After several movies and specials to Tiger & Bunny (which I didn’t watch at all), looks like they’re getting a sequel. Make that spinoff sequel. Double Decker! Doug & Kirill isn’t exactly about superheroes but somewhat a buddy cop series. Yes, you have somewhat a team of cops with seemingly opposing traits that come together as they fight the drug menace and taking down the big drug cartel that is plaguing the otherwise peaceful city of Lisvalletta. And of course there is a lot more conspiracy going on beneath that other than the drug problem. WTF… Aliens?! Technically… Don’t think. Just go and feel so good…

Episode 1
When the police cannot handle a baddie with inhuman powers, this is where the special crime unit of Seven-O steps in. Doug “Veteran” Billingham is here to arrest suspects who used the super power induced drug known as Anthem and who has gone into Overdrive mode (that inhuman form). Although he missed, thank goodness for his colleague, Deana “Pink” del Rio covering for him. Meanwhile Kirill Vrubel is a lowly constable of the local police department. He gets reprimanded for some minor order violation. That cocky attitude won’t help you too. Unlike his associate, William Jefferson who is very popular with the colleagues, his boss likes him and has a nice family. Kirill refuses to work outside his working hours but since his landlord threatens him with some shady photo, I guess he has to start looking for her cat. As he follows the feline and realizes it has started a family in an abandoned factory, Kirill waits for it to finish its business? He falls asleep and when he wakes up, only to realize a hostage situation is going on! Worse, Jefferson is beaten up and incapacitated. Kirill has always dreamt of becoming a hero in such situations. Too bad he doesn’t know what to do! Lucky for him, Doug is here. He can help promote Kirill if he helps. Yeah, Doug somehow got his foot stuck in the pipe while sneaking around. All Kirill needs to do is to identify if the baddie has taken Anthem. You can see a mark on the neck. Once he does, activate the switch. So this is what happens. Kirill distracts the baddie by claiming he is a time traveller. In his birthday suit! Baddie not impressed. Going to kill him. Kirill cannot spot the mark but he sees him going into Overdrive. The switch just releases some smoke? But Doug is ready to fire his medicine at the baddie. In the aftermath when Kirill emerges with the hostage, the police arrests him thinking he is an accomplice! Too bad his boss doesn’t appreciate it and thinks he has tarnished the precinct’s reputation. He isn’t fired but transferred to Seven-O. Travis “Boss” Murphy welcomes him to his new unit. Originally they scouted for Jefferson but he declined. Kirill was recommended thanks to Doug. As their unit operates in pairs, Kirill will be Doug’s partner. But the next day, the unit gets another newbie, Kay Rochefort and all attention is on her. Kirill no longer ‘popular’. And then they argue the nickname he is supposed to get. Because everyone else does. Like Yuri “Robot” Fujishiro and Max “Boxer” Silverstone. Because Travis prefers Perm as Kirill’s nickname, Kirill rather choose the insulting Okappa one instead. Like he has other options anyway. Okappa it is?

Episode 2
Kirill is called by Travis… Because he is fired! WTF?! He apologizes that there was only an opening for his post and it was supposed to be for Kay. There goes his hero dreams. But Kirill won’t accept this yet. He challenges that if he could accomplish anything within a week, please reconsider. But many days passed and it’s nothing but desk jobs and boring stakeouts. Until a random old guy hints he shouldn’t give up did Kirill realizes he still has a chance. He sees his personal informant, Morgan and is told that the petty thief he caught, Billy is now out of prison and might be doing something to smuggle Anthem. With Doug, they bust into the place but the container only contains monkeys. Depressed Kirill bums out and reveals to Doug his reason of becoming a detective. He and his sister were orphans. But 10 years ago his sister disappeared and he became a police to look for her. That’s how he met Morgan. For Doug, his reason to become an officer is because he wants to rid of something. They are then contacted by Seven-O’s communications officer, Sophie Gainsbourg that there has been a riot on the prison island. Henry Glen has been suspected to be given Anthem and used this chaos to escape. But Doug doesn’t head for the island even though there is only 1 road there. He believes the prisoners have already escaped and swam away. From the currents, he believes they swam to the warehouse where the container was. If he is right, it is for the prisoners to hide and escape.

When they get there, they see infamous prisoners all gathered there. This might be their big break but Doug notes Henry is not here and they have no business with anything that is non-Anthem related. Doug further deduces that this is a decoy and Henry might have escaped via the road. The only vehicle to have left is an ambulance. So they track down the ambulance and as Kirill takes statements from them, Doug knows the driver is Henry. Immediately Henry steps on the pedal. Begins a wild car chase. Doug explains how Henry used Anthem to make himself more handsome. Because Anthem also removes a human’s natural limiters and is poised for evolutionary advantage, it means he was ‘chosen’. Doug manages to corner Henry (turning into a monster at this point) and fires the medicine. In the aftermath Kirill felt he didn’t do anything so Doug tells him it isn’t wrong to be a hero but the dramatic ones dies first. That was what happened to his previous partner, Derick Ross who was set up in an ambush. Kirill is motivated to help Doug rid of Anthem. Please be his Double Decker! Doesn’t that sound embarrassing? Doug corrects him that it isn’t Anthem or evil but 2 things: Poverty and class. Kirill now further admires him. After a week, Kirill anticipates he will be fired as he meets Travis. Shockingly he is handed his gear and badge and is now a full member of Seven-O. Thank goodness things worked out, eh? So with this, he gets a new nickname? Buzz-cut?

Episode 3
Kirill tries to impress Doug but he isn’t making any impression. Travis briefs his team about some shady dealings of Anthem at the industrial zone. It is believed the man behind it is nicknamed Bamboo Man but he wears a mask and has jewels for teeth. Travis wants the newbies to work on this case. Deana conveniently dumps Kay to help Doug and Kirill. So Kirill is still trying to get to Doug’s heart. He sure sounds misleading when he says it to his landlord. Yeah, he is given some food discounts. Doughnuts? Too bad Doug doesn’t want them so he gives them to Kay. You mean this dude wants to impress a guy instead of this cutie girl?! Does he want bromance?! Back to the case, the trio go undercover as journalists as they cover a union strike led by Harry Bottoms. They are on strike to protest against the factory ignoring their health conditions as Harry has a lung disease from its poisonous gas emissions. Then they go down to the factory and the foreman, Tommy shows them to low oil production. Nothing serious. My, is Kirill going all out to impress Doug that he wants to stay back and do stake out? Yeah, he really wants to fight for the workers’ case. So as he waits, finally he sees loads of trucks moving. Time to catch them. Too bad they are just shipping oil drums. That was embarrassing. With this blunder, Kirill starts thinking if Doug prefers his old partner. So he calls Apple Bieber (Seven-O’s technology officer) to ask about their past. Great buddies of course.

Later when Kay takes Kirill out to eat, Kirill thinks he got her heart instead and went to great lengths to find places of good food. Actually, she is just a food enthusiast. Oh well, these young ones are so in their own world. It is revealed that Harry is part of this Anthem dealing. Doug snuffs them out and learns where they cleverly hid it to avoid the checkpoints. Doug has suspected Harry by leaking that shady photo of Bamboo Man, thinking he will act when he thinks somebody is on their tail. The earlier oil delivery trucks were just to divert their attention. Although Doug subdues his men, Harry flees. Harry calls Tommy to get all the stuffs out. Do not even try to burn it all he will be killed. Tommy is unaware of this Anthem thingy Harry is dealing with. That is when Bamboo Man forces him to take one as he turns Overdrive. Kirill and Kay seem to have finished their ‘date’. Coincidentally fleeing Harry almost crashes into them! He takes them hostage and back to the factory. Doug is also here but Tommy the monster now attacks everybody. Kirill tries to be a hero and be the bait so Doug can fire his medicine. In the aftermath, this industrial company is just a subcontractor used to put Anthem into pouches. Doug shows his appreciation by giving Kirill a funny looking gun. But Kirill is touched and hopes he could one day tell him about his ex-partner.

Episode 4
Kirill is shocked that Derick is alive! He just got discharged from hospital and the nurses are sad. They hope he gets shot again so he could return! So will Kirill be fired? Actually Derick is leaving the force and decides to go with his dream of opening a bar. Deana and Kay go to a host club to catch an Anthem dealer. She is splashing the cash like nobody’s business. Yeah, she swiped Travis’ wallet. So when the target is spotted, they search him. All kinds of illegal drugs but no Anthem. This is cumbersome because there is a clear division of jurisdiction between Anthem and other drug department despite under the same umbrella. They often clash. The dealer runs away and Kay interrupts Deana otherwise she would have shot her gun in public. This causes them to argue and Deana mad at her for not only being useless but getting in her way. And so Kay rants her woes about Deana’s recklessness and fashion sense to the rest (she’s not drinking anything alcoholic and she is already drunk). Doug tells her that Deana is highly skilled and sought after. It was a condition she has no partner if she were to join Seven-O. But the question remains why she took on Kay recently. Meanwhile Deana is doing the same rant on Kay but at Derick’s. He believes there is something that Deana lacks that Kay can cover. Kay goes to see Gary of the drug control division. He helps and teaches her how to do stakeouts but eventually it is a trap as Gary is in cohorts with the Anthem dealer. It seems Gary is selling Anthem to people. Despite its high risk, people still want to buy them. However he only chooses who gets the stimulant while others get the poison. Those who survive after using Anthem will think they are the chosen one and hence rumours of this will spread. Yuri and Kirill are captured by the goons as they were keeping a watch on Kay.

Gary wants Kay to get a sample of the special bullet drug or they will die. Kay manages to see Deana to get the bullet, giving excuse this is bait to lure the big bad organization, Esperanza out. After doing so, Gary breaks his promise and fires at Deana. Luckily she survives by hiding in the sewer hole and not the car he riddled with bullets. Deana goes after him. Cornered, Gary uses Anthem on himself and instantly goes into Overdrive. Then he starts blaming Deana and it turns out he has always been jealous of her. He wanted to join Seven-O but Deana got it instead. Kay isn’t a useless hostage this time as she blinds Gary with her flashlight so Deana could pump the bullet into him. Once this is over, she contacts his goons who are in shock. That is when Yuri easily breaks out of her chains and contacts Max to arrest them. Them playing the hostage was just a ploy to keep them occupied here. Kay learns a few important lessons from Deana. She never trusted Gary because of his warped sense of justice, that’s why she knew it was a trap. Kay gets motivated and wants Deana to be her teacher. This reminds Deana of her old partner and had the same name. She has a partner? I’m confused. Later it is clarified that her ‘old partner’ was a dog named Kay. So this is the real reason Deana accepted her? I don’t think Kay is going to be as obedient as her pet dog. Meanwhile Kirill is ‘sad’ Doug didn’t come to his rescue but tells him a secret that Yuri is a robot after he saw that amazing breakout. Doug being the dick he is decides to play along. Because it is common knowledge that Yuri is a robot.

Episode 5
Zabel Franken is about to be executed when he pleads he has more information about the killings. But he only wants Doug to hear him. Zabel’s story is that he was a drug dealer and when the deal turned sour, he started shooting. A few innocent people died including a toddler. He is sentenced to death and today is his execution. He requested Doug because he was the one who arrested him. So it seems there was one more thing he never told anybody: He killed the boss of Esperanza, A! Esperanza uses alphabets for its leaders so you can see why a small general like Zabel is screwed. That time Zabel was working for B and wanted him to take over the leadership of Esperanza. When Zabel was caught, he was assured B would come save him but now he feels betrayed and will do anything to get out alive. To prove what he is saying is the truth, Zabel tells them the location of A’s body. Seven-O members start digging and they find a right leg with a metal piece. Although this belongs to A, they want to know where the rest of the body is. Zabel will only tell them if there is an official plea for his life. Thanks to this big case, the authorities are able to bend the rules. Kirill is not impressed with Doug’s ‘hypocrisy’ because despite telling him not to get so obsessed with a case or else it will swallow you, Doug himself seems to be obsessed with the Esperanza case as he has a thick notebook with notes all about his findings on them.

After making arrangements for Zabel to show them where he hid the rest of the body (because it would be faster to find), they arrive at an abandoned school and start digging the spot he points. Yup, there is the rest of the body. Kirill seems to have an uneasy feeling all this while and he feels that whatever Zabel says is starting to jinx their situation. And true enough, here comes B! He starts attacking the police and it’s like he can do bullet time and dodge all their bullets. Damn this guy is so overpowered and he isn’t even using Anthem! With Zabel fearing for his life that B is going to kill them all, Doug points a gun at Zabel and wants him to confess all the important things of Esperanza. He manages to eke out their hideout when Kirill interrupts. A timely reminder not to let the case swallow him up. He orders the police to take away Zabel as they will figure out a way to buy time. Well, they’re going to need a lot of luck on their side because the Seven-O duo are having a tough time fighting B. It is only at his mercy that he lets them leave as he escapes. Like as though he accomplished a mission? In the aftermath, it seems Zabel attacked his police entourage and escaped. His whereabouts unknown. But thanks to his info, they managed to nab a few Esperanza generals and confirmed the body of A. Kirill is in no mood to celebrate. Doug comes by to apologize. He lets him know that his first partner was killed during an Esperanza case. It’s probably why he is obsessed. Kirill is motivated to take notes too? They’re going to get to the bottom of this and nab everyone. We see Zabel is actually the true boss of Esperanza, Agapetus Kroyd! The prison guard was in cohorts with him to setup the ‘treasure hunt’ for Seven-O. Agapetus kills off the prison guard so as to make it look like Zabel is dead.

Episode 6
While Doug and Kirill are doing a stakeout for some drug deal exchange, they get a call from Travis. It seems the police has requested some backup as there is a drunk mad making a fuss outside a casino. He claims he is from a ‘big syndicate’. He could be an Esperanza boss or just flat out drunk. Since the duo are nearby, what better way to confirm that. But Travis doesn’t like this one bit and has every reason to be worried. Because this is recorded by some reality TV programme albeit their faces are mosaic out and their voices changed to chipmunk. So Doug and Kirill interview this drunk guy who seems to be switching back and forth between fantasy and reality. He claims he is from ‘above’. No, not some building or organization hierarchy. You know, like heaven. He also claims everything here is a lab experiment done by the ‘above’ and hence he wants to see the mayor to tell this important announcement. Then he realizes missed calls from his wife and is starting to get scared. After some tests, he is found negative for drugs and sent home to his yelling wife. Yeah… While this programme is cheesy in the eyes of others, it seems Kirill loves it! Yeah, he is playing a video of it again! And then he sees something… OMG! Is that his sister, Milla passing by?! He goes to tell Doug but apparently he too has been watching the video and knows. Wow. Doug doing all this for Kirill? Of course as you would soon know, they aren’t talking on the same wavelength. So while Kirill is very touched he is doing this and help find his sister, in actual fact he is tracing a drug mule who appeared in the background of the video. They go bust the guy and Kirill must be damn disappointed to realize this wasn’t about Milla in the first place.

So when they are finally on the same wavelength, I guess Kirill jumped to gun too soon because how would Dog have known how Milla looked like? With the help of Apple, he can help trace the footage of the surveillance camera all over the place and track the whereabouts but it will take time. So as Seven-O hang out at Derick’s bar and hear Kirill’s story, suddenly Derick introduces his new part time assistant. WTF?! Isn’t this Milla???!!! It gets awkward between the siblings. Kirill doesn’t say anything because of what Doug said that he probably wasn’t interested why Milla disappeared in the first place but rather why she didn’t take him along. So it is shameless Deana asking on his behalf as Milla explains she was working here and there part time and took up jobs that doesn’t attract much attention. And so everyone agrees that this bar is so low key enough for Milla to join?! Are they saying it will never get popular?! Oh dear. Kirill breaks his silence. Since it’s the first time they’ve met, he will not force her to tell her reasons and can do so when she’s ready. Deana tries to tease Kirill for nearly crying but it is Kay who is bawling and getting emotional. WTF… Milla is glad Kirill has made great friends but Derick corrects her. They’re not just friends. Comrades. Later when the party’s over, Kirill takes a leak and is shocked to see Milla doing the same! OMFG! You mean Milla is actually a guy?! No wonder he sounds like a man… His real name is Valery. Wait. Isn’t that a girl’s name too? And Apple came in too late to tell the rest this. Yeah, he was checking out toilet footages and saw Milla entering the men’s toilet. Why was he watching toilet footages…?

Episode 7
Deana doesn’t want anybody to tell Derick that Milla is a cross-dresser. Just when he thought he got a nice cute female assistant, how do you think he will feel when he finds out the truth? I thought Deana just wants to get some kicks out of this… Meanwhile Doug is visiting the grave of his ex-partner, Pat Morino. It has been 8 years… Doug then visits an ex-convict who has turned over a new leaf, Paul. He learns that Good Looking Joe is making a comeback. Seeing his old retired boss, Dennis, he knows nothing of it but he thinks it is no good to get involved now. With Doug acting strange, he is even doing a Batman interrogation against Joker, beating up a convict to make him spill everything about Joe. Kirill is worried and sees Morgan for any info. The only thing he dug up was that his ex-partner was an information broker he was fond of but was killed. It is believed Joe killed Pat but there was no evidence. Because Doug is hot on Joe’s heels, Joe doesn’t know who this detective and summons Paul for answers. Paul pleads for his safety and will tell anything he knows. When Doug returns home, he finds his place vandalized with messages to stay away as well as one to visit Paul. He is in hospital in coma. Doug doesn’t heed the warning and arrests one of Joe’s drug dealers. This has Joe calling Doug personally to talk. But there is nothing Doug wants to talk. Until Doug realizes he has Dennis captured.

Kirill sees Doug heading out like as though he is going to war. He tries to stop him but is passed out by some sleeping gas. When he wakes up, he tells Travis about this. He believes his agents will not kill and has high moral standards. Too bad he soon u-turns his decision and goes with Kirill to rescue Doug. Doug is at Joe’s place and is told to surrender for Dennis to be freed. Turns out Dennis is now a drug addict and Joe’s regular. This is of course a setup. Now we hear the real story behind all this: Pat was not only an information broker but was a shoe shiner and a 12 year old orphaned girl! She was killed when shining Joe’s shoes just because she shone the wrong shoe polish colour! Joe disappeared after that and Doug became obsessed with Esperanza. Joe takes the Lady Joker gun Doug hides in his coat. He shoots a few times but nothing came about. Until the final bullet turns out to be a flash grenade. In this commotion, Doug steals a gun, shoots out all the lights as well as the goons. Lady Joker was a gun Doug gave to Pat for her to protect herself but she refused and returned it to him as she didn’t want him to break the rules. This is why Doug is by the book cop. Sort of. With Joe pleading for his life, Doug shows no mercy and pulls the trigger. By the time Kirill and Travis arrives, Doug assures them he did not kill anybody. The last shot misfired and it scared the pants out of Joe. Everyone is arrested and more good news, Paul comes out from coma. It is unsure if Doug knew the gun misfired since the gun is old but Kirill believes it misfired because Pat didn’t want him to kill for revenge.

Episode 8
A few prom queen candidates have been poisoned. There is suspected use of Anthem and the perpetrator might be a minor who goes to that high school. Therefore some protocol prevents them from investigating the school (because it is the alumni of many higher ups). But Travis manages to pull some strings to allow his Seven-O to investigate under the guise they give a drug awareness talk. During the talk, Hannah suddenly hijacks the stage to prompt for signatures to cancel the prom for putting too much emphasis on appearances. She is of course booed off. Later Elle and Camila approach Max and Kirill to tell them that Hannah is the one behind all this. However Max finds it suspicious that they simply try to accuse others without solid evidence. Furthermore, Elle is speaking and dressing oddly like as though she is hiding something. Elle feels hurt since she is being treated like a criminal but Camila assures her the prom will still go on tomorrow. The rest question other students. They talk about Chris who is in the lead to become the prom king as he is athletic and the smartest guy in the grade. Then a scream is heard. When the officers arrive, they see Hannah and Camila injured and Chris stunned by it all. It looked like he is the culprit and even though he says he didn’t do anything, he made it worse by running away but is soon captured and interrogated. Although he has possessions of Anthem and a weapon, he still maintains his innocence. He saw the girls this way when he arrived. Plus, he doesn’t do drugs and ran because he panicked. He also sided with Hannah and wanted to sign the petition to ban the prom.

On the prom day, there are police guarding the area heavily. Camila talks to Elle and doesn’t want the police to ruin the prom. They can hold it another day and even outside school. However Elle is not amused. All she wanted was to dance with Chris and with him treated as a criminal, it’s off. Elle then starts to berate Camila for trying to act like she is one of the cool kids. She was in fact one of those ugly ones and used Anthem to make herself beautiful. Sad Camila reveals Chris’ intention to ruin their prom by cancelling it. As he is popular, he might just get enough signatures for it to be cancelled. That’s why she tried to get rid of both of them. All that matters is Elle becomes prom queen and Camila will be her second. Elle tries to run away from this crazy b*tch as Max comes in to arrest Camila. She had always suspected her since she is the only one who is so obsessed about the prom. Camila uses Anthem on herself and turns into a monster queen bee, taking Elle hostage. As Max gives chase, Yuri tells the rest of Max’s background. She was once a shy and feminine girl who liked cute things. She had a best friend, Connor who was a total opposite and a mechanic. When he asked her to the prom, he had a favour to ask. It seems he wanted them to cross-dress. She accepted it but the crowd did not. They weren’t even allowed to attend the prom hall. Connor fell into depression, used drugs and left town. She continued to keep this hairstyle in memory of him. Max manages to shoot the cure into Camila. In the aftermath, the school will continue to have its prom but without a king or queen. They will investigate how the students got their hand on Anthem. Seven-O throws a surprise prom party for Max. All thought up by Kirill. With this, at least Max doesn’t hate proms as much as before.

Episode 9
William Dorman, a mayor candidate has his daughter kidnapped. So what does Seven-O have to do with this? As explained by Brian Cooper, the military’s secretary, a ransom is asked and the kidnappers are believed to be from Esperanza. As they are both good friends, he hopes Seven-O can help solve this case. All Seven-O are stationed to stakeout Dorman as he brings the ransom in person. However it seems like there are things getting in their way like traffic jams and arson fire smoke to block their stakeout. Eventually Doug has to personally follow Dorman and when he tries to save him from Esperanza thugs, he gets knocked out. In the aftermath, Doug is kidnapped and we see Dorman in cohorts with the thugs. But this is not how the plan was supposed to be. Kidnapping an officer would make things worse when this should be a heroic story of a father saving his daughter. Agapetus couldn’t care less ab out all that since it’s time to move to the next phase of the plan. He has his goons beat Dorman up since he wanted the heroic father story. When the daughter is released, she was told to relay the message that Doug is alive. This has the rest think that this kidnapping is just a ruse to kidnap one of their officer. Because what Esperanza wants is how the special bullet works (the right dosage is needed, more or less will kill you outright). True enough, this is what Agapetus is trying to get out of Doug as he tortures him to make him talk. Luckily Apple manages to hack his way into Doug’s visual apparatus in his eye to give an idea where he is (in some parking lot). Kay uses Morse code to communicate and Doug replies the same via blinking. But they have to move fast as Agapetus is thinking of resorting to Anthem to force Doug to talk.

Kirill has an idea to rescue Doug. Travis approves it since the military will be taking full responsibility. I guess we don’t qualify to hear it but better to judge it ourselves when we see it. Kirill gears himself up with several of Apple’s gadgets. Deana snipes the cars to make them explode as distraction while Kirill zooms past them in his hi-tech roller blades. The Esperanza thugs are about to take Doug and leave but he manages to break free and jump off the storey! Not part of the plan but thankfully Kirill is in the vicinity to ‘collect’ him. I guess lady luck is actually on their side for them to really have this awesome coordination. Don’t tell me it’s that Double Decker system! With Doug sitting on his shoulders, Kirill gives his last push to ‘fly’ into the helicopter piloted by Max and Yuri. I don’t think Doug is that heavy… Oh shoot. Ran out of fuel. Don’t worry. Doug has got them covered. The rescue and escape mission is successful and Dorman’s bluff is eventually exposed as a ploy to make him win the mayoral election. Kirill visits Doug recuperating in hospital. Although Doug thanks him, he did mention if he was in his shoes, he wouldn’t have come to save him. Speaking of which, there was that one incident, right? Oh boy… Meanwhile Cooper ponders about Kirill’s lucky charm quote of “Don’t think. Feel so good”. He said it was his grandpa’s words but could have been some corruption of another quote. True enough, that line is part of some Nikai’s prayer.

Episode 10
Doug is ‘running around’ the hospital to avoid doing paperwork that will discharge him and putting him back on duty. Yeah, that guy needs some rest too. Meanwhile, there is this kid, Gus going around the hospital, flashing his cash to girls to date him?! He must be so disappointed learning Kirill isn’t a woman… I guess Gus even tried on Deana but he was aiming for Kay. Speaking of them, they are here to interview a doctor because there are former patients of his died after using Anthem. Wait. Aren’t those ex-patients Ghostbusters???!!! He claims those patients were near death and when one is in such dire situation, one would turn to anything, including Anthem just to live. He questions if they even know how Anthem affects the human body. Then this is the biggest surprise… Kirill explaining how Anthem effects the DNA and genetics! OMG! You’re not dreaming! It’s real! Deana thinks this is an imposter! Sorry, girl. This is the real Kirill! OMFG! Unbelievable! The doctor is so amazed that he wants Kirill to introduce him to the military. Because he wants to put forth his proposal to use Anthem as medication. Just like how marijuana is used for medical purposes? Even back at the base, Deana and Kay are still in shock that Kirill is not stupid! When Apple tries to show him some genetic engineering journal written many years ago, guess what? It was written by Kirill! OMFG!!! Not trolling! It seems he needed the money for scholarship and studied and wrote this. But once he got the money, he forgot everything. Later Kirill sees Gus staying at the hospital’s park so he brings him back home. Gus tells his sad story that he wasn’t flashing his money to date but to find a good woman for his father, Jeffrey before he dies. His mom died when he was born and dad worked all his life just to support him. Gus doesn’t want dad to die living such a pathetic life. But Kirill emotionally disagrees because it is bad enough if a family member thinks so. All dad needs is his son to smile and be assured he is okay. Yeah, he is speaking from experience.

Kirill is called by Doug who is of course out by himself illegally. It seems he is tailing a man who has taken Anthem but is on Overdrive. Too bad the system cannot detect it is an overdrive. He knows this man because he saw him this morning on his deathbed at the hospital. When confronted, he tries to attack them and rants about the hope he has been given. Despite injured, he feels no pain and flees. When they return to tell the doctor about this, he claims there is not enough info to substantiate their claims. Later that guy returns all bloodied and is panicking. It seems he cannot feel or use his other senses anymore. Doug makes a deal with him that if they tell him who gave him the Anthem, they will help him. Meanwhile, the doctor is giving Jeffrey the option to use Anthem since he has a few days to live left. True enough, he is the one behind giving Anthem to his patients. He also has a secret lab where he is using other Anthem users as lab rats to find the correct dosage of the cure. You see, the special cure is a tightly kept secret only known by the military. The other guy gets desperate to use another Anthem but Kirill shoots the cure into him. Now he feels all the pain. Don’t want to die (again) now, eh? The doctor tries to get Jeffery to use the Anthem and coaxes him he is his saviour, blah, blah, blah. However Jeffrey squishes the Anthem. He would rather die as Gus’ father than a monster. In the aftermath, Gus holds a mock wedding for dad. So Kirill putting his femininity to good use for once as Gus’ bride???!!! He promises to work hard and not become a failure. Emotional father and son hug! Where’s the tissue when you need them?! Cooper approaches Kirill and asks if he is interested to join the military.

Episode 11
Kirill is on cloud nine thinking about joining the military. Sure, Cooper gave him time to think but why is he hesitating? With the recent case, the military is now getting involved to smoke out Esperanza. Hence Seven-O has so much free time that they’re even thinking of going to the hotsprings? Kirill then gets a call from Cooper to meet. Yeah, he’s taking too long on his decision. Cooper tells him top secret info. Ever wondered why there are 2 suns but only 1 moon? That’s because the brighter sun is a colony called Nikai and there are beings from there! So there really is heaven? The military has been trying to contact them but those people ignore them. They know about Nikai because a couple of children escaped 18 years ago (don’t they suspiciously look like Kirill and Milla?). So if Kirill joins them, his safety is guaranteed since his existence is special and puts others in danger. If he wants to know more, join the military. Back home, Kirill asks Milla about this and he confirms they come from above! He doesn’t know the details but mom had them escape the hell hole up there. Grandpa was a local who took them in and care for them and carried this secret till his grave. Milla never said anything just to protect Kirill. That’s why he cross-dressed. But being together made them even more stand out so he left. Milla never intended to see him again but after meeting again, he decided to protect and support him all the way. Kirill then asks Doug indirectly about what to do if a job puts people around you at risk. Well, that’s what partners are for, right? To protect the other. This clear Kirill’s mind as he calls Cooper and decides to meet and give his answer. But he’s not answering. It seems the military has discovered Esperanza’s base and everyone is down on the field to smoke them out. When Kirill calls Apple for reinforcements, that is when he hears Apple being kidnapped by Agapetus and his men. Kirill realizes the operation is just a setup and Esperanza’s goal is to find the cure of the special bullet. He calls Doug about this. Since everyone else is busy rounding up the baddies, Doug returns alone.

Agapetus threatens to kill Sophie so Apple has no choice but to reveal some juicy secrets. Doug and Kirill bust into the room. But this hold up scene feels weird. Everybody is pointing a gun at everybody so much so Agapetus has got enough time to bomb the wall and make his helicopter escape. When a subordinate shoots at Kirill, Yuri gets in the way. I guess this bomb must be special since she has enough time to analyse the situation and the necessary actions to take. To minimize the risk, she jumps off the building. Cue for the bomb to explode. YURI!!! NOOOO!!!!! In the aftermath, it is a gloomy mood at Seven-O with Kirill being emotionally desperate to fix Yuri. Yeah, he ‘reveals’ she is a robot and they can replace her. Apple doesn’t think her core survived the explosion. This hurts Max more than anybody but she knows even if Yuri gets a new body, it is not the same Yuri. It’s like a new person with Yuri’s memories. Kirill leaves upset and Cooper’s words now rang so true. Meanwhile Agapetus surprises Bamboo Man as he is still alive. Agapetus accuses Bamboo Man of trying to set him up and kill him during the helicopter escape but he shot the pilot first. Though Bamboo Man denies it all, Agapetus continues his mission is to lead and give others a purpose so that the poor will survive without resorting to crime. He believes Bamboo Man is trying to take his place and hence giving kids Anthem was a way of getting back at him. He is disappointed in him for being blinded by power. A power struggle soon begins and we see Agapetus bites the dust. Bamboo Man then shape shifts his face into Cooper! Just got a call from Kirill wanting to join the military to ensure his friends’ safety.

Episode 12
Max hands in her resignation but Travis holds on to it. Soon Travis calls his Seven-O members and they are being sent home. Recently the police discovered numerous bodies believed to be from Esperanza. It is unknown if it is due to internal power struggle. This means with Esperanza losing its grip on power, Seven-O loses its significance and hence they are technically on hiatus. Milla is worried he hasn’t seen Kirill so when talks to the Seven-O ladies, Deana can sense he is hiding something. Thus Milla spills out the beans about Nikai. Speaking of Kirill, he is now with Cooper as he is shown his secret lab where they research and gather more info about Nikai. He believes they are humans’ missing link as they left the wasted planet. Of course Nikai also had their own problems and conflict. With their side being outnumbered, hence the enhancement of individual soldiers using drugs. To Kirill’s shock, Cooper reveals he is also from Nikai. He goes on explaining about GMS (Generically Modified Soldier) that was a success but it took lots of time and resources just to create one. Therefore they miniaturized the drug but the problem was getting the ratio right. With limited resources on their side, they turn to using Earth as experiment. That’s right. The hymn and prayer that will lead soldiers to victory is no other than Anthem. Esperanza was used to distribute it and the military the means to treat it. At the same time, there was somebody born from Nikai who could naturally neutralize Anthem. However the parents refused them to be tested and sent them away. Cooper was only sent to collect data but never thought to find Kirill alive. Kirill realizes too late that the military wanting him was a lie and just a setup to get him. Kirill can’t fight back since Cooper is a GMS. Doug calls other Seven-O members and he has some juicy details. From Apple’s hacking of the lens in Agapetus was wearing, they are able to see Bamboo Man shape shifting into Cooper. Because he still had his lens on, they knew he was still alive so Doug went to see him as Agapetus revealed the natural antibodies in Kirill. The plan now is to save Kirill but doing it the official way will take a long time. So I guess they’re going to get some weapons illegally from the black market?

Kirill has no choice but to agree to Cooper’s terms. He is then shown an empty rocket that serves as some sort of smoke signal to Nikai. If launched, they will send something down. Suddenly the base is under attack. Doug then comes in to evacuate the duo. Of course this is part of Doug’s plan. They forced Derick to turn his bar back to its original bus mode (there goes his dream) and play the terrorist attacking the base. Deana and Max pretend to attack it and evacuate the scientists. Yeah, they even get Kirill’s old landlady to hop in on the action. Grandma kicks ass! Cooper spots Doug’s fake gun and realizes this is a trap. Doug and Kirill manage to escape in time but Cooper is hot on their tail. Doug reveals a special cure bullet to defeat Cooper. They analysed Kirill’s urine sample (?!) and managed to make an antidote from it. Doug further reveals Cooper’s obsession to destroy Agapetus’ bullet research was out of fear he would lose his own abilities. A person like that makes them fragile. But here is another catch. Doug will use Anthem on himself. Kirill is against this of course. Doug believes there will be a cure one day. But what if he dies soon? Better than sitting here and waiting to die. Cooper returns with Milla as hostage. Nosy brother wanted to help but became a liability instead. Kirill doubles down and threatens to kill himself. However Cooper plays psychology. All he needs is to present something to his Nikai bosses. Since nobody knows Kirill is alive or dead and that Kirill is a threat to him, go ahead and kill yourself. Doug admits their loss and throws down his weapons. But right after that, Cooper shoots Doug.

Episode 13
After Kirill goes with Cooper, he is shown a secret switch in which Cooper activates for the base to self-destruct! Overkill when the military is also called in to bomb the hell out of this place! As long as Cooper has Kirill, he is willing to destroy all the military secrets. When Kirill tries to inject to antidote, Cooper sees this coming and evades. Luckily Milla had a spare and injects. Didn’t see this one coming? Cooper feels weakened and ironically he still could get away from Kirill and back to Doug’s corpse to take his Anthem and get buffed up into some greyish Hulk. Don’t worry, lady reinforcements are here. While it looks like they’re taking pot shots at him, suddenly Doug wakes up. Yeah, he’s wearing a bullet proof vest. Of course you would have somewhat guessed all this was just a setup. You see, the antidote is fake and just some sort of a stimulant. Remember, you can’t make a cure for Anthem that easily. With this placebo effect, Cooper panicked and decided to use Anthem to maintain his power. Of course this means overdosing and going into Overdrive. After shooting the cure, Cooper still thinks the base will be destroyed. However Doug explains that they have caught Cooper using Anthem on camera (the entire plan all along to get evidence) and Apple has hacked the system into showing all this live. With this, Cooper has violated the laws and hence is relieved of his position and duties and Kirill who is technically his assistant is now in charge. Meaning, the bombing is cancelled. Still, the self-destruct cannot be override. Cooper uses this chance to escape and as much as Kirill wants to go after him, Doug reminds him their main mission was to save each other. So you mean exposing Cooper was the secondary mission? Anyway, Derick ‘sacrifices’ his bus to hold the closing gates for them to escape. I wonder how Doug and Kirill got lost and took enough time to get out somewhere else. I guess we need time for them to narrate about being heroes and the likes. Them, heroes? They’re just detectives.

I don’t know how they know where they’re going to appear but isn’t that Yuri piloting the helicopter?! When it looks like Doug is going to die again to sacrifice himself to let Kirill get away, damn illogical bomb explosion ‘pushes’ Doug up flying towards the helicopter. No injuries were sustained?! WTF?! Don’t wanna ruin this happy ending. Yeah. Don’t think. Feel so good! Cooper still wants to take everything down with him via this rocket. But Agapetus manages to pin him down. This isn’t revenge. It’s for wasting food. He shoots him and he himself goes down with the building. When Seven-O returns, Travis has got to explain about Yuri. This is the real Yuri and not her clone. You see, a few episodes back, Travis spilled his coffee while she was in maintenance mode. Panicked, he did the unethical cloning secretly. So the Yuri that sacrificed herself was the clone. Phew, right?! I suppose a deep apology isn’t enough. He gets beaten up and his wallet swipe (treats are on him tonight). Oh well. We got Yuri back. Now what is Kirill’s problem? He wants to resign, thinking Nikai will still come after them. You’ve guessed it, nobody cares. They agree to keep this a secret and if they do come after them, they’ll just kick their asses. In the aftermath, even though Esperanza is no more, the threat of Anthem is still relevant and hence Seven-O is not disbanded and this is also thanks to Dorman who has turned over a new leaf, promising to rid the city of crime. His popularity is soaring with the elections nearing. And Derrick continues his bar dream although it’s just in some alley. Better than nothing. Meanwhile Nikai realizes contact with Cooper is lost but he is the weakest of the 144 GMS. WTF is this shonen cliché?!

Super Cop: Project A(nthem)
Be glad to know the series isn’t technically over yet. Yup, as announced at the end of the final episode, a few more extra episodes will follow. Oh boy. Looks like I get to continue my feel good factor for a while. So what is with anime these days? They run an entire cour and at the end of it, decide to release of few more episodes later? At least they are doing this for series that I enjoy (like High Score Girl). But until then, it was really a fun ride and there were parts of me that wished this had gone a bit longer like another cour.

Although the story generally seems ordinary, but it was interesting enough to get me hooked. Firstly, the dynamism between Doug and Kirill is very amusing and is never a bore to watch. You have characters who are totally different from each other although they are not necessarily at the opposite polar ends of a spectrum. Many of the early episodes feel episodic like standalones and some of them feel like to showcase some of the characters in Seven-O and give them a bit more depth and background. I did expect some sort of twist because it couldn’t just be something straightforward, a fight between Seven-O and Esperanza. But I didn’t really see it coming about aliens! Or rather, those Nikai people. That caught me off guard. Now it isn’t just a drug problem and now you have ‘divine intervention from above’. It would add a whole lot of epic plot if the Nikai decide to bring their war down to Lisvalletta.

Making it as fun to watch is the very lively and ever positive narration in every episode that helps break the fourth wall and tongue in cheek humour. You think you know the plot or whatever that is going on? Hate to break it to you because the narration will soon tell the obvious in our face. Like as though they know what we’re thinking. They’re on to us…

Thankfully, the characters help make the series a fun watch. As said, the dynamic relationship between Doug and Kirill makes it more than just a simple and clichéd buddy cop series. They’re not perfect and have their own flaws but I guess that is why they work because they somewhat cover up for each other’s weaknesses when the time calls for it the most. So I guess that’s why their partnership works? Like Doug who may be mostly taciturn and sometimes a dick, sometimes he looks a bit like a scheming fellow because of his tendency to go into his ‘thinking’ mode by tapping his fingers on the side of his forehead. He isn’t as emotional as Kirill so when he somewhat makes deadpan jokes, he just looks weird. You wonder if he is being funny or not. Or maybe he is just like that. Let’s hope he lives up to everyone’s expectations of eliminating class and poverty before he retires. Otherwise he won’t be able to retire ever! And yeah we have Kirill his other half who is more passionate than his partner. It’s a bit cliché that he is that sort of main character that holds a special something and is hence coveted. Feels like plot convenience but whatever. And for those who judge characters by their appearances, Kirill sure had us dumbfounded when he knows his stuffs in genetics! Damn I still can’t believe it that this is Kirill!

I thought it was a bit disappointing when Milla suddenly popped up like that. It sounded like Kirill’s search for his ‘sister’ was going to be some side plot or perhaps incorporated into some twist in the final stretch of the series. Perhaps it was to get back at us first. Before we know it, the bombshell and truth is dropped before us. Also to let our guard down because with Milla as Derick’s assistant, we think there is no more going on for Milla. And of course that Nikai thingy but still, Milla overall doesn’t feel that significant. I suppose I have only myself to blame for hyping up this and expecting something else.

The other members in Seven-O are cool but I wish that some of them would have a little more screen time to showcase their past and background. We certainly have one for Max but the rest didn’t. Blame the single cour for that. Anyway, I would have love to see how Yuri came about and join the force as well as Kay. Speaking of Kay, with all the flashy weirdoes in Seven-O, Kay seems to be so normal and it makes her stand out like a sore thumb. I thought Kirill was the most emotional but I take that back seeing if you hit your sob story right, Kay surpasses Kirill as the emotional queen. Is that normal? I think Travis is portrayed to us as a laidback boss and Kirill’s partner in crime in terms of a comic relief character. But behind the scenes I believe he is doing a tough job of trying to pull strings for his agents. Otherwise you think that Seven-O which is one of the many divisions under the military could have so much freedom in going about to deal with the Anthem menace?

Even though Derick feels like a distraction we don’t need, but I guess we need this character for another running joke because nobody else goes to his bar except his Seven-O buddies. And they even make blatant jokes in his face about that! Oh Derick, you did say you wanted to achieve your dream by opening your own bar. But you didn’t say to have a SUCCESSFUL bar! Ah, technicalities. Hence Derick’s bar feels like a place for Seven-O to chill. I guess he serves decent food. Oh wait. There is a joke too that they don’t want to taste some of his special food he comes up. Thank plot convenience of something coming up for them to leave.

I guess Apple can be a comic relief character if you look at him in another way. Firstly his name already is weird and I wonder if he is taken inspiration from a certain Canadian teenage heartthrob. Like baby, baby, baby, oh… Other than being a technological genius of Seven-O, I guess we are more inclined to remember him as the guy who keeps reminding his comrades to call him doctor instead of his first name. Yeah, they do in serious times but other times, it feels like they’re trolling and ignoring him by calling him otherwise. And what’s this hobby of his that Deana likes to tease him? Peeping on others because he can hack into surveillance cameras? Last and not least, Sophie… Do they want me to remember her as the short girl with puffy lips and keeps saying “Oh… “ in her sentences?

Esperanza being the antagonist at first impressions feel like being one dimensional villains. Agapetus being the mastermind and boss of Esperanza feels formidable enough to be Seven-O’s villain as he is always a few steps ahead but ultimately it turns out to be a power struggle between him and Bamboo Man for more plot twist. Agapetus’ real reason for distributing Anthem sounds interesting and it would be nice to see his side of the story but alas, we’re running out of episodes. Bamboo Man has always had that suspicious looks and I had a hunch he was the real boss even when Zabel became Agapetus. So he’s like playing everybody into the palm of his hands since he is like controlling the military and Esperanza. It’s mind boggling to think that an important industry like the military had such a conniving top guy and nobody knows about it. Yeah, the military is so secretive that they don’t even know about themselves!

Anthem looks like a convenient tool to turn normal people into monsters with super strength and speed. The mixture for its cure is highly top secret and sometimes it sounds like simple ploy to keep the mystery because if everybody knows the cure, it would make sense for everybody to use it freely. There would be so many cases of people using Anthem running rampant because they can use it for a while and then revert back by injecting themselves with the special cure. So easy. You wouldn’t need Seven-O for that. Hope you don’t die of overdose. It is still debatable to use drugs for medical purposes and it would have been good if this series explored that. It would also be nice to see Anthem being used by people whose desperate circumstances fall into grey areas rather than making them look like simple low level villains. In any case, don’t do drugs.

On a trivial note, this isn’t brought up or an issue in the series but it makes me wonder if there is some sort of subtle trans issue here. A few characters seem to have this ‘feel’ with Max and Connor being the obvious. Then you have this running joke in Kirill that he has the face of a girl but I have seen anime for so long that it never occurred to me that Kirill looks like one. Sure, he has a pretty face but I never would have doubted his gender. Same case for Milla because when this guy popped up, all my alarms were ringing that are you sure this is a woman? Again he gives off that feel that Kirill did and sounds a lot like a man. And what do you know, he is a man. His gender was never in doubt except for the confusion that we were told he was Kirill’s sister. But I guess it is not as ambiguous as Apple. Oh boy, this is what you call ambiguous. Although Apple is definitely a male, his looks and voice are what make it ambiguous that even ‘veterans’ like me can’t tell at first if Apple is a guy or girl. I was still thinking there would be a twist somewhere in the mix whereby he comes out and makes a surprising announcement that he is a she…

The action scenes are quite entertaining although some are really over the top and exaggerated. But I guess that’s why it is fun. For example the first car chase that Doug and Kirill had. Yeah, it seemed over the top that the car feels like a futuristic Knight Rider on drugs with all the buttons and mind blowing gadgets. It’s a waste that they used this only once. And Max’s bike… Did they take inspiration from the bike version of Batman’s Batmobile? Still looking kickass, though.

I’ll say that the art and animation are quite high quality. Sunrise who did Tiger & Bunny also did this sequel spinoff and you can see some of the visual similarities in both anime series. Lisvalletta looks gorgeous as a western city mixed with both current and modern designs. In one corner you have the high-tech high rise and buildings of the future but at the same time you have the slums and alleys that are very much common in such big cities. There is also the use of CGI in between the scenes. Yes, even normal scenes if you look closely enough, you can see that very robot-like CGI movements of the characters. Thankfully it is not that obvious nor it is that jarring in a sense it would ruin your watching experience but I guess that one thing that helps us being distracted with this CGI effect is the details and colourfulness of the animation. That is why I said the animation here feels of a high quality. Lisvalletta is indeed a very colourful place with colour characters even in terms of visuals.

Some of the characters are weirdly designed. For example, Bamboo Man looking like as though he has a bad makeup day and he really looks like a wilder version of KISS member! If not for his jewel teeth… Some of the minor subordinates in Esperanza also look weird. Because you have some fatty leprechaun Irish dude, some macho gay punk and a mean version of, uhm, Tifa Lockhart? Or is it some sexy female pirate swashbuckler? Seven-O members aren’t better themselves. Like Max is definitely the weirdest with her SJW gothic look. Deana feels the same but she is much hotter. Yuri looks like a character who came out from a visual novel. Travis, this guy’s moustache why does it make me feel he is some pervert? Speaking of moustache, why does Cooper somehow look like a distorted Batman logo?! My eyes must deceiving me. Kirill’s landlady looks like an Indian native… Seven-O’s jacket that is equipped with stuffs to deal with Anthem, why do they feel like they are only fit for fashion walkway models? What was I expecting? To look like a fully geared military with bulging pockets?!

Voice acting feels decent as Rikiya Koyama and Saori Hayami as Travis, Deana and Shinichiro Miki as Joe are the only seiyuus I recognized. Saori Hayami here trying to break out from the stereotype I often casted her as because as the loudmouth Deana, she’s like really going all out and making Deana one hell of a badass lady. This isn’t her first time though, since she did voice weird characters too like Yumeko from Kakegurui. The other casts are Satoshi Mikami as Doug (Aubest in Grancrest Senki), Kouhei Amasaki as Kirill (Haruo in High Score Girl – no wonder that boyish voice sounds familiar), You Taichi as Max (Anzu in Prison School), Atsumi Tanezaki as Yuri (Natsume in Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun), Chika Anzai as Kay (Juri in Kokkoku), Aya Endo as Sophie (Tchaikovsky in ClassicaLoid), Takuma Nagatsuka as Apple (Hotaru in Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari), Tsuyoshi Koyama as Derick (Youhei in Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou No Sho), Yuuki Fujiwara as Milla/Valery (Liang in Nanbaka), Daisuke Namikawa as Bamboo Man (Rock in Black Lagoon), Yutaka Aoyama as Agapetus/Zabel (Hannibal in Drifters) and Tesshou Genda as Cooper (Warrod in Fairy Tail).

The opening theme is Stereo To Monologue by Kirisame Undertaker. The rock theme of this song fits the series nicely although somehow this song seems to remind me of another rock opener, more specifically Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens’ opener, Stray. Although both songs are sung by different groups, somehow the pace and beat of the song sound similar enough to make me feel that they are connected. Even though there aren’t any. Bluntline Special by Vickeblanka as the ending theme fits is another rock piece and feels very ‘American’ considering the ‘hip’ way they sing this song. Yeah, doesn’t sound that bad actually. And for some odd reason that I am still baffled today, hearing this song somehow makes me think of wanting to listen to that American rock group, KISS. No, seriously.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this series with its entertaining action, witty and funny moments and the dynamic characters. Too bad that I have some ‘high demands’ and suggestions that I would have loved to see incorporated into the series that it made the series looking less like a masterpiece. Even clichéd lessons like don’t do drugs, crime doesn’t pay and always having a partner to trust and cover your back, this is still a good series nevertheless and I hope it does get another season (no, the extra episodes don’t really count as another season). Or another spinoff sequel. I really do. I know I shouldn’t be too obsessed with a series or else I will be swallowed by it (and be bogged down with extreme disappointment in worst case scenario). But whatever. Because. Don’t think. Feel so good.

Oh man. Is it really here? The final chapters of Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan: Kanketsu-hen? Believe it, people. Nothing lasts forever and good things will eventually come to an end. Heh. Looks like we’ve been preparing ourselves for this inevitable day since the second season. So if you still remember that prelude to the final episode in that second season, this is it. Saiki using his psychic powers to save the world or risk another time loop and hence another season? Well, try not to delude myself. I’m no psychic anyhow.

Episode 1A
Saiki and friends are evaluating what they want to do in life. Like Nendou wanting to marry some famous seiyuu… Hairo wants to be a teacher but when Kuboyasu also mentions the same, nobody believes him! Yumehara tries to write down the same universities that Kaidou goes even though it is way out of her league. The power of love will see them through! Everybody tries to guess Saiki’s choices but they feel disappointed they turn out normal. And if you think it is a coincidence that Teruhashi wrote the same choices, well, see the pencil and eraser evidence she left behind?

Episode 1B
Kuusuke has created an exact replica of Saiki, Kusuomega. This means his character is exactly the same. He unleashes it in school and Saiki needs to get rid of it when no one is looking. Too bad this Saiki is attracting everyone. He has to solve this fast because Kuusuke has programmed Kusuomega to run naked through the halls at noon. Luck is on Saiki’s side as Toritsuka has bought his favourite jello. Saiki has him use it as bait to lure Kusuomega to the roof where Saiki ultimately smashes it. Now can Saiki have the jello? Although Kuusuke rues to loss of Kusuomega, at least he has obtained data on Toritsuka.

Episode 1C
Saiki knows something is wrong when Toritsuka is missing for a week. He is actually captured by Kuusuke and being brainwashed to hate Saiki. Kuusuke makes them fight but Saiki easily knocks him out. However this is a ploy because when Saiki knocked Toritsuka out, the latter’s spirit transferred into his body. Yeah, Toritsuka is going to strip naked and run out! Saiki riles up the martial artist ghost that is possessing Toritsuka’s body to hit Saiki’s body. It might not be enough to kick his spirit out, but Toritsuka is back to his senses and destroys the device forcing his hate on Saiki.

Episode 1D
Now Kuusuke faces off with Saiki. Since there is a bomb in this building, Saiki must defeat him while not touching the building and blowing up his friend. Flashback reveals about their twisted contest that started ages ago. Saiki’s powers could have saved the world but Kuusuke thought publishing them would be against his wish so he suggested a contest. If he can take out his controlling device, Kuusuke wins. But as we have seen, Kuusuke has failed to best him despite all his inventions throughout the years. But this rant allows Saiki to flick Kuusuke away and part of the building destroyed. He knows the bomb is fake thanks to Aiura’s fortune telling that she couldn’t see Toritsuka die. Plus, it isn’t like Kuusuke to use a hostage for this fight. But now Kuusuke returns taking the final fight in this cat tank? Yup, he is using his own body as hostage.

Episode 1E
So now it becomes a battle to steal each other’s device to see who the winner is. Saiki has a chance but because he put the device on his crotch area, he is hesitant to take it, hence giving Kuusuke enough time to recover. Saiki is reduced to avoiding as Kuusuke fires, turning the building into Swiss cheese. Saiki is getting tired but the tank replenishes its energy via electricity. Toritsuka saves the day by taking Kuusuke’s device. It could have been Saiki’s win after picking it up and even claiming he let himself exhausted to control his overwhelming strength. But he calls it even by giving him his device since it was made by him and without it, he couldn’t have gotten this far. He is willing to give up his normal life if he causes so much trouble. So goodbye to his high school life! Here’s the real punch line. Kuusuke reveals he turned the device off many years ago! He thought he shouldn’t sacrifice his little brother just to benefit mankind even if Saiki’s powers do that. Besides, no need to go public with his power since he has finished a device to completely erase all his powers! But Saiki isn’t going to use that yet since he has something to do first.

Episode 2A
The usual gang gathers to discuss their much anticipated trip. Even much more anticipated because they’re going to discuss it at Teruhashi’s house! But for the umpteenth time, Saiki has to wonder why he is dragged into this. Not like he is going to go, right? Until he learns they want to go to this Oshimai town. Hey, wait. Are they making a pun of the end?! No matter what Saiki suggests, they keep going back to this Oshimai place. The reason he doesn’t want this place is because there is a volcano called Owari (yup, they’re making puns of it) that is scheduled to erupt and hence causing the deadliest volcano eruption in all of Japan. Saiki agrees as long as it is not on a certain date. Guess what? Everybody is busy except on that date! Now, with everyone wondering if Saiki is really busy on that day and that they’ll have to reschedule, Saiki doesn’t want to be viewed as the guy who ruined the trip and reluctantly agrees.

Episode 2B
So all our gang is here in Oshimai. What a fun day. Too bad the hotel reservations they book is missing. So the blame game begins. Eventually all point to Hairo since he too tried to pass on responsibility! Anyway, are they going to sleep on the streets? Nobody is going to join you in your camp, Mera. But thank goodness Saiko is here. If they prostrate themselves, maybe he’ll let them stay. I think they rather keep their pride. So out of the goodness of his heart, Saiko lets them stay in his deluxe suite hotel! Wow. This guy really had a change of heart. But the day isn’t over for Saiki yet.

Episode 2C
Saiki has called Aiura and Toritsuka to help. Previously, Aiura and Saiki’s clones tried to suppress the eruption but it ended in failure. The plan is for Toritsuka to stand in as Saiki. His pals will see this spirit medium as Saiki’s face. Aiura and Saiki’s clones are stationed at where the eruptions are going to be. The problem of suppressing is that when you suppress one part, the pressure will be moved to somewhere else and no matter how many clones you have, it will eventually explode. So as Kuusuke suggested, teleport the magma out into space! Everything seems to go in order till the final eruption that is too much for the clones to handle. Saiki chips in with his power. He is adamant to end all this today.

Episode 2D
Hooray! Saiki manages to teleport the magma into outer space! But he was so focused on this that he didn’t see what is coming next. His friends all see this. They are confused there are 2 of him. So how did Toritsuka screw up? Well, the friends are already suspecting if he is the real Saiki since he was trying too hard to imitate Saiki. Then Saiko was flying his helicopter over the volcano and saw Saiki. So he thought of telling his friends and bringing them all here. How is Saiki going to get out of this? Toritsuka says they are twins! Yeah, those clones… Sextuplets! With Kaidou hounding Saiki to say something, surprisingly it is Nendou who won’t force his friend to talk. He can tell them when he is ready. Either way, he is still their friend. Will they still be his friend if they force him to talk? Oh Nendou, you sure say the darnest surprising things.

Episode 2E
With everyone agreeing to this, suddenly Yumehara confesses she likes Kaidou. Aiura notes that they will still be Saiki’s friends even if he tells them the truth. Flashback shows in an alternate past, they too didn’t mind after he revealed he was a psychic. For the first time, Saiki opened his mouth to talk to them and a truly nice smile!!! Suddenly Saiki disappears? It seems he leapt a day back to fix things and prevent them from seeing his power. Too bad this means Yumehara’s confession was in vain. Saiki is now ready to use Kuusuke’s device to erase his powers. Only after that he will tell his friends he was an ex-psychic? Too bad his parents are sad he is going to give up his powers. Can’t rely him for errands now, can they? In the aftermath and start of the new school year, Saiki truly lost his powers. He is in the same class and sitting next to Teruhashi! He doesn’t mind because he can’t read her mind but we all can tell that she scored big. When Teruhashi thought Saiki told her to meet at a classroom, she thought it was finally going to be a confession. To her disappointment, all the usual characters are called here too. Looks like Saiki is resolved to reveal his ex-psychic powers. But before that could happen, he freaks out seeing a cockroach, causing the window to break. Oh dear… Could it be still…?

Yare, Yare… Last Hurrah Postponed Due To Unforeseen Circumstances…
Good grief! WTF?! What the heck is this abrupt ending?! I was thinking there was going to be some sort of twist since you know, the series likes to pull a fast one like this many times. However I must say that this feels disappointing. Are they supposed to leave us to our own imaginations that Saiki still has his psychic powers intact and that he backs out of exposing it to his friends? Then everything returns back to normal and status quo and life goes on for Saiki and his friends. The end. Yeah, pretty cliché ending if it does end this way. But as I read on further over the internet, it seems this wasn’t really the real ending. Before the series really ended, there were actually 2 more chapters! So the authors really trolled us, huh? Unless those final chapters get animated, I guess those who don’t read the manga will never know. Is this their way to make those curious of wanting to know the real ending to go buy the final volumes? But then again, they may troll us again by animating them in the future. Or not. I hope it would be the former. Please, please and double please. One more Saiki episode for me?

But as far as this final arc is concerned, I guess they wrap things up nicely albeit not perfect. The spontaneous jokes are still there, the quirky personalities of the weird characters are still there and Saiki being Saiki till the very end until he opens his mouth and talk. So to say that everybody was assuming what he wants or they’ve been hearing only voices in their head? Saiki settling the eternal rivalry with Kuusuke as well as saving the world that in turn proves his friends are really his true friends. You know what they say about the birds of the same feather flock together? I’m sure you noticed that even Saiki doesn’t want to join his pals in many things they do, he eventually does. Somehow. Saving the world, wanting the quiet normal life, avoid his identity being busted are just excuses to cover up that maybe he just wants to hang out with friends. I’m sure nobody here is going to have a drastic change. Saiki will still be Saiki and everybody else will continue to be everybody else in their own peculiar way. Maybe Saiko. He isn’t as snobbish as before. Though he still can be irritating flaunting his riches. Bait to attract friends? Friendships are earned, not bought!

If I really wanted to nit-pick about these final chapters, I would point out that many other characters didn’t make their appearance. For this kind of series, I thought they’d be able to pull off a final scene showing a huge group photo of just about everybody (no, not just in the credits). Yeah, I suppose they did that at the end of the previous season so don’t want to spam it all here in this. For example, Saiki’s grandparents. I thought they are ‘important’ enough to warrant some 1 second cameo. At least Rifuta and Akechi got that. Not that it matters anyway, right? Uh huh. Me b*tching that even if they get a few seconds screen time, I’ll be saying it is better they don’t because they’re insignificant. WTF?! Am I trying to be some contradicting clown here?! Oh, I remember. Good thing Mugami didn’t appear because he’s so annoying… ;p.

Overall, this series has been one funny and entertaining ride from start to finish. I love the short simplistic story with no confusing plots as well as all the bizarre characters that help enhanced the funny moments. It really did what it had to do and that was to make us laugh no matter how silly and impossible it may seem. Now Saiki can carry on with his normal high school life without being worried us viewers are watching and laughing at his every move and decision. RIP Saiki! Heh. Did I sound like I just killed off the main character? But who knows? In the future Saiki may just return just to troll and surprise us. A normal adult life? A dystopian future? An alternate parallel world setting?! Who knows for sure? I’m not a psychic. But I still do keep my fingers cross that Saiki would one day come back just for old times’ nostalgia’s sake. Will he? Yare, yare…

Eromanga-sensei OVA

March 22, 2019

After that recently very sh*tty Ore Ga Suki Nano Wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto Ja Nai, looks like it is time to do some little sister healing. By watching another little sister series! This time it’s Eromanga-sensei OVA. Haha. I didn’t think this was going to a couple of OVA episodes but I guess many animes these days to since Eromanga-sensei is quite popular and has its own followings. But hey, even if this series is cliché and cheesy, at least it is not sh*tty crap like the aforementioned one. Yeah, sometimes I can’t change how sh*tty I am but at least I can be the right kind of sh*tty. WTF did I just say…

OVA 1
Elf holds a celebration party over the success of her adapted anime. The usual gang are invited and even though Sagiri is also all dressed up, it’s a shame she is only dressed up for the monitor. Yup, she is still holing up in her room and is only ‘there’ via livestreaming. Elf goes down to greet the crowd and her friends who give her a gift and especially Masamune giving her a small flower bouquet. During the break, she teases him to help undress her dress zip and even her top. Until he got busted by Chris. Déjà vu? Of course we all know it isn’t Masamune’s fault. As they speak about their mother who will be coming, speaking of the devil, here she is. Firstly, she wants Masamune to break up with Elf. Somebody’s lying… Yeah, she posted on her social media those pictures but told a different story. Yeah, she painted Masamune as a pervert. I don’t know if mom is relieved or just freaked out when it wasn’t Masamune who was with Elf in the hotspring but Chris! Later, mother reveals she is here not to celebrate with her. In fact, once this event is over, she will pack her bags and go back with her. She will choose her future husband. Elf stands her ground and won’t do that. Mother can tell she likes Masamune but reminds her his heart won’t change. Elf hits her nerve when she mentions something similar about father. A short argument ensues before Elf dashing out. As the event begins, Masamune catches Elf sulking underneath the table. How she got there? Anyway, he listens out to her fight with mom. But she can’t stay sulked forever as she gets her groove back and heads back on stage before her cue is up. How she got out without anyone noticing? On stage, Elf ditches the script and gives her speech in her own natural way. Thanking everyone and including her family. The highlight of this episode is how Elf now sings in some Broadway drama musical style about the issues and challenges she is facing them and how she is going to tackle them. Yeah, she is addressing it directly to you mom. Man, it’s quite a creative and catchy piece if I must say. So much so at the end of it, Elf manages to talk to mom one last time and mom’s reply? Do as you wish. But of course. Can’t have mom being a selfish b*tch after all that effort, eh? After all, all she wants is the best for her daughter. After the event, Elf walks back with Masamune alone. After thanking how lucky she is for her to meet him, she finally confesses she loves him. Uhm, he doesn’t look that surprised and I’m not sure he replied but anyhow, Elf looks like the happiest girl ever.

OVA 2
Apparently Masamune is sick. Sure he won’t spread the germs, the way he is coughing all over the breakfast he made for Sagiri? He got it from Elf when he was visiting her while she’s sick. Oh dear. How is Sagiri going to live for today? Words are easy as she assures she will take care of him. But can she even step downstairs? Looks like Mission Impossible. But there she goes. Easy, wasn’t it? After giving his medicine and taking his temperature, she learns that he is supposed to submit his manuscript today. Now she knows nursing a sick person is a lot of hard work. And his fever is only going to get worse. As she doesn’t know how to cook, she thought of calling for delivery but her fear of opening a door to a stranger… I don’t think calling Elf will do too. So she does laundry and cleans the house? At least she did something. I guess she is at a loss now so she calls Kagurazaka for help. Apparently Muramasa is also there and ‘snatches’ the phone. Wow. She sounds desperate. Sagiri returns to help clean Masamune’s body. After he falls asleep, Tomoe is at the door. Sagiri trolls her that she isn’t home until she learns she is here to hand him some school notes and manga since the exam is coming up. Next up is Muramasa. She claims Kagurazaka put her up to this… Anyway, Sagiri won’t let her in. Muramasa claims that Elf always comes in but Sagiri notes she did it on her own. And so Muramasa tries to find her own way in. Luckily Sagiri locked the doors and windows. Man, this is getting tiring for Muramasa trying to get in. I guess today is not her today so she just leaves some vitamin drink and a letter that Sagiri must never see. Okay. Once those stuffs changed hands, Sagiri looks into the letter. WTF?! SEXY NURSE PICTURE OF MURAMASA!!!!!!!!!!! Even though I love maids, but I have a feeling this one would cure me instantly too… Anyway, Sagiri disapproves of this and will not give it to her brother. But she’ll use it for her ero references. Muramasa probably died standing where she is. At least the good news is that Masamune won’t be able to see this… Oh damn, that was supposed to be the intention… Sagiri remembers who Masamune took care of her when she’s sick. She is motivated to cook for him. Some mistakes here and there but she’ll get it. As Masamune feels better and tastes her cooking, it’s the best she’s ever made! I think it’s the only thing she’s ever made. Sagiri is shocked when he too had the same dream when they were young. With Masamune recovered, it’s Sagiri’s turn to be the queen of the house. Yeah, she got his cold now.

Ore Ga Suki Nano Wa Imouto. Sore Dake De!
Even if I don’t remember much about the TV series (which was more than a year ago when I watched it), these little OVA episodes are sure bring back the (vague) memories. But I guess it didn’t really ‘live up’ to its name because there aren’t any lewd bits here. At least in an erotic way. Elf’s dressing was just a very minor teasing and only some and the hardcore might get turned on with that very short cameo of Muramasa’s nurse picture. Yeah… But otherwise, they just feel pretty generic and my only favourite moments are Elf’s musical style singing as well as that Muramasa ‘dying’ when her secret nurse picture was being exposed for all of us to see. That was indeed hilarious in an otherwise boring nursing episode of Sagiri just trying to be brave and confront something we all naturally take for granted. And that is to just step outside her room. One small step for Sagiri, one big step for Sagiri’s future!

Back to Elf’s singing, I thought I find this part to be quite entertaining and very well thought out and creative. Although it does make me wonder if Elf really anticipated all this instead of doing it all spontaneous. Because of all the preparations to make it look oh so perfect, she’s got the backup dancers aiding her as well as the musicians playing smoothly to the tune of her dance. But the song is basically the summary of Elf’s story and life mission and from the looks of it, she’s got the all important permission from mom to take charge of her own destiny. After all, Elf’s confession shouldn’t come as surprising as she did something similar in the TV series (although it was short of confessing those magical words) and it was more of her real name reveal and hinting of Masamune to propose to her with that name when the time comes. Looks like she has up the ante with this confession and only time will tell if Masamune will break out from his imouto love and go for this spunky halfie.

Overall, nice and cute OVA but not really sure if they’re going to make another season or have any more OVAs. But my guts tell me that this isn’t the end of the little sister or imouto genre that we are going to see in Japan. There’s going to be more of it and it might get a lot worse than little sisters being perverts. Because the worst ones are viewers who continue to watch such piece of crap and complaining how sh*tty all these are. I guess no matter if it’s the right way sh*tty or the wrong way sh*tty, sh*tty is still being sh*tty. So more imouto animes, please?

Akanesasu Shoujo

March 17, 2019

For the strangest and weirdest reasons that I am still trying to understand by far to even as of now, I first thought Akanesasu Shoujo would be somewhat a spoof of the spy thriller, Princess Principal. Perhaps looking at the promotional poster of a group of girls hanging out and reading the pretty vague synopsis of conducting an urban ritual that very well came true, yeah, I’m still thinking how I ended up connecting this series with that one. Probably my mind was on a different frequency then. This series is closer to Flip Flappers thanks to its sci-fi take of parallel world thingy but looking less cartoony. Did they just copy some of its elements too? Like Fragments? Is this the slightly serious version of a parallel world of Flip Flappers? Never mind. Don’t want to confuse myself before I even start watching.

Episode 1
A group of girls are conducting a strange ritual. Setting the radio frequency at 4:44, suddenly… Nothing happens. I guess the theory of going to another world via this method is BS, eh? Asuka Tsuchimiya of the Radio Research Society gets reprimanded by the teacher for hijacking the school broadcast during recess and started playing her own music. Too bad she dragged her other friends into it too. Asuka, Nana Nanase, Mia Silverstone, Yuu Tounaka and Chloe Morisu got off lightly because they bribed him with his favourite food. Later meeting up at their usual café, Chloe shows them a stone she found and when she played it on her radio, it made some strange sounds. Hence Asuka gets this weird idea to do the 4:44 ritual with this sound. Don’t hold your breath because nothing is going to happen- HOLY SH*T!!! WTF IS THIS GOLDEN TWILIGHT WORLD???!!! Lots of cute golden bunnies too! Nice to play with them until you get rough with them, they all start to show their fangs and attack! However they are saved by this heroine. Uhm, doesn’t she look like Asuka? She slays all the bunnies who even combine to become a giant monster. Then she warns all of them to go back to their own world and never come here again. Though they return to their world, this Seriouska (nickname name for this Asuka because of how serious she is) somehow returns with them. Asuka notices she too has a cassette player but Seriouska then passes out. I guess it’s only right for Asuka to bring her clone home. Thankfully grandma is a blur case so I suppose she doesn’t even know her granddaughter well. I guess the rest of her family is so busy with their miso shop, they don’t suspect a thing. Asuka tries to get to know her but she isn’t in the mood to talk about the world and the coincidence they have the same name and wants to rest. Next morning, Asuka realizes her clone is gone but notices she left behind her locket. Inside is a picture of her younger brother, Kyouhei. Asuka believes she is her from another world.

Episode 2
The friends discuss the strange phenomenon they experienced yesterday. What better way than to ascertain it wasn’t a dream than to do it again? Meanwhile a shady fortune teller attracts Nana’s attention by knowing the state of her family. This causes her to believe to set the frequency to 696.9. With Nana given the honours to start this ritual, hey they’re back in the twilight world. However they notice Nana is missing. But Nana is with them at the café? Something feels strange. How come her crude talking friends are so polite? Worse, Nana discovers that she will be married off in 2 days because it is the law of this world for girls who turn 17 to get married! Nana in shock, her friends in shock and her real friends from her world also in shock to see their other clones. Thank goodness for Seriouska to be in this world too to explain things, right? Hey… This world now has 3 Asukas! Anyway, Seriouska explains about parallel worlds possibilities. In short, a timeline can branch off into many worlds called Fragments. Like this world was created 10 years ago from their original. Nana seems to be the only one not having a clone because she assimilated into herself in this world, becoming a link between their group and this world. This link will allow them to exist within this world and return to theirs. Oh, don’t worry about everyone thinking they’re missing in their own world because time flows differently. So when they go back, it’s like though they’ve never left in the first place. Nana goes home thinking it is all a big misunderstanding. Too bad her parents are hyped over her marriage. This causes Nana to blow her top. She thinks mom wants to get rid of her and kick her out of the house. Because her real dad died and she remarried another man. She thinks her life would have been freer if her real dad was here. But look who is here at the doorstep. It’s her fiancé. My, isn’t that the famous handsome actor, Tomoya Chiba? Now you wanna marry this heartthrob? Asuka talks to her clone about Kyouhei. It seems in both worlds, Kyouhei is missing when he was 6. When the friends go to pick up Nana to head home, however Nana doesn’t want to go back. She wants to stay and marry Tomoya! After that mini date and sweet words, yeah…

Episode 3
What happens if Nana stays? The Nana in their world will go missing. Duh. Next morning as the girls prepare to go back without Nana, suddenly Nana rushes in and wants to go back with them! WTF?! Now she doesn’t want to marry Tomoya?! She realizes that was just his stage name and his real name is Tomoya Chiyokoba. Imagine combining their names would make hers sound like Choco Banana! She can’t have that! She promised herself not to marry someone who would make her name change because ever since mom remarried and renamed to Nanase, you know how many ‘Na’ in her name is being repeated?! Too bad the Marriage Enforcement Agency is here to drag her back. Our friends look for Seriouska and see her killing those bunnies trying to sneak into this world. Good timing for another explanation. Those are called Noizies. However they are not what she is looking for but a much bigger threat called Clutter as they are the ones responsible for destroying Fragments. There is this Twilight King who grants other Clutters this power and her goal is to defeat this big boss and save her world. Well, what do you know, this world’s Asuka stumbles into her counterparts. 3 Asukas together! She’s so amused to meet a new version of herself. But there’s no time as she tells them about Nana’s wedding that is taking place right now. Gotta barge through those fan girls crying over the married status of Tomoya while Nana remembers her real dad teaching her about some radio crystal thingy and a lesson in life to live according to her own principals, not others. I guess Nana did the right thing to say no to take on Tomoya as her husband. Cue for Asuka to barge in and Nana to go to her. My, why does this look like some lesbian drama! Uh huh. To others, it looks like they are going to elope! With Tomoya forcing Nana to become his bride, it is no surprise that with Seriouska smashing in, Tomoya’s real identity is that he is a Clutter. Time to transform into sci-fi suits and do some mega battle. With Seriouska taking a beating, Nana joins in and also transforms. Taking out her frustrations with that weird name she will have, blah, blah, blah until she defeats him. Cue for Seriouska to explain about the ability of one to become an Equalizer to destroy abnormal things when one overcome one’s shortcomings. Once they return to their own world, Nana officially joins the Radio Research Society and has accepted her foster dad.

Episode 4
Asuka catches Seriouska trying to steal her family’s miso! Hungry? Anyway, she is here so that she could hand Nana a Walkman since now she is an Equalizer, she can use this to transform whenever there is Clutter from this world. How convenient. Looks like Seriouska detected Clutter from another fragment and off she goes. When the friends hear on the radio about some request by Asuka, well, it isn’t actually by our Asuka. Realizing the coded request contains a frequency, they do the 4:44 ritual. A bug scares Asuka so Mia is the one who becomes the link to the next world. Howdy folks, we’re in a wild western getup now. And Mia is a deputy sheriff? Yeah, she is tasked to stop some cheating in a bar but thankfully the sheriff Hakuma steps in. Meanwhile the other friends stumble into the saloon. I guess everybody must be so confused to see their counterparts. Because in this world, Yuu is a bartender, Nana and Cloe are outlaws who rob banks while Asuka is a bounty hunter targeting them! Need some chikuwa timeout to digest all of this… Bounty hunter Asuka chases after the real Nana and Chloe and ropes them in (the outlaws were hiding). Because the sheriff’s office is close for the night, is there no other way than to bring your bounty home and stay with you for the night?! Gee, this Asuka must really trust them not to run away. Oh, did I mention that in this world all disputes are settled via duels? Under the watchful eye of judge Hishii, I think there’s an irony of civil disputes being settled this way. So why need sheriffs? They are to gather evidence if there is a criminal act so criminals can be charged without going through duels. Unless they get death penalty, why does it sound more worth it to be a criminal? Mia thought today was tough as she returns to her mom and she learns the shocking truth that the Mia of this world really wanted this job to help change the weak. So don’t tell mommy you want a career change now. Meanwhile the outlaws become friends with Asuka and Yuu. Even asking them to help them rob a bank tomorrow! Their story is that they do this to help orphans. Western style Robin Hood? Strangely, this flirty version of Yuu pops in and wants our girls to join this robbery.

Episode 5
Sexy Yuu tells bounty hunter Asuka that Nana and Chloe aren’t the real deal. Mia must be getting used to her job chasing down criminals. Lady luck must be really on her side too. Back at the office, Mia talks to Hakuma about how she always wanted to be a hero but because of her cute appearance, everyone assumed she loved cute things. They get word that the bank is in the midst of robbery. Yeah, Asuka really had a blast joining in. They make their getaway with sexy Yuu and her Harley. I don’t know how bounty hunter Asuka’s horse can match the speed but she has Nana and Chloe put oil in their paths so the carriage overturns. Only sexy Yuu gets away while the rest gets arrested by Hakuma. All accomplices of the robbery! During the trial, all of them are charged to do hard labour but Hishii is so kind to have them enter a duel. The winner will be declared innocent. Mia is confused that Hakuma lied about all of them being accomplices so he talks about justice and averting eyes from contradictions and sacrifices to make things right. You understand all that crap? Mia then bumps into Seriouska in disguise. She tells her not to do anything otherwise all her hard work will be for naught. During the duel, Asuka-Yuu and Nana-Chloe are forced to face each other. If they don’t shoot each other, all will be executed. Of course the friends will not shoot each other but great timing for Seriouska to play a recorded sneaky conversation between Hishii and Hakuma that they framed and setup the innocent girls just to draw the crowd. The real kicker is how they look down on how easy it is to manipulate everyone. And no surprises, Hishii and Hakuma are Clutters. Seriouska transforms to fight them. 2 against 1. Fair? Justice? Not if Mia decides to join in. Yeah, conveniently with a Walkman in hand, she is now an Equalizer. Cowgirl! Yeehaw! They defeat the Clutters with their real brand of justice. In the aftermath, the orphanage has become popular and the donations from people keep streaming in. Bounty hunter Asuka decides to help the outlaws run the orphanage. After the girls return to their original world, Seriouska confronts sexy Yuu and knows she was the one who gave them hints to come to this Fragment and wants to know her goal.

Episode 6
Asuka calls her friends because she wants to go to the beach. It’s winter. And what’s this about she forgot about it during summer? Not their problem. They have valid reasons to reject her but here comes sexy Yuu telling them they can go to another Fragment without doing the 4:44 ritual and guarantees there are no Clutter. Chloe agrees to be the link this time in exchange she gets to spend time by herself. The girls are in for a rude shock as they find themselves underwater! But they’re going to love this Fragment. Everyone has their own remote island to live on and the community’s AI, White Goat brings them anything they order with their handphone via drones. This is perfect for Chloe as she enjoys all the amenities she wants on her own little private island. Oddly, you can’t email here and you have to write letters to be sent in boxes? Funny. These islands are owned by the Yuu of this world. But she went missing so sexy Yuu is just using it on her behalf. Hey, can’t rob from yourself, can you? The rest start getting used to this life but Asuka starts feeling disappointed because they rather be by themselves instead of hanging out and doing things together as friends. Meanwhile Chloe stumbles upon a notebook but it is too sophisticated with quotes, formulas and weird symbols. Oh well, back to VR. Meanwhile Seriouska confronts sexy Yuu about bringing the girls here. They start fighting only to be stopped by Asuka by the silliest of reasons. Seriouska finds this Fragment to be peaceful and lively (a bit ironic, don’t you think?) but this is the complete opposite of the worlds Twilight King intends to bring. It has nothing. No deaths, no births, no pain, no happiness. Chloe roams via VR through the streets of Paris where she used to go as a kid. She loved being alone and do things on her own despite everyone told her she was a weirdo. But being in Asuka’s company, she is afraid of feeling lonely and hence sometimes she wants to be alone. When she starts noticing those weird symbols, that is when she checks out the notebook again. She realizes everything and everywhere has those symbols and realizes something is truly wrong with this world. Subliminal? Brainwashing? Oh, I can see where this is going.

Episode 7
Chloe sends a letter via a drone. She is testing because if they have read her letter, they would have taken action. Chloe continues her research. There is a video on the PC that was left behind by her counterpart. She says they must destroy White Goat and along with Asuka and Yuu, they developed a virus that must be directly installed into the server. However Yuu went alone and disappeared and Asuka got brainwashed. Meanwhile Asuka notices her friends are so obsessed with their Smartphones that they have not slept. She cooks for them and like zombies they go to eat. Once they let their guard down, Asuka steals their Smartphones and they chase her like rabid dogs! She throws it away into the sea and before they could do anything further to her, sexy Yuu saves her. She would have outraged her modesty had not Seriouska come to stop this farce. With her friends back to normal and sexy Yuu getting them a speedboat, they can go save Chloe. Meanwhile Chloe is paddling to White Goat? Oops, she drops the virus. Game over. Thank goodness it’s just a simulation as her friends wake her up. With Seriouska detecting Clutter at White Goat, it’s clear what they must do now. Inside the tower, they have to fend off stronger versions of previous Clutters they fought. Chloe realizes she has never gone weaker with her friends but has been able to do many things with them. So this realization allows her to get her own tape and be an Equalizer? Okay. She dives underwater where the server is. With all the monoliths attacking her, looks like Chloe has a cheeky talking teddy bear, Nunurusu to guide her. Chloe inserts the virus into the server. Easy pie. Hey, it’s not like the server thought anybody could infiltrate this far or made any anti-virus programme, right? With that, everyone is freed from the brainwashing. Those who tried to oppose and went missing are just kept in some storeroom? Chloe leaves a note to her counterpart that she is not alone. Back in their world, Chloe joins her friends for lunch instead of eating alone.

Episode 8
The girls head to their café but surprisingly it is crowded. Seeing the master injured, Asuka and co decide to help him out. After a successful day, Asuka suggests wearing matching outfits. So they take inspiration from the fragments they visit, huh? Wedding dress and cowgirls. The swimsuit one has got to be the ‘creepiest’… Yuu then gets a call from her father and he isn’t amused. Looks like Yuu skipped cram school. Looks like she can’t hang out with them. With Seriouska just coming in, perfect chance for Asuka to rope her in as replacement. Heck, Seriouska looks so different and beautiful that the friends can’t tell and think this is Asuka! Seriouska stays at Asuka’s place. Suddenly grandma enters her room. Oh no! 2 Asukas?! Seriouska’s quick thinking says they coincidentally met down the road and have the same name. Grandma is cool with it. But what is her surname? Oh man. Quick, come up with one. How about Siri? Asuka Siri. WTF. Don’t blame Asuka if she starts teasing you that you have accepted your serious nickname! Seriouska joins the family for dinner and loves their miso soup. That night, both Asukas have the same dream of being worried that Kyouhei was missing but found him. Asuka lesbian time over when Seriouska detects Clutter from her Fragment. She must go now. Asuka wants to follow to help but Seriouska refuses. Not because it is dangerous, she wants Asuka to live in her Fragment as it has a future. Of course Asuka isn’t going to listen. Luckily she wrote down Seriouska’s Fragment’s frequency. Then she summons her friends who are more than willing to go help her. This time Yuu becomes the link as they arrive in Seriouska’s Fragment that looks like it is in the midst of a huge Clutter attack.

Episode 9
Flashback shows when Seriouska’s world was under sieged by the twilight, she was running away with her family when Kyouhei suddenly vanished. Seriouska ‘welcomes’ the girls. It will be a good chance for them to see what a world being attacked by twilight looks like. However in this world, Yuu is dead as she was consumed by the twilight. Thankfully, sexy Yuu is here so both Yuu now share the same body. Weird talking to yourself, eh? Seriouska continues explaining that when their world was attacked 10 years ago, it then stopped. They soon discovered this energy source known as twilight amber from the sacred tree worked as a barrier. Seriouska shows them the operations room as well as the room they keep all the crystalized Clutter. If the Twilight King is defeated, they might return to their original form. There is also a training room where Seriouska trains and leads young ones to fight Noizies. Good chance for Seriouska to give Nana, Mia and Chloe new Walkman with enhanced features. Meanwhile Yuu gets attacked by stray kids who think she is the Twilight King. Too bad she got pranked a lot before Seriouska calls them that she is her friend. Bringing her back to base, Seriouska reprimands the kids for straying too far but Takumi will not accept it and runs away. Time for them to go after him. At the same time a high concentration of anomaly is detected. Is the Twilight King in the base? Not surprisingly, one of the stray kids is the Twilight King, masquerading himself as one of them when they brought Yuu in. He heads for the sacred tree and attempts to destroy it. Time for some Equalizer action but with the Noizies keeping them at bay, yikes! There is even a hydra Noizies to fight! Even when Seriouska finally takes it down, Twilight King has destroyed the sacred tree. Barrier’s gone. World is dying. Evacuate everybody! But where to? I guess we all just get to die. Seriouska wants her friends to return to their world and at least save Takumi who will be the link. It’s like she has already accepted her fate after thanking them for becoming her friends. She is going to fight Twilight King and hopes defeating him will turn all worlds back to normal. Distraught Asuka doesn’t want this but Yuu takes control and forces them all back. Asuka tries to return but 4:44 ritual isn’t working. Have you ever seen Asuka this troubled? Like she’s in really deep sh*t.

Episode 10
Sexy Yuu hands Seriouska’s locket to Asuka. Then a sad hug to tell her that Seriouska has been swallowed by the twilight. A week later, Asuka is back to her chirpy and cheeky self. Not sure if this is her being back to normal or just trying to cover up her depression. But it is worrying Yuu because it looks so fake that it’s, uhm, fake. Better than being outright depressed, right? But still, it feels weird. Then the girls decide to throw a Christmas party for Takumi and fortunately for them, Nana has found out where he is living. With permission from the master, they have the café all to themselves as they give Takumi the best Christmas-cum-chikuwa party. Even though he is quite happy living here, he prays that Seriouska would come to get him back. He feels it is not right living off the Takumi of this world and should go back. That is when Asuka tells him not to worry because Seriouska is fighting the Clutter and will soon return. Later, Yuu confronts Asuka about giving Takumi false hope. Asuka doesn’t believe Seriouska is dead and sexy Yuu could be lying. True or not, Yuu accuses Asuka for being the real liar here. This hit a nerve as the tension brings up some old childhood trauma 10 years ago. Asuka thinks Yuu have always thought she has been taking life easy ever since Kyouhei went missing. All Yuu wants is for Asuka to say something true to her heart. In that case, there’s nothing else to be said. Asuka storms out. Woah. Is this for real? Asuka being serious? Is she the new Seriouska v2? Sorry with the bad jokes. As the girls talk how to get things back to normal, Mia has never heard of Kyouhei’s case before so Yuu explains how he suddenly went missing when Asuka just looked away for a second. Asuka wasn’t to blame as she was a kid too but she has always felt so since. Not even the adults and police searching could find Kyouhei. After his disappearance, Asuka went to every park every day in hopes that Kyouhei would return (that was how and where she lost him). There’s nothing else left to say so they’re going to find Asuka. However they detect Clutter anomaly. Their worse fear comes true as twilight has come to their world. Meanwhile Asuka thought she saw Kyouhei. She knows it isn’t him but yet follows him. Then the hooded kid whom we all are to believe is the Twilight King… Sorry, people. Not Kyouhei. In fact, a mini Asuka who calls herself Twilight Emissary as she is one of the many servants serving Twilight King. Wow. She looks even more serious than Seriouska. Seriouska v3? Okay, better stop with this uncalled for jokes.

Episode 11
Emissary says how all humans’ consciousness will be assimilated by the twilight via Clutter. This process is inevitable. She wants Asuka to join her to turn other Fragments into twilight. Emissary can let this world prolong a little longer. However this is not enough a deal for Asuka. She wants her to bring Seriouska’s Fragment back. Meanwhile Yuu can’t find Asuka and is given a pep talk by sexy Yuu why she is the only one who could save her. Otherwise she won’t forgive her. You mean, like won’t forgive yourself? Meanwhile the other friends stumble into their teacher who turns out to be a Clutter. He did the right thing by attacking them as they transform! So in his illusion, he is going to tell them the harsh truths of reality and crush their clichéd hopes. Chloe: She thought of always being alone until she made friends. But that will reset again once she joins society and will be alone again. Mia: She was always praised as cute but wanted to be a strong hero. Too bad it’s a man’s world out there and she’ll soon realize it is more efficient to toe the line by being cute. Nana: Always the rebel, she realized being straightforward and accepting would make her a better person. But it isn’t her stepfather whom she finally accepts. It is rather her mom. She is not strong and independent enough and that’s why she remarried. Nana will be the same and will take on even more men. But the girls realize their friendship is much stronger than the twister world. Enough for them to break out and turn into Equalizers and kick the Clutter’s butt. Emissary knows how Asuka feels as she too lost somebody dear 10 years ago. But she heard twilight calling her and went with it. She was freed from sadness and regret. Asuka looks tempted to go with her but here comes Yuu to scream her heart out not to. Too late, she’s swallowed by the twilight. But with Yuu crying and admitting she has always loved Asuka, is her device an MP3 that allows her to turn her into an Equalizer?! Yeah, power of lesbianism is strong. Inside the twilight world, Yuu and Asuka come clean with their feelings. They are joined by their friends to kick Noizies ass. Emissary showing the most displeased loli face when the friends claim they will defeat her because she is not their friend despite looking like Asuka. Before the final boss fight could begin, Asuka asks if the deal is still on. She will still go with her if she promises to not let twilight take this world.

Episode 12
Asuka leaves her Walkman with Yuu. I guess all that is left is to believe in her, right? Asuka is really annoying as she walks with Emissary. Complaining this, complaining that. Eventually the chibi’s patience wears thin and lets her eat some chikuwa. I guess time stopped for them so they even have some flashback on Kyouhei. Yup, that guy introduced chikuwa to Asuka who didn’t even like it. And because he ‘lied’ to her it has some wish granting properties, she loves it ever since?! Time really stops for them to even go look for Kyouhei but he is nowhere to be found. Asuka won’t give up on him because as we further see, Kyouhei never gave up on Asuka when she herself wanted to quit. Asuka reveals it wasn’t the fact she was really sorry when Kyouhei disappeared (she was but not so much), rather she wanted others to pity her. One day she realized how vile that was and thought she should be punished. That is, to live Kyouhei’s life even if it was fake. Hence she knows Emissary didn’t choose to lie but was also punishing herself. But in her case, she became so sad about it, she decided to erase everything after hearing Twilight King’s voice. Now Emissary gets mad as she makes a jealous rant that Asuka made more friends and smiled a lot. She should lose everything like her! But Asuka won’t use Kyouhei as an excuse anymore and face herself. Everything is a result of the actions you take. Once you accept the facts, you can be free. OMG! Asuka turning into an angel?! Kyouhei will always exist in your heart. Yeah, more borrowed Kyouhei words as Emissary turns into a normal little Asuka. It’s okay. Okay to cry your heart now. With that, Asuka returns to her world and friends. Man, that was easy. New school year. Asuka being the lively idiot we all know. Asuka then spots Mayuki (Seriouska’s assistant in her Fragment). She wants her to join the Radio Research Society but Mayuki scoffs at that idea. She intends to join the Broadcasting Club and dreams to be a radio star like Annie Maxda (who?!). Until Asuka plays a recording that Annie was a guest in her club interview. Now Mayuki is begging to join her club and promises to be her friends forever! Damn that was too easy. And now we see Mayuki descended into the club’s brand of mischief as they hijack the broadcasting room again and again. Such happy life. One morning as Asuka wakes up early, she sees mom and grandma trying to solve the problem of a thief stealing their miso. I guess it made her day. A reason to smile even bigger today.

Get Ur Freak(quency) On!
Well… Uhm… The last episode feels a bit disjointed. Instead of having the usual power battles, it turns out to be some sort of ‘battle’ with Asuka’s other and inner self. Uh huh. Are we feeling so zen right now? Because when you accept the facts of life, only then you can achieve true freedom. Woah. Did Asuka eat too much chikuwa to spout all that cliché stuff? Still, it leaves so many questions unanswered like the threat of Twilight King. Because you know, Asuka and her friends are living like as though they’ve defeated the final boss when for all they know the Twilight King could just send another servant or he himself comes down to destroy their Fragment (maybe they’re just busy twilight-ing other Fragments). But hey, gotta live life to the fullest instead of worrying about the minor stuffs. If the threat of the twilight comes, they’ll deal with it. They have the Walkman device after all. And I thought they’re going to leave Seriouska dead for good but they made hints it was her who stole the miso. Hey, it could be anybody. But who wants to steal the family’s world’s famous miso, right? RIGHT?! So I thought they screwed this last part up and made things worse so that Asuka could have more happy points. I guess we can’t accept the fact that Seriouska is really dead. We’re not truly free then…

The idea of tuning in different radio frequencies to get to another parallel world sounds like a good idea but also simplistic and not really thought out well. At least for this series. At this digital age, my guess is that they might want to promote some nostalgia among older viewers (like yours truly) because there was a time when the Sony Walkman was the king of portable music. Yeah, blatant product placement there but I guess nobody cares because I don’t think the masses now use this. Even though radio is still an important form of media today, you don’t see people frequently tuning in to it using their handphones or Smartphone devices. It is often that old fashioned big chunky boring block. There are smaller portable ones too but none can match the lightness of the Sony Walkman. I suppose that was the last time that a popular device would allow us to tune in to different radio frequencies with ease. I could be wrong. Because I don’t see an app just to tune for radio stations. But you know, I could be wrong.

Anyway, the story of discovering the main antagonist known as the twilight swallowing up worlds also feels paper thin. Unless we get to see the Twilight King in the flesh, can this be considered a disaster series then? The theory of having different Fragments being newly created and breaking off from existing ones sound interesting from the surface. But when you start to think about the other aspects like its past and suddenly there is another world popping up, say, after World War 2. You just wonder if it is feasible for 2 different worlds to share the same past but just branching out at a certain point in time. And then, people in that new Fragment is like, how the heck do they live before their world is being split? You know, it just popped up like that. I don’t know. Maybe my puny brain can’t understand but considering that there are so many points in history that could literally just branch out and create a new Fragment, I suppose the twilight is going to have a hard time trying to assimilate all the Fragments. At least not at this rate. And if there are more worlds being created, will the numbers reserve for frequencies eventually run out? Imagine tuning into a world with a frequency of 100 digits! After all, there is no evidence that our memories from 10 years ago or even yesterday are real and could be implanted and made up!

Like I said, it is a good try to have the characters go through a few different Fragments and experience some sort of different distorted ambiance but eventually having a dozen episodes feel like both good and bad because it is too short to flesh out anything and if has another cour, it would have taken a bit too long and boring because you know, it is getting repetitive. Going to a different world, get to know that Fragment’s problems, fight Clutter, the girls have their friendship tested but ultimately bond closer and then they go back. Imagine doing that same thing for another cour. Boring! I would definitely switch to another channel! And besides, our girls going to other Fragments and impacting the outcome of those Fragments, do they have the right to do that? What if some other doppelgangers from other Fragments do the same too to their world but screw up? Who is to blame now?

Let me move on to the characters. Not really interesting but the irony is that despite Asuka and Yuu are tasked to be the main characters, I feel that their other friends of Radio Research Society have got better character than them. Sure, they have their own mini arcs where they are in the spotlight (an excuse for them to gain powers of an Equalizer) but Asuka and Yuu don’t really have their own. So theirs is masked in some sort of twisted yuri friendship which I didn’t see coming because I was always under the impression that it would be Asuka x Seriouska. Seriously. Because Asuka being so obsessed with herself, yeah, even that sounds really weird. But I suppose you can’t have Asuka and Seriouska being yuri with each other because that would be like masturbating. Because you know, playing with yourself! HAHAHA!!!! Oops… And probably I wasn’t paying attention towards the end of the series and thought the friendship tension between Asuka and Yuu was just part and parcel of the much needed drama to eventually enhance their friendship.

Otherwise Asuka is like being the comic relief of the series since she is so bubbly and lively like as though she is acting like a retard to hide her sadness of her missing brother. It beats being sad and gloomy. Otherwise you get somebody like Emissary. And this chikuwa thing is something else you would remember her because if you want to spell out her personality, uhm, happy go lucky girl, always staying strong and positive, uhm, what else, aha! Chikuwa lover! Yeah. Feels like that. Or else she has no back story other than her missing brother which is supposed to be some sort of a plot twist reserved towards the end of the series? It’s like they know we were anticipating this and if that happened, we will point out the obvious. So the little antagonist turned out to be a mini Asuka instead. Damn, why are all the Asuka in this series has ‘something wrong’? Asuka too retarded. Seriouska too serious. Emissary is evil loli so evil. So people, don’t ever leave your loli alone. This is what would turn out in worst case scenario to them. The irony of Seriouska’s nickname is that it tempts me of wanting to make jokes out of serious situations involving Asuka… Seriously… Oops, dang. But on a serious note (pun not intended), I wonder if Seriouska is alive, is her Fragment destroyed? How did she come here without a link? Are there other loopholes I am unaware of? Whatever.

What’s up with sexy Yuu? Who is she and which Fragment did she come from? What is her goal? Why has she taken a particular interest in this Asuka? What is Yuu to her? So many questions but no answers because she keeps deflecting them by being flirty. And then all of a sudden in the final episode, she goes missing? So much Asuka drama in the last episode that sexy Yuu became irrelevant. It’s like she is more a plot convenience than some trump card or plot twist. I mean, who else is going to match up to Asuka’s zany quirkiness? One of the biggest unsolved mysteries is Kyouhei. I believe most of us might have come to think that he is the final boss. You know, ‘surprising’ us that the Twilight King is her little brother? Because isn’t it just baffling that Kyouhei is missing in EVERY AND ALL Fragments? Seeing this guy, heck he is such a good brother that it makes Asuka look even more annoying! Serious! No wonder Asuka wants him back. If there was only a Fragment where he wasn’t missing but Asuka instead. But sorry folks, no plot twist for Kyouhei whatsoever.

Nana, Mia and Chloe as I have said, they seem to have better stories than Asuka and Yuu because of their own mini arcs. Hence their stories, issues and struggles sound even more interesting despite they are just like distractions to the overall main plot (if I should call it that) even though eventually it doesn’t amount to anything much. So after they have their own spotlight, it is back to being side characters for them. Playing supporting roles would be suffice for them, I guess. Tres bien, continuez s’il vous plait… Oh Chloe. Spam us more with your French words! And now that Mayuki is the latest edition to the club, it only makes me wonder that it is truly indeed that your actions do affect the results of the world. Because I can only imagine Mayuki being such a proper and respectable girl had she joined the Broadcasting Club instead. Arrogant maybe but it’s hell a lot better than being in the mischievous Radio Research Society. Oh man. Imagine what impact one decision could make.

If there was anything enjoyable about this series, it is no doubt the very much exaggerated and power fights of the girls in Equalizer forms against the Noizies and Clutter. It is so over the top and everything blasting in your face that you know it is so outrageous and just for show. Unless you’re not into this kind of stuff. But for me, just casually watching these staple moments of the series, I have to admit that they are quite fun to watch as each of their special themed movements are packed with power. From Nana’s warrior bride to Mia’s cowgirl hero and Chloe’s weird scuba astronaut with a talking teddy, such scenes never fail to amuse me.

Art and animation are pretty standard. Though CGI moments are used in the battle scenes, they don’t really look that awkward or disjointed. Thanks to me being immersed with the extravagant battles. Also it could be because with certain battle scenes taking place in the twilight world, I guess you can’t really see things clearly when everything is in amber or yellow colour. Some of the designs of the Equalizers are nice like Nana’s bridal outfit and Mia’s cowgirl one but Chloe’s is just straight out weird while Yuu is like so typical sci-fi that it just comes off as normal. But the Noizies looking like those apple bunnies now make me wary of seeing apples cut in those shapes… And why do Noizies combine can only turn into some hydra? Why not other types of monsters? No wonder the girls can defeat easily as they know its patterns. This series is animated by Dandelion Animation Studio and Jumonji. They are new studios doing their first project ever although the former did RoboMasters the Animated Series and a few Pingu ones. Both of which I didn’t watch.

Voice acting feels decent although it never occurred to me that there are some veteran seiyuus lending their talents here. Like Ami Koshimizu as Nana, Marina Inoue as Chloe and Nao Touyama as Mia. I thought they’re like semi-retired since I don’t hear them often these days. Yeah, with new seiyuus flooding the market, looks like I’m going to fall behind even further. The other casts are Tomoyo Kurosawa as Asuka (Kumiko in Hibike! Euphonium) and Lynn as Yuu (Maya in Sabagebu). I suppose with different parallel worlds, this series tries to show the flexibility of the seiyuus’ voice acting chops. Like all the different versions of Asuka. Okay, not bad. The opening theme, Soranetarium by Michi sounds a bit weird. Overall it sounds like a song for some ominous ritual. Aside from the hymn-like voices, maybe it is because of the constant thick timpani or those kind of big drums that give off that low heavy bass beats, giving off that dramatic feel. The ending theme also feels weird. Kowarekake No Radio by Ami Wajima sounds like she is a student of Enya! If you know Enya’s trademark style of singing, you would feel very much at home here. That kind of songs too somewhat evoke some sense of nostalgia somewhere in me…

Overall, despite its less than stellar plot and characters that should have had better personalities and stories to them (somehow saying them having more meat doesn’t feel right), this is still a watchable series. It isn’t too heavy on the sci-fi side so dumb people like me don’t get a lot confused by sci-fi terminologies but once again relies on the power of friendship that saves the day and ultimately the world (which isn’t entirely a bad thing). Plus, exaggerated and overpowered fights that might give Dragonball a run for its money but not necessarily topping it. Some might find this series cliché in a few ways and it might have fallen under the same frequency of the tried and tested, nothing really new. But are we ready to change the frequency other than our favourite channels to find something that is totally new and different? Anime is hardly in its twilight years or setting into the sunset. It’s just breaking dawn.

After that coincidental discovery of this ‘little gem’ last year, it was without any doubt that I was looking forward to watch its sequel, Ani Ni Tsukeru Kusuri Wa Nai S2. You know, the Chinese manhua about a brother so idiotic that his sister always had to beat him up all the time? Yeah. That one. It is more or less the same thing this time but I guess it must be popular enough that they doubled the number of episodes for this second season. Maybe some of us just cannot get enough of idiots being beaten up to a pulp. But they still rebound and continue to be idiots.

Episode 1
Military training! Because Shi Fen starts off on the wrong foot, he earns the ire and the wrath of his instructor. He is closely being watched. The instructor is not impressed with his lack of stamina as compared to his sister. But one morning, he is impressed with the perfect way to futon is folded. Shockingly it is from Shi Fen. This makes him wonder if Shi Mao is all on a different level. But Shi Fen explains how much a gorilla his sister is and hence cannot do delicate work. Here comes Shi Mao disproving all that as she gives the usual pain to her brother and folds him into a perfect futon!

Episode 2
With their allowances dwindling, looks like they need to get a job. But Shi Mao is not impressed that her brother is looking for a job for her. They also try auctioning their stuffs but there are no takers. Later Shi Mao takes a look at the stuffs her brother puts up for sale. To her horror, they are all her stuffs! One of them includes her prized lion plushie from Kai Xin! Meanwhile Shi Fen convinces Kai Xin to bid on the plushie. Don’t worry, he doesn’t need to pay. So when Shi Mao sees this, she won’t let the bidder bid her and outbids him. This results in a bidding war that drives the bid up to 500 Yen! Desperate Shi Mao then makes the ultimate bid: 10,000 Yen! Better stop playing. Shi Fen thought their expenses woes are over but learns the other bidder is his sister. Uhm so is she going to pay? This knuckle sandwich to his face is worth 10,000 Yen!

Episode 3
Kai Xin is quite the idol in the eyes of some girls during basketball practice. So when they go to give him their snacks and drinks, Shi Fen confiscates them. An excuse they can’t give such poison to their star player and hence he will dispose of them. Yeah, he is eating them all instead. With the girls mad and Shi Mao embarrassed by her brother’s shamelessness, a telepathic warning to go out there and show them what he’s got or else. So Shi Fen goes on court thinking he can impress Shi Mao. But when he throws the ball at Kai Xin, he accidentally throws it at Shi Mao’s face! You know what’s coming. No, not a big hug. But a big suplex!

Episode 4
Kai Xin notices Shi Fen chewing on a large candy in class. When the teacher calls him to read, how will he get out? He swallows it! This makes Kai Xin take up the challenge as he eats some fries. Shi Fen notices this and is amazed how using saliva to change its shape also makes sense. Now Shi Fen eats some very oily and greasy stuff that will surely attract the teacher. How does he get out? He uses the grease for his hair! The teacher backs off not wanting to get grease all over him. Banzai wants in so he makes instant noodles and eats it in front of the teacher. Busted.

Episode 5
Banzai almost gives away to his friends that he is rich as he suggests a backyard pool. Poor people don’t have that, right? He manages to distract them with a food stall selling dumplings. Despite its less than hygienic preparations and seeing how disgusting his friends chow them down, Banzai would not want to eat it but since it will put his commoner status in danger, he reluctantly does so. After all, he has the best doctors on standby should anything happen to him. The moment he east it, he loves it! Hence he is now addicted to it and Shi Fen thinks he must be poor. So addicted that Banzai now wants to buy the whole stall!

Episode 6
Shi Fen invites Banzai to hang out at his room. However it is hell since the air-cond is spoiled and somehow Banzai becomes his servant? But seeing he keeps the onyx stone makes him believe he still values their friendship. I guess the real test comes when Shi Fen wants Banzai to steal the fan in Shi Mao’s room. An argument ensues and Banzai is forced to do it or else he will be blamed for whatever sweat Shi Fen has. WTF. Banzai thinks Shi Mao was out (she just got back) and when he opens the door, he sees her lifting her skirt to be cooled by the fan. Heaven this isn’t because she throws the fan at him. Shi Fen’s consolation is a hot cup of instant noodles? Oh, the onyx stone? That’s such a convenient lid weight. Hell indeed.

Episode 7
Shi Fen warns Banzai that Shi Mao has now set her sights on him. There is no escape. Hence Banzai fears of seeing Shi Mao. Too bad that jinxed it because now that Shi Mao spots him, she is chasing after him like a Terminator! You can’t run or hide! Just when Banzai is cornered and pleading for his life, Shi Mao suddenly apologizes for hitting him. Here are some cookies to make up for that. Wow. She looks so angelic. But Shi Fen is still suspicious if his sister has actually made up with him. Could it be that her grudge runs deep because when Banzai eats the cookies, he almost died!

Episode 8
Well, Banzai is still alive as Shi Fen teases how lethal Shi Mao’s cooking is. However, he is left to wonder if this is the effect of her cookies because Banzai has shrunk into a kid! Actually he is Wan Xing and is Banzai’s little brother who is a new transfer student in Shi Mao’s class. Wan Xing tells Shi Mao that his brother happily ate her cookies. Yup. He repeated does so and Wan Xing noticed the happiness in his face when he ‘dies’. Shi Fen is confused when Banzai is back to normal. Then he sees Wan Xing and comes to a conclusion that the cookies must have split Banzai into two! As the brothers continue to stare at each other in a showdown, Shi Fen is still outrageous with this but messes up when he thinks Shi Mao’s cookies made her own boobs shrunk. Here it comes…

Episode 9
Shi Mao sees Kai Xin eating at the cafeteria and decides to join him. Such bliss. Then Banzai sees Shi Mao there and he too decides to join in. Such bliss. Yeah, Kai Xin blissfully eating like there’s no tomorrow. But all that bliss is interrupted when Shi Fen bugs them for a meal card since his is out of money. Noticing his sister is not taking the violent approach, he thinks he knows what is going on. First he borrows her meal card (in which she easily gives it to him), then he takes Kai Xin to go buy more food (despite Kai Xin still has a lot on his plate). Shi Fen signals to Shi Mao but it looks like he got the wrong idea thinking Shi Mao wants to be with Banzai! The bliss only continues for Banzai.

Episode 10
When Shi Mao passes buying a lipstick, Miao Miao chastises her for having dry lips. Imagine if she tries to kiss a guy she likes and her lips are dry… Can’t argue with that. Meanwhile, Kai Xin has problems. He was taking a nap during basketball practice when he realizes a girls tried to steal a kiss! Yeah, Shi Fen punching him. Jealousy? Kai Xin continues how his fans are getting more dangerous by the day. From planting wiretaps and stealing belongings, there will be time when they will steal his first kiss! Oh, what shall he do?! Don’t worry. Shi Fen has a solution. HE KISSES KAI XIN!!! There. His first kiss is forever lost. And Banzai thinks this is such a beautiful friendship. Sure being gay didn’t cross his mind? Meanwhile Shi Mao experiences a bad omen as her lipstick breaks. But she continues to put them on and fantasizes…

Episode 11
Banzai has to adhere to his strict schedule. At night, his mom calls all the way from her vacation in Dubai. She thinks he is not enjoying himself because of the commoner school he is going. In that case, she’ll buy out the school and kick all the poor people out, turning it into a first class hotel! Banzai doesn’t like that one bit because has made friends. Those fools? Mama can get him better friends! If buying out won’t do, he’ll have to quit. Even if that was a joke, Banzai has stormed out. Wan Xing tells mom that Banzai is doing this to get invaluable experience to be a greater man. Hence he is watching him and his friends. Mom entrusts the role to him. In school, Shi Fen and Kai Xin hate it so much they wish somebody would blow it up. But here comes Banzai as chirpy as a bird, loving and praising school so much.

Episode 12
As part of the infiltration mission, Wan Xing accompanies Banzai to Shi Fen’s house. Mom approved it as long as he doesn’t eat any commoner food. Wan Xing observes Banzai in the same idiocy mode as Shi Fen, eating spicy ramen and then dying from all the heat. He is then tasked to get the fan from Shi Mao’s room. Déjà vu because he sees her lifting her skirt. Luckily he is able to dodge the fan throw and block demon Shi Mao’s hard hitting punches. However Wan Xing soon passes out. Did the heat get to him? When he wakes up, Shi Fen gives him spicy ramen! But with assurance from Banzai he’ll be okay, Wan Xing takes a bite and loves it! When he reports to mama, she is shocked to see him eating ramen. Addicted, eh? His excuse: This is part of his research.

Episode 13
Kai Xin dozes off in class that he didn’t pay attention. So he knows he is in trouble when the teacher calls him to answer a question. However luck is on his side as he picks the correct answer. So thank this Sam dude? However in the next class he is not so lucky. Why did he answer Sam?! Then in the next class, Shi Fen dreams of this weird space sci-fi action scene whereby Sam sacrifices himself to kill the alien monster and let Shi Fen escape alone. Oh, such drama! So much so Shi Fen screams Sam’s name in his sleep and teacher is not amused. Too bad Kai Xin and Banzai also scream Sam’s name.

Episode 14
Shi Fen sees food left on Kai Xin and Banzai’s table from girls. Jealous, he eats them all! So what’s this about the thought that counts? Then he starts ranting about their popularity. Why isn’t he as popular as them? Yeah, he thinks he is good looking too. Reality check: Because all the girls hate him! Shi Fen is left to ponder if it is really true. More bad news when the class rep tells him he failed a test and must retake it tomorrow. However Shi Fen gets incensed knowing she is avoiding looking at him. He tries to force her to do so but she continues averting her eyes. Is it time for Shi Mao to pound some sense into him? But then she notices something. Did the class rep just blushed? Oh dear… But Shi Fen is left worried. Is he really that hated?

Episode 15
Shi Mao tells Kai Xin that the class rep definitely likes Shi Fen. She can tell a girl’s face in love. Kai Xin wonders if she is talking from experience and this sends her blushing. She continues saying how men are dense and I believe she isn’t referring to just her brother. Kai Xin and Banzai bug Shi Fen about the class rep liking him but he doesn’t think that serious girl would even like him. Even though the duo admit they won’t make a good pair, they are interested to see what happens. They want him to ascertain her eyes behind those glasses. Doing the test, the class rep invigilates him. It is hard to see those eyes behind those thick glasses but an opportunity came up when the wind blew something in her eyes and she took them off. Next day when his friends bug him, he tells them it wasn’t anything worthwhile.

Episode 16
Kai Xin talks to the class rep to have her tutor Shi Fen! And there they are at the library. You bet the rest are spying from across. Isn’t this exciting? At first Shi Fen is suspicious of her being nice to him. Then she tries to tease her that she is bored tutoring him. Then the cliché moment of dropping an eraser and their hands touch while trying to pick it up at the same time. Shi Fen now goes into charming mode. He knows she likes him and was avoiding looking him in the eyes that day. Just be honest with your feelings. Class rep then makes her confession… She didn’t want to say it then… But he had a nose hair sticking out no matter where she looked. Sorry. As the class rep tries to hide her laughter, Shi Fen feels dead inside. He opens the window and jumps from the third floor! SHI FEN!!! NOOOOOO!!!! DON’T DO IT!!!!!

Episode 17
Our ‘spies’ are now discussing the trauma Shi Fen is facing. Yeah, he is holing up in his room trying to forget that embarrassing incident. It is understandable that he doesn’t want to see her face again. But fate is cruel as soon Shi Fen meets up with the class rep. Yeah, she has his number. It seems she will not give up on him failing another exam and hence she is going to tutor him. Another mental trauma? Out of the frying pan and into the fire? With that, his pals are now starting to tease him again. However, Shi Fen doesn’t want to be disturbed and wants to study! Am I dreaming?! Bumping into the class rep again, this time he tries to avoid looking at her but she won’t allow it! After that, more teasing from his friends as they try to be good to him and give their snacks.

Episode 18
Kai Xin’s mom is not pleased her son is practising basketball at 3am in their house! Can’t sleep? Go and study! You know he can’t do that… Safe to say that he sleeps in class and only when it is over, he is fully awake because it is basketball time. To solve this problem Shi Fen has a solution. They should hear this maths lesson recording. Yeah, it is so boring that they fell asleep instantly! That night as Kai Xin’s mom wonder why her son isn’t up to his usual ruckus, she sees him asleep and listening to this maths lesson. She is so touched that her son is finally putting an effort to study. She decides it is enough for the night and stops the player. Instantly Kai Xin gets up for basketball time! Oh well, it’s still the same idiotic son.

Episode 19
Kai Xin accidentally hits Shi Fen. He offers to be hit back in which he did. However he felt that it was 10 times more than its worth. Hence they try to get back at each other with at even more ridiculous rates. Yeah, they’re really fighting now. So when Banzai tells this to Shi Mao, she believes that because they are such good friends, this is why they fight. Huh? I’m sure rich kid who has never fought before would understand. Next day, Banzai observes they have gotten back on track. So when Shi Fen accidentally spills his food on Banzai’s shirt, Banzai does the same back. The retaliation continues until Shi Fen blows his top that he really wants to fight. But Banzai is happy. He thinks this is what it means to be friends!

Episode 20
Oh sh*t! There are rumours that Shi Fen and Kai Xin are dating!!! Fujoshi mode unlocked! So Shi Fen seeks the class rep’s advice? She explains Kai Xin has lots of fan girls but he isn’t interested in them and only hangs out with him. Can you see where this is going? Plus, didn’t the other day Shi Fen kissed Kai Xin? Damn! Looks like class rep is also a fujoshi! Because of that, Shi Fen is now very conscious of Kai Xin’s proximity. Too close, buddy! And he’s saying very ambiguous stuffs like playing together (basketball of course!). One day, Kai Xin sees ketchup on Shi Fen’s face. Shi Fen pushes him away but at a certain angle it looked like they kiss! And with this picture circulating, why is Banzai so upset? But here comes Shi Mao’s beat down. Situation gets worse with Kai Xin getting all clingy and ambiguous with Shi Fen. Could this be true?! And then the class rep walks by. A satisfied smile…

Episode 21
As Banzai walks home alone, he sees Shi Mao and thinks it is a good chance to talk to her. However he can’t make it obvious like a stalker. Maybe try walking in front of her? Too preoccupied with her handphone. Shi Mao meets a few guys who claims Shi Fen borrowed money from them. They want it back or else. Too bad they make the mistake of touching her and she beats them up. Banzai tries to help but rushing in but Shi Mao mistakes him to be one of the gang and gets beaten up. So this is the only time he could somehow normally talk to her? Back home, Shi Mao is very sorry for the mix up. Even it’s no big deal, she still wants to help patch him up. Yeah, his whole face is bandaged. But underneath it is one happy guy.

Episode 22
Shi Mao feels happy. At least she got to eat with Kai Xin albeit they didn’t even talk. Miao Miao suggests writing a letter to convey her feelings. She did that but before she can give it to Kai Xin, Shi Fen is somehow always in the way! Oh, don’t jump to the solution of killing him! One day, Shi Mao decides to put it in Kai Xin’s desk. But wait. Did she put it in the wrong desk because it is Shi Fen’s! Apparently Kai Xin hung his bag on the wrong desk! So doomed! With Shi Fen picking up this love letter, he later reads it and is distraught to see it is addressed to Kai Xin. But before he could see who it is from, Shi Mao whacks him from the back and wants him to forget everything! Yeah, he didn’t even know what hit him nor what he did wrong…

Episode 23
Shi Fen notices his sister’s birthday coming up so he tells his friends they should throw a party for her because nobody ever did. Wow. Suddenly such a loving brother? So touched that his friends agree. But the real issue is, what do girls like as present? Shi Fen asks Miao Miao but all her ‘ordinary’ suggestions are rejected. Meanwhile Kai Xin observes what girls want and even has his own flashback of what his mom wants of him as a son. That’s it! Girls want other people’s stuff! WTF?! But Shi Fen likes this idea and goes along with it. So when they pull off the birthday surprise, Shi Fen hands her a box filled with presents. All second hand and used items! Not appreciated! When she scoffs off at this used lunchbox, Kai Xin says it is his. Now she loves it! My, so confusing. So girls like other people’s stuff or not?

Episode 24
No money. It sucks. Because Shi Fen spent it all on ice cream and comics. There’s your beat down. Since they only have flour, Shi Fen might have made good looking foods with it but it’s still not the party they want. There’s your beat down part 2. Luckily Kai Xin and Banzai save the day as they bring vegetables and protein respectively. By the time Miao Miao arrives, the siblings are already expecting. I guess a watermelon’s fine too. Then they throw everything inside to make one hell of a hot dish! In this hot room with the air-cond still broken! I’m surprised they are all still alive. Thank the watermelon for that. Probably Shi Mao having the best night since Kai Xin fed her. Then everyone takes a long walk. So long that they reached school. Shi Mao feeling nostalgic and grateful for this school. She wouldn’t have met everyone had she not come here.

Our Idiots In Love
And just like that, the fun is over. I guess that happens a lot when you binge watch very short anime series. Time literally flies. Until the next time when they get more silly ideas for Shi Mao to beat up Shi Fen. But I don’t think that will be hard because it isn’t very difficult for idiots to get back to their own silly ways. Anything they do is worthy of a beat down. After all, they never learn. Even when you have gorilla girl Shi Mao as the executioner. Oops. Did I say gorilla girl?!

With double the number of episodes this second, there are a lot more antics to be played out. They still retain the same trademark silliness that made the first season loveable and enjoyable. Having said that, I feel this season tries to play up the love triangle more often, especially in the later half of the season. Yeah, tis the season of love for our lovable idiots. It was shocking as it was trolling to see that Shi Fen had a girl taking an interest in him. Of course even if it was just trolling us, we are still left to wonder if the class rep really does have a crush on Shi Fen at all. Then again, she may be trolling us once more and she is only into him because of that gay thingy with Kai Xin. Man, that would have been the ultimate amusement had this fujoshi played out for another few episodes. Maybe not. It might get tiring since girls who like Kai Xin now will start to like Kai Xin-Shi Fen and where’s the fun in turning the entire fan girl base into sick twisted fujoshi? Yeah, and Kai Xin will always only be in love with basketball and hang around Shi Fen. Why aren’t there secret doujin of Kai Xin and Shi Fen already?

Like in many other anime series, such love triangles don’t get resolved and remain status quo because that would be the end of the story and the fun. Hence it is expected that Shi Mao is still trying to win the heart of Kai Xin and is still at the starting point. Ironically a powerful demon when it comes to beating up her brother, she is just so weak in the face of love. Ah, love. Her ultimate weakness. Shi Mao still beats up her brother from time to time but I feel it is less this season. Is it because of more episodes and hence the beatings are now spread out? After all, it will also get a bit tiring after a while if we have to see Shi Fen getting beaten up in every episode. Even if it is the punch line. This might be the staple of what the series is supposed to be but I guess they have to also show at times that the siblings care for each other. But this is not often and as rare as a four leaf clover. Like Shi Fen thinking about Shi Mao’s birthday. Like, really? This is Shi Fen? You’d expect some sort of ulterior motive but the punch line comes in another different form anyway.

Then there is also Banzai who continues to have a crush on Shi Mao and like Shi Mao’s case for Kai Xin, we don’t expect to see this guy get anywhere closer. At least in his mind he thinks he is so but you know it is all just a misunderstanding. After a while, you would think that this guy would have some sort of idea on what being a commoner is. But as you can see that he just can’t simply understand them. I’ll give him credit for trying, though. It is just too bad that he chose the wrong idiotic crowd to mix with and now he is part of the idiotic trio and if they go on a worldwide comedy tour, they can be the new Three Stooges of the new era. Yeah…

Wan Xing is a new character introduced this season but I feel he is so lacking and is more of a side character. I thought he would play some sort of a pivotal role but he just feels forgettable. It may be that he doesn’t have enough episodes to flash out his character enough. It’s like they needed to introduce a new character for the sake of introducing a new character for this season. So what about him trying to keep a tabs on his brother as he would be the one to inherit the family? I thought if Banzai failed to make the cut, Wan Xing would use his authority to drag him out of the commoner school and back to high society. But it looks like the idiocy force is strong in this series and from the looks of it, Wan Xing is now considered an idiot. No matter how much of a genius you are, it only takes a second of idiocy to drag you down to that level and you’re stuck there forever.

Art and animation maintain its quality like last season and you can tell it is still using the Flash animation style. But unlike many animations using this dreaded technique, this one seems smooth and in acceptable quality that you won’t even noticed or be irked it is using done Flash animation. At least personally I was quite entertained with all the tomfoolery and silliness that I don’t even make me notice that this is Flash based. For example, anime series like JK Meshi and Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Game Girls used Flash but their animation is so comical and one kind, you are inclined to say this is so Flash for most of the time. Even with this series having its exaggerated and comical moments (especially to show us Shi Mao beating up Shi Fen or Shi Fen extending his idiocy), it is done in a smooth and seamless manner that you won’t really bother about this.

I am not sure if there is going to be a third season but if there will be, you know very well my answer. For those who don’t, OF COURSE I’M GOING TO WATCH IT!!!! What else, baka!!! Overall, I enjoyed this season as much as I enjoyed the first one. Double the episodes, double the fun, double the idiocy. Yeah, maybe I am one of those idiots now. Uh huh. It takes an idiot to understand and appreciate all this kind of idiotic stuffs, huh? It feels like a line from Hotel California, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave! You think you’ve stepped away from it only to realize you’ve come back to its roots. So stop your futile attempts and come join the dark force of idiocy! Hey, even the title of this series says there is no cure for idiocy! At least idiocy for brothers.

The Fate series and universe has seen a lot of retelling, reboots and spinoffs. You have got to be a real obsessed fan to follow and understand each and every Fate universe there is. And now, here is another ‘alternate universe’ of this Fate series. One whereby there is no killing over the Holy Grail but rather everyone enjoying the delicious cooking of Shirou! Wait! What?! Yup. You read that right. Emiya-san Chi No Kyou No Gohan is about our titular character thinking on how to fill the bellies of everyone with his cooking instead of filling the Holy Grail with blood. I guess it is true that a way to a man’s heart (or in this case, everybody) is through the stomach. And that when you are more inclined to be angry on an empty stomach. Hangry. Yeah. So stop fighting. Let’s enjoy what Shirou is going to cook for us today. And on his menu today is… Itadakimasu!

Episode 1
Shirou and Saber are out doing their shopping errands for the New Year. Of course the streets are packed with people. Saber notices the osechi dish that many are preparing to welcome the New Year as Shirou explains its meaning and significance of people doing so. Back home, Fujimura and Ilya are ‘victims’ of the kotatsu. Too warm to leave. Fujimura claiming she needs to conserve here energy for tomorrow. You mean, snagging a man in her kimono? Okay. When Saber falls ‘victim’ to the kotatsu too, it is now that Shirou begins to cook. He explains the simple steps and tasks he is doing to create the many mini dishes. Eventually he puts them all together for a special shrimp soba AKA toshikoshi soba. Definitely great as you see them enjoying their meal. Also, Shirou explains the significance of making such special soba on today as it represents longevity and health. After done, Saber accompanies to Ryuudou Temple. They hope Issei is alright as they are going to be receiving a lot of people tomorrow. Along the way, Shirou mentions another symbolic meaning of toshikoshi soba: To be near each other forever. Oh my. Shirou you saying that makes you awkward because Saber putting on that confused face. I guess we’ll go with best wishes for next year.

Episode 2
Lancer is working as a fishmonger. I guess he knows how to sell his fish so this makes Shirou feels he wants to eat salmon baked in foil. As he makes his purchase, he notices an extra salmon. It’s not really on the house. Lancer wants to try that salmon dish too. So please cook one for him as he’ll be coming to his place for dinner. He’s serious. I suppose Lancer closed early to hang out at Shirou’s place and even makes himself at home. Signal for Shirou to start cooking. All the while, Saber is on her guard and having her suspicions but Lancer is only here for dinner. Once done, it’s time to get digging. If you think it is delicious, wait till Shirou introduces you to wasabi mayonnaise to add extra oomph to the taste. Lancer loves it so much that he hopes they can do this again sometime. He’s serious. To show his appreciation, he helps to wash the dishes but much to Shirou’s suspicions. That’s because Lancer is staying for tonight and now takes out the alcohol to party. Now he’s singing to Fujimura’s tune. More headache for Shirou…

Episode 3
Ilya heads to Fujimura’s place as per requested. Seems she dresses her up in a real cute kimono. Then she is brought to Shirou’s place where all the other girls are waiting. Ushering her into a room, it seems they want to surprise her with a Hinamatsuri celebration as there are the Hina dolls on display. I guess she’s the only loli in the cast so what better way to wish and celebrate for them to grow up well and healthy. Even though Ilya is literally a foreigner… The gang now bring out the foods they made. Especially this special cake known as spring chirashizushi. Flashback sees how Shirou and Sakura prepared this and with the other girls having their other roles, Rin doesn’t want to be left out and does something to add to this dish. I think it is some mini dish made out of a variety of food to resemble the Hina dolls. I have this conspiracy that everybody is doing this so they could see the cutest satisfaction loli face. Mission accomplished. After thanking them for going through a lot of preparation for this surprise, Ilya then bugs Shirou for his comments on her kimono. An excuse to hug him. Is that a surprise for the rest of the girls?

Episode 4
Shirou helps Neko (Fujimura’s former classmate) at her liquor store. He accompanies her to deliver some liquor to Ryuudou Temple and is greeted by Reikan the monk. After done, Shirou notices some vegetables wrapped together and starts thinking how this would make a good sandwich. Speaking of which, this makes the rest hungry as now they want him to make them that said sandwich. Looks like his part time job just got extended. And so we hear Shirou narrate how to make spring greens and bacon sandwich. I guess he made extras so he gave some to Assassin. Not bad, right? When Issei returns, I think he got jealous that the rest got to taste Shirou’s handmade sandwiches. Don’t rush. There’s more if you want. And Neko thinks they should add this to their menu. Shirou will be making them of course. Does she pay him enough for all this?

Episode 5
Issei hands Shirou some bamboo shoots. They are from Reikan as thanks for the sandwiches. Meanwhile Sakura and Rider are out shopping when they bump into the former’s senior. As she learns she is making gratin for dinner, this gives Sakura an idea to do the same. However making gratin the usual way feels boring. But don’t worry. Luckily Shirou has soaked the bamboo shoots and they can use this fresh new ingredient just in time before the whole thing gets bitter. So we see them prepare the other ingredients they need to make their gratin and voila! The bamboo shoot gratin that you’ve all been waiting for. Sakura makes the same gratin for her jerk brother, Shinji. That guy sounds unappreciative at first but finds it a little different. You know her cooking is so damn good when he finishes the plate clean! Sakura is one happy sister today.

Episode 6
I guess rainy days sometimes bring back certain memories. Like in this case when a young Shirou and Fujimura went out shopping together so they could make their first Hamburg steak. Shirou is the one doing most of the work as Fujimura reads the instructions on how to do so. Finally it is done and they call Kiritsugu to join them. He is impressed they made this and it is also that delicious enough that you can see some life returning into his eyes. Yeah. Shirou hopes to improve and make better food for Kiritsugu so that he doesn’t have to travel and stay here forever. Kiritsugu looks forward to his growth. And now all the girls arrive at Shirou’s place to enjoy his Hamburg steak. You won’t be disappointed definitely.

Episode 7
Rin, Shirou and Saber are having fun at the water amusement park. When they see Rider here, Rin gets an idea to play indoor beach volleyball. Of course Rin-Rider pair dominates since Rider is tall. Before you know it, Shirou-Saber now faces off with Archer-Lancer. Did they hijack this match? Then it becomes a power play that could almost kill Shirou. I’m amazed the ball is still in one piece even though the ground is ‘destroyed’ after all that hard hitting power spikes. Saber won’t lose and that means another round? Oh Shirou… When they return home, they feel their energy zapped so what better way for Shirou to help regain their strength by making a simple ochazuke. So delicious that Rin has a few helpings. Don’t worry, she won’t grow fat, right? With her strength almost regained, there is just one more that Shirou needs to do for her: Massage. Heh. Even if Shirou is not a Servant, he is somewhat their manservant…

Episode 8
Shirou helps clean Rin’s house that is filled with books and letters and whatever. With the clock hitting noon, time for lunch break. Now what shall we have for lunch. For once, we take a break from Shirou cooking as Rin takes the liberty to cook Chinese fried rice with Sakura assisting her. The usual explanations and everything and as expected, everything turns out nice and delicious. Sakura showers Rin with a lot of praises and hopes to learn a lot from her. This has Sakura flushed with embarrassment. But I guess we all need to remember her tsundere specialty and hence the reason she is acting so. Girl, it’s only food. Calm down.

Episode 9
Caster desperately seeks Shirou and finally finds him. Earlier on, she overheard Kuzuki talking to Reikan about eating taro simmered in broth. However she has no idea how to cook it and hence the only ‘saviour’ is you know who. Hence Shirou has her accompany him to buy the ingredients before heading back to begin their cooking lesson. Saber returns and is suspicious of seeing Caster over. But Shirou guarantees she isn’t up to anything fishy and lets her taste her cooking. Now we’re cool? They make the perfect Japanese dish and this gives Caster motivation to make the same for Kuzuki. However back at her place, she followed the instructions but yet it turns out less than perfect. Did something go wrong somewhere? Kuzuki finds out what she is up to but he still eats her ‘failure’. I believe it isn’t whether or not it taste good but rather because she cooked them. He tells her even if she fails, just try again. He’ll always be by her side. And the ‘newlyweds’ continue their happy dinner.

Episode 10
With the cultural festival looming, Issei rejects the track club’s seafood grilling booth. Yeah… With more headache as he goes around inspecting booths and reprimanding those who do not follow the procedure, I guess you can say the entire student council body is working overtime to ensure the smooth flow of this festival. It’s late at night and Shirou heard how they are sick of eating sweet bread and want some meat. Oh well. You know what to do, Shirou. Everyone lights up when they hear Shirou is going to cook for them. You mean he is this famous? I guess we don’t need any approval for this, right? So Shirou gets straight to buy the ingredients and cooks fried chicken. Safe to say the student council members are invigorated with his cooking. Yeah, better than any energy drink. Now they can go on all night. Better than any Energizer battery. Then Shirou realizes he forgot to cook for Saber and rushes home. She knows what is going on but even if she tries to be considerate and says she isn’t hungry, her stomach can’t lie. Here’s some fried chicken. Good for the soul. Damn, Shirou should just make his own fried chicken, SFC.

Episode 11
Archer is supposed to pick up Rin after her shopping. As he waits, he notices Lancer bugging Shirou but the latter doesn’t want to go along and escapes. Archer doesn’t care about this but here comes Lancer bugging him now. He needs his help to cook in the café he works part time since the chef bailed last minute. Archer didn’t want to do it but with Lancer noting he will bug Shirou again since he cooks better, I guess Archer won’t let that slide. And here he is. We see Kuzuki and Caster entering. At first she hates to see such familiar people but Kuzuki tells her it doesn’t matter who is around as long as they’re together. Then Saber comes in. Noticing all the familiar weirdoes and Archer behind the kitchen, she orders omelette rice. Turns out good. Didn’t know he could cook this good. Remember who is his alter ego, right? When the café is closed, Lancer points out a guest wants to see him. Turns out to be Rin in disguise and Archer realizes he has missed the appointed time. So after all his work, he only has coffee on the house? Anyway, Archer feels ashamed but Rin doesn’t think so. She heard from Lancer and understood the situation. She wants him to cook omelette rice for her too. When Saber tells Shirou of Archer’s omelette rice, Shirou is going to put more effort in tonight’s dinner. What’s with this indirect competition?

Episode 12
Ilya hosts a Christmas party. Liz went to fetch the other ladies and due to traffic, they’re running late. Hence Liz takes the shortcut by diving directly up the mountain! Could have been the biggest mishap ever had not Rider taken control. Rider now becomes Driver? Tame this motor beast! I hope they have their appetite once the wild ride is over. Luckily Shirou was there earlier to spare him that nightmare. Otherwise he can’t help finish his cooking at Ilya’s kitchen. Despite the many dishes he cooks, the highlight is his roast beef. He explains how he made it but too bad thanks to budget limitation, it isn’t fillet mignon. But still tastes good nevertheless. Later as Shirou is lost trying to find the toilet, he gets the shock of his life when Berserker returns! Yeah, he is back with a real Christmas tree as Ilya’s servants quickly decorate it. Ilya then gives Berserker her cute cookies she made for him. Aww… How sweet. Even big retard guy gets some loli love.

Episode 13
It’s going to be a cold and wet weather so what better way than for Shirou to make a hotpot nabe for Saber and his guests. Definitely hits the spot. And once the nabe is almost over, Shirou adds some rice with egg into the pot for some zosui goodness. Fujimura almost ‘ruins’ everything by giving everyone tangerines. Finally when everybody has left, we hear Saber give her heartfelt thanks that her life here is interesting because everybody is around. Especially you, Shirou. Here’s to another good year. Yeah, Shirou’s cooking made all the difference, eh? Here’s to another good year of Shirou’s cooking!

Fried/Sautee Nappe: Unlimited Bake, Woks ~ Haute’s Fill
Wow. With such delicious meals, it is no wonder that nobody is going to fight for the Holy Grail anymore. Damn, this is the most peaceful Fate series ever in the history of the Fate universe! Not even that Ilya spinoff series could tops how peaceful this one is. All because of the secret ingredient called food. That’s right, people. Just like how I said in my opening paragraph on how one tend to get hangry when you’re hungry, with everyone’s tummy being filled with the good ol’ cooking of Shirou’s cuisine, screw the Holy Grail! Shirou is God! Thank you for your patronage. See you again tomorrow for the next meal. Wonderful. Peace has been achieved and everybody’s dreams have come true. Thank you, Shirou. People are happy when they are full. XD. Yes, Shirou is the only ‘Master’ in this Fate universe.

Oddly enough, this series didn’t follow the ‘usual format’ of being aired in a particular season. What do I mean? If you have watched another series called Katanagatari, then you will understand how the airing of this show works. Because they only released an episode per month! So yeah, it has been over a year that we can only finish and see what Shirou has to offer us. Like the Chinese often say, slowly eat. But if they’re thinking of making us hungry and worthwhile as we wait for the next food on Shirou’s menu, then I don’t really think it’s working. Because I’m not a big Fate series fan and I had other anime to binge. Besides, me binge watching this series is already proof of it. Uh huh. Oh, this series just ended? Finally. Time to binge watch and see what all the fuzz is about after putting this series on the back burner for a year. Yeah… To be fair, this series was released over the internet instead of the usual TV airwaves.

Although the foods are the highlights and the ‘main stars’, this series isn’t exactly a cooking show or those exaggerated ones such as Shokugeki No Souma, Toriko or Yakitate! Japan. No people dying and going to heaven and then coming back to life after they taste Shirou’s goodness. Nothing of that sort. Therefore, it is sometimes a dilemma if everyone enjoying a good meal makes this series the most ‘boring’ in the Fate series but at the same time the calmest of them all (have you seen Amaama To Inazuma?). You can pretty much guess the outcome of every episode because our characters will definitely enjoy the cooking of Shirou (or any other character behind the knife or pan). No big twist or convolution in the plot. Everything turns out just fine. Sorry to break it to you people. But it looks like Shirou here is the Noah of this Fate series. Uh huh. Noah managed an ark filled with so many meat eaters and none of the animals got eaten. It’s the same for Shirou here. All the Servants are properly fed and hence avoiding any sort of hostile conflict. Now you know why Shirou is God in this series?!

A reason I said this isn’t exactly a cooking show is because even though Shirou does narrate and explain how to make that certain dish in focus, his explanations are still very much bare bones. If you really do want to cook the way he does and turn out to be this perfect, it is better to follow much detailed instructions you can find over the internet or even your grandma or mom’s recipes. I mean, for a person who doesn’t really know how to cook, the way Shirou explains how to prepare and cook everything of course sounds so majestic and magnificent. Pro cooks may find this to be basic knowledge and nothing stimulating. So instead of taking out a pen and paper to note down what Shirou says, you’d be better off finding recipes over the internet or even watch dedicated YouTube videos if you are really serious in trying to cook those foods.

Almost everyone in the original Fate universe showed up here. But I was wondering why they left out Kirei and Gilgamesh. I guess those two are so antagonistic that they would ruin a good meal if they ever showed their faces? I mean, even Kiritsugu at least had an appearance despite it was a flashback and just when I thought they have forgotten about Berserker, here he is at the penultimate episode. So really, maybe nothing good comes out from these two? At least even that Shinji jerk had a short cameo. The most ‘shocking’ character is Lancer because I didn’t really expect him to be seen as one who does odd jobs and part time jobs all over Fuyuki. Like he is the go-to guy if you need some fish or any other sort of delivery. Then you have Rider being so docile and friends with Sakura and she is just so different than the one I remembered her in the original Fate series. What about Caster who is more interested to play Kuzuki’s wife?

The art and animation are fine especially when the food is done. I am not sure because I have seen so many good food themed anime series, I have somewhat become immune to it. They still look yummy but it isn’t to the point where my mouth would start to water and I have this feeling I want to take a chomp out of the monitor. Also, with the animation style being light, bright and sometimes the characters being close to chibi and non-threatening, it really gives an air of peace and calm instead of the usual dark, bloody and gory ones we know. Yeah, you can feel that everybody is having a great time. Everybody is everybody’s friends and not enemies. As this is animated by Ufotable, you can still tell the quality is there despite the lightness of the visuals.

One thing I also like in this series is the very hip hop and catchy opener, Apron Boy by DJ Misoshiru & MC Gohan. Really? Misoshiru & Gohan? Okay. Itadakimasu! Anyway, despite the singer’s voice sounding like as though she wants to copy that out-of-tune Nano Ripe and that her voice sounds a bit out of tune almost going to ruin the song, but as you slowly get into the flow of this piece, it is no big deal. I suppose this song is light enough to make you want to dance or even good for a light disco theme. The ending theme is also not bad. But Collage by Sangatsu No Phantasia sometimes feel like a song for sleeping or preparing to sleep! I don’t know, hearing this piece somehow reminds me of Nichijou’s Zzz! Thankfully I didn’t fall asleep.

So basically if I had to put it in an honest way, it is just a so-so passable cooking themed anime using the characters of the Fate series. It isn’t anything that special or extraordinary but it is just something different than your usual Fate style and execution. Only Fate fans can appreciate this even more like fine wine while everybody else who is just casual might be going, “Uhm… Okay. I guess this doesn’t suck”. At least we can all say that if Shokugeki No Souma and Toriko cook foods that are way beyond our reach and taste buds, we have at least these small time ‘saviours’ who can whet our appetite and stay grounded, looking forward to the next meal. It doesn’t have to be creative and so haute cuisine that it is out of touch of reality. It can be as simple as your mother’s cooking. Putting your heart and soul for others to enjoy is already half the battle won in making a delicious meal. Thank you Shirou for giving us such visual delights. Gochisousama!

I think Jeanne d’Arc AKA Joan of Arc has got to be one of the most famous female character in western history because from time to time the Japanese would borrow her name and weave her into their whatever story. From Fate/Stay Apocrypha to Nobunaga The Fool and even the obscure Drifters where she is the villain, it’s time again for another Jeanne d’Arc adaptation. This time it is Ulysses – Jeanne d’Arc To Renkin No Kishi. Though it follows closely the historical events, it adds a few other extra things just to spice things up. This time we have got harem, magic, alchemy, fairies and even God Almighty himself coming into the mix. Oh yeah, this is one version of Jeanne d’Arc I would like to see how it all turns out in the end.

Episode 1
It is 1415. England and France are at war. Montmorency prefers to borrow books instead of attending class. As he explains to Arthur de Richemont, his goal is to master the secret art of alchemy to prevent anyone dying from the war. He believes the old guy in the bookstore is the famous alchemist, Nicolas Flamel. But the old fart insists he isn’t. Thus Montmorency has to read all the books to decipher everything, though he still hopes on Nicolas will teach him one day. That night, they sneak out but Charlotte de Valois and Philippite “Philip” Valois Bourgogne also join them. Montmorency claims he has seen fairies at Nicholas’ place and believes they must be connected to alchemy somehow. But in the forest they are being ambushed by English soldiers. Only Richemont can fight. To buy time, the rest pretend Montmorency is an alchemist under Nicolas and threaten to turn them into stone with his Philosopher’s Stone. I don’t think the English understand French… Luckily Richemont despatches her enemies in time. The young ones lament in the crazy time they live in. War is upon them and yet ironically the girls come from different houses (Richemont = House of Brittany, Charlotte = French royalty, Philip = House of Burgundy) but study in the same school. They make a vow to stay as friends even after graduating. Next day, Richemont’s brother, Jean d’Alencon challenges Montmorency to a duel for putting his love Philip in danger. Richemont just kick him in the balls!

Richemont then talks to Montmorency that France and England will fight a decisive battle in which she has been put in the frontlines to save face for the family. Montmorency becomes desperate to save her and seeks Nicolas for help on alchemy but he warns not only the church will banish you but you will forever be alone as an immortal. He is then chased out. The fight rages on and when Montmorency heads to the battlefield in the aftermath, he assumes the worst as he sees Richemont’s broken sword. She has been captured by the English. Meanwhile Philip’s family decide to join forces with the English. Montmorency is even more desperate as he will use alchemy on himself to become immortal. If there is no God, he’ll sell his soul to the devil. After conducting the ritual, Astaroth, the queen of the fairies and guardian of the Philosopher’s Stone pop up. He agrees to be her slave in exchange for power. She mentions great people like King Solomon and Jesus Christ used the stone and achieved great works. They earned the title of Ulysses. Montmorency has it possibly his ancestors was a member of Knights Templar. She warns swallowing the stone as it is will kill him because of the poison. He must find a way to turn it into an elixir and only then his body will be able to withstand the poison. For 7 years Montmorency tried and failed. Yeah, time passes by in a flash when you’re in obsession.

Episode 2
The battle ended with the English winning. Hence they advanced and captured Paris, causing the royalty to flee. With the Burgundy side aligning with the English, the region soon fell into chaos. In a small village in France, Jeanne d’Arc is praying for the war to end with her fairies. Montmorency as the travelling alchemist is here to get some ingredients to help with his alchemy. But with Jeanne interrupting, the slightest wrong mixture causes it to explode. Montmorency is lucky not to have died from it. He and Astaroth argue about the supposed completion of the elixir within 3 years but look how long it has turned out. La Hire and her mercenaries arrive in the village. They are sent by Charlotte to warn and protect them from the invading Burgundy army. However they blackmail them into giving all their food for this protection. Suddenly Montmorency starts drooling?! I don’t think it’s because of La Hire’s boobs but Astaroth points out after so many experiments, he may have absorbed some amount of the elixir and become a vessel himself. However he can’t just eat the stone wholly right now. He will only stay as Ulysses for 3 minutes before meeting a horrible death. Arguing on this too long and the Burgundy side has arrived.

As the village is burnt down, the fairies try to protect Jeanne’s home, only to be killed off! Damn Burgundy f*ckers don’t like cute fairies! Jeanne tries to save them but is also killed. Lamenting if she only had the power to stop wars, Montmorency has an idea. He asks if she truly wishes to live and risk banished from this village forever. He plans to put the stone in her wounds to regenerate her flesh. She won’t be alone, though. He will always be with her. Montmorency breaks the stone in half and puts it into her wound. Then the kissing to transfer his elixir drool. Hot and sweet. Until the immense pain takes over. Once she overcomes that, she turns into an evil super human! Too fast! Too strong! The Burgundy bastards don’t stand a chance! Did she enable some cheat code?! The remaining soldiers run away and she would have gone after them had Montmorency not stopped her. Astaroth explains the stone not only amplifies her powers but her emotions. Jeanne then challenges La Hire a duel to the death (on grounds that she has bigger boobs?). She dares her to shoot her brain to effectively kill her. But this only makes it easier for Jeanne to predict her moves. But Jeanne is a millisecond too late to kill La Hire as the Ulysses effect wears off. Phew. Astaroth further adds that for the power of acceleration for 3 minutes, her arrogance intensified. In the aftermath, Jeanne says goodbye to the villagers as she prepares to leave with Montmorency. La Hire believes she will now be hunted down by the inquisition as a heretic but Montmorency thinks otherwise. She will become a saint.

Episode 3
The French royalty relocated to Chinon and with the French king suddenly dead and other male heirs died in battle, Charlotte ascended the throne. Montmorency spreads the word that Jeanne is a saint sent by God to save France. I guess in desperate times, people will tend to cling on to any hope. Even more so when they think Astaroth is the archangel Michael. Astaroth is of course not amused by being used by all this. She claims Montmorency cannot become a Ulysses and instead turned into an elixir factory. Jeanne’s side effect means she wants to taste his elixir very often. Your excuse to have an indecent French kissing scene. Oh good, the Burgundy army is here. Time for Jeanne to kickass. This is just a ploy by Girard to gauge Jeanne’s time limit as Ulysses. Montmorency sends a letter to Charlotte, requesting her to knight her as a saint. But that letter is intercepted by La Tremoille, the chamberlain of the palace and Montmorency’s cousin. When Jeanne and Montmorency are let into the palace, the latter gets kidnapped and thrown into prison. Guess what? Same prison with Richemont! It seems Charlotte escaped from the English army back here but is arrested for investigating corruption within the ranks. Flashback shows she lost to Henry V in battle. Instead of killing her, he made her his knight. Her plan was to be a mediator but Henry V died shortly after an illness and her plan fell into ruin. Then his heir, Bedford got horny and wanted to rape her (thank goodness he waited for her to mature) and that’s when she ran away. But Richemont is disappointed. She always thought Montmorency would come save her but he did not. He admits he is useless for being unable to save her. But he was running the entire time from the inquisition so that he could keep their promise alive. Elsewhere, Astaroth tries to investigate. She stumbles into La Tremoille’s room, only to see weird creepy dolls. Too bad she gets captured by him.

Meanwhile Jeanne is brought before the queen. Charlotte notes that many has requested an audience with her, claiming they have the power to save France but only embarrassed herself before her double. She laments no one will save France or her. However Jeanne can tell the one at the throne is a double and the real Charlotte in the crowd. How can she tell? The boobs. You mean Montmorency knows his girls’ boobs even when they’re far apart? Was photo invented then?! Talking to Jeanne privately in her room, Charlotte finds out about the letter she never received. She thinks Montmorency was too scared to face her and fled. But Jeanne believes he is not the kind of guy who will break promises. Charlotte still can’t forgive him as she was alone and scared. Even her own mother abandoned her. The talk is interrupted when a bulky knight assassin tries to kill Jeanne. Can she activate Ulysses mode any time? Jeanne easily fights the guy and defeats him despite wearing such heavy armour. After collapsing, Girard reveals himself. His intention is to wear her out and then steal her Philosopher’s Stone as ordered by his employer.

Episode 4
When a peace talk was attempted with Burgundy, Duke John I was betrayed and murdered. With both nations’ ties severely irreconcilable, Philip succeeds her father and is on her way to Chinon for a top secret mission. La Hire and her mercenaries get paid. However she knows this is hush money to not be involved further as Montmorency is captured. La Tremoille sees Montmorency and Richemont. He reveals his plan to end this war via politics. France will surrender its lost territory to England and in exchange secure rights to the land south of Loire River. As Philip will be visiting soon, there is no way for French royalty to survive other than making peace with England. La Tremoille accuses Montmorency for trying to overthrow Charlotte with this saint ruse and end the royal family. Montmorency believes Charlotte won’t give in but Richemont gives him some reality check. After seeing so much bloodshed, Charlotte has become withdrawn and left all the decision making to La Tremoille. Speaking of her, she is in trauma mode as she watches Girard torment Jeanne for answers of the Philosopher’s Stone and elixir. Despite telling the truth, he doesn’t believe and continues to beat her up. Brilliant idea for La Tremoille to let his prisoners out of their cells so he could kill them. Because cue for La Hire and her mercenaries to barge in and cause some havoc. Here’s the money back. Astaroth who was stuck in a bottle was saved by her. Because Charlotte screamed loud enough, Montmorency and co arrive in time. Montmorency is willing to give the stone in exchange for Jeanne’s life. But Girard won’t be fooled as he has heard from Jeanne how it works. So Montmorency covers the stone with his elixir and tosses it to him to devour. However Girard didn’t know the reason why kissing is necessary. Because the elixir evaporates upon contacting with air. Girard’s body soon explodes! Charlotte is grateful to Jeanne because she risked her own life to save her even if they just met.

Good timing for Philip to be here. Greatest reunion timing? Philip talks to Montmorency as the latter believes the war will not end if France surrenders to England. This is because the royalty has so many branches and relatives, everyone will start fighting to claim the throne. All France need is to unite and for Burgundy to become their allies. However Philip is fighting her own inner demons. The ghost of her father, that is. He continues to haunt her to carry on his ambition to make Burgundy the most powerful empire in Europe. We take a detour with Jeanne bugging Montmorency for his elixir. In front of the other girls. Since when did Jeanne has got monopoly over his kiss? WTF is this logic Charlotte has bigger boobs so she can’t kiss him? Philip has decided. She tells Girard is from Burgundy and was acting on his own for her father’s wishes, which is to use the Philosopher’s Stone and make Burgundy the most powerful empire. That’s why she can’t cooperate with them. Montmorency can’t accept this. He tells her about their promise. Not the ambitions of her father. The only thing she did in return is to kiss him! But this is just a sneaky move to steal his elixir. Is that suffice? With Charlotte rejuvenated and rallying her people to fight back, however they lack the military strength. Don’t worry. All you need is Jeanne. With Charlotte’s blessing, the people now believe God has not abandoned France. Let’s drive the English out! Uhm, why does Jeanne’s outfit make her look like a slut? However La Tremoille has ratted out to the church. Even if Charlotte has accepted Jeanne, God (AKA the church) will not allow a heretic to be a knight.

Episode 5
With the death of France’s king, England saw this chance to crown Bedford in the Notre Dame cathedral at Reims to legitimize their rule of France. Hence it is race to crown Charlotte there but they must liberate Orleans to secure a safe passage there. However the tide is in England’s favour and France lost many men. Richemont goes to see Alencon (in the midst of making out with his lovers) to request for troops but he is only delaying and in the end she didn’t get what she wanted. Later Richemont is kidnapped and almost raped had not one of Alencon’s lovers led the soldiers to liberate her. They talk about Alencon being a weak and indecisive ruler. However she tells when Lord Bedford demanded Richemont to be handed over, Alencon opposed this not because it meant they sided with England but rather Richemont is his sister and will not allow it. Even if Alencon isn’t a good ruler, at times he can still be brave on her behalf. Jeanne is handed the sword of the French royalty, Joyeuse in hopes she could rally knights to fight for her. La Tremoille seeks an audience with Charlotte as he hands her a message that the church calls for Jeanne to take a virginity test. Yeah, possible rape by perverted old men. Others of course won’t want Jeanne to go but since Jeanne blames herself for not being able to raise an army, is thinking of going.

Charlotte and Richemont’s relationship is strained as they start blaming each other. The former accusing Alencon for not providing the troops and hence prolonging the war. Then there is also the touchy issue of the Brittany house being annexed. With that, Richemont quits and she hits rock bottom after seeing Montmorency hug Jeanne (to calm and assure her). She feels sad that it wasn’t that she was afraid of losing her purity to Bedford but rather couldn’t offer her purity to Montmorency. More woes as La Hire won’t send her men to fight and die a pointless battle. That night, La Tremoille leads some of the villagers to demand Jeanne take the virginity test. After all, bad rumours have spread that she might have received the power from the devil and Montmorency is a black magician. Montmorency tries to use diplomacy but gets beaten up instead. Jeanne shows up in Ulysses mode to beat them up and even tell them off that she’ll take the virginity test. After she collapses, Montmorency lets everyone know how Jeanne won’t even kill in this mode because of witnessing her sister died in war. She knows a life lost is forever and decided to use this power to protect instead. With the other villagers cooling their heads and accepting Jeanne isn’t as bad as she seems, only La Tremoille rues his ruined chance as he can’t get back his grand chamberlain title and continue with his fairy collection. Thanks to Joyeuse, more knights decide to fight alongside Jeanne. They prepare to march towards Orleans. Astaroth notes this is the first step to end the war and turn the world into a utopia. She calls Montmorency by his full name, Gilles de Montmorency Lavel or Gilles de Rais for short.

Episode 6
In the decisive battle at Orleans, Montmorency must also lead the soldiers to cross the bridge over Loire River as this is where the Tourelles complex sits and a frontal assault will be difficult. Montmorency is reunited with Batard, Charlotte’s younger brother who is forced to dress as a girl since young since she desired a little sister. That’s why he hates girls and is more into men. Like Montmorency. Also participating in this battle is Alencon who views this as a perfect chance to change his reputation as a useless brother. However he is struck down by a mysterious woman who calls herself as Ulysses Noire. Thankfully Jeanne enters the fray to fight her before retreating. With France obtaining victory and the English retreating to Tourelles, the people’s morale is boosted. We take a detour to see Jeanne in her usual raping of Montmorency. Not sure why Astaroth needs to point out the danger of them procreating (because it’s just natural) and hence unlocks some power in his Philosopher’s Stone. An image of the hottest babe ever appears and if he is able to draw this power out to its limit, this hot chick will be his and he shall never desire another human woman again. Montmorency rejects because he believes true love cannot be born without spending time together. With the high morale spirits of the French, this poses another problem as they are willing to go die in the frontlines for Jeanne. Alencon blames Montmorency for this and wants to assume command of this mission. While it might sound logical to use the mob as diversion while their limited forces conquer Tourelles, Jeanne is against this and will not sacrifice the people. She will go alone if needed to. Too bad the French people are already fighting the English army on the bridge. As the battle rages on, the English commanding officer, William Glasdale pops up. This is part of Montmorency’s plan to lure him out so Jeanne could go into Ulysses mode and strike him. However she is struck down by Noire. Uh huh. This is Glasdale’s trap to lure Jeanne so this could happen. Worse, Noire pins Jeanne down and is willing to die together with her (it is hinted Noire is Phillip). Glasdale uses his holy lance that supposedly killed Jesus to rip out their hearts! Because their organs won’t heal when coming into contact with the lance, hence Glasdale is the ideal Ulysses Hunter to exterminate all sorts of monsters. The French are left with a devastated blow seeing their saint dead. Glasdale orders the retrieval of Jeanne’s Philosopher Stone and corpse and anyone who does so will be generously rewarded by Bedford. Alencon grabs Jeanne but Montmorency is still reeling from the shock.

Episode 7
Montmorency is having bad nightmares that Jeanne is dead. He wakes up in Augustine’s Fortress where the French have temporarily seized it from the English during the confusion. But Jeanne is not dead. She is in a comatose state. She still has her head intact although she has lost her heart. The Philosopher Stone is barely keeping her alive. But even if she is revived, they cannot stand the force of the English might and need reinforcement. It is believed they need the mystical sword, Escalibor that lies hidden in the forest of Brittany but Alencon wants Montmorency to request troops from his grandfather instead even though their relationship is strained. Alencon will find Escalibor instead. Montmorency reluctantly returns home and meets up with his cousin, Catherine who is so glad to see him again. Grandpa has no qualms lending him as many men he wants. But on one condition: Marry Catherine. Montmorency refuses and gets beaten up. Gee, old man beats him up like that, Montmorency must be real weak. But Catherine must truly love Montmorency. Love him so much that she really wants his baby! Is this desperation. She narrates that his grandpa known as Jean the Redbeard plotted to marry his grandsons off to girls of wealthy families for their wealth. Wow. How many grandsons he has? But in reality he kidnaps them and brought to his tower where many die from sorrow and frailty. She is one of those girls but luckily for her, Montmorency somewhat ‘saved’ her and they made a vow to become siblings. Gee, that’s a step closer than a cousin, don’t you think? Meanwhile Charlotte pays La Hire in advance her Joyeuse to fight the English at Orleans. Jean is visited by Flamel. He remembers about his warning to kill Montmorency because of his prediction he will bring ruin to the world. Of course Jean didn’t because he is his grandson (is it for the future money?). Montmorency goes to see Catherine. He says he can’t marry her because of the promise he made to Jeanne and the responsibility he needs to take after turning her into a monster. Luckily he didn’t make any promises with Catherine, right? Catherine knows Montmorency loves Jeanne. Even if the world is against him and he still fights to protect her, that is love. I guess Catherine lost out on this game of love as she too is in the similar lonely position as Jeanne. She will lie to grandpa she lost her virginity to him so he can take the troops. After he leaves, Catherine cries as loud as she can. No one can hear her from this tower, right? And what the heck did Flamel lecture about one not being able to change one’s fate except after experiencing love? Is this the cliché power of love he is talking about?

Episode 8
I’m sure Astaroth clears us up about the spelling confusion of Excalibur, right? We’re in France and not in England. Also, they aren’t searching for the sword in particular but its scabbard. Because it will be too dangerous to put the sword and scabbard together. Hence Astaroth hints that she is actually the legendary Lady of the Lake! I want to doubt that because it seems she can’t remember where she hid it in the forest. Can we blame it has been 1000 years? Yeah, she even forgot the trap (I guess it isn’t Stonehenge) she set out to stop pursuers. Until she shows the Philosopher’s Stone did the stones stop moving and those little fairies she appointed to protect it pop up. They don’t remember her so she chastises them to keep a memo or something. Yeah, like she is the one to say. But as the fairies take them to the place, it has already been stolen by Thomas Malory, the princess knight of Wales and the one who is leading the search for Escalibor. She intends to hole herself up on this tree until her search team of 100 men come to rescue her. Batard tries to distract her but Thomas saw this coming and kills Astaroth! Not! Astaroth cannot die as long as she is the protector of the Philosopher’s Stone. Thomas is so shocked that she falls out of the tree! Alencon wants Batard to return with the scabbard while he uses Thomas as hostage to buy time. If he sounds like he is sacrificing himself, he is. Short flashbacks show his goal is to surpass Richemont and this is the perfect moment for it even if it means his death. Astaroth reunites with Montmorency and updates what happens. However his side now has to face off with La Tremoille who won’t allow him to be France’s saviour. Montmorency doesn’t have time for this but is dancing into his palms getting angry as La Tremoille mocks Jeanne. Suddenly Alencon returns! With Richemont and her strong private army! Flashback shows she was passing by and saved him. Thomas immediately had her troops retreated. Alencon thought he would be a laughing stock again but Richemont was proud of him for doing well. Thus Richemont’s side will fight on La Tremoille’s army so that Montmorency could go to Jeanne. Jeanne is given the scabbard and some of the elixir to revive. Kiss of life? Her wounds heal and Jeanne is back. So happy that they hug and she wants to stay like this for a while. Sorry to break you up, but there’s a war going on the outside and the French are losing ground, you know? Care to turn the tide sooner the better?

Episode 9
Jeanne’s voice revitalizes the French to fight back. However the rest won’t let Jeanne back to the battlefield. Because if she dies the same way again, she cannot be revived anymore. You mean the Philosopher’s Stone is only good for 1 use? We see Philip putting on the helmet which is the Holy Grail. She was expected to die when done so but Montmorency’s elixir turned her into a Ulysses and negated that effect. And that damn father’s voice telling her to fulfil her mission before she dies. So with Noire chopping down the French, Jeanne can’t sit back and watch her people die so she stubbornly enters the fray to fight Noire. Because of Noire’s helmet, she can regenerate easily. The rest of the French still motivated, fight on the pave a way to lead Montmorency to Jeanne. English dudes are getting pretty scared how fearsome these ordinary French people can be. Jeanne is supposed to win with her acceleration that Noire and Glasdale can’t keep up. So Noire plays this psychological trick by telling how Montmorency f*cked Catherine just to get the army. How the f*ck did she know?! Was she there to witness all that even if it was just lies? This works like a charm as Jeanne is now mad at Montmorency, thinking he thinks of her as a tool for battle. With her provoked, Noire kicks her into the air where she can’t move so Glasdale and other English soldiers fire their arrow. Can’t tell the real holy lance among them. Can she evade all of them? Just when she is about to succumb to her fate, Montmorency swallows his Philosopher’s Stone and suddenly becomes a Ulysses! As Jeanne’s half is offence, his is defence. With that, he is able to harden air and block all the arrows. Noire pins down Jeanne and wants Glasdale to shoot through them like the last time. Hesitantly he shoots. Although Montmorency tries to block it, his Ulysses effect runs out. The arrow hits Noire’s helmet but not enough force to pierce through. Jeanne manages to crack the helmet as Noire blames her for being loved by Montmorency. The bridge crumbles. I wonder how fast was Glasdale to dive in to save Noire. Luckily for Jeanne, Montmorency got her hand. The end of this battle signals the French’s victory. Montmorency believes Astaroth’s prophecy was off because he didn’t explode and should have ate it earlier. I hope he didn’t jinx it because now he feels something but wait, the entire sky turns ominous! Is this the end of the world? Flamel says love triggered the end of the world?! Astaroth is in shock that several dimensions are opening up. Are these monsters from those dimensions? Is this the effect of the Philosopher’s Stone going berserk?

Episode 10
The Hole of Babylon is opening and the monsters are killing everybody. Montmorency uses his air defence but he can only last for so long. He gets devoured and finds himself in an alternate dimension. He witnesses Astaroth and a human sealing a god in a Void Dimension. Yeah, god is ranting how without him, humans will lose their eternal utopia. STFU and get sealed forever. After that, the human dies (like Thanos’ snap?) and entrusts Astaroth to bring utopia to humans. Now Montmorency is possessed by the freed god (looking more like a demon) as he rains havoc on Earth. So god is an alien? Because he summons his spaceship to fire a laser to destroy the surrounding area! He is going to bring back utopia but must cleanse it of humans. Oh, how can you pray to God when God is now your enemy? Looks like this god has got a grudge with Astaroth. Nice timing for Flamel to show up and regret letting Montmorency live. He thought love will free him and mankind wouldn’t be a slave to fate but looks like he was wrong. Flamel is the last remaining survivor of Temple Knights, an organization by humans to create utopia for humans. They fought to destroy the Philosopher’s Stone but a traitor brought it back and it ended up in Montmorency’s hands. Thinking about it, everything could have been a curse. God demands Astaroth and Flamel won’t hand her over. So he uses his alchemy to fight him? Not going to work! Old geezer gets blown off. God is going to get his revenge over Astaroth’s betrayal. Even though she cannot die as she is the Philosopher’s Stone’s protector, he can kill her forever. Each time Astaroth dies, she resurrects and the killing resumes. Having fun killing her in many ways? Why does it look like a bad rape scene? La Hire isn’t going to sit around and do nothing. She stabs Joyeuse into her own heart and turns into some sort of Ulysses? Her magic bullets are able to fend off the tentacle monsters and will hit anything with accuracy. Her limit is up as she manages to shoot the Philosopher’s Stone out of Montmorency. Too bad the tentacle monsters can take it back. But for that slight moment, Montmorency returned to his senses and wants La Hire to kill him. Blow his brains out. When God resumes control, the Philosopher’s Stones resonate. This causes Jeanne to revive as she beats the sh*t out of God. Actually she is beating the crap out of Montmorency for trying to die. He promised he will not let her be alone and yet he is going to let himself be killed? Jeanne does multiple Super Saiyan punches in hopes of returning Montmorency. Not going to be easy. God won’t permit it. Meanwhile Montmorency is dreaming whereby Jeanne gets burnt by the stake as a witch.

Episode 11
Apparently this God has a name. Enlil. You mean it’s not Zephiroth? Okay. With Jeanne unable to detect Montmorency anymore, she gets mad. Meanwhile Philip continues to hear her father’s voice telling to go forth with her destiny to make Burgundy’s name legendary. F*ck you! With humanity ending, there won’t even be Burgundy left except in history. Philip is back to herself without the helmet. Wow. Did her bust shrink a lot. Philip believes Enlil is now a Ulysses since he absorbed the Philosopher’s Stone to maintain his form via a host, that’s why he didn’t kill Montmorency. This means Glasdale’s lance can pierce through him and Philip is willing to ruin her good name and sacrifice Jeanne for that cause. Philip puts back the helmet and reverts to Noire. Oh man! She just bust up and got her ass thicc!!! Jeanne and La Hire are no match for Enlil as he summons his demons to attack the humans. Wait. He has got lots of alien spaceships in space awaiting his command to fire?! When Noire holds down Enlil and Glasdale fires, Jeanne intercepts! This means Noire gets killed. I guess she has a responsibility to save Montmorency. Yup, she somewhat felt his presence. So this is how she is going to do it. Kiss Enlil! She goes back to the past when Montmorency was a kid believing alchemy could save the world. When Jeanne talks to him, of course he doesn’t know her, is confused and rejects her. Blown into another part of the past whereby Montmorency and his harem made that promise, same thing. Hi, I’m Jeanne. Who the f*ck are you?! Go away! Blown away. Next is Montmorency and Catherine paying tributes of the graves to all the girls Jean kidnapped. This time she just says they can end all tragedies together. Montmorency says they can’t. Next thing she knows, a vision of her being burnt at the stake. This time the real Montmorency explains with his assimilation with Enlil, he is able to see the flow of time including the future. This might be a fake world but he wants them to leave in this eternal peace. This time she rejects him. Even though the world is a sad and bad place, it is still the world she loves because everybody is there. So let’s go back. Uhm, so she’s a masochist? Montmorency fears she will not be there. Well, she’ll be in everybody’s smile. Technically. And so Montmorency returns by pushing Enlil out of his body. Hah! God is no match for a mere human! You mad, Enlil? Well save some because it’s time Montmorency and Jeanne kick you out of their world for good.

Episode 12
Have some elixir to turn you into Ulysses and kick this damn God’s ass back to where he came from! Damn that was easy! I guess it really shows God wasn’t necessary after all. And the ironic part is how the French people are praising to God that He has blessed them. Yeah… With our heroes collapsed, Noire is going to kill them. Can’t blame her. Philip’s bugging father tells her to do so. Get rid of Jeanne or else the English will be in a pinch and this will affect their Burgundy family who assisted them. The clincher: You will never be with Montmorency. It’s sad but Noire can’t do it. Instead she asks Glasdale to shoot and kill her. He only shoots and breaks her helmet. Finally he completes a mission. When Lord Talbot arrives, he is told by Thomas they are to retreat via Bedford’s orders. Talbot thought he could tough it out as the French side is in disarray. Well, not if every French soldier are motivated to fight like martyrs. But what about Jeanne becoming a legend with this victory? Don’t worry. Bedford has a plan… With the English retreating, time for the French to celebrate. Wow. Batard such a hit with the ladies that they want to f*ck him?! But he got so scared and prefers Alencon?! Is this early French gay shotacon? But where are the stars of the war? They’re not at the party. It seems Montmorency is trying to convince a sulking Jeanne after she learns he gave some of his elixir to La Hire. And what’s this about Catherine being his official wife? This battle isn’t going to be won any time soon. But here comes Charlotte kissing and hugging Jeanne for surviving the battle. Is this early French yuri lesbianism? So Jeanne and La Hire got medals for their bravery, huh? Okay. Better than nothing. Charlotte installs Montmorency as the highest general in the French army. He doesn’t want this but she says it is necessary. The French nobles are in disarray and with La Tremoille still alive (albeit wounded from his battle), he will no doubt plot a comeback. He accepts but with a condition she makes up with Richemont.

We see Astaroth trying to do something useful for once: Leaving them! Too bad Montmorency won’t let her abandon her duty so she scolds him for what?! His answer to that is even though he mastered alchemy, he cannot stop time. The present is the only time they can live. Oh, so philosophical. Who you learnt it from? But Astaroth notes she stopped his time when he was a boy. It must have been Jeanne who moved it forward again. Cue for whatever reason for Astaroth to continue following him. Glasdale reports to Bedford about losing Noire but the latter hints he doesn’t believe it. But no time for checking your subordinate’s loyalty. Time for another mission… Philip is sure shocked the helmet is back in one piece. Something about it cannot be destroyed in this realm? Oh boy, here goes her dead father trying to guilt trip her AGAIN into doing his bidding. Yeah, even dragging Montmorency’s name into it. It’s a good thing Philip is tired of it all and walks away. You go (away) girl! Enough of this sh*t already. Montmorency brings Jeanne to see Catherine as requested. Thankfully she is not here to remind about the pecking order of the harem. Instead, Jeanne wants Catherine to be Montmorency’s crying shoulder should he be sad. Next day, Montmorency announces his strategy to head towards Reims to crown Charlotte. This time they will be joined by Richemont who offers to help. Will her majesty allow it? I guess so. As the French army make their way there, I guess it is sooner or later that Jeanne starts asking Montmorency to make babies with her! Excuse for the other girls to chastise him for being a lolicon.

Full Metal Ulysses: Sainthood
So we get a very anti-climactic narration at the very last scene how Jeanne led the French to defeat the English at the Battle of Patay and hence Charlotte was eventually crowned as the ruler of France. I suppose the magic has run out. No more Gods, demons and fairies to help aid in the French’s victory over the English. Oh well, perhaps it is best to end it here. Because at least technically it is still a good and happy ending. An ending where Jeanne doesn’t get burnt at the stakes!

I’m not really into the history of Jeanne d’Arc but I suppose it follows closely to the historical events. Yeah, my lazy Google for a few seconds some time ago has me ‘convinced’ that this is what supposedly happened. Only, this anime added in some supernatural elements so as not to make you feel like you are watching an animated documentary. Heh. So I suppose the plot for this series can be considered pretty okay in my books. After all, I did speculate this might turn into some cheesy harem but thankfully that didn’t happen. It’s not like this series was gunning for total historical accuracy in the first place, right? Because even though all the characters are real but some of them have been given the gender bender treatment. Because cute young anime girls (and traps) are so much hotter than ugly old Caucasian guys. Thanks anime.

So perhaps this series took a different path because unlike in the history of how Montmorency AKA Gilles de Rais screwed over Jeanne and eventually became a serial killer, it turns into some ‘epic’ battle with space aliens. Heh. It just sounds complicated and mind blowing that an alien proclaims himself to be God based on his own dumb views and now he wants to destroy Earth to bring back utopia? I say this alien dude must be an outcast and kicked out from his own society, the reason why he targeted Earth and decided to become the almighty supreme ruler AKA God. If he could lose to humans and their power of love, I guess he isn’t so mighty after all. Yeah, so called ‘best twist’ in the plot ever. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice… What turned out to be a simple plot of the French trying to throw out the English and gain their people back their freedom, turned into one giant end-of-the-world affair. Jesus Christ not coming down to save you from your sins again.

Eventually Montmorency screws over his harem just to be with Jeanne. Because promises made must be kept. Remember, despite making a promise with his harem during their younger days, it was just to remain as friends. It’s not like they said they all want to marry him, right? Yeah, so Jeanne got the better deal because now Montmorency has to accompany her until she dies. Technically not turning into a wife material (yet) but I guess this is closer than being friends (let those tiny boobs grow first, will you). Him experimenting and dabbling with alchemy for many years and ultimately turning into a vessel serves as an excuse for several kissing scenes but apparently that is how you power up and turn into Ulysses according to this series. And they had to make Jeanne drunk and addicted to his elixir and make her look like some deprived nympho. I suppose that is why they keep using the word ‘baiser’ instead of saying kiss. Because although this French word is a loose meaning of that, it is more often portrayed as a vulgar word to have sex. I think there are topics online to clarify and how not to be confused with sex and kiss because for the latter it should be something like ‘embrasser’. French, people!

Personally, the most useless character in this series as I can see is Astaroth. It is not like this fairy did anything that is so significant after all. All I see her from day one is to provoke Montmorency and complain just about everything. The worst part is that she talks like as though she knows everything but in reality isn’t. She sounds so mighty and know-it-all but when it comes down to the real deal, she doesn’t and just feels like all hot air. Hence putting her role as the protector of the Philosopher’s Stone somewhat redundant. It gets annoying after a while. While she talks big, she is pretty harmless so it was somewhat conflicting to see her killed over and over again temporarily by Enlil because despite finding her irritating, I didn’t really wish for her to be killed. Just hoping she would improve on her behaviour. Too bad Montmorency and Astaroth somewhat reminds me of The Legend Of Zelda’s Link and Navi. Coincidence, no?

Especially the Philosopher’s Stone thingy that Astaroth is supposed to be the guardian of. She won’t tell you its secrets but it always almost comes off rather as because she mostly likely doesn’t know anything about it. Speaking about the Philosopher’s Stone, I don’t really understand how it works and it could make one Ulysses. But apparently if you can split it into half, why not split it into 100 parts? So when that happens, it not only split the offence and defence parts but maybe it will split into more specific departments like the ability to have sex and hit on chicks. Yeah. Really. Damn this Philosopher’s Stone is like the most coveted thing in the world here like the Holy Grail. And I thought those horny men back then only coveted their women. Haha! Oops… Eventually it isn’t just the Philosopher’s Stone that can turn you into a Ulysses but any weapon that sounds legendary and holy enough. Can my grandma’s old toothbrush turn me into Ulysses then?

With Montmorency shifting his attention to Jeanne, I suppose the rest of his harem, I mean, old childhood friends have fallen to the wayside. Like Richemont trying to find her place between the English and French as if carrying the burden of her family name wasn’t enough. Charlotte almost losing her mind as the queen of France and Philip exists only to become an antagonist. Oh my. Such a broken harem, I mean, group of childhood friends. Then you have the supposed fiancée, Catherine still waiting and stuck in the tower back home. I wonder what happens when Jean finds out it was all a lie. Thank goodness pregnancy kits aren’t easily available those days. Oddly, Jean has kidnapped so many girls from nobles, do they not even once tried to send and army to claim them back? Are they that scared of Jean or don’t want their daughters anymore (because male heirs are preferable). If the latter, Jean must have done them a great service. Taking them away and getting nothing in return.

Too bad I felt Richemont was sorely missing in the final battle. I wonder if it could have been epic had she fought along Montmorency and Jeanne against Enlil. Could she have become a Ulysses herself? Nah. Don’t want to get in between them so better fight behind the scenes that we don’t get to see. Do you not agree with me that Philip’s vision of her dead father has got to be the most annoying part of the series? I mean, Enlil is also annoying but at least his context of trying to be God over humans sound funny overall. But Philip’s dad is just like, oh God, how should I put this. Every time this persistent ghost pops up to guilt trip his daughter, I would be going like, “Oh no. Not this sh*t again”. Now that’s what you call truly haunting. I’m so glad Philip walked away from the helmet that started this trouble in the first place. Assuming her father ghost is trapped in there forever. Don’t wear it, no problem. I’m very sure that if she goes back to Montmorency, he will forgive her. After watching this series, we know he is that kind of guy. So don’t worry, let the harem return to its original complete form!

Something about Alencon baffles me. If in this series he is the sister to Richemont, how the heck did he end up being part of the noble ruler of France? In actual history, the Alencon is of French descent but married the daughter of the Duke of Brittany. Wow. The English and French sure do have a long complicated history between them. Especially during the Hundred Years’ war. But here, it’s like they also want to portray him as some useless ruler because of his inaction as he prefers to fool around with his women. At the same time he has got this look on his face that says I-wish-I-wasn’t-here-doing-all-this-sh*t. Providing and raising armies seem to be a pastime during this age and in this series because you see both sides trying to lay siege and hence the need to get more soldiers. I don’t know about the population then but it seemed a hell lot of soldiers on the battlefield each time. Hence characters like Alencon and even Jean feel like a distraction and side plot for the overall series. Just like Batard who feels like the anime needed some trap to distract us. Otherwise, girly boy who proclaims of wanting to be a man can be done without. And now he is a man, what kind of a man doesn’t want to frolic in the arms of busty mature women?! Yeah, you have a long way to go… I think they even purposely named this character so. Yeah, it’s a pun of bastard. Because the character that he is based on, Jean de Dunois was an illegitimate son and thus the nickname Bastard of Orleans.

Despite the characters having the typical kawaii bishoujo and bishonen look, the general atmosphere of the series is mostly dark and gruesome to reflect the medieval and impoverished period. There are also a lot of violence, blood and gore so if you can’t stomach such scenes, feel free to watch something else. Heads coming off, limbs getting cut off and excessive blood overflowing from the corpses are just one of those ‘normal’ things that often happen in war and the battlefield. Really. That’s why their numbers are important so we can see Jeanne the future saint cutting them down in a flash and make us go “Oooooooh…”. The only character design I will ‘complain’ is how Jeanne’s uniform makes her look like a loli slut. I know she is a Ulysses and with that speed and strength, nobody could touch her. But shouldn’t she at least take some precautions and wear some armour? Even sexy armour would do. Okay, maybe not. Because La Hire is so busty and it’s like all the enemies misses her vitals despite her cleavage protruding so much. Thank goodness she kicks ass.

So I suppose it is pure fanservice when they turn Philip into Noire because it was damn unbelievable that she turned from a child-like body to some overly busty and curvaceous babe. I guess it is to hide her identity as Philip when they bring in the Noire character. Because Richemont and Charlotte grew up so busty and it feels like they don’t want to leave Philip behind, hence this sexy armour and helmet trick. Horny guys might want to get this set for their waifus.

One of the most mind boggling and amusing sections in every episode is at the end. The narration of the next episode preview isn’t about the next episode. Instead, the narrator rants about boobs and the likes! It feels so out of place and yet so funny. I mean, the series is already dark and gruesome and then suddenly we have this part relating the wonderful wonder of boobs. Like, WTF?! Don’t blame me. The French nobles dress kinda sexy and showing off their cleavage because before the age of internet porn or even Renaissance art, horny men probably like to look at their women like that. Just maybe. Can we pay more tributes to boobs that are so underrated in this series?! Yeah. I know it’s weird but it’s so funny too. Boobs forever! And then the episode ends with this ‘surprisingly useful French lessons’! In every episode, you are guaranteed to learn a French phrase that has even an advice of when to use it for! An authentic French to pronounce if you don’t know how to pronounce the word. I’ll keep this in mind if I ever want to date a French babe. Je t’aime, mademoiselle!

Although Ryota Ohsaka is the voice of Montmorency, somehow I keep thinking that Yuuki Kaji would have been more awesome helming this character. I don’t know. Is it because Montmorency sometimes closely resembles characters that Yuuki Kaji voiced like K’s Totsuka, Nil Admirari’s Hayato and Tokyo Ghoul’s Ayato. So okay, they’re just hot looking guys. But yeah, I thought Yuuki Kaji would really nail it as Montmorency but Ryota Ohsaka didn’t so a bad job either so I guess that’s okay. The only seiyuu I recognized is Takehito Takeyasu as Enlil.

The other casts are Yuko Oono as Jeanne (Asagiri in Mahou Shoujo Site), Manami Numakura as Richemont (Narberal in Overlord), Saori Oonishi as Charlotte (Eriri in Saekano), Yuuki Takada as Philip (Aoba in New Game), Hisako Toujou as Astaroth (Miko in Animegataris), Shizuka Ishigami as La Hire (Mito in Shokugeki No Souma), Junji Majima as Alencon (Kinji in Hidan No Aria), Hiroaki Hirata as Glasdale (Sanji in One Piece), Yuuki Kuwahara as Batard (Hakua in Shomin Sample), Miyu Tomita as Catherine (Sophie in Tonari No Kyuuketsuki-san), Ayaka Suwa as Thomas (Non in Akkun To Kanojo), Abe Atsushi as La Tremoille (Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Hiroshi Itou as Flamel (Augre in Madan No Ou To Vanadis) and Tessho Genda as Jean (Rudersdorf in Youjo Senki).

The opening theme is Liberation by Mai Fuchigami. Typical anime rock pop but not really to my liking. The one that captures my attention is the ending theme, Hyakunen No Melammu by Rionos. It is basically a slow ballad but sometimes with those hymn voices, it comes off as creepy but at the same time calming. At certain times too, the song sounds like it could be used for a religious ritual. Even more fascinating is the ending credits animation. Well actually, the artwork and sceneries are sketches and water coloured, giving it a unique but also eerie atmosphere. It feels like going through some weird abstract contemporary art.

Overall, a weird action fantasy, it isn’t the greatest but it doesn’t suck badly at the same time. Some no weird out brainer moments but I still enjoyed most of it. Historical accuracy it isn’t because I am very sure that the Hundred Years’ war ended with the English eventually leaving the French alone after being big invading dicks just because of a dispute over the succession of France’s throne. It didn’t end with some cheapskate alien-cum-God apocalypse that would have alleviated Jeanne’s sainthood to godhood. Funny how in Junketsu Maria, God and His angels were like sticking to their guns of non-interventionism in mankind’s petty war among each other, huh? Victory for mankind! Hooray! Oh mon Dieu, ca craint mais que c’est si tellement bon! (Oh God, it sucks but it’s so damn good!). Use it when anime is so crappy that you can’t hate it!

I believe the Senran Kagura franchise is very much popular in Japan and has a steady following till today. But I didn’t really count on having a sequel after 5 years after its TV debut back in 2013. Even if a single OVA 2 years later in 2015, I thought that was just a one off thing. And now, here it is. Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen probably would appeal to hardcore fans as well as try to introduce newer ones to the series. I mean, after all these years and finally a sequel? Heh. Not the first series that waited for so many years to have another sequel. Because To Aru Majutsu No Index in that same season started its third season when its second season was way back in 2011! But anyway, maybe the creators need to widen their fan base for this ecchi series. That’s why suddenly out of the blue you have this sequel. The more the merrier, right? Oh, right. The more fans, the more money to milk… ;p.

Episode 1
Asuka and Yumi are out shopping together on Christmas. I guess our shinobi girls also need some time out and act like normal girls. Including buying lots of stuffs. On the other side, Homura’s side is working part time to get that turkey dinner and so as not to skip on their training too, WTF these quick foot tapping technique in public? After Asuka and Yumi are done and ready to head home, they realize a hairband accessory Asuka bought is missing. Time to split up and look for it. An excuse to show off their shinobi skills without the crowd even noticing. Meanwhile the other Hanzou girls are also returning from their shopping but are confronted by ninja girls from Gessen Girls Academy, Gekkou and Senkou. First they ask their thoughts on power and justice. I guess they didn’t like their answer so the only solution? Eliminate them! Yumi has found the lost present and calls Asuka. But looks like the meet up will be delayed as Asuka detects some youma in the alley and destroys them. Gekkou and Senkou mock how she was struggling to defeat the youma and decide that kind of justice is not needed. Yeah. Eliminate! Asuka loses to them as they are stronger and faster. However, upon learning to duo has got rid of her friends (that small piece of cloth was enough for Asuka to identify with?), Asuka gets mad and fights back. Unfortunately she gets beaten up even more. Wow. She really took a pounding there. I’m not sure if this is really the justice they’re talking about because I thought they wanted to eliminate her but just left her defeated there and not even making sure she’s dead or dispose her body.

Episode 2
Yumi can’t concentrate on her training as she remembers Asuka never met up with her. Suddenly an arrow is fired at her. No biggie to stop it but attached to it is an invitation to a spa resort. Obviously a trap but since her Death Cram girls are eager to go, I guess that’s your answer. Meanwhile the Hebi girls are on a mission to kidnap some evil politician, only to be interrupted by Miyabi’s side who is hired by the ugly baddie to protect him. Man, they fight until they’re naked? Until an arrow stops them. It seems Miyabi’s side was also to force this politician to confess his sins so it’s a win-win? Eventually all the shinobi girls arrive at the spa. Swimsuit fanservice galore as they have the entire resort to themselves. Haruka suggests a water gun game. With her special chemicals, the liquid will turn your swimsuit naked. You are out if you become totally naked and the last girl standing wins. Get ready to feast your eyes! I guess this would be all too familiar for those who played the game version of Peach Beach Splash. Eventually it is a draw since all of them got naked. Yeah, we viewers are the real winners! Then Gekkou and Senkou show up. So all this elaborated setup was just to see if they’re willing to participate in the strongest shinobi tournament, Shinobi Masters? So why would they go along with this plan? Because otherwise, these Hanzou girls will die! Now you know why the Hanzou girls never showed up, right? Details to be further furnished, so stay tuned. In the meantime, please hone your skills. You mean of the fanservice kind? Just kidding. As the rest noticed that Asuka wasn’t the only one captured, later it seems Yumi knows where to find Asuka. Glad she is okay, but Asuka doesn’t want her to enter Shinobi Masters. A sunken Asuka realized there is no justice for shinobi.

Episode 3
Asuka attacks Yumi and wounds her before escaping. Yumi is disappointed as Asuka was the one who taught her the meaning of justice. Meanwhile Suzune gives the green light to Miyabi to participate in Shinobi Masters as she is interested to know what Gekkou and Senkou are up to. Yumi talks to Homura about Asuka. They believe she has her reasons for doing so. Hence they are going to participate in Shinobi Masters to not only help the Hanzou side but to fight the best ninjas. Noticing Yumi’s wound, Homura suggests a visit to the hotspring to recuperate. And today’s fanservice of free tits flowing. Don’t mind Murakumo’s tits fondling logic for manga realism. Poor Mirai got insulted with her non-existent boobs. Meanwhile Fubuki has stumbled into the shrine of the Mikagura sisters, Renka, Hanabi and Kafuru. This means Kagura is around. Before they could fight, the loli shows up. Fubuki wants Kagura to participate in Shinobi Masters as the winner will get to fight to ultimate youma. Homura could sense Asuka around. Again Asuka tells her not to participate in Shinobi Masters. Homura somewhat understands her situation and that she wants to save her friends. But the only way they get through to each other is via fighting. And while Homura spouts about strength and friends, ironically it is Asuka who plays dirty tricks to eventually defeat her.

Episode 4
Fubuki proves herself that she could control a youma. Kagura transforms herself into her adult form to fight but everything is so fast that we can’t see. Yeah, we only see ripped clothes! When Kagura asks about Fubuki’s identity, she will only get her answer if she participates in Shinobi Masters. Homura is being treated by her comrades as they contemplate to pull out of Shinobi Masters. Yozakura finds a photo in a yearbook that proves Gekkou and Senkou are a student of Gessen, Yumi’s former middle school. So if you’re wondering why the need to show Yumi’s flashback with her grandpa, Kurokage and all the kindness he taught her, well, Fubuki also has a picture of him. Death Cram girls infiltrate Gessen but since Yumi is super famous, dress up in their school uniform and everyone leaves them alone?! They go about trying to find those sisters. Shiki, Minori and Murakumo talk to other students who praise the sisters as talented in everything as well as friendly. Something feels off, right? Yumi and Yozakura have found the sisters and tail them to the rooftop. Of course they know this stalking and before you know it, they fight. Their other friends come to aid them but Yumi won’t allow the fight to continue for fear this might hurt other students. This has the sisters mention her justice is pathetic. So their view that the weak has no justice is better? They believe they are the ones who will carry on Kurokage’s teachings. The date and venue of Shinobi Masters is confirmed. We see Yumi and Miyabi’s team attending as the sisters host this show that will be streamed live all over the shinobi network. Fubuki makes her opening speech that she organized this tournament and summoned strong shinobi from various schools to compete. Let the games begin!

Episode 5
With Kagura’s side joining Shinobi Masters, that makes the total number of teams participating… Wholly sh*t! Only 3 teams?! Man, I thought there was supposed to be 100 teams. Either the rest of the shinobi schools are not good enough or they just didn’t bother accepting this invitation. Also, Fubuki smokes out Asuka hiding but too bad she didn’t have an invitation so she can’t participate and can only watch. Homura’s side couldn’t participate since Haruka declined as they thought Homura won’t recover. As the rogue shinobi they are, they’re going to sneak in of course. Shinobi Masters is a round robin match. The first match pits Yumi’s side against Kagura’s side in this naked dodgeball. The bomb explodes upon slightest contact (except the special gloves) and gets you naked when it hits you. Ah… Whose team gets their captain naked first, loses. To cut things short, Yumi’s team wins. For the next match, it is Kagura’s side versus Miyabi’s side in this naked cavalry match. The team whose captain falls to the ground loses. But in the end, Kagura deliberately falls and loses the match. Meanwhile Suzune has detected youma appearing in Kikai Dome and all other ninjas have perished. Yup, only students left. No time for this Shinobi Masters. Luckily she stumbles into Homura’s side. They sneak around and find the other Hanzou girls but also realize there is a youma there too. The final match has Yumi’s team facing off with Miyabi’s team in this naked capture the flag game. You fall in the water, you’re naked and out. In short, Yumi’s side wins. But it’s not over yet as Yumi’s team will have to face Fubuki and the sisters. NOW! Yeah, so you complain you have no strength left to fight right now? Doesn’t this prove you aren’t the best shinobi team out there? And now Asuka wants to join in? And Fubuki allows it? When Yumi wants to fight alongside her, Asuka refuses. Time out. Time to talk things out. Yumi gives Asuka that present they shopped the other day. Yeah, more talk about justice, protecting smiles and all. But Asuka still doesn’t look convinced. She just allows her to fight alongside her. Wait. So it’s only Yumi and Asuka against Fubuki’s side? The rest really want to sit this out, huh?

Episode 6
We go back to another flashback of Asuka fighting Yumi. Oh dear. Not another dispute of their version of justice. So logic isn’t part of justice? Because it can’t change one’s hearts? So back to the tournament, Gekkou and Senkou take on Asuka and Yumi. Oh man. Not another ranting about their different version of justice and whatever the f*ck Kurokage’s teachings. So much so we have to return to that earlier Asuka vs Yumi flashback to see that moments before they are seemingly going to kill each other (because Yumi seemed desperate to do it all for grandpa), Kurokage intervened. And now back to the tournament. Oh damn, must we now hear some flashback from the sisters how they have to keep a perfect outlook but their hearts remained unfulfilled. Then one fated day, they stumble upon Kurokage’s diary and teachings and the rest is history. Wow. So touching that Yumi cried. Meanwhile we take a detour of Suzune and Homura’s side stumbling into Miyabi’s team so that they could join forces and face off with the youma. Yeah, this one is so humanoid and it talks! You mean to sound that surprised? Okay, but back to the tournament’s flashback. After Kurokage stopped the girls, he realizes there are things in life that are more important than one’s beliefs. He admits their defeat but it is Asuka who says her side has lost because the world of goodness is now in his arms. Yumi, that is. Hence Kurokage’s last lesson to Yumi is that the definition of justice changes on who you are and what you do. For her, she will be the justice that shines quietly in the night. She will be the justice of the moon. I hope there won’t be any mooning jokes related to this. Anyway, to show how much better our heroines’ justice are, they defeat Gekkou and Senkou and you know it is so when their clothes are blown away and they’re stark naked. With Asuka injuries making her unable to carry on, it’s up to Yumi to face Fubuki. But this leaves Asuka in despair as she worked hard to prevent them from facing off. All in vain?

Episode 7
But first a flashback between Kurokage and Hanzou. During their younger times, they’re like frenemies. Kurokage was also dating Yume at that time. One day, many of their comrades got injured in a trap so Kurokage was furious to avenge them. Despite warnings that his rage and hatred isn’t justice, Kurokage didn’t listen and went on to kill evil ninjas. He is summoned by his superiors and punished. They tell him that many shinobi are not good or evil but grey and neither. And what’s this about good and evil must sometimes work together? WTF logic?! I thought they’re enemies?! When the elders threaten to punish Hanzou and Yume, that is when Kurokage labels them as evil. Hanzou tries to talk to him but Kurokage is hell bent on proving his own justice and destroy all evil ninjas. And so he left walking this path with many good and evil ninjas targeting his life. Not sure how he even impregnate Yume but was it before? Because before you know it, many years later, his son and his wife died in a ninja mission. Yeah, Kurokage never even met them once and the first time was at their funeral. Regretting taking this path? He then spots Yumi his granddaughter. Man, it must be such a long time that his son even had a child. Anyway, Yumi somewhat knows about Kurokage since her parents and grandma often tell tales about him. See, after all these years, they still placed some faith in him. He decides to take in Yumi. After all, they have no other relatives. Back to the fight, it is not surprise Fubuki possesses Kurokage’s black fan. Yumi transforms into her true form. So you think this ice queen has a trump card? Zombie girl too has a trump card as she transforms into her dark queen form and easily defeats Yumi. At that point Yumi now remembers Fubuki. Kurokage subsequently took in another girl and they were like sisters. YOU MEAN YOU REALLY FORGOT THIS MOST IMPORTANT PART IN YOUR LIFE UNTIL NOW????!!!! Anyway with Yumi’s lost, Fubuki declares war on all shinobi. Good or evil, she will have her revenge. And she is going to do it with this intelligent humanoid youma, Rasetsu.

Episode 8
Miyabi has a grudge to kill youma because they killed her family. Fubuki puts some doubts in her mind asking her if she ever thought the youma had families too. She even has proof that the shinobi are the ones who attacked first. Thanks to Asuka interrupting, looks like they have to show that proof another time. Because Asuka is too weak to fight and hence Fubuki and Rasetsu leaving. Gekkou and Senkou want to come along but Fubuki abandons them. That look on her face says it all. Get out of my faces, b*tches! Meanwhile Asuka frees her buddies and you know they’re back together in no time with Katsuragi’s serial boob fondling. I don’t want to think that this is the method how the girls bond and get back. Suzune tells the girls about the door to another world opening. Shinobi leaders have sent their team there but after losing contact with them, it is feared they are dead. With Gekkou and Senkou leaving, Yumi tries to talk to them but there’s nothing to talk about. And since they have nothing to live for nor do they want to return to their original mundane life, they’re going to kill themselves. Thank goodness they contemplated long enough for Yumi to come stop them. Just say a few justice lines. Throw in something about Kurokage. Then a big hug and there you have it. Changed their mind. Now they wanna live. Easy. For now, Gekkou and Senkou are living in the care of the Hanzou girls. They feel awkward since they attacked them but the Hanzou girls are only mad at themselves for being weak and defeated. And what a better way than to say welcome to the club with Katsuragi’s usual boobs molestation. Overdrive mode! Meanwhile Asuka has been missing that day. Actually she went to see Kagura and requests that she wants to handle the youma alone. She allows it but wonders if Kagura can do it as she has yet to seal one. Not confident? Oh, let’s try now! Kagura summons a youma as Asuka quickly uses her super secret shinobi art to seal it, Fuma Korin. Woah. So easy! On her first go! So what’s there to worry about? Kagura warns that if she keeps using it, she’ll die. Oh… And looks like it has taken some toll on her body but Asuka remains defiant. She is willing to die if she has to. Trying to play the tragic heroine but won’t let others do the same? Elsewhere, Fubuki opens portals from another world right smack in the middle of Japan’s busiest city. Halloween’s here early. Or maybe hell on Earth.

Episode 9
Weird youma monsters attack the people. But thank goodness for our shinobi girls here to save the day and bust some youma ass. To fight better, Kagura unleashes some barrier. Just one condition: The girls are stripped down to their undies! Except for Ikaruga. She’s stark naked! You mean she isn’t wearing any undies?! Some fight better in skimpy clothes, some don’t and some just being perverts. Meanwhile Gekkou and Senkou confront Fubuki. They still believe in her but don’t approve of her method. What else? Fight! Oh well, we know how this will end up. For this huge youma boss, they use some BDSM string to tie it down because apparently that’s the toughest string in the world. Whatever. After doing so, the next part is to kill it but Asuka won’t allow it and instead leave it to her. Oh, I almost forgot she has that sealing ability. I thought she was going to take their credits or something. The Fuma Korin sealing is successful but it is clear that it sucks a lot of energy from her. In the aftermath as the city returns to normal, Homura’s groupie continue their part time Christmas gig. No business until Miyabi’s side cuts off more clothes and horny men start streaming in. You mean they’re already so sexy and nobody noticed until more cleavage and pantsu are shown?! PERVERTS! Miyabi and Homura talk about Asuka’s intention to seal instead of kill the youma. But if Asuka sides with the youma, Miyabi will not hesitate to kill her. Meanwhile Yumi sees Asuka in hopes she can open up and tell her what really happened. Back to that flashback of Asuka being defeated by Fubuki. She won’t be killed so as to tell others the tragic history of shinobi, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, so horrible that Asuka cried and still decides she can’t tell Yumi after all. Since this is dragging its feet, I guess Fubuki is here to tell Yumi herself! After asking her about beliefs, justice and evil, Yumi still feels it is her duty to hunt and destroy evil youma. Enough talking. Fubuki will show you that youma can feel love. They feel a strange aura from Fubuki as she reveals she is a child born from a human and youma! Is that even possible?! At least that explains he weird appearance. Meanwhile Kagura senses a more dangerous portal to the other world opening soon. Where is it? Hotspring town. Ah…

Episode 10
So we’re all here at the hotspring. Eh? Fubuki is also here?! Awkward. She has nothing to say to them and she too doesn’t exactly know where the portal will open. Convenient? I guess this screws the mood of our shinobi girls. They can’t fight Fubuki in this manner or they’ll regret it. An excuse to have fun at the inn! More awkwardness because Fubuki and Yumi bath together at the hotspring. Fubuki still keeps a hairpin from Kurokage. I suppose it’s that time again for reminiscence of their past as ‘sisters’ before another guilt trip that her mom who was a youma was sealed with Fuma Korin and using this technique means you can never return to this world. In the end, it is either the shinobi or youma who will die in this final fight. Later, Kagura meets up with Fubuki to begin their fight. Meanwhile Asuka reveals to the rest about Fubuki being half human and half youma. While Miyabi doesn’t care and will kill youma (her mom was killed by one), the rest are conflicted because it is a shinobi’s job is to kill youma and if they disobey because they sympathize with Fubuki… But don’t worry Asuka, your comrades heard you story and you can assure they will back you up no matter what. That night when Yumi wants to talk to Asuka but she is no longer in her room. She goes out to find her but stumbles into Fubuki-Kagura fight. Yeah, it has dragged out this long. Just because Kagura got distracted with Yumi’s appearance, she lost! WTF?! Is this an excuse by Kagura to pass the baton to Yumi to defeat Fubuki? And Fubuki makes the villain’s 101 mistake by not killing them because she’ll let the youma do it. Yeah, if her hate is so deep for the shinobi, don’t you think she would have want to do it herself? Anyway, conveniently now it seems Fubuki knows where the portal is and is waiting for it to open. Here it comes…

Episode 11
Youma, youma everywhere. Killing them all will take forever. Unless you gather them up in one place and seal them. This is the idea Katsuragi had. She gathers a few shinobi girls and use them as bait because apparently youma are perverts too. With that, Asuka is able to use Fuma Korin on the entire bunch but this is wearing her out. Yeah, see that mark on her chest. It’s getting bigger. I wonder if Katsuragi will draw any pleasure from groping them. Asuka will continue using it because of this lame excuse that she wants to see it through the end. Whatever. It’s your call. And now we get a Yumi-Fubuki rematch. Of course it’s flashback time. We see Fubuki’s mom being targeted by the ninjas. After killing them all, the inevitable fight with her husband. No wonder a child like Fubuki was so confused and dismayed. Eventually father had to seal mother because it is the only way to save Fubuki (do they seriously believe the shinobi is going to let her live?) and that it is better than killing her. However the price to pay was he will use up his life force. Poor Fubuki was so traumatized in seeing this scene. I don’t think parents’ assurance of I-love-you is going to help. Before the other shinobi could get Fubuki, Rasetsu saves her. Too bad she is injured and cannot fully protect her. Luckily rogue ninja Kurokage was passing by and he agreed to care for her until Rasetsu’s injuries are healed. Fubuki is still mad and vows to kill all shinobi. Coincidentally, Kurokage too had that thinking once. Of course as we know the rest is history. When Rasetsu finally came back to claim Fubuki, Kurokage gave her the hairpin. I’m sure she doesn’t understand the meaning of hatred and forgiveness come in pairs. Now, Fubuki claims her goal is to eliminate all shinobi. Even if that means destroying everything and nothing left, that sense of accomplishment and revenge is all that matters. If that is the case, why did she not finish off Yumi when she had numerous chance? Why did she not get rid of Kurokage’s hairpin? Yeah, it mad Fubuki even madder. Time to fight some more.

Episode 12
Everybody is ganging up on Rasetsu. Hardly a fair fight but whatever. For some sympathy points, Asuka asks why Rasetsu is siding with Fubuki. Her mom once saved her life. Asuka is cool with that but as long as she targets the shinobi, I’m afraid she will still have to seal you. And hence begins the shinobi girls’ attack on Rasetsu. In order to show off their set of skills, we see them do a chain of combos on Rasetsu. Man, she must have taken a lot of damage before Asuka begins her Fuma Korin. But guess what? Rasetsu is so determined for power that she turns into a beast and breaks out of Fuma Korin! Okay, now what? But don’t worry. Homura can help lend her power to seal her. She has seen Asuka done it enough times to memorize. Wow. I’ve seen my dad do all the repairs over the house for years and I still can’t even hold a hammer correctly! So what is the deal that Asuka allows her to do Fuma Korin with her? They won’t die! Yeah… Meanwhile back to Fubuki and Yumi’s fight, it ends with Fubuki defeating her! Don’t count your chickens yet. And here is Gekkou and Senkou. They want to save Fubuki. How is holding her hands saving her? Feel the warmth? F*CK THIS JOKE! Now wonder Fubuki is mad! Are they serious?! Just to show their perseverance, they won’t let go. So did they die? Your guess is as good as mine. Yumi’s comrades arrive. But they won’t be fighting her because, wait for it, Yumi lives! Time for round 2. Elsewhere suddenly Miyabi turns into this part angel and part devil form to unleash her Fuma Korin power. And now she remembers mom’s teachings that if you fight for revenge, you can’t unleash your true power. And with the power of the trio, Rasetsu is finally sealed. But she has no regrets since she fought for Fubuki. And also to end things, Yumi defeats Fubuki for good. This time, she doesn’t kill her. Just left her lying in the snow. Probably it’s a good time to reflect on stuffs. Lastly, Kagura uses her awesome powers to seal the portal. Should have done this from the start! More good news (AKA conveniences) flow in with Suzune calling in saying everyone is safe at Kikai Dome and the matters here are settled. In the aftermath, we see our ninja girls celebrating Christmas their own way. Asuka and Yumi are out together. Somehow her mark has healed. You mean just like that? They stumble Fubuki in the streets. She returns the hairpin to Yumi. She doesn’t need it anymore. She is going to find her place in this world. Somewhere. Gekkou and Senkou follow her so that she won’t be alone. More cheesy philosophy of justice from Asuka and Yumi because, justice always prevails, right?

The Jus-tits Of Shino-bitches…
So Asuka was asking if Fubuki would organize another Shinobi Masters tournament because she didn’t get to fight her? Hey girl, you had your chance but you fluffed them. Besides, didn’t you and the rest of the other girls get to fight Rasetsu? Unlike you mini army, Fubuki had only 1 subordinate by her side so I guess while the boss fought each other, the rest of you had to be content in sharing your opponent. Thank goodness Fubuki didn’t give Asuka a reply. She just smiled. Because that is probably what she was thinking of this b*tch. Bye. Hope not to see you again.

Well, to be honest, I wasn’t really impressed with the plot. As I am not a big fan of the series, I don’t really know how to ‘appreciate’ the finer details (if any) of this series. Though, as far as my failing memory can remember, this sequel is a lot darker than the first season since it now involves the supernatural and the tragic story of a child that was conceived and caught between both sides. In that sense, that is ultimate the storyline of this season but that only comes halfway and I thought the first half felt like some sort of trolling.

You see, when they decided to have this Shinobi Masters tournament, it ended so fast and furious that I thought it was all some sort of time wasting sham. It was just an excuse for a lot of fanservice (something this series is famously known for) and didn’t contribute to anything important. Because why the f*ck would Fubuki organize such an important tournament but only a handful of shinobi schools attend? Like, what?! And this is supposed to be the best of the best tournament as claimed by Fubuki. Of course it was all a scam. And it felt like Fubuki also trolled us. I believe she isn’t all that evil and just wanted to give a chance for the shinobi girls to prove her wrong. Yeah, their weak ass pussies wasted those chance and now look at the mess that we’ve got into in the second half. I also thought the Tokyo youma-hen was also a scam thinking the Shinobi Masters tournament would last the rest of the series. Looks like they leave it late for the second half.

I was wondering why the series is officially called Shinovi Masters. Shouldn’t it be Shinobi Masters as said in the episode or whatever? At first I thought it was a Japanese thingy because you know, there are no alphabet ‘V’ in their language and anything with that automatically translate to ‘B’. So are they trying to sound unique? Or is this some sort of play of words. You know, Shinobi Victory. Shortened as Shinovi. Yeah. Whatever.

To my surprise, Asuka and her Hanzou comrades weren’t the ones hogging the limelight. Because the first season they were the main characters, I was also expecting them to helm the similar role. Too bad it was mainly Yumi and ultimately Fubuki. A showdown between the stepsisters. Like I said, I’m not a fan of the series so I am not sure if the games slowly shifted the main character to Yumi or if Yumi was the real main character in the first place. Therefore with Asuka’s baffling behaviour in the first half, it makes her look like a total b*tch because it looked like she was told some sort of hideous secret and she doesn’t want to tell her friends (and us) just so that she could shoulder the burden all by herself. Ooooh. How noble. Yeah, don’t kill the youma! They have feelings too! Why does this feel so SJW?

Evidently Asuka’s actions just prove she doesn’t even trust her own comrades. Oh heck, her Hanzou comrades were further reduced to damsel in distresses in the first half. We are left to guess what the f*ck her problem is (the way she plays and exaggerates it out feels so overblown so that we could have our dramatic effect) and when it is revealed this youma and sealing thingy, I was like, “Big deal! WTF?!”. So all that trouble and secrecy just for this? Now you’re really trying to play the tragic heroine, huh? Yeah, just hope it doesn’t kill you because I know it won’t. Plot convenience and Asuka, do you not know you are one of the most beloved characters in the franchise? Yeah, top 10 most popular. Like hell the producers are going to let you die! But the ultimate f*ckery is when Asuka’s mark suddenly goes away. She still feels pain but I feel it is more of because her flesh wound has yet to heal but the danger of the mark that puts her life at risk is gone. So no more youma, no more sealing, less use of Fuma Korin and thus healed for the better? Man, I wished my nagging injury would also heal like that. Did she go for some sort of special acupuncture because I wanna try too. Otherwise with Asuka’s boobs back to normal, I suppose Katsuragi can be happy to grope them all she wants.

Thus Yumi seems like a cooler and more mature character and hence a much better one compared to Asuka. She might not be perfect but at least she tries and never gives up. We couldn’t understand why Asuka was wallowing in depression either. Perhaps we understand Yumi because her past with Fubuki is fleshed out and given more prominence. So we understand her cause more. We sympathize with her more. Hence relegating Asuka and her Hanzou comrades to just annoying minor characters who don’t matter. The one thing that boggles me about Rasetsu is that, after she picked up Fubuki from Kurokage, where the heck have they been? The first time we see Rasetsu, it’s like she is in some stasis condition. So ever since then up till now don’t tell me she was using some sort of power to open the youma portal. Yeah, that sure took a pretty long time since Fubuki is all grown up to be one busty evil babe.

Just like the other shinobi girls like Homura’s groupie and Miyabi’s groupie. Yeah, too much for us to even care. So if you are great fans for these girls, too bad they don’t get a lot of screen time. Even if they do, it just feels like they had to and portray their character in the most cliché way that we identify them (for example, Mirai always conscious and being teased with her flatness, Katsuragi always loving to grope and Ryouna an obvious nympho). Yeah, that’s the problem when you have like 20 girls (25 if you count Kagura’s group) in the fore and so little screen time to do any justice. I’m sure nobody is going to expand this to a year’s worth of Senran Kagura episodes because I’ll be so bored and I can only see that such girls who will be focused, their episode would mostly be a filler.

I thought that Yumi, Fubuki, Gekkou and Senkou seemed to be f*cked by their Kurokage oujisama’s ideology. The way the girls preach about his teachings sound like he is the best teacher in the world. Honour must be upheld. Justice must be upheld. There are always 2 sides of a coin. Live the way you see fit. Not that he says all those but you get the gist of this. So it’s like when these girls clash because of their different interpretations of Kurokage, I thought that old geezer really did one on these girls too. I mean, he was a rogue ninja so there is no specific method he sticks to. But still, every time the girls mention about Kurokage’s teachings, I’m like, “Oh no. Here they go again mentioning this old geezer’s name”. Say that again, that sword and shield thingy…

But I just don’t understand the logic behind the shinobi world. I don’t know. Their code seems to sound a lot like BS to me. Like the good and bad shinobi. They’re always fighting each other but there are those also in the grey area. And then when a bigger threat comes, they must put aside this rivalry and fight for the better. Like, WTF???!!! So why are they fighting each other in the first place?! I understand different schools have different methodology but shouldn’t they be working together if their goal is to actually annihilate the youma? So what the f*ck is with this good and bad shinobi faction thingy?! I just don’t get it.

And I’m sure they want to give Fubuki some sort of revenge story for this season. But how the heck did a child born out of a human and youma happen in the first place?! Yeah, they want to show us that love knows no bounds. One heated night of passion. But wait. Think about our future. Our child’s future. Will she be accepted by both sides? Nah. Just f*ck it. Let’s leave that for later. And that is how the tragic story of Fubuki was born. Born to watch both her parents kill each other and now she wants revenge on all of you. They want us to feel sympathy for Fubuki’s case as they claim youma also feel love, blah, blah, blah. You mean humans don’t feel love? Sure, a lot of them are pieces of sh*t. I can say the same for youma in that case. So that’s why when shinobi are grouped into good or evil, eventually it doesn’t matter. Because even though it is wrong for Fubuki to classify all shinobi as evil and must be eliminated, it still makes the good and evil shinobi kinda redundant. I guess they want to have some sort of grey area to make us confuse and unsure who to support. Fubuki or the shinobi girls. Of course the latter! They are a hell lot sexier than this bad goth makeup girl.

Still, it is mind boggling that it makes you wonder if deep down inside Fubuki’s heart she still loves her sister because with so many chances and times that Fubuki owns Yumi, only in the final episode that Yumi is able to defeat her. Like after how many times?! And because of that, the day is saved?! What kind of plot convenience logic is that?! All the villain needs to do is to be defeated once by the hero and it doesn’t matter how many times the heroes lost before (just an excuse to become stronger) all you need is that one chance of victory. Usually it comes in the final or penultimate episode. Wow. I’m so good I should start writing scripts for the next season.

As you would have guessed, the fanservice plays the biggest part and is a trademark signature of the series. It isn’t Senran Kagura when the girls are not showing their tits or getting naked one way or another. It makes me wonder if they have so many same uniforms and clothes because each time they get into any sort of battle, guarantee their clothes will be ripped. Absolutely. It’s like as though they are obligated to be ripped so their boobs can be exposed just for the sake of it. Shouldn’t they have tried getting better materials for their clothes? Man, their clothes are going to be the most expensive and recurring expenditure on their list. But I guess it is better that their clothes get ripped than seeing unsightly damages and wounds on the perfect silky smooth skin on our shinobi ladies. Yup, somehow their skin manage to stay safe always despite the amount of powerful blasts they take. Maybe their clothes (no matter how skimpy) absorb all the force and that’s why they always rip at the slightest. Yeah. Whatever. But thanks for the fanservice, girls. Keep on fighting!

This means that the action bits are closely and always tied to the fanservice. Every time the shinobi girls need to give us some action, this also means fanservice action. Yeah. That’s the only way their clothes could come off fast. Unless it is hotspring or bathing, the action sequences are directly correlated with this cheap sleaziness. I believe every shinobi girl has their own unique technique/ But too bad they aren’t memorable because too many characters and not enough screen time. And for those who are supposedly ‘their turn’ to shine, make some sort of ridiculous move that I can’t remember. Maybe except for Yumi because her techniques are ice based so she keeps using ice attacks. I think. But overall the moves are mostly flashy, over the top and outrageous, that’s for sure. Didn’t spend years training that skill for nothing, eh?

Animation and art feel only mediocre. I don’t really remember the original one but this season feels like it is just passable and that they want to focus on the fanservice, thinking that this is what fans are for. Especially during the action scenes. They think it’s too fast for us to catch and that our eyes are only focusing and anticipating where the cloths cover the boobs will rip. Well, too bad I saw some of those low quality movements. Heck, I think some of the idle scenes feel inconsistent. Maybe it is because TNK now taking over from Artland but that shouldn’t be the case since TNK animated all the seasons of High School DxD series and other ecchi series like Sin: Nanatsu No Taizai, Ikkitousen: Xtreme Xecutor and Kenzen Robo Daimidaler. This isn’t definitely one of their best.

This season’s opening theme, Scarlet Master by Sayaka Sasaki sounds more like a techno dance song with all the techno effects and exuberance. Because of that, I feel the singing falls flat and sounds really flat. Like as though it is sung just for the sake of singing. Too many words trying to match the beat of the music makes it really one messy song to hear. Maybe it fits the pacing of the series (because fast paced fanservice action) but I don’t find it really appealing. The ending theme is Junsei Erotic and sounds more like a happy rock song. It should be since it is more fanservice time with its animation having the girls having fun in the hotspring. I didn’t know being shinobi girls allows them to have a lot of fun time together. Perhaps. It’s not like they can have a normal life and mingle with normal girls outside their school, right? Then there is one BGM that is a solo harmonica. Often played for those cheesy flashback moments. Don’t know. Makes it feel like some wild west flick. So out of place.

Overall, I am not sure if hardcore fans would even appreciate this. I have a feeling that if you really want to appreciate the fanservice (of course, it’s the only reason why you would stay for this title, right?), go play all the instalments of the game. They should have named this season as Tokyo Pantsu-hen(tai) or something. My biggest speculation remains is that they want to introduce this series to the new generation of weeaboos because 5 years is a long enough time for things to change in life. But I guess the allure of fanservice from boob shots to pantsu shots have never changed since the day anime was born. The eternal grey area and line that should be fought over is the war of good porn and bad porn! Oh, who am I kidding? Porn is always bad and must be eliminated, right?!

I had to do this. Eventually. Otherwise the more I procrastinate, the more I will forget. Yeah… And hence for today’s versus blog will pit against 2 shogi themed anime series: 3-gatsu No Lion and Ryuuou No Oshigoto. You saw that coming, right? When you heard the name shogi, right? They’re the only shogi animes around (because nobody remembers Shion No Ou. At least not the new younger generation). Although the former came out earlier, its second season ended up being aired in the same season as the latter. It’s like a shogi challenge-cum-battle on a different level. But if you have watched both series, despite the ‘lion versus dragon’ designation, you would know which the outright better one is. Unless you have really screwed up taste in anime. But anyway, here is the comparison between both series:

Official English title:
3-gatsu No Lion: March Comes In Like A Lion.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: The Ryuuou’s Work Is Never Done.

Main shogi character:
3-gatsu No Lion: Rei Kiriyama.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Yaichi Kuzuryuu.

His shogi rank:
3-gatsu No Lion: 5th-dan.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: 8th-dan.

Biggest shogi title won:
3-gatsu No Lion: Newcomer King title.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ryuuou title.

His age:
3-gatsu No Lion: 19 years old (towards end of anime).
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: 16 years old.

High school:
3-gatsu No Lion: Still in high school although had a 1 year delay.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Quit high school to focus on his professional shogi career.

His real family:
3-gatsu No Lion: All died in an accident.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Unknown.
On a side note, Ai Yashajin’s parents died in an accident.

His foster family:
3-gatsu No Lion: Adopted by professional shogi player, Masachika Kouda after his family’s death. Hence has adopted siblings, Kyouko and Ayumu despite not being blood related.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Considers his shogi master, Kousuke Kiyotaki as family. Hence as adopted sisters, Keika and Ginko Sora despite not being blood related.

Self-proclaimed rival:
3-gatsu No Lion: Harunobu Nikaidou.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ayumu Kannabe.

The Grandmaster:
3-gatsu No Lion: Souya Touji.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: The eponymously named Meijin.

Results of the match against the grandmaster:
3-gatsu No Lion: With only 1 match, Rei eventually lost the commemoration match.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Best out of 7 matches, Yaichi loses the first 3 before making a comeback to win the remaining 4 and keep his title! So unbelievable.

Other shogi tournament:
That doesn’t involve our main character.
3-gatsu No Lion: Kishou Championship.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Mynavi Women’s Open.

Teacher/Student:
3-gatsu No Lion: Rei becomes a disciple under Kai Shimada who runs a small shogi focus group that consists of Harunobu Nikaidou and Morio Shigeta.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Yaichi takes in and becomes the shogi master for Ai Hinatsuru and Ai Yashajin.

Gender of shogi players:
Refers to the majority of the characters in shogi in the anime.
3-gatsu No Lion: Males. Every single one of them.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Predominantly females.

Other notable shogi players:
3-gatsu No Lion: Kai Shimada, Kishou Yanagihara, Masamune Gotou, Kengo Kuwamoto and Gakuto Sakurai.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Seiichi Tsukimitsu, Jin Natagiri, Mitsuru Oishi, Yoshitsune Kurono, Ginko Sora and Rina Shakando.

Loli:
3-gatsu No Lion: Momo Kawamoto.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Oh boy… There is a bunch of them. It’s going to take a while. Ai Hinatsuru, Ai Yashajin, Mio Mizukoshi, Ayano Sadatou and Charlotte Izoard. Phew. Not so bad, huh?

The big sister:
3-gatsu No Lion: Akari Kawamoto.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Keika Kiyotaki.

Violent girl:
3-gatsu No Lion: Kyouko Kouda.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ginko Sora.

Stalker girl:
3-gatsu No Lion: Kyouko Kouda.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ika Sainokami.

Rich kid:
3-gatsu No Lion: Harunobu Nikaidou.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ai Yashajin.

Lamer:
3-gatsu No Lion: Takeshi Tsujii – lame puns.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ayumu Kannabe – chuunibyou.

Bustiest:
3-gatsu No Lion: Akari Kawamoto.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Tamayo Rokuroba.

Pedo risk:
3-gatsu No Lion: When Kyouko asks Rei if among the Kawamoto sisters, he likes Momo.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Basically the entire series.

Good things come in 3’s:
3-gatsu No Lion: The Kawamoto sisters: Akari, Hinata and Momo.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ai’s shogi friends: Mio, Ayano and Charlotte.

Eternal:
3-gatsu No Lion: Yanagihara defeats Shimada to attain the Eternal Kishou title after also winning its 9 previous additions.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: The Meijin would have gotten the Eternal status for all 7 major titles as well as broken all sorts of other records had he defeat Yaichi in this Ryuuou title match. He did not.

Fastest shogi match:
3-gatsu No Lion: Rei beating Hinata in a handicapped practice match in just 5 minutes.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ginko owning Ryo Tsukiyomizaka in an official match in just 2 minutes! Twice!

Collapsing match:
The loser collapses after the loss of the match.
3-gatsu No Lion: Harunobu was pushing the limits of his health against his opponent, Junkei Yamazaki until he could go no further and collapses, giving his opponent a free walkover to the finals.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Because Yaichi was being a dick too focused on his match to even pay attention to Ai, she cannot concentrate on her match with Tsukiyomizaka and collapses after losing.

Losing streak:
The risk of losing one’s rank and title. Everything is at stake if they don’t buck up!
3-gatsu No Lion
: Rei has been on a losing streak at the end of the first season. Thankfully he recovers.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Yaichi has been on a losing streak from the start and for the rest of the season! Only the miracle in the end prevented the worst possible outcome.

Running away from home:
3-gatsu No Lion: Kyouko – first to Rei’s place and then to Gotou.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Ai – first from her own family and then to Keika (after a quarrel with Yaichi).

Most stressful/tension part of the series:
3-gatsu No Lion: Rei’s traumatic past of loneliness and bullying, Hinata’s bullying, the struggles of all other veteran shogi players. Heck, basically almost the entire anime!
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Yaichi facing off with the Meijin and being cornered. Yes, this.

Back from the ‘dead’:
3-gatsu No Lion: Somehow Harunobu recovered from his collapse and is back laughing and playing shogi like he was never sick before.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Somehow Keika who has been on a downward spiral and losing streak, manages to win a few important matches that matter to allow her to become a professional female player.

Bully victim:
3-gatsu No Lion: Chiho Sakura was Megumi Takagi and co’s plaything before she moved away and Hinata became her ‘replacement’.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Yaichi is often and still is Ginko’s punching bag because those misinterpreted pedo moments sure look like an excuse and great opportunity to vent out all she’s got.

Love interest:
3-gatsu No Lion: Hinata has a crush on Yuusuke Takahashi.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: I’m confused. Yaichi likes Keika but she doesn’t believe him. Later she even invites him to be his wife. Then there is this ‘agreement’ of Yaichi becoming Ai’s bride and him proclaiming to be Charlotte’s bride too. Ginko is a tsundere and Ai is a yandere. Seeing Yaichi is popular among girls his age too…

Overall feel of the series:
3-gatsu No Lion: Melancholic, depressing, slow paced.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Light-hearted, casual, everything so happy! Well, almost.

Anime art style:
3-gatsu No Lion: Simple, sketchy and sometimes like water colour.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Basically oozing cute, kawaii and moe style.

Number of episodes:
3-gatsu No Lion: 44 episodes (22 episodes per season).
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: 12 episodes.

Studio production:
3-gatsu No Lion: Shaft.
Ryuuou No Oshigoto: Project No. 9.

Conclusion
Without a doubt, 3-gatsu No Lion comes out tops in almost every department as it is superior in the story and characters compared to Ryuuou No Oshigoto who is only there for some free and easy, cheap loli fanservice. Both series feel like they are on the opposite far end of the pole and that shogi is the only theme they have in common. The former may be draggy and depressing but the way it also displays its creative visuals to depict loneliness and depression is quite interesting. The latter is all just cute and looking nice but lacks the necessary substance for it to be appealing. Unless you are totally into lolis than that’s another story. Because oddly adding females especially lolis into shogi only seem to devalue the game. Maybe that is why men and women are segregated in shogi tournaments. Women checkmating men in shogi is one thing. But when they checkmate you in real life… That’s when sh*t really hits the fan.

Satsuriku No Tenshi

March 3, 2019

Normally I would skip horror genres. Definitely not my cup of tea. So I was going to give Satsuriku No Tenshi the skip. Certainly I was like 99% of passing this. Until I reread the synopsis again. And then a change in heart. A change in guts. The mystery of a couple of characters stuck in a strange building trying to find their way out. Okay. So I thought this wouldn’t be as bad. After all, the twisted reason of one of the characters wanting to get out was so that he could kill the other as promised. Sick. But at that time it somewhat sounded interesting and different. And then…

Episode 1
Rachel Gardner wakes up in a strange facility. Cameras all around. A self-typing typewriter asks her several questions. We find out she is in this hospital for counselling after witnessing a few people die. After she enters the elevator, an announcement is sounded that she has been selected to be a sacrifice and all players on each floor to prepare for the play. She gets out when the elevator stops on this creepy floor that looks like an abandoned street. She tries to help an injured bird but it is killed by this maniac with a scythe, Isaac “Zack” Foster. She runs and manages to hide from him. She returns to the dead bird but notices it is a different one. She ‘fixes’ it up. Zack finds her as she runs for her life. She manages to ride the elevator up to the next floor in the nick of time. In this creepy hospital hallway, she encounters Daniel “Danny” Dickens who was the doctor who counselled her. Creepily, he tries to assure he is on her side and to look for a way out. Then he starts admiring Rachel’s beautiful eyes because one of his isn’t working. It’s his dream to have perfect eyes. Apparently Rachel has the same beautiful eyes when he saw his mother hanged herself. He has her find his fake eyes at the back while he acts even creepier before her. While he puts his fake eyes, Rachel believes the need to run. However he caught her. It gets creepier as he now seeks to have her eyes. He puts her on his operating table and hints her parents are dead. As he rants about her beautiful eyes, suddenly he gets stabbed by Zack. Somehow he chased her all the way here. But when he threatens to kill her, it seems Rachel doesn’t mind. No fun. He leaves. An announcement is made that a rule has been violated. Because other floor residents cannot attack another floor resident, this act is deemed as treachery and will also be selected as a sacrifice. Zack tries to leave when Rachel walks up to him and pleads for him to kill her.

Episode 2
Zack is not amused as he wants to get out of her so Rachel thinks if she can be useful to him, he will kill her. After helping to activate the elevator, Zack makes a deal with her (since she continues to bug him about dying) that he will kill her after she gets him out. Oh, and make a better face than this boring one too. On the next level, they see graves. There is one for her. One for him too. Rachel decides to look further and heads into the small crevice. She could hear a strange voice talking to her and letters left behind just for her. The perpetrator is interested in her and wants to give her a place… Meanwhile bored Zack smashes all the graves outside, unwittingly triggering doors inside for Rachel to move on. More letters and files on dead people. It’s got info on her and Zack too. She returns to Zack and tries to confirm with him his shady origins (something about being abused at a facility before running away and his whereabouts unknown since) but Zack isn’t impressed. Threats to kill her won’t work as she is not afraid. This reminds Zack of someone similar. A woman who lied she is a fan of his just to get away from him but he ultimately killed her. More Rachel bugging to be killed if she runs away. He warns her she will only get to die after she gets him out of here and then destroys her tombstone (which she told him not to). Zack reluctantly helps activate another trigger that opens another door for Rachel to head in deeper. He notices how she smiled and would have loved to kill that kind of face had she not had those dead eyes. As Zack waits, he is confronted by this floor’s psychopath, Edward “Eddie” Mason. Is he wearing a coconut over his head?

Episode 3
The duo argue they are the ones qualified to kill Rachel. Eddie doesn’t have time to play with him and goes to Rachel. He tries to coax her to let him kill her. After all, that is what she wants, right? He can make her death a more beautiful one. All she needs to do is say yes. Rachel is a little confused although she is still sticking to her promise to Zack. Because Zack swears to God how he will be the one who kill her, Rachel decides to side with him. Eddie is disappointed and retreats. Rachel is annoying Zack about this God thingy. Okay, okay. He gets it. He’ll kill you after they get out! In the next room, they confront Eddie who seeks an answer why she chose Zack. He is not pleased because of that God answer because that kind of freedom doesn’t exist here. Their only right is to kill others on their respective floors. He wanted to give Rachel a beautiful death but now he just wants to kill her. As the guys fight, Eddie uses his floor to his advantage as he turns off the lights. Rachel uses her mini torchlight to hide behind what is supposed to be her new grave. She jumps into it. Feeling like home? Eddie is just moments from killing her when Rachel blinds his face with her torchlight before swapping places with him. Zack then stabs him. Her coffin is now his. They take the elevator to the next floor as Rachel continues to bug and remind him to kill her if she continues to be useful. He did swear to God, right?

Episode 4
In this prison level, Catherine “Cathy” Ward believes herself as the judge and will judge them as she sees fit as sinners. Communicating via video, the duo must pass a test in the cell they are in until they find a mechanism that will allow them to head to the next cell. So they start off with the simplest one like taking their mugshots. Next cell is an execution room. Zack must be bored that he sat on the electric chair. Gotcha. Strap in for some electrifying times. Rachel needs to figure out a way to stop this or Cathy will electrocute him until he dies. So Rachel borrows his scythe and decapitates all the dolls’ head as its mechanism to free Zack. In the next room, Cathy is going to poison them with poison gas. But there is only one gas mask and if they take too long, and even more poisonous gas will seep through. The duo argue the other should wear the gas mask but eventually compromise to take turns. Rachel notices a corpse on the floor and with the clues given, she puts its severed right feet on a scale and finds some other stuffs to balance it out. She continues to find the mechanism while Cathy laughs her ass off in anticipation to see them writhe in agony.

Episode 5
To cut things short, Rachel finds a key card that would open the door. Too bad Zack doesn’t know how to use it and breaks it. With time’s up and Cathy releasing a strong poison gas, Rachel gets this brilliant idea to use the batteries of the remote because this gas is combustible. And just like that the iron door goes down. They take a rest and Zack remembers a dream. The husband and wife who ran the orphanage were sick of digging graves and burying dead kids so they used Zack to dig them. In the next cell, there is a dollhouse that strangely resembles Zack’s orphanage. The game is for Rachel to decipher a series of codes and then Zack must do accordingly. Wow. Rachel can do mental math to pinpoint words in a book. Those words hint what Zack should do or move the items in the dollhouse. Strangely they all move in a way according to his dream. Zack is holding in his anger but the last straw came when Rachel says to do as she says. Because that is what the orphanage told him and they even mock him as useful tool. Zack goes mad and destroys the dollhouse. I guess Cathy loved trolling him and lets them pass to the next room. There is a serum. One with vitamins and the other poison. Unless they inject themselves, the door won’t open. Rachel offers to inject both since Zack doesn’t want to die. But with Zack fine being her tool now, he injects both into himself. He starts feeling dizzy and has the urge to kill her. Because she is so ready to be killed by him who swore in God’s name, his self-control returns. I guess it’s no fun killing her yet at this stage. He thinks she is lying of wanting to die now and begs she won’t let him kill her just yet.

Episode 6
More Zack trauma flashback. After he has had it with doing the orphanage’s bidding, he saw this cheesy horror movie cliché: A couple so deep in making out that they failed to take notice of the killer and got killed! Zack got an idea to then kill them in their sleep. I’m sure the couple wasn’t into making out at that age. Now Zack has gone crazy trying to kill Rachel. So now she wants to live? Cornered in the final room, Rachel gives up. Now she wants to die? However Cathy fires her automatic guns at Zack. She throws Rachel a gun so she could should Zack. Although Rachel won’t do it, Zack since to be begging her to do so. She can’t miss at this range. Rachel knows he will not like it if he kills her now. Hence that sh*tty reason they are not tools and can choose how to die. Huh? Rachel gives him an impeccable smile. So addictive that he can’t hold in much longer and stabs himself. Cathy is so disappointed at the turn of these events and goes down to complain. She disrespects Zack’s body and Rachel threatens to fire. Cathy is not scared since she knows she can’t pull the trigger. Even if she could, it’s not loaded. As she continues abusing Zack, I guess something inside Rachel triggers. She pulls out her own real gun and shoots Cathy! Mad woman so crazy that it woke Zack up to slice her dead. They find the exit and after all they have been through, they can tell they are quite happy about it. Yeah, no crazy b*tch to b*tch about. Before they reach the next floor, Zack collapses from continued loss of blood.

Episode 7
Rachel goes alone on the next floor to seek help. However in this chapel-like floor, Rachel experiences a few strange things. Smell of sweet smoke and the constant changing rooms with strange words asking her to reveal her true self and confess her sins. She even sees visions of her dead parents wanting her to come to this side but she will stick with Zack and slices them. Eventually collecting their blood and splashing it all over an angel portrait, Rachel finally meets the priest, Gray. Knowing she needs something to treat Zack, there is none on this floor but there may be some on Danny’s floor. However he can guide and help her get there in exchange she undergoes some test. All he wants is to know who she truly is. Rachel needs time to think so she returns to Zack to check on him. He is still stubborn and trying to act tough but relents to leave it to her. In addition, he tells her if she is going back down, go back all the way to his floor and in his room, retrieve his knife. Rachel agrees to Gray’s terms as they both head back down. On Cathy’s floor, this is where she will begin her test. She needs to turn on the electricity that powers the elevator. Rachel goes ahead but encounters zombies! The best way to rid of them is to operate the automatic guns from the control room. Rachel notices Cathy’s body is no longer around but can’t be bothered with it as she flips the switch to fire at all the zombies. Rachel looks like a zombie shooting zombies?

Episode 8
The ghost of Cathy mocks Rachel for killing everyone just for her convenience. On Eddie’s floor, zombie hands grab her feet but she stomps them all despite their cries for help! Of course Eddie’s ghost comes to her. Feeling disappointed she did not care about how others feel and don’t see any other kind of happiness. That’s why all those around her like Zack will die suffering. Gray is not impressed Rachel used violence to quickly get to the next floor and in Danny’s floor, Rachel is briefly attacked by some green slime. She cannot find the cure so she tries to hurry back to Zack. Gray takes this as she doubts him. He hypothesizes that all that happened could have been her own doing. Meanwhile Zack dreams. After killing the orphanage parents, he killed a woman who was dumb enough to get out of her car just to check on the kid she accidentally splashed water. He killed her just to sleep in her car. The next morning, a blind guy finds him and brings him home for food. Asking why he is doing this, it’s because he is lonely. Zack felt some chill that night and thought killing the blind guy would ease it but couldn’t. So he goes to town and kills a drunkard. The chill is still there. He returns to the blind man and tells what he did but he isn’t surprised. One day he went out and left a note. Zack of course can’t read. But a blind guy can write a nice note? Zack got tired of waiting and goes to find him. He sees a commotion. A crowd gathers before a dead corpse. It isn’t long before Zack finds the murderers. Yeah, they took his stick and was camping nearby? Zack kills them and that is when he realizes he wants to kill such happy people because such people make monsters like him. Now, Zack is still sleeping but Danny has found him.

Episode 9
Luckily Zack has enough energy to get out of Danny’s way. I don’t know if this vest he is wearing protected Danny from Zack’s scythe, the reason he is still alive. I thought that was a deep pierce. Anyway, Danny isn’t thrilled to hear Rachel wants to be killed by Zack. He tries to make a deal with him. In exchange for medicine, please gorge out Rachel’s eyes. Of course he won’t do that even if he is the one to kill Rachel. Danny just leaves and Zack doesn’t have the strength to chase him. Rachel has found Zack’s room, takes his knife and then quickly returns to him. Zack is not there so Gray now confirms that everything that has happened is due to her doing (this includes why Danny started to act very strangely). As she is exerting negative influence, he will pass judgment on her. Rachel rants about Zack’s promise and his oath to God but Gray poses the question if God chose not to make his promise come true, what would she do then? Rachel is stunned as suddenly a giant white snake attacks her. Scared Rachel runs for her life and luckily stumbles into Zack. But could she be hallucinating because there is no snake. We get more Rachel-Zack drama talking about God and everything. Oh damn it, too boring to follow. Yeah, Rachel doesn’t know anything about Zack, so what? The mundaneness is interrupted when the snake appears for real and attacks them. I guess this is where Zack’s knife comes in hand to fight the snake since it is light. But eventually his scythe is the one that is able to slice it dead. Because Rachel is being so annoyingly concern that Zack will die from his wounds, he becomes pissed if she really wants to kill him or not. Damn that God swearing line she quotes again. Now he tells her off that there is no God. You shocked, Rachel? Yeah, she’s so confused. She’s even thinking if anybody else said that same line that Zack spouted, it won’t do. What? I don’t get it. He makes her smile. So ‘creepy’ that he gets to ‘sleep’. Better hurry up and go find the medicine. He gives her his knife. Hopes this would increase her usefulness.

Episode 10
Rachel follows a white rabbit and falls down a hole to… Wonderland! Nope. Just Eddie’s coffin. Then she gets electrocuted by Cathy’s chair and then stabs a bleeding mirror. Weird. Finally before Gray who proclaims he has met Danny and took possession of his medicine but will not give it to her easily. He questions her about the things she has done and if she truly believes in God. Otherwise why did she not give any answer? Gray initiates her witch trial and calls for witnesses to testify. Yup, the usual suspects. Feels like going to be some sort of twisted summary as they testify what Rachel is. Cathy goes first as she crazily explains Rachel being the most criminal of criminal and that her most criminal thing to do was robbing her of the role as judge. She wishes her a watery death. Next is Eddie. He views her as stubborn and selfish and that the biggest difference is that she doesn’t know what happiness is and ignores it all. He wishes her death by spikes. Finally it is Danny. It’s that obsession with her eyes again. He views her soul as beyond salvation and can never be saved simply because she steals from others. He reminds her that the real her is not a soul that should be stolen. With all the testimonies done, Gray will not hand down judgment to her. He proclaims her a witch and she will die via being burnt alive.

Episode 11
Rachel continues to deny everything. Since we’re on the topic of God, Gray tells her that her God doesn’t exist but his. Because he is God! Because Rachel doesn’t want to be killed by this priest who calls himself God, she sees a weird vision of Zack. Not sure how but after realizing that Zack is her God, she wakes up from all this illusion. Yeah, I figured that out when they entered this floor. Gray is surprised she woke up as she tells him what she made was a promise with her God and not a contract. She has him lead him to his room where he kept Danny’s medicine. She won’t kill him because he is not needed. Thus he warns her that God hates liars and those who are unclean. Rachel returns to Zack and applies the medicine and even sews up his wound. Then as they take the elevator to their next floor, she asks how he got those burnt marks on his skin. Apparently his mom’s boyfriend tried to burn him to death but he fought back. When they reach the next floor, Rachel realizes she cannot tell something to Zack because it will expose she is a liar and that he’ll hate him. Plus, her hands are already tainted. She remembers this is the floor where she was. She doesn’t want Zack to open that door but…

Episode 12
Rachel starts panicking and gets desperate for him to kill her now. Of course he won’t. I guess the stress got to her so she faints. Zack is then lured into some room and locked in by Danny. He tells him to explore this floor and know more about Rachel if he wants to get out. As Zack explores the other floors and rooms, dodging traps and killing enemies, Danny and Rachel are watching every move of Zack on the TV. Danny can’t wait the moment Zack finds out the truth about her and Rachel is like, please no, please no. Zack almost fell into a spike trap but the one who saved him is Gray. His explains his purpose to observe him. Something about people using religion for their own ends. Those who are placed on the lowest floor are no more than test subjects for observations. In order to test and judge them, he needs angels. He thought Zack was the purest and decided to make him an angel. But he violated the rules and attempted to get out. Not just himself but with Rachel. He now makes them both his observation and wanted to see what kind of actions they will take. Since Zack doesn’t get it all and is only interested to get to the next room, Gray gives some hints and after a few ‘easy puzzle solving’, Zack enters what is believed to be Rachel’s room. There is a TV that plays the news. Police arrived at Rachel’s home only to find her parents’ corpses that are riddled with bullet holes and knife wounds. Also, the bodies have been unnaturally sewn together with threads. Police found Rachel unharmed but in a state of confusion. Wow. Zack reacting in a shock manner in what he sees next?

Episode 13
Danny records Rachel’s confession. She found a puppy and wanted her parents’ advice. However they were too busy fighting and accusing each other. She returned to the puppy and although she can’t remember what happened next, it is hinted she killed it and ‘fixed’ it. Returning to her parents, she witnessed dad killing mom and he is going to do the same for her but she shot him. Because she wanted a perfect family, she sewed them together the way she wanted like how she did for the puppy. That’s why when the police took them away, she was sad. Nothing really worked out for her. It took Zack this long to smash the TV? Tired of the drama? Or rather Danny now harassing her? Zack returns to them for answers because apparently Rachel’s past wasn’t the answer he was looking for. Danny reveals Gray made this floor for her at his request. However she lost it after reading the bible. Something about she cannot be forgiven and since she is impure, the reason she wanted to be killed by Zack. Danny gives Zack a choice to die here or leave Rachel. When she asks if he will continue to be her God, he didn’t hesitate to say he is never her God. Rachel fires a warning shot to show her displeasure while Danny loves the eyes she is showing now. It becomes a slightly comical chase as Zack goes after Rachel and almost falls into her traps. Finally in her room where they square off and prepare to kill each other, just another troll by Rachel as she shoots the window? Just to tell us the outside scenery and moon is fake? Maybe Rachel is just disappointed to learn that there is no God and made Zack her substitute God. But even so, he insists he isn’t her God. When Danny holds Zack at gunpoint, he wants Rachel to end this drama. Yes, please do. She fires at Zack.

Episode 14
Guess what? She shot Danny instead! She killed him because she wanted to kill Zack herself. Eh? So why didn’t she shoot him in the first place?! More confusion because Zack is really going to kill her but Rachel is now pleading don’t kill me because I’m unclean. WTF?! MAKE UP YOUR MIND! Then this talk about Zack being Zack and not her God, blah, blah, blah. So if she really wants to die, swear only to be killed by him. Man, I didn’t know getting killed was this complicated. As they find the exit, Rachel remembers there are none leading up. She believes the real exit is one floor below. As there is no power, Rachel goes back to the room to turn it on but before her is Gray. So this talk about God again, huh? So Zack is no longer God or an angel. This means he can betray her. Whether Zack is telling the truth or not, they decide with their own hearts. She has already accepted he isn’t God. Gray’s final question for her is who she is. Rachel is Rachel. Duh. Are you sure? Duh. As she asks for the exit, he reveals it is behind the stained glass on his floor. Rachel says goodbye to her parents and stuffs on this floor as she will never come back here again. Before they proceed, Rachel realizes she needs to get her gun. Then they realize Danny’s body is not around. Yeah, that doctor is still alive somewhere. Lurking. He has also disabled her gun so it’s useless. Zack breaks the stained glass to reveal a very long stairway. He gives her his knife since it is better than nothing. The trek up seemed like forever when suddenly an announcement is heard. Building detonation is in sequence. Really?!

Episode 15
Only way is to run up. Oh dear. Metal bars. With the flames catching up, Zack is paralyzed by his trauma. Don’t worry. Rachel will figure a way out. By hitting the bars with the knife?! WTF. I guess this irritated Zack to overcome his trauma and now his scythe can cut through the bars?! Whatever. Running up, oh dear. A rock slab. Is this going to be a recurring thing? Thank goodness Zack’s scythe can slash through it but the price to pay is his scythe broke. When they finally reach the top, damn we got to drag this drama on because it’s the same thing again. Do you want to kill Rachel or not? Yeah, you’re free to do so. Or not. Yeah, yeah. We get it. Also about Zack hates lies. Can we move on already? This drama enables Danny to creep up on Rachel and shoot her. See?! He is the one who activate the alarm and now he won’t make them fulfil their promise. Rachel angers Danny that Zack is not a monster or God but a human. Danny is incensed that he gave her everything. Even a floor of her own. So what did Zack give her? This puny knife?! Rachel isn’t bothered if the promise can or cannot be fulfilled. Danny going crazy and shoot her one more time but short of killing her. Also putting a few bullets in Zack. Why didn’t he just kill them outright? Isn’t that his plan? And because of that, Gray shoots Danny. Yeah, didn’t kill him too. So while he tells Zack to get out and save Rachel, Danny has a chance to shoot back. This is just getting too draggy…

Episode 16
After letting Zack and Rachel escape, Gray confronts Danny. Final long talk between them? You bet. So Gray admits he was wrong thinking he was an angel because he was pure to only one thought even though that thought was killing others. But now he wields his blade for others, he has become human. More accurately, he was human all along. That is why Gray shoot Danny to atone for his sin. Huh? Danny is also partly to blame because he brought her here and tried to become her God. Danny thinks it is better than nothing. Otherwise he will have nothing and no one will accept him. In the end, all of them are just humans and it is humans who created God. So it’s time Gray stop playing God’s role. Yeah. Time to end it all with the wall slab dropping on them. At least Danny got to see a vision of his mom in his death. Zack carries Rachel out of the burning building. Lots of confused people starring. The police telling him to surrender. Surprisingly, Zack obliges because he believes in their promise. Once he puts his hands behind his head, the police swarm him with brutality like as though he is a serial killer. Oh wait. He is. Was. News of this become viral all over. We hear interviews from the police detective but he sounds indecisive and unsure about Zack being a serial killer for Rachel but overall decides he is one. You sure you know what you talking? And the counsellor talks like as though she knows what to do best for Rachel. So yeah, we see Rachel recuperating and taking counselling. But it’s obvious we see her mind so far somewhere else. Fail on your part, counsellor! And then the counsellor decides to break protocol and divulge some info on Zack that she shouldn’t just because Rachel feels so uneasy not knowing his fate. Yup, she tells her Zack is sentenced to death for his serial killings. I thought she wanted to cut her from things she fears? Fail! And then, one night Zack crashes into her room. Hey. Where did he get the scythe? Did he steal it from the discount mart on his way here? Anyway, he escaped from prison and the police are hot on his tail so better be quick Rachel. Do you still remember the promise? So now if she wants to be killed, stop crying and smile? Geez, why is dying so hard? Or is this some sort of weird coded way of saying I love you? Not!

Kill Me Baby: Death Becomes Her
And after a very draggy drama and plot… They leave us hanging on whether Rachel was killed by Zack or not???!!! WTF???!!! Are they saying they are leaving it to our imaginations?! I expected better than this! So the closure and conclusion is now solely based on what we think it is supposed to be? Hmm… Let’s see. Final scene shows blood on the broken window. Isaac’s knife on the floor. No bodies to be found anywhere. Oh, Isaac and Rachel eloped and went on to kill everybody else in town and became known as the new Bonnie and Clyde!!! Better than Rachel to be cooped up in another ‘facility’ while she slowly loses her mind, right? Better be wild and free! Sighs. Damn. Whatever the conclusion, I’m just couldn’t be glad that this series is finally over. Thank God for that. Hey. At least I’m not lying.

I got very bored with the plot quickly. I don’t think the entire premise is that confusing. Because of the draggy drama of the main characters reassuring us of each other’s promise, not only it enhances the confusion but it got a lot irritating. In almost every episode, we see the constant insecurities of both Rachel and Zack as they try to reassure the other to fulfil their promise of him getting her out and she getting killed by him in exchange. Like as though this was the biggest excuse to drag out this whole boring drama. And there is this insecurity of Rachel at first worried that Zack about not being her God. So does she want to get killed or not? Are they some sort of perfectionists? There are so many ways to die and even by Zack’s hands and she wants it like this and like that. Yeah, even for Zack. There are so many times and chances he could just kill her but she must fulfil that strict condition of having a better face. Uhm, doesn’t she have that face towards the end? Oh, but they’re not really out yet. Damn technicalities! I mean, just kill her already instead of dragging it out to 12 episodes. Oh wait. Make that 16 episodes! WTF?! It’s like they’re not serious about the killing at all.

It was just one big boring and draggy sh*t that I started worrying if the other mysteries that my mind has been asking would be answered. Like for example, what the heck is this facility in this first place? It looks like one big elaborate madhouse with totally sick people in it to play with each other. Is somebody watching or monitoring it all? Like the government? Hell, this underground labyrinth would be one big useless facility if it doesn’t serve a purpose in the bigger picture, right? Could it be some very rich guy watching all this for his amusement? Then what about those English words that pop up in the initial episode and sparsely after that. What are they supposed to be? Who wrote those? You see, all these mysteries sound so much more interesting if there was an answer to it but instead we are stuck with that repetitious Rachel-Zack drama of promise reassurance. Bummer.

I think they wanted to add some variety by putting in some sort of puzzle solving thriller like in Eddie and Cathy’s level but I don’t actually see the significance and relevance of it. Puzzles are supposed to make you think and get you enlightened when the answer is provided but this one feels even more mind boggling. It makes me think why the heck do we need to go through all that just for the elevator to the next floor? Why is it this simple but yet this complicated? Especially you start to wonder why the elevators cannot just go straight up to the top floor. There must be so many elevators then, huh? And so far apart from each other? Man, I thought IKEA making you walk everywhere was bad enough… Yeah, man. Why make it so complicated?! Maybe to make Rachel look like the genius because you know, she is the brains and Zack is the brawns. And the fight scenes are like mediocre. Just because we have to utilize Zack as a crazy killer so we see him simply swinging his scythe. I guess some people understand and feel better if they hit something.

I’m not a religious person but there seems to be quite a few conversations and debate about the faith to God. Maybe they are trying to stir up some thoughts and thinking about this topic but with religion being such a touchy subject these days, can we even get a normal discussion without resorting to violence? Yeah, reality is much worse with people ready to go in for the kill. Everyone should be arrested and put in this nuthouse and let the battle royale begin! Oh right. This entire world is a big giant madhouse complex already and we all think we are Gods in our own minds. No wonder Jesus won’t be coming down again to save us from our sins because we clearly let the first time he died go in vain.

It goes without saying that the characters feel like crap. Saying about Rachel and Zack’s relationship would make me sound like a broken tape recorder. Zack is made even more annoying because of his short temper and tendency to get mad and rough. And Rachel is like the total opposite, lack of feelings and doesn’t give a sh*t. They only tolerate each other because, wait for it, the initial promises they made. So this is their bond? Even till the end, I still cannot feel how closely they have bonded together because of all the boringness that had seeped in. I always thought Rachel would look better if she smiled. Looks like I got more than I bargained for because her smile looks creepy even if it is genuine! So not used to it. So please, go back to your mundane poker face. I regret it. I like it better when you have no emotions. The other annoying character is Danny. This guy is just so hard to kill like as though he cannot die yet so he can prolong our suffering as he pops up when we least expect it to rant about whatever twisted ideology he has or wished upon the rest. Yeah, more draggy drama coming your way. If you’re made even more confused (like yours truly) then it’s like a bonus point achievement for them.

This means the other characters also feel like tools to somewhat further and enhance the bonding of Rachel and Zack. However as I said I don’t see all that in the end and hence these characters feel as empty and shallow like mud puddle. Yes, each of them have their sad and twisted past and history and it would have been a lot better if we had a glimpse of that. Too bad they have become some sort of shallow one dimensional antagonist of the arc. Zack’s history is sad and twisted but as I have said, in the end it feels like it doesn’t matter because I just don’t feel the connection. And I thought Rachel would have hers and it would be the biggest twist. Turns out to be meh. Yeah, everybody has their own twisted problems. But I wonder if Gray is the master of this entire facility as he is the main observer everything and knows it all. He occupies the highest floor and can seemingly ‘teleport’ to other floors with ease. He just pops up. Like the final stairways to freedom, if there were bars blocking in the way and after Zack slashes it, how come he suddenly stands before them at the exit?! Is there another route there?! Did Gray lie? Zack hates lies, you know…

For the horror part, it only worked for the first episode for me. The jump scare of Zack being a crazy killer suddenly appearing and screaming trying to get Rachel’s head did shock me at first. But after that, everything else feels so bland and boring. Yup, blame the draggy drama for turning this horror series into one draggy drama instead. Even if the spooky atmosphere like Eddie’s graveyard level, Cathy’s prison and Gray’s weird hallucinations, thanks to the drama, it does not even feel a bit scary. With Zack being such an angry dude, after a while it gets old and you won’t be even moved whenever he yells his head off. This makes that other crappy horror series Ousama Game to be even better because that one was so cringe filled and bad that it was funny. This one is just plain boring. So boring that I could have fallen asleep and Freddy Krueger would give up killing me in my dreams. Yeah… Really.

Another disappointment is that there are just a few mad people in this facility. I was under the impression like there would be 100 of them! I don’t know why but I thought since the initial plot of that announcement saying Zack is to be targeted because he broke the rule, I was thinking that the other many floor guardians are eager to hunt them down. After all, everyone in this madhouse is craving for blood one way or another, right? So instead we only have like 6 people in this entire facility? Take away Rachel and Zack and that’s like only 4 opposition? Holy sh*t! Only 4?! It’s odd to think that Rachel and Zack will steadily progress to the next floor while the next floor resident waits for his/her turn. Bummer for the one at the highest floor assuming the ones at the lower levels didn’t kill off the main characters. What ever happened to this announcement anyway? It feels so redundant and a lame reason to give others a reason to fight Zack. I’m sure even if they didn’t violate the rules, they would still attack if they come to their floor. Remember, everybody is sick in the head so screw whatever rules.

The art and animation feel like they want to give some dark and spooky claustrophobic atmosphere but I was so bored at the drama that I didn’t even feel influenced by it. There are also a lot of blood especially Zack and Danny being the tough asses taking in some damage. So once you see blood splatter all across their shirt, it will stay there for the rest of the series. Yeah, looks like we’ve gotten immune to all the blood. Character designs, they look pretty normal. I thought they would look even more twisted, maybe like some inhuman monster or gay feminist dude but they mostly look normal. I don’t think Eddie wearing a pumpkin on his head is anything scary. Zack wearing a hoodie and having bandages all over, not scary. Danny having a fake eye? Surprising at first but gets old even with his long devil tongue. Animated by J.C. Staff who produced lots of other better titles out there like Shokugeki No Souma, Prison School, Bakuman, Shakugan No Shana, Saiki Kusuo-No Sai Nan, To Aru Kagaku No Railgun and DanMachi.

With a small cast, the voice acting isn’t anything that special. Nobuhiko Okamoto feels at home as Zack because of his previous roles as angry characters like To Aru Majutsu No Index’s Accelerator, Bakugou in Boku No Hero Academia, Ryou in Shokugeki No Souma and Kaname in Mahou Shoujo Site. Takahiro Sakurai tries to sound crazy as Danny but he is just passable. I only remember his other seemingly twisted character role as Bernard in Junketsu No Maria. The other casts are Haruka Chigusa as Rachel (Tsugumi in Soul Eater Not), Houchu Ohtsuka as Gray (Shiro in Arakawa Under The Bridge), Mariya Ise as Cathy (Levi in Fairy Tail) and Natsumi Fujiwara as Eddie (Chihiro in Shounen Maid). Feeling wasted is the awesome opening theme, Vital by Masaaki Endoh. This hard rock feels so out of place for this draggy drama but it is one of the things that I prefer a lot in the series. This song feels at home for those who are familiar with his style during his stint with JAM Project like One Punch Man’s opening. The ending theme, Pray by Haruka Chisuga as a slow rock isn’t also that bad but I prefer the opener a lot. Note, this might be my own speculation, but I guess the final episode felt like it couldn’t wait to end and hence they played the full entire 3 over minutes of the ending song just to fill in the gap…

Overall, the anime is crappy and a big disappointment if you are anticipating some sort of horror factor to spook the hell out of you. But to be fair, this series was adapted from a game so who knows it worked differently in that format. Although it was also adapted to manga, as far as the anime part is concerned, it is not good. I was mostly confused and bored to death with the draggy drama and the constant reminder of Rachel wanting to be killed by Zack. Sometimes you want to pray to God but this series makes you question your faith even if there is a God after all for letting such mediocre adaptation grace our screens. Okay, don’t blame God for bad production of us humans. Maybe the better way is to just forgive and move on. Or just scream and wreck everything. No wonder God has already abandoned us.

Shingeki No Kyojin S3

March 2, 2019

OMG! OMG! OMG!!! HYPE! HYPE SUPER HYPE!!! IT’S FINALLY HERE! Yeah, sounded like I have waited my entire life for the release of Shingeki No Kyojin S3. Uhm… Hey. Why does my opening sentence sound nearly as familiar when the second season came out? It doesn’t matter because one of the greatest anime series that have ever graced the planet is finally into its third season. God, why do such good shows feel like an eternity waiting in between? But that makes it only worth all the waiting.

Episode 38
What is the second most fearful thing to Titans? If you don’t clean up a room before Levi returns! Luckily cleaning can be shelved for today as Levi wants to start the experiment suggested by Hange. However it failed as a transformed Eren collapses and the lower half of his Titan form is like malnourished. This experiment was to see if the Titan’s hardening ability could seal the wall but looks like they’ll have to try another time. Back at the cottage, Eren is glad Historia is now talking normally again. Because she was also so happy acting as Krista that it crept him out. Bad news just came in that Nick is dead. When Hange went to check on him, a couple of First Interior Squad of the Military Police guarding the place claimed he was murdered. With some great acting by Hange, she was able to tell Nick was tortured by these guys and then murdered. Because he saw all of Nick’s nailed pulled out, she believed he stood firm to his beliefs until his very last breath. This could mean that nobody has realized they have learned about Historia’s background. Thus Levi has everyone move out now and leave no traces of their presence behind. Soon enough, other Military Police personnel came searching this cottage. Levi suggests hiding in Trost to have a better chance of hiding Eren and Historia since the town is in panic. But as they move about in Trost, suddenly Eren and Historia are kidnapped! The rest aren’t panicking yet since those are just diversions. Yup, Jean and Armin disguised as Eren and Historia respectively. Poor Armin, getting molested by the kidnapper… When Levi’s side locate them, they wonder why amateurs are sent to do such an important job. Mikasa and the rest easily disarm the kidnappers. Levi can’t help feel something is wrong with this. He wonders if the real perpetrators are waiting for a chance to strike. This reminds him of Kenny the Ripper who slit the throats of 100 Military Police. It is no urban legend as Levi grew up with him. And before he knows it, Kenny creeps up on him and kills a few of Hange’s soldiers with his other men.

Episode 39
Levi miraculously escape the onslaught of Kenny and his men. However the real Eren and Historia, they are hiding in some carriage and now they are truly kidnapped and put to sleep. Levi and the rest try to wrest back Eren and Historia. Jean hesitates to kill and would have been killed had not Armin shot her. However the carriage changed hands again and once it enters deeper into the walls, Levi and co are forced to stop their pursuit. While resting, Armin and Jean are having some reality check issues as they are still in shock. Levi explains Jean lived because Armin pulled the trigger. However that was also thanks to that girl who hesitated to kill Jean. Because he pulled the trigger, nobody else in their team died. Now his hands are tainted, he cannot go back to the old ways. Then they interrogate the kidnapper, Dimo Reeves. He was that merchant who tried to block the entrance with his overloaded wagon during that Titan invasion panic. He reveals they are only doing as the Military Police ordered them. Believing everyone will be silenced by them now, Levi thinks not because his company helped keep the economy floating during winter. Levi suggests they team up and they just need to know where Eren and Historia are. That night, Dimo lures a couple of Military Police, Djel Sannes and Ralph. Levi and Hange torture him to make him reveal their agenda but his mouth is tightly zipped. He sticks hard to his belief that because they eliminated scums and dirtied their hands to protect the peace, humanity survived. He is willing to die and accepts his fate to be killed. After all, they can be replaced. Levi and Hange take a break but outside it seems they make a deal with Ralph to reveal some juicy bits and Sannes overheard it. When they return to continue their torture, immediately Sannes says Historia is the real heir to the throne. Telling this to the rest, they believe Eren and Historia are believed to be where Rod Reiss is, Historia’s father. Meanwhile Dimo is taking a break outside when Kenny slits his throat for his betrayal. He won’t pursue Levi and knows he will come to him. Dimo’s son, Flegel is the only witness but out of fear he continues to hide.

Episode 40
We hear Historia’s past. She lived in a farm with her mom. She never talked to her and is always seen reading a book. By night fall, she always dressed fancy and headed somewhere. When she tried to interact with her, she was shoved away and mom’s reply was only if she could kill her. Soon mom left and many years later, Rod returned to bring her to live with him. But with mom denying she is her daughter and unrelated, Rod reluctantly agrees and her mom is killed. Historia would have been given the same treatment but Rod made a deal for her to live in a faraway place under a new alias, Krista. So now Historia is reunited with dad and he is glad to see her. He did all this to protect her and she is the only one who can save humanity. Sannes is disappointed Ralph betrayed his loyalty but realizes after Hange reveals they just threaten him to make him read out of a script. Sannes knows they are over and will be replaced. The world cannot be rid of cruelty so easily. So him wishing Hange good luck is it for real or sarcasm? Hange calls the gang to explain what Ymir said to Bertolt as heard from Eren. From what I understand it seems when a Titan eats a transformed Titan, that Titan can turn into a human again and gain the powers of that eaten Titan. This is probably Eren’s worth as he is a replaceable vessel for that power of commanding other Titans with a scream (that’s why in the last battle Reiner was throwing Titans at Eren in hopes one of them would eat him).

Pixis sees Erwin and agrees to lend his cooperation after hearing his plan to overthrow the current king without bloodshed and show the people the current system they have been following is all a lie. Word gets out that Erwin and his Survey Corps are suspects in the murder of Dimo. Erwin knows his days are numbered and hands over his captaincy to Hange. Erwin visits the murder site and whatever nonsensical accusations the Military Police throws at him, he agrees to surrender. Many of the Survey Corps members are also arrested. Time for Erwin’s flashback. His father was a teacher. Erwin was puzzled by the history of humans retreating behind the wall so his father told him the truth. Young and naïve, Erwin then told other classmates but a few days later his father was dead in an accident. He knew he was silenced by the government. When humanity retreated behind the walls over 100 years ago, the king altered their memories to keep them peaceful. Erwin never understood why his father died even if he was close to the truth. Then he realizes that many at the top aren’t interested in protecting humanity but their own self-interest. Knowing his father’s death was unjustified, he started believing in his theory and it has become his life’s mission to prove that theory is correct. The Military Police are handing out wanted posters of the remaining Survey Corps members on the run and go so far as to make up lies about them.

Episode 41
Marlo and Hitch are patrolling the forest. Marlo is stumped that the Survey Corps is branded as killers as they risked their lives for humanity. They see Armin fetching water but this is just a distraction so the rest could capture them. Meanwhile Flegel is being chased by several Interior Squad. Luckily he is saved by Hange as she knows he must know how his father died, hence they want to silence him. She wants him to fight with them instead of running around but Flegel is not willing to risk his life and views everything as lost. Too bad Hange won’t let him off. He’s in for the ride. Levi interrogates the duo when Hitch starts blaming them for causing that Titan destruction at Stohess. She thinks Annie is dead and her body beyond recognition but she’s in for a shock when she finds out that Annie was that female Titan. Marlo wants to help them but Levi doesn’t trust him. As Jean takes them away, suddenly he wants to kill them. They plead for their lives and that they truly want to help them but if you were in Jean’s shoes, could you trust them? Marlo adds he regretted joining the Military Police and as long as the Survey Corps risked their lives to save humanity, he will always be on their side. Of course this is all just a big test by Jean to see if they’re trustworthy. For starters, they tell Levi the weakest checkpoint before returning to their post to avoid suspicion. Levi and co barge into the checkpoint and interrogate the leader who is from the Interior Squad. Meanwhile Flegel is cornered against by those Interior Squad guys at an abandoned place. He wants to know why Dimo was killed before he dies. For betraying them and assisting the Survey Corps. Had he not done that, he too will be killed for knowing too much. Now that the cat is out of the bag, Flegel is done doing business with them. Hange overpowers them and calls out all the hiding people who have heard the big confession. With this, they decide to rebel against the government. Flegel grows up as he takes charge and becomes the new man of his father’s company and hires all these people. He promises to take care of them. Levi’s interrogation doesn’t yield results of Eren and Historia’s position although they get to know all Survey Corps will be executed and Erwin will be the first one. Erwin too is beaten up and interrogated but he said nothing. Niles sees him and tells him his audience with the king will determine his sentence. Oddly, Erwin asks about his wife, child and home. Because he entrusted something to Pixis and if something happens, it is up to them to act. Erwin is brought before the king and the nobles think his death means normalcy will return as the secrets of the walls stay safe.

Episode 42
They’re so kind to give Erwin say his last words. Erwin theorizes if Titans breach Wall Rose right now, people would flee into Wall Sina. This means food shortages and there will be factions fighting for survival. The only hope is to reclaim Wall Maria and give humanity a new future. Of course they brush him off and tell him his charge is the violation of the charter of putting his self-interest before humanity and that is to hide and refuse to hand Eren to them. After a few discussion, it is decided Erwin will be executed now. Suddenly a report comes in that Titans have breached the Wall Rose. Immediately Pixis and Niles order their troops to defend the wall and allow refuges to come into Wall Sina. However the nobles disagree. To prevent a civil war (even if it’s just a possibility), they are willing to sacrifice half of humanity. Niles is starting to see how all of this is wrong and opposes their decision even if it means him being branded a traitor. However Zacklay stands with Niles. He reveals that report was just a false alarm. Pixis now makes his statement. He thought it was best left to the government to make decisions if it was for the benefit of the people. After all, they possess knowledge of the Titans and walls that they do not. If that was true, he wouldn’t mind having Erwin been executed and he himself is prepared to die. But now that it has turned out like this, he daresay that their ignorance of such knowledge can save more people than them. This is not a threat. This is a coup detat. With that, the nobles and fake kings are arrested as they wait to install the true heir. Many of the Interior Squad members have also been arrested. Hange relays this good news to Levi and co. They couldn’t have done it without the cooperation of so many parties.

Erwin might be saved for now but his thoughts on the government’s decision also had some truth. Was it better to kill half of humanity than to face absolute extermination? He wonders if he should have entrusted everything to the government. After all, all of humanity is worth more than a single life. Even so, why didn’t he do it? Zacklay has his own answer. He hates those arrogant bastards ever since and even if Erwin didn’t do it, he would have at least wanted to try once before he dies. They might not be conscious about it but they too prioritize their own lives over humanity. Hange has also done some investigation on the Reiss family. There was an incident 5 years ago that shook the family. That night when all of the family was in the chapel, bandits raided and set fire on it. All but Rod survived. This means the first thing Rod did was to seek out Historia. All this happened a few days before Historia’s mother was killed. There must be a reason he is seeking her now. Hange finds it strange that the chapel was damaged in a way that would take a lot of time and effort. Bandits would normally steal and leave instead of going so far as to destroy it like that. Suspiciously, Rod is the only one who saw the bandits and he used his fortune to later rebuild the chapel. They are all rushing to Reiss’ estate now although they are not holding their breath that Rod will be there. But they have to get there before Eren gets eaten. The revelations only raised more questions for Armin. If Titans can turn into humans and gain their ability by eating one, how did Eren became one and who did he eat?

Episode 43
Historia tries to convince Eren that Rod is their ally. The best way to explain it is to restore your memories. As father and daughter place their hand on Eren’s back, we see snippets of his memories. Actually, memories of Grisha. Among them include him storming into the chapel as well as turning his son into a Titan in which it looked like Eren killed him. Also, this has Historia remember her own memories with her half-sister, Frieda. She was the one who taught her a lot of things but at the end of the day, she used her power to erase memories of her. Unfortunately she was killed by Grisha. 5 years ago when Grisha came to the family, his goal was to obtain the Titan power that Frieda had. Both transformed into Titans and fought but the got eaten by him as she lacked fighting experience. Grisha continued to massacre the rest of the family although Rod was the only one who escaped. Flashback interrupted with Kenny updated Rod about the coup detat and to finish things up quickly. Pixis informs Erwin that all the nobles have been saying the same thing, cementing his father’s theory that everyone is brainwashed. Although the Reiss family can alter people’s memories, some nobles are immune to the effects. If the Reiss family obtains Eren’s scream, this uprising will be forgotten forever. Because Levi just realized Kenny’s surname is Ackerman, he asks Mikasa if they are related. Her parents did tell her how their family was persecuted in the cities but nothing more. Because sometimes Mikasa used to have strange surge of power, Kenny also had that surge. So does Levi. Kenny’s flashback reveals his dying grandpa told him the truth of why the Ackerman who used to be protectors of the royal family became hated. Actually, they were feared because their members cannot be controlled. The royal family passed down powers of Titans from generation to generation, that is the power to alter memories. Some of them were immune and there were 2 groups who turned their backs on the king. One of them being Ackerman and the other an oriental group. Levi and his team prepare to barge into the chapel but Kenny’s men are also expecting to give them a warm welcome.

Episode 44
Levi’s side drop in a few bomb barrels. This is to create smokescreen and hide behind it while they fight the defenders. Strange, do they know this place well like the defenders if they cover it with smoke? Because our heroes are the one killing the enemies like pros with Jean not hesitating to make his first kill. Even Kenny joins the fray but Levi gets the better of him, enough for him to make his retreat. The attack stops only when Hange takes a seemingly fatal damage. Yeah, enemies dying like flies and the killing keeps going. But one of them falls and the plan is derailed. Rod gives Historia a serum that would turn her into a Titan to eat Eren. After all, this serum contains memories of Frieda so she’ll be able to see her technically. However Eren is in despair. He tries to warn Historia not to take it because that was the same serum that Grisha injected into him in hopes it will avenge his mom. Rod explains Eren’s power will finally return to her. The same Titan power that created this place and the walls. The Titan’s power controlled the people’s hearts and memories. Some were exempted. One of them being Frieda. Frieda obtained that power after she consumed Rod’s brother, a ritual that has been passed down by the Reiss family for generations. That power holds the memories of the origins of the world and had not Grisha come to steal it, Titans could have been eliminated from this world.

Kenny is not pleased to hear that only a Reiss bloodline can inherit the power. Because this means if he himself becomes a Titan and eats Eren, nothing will changed. Historia is bent on doing her duty to eat Eren and exterminate all Titans. Kenny thinks she is being manipulated because otherwise why would Rod let other family members do it instead of himself. Kenny won’t interfere anymore but will take away this advantage as he cuts Eren to make him bleed. As Rod quickly gives the serum to Historia, Eren isn’t transforming. He is filled with guilt that because Grisha did all this, a lot of people died. Knowing he can never atone for it all, the least he could do is get eaten and end it all. Historia now has doubts. She wonders if their family has been given such powers, why didn’t they save humanity and kill all Titans? Rod explains the first king who built the walls believed this was the only way to achieve true peace. Long time ago, Rod and his brother used to beg their father to save humanity from Titans but that look in his eyes said he was never interested in it. So when his brother took on the Titan power, Rod saw his eyes. He became an omnipotent being that will govern the world. In other words, God. Hence Rod can’t become a Titan because it is his duty to bring God back and lead mankind back to salvation. Historia has had it. Screw this justification to continue manipulate humanity. She throws away the serum and frees Eren. She shuts that whinny brat for still having guilty conscious. She doesn’t care about humanity anymore. She is humanity’s worst enemy. Rod licks what is left of the serum and turns into a Titan.

Episode 45
Rod is slowly turning into a Titan that is twice the size of the Colossal Titan. This means he is going to break the cave ceiling and crush everyone in the process. Even with Levi and co coming to free Eren, this dude is still whinny and being a wuss. So he is giving up and willing to die now? Until Levi tells him he has to make a choice. For a long time, Eren starts to believe in himself. Eating some pills, he turns into a Titan as everyone takes shelter underneath him while the ceiling crumbles. This pills allows Eren to finally successfully harden in his Titan form. With this, it is now a possibility to use this and seal Wall Maria and investigate that basement. As they get out of the underground cavern, we see Titan Rod crawling its way towards the direction of Orvud district. They meet up with Erwin as they head to Orvud to make their next plan. As now the gang know about the powers of the Founding Titan as well as the first king’s brainwashing, it seems the most likely plan is to have Rod eat Eren to turn back into a human and undo the brainwashing. Something which Eren is prepared to die. However as they think further, Historia and Armin argue there is no guarantee Rod will turn back into a human nor will the brainwashing end. Historia allays Eren’s insecurities once more as she believes what Grisha did to kill off the Reiss bloodline was to save humanity since they possessed the power to brainwash. They need to find a way to free humanity without using the Reiss bloodline and thus the other possibility is the need to kill Rod. Historia admits she was willing to kill Eren not to save humanity but because she wanted to believe her father. But now it’s time to part ways. I guess that’s the greenlight needed to say it’s okay to kill her old man. Levi tells Historia that under Erwin’s orders, after all this is settled, she is to become the next queen as the people will not tolerate military rule for long. The rest feel it is unfair to thrust such a role on her seeing she just freed herself from the Reiss responsibility. Although Historia agrees to that but on one condition that she decides her own fate. As the strategy meeting begins, Erwin doesn’t call for the evacuation of the people in Orvud. They have the right to remain where they are.

Episode 46
The reason is that such a huge Titan is attracted to big crowds. If they flee to the capital, Mitras, it will only change its path and more people will be in danger. Of course the Survey Corps will still protect the people when it comes down to it. The citizens are told to do a drill and they’re not too happy thinking about it. Complaining the military is trying to show their strength after ousting the fake king and if that’s the case they prefer the fake king. I don’t think all that matters now when they see the wall cannons start firing. Not surprisingly, it does not have any effect on the Titan. Erwin talks to Historia about the queen role. This means he cannot have her on the frontlines anymore. She digress thinking the people will not simply accept her by name. Erwin hints that with his body in this shape, he can’t stop her. So you go all out girl? This has Eren reflect on how useless and weak he has always been. Oh no. Please not this again. Time to snap out of it by punching himself?! When the Titan has reached the wall, it’s like one big horror show. As it has been crawling all night, it scraped off its face and guts! The Survey Corps put their plan into action. First they bomb its mini hands to make it lose its support on the wall. Thanks to that gaping hole in its face, Eren now transforms into a Titan and drops all the bombs into its throat. That saves them from cutting its nape. Its heat will light up the bombs. As the Titan meat explode all over, the Survey Corps now have to move out and cut the core. It’s like a needle in a haystack so cut every meat you see. The one who hit the jackpot is Historia. I guess this is formally goodbye to father. Once she lands safely, she proclaims herself as the ruler of the walls. Meanwhile Kenny is bleeding and suffering from serious burns. Levi finds him and thinks he is done for. Kenny doesn’t think so. So this special vial is going to do it?

Episode 47
Flashback sees Kenny almost getting owned by Uri (Rod’s brother) in his partial Titan form. Scared and giving excuses for his life to be spared, Uri only did so thinking he is from the Ackerman clan and is doing this out of hatred and vengeance. Because Uri regretted he couldn’t bring peace within the walls and bowed his head, Kenny admired his guts and wanted to work for him. Kenny was made to do some work he didn’t like. But that ended the persecution of the Ackerman clan and he had lesser enemies. Kenny visited the underground city to see his sister, Kuchel who has been working as a prostitute. Unfortunately she died and she left behind a scrawny zombie son, Levi (he looks like Death Note’s L!). Kenny took it upon himself to raise him and taught him that power is the only thing you need to reach to the top. When Uri’s days was numbered, Kenny learnt how his power is transferable to the next generation. When Frieda took over that role, she preached the same crap of love and peace. It made him wonder if everybody who obtained the power became like that. Hence he formed his own squad of disillusioned Military Police member to further his dream. He wants to know if he can wield such power and see what those who have seen. Now, Kenny thinks this vial he stole from Rod can turn him into a Titan. He had chances to do it but why has he been hesitating? At that point he somewhat understands what Uri was seeing. Everyone had something in common. Their dreams, hopes, etc. Kenny reveals to Levi that his mom is his sister and he left him halfway because he thought he couldn’t be a good parent. He passes the vial to him before kicking the bucket. Historia is crowned queen and the crowd rejoice. They love her as they have seen her take down a Titan. This is all part of Historia’s plan and suggestion to Erwin to unite the people further. So as queen she can do anything she likes? Like punch Levi even if it is Mikasa’s suggestion? I’m sure she’s bragging about it but the shocking part is how Levi smiles and thanks them all! Backfired? It’s been a while we’ve seen Reiner and Bertolt. Looks like Reiner lost his Titan fight to Yeti Titan. This means saving Annie is put on hold and the priority is to retrieve the Coordinate.

Episode 48
Historia might be queen but she prefers to take care of the orphanage and less privileged. It is part of the deal when she assumed her role. At least the people from the underground are taken care of. With Eren’s hardening ability, Hange is able to test a new devastating weapon to kill Titans without risking a man. When a Titan gets stuck between the hardened shells, a heave log is dropped on their nape. Enough to kill it. Marlo has officially joined the Survey Corps and he is probably the few who is happy to do so. Hitch tried to talk him out of it but he tells her to take her cowardice elsewhere. Eren keeps wondering about a certain man from Grisha’s memories. Then it hit him. He is Keith! He was Erwin’s predecessor. They go to see him to hear his side of the story. During his younger days (when he had a full head of hair), he stumbled into Grisha. He was shocked that somebody was outside the walls but Grisha had no recollection of how he got here or the past. He only remembered his name and is a doctor. Keith got pretty motivated when Grisha thinks he is a special person destined for greatness. This inspires him to try to be the next commander of the Survey Corps. An epidemic sweeps through town but thanks to Grisha’s skills, they are saved. Including the barmaid that Keith has a crush on, Carla.

On the day Keith became the Survey Corps’ commander, nobody attended. At least there were a few crowd at Grisha and Carla’s wedding. With failed expeditions, it started to hit Keith badly. When he sees Carla with baby Eren, she asks if he was going to do this till he dies. That is when he snaps back that normal people like them lived their entire lives without accomplishing a single thing. Their lives are nothing and won’t know greatness when they see it. Keith then hands over the leadership to Erwin, coming to terms he wasn’t really anybody special to begin with. When the wall was breached, he was devastated to hear news of Carla being eaten. He saw Grisha take Eren along. Keith didn’t like the idea of Grisha putting the burden on revenge on his son. What if he is not someone special? None of your business. He is not like you. Keith later saw unconscious Eren in the woods and brought him back to the shelter. Hange is angry that Keith resigned out of inferiority complex. Looks like Eren also has the same thinking. He feels he is nothing special. Just the son of a special man. But Keith adds that after his lashing at Carla, she told him this: Is it not okay to be not special? Even if her son wasn’t special, she’s fine with it. The fact he is born makes him special to her. When Eren joined military training, Keith realizes he is following what Grisha wanted. Keith was the one who secretly tampered with Eren’s training device in hopes he would give up but he soldiered on. Proving there was nothing he could do to change anything. He was just a bystander.

Episode 49
It seems Hange can’t analyse further what is in the vial because when exposed to air, it evaporates. It is suggested that Levi is entrusted to hold it as he is the strongest soldier with the best odds of surviving if he ever uses it. The Survey Corps’ heads gather to discuss their plan to retake Wall Maria. Once that happens, they’ll be able to know the truth in that basement Grisha has been teasing us ever since the start. Later Levi talks to Erwin alone and wants to know his next action after taking Wall Maria. Naturally it would be to solidify their defence since there are others outside of the wall who want to kill them. The point is, Levi doesn’t want Erwin to go down to the battlefield due to his body’s condition and even threatens to break his legs. However Erwin is adamant to not sit idly when the truth of the world is discovered. This is even more important than mankind’s victory. The Survey Corps throw a party with glorious meat! Oh my. Somebody stop Sasha before she eats everything! Also, a timely reminder in case for some of us who have forgotten the silly rivalry between Eren and Jean. Yup, they’re turning it into a slugfest. Mikasa isn’t stopping them since Eren looks like having fun. Is everyone having fun watching them that the duo are even getting tired and thinking nobody’s going to stop them? Yeah, until Levi comes in to beat the sh*t out of them. Next day when the Survey Corps leave for their mission, a big surprise as everyone give them a great send off. Lots of encouragement. Never happened before, eh? Wow. Erwin is even shouting with the crowd for the much needed rallying. And now on forth to retake Wall Maria!

Titan Fall: Remember The Titans
WTF?! What the hell?! What is this sh*t they are pulling?! No, I am not complaining about the series in general. I don’t know why they decided to split the cour like how Shokugeki No Souma did (coincidentally, that series also split its cour for its third season). So now we have to wait for a few more months just to get to the second part of the third season? Why not just call it the fourth season? I guess they don’t want to disappoint fans with very high expectations (like yours truly) by announcing they only had 1 cour for the season. Of course this awesome series needs to have at least 2 cours, right?! Because having a single cour like they did for its second season definitely feels too short. But now we have to take a break and suspend our excitement until the second half comes along. Oh well. At least I know it’s going to be worth it.

It goes without saying that this season is totally awesome. The plot is really starting to pick up and going somewhere. We might not be anywhere near knowing about the real truth of everything but it is safe to say that we are much closer than when we started. So it might seem a bit out of place when they suddenly introduced a new character like Kenny. Like suddenly, who the f*ck is this serial killer? And has ties with Levi? But it all ties up nicely and related to just about everything. Too bad for Kenny, he feels like a plot device. A new character introduced and once done telling his side of the story, he is then killed off. Tossed away after playing his part and no longer having any use. Same like that Dimo guy. Admit it. You don’t remember him at all until when they brought up that exact scene. And when you finally do remember this guy and before you can wonder how he will fit in as a team player, plot change! He gets killed off so his son can take over. Yeah, just feel sad in that sense for these characters.

But this season’s biggest plot twist reveal about the Reiss family being able to do brainwashing on many others, I won’t say that I dislike that idea but I am not totally impressed either. Because these days, such brainwashing excuse for the story sounds like lazy writing. You know, like for example, it was all just a dream. Gotcha! So this power to brainwash people and change their memories feels like so and it is a convenient tool to cover up whatever inconsistencies. Because you know, their memories were altered. But it still doesn’t change the fact that we do not know a lot more about the Titans and personally I am ever more curious and dying to know the true real truth. Yeah…

Historia takes the cake here as she as the spotlight is now focused on her this season. It is nice to know that she is more than just a pretty face in the Survey Corps. Although the path she takes feel cliché (girl destined to continue family tradition breaks it, decides to follow her own path) but they execute her story nicely so I don’t see any problem with that. Thankfully, Historia will always remain Historia even when she is queen. That is just a title to her and bears insignificant meaning compared to the things her heart really wants to do. But at least she has authority now. Who is to say and oppose she can’t go down on the ground to do charity work? She’s the queen, baby! Show some respect!

Is it me or do I find it that season in and season out, is this some sort of running joke that Eren is always the target of kidnappers? Sure, he possesses some coveted power but the way they go gung-ho this time to get him has me going, “Oh dear. Here they go again. It’s that same plot device to kidnap Eren”. Yup. Just like I predicted the last time. But that is not the worst part. The worst part is when Eren descended into some wuss who has given up on fighting after hearing Historia’s tragic sob story. It’s like he just gave up on everything and wanted to take the easy way out by giving back the power that supposedly belongs to Historia’s family. Like shoving the responsibility back to her, eh? Making this part seemed even worst was how Eren’s crying and bawling made it look so cheesy and pathetic. Ugh. I was like, is this really you Eren? And then once he is over that and got his resolve back, he sounds more sullen and sombre. Yeah, I understand after that high octane roller coaster drama, you want to experience that ever again.

Levi also feels a bit subdued here (although not short of giving some cool advice and quotes). But I guess he has to play it cool since he isn’t the one leading the team and has to tackle the conspiracy against the Survey Corps. Instead, it was Hange who was the temporary de facto leader of the Survey Corps after Erwin entrusted it to her. So she had to get things going by doing some torture techniques and get the people to rally on their side to fight against the real oppression.

Other characters in Eren’s league feel like they don’t play much of a role this season. Mikasa, Armin, Jean, Sasha and Connie don’t feel significant enough to feel like they have contributed to something. If there were something for them to be developed or changed, it is just minor. Like how Armin and Jean made their first killed and have now blood on their hands that cannot be washed off. So I guess Jean can’t be that cocky anymore now that he has got a taste of what taking a human life feels like. But perhaps a few more times and his feelings harden, probably he’ll be back to where he was. Mikasa also feels like a side character. Although she is still staying by Eren’s side and thinking about him, this season like the last doesn’t feel like she is an overly possessive girl over Eren. Yeah, there are too many other things going around to focus on this obsessions of hers. Like overthrowing the fake king. I’m not sure if I can make anything out of Grisha yet. At first he might look like a dick stealing the Reiss’ family’s Titan powers and then putting the burden on his son. I hope there is more to this that will be revealed next season.

With the plot moving along, is it safe to say that this season has the least Titan action in it? Because ironically that is what the title of the series should be, right? Now that the enemy turns out to be their own mankind, Titan killing takes a backseat until they get to the bottom of this. But still, the most memorable action sequence was Levi evading with skill, Kenny’s men chasing him throughout the streets. That was just f*cking exhilarating and amazing. I suppose you need to move even faster when you’re dealing with humans who want to kill you. They should rename this season as Shingeki No Seifu AKA Attack On Government. Damn, this sound so real conspiracy if the series itself isn’t already filled with so much conspiracy.

Normally I have nothing to say about the art and animation as they are gorgeous as before and their eyes looking oh so real. But there is one thing that strikes me that I need to point out. In this season, Erwin talked about his past with his father. No, it’s not the story. It is how Erwin looked so mature when he was a kid! OMFG! It looks as though he is some sort of midget! And he sounds almost like his mature adult that we know! Seeing Erwin in his child form was just mind blowing. It just feels so odd to see him in that form. Weird. Really. If I’m not having Titan devouring nightmares, I’m going to have this midget Erwin one instead. Yikes! Also, adding nightmare fuel was Rod’s Titan with his scraped face off! That was really horror movie material!

Remember how the past 2 seasons we had the very epic and trademark opening themes that defined the series? Well, this season seemed to have thrown all that away and replaced it with a much gayer and toned down song! WTF?! I guess they heard me complaining how Shinzou Wo Sasageyo sounded so similar to Guren No Yumiya that it could be a rip-off. So this time no more Linked Horizon singing it by Yoshiki featuring Hyde doing Red Swan. Hearing this song feels so out of place although if you consider the drama and conspiracy happening this season, I guess you could say that they somewhat fit that narrative. But still, I believe that this song doesn’t suit the epic greatness of its predecessor. Okay, I promise I’ll stop complaining about the epic songs being a rip-off of each other and give me my “Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind der jager!”.

The ending theme isn’t as weird as last season’s alien-like song. But Akatsuki No Requiem is still weird in its own ways. It sounds like a song for a dramatic opera. But if they sound familiar, it’s because Linked Horizon sings it. But just not in the trademark epic way that we know them. If you take away the lyrics and words, I suppose this song can sound as worthy as a classical piece. Also to note, the children choir voices singing in the background can sound both cute and creepy. This makes certain parts of the song feel like it is a holy song for Christmas! No kidding! Now I just remember why I also felt conflicted and familiar hearing this piece. Also thankfully unlike last season’s ending credits animation where we see disturbing and creepy pictures of what I think it is as Titan’s history, at least this season is all on Historia.

Overall, this season still rocks and now that we are going into the supposed final stretch, let’s hope the second part can keep up this momentum. My expectations have grown so high that it is too big and titanic for this series to fail. RIGHT?! Or else there will be heads rolling and necks being severed! Hah. You can’t disappoint us now that the franchise has grown so popular and big. Bigger than the Colossal Titan many times over! I can speculate and theorize a lot of stuffs just to keep myself occupied while I wait for that season to come but I’ll see the real truth when it finally arrives. Damn that end credits teaser of Levi being disappointed in Eren, beating him up and Mikasa turning against him, they’ve turned up the notch and increased the hype in me now! I really can’t wait for the next season to arrive! Where’s a time travelling machine when you need one?! Until then, the wait feels like a Rod Titan slowly crawling towards its destination (date of airing) and I hope all the enthusiasm I had won’t be scraped off by then.

Ayane’s High Kick

March 1, 2019

After watching the hilarious Jashin-chan Dropkick, for some odd and weird reasons I could not even remember (yes, seriously), I wanted to find another anime that has some sort of ‘dropkick’. I don’t know. Any kind of anime that has the main character landing some awesome kick. Not to say that Jashin had such an awesome dropkick in the first place but more for comical effect. And whether by coincidence, fate or luck, I stumbled upon a very old school anime, Ayane’s High Kick. So reading the synopsis got me interested to at least take a look at the 2 episode OVA that came out way back in 1997. Damn that is over 2 decades ago! I’m feeling so old…

Episode 1
Ayane Mitsui is taking a women’s pro wrestling audition. She looks very flashy with all those moves. Too flashy in fact that she crashes into the judges. It is safe to say that she didn’t get past the qualifiers and doomed are her dreams to fight the current women’s pro wrestling champion, Manami Toyoda. On her way back, this creepy guy starts admiring her beautiful legs. Naturally she kicks him but he blocks. Apparently Kunimitsu Tange is an indie trainer can make her dreams come true if she trains with him. Still desire to be a world champion of women’s pro wrestling, she eagerly joins his shady gym. Well, it’s under the bridge and you have to make the ring yourself. But Ayane’s dreams have a further obstacle as mom wants her to give up this silly pro wrestling dream and concentrate on studying. In class, fellow classmate, Kappei Inagagi has tickets for her to go see a kickboxing show but she dismisses she is not into this kind of combat sport. As Ayane continues to train, doesn’t she find it strange she is doing kickboxing training? Yeah, whatever the coach says, right? Heck, her friend, Kayoko Nakajima is worried that she is being duped but Ayane doesn’t think so as she wasn’t asked to pay anything. Still worried, Kayoko decides to go see for herself. Too bad Kunimitsu makes Kayoko become her training partner. Damn Kayoko isn’t going to last as a punching bag. Soon, Kunimitsu relays the good news that Ayane will be making her debut soon. Shouldn’t Ayane be baffled when he mentions her opponent is a kickboxer? Oh well, she’s going to make her debut so that is all that matters, right? Hence more ‘special’ training as she is made to wear heavy accessories that make her look like a fool in school. Are the teachers this lenient in letting such students get away with their odd clothing? Her mom thinks she has been studying and her brother almost ratted her out unless she buys him some video game to keep his mouth shut.

On the day of Ayane’s debut, Ayane finally realizes she has been duped after entering the ring. Yeah, Kunimitsu never said she was training for pro wrestling and she had numerous chances to check. She wants out but he won’t let her. The match is about to start. She promises to beat him up once she is done with this match. But too bad she gets owned by her more seasoned opponent in the first round. Making things worse, she won’t listen to Kunimitsu’s advice after being deceived. She even tries to do a supplex on her opponent but this illegal move earns her some points deduction. I wonder if Kayoko will get a heart attack watching her friend get beaten up like that. Kappei is here and although surprised to see Ayane, quickly supports her. Also, surprisingly the school’s principal and vice are also here. Old geezer principal is really supporting Ayane, huh? Ayane may have put up some fight but eventually her opponent is better. On the verge of giving up, she realizes she can’t lose here and vows to stay true to her pro wrestling dream. It is then she unleashes her special high kick right on her opponent’s head. Instant KO! Ayane wins in this major upset! The first she do is to beat up Kunimitsu. Here’s to her pro wrestling dream! Meanwhile a top kickboxing b*tch, Sakurako Miyagawa is unamused with Ayane’s performance. Because she stand out a lot before her match. Like, WTF?!

Episode 2
Ayane’s face is on the front page of the kickboxing magazine. She’s literally a mini celebrity now. Kappei wants the autograph of this future kickboxing champion but too bad for breaking the news: Ayane quits kickboxing! But will Kunimitsu let her go? Yeah, he is even seeing trying to bug her to go back to training but she won’t be deceived anymore and runs away! Meanwhile Sakurako has got a bone to pick with Ayane. Although she won her match and extended her consecutive wins (was it 4 or 5?), she is not happy the media hogged Ayane’s match. As Kunimitsu sees a sponsor to set another match, he is told that Sakurako wants to fight Ayane. Kunimitsu adds more fuel to the fire as he says Ayane will only fight those who are strong. This has Sakurako riled up and will call a press conference to challenge Ayane. Kappei bringing a kickboxing magazine to school almost lands Ayane in hot water. Because the vice sees it, he takes this as a chance to expel her (it is against school rules to work part time or appear on TV). Can Ayane fool him it is just someone who looks like her and has her name? Well, principal says you gotta trust your students if they say it isn’t them! But it gets worse as Sakurako organizes a flashy caravan outside the school to challenge Ayane. Ayane is not pleased that Kunimitsu has put words in her mouth and runs all the way there to give her piece of mind. As usual, he twists his words in his smooth talking way. He claims all he said to Sakurako that she needs to fight her. If Ayane isn’t interested, she can tell her she quitted. With the vice having solid proof that Ayane is related to kickboxing and will have her expelled, the principal decides to give her a chance. She will be suspended for 2 weeks and during that time she will fight Sakurako. If Ayane wins, they will let this slide. If she loses, she gets expelled.

With Ayane’s school days on the line, you bet Ayane is going to return to intensive training with Kunimitsu whether she likes it or not. While Ayane’s training are pretty old school, we see Sakurako’s high-tech training. So high tech that their monitors are still using TFT! Haha! Oh my. IS THAT VR TRAINING SHE IS DOING????!!!! OMG!!! That’s 90’s technology for you!!! Kayoko wants Ayane to win because she really wants them to graduate together. And with this, Kunimitsu takes this opportunity to make her the assistant coach. But it does give Ayane more motivation in training. Match day is here and Sakurako starts off with mocking Ayane who is cheaply dressed. In the first round, Sakurako uses her feet to keep Ayane away. Hey, can’t hit when you can’t land a punch, right? Of course this is a tactic to wear her out. So much so, Sakurako’s foot mark is on her belly! For the second round, Sakurako goes on the offensive and lands lots of hard hitting punches. She manages to provoke Ayane so that she could give her the lethal blow. If not for Kayoko screaming about that promise, Ayane might not have gotten up. Ayane continues to take more punches and is only saved by the bell. With Kunimitsu giving crap advice like guts, oh well, what is there Ayane going to lose? In the third round, Ayane is like a different person. So Sakurako tries to get psychological by mocking her pro wrestling dream and Toyoda. Ayane is mad and this is what Sakurako wants. But before Ayane could land her lethal punch, Ayane grabs her hand. She anticipated this. That is when Ayane gives Sakurako her trademark high kick. Not enough to knock her out but before mad Sakurako gets to continue, the referee stops the match. A doctor examines Sakurako and deems she cannot continue and hence it is Ayane’s victory. WTF???!!! I guess that saved her from expulsion. But in the aftermath, Ayane is not pleased because very well knows that Sakurako was the better fighter and she did not actually win the match. No time to sulk because here comes Kunimitsu to get her to train more for her next train. So is Ayane running away from him or is she beginning training? Nah. I think it’s the former.

Rumble Roses: Sekai De Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!
Oh man! OH MAN! DAMN! Actually, I was enjoying this mini series a lot. If not for the sudden abrupt ending, it ruined and left a bad taste in my mouth. Because it was never clear why Sakurako was disqualified and hence giving Ayane the win. There was no reason at all! I don’t know if it was some kind of injury or technicality but it sure was a downer for the match to have ended in that way. Even more anti-climactic is how suddenly it ends with the typically coach-wants-player-to-fight-some-more-but-player-can’t-take-it-anymore-and-runs-away. Like as though they realized they have exceeded the allotted time slot and had to suddenly end it. Yeah, should have made another OVA but I suppose they ran out of budget. Because Kunimitsu said he spent his entire savings on the weird training gizmos just for Ayane. Good thing Ayane turned out to be a good investment, albeit not perfect.

Apart from that, I guess everything else was pretty okay. I mean, it’s the 90’s. What do you expect? Everything felt cheap and cheesy and dated. Yeah, this OVA really feels like it came out from that era and time. Whether it is the animation, the characters, the plot, the flow, the action and even the comedy exaggeration style all reeks of that 90’s style trend. I don’t know if it would have been a hit had it been a normal running TV series. With the limited duration, sometimes it feels like cramming everything because you see the plot setter at the start followed by time lapse of Ayane training and then the match in the final half. Oh well, don’t want to sound like I’m b*tching and wanting a training episode to last 3 episodes, then an episode of flashbacks and reminiscence, finally the fight to last 5 episodes and finishing it off with the epilogue of 2 episodes. Yeah…

The characters feel so cliché and dated. Like Ayane who wants to pursue her dreams but gets duped into something else. But can you blame her? She’s not the brightest and guess what? There’s no internet freely available in the 90’s! Maybe in those times, some may confused pro wrestling with kickboxing or use the term interchangeably. But she not quitting shows that her heart somewhere wants to do kickboxing even if her mouth says otherwise? I bet mom must be blind not to see how ripped Ayane’s body is. And then you have Kunimitsu who is as shady as his exterior tells you. He is not coach from Ashita No Joe and does whatever sneaky things he can but I can’t help wonder his true goal in all of this. Sure, Ayane has the most beautiful high kick (in his mind), but what is the ulterior motive of letting her fight? What is the fight that Kunimitsu is fighting for? Otherwise, it makes him look like a bugging and nagging coach. Oh wait. He is.

The other characters just feel okay and contribute more to the side plot. They aren’t anything that significant. Even if Kayoko is an honour student, she is just there to give her best friend some motivation. Her character can be done without but it helps shows that our main character isn’t a loner and has a friend in school to back her up. And this Kappei dude who is a big fan of kickboxing? I guess it’s just a side plot to inadvertently get her in trouble. Otherwise, negligible character. Oh, on a side note, Kappei is the only character whose seiyuu I recognized. I wonder if they purposely named the character after him. You know, Kappei Yamaguchi. Must be coincidence, huh?

Then we have the typically evil school vice who for some reason in this anime is his life’s mission to expel students. Like, WTF?! Students with bad reputation give their school a bad name. So what do you do? Expel them! HUH?! Yeah, he sounds a lot like an antagonist and acts like one because he is the only one who is sorely disappointed when Ayane won her match. And then you have the very carefree principal who is like a secret supporter or something. I can see him throwing down the money and betting on Ayane if she ever goes international. Don’t forget about the rival b*tch. From the way things have ended, it looks like it isn’t over between Ayane and Sakurako from a long shot. They’ll get more chances to rumble if assuming Ayane hasn’t quit by then.

Overall, this is one of those few hidden gems that I have stumbled over the internet. Yeah, the internet is a great treasure trove if you know how to find. Or just get lucky. Of course there’s the dark side too but… Anyway, I really enjoyed watching this OVA despite its lacklustre ending and if you think about it, it’s nothing all that super extraordinary. It’s a shame that this series didn’t really get any more follow up. But it made me think if it eventually got its ‘spiritual successor’ in that Sekai De Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai (ambiguous scream fest masked as women’s pro wrestling) back in 2013. Nah. I think that is totally different altogether. But for this one, it got high kicked away, never to be heard of again. Ah well. It was fun and short while it lasted. Thanks for the kicks, Ayane!