with murder for all we know! It’s so peaceful that the only times when peace is broken is Colors doing a little mischief. I mean, do they even have any homework to do besides to go bug the few familiar characters in the series? Uh huh. I’m so jealous these kids really have all the time in the world. So much time that they actually are arrogant condescending little brats who go around bugging others in the name of justice and peace. In a way it is a good thing they are just kids and nobody takes them that seriously. I fear they might grow up to be delinquents if they continue to have their way and nobody teaches them to tow the line.

Yeah, Colors have even so much more time on their hands that basically the next episode preview (termed as Colors Evaluation Meeting) lasts for about a minute. Even for the final episode (well, technically it isn’t a next episode preview). It might not be that long of a time but generally most next episode preview lasts 30 seconds at most. Time wasting? Yes, this segment has them talking about crap and nonsense that we’re supposed to find funny. Because lolis are doing it so it better be. Oh yeah, did I mention that for a small group of girls, they really have a big and cool base of their own. What kind of kids their age have this kind of decent base to hang out any time they want?!

The trio making up Colors are charming in their own ways but still utterly generic. Because in such groups you have the typical troublemaker as we see in Sacchan. Other than the dumb ideas and logic this girl conjures, it is like she is trying to establish herself as the ‘poop girl’. Because in every episode you can guarantee that she says some unko line. Having a little girl who loves to say sh*t makes you raise your eyebrows of what kind of parenting she has or the influences she got. Then you have the gullible cry-baby who is no other than Yui. She might look the weakest but her strongest point is being brutally honest in your face. Even if she doesn’t intend it to be. Finally a seemingly emotionless girl, Kotoha. But she sounds more like tired perhaps for half of the time she is seen holding her handheld console and trying to beat the game. Yeah, she really looks like she is struggling so could it be that she really sucks?

As we all can see, Saitou isn’t really the evil policeman that Colors paint him to be. I am thinking that if he tries to convince them and play the good cop, they won’t even believe it. Their minds have been ingrained to think he is a bad cop. But having so much fun with each other, aren’t we? So he goes with the flow to play along with Colors and pretend to be the baddie. After all, in such a peaceful town you can catch him yawning a few times. Thanks Colors for help alleviating some of his boredom. But I’m sure he prefers to stay out of whatever schemes they have in mind for him. To him, a day without any pranks is definitely considered peaceful already.

Nonoka looks like a Colors’ fan since she is one of the few people whom Colors bug frequently. Or at least bump into often. She too has her own quirks like not admitting the allergy she has until some awful beat down by lolis make her take a hard look at reality. And why can’t a bread shop have a bit of variety and sell other stuffs? If Kotoha sucks as much at her video game, then Nonoka sucks a lot at bread making. I can envision her shop closing down soon if nothing is done. Don’t bet on Colors to save the day then. Momoka is more mature but when you’re dealing with little girls like everyone else, you have to play their game and at their pace.

Oyaji is quite the gentle giant. He is nice man looking out for Colors (though not through direct 24/7 supervision). The only thing you’ll remember him for is his weird sunglasses collection. In every episode, he wears different sunglasses designs. No 2 designs are the same. I guess this is his trademark. Speaking on this topic. It seems I also notice the same for Kotoha as she wears different hats most of the time. Can’t say all the time because I didn’t notice this until halfway point.

Adding more to the cuteness and kawaii factor, what could be as adorable and even more than lolis? An animal mascot! No, I’m not talking about that hideous cabrilla monster outfit that Colors have this weird liking for. It’s Colonel the panda cat. I thought it was pretty unique to have a cat that looks like a panda but it doesn’t play any prominent role in this series. Not even that single episode that it was focused on. That wasn’t anything much. Perhaps to keep the mystery of Colonel’s origins? I don’t think this cat is even Colors’ official pet.

The main reason why I thought this was a revival or spin-off of Ichigo Mashimaro is because of the character designs. When I first saw Yui, I thought she was Chika. They look bloody similar! Heck, I even saw shades of Miu in Sacchan. Also, Nonoka in a way reminds me of Nobue. So yeah, the very simplistic art style of the series is the big reason why I thought so. However both series are not even related to each other despite the general plot being generally similar (in the broadest sense) and are written by different authors. Like a decade apart when they first published. One thing I noticed about the art and animation is its bright and vivid colours. Among all the anime series I have watched in that particular season, this one stands out as the brightest of them all. Not to say it is glaring but you notice the colour stands out. Also, the background and sceneries of the town and park look real enough. Like as though they took pictures of the street and used them here. It is filled with a good amount of details and this adds to the overall vibrant looks of the anime.

Didn’t really recognize all of the seiyuus here. The main trio are pretty convincing voicing their part as lolis. But then again, most Japanese voice actresses tend to have this shrieky voice that all of us have come to identify with. So we have Yuuki Takada as Yui (Aoba in New Game), Marika Konno as Sacchan (Niwaka in Akiba’s Trip The Animation) and Natsumi Hioka as Kotoha (Machi in Kumamiko). Other casts are Ayaka Asai as Nonoka (Hazuki in Hibike! Euphonium), Hisako Toujo as Momoka (Miko in Animegataris), Atsushi Tamaru as Saitou (Ayato in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk) and Tesshou Genda as Oyaji (Kaido in One Piece). The main trio of Colors sing the opening and ending theme, Colors Power Ni Omakasero and Mitsuboshi Colors Honjitsu Mo Ijou Nashi respectively. Both songs are quite lively and fit the theme of the series as well as the happy and carefree state Colors are in. Hope they will enjoy a happy childhood.

Overall, this is a simple show of 3 young girls having fun in the town they live in. No over-exaggerating plots or twists or even lewd jokes. Except for all the poop remarks that Sacchan made. Even so, we forgive them just because it comes out from the mouth of a little girl. Yeah, we’re going like “Cute…” instead of “Watch your mouth, buster”. If Non Non Biyori is about girls having fun in the simplest way in the countryside, then this series is about (loli) girls having fun in the simplest form in the urban area. A bit more exaggerated due to the wild logic and ideas they have but I guess we can look at it as a good thing because it shows how creative they are? Well…Childish you might say but hey, they’re acting their age, right? And nothing says total peace when you have a town with girls who are able to go around and have fun as they wish without anyone having to worry one bit. Keep and carry on protecting the peace, Colors.

Citrus

May 13, 2018

Oh dear. When was the last time I watched a lesbian themed anime? And I’m not talking that so very mild one as in the friendship type. I’m talking about real girls really giving each other the kiss on the lips and leaving loser otaku guys feeling horny, lonely and jealous. Oops. Went too far. But anyway, since my last vivid memories of such lesbian themed series is Sakura Trick and that was ages ago, hence I decided it was no harm to go watch Citrus, an obviously-pointed-out-in-the-synopsis-that-this-is-a-lesbian-cum-incest series. Yeah, hypocrisy rearing its ugly head because somehow gays are not okay but lesbians are totally fine…

Episode 1
Yuzu Aihara will be transferring to a new school since her mom, Ume has found a new man in her life. Yuzu might seem like a fashionable gal but in real life, she has lied her way about knowing all about love and is technically a noob. Upon stepping into her new school, she is pulled over by the rows of robotic student council students who has found fault in literally her entire existence. From her makeup to her accessories to the way she dresses, all banned by school rules! Yeah, is Yuzu going to a mixer? Yuzu butt heads with student council vice, Himeko Momokino. Until the student council president, Mei Aihara shows up. She molests Yuzu that brings her down to her knees! All just to confiscate her handphone. Fate seems to be screwing Yuzu because she ends up in the same class as Mei and when she tries to be friends with other girls, they get afraid of her thinking she is a delinquent. But she did make friends with Harumi Taniguchi who is secretly as gal as her. She lets Yuzu knows how all the students are bound and afraid by the school rules so they obey (hence they’re so robotic). Mei is different. She became the student council president in her first year and is rumoured to be engaged already. She is after all the school chairman’s granddaughter and stands to inherit that position. Yuzu listens to her advice on how to get her handphone back. Learning lessons first hand must be hard because she has to sit through a lecture by the principal, Mineko Fuji. Granny with some giant alien spore as hairstyle. Later Yuzu decides to hit on the hot teacher, Amammiya. She follows him but is shocked to see him passionately making out with Mei in the back alley! Love amateur panics and runs away. She returns home to help mom unpack. Her excitement to see her new dad hits a brick wall since he said he wanted to see the other side of the world and left. Won’t be back for some time. Remember what I said about fate screwing with Yuzu? Mom is happy to introduce her little step sister: Mei! Oh sh*t! Awkward! Ume and Mei are already clicking so well. More awkwardness when they eat dinner together. Mei explains she too hasn’t seen her father in nearly 5 years because of his travelling habits. She lives in his house alone and is lucky her grandparents take care of the finances. Yuzu feels conflicted if Mei is lonely. She tries to be friends with her but is given the cold shoulder. Yuzu then starts bragging like she is a love master when suddenly Mei pushes her down and starts kissing her! On her mouth! OMG! Mei has such a strong grip on Yuzu that she can’t get out?! And that my friends, is how a kiss is like. Yuzu is left in shock and also disappointed because her first kiss didn’t come in her ideal prince charming.

Episode 2
Yuzu can’t sleep thinking all that but Mei is acting like normal. Step sisters take a bath together. More awkwardness for Yuzu and it gets real when Mei starts to caress her. Luckily Yuzu is able to stop her molesting spree and asks why she is doing this. Because she looks like she wants to be touched. On the way to school, it seems the girls are extra obedient since the chairman is at the gates. Yuzu thought of showing off by saying hi to grandpa! However he doesn’t know who the f*ck she is! He seeks Mei for an explanation but all she does is apologize. Yuzu realizes this is her own fault and tries to stand up for Mei. He tells her to get out and this school doesn’t need girls like her. Yuzu runs away but not without exchanging insults. Later she sneaks back in but overhears Amamiya talking on the phone. It seems he is cheating on Mei and is only marrying her for money and status. She goes home to tell Mei about this but it seems she also knows about it. So what? Yuzu tries to be concerned about her but sees her sad face as she leaves. More heartbreak when she sees Mei’s crying face when she sleeps. Hence the next day during assembly, I don’t know how Yuzu manages to hijack the stage just to tell about Amamiya’s affair. Why didn’t anyone stop her or try to take her down?! She also reveals herself as the chairman’s (step) granddaughter. Yuzu was expecting to be suspended but no action was taken against her. Looks like everyone now knows she is related to the chairman and dare not take any action. Wusses. But the nightmare is just beginning. Yuzu goes home to see mom crying because the chairman’s people took Mei away but it was she who agreed to go with them. Yuzu assures her she will ask Mei if this is what she wants. But Mei ignores her at school (also, Amamiya has quit due to personal reasons). When she finally has time to talk to her, Mei cheekily wonders if she will steal her away from grandpa’s place before explaining she went along because he told her not to associate with Yuzu anymore. Yuzu won’t take this lying down so she visits the place she is staying. Grandpa is sure rich with such a big house. Despite Mei asserting this is her choice, Yuzu asks back if so, why always that sad face. To shut her up, Mei starts raping her?! But her grip isn’t strong this time because she is crying. With the girls so close together now, the chairman walks in to see this atrocious lesbian scene. It’s a miracle he didn’t die of a heart attack. Convinced Yuzu is bad influence, he kicks her out of the house and immediately expels her from his school. Power abuse? Yuzu is remains ‘cool’ by hanging out with Harumi and then eventually tells her what happened. She doesn’t know what to do. But thinking about Mei and the things she wanted to convey to her, she realizes she might be in love with her. Is it the sisterly kind?

Episode 3
Yuzu decides not to run away as she heads to the chairman’s office to confront him. However he has collapsed! His heart attack delayed effect? But seriously, was Yuzu the only one who helped him to the hospital? Anyway, Mei later finds out about it and talks to Yuzu. Mei hints that they are family and it brings smiles to Yuzu. Visiting the chairman the next day, he shows us he isn’t a total dick as he thanks Yuzu and has heard from Mei. He apologizes for being prideful and rescinds the expulsion. He also gives Mei the freedom to choose. This means Mei will be coming back to live with them. Boy, mom is so happy. In a bid to be a better sister, I wonder why Yuzu is reading a sisterly lesbian manga for reference?! WTF?! Right, she is a noob in love. Ume has bought a single king size bed for her daughters. This makes Yuzu spacing out all day. Bed + lesbians… You get the equation… When it is time to sleep, nervous thoughts run through her mind. Yuzu thinks of touching her (and making look like some rape scene) but Mei got up (almost getting caught red handed). Mei decides to sleep on the tatami because of restless Yuzu. Yuzu asks the question that is bugging her always. Why does she not call her by her first name? Is it because she is the older sister? Mei’s shocking reply is that they only do so to outsiders. Even though they are family, she doesn’t plan on getting close to her. She has no interest in Yuzu. Then why the kiss? Because she was bothering her. So kisses are used to shut up people in this context? Seems true as Mei tries to do it again and Yuzu is all like paralyzed. Yuzu not impressed. Yuzu depressed. Yuzu showing temper. But one evening after class, Yuzu sees a note by Mei asking her to meet in the office. She thought things are looking up but it is just a warning to dispose of that sisterly manga she found in her bag. Nagging about the rumours if others found out about this, Yuzu suddenly pushes Mei down. Roles reversal, it is Yuzu’s turn to kiss Mei! Her turn to cry too. Blaming Mei for starting it all with a kiss, ever since then she couldn’t get her out of her mind. Her turn for that sad look and running away. With Mei left in disarray, oh look which little rat spied on this tryst… Himeko…

Episode 4
Yuzu regrets all that. So now she is crashing at Harumi’s place, too embarrassed to face Mei? When Himeko tries to confront Yuzu about yesterday, Yuzu sensed danger and starts running! When the out-of-breath girls caught up with each other, Yuzu agrees to talk to her but tomorrow outside school. Uhm, so meeting at a fancy restaurant? Himeko becomes aggressive in trying to find out her relationship with Mei (apparently looks like the whole school doesn’t know their obvious relationship yet). To assert her authority, Himeko explains she is Mei’s childhood friend. From that flashback, looks like a potential lesbian lover. Mei has always been a happy girl until her father left. Noticing Yuzu reacting to this guilt, Himeko plays up how Mei was sad yesterday and this increases Yuzu’s guilt that it could be her fault for forcing her feelings upon her. Himeko’s plan to tell her to stay away backfires as Yuzu gets up and leaves. Fate now screws with Yuzu because Mei just passed her. Himeko is ignored and confused when they both talk and reconcile about home affairs. Then Mei drops the big bombshell: They’re sisters. Good thing she didn’t die of heart attack. With Yuzu returning home, she tries to apologize. Mei thinks she won’t let this go until she has some closure and kisses her! So a kiss now is to make up? Yuzu going bonkers… Himeko is definitely not thrilled that her personal commuting time to school with Mei is now shared with Yuzu. Seeing how close the step sisters are, looks like she’s going to hatch a devilish plan. First, she goes to Mei’s office and starts molesting her! Apparently Mei’s weakness is her ears so molest that part and she is as hopeless. Obviously Mei returns in a less than stellar mood. Next day, Himeko confronts Yuzu and hints about crossing the line with Mei last night. She brags Mei will only look at Yuzu as an older sister as Yuzu tries to deny and hide that sort of fact. In that case, Himeko is glad this is just a misunderstanding so please support their relationship from now, okay? Worried Yuzu asks Mei directly about what happened with Himeko but is told to mind her own business. Oh no. More sadness. More guilt. Damn jealousy.

Episode 5
Yuzu and Himeko challenging each other to see who can eat with Mei? It backfired in the worst possible way. Mei tells them both to eat together and leave her alone! Do they really have to eat together? With Harumi joining in, she has extra tickets to give them to the amusement park. Think what Mei’s lovers are thinking? But before Yuzu could ask Mei to hang out with her there, she asks if she would like to come visit her father first, in which Mei agrees. You bet Himeko is mad when she calls Mei’s home only to be told the step sisters are out. Yuzu really got a step ahead of her. In the crowded train, the step sisters are sandwiched so close that when Yuzu whispers in her ear, it causes her to go into ecstasy. I believe Yuzu hasn’t found her weakness but seeing her in this state she wants to cross the line with her now? Too bad all those men around are super dead or super gay not to notice this although Mei put her foot down and no public display of affection. Mei later assures Yuzu’s worries about Himeko’s words. She tried something stupid and she scolded her and told twisted her words to suit her story (like how Mei is doing right now?). Don’t be fooled by her next time. Such a big relief for Yuzu. While making their way on foot, somehow Himeko finds them! Before accusations can fly, Mei tells Himeko to not get in their way or put strange things in Yuzu’s head. Bye. Heart breaking… They are now at the graves. Yuzu’s real dad passed away when she was 3. After introducing Mei, Mei tells Yuzu about the letters she received from dad that she fears to open because of the thought he might never come back. Yuzu assures her and this has Mei smiling albeit there’s a hint of sadness to it. Yuzu cries alone, blaming her selfish desire to kiss Mei. She realizes what she needs now is not love but a family. In school, Mei is sick and almost collapses. She does not trust Himeko to take her place at the student council meeting. Then she collapses. Yuzu takes control and tells Himeko to attend the meeting in her place since that is what Mei wants. Yuzu takes Mei to the infirmary where she wakes up. They talk and reconcile. Yuzu tries to be the supportive big sister and wants her to apologize to Himeko for being too harsh. Once they reconcile, they can go to the amusement park together. Mei does that later and the biggest hug and cry from Himeko like as though she got reunited with her lost mother. It makes Yuzu wonder if this is what love is about. Sacrificing your love for the one you love. That night at home, a strange man comes in and starts hugging Yuzu like he knows her. She doesn’t. Of course, he is Shou and he is back.

Episode 6
Apparently Shou and Mei’s relationship is still strained. Yuzu tries to help things out but only makes it worse as Mei locks herself in her room (does this mean Yuzu is locked out?) especially when Shou confirms he will not return to that school. So Shou and Yuzu have a little talk. Yuzu tells him Mei has been working hard to make the school a place he can return but Shou has left that past behind and is seeing this wide world. Mei is a smart girl and will realize it before you know it (you mean by the end of this episode?). Shou has been going around opening schools and teaching but ironically he can manage his daughter at home? Yuzu returns to talk to Mei to hear her side. Mei views her father as very strict and talented who put the school above everything else. She accepted that and yearned to be like him. That is the kind of father she wants to return to the school. That is why she turned down his invitation 5 years ago and stayed behind in this family. Yuzu doesn’t want her to shoulder everything but what else was she supposed to do to protect the school? I guess when you’re sad, the only option is to make out. Lesbian logic, maybe. But Yuzu slaps her and when she gets bolder and wants her to think about the feelings of others. You mean she wasn’t ready for that? The next day, Yuzu has been thinking hard how to help out. Then she gets a call from mom about Shou leaving this evening (an hour’s time!) but when she tried to call Mei, there is no answer. She thought she was with her. With Harumi’s bicycle ride help, they rush down to school to look for Mei. Not in sight. Because she is still sulking in the office. So Yuzu hijacks the PA to announce again not to blame herself and to see papa off. Well, that worked. She got out of her hiding as they ride as fast to the train station. For the convenience of the plot, they manage to catch him standing there. I thought he waited for her seeing he is the only person on the platform. But judging from his reaction, he didn’t expect this? Mei sums up her courage to talk whatever is needed and make peace with him. Yuzu can tell she has finally moved forward when Mei now vows to inherit the school. Back home, Mei tells Yuzu how Shou wanted to look for something so badly he left the family. So sad that it causes Yuzu to cry? How do you soothe a broken heart? S hot steamy kiss! Lesbian logic, apparently! However they are both shocked at this kiss. They never felt something like this before. Meanwhile Matsuri Mizusawa looks like some sort of boyfriend killer as she soothes her friend after her boyfriend broke up with her. Beneath it all, Matsuri was the culprit behind that breakup. Then she remembers her old friend Yuzu. Time to pay her a visit.

Episode 7
FINALLY! HOT LESBIAN SEX BETWEEN YUZU AND MEI!!! Only if it wasn’t a stupid dream… I guess Yuzu wants to make out rather than concentrate on her studies so Mei had to put her foot down to stop doing lesbian things because sisters don’t do this kind of stuffs. Game over. So sad. So while Yuzu takes out her depression at the video arcade with Harumi, she stumbles upon Matsuri. She is Yuzu’s childhood friend is often looked as her little sister. Yuzu is shocked to hear Matsuri earns her money in a very dirty way. Uploading dirty pictures even though they are fake. So now Yuzu says it’s wrong and she can’t do it? What is she? Her mother? Looked in the mirror recently? Matsuri then discovers Yuzu goes to an all-girls’ school and from the picture can tell Mei is the person she likes as it is labelled there her sister. So Matsuri has Yuzu hang out with her further at the karaoke joint. Matsuri goes into aggressive mode cornering Yuzu and then ‘paralyzing’ her with questions that there is someone she loves. Oh, Matsuri too admits there is someone she loves. It is you, Yuzu. Could have been a steamy lesbian kiss had not Yuzu’s handphone ring. Saved by the bell? It’s Mei and she’s asking what’s for dinner. On the way back, at the intersection it seems Matsuri has a sharp eye to spot Mei in the crowd. She then purposely flirts with Yuzu and kisses her! Everyone doesn’t give a damn about girls kissing each other except Mei. She saw and it and just walked away. And Yuzu didn’t even notice! WTF?! Back home, Mei is obviously upset at what she saw and indirectly questions her about coming home late. Yuzu did tell the truth about meeting her old friend but stop short of that seduction. You know Mei is jealous when she breaks her own rules and becomes a hypocrite as she goes to molest Yuzu! Yuzu doesn’t like it?! I thought she wanted that? Oh right. Mei said sisters shouldn’t do this kind of stuffs. But now she says it is normal?! Make up your mind! Next day at school, Matsuri makes her way in to find Yuzu and causes everyone to stare. Did security get so lax that she managed to just walk in like that? Yuzu is forced to agree to whatever date terms she has to quell the suspicions. I think everyone is already whispering. And then here comes Mei to get the trespasser out. A tense staring showdown like as though a catfight could break out any time but Matsuri leaves. Matsuri thinks a boring and strict Mei will ruin her Yuzu.

Episode 8
Matsuri is happy Yuzu is going out with her. Too bad that turned to disappointment when Mei tags along although she maintains her distance to give them privacy. Matsuri tries to make it sound like Yuzu can’t be into that sexual relationship since Mei is her sister. Hence it isn’t probably love then. Matsuri then hugs and is glad to give her sex too. Yeah, she’s purposely saying it out loud to stun the crowd. Matsuri becomes annoyed noticing Yuzu trying not to look at Mei’s way. She storms off as Yuzu goes to find her. While taking her frustrations out at the arcade, she catches a couple of young boys trying to look up her panties. She blackmails them into doing some stuffs for her. Matsuri leads Yuzu on a wild goose chase so she could confront Mei as they talk privately at the car park area. She calls Mei a b*tch and warns her to stay away from Yuzu. Guess what? Mei kisses her! After she leaves, it is all part of the calculated ploy of Matsuri. She had those boys take a picture of them kissing. Matsuri’s plan was having Mei hit her but this is better. I guess Yuzu panics as she heads to the receptionist to make an announcement for a lost high school girl. That’s you, Mei. As they walk home, Yuzu talks about her past with Matsuri. They were neighbours and loved the thought of becoming her big sister. Yuzu was always bossy with her so maybe it got on her nerves. With the train service out due to the snow, they wait for the bus. Time for some awkward moments of Yuzu trying to make up with Mei but thinking too much and being too conscious. I guess the touch of the hand is as far they can get. Good enough. They should have known the snow would also stop the bus service. Time to walk home then. Yuzu is excited they’ll spend their first Christmas together and hopes she will keep her schedule open. Harumi feels jealous she is left out of their family party and Yuzu isn’t interested being her comedy partner today. Yuzu is shopping for all the items needed for their party so Harumi notes she would make a good wife. Mei works late in her student council. Perfect time for Matsuri to come and harass her again.

Episode 9
Matsuri sexually harasses her and tells her that she has arranged someone to satisfy her loneliness. Don’t worry. There are lots of guys who would love to touch her. She is blackmailed into accepting her handphone that has contacts of those guys or else she will spread that kissing picture. Meanwhile Yuzu sucks at baking. How many sponge cakes has she burnt?! Let’s hope practice makes perfect. But it looks like it is all going to be wasted when Mei tells her she is unable to make it for their Christmas party claiming her heavy student council workload. Yuzu doesn’t want to be forceful and conveniently at the same time Matsuri texts her to go out on a date tomorrow. Mei tells her to go with her as she needs her badly. Next day after school, Yuzu is shocked to see Matsuri here. She didn’t reply so she took the liberty to come all the way. With nothing else going, Yuzu agrees to go with her. They talk a bit of their old times when Yuzu invites Matsuri to join them for Christmas. However what Yuzu meant was the inclusion of Mei too. This has Matsuri tell her that Mei is now fooling around with another guy and if she wants proof, she can call the handphone she lent her. She hopes Yuzu would realize Mei is a b*tch and give up on her and only look at her. But Yuzu gets disappointed. She wants them to go apologize to Mei as it was her who encouraged Yuzu to come meet Matsuri. When Matsuri talks about winning and losing in a relationship, Yuzu shuts her down that relationships aren’t supposed to be a game. Yuzu looks for Mei and stumbles upon her. Alone. Not that dumb to hang out with a guy and get caught with her pants (or skirt) down. So we have this weird ‘reconciliation’ between Matsuri and Mei. The former thinking she has totally lost because in the end nobody loves her. Mei once felt the same way too as she always sought for love but before she knew it, she was empty. Before Matsuri parts, she gives Yuzu a ‘present’ by whispering into her ear that Mei really likes her despite her aloof looks. Well, at least as a little sister. It makes Yuzu red in the face. The sisters return home to have their late little Christmas party. More emotional crying from Yuzu and promise not to hurt her again. So her reward for this is Mei allowing her to get sexual with her? This is going to be the best Christmas present ever!

Episode 10
FINALLY! HOT LESBIAN SEX COMING OUR WAY! Mei figures this is what Yuzu wants and will give it to her! YES! This is what we want too! This is not a dream and there is nothing that would interrupt them so what could go wrong?! Yuzu rejects because she doesn’t feel it is right. WTF, YUZU???!!! Why you go spoil everything???!!! Because of that, the sisters are not on talking terms. We see a pair of twin sisters, Sara and Nina Tachibana waiting to get on board a train for their school trip to Kyoto. Sara is ecstatic she met a very kind person today (I can guess who that person is). When Sara learns Nina forgot to buy some Yuzubocchi item as she was supposed to, Sara insists she needs to go now. Meanwhile Yuzu is running late for her own school field trip to Kyoto. Mei didn’t wake her up? I guess this is revenge for not having sex. She didn’t make it of course and she bumps into Sara being thrilled at the Yuzubocchi mascot. Then she learns she too is late for her own school trip. Since both have missed the train, they take the shinkansen. Yuzu learns about her twin sister, they are on the same field trip (although from different schools) and that exceptionally kind girl she met today (oh, I really know who this person is). This only makes Yuzu worry about her predicament with Mei. I guess the duo also miss their school’s sightseeing programme so they go on their own, which seems to be coincidentally the same. During the sightseeing, Yuzu gets even more worried so much so she needs to talk to Sara for advice. She starts breaking down that Mei might hate her. Sara notes her kindness and believes that girl will understand too. She will root for her. This is starting to be more than just a coincidence when the inn they are staying are the same. Nina rushes to hug Sara. Yuzu is introduced to her. Man, she’s like a giant… After Yuzu leaves, Mei is seen searching the grounds. And yeah, the sisters see her and recognizes her as that kind person. Yuzu gets lectured by Himeko but looks like she isn’t listening as her heart is somewhere else. She ditches her earful just to go find Mei and talk to her. Nina realizes she lost that Yuzubocchi item and goes to find it. Then she stumbles upon Mei and Yuzu talking. You can see Yuzu sounding nervous and scared. She’s trying to fix things but Mei has that cold eyes and I-don’t-give-a-sh*t looks. Finally Yuzu confesses she loves her and cherishes her like her own sister. Mei’s reply? Sorry. Please forget about what happened that day. End of conversation. Yuzu so shocked like as though it’s the end of the world. Hers, perhaps.

Episode 11
Nina saw something incredible and is now bent to help out her sister. When the school visits the shine, Nina assures Sara she’ll create a chance for her to meet Mei. Meanwhile Yuzu and Himeko are praying furiously to strengthen their relationship with you-know-who. And they’re taking forever… Then Yuzu bumps into Sara who then tells her she intends to confess to the one she loves right here or else she will have no more chances. Nina finds Mei first and tells her that Sara likes her. Although Mei rejects, she gives it a second thought when Sara hints she knows what she wants. Next Sara comes to meet her. She confesses her love. Mei asks if she will always need her. Of course. Today must be a busy visiting day for Mei because now it’s Yuzu’s turn. Because she is nervous and can’t get her words out properly, Mei tells her somebody confessed to her and has agreed to go out with her. Poor Yuzu gets drunk and depressed over a bottle of orange juice. That’s a huge bottle… Then here comes Nina. Noticing she is down, she tells her the ‘good news’ about Sara’s confession. She asks if Yuzu would support her always. Definitely. That’s a promise. Yuzu awkwardly bumps into Mei as she is coming out of the bath. Nothing much to talk. Somehow Sara has overslept inside so Yuzu talks to her. Both give each other the encouragement to go for the one they love. Yuzu feels better and after she leaves, Sara notices she dropped her ID card. Taking a peek and noticing the same surname, the dots start connecting. Yuzu sneaks into Mei’s room to talk to her but the latter is still being a dick. When Himeko is heard coming in, Mei quickly covers for Yuzu as she throws themselves underneath the bed covers. Himeko thinks Mei is dead tired and goes to bed. Of course with this close proximity, Yuzu can’t restrain herself and hugs Mei! Is that the paralyzing move? Because Mei is like breathing so hard as though any moment she could orgasm. This turns Yuzu on and they could have got it going had not Mei controlled herself and kicked her out. Next day, Yuzu is disheartened to learn Mei has gone out with someone else. She tries to look for her but bumps into Nina. Cue for devilish woman to tell her that Mei is the one Sara is in love with. Cue Yuzu’s shock face. At the observation tower, Sara asks Mei if they can kiss.

Episode 12
It might look like Yuzu is in a dilemma to choose but eventually she knows what she needs to do. She is going to see Mei. Nina is not pleased with her actions and tries to bug and stop her. Eventually she tackles her and nobody in this public area is interested in watching 2 hot girls in an ambiguous position? Must be common in Japan. Even Nina’s tears aren’t going to stop Yuzu. And Nina is left to let her go when she says whether her confession to Mei fails and Sara stops being her friend, she must do it or else she will forever regret. When they get there, only Sara is around. Looks like Mei has left. They talk things out and from the looks of it, Sara has conceded and tells Yuzu where Mei is at now. Nina is sad at Sara for doing this but Sara assures supporting Yuzu and breaking up with Mei are things she wanted to do. Himeko sees a determined Yuzu rushing through the streets. Looks like she too is ready to concede? Don’t worry, Harumi will accompany her. Oh sh*t. Is this what she wants? Yuzu finally meets Mei at the shrine. The latter is still mad and not wanting to listen what she has to say. Conveniently a crowd separates them so Yuzu could run and chase after her. Where the f*ck did the crowd come from?! When she does, she lets all her feelings out. That night when she rejected her was because she wasn’t listening to her feelings and hence she didn’t thought she could accept them. She regretted it and clearly confesses she loves. If her feelings are the same, she wants her to kiss her. Well, only her teddy bear. Not enough, Yuzu goes for the real one. Yeah, girls kissing in this sacred shrine place? Isn’t there anybody watching? Oh, screw it. This is Japan. The sisters return to the twins. Nina forces Yuzu away to treat her so the duo could talk things out. Mei feels sorry for what she has done but Sara doesn’t want her acting like that anymore. Yuzu gets a surprise when Mei offers to hold her hand and walk their way back. Apparently it is a scheme put up by Sara if she wants her to forgive her. So more talking things out from the stepsisters and another kissing moment. Wow. They have to do it on the middle of the bridge where cars pass? Oh, there are no cars. Welcome to Japan. And yeah, life returns normally to our duo and their friends.

Sweet, Sour And Bitter…
I expected this sort of ending. Too bad we didn’t get to see Mei and Yuzu taking off their clothes and getting physical with each other. That’s a sin for not going through with that for a lesbian themed anime! But I can’t help wonder if they would eventually end up doing this because you know, the closer the sisters get, the more love (substitute word for sexually aroused) they would feel for each other and then start making out. I wonder what mom would say. I wonder what dad would say. Heck, knowing the kind of parents they are, they would probably give their blessings. Yeah, this world is so screwed up. I mean, look at what Shou is doing? Does a father’s absence means his daughters would get lesbian on each other? Oh f*ck it. It’s just anime being anime.

The lesbian bits aren’t too raunchy. The most you get to see are girls kissing. They may get undressed but if you’re hoping to see more than that, you would be better off watching real lesbian hentai on the dark corners of the web instead. Really. This is considered between mild and average already and nothing really controversial unless you’re the very traditional type that there must be no kissing on the lips of the same gender, then you shouldn’t be watching this in the first place. Some of the promotional posters with the main girls in seemingly compromising position should give you some hints and warning.

The story and plot are pretty generic. After all, most who are into the series are probably interested in how far the relationship between the 2 citrus named stepsisters would go. Hence in order for any sort of development in their relationship and the plot, that is why you have the obligatory ‘rivals’ from outside their family relationship trying to ascertain their claim that this girl is hers. Otherwise their ‘sisterly’ relationship wouldn’t be solidified if we haven’t have outside love rivals in the form of Himeko, Matsuri and Sara. Of course ultimately it would be Mei’s stubbornness in the end that proves to be a stumbling block in their relationship and to provide more lesbian drama as the season draws to an end.

I am not sure if it would have been more interesting if the love rival or love interest in either one of them was male. If it was, it would have ruined the entire lesbian theme that this series was set out to make. Because like that guy Amamiya felt like a plot convenience to get her out into a relationship she was stuck with and to move ahead with Yuzu. Well, nobody cares about that jerk anymore. Making it even convenient is that the girls go to an all-girls’ school so that takes away the complication of the opposite sex being attracted to them. At least in the context of this anime and season. But imagine if a guy did and he got rejected just because the girl was more romantically interested with another girl. That would sure hurt his pride. Heck, he might even turn gay after this!

Yuzu and Mei being polar opposites try to bring spice to the series. Yuzu being the lively kind but gets cold feet and nervous when it comes to the matter of the heart. Mei on the other hand is cold to the point she can be seen as a snob but has the calmest composure. Although she’ll act ‘invitingly horny’ if you ‘exploit’ her weakness. With Yuzu being a bit pushy, Mei trying to maintain her cool beauty and pride, add in that confusion about their feelings for each other and you have a season set for some sisterly lesbian relationship. Besides, is it considered incest too because now they are technically stepsisters? From a biological standpoint, it doesn’t seem so but legally they are. So perhaps this is one reason why the confusion if they should get it on. I mean, they are technically not blood related but right after they become stepsisters, they started to become attracted to each other. Because generally girls their age are supposed to be falling for guys or attracting them. Funny lesbian logic, I guess.

Other characters add more spice to the relationship and as said, spicing up the drama so that this would overall improve the stepsisters’ relationship. Childhood friend rivals like Himeko and Matsuri have this mentality that they are there first and their respective crushes were the first to be kind to them and hence their logic that they should forever monopolize their relationship. I know, it sometimes feel like a kick in the shin because they have been together for a while and when this new union took shape, the stepsisters got into each other fast. No wonder they want to break them up and return to status quo because having a world without them seems unthinkable. And of course like the plot demands it, they have to accept and give their somewhat blessings. Better not to have their love returned than being hated forever.

Oddly I was expecting Harumi to be part of the conundrum but it looks like she is more than just Yuzu’s best friend. Sometimes a comic relief character because of her lively ways. She is like Yuzu’s recharger because when Yuzu is down, it is Harumi’s turn and role to be the cheerful one and make her all lively again. I have conflicting views Mei’s grandfather. He is one of the strictest grandpas that no grandkid would like to have but after a near death experience, it is good he turned over a new leaf. However it looked more like because of Yuzu more than anything that changed him. If you think about it, an upright person for most of his life is ‘brought down’ after Yuzu comes into the picture. Sure, he is grateful for that one person he hates who saved his life. Not only it proves he is still a kind grandpa, but the plot convenience tells us to get this old man out of the way so Yuzu x Mei could happen more freely.

Shou’s mind boggling travel bug to open schools all over the world and make happy children everywhere is indeed ironic when he can’t even resolve his own household. I guess Japan’s education system is credible enough that he doesn’t feel the need to revamp it but provide third world countries. That is one big leap of faith putting his trust in his children that they will turn out well. Otherwise Mei who was having daddy issues would continue to walk the wrong path had he been in Japan all the while. Absence makes the heart grows fonder? I’m sure Yuzu’s love will overwrite all that.

Art and animation fare well and lean more towards the bishoujo side compared to Sakura Trick which tends to be more moe and kawaii. As usual, some of the character designs remind me of characters from other anime. Like Yuzu who seems to remind me of the titular character in Oshiete! Galko-chan as well as Yukana in Hajimete No Gal. It seems being a gal has this typical looks of being blonde and busty. Is it me but does Matsuri look like an evil version of To Love-Ru’s Momo? Same case for Himeko because she looks like a b*tch version of Mitsuki from Full Moon Wo Sagashite. Must be those awfully uncanny hair twirls. And doesn’t Sara have this uncanny look to the titular character of To Aru Majutsu No Index? Well, almost. By a long shot, Harumi brings back memories of Shizuku from Tonari No Kaibutsu but a much livelier version. The most outrageous hairstyle is Mineko because it is as though her giant mushroom top is going to come crushing down her neck. But I believe I have seen this hairstyle before but just can’t put my finger on it… This series is animated by Passione who did Rokka No Yuusha and Hinako Note.

Voice acting is rather okay. It must be a busy season for Ayana Taketatsu playing as Yuzu because in the same season she has like about 3 more other roles in other anime. The only other one I recognized is Kana Ueda as Ume. I kept thinking that Harumi’s character would be more appropriate if she was voiced by Haruka Tomatsu. Is it because of the aforementioned that Harumi looks like Shizuku, a character she voiced? Unfortunately for me, it is Yukiyo Fujii taking on as Harumi (Kiriha in Strike The Blood II). The other casts are Minami Tsuda as Mei (Yui in YuruYuri), Yurika Kubo as Himeko (Hanayo in Love Live), Shiori Izawa as Matsuri (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works), Hisako Kanemoto as Sara (titular character in Shinryaku! Ika Musume), Rei Matsuzaki as Nina (Niina in Haitai Nanafa) and Tomoaki Maeno as Shou (Junichi in Amagami SS).

By now I am so familiar and used to the brand of music sung by Nano Ripe. The rock based Azalea as the opening theme doesn’t bring any more surprises or raising of the eyebrow in that sense. But it seems the ending theme by Mia Regina, Dear Teardrop is somewhat ‘addicting’ to me. I find it quite catchy because of the cha-cha beat. Oh no. This is going to be one of the songs of the season that I am not going to get out of my head any time soon.

Overall, just another one of your average lesbian anime series. It’s like having a slightly stronger coffee but overall it is still the same coffee. The lesbian acts are nothing controversial unless you’re a newbie. In this age and era where the younger generation are getting more open, sexual acts among the same gender and even species is nothing to be surprised of. If one day soon in the future if Japan legalizes same sex marriage, watching Yuzu and Mei walk down the aisle would be the first step in breaking many hearts of other guys. Because watching beautiful girls getting married each other only fuels lonely guys to marry their anime waifus. Oh wait. Did something like that happen a few years ago? Indeed a citric situation: Sweet, sour and bitter… And acidic because it really burns through your heart. And we’ll all be salty about it.

I guess this is what procrastination does. But better late than never, right? And so finally I decided to keep my promise the last time and watch the next season of Pretty Rhythm, Pretty Rhythm Dear My Future. At this point it feels like ages and there is a risk that I have forgotten a lot about the first season. But thankfully new characters and somewhat new plots so I don’t have to remember that much, right? But still, it builds on the old one. Oh well, time to tuck in and watch 51 episodes of the second season and remind myself why I felt like a little girl while watching this series. Hey, sometimes you have got to get your inner feminism out once in a while. Okay, that wasn’t particularly a good reason.

MARs on top – Haven’t you heard? It has been 3 years and now the group has become the best Prism Stars in the world! This means Pretty Top is the best Prism Star producing school and Asechi is raking in all the cash. Too bad all the money in the world still cannot land her a man…

Mia Ageha – Perky and energetic girl who self-proclaims to beat Aira and become the number one Prism Queen. Very confronting if you ask me. The type that shoots first and do the thinking later. This means she doesn’t know anything despite sounding like she does so that we can have the cliché moment for the rest to explain to us viewers what they are. 100 points for her confidence in everything even if they all seem baseless and impossible.

Prizmmy – Uhm, are those budding idols wannabe in 3D are now reanimated into 2D for this season? Not sure if they are taken after their real life personality but I don’t think so. Anyway, along with Mia, the rest include Reina Miyama (always butting heads with Mia), Karin Shijimi (galactic happy girl of the group with 8 ‘clone’ younger brothers) and Ayami Ooruri (shy girl who loves taking notes).

Pretty Rhythm Studio – The real life segment of Prizmmy at the end of each episode. Hosted by the quirky McKensaku while being watched by young future budding future Prism Stars, Prism Friends, we see Prizmmy compete in various small time competitions which is of course a way to promote the series’ merchandises.

Pair Charms – Last season we had Pair Cheer Mascots for MARs. This season Prizmmy has Pair Charms. Supposedly cute little doggie (or was it squirrels) mascots that allow them to transform into accessories to help Prizmmy in their Prism Shows. Good think they don’t talk or they’ll be as annoying and making jokes like Pair Cheer Mascots. By the way, they still are around. So is Pengin sensei and Yamada desu.

Prism Ace – Jun in disguise like as though he is some discount version of Tuxedo Mask. Comes and goes as mysterious as the wind. Supposedly to give the girls some motivation and thoughts (he speaks in his usual riddle fashion anyway) and Mia is the only one not to realize he is really Jun underneath all that getup because she is so having a crush on this handsome masked dude.

Prism Act – Apparently doing Prism Jumps aren’t enough in today’s Prism Shows. Prism Act is some sort of revolutionary show. I don’t know. I don’t see the difference. Prism Stars continue to dance solo or in groups and do perfect Prism Jumps. Yeah, they make it look so easy now.

Don Bonby – The flashy and eccentric afro emcee for every Prism Show.

Dear Crown – A new fashion store opened next to Prism Stone store owned by Shou. Korean owner and designer, Yun-su. Nice and cool guy who respects and treats Aira well that you can smell some love rivalry coming up between Shou and Yun-su. Yeah, it makes Shou look like a jealous dick each time he gets confrontational but Yun-su is just cool! And we already have the first shots fired when Yun-su gives Aira a crown gift after her Prism Show on stage (why does he make it look like he is proposing to her on his knees?) and jealous Shou just rushed down to give his own gift. A showdown between 2 hot guys and a very jealous Mia despite not related to it all.

Twinkling Future Star – Mia’s first successful Prism Jump developed out of her jealousy to top Aira. Now she’ll rake in the cash for Asechi…

Fan Call – Apparently now fans can vote with their handphones for a certain Prism Star and rate on several aspects like dancing, singing and fashion. It is going to be tough for Prizmmy since they are relatively new and a nobody. For the sake of the plot, Prizmmy managed to get enough Fan Calls to make their Prism Show debut.

Korean invasion – Apparently there will be Korean transfer students coming to Pretty Top in an exchange programme. Oddly, they come in one by one instead of at one go. As if, to focus an extra episode on them. Yeah, I thought it would never end the way Asechi keeps introducing a new Korean student. Thankfully there are only 5 of them. They are Hye In (Mia’s best friend and practice maniac), Shi Yoon (usually spaces out and is it me or does her normal horizontally striped clothes motives make her look like a prisoner? But she has the prettiest smile when she is at her maddest!), Jae Eun (airhead girl who often ‘tastes’ the sun among other things? Like reptiles bathing in sun? WTF? *Gobble, gobble*), Chae Kyoung (celebrity girl from a rich family and Yun-su is her older brother) and So Min (strict perfectionist girl who hates wasting time but sometimes a big cry-baby). Why do they all speak so fluent Japanese? Their manager is Michelle who looks like Asechi’s clone…

Who’s the leader – Apparently Prizmmy as a new unit needs to pick a leader. Yeah, everyone ones to be the leader. As usual, they’ll do a Prism Show and the one with the most Fan Calls will be the leader. In the end, each girl top their respective sections in the Fan Calls so no clear winner. Though the rest decided on Mia since overall she had the most Fan Calls, she rejects that notion because of Aira’s ‘advice’ that being a leader doesn’t suit her. After all, it’s not like Prizmmy needs a leader as all of them are unique in their own ways. Until they realize Aira’s ‘advice’ was just her being indecisive so now everybody wants to be the leader again? Make up your minds!

Battle over Aira – The guys are at it again. During a press conference, Aira hinted she would like to try Yun-su’s clothes but Shou will not accept that and hence a competition. Too bad we see Shou stressed up and being a dick, refusing help from others while Yun-su is just scoring points with his cool zen whatever. This is a ploy to help Shou get back on his feet since he hasn’t been progressing lately. Ironically it took Mia to snap at him for him to open his eyes. He leaves it late for his inspiration to spark because at the last minute before Aira is forced to go with Yun-su’s design, here comes Shou with his. She picks his because over this logic Yun-su’s design makes her feel like a goddess which she isn’t. She wants an outfit so she could help make the audience feel happy and Shou’s design matches her current self. Expect more future showdowns.

Mad Mia quits – Gasp! For real?! Mia wants to quit Prizmmy and Pretty Top and blames Aira too?! Sneaky Asechi will not let her go and tarnish her company’s reputation. So she must do a Prism Show battle with Aira. If Mia wins, she gets to leave. Strange logic but it makes sense that if you are better than the best, you can go. During the Prism Show, Mia slips but manages to pick herself up and finish it. Too bad Aira wins by a mile. Fortunately Asechi gives Mia the chance to quit but now she won’t because after all that training and friendship thingy, she understands how much fun it is to work with everyone here. Then everyone realizes this argument started because Aira accidentally ate Mia’s melon bread. Good news, all that is in the past now. Bad news, Asechi just repeated that mistake. Is the option to quit still open?

Training camp – The first held for Prizmmy, MARs and the Korean quintet at a hotspring inn. This whole camp thingy serves to make the Koreans realize they aren’t as good as a unit despite individually they are better. Unlike Prizmmy who are opposites. They suck individually but come together as a group. Makes me think what did the Koreans do all the while since they arrived at Pretty Top? Uh huh. Just watching Prizmmy and MARs in Prism Shows only, eh? I don’t think this is how exchange programmes are supposed to work. Okay, they might have been training behind the scenes.

Stand Up Girls – No, not related to Wake Up Girls. Another contest that is not related to Prism Queen Cup. The winner receives some Symphonia Boots Stone. Guess what? Nobody has won them. And past winners only won the replica. Oh, did I mention that nobody knows who or why this Symphonia series was created? Just f*ck.

Back and forth – Prizmmy is selected to participate in Stand Up Girls. What I don’t understand is that Mia somehow didn’t like something among themselves, drags the rest back to Pretty Top just to see the Koreans practising hard, some self-realization criticising to realize whatever the heck it was and then go all the way back to the competition arena in time for their turn. WTF?!

Miraculous Idol Wake Up – Prizmmy’s first successful Prism Act together at Stand Up Girls that has them winning the competition and receiving the Prism Stone of the REAL Symphonia Boots! So unbelievably wow.

Inspiration hug – Yun-su is stuck on his design. So to get inspiration he hugs Aira in a crowded café just because she smells nice?! Thank goodness that sure did the trick. Thank goodness Shou isn’t around because my hunch says it could have gotten uglier…

Vivvy – A Pair Charm in the form of a black cat. Always butting heads with Pengin. So the quintet only get 1 stinking mascot for all to share? This one talks and she is going to be the Koreans’ mascot because…

Puretty – The group name the Korean girls will debut under. Pure + Pretty + Purity = Puretty? Is that pronounced Pure-tty or Pu-ree-tty? Guess what? In their first Prism Show to celebrate Prizmmy’s victory, they manage to perform their Prism Act at first go! All that practice behind the scenes must have paid off.

Love at first sight – By now we all should notice that Reina has a crush on Itsuki whom everybody seems to be unaware at this point he is Aira’s little brother.

Working love out – Apparently Itsuki finds Mia’s lost handphone and in turn leads him to practice Prism Jumps with them and even becomes a surprise guest in their Prism Show! And you thought he wanted to become a doctor but looks like he has got talent in this area. I see Reina is handling her prince charming very well despite this is the first time she has ever gotten this close to him for such a long period of time. Obvious fawning is so obvious that why isn’t anybody annoyed?

Side jobs – Apparently a few fillers to make our young idols gain some experience. Like doing a live broadcast in Mion’s magical girl show, working at a zoo for a day and at the same help revive its financial situation, and a performance at an island resort (to play up some So Min childhood trauma for being adrift at sea apparently).

Symphonia Series Festival – A mid-summer festival where top girl groups compete in various stages and the one accumulating the most number of fans will receive a rare stone of the Symphonia series.

Wacky races – The first stage of the Symphonia series has Prizmmy and Puretty battle it out in some giant mecha race battle that is also a weird obstacle course. Although both teams cross the finish line first and get the honours of both performing their Prism Show, the fans voted for Puretty because of their ‘amazing’ last spurt idol power during the race that made them caught up with Prizmmy. Crap.

Easter egg hunt – On a luxury liner, teams must find Prism Stones but only those who find special ones are allowed to perform Prism Shows in the end. You thinking what I’m thinking who gets to perform? Although Puretty aces by finding lots of Prism Stones, Prizmmy seems to fall into traps and that just makes them a hilarious watch and hence increasing their Fan Calls. In the end, both of them perform but Prizmmy wins this round. It turns out the perfume Shou made for Prizmmy enhanced their performance while Yun-su was preoccupied with Aira and didn’t make a proper outfit for Puretty. Oh my.

What’s eating Hye In? – Apparently, low self-confidence when she tries to compare herself to everyone. Of course, a little pep blunt talk from Mia and confidence booster from her teammates, this allows her to do a solo Prism Act that wows everyone. Yeah…

Symphonia Top of Wings – I’m sure you’ve already guessed who will win the Symphonia summer series. Yup. Prizmmy. So as not for Puretty to be left out, Hye In wins the MVP and gets the Symphonia Dress of Awakening! How many parts do they cut the entire legendary Symphonia outfit into?! Because now they are going to aim for the Symphonia Skirt. I wonder if there is a Symphonia Pantsu… Whoops!

Yong Hwa – One of the best Prism Stars and Yun-su’s childhood friend. Has this ability to see who loves who. Girls love him (save for our heroines) and because of him loving everybody, Prizmmy calls him Mr Trashy.

How do you mend a broken heart – Reina falls into depression after seeing Itsuki ‘date’ Aira. Even more so ‘confirming’ it from his own mouth but that’s what you get for being vague with your words. With Yong Hwa’s idea to shout out the name of the one you love, it enhances Prizmmy and more so Reina’s Prism Act. And of course, they learn Aira and Itsuki are siblings. Big relief. Fooled big time.

Yong Hwa x Itsuki – I don’t know how Yong Hwa sees some potential in Itsuki and wants him to become his Prism Star partner. Looks so gay… Because constant hugging harassment… Ugh, so gay… Well, if there is money to be made…

Silver screen debut? – Chae Kyoung’s mom was a famous actress but retired young. Now Chae Kyoung has been selected for her movie debut but she has fears of standing on stage. Wait a minute. Isn’t Prism Show not considered a stage? Anyway she is forced to choose between becoming an actress (hence fulfilling her mom’s wish) or become a Prism Star. No prizes for guessing which she chose because otherwise Puretty would have to be disbanded permanently. No hard feelings but Yamada became her silver screen replacement?! The director sure has bad taste…

Prism Quest – For some reason, Prizmmy and Puretty enter the Prism Stone Maker and end up in some RPG world. An excuse to give the Pair Charms for some lame screen time to save the girls from prison before using their Prism powers to defeat the evil king and earn the Symphonia Skirt. The real original one. Woah! You mean it was in there all along?! Who the f*ck put it in there?!

Grateful Symphonia – Kei returns just to warn Asechi about this. Apparently Grateful Symphonia is the greatest Prism Act that all Prism Stars aspire to achieve (gee, why doesn’t everyone know about this then?) but a world of Prism Act that nobody has seen (oh, I see… Then how would they know?) and must never step into (no wonder nobody’s been there).

Foreboding of a coming storm – Grateful Symphonia was also made by the greatest designer to ever live and promotes the shows from the shadows. Should we be shocked that it is Asechi’s father, Kintarou? So much so he rigged Prism Shows and crushed her rivals to let Asechi win during her heydays. Kei left him to protect her and now Asechi must stand up to him if she is to protect her girls and guide the Prism Show back to its proper path or risk contaminating it with greed.

Black & White – Kintarou made a pair of black and white Symphonia Dresses and he had a Korean actress, Myeong Ja (Yun-su’s mom) to represent them. However she wasn’t good enough and that’s when Kei entered the picture and wowed him. He came up with the idea of Prism Shows and casted both women in the dresses to make money. To a point he wanted Myeong Ja to quit as an actress and be a Prism Star. She didn’t want that and left. Kei was swayed by his sweet words and took up the role. Until Asechi was born his true nature began to unravel more. He wanted to turn her into a Prism Star at a tender young age when Kei was against it. Everything else is history and ever since he would do anything to make Grateful Symphonia a success, using many and discarding those who outlive their usefulness. But all ended in failure. It has grown to a point where he now hates Prism Shows. Oh, the irony.

Road To Symphonia – Oh great. What we just need. Another Symphonia series competition. This time groups of three would enter as a team and the prizes are Symphonia Hairband of Elegance and Symphonia Necklace of Resplendence.

Money talks – Asechi is torn to enter her Prism Stars as the competition would clash with Crystal High Heels Cup. Until she realizes there is money to win and more publicity. And hence she will be reshuffling Prizmmy and Puretty into new units while making it Prism Stone versus Dear Crown.

Shuffle – The new units are: Team A (Ayami, Reina and Jae Eun), Team B (Karin, Hye In and Shi Yoon) and Team C (Mia, So Min and Chae Kyoung). Also, Shou and Yun-su will be competing among themselves to design their outfits.

Can’t teach an old dog new tricks – Team A stumble into an old man trying to do a Prism Jump and failed. Because his wife in her younger days looks like Reina (and him looking like Itsuki), you bet Reina is going to help them. A love story that transcends barriers and social status, he hopes the girls can teach him how to do a Prism Act to commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary. Even better, they’ll do it for him. It is a new and excellent Prism Show, turning the old couple back to their younger heydays to perform their own Prism Act. Team A is now renamed as Sprouts.

Wedding bells – Haven’t you heard? Rhythm and Hibiki got married. That was 18 months ago! WTF?! Married in secret, I suppose. They plan to tell the world when Rhythm reaches 18 years old. Only her MARs pals know about this. And of course, Team B who accidentally eavesdropped.

Opposition – Asechi was initially opposed to the announcement since there is nothing in it for her (it’s all about the money for her) but with the blessing and support of MARs and Callings (as well as Rhythm’s parents hidden marriage thingy if you remember last season), what else is there to oppose? Also, Kanon has been in Rhythm and Hibiki’s way for so long that Team B tries to help Kanon get a boyfriend? Of all people, they choose Yong Hwa? Not matching of course. But Kanon has known this as Hibiki told her. She was just in denial and did her best to interrupt them but it looks like the day has come where she must face reality.

Angry mob – Apparently the crowd didn’t like it when Rhythm and Hibiki announce this. How do you calm such a mad crowd? Team B putting up their Prism Act of course! Oh yeah, all of them choose Yun-su’s design. I guess there is another angry jealous guy now. Now everybody accepts the marriage and Kanon calling Rhythm her sister. Happy ending indeed. Team B is now renamed as P&P (stemming from Prizmmy & Puretty).

Creative block – Team C can’t come up with lyrics to their song so they have the designers design them first and they’ll based their lyrics on it. The designers too are stuck so Shou watches Team C practice while Yun-su talks to Aira. And there is Aira’s flashback on how she is on the verge of quitting as a Prism Star after almost losing her touch to entertain audience. But with Shou on her side, she gets her touch back.

Love block – And now the biggest stumbling block goes to Aira and Shou’s romance because as pointed out by Rhythm, Shou will never tie the knot or go anywhere if he fears getting hurt. And it’s Aira’s fault never telling him her feelings? Man, love is so complicated.

Chopped liver – Looks like Team C is side-lined when Yun-su designs a costume for Aira instead and then confesses he loves her. Shou so mad. Oh my. The rivalry is going up a notch this time because both guys won’t let Aira go.

Love & Mix – Apparently the gay Prism Star team consisting of Yong Hwa and Itsuki. So Itsuki finally decided to become a Prism Star, huh?

The season of love is Halloween? – Love & Mix uses Halloween to debut and also puts forth the theme Trick or Love. Being dressed up helps to easy confess to the one you love? Well, if it was easy for Reina since dense Itsuki keeps trying to help her. Good luck trying to keep her cock-a-doodle-doo sanity intact. Eventually nobody confesses to anybody because the importance of the theme is about falling in love, not being in love. Huh? No wonder Mia going berserk to the other girls because she didn’t get to confess to Prism Ace-sama…

The Apprentice – Of all teams, Yumemi had to pick Team C to be her master. Initially they reject her but she sucks up to them real good so I guess they take her under her wing. Despite her dream to be the centre of attraction and a Prism Star, something feels odd about her dream. She sucks in all Prism Show areas. To cut things short, her dream is a different type of star: She wants to be an astronomer and discover a new star. With this, Mia announces her challenge to Aira to make their dreams come true.

Biggest upsetCosmos (Team C’s new name based on the initials of their name) has more Fan Calls to Aira and wins! Well, my theory is that Aira keeps singing the same song and dance but Cosmos as a new team has new song and dance moves so I’m sure this is why they captured the hearts of the audience. But don’t you think it will be weird if Yumemi names a new star after Cosmos? A Cosmos in the cosmos… Confusing…

Ninja warrior – Apparently Mia beat Aira was because she had more Fan Calls from non-permanent fans. Hence Asechi plans to train them even more by having them do warrior training? Sending the shuffle teams to different villages to perform Prism Acts.

Gates of hell – Bonby somewhat hypnotized Hye In to seek the Grateful Symphonia’s stage. So during P&P’s Prism Act, Hye In got mesmerized to go into some creepy door that definitely spells disaster. Thanks to the power of friendship (and wind), she returns to reality.

Love omelette – Sprouts not only help a closing down restaurant get back up but also help its chef and employee get back together. Best part, their Prism Act has them propose and marry each other! Man, all I gotta love are those free omelettes they served…

Dancing with the Prism Stars – Cosmos want to do a Prism Show at an elementary school where Mia’s homeroom teacher still teaches. Because dancing is incorporated into PE and she can’t dance, Cosmos take the liberty to teach her how to dance. Of course their methods fail. In the end, you can’t force a dance and all you need is just to remember flashbacks of never give up. Yup, for the teacher and students, you don’t need to be good at dancing. Just dance how you feel! Heh. It’s not like they’re going to become world class Prism Stars anyway.

Torn between 2 designers, feeling like a fool – It has gotten to a point where Aira just can’t concentrate and is clumsy in her practice. While Yun-su is honest, Shou remains as he is, giving lame excuses he is happy Aira wears his designs. We know that’s crap, right? More woes for already torn Aira when she is forced to choose one of their designs before the big competition.

Heartbreak goodbye – So Min always had a crush on Yun-su. Was she wise to know she cannot best Aira hence the need to tell her feelings and get over it? Only, she had to do it via Prism Act and let everybody know. But they don’t care. Similarly, none of all that flashy extravagant for Mia because Prism Ace just says goodbye in the most boring fashion. True heartbreak…

Losing its shine – MARs and Serenon are supposed to enter the Crystal High Heels Cup but Aira (brainwashed by Bonby as usual) declares during the press conference that MARs will be participating in Road To Symphonia. This makes Serenon also want to participate in that. Yeah, everyone else has also entered this Symphonia contest.

Dress to kill – So which dress did Aira pick? Apparently MARs shock everyone by wearing the latest Symphonia series’ dresses. So mysterious. So evil. Wah! It’s shooting evil red beams!

Butterfly effect – Butterflies in your eyes? Aira dares enter the butterfly door and opens a whole new world with lots of butterflies. Yeah, it was the best butterfly show ever.

Landslide victory – Needless to say, MARs wins Road To Symphonia with a huge margin of Fan Calls.

The end of days – If you think that was the happy ending, think again. Immediately Aira announces she will not participate in anymore future Prism tournaments. Bonby reveals his true identity: Kintarou! Why am I not surprised? Those who suspect are too late to do anything. With Aira no longer participating, this means there is no more need to have tournaments because there are no competitors who will be worth their calibre against them.

Welcome to the dark side – That’s not all. Aira along with Mion and Rhythm announce their resignation from Pretty Top to join Kintarou’s Symphonia Corporation. Wow. Signing air contracts in front of everybody? Yeah, Asechi loses her income (hope all that money she made is enough) and the guys loses Aira. That’s what happens when you wait too long. Aira ditches you dudes.

Sky High Symphonia – Another Symphonia selection organized by Kintarou. He is so kind to give Pretty Top a chance to get MARs back if they get more Fan Calls. Otherwise, Pretty Top teams will have to join Symphonia Corporation if they lose. A tempting challenge to take on but it is obviously a trap. So how? Serenon vows to rescue Aira claiming their eternal rivalry with MARs gives them the right.

Break down that door – Violence never gets you anywhere. If you compare Serenon’s Prism Act, it does look a bit violent. Kicking football hattrick and unicorn piercing… Yeah… That is why they couldn’t break down that door and save Aira trapped behind it. Aira even lectures them about it. Well, looks like Serenon are now Kintarou’s pawns.

Failed Mix – It is Love & Mix’s turn to save Aira but apparently not even brotherly or family love could make her change her mind. Damn. Now Love & Mix is under Symphonia Corporation? Hey, at least Itsuki and Aira are ‘together’ in the same bad company.

Mother knows best – Everyone except Prizmmy head to Korea to find out more from Myeong Ja about Kintarou. Apparently she has never hated that guy and Yun-su was under the wrong impression she did. Therefore the mysterious Symphonia Dresses he designed couldn’t be filled with anger and hate. She knows him well enough as a guy who lived by his dreams. Even when they broke up and she was heartbroken, she would have been consumed by hatred had she continued wallowing in sadness. Prove that she was still able to love, she met and married Yun-su and Chae Kyoung’s father.

Love will save the day – As a hint that the designs reflects the designer’s heart, Yun-su realizes his designs have been filled with hatred and anger to get back at Kintarou. Though this might reach Aira, this will not save her. You need the power of love! This is why you designers are in a slump. For the sake of the same girl, for once Yun-su and Shou cast aside their animosity and agree to work together to bring out the shine in Prizmmy and Puretty as well as save Aira.

Pretty Symphonia Remake – Yun-su and Shou combine all they’ve got to make their Symphonia Dresses for Prizmmy. Despite each of their dresses are based on their strong character traits, they look the same to me only differentiated by the colour code. Personally I think this is also one of the worst designs…

Reach for the stars – Prizmmy manages to pull off their Prism Act of Road To Symphonia. They manage to see Aira but she isn’t leaving as she is enthralled by its light that reaches the end of the universe. Yup, that’s where she wants to be. Not sure what scary vortex scared Prizmmy away and return to reality. The results are very close but MARs ultimately won (Kintarou isn’t happy because there is a rival Symphonia Dress to match his originals and MARs didn’t evolve to the next stage as he anticipated). Oh no. Prizmmy now under Symphonia Corporation? All up to you now, Puretty…

Earth-chan – Yun-su and Shou come put all their love, heart and soul ain giving Puretty a Pretty Remake. It’s got all the elements that makes up Mother Earth like the land, sea, star, sun and sky. Uhm, don’t they all look the same except for the different colour code?

Reach for the end of the universe – Puretty is able to reach Aira. But with them combining their spirit, love and friendship, they take Aira to the end of the universe. So amazing that it brings Aira back to her senses. I guess this means with their superior designs, it is Kintarou’s loss. And now everybody goes back to Pretty Top. Yeah, the loosest contract ever.

It’s all about the money – Kintarou being the sore loser, reveals how the Prism Shows were all about the money. He shows proof of all the buyouts that made Asechi a Prism Queen. WTF?! You think anybody cares?! Wait. Everybody now hates Prism Stars?! WTF?! Even if Kintarou revealed his nefarious plans to destroy Prism Shows because Grateful Symphonia is no longer possible?!

Karma is a b*tch – Right after that, Kintarou gets a heart attack but it’s like a slap on the wrist because he still survives. It’s like as though karma was telling him to shut up instead and not rush his evil plans.

Indefinite hiatus – With negative receptions rising for Prism Stars and anything related, Asechi has put all activities on hold in order to protect the girls.

Can it! – Prizmmy thought of doing a guerrilla Prism Show to win back the audiences’ heart but unfortunately they start throwing cans. Although Mia is injured, nothing hurts her more than not doing any Prism Acts.

Love Live, Muse – Prizmmy and Puretty combine and do their Prism Act after their heartfelt speech of their love for Prism Shows. Thankfully the people are gullible so they’re back to loving them and giving them all their Fan Calls. Yeah, that was easy.

Redemption – Asechi announces that her teams will participate in Grateful Symphonia to show the limitless potential of Prism Shows. To take responsibility for all that fiasco, she will resign after this. Hence she also announces the Symphonia Selection Final. Our Prism Stars will face off in an elimination match in which the winner will be appointed the centre. Despite looking like a team format, only one person from that match will advance to the final.

MARs vs Prizmmy – Aira pulls off that super amazing Aurora Rising to stun everyone. Until Mia’s dress transforms into the Symphonia Dress of Passion as she does the nebula exploding Prism Act of Passionate Symphonia. It goes without saying that Mia obtains the most Fan Calls.

Unmotivated – Apparently Hye In is worried as she is the only one whose Symphonia Dress did not evolve. Also, Serena and Kanon have lost their motivation since MARs lost. So they decide to support Kaname to become the centre.

Serenon vs Puretty – Nothing really new if you ask me for Serenon. But some drama kicked up before Puretty’s turn. Seeing how awesome Serenon was, Hye In wants to quit for good! Her pals decide to support her to become the centre so she changes her mind to perform. Well what do you know? During her Prism Act, her Symphonia Dress of Starry Sky kicks in as she does the glittering nebula Prism Act of Starry Sky Symphonia. It goes without saying that Hey In gets the most Fan Calls. Yeah, those wearing those legendary Symphonia Dress seem to be the winners…

Rivals or friends? – I know Mia and Hye In will face off with each other in the finals but must they choose between both? Can’t they just to the cliché and pick both? Because of that, both stay away from each other and their friends and do some reflection of their past with each other before getting over it and doing their best. Drama for nothing.

Mia vs Hey In – Their Prism Act is so awesome that it takes them back to their past as they dig up their time capsule meant for each other in real time and in front of everyone to see! I mean, really?! Such a great performance that the audiences are silent! They can’t decide who to pick as the winner! So leaving it up to God?

Not really related – Guess what? In another twist, it is revealed Jun and Asechi are not siblings! Kei narrates after Asechi left and she was heartbroken, she met baby Jun and her parents at the park. Subsequently they were killed in an accident and Kei felt the need to take care of Jun as the only survivor as some sort of assurance and proof she still loved her daughter. So Jun is like her substitute child?

Back to Buenos Aires – The stage for Grateful Symphonia because apparently that’s where the goddess of Prism Shows resides.

Goodbye seems to be the hardest word – When Michelle tells Puretty that they’ll be going back to Korea to make their debut after Grateful Symphonia, Mia doesn’t like this one bit. She becomes selfish and stubborn because she doesn’t want to part with Hye In. So what does she do? She runs away! Her logic is that everyone will be together if the show isn’t over. WTF?! Eventually she is found and brought out of her hiding after Hye In says some really touching words. It brought Mia to tears and shocks everyone because she apologizes. Never expected that from her, eh? So contagious that everyone too starts crying and hugging.

Awakening of Symphonia – It seems the road to the finals are divided into several stages. So it begins with Mia and Hye In as the main characters going through a journey as they meet other characters who show them the way. This is one big messed up fantasy if you ask me. Uh huh. The longest Prism Show ever. It also seems this entire show is displayed throughout the world. Just look up to the sky and watch the free show.

Live drama – Heck, we even take a detour to settle the love triangle between Aira, Shou and Yun-su. We see the guys in their princely outfit in a sword fight. It’s like they’re saying all the things they have wanted to say to each other all the time. Long story short, Shou wins because he is able to say all the right things. Even more so when Aira confesses she loves him and together they are able to love the world again. A big cheesy crap if you ask me but at least this puts to rest the love triangle. Phew. Now can we move on?

Emotional Mia – Not sure how Kintarou managed to interrupt and try to stop the duo. Mia’s Prizmmy friends rope in to help them push through but at their own expense. This turns Mia into an emotional wreck. No more selfish Mia? Friends over being number one? I guess we need some emotional drama to ramp it up as we approach the final.

Turn to the dark side of reality – Thanks to that, Mia is not interested to become the centre because she realizes becoming number one is not worth at the expense of her friends. Yeah, took you almost an entire year to figure that out, eh? Perhaps with this negative emotion, it allows Kintarou to disrupt and show them reality. Uhm, their despaired and fallen Prism Stars crucified on trees? Wow. This is getting dark for a show of this genre.

Rebuttal – Mia isn’t going to have all that negative sh*t from Kintarou so she tells him off about his boring life and tells everyone about the bright beautiful future they will have. Mia has forgone her selfish ways and throws Hye In into the door to become the centre.

Always lonely at the top – Hye In is in some weird abstract dimension. Even though this is supposed to signify she has become the centre, she feels lonely. She wouldn’t have gotten her if not for her friends.

The power is yours – With Mia’s selflessness, everyone is so touched by it that they start spamming her with Fan Calls to power her up. This even powers up the fallen Prism Stars as they send Mia to Hye In.

Double centre – With both of them wearing tiaras, I guess even the goddess can’t decide and made them both as centres.

Flower power – With their new powers, the Prism Stars turn the entire world into one big flower field. Oh, don’t forget the butterflies! I wonder if this is vandalism. Who cares? Everybody in the whole wide world is so filled with hope to even bother the desecration of national monuments now covered in flowers.

Repentance – So powerful that Kintarou who has been complaining about he doesn’t need a future or bragging about his creations suddenly comes to see the light. With that, he comes to his senses and since everyone isn’t a dick, they forgive him. Even bad guys can be reduced to tears.

Glimpse of the future – The power has us view the characters’ possible future. Let’s say they are all bright and happy. I want to note that Itsuki becomes a successful doctor and this means he didn’t continue being a gay pair to Yong Hwa. And with that, the longest Prism Show comes to an end. Phew. Good riddance.

Happily married ever after – Finally a wedding ceremony for Rhythm and Hibiki.

Marry me – Guess what? Jun proposes to Asechi! Now I see why…

Leaving – Wow. So many people leaving. Yun-su is leaving for Paris and Yong Hwa will follow him. So this this mean the end of their gay Love & Mix relationship? Well, Itsuki hints if he becomes a sports doctor, he can follow him around. Gay hug! Shou and Aira leave for New York. As promised, Asechi quits her post and doesn’t care about money anymore. She leaves Pretty Top in Mion’s care. Of course we have Puretty leaving back to Korea.

Last goodbye – Big goodbye means big tears and big hugs, right? You tend to believe it because Mia is crying. Heck, even Pengin and Vivvy reconcile.

A place we’ll always meet – No, it isn’t the internet that will connect Prizmmy and Puretty. As long as they do Prism Jumps and Prism Acts together, they’ll meet each other in that fantasy dimension!

Always be number one – I think that’s a wrap, folks.

Tales Of Symphonia
And so the world continues to revel and be happy with our Prism Stars performing at their best. Bravo. Now not only Japan but Korea too will have their very own Prism Stars. Yeah, it looks like the only places in the world producing Prism Stars. Not America. Not China. Not Europe. I believe that Prizmmy and Puretty are so good at their game that they should do Prism Shows in each other’s country. Why is it only in Japan that they could do Prism Shows? Isn’t it an international event that everybody just literally looked up to the stars when they watched the Grateful Symphonia? That way they could always visit each other and never felt that they have said goodbye to each other. Or better, shouldn’t they just all combine into 1 big group and give AKB48 a run for their money? Oh right. AKB48 can’t do Prism Jumps…

Fortunately or unfortunately, this season doesn’t actually make me feel like a little girl. Maybe I have been numbed throughout the years watching a number of controversial themed anime series so watching this doesn’t affect me. Furthermore, this season might have come out back in 2012, which isn’t a long time but in anime years, that feels like so if you’re watching at this point in time. So yeah, while this series is definitely aimed at teenage girls (just watch enough of the end segment Pretty Rhythm Studio and you’ll know what I mean), it isn’t just exclusive confined to that age group and demographic. I mean, if yours truly can even watch it, it has got to be one of the ‘safest’ animes to watch out there, right? Hey, don’t be surprised to know there are a lot of guys out there who like that rebooted version of My Little Pony.

As I have said this series is mainly aimed for teenage and young girls, looking at the overall storyline and plot at this age makes it feel cheesy and generic. After all, what else could you do when you have a bunch of Prism Stars jumping around on stage? It follows some sort of pattern that feels really similar to the first issue. Some issues here and there and there is nothing that could fix it by having a Prism Show at the end. And then for the climax, we have the generic one dimensional ‘bad guy’ trying to ruin it all but with the help of friendship and Prism power, a happy ending is much guaranteed. I wonder if these kind of stories would resonate with younger audiences these days.

I figure that the production of this season came during a time that the K-pop wave was enchanting the world with its sexy dance choreographs, artificial Korean beauty and manufactured K-pop music. That’s why we have quite a number of Korean characters in this series. Otherwise, why no other nationalities? So it turns out that Puretty in the anime also has a real life version. Yup, those are real Koreans because you can tell that their Japanese are not as fluent as their anime counterparts. But ganbatte. They’re definitely getting there.

It seems Pretty Top is the only company that produces the best Prism Stars out there. Because all the while, we see only their girls performing in competitions. Yes, there are other Prism Stars (and weirdly named too) but they are all quickly side-lined and you’ll never hear from them again. It’s like Pretty Top has a monopoly over the Prism Shows and they could just host and organize any performance they want because Asechi knows that her girls will win and definitely bring in the dough. So is nobody getting bored that Pretty Top’s girls are owning the scene? Why the heck would they? They are so enthralled with the same thing and having fun, so why bother with something new?

This brings me to talk about the Prism Shows and the likes. They are bloody repetitive. Uh huh. Just like in the first season. It is very so at the beginning since the songs are pretty limited. Hence in every episode that is guaranteed to have a Prism Show, we see the girls dancing to the same tune and even to the same dance moves. Sometimes they just change positions or outfits but overall they are the same. Heck, even the audiences who cheer and give their Fan Calls are recycled scenes! It makes me wonder if these people have no life and will only attend Prism Shows. As the series progresses and more songs are introduced (especially during the shuffled units), we get a little bit variety but overall, they’re still performing the same thing over and over again. Have a new song? Spam it to the max until we get a new one!

Also, the same Prism Shows, Prism Acts and Prism Jumps sometimes feel like one big drug fuelled fantasy. Uh huh. Because the appeal of all this in the end is for the girls doing something so out of this world. I mean, swimming with the dolphins? Riding on a lion? And flying through the universe?! Man, it is getting ridiculous by the moment. Exaggeration is an understatement. I still don’t see what’s so special about it even if all of this are just special effects. But since they’re magically showing it from their hearts, it must be real, right? So if you think last season’s Prism Jumps were pretty exaggerated, you’re in for more this season. Still, personally the Prism shows are like one big form of ecstasy hiding behind the name of entertainment. No wonder people aren’t getting bored. But will they eventually die of overdose? Heck no. I believe the audiences have this herd mentality. They are also unable to think for themselves. When Rhythm and Hibiki announced their engagement, they became mad. For no reason. And when Pretty Top’s units were being transferred to Symphonia Corporation, nobody bats an eyelid. Sure, they voted for the better Prism Show but do they not realize what they have done? And when everything is alright, they also share the laughter. Whatever.

Okay, I’m not going to delve too deep into the characters because as I can see, they’re made for this genre so there has to be that friendship kind of thingy. Mia being the loudest, always in her own pace, the troublemaker and the one who proclaims she will always be number eventually realizes that she is nothing without her friends. With Prizmmy and Puretty being the stars of this season, it feels like too many of them. Although each of them have a few dedicated episodes, it is nothing that deep. Because at the end of the day, their friendship and Prism Star status will always save the day.

I wonder what happened to Callings? I don’t remember them retiring from the scene but with Shou being the solo guy, it makes me wonder what happened to Hibiki and Wataru. While we know that Hibiki is married to Rhythm, what about Wataru? I thought he was into Mion? Yeah, I guess becoming her deputy at Pretty Top is the only thing we’ll remember him by. But even so, these 2 guys were sorely missing during the Grateful Symphonia arc. At least when Aira turned to the dark side, these 2 were nowhere to be seen. I mean, Hibiki’s wife just went over to the other side, does he not have anything to say or do? It’s like they’ve forgotten about them because even if they somehow appear more often, what role could they possibly helm? Because this season we want to have that cheesy love triangle distraction between Aira, Shou and Yun-su so better not let the other guys get in the way or it might look unfair and disadvantageous even though that sounds ridiculous.

I also noticed that Pengin, Yamada and Pair Cheer Mascots looked like they are going to appear decently enough but during the arc of Aira’s defection, they too are missing. So what happened to them too? I thought all of Pretty Top was going to rally and help her but Pengin being one of the most important top wigs (pun intended) of Pretty Top, shouldn’t he be there? Of course their characters are more for comic relief and during such ‘tense’ moments, their funny appearances might just ruined the mood and confuse people. I also feel the Pair Charms are just useless and are there for the cute and kawaii effect. They just help to transform Prizmmy into their outfits and that is about it. I still feel that it’s unfair for Puretty to get one but I guess having a talking one offsets the quantity. Besides, I feel Vivvy’s existence is for Pengin to have a comedic rival in which the bird will lose most of the time. Mammals > birds.

A few more characters to comment. I don’t even understand why they need to have that revelation that Jun is not Asechi’s real sister. Like, how does this even affect the entire story? I guess we need something shocking from this guy who continues to speak in dramatic enigmatic lines. Oh right. So that we could put an end to Asechi’s eternal curse of ever landing a man. I see what they did there. Damn plot convenience. Now that they are no longer siblings I guess they can legally f*ck each other. Oops, I mean date and marry each other. I can’t believe nobody could see Bonby’s real identity as Kintarou. I had a hunch when Kintarou’s name was first mentioned. When you see that fake afro emcee having that typical scheming face, you know something is wrong. But I keep wondering if in the early episodes, shady characters that closely resemble and sound like him are Bonby in disguise. After all, he supposedly set up things that led to Grateful Symphony. I believe Asechi was too blinded by money to even tell he was her father and Jun wasn’t even that smart to guess. I mean, nobody checked his fake resume and the likes? Kei and Myeong Ja also feel inadequate like as though they are there just to fill in and connect some of the plot. Otherwise you see them hang around and it is pretty odd especially for Kei, you hear her spouting some negative lines just to prop up some drama.

Kintarou is just a one dimensional villain who decides to take out his own issues because of his failed dream. In short, if he can’t have it, nobody will. That’s why you hear him spout all those crappy lines about having no future. Sure, you don’t want to have a future that’s fine by yourself. But must you impose it on others and ruin the fun? Unfortunately for him, he didn’t die a hero and lived long enough to become a villain ;p. Not sure about his sanity at the end because the last montage shows him living a simple farm life although he still retains bits of his madness. I keep wondering why Yong Hwa’s character is necessary and the only reason is to have some gay scenes with Itsuki because Callings are like no more and it is more of a jealous rivalry between Shou and Yun-su. Otherwise, Yong Hwa is pretty much a useless character and is to give a little Prism Show variety with Love & Mix. Come to think of it, that name even sounds so gay… And now that they’ve somewhat disbanded, will it be Yun-su x Yong Hwa! And in Paris, the city love!

I also need to mention a bit on the real Prizmmy. If last season they were training to become a proper idol unit, this season we mostly see them doing mini contests of their own in which they accumulate points throughout and the winner gets to record her own solo song. I’ll spoil it, it’s Karin. After all, I feel that among all her peers, she is the most natural and cheerful. So hats off to her. Is it me or is Mia the weakest? Like in, almost everything. Such a big contrast from the anime Mia. Of course she won some mini contests like the rest too. Other than having mini contests, we also see them visit places as well as hanging out with Puretty. They too sometimes report their activities back in Korea so it’s a little nice change in pace. Oh right, don’t forget the blatant advertising to sell their Pretty Rhythm merchandises and products. So check out their website, ne!

As in its previous seasons, part of charm are the songs. Some of the songs are quite nice too. Like Cheki Love by Puretty (also serving as the second ending theme). Even though this song is overflowing with girlishness and cuteness, I can’t find myself to dislike it. Heck, I am even addicted to singing its very cute lines! Simple and cute! Oh sh*t. Can’t get that song out of my head! Yeah, it really exudes all the typical elements for a K-pop. While Shuwa Shuwa Baby also by Puretty (fourth ending theme) also has the same sentiments, it is not as catchy as Cheki Love. But still, it is quite a nice and catchy piece in its own right.

The best one from Prizmmy is Dear My Future ~Mirai No Jibun E~ (first opening theme) which is aptly the theme of the series if you ask me. The rest from Prizmmy are rather okay. Like Brand New World (second opening) has a mix of hip hop and rap, the same with Body Rock (third ending) but has auto-tune as well as Panpina (fourth opening) but with special effects, My Transform (second ending) has an edgy techno pop beat. Life Is A Miracle ~Ikiterutte Subarashii~ (third opening) is the only one of the themes not sung by the real Prizmmy but the anime Prizmmy. Sounds generic idol pop if you ask me. Personally, the worst song is Thank You (also worst named) by P&P. I don’t know, each time I hear this, my hair stands on ends. Cheer! Yeah~ X2 by Cosmos doesn’t resonate with me as I have this feeling it is a song better sung on/by Love Live. Out of all the shuffled units, I suppose Mirage Jet by Sprouts sounds better because of its jazzy theme.

As you might have noticed, the anime version of Prizmmy is voiced by people. Professional seiyuus in fact. This is better because the real ones you can hear their voices aren’t really trained even during the Pretty Rhythm Studio segment you can hear the obvious difference. Sure, they are good at singing but when it comes to normal conversation you can tell they’re not trained for voice acting. Handling their Prizmmy counterparts are Rumi Okubo as Mia (Astolfo in Fate/Apocrypha), Natsumi Takamori as Reina (Mei in Another) and Minami Tsuda as Karin (Yui in YuruYuri). Shockingly I never realized that Ayane Sakura was behind Ayami. She sounds too shy for me to recognize. Or maybe I wasn’t really paying attention. Better start taking notes to note how she actually sounds in this shy mode. Memo, memo…

Even the Puretty side has professional seiyuus because otherwise you could hear their Korean accent in it. I wasn’t sharp enough so I didn’t realize the one who voiced Kaname, Serena and Kanon also voiced Hye In, Jae Eun and Chae Kyoung respectively. As for So Min, she is voiced by Marie Miyake (Ringo in Mawaru Penguindrum). Shi Yoon is voiced by an actual Japan born Korean, Kim Hyang Ri. If there was something familiar about the ridiculous screaming and liveliness in Bonby’s voice, it is because it is Shigeru Chiba and I still remember him voicing such characters like One Piece’s Buggy, Sasuke in Ranma 1/2 and Yotsuya of Maison Ikkoku. Yong Hwa is voiced by Minami Takayama (titular character in Detective Conan series) and Noriko Hidaka playing Myeong Ja (Kikyo in Inu Yasha).

Oh well, looks like this is it for me. My journey for the Pretty Rhythm series ends here. Phew? Big relief? Because this series is still going on strong in Japan with ongoing spin-offs even until this day. Are they going to have idols using instruments in the next season as seen in the preview? I won’t be there to find out. So forget about the third and fourth seasons (Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live and Pretty Rhythm All Star Selection respectively), because there’s that PriPara spin-offs that are entirely a whole series of its own. This is like the idol version of Pretty Cure (another old series I once watched at the beginning but then stopped watching eventually). I bet it is going to be more of the same. Introduce a new budding character with great dreams. There are her new friends and other characters into the mix as well. Old returning characters make their cameo and they all can happily dance, sing and jump on stage to give us that ultimate entertainment. I guess I’ll just stick to ecchi high school romances. They’re a safer bet and my form of entertainment. Damn I have no future…

ReLIFE S2

May 11, 2018

I don’t remember reading ReLIFE was getting another season. But when it did come out, how come there are only 4 stinking episodes?! Yeah, so few that it all came out simultaneously over the internet. Oh wait. That was how the first season’s format ran. But why only 4 episodes? As I read, the first season already covered a big majority of the manga that had already ended. So why not give the anime its due closure as well? They’re already there, a few steps away from the finish line so how hard could it be? It’s like they’re all doing guys like me who don’t read the manga a favour. Can’t leave those lazy otakus in the dark and left hanging. Uhm, thanks?

Episode 14
Flashback shows Yoake meeting with Hishiro to tell her she has been selected for this ReLIFE experiment. She accepts it and as he watches her, he notices she doesn’t interact with others so he advises her to involve herself more with others since she has been given this chance. Despite Kariu is now the class number one, she is still mad at Hishiro thinking she went easy on her. You just can’t please her, can you? Of course Hishiro denies as she wants to be friends with her. Kariu wonders if she was unwell then or something to do with Kaizaki as she is recently seen around him more often. Hishiro isn’t sure herself (cue for more anger from Kariu) but she is at least now her mind is a lot clearer on what to do. She then goes to confront Yoake and asks if Kaizaki is also a test subject under ReLIFE. She notices his mature habits as well as his belongings that indicate he is a young adult. He cannot confirm and deny because in the event if he is one, his experiment will end and she won’t see him again. Yoake is impressed she is showing interest in others. This brings him to introduce Onoya who will be mainly supervising her this term. This only serves to make Hishiro suspect that Kaizaki is a test subject and Yoake is assigned to observe him. Otherwise, why this braided glasses girl for her and Yoake not transferred away but supporting her? Onoya wonders about her curiosity of Kaizaki. If he is an adult, she wouldn’t have to suppress her feelings for him and she might be suspecting him out of this desire. Hishiro gets fidgety but is unsure.

The class decides who to represent them for the cultural festival. Surprisingly Hishiro volunteers, surprising many. Kaizaki becomes her partner as they discuss the English style café their class will be doing. Later they go hear out Oga’s problem. He went out with Kariu the other day but when she wanted to come to his house, he rejected her. She got mad. He then relates how his older brother is now a shut-in due to bullying from his job. He doesn’t want Kariu to know about this. Kaizaki advises to just act normal because if everyone around him is being careful and gloomy, how is he going to improve? Especially in one’s own home. As for whether Kariu would approve this, Hishiro believes she would because she is a perfectionist and strives for so via hard work and doesn’t force her beliefs upon anyone. Just tell her the truth. She’ll understand. The preparations for the festival is well underway. Those Victorian maid are sure looking good. Double thumbs up! Hishiro falls asleep at her desk after a tiring day. Kaizaki can’t help steal glances of her. It is then he realizes he is in love with her. Why am I not surprised?

Episode 15
ReMAID is well underway! Kariu is embarrassed in the outfit (WHY?!) but nothing like Oga’s admiration to have her come out of her shell. When the festival is less hectic, Hishiro and Kaizaki walk around. Suddenly, Hishiro starts holding his arm. He gets nervous and tries to hint to her others will get the wrong idea. So what? Now she wants him to hug her. You serious? Of course he won’t and wants to know what has gotten in to her. She wonders if this is infatuation. After apologizing, he thinks she was just rushing for something after overthinking. At the festival’s closing, Yoake talks to Kaizaki to assure him even after this experiment is over and some memories will be gone, there are many other things that will still remain like the results of his actions. Things would definitely end up differently had Kaizaki not been around. Kaizaki, Hishiro and Oga are taking some counselling for their university choices. Oga thanks Kaizaki for his advice the other day and everything is now clearer. He notes all of them going to the same university so nothing will change once they graduate. But Kaizaki knows better it won’t. Kaizaki feels bothered by this so he talks to Yoake about having to go back to his old life no matter what. Yoake explains he has changed in a way that he has gone to regain his old self. As he was a friendly and straightforward person, this is why he was chosen as a test subject. He is able to fret over the problems because of his past before ReLIFE. He hopes he won’t abandon the old original version as this high school version is just an illusion. Yoake hopes they can go drinking and talk about this experiment once it is over.

As Onoya writes her report on Hishiro, she too is facing a dilemma. Because if Kaizaki and Hishiro are test subjects, once this is over only the test subjects will retain memories and everyone they meet will have their memories of them erased. So will Kaizaki and Hishiro be erased from each other’s memories? Yeah, now I’m so confused thinking about it. Hence Onoya doesn’t want them to get closer. It is cruel just to think how they will end up. All Yoake can say is that they cannot decide for them and their job is to enjoy and bring out the fullest in life of this experiment. What is this experiment called again? If they support them to the fullest, they will not have any regrets. Hishiro continues to ponder. That ‘flirting’ with Kaizaki was trying to find out if he is a test subject as well as ascertain her feelings. She didn’t get any close to the former but for the latter, I think she realizes it… As the class have their group photo, Kaizaki and Hishiro monologue about their thoughts about others not remembering them and becoming like an unexplained ghost in a photo. Damn Kaizaki and Hishiro ruined the photo by looking at each other.

Episode 16
Oga needs Kaizaki’s mature advice on dating? When Kaizaki teases him for climbing the stairs to adulthood, Oga tells him to just date Hishiro because there are many of their friends who saw them together at the festival. But strangely every time Hishiro sees him, she avoids him like a plague! Apparently she is confused with her feelings and this is the ‘stupid’ thing she could do. Her friends tell her not to run away as she is one step away. Tamarai suggests she should go on a date. So the next time she doesn’t avoid him, she sums up her courage to ask him to meet her on Christmas. But she can’t go on anymore and will message him the rest of the details. Well, Kaizaki should have seen this coming so why is he surprised when she messages the details for their date? Unsure, he calls Yoake for ‘permission’. He allows it as it will be a valuable experience from a ReLIFE perspective. Both are early at the meeting point and Hishiro has researched and prepared date routes. I guess it’s okay for first timers at dating. As they walk around the mall, Kaizaki wonders why she picked Christmas as standard dates are on the Eve. Yoake and Onoya are watching afar but also give them some private space by not eavesdropping all the time. Onoya is still sad that eventually this date will be forgotten. It might be but that doesn’t mean it has never happened. Yoake pokes his nose a bit as he messages Kaizaki an important detail. It seems today is Hishiro’s birthday so Kaizaki buys her a present that also doubles as a Christmas gift. While riding the Ferris Wheel, although they talk about looking forward to next year, both cast a gloomy outlook. They are talking like how they will look back to this year and remember how special it is. In the end, Kaizaki knows he is in love with her but feels he cannot tell her as all this would vanish and his feelings won’t matter. When he tries to hold her hand, she quickly pulls back. Hishiro blames herself for not understanding such feelings. Kaizaki too but this time he gets to courage to confess he loves her. After a bit of shock and panic, Hishiro says her feelings are not any different either. But is that the same as saying I love you? Cue for the rain so they could share an umbrella close together.

Episode 17
Yoake narrates Kaizaki’s ReLIFE will be ending soon and will be reported as a success. He regrets that there will be a secret he will not be able to tell him. Knowing they don’t have much time with each other, they talk with each other via phone as much as they can even if it’s bedtime. Graduation day come and go. Hishiro asks Kaizaki for a hug. As she is pondering if this was the right thing to ask, he gives her a big one. Then all the tears keep rolling to tug our heartstrings. They proclaim they won’t forget about each other but inside they know that is not possible. Maybe that is what the tears are for. Yoake sees Kaizaki and announces his ReLIFE has officially ended. As promised, there are prospect jobs for him listed so take your time choosing. After asking his thoughts on this experiment, Kaizaki takes the pill. It is the same for Onoya and Hishiro. Only, Onoya is like on the verge of being emotional. However she soon blows up into one when she sees Hishiro wrote on her palm that she loves Kaizaki. Distraught that she should done a better job at hiding it, it pains Onoya that now she must do something about it.

In the aftermath, Kaizaki remembers all the friends he made during the experiment. However there is someone else he feels missing but can’t quite put his finger on it. After looking through the prospective jobs, he feels all aren’t suitable and asks if he could choose outside these. Of course. He wants to work at the ReLIFE lab. As he has learnt valuable lessons from it despite only for a year, he wants to use this experience to help teach others. And so he gets the job and puts his passion into it. He heads to the house of a prospect ReLIFE candidate. Wow. The shut-in quickly opened the door to hear his proposal of this experiment. Must be his smile. Kaizaki attends the company party. Guess what? Hishiro is also working there! Unfortunately they do not remember each other. When the party ends and they coincidentally leave together, Hishiro overheard his boss called him an ex-test subject. He admits he was and she wonders if he should let others know about it since it is confidential. He is only here thanks to ReLIFE. Hishiro also relates she was an ex-test subject but failed at first go. She too didn’t favour the prospective jobs after her experiment ended and thought of working here and got into the research division’s pharmaceutical section. When he asks her about how her ReLIFE was, she explains it like fireworks. Fun and beautiful but sad once it is over and you long for it. Suddenly they start to remember that fireworks incident together. And voila! Conveniently they remember each other now! So the memories weren’t really erased? Time for the tears of joy to roll and a big reunion hug.

Don’t Forget To Remember Me Always
Uhm, although I very much welcome the happy ending that Kaizaki and Hishiro get to reunite with each other, but it feels rushed and out of convenience. Sure, had they remain separated, it will literally be a bitter pill to swallow. So my qualm for them suddenly remembering their old memories is like a convenient plot tool and device or lazy writing. This is to say that the memory erasing pill does not work and if others they met in their life were to at least try as hard as they can to remember an event or some coincidental thing triggers or simply jogs their memory, the effect will be off. Yeah, so is this part considered a failure? Better research more on that memory erasing pill, Hishiro.

This brings into question how the f*ck can the organization erase memories of everyone else about a single subject in ReLIFE. Do they secretly insert the pill in everyone’s meal? If that is the case, boy they are going to need a lot of pills. And what if a test subject met somebody outside the surveillance? I mean, it is not like the observers are constantly watching them 24/7, right? For example, a test subject goes to meet a hooker and has a one night stand. And assuming if they miss out on erasing that hooker’s memories, many years down the road she sees the test subject and remembers him. Will that be super bad? But then again, we have seen at the end how effective the memory erasing pill was. But don’t destroy your brains in trying to think of how they are going logically doing it because it will never be answered. Heck, I don’t even need a pill as I already have forgotten many parts of the first season already!

This season’s final 4 episodes give Kaizaki x Hishiro the much needed focus. After all as I vaguely remember from last season, it seemed that the series paid its attention towards Oga x Kariu and we were left wondering if there would be Kaizaki x Hishiro romance at all. Our hopes finally answered, they trolled us by making us watch through their painstaking parting before that coincidental convenient reunion at the end. Like as though God was watching and He sympathises and feels bad about them being separated, hence somehow making them have the same idea of working in the same company that saved them. Yeah, it also props the question of why can’t the duo retain memories of each other. I mean, are they going to freak out and realize they are test subjects of ReLIFE? Are they going to sue to organization? I doubt it at this point they are at now. Therefore it is mind boggling that despite part of the contract says all memories regarding the test subject will be removed, doesn’t it prove that removing somebody from your memory means that person is the test subject? Oh right. You can’t even remember that person so it doesn’t matter.

With this final season focusing on our main duo, all the other side characters feel like chopped liver. Oga and Kariu whom I mentioned felt like the main characters in the last season now deservingly takes a backseat since their relationship are going steady. But all the other supporting side characters like Asaji and Inukai who were forgettable in the previous season are even more so here. Yeah, it’s like we don’t remember them when ReLIFE comes to an end. It will be mind boggling to think from their perspective that a couple of people they decently interacted with would be blank. I mean, what would they remember during the time when they had a conversation with Kaizaki or Hishiro? Especially Kariu who has conversed with her a lot recently. This means if she thinks back during her high school years, boy there are going to be a lot of blank spaces. The series never said about filling in with fake memories but just saying… Also, before the duo signed up for ReLIFE, what about the friends in the past whom they know? Don’t they know they went ‘missing’ for a year? Unless you tell me when these people who failed to land jobs at their first go have no friends in the first place. No wonder they make good ReLIFE test subjects. If they fail, nobody would remember them and nobody would care too.

The only character that was surprisingly different to how I initially know her as is Onoya. I thought she was always the happy and sporting girl but in this season it feels like as the experiment draws to a close, she shows more and more of her emotional side. Has she got too attached to her test subject? I know Kaizaki and Hishiro changed a lot during the course of the year but I did not expect this from Onoya. It’s like she is breaking into a totally new character. A side we have never seen nor would have expected to see. No doubt she is a newbie on the job and perhaps the series is trying to tell us that even these observers aren’t heartless human beings. Seeing her breaking down shows that she has a conscience about this experiment. But hey, this experiment is considered new (why are the test subjects 001 and 002 then?) and that is why they are experimenting if this trial is successful or not. Based on Kaizaki and Hishiro’s overwhelming success, it is safe to say that more people are going to be ‘saved’. But I can’t say the same for workplace bully culture. Yeah, that scourge will never be eradicated so long as the hierarchy exists.

As this ReLIFE experiment seems like it changes one’s life for the better, in fact it doesn’t as it only helps to enhance or make better your old self. Because Kaizaki and Hishiro aren’t really such bad people in the first place. They just had no luck in the employment scene. Therefore it somewhat rings true when Yoake said not to forget your old life because that is what the original Kaizaki and Hishiro are. Maybe for Hishiro she opened up more than before. There are some changes but ultimately they are still the same but better person. After all, you have got to remember the original goal of this experiment. It is not intended to completely change you into a totally different person. That is why they call it ReLIFE instead of ReLIE! Oh yeah. That was a good one I came up with. No? Sorry… At least it’s not ReWRITE. Oh wait. That name was already taken by another anime…

Overall, the short second season is pleasant enough to bring closure to the series (make sure to watch the first season first as this continues directly from where it left off). Despite some questionable mind boggling sci-fi logic that would be bugging you, romance is supposed to be the main focus. You would want to root for the main characters, share their heart breaking moments knowing the inevitable is coming, weep when they (briefly) became apart after making it this far and then heave a sigh of relief and cheer with bravado when they are finally reunited. If future experiments follow this pattern, man it’s like a big elaborated social experiment for hooking up people. Then they might rename it as ReWIFE. Haha! Oops. Sorry… So uhm, cheers and here’s to celebrating (re)life!

Fate/Apocrypha

May 6, 2018

Not really sure if they want to animate all the stories and spin-offs in the Fate universe. Because after the awesome Fate/Stay Night remake (or rather the other routes that was animated), now we have Fate/Apocrypha. Not being a Fate fan, as I understand this Fate story takes place when somebody stole the Holy Grail during its third war and hence there was no conclusion. It re-emerges during the same time when the original fifth edition was supposed to happen at Fuyuki. This time the organization who stole it declares war on the Mage Association and a new and different Holy War format begins. It is not just ever Master and Servant for themselves but each faction possessing each Servant class against each other. Well, the more the merrier?

Episode 1
Kairi Shishigou makes his way to the office of Rocco Belfaban, the head of summoning. We are told of the Holy Grail War system but that system collapsed during the third edition when a master tricked the German army and stole the Holy Grail. Its whereabouts are unknown and hence the subsequent Holy Grail War never happened. However recently it has been found. The Yggdmillennia clan of Romania declared they have it. Darnic Prestone Yggdmillennia who fought in the third Holy Grail War as a Master is believed to have kept it hidden for 60 years. He looks like he didn’t age… With that, Yggdmillennia has announced they will be seceding from the Mage Association and forming their own. Though 50 of their elite mages were sent to retrieve it, they were all slaughtered. Only a Servant could have done this. Shishigou will not become a Master in this next Holy Grail War. He will be the Master of the Red Faction. In the previous system we know, 7 Masters and their 7 Servants fight each other in a battle royale. Now, it will be 7 on 7. 7 Masters and their 7 Servants of the Red Faction (representing the Mages Association) against the 7 Masters and their 7 Servants of the Black Faction (Yggdmillennia clan). Rocco hands him a rare artefact that would enable him to summon a hero from the English history. The Red Faction’s supervisor is a church priest going by the name of Shirou Kotomine. Darnic talks to Avicebron (Black Caster) who is the unparalleled master of the golem arts. He is using homunculi as his servants to create them to avoid draining his power. Avicebron’s dream is not the Holy Grail but the original giant of the legends of his people. Completing his Noble Phantasm is all that matters to him. Several of the Yggdmillennia clan Masters summon their Servants. Shishigou finishes summoning Mordred (Red Saber) who is the heir of King Arthur.

Episode 2
Flashback shows Jeanne D’Arc being burnt at the stake after being accused as a witch. All she could do is pray to her God. Astolfo (Black Rider) is a cheeky and lively one as he seeks to get to know everybody else. The rest of her summoned servant comrades are Chiron (Black Archer), Frankenstein (Black Berserker) and Siegfried (Black Saber). Their Masters are Celenike Icecolle, Fiore Forvedge, Caules Forvedge and Gordes Musik respectively. Under the command Vlad Tepes (Black Lancer), they officially begin their war. All that is left is for the Jack The Ripper (Black Assassin) to arrive from London. Looks like she is leaving a trail of bodies in her path… Mordred warns Shishigou not to pry further into her past. Legend has it she betrayed King Arthur and killed him. Her wish is to pull out the legendary sword. That is all. Gordes is mad when Siegfried doesn’t tell him his wish since he has none and has accepted his death which was necessary. Shishigou goes to see Shirou. The latter introduces his Servant, Semiramis (Red Assassin). Shirou hopes to share knowledge and mentions they have identified the fifteenth Servant also known as the Ruler class whose role is to ensure a balanced Holy Grail War. Shirou wants them to meet the other Masters but Shishigou believes he can do this on his own and will take their own path. After they left, William Shakespeare (Red Caster) enters in his poetic fashion to inform that Spartacus (Red Berserker) has gone on a rampage alone to the Black Faction’s fortress to fight. Shishigou and Mordred are in one of Yggdmillennia’s towns. They are immediately surrounded by golems and homunculi. Despite their victory, the Yggdmillennia clan is watching to test their aptitude. Karna (Red Lancer) is summoned by Shirou to eliminate Ruler (Jeanne) who is bound to get in their way.

Episode 3
A homunculus sees how his other failed kind gets wasted. That fear breaks him out of his containment as he weakly crawls out. Meanwhile Astolfo is bored being sexed up by sex-crazy Celenike and goes off on his own. He stumbles upon that homunculus who collapsed from exhaustion and brings him to Charon’s room (since Celenike might just barge in anytime). He doesn’t intend to tell Avicebron or his Master, Roche Frain because it’s more fun that way. Karna engages with Jeanne but Siegfried pops up in time to protect her. As the Red and Black side fight, Gordes hopes for Jeanne to join his side but she remains neutral and will not interfere. We see snippets of Siegfried as a dragon slayer. He was hated by his country who wanted him dead. He accepted that in hopes his death will put an end to the war. As the sun rises, it seems Karna is considerate enough to note Gordes will not last. So they agree to put their match on hold and withdraw for now. Gordes would love to show Jeanne their base but she too declines. When the homunculus wakes up, he is already given something to think about. Because of his limited life (he will die in 3 years), it is best he decides what to do with it. Caules tries to get to know more about Frankenstein. Legend has it her master feared her after creating her. She chased him down in hopes to create another one like her for company but he refused. In the end, she killed herself via self-immolation. Caules’ wish is for the Akashic Records but if any of his family members die in the battle, his priority is to revive them. On the other hand, Fiore talks to Chiron about his wish. It is to regain immortality after Hydra’s venom robbed him for it. Fiore also tells him her ‘selfish’ wish. As she is paraplegic, implanting new legs means losing her mage powers. She wants both. As Spartacus inches closer to the castle, ignoring all warning shots, Vlad will have Darnic come up with a strategy that will turn him into their pawn.

Episode 4
Spartacus happily destroys all the golems as Atalanta (Red Archer) and Achilles (Red Rider) watch from afar. They feel odd to have not seen their own Masters’ face and have been ordered into this battle. Vlad easily disposes of Spartacus and has Darnic try to force a new contract on him into their faction. Siegfried and Berserker are tasked to intercept Atalanta and Achilles. Gordes is not amused that Siegfried is fighting for enjoyment. So he forces a Command Spell to make him use his Noble Phantasm. However he is promptly stopped by Darnic who admonishes him for wasting his Command Spell. With Chiron providing excellent range backup, the Red Faction duo are forced to retreat. During all that commotion, Astolfo tries to sneak the homunculus to escape. But nothing escapes the eyes of Avicebron as he informs everyone to bring that precious specimen back. Gordes and Siegfried intercept them. Astolfo fights Siegfried so the homunculus could escape. Gordes corners him and the homunculus fees the desire to live and prepares to fight back. Gordes panics and uses his magic might to strike back, killing him. When Siegfried wants to help the homunculus, Gordes opposes and is knocked out by him. Jeanne enters the scene, confused with the in-fighting. Siegfried was swayed by Astolfo’s words to help others on their own will and instead of just doing orders as Servants. To atone for it, Siegfried sacrifices himself and gives his heart to the homunculus. His wish for Jeanne is to keep him free. Siegfried disappears but with no regrets. The homunculus returns to life, shocked that he is still living. Jeanne introduces herself and swears to protect him.

Episode 5
Jeanne checks the homunculus and hears Siegfried’s heart is working fine. The other Masters and Servants seeking an explanation and are shocked to learn Siegfried died in this fashion. Jeanne reminds them this homunculus will not join the fight as he is unwilling. However he is not totally unrelated as he has Siegfried’s heart. If everyone attacks Jeanne, they will definitely lose. So Vlad offers her to join them but she remains neutral. As long as they fight honourably, she will not intervene. Astolfo is punished by getting his hands cuffed? That’s like a slap on the wrist. His last advice to the homunculus is to live since he is now allowed to. So the first order is to name himself. He settles for Sieg in honour for the one who gave his heart. Then he teaches him about food. Shirou learns that despite they lost their Berserker, the enemy’s Saber is also gone. They’re confused to what might have transpired. Astolfo is lightly tortured by Celenike. Not in the mood for sex? But Vlad intends to release Astolfo soon as punishing one who won’t repent is useless. Besides, it looks like they can re-contract Spartacus on their side. Their next problem is Jack The Ripper because her Master is found dead. Looks like some crazy woman is in possession of her and they’re playing house as mother and daughter. Jeanne explains to Sieg she wasn’t summoned by anyone but the Holy Grail. However she couldn’t construct her own body and is currently possessing the body of a French girl, Leticia who answered her plea. Even in battle, her body will not be harmed. She notes her failed summoning shows something is wrong with this war. Could it be she is summoned here not as a judge but for some other purpose? Sieg is still unsure what to do with his freedom. She suggests going back to where he came from. What about his other homunculi comrades? Noting he just didn’t want to die and his comrades never had the will to leave, she tells him never to return there. Jeanne leaves Sieg in the hands of a kind farmer, Serge. This is where they part. She knows she lied to him as he tells him to live peacefully because she has saw visions of him dying in the battlefield. She intends to fight that fate even if it means throwing away her wish. Shirou sees the other Masters of his faction. He tells the Holy Grail War has ended and that they have won. As part of the agreement, they will give him their Command Spells.

Episode 6
Flashback shows Mordred killing everyone to force Arthur to relinquish to throne. Unfortunately she got done in as Arthur tells her it is not because she is the son of a witch that she did not do so but rather she lacks the qualities to become one. Shishigou and Mordred are on site to investigate the case of serial murders. As told by El-Melloi II, all those who were killed were actually mages. They also have their magic drained. It is safe to assume this is a work of a Servant. It couldn’t be from their faction since all Red Servants have been summoned. It would be odd for Yggdmillennia to let this happen in their own backyard so it must be some third party. Shishigou then goes to the morgue to check on the corpses. All of them have their hearts gouged out. Looks like the perpetrator is bulking up on magic by eating them. As mages are being targeted, they are the perfect bait to lure them out. So that night as they wander about town, a strange fog suddenly shrouds the place. They are forced to get out since it is poison gas. Once in the clear, Jack could have almost sliced off Shishigou’s head without him suspecting anything had not Mordred reacted fast enough. Mordred and loli Jack engage in combat but the latter uses her agility and speed to her advantage. An explosive arrow fired by Chiron breaks them up. Jack has sustained injuries and escapes but Mordred is now targeting Chiron. She intercepts him and he knows better if he wants to win this, he cannot do it without injuries. Shishigou on the other hand encounters Fiore who is walking around in her exoskeleton that makes her look like Dr Octopus. She warns him to leave this place and will overlook his trespassing violation. Guess not. Shishigou surprises her by being reckless like throwing a grenade and then ramming her with a car! Is she done for seeing that all that’s left is for his bullets to reach her.

Episode 7
As expected, Caules saves her. Archer knows he has been cornered and will lose so he informs Fiore to retreat. With that, the battle ends. Sieg asks Serge the meaning of freedom. I suppose gramps have lots of experience but no definite answer because it is up to Sieg to find out what it is. Jeanne enters Shirou’s church but finds no one. She needs to meet him. Speaking of the Red Faction, looks like what’s left of their Servants have all gathered. It is time for the final fight but Shakespeare says he will not fight since it is not his style. He just wants to watch this battle and record it. So how is the Red Faction going to fight? Semiramis uses her Noble Phantasm. This floating fortress is actually the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Cool. They have the walking undead skeletons for the grunts too. The fortress stations itself near the Yggdmillennia’s castle. Vlad leads the Black Faction’s Servants and gives them roles in their upcoming attack. Sieg has thought hard and looks like he has decided on what he wants. With that, Serge allows him to leave (not knowing what it is but then again, why should he) and do as he wishes. Oh, take this belt of his with you. Conveniently it can fit his sword.

Episode 8
Atalanta destroys the homunculi and golem horde to clear the path for Achilles to bulldoze through. Then she supports Karna in his fight against Vlad. Vlad has the power of his homeland and he is powerful because the locals see him as a hero but Karna is the Sun God and has very strong armour. Achilles is stopped in his tracks from the golems. Then he tries to trace Chiron and face him. Once he does, he gets the shock of his life. Flashback shows Chiron was Achilles’ master as he taught him the ways of combat. He was then told about his heels as his weakness. He might be an immortal hero but his heels are still mortal. Sieg returns to the battlefield and helps treat a fellow wounded homunculus. He plans to help as many as he can and hopes to free them. They return to the castle since most of the rest are out fighting in the battlefield. Semiramis is not thrilled that Shirou is itching to join the fray. If he dies, her plans will fall apart. Shirou explains he wants to know if God is testing him. If He doesn’t allow his way, he will die. If everything goes well, it means He approves of his will and thus his wish upon the Holy Grail to grant mankind mercy and comfort. Semiramis then gives him permission to fight. Semiramis now deals with Astolfo who has flown close to the fortress. Mordred is mad that she is late to the battle so this gives her an excuse to drive madly? Hold on tight! Avicebron barely manages to make Spartacus under his command and convinces him that the Mage Association are the oppressors. He sends him out to destroy them. Frankenstein is thumping the undead in her path. She then stumbles into Shirou who offers her to join his side in place of Spartacus.

Episode 9
Darnic narrates he went to Japan to steal the Holy Grail. He got the Germans’ cooperation and then betrayed them. Now that he has sufficient magic, he will be able to open the gate to the Roots, the means to fulfil wishes and become the victor. Frankenstein rejects Shirou’s offer and fights him. Shirou will welcome her if she changes her mind so he fights with a sword that Shakespeare has tempered with. Crazy Spartacus crashes into Karna’s fight. Karna needs to concentrate on Vlad so he has Atalanta take care of him. I don’t think a few arrows into him can work. After all, Spartacus has very quick regenerative abilities. Sieg frees all the homunculi in the lab. Astolfo approaches Babylon but is shot down by Semiramis. Not sure if Sieg has super zoom vision because he could see Astolfo falling down. He is in a dilemma to go save him because he has to see through his responsibility of saving his brethren. The other homunculi assure they can take it from here. The permission Sieg needs to go to Astolfo’s aid. Mordred’s reckless driving almost crashed into Astolfo. I’m surprised that car which has been trashed can still run. Shishigou lets Mordred fight Astolfo as he gets out of here. Jeanne is trying to meet Shirou but Semiramis is trying to prevent that. Jeanne knows the Red Faction are trying to kill her and feels something is wrong. It would have been understandable if they wanted her aid to join their side but to rid of her? As Semiramis cannot stop her, she reports to Shirou so he has to flee and return. Frankenstein surprisingly pursues him so Shirou leaves it o Shakespeare to buy some time. He casts a spell on her. She sees her tragic past whereby her creator hated her. All she wanted was to be loved but he kept rejecting her and calling her a monster. So it was confusing when she sees him extending his hand and wanting her to stop fighting. She goes berserk beating the crap out of him. Caules is forced to use a Command Spell to calm her down. The enemy has escaped. Mordred learns and mocks how Siegfried pathetically died. This riles up Astolfo and he won’t forgive her for making fun of him. Semiramis’ powerful magic is still unable to stop Jeanne. So Shirou relays to Atalanta to lure and send Spartacus to fight against Jeanne. Mordred is about to finish Astolfo. But look who showed up? Sieg is going to fight Mordred?

Episode 10
Astolfo is not amused. He didn’t save him so he could die saving him. So much about the freedom to choose, huh? Now that they are both liabilities, they could have been toasted had not Caules using another Command Spell on Frankenstein to attack Mordred. But after all that hammering, nothing happens. Frankenstein is incapacitated after Mordred counter attacks. Then she kills her off. Now Sieg is mad. Amazing his puny sword can put a dent in her armour. Too bad he too gets killed off. Right in the heart. Oh, now Astolfo is getting mad. Wanna have a go? Shishigou interrupts her to remind her if she had ascertain Frankenstein is dead. Oh, body missing. Frankenstein sneaks up on her and restrains her. Caules uses his final Command Spell so that Frankenstein could release all her limiters and do a suicidal Noble Phantasm move to take out Mordred. After all that power explosion, just a big crater. Mordred is still there. Frankenstein’s gone. Caules can only regret he should have expected the enemy too has Command Spells. During the blast, some of Frankenstein’s power went through Sieg. This means Sieg seeing visions of Siegfried who lived his entire life trying to grant others wishes till his death. So what is his wish? Siegfried asks that same question back to him. Then a sword stuck in the ground appears before Sieg. He is told to pick it up. He can’t. Siegfried asks his reason for fighting. He doesn’t know. He just wants the power to help others. With that, he pulls it out. Mordred and Astolfo are shocked to see Siegfried before them. Is he revived? More accurately explained by Shirou, he possessed Sieg’s body. A normal human would have died but being a homunculus makes it possible. Not sure if Shirou is being overconfident because he doesn’t intend to help Mordred as he thinks Siegfried will not last long. Shishigou suggests using a Command Spell to enhance her skills for this fight. Both Sabers clash. Time to power up. Is this some light sabre show now?

Episode 11
Atalanta leads Spartacus to attack Jeanne. His Noble Phantasm is to transfer any damage receive into power. This explains why he is now some ugly ballooned monster. Mordred is not pleased her Noble Phantasm didn’t wipe out Siegfried. But he has taken enough damage and is at his limit. This means he reverts back to Sieg. Shishigou tells Mordred to get out of there. Looks like Spartacus is going to explode from all that power. Jeanne’s barrier protects and saves a lot of lives and damages. The impaling and burning fight between Vlad and Karna comes to an abrupt halt when Shirou calls Karna to come back. Something happens back at the castle. It looks like Babylon is stealing the Holy Grail. Darnic did not expect this. He narrates about the prophesized downfall of the Yggdmillennia clan 80 years ago. His dream of becoming a first class mage vanished. He made many allies, betrayed them and feed on the souls of others to extend his own life so as to get the Holy Grail. He will not let anyone else have it. Vlad, Chiron and Avicebron infiltrate Babylon. They face off with Karna, Achilles and Atalanta. Vlad’s rematch with Karna seems a bit off. Vlad notices his power is not working well here. Indeed. This is not his territory. Flashback shows Vlad talking to Darnic about the ridiculous fantasies of people throughout the generations that tainted his legacy. His wish to win this war is to erase that disgrace. He warns Darnic never to use his Command Spell to force him to use his Noble Phantasm even if he is at the verge of defeat. Darnic agreed at first but looks like he has a change of heart. What he protects is Yggdmillennia and what he wants is the Akashic Records. For that he needs the Holy Grail. Sorry, Vlad. Gotta use the Command Spell.

Episode 12
Flashback shows Shirou knows Darnic and has waited 60 years of hardship to finally end all this. Oh, something about Iri being dead too. With Vlad not at optimum, Darnic reminds him about his Noble Phantasm. Of course Vlad is not pleased and sternly reminds him. However Darnic will not let his wish slip away and reminds Vlad of his place as a Servant. Then he uses a Command Spell to make him use his Noble Phantasm and turn him into the legendary Dracula! Vlad attacks him and tries to suck his blood but this is all part of Darnic’s plan. Using another Command Spell, he has their souls fused together. Now Darnic and Vlad are one as Dracula! Dracula then bites and infects other homunculi and turn them into similar familiars. The other Servants join forces to take him down but he is formidable. Jeanne arrives and understands the situation. She bestows the Servants power to take down Dracula in this temporary truce. The epic fight is formidable but when it seemed Karna is going to deal the finishing blow, suddenly the Red Faction’s Servants start to weaken. It looks like Shirou has extracted the Noble Phantasm from the other Masters. I thought this was already done? And of all times, now? Jeanne tries to chase down Dracula as he makes his way to where the Holy Grail is. This is where he encounters Shirou. He is shocked he is still alive because he should have been dead during the Fuyuki Holy Grail War. Uhm, surprise?! Shirou then uses his purification swords to purify and turn him into ashes. When Jeanne arrives, she is shocked to see Shirou. He is actually a Servant and also of the Ruler class. She asks why he is breaking the rules. Because he couldn’t help anyone if he was bound by them. Jeanne wants to know what is his plan, the plan of Amakusa Shirou Tokisada. To save all of mankind.

Episode 13
Astolfo has a bone to pick with Sieg. But in the end, she is glad he is alright. Too bad now Celenike has got a bone to pick with Astolfo for sullying her name. Shirou argues he has planned and waited for 60 years for this chance to happen so there is no way in hell he is going to turn back now. With the other Servants present, Achilles and Atalanta want to know what happened to their respective Masters. Shirou tells them about the Command Spell transfer agreement that makes him their Master. They don’t agree and attack. Semiramis and Karna protect Shirou and feel the need to make clear a few points. Shirou starts off by suggesting Chiron and Avicebron defect. Celenike uses her Command Spell to force Astolfo to kill Sieg and wants to see his tormented face. When Sieg opposes, she torments him. Celenike is about to use her Command Spell and detail how he should kill him slowly when she is suddenly decapitated by Mordred for being too noisy! And then she leaves. WTF? So she killed her but not Astolfo because technically she is noisy and not the enemy? Why was she nearby in the first place? With Celenike dead, Astolfo is going to disappear but Sieg wants him to make a contract with him. Somehow he has Command Spells on his hand and will be her Master. No regrets? Okay. Then it’s done. Avicebron agrees to join Shirou on a condition he doesn’t hurt his Master. Avicebron will put his dream above pride and morality so Chiron turns on him. Mordred joins the fray by attacking Shirou. She considers him the enemy the moment he tried to deceive her Master. The fight lasted long enough for the rest to escape. With that, Avicebron makes his contract with Shirou. The other Yggdmillennia family members are arguing with the homunculi defectors who want to live. Just in time for Sieg to join in and argue on their behalf that they don’t need salvation but the freedom to choose. Oh, also why does Astolfo introduce himself as his Servant sound like he is his boyfriend or something? Fiore gets word from Chiron about Avicebron’s detection. She needs to warn Roche but where is he? Happily giving Avicebron some component he asked for.

Episode 14
Shirou retreats now that he has the Holy Grail. Jeanne must be having a headache now that Sieg is Astolfo’s Master and he can turn into Siegfried too. She has no choice but to accept him as a participant in this battle. As though he is going to listen to her if she says no. Avicebron uses Roche as the core for his ultimate golem. Roche is very disappointed of this betrayal as he looked up to him as his teacher. Don’t say Avicebron didn’t warn you he was never interested in the Holy Grail in the first place. With Roche absorbed into the golem, Avicebron begins bringing paradise to this world by destroying it? So his Eden is turning the surrounding areas into some creepy forest? The other Servants attack the golem but it’s not use. It absorbs. Especially life. Touch it and it absorbs you. Although Chiron aims and kills Avicebron, the latter is not worried. His role was already over when he activated his golem. He puts his trust in it to bring forth paradise. Jeanne has an obligation to destroy it since the golem is beyond the scope of the Holy Grail War. However she lacks enough strength to take it down and time is running out because when the surrounding area is turned into Eden, the golem will become immortal. Fiore needs Chiron to use his Noble Phantasm when the time is right but he needs at least one more Servant to help out. Jeanne summons Mordred to assist. Chiron relays his plans how the Servants have their specific roles in taking down the golem and this includes Sieg temporarily turning into Siegfried. In short, the battle ends with all of them playing their part well and destroy the golem’s core before it could reach immortality. Jeanne is worried about Sieg but he looks fine. Later Fiore meets Shishigou. For now they team up.

Episode 15
Achilles and Atalanta are back in Shirou’s side but have questions. They are assured their Masters are safe as they all reveal their wish upon the Holy Grail. Shirou begins detailing his plan to save mankind. Meanwhile the Yggdmillennia clan is holding talks with Jeanne and Shishigou about Shirou who might know a way to make the Holy Grail grant his wish. This means if he has this twisted idea that salvation is killing everyone, the Holy Grail has the capability to do that. Later Chiron talks to Caules and asks if Fiore is fit to be the leader of Yggdmillennia. He is talking about if he could really kill someone. Caules tells him about some pet dog she used to have. It was forbidden in a mage’s house but she tended and loved it. Then when it died, she started crying. Chiron tells Caules he will be the only one left to support her after he is gone. Jeanne replenishes Command Spells for Shishigou and Sieg. She warns Sieg not to use the final Command Spell. Because his situation is a miracle, the last one would cause a problem. There is no such thing in this world as a free miracle. This prompts Shishigou to remember his own family shame as he tells it to Mordred. Something about his lineage became great necromancers but it was also a curse. Kids they adopted and try to pass their magic crest poisoned them instead. His wish is to have descendants. Shishigou and Mordred will again travel and act independently from the Yggdmillennia. Their plan is while they are busy fighting the Red Faction, they’ll sneak in and steal the Holy Grail. Achilles and Atalanta discover Shakespeare knew about Shirou’s plan all along. He is helping because it is interesting. Interesting because despite all the suffering and losses he has gone through, he is still going to save mankind and not abandon them.

Episode 16
There are black patches over Sieg’s body. Chiron examines him and it is believed he is slowly transforming into Siegfried. As he has transformed into him twice for a total of 5 minutes, the magic inside his heart is mixing and eating away his body. But they can’t tell him what to do. It’s his choice. We take a detour to tackle Jack’s case. She has been on a killing spree and last night alone she killed 8 mages and gouge out their hearts. Fiore has to seek Jeanne’s help since they lack the manpower and have to solve this in 3 days before they attack Babylon. The problem is, Chiron and Fiore cannot remember Jack’s face and think her Noble Phantasm that leaves no impression. Investigating the death site of one of the mages, Caules uses his trance to see the mage’s final moments. This means reliving the excruciating pain. Noting that he has been tortured before he died, Caules then realizes that Fiore is in danger. He calls her but cliché signal is out. It seems Jack was torturing some to find out codes to disable the castle’s security. You don’t say because Jack is already here and using her poison mist to kill those who inhale too much. Don’t look now Fiore because here’s Jack! Right timing from Sieg prevents Fiore from being Jack’s latest victim. With reinforcements coming, Jack retreats but vows to kill Sieg next time. At this point Fiore already cannot remember Jack’s face.

Episode 17
The plan is for Jeanne and Sieg to be decoys to lure out Jack before other Servants take her out. It is believed Reika Rikudo is currently her Master. She was supposed to be a sacrifice for the original Master but she turned into a serial killer instead. Jeanne and Sieg experience life in this little town. Jeanne learns Sieg volunteered for this mission to avenge his fellow homunculi. He has no regrets as Jeanne relates she threw everything away but was eventually burnt at the stake. Despite all, she still believes in the good of people. Meanwhile Achilles questions Shirou’s goal to save all mankind. He calls him a liar because he claims he got this goal after being betrayed and killed. Should he have hated mankind even more? He once hated everything but for the sake of mankind’s salvation, he had to throw away everything. Even his hatred for his killers. This means he will save all mankind, whether good or bad at all cost. Sieg poses a question for Jeanne that if Shirou knows a way to save mankind with the Holy Grail, shouldn’t Jeanne help him? She believes all of them as a Heroic Spirit aren’t supposed to lead mankind but merely guide them. Jeanne doesn’t hate those who burnt her at the stake. She can’t. That’s why she still protected Sieg despite being useless. Sieg feels grateful that he wants to repay her with his body? Wait. What?! Awkward talk gets interrupted by poisonous mist. Looks who is here. Sieg goes to save a woman who claims she lost her child. She turns out to be Reika as she shoots him in the heart. Somehow he doesn’t die so she runs away. Jack fights Jeanne but is shocked when her lethal strike doesn’t kill her. Something about resistance to curses is one of her abilities. Jack plays dirty by throwing in innocent civilians. However she is injured in the leg with Chiron’s arrow. She manages to get away as Reika carries her off. However Reika spots Atalanta and uses her body to protect Jack against her arrow. Right in the heart. Jack becomes distraught and pleads to her not to be left alone so Reika uses her remaining Command Spells to have her be fine without her. After that Atalanta fires a shot in Jack’s back. But Jack gets back up and explodes? Now they go back in time and place where Jack was living in hellish conditions.

Episode 18
Understandably Atalanta is freaked out with so many children surrounding her and wanting to be loved. Flashback on Atalanta’s past, she was tossed away by her father for simply being a girl but saved by Artemis. That is why she is kind to all and vows to love all children. Sieg is also haunted seeing this nightmare, especially the children of London being killed or rather consumed by River Thames. He becomes disillusioned with this world where nobody helps nobody. Jeanne too sees this but she is not scared. Although the children want her to save them, she will not and will destroy them. Atalanta cuts in and argues the children are not evil but victims. Jeanne agrees that she is not a saint as many view her as because she too has tainted her hands with blood. This world they are seeing now is just an illusion created by spiritual residue and by ‘saving’ them only means continuing their suffering. Atalanta still refuses to believe and is still murder. The children then confront Jeanne to confirm if she would really kill them. Yes. So you can move on. The children agree to be destroyed by her. Hmm… Feels like exorcism? Jeanne is disturbed by Jack’s last words that she finds her pitiful too. Atalanta is now broken, accusing Jeanne for abandoning the children. As she tries to fight her, other Servants enter the fray. Atalanta escapes and won’t forgive the evil that is Jeanne. Sieg is still confused. What he saw were normal humans, not mages. Jeanne explains the evil of humanity. If she was not burnt at the stake, she would have continued to kill others. She hopes he will not judge people and not give up thinking they cannot be changed. Hating is easy but loving is very hard. After all the despair and disillusionment, she still hasn’t given up. Sieg wonders why Atalanta calls her evil. Good and evil are complex and it depends on where you stand, your view will be different. Sieg had believed the world was always beautiful until that nightmare. While that will forever stay in him, he will not give up in finding the answer he seeks.

Episode 19
Yggdmillennia is planning to assault Babylon as soon as tomorrow but the best plan they can come up is an attack via plane? Easy target. Astolfo then mentions he has a Noble Phantasm that would nullify all magic. Just that he forgot its name. But he knows the condition to summon it and it is on a moonless or new moon night. However that will only happen in 3 days and by then Babylon would have left their airspace. Caules talks to Fiore who is indecisive. He notes this fight will make or break her as a mage. He is hinting she should just be a normal person as she cannot handle death. Remember that dog story? She sure does. Otherwise, where would it have to go? So that’s why. Is it an insult or compliment if he prefers her to stay as a useless girl? They do a process to transfer her magic circuits to him. Painful and why must it be that dog episode? Anyway it is successful and Caules is now the new head of Yggdmillennia. For those who have been wondering if Astolfo is a guy or girl, this confirms it. Jeanne had the misfortune of seeing him stepping out of bath. Shriek at the dick… Sieg and Astolfo bump into Mordred in town. Sieg asks her bluntly about humans. To her, they are not worth saving. Sieg loves humans until Jack’s episode. He is now unsure. Mordred chides him as there is now right or wrong answer. You do what you want, how you want it. Astolfo asks if she would like to be a good or bad king. Good of course. Later Astolfo tells this to Jeanne. He believes Sieg should continue to love people. This prompts Jeanne to ask if he fancies Sieg but is asked back the same question. Why is she blushing? With Sieg still hesitant, Jeanne has to remind him Sieg is Sieg. He is wonderful as he is and doesn’t have to be a Servant or Master. Later Jeanne continues to ponder and worry about Sieg. She can’t help wonder why she doesn’t want him to fight or die so badly. Can I guess this is the work of love? Mordred asks Shishigou for advice to be a good king. Well, he hasn’t served one but here goes. He believes he must face her father even if she hates and adores him. If she wants to surpass him, then analyse everything. This upcoming battle would most likely be the last. Once it’s over, he’ll get his pay and Mordred will get his wish to challenge the sword and be king.

Episode 20
Caules leads his team to go after Babylon. Gordes and other homunculi are left in charge of the castle. Sieg believes he will not return here regardless if they win or lose so he says goodbye to his fellow brethren. Caules goes over the plan to intercept Babylon. Before Shirou heads into the Holy Grail to begin his salvation, he uses a Command Spell to Shakespeare not to write a tragedy about him. After Shirou leaves, Semiramis questions Shakespeare if he wants to see Shirou succeed or fail. He throws that question back at her. She would like him to succeed. He chides her for a textbook answer. Hence she gives her true answer that she would like to see a holy man fall into despair. But more importantly she wants to see the sight he wishes to see so much. How far will he go? How much will he show her? Shakespeare recognizes this adoration as unintended love and would definitely be a hit play. She would have killed him if not the enemies have arrived. Uhm, an army of Boeing airplanes? I am guessing they are all on autopilot mode. Semiramis gives orders to the other Servants on their roles. However Atalanta rejects hers. She wants to take on Jeanne. Achilles assures Semiramis he will cover for her part. The battle begins with Achilles having his rematch with Chiron while Atalanta becomes obsessed in taking down Jeanne. If they’re taking down so many airplanes, I wonder if the people below would be scared thinking it is raining crashing airplanes. Chiron questions Achilles’ goal to follow Shirou’s mad plan. Achilles replies he has been shown it is a worthy bet. Shirou isn’t annihilating men nor selecting who to live. Chiron calls it foolish because it sounds impossible. If that is the case, shouldn’t the purpose of the Holy Grail make the impossible possible? Chiron immediately understands what Shirou is doing. Shirou is going through a field where dead souls are trying to corrupt him but since he has casted away his hatred, he waltzes through until he reaches Heaven’s Feel. A priestess pops up and asks if he would like to activate the Third Magic. Shirou wants to make all of mankind’s souls turn material.

Episode 21
Chiron and Achilles are at odds with each other’s ideals regarding Shirou’s method in using the Holy Grail. Somehow Astolfo remembers his Noble Phantasm’s name and is able to chant it and nullifies Semiramis’ Babylon lasers. Since Karna is hot on their tails, Sieg transforms into Siegfried to keep Karna busy and his wish to fight Black Saber again. Astolfo then goes on a laser destroying spree but not without taking huge damage. He crashes into the garden area and Semiramis would have killed him had not crazy Mordred crashes her jet onto the place! Achilles invokes his Noble Phantasm to turn the area into his advantage. Both men decide to fight each other as warriors. Literally a fist fight. That soon turns into a boxing match. In the end, Achilles is able to deal the finishing blow to Chiron. Before Chiron dies, he unleashes his Noble Phantasm. Something about his Sagittarius constellation which means his bows will always be drawn and doesn’t need to call it. A beam strikes Achilles and although it doesn’t kill him, it takes away his immortality. Now we go back to Atalanta who is still b*tching about killing Jeanne. In her desperate attempt, she uses an item to stab herself in the heart to activate her Noble Phantasm, turning into a beast.

Episode 22
Sieg runs out of fuel to keep Siegfried materialized. Karna then calls out Caules and needs him for a favour. He wants to rescue their original Masters. They might have dropped out of this war but they are still the ones who summoned them. Caules also has his demands that if he cannot defeat Siegfried, he must let them go since it will be unworthy of him to defeat low level foes. After Caules has secured the Masters, Karna tells Sieg of his original promise to fight Siegfried. And hence Sieg transforms once more for a powerfully epic battle finale. Back to more Atalanta b*tching, Jeanne will not deny her wish to save all the children and have them live in a happy world. But she cannot condone her resorting to evil methods to achieve that. The fight is interrupted with Achilles taking over. He has Jeanne move along while it is time for him to put a stop to Atalanta’s madness. Jeanne confronts Semiramis and believes her wish to rule the world after Shirou saves it is a lie. Because an empress is unneeded in a saved world. More Karna-Siegfried epic battle. The tables are turned when Astolfo uses Achilles shield to help Siegfried. Prior to this, Achilles after his victory over Chiron, gave his Noble Phantasm to her as promise made to Chiron. Not really sure what this whole world thingy Noble Phantasm this is but it made Karna one step too late as Siegfried stabs him. Karna is satisfied to have fought like a hero the entire time. We also end Atalanta-Achilles fight as both their attacks take each other out. Atalanta knew her ways were wrong and wouldn’t save the children but what else could she do? If abandoning those children was the right choice, this world isn’t worth living. Even so, Achilles wanted to stop her from falling. Another 2 Heroic Spirits bites the dust. Yeah, I guess time’s running out so it’s time to let 3 Red Faction Servants die now. Jeanne has no time to chat with Semiramis as she makes her way to Shirou. Semiramis warns her of meeting Shakespeare as it will be her undoing.

Episode 23
Mordred and Shishigou walk into Semiramis’ throne room. But it is a trap to assault them. Mordred throws out her Master as she fights Semiramis’ sorcery. But the poison in the air overwhelms Mordred. Semiramis wants her to abandon her Master and join her as her knight. This has Mordred reanalyse her wish. She realizes it wasn’t to become king but to end her father’s solitude. She thought by becoming king would allow that. Mordred’s goal now is to defeat Semiramis but needs Shishigou’s help even if it costs her life. He barges back in and injects her some kind of drug that turns her into wearing a sexier armour? Heck, it’s more powerful and much more with Shishigou using his last Command Spell to defeat the king. Mordred slices through the monster and into Semiramis. With the battle over, Shishigou knows his days are numbered after the wounds received from Semiramis’ shot. Master and Servant have one last talk (and smoke) together with Shishigou revealing his goal wasn’t to find an heir but a lost child. Likewise, Mordred tells him what she has realized. After Shishigou dies, Mordred disappears. Jeanne encounters Shakespeare who initiates his Noble Phantasm. Jeanne finds herself in several locations of her life like the village which she has to say goodbye to her mother and the bloodied battlefield in which she accepted she will never die in peace. Things start to change while being brought to her burning stake. It is Sieg at the stake instead. Jeanne claims this isn’t so but Shakespeare says he is only merely reading from her memories and hence the killing of Sieg is her wish. The final scene is the Castle of Tiffauges, the fort of Gilles de Rais. He is also here in the flesh and as a Servant. He shows her a severed head of Sieg. Don’t really understand about this equal love of humanity thingy here and if she really loved Sieg, she would have done anything to the point of cruel to stop him. Jeanne trembles in fear while her inner voice regrets not telling her clearly that her heart was right.

Episode 24
So Shirou’s salvation is for mankind to lose their selfishness? Okay. Whatever. Out from the Holy Grail, Shirou is now dressed like a shogun? Shirou and Gilles continue convincing Jeanne about their salvation of mankind. Till Gilles had to say Sieg’s death. Time to wake up. Speaking of Sieg, here he comes. She is sorry he had to come to see her even if it means ending in his death. Shirou offers her one last chance to join forces with him and save mankind. No more evil and people will stop suffering. Time for Sieg to give his 2 cents worth of opinion. Something about good can turn evil and making mistakes is not a sin but just sad. He might be weak but wants to strive to become someone others can be proud of. So touched that Jeanne cries. She rejects Shirou’s offer claiming his salvation doesn’t give strength to the struggle but only crushes it. Gilles is shocked this won’t bring him salvation after all the innocent kids he slew. She tells him there is no way to repent. Even if God forgives him, his victims will not. So just accept his punishment? Because if mankind becomes immortal, they lose faith in their own potential and life would be meaningless. They just merely exist in an unchanging world. I guess talk is over. Fight time. Gilles decides to fight by Jeanne’s side after she lets him hold her flag. Short thank you from Jeanne to Sieg about opening her eyes before she powers up. Gilles defend her till his death while she prays when Shirou attacks. Although the fire blast damages part of the Holy Grail, Jeanne has taken too much damage and ‘dies’. Now Sieg is mad. Revenge? Astolfo comes to his aid but Semiramis holds her down powerfully with Shirou’s Command Spell. Now for a sword fight. With magic. Sieg amazingly is able to keep up and fight like a madman. As though he is like a Servant but maintains his own character. Caules realizes Sieg is displaying abilities of Frankenstein. When she died in the blast, it seemed she transferred her powers to Sieg who was caught in it. She has been fighting with them all along. Shirou might have stabbed Sieg but he unleashes a similar suicidal Noble Phantasm like Frankenstein.

Episode 25
Shirou wakes up on Semiramis’ lap. He is still dying, though. He wonders if she is mad for losing. She forgives him as she has lost as well. She wants to know if he succeeded, how he would have gotten away with tricking her. Well, if apologizing won’t work, he would give his life to her. Semiramis kisses him as her gift. After he dies, Semiramis disappears and Babylon dramatically collapses. Sieg and Astolfo are inside the Holy Grail. The priestess confirms them as the final Master and Servant, hence wining the Holy Grail War. Sieg’s wish is to undo Shirou’s wish. Sorry, no can do. Shirou has used most of its resources for that. The result will soon spread to the whole world in which mankind becomes immortal but lose their curiosity and be bound to the land. So much for granting wishes. So what can it grant? Sieg notices his hand has turned into of a dragon after all his Command Spells are used. He has a wish that the Holy Grail has enough power to grant. Astolfo is against this since it is a fate worse than dying. This is not the reason why he saved him. But it’s his wish. As his last order, he wants him to live in his stead and help others in need. Astolfo rides furiously as he takes Caules and Leticia out. Shakespeare is madly and happily writing until the entire Babylon crumbles. He calls it a happy ending. A dragon carries the Holy Grail. It is Sieg who used the Holy Grail to transform himself into one. As the Holy Grail has created immortality, he will take it to where it is not needed on the other side of the world where people cannot reach. Only the evil dragon Fafnir can do that. In the aftermath, Caules joins the Mage Association. They would have banished him for carrying the Yggdmillennia bloodline but I guess it’s not the time to fight after what happened. Uh huh. This incident put a scar on their reputation. Astolfo parts with Leticia and then sets off to see the world. Epilogue shows Jeanne finally finds Sieg the dragon. Touching him turns him back to his human form. She won’t leave him anymore and they will begin a new journey together. Before they leave, she confesses she loves him.

Fake/Apostasy Appall-Crap-Haha
So many mind boggling questions for the last episode. First, how can the Holy Grail claim Sieg and Astolfo are the last Master and Servant left? Wasn’t Shakespeare still around? If you mean last Master AND Servant together, yeah okay, maybe. But still, that is like breaking the rules, right? You need to be the last one standing to earn the right to wish upon the Holy Grail, no? And if Shakespeare’s Master is Shirou, why is he taking him so long to disappear? Shouldn’t he vanish in about a few seconds after Shirou died? How can Astolfo who is a Servant remain in this world if his Master is gone? Okay, technically he is a dragon but that’s not really him, right? Right?! Even so, that Holy Grail War has ended so Astolfo should go back to his era too? Why does he have the right to stay here? Master’s orders? I didn’t know that overrules the rules of the Holy Grail War. And what’s with this lame ass dragon transforming to hide the Holy Grail somewhere? You mean in another world or dimension? And now that Jeanne touched him and he turned back into a homunculus, who the f*ck is going to watch over the Holy Grail? If you’re saying that nobody will ever reach this place so why the f*ck was he guarding it in the first place? Besides, doesn’t the dragon look like he is sleeping on the job? Could he have just left it there and flown off? Oh right. Then Jeanne wouldn’t find him and they would forever keep missing each other and we won’t have that cheesy ‘romantic’ ending. Somehow I feel that spoilt the general vibe of the series although I was expecting it somewhere but not like this.

Generally if you look at the whole story, it is basically almost the same as in all Fate stories. At least the ones that I know (the adapted animes that I have seen, that is). The Holy Grail is the only device that could make your dreams come true the fastest way and in exchange for that, everyone coveting that cup must fight a battle royale until one is left standing. This spin-off is no different although the presentation and the storyline that goes about it is presented in a different way.

It starts off with the anticipated and usual Red Faction versus Black Faction. Pretty standard. But knowing this series has more than 2 dozen episodes, you will definitely know that something is up. There will be twists along the way. I mean, you really want to drag out the fight between both factions right till the end? Hey, this isn’t Dragonball series!!! Halfway through we see the breakdown of the Factions and both sides have their reservations that blurs the lines. While that is a good change in direction, somehow I feel that the mini arc of Black Assassin before the final showdown feels a bit of a diversion. I felt it could have been done without it because had Jack been a normally summoned Servant and part of the Yggdmillennia family, it would have been boring. With Jack being the wildcard, she is like the unknown variable that could spring some surprise. But personally I don’t find it surprising and like I said, a distraction. Unless it was to give Atalanta a reason to be mad (because you need a reason to take down a Servant instead of a mindless death in battle) as well as opening Sieg’s eyes about the cruelty of the world. I know he was just born a few days ago but could he have guessed if he is fighting this war? Sure, no innocent civilians were harmed so I guess that was the turning point.

Curiously I tried to find out why this alternate storyline is called Apocrypha. Thanks to my lazy Google ability and lack of interest in the series, I just search the meaning of the word and formed my own theory-cum-conclusion. Apocrypha means writings that have unknown or doubtful origins and is used to refer to Biblical texts. As this Fate spin-off isn’t from the actual timeline, hence this alternate setting could be one of those unrecorded and unidentified stories. You can say it is like a standalone. Thus there could be many other unrecorded stories and spin-offs of the Fate series that we are unaware of if you go by this theory. Uh huh. If the authors and creators decided to milk more money and don’t have anything fresh and new, they can just turn a what-if scenario and make it into a spin-off. It is after all might not be canon. And then it can also give hardcore paranoid fans to list down more conspiracy theories and how it all links. Not that I care anyway. On a side note to ponder, since the Apocrypha word popped up big and obvious in the final scene of the last episode, could it be that of everything that happened in the series, only Jeanne’s confession for Sieg is apocryphal?

From the promotional posters to the opening and ending credits, it is quickly established that the main stars for this series would be Jeanne and Sieg. I find it odd that despite this is an alternative setting, war still needs some sort of a ‘referee’. I mean, come on. This is a war so what the hell is the need to ensure there is balance on both sides? Because if both sides have the same power and tactic, it would end in a stalemate. A war is one by a side because of superior power, numbers or tactic so why again do you need a Ruler class here? Sure, this isn’t exactly a cruel war and one big tournament if you want to go so far as to look at it that way but still, having somebody to balance the fight just seems odd. I mean, this isn’t like a boxing match if your opponent tries to hit you below the belt, the referee steps in to stop. So Jeanne’s class here feels more like the referee in WWE… I guess since this is the Fate series, the main hero would always be someone who looks like Saber. That is why Jeanne is designed very closely to that. And since Sieg is technically living because of Siegfried the Saber class, there you have it, both technically Saber related main characters.

For Sieg, it is funny that a homunculus is trying to be more human than most humans themselves. And he is only a few days old. I suppose we were all once like Sieg when we were younger. We thought and wished for the world to be better place but as it turns out, it is still a sh*tty and hell place to live. That’s the meaning of life. So this brings to me the case of Shirou’s salvation. Time and time again when such good versus evil concept is brought up, the villain’s twisted answer to save mankind via such method is frowned upon despite it looks good theoretically. Maybe I’m an adult, that’s why I seem to connect more to what Shirou wants to save mankind than Jeanne and Sieg’s version. Sure, everyone might be some lifeless robot who is happy. No evil so technically no good as well. But if you’re living in such bliss, what that all matter? I mean, ‘good guys’ tend to believe that the current state of the world because it is evil, there is hope, we can grow to overcome it, blah, blah, blah, sounds more like they want people to suffer because that makes human, human. That kind of logic does not resonate with me nowadays. To them, that is not living. So are they the big sadists? Is living much sweeter after overcoming your sufferings? Maybe for you and a few lucky people. But for the many others who are not so lucky (Jack and those innocent children), I think they would just tell the world to f*ck off. Can we all just be happy and not sad? Not this way according to the logic of heroes.

Oddly, there seems to be small hints of Jeanne and Sieg hitting off as a couple. Because we lack Shirou x Saber (or Rin or Sakura, depending on who you support), hence we need that kind of romance too in this alternate timeline. I know it would look weird if a Ruler and a homunculus would get together and just date. Sometimes when the series gets to such scenes, sometimes I just find it cheesy. Because you know, Jeanne’s stance over loving everyone equally as well as Sieg not really being a human so it’s not like he totally understands the concept of love. But then again, most of us humans don’t either. So was the final scene some sort of salvation in this sense? Like I said, it did ruined a little the enjoyment as the series comes to a close. I mean, almost everybody’s dead or gone, might as well reunite the lost lovers.

Shirou certainly looks cool and badass compared to the Shirou in the original Fate timeline. Who could forget that hilarious and dumb people-die-when-they-are-killed line that became such a meme and joke. But the Red Faction which is supposedly the ‘good guys’ look more like a bunch of baddies because of Shirou disabling other Masters who are so sad that they couldn’t even get 10 seconds worth of screen time unless they are unconscious. Like as though Shirou is the dictator and commands the rest of his Red Faction’s Servants. On the other hand, the Yggdmillennia clan is supposed to be the ‘bad guy’ as they stole the Holy Grail decades ago but they look more organized. It isn’t any surprise since they are a military clan. And then they got just desserts when they got the Holy Grail stolen from them. So he waited 60 years for this to save mankind and it is all for naught? Well, it shows that mankind cannot be saved. Sad… Now I know why Jesus never made his second coming.

Commenting on some of the Servants, let me start off with some of them not really displaying their abilities in the class that they are supposed to be summoned in. The obvious offender in this category is Semiramis. She is supposed to be the Assassin class but yet display so much more abilities as a Caster. Then there is also Achilles who is supposed to be Rider but he prefers fighting with his lancer. Doesn’t that make him a Lancer class? Karna doesn’t feel like Lancer class though although he does fight with his ‘lance’ but because as the Hindi Sun God, we often see him using his flames in battle.

Because Arthur was turned into a woman in the Fate series, I expect that some of the Servants would have a gender swap too. Like Frankenstein. Now we have a sexy version of that monster. It is the same case to for Astolfo but something was very off. My guts were tingling that Astolfo might not be a woman. The paladin of Charlemagne sounds so girly and acts like one so there is a high chance this character might be a girl. Heck, there was one time Astolfo was wearing casual clothes and it is for ladies. Even if the character is so flat chested, so much more other anime female characters are also like that. Don’t judge and anime gender by the size of the chest! So Astolfo had to be a woman, right? My guts still tingling. And then that shower scene confirms he isn’t otherwise. I guess all you Astolfo fans who fapped to him thinking he was a she and now this, you must be so disappointed. It could be that Astolfo is just a cross-dresser…

Mordred as the Saber class feels like a delinquent version of the Saber we know in the original Fate series. Because Saber classes are like the main heroes, I always had this thought that Mordred would also be something like this. But she turns out to be a wildcard of the Red Faction instead. I didn’t see it coming that she and Shishigou aren’t the last ones standing. It feels like they are extras and their non-compliance and being solo from Shirou’s groupie makes them feel so. Siegfried who is of Saber class strangely becomes the first Servant to die but so as not to make him a waste, hence he lives inside Sieg and is called out whenever the time needs him to be. Imagine a Saber class who is an all-rounder to go out first. While it is not impossible but it is certainly weird because this is supposed to be the most coveted class by all Mages and being just that just shows the Master’s incompetency. Isn’t that why fatso Gordes got him? I also thought Darnic and Vlad would be the final boss but they only made it halfway. They sounded so important but I guess when Shirou ramps up his badass and goal, he becomes the new antagonist.

As mentioned, Jack feels more like a distraction since she was not part of the Black Faction’s line-up and serves to add some sort of variety and spice to the story. It would be just boring if the Yggdmillennia had all their Servants summoned in nice fashion order. The most ‘useless’ Servant award goes to Shakespeare who just wants to watch and witness the play unfold before his eyes. Sure, he had a role in the final battle but even that he wasn’t really even fighting. But it would be just odd to see a playwright having fighting abilities. Shakespeare kicking ass or slashing with a sword? No way, man. The ‘saddest’ Servant goes to Spartacus because not only he went berserk (living up to his class’ name), I feel he has the shortest amount of screen time compared to other Servants. He came in, got mind controlled to the other side and then died. Like as though they needed some big bang and explosion of this series. Oh, speaking of this…

Talking about the action parts, it still does not disappoint. They are quite good to watch but I tend to notice that in order to make the battles so powerful and epic, there are lots of explosions. Big huge explosions that if your bass and subwoofer audio was set on to maximum, there would be aftershocks and you might even feel the vibration shaking the floor. Mine was set at a decent mid-level and I could already hear and feel its effects. Who knows if it was set to maximum would my house collapse? Would my neighbourhood think it is some earthquake? But yeah, lots of explosions as proof that the clash is so epic. This is what happens when powerful power crash into each other. Literally, crash boom bang.

Next I want to mention about the artwork and animation. Unlike the other Fate series remake, this one is not made by Ufotable but A-1 Pictures (Ao No Exorcist, Sword Art Online, Fairy Tail, Nanatsu No Taziai, Kuroshitsuji and OreImo). Although the artwork is still fine but it is not as grandeur as Ufotable. But I noticed this one has a drop in quality especially during fight scenes that are fast and furious. Like as though they were doing a rushed job and because this fighting scene is rapid and swift, they are counting on viewers not to notice it. And even if they do, they are hoping we will shrug it is off as because everything is so fast that it looks like lines but should be thankful that everything isn’t just simple lines. Well, I think that isn’t a good excuse, assuming that was the reason behind it.

Voice acting feels fine with some recognizable ones like Natsuki Hanae as Sieg, Miyuki Sawashiro as Mordred, Koji Yusa as Karna, Nobuyuki Hiyama as Darnic, Junichi Suwabe as Siegfried and Mai Nakahara as Reika. But the most surprising one to me was Saori Hayami as Atalanta. Never throughout the entire series did I realize it was her! She sounded totally different than how I usually knew her that I was having a hard time believing if it was her. Even trying to hear her dialogues again I wasn’t 100% sure. The other surprising one is Ai Nonaka as Frankenstein. It has been a long time I haven’t heard from her as I thought she has retired. Of course, Frankenstein didn’t have proper lines in the series and had only screams and groans that makes her sound like some retard until her final moments. I once thought Aki Toyosaki was behind Fiore but something was off. She wasn’t. Fiore is voiced by Chinatsu Akasaki (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby) and from my past experience, her voice resembles closely to Aki Toyosaki.

The other casts are Maaya Sakamoto as Jeanne/Leticia (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kouki Uchiyama as Shirou (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Rumi Okubo as Astolfo (Aguri in Gamers), Kei Shindou as Semiramis (Kuro in Kodomo No Jikan), Shunsuke Takeuchi as Chiron (Yamato in Nanbaka), Makoto Furukawa as Achilles (Banri in Golden Time), Kenji Nomura as Shishigou (Kugayama in Genshiken), Tetsu Inada as Shakespeare (Gamagori in Kill La Kill), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Caules (Subaru in Re: Zero Kara Hajimaru Isekai Seikatsu), Ryotaro Okiayu as Vlad (Byakuya in Bleach), Mitsuru Miyamoto as Avicebron (Steven in Kekkai Sensen), Emiri Katou as Roche (Aura in Overlord), Sakura Tange as Jack (titular character in Cardcaptor Sakura), Toru Ohkawa as Gordes (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist), Shizuka Ishigami as Celenike (Mito in Shokugeki No Souma) and Satoshi Tsuruoka doubling as Spartacus and Gilles (Caster in Fate/Zero).

The first opening theme, Eiyuu Unmei No Uta by Egoist tries to sound epic and all but I just find it as weird. I don’t know, it sounds like the singer sounds a bit off key while singing. It doesn’t match with the choir voices in the background and in fact it clashes and makes it sound a bit like cacophony. Ash by Lisa as the first ending theme is my favourite among all the themes. The tune and pacing are to my liking and makes it quite fitting as an epic ending theme. Come the second opening theme, Desir by Garnidelia turns into an anime rock and it gets weirder for the second ending theme, Koe by Asca. Its beginning has short bursts of the violin play and the rest of the song feels like it is fitting for a drama filled anime instead.

Overall, this might not be the best Fate series I have ever seen but it is still quite a good watch and a different as well as refreshing if you are tired of the usual characters from Fate (the orphaned Shirou and the Arthur’s Saber, that is). If you are not into the convoluted Fate lore and stories, perhaps the action bits would be enough to satisfy you. When you compare this spin-off to the might original Fate series, considering the awesome Fate/Zero and the Unlimited Blade Works TV reproduction, this of course falls short of all expectations especially to hardcore fans of the series. So maybe that is why this was better left off as an apocryphal version. Dubious, unknown, not canon that would spoil the original fun. If fans were in this timeline of this series, they would have wished for the Holy Grail to save this series instead of mankind. Yeah, I think it’s better to have our people-die-when-they-are-killed Shirou version.

Phew. Finally after a year since the sequel came out, I decided to watch Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo S2. Yeah, I was waiting for all the Blu-ray discs to come out rather than me being bored but obligated to watch it. Really. Okay, I was just waiting for a fansub to finish it. Now I can finish up this hilarious sequel and see what kind of trouble Kazuma and his party would get into just to get out of debt. Will he finally be free this time? Will it be worth all the trouble? This guy is going to need all the luck and blessing he could get…

Episode 1
What a way to start a great adventure with Kazuma being thrown into prison! It seemed he is accused of accidentally blowing up the house of Lord Aldarp Alex Barnes while transporting something. Thankfully no fatalities but the loss is huge. His girls try to defend him but making him sound like a sexual predator won’t do him any good. So while he argues with his girls, his other guild members vouch for his innocence. Until it is said that they can go to prison with him that everyone falls silent. You’re on your own. Some guild members you are. So here he is stuck in his cell. But wait. Is Aqua trying to get him out? Using Megumin and Darkness to create a large explosion outside to distract the guards, Aqua throws him a pick. So now she wants to save him? Well, the punishment for his crime could be death. So better start picking the lock. Too bad it is a combination lock. Ah well, go back to sleep. Next night, Aqua visits again. Another explosion for distraction. She has got him a hacksaw this time. But he can’t reach the windows. Don’t worry. She’ll let the guards allow her in to give her this standing box. Not going to work. Back to sleep. Next day, Kazuma is being interrogated by Sena. He cannot lie or else this magic bell will ring. Meaning, he is forced to admit all the embarrassing truth downright to its detail. Yeah, it is all being recorded. But when it is the truth that Kazuma did help to save the town, Sena feels guilty for accusing him based on hearsay. This causes Kazuma to become cocky and throw his weight around. Until he points out she has no boyfriend and that is when the tables are turned back. Oops. It gets only worse from here as Kazuma is now accused of having liaisons with the Devil King’s officers because Wiz is still technically one.

And now Kazuma is facing the trial of his life. Sena calls several witnesses like Chris but it seems it all establishes the fact that Kazuma is a panty thief. Too bad Kyouya has no chance to explain himself, hence making Kazuma sounding even more like a dick. His girls try to defend him but are easily defeated with the consequences of all those defences like the flooding of town and altering of landscapes and ecosystems. Before the judge declares him guilty, Kazuma realizes he has a chance to prove his innocent. He states he does not work for the Devil King nor is he a terrorist. The bell doesn’t ring. It must be true. The judge dismisses the case with insufficient evidence but before he could declare him innocent, Aldarp warns him of embarrassing him. Looks like the judge is under his thumb. This is when Darkness stands up and shows her family crest. The Dustiness family has always been a close ally of the king. She pleads for time to prove Kazuma’s worthiness and will do anything for Aldarp. Anything? Oh no. Look at that I-want-to-grope-your-boobs look. With the audience now supporting Kazuma, I guess that’s a done deal. So Kazuma receives a stay of trial. He might not be executed but remains under surveillance as a suspect. After Darkness goes to make good her promise to Aldarp, Kazuma now needs to think of a way to prove he isn’t a member of the Devil King’s army and reimburse Aldarp’s losses. Well, he doesn’t have to worry about the latter because the guards barge into his mansion with court order to seize all his assets for the compensation. His total debts have skyrocketed…

Episode 2
Megumin brings a black cat home. Say hello to Chomusuke. I’m sure they can accommodate an additional feline seeing they have nothing left in their house. Perhaps it can sense b*tches, that’s why it dislikes Aqua. They are now worried over Darkness as she hasn’t come home and might have climbed the ladder to adulthood. This is interrupted when Sena has them do some clean up. Apparently when the girls tried to bust Kazuma out from prison, Megumin’s explosion woke several frogs from their slumber. Now it’s chasing and eating them! Yucky slimy toad slime… They are saved thanks to the lightning streaks of Yunyun. Megumin trolls by pretending not to know this rival-cum-friend of hers. Because they are more like rivals, Yunyun challenges Megumin to a fist fight. She agrees. The only reason is because she is covered with toad slime. Come get your hug! Yunyun loses again. Kazuma and Megumin return home but now they fight over who should take a bath first. Chivalry and femininity are out the window when selfishness takes the lead. Kazuma might look like he has won seeing he is fine they both go in together. Megumin would have given up had he not provoked her even more about her lack of resolve. And now that they are in together, the thoughts of why they are so start worrying them. Because what if somebody walks in to see them together? You don’t say because Aqua has just come home. As the bathroom door is not locked, Kazuma uses all his magic to freeze it till he can’t move. He feels safe from being branded another nickname. But Megumin becomes mad when she learns he did all this just to avoid being branded a lolicon. You know what this says about her body, right? In the end, Kazuma gets beaten up as well as being branded a new nickname: Pedo-NEET.

They drop by Wiz’s shop to figure out what to do with the debt and that’s where they see Yunyun waiting. She claims to be wanting to buy magic items but Wiz points out she has been waiting here all morning after learning they come here often. It becomes a bitter childish argument about having friends and loneliness. As usual, Yunyun challenges her again and conveniently this friendship crystal ball might be the tool to end their duels and make them friends. However it projects their most embarrassing memories. Most of them are Yunyun always alone (so lonely that the flower runs away from her. No joke), if Yunyun is with Megumin the latter shows off as they feast on weird foods and Megumin doing weird part time jobs just to ‘feast’ with her ‘friend’. Apparently being embarrassed with the past helps you deepen your friendship according to the crystal. Megumin will not have any of this and smashes the crystal ball. Now comes the blame game of who should foot the bill of this broken crystal ball. Yunyun wants to call this a draw so Megumin agrees as she is not childish to be competitive over such games. This reminds Yunyun that they once competed who would grow faster. Of course Yunyun is more endowed than Megumin but the latter claims this is now what she meant by being childish. Ambiguously she puts her words that she is in a relationship with Kazuma and has bathed together. Poor Yunyun got so embarrassed, admits her loss and runs away crying. Kazuma might be mad as his reputation takes a further dive but Megumin is glad she has chalked up another win over Yunyun. She is keeping a score of it! What was it about being childish again?

Episode 3
Kazuma has been accompanying Megumin through all the seasons with her explosion practice. He can’t take it anymore. That is why he is going to do a dungeon raid and Megumin can’t say no just because she can’t flaunt her explosion powers inside. Apparently a dungeon that has been pillaged through and through, there might be a new unexplored area. This is not a widely known fact yet and hence Kazuma is going to seize this chance. Kazuma and Aqua walk through the unexplored dark corridors. Unable to understand each other hand signal almost got them killed by a gremlin. This prompts Kazuma to wonder if Aqua could see well in the dark. Yes she could. It means during those other times in the stable… She didn’t see his masturbation but she knew… Along the way, they see a skeletal corpse of a lost warrior. Aqua rests his soul. In an abandoned room, what looked like an obvious treasure is actually a monster trap in disguise! Phew. Thank Kazuma for sensing that. It’s Aqua’s turn to show her badass by purifying all the monsters that come their way. They enter the room an encounter Keele, the creator of this dungeon. He built it and kidnapped a noble’s daughter. Time for flashback. Keele was a great wizard and loved the king’s daughter. She was supposed to be in a political marriage. The king never treated her nice too so Keele took her away. He proposed to her and they married. Oh, here is her corpse lying peacefully. As she has passed on, Keele also wants to pass on and be with his wife. In order to protect her, Keele tossed away his humanity and became a lich. As an undead, it is impossible to kill himself and only a powerful priestess could help make him rest in peace. Aqua struts her stuff and purifies Keele. Their reward is his treasures.

On the way out, Kazuma notices that if Keele awakened from his slumber because he sensed her great power, does it mean all the other undead attacked them because of the same? An undead magnet. Immediately he puts some distance between her. She tries to cling on to him and begs not to be abandoned but looks like more undead are coming their way. He ditches her while she gets raped by the undead. Okay, that didn’t happen and I don’t know how they got out in one piece but they’re arguing and accusing each other like they use to. With the spoils, Kazuma is now able to feast. Somehow it gets out of hand because now the entire guild thinks he is buying drinks for them all. Oh heck, just go with the flow! More partying shenanigans with Kazuma trying to show off his steal technique and once again Chris who happen to walk in gets her panties stolen. How did Yunyun know about this free party? She challenges Megumin to a drinking contest. And they all party till morning without a care in the world. Yeah, not even the debt matters. Once the dust settles, Kazuma dude, it is too late to realize this is not how it should be.

Episode 4
Back to the poor life. Who is blaming who now for squandering their riches? Kazuma threatens to sell Aqua’s hidden liquor stash for cash when Darkness in expensive clothing returns. It seems there is a big problem. Darkness has been engaged to Aldarp’s son, Walther. Man, that guy is quite handsome. This is in exchange for the leniency Kazuma received. The reason Darkness was away for so long was trying a way to avoid this. Kazuma gets an idea to attend the marriage meeting but ruin it without having to sully her family’s name. Sena shows up for another mission so Kazuma hits another idea to rid of Megumin. Hitting the right buttons, Megumin accepts the job seeing only her explosion can deal with whatever menace. Kazuma and Aqua become Darkness’ temporary butler and maid respectively. Darkness reveals out loud that she plans to reject marriage and destroy this marriage meeting but is stopped by Kazuma. Is he betraying her? It seems that her father will handsomely reward him if all goes well. Oh, it is a way to rid of Darkness from his group too. Darkness talks privately with her ‘servants’. It seems Walther is not her type of man. Despite being a very good knight, the man that Darkness yearns for is a depraved failure! I sounds Kazuma fits that bill. Is this masochism to the next level? When Darkness meets Walther, in order to avoid her messing up, Kazuma has to poke her with magic and sends her squealing.

Taking a walk, Darkness adds more fire to the oil by ambiguously describing her relationship with Kazuma. She can’t take this anymore and wants to duel Walther to see his worth. Walther then admits he came here to decline the marriage but after seeing her, he changed his mind. Amazingly, the duel didn’t go anywhere as Darkness couldn’t land a hit and he couldn’t strike a lady. Darkness wants Kazuma to fight her. He reluctantly does so and unleashes a flurry of magic that puts her to shame and on par of his perverted nicknames. It becomes a challenge of strength between the duo and some mind challenge. Darkness pretends to lose so as to get whatever Kazuma’s punishment. In the end, I don’t know how she connects it all to some leftover bathwater she thinks he was planning to do something sneaky with. Darkness passes out and her father walks in to see her messed up. Aqua accuses the guys for doing this. Immediate execution! Thankfully they keep their heads. Her father explains she was always alone despite after becoming a crusader. She even went to church to pray to have adventure comrades. She got her wish and was so excited and told him all about it. Father blames himself for spoiling her since her mom died when she was young and tried to let her have her freedom. Kazuma feels insulted when Walther says he would have married Darkness if it weren’t for him. Father hopes Kazuma would continue to look after her. When Darkness wakes up, she thinks Kazuma did something to her body. That snicker on her face… She claims she is pregnant with his child. Walther leaves and will tell his father he declined the marriage and keep things simple while Darkness’ father is overjoyed he will have a grandchild. Shocked Aqua feels the need to tell the whole world. Kazuma just can’t catch a break, can he? What now, Sena?!

Episode 5
It seems there are strange monsters from Keele’s dungeon all around town. Kazuma interrogates Aqua as she reveals the magic circle that purified Keele kept the undead away. If they can’t live in the dungeon, where else could they go? Yup, it’s her fault. Hence Kazuma accepts this mission to set the wrongs right. Outside the dungeon, there are cute little monsters that cling to you. And then explode! I can see why this is troublesome. Only Kazuma and Darkness head inside. Darkness feels like a true crusader when she finally gets to hit those little things. When they meet the true mastermind of these little monsters, he turns out to be a Devil King’s commander, Vanir! He made those little ones to destroy other monsters that left the dungeon. He reveals his dream is to buy a dungeon and lure adventurers all the way to defeat him. In his death, he will mock them at the empty treasure as their reward. He noticed this dungeon as perfect for his dream but notices a magic circle that keeps him out of the chamber. Vanir looks into Kazuma’s mind to find out the perpetrator. It looks like he has a grudge against Aqua and her followers. He assures them he won’t kill humans. Aqua is not human, right? They fight to defeat him. Kazuma accidental trip allows them to defeat Vanir. However Vanir’s mask latches onto Darkness and takes over her body. Unfortunately it is going to be real irritating because Darkness keeps interrupting his talk! And she is enjoying it. So while they argue among themselves, Kazuma slowly cleans off the magic circle. Now to take Darkness out and let Aqua purify her. Placing a talisman on the mask, they rush towards the exit. Vanir is looking forward to attack Aqua but is blasted by her beam. She detected the presence of an evil and naturally did what she needed to do.

All the other adventurers try to seize Darkness but she is too strong for them. Or is it Vanir who is controlling her? As usual, Aqua is in a pinch and screams to Kazuma for help. He is forced to intervene and plays his usual mind tricks on Darkness. Vanir must be really tired and frustrated that Darkness’ mind has not yielded to him and the constant interruption or completing of sentences. Kazuma tricks into doing his steal but fires a fireball to destroy the talisman. At this moment when Vanir is distracted, Darkness is supposed to pull the mask off but it won’t come off. The last hope is for Aqua to blast her purification. If that doesn’t work, Darkness allows Megumin to finish them off with her explosion in which she won’t. Darkness gives Vanir 2 choices: Leave her and be purified or they both die in an explosion. It’s obvious for Vanir who will not be purified by a goddess. Kazuma will take responsibility for this and orders Megumin to blast her. In the aftermath, Kazuma is given a letter of apology and cleared of all suspicions and accusations. I mean, he can’t be in cohorts with the Devil King if he killed one of his own, right? Darkness is alive and is awarded a brand new armour for her bravery. Though she was struck by the explosion, Aqua healed her. But now she is totally embarrassed that everyone is starting to call her Lalatina. But the best news is yet to come. With the reward to offset all the debts and compensation, not only Kazuma is free from his debt but has an excess of 40 million Eris to his name! Party time! Freedom has never been so, uhm, free!

Episode 6
When Kazuma and Darkness went to see Wiz as courtesy to tell her about Vanir’s defeat, they are shocked to see Vanir alive and working there. Damn, he is so much talkative now! Vanir did take some damage from Megumin’s explosion but with him reincarnated, he isn’t the Devil King’s commander now and thus the castle is left unguarded. Vanir proposed an interesting idea to Kazuma. He is to think up of stuff from his original world, Vanir will materialize it for him to sell. Like this kotatsu he’s got now that is making him lazy to go out. Until the girls toss the whole thing out in the cold. When Kazuma finally gets moving, they visit the blacksmith whereby Kazuma placed an order for his own sword. His epic pose and all ruined by his clumsiness. Upon closer inspection, isn’t the sword a bit too short? As he has trouble giving it a great name, Megumin calls it Chunchunmaru and now the name is embedded to the sword. Even if Kazuma ends up being legendary, having such sword makes it laughable. Kazuma and his girls take on the quest to eliminate Runner Lizards. It’s mating season so you bet the males are going to stampede over everything to mate with the female. The plan is to take out the leading male and disperse the group so they can easily take them out. However Aqua blunders by attracting all of them. Megumin cannot use her explosion because during the kotatsu folly, Kazuma sucked her powers. Darkness and Aqua soon get trampled over. The female targets Kazuma so he uses his sniping skill to take it down. However it crashes into the tree Kazuma is on. Man, Kazuma had a nasty fall that broke his neck!

I guess this means back to seeing Eris to be revived. Heh. Her first appearance this season after half the season is almost over. Kind Eris reminds him to be careful as always. She updates him the lizards have dispersed and the girls are trying to resurrect him. Kazuma asks if she is always bored stationed her. She notes if everyone is safe and well, being bored is worth it. It is then Kazuma realizes that this is probably the girl he yearns for. Yeah, took you long enough to notice but I don’t blame him, she hardly appears. He doesn’t need sexy girls but a kind and considerate one. With Aqua’s b*tch voice screaming for Kazuma to get his ass back, this only makes him want to ditch this currently life and plead to Eris to reincarnate him into a pretty decent family. He is starting over as a baby! However with Aqua noting Megumin and Darkness doing something to his clothes and body, Kazuma gets worried. Okay, time to go back and stop those blokes. When he wakes up, he sees crying Megumin on top of him. Like the aftermath of she did something. The other girls also act awkward towards him. Back home when he goes to take a bath, he realizes the despicable thing Megumin has done. Too bad she is not around and has gone to stay at Yunyun’s place for a few days. It seems she has written on his pubic area pointing out the holy sword Excalibur! You mad, bro? Aqua is smirking… I guess it must be disappointing…

Episode 7
Megumin is so apologizing for her cheekiness and pleads for Kazuma to return to his normal self! Why, Kazuma and Aqua are acting like polite cultured beings! Darkness reveals what happened. After that Excalibur antic, Vanir visited. Vanir and Aqua exchanged a few sarcasms and insults before going all out with each other. Once they’re done, Vanir checks all the materialized stuffs from Kazuma to sell. He wants to buy them all for 300 million Eris! Either a lump sum or a million Eris every month. I guess he needed some time to think. And so this is how Kazuma acted like a faux rich guy. With that much money, he doesn’t need to risk his life to work again. In that case, Megumin suggests the hotspring city of Arcanretia. Piqued your interest? Oh well, it’s good to go somewhere and rest once in a while. Kazuma goes to see Vanir to inform him about his trip. He sees Wiz zapped out. Vanir did this to her because she was stocking up on some useless items again. Seeing Kazuma will be away on a trip, Vanir has Kazuma take Wiz along too. Sorry Yunyun, the day you decide to come challenge Megumin, nobody’s home. After booking a wagon, the limited seating means somebody has to sit at the back. Aqua continues her losing streak with Kazuma at rock-scissors-paper despite increasing her luck skill. So if they’re done arguing with each other, can we go now? Aqua still sits at the back, though. Along the way, it seems a herd of Running Hawk Kites are headed their way. The culprit is Darkness’ amour which is made out of adamantite as those birds are attracted to hard things. Since it is his party’s fault, Kazuma feels the need to clean up this mess despite there are other adventurers who are paid to protect them. The adventurers don’t know Darkness is such a hardcore masochist and mistake it for bravery and the likes. Yeah, Darkness standing in front of the stampede and even getting in their way when they try to help. What does Kazuma do? Prostrate himself and apologize for his member’s perversion!

Episode 8
Thankfully all the birds jump over Darkness. This close shave even thrills the pervert. But they’re turning back. Learning there is a cave nearby, Kazuma is forced to go along with Darkness’ plan of tying her to the wagon as a bait and drag her all the way there. She’s enjoying every moment of the pain. Even crediting his name each time she feels such pleasure. Once Darkness is at the cave’s mouth, the birds jump over and into the cave and Megumin uses her explosion to seal it. That night as they camp, everybody sings high praises for Kazuma. However he feels so ashamed of his party members. So ashamed that he refuses any monetary reward! While sleeping, several zombies creep up on them. Luckily Aqua purifies them all (almost purifying Wiz too) while bragging to take them on. While everyone continues to cheer for her, only Kazuma knows this wouldn’t have happened if she wasn’t an undead magnet. His guilt trip continues. The longest sorry he has ever said. And sorry Yunyun, Megumin still isn’t back yet. Finally arriving at Arcanretia, it looks like a fine place until Aqua says how this is town is the home of the Axis church. Immediately Kazuma could understand why she wanted to come here. They are swamped with Axis followers trying to entice them into joining the Axis faith! Religious nutcases! So for the rest of the walkabout in town, Kazuma will experience something like this. A seemingly innocent person or group with a setting of their own coming up to him will suddenly turn fervent in forcing him to join the Axis faith. It takes Darkness to show her Eris faith pendant for them to immediately stop dead in their folly, walk away angrily disappointed and spit at the rival faith. Twice. Only Darkness enjoys it. Don’t even think about moving to this place. Yeah, this must be tiring for Kazuma to encounter every nutcase in this town. Even this little kid who is interested to know how to write his name, don’t fall for this scheme! Rip that contract apart!

Episode 9
I guess Kazuma is going to take his complains to the local church but they’re just fooling around. Yeah, Megumin is so traumatized, she wants to go home. Heck, he needs to play along with Aqua who is roleplaying in the confession box. If she isn’t taking you seriously, all you need to do is confess how you broke her stuff and secretly drank her fancy booze. Yeah, almost killed you apostate. Kazuma then watches Aqua forgiving a sinner who feels drawn to the Eris faith (because boobs). It is just to badmouth Eris who pads her boobs. By the time they return to the inn, Wiz seems to have gone to the baths and relaxed herself. Yeah, it’s time for them to take one. Kazuma watches a guy, Hans trying to hold it in but he couldn’t as he takes out his frustrations after a day of being harassed by Axis nutcases. Uh huh. No respite as the hotspring staffs are trying to cajole them to join! Back to the hotspring. Megumin and Darkness dip in and they suspect Kazuma of trying to eavesdrop (in which he is). As he doesn’t make any noise, they think he isn’t there and feel guilty. They then talk about his good points but shortly start doing something sexually ambiguous to each other. Kazuma tries to peek into the action but they were just trolling and start beating him up. If that is not enough, back at the inn, Aqua is crying because she has been thrown out from the bath after purifying the water. The hotsprings are now regular hot water. She tried to complain to the head priest but he doesn’t believe she is the real Aqua. Don’t worry, not even Kazuma. She thinks this is a ploy by the Devil King to sabotage her income but I guess her comrades aren’t interested in fighting with her. Kazuma and Megumin’s lovely morning walk is ruined with the start of the usual harassment. Yeah, they just can’t catch a break. Kazuma even sees frustrated Hans on the verge of insanity! More commotion as Aqua rallies everyone to join her cause to take down the Devil King. However they recognize her as the troublemaker who purify their hotspring. When she reveals her goddess identity, nobody believes her and thinks she is from the Devil King’s camp trying to scam them. Aqua can cry her heart back at the inn but even if she still genuinely wants to save her followers, here comes the angry mob gathering outside trying to do a witch hunt. Slay the demon! I don’t think they’re referring to Wiz…

Episode 10
Everyone manages to escape their inn. Aqua’s plan is to purify the water source but the guards won’t let her in. Seduction plan backfired and they recognize her as the troublemaker. Kazuma and the rest hold down Darkness and make good use of her family’s crest to pass through. They see the water source poisoned and up ahead is Hans. Wiz knows this guy as some poisonous slime monster in the Devil King’s army but Hans tries to feign he doesn’t know her. Kazuma is going to fight him until he learns he is one of the strongest commanders in the Devil King’s army. He gets scared and they all run away. Apparently slimes aren’t the weakest in this world. Oh, the angry mob is at the other end. Aqua returns in hopes of purifying the water so as not to loser her followers. Facing Hans again, when he admits he devoured the head priest, Wiz becomes angry. She powers up her ice powers to partially freeze him. It seems she has a policy that she will not allow innocent civilians to be killed. Hans is forced to transform into his true gigantic slime form to face her. The angry mob sees Aqua tolerating the pain to purify the water and realize they have wrongly accused her. Knowing the slime is the culprit, they start throwing all they’ve got at it. When Kazuma sees the bones of the head priest in the slime, Kazuma remembers Aqua can resurrect someone as long as not fully digested. Kazuma uses himself as a bait to jump into some hole to let Hans devour him. Cue for Megumin to unleash the biggest explosion to reduce its size and then Wiz for her remaining powers to freeze it. Despite all their efforts, Hans still lives albeit now a harmless little blob. He vows revenge but Aqua returns with a vengeance. Her purification powers up with the backing of her Axis followers spouting twisted and selfish principles of the faith. The biggest purification explosion you’ll ever see. In the aftermath, Kazuma is revived but they get no thanks from the people. They hate them even more because now all their hot water is just ordinary hot water. Yeah, everyone still hates you, Aqua. They return to home sweet home back in Axel. Perseverance pays off as Yunyun who has been coming here every day to challenge Megumin gets her wish. Rock-scissors-paper?

Episode 11 (OVA)
A new adventurer named Ran admires Kazuma so he exaggerates stories of his exploits. As he ordered the wrong alcoholic drink and doesn’t want to look bad, he makes her drink it. The guild master has him go on a quest for that. So now Kazuma and his girls are at the ruins to find a golem. But it turns out to be a giant mecha! Megumin won’t blast it as she wants it as her pet! Plus, the mecha is playing with Darkness’ boob? WTF. With Aqua promising to make her a better mecha, Megumin uses her explosion. Kazuma continues to exaggerate to Ran when Kyouya drops by. Looks like she is a bigger fan of his and is more impressed to be with him. Kazuma gets jealous and tries to compete with him and brags even further. This means the guild master has a job for him. Sorry to interrupt your mecha building using milk cartons, Aqua. Gotta go discover some ruins. She agrees when he says they can keep any treasure they find. Inside, Aqua is once again ambushed by mini golems possessed by the undead. She is in full steam today using her full purification powers to free herself. In a room, they find a diary of supposedly an adventurer that comes from another world. It relates how he was brought here to defeat the Devil King but became frustrated at each passing day when he failed to do so. In the end, he gave and decided to become a NEET like he usually was. He started designing mecha and bishoujo robots to satisfy his own lust but he always finds something missing and they tend to go haywire. In the end, he screws all that and decides to offer his service and get rich to hire gorgeous maids. That’s the spirit! Kazuma is interested to venture further and manages to open a secret vault. There lies a pretty robot girl in a chamber. He fights with Megumin not to press the button but Aqua did. Robo girl asks who her master is and without hesitation Kazuma steps up to the task. Robo girls turns out to be a dominatrix queen! That ass ready for whipping, boy?! In the end, Megumin blows up the entire place. Kazuma continues to brag to Ran who is looking bored. She suddenly leaves. Shortly, Kazuma hears Ran complaining to the guild master she isn’t paid enough to motivate that failure. Although Kazuma’s party is a failure, they usually pull through when it matters, that’s why they can’t have them being lazy. They realize Kazuma has heard them and try to say good things about him. He is on the verge of tears while his girls are trying hard not to laugh at his embarrassed face. So what’s it going to be? Kazuma steals their panties!

Blessing In Disguise
So fast? Oh right. There are only as much episodes as the number of fingers on your hands plus an extra one. Ah well, good things must surely come to an end and I can definitely say that this sequel does not disappoint even though I am late to the party binge watching this around a year later. Even though the comedy and ‘drama’ are pretty much the same as you can expect in the first season, some may argue that there is nothing new and is just same ol’ but since I like it this way and it did bring it lots of laughs, why fix something that is not broken? Unless of course they use this same formula again and again for the many sequels to come. It would become annoying and the blessing would become a curse. Overstayed their blessing? This is assuming there would be future seasons but I doubt at this point they would.

We’ve made some fine progress in this season and the biggest achievement ever being Kazuma finally free of his debt. Perseverance pays off. Whether it is undertaking a dangerous quest and putting up with the nonsense of your party members. Though, I’m not sure if Kazuma is back in debt as heard at the end of the OVA because of the destruction of the ruins, he had to pay some compensation. Kazuma might be rich but he is not forever rich. But I doubt he has fallen back into debt again because if so, the series would have let us know and played it out as some sort of a running joke. And then we can see his contorted, disgusted face. Like a college student who has finally paid off all his/her college debts now only to be saddled with mortgage and car loan debts. Yeah… It’s a good thing he doesn’t have to face all that crap in this world. I wonder if there is some tracker on Kazuma because it seems Sena always knows where to find him whenever there needs to be a quest done and barge in in dramatic fashion. Other than this progress, it is quite nice to also see a little bit of Darkness’ family background and a little mini arc that has something to do with Aqua and her followers.

The banter between Kazuma and his girls are still amusing to watch. This is one of the main comedic drive of this series. When they start to argue or when sh*t is going to hit the fan, you bet that they’ll start going all dramatic and loud as they give excuses and the likes for their situation. But I’m not sure how super masochistic Darkness is because although for the most time she loves being tortured and embarrassed, there are a few moments in which she is totally embarrassed in the I-don’t-like-this-at-all sense. Thus I’m confused about her being a masochist 100% all the time. Taking a break from being a masochist? Aqua might usually be a typical selfish b*tch but this undead magnet has shown that she too has a ‘good’ side even if it is the pettiest of reasons.

It might sound selfish she will do anything to retain her followers so her powers are strong but at least in a twisted way she cares for them even if those crazy Axis followers don’t necessarily believe her in the flesh. Maybe if she starts acting like a true goddess then seeing is believing. But then again, perhaps this is what makes the Axis faith so crazy in the first place. That’s why you have a crazy goddess like Aqua. Yeah, it definitely reeks of jealousy when everyone claims Eris pads her boobs… Not sure the reason this series needs Chomusuke, as though they introduced it just because they think the series needs an obligatory animal mascot. It hardly does anything as it is Megumin’s so called pet. Anything cute, she wants to bring it back as her pet. Too bad Kazuma isn’t running some sort of animal/cute things shelter.

I thought this season Wiz felt like she is a bit of a running joke in the sense that she is always in danger of being purified due to her proximity to Aqua’s purification ritual. Being close to death, this is followed by her dream of seeing Verdia (his only appearances for this season) on the other side of River Styx beckoning her to join him. But if he is the undead, do they die again and go to the underworld? At least there was a ‘combo breaker’ with Wiz showing us a glimpse of her kickass powerful ice power side. But other than that, she is still the ditzy eternally loss making retailer on the verge of crossing over to the other side. Looks like now she has Vanir for company and hopefully this would reduce her tendency to buy loss items for sale that would never be sold.

My wish from the first season didn’t come true. Back then I was hoping to see a few of the other side characters joining Kazuma’s party but it looks like it is status quo. From Kyouya to Chris and even Verdia, they make so minimal appearances this time that it could have been done without. They just appear so as to remind us they are still there. I don’t really remember but I feel that this season they make even less screen time appearance. I suppose for Kazuma having a party that consists of a lazy goddess, an explosion maniac and a super masochist is already a handful to deal with and he wouldn’t want to add anymore members to his ranks. Given that everybody in this world has some sort of quirky personality, you’d think Kazuma has learnt his lesson already in recruiting. Maybe except for Eris. Sweet goddess is forever holed up in that other dimension. Heck, I believe Kazuma doesn’t want her to be his party member but his wife! With God’s blessing I’m sure they would make a fine couple. In an alternate timeline, haha!

Last season charm in the form of a letter written at the end of the episode in which the character writing it is being narrated and then suddenly cut off, is still retained. But this time it isn’t just all about Kazuma and his girls writing and reading their letter. Well, that is only for the first half. It is them writing the letter to their respective audiences to update about the situation. Nothing really dramatic. Halfway through till the end, it is Yunyun. It seems she is writing to her friends about being in some party and going on adventures. But as the episode goes by, you can hear more and more desperate she becomes in trying to convince her friends that she isn’t lying. Perhaps she isn’t technically lying but she isn’t telling the whole truth either. We all know a bit of Yunyun’s character especially her eternal rivalry with Megumin in which the plot will never let her win against. Maybe she should just join Kazuma’s team?

Machico who did last season’s opener does this season too, Tomorrow. Sounds rather okay but again like last season, the one that takes the cake is the ending theme. Ouichi Ni Kaeritai by Kazuma’s trio girls has this similar feeling like last season’s Chiisana Boukensha. This slow country song makes you really feel like going home. Yup, still makes you want to close your eyes and dream of the simple farm and countryside living. But is it me that the song sounds awfully close to the Yellow Rose Of Texas? Oh well, it doesn’t matter since this is quite a good and calming song to listen to.

On a small note, I did say I watch this season in glorious Blu-ray fashion but if I said that I was expecting some sort of nudity or bare tits, that would be an overstatement. It’s not like I am hard up for it. Really. Believe me. Especially Darkness who is on the verge of giving us the necessary fanservice since her boobs are like teasing-cum-screaming that they want to be freed and displayed proudly for viewers. Did not happen. Instead what I notice the ‘fanservice’ seems to be more of Aqua’s butt although this is very subtle. Since Aqua wears short skirt and the lower part of the garment is transparent, you could see her butt crack whenever she bends over. And this goddess doesn’t wear any pantsu… Not sure if this is included in the original TV version as I didn’t watch it.

Overall, a good and enjoyable second season. Wacky and questionable humour (Darkness’ masochism) is fine with me. Might not have enough explosions but those blasted here are still epic and funny. Meguminplosions over Bayplosions anytime, anywhere. If there is another season, I would definitely want to watch it. I want to see more of the hijinks and mishaps in the quests Kazuma is forced to take (since he cleared his debt, there is no motivation for him to earn more money), all the possible Devil King’s (quirky) commanders he will face off and vanquish (the easiest way would probably to send the Axis followers to harass and pester about joining), more twisted fanservice from Darkness (bewbs!), more of karma backfiring on Aqua (she deserves what she gets, no love lost), perhaps a clash between the Axis and Eris faith (Eris padded her boobs!), more of Yunyun’s failed challenges to Megumin (you just wanna be friends, right?) and yes, more explosions! Boom! Mic drop.

Dies Irae

May 4, 2018

Imagine an alternate reality where the Nazis got superhuman powers and tried to destroy the entire world. At least that was what I summarized from the synopsis of Dies Irae. I thought it would be a lot fun to see that happen seeing that in this age and era where politically correct is what everyone is striving to be. At least in the west. Not that this series aims to set everything right in the first place.

Episode 0
Karl Ernst Krafft AKA Mercurius is being held captive by Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich, director of the main security office over suspicion of treason as he predicted the assassination of the Fuhrer. However Heydrich will ‘save’ his life in exchange to use his clairvoyance to further his propaganda. On Christmas Eve in 1939, Heydrich attends a party in which many high ranking officials praise him for his efforts of turning the Reich’s tides to their favour. As he leaves, he is met by 3 women known as the Three Valkyries, Eleonore Von Wittenburg, Beatrice Waltrud Von Kircheisen and Riza Brenner. They want to join his cause. Heydrich allows them to do what they like but warns them they are responsible for their own safety. At the same time, there is some priest giving some cursed item to a sexy prostitute (I think) while talking about the heresy of clairvoyance. There is also a chaotic fight going on between a mad guy and an equally mad woman. They are destroying everything around them and killing those getting in their way. The Valkyries have a tough time trying to stop the madness. Heydrich talks to Mercurius about not having any particular ambition and just completes the duty he is given. It is the only meaning of his life. Mercurius believes he is directing his efforts the wrong way and trying to spend his life trying to avoid using his full power that would have destroyed the world in an instant. He has done what he could but the war continues to expand. Thus he closed his heart as if to feel nothing. Mercurius remembers meeting him like this and discuss about this many times before. He knows Heydrich loves the world but love and destruction doesn’t necessarily contradict one another. For the sake of love, he will destroy. Heydrich ponders about his boring life that no matter what he does, he doesn’t feel any sense of accomplishment. He shoves the Valkyries aside and easily subdues the mad people. Some sort of emotion stirs in his heart and Heydrich decides to go along with Mercurius’ words. Wow. Suddenly he turns into some super badass villain and with his motley crew of superhuman weirdoes, they literally paint the battlefield with blood. And WTF is this shiny pointy golden flying cathedral as his base?! It enters some portal, supposedly a place Mercurius has prepared for him to unleash his full power and obtain complete victory and create a new world.

Episode 1
Ren Fujii fights his eternal friend-cum-rival, Shirou Yusa. The latter always claims he is his opposite and hence loves doing things the opposite of him. After Ren is discharged from the hospital, his mad ‘girlfriend’, Kasumi Ayase calls him out in the middle of public in which he tries to ignore. Anyway he can’t and somehow it is his fault so he has to accompany her to some blade exhibition. Oddly Ren has a fear of blades so I wonder if Kasumi is trying to get even with him. Ren thought he saw a ghost! It leads him to a guillotine and a ghost girl pops up to hug him!!! It is no surprise he passed out. Not sure how he is brought back to his room but Kasumi feels sorry for all that. Apparently their rooms are connected because there is a big hole in the wall and Kasumi loves using it instead of the door. The next connecting room is Shirou. Ren is sure he has quit school and left but Kasumi is confident he will come back. Ren dreams a weird guillotine nightmare because ghost girl is singing about blood to quench the guillotine’s thirst! Freaky as hell as Ren becomes King Louis XVI being executed in public like the French revolution! Oh, next morning there are news reports that a decapitated head of a man was found nearby. At school, Ren hangs out with senior, Rea Himuro. She tries to console him about Shirou’s departure and wonders if he would like to talk with Sister Riza (sister with big boobs?! I didn’t know there was some sort of hentai here). She was the one who found the decapitated body. With ‘wife’ Kasumi calling for Ren, Rea goes into naughty mode making it sound they were making out. Because of that, Ren can’t return to class and spends the rest of the day on the rooftop?! WTF?! He overslept and it is night time?! You mean nobody came looking for him?! He prepares to go home but sees Kasumi practising at the dojo. So she waited for him instead of going to find him?! Oh yeah. She really believed in him. On the way back, they see Rea giving directions to a strange woman. We now shift to father Valeria Trifa meeting up with Rusalka Maria Schwagerin and Wilhelm “Kaziklu Bey” Ehrenburg. They talk about almost everyone has already arrived at Shambhala. He blesses them to destroy everyone and everything. Killing in the name of God and He allows it? Is it too late to convert now?

Episode 2
Ever since, Ren has been dreaming of those murders and it always ends up with someone being beheaded by the guillotine. While walking back with Kasumi, they see Trifa being slapped by a woman for harassment. Not sure how he was asking for directions to the church, though. Our kind duo help guide the way as they learn he is connected to Theresia (Rea’s real name) as her guardian. He is like her father figure as he ‘praises’ all the fatherly things he has done to her as a child. I don’t think it constitutes to child abuse or molestation but how creepy he says all of it that Rea too doesn’t really like him. Riza tells Ren some details about Rea like her birthday is on Christmas. He tries to be mindful and get her a present as Rea trolls everyone by proposing to Ren! As they leave, Trifa asks about Ren’s parents. They died since he was young (flashbacks of him hinting he murdered them?) and Kasumi’s family took him in but her dad too died. Trifa adds if he would like to see the dead so Ren brushes that off as crazy talk. Trifa then asks the opinion of Kei “Leonhart August” Sakurai about that but she doesn’t care. Ren has another of those nightmares. But this time it feels real. Because he is the one who killed her?! Bey and Rusalka pop up before him and beat the crap out of him while accusing him of doing the killing because Mercurius told him to. Ren denies and continues to be beaten up. Before they kill him, Ren hears Mercurius’ words to show him the way and suddenly Ren powers up with speed? Ren fights back but gets owned each time by Bey. Before Bey could kill him, Leonhart stops him to remind this was supposed to be a test. He will be of no use if he is dead. Well, that’s precisely what this test is for because if he is dead he wouldn’t be of use anyway. Bey agrees but now turns to fight Leonhart because he didn’t like she touched him. Oh boy. Rusalka ends it for Ren and puts him to sleep. He wakes up on the park bench and you can’t blame him if all that sh*t was just a dream. Maybe. He goes to school next day and he thinks it is going to be another usual boring day, how wrong he would be. Because Leonhart and Rusalka are new transfer students in his class. Yoroshiku ne.

Episode 3
Ren wants to know their plan. Rusalka hints there is something they want and they are going to make it come true in this town. If Ren thinks he can threaten her, think again because he can’t go up against her whatever creepy powers. Ren watches Kasumi in kendo practice. Something feels wrong. Because suddenly her thrust is so strong that she decimated the practice doll and visible scars that she could split the dojo in half! Kasumi doesn’t remember what was going on. So they hang out as part of their way to ‘preserve’ their normal life. She gives him a cross and reminds she would like to help him out in any way she can. Trifa and Leonhart watch a guillotine that is accumulating souls to open the swastika. Ren dreams of that ghost girl, Marie again who refers to him as Cagliostro. He wakes up in the park. The bridge is burning and Kasumi is missing. How did he get past the police lines to look for her? Lax security… He is afraid to call her so Leonhart mocks him about it because he already knows the answer and explains about Mercurius controlling the army of a certain nation behind the scenes and changing them into inhuman things. He tells her to shut up but she continues and hints that Kasumi is the serial killer and he knew it all along, that’s why he unconsciously chased after her. She hopes he will gain his power soon or their game cannot start as they have come to war. Ren stumbles upon a pool of blood. Dead people. Bloodied Kasumi. There’s your answer. He blames himself and won’t let anyone else blame her. This is all just a bad dream. Too bad she attacks him. She starts breaking down about not being able to do anything despite constant reminders she wanted to help him. So is this her own fault? When she started thinking what to do, then this murder thingy happened. Ren fights back as his injuries healed. Her attacks are less effective as he tells her it’s because he doesn’t want her to do this anymore. So listen to his words and not hers. She has always helped him and without her, he would have gone crazy a long time ago. The guillotine activates and opens one of the seven swastikas. Rot Spinne reports to Trifa about his investigation that Johann is still alive and here.

Episode 4
As part of the plan to make the enemy stronger so it will be worth defeating, Leonhart is tasked to teach Ren the basics and turn him stronger. Starting off with a little bit of history. They are known as the Longinus Dreizehn Orden black round table and there are 13 of them, soldiers and criminals who gained power with Mercurius’ help during World War II. Some of its members are gone and replaced but some are still unfilled. Each of them has their dreams to fulfil in this fight and as Mercurius proclaimed, he will prepare the stage and opponent to fight and defeat for that. Ren is that opponent. The power bestowed by Mercurius is also a curse. They need to eat souls in order to make them stronger. This is why Ren couldn’t beat Bey who killed so many. Now that Ren is just like them, he has a weapon that turns souls into power called relic. But his power is low and unstable. He needs to take it to the next level called formation where his relic has a physical form. He must achieve this form to at least stand a fighting chance. Since Ren has been avoiding Kasumi and to avoid that nagging ‘wife’ whenever she finds him, he cooks up this excuse that he and Leonhart are dating! That’s a fake sigh of relief you got there, Kasumi. Later that night, Ren bumps into Riza and Rea looking for Trifa. Ren thought he saw Trifa and follows him. However he got spooked seeing his own shadow in some monster form but thinks it is his imagination. He gets a call from Kasumi pleading for help. She is kidnapped by Spinne. Angry Ren rushes down to kill him but gets trapped in his web relic. He claims if Leonhart gives lectures, he gives the practical and beats him up. But Spinne says he isn’t here to make enemies with him and wants to be his ally. Only, if he is good enough. To make him show his true worth, he cuts up Kasumi before his eyes! Obviously a fake but Ren is so mad that he lets the web cut through his limbs to break free! But don’t worry, his limbs regenerates and into blades. Mad Ren is going to cut him up and Spinne is now scared sh*t. He pleads for Trifa to help but he remains silent. Spinne attempts to use his ‘insurance’ by killing the real Kasumi but Trifa intercepts and lets Ren kill him. Ren returns to his place only to see Kasumi turning it upside down. Well, she was panicky trying to look for her missing handphone. Ren just hugs her and is happy she is still alive. Don’t know what’s going on but just go with the flow.

Episode 5
During the French Revolution, a peasant volunteered to behead some noble via guillotine. At the same time, his wife gave birth to a daughter, Marguerite Breuil AKA Marie. But she grew up to be a strange one as she is always singing about blood and guillotine. This has her ostracized. But anybody who touches her has their heads blown off! Eventually she was beheaded and that was when Mercurius fell in love with her and vowed to create a goddess in this world. Ren might see Marie’s past life but it is no dream when he wakes up next to a naked Marie! Oh boy, is the guillotine a better option than being grilled by the ‘angry’ wife? Thankfully Kasumi decides to believe in him. So to help find out who she is, they spend the day having fun together? At the end of the day, Eri Honjou interrupts their outing to bring Ren and Marie to see Shirou. He is making some disco his base. As he has been watching Ren for some time, he wants to play a part in the mess he is currently in. Although he too was involved with this after he fled from hospital and is willing to exchange some information on Longinus Dreizehn Orden. Ren refuses. He will not allow Shirou to get involved. Something about suicide? Shirou thinks he is saying so because he has a different trump card. Eri threatens to shoot Ren but he destroys it with his wind blades. Ren adds that he is only here to thank him for taking care of Kasumi. That’s why he can’t let him die. Later Marie asks Ren more about Shirou. Ren wanted to be like him but couldn’t and ended up hating himself. Maybe he just wants to destroy himself like that. Eventually he believes he wants them to be in a relationship where they would proudly be as themselves. Leonhart is to bring Ren to Trifa but Bey attacks him. Ren defends himself better this time. The fight is interrupted with Shirou joining in.

Episode 6
Shirou narrates something about déjà vu. That’s why he does crazy things and if he can do that, he doesn’t care if he dies. So far he isn’t able to die. He thinks he is God’s toy. Ren disapproves of Shirou getting involved. Like he gives a damn. Bey decides to fight Shirou while Leonhart takes Ren away. We now see the epic power fight between Bey and Shirou (is Bey’s power some sort of sea urchin spikes?). It ends with some well-timed liquid nitrogen truck exploding over Bey. But don’t worry. He still lives. Meanwhile Ren won’t go quietly with Leonhart and fights her. Not sure whose giant face he saw because he really got spooked by it. It makes him desperate. When Trifa appears before him, he is shocked to learn his identity. He asks if Ren loves Rea and is willing to kill her. Ren still doesn’t understand what is going on (so do I) but he will beat the crap out of him. So funny that Trifa starts crying blood over how Ren will defeat them in the name of love? This makes Heydrich appear before him for the first time. Marie feels terrified so Ren feels the need to defeat this evil monster and transforms into some dark bladed monster? A giant hand smashes him. It belongs to what is believed to be Heydrich’s soul, a giant golden skeleton. Even though its power is devastating, this is only part of it. Just his shadow. Who how far the destruction he will do if he gets even more serious. Ren fights off the undead Nazi army to reach Heydrich. Unfortunately he is unable to kill him. Because Heydrich notes he lacks the love for war. Unlike him who loves everything equally including his love for destruction. Until he finds something he has not destroyed and the day he overcomes this déjà vu, he will wait for Dies Irae. Ren returns to his human form as Marie is separated from him. While free falling, Heydrich pierces Marie in the heart.

Episode 7
Marie realizes she is dancing with Heydrich. Asking her opinion of him, she thinks he is frightening person to have killed all around him. He finds it odd she has feelings since she has no heart. He lets her taste a little pain and will teach her how to love and conquer all. She still feels his world is wrong so he claims they will not receive heaven together and declares war. Meanwhile flashback shows Ren was created in a test tube supposedly a bastard child of Mercurius. He always knew he would never lead a normal life. Looks like that time has come. Finding himself locked underneath the church’s dungeon, Rea comes to free him. She too talks about not living a normal life. Don’t understand why she is so sad about. She asks him if he would make love to her otherwise kill her. Huh? Trifa then leads Ren to see Heydrich. He assures him that Rea knows nothing about this and now Rea hates the priest. Inside the round table room, Ren meets Heydrich for the first time. Heydrich’s goal is to just talk to him. Don’t really understand about this conversation. Something about always testing the unknown, making a pact with Mercurius and how he was being born in the wrong world and hence restraining himself is not really him so he should go forth and destroy. Thus he wants satisfaction. But 2 things are required specifically. A situation that needs him to use his full power and that which ensues is unknown to him. He will destroy everything and end his déjà vu. He once sacrificed Berlin but that wasn’t enough so he moved to another dimension. It seems this place is called Shambhala and both of them created this eastern paradise. There are 8 leylines in which 8 battles must be fought and sacrifice many souls. The result is a city sized relic that a golden alchemical circle will grant his wish. 2 have already opened and 6 remain. This is where Ren comes in. He must conquer the battles here to allow Heydrich to manifest or else risk meaningless deaths. Ren wants Marie back and vows to show him the unknown that will be his end. Heydrich returns Marie and will await the day he will defeat him. Marie is back with Ren. Her stab wounds are gone but she is embarrassed Ren is starring at her so closely? After all that they’ve been through?

Episode 8
Kasumi decides to skip school and look for Ren. Too bad she got tasered by Eri. She leaves a note for Ren to call him. It’s good to hear Kasumi is fine as she is arguing with Shirou but that delinquent plays it cool and doesn’t give a damn. Ren and Eri discuss the possible places of the remaining swastikas. Ren guessed the hospital, church and school. The remaining half Eri tells him are at the tower, amusement park and civic hall. All these places except the church are where large numbers of people gather. There will be no shortage of sacrifices. As Ren cannot protect all these places simultaneously, he plans to head to the school first as this is the most important place to him. At school, Ren realizes that the important ones like Rea, Leonhart and Rusalka aren’t around. Every other student is hypnotized to attend. So what will they do now? Marie has Ren lie on her lap and tell her about his friends. Yeah, I’m sure those were fun days. Meanwhile at a disco, I guess the stripper was too hot that everybody starts exploding and bleed from every hole in their body. Yikes. The worst kind of nose bleed? Turns out to be Rusalka in disguise. Shirou and Eri enter to fight her. They mock and make her mad and even though they are one step away from being killed, they aren’t scared. Rusalka finishes them off. Meanwhile Bey knows Trifa has been tailing him. He wants to know what he and Spinne was plotting because it seems as though Trifa killed Spinne to shut him up. He explains they were looking into the Sonnenkind bloodline. Isaak once activated the Berlin swastika and was absorbed by Heydrich to become to core of Valhalla. His mother was Riza and had a twin brother, Johann. It is believed Johann is dead but it seemed Riza lied about his death to prevent him from being a sacrifice. In other words, there is another Sonnenkind bloodline. Guess where? I don’t know. Tell me. But Bey seems to know and understand the whole thing now.

Episode 9
This weird horror nightmare from Riza. Can’t make out what it is. All the children die with blood bleeding out from every hole in their body. Her baby son crawled out of her womb as he gradually transforms into an adult?! WTF?! Creepy!!! Then there is this weird flashback supposedly Ren’s past life I think. He made his dad angry because instead of continuing the family tradition of being a guillotine executioner, he went on to become a soldier since it is both the same in terms of killing people. Now we have Marie talking to Ren about how she has changed ever since Heydrich stabbed her. Something about how she understands about feelings and wants to be part of Ren’s groupie. Huh? Ren prepares to face off with Riza. They give each other a chance to back down. None taken. Riza then sends Leonhart to stall Ren while she opens the swastika. Inside, Riza is confronted with Trifa. She tells him her dilemma that she doesn’t want to kill but is forced to. At least she doesn’t want to end up like him. She is shocked when he knows she let one of her sons escaped. He is curious to know how she ended up choosing which. Was it because one resembled father so much and the reason she continued trying to abandon Rea? Trifa likes Rea but is uncertain of her origins. As Johann’s bloodline exists in Shambhala, if he offers it up, he can prove his love for Rea is his own. Only putting an end to that bloodline would ascertain he is not driven by such things. Riza is willing to let him live at the expense of Rea’s death. Riza prepares to fight him. While Ren and Leonhart slug it out, Bey has already opened another swastika. Leonhart is pleased that a few more and her wish of bringing back the dead will come true. It might seem insane but it was a deal too good to be passed up. Ren calls it crap because if the dead are important to her, then no amount of sacrifice would be enough. This deal only lowers the value of the things she loves. Leonhart becomes mad and like any cornered mad people, they always exclaim the you-don’t-know-me excuse. Eleonore claims Leonhart has lost and disposes of her. She praises Ren’s fine speech and dares him to challenge her.

Episode 10
Leonhart narrates her great grandfather was invited to Germany to forge swords. He also forged fake ones as protection. But a fake became more than a fake, possessed and killed him. It became a curse for the family’s bloodline as it will suck the soul out but still let the corpse move. When that is no longer capable, it will move on to the next family member. Leonhart was in line for that but her brother Kai and his girlfriend, Beatrice vowed not to let that happen. Leonhart was naïve at that time and believed but they perished. She wants to see them again no matter how much she will sacrifice. Trifa wants to put their fight on hold as Eleonore will kill them if she senses them. He hopes Riza will protect Johann’s grandchild but she refuses. She is disappointed in him. She liked him better when he was weak and pathetic but he was human. She lets her familiar guard him while she makes her way out. Eleonore tests Ren as she shoots fire from the ground. Unfortunately Ren is knocked out but can weak Marie protect him now? Riza doesn’t want Eleonore to go through with this as she is already an immortal after having her wish granted. Hence all the human souls here are hers. Eleonore notes that is true but Heydrich wants her to open the next swastika. Eleonore commands Leonhart to watch over Riza and if Riza wants the swastika badly, they can kill each other. Marie talks about how she wants to stay with Ren and co. However she gets beaten up as a test of resolve. Yup, this is pain alright. She now know how much Ren has been enduring. The beating lasts long enough until Ren wakes up and is mad for the abuse of his girl. As they fight, Eleonore is charging up and when she does, Riza pulls off some move to let Ren save Kasumi. Disappointed Eleonore burns the entire area as Ren becomes The Flash (even to a point of stopping time?) and runs as fast as he could to save themselves. Eleonore is told to stop by Goetz Von Berlichingen as she has completed her mission. He tells her Heydrich has plans to open the next swastika. Ren is safe from the inferno as Trifa meets up with him. He never liked Eleonore and Goetz who are close to Heydrich. They are his mortal enemies. He proposes forming an alliance and get revenge on Riza who is dead.

Episode 11
We see Kasumi’s dad adopting Ren and his wife agreed thinking she needed a brother. Well, they didn’t get along. Shirou is forced to listen to Mercurius’ crap because as long as he still feels déjà vu, he will not allow him to die. Shirou’s ‘story’ begins when Ren started living with Kasumi. Kasumi’s dad is some mad scientist who conducted experiments on Ren. One night, Shirou snuck in and killed him. That was the start of his déjà vu. He wasn’t supposed to be a central character in this story but is now one. If Heydrich is the love of everything, then Shirou is the self-destruction of all. Hence this is why he is not allowed to die until he shows him the unknown conclusion. Rusalka mocks Rea that she will soon die. Because it seems for every swastika that opened, Rea’s stomach aches like as though she is going to give birth. Rusalka gets mad and beats her up when Rea is confident she won’t die. And then here comes Bey to fight Rusalka as he wants revenge for killing his prey AKA Shirou. He doesn’t believe she killed him because if he couldn’t kill him, how could she? Therefore he is inside her! In this sick twisted scene, Rusalka’s stomach suddenly feels pain as Shirou bursts out Alien style! OMFG!!! HORROR!!! Shirou has stolen Rusalka’s moves and uses it to fight Bey. Another freaky horror move by Bey as he summons Helga, his sister AND mother to help fight Shirou! WTF is going on???!!! Meanwhile Rusalka is damn afraid of dying. But look who is here? Wolfgang Schreiber. She pleads him to save her and plays the love card. So how does he return her love? He kills her! Because his logic is that he will avenge her death! He then interrupts Bey and Shirou’s fight and kills Bey! Rusalka is half dead so he continues beating her up and gives Shirou a head start to run. Because once she is dead, he will hunt him down and kill him. Sick

Dead Irate: Nazis Gone Wild
I am guessing because the series isn’t technically finished as the remaining 6 episodes will be aired via ONA online instead of the usual TV broadcast, hence even if I call this series confusing and bad isn’t going to be as reasonable of calling a series that has actually finished its run as confusing and bad. Because it isn’t finished so your opinions and conclusions aren’t solidly valid as of this point. Because it is not really finished. Yeah well… But still, it still doesn’t take away the fact for the last dozen of episodes, this series is still confusing and bad in conclusion. Are they trying to experiment with this déjà vu thingy? It will not end (so soon) until you overcome your déjà vu by continuing to watch this a few months later? Oh f*ck it. I don’t even know what I’m saying.

Hence we are left with this very confusing and unsatisfying ‘ending’ for the TV series. Yeah, watching a few episodes in I knew this show was going to be weird but they really pulled one over me with the ‘final’ episode by making it sick and twisted. Character bursting out of one’s stomach as well as a family member popping out of your back to help fight is all just screaming creepy weird horror. And they had the nerve to introduce a new character in this ‘final’ TV episode who beats his woman in the name of love that would have the political correctness of the western world scream misogynistic patriarchy Nazi scum. Doesn’t it make you frustrated in wanting to know more and what happens next or just chuck this series aside? If this is their tactic to sustain interest in the series in some way or another, well it isn’t working for me.

I have admitted many times in the past that I am not the brightest nor the sharpest tool in the shed. Therefore I surmise that it takes a genius or at least an intellect to actual understand and hence enjoy what is going on. I didn’t at almost every level. All I understand is that some Nazis want to achieve some sort of ultimate victory with all the right conditions and in order to do that, they have this wuss Japanese high school kid be that obstacle and the opening of swastikas all over the place. They try to whip him up into the formidable opponent to be defeated. Say what? Hmm… Kinda reminds me of that Milky Holmes series whereby the main heroines are so clumsy and bungling that their arch enemies go out all of their way to try and bring them back to that level of worthiness again. But even that they failed. However Milky Holmes was more of a comedy and it was hilarious. This series on the other hand is dark and serious. There is more than meets the eye than what I just mentioned and with other plots and mini plots inside, it sure makes one hell of a confusing series. And making wishes come true… Is that Fate style kind of Holy Grail plot they borrowed from?

Somehow I feel deceived when I go back to read the synopsis that made me feel interested to watch this series. It mentioned about a group of Nazi officers doing some slaughtering ritual that would bring back some order that would lead to the end of the world. The results of this group was never known. Well, they must have failed, right? Seeing the world is still around. Then the synopsis added about Ren and his odd relationship with Shirou. What is it they said about weird dreams, killing each other and Ren’s desperation to have a normal life but the caution from Shirou about everyone in this city is losing their minds? Even if I didn’t fully understand all that, the enigmatic narration was enough to pique my interest. Unfortunately it didn’t translate well for me in the anime. So I guess I already lost my mind when I lost the plot of this series, huh?

Confusing and disappointing me even further are the characters. Ren as the protagonist is weak and worse, not really likeable. Heck, he wasn’t even in the ‘final’ episode of the TV series and reduced to a mere flashback while Shirou makes his comeback. It feels like he is trying to avert his eyes and force his normal life but you know, as the main character he can’t do that. It is because of that label I believe he is still alive and ‘relevant’ in the series. He can’t really die because of the Nazis needing him to be stronger. Whatever. It gets weirder when he befriends Marie because in a short time it is like they become friends and if she isn’t a tool for fighting, she serves as a possible love triangle with Kasumi and Rea or whoever else. Not that this love comedy would ever happen but it’s a possibility. On second thought, it might just make everything more confusing and worse.

Personally I thought the closest character that came to be likeable and the ‘best’ of this series is Shirou. He is cool and badass, going at his own pace rather than sticking to the norm. However with the lack of screen time and being usurped by Ren just because he is the main character, I guess he falls short of becoming that cool character. Not that the ‘final’ TV episode did it any justice but I suppose it is a slight change of pace not needing to see Ren’s pathetic face. It is also hard to understand Heydrich and Mercurius. The former looking worthy of being the big boss but it makes you wonder going through all this trouble was worth it. It should be. Having things too easily achieved isn’t what he wants so I suppose all this confusion and drama that I couldn’t get. I am also unsure what Mercurius wants seeing he has some of connection or love with Marie and he feels like the puppeteer pulling the strings in the background.

There are a few other characters especially from the order but unfortunately they lack any proper development. We get pieces and hints from a few of them but nothing much. With the plot and story in a mess, I can hardly understand what the hell it is going on with them. Each have their own goals and agendas but a dozen episodes aren’t enough to cover even the basics. Heck, I can’t even see how they are connected to the main plot at all. Some are even as useless and irrelevant at least for this season. The biggest offender is Rea. She looks like she might be a big connection and link to something big but she falls flat as the series goes by and you might remember her as just some flirty emotionless chick giving Kasumi a run for her money over Ren’s attention. Is it me or do I feel that Kasumi’s role (other than being Ren’s nagging ‘wife’) is to become the damsel in distress so that Ren can evolve to his next level of Super Saiyan-ness? Whatever. And another annoying thing are the nicknames. It seems almost every character especially the Nazis have several nicknames to go by. I’m confused whenever they call somebody by that. Yeah, screw all that. Whatever. Thank goodness a few of them died in the end. Unless they get revived again then it’s a different story and everything is back to being screwed up.

The action parts are just average at best. We see Nazis having superhuman powers and some even summoning huge gigantic skeletons from another dimension. Well, it looks cool at first but sometimes it gets a little bit exaggerated because they all look so overpowered. And this is just the low level officers. Imagine if Heydrich and his top ranking officers go into action like as seen with Eleonore, it would be just overkill. Especially when they can summon giant undead creatures at their bidding. I wonder if there would be any fun in seeing that. Well, at least they don’t portray Nazis as stupid and dispensable weaklings like in many other shows. It gets irritating to see Ren getting owned but eventually he gets back up because he can’t give up. Because Marie is inside him. Whatever.

One of the other irritating things for me in this series are the real German words used. It is also funny for me because for example when some of the Nazi characters are introduced, I was wondering why the hell their first names are so long. Then I soon realized that isn’t their first name but their officer title! OMG! So freaking long?! What the f*ck is an Obersturmfuhrer or a Sturmscharfuhrer?! I don’t know how many times I have typed that wrongly and had to relook and relook again to spell that right. Oh damn it, I should have copied and paste. Yeah, I think I even had a hard time trying to pronounce that. I know German has very long words, that’s why it’s a nightmare for them to play Scrabble. Heh. And there was one scene where the ritual was spoken in German. Damn translation didn’t translate that to English but rather display the entire speech in German. Oh well. I guess I won’t even understand if it was translated into English. I did try translate that few lines taken from Goethe’s Faust literature in the opening credits but not that I understand it in the context of this anime either.

Art and animation also feels mediocre. There might be some freaky and creepy designs like all those skeletons and skulls in the shadows of the Nazis that is supposed to be some way to tell this is what they are made up. After all, many of them are already at a very old age. During battle scenes especially when they use their super power, they use some weird toning or whatever that odd contrast style is. Because I sometimes feel that it is to cover up to poor animation quality. There are also lots of blood and gore but I guess with me being so confused, I didn’t feel scared or spooked at all. There is also CGI animation but that feel mediocre too. Especially that ‘extravagant’ floating golden castle of Heydrich. It’s not creepy with all the skulls and spikes. Just feels like overload of goldenness.

Surprisingly one of the more enjoyable aspects of the series is the opening and ending themes. While not necessarily my top favourite but they sound interesting enough. Like the opening theme, Kadenz by Yui Sakakibara (voice of Marie) is a hard rock outfit but I get this feeling that the tune they based it on some classical piece although I may be wrong. But the ending theme is even more amusing, Opera by Phero Men. Even with that name of the group, I can’t help get this vision out of my head that a group of macho gay men are singing this piece. That group is after all made up of Junichi Suwabe and Kousuke Toriumi (voices of Heydrich and Mercurius respectively). But the piece has this manly feel in it most probably because of the heavy and deep drum beats like as though the big taiko drums are the main driving force of this song. I thought they were saying “Wasshoi! Wasshoi!” but it is “Kassai! Kassai!” (Applause, cheer) instead. All hail the Fuhrer! Yeah, this song is not bad actually.

Let me also add that the ending credits animation of this series has got to be one of the laziest ever. What do I mean? There are no animations whatsoever for this series! This means all you see are the credits as they scroll up the black blank screen. Wow. Just like in the movies, eh? On one hand it is good because it is refreshing as every other anime has an ending animation for you to watch. Hence you won’t be distracted as you ‘enjoy’ the song. It is bad because it gives an impression that the production team has no money or they couldn’t come up with one in time and hence saving money, time and energy when anime opening and ending animations are considered works of art to many. Not that I really mind but having just a blank black screen as an anime credits animation just feels odd. Maybe it is the cure after seeing all the crazy bizarre things in that episode so a blank screen is just the right tonic to balance out all that.

Overall, the messy and disastrous plot takes out the enjoyment of the series. I also read that they tried to cram many contents from the light novel that this series is based on into a dozen episodes so I guess that is where the injustice comes from. Incoherent, disjointed and confusing plotlines worsened things and even spelling more doom are the uninteresting and lacklustre characters. Who ever knew that destroying the world could be so hard and complicated? Like as though the disastrous outing of this series came first before the disaster to befall on mankind. To complete the insult, the remaining episodes are to be broadcasted many months later. Yeah, like 6 months later! Are they trying to make us think that we will forget it all in that time and renew our interests to find out the true ending? Maybe. Given our short attention span thanks to the fast internet these days. I guess we don’t need Heydrich and his Longinus Dreizehn Orden to set up elaborate setups and destroy mankind as we are already on that path at this rate. I’m sure many of us did Nazi (not see) that coming.