It sounded so much like a porn title or at least one that is fit for an eroge. Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Bunny Girl Senpai Wo Yume Wo Minai is also a mouthful to pronounce but despite its suspicious title, it has nothing to do with porn or sexual fantasies. Sort of. Despite the very alluring promotional poster of a girl in a Playboy bunny suit (probably that’s what got me to watch this). Instead it deals with Puberty Syndrome. Isn’t that the phase where teenagers go through by being rebellious against their parents, get a tattoo, listen to punk metal music and getting all emo? Sorry. Anime wouldn’t be anime if it based on all that. Maybe. But here, we have dealings with being invisible, Groundhog day, doppelganger, body swapping and personality disorder stemming from amnesia. Yikes. Am I watching the Twilight Zone?

Episode 1
Sakuta Azusagawa is at the library when he sees Mai Sakurajima dressed up as a bunny girl. Is she a ghost because others don’t seem to notice her. Then she notices him watching and tells him to forget what he saw. Can he? Sakuta has his own fair share of ‘problems’ back home because his sister, Kaede is quite clingy to him due to a trauma. But she still can make a witty quip. Sakuta: Damn you’re heavy. Kaede: Because half of it is filled with my love for you! OMG! Buranko! On his way to school, Sakuta asks his friend, Yuuma Kunimi about Mai. She was a famous child celebrity but is currently on hiatus. Ironically, she’s so famous and Sakuta haven’t heard of her? Does he not watch TV? But Sakuta finds it odd that he notices she has no friends at school if that’s the case. Apparently this school has a very strong unwritten law of ostracising people. Once you’re an outcast, you are forever considered one. That is why, Yuuma’s jealous girlfriend, Saki Kamisato telling Sakuta to stay away from him. Not that she is worried if they developed some gay relationship whatsoever. You see, Sakuta has a past reputation of fighting others and landing them in hospital. Saki has to leave in fear that she may be associated with him and become an outcast. At the train station, Sakuta somewhat ‘saves’ Mai from an unauthorized photo that a so called fan wants to take. As they talk, Mai seems to know about his reputation too although he scoffs it off as wild rumours. He never denies them because he thinks it is all part of the flow so it’s pointless to fight it. Now it’s her turn to explain her bunny girl act. She started acting as young as 6 and soon became famous. With everybody looking at her at a celebrity, at some point she wished there was a world where nobody knew her. When she started noticing people ignoring her, she thought it was just a prank. But soon more and more people are starting to ignore her. Hence she is going around places to see if the same thing is happening. I mean, the bunny girl suit is sure to turn heads, right?

Sakuta starts explaining this Puberty Syndrome thingy that has become some sort of an urban legend. To help make her believe what he said, he brings her back to his place and undresses! Rape scene?! Just kidding. It is to show him the hideous scars across his body. He isn’t sure how he got them. Long ago, Kaede got bruises all over her body but it was caused by cyberbullying. Not even physical bullying. It started when she posted on some site and got on the bad side of a popular girl. Everybody started targeting her. Then one day when she came home, Sakuta saw with his own eyes the bruises just popped up on her. That’s why he believes this Puberty Syndrome is real. The truth behind his own rumours is that he was the one hospitalized because one day he woke up bleeding. Sakuta thinks Mai should go back to showbiz and if she is all over TV, people won’t ignore her. But this hit a nerve and she stopped interacting with him since. Sakuta then sees a journalist, Fumika Nanjou who has some info not known to the public on why Mai is on hiatus. Sakuta then sees his senior, Rio Futaba to ask the possibility of suddenly becoming invisible. If it’s not Puberty Syndrome, it could be the case of Schrodinger’s Cat. After a while, Sakuta realizes why Mai didn’t come to school. Could it be nobody could see her now? He rushes home to find her sitting outside his doorstep. Looks like she can’t even buy food now.

Episode 2
Sakuta and Mai shop at the mart. If she is invisible, would others see floating things when she picks up stuffs? Apparently anything she touches becomes invisible too. Sakuta has done some research on Mai and believes there was a rift between her manager who was also her mom. She explains that despite it was written in the contract, Mai didn’t want to do a swimsuit shoot. This made her realize her mom never cared anything for her except making money off her. Even so, Sakuta believes that is all the more reason she should go back to work to clear things up. When she learns he made a deal with Nanjou, Mai warns him about taking the media lightly. He and his family will be hounded. Mai calls Nanjou and wants her to stop publishing pictures of his scar (that was part of the deal). So Mai instead is willing to give her a big scoop that she will return to showbiz soon. As she will be going back to work and have no more time to have fun, their logic is that they will go on a date? On that date morning, Sakuta is on his way when he sees a little girl crying. She lost her mom. He is about to help but Tomoe Koga kicks him thinking this lolicon is going to kidnap her! Realizing her mistake, she wants him to kick her ass back? Too bad the policeman catches them thinking they’re doing something kinky in public. They are released after having their statements taken but Sakuta is already late for his date. Luckily for him, Mai is still waiting but not thrilled.

The date is on but Mai wonders why he is going this far for her. When Kaede had Puberty Syndrome, nobody believed her. Now that Mai is supposedly experiencing one, he wants to be there for her. Mai can tell it is because of a girl. He admits there is a girl he likes. He met Shouko Makinohara and fell in love with her. It is the reason he transferred to this school as he saw her uniform. However there were no such records of her. He still likes her because she got her back on his feet when he was down. Mai shocks Sakuta as she calls her mom here to sign a contract, signalling she would go back to showbiz. However mom cannot see her! She thinks it is Sakuta who called him and is less than amuse of this prank. Heck, mom doesn’t even remember she has a daughter! This is too much for Mai to take so she doesn’t want him to pursue this further. Later when he calls Nanjou, she can’t even remember who Mai is! Sakuta thinks if they go to somewhere faraway, some might still remember her. So technically the date still continues. As they take a train to another town, Sakuta asks random strangers if they remember Mai. Nope. Never heard of her. In the small room they rent, Sakuta calls Yuuma and surprisingly he still remembers Mai. So he calls Futaba in hopes she can help solve this Puberty Syndrome. The room is so small that it isn’t surprising they share the same bed. So they exchange naughty teases if they want to kiss or have sex. It’s not happening. I know. He vows never to forget her and she thanks him for not giving up on her.

Episode 3
Even animals like this cute doggie ignores Mai. So sad. By the time they return to school, Futaba tells him the bad news that everyone including Yuuma has forgotten about Mai. Futaba believes only they haven’t forgotten because they didn’t really sleep (Sakuta couldn’t sleep a wink. He was after all lying next to a girl). Futaba continues her explanation how she is not being observed and hence the entire school is her Schrodinger’s box. There’s more but I don’t really understand. With Sakuta fearing of forgetting Mai if he sleeps, hence he is forcing himself to stay awake. Those energy drinks better do their job. Because Futaba has slept, she has become part of the statistic. Worse, he is in the midst of having midterm exams. I guess everyone is thinking he is burning the midnight oil. Man, he is looking like a zombie. Mai even thinks so and helps him tutor. Eventually he is too tired and falls asleep. When morning comes, he sees a notebook that he has written for himself. A strange bunny girl? It is safe to say that Sakuta has forgotten all about Mai and thinks this diary who wrote is all a bunch of crap. Mai’s name is mysteriously blanked out. Even Futaba gives some not to him. They’re not even sure what this observation thingy is. As Sakuta takes his final midterm exam, suddenly he starts to remember Mai. Some of the buzzwords used during tutoring start bringing those memories back. Ashamed, he runs out from the exam hall and into the field. Then he screams at the top of his voice that he loves Mai! Repeatedly! Boy, this is so embarrassing. Yeah, the entire school must be thinking how desperate this loser is. And then here is Mai. Telling him off how much of a nuisance he is. They talk (cheesy dialogue included to ‘assure’ their love) before Mai screaming at the top of her voice to dispel the fake rumours on Sakuta. Now that Mai is back to the centre of attention, it’s safe to say that now people remember her. In the end, Futaba doesn’t think that scientific methods aren’t really effective when the Puberty Syndrome is caused by teenage instability and warped worldview. As he has proven, a mere confession was enough to turn it on its head.

Episode 4
Sakuta asking Mai to go out with him. Hardly exciting since he has been saying it every day. So she’s like rejecting him every day? She says her upcoming play has a kiss scene. He doesn’t want her to do it. Is he her father now? It seems this isn’t her first kiss as she hints it was with him. Really? Can’t remember. Hints? Not telling. She trolls him if he wants to redo it. Of course. Close your eyes. He just kissed her tamagoyaki. With Sakuta also trolling he is getting less interested because she is showing no interest, she agrees to go out with him. Next day, Sakuta feels weird. Is the day repeating? Everything looks and sounds the same. So with the same conversation with Mai, he manages to do his best trolling. Since she isn’t interested, he’ll find another love. Instantly she agrees to go out with him. Later Sakuta spots Tomoe hesitating to go out with a guy named Yousuke Maezawa. Next day… Same thing! Groundhog day? He sees Futaba for a solution but apparently according to the internet, many others are also feeling they are repeating the day. She explains about Laplace demon. As everything is bound equally under universal laws, by observing every atom and using some formula, you can predict its precise location of anything. However that would require an immense time for observation and it would be useless if you cannot do it within a second. Hence Laplace demon is one who has that knowledge. So for Sakuta to break out from this loop, he must find that Laplace demon who is acting differently than the rest. So could it be Tomoe because she is now hiding underneath the table. However she too is experiencing the loop. But they have to hide since Maezawa is coming in to look for her. It seems her friend, Rena Kashiba likes him but Maezawa likes Tomoe instead. She doesn’t want to be an outcast because of this love triangle. A little struggle from the cramp space occurs as Tomoe falls on top of Sakuta. Maezawa returns and sees this. Not good. And then Mai comes in and sees this. Really bad. Don’t talk to her again. It’s over.

You think Sakuta would not worry as tomorrow will reset itself. Behold! It is 2 days later! So he goes to talk to Futaba and she ends up ranting about being jealous watching Yuuma and his girlfriend since she has a crush on him. What?! But the issue he needs to settle right now is to clear things up with Mai. It was just last month he publicly confessed his love to her. At the café where Sakuta and Yuuma work part time, it seems Tomoe will also be joining them. As Sakuta takes orders from Rena and co, they seriously asking if he is going out with her. They’re worried because this happened so soon right after Mai broke up with him. They warn him if he is fooling around. Later Tomoe wants a favour but Sakuta knows what’s going to happen. He knows she wants him to pretend to be his girlfriend at least until the first term ends. Ironically his reputation didn’t deteriorate after that public confession and is now ‘popular’ among the juniors for his guts! Since Tomoe is afraid of losing her only group of friends, they have to make this pretend date real. So go on a real date? Well, it’s not like Sakuta is bound to anything and is in fact looking forward to have fun. Late that night, Mai rings on his doorstep. Why didn’t he come to explain himself? Damn, you just never know what a woman thinks!

Episode 5
Mai hears his explanations but won’t get mad because he’ll get turned on if she does so. So she really thinks he is a perverted masochist? She still feels something odd for him to do all this. He says Tomoe’s case reminds him very much like Kaede. Since Mai will be away for a while for a commercial shoot, this is not her dress she is giving him to sniff in her absence. Rather it is for Kaede to wear. Kaede lights up and looks like they’re friends now. Sakuta asks Yuuma about Maezawa and it seems he has a girlfriend in another high school and likes to badmouth his exes. Sakuta meet up with Tomoe for their date at the aquarium. She tells him of her past as a plain Jane so he tells her it doesn’t matter what she used to be because all that matters is what she is now. Tomoe wonders why he is doing this for someone he rarely knows. I don’t think kicking each other’s butt is the answer she’s looking for. Even if he is an outcast, why still do so? He likes to be the pillar of support even if the entire world is against him. For Tomoe, she wants to be liked by everyone, at least not hated. Later Sakuta visits Futaba to ask her conclusion about this Laplace thingy. It is believed the looping was caused by her ‘rolling the dice’ until she is satisfied with the outcome. Of course she isn’t aware of this because if she was, she would have been the demon herself. Once again, Saki confronts Sakuta of talking to Yuuma. She’s also complaining about Yuuma hanging out with Futaba. Why don’t you ask them yourself? Time to cut the conversation when Sakuta sarcastically claims she is butt hurt because of constipation! Yuuma then tells Sakuta the bad news that there are rumours that he and Tomoe are f*cking like rabbits. While at the train station, they can hear people snigger this. With Maezawa mocking them, Sakuta sneers back and the jerk punches him. Sakuta fights back but plays dirty that makes him look like a fool. Not so funny now, eh? If you don’t like to be embarrassed, stop doing stupid things. And he makes the boldest declaration that would clear those funny rumours: HE IS A VIRGIN!!! He takes Tomoe and run. For a while there, she really felt like his girlfriend. She also somewhat admits she is a virgin and never had a boyfriend before. Because all her friends said they had one, she too wanted to be in and went with the flow. With Rena giving up on Maezawa, this case is closed. Tomoe wants to repay him. Simple. Just be his friend. It’s not like she could find anybody else, right?

Episode 6
Sakuta wants Mai to tutor him in a bunny suit. She does so! His grade better improve now. Sakuta then goes to date Tomoe before the start of the summer vacation. Yeah, they’re making plans on how to end their relationship. No biggies. Let’s just say he still loves Mai and they had to break up. Day is over, go home and sleep. Next morning when Sakuta wakes up, guess what? He thought it was a joke but it’s not because yesterday is repeating itself again! Groundhog day once more?! It seems Tomoe is unaware of the day repeating itself. Seeing Futaba for an answer, if Sakuta isn’t Laplace then it could only mean 1 thing: Tomoe is lying. So after a couple of more loops and dates with Tomoe, Sakuta decides to do something different. This time their date is at a shrine and after writing their wishes to make their love come true, Sakuta assures he is the only one lying. Then Sakuta wants Tomoe to drop the act. From what I understand, Tomoe might be repeating the day in hopes that he could change his feelings for her. He assures that will never happen if it is a billion times. Tomoe tries to come to terms with her feelings and end this once and for all, hoping they can still remain friends. Then she blames him for being so nice to him and hence these feelings. After all that I hate you, eventually she screams the loudest I love you. Now she can cry her heart out. Now, this doesn’t really make time flow back to normal. Heck, Sakuta realizes time has reset back to when he experienced the first Groundhog day! So everything was just a simulation of the future? Sakuta trolls Mai to be his girlfriend. He trolls and distracts him to give him a peck on his cheek! Don’t push it for one on the lips. Sakuta then sees Mai rejecting Maezawa because she hints she likes Sakuta. He assures he is still her friend but she says it is she giving him the privilege to be her friend. For the rest of the days, everything played out exactly like it happened before. And there’s some scientific explanation from Futaba about quantum entanglement on how Sakuta was the only one in the world to get dragged into this sh*t. Not really understanding this sci-fi crap theory! When Sakuta and Mai are walking home on a rainy day, they see a little girl trying to shelter an abandoned kitten with her umbrella. Sakuta offers to take it in when the girl gives her name: Shouko Makinohara.

Episode 7
Kaede must be conflicted that Sakuta might want an even younger sister than her! Yeah, Shouko is much more polite too. She does come by to visit the kitten. Sakuta sees Futaba (new hairstyle?) about Shouko’s case and she believes it must be that myth of everyone has a doppelganger. While Sakuta is hanging out with Mai, suddenly they see Futaba walking into an internet café. Does she frequent a place like this? They try to find her and since they can’t, Sakuta calls her. She picks up and this is where ‘trouble’ starts. Because Futaba just walked before them and she is not on the phone! Sakuta manages to grab her as she explains how true the doppelganger thingy is. Yup, that Futaba he met earlier was her doppelganger. And it seems the clone is taking over her life and now Futaba can’t go home and hence hanging out here. Sakuta is so kind to let her stay at his place. Will Mai approve? Nope. That’s why she is staying too. Huzzah! Kaede worried his harem is growing… But she will accept his flaws and love him! So if Mai and Futaba will sleep in his room, sorry Kaede, onii-chan isn’t going to sleep with you but in the living room all by himself. So now we get to Futaba’s sci-fi explanation of this quantum teleportation thingy. Don’t get it. Naturally. It seems she thinks she is observing herself and what happens when both are conscious in observing the other? Doppelganger situation. In case of that 2 people cannot exist at the same time theory, after all, Futaba didn’t actually see herself. That night, it isn’t Kaede sneaking in but Mai. Some moments that hint she wants him to kiss her but he blunders and the mood is off. Damn. So fragile? He tries to play psychology that he might fear women if he gets rejected. Don’t worry. She will let him practice as many times until he gets it right. But I guess it’s not tonight. Next day Shouko visits and Futaba sees for herself this little girl. Sakuta goes to school to see the doppelganger Futaba watching Yuuma playing a basketball game. Sakuta learns Futaba fell in love with him when he offered his bun when it was like a warzone for her to get one at the stall. Is that how cheap her love is? Stop with the corny cornet jokes, Sakuta. This Futaba wonders if he thinks she is a fake. He thought so but realizes both of them are the real deal. Later it’s that b*tch Saki confronting Sakuta again. But this time she shows him uploaded pictures of Futaba taking sexy selfies of herself. Is she into some shady business?

Episode 8
Talking to Futaba about this, she says she created an account last summer just to get some attention but realized there was nothing to post about. She started hating herself when her body matured too fast and got the attention of guys. Meanwhile Mai’s agency wants to ban her from dating but she puts that decision on hold so she could consult Sakuta. He agrees with it since she just got back into showbiz so it is better to be the good girl for now. I don’t think that’s the answer she’s looking for but whatever. Now Sakuta talks to the other Futaba and she also says something similar about hating herself. The problem could have been solved if they just go back to being one but they have diverged too far and this isn’t exactly Sakuta’s problem per se. You should solve your own problem. When Futaba receives a very creepy stalker message, she gets scared. She wants Sakuta to stay at her place for a while. She talks about her fear of being alone and was worried when Sakuta got a girlfriend, she would be alone again. The same case when Yuuma got a girlfriend. Sakuta gets this idea of calling Yuuma to meet up with him now by feigning Futaba is in trouble. He really rushes to meet up and this brings Futaba to tears as she is relieved to hear she isn’t alone. Then they play sparklers till morning and Futaba tells Sakuta to save her other self as she is in a much worse position than her. He returns home to sleep but the next morning, he learns from Kaede that Futaba went out shopping but never came back. Since she didn’t take her handphone, I guess Sakuta has to cycle all the way in the typhoon to Futaba’s house to ask about her whereabouts. Yeah, try the school. There she is. It seems she is jealous in seeing that group photo of them playing sparklers. She thinks the world isn’t big enough for the both of them and will disappear since her counterpart is doing a much better job of living. Sakuta doesn’t give a damn and tells her to just come for the fireworks. Just then, Sakuta collapses. He wakes up in hospital and no serious condition. Sakuta then talks to Futaba outside that it is okay to hate herself. It isn’t that his own life is tolerable either. Futaba is interested to go see the fireworks now but Sakuta points out it is not him he should be telling. She sums up her courage to make the call and the moment she says her intentions, she disappears. It seems she called her other self on line and now they are one again. The trio meet up at the fireworks. Futaba whispers something in Yuuma’s ear and the cliché convenient of fireworks make it inaudible to us. But she doesn’t want him to give an answer as she knows what it’ll be.

Episode 9
It’s the start of the new school term but Sakuta has not seen Mai anywhere. When he finally finds her on the streets, she doesn’t recognize him and finds him creepy. That is actually Nodoka Toyohama (from the idol group, Sweet Bullet) and she swapped bodies with Mai. Sakuta can tell this is Mai the way she steps on his feet! You see, Nodoka is Mai’s younger half-sister. Same father but different mothers. Last night she popped up at Mai’s place and didn’t want to go home. Next morning, they realized their bodies were swapped. Until they get back to normal, they must live each other’s life. This means attending each other’s school. I guess they have nothing to worry about since they have no friends so everything will be okay if they don’t talk to others. Sakuta talks to Nodoka about her beef with Mai. Although she looks up to her, she still hates her in some ways. I guess the best way to get it off her chest is to talk to Mai directly. She admits of living in her shadow since young. She is jealous that Mai can do things effortlessly when it takes years for her to achieve the same. Because of that, mom always yells at her she should be able to do the same. So she hates her more? The feeling is mutual for Mai but without the thoughtlessness of their dad, they would never have met. Of course Mai can’t allow Nodoka to stay at Sakuta’s place. This means poor Kaede thinking her brother is really a gigolo bringing another new girl home. As Sakuta watches Nodoka in an acting shoot, suddenly she starts hyperventilating and collapsed. Talking this out with Mai, it could be she realized the insane expectations and burden Mai had to carry and panicked. Sakuta asks Yuuma if he knows what it’s like to have a perfect older sister. So he calls Saki who reluctantly explain about hers. She was the school’s previous student council president (not that Sakuta could remember) and got into a top university. Saki doesn’t like or hate her but finds it annoying that mom always compared her to her sister. Mai gives Sakuta a spare key to Nodoka’s place. He goes there to talk to Nodoka and inform Mai doesn’t care wasn’t worried at all. He thinks she should naturally smile like she did instead of trying to put on a fake smile that imitates Mai. When Nodoka is in the bath, Sakuta is tempted to peek into the tatami closet that Mai earlier warned him not to.

Episode 10
With all the new women Sakuta brings home, Kaede thinks she must do her part of moving forward. So I guess it’s a big step for her to get out of her pyjamas and don her school uniform. Nodoka’s reshoot went well. After 12 takes. With Mai leaving Sakuta a message that father wants to have dinner with him, this prompts Nodoka to ask about his family. After Kaede was diagnosed with Puberty Syndrome, mom couldn’t take it and was hospitalized. Dad went with her and basically dumped Kaede to him. They’re living separately now and because they’re his parents, it’s not like he hates or loves them. When Sakuta meets his dad and ask for parenting advice, dad thinks he knocked up a girl! NOT YET! Dad relates they were at a lost when Sakuta was born as every day was filled with worries and uncertainties. Sakuta and Nodoka are invited to Sweet Bullet’s concert. Nodoka watches in awe as Mai performs flawlessly and even covers a member who slips up. Sweet Bullet announces Nodoka will be the lead vocals of their next single. Nodoka’s heart breaks seeing her mom congratulating Mai and so happy about it. It was a smile she had never seen before. She thinks mom always wanted Mai instead of her. So sad that Nodoka tries to drown herself in the sea! Sakuta had to convince her that Mai doesn’t hate her and can show proof. Inside the tatami closet is a box filled with letters sent by Nodoka to Mai. This is proof she still loves you. Still not convinced? Here’s Mai to explain the rest. Mai was also so busy that she didn’t even have time for herself. When Nodoka was introduced as her sister the first time, she saw the joy of her looking up to her. That motivation kept her going. It all boils down mom’s love is probably due to the hard work she put in. Still complaining? Mai slaps… Sakuta! Can’t damage her face for tomorrow’s photo shoot. When her mom congratulated her after the concert, she could felt she was shaking and was worried the whole time. Nodoka always wanted mom to praise her and make her happy since Mai was only always what she talked about. So be yourself and do what you want instead of what she tells you. Cue for full crying to be allowed now. With Nodoka accepting she doesn’t have to be like Mai, suddenly the duo revert. It’s not body or mind swapping. It felt like the weirdest CGI of shape shifting! WTF! So I guess Futaba’s explanation for the body shape shifting was the sisters envying each other’s position. Sakuta thought his lovey-dovey days with Mai are back. Too bad Nodoka is moving in! Yeah, argument with mom as usual. But more problems at hand. A photo of Mai and Sakuta is circulating. Scandal on the cards…

Episode 11
A press conference is held for Mai to explain. Japanese adults sure love the drama and romance of the young ones, eh? Thanks to Mai being open and cool in handling them, soon this case dies down. Sakuta receives a letter from Shouko to meet at the beach. I’m sure he wants to go but how can he get Mai to trust him he is not cheating on her? How does he show his loyalty? By screaming out I love you in public! Please don’t. Any other ways? How about a deep kiss? Please don’t. Okay, she’ll let him. As they leave, Kotomi Kano who was Kaede’s old friend and classmate needs to talk to Sakuta. Nice guy needs to see this so he has Mai wait for Shouko on his behalf since she recognizes her. Kotomi talks about hoe bullying was a hot issue in their old school. After Kaede transferred out, the bullies received death threats. They too stopped coming to school and this bullying issue died down. Kotomi feels guilty because as Kaede’s friend, she did nothing. She tried to forget about this whole incident and would have until that scandal dating picture of Mai and Sakuta popped up. Sakuta rejoins Mai but since it’s getting late and Shouko not showing up, Sakuta leaves a message in the sand (that he already got a girlfriend!). Hope the waves don’t wash it away. Back home, Kaede has made a list of things to do. It’s admirable considering her case even if most of them are things to do with onii-chan. When Shouko calls, she explains she was sick and also the reason she didn’t visit recently. When asked about the letter, she wasn’t aware of sending any. Kaede braves herself to try and answer the phone from Mai. It literally took all her strength to do so. Congrats! Apparently she wants to be independent because at this rate Sakuta cannot marry! Because girls who marry him must take Kaede as part of the package! Can’t argue with that. But I’m sure Mai would gladly welcome her. Sakuta dreams of Shouko telling him life is a series of trials trying to make you a kinder person. She hopes to become that with each passing day. Kaede makes an even more elaborate plan to walk outside with Sakura. Frequent breaks are the key. Once ready, she clings on tightly to him. Let’s do this. But halfway she wants to give up and before she knows it, she’s already outside. Tears of happiness. One small step for Kaede, one big step for Kaede’s future. Slowly, Kaede is able to ‘exist’ outside in longer intervals. One day frolicking at the beach, that is where Kotomi sees her. Kaede gets scared and doesn’t know who she is. That is when Sakuta reveals a secret to Mai about Kaede: She has no memories of her old self.

Episode 12
2 years ago, Kaede woke up with no memories of everything before. The doctor diagnosed that due to the mental stress, she lost her memories to escape her painful situation. Sakuta knew he was dealing with a different person because everything she did was obviously different to how the old Kaede did things. When he noticed strange bruises randomly on her, at the same time mom was starting to show signs of breaking down. Also, he got that scar on his chest. He was hospitalized but doctor couldn’t find a definitive answer and thought it was self-harm. Depressed, he snuck out of hospital and met Shouko. Her positive words moved him and gave him hope to live. So when their parents moved out, dad hopes Kaede will recover and to take her time because they will always be waiting for her. The problem is, if the old Kaede reappears, what will happen to the current one? When Sakuta hands Kaede a book from Kotomi, there is a note inside saying she wants to be friends with her again. It seemed like some part of her memories may have returned before she collapsed. Kaede is hospitalized but no biggie. Sakuta calls Mai to update her on this and he also believes that the old Kaede may be reawakening and if that’s the case, the new one might disappear. Since Kaede overheard that, she tries to expedite her wish list, especially going to school. It’s hard for her to even walk in public as she is flip flopping between wanting to give up and carrying on. Even if she is so afraid, she still wants to make it to school. Sakuta promises to make that happen but first a little break. He takes her to the zoo. This lightens up her mood. He also gives her a yearly pass for her to come here as many she times she wants. Then they sneak into school at night so she could have a ‘preview’ of what to expect. This gives Kaede motivation that she really wants to go to school tomorrow. Next morning, Sakuta is in shock because he can tell that the way Kaede acts and talks, the old version is back.

Episode 13
Sakuta calls his dad to inform him about Kaede. Currently she is in hospital to be monitored. Though no physical damage but doesn’t remember the other Kaede, the doctor deduces that the gap in memories may destabilize her so it’s best to monitor her for now. Unfortunately it is Sakuta who cannot bear this. He becomes destabilized as he screams and cries his way home. Thank goodness Shouko shows up. The grown up one. She takes him home and takes care of him. Sakuta is so depressed that he isn’t really happy to see this girl again. Hence Shouko reads Kaede’s diary from the day of her ‘inception’. From her observations of her new family to her brother bringing home new girls and the recent list of goals. She knows Sakuta has been regretting the whole time and if she doesn’t do something, he might end up thinking he couldn’t do a thing. She doesn’t want him to have regrets when she disappears. She wants him to be happy and leave lots of memories before she goes. Sakuta still isn’t convinced because Kaede tried so hard and it’s like betraying her hopes. Shouko believes Sakuta is feeling sad proves how important Kaede is to him and how much a big place she holds him in her heart. Sakuta, you can continue crying louder now. Next morning, Sakuta is still like a zombie. Shouko left a note that she has gone. Then a voice recorder from Mai has him calling her to tell what really happened to Kaede. With life slowly seeping back to him, Sakuta realizes that Shouko, both the teen and loli never appeared again. Asking Futaba’s advice on this, she can only deduce that Shouko is his imaginary friend.

Mai takes a short break from filming to visit Sakuta. Though he is happy, she sees that note from Shouko. Oh dear. Mood just sour. No matter how long he explains himself and that nothing actually happened between them, it’s safe to say Mai is still not impressed. She’s going back to work. He’s fine, right? That’s all she needs to know. Man, he sure shot himself in the foot. Looks like Sakuta is going back to depression by being clumsy at work. And a talk with Nodoka, she knows Mai isn’t that petty to be bothered with that. She trusts him. So why? Because didn’t he know it was Mai’s birthday?! If Sakuta rushes now and takes the shinkasen, maybe he can catch up with her… And rush he did. But Mai is waiting to pick him up. With all that spamming from Nodoka, of course. So they go to some place to talk things out. He apologizes. She explains she knew he needed someone to be there for him and that it hurts that it wasn’t her. Sorry for not being there when you needed me the most. Mai trolls him with a kiss but it is just to pinch his cheeks. He likes that, doesn’t he? Kaede is discharged from hospital. She must be embarrassed after reading her diary. But she still wishes to go to school and is not afraid because she is not alone.

Do You Like Horny Bunny Girl Senpai?
Well… That was a pretty normal and anti-climactic ending. Is this considered a good ending? Kaede returns to her normal original self. Hence the final episode is somewhat a 24 minute goodbye from Kaede and Sakuta coming to terms with it. Yeah well, it’s strange he only got to know the real Kaede for like 2 years and he found it hard to part ways. Was this Kaede more fun? Maybe. But super cute! Not too sure about the original Kaede but she sounds a bit mundane. Sure, for us viewers we just got to know her but it remains to be seen if the other one will return. Hence future Kaede will have split personalities and switching forth in between. Heh. I won’t count that out. But I’m gonna seek Futaba for an explanation if I ever get confused on that one.

Overall, the plot and story of this series is really nothing special. It is more of the strange predicaments that the characters are facing that is somewhat the more intriguing part. In a sense, I guess that could be considered the general story but generally it just goes something like this. Sakuta’s normal high school life is interrupted when he notices some sort of irregularity especially with one of the girls he knows or related. They try to figure out what is happening and doing something about it (which isn’t much) and the problem is solved. There. That’s just basically it. Not with a lot of fanfare so some may go, “Huh? That’s it?”.

Hence the strange phenomenon are not actually sci-fi moments if I should say. What do I mean? Although the strange phenomenon the girls experienced in this series may look like some sort of mild sci-fi situations, they are more like inner demons that the girls need to conquer and overcome in order for the problem is solved. That is why I said in my previous paragraph that they don’t really need to do anything much or anything that is too drastic. With Sakuta’s help, a lot of drama, talking and self-realization is all it takes for the problem to literally go away and things reverting back to normal. At least, that is how I see it.

Indeed, the issues at hand that the girls faced may still sound and look sci-fi worthy. However you know me, I am really dumb when it comes to sci-fi moments and stuffs. Although I still continue to watch such series in hopes of ‘getting smarter’. Ultimate fail, of course. They aren’t really that bad but with Futaba using some sci-fi mumbo jumbo, even if it is in the simplest form that dumb viewers like me are supposed to comprehend, I just can’t. My brain just automatically shut off to prevent a meltdown. Really. I believe that such theories aren’t really far-fetched and there are lots of such notions and ideas floating around the internet (too lazy to Google, of course) so I’m taking Futaba’s word that in some sense, the theories are somewhat interesting. Just not interesting to a level that I can understand them. Also, watching these girls experiencing sci-fi phenomenon isn’t anything new. Since it reminded me of Kokoro Connect, another series that deals with strange sci-fi-like situations among a group of high school friends. Also not forgetting the Monogatari series but with way less supernatural elements.

Thus the characters play a vital role in retaining the intrigue of the overall story. As I have said, many have their own issues to deal with and overall if you look at them, they’re just normal and ordinary people with nothing really interesting to their background per se. Even with Mai and Nodoka having some sort of proxy rivalry because of their mothers, this background setting isn’t exactly all that exciting if you think about it. It is just enough as a setting for the sci-fi phenomenon to take place and drive the pace of the arc to last for a few episodes. Because the series likes to plant small cameo hints in current episodes for the next arc (like mini Shouko’s appearance), so I thought Mai would be getting another arc of her own considering the media sounding like they’re going to have a field day with the scandal of her having a boyfriend. Too bad that turned out to be a red herring as it was surprisingly ended as fast as it started. Otherwise we wouldn’t have time for the final Kaede’s arc, I think.

I do find that some of the character interactions to be interesting and hence funny and amusing. Especially Sakuta who is the main character has his own brand of witty sarcasm. He isn’t exactly the most sarcastic guy in anime but saying those lines in his deadpan voice can still be funny. Doubling this ‘comedy act’ is his ‘partner in crime’ Mai especially when they started dating. Can they be one of the best couples in anime? Because they hardly use their emotions and with them being sarcastic to each other, it’s probably the glue that sticks them together (maybe the sex jokes did the trick). Then there’s Kaede who is just as cute as she is tragic. Before her arc, she feels more like a side comic relief character especially with her one liners. I can never forget her comeback of how she commented on her own weight gain as Sakuta thought. Yeah, that was pretty classic. Maybe I’m heavy too because half of it is filled for my love for some 2D waifu… And who could forget how she is always shocked with Sakuta bringing home a new girl in every new arc… Sakuta sometimes being frank or playful with his personality, I guess that is why many girls think he is such a perverted pig. Hence every episode’s next episode preview’s trademark line of calling him one. That’s my Sakuta. A total pig alright. Don’t take it from the girls. Even Sakuta himself said it to himself finally.

Sometimes I feel this series might be a sleeper harem series. Instead of having all the harem girls at once, each is given their own focus when they become the ‘star’ of their own arc. In a way, Sakuta’s harem is spread out throughout the series. But calling it a harem may be a little stretch because it isn’t like all of the girls have romantic interest in Sakuta. Not that I can see. After all, Sakuta helped them out so maybe there is. Or not. Even being Mai’s boyfriend feels pretty bland since Mai is often away ever since she got back into show business. Futaba is more interested in Yuuma, Kaede overly relies on her onii-chan more than anything and Nodoka looks up to her half-sister. There may be some feelings from Tomoe but for now they’re just remaining their status as friends (or at least butt kicking buddies). All in all, these girls are mainly featured prominently only in their arc and in others when they are not, they feel more like background characters. For example, Futaba is just some lonely mad scientist explaining what she interprets the problem Sakuta tells her. Kaede is a stunted little sister with a few traumas (can’t even let phones ring) who relies heavily on Sakuta. Tomoe is just Sakuta’s co-worker at the café and Nodoka the idol. That’s all there is to them.

Probably the TV series was too short to feature all the girls because the only one missing her own arc is Shouko. So far her presence in the series can be considered as baffling and a red herring because we are not really sure if this little girl is the Shouko that Sakuta knows or an entirely different person who coincidentally shares the same name. Or maybe she too is having her own Puberty Syndrome but is put on the back burner as Sakuta solves the others who are more pressing at hand. Or like Futaba puts it, just an imaginary friend. But we see others interact with her. What if all those are just in Sakuta’s mind and point of view? Everything is perception. So she may be some guardian angel of his since she swooped down to him in the final episode just to get him back on his feet when others couldn’t. I guess when Sakuta is there for other girls, who is going to be there for him? Therefore as far as the TV series is concerned, Shouko is still a big mystery. Maybe that is why perhaps the sequel that is coming out in mid-2019 in the form of a movie may focus on this. I thought Saki should have her own arc too seeing she is the only girl who sort of hates Sakuta. It would be interesting to see some sort of sci-fi phenomenon befalling on her because the irony of needing to rely on Sakuta to eventually get out of her predicament. Then she can fall for him. Ah, the tsundere role that every harem needs.

Art and animation feel pretty okay but sometimes I can’t help feel that it is also sometimes a bit bland. I know, characters here do not have strange body part shapes (One Piece comes to mind) nor do they have a variety of colourful hair or hairstyles to really tell them apart. For example, I sometimes get confused when I see Sakuta and Yuuma because these generic guys look so generic that I could be mistaken the other for the other. As for some of the girls, I thought I have seen them somewhere before. Like Saki whom I thought was inspired from To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Misaki. Seriously. Maybe that’s why her character is also like that. Then there is Nodoka whom I thought was Eri from Love Live but with less smiles. Coincidentally, looking at Mai brings back memories of Mai from Izumo: Takeki Tsurugi No Senki. Futaba could be To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Shinobu in disguise. Just add glasses. I’m starting to think this series may be taking its design inspiration from To Aru Kagaku No Railgun because doesn’t Shouko look like Ruiko? Take away the flowers, Uiharu would actually be Tomoe? Heck, even their school uniform resembles very closely… This series is made by Cloverworks who did Persona 5, Slow Start and the second season of Gyakuten Saiban.

Voice acting, I didn’t recognize anyone except Nao Touyama as Tomoe. I haven’t heard Satomi Satou in a long time so it was a surprise that I just found out she was behind the voice of Nanjou. She didn’t have many lines either too. Maybe I did identify her but did I forget? Huh? Oh dear. Do I have Puberty Syndrome too? Nope. Just a forgetful person :(. The rest of the casts are Kaitou Ishikawa as Sakuta (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia), Asami Seto as Mai (Asagi in Strike The Blood), Asumi Tanezaki as Futaba (Mizore in Hibike! Euphonium), Maaya Uchida as Nodoka (Eruza in Killing Bites), Yurika Kubo as Kaede (Hanayo in Love Live), Inori Minase as Shouko (Hestia in DanMachi), Yuuma Uchida as Yuuma (Yaichi in Ryuuou No Oshigoto) and Himika Akaneya as Saki (Yatsumura in Mahou Shoujo Site).

The opening theme is Kimi No Sei by The Peggies. While this rock outfit isn’t that all bad, I wonder if it is suitable for a dramatic series like this. Considering the pacing of the show, the lively pace of the rock music sometimes feels out of place since the song is a bit frantic itself. Maybe it is supposed to reflect the storm that Sakuta is facing. But the ending theme sounds more intriguing. Fukashigi No Karte has this enigmatic feel infused with some jazzy tone. A song that you would best fit as lounge music. There are a few versions of this song depending on the heroine of the arc (there is a version with all the heroines singing as a group too). Not only the way they sing reflects their character (Futaba sounds very soft and mellowed compared to Kaede’s cute style), the unique thing about the ending animation isn’t just the featured girl walking on the beach but all of them at different time of the day. Did you notice that? Like Tomoe at the break of dawn, Futaba in the dark pitch of the night and Nodoka in the golden evening sunset. Neat.

Overall, I guess this series isn’t your standard harem and romance one. It has lots of heavy dialogue and isn’t a sci-fi masterpiece too but some of the issues we see here is a good topic for discussion because let’s face it, such problems only arise because of how society treats itself (the heavy expectations of society on Mai has her wanting some private time, suppressing feelings made Tomoe unable to express them properly just so she can stay within her circle of friends, unrealistic expectations of a mother pushed Nodoka to be someone else instead of herself, cyber bullying has turned Kaede into a recluse and a totally different person). I have to admit it is mostly boring if not for the strange humour I find in their sarcasm (apparently many commenters online too didn’t find it funny). I know the Monogatari series sounds way better if you want to watch a series with harem girls having some sort of supernatural issue but that is only because it had a long run and so many stories. Otherwise, Sakuta’s normal and quiet high school life didn’t turn out the way he wants and hence, Yahari Ore No Seishun Buta Yarou Wa Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru. My Teen Romantic Sci-fi SNAFU. Rascal Doesn’t Dream Of Ecchi Romance Comedy. And still, sasuga Sakuta, buta yarou desu ne.

Sono Toki Kanojo Wa

April 27, 2019

Having problems with love? However you have no time to watch a freaking double cour anime of the drama romance genre because your time is so precious looking at all the social media clogging up your Smartphone? Boy, do I have a very short drama romance genre that is quick and easy to watch. Because long seasonal romance animes might get confusing with all the plot and drama that you’ll be left confused more than ever. Hence here we have Sono Toki Kanojo Wa. It tells the lives of 4 different girls at different stages in their lives in just 3 minutes per episode. There. Saved you a lot of time from watching those other soapy romance dramas.

Episode 1
Aiko isn’t concentrating in class. Instead, she is looking at the boy she likes and only snaps out of it when the teacher calls her name. Oops. Embarrassing. After class, Aiko is being stood up by her friend. So as she remains in class, she sits on her crush’s desk just to see his view. Then he comes in and wonders what she is doing. Another embarrassing moment? Then he picks up a sakura petal on her shoulder. He asks if she wants to walk home together.

Episode 2
Moe is out with her boyfriend and it seems she is dreading if he would say his usual foolish things. Then they spot a couple opposite and it seems that girl was his ex. She asks and he actually coolly confirms it! Like, WTF?! “Hey, that your ex?”. “Yup. My ex, alright”. Because of that, Moe gets moody and ends the date. I know she asked but can’t this guy take a hint?! I guess he is new in this dating business. When a girl says she isn’t mad, SHE IS MAD! But this guy is also a smooth operator. He doesn’t think she is a bother at all and hugs her. In public?! Even whispering the magical I love you words. How sweet. See? Now she’s all smiles.

Episode 3
Yukari thinks she can nail her guy because of her good looks. After all, this is already their third date. So when she returns to drink with him, he has the words that she is dying to hear him say… NOT! Sorry, babe. The company called. Need to return. But he texts her that he will make up to her the next time. He also noticed the swollen feet and will give her a present next time. Wait. Is she thinking he’ll get her lingerie because she’s hoping he would check her pantsu colour?! I hope she’s not drunk. Frustrated, yes. Yeah, she orders another martini…

Episode 4
Miwako and her boyfriend are shopping for groceries. She sees a kid bugging her mom to buy some stuffs but she only makes him choose one. The kid is still happy she got to buy it for her. But now Miwako’s boyfriend seems to be doing to same thing. Okay. Pick one then. Yay! Déjà vu? After paying for their stuffs, Miwako offers to carry half of the bag together as they walk home. She also bought ice cream but forbids him to eat in advance for he will be full then.

Episode 5
Yuuta shares his earphone to let Aiko listen to his music. Aiko notes how they’ve always been meeting here after school. The truth is she wants this moment to last forever. But soon they have to part ways. But there is always tomorrow. See you tomorrow.

Episode 6
Moe is mad again. Her boyfriend had to go out with his friends at the last minute. He has been texting to her nonstop and even apologizing but she is not replying and giving him the silent treatment. Yeah, this guy really sounds genuinely apologetic and wants to make up to her but she doesn’t give a damn and let the messages keep streaming in. Until he finally finds her as he explains how his friends insisted and did not allow him to leave. I don’t think she’s interested in hearing all that because she’s going to be his queen for today and her slave will get whatever she wants. Yeah, this guy loves her so much that he’ll do anything.

Episode 7
Rainy days make you want to sleep in. Yeah, it probably ruined Yukari’s day for a date. It’s been a long time since their last date and looks like that streak is going to continue. Bugging her lazier boyfriend won’t make it change so at least she gets a hug. Still bugging about that date? How about a kiss then? Is the rain making him lazy to do that? She realizes he did the laundry and had clothes hung out to dry. Oh well. Doesn’t matter. Can wash and dry again. Yeah, this couple still in dreamland.

Episode 8
Miwako is nervous as she sits alone at the park. In this snow? Okay, it’s not that heavy but it’s piling up. She wishes she could cry before her boyfriend. Don’t fear. It’s like he heard her problem and comes to sit by her. After giving her a can drink, he tells her to rely on him even though he is unreliable. I guess better than nothing. So the first ‘reliable’ thing is to swap their drinks. It made her feel better as they walk home.

Episode 9
Aiko and her boyfriend are watching the fireworks. When the final fireworks light up, she will ask him a very important question. But she’s nervous as hell. As she makes her countdown, she is distracted by his question of what she’ll be doing during summer vacation. Nothing. Then she asks him back the same. Nothing too. Except maybe spend more time with her. I guess she need not ask him now. Because the answer was definitely a resounding yes.

Episode 10
Moe is supposed to be on a lunch date with her boyfriend. However she ends up waiting for him as he shops for the perfect suit for his interview. Now do you know how it feels when a man has to wait for a woman to finish her shopping? When she sees him in his suit, she is so super smashing. Not sure if she is trolling him or too shy to say it as she says she likes his necktie. She hopes once he gets the job, they can go for grilled meat. At the best restaurant. With extra specials. Man, this guy better have that earning power. And let’s hope she’s in love not with his (future) money…

Episode 11
Yukari wants to look more mature before her boyfriend. Although their date is tomorrow, he calls her and surprises her that he is near. Can we meet up? Because she is dressed very casually, she lies that she has a dinner date with a friend. Yukari thinks she is not dressed properly to meet him but her friend doesn’t think that she should be an excuse. She should just be honest and show him the truth. Yukari thinks for a while and then goes to meet him dressed the way she is now. Just promise you won’t laugh.

Episode 12
Miwako returns home but her boyfriend is not in. She notices he was reading a wedding magazine and placed too many markers. Then we hear the girls narrate the many negative aspects of naturally what a girl is. Lonely, selfish, possessive, stubborn, jealous, not honest, greedy, want to be spoilt… You mean they’re not made of sugar, spice and everything nice? Oh well… Despite all that, they still want to be with the guy the love. Thank goodness for guys being dumb enough to still want to be with you! Oops. I think we can lump it all in this crazy thing called love. Thank God for love!

Ready For Love, Whenever You Are
So have you learnt anything? Were you entertained? Absolutely… NOT!!! It’s quite sad to say that this short series didn’t bring anything much to the table. Not to say that I am a veteran in watching this kind of genre but if I should describe this series in a word, it would be boring. Yes, I did say in my opening paragraph that having a short series means doing away with all the convoluted twists and unnecessary drama that just prolongs the series but this one is just too short to even leave an impact. Before you know if there is anything going to happen, it has already ended. Heck, not like anything really happened at all. I don’t know if it is a good thing if you fall asleep while watching this. Heh. Could be a personal record if you do so. Thankfully I didn’t. I was more like so bored that I wished it ended sooner :p. I guess that is the only very positive thing for a short series like this.

The characters too aren’t interesting and despite them being at different stages in life (actually, just different professions, high school student, college and working adults), it just shows their perspectives, thoughts and worries about the crush and love they have in life. I know that it is a big deal for them since it could make or break their future but in terms of showbiz material, this doesn’t quite cut it. I mean, there are other ‘better’ dramas out there for this topic. Like, a boyfriend being caught cheating with another girl. Yup, no such sort of drama here. Therefore the worries and insecurities of these girls feel mild and insignificant when you compare and start thinking about other bigger problems pertaining to love.

Hardly any dramatic character development to say the least. I mean, you can see the relationship of each of the girls with their boyfriends and eventually it falls into the cliché good happy ending like a fairytale. Like Aiko finally getting the boy of her crush to go out with her. Because of the very limited and short duration of the episodes, it feels like something is missing in between. We start off with her being worried if he likes her and the next time her story is back, she’s already dating him like as though they’ve been at it for some time. And finishing it off with fireworks watching. Wow. So touching. Did I miss something here? Moe and Yukari sound like they complain a lot but I guess it must be common for women to have mood swings. Hey, who am I to say? And Miwako looks like she’s got it perfect but on the other hand, it’s not. Is she okay? There’s something bugging her but the series doesn’t delve deep enough for us to find out and care. In the end, these girls are very lucky winners in love because they’ve got great and caring boyfriends who are willing to stay by their side and listen to them. Yeah, every girl’s dream for a guy like that. I suppose that’s good.

Other than the very wafer thin story and characters, I believe my biggest gripe for this series is the art and animation style. Master Lights is a very new anime studio and this is their debut work. So can we forgive them for being amateurs in this department? Unfortunately with today’s standards being so high even for the minimum level, it’s not. The animation style is sketchy and lacks a lot of animation. Like as though they drew a few pictures and then try to animate it like a slideshow fashion. Sometimes the whole thing comes off as one big lazy water sketch art. But hey, it’s art. Subjective. But the worst part is how all the girls look the same to me! Aiko, Moe, Yukari and Miwako look like quadruplets! Is this realism?! And why do the girls look a bit chubby?! OMFG?! What am I saying?! Must be their puffy cheeks and lips… Now we know and appreciate the importance of Japanese girls having wild hairstyles of different colours. Anyway, the art style isn’t good. Too simple that it’s not worthy. Period. Maji De Koi Suru 5-byou Mae by Mei Fukuda sounds like a slow little lullaby but sometimes I feel this is one of those songs you can sing to your children to put them to bed.

Overall, perhaps newbies in the genre and anime might find this wonderful but veterans like me prefer something much more even if it is not that meaty. This one just feels like so bare bones that your dog doesn’t even want to chew and bury it. Even classic fairytales your mom read to you are much more interesting despite all the cliché tropes. Maybe if this was fleshed out as a proper length series, there would have been a better chance this could have fared better. I doubt that this would get any sort of expansion or extension, though. Even if this series didn’t really work out for me, at least love did for this girls. It might have been a few wasteful minutes for us but love made it an eternity for them. And at that time, she loved. Sono toki, kanojo wa ai suru…

Although Imouto Sae Ireba Ii Specials came out over a year ago, somehow I kept procrastinating about watching these 2 minute shorts. I mean, it’s not like I was really crazy about the series nor did I find it that interesting (except maybe about a certain tax accountant) that I needed to go watch the specials that were came out with the BD purchases. So before I really forget that these specials really existed for good, finally I have summed up my lazy bone courage to finally watch them. After all, it wouldn’t kill me to binge watch the entire series in one sitting that wouldn’t even last me 20 minutes.

Special 1
Itsuki needs Alice? Who? His new imaginary sister. He wants to sleep on her lap and clean his ears. In that case, Nayuta is more than willing to do all that. However Itsuki wants Chihiro to do them instead. The rest are shocked that he prefers a little brother to do it. Why? Because Chihiro is simply better and he doesn’t have high hopes for the rest. They take this as an insult and vouch that they too can do an equal if not better job. Hence Itsuki holds a competition to see who the best is. In the end, the winner is Chihiro followed by Haruto (Nayuta is dead last). With the guys occupying the top spots, the girls fear he is gay… Oh sh*t…

Special 2
Nayuta seeks Itsuki’s help to practice interviewing her since she has one coming up soon. She has written a few questions so feel free to ask them while recording them on a video cam. As Itsuki does so, it soon dawns to him that the questions are very risqué and questions that seem to fit if you are going to film a porn shoot! Even Nayuta is acting sexily and flirty based on the naughty questions asked! The final question has her taking off her clothes so Itsuki is done with this trick but Nayuta insists that once the interview is over, it’s time for the real thing! Please make me feel good onii-chan! The resisting force is strong in Itsuki as he chops her head to put a stop to this. What a killjoy…

Special 3
Nayuta wants to cook for Itsuki as promised but she sucks. Hence she desperately seeks Miyako’s help. After all that begging and puppy dog eyes, I guess she relents. Not sure if Miyako doesn’t know how to cook too but we see snippets of them going through trial and error. Yeah, just put anything you think fit into the pot… When Itsuki tastes it, it is absolutely delicious. Hooray! Success! However he points out the room filled with their previous failures. Hey, practice makes perfect, right?

Special 4
F*CK YOU ITSUKI!!!! I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR SH*TTY PREFERENCE THAT YOU LOVE NUDE GIRLS BETTER BUT HARUTO IS RIGHT WHEN HE SAYS MAIDS ARE THE BEST!!!!! THAT’S RIGHT!!!! MAIDS ARE ABSOLUTELY THE BEST!!!! Ashley notes his receipts from his visits to the maid cafes and Haruto insists it is for research to get references. Ashley thinks it is similar to a cabaret club but Haruto passionately explains how different they are. The maid uniforms are far from matters of sexual desires unlike the cabaret club where they emphasize on the women’s figure. While the latter offers conversation and alcohol, maid cafes offer food and the conversation at one’s own pace can turn it into a form of entertainment. Hence cabaret clubs satisfy carnal needs while maid cafes satisfy higher needs. That’s right. You go tell them, Haruto!!! Ashley then points out the irony of having maids in eroge… Haruto, please explain to these simpletons…

Special 5
Nayuta thinks Itsuki was engrossedly looking up female lingerie on the internet. While Nayuta is disgusted, Kaiko approves. The duo then start to argue if a G-string is an underwear. Nayuta then lists down what constitutes to be an underwear but as the more risqué it gets, Kaiko seems to still be approving them as underwear. From those beady types to the traditional fundoshi and even a leaf?! So basically as long as it covers your crotch area gently, it is considered so. With the duo continue to be in intense ‘debate’, Miyako then ponders if hand bra counts. Unfortunately this sparks a deep thought between the duo. Miyako regrets asking this. This is going to take a while…

Special 6
Chihiro is cleaning up Ashley’s office and as usual, does a fine job. When she notes how Chihiro was in serious mode the first time her office was cleaned, this shocks Itsuki because there would be no room as messed up as his. So they ask Chihiro whose room was messier first. Chihiro thinks and realizes that Ashley’s room was way worst. However Chihiro can sense that a tax accountant’s grin means you better choose wisely or else. Hence Chihiro says it is Itsuki’s, delighting him in the process. I guess it is win-win for everybody.

Special 7
Itsuki is in trouble. He can’t finish his novel in time. And Toki is already knocking on his door. He wants Chihiro to buy time for him. Stall him for 30 minutes. Tanomu! Hence Chihiro asks Toki about his editor job. Yeah, Toki went on a long winded explanation about it. Thank goodness for fast forward. Once done, Chihiro checks on Itsuki. Are you done? Need another 40 minutes! Are you kidding?! Chihiro tries to give him some wine but Toki doesn’t drink on the job. Then Chihiro asks him about customs. It’s a heavy topic but since he insists, Toki goes on blabbing. Thank goodness for fast forward. Finally Itsuki is done and hands it in. Back at the office, Toki realizes it isn’t really complete…

Special 8
Itsuki stumbles into Setsuna in the streets. So why is he shaking his butt? Some sort of divination that will tell you the footsteps of somebody that passed earlier on? So this leads them into the supermarket in which Setsuna divines how somebody will make nikujaga for the brother. Itsuki thinks a little sister will do that and is interested to follow Setsuna and learn more. Outside a wiper store, Setsuna divines this as an indication the brother’s room will be cleaned. Then something about forgetting to buy honey at the supermarket for some hidden flavour. Itsuki is more and more amazed of this perfect little sister and wants to see and be with this cutie. When the trail stops, turns out that person is Toki! Itsuki can’t follow any more and runs away. Back home, Chihiro tells him that he made nikujaga for him. And he also bought the honey… Yeah, it could be they actually followed Chihiro’s footsteps and it was just coincidence Toki was there.

Peace Is All You Need…
Short and funny. That’s all there is for some small laughs. So I guess the specials pretty much give a somewhat special focus on each of the main and side characters albeit I say special focus but that’s a very loose term I used here. Since all the titles are named as “(insert character’s name here) is all you need”. We don’t have one for Itsuki because he is the main character, I guess. The girls’ underwear discussion was ‘enlightening’, Haruto’s ‘education’ on maids are damning factual rights, Nayuta’s flirty sexy interview was just ‘inviting’ while Ashley’s spot was the most boring of it all seeing I had some little high hopes for personally the most interesting character of the series. All in all, as long as the characters remain the same, such fun moments can continue to last longer. So looks like the day Itsuki finds out Chihiro is actually his little sister might have to wait a little longer. Peace is definitely the best.

Goblin Slayer

April 21, 2019

Have you ever hated something in your life so much that you dedicated your entire life to eradicate and eliminate every last bit of thing you detest the most? Well, some people do go that length and in the case of Goblin Slayer, that title says it all. One may not think much of killing goblins since they are one of those low level monsters like slimes. Yeah, others prefer to slay dragons and more powerful monsters so slaying goblins isn’t going to turn heads. Unless you’re like the titular character who has an obsession in taking down every last one of them and turn their existence status into extinction. He’ll hunt them down to the ends of the earth and spill their blood with extreme prejudice. No mercy. Is he the fantasy goblin version of Liam Neeson’s Taken?

Episode 1
Onna Shinkan (Priestess) is a rookie adventurer and is eager to start her first adventure. She teams up with another group of rookies to go goblin hunting. Shinkan feels worried as they make their descent into the goblin cave because she thinks they should make more preparations. However they are confident they have dealt with goblins before. In the dark cave, they get separated. And then the goblins start to ambush them. Real sh*t hits the fan when one of them gets stabbed. Reality check. The warrior guy tries to fight back in anger but with the cramped space of the cave, his sword is useless. Defenceless, he gets overwhelmed and killed. And then this female fighter she thought she could kick some mini goblins’ ass. When the big daddy is here, she gets owned. To add salt to injury, the goblins rape her!!! OMFG!!! Shinkan tries to protect the injured comrade. Goblins too want to rape her?! Until Goblin Slayer shows up and kills them. After treating Shinkan’s wounds, he has no choice but to kill her injured comrade. She is beyond saving. Shinkan follows Goblin Slayer deeper into the cave as he dispenses his knowledge of the goblins habitat. Near the goblins’ nest (where there are other kidnapped females as their playthings), he sets trap to kill the big daddy. He also quickly kills the shaman who is leading the leader of the pack. He finds a hidden room where there are young goblin offspring. As they breed very fast, Goblin Slayer shows no mercy in slaying them all. Shinkan is very conflicted and sad seeing all the blood and violence. But it is either her or them. In the aftermath, the kidnapped girls are rescued and it is a sad thing that many of them will live the rest of their lives with trauma. As for Shinkan, she continues to be an adventurer and unofficially teams up with Goblin Slayer to hunt goblins. Best chance she has for survival if she wants to stay as an adventurer.

Episode 2
Ushikai Musume (Cow Girl) once had a childhood friend. But they ended up in an argument before she left for the city. Many years passed and she finds it hard to apologize. Goblin Slayer stays in her village and every morning he does his routine checking for any trespassing goblins. At the guild, many adventurers badmouth Goblin Slayer because despite his high adventurer rank, he only slays small fries like goblins. Not that he cares what they say. He is only interested in quests that exterminates goblins. Hence it is an unofficial rule nobody picks such goblin slaying quests. There are a few of them but he chooses to destroy the one with a nesting cave. There was a group of rookie adventurers who took an easy goblin slaying quest but Goblin Slayer places more importance of the nesting. He gives Shinkan the choice to go save them if she wants to. For a few days, Goblin Slayer never returned home as he prepares to take out the goblins’ nesting. We get a glimpse of his past of why he hates goblins so much. Apparently they attacked his village and burnt everything down. He was hiding and could only watch in fear of what is hinted that his sister got raped and killed by them. He made a vow to kill every single last one of them. He will kill and kill even more. There will be good days and there will be bad days. You test every idea you have and before you know it, you start to enjoy the killing. It is hinted that Ushikai is his childhood friend but at this point, it seems he has lost it. Now we see Goblin Slayer along with Shinkan’s help, burn down the entire colony and hunts down any that escaped. Ruthless. And the rookie adventurers who did the goblin slaying quest, thank goodness they all came back alive. Ushikai welcomes Goblin Slayer back and cooks for him as always.

Episode 3
An odd adventurer group consisting of Elf, Dwarf and Lizardman are looking for Goblin Slayer. There he is. While they go talk to him, another group of adventurers talk to Shinkan in hopes of joining them as they talk bad about Goblin Slayer. They heard rumours he is only using newbies as bait. Luckily Witch shoos them away and talks to Shinkan about her experience of working once with him. Something about help with magic scrolls. He might only be slaying goblins but this also helps out the world for the better. Hence Shinkan should make up her mind if she really wants to follow him. Elf explains the Demon Lord is going to be resurrected and unleash hordes of monsters upon the world. She wants his help but Goblin Slayer rejects her. Goblin slaying is more important than the end of the world. Dwarf calms her down and explains in detail. It seems there are goblins bothering their land. You interested now? Very. Too bad the military and politicians won’t budge over these small fries and if they raise their own army to fight the goblins, the humans will become suspicious and hence why they come to him. There is nothing left to discuss. Except how much they will pay for his services. So we see the gang camping out as they talk why they became adventurers. And then it feels a bit like a cooking show because all share their special food. I guess the winner is the cheese. Glorious cheese! Then they talk about how goblins came about. There are many legends but the one Goblin Slayer learnt from her sister is that they come from the moon. Because they had nothing, they come down here to steal everything. Thus those who filled with jealousy will become goblins. It sounds like a load of crap but Goblin Slayer believes his sister is never wrong. Next day, they begin their assault on the goblins’ base.

Episode 4
Trekking deep into the base, Elf detects a strange trap. Although this means there is no shaman leading the goblins, it is very worrying since normal goblins cannot set such traps and it could mean some other beings are leading the goblins. They enter a very smelly waste room. They see a tortured elf woman. They think Goblin Slayer is going to kill her to put her out of her misery but he kills the goblin hiding behind her. With Lizardman’s familiar, they send her out to safety. Elf is most affected by this brutality but she has to be strong and continue. After all, her hometown is near here. Then they trek deeper and at the bottom, they see a horde of goblins sleeping. With Dwarf and Shinkan’s magic to make them drunk and sleep, the rest begin their kill. Again Elf is having a hard time killing just 1 goblin as she ponders if Goblin Slayer has done it so many times like that. Once all the goblins are dead, here comes the big boss. Actually, an ogre. He is mad that the army granted by one of the Demon Lord’s generals is massacred. He uses his fireball to eliminate them but thanks to Shinkan’s protection, they live. Too bad she is all out of miracles. The rest go on the offensive but the ogre has healing capabilities and Goblin Slayer takes a near fatal blow. While the rest fight to buy time, Shinkan tends to Goblin Slayer. Thank goodness for the healing and stamina potions he brought. Now back on his feet, he has a plan to face this big daddy. The next thing we know, the ogre is cut into several pieces! It seems Goblin Slayer used the gate scroll to link it to the bottom of the sea. Hence the intense pressure cut the ogre in many places. Goblin Slayer then kills him for good and mocks he is not as troublesome to kill as those goblins. As they emerge from the base, the elf reinforcements are here to take over and scout the area. They all head back for a well-deserved needed rest.

Episode 5
Goblin Slayer has been asleep for 3 days! I guess he needs the rest. When he’s up, Lizardman is asking him for more… Cheese! And what’s this? Elf is blushing while asking Goblin Slayer’s help to survey some ruins? I don’t think the issue is the ruins… And Shinkan tells him the good news that she got promoted. Meanwhile a couple of rookie adventurers are hunting monster rats. Unfortunately his sword gets stuck in the corpse and they had to flee because monster bugs are now descending to feast on it. With their failed mission, they don’t get any reward and this puts them in a punch. They can’t fight without a sword and they have no money. They ask other adventurers to lend a spare but it’s not that they don’t want to, rather their swords are incompatible with him. You know, he is too weak to even hold them. Finally they seek Goblin Slayer’s advice and he thinks a club should do the trick. So back to hunting but this time to retrieve the lost sword. He looks like a barbarian smashing the club but it’s hell of an effective. It is detected that a monster bug ate his sword so they have to flee but with the help of a miracle and some guts, I guess he has to bite the bullet and club the bug to death and then slice it up to take back his sword. Gross. Meanwhile the guild’s Receptionist requests Goblin Slayer to be an observer for a promotion test. He’s not interested but since they’re in a pinch… So we see the cocky adventurer trying to talk big but his lies are easily detected. Because he has also breached the trust of his comrades by keeping the treasure to himself, he shall be demoted and banned from adventuring in this town. He is mad and would have wanted to kill her but had the thought of Goblin Slayer punching the hell out of him cross his mind, he goes away. Mad. Just go away. Receptionist is relieved the scary part is over and thanks Goblin Slayer for being an observer. Oh my, is she another one of those girls who has a crush on him? Why do girls really like hard to get guys? Soon Goblin Slayer gets a quest to slay goblins. However this letter has a special seal on it and is specifically requesting him for the task.

Episode 6
There are tales of heroes taking down Demon Lord’s minions. But Goblin Slayer isn’t interested in that. It’s goblin slaying time. His party members aren’t that happy that he isn’t giving much of an option to discuss. You either go with him or not. But they should have been used by his style by now. So they head to this water town to meet the Sword Maiden, the second highest rank adventurer who requested Goblin Slayer. Goblin Slayer lacks tact as he sounds pushy trying to get more info so Sword Maiden explains a girl was sent to do errands but her corpse was later found in the alley. It is believed to be the work of a goblin. Even with increased patrols, this continued to happen. As this town was built on an old settlement, the goblins may have settled underground. And without haste they head underground and kill a lot of goblins. Yeah, there are lots of them. I guess somebody is going to have fun counting the kill streak. When Elf hears something weird coming, to their surprise, a group of goblins on a boat! Pirate goblins?! Doesn’t change a thing to kill them all! Since they are wearing armour, it is easier for them to push them off. Yeah, should have just sank the boat in the first place. But what is worse than a group of pirate goblins? A monster alligator! Not goblins so… Run! If you think they’re going to be sandwiched between another group of pirate goblins, Goblin Slayer has this bright idea to use the alligator against them! Have fun feeding. As they leave, Goblin Slayer mentions the oddity of the circumstances. Goblins aren’t bright creatures and for them to be steering boats, somebody must have taught them. Plus, if they have been breeding down here, how come they are unaware of the alligator? They would have avoided using boats. This means they aren’t breeding natural and somebody is artificially causing this.

Episode 7
Fanservice? Shinkan and Sword Maiden bathing in the aqueduct together. Not sure if the heat got to Shinkan because when Sword Maiden mentions one day Goblin Slayer will disappear, she gets really worried. I mean, really, really, really worried. Like as though the end of the world is near. The party return to the sewers to hunt more goblins. This time they reach the end of the map. Uncharted territory. It is believed this place is the graves of the heroes fought alongside the order side during the war. But now it is dark and it is perfect breeding ground for goblins who can see perfectly in the dark. Opening a door to the room, they see a chained warrior. Turns out it is a trap as it is just a corpse. And they didn’t hear the goblins closing the heavy door behind? Now they’re trap. I guess the goblins really did wise up. Even more so when they release poisonous gas into the room! With Goblin Slayer having some measures and plugging up the holes, they just wait for the goblins to barge in. When they do, it’s clobbering time! Then the big boss arrives. It is a goblin champion. When Goblin Slayer takes it on, he takes a lethal blow. Oh dear. Goblin Slayer gets done in?! Oh dear. Don’t you guys start panicking now! Too late. Shinkan is so paralyzed in fear that her protection barrier is gone, allowing the goblins to overwhelm them. Time to relive the trauma of the goblins trying to rape Elf!!! OMFG!!! If you’re wondering why Shinkan isn’t getting done in by them, well, big daddy has her all by himself. Damn he is eating her! No, I mean literally eating her out! The screams and cries of them reminds Goblin Slayer of a similar trauma. Then some taunting how he can’t kill all the goblins. It’s like his trigger mode as he turns into some killing machine? He uses the fake wig from the corpse to strangle the goblin champion. Apparently such hairs are strong so don’t worry them snapping. Then he gorges out an eye! With the goblin champion limping away, the other goblins get scared and retreat. After Goblin Slayer learns Shinkan is safe thanks to Lizardman’s healing, it’s his turn to collapse. I’m sure he isn’t dead but I don’t think this party needs any more of such surprises.

Episode 8
Short flashback shows a young Goblin Slayer being taunted by his master he couldn’t kill any goblins and watched his sister got raped and now he wants to kill them all? He is made to pass several tests. Now we see Goblin Slayer in bed with Shinkan. Naked! Double damn because he did it with Sword Maiden too! WTF is this double virgin resurrection?! Is this a new fancy sex technique???!!! Is this why they drew her nipples out?! OMG. If this was an ecchi romantic comedy I know what the reactions will be but alas this isn’t… And we’re stuck with our boring mundane Goblin Slayer who is all cured. So we hear Sword Maiden talk about how she isn’t exactly a virgin as she hinted she was raped by goblins when she was young and the irony that despite she slew the Demon Lord, has some sort of fear of goblins. But why the angle and sound like she’s seducing Goblin Slayer? Expected reaction from Shinkan when she wakes up naked. But Goblin Slayer assures her he has seen it… Thankfully no scars on her body (like his). Reuniting with the rest, as promised they go eat together before repairing their gear. And then some private moment with Goblin Slayer and Shinkan but nothing much comes out of it if you’re really expecting something. Then it is back to underground hunting. But now they are faced with some eyeball monster that disintegrates any movement it sees or dispels magic. It’s like Goblin Slayer got a solution for everything. So this time he has Elf be the decoy (thank goodness she is faster than the eyeball laser), Dwarf using his magic to spread the flour that Goblin Slayer got from Witch, Lizardman summoning a familiar to further distract it and once everybody is out of the room, Shinkan casts a barrier. Because in that closed up space and fine flour all around, one spark from the laser means boom! Yeah. One shrivelled giant eyeball coming up. And now before them is a strange mirror.

Episode 9
The mirror serves as some sort of gateway to a goblin settlement. This is how they enter and exit to this city. Elf picks up a horde of goblins coming their way to secure the mirror. Goblin Slayer and co make preparations to ‘welcome’ them as they fend off wave after wave of goblins. When the goblin champion is in the picture, Lizardman just in time manage to pry the mirror out from the wall. They use it as cover after Dwarf unleashes his spell to cave in the ceiling and crush the goblins. Goblin Slayer returns to Sword Maiden to report the job done. However, from what I understand, it seems he has been suspecting she knows everything from the start. Like how the sewers have no precise map and nobody even requesting quests to kill sewer rats. Something about a familiar guarding the place. From her story, it isn’t goblins who kill women and rip out their entrails because they would take them back to their nest to toy with them. Sword Maiden says the minions of the Demon Lord is trying to use the mirror to plot something as the mastermind is no longer around. She knows a sect is plotting revenge against her and what would others think when she asked for protection from goblins? She did all this because she wanted others to understand there are creatures in this world that would commit such atrocities. She allows him to keep the mirror but too bad he has no interest for it and toss it to the bottom of the sea where it would make a good bed for the alligator. She tells the irony that the world would be saved if the hero slays the Demon Lord but nobody would listen to a girl asking for help from the goblins. Goblin Slayer rubbishes thoughts about saving her since he doesn’t know how she feels. But if she wants goblins killed, call him anytime. Even if it is in her dreams. Is this enough as the salvation she seeks?

Episode 10
Goblin Slayer narrates his goal was to become an adventurer and then a hero. He might not have achieved the latter but at least he became the former. When he was young, he loved his sister’s stew. Of course now he can’t even remember how it tastes like. As the official news have gone around that the Hero has defeated the Demon Lord, the kingdom is now quiet and quests are rare. Goblin Slayer doesn’t think the minions will stay quiet. At least not the goblins. He visits the guild without his armour and some doesn’t even recognize who he is. He gets his armour and gear fixed up and later Receptionist hands him a letter from Sword Maiden. His party wants him to join them for lunch. Goblin Slayer wanted to refuse but with them insisting, looks like Ushikai and Receptionist are joining in too. Will this get interesting? Receptionist tells them about the proposal of opening a training hall to train new adventurers. This is also beneficial to retired adventurers as they can impart their valuable knowledge and experience as well as it can serve as a retired home. Is this her way of warning Goblin Slayer to not get himself almost killed next time because she can ground him with no adventures for the next 6 months? Later Goblin Slayer reads Sword Maiden’s letter. The usual thanking and how miraculously she has no more bad goblin nightmares. Although the Demon Lord is gone, his minions are still around and they can’t rest on their laurels yet. Dwarf and Elf have a drinking competition. Everybody else starts taking bets. Except for Goblin Slayer and Ushikai. She ponders about his future because what Receptionist said somewhat rings true. One day, he will grow old and tired. One day, he will have to stop slaying goblins. These days won’t last forever. When that day comes, he won’t probably know what to do nor has any answer for it. For the record, Dwarf wins the drinking competition.

Episode 10.5
Damn recap episode at this point?! WTF?! I don’t see any new scenes. Just recycled scenes of past episodes. Mainly starting off with Ushikai’s narration of their past, especially that petty childish argument. Then Goblin Slayer joining the odd party, the water town adventure that had him almost killed and his party wiped out and raped before the redemption fightback that caved in the entire place. What will the future hold for them and especially Goblin Slayer who will one day cannot slay goblins anymore? Yeah, we already know. That nobody knows.

Episode 11
Goblin Slayer tells Ushikai to escape. Checking the perimeter, he believes hordes of goblins will attack this town tonight. So, can’t Goblin Slayer deal with it as always? He could if they were in a cave. But out in the open, he stands no chance. Especially when there is the king of goblins leading the pack, Goblin Lord. Wow. Did I hear right? Goblin Slayer can’t even slay goblins? Ushikai will not run because she doesn’t want that to happen again, him losing his home. Hence Goblin Slayer heads to the guild to plead for help. However many aren’t interesting and besides, this is a guild and they’re not doing charity. What can he offer? Everything he has. Assets, equipment, knowledge and his life. It puts a lot of them in awkward position. But with some agreeing to let him buy drinks, they and the usual suspects join in. But Receptionist returns with approval from management for 1 gold coin for every goblin slain! Now everybody’s in! From high ranking adventurers like Lancer, Warrior and Paladin to amateurs and noobs, everybody wants a piece of a gold goblin. Wow. Money makes everyone look at the positive side of this adventure. So that night as they lie in wait, the goblins as predicted show up. However they use naked female prisoners as shields. Dwarf and Witch put the frontlines to sleep, enabling the adventurers to collect them before an all-out war breaks out. Thanks to Goblin Slayer’s knowledge and plan preparation, everyone is well prepared to face the hordes and even the goblin riders as reinforcements. Sh*t gets real when the macho and buffed goblin champions pop up. The heavy hitters are here. It’s time for the veterans to show their mettle. Getting bored of killing small fries. If you’re wondering where the heck Goblin Slayer is since he looks like missing out on all the goblin killing action, yeah, he went straight to fight Goblin Lord.

Episode 12
Goblin Lord’s plan is to retreat and reproduce again. Then he’ll come back with a bigger army to wipe them all out. However Goblin Slayer predicts his plan. That is why he was away destroying his base. It’s time for the final boss fight. Both take damage but it is Goblin Lord who had the upper hand. Laughing and stomping over Goblin Slayer’s head, only with Shinkan’s protection barrier put a stop to it. Being crushed, Goblin Slayer starts crying and even speaks to apologize, promising he will never do this again. But we all know this is too good to be true. Crocodile tears. Snippets of people letting goblins live, once they turn their backs, the goblins kill you. Yeah, more goblin rape scenes! Goblin Slayer gets back up and slices his throat. Good thing his injuries aren’t that bad. Because Shinkan’s mini cure is enough to get him going. Don’t need that double virgin resurrection, eh?! Shinkan was worried he did something reckless again despite it was all part of his plan to make himself as the bait and Shinkan caging him in multiple barriers. Goblin Slayer apologizes because he trusts her. With them returning, it’s the best news ever. Victory sealed. Now everyone parties hard at the guild and Goblin Slayer lives up to his promise to buy everyone drinks. Paladin thought she was ‘cheated’ since she killed goblin champions and they’re like only worth a gold. It was the deal. No matter what kind of goblins, each is worth a gold. Goblin Slayer hands his gold to Shinkan since she was the one who defeated Goblin Lord. She asks why he didn’t post a request instead of going this roundabout way. Because nobody came to save his village that way. There were no guarantees. He had to trust luck. Shinkan says if he ever needs her help, she will gladly do so. Hence luck has nothing to do with it. Shinkan then requests a ‘reward’. Please take off your helmet. I guess there’s no reason for him to decline. Got a good look at him? And with that, everyone is now fascinated to see how Goblin Slayer looks for the first time! Wow. This is the main attraction of the party. Is this some free viewing freak show? Sorry to those who are expecting he is a woman or a goblin. Just a handsome young man. Only we viewers are screwed because we didn’t get to see his face.

Goblin Slayer Is Very Strong
They say Goblin Slayer will return. I take it that means there is going to be another season but it is highly speculative since I haven’t read anything about it. Because I’m sure it is going to be more or less the same thing. Hell, what is the name of this series again? It doesn’t take a genius to guess what Goblin Slayer is going to do after the party ends. Yup, back to more mundane grinding of killing goblins. After all, it is not like the goblin threat has been totally exterminated. It’s not like goblins have been killed to extinction. It’s not like there is only one Goblin Lord in this entire world. This world may be filled with other more dangerous creatures and somebody has got to do the job in taking on low level ones. Thank goodness for Goblin Slayer, right?

I have mixed feelings whether to call this one of the better or worse series of the season. Many felt like the latter only because they fell into that hype trap. Initially there was hype surrounding the promotion of the anime. And when it turned out to be as we seen, nothing really that spectacular, disappointment was naturally to follow. Now, this series to me might not be a masterpiece but it wasn’t trash, garbage or crap either. Yup, my usual middle ground stance.

But the furore that had some screaming their heads off was the controversial first episode. Uh huh. The goblin raping young girls. So much so in subsequent episodes they had to put warning notices of graphic scenes that viewers may find disturbing. WTF. I guess some snowflakes couldn’t take the heat and got scorched. And yes, you could say that was the reason why I wanted to take a look. It reminded me back in the days when Mahou Shoujo Magical Madoka was airing and there were controversies about magical girls killing each other. Looking back then, it was nothing. It still is now. Hence when I watched goblins raping girls, sure it was shocking and evoked some emotions within (shock, that is, duh) but it wasn’t so much so to a point that I wanted to complain and call out. I mean, I’m watching anime. I have come to expect some sort of level of controversies, right? So for those pussies who couldn’t really swallow this, you’re better off watching Barney the purple dinosaur. Are they still making that today? I won’t be surprised there are fan made porn of goblin rape over the internet. You have furry porn and beastiality so what is new in the world of porn?

So the only thing that I find ‘entertaining’ is of course the action scenes of Goblin Slayer and his party mowing down the hordes of goblins. It looks repetitive after a while because there are only so many ways you can take them down. But still, somehow the bloodthirst in me never seemed to wane since I get to see such vile creatures being hammered to pieces. After all, goblins aren’t humans so no love lost, right? Goblins are certainly portrayed as vile creatures who rape our beautiful women so when you see humans and others fighting goblins, you’ll be sure you want to vouch for all goblins to die! There better not be any goblin sympathizers out there calling for goblin rights! Seeing the goblins being stabbed and cut in half with lots of blood sometimes feel like playing a video game. You know, waves of low level enemies and you do your button mashing just to hack them down. Bloody. Messy. But they’re all dead so it’s okay.

A few things that bug me about the lore and setting of the goblins here. I wonder how goblins breed seeing that so far I’ve only seen male goblins of all kinds here. Maybe that is why they seek females of other races to toy around with. Preferably females of the humanoid type because I don’t see them kidnapping and raping lizardmen women. Unless you tell me the horror story of goblins raping to impregnate these women, that is how goblins are bred! No way! That would be the controversy I can’t accept! But what about eggs? Do goblin lay eggs? Don’t see one either. I suppose they don’t make one out of thin air using magic, huh? I don’t think that is what the shaman types do.

Now, the story of this series isn’t particularly a masterpiece either. It is just the simple plot of a guy who hates goblins and will kill them all. That’s it. That’s basically what the entire series revolves around. So for those wanting more meat in the plot, you’d be better off finding your story driven anime somewhere else. We’re all here to see goblins getting slaughtered. Maybe those rape scenes are to stir up some emotions and get you to hate goblins, not the series. But sometimes I feel a bit disjointed the overall flow of the series. What I mean is that, after every goblin slaying mission and action, it is followed by some boring daily life episode. It is good to take a break and breather instead of constant goblin action that would numb you in the face. But these daily life episodes are slow and draggy and they don’t add anything special to the mix. If these were taken out, the series would go on probably fine. Yes, I feel such episodes are a waste of time. Because remember, what are we here for? Goblin slaying! When do we want it? NOW!

As for the characters, they fare as bad as the story itself. Don’t expect any bit of character development otherwise you will be even utterly disappointed. It may be unique that all the characters here do not even have names! Yeah, they are called by their profession. Imagine if there was a porn star here… This isn’t the first series that has characters named after their roles, they did it too in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. So we must be really fortunate that there is only a single elf, dwarf and lizardman to appear. Otherwise we would be confused. Because even if they are other elves, they would be labelled as elf henchman 1, elf henchman 2, etc. Weird. Heck, I think they call each other with their own versions of nickname like how Goblin Slayer is called differently by them. Some I believe never ever had their names called like Ushikai. Does she even have a name, you wonder. Yeah, I got that from the credits. Pronouns are so important in this world that lacks names.

Anyway back to the characters, all feel one-dimensional with nothing really more fleshing out on them. Even Goblin Slayer’s back story of watching his family and village burnt down by goblins and hence turning his hatred into his lifelong mission to eradicate them, that’s as shallow as we can get from the main character. Now if only they fleshed out that training scene with his creepy master and his weird power up technique… But otherwise, Goblin Slayer feels like a generic main character whose goal is to kill all of a certain species. Looking at you, Eren (of Shingeki No Kyojin fame). Not to mention he is blunt and straight to the point in your face. He sounds tired and lethargic and you wonder it stems from his endless slaying of goblins or his hatred of them in mellow form. Maybe kinda both. It is just a bit disappointing that we didn’t get to see his past where he was trained by his weird master and how he came to possess that seemingly Terminator-like killing machine mode that sometimes feel like a cheat code.

If that is so much I can say about him, what else can I say for the rest of his motley crew? Shinkan’s just like a side character who needs to stick to him after her horrible first outing. She feels safer following him than anyone else. Without her miracle protection, I feel she would be more inclined to become a damsel in distress. Then there’s the other trio who are skilled warriors in their own right but make a quirky character off the battlefield. Like Lizardman’s penchant for cheese and ice cream! Do lizardmen really eat that? Dwarf loves drinking while Elf is just too short fused and loves arguing with Dwarf. Goblin Slayer is so central to them (at least in missions we see) that he better not die on them or else it would be all hell break loose.

Because Goblin Slayer is such a stoic guy, there is this danger of setting up some sort of weird romance with him. Many of the female characters here do have a thing for him. From the obvious Receptionist (probably that’s why she never quit her job) to Shinkan (isn’t that why she follows him around?), Elf (tsundere’s actions are easy to pick up), Ushikai (childhood friend, enough said) and even Sword Maiden (boobs and tits won’t do?). Is there room for love in his heart when it is only filled with hatred for goblins? Speaking of Sword Maiden, her back story too is tragic and it shows that even the most revered of warriors still has a weakness that many would consider as petty. Why do I keep thinking that Ushikai is only for fanservice purpose? Those humongous racks are perhaps the reason why the goblins decide to finally attack this town! Damn those are huge! Can’t let that plaything slip now, can we?! Milord, 2 huge boobs in sight! When do we attack? TONIGHT! Haha! That’s what I thought at the start of the penultimate episode… Sounds more like a setting for a porn parody… Yikes!

Art and animation are pretty average (although animation for action scenes are considerably good). Nothing that is spectacular but I have a feeling that this world setting seems to be gloomy. Many scenes here are just downright mundane and depressing and even the guild that is filled with sometimes lively people, have that sort of miserable atmosphere. Probably with goblins running rampant, that’s why. What about other monsters we don’t see? After all, this is supposed to be a dark fantasy series. Also, my other complaint is that some scenes are quite dark so it is hard to make out. As for the character designs, seeing Goblin Slayer for the first time made me think if he is the medieval version of Halo’s Master Chief. Really. I never realized it but I read that Goblin Slayer is rendered mostly in CGI. Probably the dark scenes I can’t tell the difference but in brighter scenes I didn’t take notice at all. With Lizardman’s headgear, I keep thinking he is some native American tribe while Dwarf looks more like some period Chinese drunken master and Elf some bratty teen. About Shinkan’s outfit design, was it inspired by Aria The Animation?

There are a handful of veteran seiyuus lending their talents to this series. Most notably, Yuka Iguchi as Ushikai, Yui Ogura as Shinkan, Tomokazu Sugita as Lizardman, Yuuichi Nakamura as Dwarf, Nao Touyama as Elf and Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Lancer. There is also Yoko Hikasa as Witch and despite she talks like as though she is a retard, somehow this mirrors almost exactly as the role she played as the narrator in Yuragi-sou No Yuuna-san. Others that I couldn’t identify are Aya Endou as Sword Maiden (Matsu in Sekirei) and Maaya Uchida as Receptionist (Rikka in Chiinibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai). In early 2018, Yuuichirou Umehara as Goblin Slayer (Mitsuhide in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime) was temporarily out of the voice acting scene seeing he was hospitalized for some disease affecting the nervous system. Many roles he was playing were affected and had to be replaced by another seiyuu (I was watching Tada-kun Wa Koi Wo Shinai at that time when the sudden switch happened). Glad that he is discharged in the second half of that year and is now slowly making a comeback.

The opening theme, Rightfully by Mili feels one kind. Weird, if I should say. For this series, I must say it isn’t that suitable because of its very dramatic tone (sometimes I think of it has a dramatic Broadway-like feel), it better suits series that has a dark and mysterious fantasy to it. Uhm, doesn’t Goblin Slayer fit into that genre too? The pacing of this series as I personally feel doesn’t make this song suitable. The ending theme, Gin No Kisei by Soraru is more of a slow rock, having this tinge of sadness in its tune. I didn’t find out more about the lyrics but I have a feeling if it is supposed to reflect Goblin Slayer’s life of tragedy, it fits perfectly well.

Overall, this series is entertaining because of its bloody goblin massacre scenes. Otherwise there is nothing really special from its story and characters (simple and straightforward is not a term I want to use here). I still enjoyed it in that sense despite those shortcomings. There are some questionable and uncomfortable content that sparked a futile controversy but what else more do you expect when the title already tells you everything that you need to know? For a guy who has been killing goblins for his entire life, you can say that he literally slayed the game.

Koi To Uso OVA

April 20, 2019

Remember the anime that has the government selecting your future spouse based on complex calculations? Apparently matchmaking at the highest level of government intervention. You know the government can’t be wrong when they decide the best outcome of your happy married life, right? I know, a bunch of BS. But anyway, such setting gave Koi To Uso a premise for some sort of love triangle. However don’t get your hopes up in seeing this going anywhere in the OVAs.

OVA 1
The friends head to Ririna’s grandma’s home in the mountains. She owns a farm so they get to pick some nice fruits and vegetables. Ririna’s aunt talks about doing the kimodameshi by putting a red string on a mushroom as tribute because there’s a ghost lurking around and if you don’t do it, you die! Apparently a girl who turned down marriage and drowned herself. After that, there were rumours of ghostly voices of the girl being heard that she wants to fall in love. With Ririna introducing Nejima to grandma for the first time, she talks about her own arranged marriage. She was at first against marrying grandpa because she didn’t know him. Unfortunately he passed on 5 years ago. She views today’s system for marriage is much better than old times. That night, the friends go in pairs to do the kimodameshi. The girls head first as they casually talk about love. The guys go next and they talk about if the ghost ever exists. Then Nejima feels somebody is watching them. Something is moving in the bushes. Oh no. It attacks! Nejima screams the girliest scream ever! The girls return first and note they didn’t see any ghosts. Grandma reveals the ‘ghost’ is actually her. During the arranged marriage, she was really uncomfortable and abandoned it to go drown herself. At that point she started to feel afraid but soon loses consciousness. The next thing she knew, grandpa saved her and wants to give their marriage a chance. If it doesn’t work out, they can both die together then. And the rest is history. On grandpa’s deathbed, he confessed he loved her since he first laid eyes on her. Unfortunately he died after that and grandma couldn’t reply him. So she hopes to reply him in the afterlife when her time comes. The girls find it romantic when Nejima returns being ‘assaulted’ by a dog. Apparently this is grandpa’s dog who has been waiting for his return for 5 years. It isn’t friendly with strangers but grandma believes Nejima is a good person. On the way back, Misaki hopes to hear such lovely words of confession even if her feelings aren’t delivered.

OVA 2
Nejima’s mom wants to hold a Halloween party for kids next Wednesday and wants him to invite Nisaka. In return she’ll buy him this golden haniwa! Of course Nisaka refuses but will consider it if he makes him laugh. After a few lame haniwa impressions, Nisaka agrees to go out of pity… Nejima also invites Misaki and she asks for permission to bring her youngest brother, Itsuki. On that day, Nejima dresses up as a lame Freddy Krueger. At least Nisaka looks smoking hot as a vampire while Ririna is almost a sexy cat girl. Suddenly Kizuna (Nejima’s young sister) asks about love because she wants to fall in love. Must be the recent romance drama she watched. But of all times, why now? Why them? Because she saw Nejima smiled when he saw Ririna’s costume. Kizuna also wants to make others smile like that! Now, how to explain love to a little kid. Nisaka tries to and using ‘big words’ like pervert but gets pummelled with more curiosity questions. She even asks him back if he has experienced love and if he is a pervert! I don’t think Kizuna can wait till she is 44 for him to explain! How many times much she sleep and wake up to be 44?! You can’t beat this kid! With Kizuna being so impatient to fall in love, the rest are saved by the doorbell technically. Because Misaki is here and Ririna quickly ushers her to change into this almost sexy witch. Kizuna is still sulking as Misaki asks her reason why she wants to fall in love so badly. Because now it’s the time. She doesn’t want to wait for the official notification. Misaki tries to explain that sometimes love can be sad. But Kizuna thinks you live happily ever after when you fall in love. Can’t argue with that. Soon, Itsuki arrives and instantly Kizuna gets embarrassed and tries to hide. Is this love? Apparently she feels her heart beating fast and it is making her embarrassed. She doesn’t like it. Uhm, so it’s not love? With Misaki encouraging Itsuki to talk to her, Kizuna soon gets acquainted. Ah, first love. This has Nejima ponder the same. Which is it for him? Misaki? Ririna? Or both?

Love In Progress
What is love? Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more… I always want to say that whenever that question is asked… Anyway, the couple of OVAs were a nice little side story to the series. Although it didn’t significantly impact our main characters, it is interesting to see love playing its beautiful role in different ages. Yup, we have old grandparents love that would have literally been till death do us part but apparently that won’t stop grandma from continuing her love once she joins grandpa. Basically eternal love. A love that will go on forever. Then we have Kizuna who is already starting to wonder about love and wanting to experience it at her age. Yeah, love knows no bounds and it worked its magic once more right before our very eyes. What are the chances Kizuna and Itsuki are going to get matched? Unless the government screws up and then we have another version of Koi To Uso that basically repeats itself for Nejima and Misaki. Sibling version.

Those expecting to know something a bit more on that mysterious Igarashi girl would be disappointed because it’s like she doesn’t exist here. Heh. Heck, do we even remember her? You know, that girl who claims to want to protect Misaki for whatever reasons (lesbianism is the only thing I can think of). Her story could also probably shed some light on the notification system since it was her grandma who devised it. But I suppose we don’t want to complicate things and we rather have our lovely side romance for the OVAs. Leave all that technical drama for the next season. Wait. Is there really going to be another season or not?!

Overall, like my usual answer in watching OVAs after a while the TV series has ended, nothing really special as I am guilty for almost forgetting the basic points of series. Thank goodness for my previous blog to refresh things. The only solution that our main characters are going to have a happy ending in love is for the government to approve polygamy! Nejima doesn’t have to fret over which girl to choose and can have them both (like how the ending of the TV series hinted). Misaki and Ririna can now marry him without having one losing out and secretly being depressed and feeling regret for the rest of her life. And yeah, if polygamy is approved, might as well allow same sex marriage with Nisaka joining the fray! It’s love, right?! What do you know about love?! It comes in all forms! Unfortunately, such happy unions are only imaginations and fantasies. To love is to lie. To lie is to love. That’s why status quo is such a good deal right now. How long will it last before you have to choose? Let’s hope not too long, like 44 years…

Ple Ple Pleiades

April 19, 2019

After the third season of Overlord ended and me having some sort of Ains-sama withdrawal syndrome, I went in ‘desperate search’ hoping there would be some sort of sequel. Well unfortunately as of today, not hearing any news of Ains-sama’s recent great exploits. But it did make me stumble into something that somehow slipped my mind all the while. I don’t even know how I missed the short comical specials of Ple Ple Pleiades. I did catch the first season but the subsequent seasons and other wacky specials, they just seem to fall out of my mind. And here I am, somewhat happy to catch these specials and give my Overlord addiction some fix. Hopefully it will be enough to last me till the next season runs. Or at least announced.

OVA
This is supposedly the OVA from the first season. Ains gathers everyone and intends to show them an item in his hand. It looks like a party popper but Yuri seems to fear it. She claims it is an item to destroy the world! Ains assure it isn’t and it is one that will further his relationship with them. Apparently this item, Absolute Excitement – Modified (AE-M) has everyone reveal their true feelings. Like Shalltear becoming a slut, Cocytus a pervert (?!) and the twins becoming more childish. WTF Demiurge adding weird words to his sentences?! Later he summons his Pleiades maids. They are not affected because he was testing the floor guardians. He does hope they act as casual. When Sebas goes to prepare, they wonder if it had affected him and is just holding in his feelings. True enough, Sebas is affected and really wants to burst out dancing but has been holding it in all along. Ains first interviews Shalltear. She is troubled about boob size. Ains says there are fans of those being flat but this only digs his own grave because now Shalltear and Albedo wants to know which he prefers. Can he just say he loves both instead of diverting the topic away? Next, Ains interviews the twins and Cocytus. However Cocytus is feeling too sensitive. He gets shocked when Ains tells him to keep quiet. Hence Entoma scares him with a bug in which the twins burn it while Entoma eats it live! Next interview is with Demiurge and Sebas. Sebas is still holding it in and is trying to find the best time to let it all out naturally. However he blunders all the chances. Even more shocking when Solution becomes fat after trying to eat 10 consecutive humans!

Yuri, Narberal and Lupusregina confront Pandora. Yuri believes AE-M was made by him in which he admits it is. Yuri could tell the difference because when AE-M is popped, a statue of Pandora’s face can be seen. Demiurge eavesdropped on this and now knows the whole story. He wasn’t affected by AE-M and was just acting. Pandora argues the one in hand is only a prototype and not the complete model. For the latter, it includes changing one’s personality entirely and that is hard to do. The prototype just reduces someone’s personality to a simple quality. To tell if it is a prototype or complete item, the latter will reveal a statue of Ains instead. So this means you can’t tell until you open it. Demiurge contacts CZ over the situation of Ains’ interview. Not good. Everything is wrecked. To solve this problem, the toy hammer (?!) is recommended to be knocked on all the heads of the affected. Everyone returns to normal and has no recollection of what happened then. Demiurge makes up a story that Ains was testing the Pleiades maids but Yuri went berserk and threw her head around, destroying the set. Ains feels bad for Yuri taking the blame but at least the case is settled. Just to be safe, Ains knocks the hammer on all those not affected as well on himself.

Season 2

Special 1
Ains and his Nazarick team… They are now a corporate company! Ains is the boss and the rest of the floor guardians are his workers. Some things don’t change with Albedo still talking like as though she wants to bang him… Ains has this similar feeling of being transported to Yggdrassil but no matter what world he is in, his goal has not changed. That is, to build the best company in the world! If only he knew what the company does.

Special 2
Ains doesn’t understand the summary that Albedo gave. He then notices his Pleiades maids are working as his secretaries. Then he sees Lupusregina sleeping. Is she on break? Nope. She is resting. Eh? So what does she do? She attends drinking parties. Best role ever?

Special 3
Summoning his floor guardians for a meeting, they introduce themselves now as floor managers. Ains notices all of them dress the same but they said it was him to dress as they wish. I guess he didn’t remember that. This means Cocytus is stark naked, right? Albedo wants to compete and strip naked too.

Special 4
CZ introduces Ains to Shalltear’s department. Ains remembers Shalltear once got brainwashed and fought against them. Will she do the same here? When he asks, she starts to go into panic mode. Ains tries to calm her down and mentions he was just asking a hypothetical question if she was being headhunted. Shalltear vows her loyalty to him and will even prove it by becoming his chair. Now, sit on her! CZ’s comment: Power harassment…

Special 5
Ains visits the sales department which is now headed by Cocytus. It seems Cocytus has made some error and caused some loss for the company. Hence he will take responsibility and resign! Of course Ains will not accept it and wants him to use this as a lesson for the future. With that, Cocytus gets motivated and will forever follow Ains.

Special 6
Ains is now at the department manned by the dark elf twins. He narrates how Aura is tomboyish while Mare is so feminine. This has Solution think Ains is sexual harassing Mare because of the way he stars at him. Ains changes the subject by talking about this department. Personnel department? What the heck is that? So basically they hire people. So far looks like no one passed their test. Solution comments to hire young and tough people.

Special 7
Ains sees Demiurge efficiently conveying his ideas to his underlings. He praises him for his efficiency but Demiurge refuses such compliments because he is his slave! Ains then wants to know the status of that project. You know, that matter. He lets him handle it. Of course Ains doesn’t have a clue what the heck is going on.

Special 8
What does Victim do? He answers the incessant phone calls of complaints! Yeah, he really lives up to his name in this sense. Yuri explains that thanks to Victim, their company image has been saved many times. But is he the only one for the job? Can others help? Yuri has Ains imagine the other Pleiades maids handle such complaints. Rude, crude and creepy… Yeah… But don’t worry. Sometimes CZ helps out too.

Special 9
Ains realizes he hasn’t visited Gargantua’s department yet. Lupusregina will accompany him but Albedo wants to tag along too. Upon entering this huge empty room, Gargantua is fast asleep. No matter, he doesn’t wake up. So why the heck employ him? So Albedo’s concern in following is because she fears Ains and Lupusregina will be alone all together and do something indecent. Technically with the sleeping golem around, they won’t be alone. But what the heck, the ladies continue to argue…

Special 10
Ains notes Sebas as the head of the Pleiades maids. If that is so, what does this make Albedo then? She manages and handles all the floor departments. I think Ains can think for the rest himself. He asks Sebas’ opinion of Albedo’s emotions. Basically it is love. Sebas surprises Ains by saying he too is in love. With the company. Oh no. Is Sebas going into a long monologue about love?

Special 11
Ains visits the company’s cafeteria. Albedo believes he doesn’t need to eat such food and her bento is more than good enough. It’s made with her love! This only makes Ains want to eat the cafeteria food. Éclair accompanies Ains as he rants about his goals to become the next president. Albedo shuts him up and suggests firing him, turning the penguin into a coward pleading not to be fired. But the cycle repeats again and again…

Special 12
Ains and his floor managers are in a meeting. As Demiurge talks about the acquisition, Ains accidentally blurts out he doesn’t know anything about it. To save his skin, he gives Demiurge a chance to explain on his behalf. Phew. So this isn’t just a mere acquisition but also to have the media side with them. This includes finding scandals and having the public turns against the other company. And the company in question for acquisition is… Re-Estize. Sounds familiar…

Special 13
And so the merger with Re-Estize has been done. Ains realizes running a company isn’t that easy and never thought so as a salaryman. Now that he has experienced it, if he ever returns to his own world, he will be more optimistic. Suddenly Ains returns to Yggdrassil. Was it all a dream? I guess this means back to the usual business of spreading his fame.

Season 3

Special 1
Ains sees his Pleiades maids practising weird lively actions?! It stems from Solution telling them about some great spell casting by Ains. So when he ordered the transition for Pleiades, they too want to introduce some awesome moves. Yeah, somehow it increases the effects of their magic and skills too. Ains isn’t too sure about it but the maids continue to train.

Special 2
Ains remembers Solution saw that moment and hence was awed with it. Since Cocytus and Demiurge was also there when it happened, Ains thinks of closing this case before it spreads. Too bad he hears Shalltear practising her actions. Of course she still has that guilt of being brainwashed. With Shalltear spotting him, she asks for his opinion. Not wanting to disappoint her (since she practised hard day and night), he claims it is good. While posing too.

Special 3
Yeah, Ains is still watching Shalltear’s action. When Aura comes by, Shalltear shows off to her. Cool. But one thing, though. Did she copy from Pandora? This has Shalltear blowing her top and raging. Ains signals to Aura to calm her down so she admits her mistake and praises how cool her moves her. With Shalltear feeling happy, she decides to show the rest of Nazarick. Damn. Ains’ request for Aura: Pretend she didn’t see all this.

Special 4
Now Albedo’s underlings are doing such actions. Albedo doesn’t approve of this because nobody understands Ains’ ideas so this level of acting is just ridiculous. I think Albedo wants to spread her actions that she thinks are superior… Ains is willing to explain this and it the truth supposedly stems from Pandora impersonating on his behalf. However he could never get to explain as Albedo continues to rant her love for Ains and then rushes off to tell this to everyone.

Special 5
Safe to say that the weird action has spread all around Nazarick. However Éclair believes that such actions mean that everyone is worshipping him! He thinks the time for him has come to be the leader of Nazarick. Ains narrates that many in Nazarick hates Éclair because of his behaviour. But given the situation, does it mean they like him now? So when he asks the Pleiades maids about this, they without batting an eyelid say they still hate this irritating motherf*cker.

Special 6
Ains calls Sebas and Solution to put an end to this. Though, Solution is still making those weird actions while speaking that it’s annoying. All for the sake of improving magic and skill! But what about Sebas? He doesn’t seem to be trending like them. Actually he has put a lot of thought in it and thinks it is wonderful (oh no). He wants to try it but cannot make up his mind (oh no). With Solution cheering him on, Sebas goes full retard in his action and in sync with Solution.

Special 7
Ains sees Mare practising but he is having a hard time. Apparently he saw everyone doing it and wants to do too but can’t seem to nail it right. Ains doesn’t want him to push himself but on the contrary Mare believes the actions originated from him and must do it in order not to disgrace Ains. Here we go. Still as lame as before… Is it just painful to watch?

Special 8
Ains needs to go somewhere peaceful away from the madness. But at the coliseum, he sees Hamusuke trying to teach a Death Knight the action. Hamusuke demonstrates but it turns out to be more like martial arts moves. Then the Death Knight tries out, which is quite cool in Ains’ opinion.

Special 9
It must be weird for Cocytus to try out those actions because of his warrior status. Ains manages to explain the truth about this originating from Pandora. Because do you think as Nazarick’s ruler, would he ever do such weird actions? Cocytus sees the point but further misinterprets that Ains would have done it even way cooler! He praises a cool move Ains did and believes Ains taught Pandora all about it. Well, Ains feel he could go along with this…

Special 10
Time to confront the source of all this. Ains sees Pandora and blames him on the recent Nazarick craze. However Pandora is unsure what he is talking about. Those weird actions he is talking about, Pandora doesn’t think they’re weird. Because every action he made is cool! Hence when he impersonated as Ains, he believes he has become his perfect substitute and acted accordingly. Every. Singly. Pose. Ains is in disbelief if he himself does all that. Does he?

Special 11
Ains wants a solution to stop this craze. Hence Pandora suggests using this, uhm, toy hammer? Yeah, just knock it over one’s head and it will stabilizes the mind. Hence Ains uses it first on Pandora! Wham! However Pandora acts even more dramatically. Is this how he acts normally?!

Special 12
Ains calls CZ and Entoma for an important mission to stop this craze. They are to set traps all around Nazarick and lure them into it. Once they are trapped, use this hammer to turn them back to normal. Because they might face difficulties in capturing floor guardians, he will give them some useful tool. However they claim there is an easier way. Summon everyone here and whack it to them. They’re sure everyone will accept it. No need for all those roundabout traps. Hmm… Good idea. Ains gives time for everyone to gather in the throne room. When it’s time to move in, guess what he sees? A big massive action contest!!!

Special 13
Ains has everyone line up and start whacking them on their head. Phew. Now everything is back to normal. Demiurge who was away on a long mission and the only one not affected by the craze, returns. He sees what is happening and could tell it all stems from misinterpreting Pandora’s impersonation. However he goes on to add that this is only to be expected to those who have worshipped Ains greatly after thinking and acting independently. After all, Ains always told them to think and act for themselves. Yeah, whatever Demiurge says. Ains once again takes all credit with Demiurge predicting this would all happen from the start. Let’s leave it at that. Ains promises to act in a more imposing and dignified manner from now on. Pandora wants to take a little credit that it’s all thanks to him but Ains shuts him up before any more trouble could stir up.

Theatrical Version

Special 1
Hamusuke in love?! So the hamster’s telling to the Pleiades maids because she wants their advice on how to snag the love of her life? The maids don’t really care but they have not picked up any strange creatures and any other similar hamsters all over Nazarick. Could it be just her imagination? Not if Hamusuke says it’s real. Too bad, it’s not like the maids have any experience in love. But they still try to help Hamusuke out as they go seek Albedo’s advice. But she is enraged thinking that beast has stepped over her line to fall in love. Until she is told that it isn’t Ains that the hamster has fallen in love with that Albedo is all for Hamusuke’s love. She suggests setting traps around Ains’ room since that was where the creature was spot. Then they go seek Ains’ permission to do so and Ains realizes somebody has seen it. Flashback shows he told Pandora to mimic Hamusuke. Was it because he wants to pet a hamster? Pandora felt good and wanted more but Ains kicked him out. It is then Hamusuke saw this. Hence Ains gives permission for the traps to be set. Then he goes to see Pandora and wants him to turn into Hamusuke and come to his room. But Pandora wonders why go through all this trouble when he can just order Hamusuke to give up. As a supreme being, he must be sincere to the promise he made to all of them no matter how trivial. Since he did initially promise Hamusuke to help find, he must follow through and cannot give up while the whole of Nazarick is watching. When Ains shows Hamusuke her ‘love’, Hamusuke has lost interest and is now interested in one of the Death Knights as a friend. Albedo explains that Hamusuke was merely going through a phase and was in heat. Yeah, Albedo toyed with all of them.

Special 2
Pandora thinks everyone hates him. Damn right. He seeks Ains’ advice. Ains says he might think he is cool but others might not. If he wants to be loved, he must put in the effort too. How? Why not be a cat? Try becoming something cute and making contact with others just to see what it’s like. And now Pandora is a cute little furry feline. Please stop with the weird poses if you want to really act like a cat. Hence Ains tells him not to give away his identity as part of this ‘mission’. Pandora is put under CZ’s care. But the rest of the Pleiades maids aren’t really fond of this living thing. Too weak, not edible and just looking weird. Ironically CZ spends time with it and even calls it Kinkan (brass pipe). Meal time, she feeds it some meat. Cockroaches… Sorry, have to decline. What about this cat food? Okay. Ate the whole can too. I guess it was worth it to see her eke out a little smile. When Ains summons Pandora about a missing item in the treasury, Pandora can’t come now since CZ has got a little too attached. So being a cat, Pandora slips out and runs towards Ains’ room. The maids give chase but they notice the cat is going to step on a trap left behind to catch Hamusuke’s love. Yeah, the trap that kinda overkills when activate. Thus the maids cooperate to save the cat and diffuse the trap. Ains praises their efficiency and asks CZ if she would take care of this cat as a pet. She declines. Because they are his protectors and have no time for pets. Ains will leave this cat in Carne then. With this episode over, Ains hopes Pandora understands what it means to be loved. Next time when Pandora sees CZ, she still treats him with disgust. Oh well. Nothing’s changed, really.

Clementine Toubou-hen

Special 1
Oh yeah. Clementine has somehow been resurrected for this little special. She laments that despite being one of the strongest warriors of the Black Scripture, she now finds herself as a fugitive running away from them. I guess failure wasn’t really an option. She is tired so she hits town and starts drinking at the bar. Meanwhile, Yuri and Lupusregina are on a mission to find more info when they stumble into her. They want to sit and drink with her and it’s not like Clementine (going under the alias of Claire) has any reason to reject them. They don’t look like pursuers from Black Scriptures so she thinks she can deal with them. At times she just wished she could just kill them. But that’s all in the past. As they drink, it soon turns into a drinking challenge between Clementine and Lupusregina. I think the way they guzzle the alcohol, the town’s going to turn into a desert. As the competition continues, it soon turns into mocking Yuri as a tomboy. Yuri got so embarrassed that she pushes them into the barrels. What a wreck. And so is Clementine. I guess the drinking is over. Hey, at least Clementine didn’t die from that, right? The duo return to the other Pleiades maids to report and it is obvious that they did not gather whatsoever info at all. Just loads of heavy drinking.

Special 2
Clementine is having a bad hangover for the last 2 days. Meanwhile Solution and Entoma are now out in town to gather info and they enter this same bar. At the same time, Clementine passes by here too and has this familiar feeling she has been here before. But screw that. Time to go drinking! As expected, both sides’ eyes met. The maids think she is good source for info but Clementine has a bad feeling about them. They aren’t normal people. But screw that. Just join them drinking! Flashback shows Ains needed somebody to gather info on martial arts. Because his floor guardians are busy with their designated task, Lupusregina suggested the Pleiades maids for the job. Although she is assigned to protect Carne Village, she further suggests taking turns. But with the maids away, who will serve Ains? I see Albedo is waiting for this chance to work in place of the maids… So back to the drinking, Clementine definitely knows these are dangerous people. Suddenly bugs swarm the place. Of course it is Entoma’s doing as Clementine crazily tries to dodge all of them. To solve this, they have to leave but not before erasing everyone’s memories. In the end when they report back to the other Pleiades maids, I suppose a girl who is fast in dodging fast isn’t the kind of info they’re looking for. Yup, no info gathered whatsoever.

Special 3
Clementine wonders why her body is so beat up. She heads to that familiar bar and wonders why it is partly demolished. The hysterical owner should give her a hint but she needs to stock up and leave the kingdom. Narberal and CZ have the same thinking. Yup, the bar is the best place to get info. Then she sees Narberal coming in. Holy sh*t! Hide! Then she remembers the other Pleiades maids. That same uniform. Could it be they are trying to gather info if she is still alive? CZ surprises her. Desperate Clementine makes a deal with her to get her out of here in exchange for anything. At the same time, Momon summons Narberal as there is trouble. With Narberal gone, Clementine is puzzled over her disappearance. But CZ will make good of her promise and drags Clementine out. Blasting off into the sky! Hang on for the ride! It’s a good thing she didn’t die. Just more trauma. CZ wants to know about martial arts so Clementine just tells her whatever she needs. Clementine is on the verge of going crazy of the ‘monsters’ she met. Then she sees in the distance Momon using his raw strength to throw away a huge boulder blocking the path. It’s official. Clementine has gone crazy. Momon and Narberal are on their way back when they see Clementine sitting prettily on a rock. Is she stoned? They don’t recognize her and have never seen someone with such a pure face. How are the flowers, Clementine? Finally CZ returns with some important info on martial arts.

Play! Play! Play-A-Desu!
Yeah, it was definitely a fun ride indeed. Despite not having the awesome and epic feel as the TV series itself, but this as a standalone spinoff is suffice. Can’t complain much. After all, Ains is just a background character and his Pleiades maids are the ones taking the limelight since they didn’t really make much impact in the subsequent seasons. Maybe except for Lupusregina who had a decent shot of screen time as guardian of Carne. But others like CZ were sorely missed and it’s nice to see her getting a bit more focus here albeit not much.

The irony of the monsters of Nazarick as scary and ferocious beings, seeing this other side of theirs sometimes makes you think if they are so at all. Sure, they lack the understanding and the empathy for humans but if the people from the outside get to see them behind the scenes like this, I’m sure they’ll have second thoughts. But then again, because they are as powerful as they are in battle, you might think twice to mess with them. These shorts may portray them as in a light and fun manner but it is twisted in its own wicked way that you wouldn’t want to be part of this huge dysfunctional family.

Watching these shorts was the first time that I realized that Hamusuke was actually female! I always thought that this giant hamster was always male, given that kind of name he was given by Ains since ‘suke’ is usually a male suffix. But then again, this is Nazarick we are talking about and that human norms do not apply. Pandora also seemingly does have more screen time here than the TV series proper and as he is the only creature created by Ains, he is one of the very few creatures in Nazarick that doesn’t follow him blindly. In the sense that you can see Pandora in disbelief when Ains gives his opinion that contradicts his. It’s like Pandora is a little hesitant to just accept it at first but eventually does so because ultimately he is still loyal to Ains.

Sometimes Ains as the great ruler of Nazarick has some sort of relatable connotations to real life people in high positions who don’t know anything. Yup, that company running spoof feels very close to all that. Ains may be powerful and can do anything but yet he doesn’t actually know what is going on. Hence always relying on Demiurge to rescue him from awkward situations by explaining on his behalf. And because everyone is so blinded to his greatness, they accept it all without question. But I suppose it is partly because of this blind loyalty that puts Ains in such precarious position. It is a good thing that everything eventually works out fine and Ains’ reputation is elevated to unprecedented levels. Boy, maintaining that kind of respect is sure tough.

While Clementine’s spinoff story is fun in its own little way, I can’t help feel a little disappointed because reading from the cool synopsis, I was expecting her to really be chased down by various pursuers. Especially that poorly animated CGI goblins that were sent to hunt her down. Boy, that sounded like fun. A lot of fun. I was expecting to see Clementine getting out from one trap to another barely by the skin of her teeth but all we get is her unknowingly in the company of the Pleiades maids in search of martial arts info. It feels very watered down. And in the end, not too sure if we feel any sympathy for this He-man’s hairstyle rip-off girl because she has become so weak that by living, it is some sort of torture that is far worse than death. No more bloodthirsty killings. Just a pure innocent girl. Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine…

Also fun to hear are the opening and ending themes. They’re nothing new but sung in a different way. For example the first season’s OVA, although Clattanoia is used, it was really hilarious to hear the Pleiades sing and voicing over the lyrics. And for those who know the signature line and tune of the chorus, it was cleverly and amusingly replaced with Ains’ flabbergasted gobsmacking surprise. If you think that was funny, wait till you hear the ending theme. They still used L.L.L. but with all the Pleiades maid taking turns singing their lines in a very flat, monotonous and cacophonous fashion, damn this song is just so f*cking epic and hilarious!!! All hail the Pleiades maids! They can win American Idol with this masterpiece! For Clementine’s story, Party Out by OxT is a fun and lively rock piece opener and the same can be said for its ending theme, Daily-Go-Round also by OxT. There is also the retro pixel game midi style for the Theatrical Version’s ending theme, Crazy Scary Holy Fantasy – Chiptune Version doesn’t sound all too shabby either.

Overall, these shorts do cheer me up a little since the third season of the TV series ended. Who knows if there would be a fourth season in the future. If I see today’s trend in anime sequels, perhaps in like 5 years they may do the next season. Uh huh. With time making you forget all that has happened, suddenly they announced a sequel and hit you with nostalgia and hype. Looking at you animes, To Aru Majutsu No Index season 3, To Aru Kagatsu No Railgun season 3, Chihayafuru season 3, Date A Live season 3, Yama No Susume season 3 (WTF is all these third season pattern?!) and even Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen. World domination would be so easy for Ains and he could just obtain it with the snap of his fingers. The problem is maintaining control over his varied Nazarick servants. Maybe a hotspring special training camp arc for the next Pleiades feature.

SSSS.Gridman

April 14, 2019

Initially I was planning to watch Darling In The Franxx seeing that it was that time again I felt I should watch a mecha anime. Mecha series by Trigger aren’t so bad, right? At least I watched Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann a long time ago although this was by their former studio, Gainax. But after reading mixed reviews of it, I had second thoughts. Then I read how SSSS.Gridman was better and more fun and thus I followed my guts to watch it. Here I am. So technically this isn’t a mecha series and a tokusatsu one. Yeah, I do had my fair share of watching the tokusatsu series in my younger days like the Ultraman series. I believe watching this one would bring back some of those nostalgic memories. But SSSS.Gridman isn’t an original tokusatsu series by Trigger. At least this is their take of the Gridman series from the early 90’s. Joint collaboration with Tsuburaya Productions who created the Ultra Series and of course Gridman being one of the many creations of it. And so I’m hoping to see some awesome giant hero vs giant monster action to relive those old days…

Episode 1
How conveniently cliché. Yuuta Hibiki is amnesiac. He knows and remembers nothing. Until this Gridman guy calls him. This Hyper Agent wants Yuuta to remember his calling. However only Yuuta can see Gridman on the computer screen and it is just a blank screen for Rikka Takarada. Reluctant Rikka is tasked by her mom to bring Yuuta to a hospital and then send him home. They are classmates but for some reason Yuuta collapsed in front of their store and didn’t wake up when they tried to. Yuuta also sees a giant scenery kaiju but it looks like only he can see it. From his handphone, Rikka is able to locate his address. Another cliché of Yuuta living alone and his parents are conveniently away on a business trip. Next day, his friend, Shou Utsumi pick him up and head to school. Of course, no recollection of who he is. No harm starting over as friends. Rikka’s friends tease her she now has a boyfriend. Because Yuuta had so much on his mind on what happened (oh, the irony), Akane Shinjou gives her special bread as his lunch. Utsumi warns Yuuta that gesture was just out of pity rather than anything nice since Akane is the most likeable girl ever in school. So he is saying he has a crush on her? Utsumi wants to see this Gridman he is talking about so they head back to the store. Gridman repeats his lines and only Yuuta can see him. Rikka thinks of sending him back to the hospital when Yuuta feels something strange. Something bad is going to happen. Suddenly a kaiju pops up and starts destroying everything! Cars flying, buildings on fire. Yeah, one of the fireballs hit school! Hearing Gridman’s voice of the need to combine, Yuuta gets sucked into Junk (the computer). Now he materializes as a giant Gridman and battles the kaiju. Too bad he runs out of energy fast! Utsumi notices Yuuta’s voice can be heard from Junk. He also realizes the kaiju’s weakness on the neck. Rikka thinks the only way to communicate is to type into Junk. Yuuta receives the message and decapitates the kaiju before destroying it with his beam. Once over, Yuuta is purged from Junk but Gridman says this is only the beginning and there are many more to come. Utsumi is thrilled they saved the city and should form an alliance but for Rikka, she can only take so much for today. Next day, the trio are shocked that the school is back to normal. Like it was never destroyed in the first place.

Episode 2
Nobody remembers about the kaiju or Gridman. Like as though everything is reset. Almost. The trio notice some of their friends are missing. Akane seems interested about this Gridman that Yuuta is talking about but he only can say what he knows. Akane returns to her home where it is filled with rubbish and cabinets of tokusatsu models. It looks like she is conspiring with Alexis Kerib to materialize the kaiju. When the trio are before Junk again, this time this weird man, Samurai Calibur walks in to optimize Junk. Now Utsumi and Rikka can see and hear Gridman! Now they go around asking the families of their missing classmates but it seems all of them have died some time ago. Rikka feels depressed because she doesn’t want to lose friends this way and be the only one who remembers them. Akane finishes another kaiju and with Alexis materializing it, she decides to kill her homeroom teacher because today he bumped into her and did not apologize. And yeah, lots of destruction and casualties just to smoke out one guy. Our heroes return to Gridman as he tells Yuuta he only exists in energy form in this world. So unless Yuuta accepts him, he cannot fight. Hence Gridman gives his Primal Accepter so Yuuta could call forth and combine with him. Gridman fights the kaiju but looks like the beam isn’t working this time and reflects back. Damn, is Gridman this weak and is low on power? Are we out of options? Not if Calibur can help. It seems he doesn’t turn into another Gridman but rather a giant sword for Gridman to use. With that, Gridman slashes the kaiju in half. The day is saved and Akane is not pleased Gridman ‘cheated’. Rikka is glad her friends are still alive and goes to meet them. Yuuta feels sad he couldn’t save some people but as Calibur puts it, had he not step in, more would have died. He must continue what he is doing. Next day, looks like everything is reset once more. At least the homeroom teacher is still alive and this time he is politer.

Episode 3
Akane seems to be making a deal with a petite kid, Anti. Utsumi tells Yuuta his theory that if Calibur could transform into a sword, could it be that humans can transform into kaiju? This makes Yuuta feel guilty but no time for that since a kaiju is detected. Akane has given the signal to Anti transform into a kaiju to lure out Gridman. So as Yuuta combines with Gridman to fight, he realizes this kaiju can talk. Further making him guilty that kaiju is indeed a human. Now that he can’t fight, he gets pummelled. Even when Calibur comes to assist, the kaiju is faster and stronger. Oh no. Junk turns off and Yuuta and Calibur didn’t come back. Are they dead? Rikka and Utsumi fall into depression, causing some tension in between. Meanwhile happy Akane treats Anti to food and notes what Utsumi said about kaiju being human. If he only knew that kaiju had no true form. As Rikka and Utsumi continue to sulk, a bunch of Calibur’s weird friends enter. They say Calibur and Gridman aren’t dead. What about Yuuta? Why don’t they call him themselves? Guess what? He picks up his phone! But he is unsure where he is. As Calibur explains, they are just waiting for the kaiju to pop up to fight again. So far still waiting… So this waiting game is called off as Calibur returns to reality. Gridman returns to lure out the kaiju. Akane is not amused Gridman is alive and has Anti transform again. Another fight on the cards and this time Gridman is able to confirm this kaiju is purely a kaiju and its goal is to destroy Gridman. Now he can fight with clear conscience. This time Gridman is assisted by Battle Tracto Max, a battle tank who can also combine to become Gridman’s huge power arms! Gridman matches the kaiju’s speed and strength. I believe it is Gridman’s victory even if the kaiju isn’t destroyed. Because it ran out of power and reverted back to Anti. Akane is glad with Yuuta’s return. Gridman introduces Yuuta to his allies, Neon Genesis Junior High Students. Together with Calibur, Max, Buster Borr and Sky “Vit” Vitter will be helping him fight alongside Gridman. Now that the tables are turned, Akane is displeased with Anti and throws food at him.

Episode 4
Akane suspects Yuuta to be Gridman but has no conclusive proof. So she tries to get close to Rikka. Rikka’s friends, Namiko and Hass seem to have hooked themselves up with a group date with some popular online boys known as Arcadia. They invite Rikka to join and since Akane wants in, I guess it’s perfect. You bet Yuuta and Utsumi aren’t thrilled about hearing this. What else to do? Tail them in secret! At the karaoke, one of the guys was unknowingly rude to Akane so she made an excuse that she needed to leave. With that, I guess Utsumi calls off the ‘stalking’. But it’s not for Yuuta. He is worried seeing Rikka getting along fine with one of the boys. Heck, even Max comes to talk to him and asks him if he likes Rikka (which he somewhat confesses. Maybe) since it is so frustrating to watch them. Anti still hangs out outside Akane’s place. She isn’t amused but offers him a chance to kill Arcadia. However Anti can’t do that as his mission is only to defeat Gridman. Akane ignores him. Something then happens to 3 of the Arcadia boys. When Rikka meets up with her friends, she knows something is wrong as the sole Arcadia boy and like everyone else believes there is only a member in this group. Rikka then goes to meet him and is now certain when he is being targeted when a strange fog envelops. And then… Tentacle attack from a kaiju! If not for Calibur saving them, they could’ve been goners. Calibur relays this back to his comrades and Gridman is shocked that there is a kaiju he cannot detect. Oh well, time to fight. However with Anti in the picture, the monsters fight each other for the right to fight Gridman. This has Neon Genesis all jumping into Junk to help. But wait. This old PC can’t handle the power and starts to ‘freeze’! How to solve? Rikka unplugs to restart it and even kicks it! It works! Old fashioned urban legend works! With all of them coming back to reality, looks like Yuuta only brings Max into the fight. After Gridman defeats the kaiju, too bad Anti ran out of power when it’s his turn. Good thing. Because Gridman too. In the aftermath, Yuuta manages to summon his courage to ask Rikka to grab some food together. Score? Well… She calls her friends to join in. So close… But Rikka has thoughts about kaiju appearing near her. Could she be the reason?

Episode 5
A class field trip to the mountains. Such lucky kids because they’re going rafting! During the break, Akane talks to Yuuta. Indirectly she asks about his transformation and although he doesn’t understand what she means, his reaction basically confirms that he is Gridman. With that, Akane calls Alexis to unleash the kaiju. It’s the biggest kaiju ever because the entire mountain becomes one! Of course Yuuta cannot combine with Gridman unless he enters Junk. Instead of evacuating with the rest, Yuuta and co run towards the train station. Luckily along the way there is a public phone. Luckily Utsumi got money. Luckily Rikka knows her shop’s number (yeah, damn phones these days can’t make us remember numbers anymore). Yuuta calls Max to bring Junk over. So they purchase it from Rikka’s mom (do they have enough money?) and bring the entire thing on train! I guess the station master must be kind enough to let them plug in for electricity. Meanwhile Akane is lost as she is puzzled Gridman hasn’t appeared for the longest time. Anti finds her and brings her back. When Yuuta reunites with Neon Genesis, it’s Gridman time. Finally he shows up and Anti too abandons Akane to go fight him. This time no falling out between the kaiju as they relentlessly attack Gridman. Gridman has assistance from Borr who is a driller with missiles. Eventually they destroy the big kaiju with some ultimate beam missile attack and the earth all came crushing down on Anti. In the aftermath as they go back, Max ponders why the kaiju only appears around Yuuta. Hmm…

Episode 6
Yuuta continues to ponder Akane’s words. Because everyone has already forgotten about the field trip, he wonders if Akane is not affected by the reset. Meanwhile Anti is still hanging out at Akane’s place, awaiting for her orders. She tells him to go kill Yuuta. Kill him and there will be no more Gridman. You mean he believes her just like that?! Too bad Rikka finds Anti foraging for food and takes pity on him. Not only she feeds him but takes him back to her place to bath him. WTF?! Akane on the other hand sees Utsumi and talks to him about being a fan of the kaiju. They hit off but her goal is to ask if Yuuta is hiding something. Eventually Utsumi replies Yuuta is Yuuta. He can’t tell her on the grounds he doesn’t want to get her involved. Elsewhere, Yuuta meets a strange girl who claims she is a kaiju. She wants him to ‘date’ her and the treats are on her. As they take a train out of the city, she tells him nothing exists outside of the city. When the train reaches the boundary, Yuuta falls asleep. Only her music has him regain his consciousness. She reveals that Akane is the one who is making the kaiju, destroying and fixing the city over and over again. This is to suit her liking and all those killed are those she didn’t like. While making all the kaiju, her heart and the city have become like a kaiju. Hence Akane is like God and her twisted heart allows her to be manipulated by somebody else. If Akane is making kaiju, why is this girl against her? She is not made out of Akane and is the original kaiju that existed long before this. She is telling him all this as thanks since her predecessors owe him a lot. Yeah, thank his amnesia for not recalling all that. As Yuuta makes his way home, Anti attacks him but Max and Calibur protect him. They reason there is no Gridman here and just a normal human. Anti gives up and leaves. Yuuta recognizes him as the talking kaiju as Max suggests reporting this to Gridman. Failed Anti returns to Akane. He should know the mistreatment he is going to get for failure.

Episode 7
Yuuta tells his friends about what the kaiju girl said but they find it hard to believe. In school, Anti attacks Yuuta directly but is told that Gridman will not appear if there is no kaiju. Anti leaves but hatches an idea. Yuuta then asks Gridman about the kaiju girl but he too doesn’t recall anything about her. Yuuta’s only option is to ask Akane directly. Oh, she’s waiting for him in his room! Since he knows her secret, this makes it easier for her to explain. She wants him to join her and they can do whatever they want as God. He rejects because he cannot betray his friends. He is appalled to hear the reasons she killed off people and then rebuild the city. When he asks how she makes those kaiju, she then calls Alexis to meet up. He mentions how Akane designs the monsters and he only brings them to life. Yuuta’s Primal Acceptor resonates, indicating a kaiju but Akane brushes it off she didn’t make any for today. Then how do you explain this UFO flying outside?! Yuuta returns to Gridman to fight. But it seems the UFO can regenerate and its attack and speed faster than before. Akane returns home only to learn this UFO was made by Anti. It is possible because his hatred for Gridman is even greater than hers. With Gridman having a hard time with the UFO, Vit lends his assistance as he is a jet. With aerial capabilities, Gridman finds the monster controlling the UFOs in the clouds and Anti is with it. They soon fight but our friends soon learn what Yuuta said is true because they see a flying city. Gridman easily defeats the kaiju and Anti. Alexis now believes Anti isn’t strong enough like Akane to create true kaiju. He is going to discipline that kid. So when that failure is rummaging for food, Alexis attacks him and blinds an eye.

Episode 8
Not sure why Neon Genesis is discussing with Yuuta and co about the floating city and aliens (Alexis) at school. They’re sure attracting attention and have to put this off to another time. When they confront Akane, since they know she is the source of the kaiju, this makes it easier for her to explain her plan. She is going to unleash one during the cultural festival and shows them the upgraded kaiju she made. Back at their base, they discuss about this as well as Gridman maximising his power if he reduces his size. This way, all of Neon Genesis can participate and doesn’t use up much power. However Rikka is against the idea of fighting her friend. Postponing the festival or even telling Akane nicely not to do it seem unlikely. Utsumi hits Rikka’s nerve when he says she uses her emotions to think. So the guys go talk to Akane directly but she refuses to back down. She claims she hates the festival and believes to guys too share the same sentiments. Meanwhile injured Anti stumbles into Rikka’s mom’s shop. Borr is suspicious but Calibur allows mom to feed him and then let him leave without saying a word of thanks. All this just to get his contacts? Akane and Rikka talk. The former confirming killing others. When Rikka doesn’t accept her ways, Akane dares her to kill her then. She can’t. There is no way anything Akane does will make Rikka hate her. She designed her that way. Akane tries to tempt her to join her side but Rikka refuses. Rikka then talks to Yuuta about her failed talk with Akane. She thinks of apologizing to Utsumi first because he wouldn’t expect that. This gives Yuuta an idea. On the day of the festival, Gridman pops up first. With the people in disarray, they evacuate and this reduces the casualties. Furious Akane releases the kaiju. Gridman is half his size but is able to combine with all Neon Genesis to become one might mecha and kick ass! In the aftermath, Utsumi and Akane apologize to each other. Akane didn’t come to school, citing she isn’t well but her words still resonate with Rikka. For the rest of the afternoon, the festival went on well without a hitch.

Episode 9
Is this a restart? Yuuta having amnesia again. But this time Rikka is replaced with Akane. This time she claims they are dating. Meanwhile Utsumi is thrilled with Akane being a kaiju fan and they go to kaiju conventions to buy kaiju stuffs. Also, Rikka is very good friends with Akane. Of course as you might have guessed, it is all a dream. Our young ones are in a deep hypnotic sleep. Anti is mad there is a kaiju but Gridman hasn’t showed up. He confronts Neon Genesis but is told Gridman is on ‘vacation’. Anti heeds their advice to defeat the kaiju so that Gridman could appear. Thing is, the kaiju is like a ghost. It just passes through everything without making any damage. Hence Anti cannot connect his attacks. At the graveyard, Yuuta after seeing Gridman’s reflection, remembers reality. He will not join her in living in this dream forever because there are some things he must do. Bye. At the same time, Utsumi also realizes this is a dream as his other friends are not around and he is experience streaks of good luck. Bye. Same case for Rikka. She won’t stay forever in this dream of hers. Bye. Akane is left disappointed and sad that she cannot even reach them in their dreams. So Yuuta summons Gridman to defeat the kaiju. But that is just the dream world. In reality, the kaiju materializes and starts destroying. Neon Genesis then combine themselves to form Powered Zenon and take down the kaiju. Anti calls Calibur why Gridman still hasn’t shown up. Because there is no need to. Gridman will not fight Anti since he is a living being with a heart. Anti insists he is still a kaiju. With Yuuta and co waking up, they point out there is still someone who needs to wake up: Akane.

Episode 10
The gang are talking about Akane being God and if so, are their memories also created by her. The best way is to ask her directly but it looks like her home is no more. It’s just an empty space. She must have ran away. So more discussion about memories and if she is the reason why Yuuta lost them and Gridman initially being incomplete. Like as though they were separated before coming here. As Calibur fights Anti, he asks the question of what he will do after defeating Gridman. That stunned look says it all. He never thought that far. A kaiju appears. Gridman and Neon Genesis combine to easily take it out. Of course Anti joins the fray but is easily defeated. Again. It seems the earlier kaiju’s corpse continue to remain and as for why Anti is always spared despite being a kaiju, Gridman says he is alive. Unlike other kaiju who aren’t living things as they are created out from Akane’s malice. Damn technicalities. Akane is depressed of yet another failure. Anti asks why she gave life to him. She claims he isn’t one anymore because kaiju cannot read people’s feelings. She tells him to go somewhere and do something else. Another kaiju bursts out from the earlier kaiju’s corpse. It kills all the other scenery kaiju. When Gridman and Neon Genesis go to tackle it, they get easily overwhelmed by its power, speed, agility and pranks. Like as though it can read their movements. Gridman is going to lose for real when suddenly Anti comes to his defence. Reminding us again his goal is to crush him, Anti then transforms into his own version of Gridman. He knows this kaiju is Akane’s heart. Hence he can read her feelings. Anti uses this to his advantage and defeats the kaiju. The rest realizes Anti’s true form. He is actually Gridknight, one who protects Gridman. At this point Akane has found their base and realizes how Junk works to materialize Gridman. Not even God knows everything. Because she throws away a lot of things that she can’t remember. Then that’s not God, am I right? When Yuuta tries to talk to Akane about being used by Alexis, she stabs him.

Episode 11
Akane then trashes Junk. But the most mind boggling part is how everyone just stood around in shock and let Akane leave slowly. Like, WTF?! With all communications down, they can’t call for an ambulance so they send him to hospital. Thankfully he lives (because main character) as his vitals are missed but in coma. Alexis confronts depressed Akane and wants her to make kaiju but she can’t anymore. Gridman is no more after she stabbed Yuuta. But there is still Gridknight. Even so, she can’t. So Alexis uses previous kaiju models to go on a rampage. Anti pops up at the hospital. Because he is no longer a kaiju, he is here to repay his debts of causing trouble to humanity by fighting the kaiju. Unlike Neon Genesis who can’t help if Gridman isn’t around, Anti can become Gridknight easily. Although he fights the hordes of kaiju, there are still too many. Neon Genesis then returns to fix Junk. Yuuta dreams of Gridman. In short, Yuuta is actually Gridman. When he wakes up, he tells Utsumi the truth of why he has no memories. He is Gridman inhabiting Yuuta’s body. Until Gridman is gone, the original Yuuta will wake up. He understands why Akane had to stab him since she was driven to a corner in a world she made. That’s why there is only something he must do. Yuuta returns to Junk and with Neon Genesis by his side, Gridman returns to aid Gridknight dispose all of the kaiju. Rikka finally finds Akane but is told to go back to her friends since this doesn’t involve her. Rikka snaps back it does. Aren’t they already friends? Conversation interrupted when Alexis needs Akane’s kaiju. She still insists she can’t make them but he corrects her that he is fine with her becoming one. Instance abreaction!

Episode 12
With Akane the kaiju running rampant, Yuuta tells Anti to take care of her because he has something to do first. Alexis mocks Rikka for thinking that she is Akane’s friend. A creation of God who thinks she is God’s friend? How sad. Alexis claims Akane did not change and she was like this from the start. Because nothing changed, that’s why everything is so great. Rikka vows to change Akane. Good timing as Yuuta is here to pick her up. Then it’s off to pick Utsumi who feels useless as a normal kid who did nothing. Story can’t move if he keeps sulking so let’s go. Anti manages to dive deep into the kaiju to pluck Akane out. But he is promptly disposed off by Alexis. They’re so busy talking that they didn’t notice him creeping up? Alexis then combines with Akane to become a kaiju. Since she still has all that hatred, this gives Alexis the power. Back at base, all of Neon Genesis get their own Primal Acceptor. This allows them to combine with Gridman and transform into their ultimate true form, which is the original Gridman design. It might look like Gridman easily beating up Alexis but it seems he can regenerate. All thanks to the being empty and hence infinite. Alexis explains there was nothing here but providing kaiju to Akane allowed her to create and destroy and ideal city. Because there are some irregular factors beyond her control, the reason she needed kaiju to do so. Hence Alexis wants to make that wish come true by doing that over and over again. When Gridman is on the verge of defeat, he bounces back with Fixer Beam! Apparently this beam supposedly fixes Akane’s heart. But its true power comes from humans because you know, the power of mortals and being finite. That’s how you defeat something immortal! With that, the city and everything returns to normal. Akane is still having doubts about leaving but with the voice of her friends have her come out of the darkest recess of her heart. In the aftermath, Akane and Rikka talk. Akane wants to leave town because she has done unforgivable things. She admits she is a coward and is weak. Rikka gives her a parting gift and hopes wherever she goes, she will leave an impression. She is after all their God. And in a blink of an eye, Akane disappears. Now it is time to say goodbye to Gridman and Neon Genesis since they too will be leaving for home after sealing up Alexis. Some words of gratitude and hope before our heroes fly for home. Utsumi and Rikka wait for the original Yuuta to wake up. Meanwhile Anti is saved by the kaiju girl. Because he has repaid his debts, he is now like one of them and her family before. Last scene sees Akane wake up from bed into real life. I mean, real 3D footage!

Bakemonogatari: Greatman!
So Akane wakes back up and returns to reality? Everything in this world we have seen was just part of her dream? I have to say that I somewhat understand her because there were times that we just want to run away from the real world and create our own world and live in that idealistic and perfect fantasy world that we live in. Assuming this was all just a dream and in her head, the basic rule of thumb for every dream is that it will eventually end and you will have to wake up. Oh well. I suppose if the world Akane crafted isn’t working out the way she wants to, might as well return to crappy reality where a lot more things are out of her own control. What happens to the world that Akane has left behind? Probably doing fine on their own as long as Akane is also doing fine.

The story isn’t anything exciting but it isn’t all that boring either. There is this mixed feeling of both. Because aside the action bits, there is a lot of drama in between. The mystery of who Yuuta actually is, the goal of Akane, what the heck is Alexis and his goal as well as the curious nature and setting of the town itself are all intriguing questions to keep you wondering but eventually when you think about the overall story at the end, there isn’t nothing much to it to tell actually. Basically the power of humanity and the finite saving the day because when you have something so limited, it gives off more value. Yeah, that limited edition thingy that is out of production must be worth a lot, right?

The same can be said for most of the characters. Because in between the tokusatsu action, there seems to be some sort of, uhm, draggy drama between the friends. It isn’t like Yuuta’s group of friends are the most exciting and happening group ever. It feels like a strange group of bedfellows only coming together because of the loose relation they are to Gridman. I mean, nobody else in this town retain their memories after the reset. So it only make sense that these people stick together. Otherwise, Yuuta being the main character as well as being Gridman himself doesn’t sound really exciting. I mean, I had the gist that he is Gridman in the earlier episodes because otherwise how to explain his convenient amnesia. Then you have Utsumi who is just more of an Ultra series and kaiju maniac and Rikka just being a normal girl and possibly stirring up some romantic interest but (thankfully) never materialized. She just ended up being somewhat friends with Akane, that’s all. I suppose that is important enough for Akane to move on. As cliché as it is, Rikka has a couple of friends who aren’t important to the plot. But I keep wondering if Hass has some sort of chuunibyou or eternally sick since she has the sick mask always on. Unless this gives her some sort of character that we don’t really care.

But they aren’t as bad as Neon Genesis whom I feel are like as useful as the accessories role they are meant to be. Because seeing the big masked guy, the serious guy with swords, the bratty violent little girl (who loves kicking Utsumi’s shins) and the uhm, normal guy hang out and bumming around at Rikka’s mom’s place makes them feel that they aren’t of any use. Unless Gridman goes into action, only then they can flesh out their role as weapon-cum-vehicle-cum-accessories to aid Gridman. Other than that, they’re like just hanging around and if Rikka’s mom wasn’t this laidback and if I was her, I should be asking them if they really have anything else better to do like get a part time job instead of waiting for kaiju to show up and then transform.

Then there is Akane as the supposed villainess but she is just a lost girl. Despite we are told that she is playing God and the God of this world she creates, it feels she isn’t any close to the omnipotent and omniscient as the Almighty. Perhaps what she wants is just a nice little world to be with her friends. But it keeps backfiring since they don’t usually go her way. Ironically she cannot bend them to her will, the way she wants them and this causes her to sink further into depression. Akane’s case of wanting to play safe and stay in a dream is one of those debatable subjects because if the real world and reality sucks so hard, shouldn’t this be a lot better? Unfortunately for the sake of a better story, ‘good guys’ will usually have the mentality that it is much better to suffer in reality and take on all the pain because it proves we are alive, blah, blah, blah. Rather than stay in the comfort zone of the dream forever. Yeah, like WTF. You representing all of humanity now? Can Akane just stay happy in her own dream? If she doesn’t have this what else will she have? Oh right. Her friends. Damn clichés.

Anti also feels weird at the start. It soon became some sort of a running joke that he only exists to be defeated. Quite the irony of his role and existence to defeat Gridman. Because he rushes into battle, tries to turn the tide in hopes that would make him fight Gridman, but in the end, he never wins. Gridman defeats him or he runs out of power to continue. Is this some sort of joke? Then I should have seen this coming but they pulled the rug from under my feet. Because if you constantly fight an enemy but do not clearly defeat it, then there is a possibility that the enemy will become your ally. I mean, it’s variation of the shonen cliché of the enemies you defeat then become your friends. With Anti becoming Gridknight, now Gridman has an ally to help fight kaiju. Better than fighting each other and having the same stalemate outcome, right? Too bad Gridman has gone home. How will he ever get a chance to defeat him again? He finally finds his redemption and now groupies with the kaiju girl whom I believe is the personification of all the other real kaiju of other tokusatsu series. I mean, where do dead kaiju go after being defeated? I think there’s a deeper meaning and connection for the kaiju girl. Otherwise if you’re a casual viewer like me, her appearance doesn’t make any sense or meaning to everything. And Alexis being the final boss whose goal is to destroy via using someone sharing those same sentiments? Pfft. Boring.

It’s been a long time since I left the tokusatsu world and even though it did rekindle some nostalgia, I guess there are still certain stuffs I find it pretty funny or strange. For example when such great warriors meant to fight great monsters could quickly run out of power! OMG. Don’t they carry a spare battery? I remember during my Ultraman years, this was mainly the talking point among my friends of how ‘weak’ Ultraman is because he runs out of energy after taking a few measly beatings from the monster. So it’s the same here. Gridman running out of energy after a bout, were they like fighting for half a day? It’s not even 5 minutes and his blinker is already blinking. You can say his giant size takes energy to maintain but with all the great technology today, surely they could have improved on this, no?

Then there is the part where the tokusatsu fights the monsters and leave a trail of damage in the city. Because in every episode of the tokusatsu series, it’s like the city has been reset. Do you know how long it would take for the city’s infrastructure to be rebuilt? I know national safety is priority but if Ultraman is going to beat down the kaiju every week, Japan isn’t going to be a habitable place for years to come. And with the people going about in their daily lives, not fearing another kaiju will pop up, they must really trust Ultraman to come to save the day, huh? I mean, you want to put your child in constant danger by living in such dangerous environment? Better migrate to somewhere where kaiju don’t appear. So this series may provide that answer that was plaguing my younger days of this issue. It’s a solution that I accept even if it might not be the best answer.

And the scenery kaiju that are supposed to clean up the town and reset it back to normal, that could be a representation of how we as kids used to play with toys with our own hands. We use our imagination to crush and destroy imaginary cities and the likes. Once it’s over, we put it all back into the box. Yeah, this feels very much like it. Or how we create scenes and stories in our head and the next time if we didn’t like how it went, we can just ‘revert’ to that original point and imagine another route.

Of course now it goes without saying that the best parts of this series and other tokusatsu shows are the action sequences. At least, that is the attraction of the genre. The reason why we kids look forward each week to see what kind of ‘creative’ monsters the tokusatsu will fight. While the fights here might be cliché, but it is a big load of fun. The fights don’t take a bulk of the episode and don’t last long. After all, tokusatsu battles are like huge wrestling matches infused with some magic beams and other accessories. They need to sell their merchandise so it’s only logical why the hero has so many other accessories to combine with and a few variations to go with it. So seeing Gridman taking on the kaiju here does feel fun and takes my mind off the less than impressive drama moments.

Art and animation feel pretty good. The character designs might not be that unique or impressive but considering this is made by Trigger, the art looks a lot better than some of their other works that has that cartoonish looks. Like Little Witch Academia, Kill La Kill and even Darling In The Franxx. CGI is also used but they don’t stand out like a sore thumb as they blend perfectly during the action sequences. If they start putting in real live people in rubber suits, I think that will be a big slap in the face. I believe the kaiju designs are taken inspiration from other tokusatsu series but they don’t ring a bell since I wasn’t that big of a tokusatsu fan then but it’s just a feeling. Yeah, I could still identify an Alien Baltan if they put one in. And of course Gridman having close resemblance to Ultraman needs no further explanation. Looks great and his combination sometimes make me feel he has turned into Transformers.

Voice acting feels pretty normal. Nothing spectacular to men. Helming the casts are Yuuya Hirose as Yuuta (Aizawa in Handa-kun), Hikaru Midorikawa as Gridman (Lancer in Fate series), Yume Miyamoto as Rikka (Megumi in GJ-Bu), Souma Saitou as Utsumi (Tatsumi in Akame Ga Kill), Reina Ueda as Akane (Mira in Dimension W), Tetsu Inada as Alexis, (Komamura in Bleach) Katsuyuki Konishi as Max (Oga in Beelzebub), Ryousuke Takahashi as Calibur and Masaya Matsukaze as Vit (Saiko in Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan). Although I recognized Kenichi Suzumura as Anti, I never did for Aoi Yuuki as Borr until I finished watching. I thought her was familiar but never bothered to really think about it. Though she wasn’t in that trademark cutie squeaky voice, recently she has been voicing character roles that move away from that stereotype. Hence I never thought it would be her.

I love the opening theme of this series, Union by OxT. It is a catchy rock piece that befits the genre and this series like a glove. Now I’m having a dilemma if this song is better than Clattanoia from Overlord. Because the rock side isn’t as heavy as the latter and it gives that hype feeling that you want to support Gridman or other favourite tokusatsu heroes. Can they be joint number one? The ending theme is also another rock outfit, Youthful Beautiful by Maaya Uchida. Also not bad but in comparison I would prefer to hear Union. There are a few insert songs but I found out that they are from the soundtrack of Inferno Cop. Heck, even the original Gridman song made a cameo in the final episode, Dream Hero by Norio Sakai. I didn’t see this series but sampling this song, how come it feels like 80’s disco?

Overall, it was a fun series to watch for the season. It brought back some nostalgic memories of the genre. Especially the fight scenes, slick animation and the opening theme but not so much the characters and the story (I read somebody online made a pun of SSS being Show’s Story Seriously Sucks! Somehow I couldn’t agree more). It wasn’t so explosively loud or in your face like Kill La Kill or Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It is simplistic in its own way and not too overbearing. After all, the clichés are abound only because it is somewhat a tribute to the original Gridman. If there are more tokusatsu animes like this, I would sure like to give it a chance. But hopefully they can fix the low energy problem by that time. You know how annoying when your Smartphone runs low on battery power and then suddenly goes blank, right? Damn, the irony of the limits of finite power!

Golden Kamuy S2

April 13, 2019

Hinna, hinna. Give thanks to the second season of Golden Kamuy that I have been waiting for! I knew pretty much back then a single cour wasn’t enough with so many interesting developments and potentials. Good things come to those who wait. Even though the series just took a single cour break. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see if anybody gets the gold or something else. Something more than they bargained for.

Episode 13
Tsurumi visits Yasaku Edogai the taxidermist. He is impressed with all the stuffed animals he made. Until Tsurumi shows a glove made out of human flesh that he dropped. Tsurumi knows he has been digging graves for corpses for his taxidermy hobby. Yes, there is a room filled with such humans! Plus, Edogai is the only one who can hear voices of his ‘mom’ telling him to kill Tsurumi for knowing this secret. With Tsurumi’s smooth talking, he convinces Edogai to shoot his ‘mom’ to get over it. And then all the voices in his head stop. Now Edogai has become a fan boy of Tsurumi since the latter somewhat takes interest in his taxidermy work. Yeah, Edogai happily parades his creepy clothes made out of human skin to him! This is some sort of twisted fashion show. But down to business. Tsurumi wants Edogai to make fake skins of the tattooed ones. But fake enough that only their men can identify the real ones. He intends to bring real chaos into this war for tattoos. Ogata and Hijikata discuss about Nopperabo’s origins. Hijikata guesses that Nopperabo is a partisan from Russia pretending to be Ainu. In Russia, there are many groups fighting each other apart from Lenin and the partisans. Nopperabo may be trying to gain war funds for independence. This could also mean that Nopperabo’s allies outside are likely to be partisans pretending to be Ainu. We take a break with some outdoor documentary of Asirpa and Sugimoto. Then it is back to Edogai as he realizes there is some sort of problem in trying to replicate fake human skins. Elsewhere, Tanigaki is hunting with Makanakkuru when they are joined by this loner Ainu boy, Cikapasi. His parents died and he has nowhere to go so what else but to follow them. When they return to the village, they see Inkarmat wowing the crowd with her fortune telling. Tanigaki isn’t interested until she says she is looking for Asirpa. Because her fortune telling says one of the men she is travelling with will betray her. If he is not stopped, her life may be in danger. Hence Tanigaki decides to track her down with Inkarmat becoming his guide and Cikapasi joining. It seems Inkarmat made a deal with Tsurumi to use Tanigaki to achieve their goals.

Episode 14
More complaints from Edogai. Because Tsurumi has gone back to base and he wants to show him this replica of Tsurumi he made! Creepy… He is only left Maeyama and Tsukishima as guards. Later Edogai finds Maeyama shot in the head and realizes somebody is after the fake skins. Tsukishima is out in town for a bath. Sugimoto and Shiraishi recognize him as Tsurumi’s men and tail him. Ogata was the sniper as he barges into Edogai’s house. He realizes the fake skins on the floor but quickly goes into hiding since Tsukishima is back and is gunning for revenge. Meanwhile Edogai has managed to run away. Wearing a polar bear skin as disguise! Are there polar bears in Hokkaido? When Sugimoto enter the house, Shiraishi unfortunately is forced by Ogata to play along. He tells Sugimoto about the fake skins and possibly Tsukishima had taken them. I don’t know how Tsukishima caught up with Edogai or knew where he was running but at the coal mines begins a wild mine cart chase between them and Sugimoto and Shiraishi. Thanks to several accidents, some inflammable gas got released and an explosion occurs. Edogai is pinned under the rubble. He knows he is done for so he gives him the perfected fake skins to Tsukishima for Tsurumi. With the mines sealed to prevent fire, this means no oxygen as Sugimoto tries to carry passed out Shiraishi to the exit but it is totally sealed. Luckily Ushiyama breaks through and their lives are extended. Gathering back at Edogai’s house, Ogata believes Edogai is dead and if Tsukishima made it out alive, they have to assume there are about 6 fake skins in circulation. Sugimoto meets Hijikata for the first time and wonders if they’ve met before. Sugimoto remains suspicious of Hijikata. Could have almost fought had Nagakura offered Sugimoto’s side to sell them their skins. However Sugimoto has questions he needs to ask Nopperabo personally so for now they work together. But first Ienaga cooks for them and they parody this Last Supper scene! Meanwhile Tsukishima delivers the fake skins to Tsurumi. His other message from Edogai’s last word is “Iron”. He believes Tsurumi will figure out it is a hint on how to detect the fakes.

Episode 15
As Hijikata’s side are searching Edogai’s house for clues, Tsurumi’s men try to burn the house down and snipe anyone in sight. Nikaidou fights with Hijikata inside the house and upon hearing Sugimoto’s voice, Nikaidou gets excited to fight him. However this enables Hijikata to slice off his feet! This guy can still crawl away! All manage to escape the burning house. With hopes of evidence burnt to the ground. Their only hope is to meet Nopperabo to determine the real ones. Hijikata suggests they meet up at Ashibetsu but travel in 2 groups. In Sugimoto’s group, Asirpa, Ushiyama and Ogata. Time for some wildlife documentary and cooking. Ogata is very uncooperative in cooking the Ainu way as Asirpa instructs. Like he gives a damn. The rest in Hijikata’s group, they discuss about Shirosuke Inudou, the warden of Abashiri. It seems the old guys have some sort of history with him when they were at Kabato prison. That time, Nagakura was a swordsmanship instructor for many of the wardens here. One day he found out his best friend Hijikata was imprisoned here so he confronted Inudou about his punishment for Hijikata. He intends to wait until his life goes out before hanging him. Nagakura tried to force him to see Hijikata but his guards took him away. Luckily one of the guards grateful for his swordsmanship secretly let him see Hijikata. They talk about their past in Shinsengumi in which Hijikata has defended Nagakura many times from Kondou. With the possibility that there might be no way to tell the real from the fakes, Shiraishi is now thrust into the spotlight. They have to rely on this idiot to get them into Abashiri. More sh*t for Shiraishi because he dreams of Sugimoto killing him after finding out he was in cohorts with Hijikata and giving them info. Not sure the logic of him sneaking out from the inn because now he bumps into a group of soldiers outside. Hello.

Episode 16
Shiraishi can’t escape and gets captured. Hijikata relays this to the rest and since they need him, they have to bust him out. As those soldiers are taking Shiraishi back to their HQ in Asahikawa, who knows how long he will break out. Hijikata and Kiroranke go rescue him while the rest stay behind to wait for Sugimoto’s group to arrive. When the soldiers cross the bridge, Hijikata cuts and breaks it. With some soldiers and Shiraishi floating downstream, Kiroranke is supposed to pick him up. However Shiraishi remembers that brutal dream and hesitated. Although he swam to the side, he gets captured again. With this rescue mission a failure, the rest give some thought whether to really go save him. I think they reason they can let this idiot be but Sugimoto wants to go save him. Meanwhile Tsurumi sees Lieutenant General Narizou Arisaka. He is the one who make crazy weapons. You have to shout while talking to him because he is partially deaf. So all this just for him to make a special prosthetic leg for Nikaidou (I think this guy is starting to lose his mind). But it’s not just a fake leg. It has a hidden gun in it. Wow. Best present ever. Hijikata takes the rest to see Kiyohiro Suzukawa. He is a master of disguise as well as one of the tattooed prisoners. To know which barrack Shiraishi is being kept, they need someone to infiltrate. After the failed rescue, the army will be on alert so they need someone of high rank to obtain info. But not too high that everyone knows you. Suzukawa thinks he can impersonate Inudou. He does look the part! Asirpa’s sleeping on Hijikata has Sugimoto remember him. This means he realizes Shiraishi has been working with him for some time. Sugimoto is not pleased with this because he believes a traitor will betray you again. Hijikata claims there are no enemies or allies. What is important is information. With hints that Sugimoto might kill Shiraishi after rescuing him, suddenly Asirpa wakes up and tells him not to kill anybody needlessly. Was she listening?! The infiltration plan begins with Suzukawa meeting with the head of the 27th Division, Terunaka Yodogawa.

Episode 17
Sugimoto is acting as Suzukawa’s deranged bodyguard. Suzukawa really plays the part well. He is trying to guilt trip Yodogawa the mess he brought upon when the prisoners escaped. So in exchange for Shiraishi, he will give him plates to make counterfeit money. At this point, somebody has reported to Tsurumi and of course he senses something amiss. Before the exchange can begin, second lieutenant Otonoshin Koito barges in with orders from Tsurumi to not let Shiraishi leave. He then starts to talk in his Saitama dialect in which Inudou is supposed to know. Amazingly Suzukawa can also converse. But as they speak, suddenly Koito pulls out his gun and shoots them! From the talk, Koito knows this Inudou is fake since the real one doesn’t drink. Suzukawa got one in the head and Sugimoto only in shoulders. But the immortal takes Shiraishi and jump from the window. Ogata snipes at the chasers. Good news as they run, they stumble into the army trying to set a hydrogen balloon afloat. So nobody wants to shoot because they’re scared it will explode and kill everyone? You mean they can miss at this close range?! Anyway, why wait till they escape then only start to chase? But Koito manages to jump on board. He gets mad knowing Ogata betrayed them. With Asirpa’s support from the bottom and Shiraishi kicking him off, they’re safe for now. But will Shiraishi’s ass be safe when Sugimoto hints about his betrayal? Sugimoto notes he gave their fake tattoos to them so he didn’t really betrayed them. Phew. After the airship crashes, they have to continue running as the platoon will be hot on their heels. Yup, they’re fast. Their only hope is to cross this dangerous mountain. It’s freezing and windy. A storm will soon happen so Asirpa has them shoot deer to skin and hide in their belly. For some reason, Shiraishi has gone mad and strips and runs off! Asirpa goes after him but could it be an illusion or the playful gods luring her away? Because Shiraishi is with them. Sugimoto goes after her and although they find each other, they are lost. Thank goodness a lone deer for him to shoot. Can Sugimoto overcome his trauma? Yes he can. So they hide inside its belly just in time. Asirpa feels bad about Suzukawa’s death so Sugimoto tells her bad people feel less because they don’t have hearts. Then more talk about his days on the battlefield and the nostalgia of eating dried persimmons before he went to war. Such dear and sweet memories.

Episode 18
Tanigaki gets a telegram regarding Asirpa’s grandma. It seems she is making preparations for her own death. It is an Ainu’s belief to perform a ritual before they can pass on to the afterlife and must have kids. Hence they will raise any child even if it is not their own. Tanigaki doesn’t want her to die and believes he is also her child. Cikapasi’s big mouth: He is just her gigolo! Does he even know how to use that word?! But now we go back a few months ago to hear Tanigaki’s story as he told Tsurumi. In his hometown of Ani in Akita, his family often made their trademark kanemochi but he secretly made his differently with walnuts. He was best friends with fellow hunter, Kenkichi Aoyama. He would one day marry his sister, Fumi and lived in the remotely in the mountains. One day, Tanigaki receives the bad news. Fumi was killed and the house burnt down. Kenkichi was nowhere to be seen but left behind his prized hunter knife. Tanigaki became obsessed in tracking down this killer. He joined the 7th Division after hearing news Kenkichi enlisted there. He tried to find him but to no avail. At the same time, he heard news of his mother’s passing. Then there was this big fight at Port Arthur where several divisions would gather. He thought he would find Kenkichi there and kill him from the back in the heat of the battle. After one battle, Tanigaki saw a very wounded Sugimoto. He gave him his kanemochi to eat and he could tell he was from Ani. Because there was a soldier from another division who did the same thing. Tanigaki thought he finally found his killer. It seemed Kenkichi drafted into Tokyo’s 1st Division.

During another big battle, Russians were getting desperate by becoming suicide bombers. When one didn’t go down after all the shooting, suddenly Kenkichi jumps up to stop him. The explosion didn’t kill him but he is close to death. Even though he fought bravely, Tanigaki still wanted to kill him. Revenge was high on his mind after all this time. But Kenkichi who has lost his sight and hearing from the bomb, wanted this ‘stranger’ to tell his childhood friend the truth. Fumi contracted smallpox and was dying. She didn’t want him to tell others as fear it would spread. She also didn’t want her family to be ostracized if others knew she had this disease. That’s why she didn’t agree to him dying with her. Instead she told him to kill her, burn the place down and flee. If he survives this, he must decide what to do with the rest of his life. So Kenkichi kills her using his knife the way he knows best as a hunter and did as he was told. He lived his life bearing the guilt of killing her. Tanigaki lets him taste his kanemochi and he instantly knew it is him. With that, Kenkichi passes away. Ever since, Tanigaki has been asking what his role in life is. For starters, Tsurumi wants him to make those kanemochi. Now Tanigaki’s side has stumbled into Asirpa’s party at the marsh area.

Episode 19
Cikapasi explains how they stumbled into a couple of hunting Ainu who told them their location. He continues to promote Inkarmat as his possession and Tanigaki as her gigolo. Asirpa believes! The gang return to the nearby Ainu village and they are about to begin the Kamuy Hopunire ceremony. Basically Asirpa explaining their blessings to their local gods. Later Tanigaki wants to tell Asirpa a message from her grandma. Ogata thinks he is just a spy for Tsurumi but Tanigaki says he is done with the military. Grandma had a dream of never seeing Asirpa again and Asirpa explains her strong belief in dreams due to a dream of Asirpa’s mom dying shortly after one. Sugimoto thinks Asirpa should go back to prove her dreams wrong but she doesn’t want him to treat her like a child. There is something she needs to know in order to move forward and achieve her dream. An Ainu notices Tanigaki’s rifle that belongs to Nihei. They hunted together a decade ago. He talks about the significance of the scars on it when suddenly Ryuu pops up! So finally this dog has found his master’s gun? Wow. This loyalty sure predates Hachiko… So loyal that when emotional Sugimoto tries to pet it, Ryuu bites him! Meanwhile Koito fears Tsurumi will reprimand him for letting Shiraishi get away. We see him fawning over Tsurumi like a fan boy before the real man comes in. He tries to appease him by showing the tattooed skin he is wearing from Suzukawa but Tsurumi isn’t impressed. At first Koito’s heart sank when Tsurumi is disappointed in his failure. But this is just an excuse to enlist him to help find the other tattooed prisoners. Koito is disappointed in Ogata because their fathers were good friends. Ogata’s father, Koujirou Hanazawa, the former leader of the 7th Division was believed to have committed suicide to take responsibility for the many loss of lives at some battle. Tsurumi thought this would inspire Ogata to fight for this father’s honour and 7th Division but it didn’t turn out that way now.

Flashback shows that Ogata was born out of his father and his mistress. When Hanazawa finally had a son, Yuusaku with his real wife, he stopped seeing them. Hence Ogata’s mom had this obsession in making monkfish stew which was Hanazawa’s favourite every day in hopes he would come back. Ogata got sick of eating it every day and went to shoot a bird in hopes her making something different. Nope. Same monkfish stew. That is when he poisoned it and she died from eating it. His plan was to see if Hanazawa loved her, he would at least come to see her at her funeral. He did not. We see Ogata slowly killing Hanazawa as he relates this story to him. Hanazawa thinks he too is sick of her like him. However Ogata points out that as a child who don’t get to choose his parents, there must be something missing for one being born lacking parents’ love. Shortly after Ogata joined the military, he met Yuusaku and could tell from his eyes that he is well loved from his parents. Yuusaku was always by his said, claiming he always wanted a brother. During a battle, Ogata shot Yuusaku in the back of the head. It wasn’t out of jealousy of hatred. Just the thought of what would father think when he heard of Yuusaku’s death. What would father think of his other son? Would he care more for his mistress then? Hanazawa agrees he lacks something. And that is a failure as a son. Ogata makes Hanazawa’s death look like suicide. This was a plan concocted by Tsurumi to bring his division together by turning Ogata into some idol because others will see him as a god, the only surviving son of Hanazawa. But Ogata never believed in all that.

Episode 20
Locust attack! So while the guys seek shelter in a cabin, the ladies take a boat out to sea. Good chance for Asirpa to ask Inkarmat about her dad. Inkarmat says Nopperabo isn’t her father. Because Wilk wasn’t the kind who would steal the Ainu’s gold and kill them. She knows him as she has met him as a child. Born of a Polish father and Ainu mother, she first met him on Sakhalin. He was trying to rally the minorities to fight against the czar’s oppression. Asirpa doesn’t believe her as father never said anything about her. Perhaps he only thinks of her as a child and is forgotten. Maybe Inkarmat’s tears make it more believable? But Wilk is now gone. He is murdered by Kiroranke. And she has proof. I guess we need some time off from this heavy drama so we go look at the guys. If you wonder why nobody has ever eaten otter meat, it’s because of its great aphrodisiac effect. Oh yeah! Those guys are getting hot and gay with each other!!! OMFG!!! I guess we can’t show them going full on gay so their take on getting it on is having a great sumo match. Yeah, one hell of a gay sumo fest. So it’s no wonder the next day, the guys all want to never speak of this. But the only one winning this ‘lottery’ is Tanigaki because Inkarmat soon comes to make out with him! Blame it on the otter meat! When they gather, Asirpa asks Kiroranke straight if he murdered her father. With everyone in shock and Kiroranke denying, Inkarmat shows the evidence. So his fingerprints on the horse betting ticket?! Wait a minute. At this age? Fingerprint identification? Okay, even so, but in Japan?! And how did Inkarmat get the results so fast?! With Tanigaki defending her, Ogata points his rifle and accuses her of working with Tsurumi. He says all belongings of the Ainu at the murdered site were only collected by Tsurumi and hence only his fingerprints are there. Inkarmat replies she is only using Tsurumi for her own purpose. The rest try to ascertain from Shiraishi if Nopperabo’s eyes are blue since he is the only one among them who seen him. Too bad he avoid looking at his scary face. All he did was make tattoos silently and Hijikata was the one who planned the escape. Could this all be just a setup by Hijikata? There is also a possibility that Tsurumi falsified fingerprint records. With everybody suspicious of everyone, Sugimoto tells them their goal is to get to Abashiri. If either Inkarmat or Kiroranke ends up dead along the way, he will kill the other. Meanwhile at Abashiri, Kadokura the security chief is tasked by Inudou to rid a newbie, Usami who is believed to be working under Tsurumi. He lets some prisoners kill him but he fights back and kills them! Kadokura flees and then lies in his report he has taken care of them all.

Episode 21
If you thought the last episode was gay. Wait till you see this one! In a hotspring as Sugimoto and co rest, they hear the blind masseur talk about the recent ambush by blind bandits. They’re interested because one of them has strange tattoos. Immediately Shiraishi recognizes the bandit leader as Anji Toni. Mining sulphur for a long time causes one to go blind and Inudou were using some of his prisoners to continue doing that after the mining was ceased. As the men soak in the hotspring, they hear strange clicking sounds. It dawned too late when they realize it is the sound of a tongue clicking and it is a way by the ambush via echolocation. So we see our men fighting stark naked! Can’t see anything. Too dark. It gives the blind bandits the advantage. They get some reprieve with Ryuu attacking. Inkarmat is reluctant to get on the boat with Tanigaki and Kiroranke, fearing her ill-omened prophecy will come true. Because she can’t swim. So she was perfectly fine talking to Asirpa on a boat the last time?! True enough, Toni starts shooting at them. Tanigaki gets hit and the boat overturns. Inkarmat sees visions of bears, a sign that they are going to take her to the afterlife. But don’t fear. Tanigaki bursts out in his bare chest to scare away the bears! WTF???!!! Tanigaki is Buddha???!!! Inkarmat now believes she can change fate but I think the kiss she gave Tanigaki wasn’t so much because he saved her. Because it’s funny Toni’s shot went through his butt! Dawn is approaching so Toni and his men retreat. Sugimoto and Ogata tail them to their hideout and have to take them out now because going back for their guns will give them time to escape. But they are trapped inside the house as the bandits have already shut all windows, doors and openings tight. WTF Asirpa can tell it is Sugimoto by groping his butt?! A struggle between Sugimoto and Toni soon ensues. It is only stopped when Hijikata arrives. Asirpa warns him about killing the innocent. He might live in darkness but continue this way and he will never escape from darkness. When everyone gathers, Hijikata has an old friend take photos of all of them (this is to do more background search on Inkarmat and Kiroranke). He is given a photo of a dashing Sugimoto as he remembers what Toni said about Sugimoto. His battle spirit resonated fiercely just like his but still kind.

Episode 22
We have reached Abashiri. Asirpa feels scared to know the truth but Sugimoto assures. Because it is salmon season, they build an Ainu hut just outside the perimeter of the prison next to the river to hide a hole they are digging into Nopperabo’s cell. When guards come to shoo them, they bribe them with salmons. With Tanigaki and Inkarmat’s romance coming into light again, Inkarmat explains about her fortune readings that told her she will never meet Wilk again. She always thought it meant her own death. Then he died and heard Tsurumi had his belongings as well as Nopperabo knew about the gold’s location and was working with Kiroranke. She was satisfied her fortune telling wasn’t always right. When she drowned, she was prepared to face her destiny until Tanigaki came to her rescue. He changed the fate of her fortune telling. She learnt fate can be changed and now has hope she can see Wilk again. When Sugimoto finishes his digging, he pops out in Kadokura’s lodging. But this guy shows them the layout of the prison and tells them how Nopperabo moves to different cells every day. He knows which cell he will be. Apparently Kadokura is helping them because his father once fought with Hijikata and if this plan fails, his backup plan is to join Hijikata. On the night where there is no moon, all are in place for the big break in. With Toni leading the small group, they eventually enter the cell where Nopperabo is. Too dark to see anything so when Sugimoto lights the match, there is your faceless man! Yeah, let the scream fest begin. However Asirpa can tell this isn’t her father. With the alarm sounded, they are forced to flee and Sugimoto thinks somebody set them up. The only bridge linking to the prison blows up. Tsurumi and his 7th Division ride in on their Destroyer class ships.

Episode 23
Tanigaki believes Inkarmat has been siding with Tsurumi all the while. She puts it this way. Now that Sugimoto has failed, only Tsurumi can get Nopperabo and Asirpa out. Even if the 7th Division gets the gold, it’s not like it matters to them. With the Destroyers blasting a hole in the walls, Tanigaki and Inkarmat take cover but the latter is trapped beneath the rubble. Time for Tanigaki to show his manliness and bring her out. When another rubble threatens to fall on them, Ushiyama makes himself useful to hold it up till they make it to safety. Tsurumi orders his men to kill everybody. They will make up the story of assisting to subdue a prison break. It will be easy since HQ will not send anybody to this hell to verify the story. Tsurumi and his men confront Sugimoto who is using the fake Nopperabo to escape. They dare him but Nikaidou shoots first and had to be subdued. Little do they know, he has shot and killed the fake. Sugimoto and Shiraishi need to escape and they do so via the air duct below. Usami tries to get Kadokura but the latter pulls a lever to simultaneously open all the prison doors. Now the 7th Division have to fight a horde of tough killers in this dark and narrow hallway. Sugimoto believes this is all part of Hijikata’s plan to separate him and Asirpa. Knowing that Inudou would panic in this ruckus, he would head to where the real Nopperabo is kept. He will use Asirpa (as well as those photos) to get Nopperabo to reveal the gold and then escape. Hijikata follows Inudou to the chapel. It must be where Nopperabo is. When Inudou moves Nopperabo, that is when they catch him. Sugimoto now has to fight Nikaidou who is just crazy in getting his revenge. I guess Nikaidou loses his hand this time when Sugimoto uses his machine gun leg against him. I hope this crazy guy stays dead. Inudou brings out Nopperabo from a secret underground room. Hijikata and Toni move in but Inudou attacks and kills Toni. He plays dead so when Hijikata goes up close, he handcuffs him. They fight to the death. Asirpa and everyone else gathers at the main gate while they wait and believe in Sugimoto to bring Nopperabo. As Sugimoto crawls his way to the chapel, the flares light up the place as he sees Nopperabo trying to escape. He confirms those blue eyes.

Episode 24
When Sugimoto shows Nopperabo the dagger from Asirpa, he instantly recognizes it. He wants to see Asirpa and only her he will reveal the gold’s location. Inudou has a long grudge against Hijikata for refusing to join the Meiji government. Hijikata believes he is scared and used him as a reason to justify his brother’s death in a battle. He thought locking him away will turn him into one of them but Hijikata turned out more loyal than a samurai. Hijikata cuts Inudou and decapitates him. Sugimoto tells off Nopperabo he doesn’t want to bring Asirpa to meet him. Nopperabo told Hijikata Asirpa’s real name so that she could become the leader of the Ainu and fight for the people. But Sugimoto didn’t like how he got her involved in all this because all he wants is to hunt and eat animal parts with Asirpa! Nopperabo spots Inkarmat atop the roof and she likewise. She calls Asirpa to ascertain Nopperabo. Yup, that’s papa. Makes her remember the time daddy ‘abandoned’ her to kill a red bear all by herself! Nopperabo wants Sugimoto to tell Asirpa that he didn’t kill the Ainu. Before he could reveal the gold, he is shot in the head! Sugimoto soon after! Asirpa is devastated but Kiroranke takes her to run. The sniper is no other than Ogata. Tanigaki braves the sniping to use his manly strength to pull Sugimoto and Nopperabo out of the sniper’s sight. When he returns, he is devastated to see Inkarmat stabbed. She reveals to him when Wilk was shot, she saw Inkarmat giving somebody the signal. Asirpa is now with Shiraishi, Kiroranke and Ogata as they make their escape. Tsurumi and co have gunned down all the prisoners and take those left behind as captive.

In the aftermath, Sugimoto lives! It is thanks to Ienaga’s surgery skills that extended his life. Yeah, he is now partial brain-less buddies with Tsurumi since they have part of their grey matter removed. Sugimoto could feel the sniper is Ogata who is in cohorts with Kiroranke. Further flashback reveals Inkarmat tried to stop Kiroranke and a small struggle ensued that ended with Inkarmat accidentally stabbing herself. Inkarmat is sad over Wilk’s death but Kiroranke said he had to die because he changed as the plan was to tell their comrades where the gold was. Kiroranke’s group is probably on his way to Karafuto to meet up with his former guerrilla friends since Asirpa who is the critical key is in his possession. Tsurumi has clean-up work to do at Abashiri so he lets a small team that includes Sugimoto and Tanigaki go. Yeah, Koito so heartbroken he has to leave Tsurumi. Hijikata and Ushiyama examine Inudou’s secret lair and discover he was gathering info about the escaped prisoners to lure Hijikata back to Abashiri. Hijikata has got it figured out and prepares to leave south. Koito’s father who is an admiral talks to Sugimoto. He is okay sending his son to die in battle. Narrating the lesson from the Hanazawa and Yuusaku incident, if he keeps his own son from danger, what can he say to those whose sons died? Thus he believes Nopperabo thought of the same. Before he can tell the Ainu to die, he had to send his own daughter to battle. It’s not that he raised her so as she can be used. The power of dreams has Asirpa dream that Sugimoto talking to her, promising he will come for her. She still believes he is alive.

Gold Makes Monsters Out Of Men
F*ck! F*ck! FFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT IS OVER JUST LIKE THAT!!! I guess it was foolish of me to think that the series will end once Nopperabo and Asirpa meet. After that it would be a race to see who reaches the gold first. Too bad father and daughter didn’t meet but at least they saw each other one time. It feels like a waste that this season they go all the way to Abashiri just to get Nopperabo and now he’s dead. They’re supposed to ascertain the fake skins, right? Unless he said it all to Sugimoto before he got shot, I don’t see how the plot twist of Asirpa being the key. I mean, I know she is important but if she was from the start in some ways, shouldn’t they have headed to the gold instead to Abashiri?

It goes without saying that this season maintains its intrigue and it is as interesting if not more so than the first. I didn’t think that it would turn out to look like Tsurumi vs everybody. Or rather, Hijikata’s side since I didn’t quite expect that everyone else would be forming some sort of ‘uneasy’ alliance with Hijikata ever since the fake skins got around. It felt like to cut things short because instead of going on a wild goose hunt for the other prisoners (who knows where they are at this point or if they are still alive), might as well break into prison and ask the main man himself. So you could say this sequel is more of trying to break into Abashiri to get Nopperabo. With the turn of the final events, this grouping has changed once again with Sugimoto and Tsurumi probably pairing up against Kiroranke’s side and not forgetting Hijikata’s side still lurking.

With a handful of characters, some are featured more prominently than others while some not to say they fall by the wayside but they take lesser spotlight here. For instance, Sugimoto and Asirpa don’t feel as prominent as they were in the first season perhaps because their goal had always remained the same. They didn’t really change much either so instead of boring us with the same ol’, same ol’, might as well shed some light on some of the other characters who deserve it. But it shows that Asirpa has had a tremendous impact on Sugimoto. For him to want to continue hunting with her, I hope he hasn’t forgotten why he jumped onto this gold rush bandwagon in the first place. Money to help his dead friend’s wife. You still remember that, do you? Though it’s a bit sad that they aren’t together in the end as they’ve been mostly together or at least close by ever since. Sorry, dreams don’t count. Other characters like Ushiyama and Ienaga also feel underused this season. Understandably, what can Ienaga do except to provide a pretty face (and a scary one after she operated on Sugimoto’s brains) but Ushiyama being the muscles and brawns of the group didn’t really do much here (unless the plot commands for it that needs a real strong guy to get somebody out of a predicament). Like as though he is some sort of robot following Hijikata’s orders.

Tanigaki and Ogata get an episode to flesh out their background and it feels refreshing to get to see their back story and how they came about to their present situation. It is a nice detour and I was wrong to think that such flashbacks would be a waste of time this season since there are only a dozen episodes and they should cut to the chase. But surprisingly their flashbacks were done pretty well and quite interesting to say the least and it helps to understand their predicament a little better. Like why Ogata is such an emotionless and serious guy. Now that you know his past, you don’t want to make enemies out of him or at least realize this guy isn’t suited to be even funny! No jokes for this dude.

While Tsurumi has his own tricks up his sleeve, Hijikata is also another force to be reckoned with. He is also another scheming and shady character, using others for his own ends and means. You might not think of it much at the beginning since they give as an impression that they are all on the same side. But that made us let our guard down and underestimate this old fart because it seems he has been staying a few steps ahead from his own comrades and if I should say, having a few backup plans of his own. He knows how to ‘twist’ words and not really give a definitive answer when suspicions arises (especially when it comes to Sugimoto). It all boils down to everyone having their own interests and probably Hijikata understood that well enough to take this into account and use them for his own agenda.

If Sugimoto and Hijikata’s side look like a ragtag of weirdoes, the same can be said on Tsurumi’s side, as everyone here is a twisted weirdo! Even much more. For example, Nikaidou who has been steadily growing insane since the death of his twin brother in the last season, I’m not sure if there is some sort of running joke that he is also slowly losing parts of his body. The more parts he loses, the more insane he becomes. His insanity becomes his natural pain killers. It’s like you can’t kill this guy. I’m pretty sure his failed revenge on Sugimoto was his last and he is dead for good. I think. Then you got new characters introduced here who are just as quirky like Koito and Usami. I suppose when you become fan boys of suave Tsurumi, you also lose your mind. Among the sea of weirdoes, this makes Tsukishima the only normal and rational looking one. You keep wondering how long this guy can last before he falls into that insanity. I thought Tsurumi’s way of talking looked familiar. Thank the internet that they pointed out how he talks like Hitler! Yeah, the 7th Division is really one big insane group.

As mentioned, I thought it was a waste that when we finally get to know Nopperabo is Asirpa’s real dad AKA Wilk, he is then suddenly killed off. Well, this series isn’t a stranger in killing off some of its characters. At least the first season was limited to some of the prisoners. This season we had others too like Edogai whom was promptly killed off after he has done his part. For a second there I thought he might have joined Tsurumi’s side. Then there is Suzukawa who was introduced so suddenly that I thought he would be another weirdo joining Hijikata’s side. And what do you know? A weak bullet to the forehead is what it took to do in this old fart. It’s safe to say that Inudou won’t return as an enemy if ever there is another season. For now, his little back story and connection with Hijikata feels somewhat unrelated to the plot.

Other than the intriguing plot and the bloody action scenes, there are a few parts that seem to either make it stand out like a sore thumb or just cute. I don’t know. It was a dilemma for me. For example, certain parts that are supposed to be funny and for comedic purposes like when the gang are having a group meal together, Ainu style. Because Ogata doesn’t join in, this prompts the rest to do stupid and silly cartoonish faces, trying to tempt him to join them. It feels out of place but at the same time, it makes them, uhm, cute? Even when Tanigaki got a bullet through his butt… That was like, uhm, funny? Last season I said that it had this documentary feel because we see Asirpa and Sugimoto going hunting in the wild as they explain to us about nature and also some of the Ainu culture and beliefs. This season also has its fair share of such documentary but I feel it is somewhat lesser thanks to the development of and building up of the plot. Can’t go hunting more often when you can smell the gold this close.

Another weirdest and funniest moments are those gay scenes! Yes, this series has a bit of them. I guess with many of the casts being males and in a period where war is raging and you need to be at the top of your condition, expect some real muscles. That sumo gay time was really hilarious and I’m sure many of us would go WTF and make us question why the heck they included this. And there was an episode where our guys were running around naked in the dark for most of it! Does that bring out your inner gayness? For those who aren’t into such macho gay scenes, then some twisted pretty boy scenes would suffice and you’ll see this mostly with Tsurumi and his ‘devoted fan boys’. Sheesh. More funny moments that does not take itself seriously with some silly references. Like that Last Supper scene. It came out of nowhere and was this supposed to make us go, “Aww… How cute”. But I’m sure WTF came first. I read there are a few other scenes that mimic other paintings and iconic movie scenes as well but I’m not an art and movie enthusiast so I didn’t get to spot them.

It also feels weird that they are trying to make Tanigaki the epitome of manliness because there are a few scenes where you see his shirt’s button being popped out to reveal his hairy chest. Like, WTF?! Is this gay? But making this season weirder too is how they incorporated the very odd romance between Tanigaki and Inkarmat. Is this to soften the overall gayness? After all, Inkarmat is the only attractive mature woman in the pack. Those who watched last season should know about Ienaga’s identity… I thought there would be some sort of conspiracy or twist involved since they’re making this pairing too obvious instead of a forgettable distraction. On a side note, with Nopperabo ascertained at Wilk, it only puts many of the theories that Inkarmat said to be false. For example, Wilk being killed by Kiroranke. She made it sound so dramatically convincing. It really had me thinking if her fortune readings are correct in the first place or if she has another ulterior motive.

The action sequences continue to be the main attraction of this series. They don’t disappoint but some parts can be really gory and violent. After all, when you are fighting tooth and nail to survive, anything goes. Be surprised or not when Sugimoto gets stabbed and pierced in weird places but still continue to survive. He literally earned his nickname of Immortal Sugimoto.

This season’s animation and art are still maintained like last season. They’re not the best but it’s still consistent. Overall the characters do look weird even the new ones like Inudou really looks like a dog if you look closer. Of course Nopperabo and his fake do seem scary without any face. But thanks to the ‘inferior’ quality of the art, I didn’t horror scream like Sugimoto and the rest. Although this was meant to be funny. Yeah, who could forget that ‘grandma’ face Asirpa always makes when she is unimpressed. Some parts were really dark and I can’t see anything and it was a bit annoying. Like that Toni introduction episode and the ambush into Abashiri. I would have totally forgotten about the horrendous CGI had they not bring back those bears! OMFG! It made me remember!!! Despite the bears only appear in Inkarmat’s dream as well as Asirpa’s bear fighting flashback, they still used that horrible CGI!!! Like WTF?! Those who watched the first season would remember how badly the bear was rendered and there were criticisms and even jokes about it. Thankfully, that is all the CGI is confined to and if there were other parts using that, I am not aware of.

This season’s rock based opening and ending themes sound like they suit the theme of the series well but it didn’t really resonate with me. Reimei by Sayuri x My First Story as the opener while Tokei-dai No Kane by Eastern Youth as the ending piece. The latter feels weirder the more I hear it because it sounds more like punk rock with all the screeching electric guitars and the vocals screaming. If this series wasn’t an action based, it would have sounded so out of place.

Overall, this season is quite as entertaining and interesting than the first (it’s best to watch the first season to better appreciate and understand the sequel). Great action sequences as well as many great developments in the plot and some of the characters make it a worthy sequel. Even when some parts feel really twistedly dumb (just for the comical moments) and out of place, it is still entertaining to watch and if I should say, part of this series’ unique charm. Even if nobody got the gold in the end (yet), at least this series will always be gold material to me for many years to come (hinting it should get another season, PLEASE!!!). Comedy gold, good as gold, a series that is worth its weight in gold. Hinna, hinna.

Tokyo Marble Chocolate

April 12, 2019

Heh. I thought this was some short magical food show. Too bad despite the misleading name, Tokyo Marble Chocolate does not have anything to do with any marble chocolate at all. Sighs. But it is a heart-warming love story between two people who were initially unfortunate in love being brought together. So does 2 wrongs make a right in this case? Are mismatches in love a match for each other? Not if love can do anything about it. More like a donkey…

Episode 1
Chizuru never had luck in love. Somehow she accidentally hurts the ones she loves and that’s it between them. That included accidentally beating up her boyfriend’s mom and getting real drunk during a date! Hence today’s date with her current boyfriend, Yuudai, she is planning to have a memorable date and then end it. After all, Yuudai never did say those magic words like she did for him. At the diner as they meet, Yuudai had to answer his handphone’s call. I guess in those days, the reception isn’t so good indoors. As Chizuru waits, she notices the box of present that he was going to give her, starts moving. Then bursts out… A mini Mohawk donkey in diapers?! WTF?! Isn’t it trying to get a little promiscuous with Chizuru? Ultimately it runs off with her bag so Chizuru had to chase it down until she gets them back. Well, only her handphone is missing. And for some reason the naughty donkey tied her mini present meant for Yuudai to some boy’s balloon and let it float away. Ah shucks. Can this day get any worse? Back home, Yamada who claims to be Yuudai’s friend found her handphone and returns it. He wants to flirt with her but suddenly the donkey growls at him! OMG. Is the donkey some sort of demon?! Yeah, changed his mind. Better go home. Bye. She calls Yuudai who apologizes for the mix up of the present. Can he have his donkey back? After a few flashbacks of lovely moments of Chizuru and Yuudai, next day Chizuru returns the donkey (in a box?). Too her dismay, she sees another girl in his place, Miki. I guess that’s it for her. Uhm, wasn’t she the one who wanted to end this relationship? Probably Yuudai getting another girlfriend so fast even before their official breakup says a lot. He even accuses her of being with a man last night. Huh? Okay. Whatever.

Next day at the café she works, she sees Miki. As she hides, she hears Miki chatting with her current boyfriend. Yuudai isn’t her boyfriend and is just a friend. Somehow she needed a place to stay and crashed at his place. Isn’t that a big relief for Chizuru? Later as Chizuru looks through the telescope of an observatory tower, she sees the balloon floating by Tokyo Tower. Then she sees the donkey stuck up there trying to get it. I guess donkey is afraid of heights. Chizuru makes haste to rush over to save it and when she arrives, Yuudai has already got donkey in his hands safely. You mean there’s no security to block off this dangerous place?! Anyway, after Yuudai faints from all that heart stopping action, the donkey hands over the present to Chizuru. She starts thinking how much she loves Yuudai but is not the person he thinks she is. Then she throws away the present. Damn. Donkey’s hard work gone down the drain. I guess the chilly winter of Tokyo isn’t as chilly as Chizuru’s broken heart. So sad :’(. But the donkey didn’t give up. It leads Chizuru to a bridge where Yuudai is waiting. It seems he retrieved her discarded present. Safe to say, they’re back on track as lovers. Hopefully it will last till the end of time.

Episode 2
We look it from Yuudai’s point of view this time. He too had no luck in love. Too scared of his ex-girlfriend’s dog, or his ass needed to be saved by thugs and yeah, scared of heights (she must have lived in a very high place). So with Chizuru as his current girlfriend, he hopes he can say those magic words. When he meets her at the diner, that is when he gets a call from the pet shop. It seems a mini donkey has broken from its cage and snuck inside Yuudai’s present (he bought a rabbit for her). He can exchange it now if he returns to box but is warned how dangerous and feisty a donkey can be. When Yuudai returns to the table, oops, looks like the donkey and Chizuru is gone. He goes around looking for them and when he calls, it is Yamada who picked up Chizuru’s dropped handphone. Yamada had other ideas and thinks of returning the handphone himself and flirt with her. Meanwhile Yuudai continues to fear the donkey will bite Chizuru. This hallucination has him bumped into an old man and ruined his shirt. To make up, he has to wash it. Since he runs a laundry, here’s a bunch he needs to wash too. When all that is done, he returns to Chizuru’s place. However he hears her talking (to the donkey). Worst, the donkey was licking her and she’s making ambiguous sounds so Yuudai got the wrong idea and went home. But outside his place is Miki. She got into a fight with her boyfriend and ran away. So she’s making this place like her own home? That night, he receives a mail from Chizuru wanting to apologize for today and to meet up tomorrow.

Next day as he is about to leave, Chizuru is at the door. Then she sees Miki. Who is this woman? So when he accuses her of being with another man, she agrees to that and leaves. Yuudai then checks the box she left behind. It truly is the donkey. Miki then leaves because looks like her boyfriend called and they made up. Yuudai notices a letter in the donkey’s mouth. Reading Chizuru’s letter, he realizes she wasn’t with a man last night but this ass. Feeling guilty, the donkey then leads him to Tokyo Tower. Due to his fear of heights, he climbs slowly. He then sees the donkey with the mini present. He sums up his courage to go rescue it. At that time, Chizuru arrived as she cheers on for him. But he passes out from all that heart stopping feat. By the time he wakes up, she is gone. At the bottom of Tokyo Tower, he tries to call her but she hangs up. The mini present was stuck somewhere and then conveniently flew down into his hands. He realizes this is from Chizuru and that she is his true love. He goes in search of her until they meet on the bridge. The couple continue to do many things together and their pet donkey.

Trouble Chocolate
Just as sweet as marble chocolate. Mmm… Yum… The story is simple and enjoyable without all the convoluted plots and twists. It might not be much nor it is very deep but I find it simple and fun especially when everything comes full circle when you get to see both sides of the story. You thought fate is going to screw up ultimately with them again and leave them in another round of depression but sometimes such misfortunes are a blessing in disguise. The previous exes that weren’t right for them finally led them to meet each other and sealed that single status away forever.

Both Chizuru and Yuudai aren’t the most perfect of couple and they have their own flaws and insecurities. But like they say about persistence, never give up. Try, try and try again. But the star of this series is no doubt the cheeky mini donkey. This little mule is like as though a cupid angel of love in disguise. Like as though it can read the mind of the lovers and then tries to bring them together but not without a pinch of cheekiness in it. At times when the lovers are about to give up, the donkey intervenes and brings them back to the right path. And more often with that big wide smile and set of teeth. Is this what you call a smart ass? Something tells me if Disney were to adapt this show, it would have been perfect. Heck, this sounds like the perfect material for Disney to make. Yeah, this show has got me thinking never to look down on asses again. Asses of the mule kind, that is.

I want to note something about the art style of this series. Despite being released way back in 2007, it has very simplistic design and light colour tones and hues. The sceneries sometimes look like as though they are drawn from sketches or water colour painting while the characters themselves look a little bit cartoonish. Especially the eyes. They weren’t your typical wide Japanese anime eyes. I thought I was watching a Tintin animation! And during certain ‘hallucination’ scenes, the art gets really weird. I thought SHAFT had a hand animating those parts since it could range from creepy to just abstract. Though, this show was made by Production I.G. who did Psycho-Pass, Guilty Crown, Kuroko No Basket, Haikyuu, Kimi Ni Todoke and Ao Haru Ride.

To my surprise, I recognized all the seiyuus lending their talents to this mini show. Like Nana Mizuki as Chizuru, Takahiro Sakurai as Yuudai, Marina Inoue as Miki and Yuuichi Nakamura as Yamada. Uhm, almost all. Because it seems even the donkey is voiced by Mitsuo Iwata (Ivankov in One Piece). I don’t remember the donkey being such a noisy creature here. Just some small grunts. I don’t really recall it going hee-haw out loud. The ending theme for the first episode is Matta Aimashou by Seamo. It is a rap and hip hop blend and although I’m not a fan of this music genre, it seems catchy enough. For the second episode’s ending theme, it is Zenryoku Shounen by Sukima Switch. Doesn’t sound too bad although I thought this lively pop piece sounds a bit dated but quite a fitting ending theme for our happy lovers.

Overall, this a simple and lovely show to watch if you are looking for some romance that is short and doesn’t take an entire cour. No complicated plots of outside parties getting involved and just the simple story of our lost young lovers navigating through the obstacles before getting it right. So perhaps the subtle lesson here is that we should never give up chasing after love even if that love didn’t end up as the right one for you. Because love is something that is always worth chasing after. Especially when there is a mini donkey there to obviously show you the way.

Release The Spyce

April 7, 2019

I have a feeling that they wanted to play around with the meaning of the homonym words, spies and spice. Hence we have Release The Spyce! Add the ‘y’ for more trendiness. Haha! Okay. I made that up. But that’s the feeling I get before I started watching this series. A group of spy girls using certain types of spice to power up in their spy missions. Sounds pretty meh to me but I can’t help think and believe this might get as epic as Princess Principal so I can’t really judge them yet until I watch the entire thing.

Episode 1
A group of ninja spy girls hack and infiltrate their way into a plant and destroying all robots that come their way. With the help of some Spyce, of course. After the mission ends and they leave, the eyes of Yuki Hanzoumon and Momo Minamoto meet. Do they have eagle eyes? That’s like kilometres away across the sea! Momo starts her first term in high school. Her goal is to make friends. Not working. So I guess she’ll accept anyone that comes by. Like Mei Yachiyo and Goe Ishikawa. They take her to a curry café. Upon entering, Fuu Sagami gives Momo the jealous eye look since Mei is quite friendly with her. Momo is amazed the store has a few pet animals. But what is amazing is that Momo can pick up the scent of several spices. She can tell more about a person if she licks you! Not kidding! On her way home, Momo sees a snatch thief but is too scared to do anything. Luckily, her policewoman friend, Ayumu arrests the culprit. We see Momo’s dreams of following her late father’s footsteps to become a police officer. When Momo realizes Ayumu has not returned from her patrol, she senses something amiss and goes to look for her. What a coincidence she stumbles upon a group of thuggish women who have captured Ayumu and her partner for sniffing around. Momo tries to be brave and do something but ends up being targeted. Thank goodness our spy girls are here to save the day. Although they wipe out the policewomen’s memories, they won’t for Momo because she was recommended by Mei to join them because of her talented tongue and nose. Because they hid a frog on Momo and spied her all day, that is why they are able to come to her aid quickly. They are Tsukikage, a secret group fighting for justice against an evil organization called Moryo. This scouting is also to get Yuki an apprentice. With some thugs escaping, begins a high speed explosive chase (to showcase some cool gadgets and weaponry too). After taking down the baddies, Momo wants to join Tsukikage as she loves this city and wants to protect it.

Episode 2
Fuu reluctantly tells Momo the task she must do to join Tsukikage. At the curry house after saying the right password, she is greeted by Katrina Tobey who leads her to Tsukikage’s huge underground base. The rest surprise her with a welcoming party. They show her around the cool technology and gadgets they have especially Hatsume Aoba as she creates most of them. Hmm… I wonder who upkeeps this huge place in perfect working order considering they say Tsukikage is a small group. Small group in action doesn’t mean they don’t need a large support team behind them. As Katrina was an ex-Tsukikage member and Hatsume’s mentor, now Hatsume is Goe’s mentor, just like how Mei is for Fuu. Hence the time is right for Yuki to get one. Momo is eager but her harsh training begins now. As expected from a beginner, she falls for all the traps Yuki laid out. Momo gets a bit disheartened as the training intensifies but won’t give up. Momo’s training even includes talking and interacting with other strangers. Intentionally or not, she makes friends with another girl from her school, Nagi Hokuto. And with time, we see that Momo has become a pro. Practice makes perfect. For Momo to pass the final test, she has to catch Mei running around the school. With Momo’s foresight, she manages to trap and corner Mei to pass. Momo is now officially part of Tsukikage and has her own ninja spy uniform. Yuki gives her a sword since she is her apprentice. Meanwhile Theresia Ray from Moryo receives info from a traitor of Tsukikage. It might be a trap but it’s still worth to check it out.

Episode 3
Momo joins Tsukikage on a few missions. However even though the missions are a success, she made a few slipups like leaving her post and hence gets reprimanded by Yuki for not following orders. Another negligent on her part has Momo feel guilty since Yuki has to apologize on her behalf to the rest although they don’t want to make a big deal out of it. With their latest mission of infiltrating the brothel, they find out it has been secretly channelling funds to Moryo who are no doubt going to smuggle weaponized robots in a few days. Speaking of them, they have mercenaries, Byakko and Dolte fight each other to see who gets the right for the next mission. Byakko wins and is given some sort of drug. Goe and Fuu help Momo overcome her mini depression and it’s a good thing Momo gets her motivation back. As Tsukikage waits at the harbour to stop the smuggling, looks like the robots are already up and running to surround them. Byakko decides to fight Momo as she looks like she is stationed alone. Momo could have lost had not Fuu coming to back her up. I guess they also need Goe’s sniping support otherwise this bratty petite girl could have bested them again. In the end, it was probably Byakko’s arrogance that she thinks she is unbeatable that she got beaten by them. Tsukikage takes her in for interrogation and the bratty one is confident she will never spill the beans. Until they lower her close into some lava pit! Woah, she passed out. Still a kid after all. But when she comes to, she has no recollections of what happened. Momo’s licking ascertains she is not lying. On the Moryo side, we see them explaining to other shady figures about this drug when consumed, wipes out one’s memories when they experience fear. Many thought it would be better to kill off Byakko but Moryo think it would cause them problems with the mercenary village she is from. And Tsukikage analyses the sand at the bottom of Byakko’s shoe to determine the Kyuten science facility she came from? Because that kind of sand can only be found there?! What utter convenience?! Who the f*ck could think of analysing the sole of a shoe?! And how the f*ck did sand stuck on her shoe after all that jumping and fighting?!

Episode 4
Mei occasionally performs in the streets for some extra income. As Fuu also lives with her, she helps records the expenses and is not thrilled that Mei often spends the money on useless stuffs. Tsukikage’s next mission is to investigate a drug syndicate. Fuu is eager to do this but Yuki will not allow an apprentice to take such a dangerous task. Unfortunately Fuu still does the infiltration herself and when she finally tails the drug buyer, Mei finds her. That distraction made Fuu lose him. Gee, so sophisticated tailing and she easily loses him like that? Hence they get into an argument to a point where they won’t talk to each other. When the mission calls for Mei and Fuu to bust the drug syndicate together, their lack of unilaterality causes Mei to end up being lightly injured although the mission was a success. This has Yuki warning Mei that she will have to review her mentorship over Fuu if this continues. Fuu feels guilty about this and decides to stop living at her place and return to her own home. As we see them live separately, we can tell from their forlorn look on their faces that they miss each other. It’s just not the same. Eventually they realize they need each other and made up. Convenient that drug guy passes before them and hence the duo are now back in business to chase him down. Because he is on drugs, it not only makes him numb to pain but gives him superhuman abilities. Also, this guy is a masochist. Mei and Fuu are back to being the perfect combo again as they take this sick dude down. The result of this drug investigation reveals another source. They are unsure if it is one of Moryo’s fronts or just another dummy company. Nevertheless, more investigation is needed. But for now, Mei and Fuu are back being the bestest friends ever. Uhm, I think they’re just an inch step away from making this friendship turn to lesbianism.

Episode 5
Tsukikage infiltrates Kyuten to hack its data. However analysis shows nothing in connection with Moryo. Yuki remains suspicious because it is as though they want them to steal their data. Of course the truth is that this is just a dummy data to divert Tsukikage’s attention. To further that plan, they team up with some Italian mafiaso, Emo Pacino (WTF?!). Dolte is tasked to be their bodyguard. My, she is now like She-Hulk? What drug did they give her? Momo continues to train in hopes she will prove useful to Yuki and Tsukikage. With more drugs resurfacing in the city, they traced it to this guy, Marco Nero who is an associate of Pacino. Yuki and Momo track him down while he is taking a train late one night, knock him out and put a tracker on him. While doing so, Dolte attacks. Momo panics when none of her attacks work, even screaming for help. Of course, Yuki to the rescue. Don’t forget to take your spice. Yuki manages to kick Dolte out of the train. With more info on Marco, they storm Pacino’s base and take out all the goons. Although Pacino and a few henchmen escaped, I guess Tsukikage can’t let the party food go to waste and so they celebrate Momo’s birthday. Did they just ‘steal’ somebody’s food? Later, Momo gets ambushed by Dolte. That is one mean punch she took. Luckily Katrina and Yuki again come to her rescue and knock out the behemoth. Momo is ashamed but at the same time very proud of her mentor. She faints but wakes up in Yuki’s home. Yeah, strange dream of Dolte chasing her! Oh, how she wished it was Yuki. Anyway, Yuki has her suspicions that the reason Moryo employed Pacino was to distract them from Kyuten. No rest for justice until all evil is eradicated. Better be quick because Moryo now has got their hands on Hatsume’s data courtesy of the traitor.

Episode 6
Byakko is now a slave in Tsukikage’s hideout? Just kidding. She is just made to do chores. Just keep her shut with great food. Kurara Tendou, the regional head of Moryo gives Theresia a mission. She is to infiltrate as a transfer student in Hatsume’s school to find out if she is really affiliated with Tsukikage and to discover other members. Here is that gelatine drink for the road. Theresia is concerned because she was once friends with Hatsume. What if she remembers? Oh well. She did. Flashback time. In some poor foreign land, Theresia tried to rob Hatsume but her SPs took care of it. Hatsume let her go since she considered her as a friend but WTF pride did Theresia had to throw back her stolen things? Because of that her father beat her up. Next day, Hatsume saw her again and is very worried of her wounds. The more they hang out together, the more they become friends. However they got abducted. A ransom was paid for Hatsume while Theresia was later sold away. Theresia was told Hatsume only saved her own ass and returned to her country and has forgotten about her. Theresia became mad and disillusioned of their fake friendship. In actual fact, Hatsume’s parents rounded up enough cash to secure Theresia’s release but by then the kidnappers were no longer contactable. Theresia was sold to Moryo and they trained her to where she is now. Yuki is suspicious that a long lost friend suddenly reappears in the same school. Hmm… A spy? They will continue to do their ordinary stuffs but keep a close watch on Hatsume and Theresia. Katrina is concerned that if such info is leaked, she wonders if any among them is the traitor. Can you see them as so? Think not. Yeah, believe in your comrades! Uhm, I don’t think that makes a good spy… Meanwhile Byakko wants to go home but Yuki tells her a notice from her village her banishing her for failing to complete her mission. Wait. Does Byakko even remember what she did?! Oh well, I guess she’ll stay here now. Theresia is extra careful as she knows she is being watched. When Hatsume invites her to her apartment, Theresia sees the friendship memento she is still keeping. This has Theresia snap back their friendship means nothing because as a rich girl, she knows nothing about loneliness or being poor. But Theresia will have it no other way since it is better than being betrayed. She has made it this far alone without her help. Hatsume blames herself for being powerless. Momo tries to lick Theresia as she believes Theresia wants to reconcile but gets owned. Theresia will not believe anything more they say and leaves.

Episode 7
Theresia and Hatsume make up and continue to hang out with each other. Wow. That was quick. While doing so, Tendou in disguise unleashes a drone that sprays some drug all over the shopping complex, turning people into obedient zombies. With the commotion, Theresia is waiting to see if Hatsume will leave to save the people. Meanwhile the other Tsukikage members (minus Goe) are being briefed about the situation and need to return order. With their medicine not working, they have to use sleep inducing bullets. Hatsume drops the biggest bomb as she tells Theresia outright she is from Tsukikage. Even more shocking, she knows Theresia is from Moryo. As she wants them to be true friends, there is no point trying to hide things from each other. She hopes to make a deal to keep each other’s identity a secret from the rest but Theresia doesn’t care if Moryo gets exposed or anything. Hatsume then secretly drugs her with some paralysis poison. In 10 minutes she can’t move and the antidote is in her school locker. If she can’t move, she’ll take care of her. Man, she sounds like a crazy BFF stalker! Theresia rushes for the cure. This enables Hatsume to go into Tsukikage action. Meanwhile Goe has been found. She has been hypnotized and singlehandedly destroyed the entire yakuza clan! Yuki and Momo try to subdue her but they are being attacked. However they are no match for her as Goe is the strongest Tsukikage member and supposed to be their ace. So what they do? They pin a communicator on her to let Hatsume talk her to her senses. You mean that would work? Well… With heartfelt feelings of the kind girl she is, blah, blah, blah, Goe manages to fight against her hypnotism and return to normal. Wow. It really worked. The power of words. Not inventions. But Goe feels ashamed for herself for running rampage but you know, nobody is going to hold it against her. Back at HQ, the rest analyse the culprit but Fuu can tell the perpetrator is wearing a disguise. Based on past records, Moryo has done this before but on a smaller scale. The drug robs people of their senses. Analysing the substance from Goe, it seems it comes from a manufacturer in Okinawa. Next stop the southern beaches? Meanwhile Theresia sees Tendou and confirms that Hatsume is from Tsukikage. As other info are not confirmed, Tendou hints she is taking too long and perhaps hesitating. Then Tendou receives praises from other higher ups from her successful test. Now they can go ahead with Project Gekkako. It will be executed on the day the city will be packed with people.

Episode 8
Theresia fights Hatsume and lost. Later Hatsume removes the drug in her bloodstream and believes Moryo intended to take her out with Tsukikage. She wants Theresia to join them but Theresia will not believe her and prefers to be alone. Meanwhile the rest are at Okinawa. They meet a Viking girl, Ingen Lua Ouka Miyamae who saved a few boys from dangerous local snakes. She isn’t too friendly with them until Goe talks to her about her Viking hat then she becomes talkative about her Viking origins. Later Tsukikage sees an old man from The Shisha. However he is the last surviving member as the local evil organization, Nirai Kanai has routed the rest. The drug substance they are looking for comes from a plant that is grown here but inside Nirai’s base. Too bad it is protected by a Viking girl. The thing is, her family is taken hostage and she is forced to do this. He hopes they can rescue her and her family as her grandpa is a botanist. That night they try to infiltrate the base but as expected, Ouka stands in their way. Goe fights her while the rest make their way to the island. Ouka is stubborn she doesn’t need help because all those who did failed. But you know, with Goe really assuring she can help and showing her true strength to break her axe, Ouka’s on their side now. Yuki and co get separated due to the traps but their mission remains the same. Momo stumbles into the plant field and is unfortunate enough to fight Nirai’s boss who also controls the snakes. Thanks to Ouka amplifying the sound snakes hate, it keeps them away. The boss manages to steal her sword and slices her. Yuki almost has a heart attack seeing this. Luckily Momo was quick enough to shoot her tranquilizer and just got a cut on her wrist. Yuki slaps her! Is this the thanks she gets? Yuki specifically told her to run away if she faced danger and she was lucky this time her opponent wasn’t that strong. There will be times when Yuki will not be able to protect her. You mean like just now? Why so mad? Don’t ruin the mood, man! The boss tries to burn the plants and take down the island with him but Ouka destroys the flame thrower canon. With her family rescued, Ouka part ways with Tsukikage. Heck, she gives Goe her Viking hat. Yeah, she got lots of them. Really? In the end, Tsukikage can’t determine if Nirai is connected to Moryo and could be one of the many dummy intermediaries they used.

Episode 9
With Momo still bummed out, as advised by Mei, Yuki goes to talk with her and apologizes for going too far at Okinawa. So the best way to bond back is to hang out with each other. Best time ever. But now for the serious part. Yuki brings Momo to see ruins of an old building caught in an explosion 2 years ago. It was Moryo’s base. Time to talk about Yuki’s mentor, Nagaho Fujibayashi. She came to scout Yuki as she is from a dojo family. After Nagaho bested her speed and strength, Yuki agrees to become her apprentice. Usual mentor and apprentice bonding and going on missions together with Yuki slowly learning to love this city. Then on that fateful day 2 years ago, that time this Russian dude, Aleksei was in charge and was supposed to control satellites all over the world. Tsukikage infiltrated the base and manage to defeat all the robots, guards and even Aleksei himself despite taking some sense enhancing drug. Tsukikage’s job is to download the data and then blow up the building (because some regional assistance won’t come in time?!). While Nagaho and Yuki were doing so, they had to fight Tendou (who was tasked by Moryo to assist). Too bad Tendou was strong as she blinded an eye of Yuki and dealt a lethal blow on Nagaho. Nagaho blew herself up in hopes of taking her down but all Tendou got was just an elbow scar???!!! Anyway, Yuki became disheartened seeing her mentor die as other Tsukikage members take her by force to flee. In the aftermath of the building’s explosion, despite Moryo’s plan failed, they promote Tendou is promoted as the leader of this region. She thinks of reviving an old Moryo technology using Spyce instead of drugs. Now Momo understands Yuki’s fury then. She doesn’t want to lose anyone close again. So more bonding and assurance and the best way to prove that is to investigate together. Not sure if Momo is damn lucky because she noticed this beautiful lady that is always showing her back and never her face. Like as though she know where the cameras are and purposely avoiding them. Damn they can zoom in and check their database for this person?! No match. But when they put in that Kyuten substance, f*cking 1 match!!! Does this special executive officer Fumiko Torimaru from Kyuten look familiar? You bet she is. Oh yeah, let’s thank great teamwork for it.

Episode 10
Some mentor-apprentice bonding before the big mission. Like Momo asking Katrina how she joined Tsukikage and in turn Katrina pops the question of Momo taking on an apprentice one day. I think we can skip the Hatsume-Goe, Mei-Fuu and Yuki-Momo bonding because it feels like a red flag of some sort of tragedy that is about to happen… On mission night, Yuki easily kidnaps Fumiko. When she comes to, Yuki reveals they are from Tsukikage and although Fumiko claims she is unaware of anything, nobody escapes Momo’s lick of truth. With that, Fumiko drops the act and is of course Tendou. With Yuki pointing out that tower incident, Tendou remembers her now and even mocks to cut down Momo before her. I hope Yuki doesn’t get too emotional with this. Tendou surprises Momo as she knows a lot about her. Then Tsukikage realizes this is a trap as they are cornered by Moryo. Time to fight those mass manufactured robots. But in a sudden twist of fate, Mei disables Goe! Before she does the same to Fuu, she reveals she is the traitor that sold info to Moryo. As hard as Mei denies her mentor could be such a turncoat, reality says otherwise. Time to sleep, girl. Hatsume just finished defeating Theresia so Mei tags in to help defeat her. Does she think bombing her in the water means she is dead without actually confirming it? Anyway Theresia looks so surprised her friend is dead. So she wasn’t really trying to kill her then? Yuki and Tendou fight. But oddly Yuki after striking that same elbow on Tendou, she goes off to fight the robots? I know she wants to ascertain about Mei but she left Momo wide open and allowed Tendou to defeat her. This is what you call karma as Yuki gets slashed before Momo’s eyes. The surviving Tsukikage members are taken away so Tendou could experiment on their Spyce. Why do baddies always make the mistake of never confirming the dead stays dead?

Episode 11
The apprentices are captured and about to be tortured. They are still in shock especially Mei as the traitor and she’s being so overly friendly with Tendou. Mei reveals how everything she did was a setup, from leaking info to Moryo and even to having Theresia getting transferred to school. Now it’s time for the apprentices to be subjected to some torture experiment. Momo manages to snap out of her depression. Yeah, no time to cry for Yuki. She notices Goe’s strength to break out from her seat. So as she distracts the torturer, Goe manages to break out and beat her up. Then they interrogate her on this Project Gekkako and learn it is a massive plan to hypnotise the public with some hypnotic drug. They escape but can’t return to base because Katrina’s shop has a gas explosion and is cordoned off. Thankfully there are other secret entrances, right? As they make plans to stop Gekkako, they realize their families are in danger if Moryo realizes their escape. Phew. In the nick of time they neutralize those dumb agent weaklings and then bring their family back to Tsukikage’s base. Are they going to be unconscious all the while they take action? After making their preparations and heading out, Yuki finds them. She’s still alive! As expected. Momo’s lick confirms it. Yeah, some trick she explained to make her look dead. But anyway, since they are going to take on Moryo, Yuki who is still injured can only be their support role. The day for Gekkako is here. A large party is even held for all the Moryo top dogs to witness this spectacular event. Tsukikage apprentices barge in. Goe fights Theresia while Fuu faces her ex-mentor. Eventually Theresia loses again because the power of I-wanna-be-your-friend. Looks like Goe is taking over that role. But as Goe lies thinking about that possible friendship, Tendou is disappointed in her for the last time and slashes her wrist to let her bleed to death. Fuu’s fight ends prematurely as Mei makes her explosive escape. I don’t know what Tsukikage’s plan but there is still time for the event to carry on. Like, what the f*ck is Tsukikage doing at this moment?! A giant artificial device pops out from the underground of some factory. Gekkako is here. It’s show time. And Tsukikage think they can get there in time? I thought the counter has already reached zero?

Episode 12
Tendou explains the stages of the drug effect that will eventually turn you into a permanent zombie! They can take on the world if Gekkako is successful. Not if Tsukikage can help it. They are attacking the tower but lots of robots show up. Even Katrina and Byakko show up to help. Better hurry because the people are already collapsing from the drug. When Mei reports the higher ups have been taken out, Tendou knows that Mei is the one who did it. Mei betraying Tendou now? Double double agent act, huh? Oh, Hatsume is still alive. Mei reveals that this double agent thingy was planned quite some time ago between her and Katrina. It would put others at great risk but Mei was up for the job. The oldest trick in the book of deceiving your friends first to deceive your enemies. Hatsume’s body was just a dummy but for Yuki, it was a miscalculation and thank goodness she lived. Too bad with that bragging, Tendou had time to restart the tower. Yuki has found out the core weakness but they need to get through Tendou first. Momo is nearest as she receives Yuki’s blessing to fight her despite Tendou clearly being the superior swordswoman. Believe in your apprentice! Tendou tries to rile her up by talking about her father’s death and the possible reason behind it but Momo isn’t shaken and is focused on her job. In the end, a stroke of luck as Momo hits her scarred elbow before putting another scar across her chest. Then dropping the bomb into the core with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock! Wow. So amazingly unbelievable. No wonder Tendou just gave up and seemingly falls to her death. In the aftermath, nobody had everlasting effect of the drug and life returns to normal. Now the biggest dilemma for Momo as Yuki tells her she is planning to graduate from Tsukikage (as the Spyce effect is wearing out the more she uses it) and wants her to use this memory erasing bullet on her. Of course Momo can’t do it so cue for some emotional drama and conversation. Thank you this, thank you that. There is nothing more I can teach you. You have surpassed your mentor. Yuki points out an old lady Momo frequently interacts was once a Tsukikage member. She is living a normal life now. I guess it’s going to take the whole night crying for Momo before she eventually gets to it. Bang. 9 months down the road, Momo is a skilled Tsukikage and in a similar fashion is trying to recruit a meek and low confidence girl as her apprentice. I bet she will after seeing how cool Momo is. One day as they are training, Momo sees Yuki passing by. Not sure if she remembers but that smirk on Yuki’s face… But no rest for Tsukikage as they continue more spy missions. With Spyce!

Spyce World! Spyce Up Your Life! Totally Spyce!
By the time I finished watching this series, somehow it dawned to me that Yuki and Momo’s relationship seems to mirror that Alicia and Akari from the Aria series. Mentor takes on an apprentice who doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself. Undergoes some training and practical before the apprentice finally becomes ready to take her mentor’s place after the latter retires. Wow. So similar in that sense. Brings a tear to my eyes. Remembering the Aria series, that is. Oh, sorry. We were talking about this spy series instead. Got a little off tracked that with that dilemma. Because I’m sure I was going to end my blog by saying and so once again the day is saved thanks to Tsukikage! Or as crime never sleeps, so does Tsukikage! Or Tsukikage’s work is never done. Cliché quotes for a typical cliché life-goes-on ending.

Too bad the story and plot doesn’t feel as interesting so now I can say that it is inferior to Princess Principal in this sense. Heh. It is just the basic story of a small good organization versus a big evil organization. The obligatory newbie joining the force so we can show some training stints to make her as the same level as the rest in an otherwise mundane and predictable plot for Moryo trying to just control the city but always thwarted by Tsukikage. Yeah, if they can’t handle a city of this calibre, can they even take on the world? Better start small first before taking on something on a global scale.

It is unfortunate that there are a few plot holes that I started pondering. Not actually so much about the series’ storyline but more of Tsukikage’s flow of operation. You see, if Tsukikage hires only young girls, and seeing that all of them are high school students, do you not think the turnover for membership of Tsukikage is very high?! Like OMG, it is unbelievable to train a normal high school student and turn her this good in a matter of months! Even if you are some sort of prodigy genius, that would at least take years! So what happened to all the old Tsukikage mentors? Don’t tell me they all die in their mission. And thank goodness they trained their pupils well before their demise, huh? Even if they don’t die, don’t you think the city will be filled with ex-Tsukikage mentors? Oh right. I forgot about that memory erasing bullet convenience. Heck, every woman you see in town could be an ex-member of Tsukikage! I don’t know how long Tsukikage has been really established but if it was a really long time ago, yeah there should be a lot of such mentors living their normal lives now. Maybe they migrated to another city? But who knows? All I’m saying is that the recruiting rate of Tsukikage is ridiculous considering how they only have young girls at the helm of active operation. Those who don’t probably get drafted by Moryo…

Unlike Moryo, Tsukikage is only a very small and perhaps a localized organization (although Moryo uses other smaller organizations, dummy or real, at least Moryo is the big umbrella corporation). I don’t remember seeing or hearing Tsukikage having branches anywhere else in the world or even other parts of Japan. Sure, their policy is to work in small groups and we once see that there are other good organizations in other cities keeping the local peace. But even mind boggling is how super big their underground base is and how nobody else really maintains the facilities and amenities because they are seen running in tiptop condition. It’s not like they have some sort of resident nerd technician even though we have Hatsume who creates gadgets. What I mean, is the kind of technician who doesn’t go into the battlefield like Hatsume and stays in the background to do maintenance work or tuning weapons, gadgets, etc. I don’t know if Katrina is doing all that alone because since she has her curry shop to run. Yeah, maybe those critters lend some help too, huh? I wonder how Byakko is holding up… It’s not like she’s really complaining…

Unfortunately the characters feel boring and uninspiring. Somewhat shallow too. Just because they are cute girls doing, uhm, cute things (?). I know that they are spies and hence there needs to be some sort of mystery pertaining to their background, so we don’t really know them in detail. Therefore the characters lack a lot of development deemed necessary and the most we get is the playing up of Momo and Yuki’s relationship. I guess it has to be because there is potential drama to see a newbie trying to fit in and live up to her mentor’s expectations. Unbelievably, Momo managed to learn and adapt quickly (it’s a good thing for her) that by the time the final episodes roll about, you would probably forget that she was the youngest member of Tsukikage since she is acting like a pro and veteran who has been in Tsukikage for a long time. And the only thing you’d remember cute Momo by is her weird ability to find the truth via licking. Gross. Imagine if a guy does that as his ability. Not going to cut it. Because they didn’t show that Momo fired the shot at Yuki, it leaves some room for our own interpretations that she might not and that they can simply pretend not to know each other. I mean, there’s no rule saying those who leave Tsukikage must have their memories fully erased, right? Is there?! Plot twist when Yuki comes out of retirement in season 2 to help Tsukikage in a pinch!

Same thing for other members. Like Goe the secretly super strong and Fuu the tsundere. That’s all we need to know about them. Don’t need to get too attached to them and be their fans. They’re not idols per se. Yeah, girls only Tsukikage membership because possible lesbianism play out. If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends/ Make it last forever, friendship never ends/ If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give/ Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is… Damn I was hoping this song would play somewhere because it so fits the narrative here well. But it gets a little confusing because spies are supposed to be spies and this means lying. Yeah, Yuki trolled Momo once about not being able to protect her always and she became hypocritical by continuing to do so. All under the ‘acceptable’ reason that they are spies. So it’s okay to lie as long as you’re a spy, huh? This is sure going to have some trust issues about believing in your comrades… Because in that case speaking of Mei then…

Mei being the traitor and then not, isn’t that much of a surprise. Somehow a traitor in the organization didn’t sounded as important due to all the missions that were taking importance for Tsukikage. Hence the traitor thingy was somewhat on the back burner of our minds. At times we think who could the possible traitor be as all of them as spies have the potential. From Yuki’s cold and distant personality to Hatsume’s friendly persona, even Katrina may be doing some double agent thingy (that’s why she retired), all of them could be possible suspects. And when Mei is revealed, it wasn’t so shocking. At least to me. In the back of our minds we were expecting a betrayal anyway. Or not. And with Mei trolling us again at the end, she has got to be the best spy ever? Never believed Yuki was dead. Never believed Hatsume was dead. Never believed Mei was the spy. It’s that kind of anime. Yeah, I guess in that sense they never really got me. Haha!

Feeling wasted are the pet mascots of Tsukikage. An owl, a frog and a racoon would have done wonders since this show has 3 freaking critters as cute kawaii mascots. Instead they feel like playing not even secondary role and only more like convenience when the plot calls for it. But who knows? Maybe these are the eternal gods watching over Tsukikage for a long time? Otherwise, who the f*ck trained these animals to be so good at doing spy work?! Hah! Another part you missed addressing, you producers!

Moryo being the one dimensional villain too doesn’t fare well with Tendou being the sole antagonist at least for this city. She sounds scheming and confident as the local female boss but ultimately the fatal plot hole that Tsukikage and Moryo can’t find out each other’s identity for the longest time shows they aren’t really can’t get the job done to take down one another. Maybe it’s to show that they are neck to neck with each other but I see Moryo having maintained a few steps ahead of Tsukikage because of their dummy companies and leading Tsukikage astray. And Tsukikage having all the best technology in the world that really seems like BS. Damn they should have some of the technologies applied in daily lives of normal people! The other henchmen under Tendou also don’t fare well with Theresia being more of a plot convenience so that Hatsume has some sort of background. Also potential for bad guy turning over a new leaf potential. Oh look, she is now a Tsukikage member and looks so happy smiling and having friends. Good for her.

Dolte isn’t forever lost as a She-Hulk as she somehow ended up being Katrina’s curry house assistant and Byakko some sort of chibi comical relief as the ‘janitor’ of Tsukikage (probably to also keep Katrina and Hatsume company). What a waste of her talents. Shouldn’t she at least try to be Tsukikage’s apprentice? I know she doesn’t want to but it beats bumming around knowing that her old organization doesn’t want her anymore. Of course she looks like she is supporting Tsukikage from the shadows but with those martial arts talents, I thought she would be better off in the frontlines. Looks like these ex-cronies of Moryo ended up somewhere although it cannot be said for Tendou because villains falling to their death in a shady way that doesn’t confirm anything is one way to pull off a shock cliché factor that the villainess is still alive if they ever needed to come back for another season. Uhm, isn’t Tsukikage growing a bit larger than before and thus defeating its purpose as a small local peacekeeping unit?

Action bits are rather okay. Seeing Tsukikage kicking ass looks cool and aided by some far out gadgets but I’ve seen so many cute girls in other series doing the same so this one just feels average. Yeah, my dopamine levels have increased. Like drugs, huh? I also feel that the Spyce thingy is somewhat underutilized and more of a plot convenience and tool for Tsukikage girls to go into a temporary superhuman mode. Because I don’t see any difference as the girls are able to take down robots and even low level baddies without the use of Spyce. Even in pinch situations, if they don’t rely on using Spyce, I still believe they can get through it. Because they’re highly trained so I assume they’re already much better off than using this ‘drug’ just to give a slight boost in stats. Ultimately this Spyce thingy also feels like drugs because you will get overdose if you eat it in succession. That’s why you see the girls only biting it once, right? Again, who grows and harvest the Spyce for them? They don’t just grow on trees, do they? Uhm, technically parts of plants…

Art and animation feel pretty standard. The characters are designed in a colourful and cute way so sometimes it is pretty weird and awkward to see a spy themed series and having cute girls helming as the main characters. Oh wait. They did that with Princess Principal too. But Tsukikage sometimes looks more like the casts of YuruYuri growing up and turning into spies. Seriously! But what I’m saying is that the ninja outfits of Tsukikage sometimes feel like it is not really effective in terms of efficiency. You see, watching the girls doing all sorts of dangerous missions, you would think that they would dress up or at least protect themselves better than this. The ninja outfit makes them look like they’re going to some cosplay convention. Besides, the biggest flaw of the outfit is that they don’t even mask their faces! Sure, they do cover up sometimes but most of the times that they are running around with their face being visible! Is the city so dead at night that nobody actually sees them in action? Or are they that confident people can’t see them? Yeah, it’s amazing nobody knows who the members of Tsukikage are. It’s not like the city is like the size of Russia, right? I love it when they can do their spy job and still lead ordinary high school lives. Oh, right. I keep forgetting they have this convenient memory erasing bullet. Carry on girls. Don’t need to wear those masks.

Also, I want to mention how the robots themselves look so bland and boring like as though the producers didn’t actually put any effort into thinking a better design. I mean, if you are going to have generic robots whose role is to only get cut down for Tsukikage just for the sake of action, why the heck do you need to make them look so badass cool like say, Transformers? Imagine if somebody designed a really cool and awesome killing machine but it gets cut down easily by Tsukikage, oh, imagine the heartbreak. Besides, it saves time to just animate simple looking robots than all those complicated coolly designed ones. This isn’t a mecha series, remember. Oh, now I remember why those generic robots look familiar. Don’t they look like Android’s mascot?! Damn! This anime is done by Lay-duce who brought to us Magi: Sinbad No Bouken, Classroom Crisis and Fate/Grand Order.

Voice acting feels pretty okay and nothing spectacular. I only recognized Shizuka Itou as Tendou as her laidback voice feels very much at home playing the character although she doesn’t normally play antagonistic characters. I didn’t realize Saori Hayami was behind Dolte’s voice. I guess one would really sound different if you try to sound like the Hulk. Yeah… The other casts as Yukari Anzai as Momo (Minori in Happy Sugar Life), Manami Numakura as Yuki (Narberal in Overlord), Aya Uchida as Hatsume (Kotori in Love Live), Aya Suzaki as Mei (Kaede in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Akane Fujita as Fuu (Sagiri in Eromanga Sensei), Yuri Noguchi as Goe (Kaun in Reikenzan), Mikako Komatsu as Katrina (Neko in K), Risa Taneda as Theresia (Xenovia in High School DxD series) and Aina Suzuki as Byakko (Mari in Love Live! Sunshine).

Both the opening and ending themes are sung by the sextet of Tsukikage. Being the spy themed wannabe, it is no surprise that Spatto! Spy & Spyce as the opener tries to sound very spy-like but also maintain its kawaii anime style. So don’t expect it to be something like 007 James Bond material. Hide & Seek as the ending theme throws away all that spy thingy as it now sounds like a generic anime pop piece.

Overall, this series is just pretty average. Some weird mind boggling bizarre moments (Tsukikage celebrating Momo’s birthday using the mafia’s party food!), some funny moments (as in shady moments – because how the f*ck can Momo observe a certain lady facing her back in every surveillance cameras?!)and even strange characters (who could forget that name Emo Pacino???!!!). If you really want some spy action thriller, Princess Principal is still my best suggestion to go to. It is still enjoyable in its own right but with today’s standards, such series isn’t really going to cut it in the crowded field of other animes in the season as well in the genre of cute girls doing cute things. I mean, can we certainly consider this genre so but with more kickass and action bits? No? Oh well, at least they tried. It’s not like about fixing things that are not broken. It’s not like about sticking to the tried and tested tropes. It’s about having some variety and Spyce of life. Heh. Just wanted to make that pun just be the Spyce of life.

It’s finally here! OMG! The final stretch. The moment that I have been ‘fearing’ the most. Because it’s the final chapters of Gintama! Oh no! I have to face reality that all good things must come to an end. That time has come. At least for Gintama: Silver Soul Arc. It is going to be one hell of an epic finale with all the characters coming back for one last hurrah as they defend Earth and their beloved Edo from the hands of those who want to really destroy it.

The Defence Of Edo

Who watches the watchmen – The Liberation Army, a group of Amanto who are supposed to fight for Earth from Tendoshu’s destruction is now harassing Earthlings in the name of justice. They think they are entitled to everything because they’re helping them. Jerks.

Penny for your thoughts – If you have been laughing at Hasegawa for trying to collect every damn penny he could find, you won’t be laughing now that you see his vast collection of full jars and pots of those pennies. Because he is going to use them for a job request at Yorozuya. Well, if they ever come back.

Even God has abandoned Earth – Heck, there are more requests for Yorozuya to help save them. The last dependable people to rely on. Sorry, God. Nobody prays to you anymore.

Guess who’s back? – Just like heroes arriving in the nick of time for their grand entrance, our Yorozuya dudes have returned from space! Rejoice!

Kabukichou Khaos – All our weirdoes from this district join force to show the Liberation Army who’s boss. Those bullies don’t even stand a chance when it comes to the real deal.

It’s all about faeces value – Nobunobu decides to do some good and negotiate with the leader of the Liberation Army, Admiral Shijaku. The only reason why Nobunobu sounds threatening like as though he has a secret weapon ready to bomb the sh*t out of them is because he has a terrible stomach ache and is forced to hold in for this ‘important’ negotiation. Thanks to them on different pages, Shijaku agrees to cooperate with them and back down the aggression of his men on Earth. Such a stomach churning negotiations that I hope nobody craps in their pants. Oops, too late…

Naraku strikes back – Utsuro has also begun to move and begins his plan to die along with this planet. Hence his Naraku team has been dispatched to kill everybody. Oh, did I mention they cannot be killed and revive like zombies? How the heck are they going to die then?!

Infinity war – Prince Ensho, Shijaku’s other ally in the Liberation Army shows the shocking truth that Tendoshu are all dead. Or at least they are kept in some suspended animation. Ensho wants the war to continue because if it ends, where will all those who have lost everything vent their anger and frustration? Everything could have ended but there will be no end for them. Hence this endless war will allow them to remain on the battlefield.

All odds against you – How can you even fight Utsuro when you have to deal with his undead army as well as the Liberation Army? Yeah, plot device says too early for our heroes to win. Ensho is bombarding Edo and our Yorozuya are reduced to running away. Now they are cornered by heavy tank machinery, is this the end?

The police are back – Blame plot convenience again. But I guess we’re all so glad the Shinsengumi are back and packed with more power, political influence and weaponry to kickass!

Raw power – Behold Kondou’s true power and form! His birthday suit! Until he steps on his own dick. I don’t even… I guess some things never changed…

Rambo who? – Who the f*ck is this Rambo dude? New character? Nope. YAMAZAKI!!!!!!!!!! So badass that everybody looks up to him too????!!!! So this Rambo form is his true form and that scrawny Yamazaki was just his ‘heavy t-shirt’?

Gorilla who? – Apparently Kondou’s true form is a gorilla… WTF… Is this some kind of joke like that ‘heavy t-shirt’?!

World’s largest dick – That cannon Gengai made sure resembles a penis. Is this some dick joke? What dick move is he going to make?

Rise and fall of the machines – Apparently to power up this huge machine, the power of Tama and Kintoki are needed. So when all the electricity of Edo is zapped just for this one moment, then nothing happens? The real threat is not the cannon but the little nanomachines that Gengai has created. These will infiltrate into all other machines as viruses and cause them to fail. But at a great cost of sacrificing Tama and Kintoki? Now that the machines have done their part and becoming junk, it’s up to humanity now to save Earth.

Last bastion – More Amanto reinforcements as their numbers swell. They even have the reinforcements of the other great warrior tribes like the Yato, Dakini and Shinra. Kabukichou becomes the final strong fort for our heroes to hold out before their reinforcements arrive.

Stealth – With Sakamoto and Nobunobu thrown back into prison, their only hope is for Katsura and his Joi rebels to get them out via stealth. Too bad too much stealth has them being captured as zoo exhibits by Hata.

Size does matter – WTF?! Now we have a flashback of Hata’s Okoku clan?! At this point in the series?! Anyway, there was a dispute between who should be the next ruler and in this world, those with bigger dicks on their head are more favourable. Yes, those antennas on their forehead are like akin to penis. Hence there was a faction between Hata who has a bigger dick but talentless and Barkas who has a smaller dig but is talented. Eventually Barkas left the throne to Hata thinking a kind king like him would benefit the country at peaceful times.

The hidden dick – Guess what? Shijaku is Barkas! Yeah, his tiny dick made it possible to hide it, eh?

The dick king returns – Guess what again? The eldest prince with the biggest dragon sized dick thought to be dead, still lives! In Elizabeth?! And this dick talks?! Not sure about this flashback of Dragonia instead of dying in an accident, lost his memories, met Elizabeth’s tribe and somewhat fused with it. I guess Earth now at least has an ally to fight against the Liberation Army. Nothing is scarier than bringing dicks into the battlefield.

Ball breaker – If it’s bad enough Gintoki somehow losing his balls (literally!) in the midst of the battlefield, here comes Saigo crushing balls of Amano and Dakini! Sure kill!

To take down a raging bull – The Dakini tribe is sure tough. Especially their big boss who is tougher than an elephant and rhinoceros’ skin combined and more stubborn than a mule. And for him to finally be killed, it literally took the might and cooperation of literally everyone. From Yorozuya to Otae’s girls to Kyuubei’s family and even Tsukuyo’s geishas.

Will the real doctor please stand up – The Shinra tribe takes the women hostages as they want our heroes to hand over the doctor who created the cannon so they could stop it and make the machines work again. So will Gengai give himself in? Not if every Tom, Dick and Harry in town proclaim they are the doctor!

The boss returns – Jirocho and Pirako. The more the merrier, right?

Changing the tide – I suppose when you have a bunch of weirdoes being this stubborn not to give in and fight and fight and fight, now the Liberation Army is sent retreating with tails between their legs.

Flower power – Who’d knew that Hedoro was the strongest Dakini in his time but gave up the battlefield just to plant flowers? And now that you Amanto trampled on his flower, he won’t forgive you. Watch out! Because his punch really sends you flying!

In high spirits – Looks like the shikigami and demons are joining in too. Thankfully they’re on our heroes’ side, right? Right?! Well, let’s see who the fastest runners are.

Please don’t pluck the flower – Oops. Too late. Gintoki accidentally yanks Hedoro’s flower… Will humanity be able to stand the tsukkomi that his split personality has to give?

Peace and pandemonium – It’s great our Edo boys and girls are united and resting after a hard day’s fight to drive out the Liberation Army. But can Gedomaru stop feeding everyone those hideous looking Pandemonium bread?!

Missing old man – Gengai has been captured by the Amanto and they want him to turn off the nanomachines.

First contact – Soyo receives a transmission from Nobunobu. It’s been like ages since the war started.

Mix trail – Trying to find the trail that leads to where Gengai is kidnapped. Nope. Only sh*t and ass blood trail to leads that don’t matter.

Judgment Day On Earth

It can’t be stopped – It seems even though Gengai doesn’t know how to stop the nanomachines, Ensho already has another ace up his sleeve. He has started to warm up that Kagutsuchi cannon that will obliterate all on Earth within 6 hours. Yeah, blast it out of the sky. Or universe, rather. He is going to sacrifice his comrades on Earth just for this so the desperate Liberation Army has no choice but to continue their assault to take down the nanomachine virus or bring Edo down.

Star Wars – Hata and Hasegawa’s petty argument accidentally sparked a space laser battle from all sides! It has begun!

Late to the party – Looks like Takasugi is joining the fray. Better late than never. Because nobody gets to destroy Earth but him! Don’t worry about him on which side he is siding. He is everyone’s enemy!

Kiheitai origins – Not really told in full scope but at least it gives us an idea how the main guys of Takasugi’s group came to be and how they were ‘born’ to destroy the world and the universe. And the irony is that they’re looking like they’re trying to save it from destruction.

Word of the shogun – Nobunobu must have really done some deep thinking as he realizes the people who often come to the aid to save the country are those labelled as rebels or traitors. He gives his promise to never betray them ever again. He will fight alongside them as rebels.

Internal feud – After Kagura saves Gengai from the Yato, they deem her a traitor of their race. Good for her, Kamui and his Harusame Yato are on a side and hence a big brawl among the Yato to see which is the real Yato.

Sibling feud – I guess it was inevitable. Kamui and Kagura start fighting among each other and the poor Yato dude got caught in between. He must have balls of steel to be kicked around like that!

The big boss has finally arrived! – Utsuro has joined the fray! Now apocalypse can begin.

Power up – Looks like Utsuro conveniently makes Altana go berserk right now so that when it hits back at Kagutsuchi, the destruction will also affect other parts of the galaxy!

Making haste – Ensho orders all energy to be redirected to Kagutsuchi. In the process of killing their allies and enemies in parts of the ship, Kagutsuchi is now set to fire in 15 minutes.

Delaying for a miracle – Looks like the body count for our ‘heroes’ will be starting right now. Kihetai who are last to the party has lots of their men sacrificed. To buy time for Takasugi to cut through the main power source and stop Kagutsuchi, Henpeita crashes his ship while Bansai fights back with his last ounce of strength against the heavily guarded central command.

Running man – More Ensho flashback. He looked envious the women he loved married his brother. So when the brother went on a trip to sign a treaty, they were ambushed and Ensho let him die. After his death, Ensho took in his wife. However he is still running away from her all this time and only in a battle between life and death can he forget that.

The longest cut – Can you believe Takasugi’s sword could cut through the entire core of the cannon? It’s a long way down…

It takes life to protect a life – Mutsu and Elizabeth take lethal damage from Ensho as they protect Sakamoto and Katsura respectively.

Death battle – Well it looks like it is Enso versus Sakamoto-Katsura-Takasugi combo. Lots of blood spilled. Lots of damage taken. And these tough dudes can still get up and fight? Will the one with the stronger will win?

Unarmed – Looks like the fight is decided after Takasugi cuts off Enso’s arm (the other arm got blown off). So Takasugi can claims the spoils of the fight? Now you can die in peace.

Change of heart, change of fate – Just when Ensho decides to give up and surrender, a disgruntled henchman shoots him, not happy that if they stop fighting, what about all those who fought and died? What have they been fighting for?

The last shogun – Unfortunately some of the stray bullets also hit Nobunobu. Dying shogun has his last words for everybody. Stop the hatred, make peace, live on. The world can stand up and lead itself and doesn’t need a ruler anymore. Ah yes. Even if it is for a short while, it made him worthy of the shogun title. Goodbye Nobunobu :’(.

The Final Boss Battle

Calm before the storm – Thanks to the priestess sisters, they have been going around calming the Altana berserk. But with Sadaharu joining in and using up his life force for this…

Of the dead – Undead Naraku goons try to stop our heroes. Don’t worry, there is one guy left who is really late to join the fray: Umibouzu’s back! Is there any more left who wants to make their very late entrance?

Opening up old wounds – Do we have time for this? Umibouzu and Kamui continuing their family feud in this critical time? Kagura, you go tell ‘em!

Kryptonite – Apparently those are what those Altana crystals that Umibouzu collected all over the universe are. He experimented on researched on it to find a way to nullify Utsuro and Naraku’s immortality and made several weapons out of it. If that’s the case, they aren’t immortal in the first place, right?

Gotta save ‘em all – Shijaku orders Hata to destroy the mothership that they are all in since if it crashes into Earth, everything will be done for. Not if Hasegawa has something to say about it. He is going to save everybody. So as an immigration officer he is going to let everyone in?

Influence of an unemployed man – If Hata’s puny army barrier isn’t enough to stop the crashing mothership, don’t worry, they have reinforcements in the form of the Liberation Army. Grateful that they are even thinking about saving the lives of their enemies, now they are throwing their support behind them. All thanks to Hasegawa who answers to no authority and just do as he pleases without taking any responsibility. Too bad he has no power, money, influence or a job. That is why he is unemployed.

Doggone it! – Sadaharu risking his life just to calm the main Altana leyline down. He is defenceless, who is coming to his aid? Oh, you know. The usual suspects. He is after all Yorozuya’s pet dog.

Utsuro vs everybody – Why does this feel like Thanos versus everybody? How many are going to die just to take him down? So aside from cutting down the small fries in the Shinsengumi and Yato. The big guns like Umibouzu, Kamui, Kondou, Hijikata, Sougou are all having a hard time bringing down this monster.

It’s in your blood – Utsuro’s regeneration starts slowing down, enabling Shinpachi to deal the first lethal blow. His previous bout with Gintoki, the Yorozuya boss purposely threw Altana crystals into his eyes (hence into his bloodstream) after stabbing the Altana crystal sword into his eyes didn’t work.

Soul for the future – Think Sadaharu can’t last any longer? Not if everybody chips in to channel part of their soul as fuel.

Fear thy humans – Utsuro is looking pretty scared for an immortal. His beliefs of humans being cruel and cowardly foolish creatures crushed. Turning him into one big confused mess that they keep continue to fight against the hopelessness and weaknesses.

Power combo – Yeah, all our main characters had their fair share in beating the crap out of Utsuro.

Lonely death – So did Utsuro decide to finally just kill himself by jumping into the Altana and not take the foolish humans with him? So that’s it for him? Okay. He claims they have chosen endless wars and suffering but too bad he won’t be around to see it ;p.

Crash of the century – Kagutsuchi crashes onto Edo. Wow. Did the debris just miss everyone?

2 Years’ Time Skip

Rebuilding Edo – Time skip to 2 years later, Edo is slowly being rebuilt and the normalcy and familiarity of daily life with Amanto returning.

The new Gintoki – OMG! What’s this?! Shinpachi takes over Gintoki’s role and now kicks ass?! Oops. False alarm. He got his ass kicked instead.

Saving a dog – In the aftermath, Sadaharu turned into a really small pup that you would mistake as gachapon. Kagura leaves Earth to go planet hoping to return Sadaharu back to normal.

Madao rising – What’s this?! Hasegawa is now a famous flashy (but trashy) movie star and is considered a hero samurai?! Yeah, can’t wait till that fake samurai history movie is released…

It happened… – Think it is forever a running joke that Kondou will never marry Otae? Guess what?! They are! OMFG! Is this really happening?! Kondou now a stay-home dad after resigning from Shinsengumi and Otae is pregnant with his child?! F*cking fake news because this is what happened: He married a real gorilla as a political marriage. He is just staying with Otae to hone his homemaking skills and Otae’s tummy is just because she is getting fat.

The daughter you never knew you had – Gengai created a small child-like version of Tama, Tamako and contains part of Tama who is still in comatose state. She keeps following Shinpachi as though he is her father.

Illegal loli possession – Because of that, Shinpachi is charged for illegal possession of a loli?! WTF kind of law is that now???!!!

New police brutality – Haven’t you heard? Nobume is now the new general commissioner of the police in a bid to protect Soyo from the old bakufu foxes. Seems she is enjoying her power pretty well…

Donald Zuramp – All hail the new Prime Minister of Japan! Katsura!!! Yeah, this country is doomed!

Impeach!!! – More like assassins trying to get Katsura on the first day! Actually they were arranged by Matsudaira! Can’t have an ex-rebel leading the country, eh? Even though it was his fault to make a shady deal to turn Katsura into a PM, thinking he wouldn’t have lived this long.

Transporter – Now Shinpachi is caught in between. He is forced to deliver money from Matsudaira to buy arms from a black market dealer (Mutsu???!!!) for a hired assassin. Turns out the ultimate weapon is a loli Kagura. You mean Kanna is Kagura’s daughter???!!!!

Old friends, old rivals again? – Gintoki stumbles into Takasugi in his travel and after a short bout, he notices Takasugi’s wounds heal up instantly. Sure that’s not a ghost?

Never let a cancer cell escape because if you do… – As Gintoki is interrogated by Hijikata, the latter mentions that 2 years ago after the crash of Kagutsuchi, not only Takasugi was missing but the bodies of Tendoshu. You see, even if they are corpses, they still contain Utsuro’s blood. Uh oh. You know what this means? There are also rumours that Tendoshu is slowly reviving and are making small terrorist attacks to claim back Altana. Could it be that Takasugi has absorbed their blood too? But it is too early to tell his motives because he might have some unfinished business too.

Mobcop – If you’re wondering the sudden introduction of this Robocop spoof character trying to act like a main character, a character that nobody would care nor remember anyhow, behold the twist that this cyborg is actually Yamazaki!!!! Forgotten all about him, have you?!

Banana is my daddy – No joke. Kanna explains why she is Kagura’s legitimate daughter. She ate too much banana and puked out a child! Ah, at least no dirty thoughts were conceived. Were there?!

Just by a different name – Oh, the assassin Matsudaira hired is no other than… Sougou! Time to test the ultimate weapon or get revenge for an old grudge? So did the disbanded Shinsengumi now turned mafia?

They grow up so fast – In the heat of the battle, Kanna grows up to become… Kagura?! Or was it Kagura all along but just trolling us? She grows even faster when she uses up all her powers and now turns into grandma! And a sob story of how she travelled to different worlds to save Sadaharu but to no avail. Still a little small pup stuck in a marble.

Finding Sensei…

Everyone one chasing you – It seems Naraku is chasing after Gintoki because he is in possession of something very valuable. Even Takasugi wants it.

Piece of your heart – So that thing in Gintoki’s possession…. Utsuro’s heart. Or rather Shouyou’s.

The travels of Gintoki – When Utsuro told Gintoki during his final moments this won’t end and how they saved the world but not Shouyou, Gintoki knew Utsuro would one day revive due to the massive Altana he is made from. So he travelled to every leylines to check for any strange happenings. One whereby a priest thought it was some animal corpse but it quickly grew into a baby. Gintoki took the baby but hesitated to kill him. The baby then grew into a boy and followed him everywhere mindlessly without saying or expressing anything. In the boy’s final moments, he remembered he was Shouyou and before Naraku could take him, he gauged out his heart and entrusted it to Gintoki. The remnants of Naraku have been attempting to bring back Utsuro since.

Temporary immortality – When Takasugi went to destroy Tendoshu on board the mothership, he was killed off. He saw the Liberation Army salvaging the Tendoshu’s parts. In fear of the cycle repeating itself, Takasugi used his last ounce of energy to stab his school seniors’ ashes into his heart, enabling him temporary immortality. But now it seems that is breaking apart. For these past years, Takasugi has been trying to weed out those who have stolen the parts but it has spread far too wide.

Religion in war – In times of war, people cling on to religion as their last shred of hope. Hence Naraku has been slowly spreading the faith of immortality underneath this guise and awaiting for another comeback as they want Earth’s Altana all to themselves. They have kept Utsuro’s body and the crux that will revive him is his heart. Once that happens, who will be your true saviour?

Edo once more – Yeah, that’s where Shouyou’s body is and the next target of the terrorists.

Mobile Cathedral Kuyo – Apparently this is where this cult is located and where Shouyou is located. An invisible base that cannot be detected or seen by the naked eye hovering above Earth right now.

The mannequin challenge – We take a detour to see how Gintoki, Hijikata and Yamazaki had to act like mannequin to hide from Otae shopping. Expect some mannequin abuse and then dump away.

The pretender – In order to look for Takasugi, Gintoki masquerades at him only to be caught by Ayame who is looking for Gintoki because she still hasn’t given up on marrying him. He is forced to go along with her plan to ‘look for Gintoki’ and in his one chance to get away from her, he screws up and ends up doing the mannequin challenge again. Only this time he somehow put on Kyuubei’s pantsu as disguise. WTF…

MILF treatment – The ladies ‘torture’ ‘Takasugi’ by making old ladies pleasure him to tell the truth. Now he his soul has been cleansed! Except for boobs on his mind…

Home is where the heart is – With all the ladies earnestly hoping Gintoki could come home and that they could walk aside him once more, time for Gintoki to escape and rethink his plans.

Scam Trial…

Kangaroo court in session – And suddenly we have Gintoki as the judge residing to do a Gintama Ending Scam Court and explain how this sh*t started 3 years ago. With lots of troubles, unforeseen circumstances and ad hoc emergency measures, we are where we are right now. And there is no ending still in sight!

Guilty as charged – The biggest crook who is guiltiest of them all is no other than the creator and mangaka of this series! Guilty as charged, Gorilla sensei!

All charges dropped – After a longwinded letter that doesn’t prove anything (but a possible sequel. Maybe), Gintoki finds him not guilty!

Gintama Final: End Of Sky – This better not be another scam!!!!!!!!!!!

Battlefield Earth
And they did it again! If the anime seemed like it hasn’t ended yet (really, it has not at all), that’s because the manga that is supposed to end, hasn’t really ended yet! Good news?! Because somehow the creator screwed up (even writing a flimsy letter explaining to fans) and hence it isn’t ending any time soon. Hooray?! So I guess after all these years of expecting the series to finally end, they trolled us yet again with this. Yeah, we really had been had this time real good. Since I am a fan of the series, I can sigh a big relief as there is a possibility that the anime might continue to pick up where it left off. Hallelujah?! I’ve got a feeling that Gintama and Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan had a hand in this conspiracy together…

This ‘final season’ in many ways was as good as the previous seasons and sometimes I felt it was like one of those cliché Dragonball episodes. You know, where the fight lasts for dozens of episodes! Hence with the final stretch having our beloved characters fighting to defend their beloved planet they are born in, basically this is what the entire Silver Soul arc is really about. Just one big long fight against the big bad boss who wants to destroy everything. Though, it felt a bit anti-climactic when Utsuro just ‘suddenly gave up’ because I was expecting some sort of final boss fight to last for a few more episodes. Yeah, probably we were getting tired of seeing our protagonists running around and beating up endless waves of baddies (doesn’t it feels like a video game?) and no ending in sight.

Hence I thought it was also a bit odd that with the ‘early’ death of Utsuro, we have a few more episodes dedicating to the time skip. Yeah, I thought it was going to be the longest tying up ever. Because you know, it’s Gintama. It has grown so big so it needs a lot of episodes to tie up and end everything. And then it turns out to be another new plot in the making. Another final battle and act on the cards. They do sure know how to troll us. Especially with that last episode. Boy, when we think the final episode wasn’t going to really cut it, suddenly it’s like they read our minds and put up that ‘explanation’. Oh yeah. Gintama. The masters of trolling. Gotta hand it to them. After all, some series can only end for real when it has final in its season. Like Fairy Tail Final Season, Nodame Cantibile: Finale, Shakugan No Shana Final, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu: Finale, Inu Yasha: Kanketsu-hen (Final Arc), Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan: Kanketsu-hen, Initial D Final Stage, Jungle Wa Itsumo Hare Nochi Guu Final, Hunter x Hunter: Greed Island Final, Sora No Otoshimono Final, Beatless Final Stage, technically Zero No Tsukaima F. Wow. So many finals. And now perhaps, Gintama Final: End Of Sky. Yeah…

It has been one long ride so probably what I want to say would make me sound like a broken tape recorder as my sentiments for this series has not changed. So I’ll be repeating myself if I am going to say those same sentiments again. Heh. Too lazy to type it out again. Go read my previous blogs. But I’m glad this formula never got tired for me. Like how in the midst of a very serious and intense battle, they can actually crack up a very silly joke no matter what. So many times. Therefore one minute your heart was being tugged by all the heartfelt words and quotes the characters said (makes you want to cry inside), the next minute they insert some ludicrous antic that is so out of place that you’ll be laughing your ass off. Only shows like Gintama can pull this sort of sh*t seamlessly.

Many of the characters do look like they have changed but that is mostly their outward appearance. Because from what I can see that many of them still remain the same like we have known them for a long time. For example, Shinpachi now has taken over Yorozuya but don’t expect him to be a more mature and responsible character. Sure, he is slightly better than his previous boss but Shinpachi will always be Shinpachi. Yes, without glasses, Shinpachi will not be defined! Haha! I didn’t think they were going to kill off a lot of characters during the final fight but I was expecting some heavy casualties. I guess they couldn’t because fans might be mad. Hey, don’t say that there aren’t any fans of Elizabeth!

Which brings me to my next point that with so many characters over the seasons, even with many of them just lacking appropriate screen time and just making their cameos (some I even forgot if they really existed in the first place!), it doesn’t really feel that they are lacking because over the seasons we have seen their characters and grown with them so I suppose the final season doesn’t feel like it has lost anything much on this department. It’s not like you need more character development and fleshing out in the final battle, right? But some that have a more prominent role include Hasegawa who didn’t end up being a Madao forever and did something useful (even though he is still a Madao) and Hata not being a useless prince for once (although he is still a useless prince). Is it just weird for me that Matako has transcended into some Takasugi fan boy because she looks like she is always worried for him 24/7. Even when the battle is over, she continued to look and chase after him.

The first opening theme, Katte Ni My Soul by Dish// definitely feels at home for the final epic stretch of the series. This rock piece sets the pace and mood for this final arc and can rival the Pray (the first opening theme in the first season of the Gintama series) in its own right. Not bad actually. The second opening theme, I Wanna Be by Spyair is also not bad but it is a slow rock. Like as though the pacing is now slowing down a bit. In comparison in this sense, I still prefer the first one. But my favourite one that I still prefer the most is the first ending theme, Hanaichi Monme by Burnout Syndromes. This rock piece has quite a catchy theme and that nostalgic feel. However at times, some parts of the song especially the chorus sometimes reminds me of Shawn Mullins’ Lullaby. Must be just mere coincidence. Unfortunately the ‘worst’ of the lot is the second ending theme’s Hikari Shoumeiron by Chico with Honeyworks. The opening of this rock-cum-hip hop piece sounds like some Chinese gay thingy. Seriously. Otherwise it just sounds more like generic rock.

Overall, it’s been one long ride and looks like the ride will be continuing. Even though I love Gintama and wished it would run forever, sometimes I think it is better to find some sort of closure since I don’t really want it to go on eternally like a certain pirate series. After all, I have made my peace and preparation that this series will find its ending and if I need the strength to do it again, I will. And then they troll us again of not really ending yet and the whole process repeats itself again. Don’t troll us too hard because we might get mad and tell you to commit a samurai seppuku! No trial or court could get you out of this one.

On a side note, what if End Of Sky is just a foreshadowing of how it is the end of the creator? You know, sora means sky and this series’ creator is Hideaki Sorachi. End of Sorachi! It’s like foreshadowing his own death sentence. Shikei!

Here I thought Kujira No Kora Wa Sajou Uta Ni Utau OVA would give some much needed answers and continuation to the TV series. But it turned out to be one of those high school fillers! Damn it. So they just take the characters of the series and put them in some high school setting that only lasts 10 minutes per episode. This isn’t really unique as many animes have done in this in the past. Oh well. Can’t complain. Might as well watch this and get some laughs.

OVA 1
Chakuro is running late for school thanks to his habit of writing down records. Outside school, he sees a new girl standing outside, Lykos. He hears her murmur how much he hates school. When class starts, Shuan introduces Lykos as the new transfer student. Lykos is unable to introduce herself as she claims she has no name. Since ‘Lykos’ is written on her shirt, they assume it is her name. Shuan begins class but starts playing a video. This has the students grumble and complain he should really do his job properly. However Shuan even thinks of tossing away responsibility and work, making the students grumble even more. Later as Chakuro and co try to talk to Lykos, she stays indifferent and continues claiming she hates school. Chakuro can’t let her be and will do something about it. Hence with Suou as the student council president, they take her around school. But they stumble into the delinquent students, Ouni and his gang. It seems their goal is to get out of this school and into the real world. But why is Ouni being studious?! He claims that they don’t know much about the outside world and if they head there without much knowledge or preparation, how long are they going to last? His gang is so touched that they all started studying. So they’re like honour students now?! Seeing them so makes Lykos laugh a little. When the rest see this, Lykos brushes it off and runs away. Chakuro is then visited by a spirit (Neri) who claims that if he doesn’t become friends with Lykos, nothing will change. He vows to do all that. With everything able to see Neri, Chakuro is disheartened that this wasn’t some enlightened moment he thought it was supposed to be. What’s this about Neri being the toilet spirit?! Following Neri’s advice, Chakuro and co hang out and have lots of fun with Lykos. Just when Chakuro thought things are looking up, Lykos then tells him there is something she hasn’t told him yet. She sounds so ominous saying that…

OVA 2
Araphne’s class is strict and forbids freedom and individuality. Therefore when Ryodari tries to break tradition and vouch for freedom, he is punished. Then Orka tries to be a smartass too. He asks how long Araphne has been a teacher. 3 years. Oh yeah? Orka has been a student for 10 years!!! Araphne reprimands him otherwise he will be expelled. Can’t have that so he stands in the hallway with Ryodari. When Lykos sees them, she runs away. Then she reveals the truth to Chakuro. Orka is her brother and that’s why she hates going to school. Yeah, there were rumours circulating how he refused to graduate. Shuan explains the Peter Pan syndrome that Orka doesn’t want to grow up. He understands because he too doesn’t want to work! With Shuan revealing the world is about money and connections, this scares off Lykos. She doesn’t want to be like Orka or Shuan. Damn right. With the marathon festival here, Orka hijacks Suou’s speech to throw down a challenge. It will be their class against each other and the winner gets to take 1 student from the loser’s class. It seems Orka’s aim is to take Ouni but that delinquent will not give up without a fight. Oh, Orka ‘persuaded’ the old fart director to approve this farce. When the race begins, Orka sits out and leaves his class to do all the running. Of course Ryodari plays dirty to stall Chakuro’s class. Then it turns into an ugly brawl. Lykos is touched that her friends are doing this for her. It is hinted Orka never graduated so as to wait for Lykos to reach high school and go to school with her. Siscon!!! It is night fall and Suou thought he is last to reach the finish line. But as pointed out, he is the first! Because the rest take the wrong route, they are now trying to settle it with other ways. All ended in draws. Looks like they’re going to have to go at it again… Chakuro is glad that Lykos now finds school fun.

The Lost Records Of The Mud Whale School
Yeah… It was funny and cute in its own silly way to say the least. Nothing really serious that would have any impact on anything. Especially the ‘mystery’ surrounding Lykos turned out to be nothing more than her big brother with a notorious streak of not graduating. I mean, could she have gone to another school? If you say they are all on the same Mud Whale, I beg to differ since we see the setting as a normal town. A much bigger place and not some limited confine like the real Mud Whale as seen in the TV series. It’s just the school name as Mud Whale. Unless it is the only school in town. But it’s a good thing that Lykos is now joining in the fun despite I don’t really see much of Chakuro doing anything (maybe it’s all in the snippets). It’s only 10 minutes, what do you expect? Chakuro said he will continue to record this high school life but I just wonder if it is just part of his many fantasies. I wonder how many more alternate settings are there. How many are recorded. How many are not recorded at all. Some things are perhaps destined to be forever lost in history and annals of time. That’s why it’s a shame that I feel that despite this OVA being ‘recorded’, in no time it will soon be forgotten…