Domestic Na Kanojo

May 26, 2019

This season’s NTR or incest anime… Domestic Na Kanojo. Sort of. More than often, siblings provide the essential and great ingredient for an incest themed series. Because it is the social norm that siblings do not sleep with each other. But then, plot twist! Not blood related at all! Ah, I see. This ‘confusion’ then sets in to cloud our moral compass of whether or not f*cking your brother or sister is constituted as the forbidden love or typical romance between 2 adults. So are you f*cking your brother/sister or a man/woman? It doesn’t matter and everything will be alright as long as nobody finds out… Right?

Episode 1
Natsuo Fujii just lost his virginity to Rui Tachibana. Oh well. No one can now accuse him of being a virgin. It all started when his friends organized a mixer. Rui was one of those very moody girls despite she claims this is how she is. After learning Natsuo was once a dork and had a makeover during his middle school years, she hints of sneaking out from this place. She leads him back to her home (nobody in of course) and suggests having sex. Just to feel what it’s like. Any sane guy would face the greatest dilemma in their life. Which head is Natsuo going to use to think?! And one thing led to the other. Once it’s over, Rui hopes never to speak of this again. Judging by their reactions, I guess sex wasn’t great, huh? Natsuo consults his dorky friend, Fumiya Kurimoto about this and knows this is going to be only harder since Natsuo has a crush on his young teacher, Hina. You can say Hina is also ‘interested’ in Natsuo since she loves the novels he writes. One day he sees Hina crying but she brushes it off as some TV drama and won’t talk to him about her adult problem. Back home, his father tells him he wants to remarry. So when they meet Tsukiko, Natsuo is shocked to see Hina and Rui as her daughters! You bet it is going to get very awkward for Natsuo. The girl he has a crush on and the girl he f*cked all living under the same roof. Tsukiko fell in love with his dad because of his sincerity. Her former husband ran away with a mistress and left her bitter. Thanks to him, she is able to find love again. As a new family, they move into another house. Because Natsuo still feels awkward each time he sees Rui, she had to tell him off that moment didn’t happen. This is the first time they’ve met. Period. Hina must be forgetting she is living with men so a few sexy encounters like coming out of the bath almost naked and so many times she playfully teases Natsuo, you wonder if he is going to hold it all in. Then that tempting moment as she sleeps so sexily and so inviting on the couch… Must have clouded Natsuo’s judgment because he thinks of stealing a kiss to end it all. How the f*ck is this going to end it all when it’s just the start? Because Rui caught him red handed. Oh sh*t…

Episode 2
Pretend not to see… Rui kicks Hina off the sofa and drags her back to bed. Man, Hina’s a pretty heavy sleeper. In school, Natsuo gets another shock since Rui is a new transfer student. I guess she doesn’t want to commute long trips to school every day. Natsuo is worried people will find out about their relationship as siblings living together but she assures him she isn’t going to blab about her private life. Natsuo almost got a scare when he thought Hina knew he tried to kiss him. Apparently she got this habit of kissing others when she’s drunk. Thankfully all her victims were her female friends. Natsuo notices Rui alone during recess. Wasn’t she quite ‘popular’ when she first came in? Apparently despite not intentional, she sounded like she wasn’t interested to join in conversations. Hence Natsuo tries to help her practice in a very weird skit that has everyone laughing at them but it sort of broke the ice and now others would like to be Rui’s friend. Back home, Natsuo stumbles into Rui in the bath. Don’t worry, they seen each other once already. Is she trying to tempt him to do it again? This time in the bath? Well, it’s just to talk about his kiss with Hina. He learns that Hina has a boyfriend and she might be having some sort of issues with that. Later Natsuo asks Hina about her boyfriend but she doesn’t want to talk about that and would rather talk about things that are bugging him. She teases him here and there, almost slipped but he catches her. Great timing because looks like her boyfriend, Shuu Hagiwara is calling. She goes outside to settle it while Natsuo waits. 20 minutes passed and when Natsuo decides to check it out, looks like an upset Hina just came back in. He tries to comfort her but looks like the doorbell keeps ringing. Rui is puzzled with this weird scene as she opens the door. It’s dad and mom drunk. They’re back from officially registering their marriage. Awkwardness put on hold.

Episode 3
Natsuo sees Fumiya for advice and he too relates how he has a crush on a girl who comes in to the café he works and it is heart breaking to see her in some sort of affair with another man. WTF Fumiya’s fantasy of becoming her hero and stealing her away from him?! Anyway, Natsuo’s nightmare comes true when Fumiya points out to that girl. Doesn’t she look like Hina?! So that night Natsuo goes to talk to Hina about her affair. It seems Shuu is a married man and has told her to give him time to divorce his wife. With Hina admitting it is true, she tries to push him out and warn him not to meddle in the adult world but he kisses her. After she slaps him, the kiss continues before she throws him onto her bed. Is she going to rape him? Just a test to see his reaction. He still has that fear in his eyes so it proves he is still a kid. Next morning, Natsuo’s dad is panicking. Natsuo left a note saying he has run away from home! He fears he was against their remarriage. And so Natsuo bums around in Fumiya’s house. Coincidentally Natsuo notices Rui nearby the vicinity looking for him. Their eyes met. Looks like Rui too wants to stay at Fumiya’s place? It’s her way of ‘boycotting’. Apparently Rui knows about Hina’s affair as she often overheard her conversation on the phone. Before all this, Hina was also cheerful and devoted to her family. Rui tried to talk to her to break up with this guy but was told off since she has never fallen in love before, there is nothing more to say. With Rui wanting her sister back and Natsuo wanting his sensei to break up with the jerk, Fumiya prepares planning a strategy. That night the duo return home and their parents are so relieved. To Natsuo’s shock, he sees them contemplating divorce so he clears the air this isn’t why he ran away. Father hopes he could properly talk to him if he is facing any problem. Relieved Hina also starts crying upon their return. Next morning, Natsuo ignores Hina. And tonight is when they initiate their plan.

Episode 4
Natsuo and Rui believe today is the day Hina meets up with Shuu. So they tail her only to see her drink alone for 4 hours before attending a live event. A few days, all misses. And when Hina is seen waiting to meet up, it is her own student. Don’t even think she’s having an affair with her?! The duo got desperate enough to steal Hina’s handphone, call Shuu to break up! But with Rui being nervous trying to imitate her voice, mission failed. So as they lament all this at the café, here comes Hina and Shuu! Natsuo becomes hostile and confronts Shuu to break up with Hina. He even gets rough! My, my. Please, no violence in this establishment. So trying a bit of diplomacy and talk things out, Shuu introduces himself and has known Hina for a while (longer than Natsuo). Despite all that, Natsuo is still mad since Shuu has a wife and is cheating on her. Shuu maintains he really does love Hina and his anger is due to him being married. Will he give his blessing if he is divorced? Natsuo probably can’t take any more of this cheesy affection Shuu is showing Hina but before he could do anything, it is Rui who splashes water on Shuu before running away. Natsuo goes after her and even jokes about beating that guy up. I suppose Rui is too sad to even do that. The only comfort would be in Natsuo’s arms. Shuu wonders if Hina likes Natsuo because it looks like she doesn’t think of him as a kid brother. Although Hina doesn’t want to put her loved ones at risk, Shuu asks her about her true feelings and not those around her. It would be soon Hina’s mom’s birthday. But Natsuo can’t go shopping for a present with Hina. Looks like it is the anniversary of his mom’s death. 10 years must be a long time. He remembers always being a cry-baby and he tried to be strong not to cry at mom’s funeral. He wonders how different life would be had she been alive today. Natsuo is surprised the sisters are here to pay their respects. Hina says she has already broken up with Shuu. She is sceptical if he would divorce his wife because he has been talking about it for 6 months. With that, she realizes her family is more important. The sisters formally introduces themselves before Natsuo’s mom’s grave.

Episode 5
Classmate Momo Kashiwabara is interested to be Rui’s friend. She gives a weird rabbit charm she made as token of friendship. When Rui is with her other friends, upon finding out Momo tried to be her friend, they throw away the charm while citing all the flirty stuffs Momo did with other guys. Rui doesn’t care and she will decide herself if she is worthy to be her friend. Later when Rui talks to Momo about her ‘experience’, she doesn’t bat an eyelid in telling some of them. Some are the extreme and possessive kind to say the least. Later the duo stumble into Natsuo at the bookshop. I guess the vibe is good so Momo thinks if Rui doesn’t mind, she wants to make Natsuo her boyfriend! It’s not like Natsuo specifically stated they’re family, right? It’s not like Rui outright said no, right? So Momo hands him a confession piece of paper and hopes to hear his reply. Too bad for this guy, his ‘sister’ comes first. Because Rui is sick, Natsuo nurses her. Pretty much standard. Including wiping her back. But I wonder why Rui wants him to insert the suppository for her! Maybe her mom and sister aren’t back yet. So use our creative imaginations to see how Natsuo did that. Phew. So once Rui is okay, I guess it’s back to ‘dating’ Momo. It’s written all over Natsuo’s face that something is bugging him so Momo also bugs him. After a cheeky kiss, one thing led to another. Yup, he follows her back to her house. Parents not in as usual. If you’re wondering why Natsuo agrees to have sex with her (not just because he is a healthy teen), he thinks this is the best way to forget Hina. Yeah, having sex with a girl who is not of the family should solve things. Then damn he receives a message. His family will be working late. Isn’t that good news? Cue for Momo to wonder how nice it is to have a family because she always eats alone. Then sex is about to continue when he sees a bruise on her wrist. Like, damn. That ruined the mood. So he cooks for her and not because his cooking is so damn good but rather she has someone to eat with in a long time that brought her to tears. Sad to say, this might be better than sex…

Episode 6
When Natsuo is resting on the school rooftop, he also notices his teacher, Reiji Kiriya doing the same. They talk about literature works since Kiriya also writes his own works under the penname, You Hasukawa. When they part, the close up that Kiriya has next to Natsuo’s face may indicate this guy is gay! Rui wants Natsuo to show her around as she is interested to join a club. She also sounds jealous that he cooked for Momo and not her. WTF… Natsuo’s friends join in too but they’re here to see girls in action and once they had their fill, they just leave. WTF. They stumble into the literature club. Since nobody is around and Natsuo spots a book from Hasukawa he wants to read, he ‘borrows’ it. Later when he returns it, from his angle he sees Kiriya making out with the club’s president, Miu Ashihara. Of course damn sneakers gave him away and he even dared asked what they were doing?! Ashihara says he was just taking dust out from his eyes. Disappointed? Since Kiriya realizes he ‘stole’ a book, he forces him to join the club. Much to Ashihara’s delight since she is the only member. Natsuo is forced to do some flyer hand outs and later thought he got a love letter. Just a message from Kiriya to start club activities. Damn. Knowing Natsuo writes his own novels, he can tell his theme is unrequited love (it’s all written over his face!). As an experiment, he wants them to kiss. While Natsuo is shock, Ashihara is more than ready. Natsuo obliges but when he sees her tears, he backs out. Kiriya won’t force them to kiss but now understands Natsuo’s character. At home, Rui expresses interest to join the literature club. Sure it isn’t to see the other woman? Because of that, Momo too wants to join! Ashihara recognizes Momo as one of the top 10 students in school (you mean she’s not dumb or sex crazy???!!!) but sometimes her ranking drops because as admitted, she had a boyfriend then. She couldn’t focus unlike periods she had none so she just studied. OMG. You can see Rui’s uncomfortable face watching the friendly interactions between Natsuo and Ashihara. So much so the café is now the go to place for her to get advice on that burning thingy in her heart? Oh dear, the gay master is starting to talk about his yakuza days???!!! Uh huh. He fell in love at first sight of the young leader of the opposite group. But he gives good advice that she must follow it and figure it out herself otherwise she won’t find a meaning and give this feeling a name. To thank Natsuo for that Shuu incident, let’s say Hina wants to date him this Sunday.

Episode 7
During their outing, Natsuo asks why Hina flirted with a married man despite her own father did the same thing. She relates back in high school how she was friendly with boys and other girls started talking behind her back about it. Naturally that hurt her feelings and Shuu who was a teacher at her school was the only one who could make her forget it. Of course he transferred out and years later it was a coincidence she stumbled into him in college. She was shocked to see a ring on his finger but couldn’t fought her happiness when he wanted to meet up again. Natsuo also reflects upon his own ‘cheating’. He hands over his finished novel. He based his heroine around her. Chance to say he has always loved her. Romantically. She suggests they date. But she takes him into the sea?! They’re going to do double suicide?! Because this must never be known by anyone else. Otherwise, is he prepared to throw away his family, life and social status for this? I guess not. So let’s go back to being siblings. Natsuo’s last request is to give her a big hug. So that’s like goodbye? So back home and later that night, Rui must have sensed some sort of vibe from them. She enters Natsuo’s room and suggests doing it again. Of course he refuses since they are now siblings. She wants to know what made Hina more special than her since he tried to steal a kiss from her. I suppose Natsuo remembers Hina’s double suicide words. Then he’s like, “Ah, f*ck it. Let’s do it”. Yup, they started kissing. But that’s as far as they go since Rui just wants to feel what it’s like to secretly kiss. She may even start to like it. That’s all for tonight. With the exams coming, I suppose Kiriya has ‘warned’ them about doing their duty as students so Natsuo and Rui plead Hina to help teach them. The sisters are more interested to know if Natsuo is interested in Ashihara but he manages to change the topic. That night as Natsuo continues to study. He takes a break and what did he see? OMG! Is Hina masturbating in her room?! WHY THE F*CK DID SHE LEAVE HER DOOR SLIGHTLY OPEN! LIKE AS THOUGH SHE WANTED HIM TO PEEK! But the heartbreaker is when he hears her mention Shuu’s name. Made him drop his book. Quickly, hide! Hina checks. The coast is clear. Must be her imagination. That was close.

Episode 8
Rui asks if Natsuo stole her panties! WTF?! At school, Natsuo bumps into this American transfer student, Alex J. Matsukawa. Now they’re like friends? I guess American weeabos do want a Japanese friend. At the café, the master talks about a panty thief going around. Soon enough, Natsuo and Alex catch the panty thief red-handed. Rui meets up with them at the police station to ascertain if her stolen stuffs are hers. Alex is interested in dating Rui and hopes Natsuo can introduce them. So back home when Natsuo tells this to Rui, obviously she got mad. Oops. He goes to her room to apologize and you bet the only way for apology is to kiss. Twisted. But whatever. Worse scenario ever when Hina sees this. Doesn’t she knock?! Natsuo tries to explain himself but what Hina says that she is so confused that his words will not reach her is probably the best answer for now. With Natsuo regretting it, Rui talks to Hina. She admits she was the one who initiated it and confesses she likes Natsuo. Hina is worried this might ruin the family but the reason that we’ve all probably knew from the start: They’re not blood related. Ah, that loophole. Natsuo is in no mood so he just tells Alex that Rui rejected him. That night Natsuo tries to talk to Hina again. His feelings for her haven’t changed since the beach. Then why that? Can’t answer. Hina says she plans to move out of the house soon. When she announces it before the family, naturally Rui and Natsuo think it’s their fault although she has been planning this for a while so this is very much coincidental. Father suggests they should all go to the festival together. With the crowd separating them, good chance for Natsuo to talk to Hina. He wants to apologize if this is his fault and hopes she would reconsider living by herself. He promises to stop whatever he is doing with Rui but this rubs Hina the wrong way. She tries to end the topic and go away (even biting his hand!) but Natsuo remains stubborn. Not until the gay master stumbles into them and ‘force’ them to reconcile as adults. Hina relates how Rui has been always free spirited and this made her jealous. So when she saw them kissing, her jealousy took over rather than her worry of the family falling apart. She thought she needed to leave. As an adult she can’t do things Rui can. Natsuo is relieved she let her true feelings out before hugging her. He doesn’t need an answer now. The duo hold each other’s hand on their way home.

Episode 9
You mean Natsuo is still in shock that Hina isn’t changing her mind to move out? If she did, their parents would be suspicious, right? But she hints he can come over any time. See his face brighten up? As Rui is out, she sees Kiriya but to her horror, Shuu is with him. Kiriya was his senior in college. She still despises him but he really wants to apologize and treats her. Shuu assures he has never contacted Hina since but has since divorced his wife. Rui asks why not and Shuu feels it was not right on his part to chase another woman right after his divorce. Rui also tells them about Hina’s moving out and blames it on herself. Shuu assures her she isn’t the kind who would leave out of spite. Please believe in her. The night before Hina moves out, Rui goes talk to her and begs her not to go. Has she regressed to a baby? Hina says she doesn’t have to change or do anything. She is free to do what she wants. Natsuo is one happy man when he sees a letter from Hina. Inside is a key to her new place. Wow. Is this also the key to her heart? Haha! After Hina has moved out, her room is so empty. Rui can’t help but hug Natsuo. He assures to support her so she won’t be lonely. Too bad Natsuo lies that he won’t be back for dinner as he will be Fumiya’s. Actually it is to visit Hina. He rings the doorbell but no answer. Is she out? Time to use the key. Oh look. She’s sleeping. It’s like she could sense him nearby and wakes up. Natsuo tells her he is prepared to die for this. She’s so happy of his feelings and they start kissing. Natsuo wants to take the next step but Hina puts the brakes. Not so fast, lover boy. Let’s take things slowly. With the school term resuming, Rui doesn’t spite Alex as much as he thinks she does. So happy he decides to join their literature club even though he doesn’t write novels. I guess liking Three Little Pigs counts. At school, Natsuo confronts Hina about the other day because he thinks she might not be ready. You know, to die. It’s not like he is calling out on her but he is feeling insecure and probably a burden. Hina assures her feelings are the same as his. It’s like they’ve found this new thrill because they hide from the passing vice principal and start kissing.

Episode 10
While Natsuo and Hina make out, looks like their dinner is burning… With Kiriya on an absent streak, the literature club members go visit him at his place. Turns out he was just having sleepless nights trying to finish a novel and that woman earlier on was his editor. You mean Natsuo sounds this surprised and happy to learn he is secretly writing novels outside the school’s knowledge? Kiriya then suggests entering some amateur writing competition and you can see Natsuo’s face lighting up that he could soon be living his dream. At school, Natsuo teases Ashihara that she was relieved that the editor wasn’t Kiriya’s wife. In her embarrassment, she accidentally pushes him down the stairs. He just got off with a broken leg. Seriously. It’s a bit embarrassing that Ashihara is prostrating herself and willing to do anything to compensate this and the other cheeky guys are egging Natsuo to do some dirty stuff. With Natsuo grounded, this makes Rui happy since she gets to take care of him. Yeah, she’s been lonely since he has been spending too much time at Fumiya’s place. Gulp. Then there’s this steamy scene of Rui wanting to help bath Natsuo. See, when you don’t turn on the lights, instead of grabbing the body soap, she grabbed his dick!!! I don’t think it’s the size… While Rui is at the café, she talks to Fumiya and is puzzled to learn Natsuo didn’t come to his place lately. So she goes back and confronts him about this lie. Natsuo lies again that he actually went to Momo’s place and didn’t tell her in fear that she will be upset. Oh look. She’s pouting now. She hopes if he gets invited next time, invite her too. She doesn’t want to eat dinner alone. Later Natsuo calls Fumiya to fill him in if he needs his cover up next time. Natsuo is at it again as he is at Hina’s place making out. No broken bones is going to stop his boner. It’s really getting hot when the doorbell rings. Must be the delivery guy. Nope. Rui. Everybody in shock. Rui doesn’t need to say anything. Just that disappointed look and then tears. And then run away. Hina knows Natsuo has been lying. Later when Fumiya calls because Rui ran to his place but left, Natsuo finds her sitting at the park alone. They talk things out. Rui admits reading his novel about an unrequited love of a student and a teacher. She started connecting the big picture together and realized. She asks if he loves Hina. He admits he does.

Episode 11
Natsuo reveals he had feelings for Hina for a long time and she is reciprocating his love. Guess what? Rui kisses him?! Is this some sort of parting gift?! Yup. Because from now on she will try to hate him and move on. Call it self-defence. Don’t worry. She’ll still treat him as family. Rui even avoids talking to Hina. Is it that bad? Kiriya announces there is a winner among them for the competition although it is just an honourable mention. That winner is Rui! Wow. Look at Natsuo’s shock. Ashihara could tell he is depressed and talks to him about using this experience to grow stronger. Then he goes bug Kiriya to be his mentor. He is that desperate in wanting to do a living as a novelist. So Kiriya throws the question to him: Does he really want to write novels or just to status of being a novelist. That hit him real hard but he won’t give up and promises to write at least a short story every week and not slack on his studies. During the school’s field trip to Okinawa, Rui finally talks with Hina. Hina is willing to break up with Natsuo and doesn’t want her to hate him. Rui doesn’t want their relationship to be over and just hopes she just acts more like an adult. On the last night of the trip where everyone is out watching the fireworks, Natsuo is invited into Hina’s room. She wants to break up but he wants to get serious with her. The rejection force is strong in Natsuo as he objects to all her reasoning. Heck, he even gives her a cheap engagement ring (bought from the souvenir stand) as his initial serious commitment. A more expensive one will come by later when the money starts rolling in… With him being a smooth talker, no doubt Hina accepts him. The clincher is when he calls her by her first name. Oh yeah. Great prelude to sex! Now you see why calling the first name is so important?! Probably what happened was left to our imaginations. After that, Hina gets embarrassed when he mentions seeing her masturbating to Shuu’s name. I don’t think admitting doing that yourself in your own room will do Natsuo any good. But whatever. Game for another round? Once everyone is back in school, Hina is called by the head teacher. There is a photo of them kissing! But wait! How the f*ck can they know it is her?! It is Natsuo’s back and from that angle outside the window, definitely Hina’s full face was blocked by his head! Oh right. Like how I knew it was them when I first saw the picture, eh?

Episode 12
You know, Hina could just dismiss it as the faces were not obvious! But she prostrates herself and will accept any form of punishment and to spare Natsuo. So during the closing ceremony before the holidays, Hina makes this shocking announcement that she will transfer to another school. This leaves everyone shock especially Natsuo and Rui who heard nothing. Kiriya then talks to Hina and he somewhat knew about it ever since she started dating Shuu. Hina thinks if she had consulted him in the first place, this mess wouldn’t happened. Natsuo tries to contact Hina but she never replied. And when he goes to her apartment, it’s empty! Woah. So fast. But a letter left behind for him states the school found out about their relationship so she had to go in order to protect it from going public. She doesn’t want him to look for her. I love you. I hope Natsuo screaming would do him some good. Or not. Because now he turns into a zombie and lazes around. Fumiya goes talk to him and had to get rough to tell him off that if this is his answer, all that Hina has done would be for naught. Natsuo might have ‘improved’ a bit after that as he starts writing. But that is all he does and at this rate it might take a toll on his health. Even his parents are worried. They’re now thinking if their marriage was the cause to blame. Now it’s the gay master’s turn to talk to Natsuo. Inviting him to a public bath house, Natsuo is shocked to see his big yakuza tattoo on his back. He relates his story when he left the yakuza, his father as the boss was angry but sad. He was then free and could do whatever he wanted but soon found out his father died of cancer. He couldn’t attend his funeral after thinking what he must’ve felt. The lesson is when you’re alive, you can do a lot of things. You can’t turn back time to undo things. All you can do is shoulder it as part of yourself and go on living.

With Natsuo now getting some life back, he apologizes to his family for the worries and continues to put effort in his writing. Kiriya can tell he has changed from his writings. One day, Natsuo is called by Kiriya to his place. He is introduced to this lively guy, Souichirou Tsutaya. They then take him to some award ceremony in which Natsuo won first prize in the amateur division! Wow. They really kept this a secret just to see his reaction, huh? Natsuo makes his speech and vows to become a great novelist. With that, Tsutaya is now his editor in charge. When he goes home, Natsuo is shocked to see Hina and hugs her. Turns out to be Rui in disguise (wig courtesy from Momo). Awkward. So he breaks the ice by talking about the award he won. But then she changes the topic to ask if he had sex with Hina. Yeah, they were going to but interrupted somehow. Then she starts kissing him. She believes now it is different than their first time. She will not hold back for Hina anymore. I think we’ve seen Natsuo’s shock face a lot in this final episode. But too bad, no sex this time too… So is Rui going back on her words to hate him? Oh well. Love > Hate. We see Hina teaching in another school. Cutting her hair short is it her way to ‘disguise’ herself or her new self reborn? And she has a copy of Natsuo’s winning literature.

When Life Screws With You, Just F*ck It!
Life is stranger than fiction for Natsuo. Like as though he is living one of the weirdest love drama romance and playing it out in real life. It just feels sad and unsatisfying that Hina had to leave to protect everything but had she stayed on, chances are Natsuo would ruin it by being reckless because he had to throw away all that he has just to be with her. In other words, he would have thrown away words that would make him money in exchange for a pussy! Haha! That’s the crudest way to put it! But yeah, the ending feels somewhat rushed with Hina suddenly doing a disappearing act and it is more about Natsuo picking up himself. And with Hina ‘gone’, will Rui fill the void? Or will absence make the heart grow fonder? Tune in next time for the next volume of this weird romance!

Well, it doesn’t feel like this season’s Kuzu No Honkai as the sex in the first episode feels more like click bait to get you interested into watching the rest of the episodes. Yup, blame myself for putting some expectations that there would be some sort of sex scenes in at least a few episodes. Just a few suggestive scenes here and there but nothing that would really end up in procreation until the penultimate episode. Even the final episode click baited us to think it would end with another sex scene because what goes around, comes around. Other than that in between, it is going to be a long drama as the main characters get confused and sort out their feelings and some other outside factors that threaten to complicate this love triangle but never amounted to anything serious.

Because Natsuo has loved Hina for a long time but ironically the first person he ever had sex with is Rui who is her sister, I suppose this gives rise to a lot of contemplation for him about the direction of his life that would have otherwise been slightly more straightforward if Natsuo did not had sex with Rui in the first place. Now that it has come to this, I guess Natsuo is certainly a lucky bastard because he shagged Rui first and then eventually Hina. In between he almost did it with Momo and had the potential with Ashihara because she felt so guilty that she would do anything for him. Anything. So basically the whole plot of the story (and perhaps the goal of the story) is to wonder if Natsuo ends up sleeping with anybody.

If the story becomes too boring and making you wonder if you should carry on and see the next episode, then don’t worry. Because more sexy fanservice click bait at the end of every episode whereby it deliciously shows parts of a sexy woman in her lingerie or bikini. Her boobs. Her thighs. Her ass. Her crotch. Yeow! So sexy… Must… Fap… Immediately… Somehow it feels like to make up for the lack of sex in the series so have these risqué pictures for your fapping pleasure. You’re welcome. Except the final preview in the penultimate episode. WTF is this picturesque pier?! Where’s my sex porn star shot?! I see it means things are getting serious and sh*t going to hit the fan, huh? Oh well… Hmm… Doesn’t the pier look long enough to be a dick?! Get my mind out of the gutter, please!!!

Anyway, the characters just feel pretty average. There is nothing special that makes them and hence the storyline stand out. Just because both families are now legally married and their status upgraded from strangers to siblings, this give rise to the so called moral dilemma that the series hinges on. Sure we are family but we aren’t also blood related. It also puts Natsuo in an awkward situation since the person he loves is now technically his sister and just next door. Literally (until she moved out). I guess that is way better than finding the girl you like now becomes your stepmom after remarrying you father!!! Yikes! And yeah, Natsuo being pretty generic, tries to score with his sensei, tries to score being a novelist, oh well, life isn’t exactly a bed of roses. Keep trying. You’ll eventually get there. Hopefully.

Wanting to slut shame Hina is not right. Women at her age are stuck between a child (teen, actually) and a young adult. She tries to be a useful member of society or at least a responsible adult but I think she has no luck in love. Or rather she is the kind of woman who needs to be in love to be fulfilled (isn’t why she was dumb enough to leave her door unlock during her personal masturbation time? Like as though she hoped Natsuo would catch her in the act?). That is why she fell for Shuu in the first place despite knowing very well that he is already married. Because there were stronger objections from Natsuo and Rui, she caved in and now Natsuo is the one taking the lead to fulfil her empty love life. In both cases, it isn’t morally right from a society’s standpoint. Because it felt that despite both Hina and Shuu were wrong to be in such a relationship, Hina felt wrong-er than Shuu as the biasness of society now paints Hina as a weak slut while Shuu as a strong and ‘responsible and mature’ guy. Sad. So be careful, Natsuo. Unless a stronger man comes in to muscle his way into Hina’s love life, Natsuo better be strong and prepared when karma decides to pay him back double. Because now that scandalous photo…

Rui might not talk much but she sees things. Mostly. She also doesn’t express herself much and probably that is what contributed to her feelings being a ticking time bomb mess. Even when she got hurt realizing Hina and Natsuo had an illicit affair behind the family’s back, she just cried enough. Get what I mean? She knows she needs to move on somehow but unfortunately I don’t think it is going to be easy trying to hate someone you love unless you see their truly despicable side. So for Rui saying she wants to hate him to move on and a self-defence mechanism, I have a feeling it will backfire since she doesn’t express much, what more with this unpredictable crazy thing called love. But with Hina gone and Natsuo affected, she might go into overdrive to steal his heart. Maybe if sex was thrown in as part of the deal, she might have a chance… Just saying…

I feel that many of the other characters feel wasted and not really impact the overall story and main characters much. For instance, Momo. Suddenly she pops up as another rival who would complicate things further. We fell for that nearly sex scene that now looks more like another form of click bait in retrospect. We thought she would try something like this again in the future but ever since Natsuo ‘tamed’ her with his cooking and she became Rui’s best friend, she quickly became irrelevant. Like as though she is as good as not existing in the first place. Then there is Ashihara who is supposed to have a crush on Kiriya and her role to accidentally have Natsuo in a cast feels really unnecessary because it could be just Natsuo falling down by himself while fantasizing about Hina on his way downstairs. Really. Then they troll and click bait us with Kiriya making them to pretend kiss that never happened. Maybe her character is just red herring for those who expected Ashihara to get in the way of the siblings’ relationship. The gay master may not be the manliest in the eyes of society but he was being the manliest of everyone in bringing back Natsuo to life thanks to his life’s bitter experience. Great lesson to learn from this guy: Never judge a book by its cover.

More than halfway through the season, suddenly they had to introduce this new transfer student and more cliché, a half Japanese and half western guy. You know, almost every anime needs this one foreigner character who totally loves the Japanese culture. It’s not like Natsuo doesn’t have his own circle of friends but having Alex suddenly as part of his groupie and making him a possible love interest for Rui just doesn’t fit quite right. Like as though he is the backup for Rui’s love if she ever fails to win Natsuo’s heart. Last and not least, Kiriya at first hints that he is interested in Natsuo but just like the sex scenes and fanservice of this series, he might just be trolling us all. I guess not every hot male teacher is gay. Kiriya eventually comes off as a more mature and responsible teacher and that once more puts Hina to shame as a teacher and adult. Poor Hina…

Art and animation are okay. It feels clean and simple. Standard anime style. On a trivial note, when I first saw Natsuo, Rui and Hina, the first thing that came to my mind was, what the f*ck are the casts of Evangelion doing here???!!! Sure, blame Rui for looking very close Rei (name and personality even so similar) and because of that, Natsuo and Hina started looking a bit like Shinji and Asuka respectively. Like, WTF?! Even more so when Natsuo’s dad looks like a wuss version of Gendou. LIKE, WTF???!!! I wonder if Ritsuko has gotten old enough and masquerading as Hina and Rui’s mom. Holy sh*t!!!! This series is animated by Diomedea who did Shinryaku! Ika Musume, Aho Girl, Beatless, Fuuka, Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu and Action Heroine Cheer Fruits.

In the voice acting department, I only recognized Youko Hikasa as Hina as well as Kenji Tsuda being the gayest of the gayest as the café master. The other casts are Taku Yashiro as Natsuo (Hayato in Shounen Maid), Maaya Uchida as Rui (Irina in High School DxD series), Haruka Yoshimura as Momo (Koharu in Sora No Method), Konomi Kohara as Ashihara (Chika in Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai), Hikaru Idorikawa as Kiriya (Lancer in the Fate series), Tasuka Hatanaka as Alex (Flegel in Shingeki No Kyojin), Daisuke Hirakawa as Shuu (Makoto in School Days) and Takuya Eguchi as Fumiya (Julius in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu). The opening and ending themes have this very dramatic feel in them. Like Kawaki Wo Ameku by Minami as the opener is also infused with some hard rock elements. Somehow I prefer the ending theme, Wagamama by Alisa Takigawa. No doubt still dramatic, but it has a catchy beat to it that I can’t get out of my head. She also sings the special ending theme for episode 8, Always that is more of a slow ballad that fits the reconciliation of Natsuo and Hina.

Overall, this series shows one tiny aspect of the complicated human nature and the expectations of societal norm in regards to relationship. This series may not be unique as love stories about torn between 2 lovers are a dime a dozen (White Album, Koi To Uso) but with sex involved (School Days, Kuzu No Honkai). This is just a standard and cliché melodrama masked as a pseudo harem genre, if you know what I mean. If there is only one thing that I really learn from here, when you want to masturbate, make sure all the curtains are drawn and double triple check the doors are securely locked. Because you don’t know who could be watching at that very moment. Because you might be f*cking yourself but then life decides to join in and f*ck up the rest of your future. I think that basically sums up what happened to all the main characters here…

It was too early to judge things in 3D Kanojo Real Girl back then even though a lot of things felt quite annoying and incomplete. But like how we always need to give love a chance, I suppose we also need to give this otaku another chance since the second season came and go just like that. I have a hunch that this sequel will put an end to many of the things left hanging in the first season instead of leaving it suspended again for potential future seasons like many anime series often do. After all, what many of us want in life is closure. Even otaku guys who have turned over a new leaf after getting a taste of that real sweet 3D love, deserve as such.

Episode 13
Tsutsui and Itou’s dreaded event: The cultural festival. They want to run and hide somewhere. Only if fate didn’t feel like screwing up their lives because the class makes Tsutsui as part of the committee’s rep. Not even Itou can save him. But after hearing that Ayado is on the committee, Itou enthusiastically switches with the guy who wants out. Such convenience. Observing how Ayado is doing her best, it makes Itou want to move forward too. So he confesses to her. Wow. It’s only the first episode of the second season. You sure? This embarrasses the hell out of Ayado and I don’t understand what she said only until later when Itou ‘reported’ to Tsutsui that he was rejected. Tsutsui tries to be nice to him seeing Itou is putting up a brave front but Itou in fact is grateful to him for all the events that transpired. Then Ishino had to ruin this heartbreak party. Can’t blame her. She is the master of getting rejected. Anyway, please listen to her suggestion of doing a maid café for the festival!!!! I APPROVE!!! Later when Itou bumps into Ayado, the latter is still very embarrassed but hopes they could remain as friends. Because they want to be better people, I guess the first step is to be each other’s friends. Yeah, that’s a start. With that, Itou has a makeover. He cuts his hair and ditches his animal ears. Woah! Totally new person! When Itou seeks Ayado’s advice on the maid café, the intense training begins! He must be regretting the intense vocal training. Goshujinsama!!! Tsutsui sees Iroha running away. Damn, she’s fast. Later she relates how her class rep wants her to join the beauty contest since the winner gets money for a party. Tsutsui will definitely support her but she just doesn’t want the attention. Too bad the class rep later tells her he already entered her. If she wants to beat him up, that’s fine. The reason being, there is a girl he loves who put in so much effort. He wants to show that appreciation by throwing her a party (so I guess he himself didn’t have enough money to do it). He will take this chance to confess to her. With that, Iroha agrees to ‘donate her talents’. Tsutsui learns of this but is worried since Takanashi drops him a nasty rumour that she might dump him if she wins. He tries to stay positive and be a better man but screws up by accidentally dropping paint all over their signboard. Bummer. If that’s not bad enough, Tsutsui is now part of the judging committee of the beauty contest! Oh my, fate is sure getting the kicks out of this.

Episode 14
At least everybody isn’t heartless to leave it to Tsutsui and Itou to finish up last minute preparations. Is Itou the only one cross-dressing as a maid? Because everybody finds him beautiful! Thankfully he is holding it in thanks to the training. Then an accidental sexual harassment that has everyone blushing? WTF?! Tsutsui the manager even coolly tells this jerk customer to leave. WTF, man? Why is everyone acting so out of character?! I guess Tsutsui is also holding it in for the sake of the festival but thank goodness for Iroha for his much needed ‘recharge’. With the beauty contest in full swing, Ishino is dead last with only a vote (from herself). I guess she’s pretty sad about it and probably it scored some sympathy points with Takanashi. Here. A vote from him. With the top 4 advancing to the finals, it is clear that Iroha is the top but she faces stiff competition from her b*tch rival, Reiko Akiyama who has something to say about using looks to get ahead. I’m sure Iroha wanted to tell her the same but better be the nice girl for now. On stage, it is clear that Reiko uses her charms for the usual cliché of baiting everybody. Then it’s Iroha’s turn. OMG is this really her when she talks so cute and lovely???!!! Everybody just got shot in the heart! And then she realizes this is too much to keep up and drops the act. Here comes the best part as she lectures everyone she doesn’t want to be judged by her looks. Lots of people don’t know her so they can think want they want of her. Because there are some who can see past all that and see her for herself. She doesn’t need to win so please don’t vote for her. With the students’ votes mainly handing Iroha a slim lead over Reiko, it all boils down to the judges’ decision. This puts Tsutsui in a bind as he wants to vote for Iroha but also respect her wish not to win. In the end, Reiko wins and this hands Iroha a big relief. Tsutsui wants to tell her all the reasons why she is more than her looks but she’ll save that for another day. Fate rewards our protagonists as the maid café is the top sales earner. During the bonfire dance, the class rep thanks Iroha for the help. Iroha suggests he confess despite not winning. Meanwhile Ayado gets nervous when Itou accidentally touches her hand. She’s like slapping herself for feeling this while blaming herself she has no right to it because she rejected him, blah, blah, blah. You know Itou’s watching, right? His answer: Just hold her hand! If it helps her see him as a person she could love.

Episode 15
Ishino acting strange. Could it be she’s in love? Itou and Ayado even awkward when seeing each other. Then Tsutsui’s mom shows him a smoking hot picture of herself when she was younger! OMFG!!! IS THIS REALLY HER?! Anime can really either turn you beautiful or ugly!!! The world is going mad! Tsutsui and Iroha are at the café when they overheard the next table of a working couple having an affair and wanting to break up. The catch? The man is Tsutsui’s father!!! HOLY SH*T!!!! Tsutsui tries to believe in him that this is all an understanding but that night looks like dad and mom are already having talks of this affair. She already has proof of this and you can see her breaking down from it. It’s not like Tsutsui could do anything good so he hangs out with Iroha to update what happened. She promises to help if he needs her. When he returns, the drama just ramp up a notch. Mom is asking for divorce. Damn, this escalated quickly. And dad is just like apologizing and okay with this?! He knows better not to fight stubborn mom. With this divorce it means one of the sons will follow her back to mom’s place. That’s like in Hokkaido! With this on his hands, Tsutsui must be having a hard time listening to Itou who is sad that Ayado is giving him the cold shoulder. No time for this when family problems are at hand. Each time Tsutsui returns, looks like the drama gets worse. Yeah, dad is sleeping in the living room now. They talk and dad knows he is in the wrong and had no right to argue back given the fact mom stayed faithful to him for 20 years. He still loves her and the family, though. Tsutsui knows he needs to fix this and I suppose now the news hits Kaoru. The brothers argue who should be the one following mom. Kaoru sounds like has the advantage with his logic but it eventually boils down to the girl they love that they don’t want to move. Next day, mom left a letter and Tsutsui fears she ran away. He runs out looking for her. Does he even know where to look? Oh, there she is sitting dejectedly at the park. Tsutsui talks to her especially he is against breaking up of the family. But with this drama so deep in, there’s no turning back. It now turns into who she should bring to Hokkaido. Yeah, Tsutsui trying to vouch for Kaoru. However… Seeing he was always the otaku, she never realized he cared this much for the family. So now she has made up her mind. She’s bringing him back to Hokkaido! Damn! Backfired so hard that it looks like Tsutsui would be the one moving away first than Iroha.

Episode 16
I don’t think Iroha likes it that Tsutsui is moving away too. But there’s nothing she can do about this and she hates it. Damn, does it look like they’re breaking up?! Later Iroha stumbles into Tsutsui’s dad and they talk about easily broken bonds. The woman whom dad is having an affair is seen outside the house. Tsutsui knows mom will blow her top and takes her to the café to talk. Iroha goes into scary mode reprimanding her the damage she has done and will do. Yeah, like will crying change anything?! We take a break from this drama to detour to Ayado’s side. She is in a dilemma because now Itou is ignoring her. She talks to Ishino for advice and she slaps her to her senses! Whatever it was, it was enough motivation to get her going rather than give up. So back to Tsutsui’s family drama, they learn the woman only had dinner with him and he was kind enough to pay for them and listen to whatever troubles she had. They never slept or let alone hold hands. She tried to ask him out but was rejected from the very start. Tsutsui now confronts his dad. How could he omit such an important info? Dad believes even if it was dinner and if it made mom unhappy, it is still considered betrayal. But this woman made him realize how much he still loves mom. So flashback we see mom and dad awkwardly met. Her favourite high heels broke and he fixed it since he was working in the glue department. He was a nerd. She was sporting. She asked him out. He somewhat obliged. One night, he overheard her talking to her boss who claims she only got this far because of his special treatment. He’s the biggest jerk ever for whatever reason. After that, dad awkwardly came to talk to her and that’s when they realize they love each other and be with each other ever since. Despite this story, Tsutsui is not amused dad is still giving up. If he loves her, don’t let her go! It’s the same for him. Even if he has to follow mom to Hokkaido, he won’t give up on Iroha! Dad agrees to talk to mom again. So apparently she knows the whole story. So when he brings up the nostalgic past, oh yeah, you bet that’s the magic that will rekindle their love. I have love you always. My love has never changed. I want to stay in your life forever. Voila. Funny how adult works. Phew. With this drama over, we now move back to Ayado. Yeah, she’s this close to breaking down thinking Itou is ignoring and hating her. But when he comes back to talk to her, it’s like she gives him the biggest hug. Isn’t it a no brainer when she asks why he is the only thing she thinks about? You’re in love, baby!

Episode 17
Ayado narrates she was an otaku in her younger days. Her first love was a manga character and it was tough that nobody else shared the same passion. One day she was so absorbed reading that she didn’t notice a classmate called her and she was given a reality check after being scolded for it. In a way, she locked herself in a shell until Tsutsui and co came along. Back to reality, Itou hugs her and promises never to let her go. Emotionally charged Ayado rants about her insecurities and fears, like how she was afraid of him leaving her. Her tears are probably so infectious that it’s Itou’s turn to cry. Weirdly, Ayado breaks their official dating status to Tsutsui and Iroha. Even weirder, she apologizes to them for dating his best friend? WTF. Of course they don’t mind this piece of good news. Tsutsui better not be crying or it’ll be weirder… Wow, such good news that their circle of friends celebrate this! It’s like they’re married?! Now Ishino is bugging Takanashi for their turn. Jerk doesn’t give a damn. With Tsutsui’s peaceful life returning, I guess it’s time to remind us they kissed before. Another great kiss in his room and probably more had not mom come in (why don’t parents knock?!) to invite her for dinner. Is this a disappointment or relief? Over dinner, the parents really thank Iroha for being with their son as well as apologize for the divorce fuss. Kaoru still has trust issues. He still hasn’t gotten over his big brother trying to sell him out to Hokkaido and asks Iroha straight what she sees in this otaku. Iroha doesn’t see any other guys cooler than Tsutsui and is further glad the brothers don’t have to be separated. In view of this, I guess Kaoru starts calling her his onee-san since they’ll one day get married, right? You mean they’re not thinking that far ahead? Now we turn back to Ayado. She’s still having issues if this couple thingy is real. Yeah, she’s like still in disbelief and spacing out. It’s an emotional roller coaster ride for this girl. Eventually Itou also can tell she is pushing herself and hopes she could think this over before they get too far. Damn this props up those fears again. Probably out of desperation, she realizes he confessed to her many times but never once vice versa. So she quickly says I love you and that tearful apology that always caused him trouble. Do you feel better now, Itou? Since he doesn’t want her to hold back her feelings like he does, there is something that is bugging her on her mind all day long… Suddenly she kisses him! He returns the favour by kissing her back. Feels good, right? When he said not to hold back, he didn’t she would ask permission to hit him with full force of her desires. Yeah, maybe that one it’s wise to take it slow.

Episode 18
Ayado and Itou look like a happy couple in love with an idiotic smile! I guess this is cue for Ishino to continue bugging Takanashi and she’s desperate enough to ask what it would take to get him to like her. Yeah, he’s just making a fool out of you. When some of Ayado’s classmates see them as a couple, Ayado gets flustered and introduces her boyfriend. However they laugh and never thought this otaku would be interested in real life. Ishino steps in to give them a piece of her mind. It could have gotten physical had not Takanashi stepped in. Maybe that’s why he refuses to date Ishino. She likes meddling in the affairs of others. What’s a girl without a boyfriend and lots of time on her hands has got to do? To thank her for this, Takanashi has a mini date with her at the ramen shop and even trolls her to go on a real date. Meanwhile mom is treating Iroha like part of the family. Making her an apron and asking her favourite food. Tsutsui must be really freaked out. So the troll date becomes a real date as Takanashi reluctantly ‘dates’ Ishino at the aquarium. Suddenly Takanashi sees Anzu with Kaoru. He gets upset. Firstly, Anzu lied about being with another friend today. Kaoru introduces himself as Anzu’s boyfriend and this doesn’t sit well with Takanashi. Yeah, he has issues he is Tsutsui’s brother. He wants to take Anzu home and call off their dates. It hits a nerve this time when he tells Ishino not to meddle. Anzu takes Kaoru and run during the confusion. With the mood ruined, the teens walk home. Takanashi hugging Ishino thinking he can solve this? I don’t think it’s going to be that easy. More woes when mom calls because Anzu left a message that she is running away with Kaoru! No time to tell Ishino to stay out. Please help. They search everywhere and couldn’t find them. Could it be they never left the aquarium? Yeah, they’re still there. Were the heck’s security?! Anzu tells Kaoru her family structure. They have no dad so sometimes big brother is overprotective. Kaoru feels it’s not right to make them worry and promises to talk to them to gain their trust. Anzu’s confession somewhat ruined with Takanashi coming in and slapping Kaoru! Kaoru blames himself for keeping Anzu out this late although Anzu admits she was the one who had this elope idea. Takanashi apologizes and will hear Kaoru out one day. But it’s time to go home. Takanashi walks Ishino home and suggests they date again next time. But it will be him asking her out. If he insists.

Episode 19
Time we remember about Iroha’s jerk brother, Chika. He claims being with Tsutsui has turned her into a slob (her fashion sense, that is) but she ignores him. Tsutsui is shocked to see Itou seeking advice from Takanashi. Thinking something has happened, he asked Takanashi about it and it is hinted that Itou might be crossing over to adulthood. You jealous, virgin? Meanwhile Ishino is now complaining to God to make her happy. Then pops this dude who is Takanashi’s friend, Sakurada who has taken a liking at her after seeing her at the cultural festival. He wants to be friends. Heck, he even asks Takanashi for ‘permission’ to date her! Not that Takanashi cares but you can feel he doesn’t like this idea. Now Tsutsui is spying on Itou? And when Itou confronts him he gives excuses? So when they finally talk, Itou reveals he plans to go to Ayado’s house and sought Takanashi’s advice seeing he is worried one thing might lead to another. Though Itou thought he should have asked Tsutsui first, Tsutsui now believes why Takanashi said it is something he couldn’t solve. After all, Takanashi’s advice to Itou was pretty vague. Just go with your instincts! With Iroha insisting on going on an overnight trip during the long weekend, Takanashi’s mind is now screwing with him. Yeah, are they going to cross over to adulthood? Meanwhile Kaoru officially introduces himself and apologizes to Takanashi why explaining how much he loves Anzu. Not that big brother is impressed but Kaoru is the one being the mature adult and Takanashi close to flaring up. Since he can’t punch a kid, Takanashi calls Tsutsui and punches him instead! WTF?! More woes for Takanashi because he looks worried seeing Ishino accepting Sakurada’s invitation to a sweets shop. Ishino still doesn’t trust him but he continues to listen and be a smooth talker. It has been a long time since a guy treats her this nice. Should she go for it? But somehow Ishino still feels bored and seeks Tsutsui for ‘entertainment’. Learning he doesn’t want to go on an overnight trip with Iroha (because, sex), she lambasts him not to disgrace her. Just get laid! Just do it! Hence when the duo meet, Tsutsui is so worried that Iroha decides not to go. If he’s not okay with it, there’s no point in going. She leaves and Tsutsui feels bad and realizes she has put in a lot of effort in planning the trip. Time to man up. He catches up and hugs her. Let’s do it, baby. It’s like she’s waiting for this answer. So happy she hugs him. In the middle of the street? Yeah, don’t let anything get in between your love. Unfortunately… Iroha soon has remedial classes… Another time, I guess.

Episode 20
Takanashi receives word that his mom is hospitalized. A big relief that she only had a minor concussion after slipping at work. He worries about her but she assures the insurance money is enough to cover her kids through school. Damn. Gotta be ready at all times… So later Ishino finds out about this and wants to help. I mean, what choice does Takanashi has after she slaps him and then rants about that unfulfilled date promise. So he has her help him cook a favourite dish for Anzu. She really likes it and hopes she could come here more often. However this good vibe is killed with Takanashi being his usual sarcastic and cold even in metaphoric sense about his relationship with Ishino. It makes Anzu cry at first and with some Ishino’s motherly hug and assurance, everything returns to normal. With Ishino having plans with Sakurada for the weekend, Takanashi tells her not to go. This time his sarcasm really hits her nerve so she leaves for real. Takanashi goes after her and cleans up this mess by hugging her. It will take more than that for a girl in tears. Hence he tells her his true feelings. He believes she will be an important part of his life and letting her go now means he knows he will regret it. Will you be my girlfriend? Yes. YES! Damn it felt like he’s proposing to her or something. To prove his love for her, he kisses her. Not playing around for real. As Tsutsui heads home, that jerk Chika is waiting outside. He warns him not to go on the trip with Iroha. Tsutsui is prepared to be punched by him and assures he will not do anything strange to her. All he wants is to grant her wish. Besides, this trip is not happening due to her remedial class. Frustrated Chika just punches him in the gut. Meanwhile Itou is over at Ayado’s place. Her parents have to leave last minute so they’re home alone. So they play video games for hours?! No wonder Ayado is getting frustrated. Itou doesn’t want to betray the trust of her parents and needs to take care of her but this makes her sad. Because it means he won’t touch her and there’s so many things she wants to tell and teach him. So she’s being horny? I guess Itou is like screw it, kiss her, now let’s see where this takes us on the bed… Yeah… Do we still remember last season that hot doctor? Looks like something ominous when he tells Iroha she only has a month left… WTF?! Is there real sh*t going on?! That grave illness thingy?! Remember that?! WTF???!!!

Episode 21
Tsutsui and Itou learning Ishino and Takanashi are now a couple. Are they that in disbelief? Later Itou tells Tsutsui that he has done it with Ayado! OMG! You mean they really crossed the line to adulthood?! Looks like. And after sex Itou was crying? Weird. Thank goodness it’s because he is happy. So the whole lesson learnt from this is that it opened up a whole new world. Darn right it did. Also, Itou doesn’t hate himself as much as before. The friends gather to celebrate Ishino and Takanashi being a couple. I suppose it’s part of their tradition. Then they also talk about their future paths in life. I suppose Takanashi didn’t really think Ishino would consider being his wife as her future plan. And Tsutsui is the most ‘boring’. Go to college and be a civil servant. Tsutsui thinks hard on Itou and Takanashi’s words about not wanting to waste every second they have and leave no regrets. That is why he goes on his knees to seek mom’s help to borrow money. Not the kind of small change to buy a textbook. Talk about 5 digits! He promises to pay her back, etc. She agrees to put on his tab as long as he doesn’t lose sight on what’s important. So is he going to splurge all that cash on Iroha? Seems like he is taking her to the arcade to have loads of fun. Maybe a nerd needs to take a big break once in a while. However Itou heard that Tsutsui has not been showing up to special classes and his grades are slipping. Even the teacher called him out to talk about this. So when Tsutsui asks about the choice now to study or not have any regrets, instantly the teacher chooses the former. I don’t think it’s what Tsutsui wants to hear. Itou tries to help him but is told to mind his own business. Tsutsui continues to hang out with Iroha. At the beach, Iroha remembers Itou talking to her about his slipping grades. Iroha was shocked because Tsutsui told her he was studying every day. Iroha then sees Tsutsui’s elaborate plans, the things he wants to do with Iroha. It just breaks her heart. Then she hugs him and confesses that her transfer to another school was a lie. Sounds like good news but why do I have a bad feeling that there is more to this. I don’t think she’s crying tears of happiness either…

Episode 22
It’s too late to take a train back so luckily they manage to get a room at a nearby inn. Later as Tsutsui checks off the list, he sees at the bottom that Iroha has added one on her own: To sleep with him! Yikes! For real?! And then they just get to that because I think it’s top priority ;-). First you start by saying how pretty she is, how much you love her (100 times more than the first time you met), then you start kissing before the final stretch… Did they do it? Up to our imaginations but I’m positively sure about it because next morning they’re in bed naked and Tsutsui feeling like he has been reborn! Oh yeah! The power of sex! No more virgin boy mockery ever again. They buy a matching Buddha key strap before they part. But Tsutsui finds it hard to part with her. Back home, time for Chika jerk time. He tells her to stop dating Tsutsui. At this point? What he meant is that it will be hard on him once she is gone. Damn, this is going to be very deep… Tsutsui tells Itou that he only as a month left with Igarashi. Also, they had sex. Oh yeah. Now we’re really moving up together in life, aren’t we? But Tsutsui soon realizes that Iroha hasn’t come to school for 3 days. No replies from his mails either. Is she avoiding him?! Panic, he rushes to her home. Jerk Chika there to greet him. Go away. She doesn’t want to see you. Tsutsui is stubborn (as he wants to hear it from her mouth) and camps outside her house. Even bringing his own coffee pot?! Is this legal?! Is this stalking?! But it seems this is Iroha’s wish not to see him and it’s best that Chika shoos him away. But I guess persistence really pays off because annoyed Chika just lets him in. Tsutsui enters her room, sees all her belongings packed in boxes. Has she been sitting dejectedly like that for the last 3 days? He thinks she doesn’t want to say goodbye and technically that’s what she intended. As they go walk, she reveals the truth. She has some brain disease and is going away for surgery. However the chances are 50% and even if she makes it, there is no guarantee she will remember him or their friends. Wow. Tsutsui is so shocked at this ‘God’s test’ that even the art style is getting sketchy. Uh huh. I guess his world is starting to fall apart. He starts crying, feeling bad he couldn’t do anything. Could he? Iroha is glad to have met him. So thank you. And goodbye.

Episode 23
Tsutsui is like a living zombie. He gets bullied but doesn’t give a damn. Even when Takanashi tries to tell him off, he just doesn’t care. So Iroha has left for overseas. The friends are concerned mostly about Tsutsui but it can’t be help if he refuses the open up. Not even Kaoru supports him because since he got ‘dumped’ and now he is like giving on up on everything. A pathetic guy like that gets no sympathy. This kid’s got a point. And when mom finds out what really happened to Iroha from Kaoru, she goes to beat up Tsutsui to his senses! The one hurting most now is Iroha. She would be disappointed to see him moping like this and she would be thinking if she was dating a useless guy. Tsutsui moves on but overall the pain is still there. He is still that gloomy face. Fast forward to the university entrance results. He thought Iroha was there but just coincidence she had her same hairstyle. Bummer. The friends thought he failed to get in but to their surprise he passed! Yeah, the gloomy face was really deceiving. With them reminding him that they will always remember Iroha, cue for flashback to that last teary meeting. Tsutsui claims his future will be meaningless without her. But she is confident he will find new things to fill in his life and wants him to promise her this one thing: Please forget about her. Fast forward many years later where Tsutsui is now a working adult. He is a hard worker in a famous company and on track for a fast promotion. Heck, there are some girls even interested in him but he declines their invitation to go drink so that he could rush home and watch an anime that Itou had a hand in! Oh well… But Tsutsui still goes out drinking with his old friends. Ishino announces she is already 3 months pregnant. Congratulations? It’s been a while as we see Tsutsui having visions of Ezomichi giving a pep talk in moving on. Tsutsui doesn’t mind carrying the pain in his heart and claims he is much happier in life than he would have been had he not met her. It has been 7 years and now Iroha and Chika return to Japan. Chika brings her around the old place they used to live. Can’t remember them. Chika then takes this chance to confess he loves her (including the reminder that they aren’t biologically related) and will always be by her side even if her memories never return. This prompts Iroha to note that she traded her memories for her life. She has made lots of friends in Los Angeles and she is happy with those memories. With nothing here for her, she wants to return to LA.

Episode 24
Tsutsui’s mom must be lonely. Hinting and bugging her son that she wants a grandchild! Funny that Iroha has her packed stuffs in Japan. Did she plan to stay here when she came back? Going through some of them, she feels something strange in her heart when seeing that strap. She asks Chika about her previous life as she feels there is a giant hole inside her. Well, Chika has told everything about her and is somewhat tired. I suppose the time is right to let go. Chika says that there is one other guy who knows more about her than him. When Tsutsui leaves work, he is shocked to see Chika. Even shocker to see Iroha! Instantly he runs to hug her! I guess she prepared for this instead of screaming a pervert suddenly hugging her. She thanks him despite not remembering him. When she asks his name, he won’t give and just wishes her well. But then she stops him since she notices the same strap. Then explain why it hurts whenever she looks at this? Tsutsui claims he couldn’t do anything when she needed him most. Hence she doesn’t deserve to remember him. But in his entire life, she is the only girl he has ever loved. Probably Tsutsui crying has some sort of magical effect as some of Iroha’s memories return! No kidding! We now see Takanashi and Ishino having their own wedding. Better hold this before the baby pops out. Tsutsui and Itou manage to make it in time. They sent Ayado an invitation but she couldn’t make it. What? She’s married? Oh… With Ishino thanking Tsutsui for bringing them together, damn Tsutsui is the one who is crying before the bride! Outside, oddly Tsutsui is the one who catches the bouquet! Then everyone spots Iroha. OMG. Is this real? Not a ghost?! Everyone goes to hug her. Another round of free flowing tears. Iroha can’t remember fully but bits and pieces of them. Better than nothing. Welcome back. Tsutsui and Iroha on the way home, she drops the biggest news: She now fully remembers everything! The happiest 6 months of her life as his girlfriend! Tsutsui says he had always been thinking of her and hoped she would be alive. Even if she had lost her memories, he hoped she would fall in love with him again. Please don’t go back to LA. She assures, even if she remained amnesiac, she would still fall for him. Oh God. Big hug. Big tears. And so the inevitable day comes. Yup, Tsutsui and Iroha getting married. Mom must be so happy now. Ayado could finally make it this time. Why? She’s divorced. WTF???!!! At least Itou has got a shot with her again. But the star for tonight, the glorious Tsutsui and beautiful Iroha!

Love Will Keep Us Alive
Damn they turned the final episode into one big tearjerker. Maybe I’m getting old. Though, I still managed to hold back my tears and not join Tsutsui in his crying streak. It was a good and happy ending to say the least. Just the mind boggling fact how the power of love could make Iroha remember everything again. This means had Tsutsui accompanied her for the operation, in no time she would have remembered him because their love is so strong. And then no need to wait 7 years of time skip and anxiety. Damn it, right?!

Honestly, this season doesn’t seem as annoying as the first. Probably there is less screen time for Ayado in incessant apologizing mode. But I still find her irritating, though. When she goes into that sort of insecure frenzy, that is. The overall story doesn’t feel as boring as it did in the first season mainly because it was trying to tie up (predictably) the couples together. No spoiler alert because the opening credits animation already spoils us of who ends up with who. Even if it did not, common sense would have dictated it for those who at least pay the littlest of attention. So with the plot having to resolve the love matters between the characters, it eliminates the needless meandering that I somewhat remembered in the first season. But then again, if they didn’t all that to build up and develop the plot and characters, I would have accused the series of rushing things. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Chika also doesn’t feel as annoying as before since he redeemed himself by letting go of Iroha. I understand that guy wanted to play the villain and protect both of them being ultimately hurt because of love, but I guess he was somewhat wrong because we see their love power so strong that even fate couldn’t pull them apart. I suppose this guy is also one happy guy to be attending Iroha’s wedding.

Ironically, the story in this season that I found was most interesting was Tsutsui’s parents’ affair. Have I gotten so old that old married people’s affair now sound more interesting than your typical teenage cheating-cum-affair type? Maybe it’s because the former isn’t as common as the latter. It is also interesting because this affair might also have a great impact on Tsutsui and Iroha’s relationship indirectly. As it is, their ‘mundane’ dating relationship is given a shocking wakeup call and thankfully only serves to further strengthen their relationship. So ‘strong’ that Tsutsui only needed 3D Iroha and doesn’t resort to his 2D imaginary magical girl, Ezomichi as before.

While I predicted that Tsutsui would end up with Iroha in the end (thank the ending credits spoilers and also common sense), however there is this chance that it could have gone the other way too. Seeing the dramatic revelation of Iroha ‘being killed off’ AKA dramatic term for losing her memories hence the old Iroha is no more. It could have been a bittersweet ending (or even a tragic one depending on how you view it) with Tsutsui and Iroha never ending up together and going their separate ways despite their fling only lasted for 6 months in high school. That’s life. You just have got to move on. But thankfully that alternate route didn’t happen.

As for the other pairings, they were as expected and necessary for the plot to move forward. The series focusing only on Tsutsui-Iroha would have been just a very short affair without the other characters. Like Takanashi would finally accept Ishino into his life despite still being mostly a jerk because the bugging won’t stop and I think it’s like choosing the lesser of 2 evils. Whoops… And because of his family circumstances, it is best that he has someone else who cares deeply instead of shouldering all the responsibilities on himself since he is the only man in the house. So good for them, right? Had Takanashi continued with his jerk pride, Ishino could have ended up with Sakurada. Since this didn’t happen, I guess we don’t care what happened to that guy, huh? It’s a good thing, though. Because when he said he was interested in Ishino, he didn’t sound serious about it.

It’s nice that Itou and Ayado finally paired up because in a way cuts off that insecurity annoyance that I always perceived Ayado is. Sure, as amateurs in love, there are still lots of insecurities at first but as you can see, they got used to it. Slowly, one step at a time. Itou is so changed that he discarded his cat ears to be a generic looking guy. Initially I wondered why Ayado wasn’t part of the friends during the adult time period as she was obviously missing during the friends’ meet up. Where was she, I wonder? And then they hinted she got married. You mean to someone else other than Itou? It feels strange because we have seen how she loved Itou so much during their schooling years that we are so cocksure that they will end up getting married. But man, 7 years is long enough to change things. Itou was probably too busy and obsessed in his anime job that always flirt dangerously with deadlines and perhaps Ayado then felt lonely and wanted someone who could fill her life. Now that she is single again, perhaps they could go back to the old times. I guess the next wedding is theirs. If the anime studio could give Itou a damn break, that is. I hope Ayado’s divorce was not due to the fact her ex-husband found out she wasn’t a virgin… Yeah… And not forgetting too, Kaoru and Anzu. Yup, their relationship is still going strong into their college years. Wow. This is going to be a busy season of weddings.

While the art and animation remain consistent with last season’s, generally simple and the colour hues are light, however I tend to notice that in some scenes, it gets lighter around the screen corners. Like as though all this were some sort of dream sequence. Is this whole series just one big flashback from Tsutsui in his working adult years? On a side note, Iroha with short hair looks as hot as when she had long hair. Not many female anime characters with sudden change in hairstyle sit well with me. It just proves that Iroha is naturally (2D) cute! Because Ayado now with long hair just looks passable. Maybe it’s the effect of the divorce, huh? Oops. Food for thought: Since Tsutsui looks like a splitting mirror image of his dad (still nerdy, though), it makes me wonder if Iroha as his wife she would end up looking like his mom! Yikes! Hope she doesn’t let herself loose too much.

Seeing that this season has hinted that the couples have crossed the line to adulthood, I wonder if the director’s cut on the BDs will show those scenes. Add a few minutes of steamy hot sex but strategically hide/cover/don’t show parts that would have easily classified this series as hentai. I bet real sex with a real girl beats jerking off to your favourite 2D anime waifu, eh?!

This season’s opening theme, Futari Nara by Bish is a rock outfit. Since last season’s opener had that very sleepy feel to it, this time it goes the opposite with this season being such a fast hard rock pace. Again, it doesn’t feel like it suits the pace of this series. As for the ending theme, Hagan by Fujifabric, it sounds weird not only just because I personally find the song mostly flat, but the incessant drum beat in the background like as though this song is some pseudo dubstep or something. In that sense, it sounds a bit ‘numbing and deafening’ (including the singer’s flat voice).

Overall, not really a unique romance drama to begin with. But at least we get a ‘happy’ ending that the female lead didn’t die in the end! I’m thinking of Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso. Basically both series had a cute girl falling for a useless guy and then helping him regain his footing in life. Just the difference of that musical one ended with the heroine’s death from a longstanding illness! The trope of love will save the day and love eventually changes people (for better or worse) have been tried and tested in so many shows. Therefore this series doesn’t really stand out from that crowded field. If there is one thing we can learn so far about real love, one of the merits for 3D love is that when you’re feeling horny and want to f*ck, you still need a 3D pussy for that! XD.

You mean that preview of the future wasn’t just a joke?! Hence, Otona No Bouguya-san (Rimen) turned out to be extra episodes for this series. They are original episodes that was only streamed exclusively on Japan’s online service store. I guess somebody needs to push the sales of those risqué bikini armours. Somebody needs to convince cosplay enthusiasts that it is okay to parade around in this lingerie-like costumes all in the name of cosplay.

Episode 1
Suddenly a huge building that gives off an air of capitalism pops up next to theirs. Kautz tries their instant order and delivery and what do you know? Before him is a so called nude glasses. Putting it on, he sees through Narden’s clothes. Nice abs. With Lilietta calling him, Kautz is tempted to look. When he does, suddenly a demon named Beherin pops up to tell him that he has looked into too much and now the world will be nothing but transparency stuff. In order not to make fans complain again, Kautz is given some semi-transparency. Then he hears the voice of Lilietta (Nao Touyama, rather) who to look into the eye’s mind like how fans visualize the anime in their minds. With that, Kautz is now fully back. Then he sees Lilietta and Flearika engaging in some hot sexy yuri stuff in hot sexy outfits. Yeow! Please bite my ear too! Then it goes downhill because he sees Narden even more muscular and with strange tattoos all over his body. It gets worse. Who the f*ck is this overly macho dude? FFFFUUUUU!!! It’s Mokuku???!!! WARGH!!!!! This shock has Kautz drop the glasses. Thank goodness, back to reality. Nightmare not over because sexy Flearika with a devilish look wants to try them on. Kautz won’t let her in fear there will be no turning back for her.

Episode 2
The store doesn’t have any customers today and the gang believes that capitalistic building has stolen their customers. Time to do recon. Wow. Inside sure looks pretty nice. Everything all in 3D magic. When they enter this Ganma room, suddenly they are locked in. They thought up ahead is a flower picture but it turns out to be some suction fan. Run! Kautz is at risk of being sucked in but Narden saves him and gets, uhm, chopped up? Now he only exists as some purple shadow. Then pops up this monster that probably was copied from that Minecraft monster. It attacks! Narden gives Kautz that very risqué boomerang underwear. I don’t know about this logic to fight nude with nude but whatever. Kautz powers up and… He gets punched in the crotch. Ouch! Somehow they manage to get out thanks to Demon Lord’s magic and even laugh about the fun adventuring time.

Episode 3
When the gang returns, they see this beautiful mysterious lady, Aotsu D Emina. Because she finds their shop fun, she wants to try it out too. Hence she creates another similar shop next door. Time to see who does better business. Yeah, all the customers flock to Emina’s store and none for Narden’s again. Flearika gets this weird idea to do battle with her like an idol because, well, she looks like an idol. So the battle is saying the title’s name? With this going nowhere, Lilietta suggests they join forces. Their practice seems to work and when they do the real deal, they are all over the place and with great cacophony! Yeah, so fail that it’s funny! Kautz does not accept this sloppiness and has them remember how it is done. Hence everyone collaborates and this time it turns out in beautiful unison. In the end, Emina starts glowing. So is she some sort of angel (or anime only character, rather) who came just to tell them that working together like this will make them successful? Just remember that and they’ll be fine on their own. She disappears and hopes one day they will meet again. Then everyone gets philosophical about meetings and partings. As long as you don’t forget about Emina, she’ll one day return. Uh huh. Always remember, ero is romance!

Capitalism Is Romance (Amen)!
Oh well. It was fun. And these extra episodes weren’t even about selling armour. Not even the back story of Narden’s master, Rose that I was hoping for. Heck, they’ve even got the cheek to introduce a new character in the very last episode although to be fair, the final episode was longer than the usual and lasted about 7 minutes. And the lesson learnt from this new character played by Yui Ogura in her trademark cute squeaky voice is that they have to work together in order to survive. Yeah. Not a bad business strategy but I guess that is the basics. Now we know why Narden’s shop is always in the red. Not only he doesn’t know how to do business but all his employees don’t know how to work together! It’s amazing how they survived the first season. Therefore these extra episodes feel like a big product placement to promote d Animate Store service as you can see lots of references and trivia made and appearing throughout the 3 episodes. Perhaps they pumped in some funds to help keep Narden’s shop alive, huh? Heh. No wonder the heavy advertising and promotion of their product placements here. So will Emina come back in the future? If they need another cute employee to push sales or some morale booster, maybe…

I don’t know. Now it seems we have trust issues because the final episode once again trolls us with the preview of the future. Shall we believe them that there is the second season coming? Oh geez. I don’t know. I don’t really know. It’s not like I dislike this series or anything. If there are more future episodes, I would surely like to watch them and see more sexy Lilietta and Flearika moments… Oops, I mean a lot more sexy risqué armours… Oops, I mean some funny stuffs. Yeah. Anything is possible in the realm of anime. All you need to do is remember and never forget! Ero is romance! Well, if business is failing and they need to remind us to buy more of their products, maybe they will pump out more episodes, enough to make another season. Eventually, it all boils down to sex and money. Because sex sells and it brings in the dough. And you can thank capitalism for that!

Pastel Memories

May 19, 2019

Imagine that one day, Japan suddenly stop interest to produce any otaku culture. Suddenly all anime, manga and games that we have come to love immediately cease to exist! Horror! It’s unthinkable! It’s unimaginable! It’s unconceivable! Arienai desu! Japan without their beloved culture and ‘most famous export’ is impossible! It can never happen! Can it?! Thankfully (or not), that is just the setting of Pastel Memories. Japan now a boring mundane unidentifiable generic country void of all the otaku culture. It is said because some virus erased those memories from everyone. Yeah, I’d rather be dead than living this lifeless Japan! But anyway, do not fear. Because in this anime, we still have a small group of girls still passionate about the otaku culture and they’re keeping its miniscule flame burning by ridding of the worlds that the viruses are infecting. Is this anime trying to save anime? I mean, what could go wrong with a dozen of cute girls (and an ‘ugly’ mascot) trying to save the world, right?

Episode 1
Izumi Asagi arrives late for work at her anime shop. Thank goodness it is a slow moving day? Yeah, no customers at all! It’s unthinkable how the otaku culture just suddenly died out one day and Akihabara is now a boring normal city. Together with Irina Leskova and Ayaka Sakaki, they talk about the sole customer who came in yesterday. She was looking for some Rabbit Café manga but this store only had the 2nd volume. There are total 7 volumes. I guess with so much time to spare, they try to find it in the store and found some ‘treasures’ like some air gun and yaoi manga. Minami Senju, Chimari Maiko and Nao Mejiro come in to help but they only find several duplicate copies of the 2nd and 5th volume. More reinforcements arrive, Kaoruko Nijouin, Yuina Machiya and Michi Edogawabashi. They get this idea to order from the publishers but too bad it is already out of print and not even available online. Good thing Ayaka found an old map of Akihabara and they pinpoint the remaining 6 anime stores around. So they split up to go to those stores while the rest comb the store. Too bad, more volume 2 and 5. Luckily for them, there are only 1 set left for the other volumes on the shelves and all that is left is the 1st volume. Izumi finds the final store but it is closed. I don’t think pleading outside while telling all her nostalgic memories of those times is going to do anything good. Oh wait. The owner just opened the door! But too bad. Not the volume she is looking for. Back at the shop, the girls really wonder if people’s memories of the otaku culture have disappeared. Michi vows not to let it happen. Just then, Usagi Nejire AKA Nejiusa returns with Rei Kurushima, Saori Rokugou and Komachi Satonaka. It seems they were on a mission to destroy viruses in another world but the villainess Maya keeps setting them up. With Nejiusa detecting another virus from another world, they realize it is that rabbit volume since the manga are disappearing. To prevent memories of this manga from disappearing, Izumi, Irina and Ayaka step up to save this world.

Episode 2
In this world that mimics a lot like that Gochuumon Usagi Desu Ka series, our girls are shocked to find the inhabitants here looking like eels. It must be the virus that are having an effect. In the café, they meet up with, uhm, Chino and the eel that is always on her head, Choppy. They take Choppy’s famous coffee fortune telling since it is always accurate and it seems they are going to have some water trouble. A virus is spotted and the girls give chase only for Izumi to end up herself in the water. Then they spot the big mother virus as it sets loose its baby virus to turn all normal humans into eels. And of course, Maya controlling them all. The girls get ready to fight and defeat them or else this world is doomed and hence people losing their memories of this world. Hurry, the viruses are sucking up the people’s memories into their core. Maya thought she could use some slippery eel liquid to make them lose their balance. Izumi has a great idea of sliding through it all. Time to finish it up as they destroy the mother virus’ main core and send Maya flying away in defeat, Team Rocket style. With everyone returning to normal (Choppy now a rabbit), the girls have a taste of their greatest coffee before heading back. They receive the good news that many people have replied to their message for the 1st volume and one even came to donate. Hooray! Now they have the completed volume set. Next day, the shop is filled with customers who are here to read Rabbit Café. Great publicity. And the young girl who requested it all is now delighted she gets to read the entire series.

Episode 3
The girls notice Michi with a beautiful doll. She made it herself based on the manga, Rosy Maidens (?!). However it seems none could remember how the series went about. Is it due to the virus? Because of that, Michi feels sad as she searches the store for it. There it is. But oh no! It’s disappearing. Time to head in and save that world. As Michi, Kaoruko, Yuina and Nejiusa arrive, it looks like a normal room when a suitcase flies in. Hey look. It’s, uhm, Shinku. In jerseys?! And Suigin Tou too! In jerseys?! Damn virus. And then you have Suigin Tou using machine guns, her taboo word is ‘you suck’ and they turn Super Saiyan and fight! DON’T RUIN MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!!! Michi transforms into their trademark frilly Victorian era dress to stop them. Suigin Tou then takes her away. It seems she is jealous Michi transformed into Shinku’s design and not hers. Maya and her viruses then show up for trouble. Meanwhile Kaoruko and Yuina find themselves in some TV junkyard as they hear Michi’s voice of wanting her friends to remember this series so much. After dispatching several viruses, they regain their memories and remember how they spent time loving this series. Then they go to aid Michi who is on the brink of defeat after tiring out fighting the viruses herself. Maya summons a giant mother virus to attack. The trio combine their effort and using gravity to slice it up. And of course, Team Rocket treatment again for Maya. Shinku and Suigin Tou get their trademark dresses back and they somewhat made peace with each other. When the girls return to the shop, they get this idea of using a Rosy Maidens themed cosplay to attract customers.

Episode 4
When Komachi can’t remember of that basketball manga, Saori uses her invention to sniff it out. Oh look, it’s Mini Basketball (Ro-Kyu-Bu?!). Komachi remembers a friend of hers being sad because her other friends don’t remember about this manga. It could be the work of the virus. That’s why Komachi wanted to find out more about it and read up. Yeah, she got so emotionally touched reading it. Don’t look now because the manga is disappearing! You know what to do. In this world, they see lolis being attacked by virus. Yeah, Maya jealous that lolis got too popular that men started getting interested in them, hence she can’t get married. WTF. Because for some reason violence is a no-no, Maya suggests a 3 on 3 basketball match. Yeah, she’s so kind to give them time to practice as the match is after school. Anyway we see them suck at playing the real thing. I think it’s because of their dress… So how? Here comes, uhm, Subaru! Yeah, he’ll coach them to save his lolis! He employs weird training techniques that makes you wonder if they are training for basketball. The match is here as Maya’s side consists of a giant mother virus and 2 floating hooded virus. So we see Subaru’s training isn’t all nonsense because the girls actually apply them and score! OMFG!!! This should also be a spoof of Kuroko No Basket or Buzzer Beater. Our girls are leading by a point when Maya decides to ‘cheat’. Her team lands in the final score at the final second to win. Then they see the basketball is actually a virus in disguise and this is against the rules. So what now? You wanna fight? I guess it’s back to violence. This makes it easier as the girls destroy the mother virus and send Maya away like Team Rocket. When they return, the other girls in the store have read the manga and are now overwhelmed with its story. But Komachi’s friends have a happy ending as her friends now remember the manga.

Episode 5
Irina is playing shogi after reading that manga, Shogi Ou No Oshigoto (?!). Speaking of which, that manga is starting to disappear! Time for Minami, Nao and Chimari to head into this world. In this dark gloomy world, there are monster turtles with shogi boards. Chimari panics and shoots but once the timer runs out, the turtle explodes. It seems you must make the correct shogi moves to defuse them. But they don’t know shogi! Don’t worry, here comes shogi prodigy, Mai Tsurumizu (uhm, Ai Hinatsuru?!). She relates how Maya kidnapped her master (uhm, Yaichi?) and other strong shogi masters. The only way to save him is through the shogi hall but it is filled with viruses. The girls agree to help each other out to save her master. They have to traverse the floors, each with different versions of shogi. With Mai tired, Chimari thought she could help out but fails. Mai has to save the day again. This only increases her guilt of being useless. The higher they go, the more ridiculous games they play. Uhm, chess and Chinese chess? Poker and then mahjong?! WTF?! When they reach the final floor, Maya is trying to seduce Yaichi to irk Mai. Mai must face off with the mother virus if she is going to save her master. With the shogi match dragging out, Maya plays cheat by sending virus to attack and distract Mai. Not if the others could help. With Chimari again flopping, it’s time to feel that guilt again. Until her friends reason why she was never ever a burden, the much self-confidence Chimari needs to help Mai land that checkmate move. So ‘devastating’ that it destroys the mother virus and automatically gives Maya the Team Rocket treatment. After Mai reunites with her master, the girls return and Chimari is now a better shogi player than Irina. Yeah, so confident that she’s spouting military quotes from Nobunaga! Game for another shogi?

Episode 6
Rei might look like a girl who is only interested in making plastic models. But she holds a secret that no one knows: She also likes cute things. However things didn’t go her way as there is an Akita dog she wants to pet so much, somebody will just steal the march to pet it first. Back at the shop, the other girls find several cute Chutaro (Hamtaro?!) dolls. While they love it, Rei pretends not to like them. I guess Nejiusa is going to have a run for his money on who is the cutest. Too bad the girls find him more funny than cute. And then… Damn virus affecting Chutaro! Time to get to it. Rei, Izumi and Minami enter the world of Chutaro. Yeah, cute critters too hard to resist… Until they turn into scary ferocious beasts! Damn those viruses. Rei got separated during the attack. She finds Chutaro and learns how Maya appeared and transformed his friends. But out of the fire and into the pan for Chutaro because Rei can’t hold it anymore and starts cuddling and molesting it. Maya sees this and his shocked and irritated but has an idea. As Chutaro brings Rei to his other uninfected pals, more extreme cuddling and molestation! Then Minami and Izumi see this. Oh my. Rei tries to give excuse. I don’t think they’re buying that mouse fairy or virus infection thingy. Rei gets embarrassed and runs away. But her friends don’t really mind this side they have never seen. They want her to be true to her feelings because it’ll be too late once they’re gone. Just in time for Maya and mother virus to attack. But Maya unleashes photos of Rei snuggling with Chutaro, paralysing this embarrassed cutie. Until Rei sees Chutaro protecting his friends instead of running away, Rei gets her senses back, powers up her weapon and with 1 strike, sends Maya blasting off into the sky. Rei now comes to terms and admits she also likes cute things. In reality, things are looking up for her as she is now able to pet the dog all she wants.

Episode 7
Time to go JRPG retro with Quest Of Phantasia! Yeah, Tales Of Phantasia spoof. Saori, Irina and Yuina arrive in this world and experience a load of JRPG cliché other than the pixelated visuals. From repetitive NPCs to getting resurrected after being killed by monsters (that takes a load of gold!) and even a side quest to save Nejiusa after he gets kidnapped. Yeah, they want to parody the side scrolling action of Ghost N Goblins! Usually it is mostly thanks to Saori and her love for such games that gets them out of most situations or advance. She might be a scientist but she loves RPG monsters too because they don’t follow the law of physics? As they make their way to defeat the demon lord, however there is one day a month that Saori becomes totally a pessimist. Yes, that day is today. And so the party is having a tough time navigating through their journey with Saori being such a negative person! They finally reach the demon lord’s castle. When Irina and Yuina are about to be sacrificed, thankfully a whole day has passed so Saori returns to normal and kicks ass. Cue for the demon lord to turn into his true form. So what if their attacks now don’t work? Nejiusa reminds them to transform into their magical girl form! Oh yeah, forgot about that, haven’t we? At least in this form they are not bound by the game’s limits and can kick ass to their heart’s content with their overpowered moves. Isn’t this like cheating?! With the demon lord gone, Maya and her mother virus pop up but gets easily owned! So sad, that’s all the appearance she has today. At least she still got her trademark Team Rocket treatment.

Episode 8
Nao sucks at cooking. Yeah, she almost killed Yuina and Nejiusa with her ‘poison’ although the latter duo are to blame for trying to secretly eat her food. This has Nao sad and losing confidence. But when they claim that she too has her good points, Nao gets happy and suddenly very girly?! Because of that, she is now able to cook well like a girl and tastes way better (although presentation wise, it looks horrible). Of course this mode doesn’t last long and it’s back to the tomboyish Nao. Just in time for them to notice the virus attacking the manga world of Aji Master. You mean the discount Shokugeki No Souma? Nao, Ayaka and Minami enter this world and stumble into the diner of Medatama. Heh. I guess we have this old guy in place instead of a young vibrant Yukihira. Anyway, his cooking is good but there are no customers. A food journalist, Okayama enters to taste his katsudon but calls it crap. He even thinks the girl can cook better than this. He then takes his word back. It tastes like crap too. Until he tastes Nao’s cooking that he totally loves it! His praises turn her even more feminine. Hate to break this happy session but Maya and her viruses are here to attack. Since the old fashion fighting is boring, Maya suggests a food battle whereby the loser leaves this world. She picks Nao in this one on one cooking as she believes her tomboyish feature is her weakness. But since Nao is in girly mode, Maya is starting to sweat seeing how good she is. She sends her virus to disrupt but Ayaka and Minami keep them at bay to let her concentrate on cooking. At this point, Nao loses her femininity but her friends give positive words for her to carry on. Once it’s done, they present to Okayama to judge. Maya’s sh*t curry tastes freaking good???!!! Of course she laced it with some drug and he can’t stop eating. While Nao’s curry looks normal, it tastes hell of a good! So much so it is the start of the exaggeration reaction of swimming in curry! Nao is declared the winner and Maya can’t believe what makes her curry so good. As she tastes it, she finds it horrible. Mother virus accidentally eats it and explodes. Here’s your Team Rocket effect for her this episode. As Nao is being showered by praises, her friends believe that the viruses warped the tastes of the people here. Hence Nao’s cooking is still pretty sh*tty. Better stay quiet…

Episode 9
Kaoruko sucks at dating sim games. It is apparent she often makes the wrong choices that she thinks are correct. This has the rest commenting there are things she is bad at and this shocks her because she thinks herself as perfect. Hence she goes to one of the last remaining game software shops in Akihabara to buy up the entire shop of its dating sims. I think she just can’t decide on what the shop owner says. So she starts playing them and at first it is frustrating because she is always losing. But once she realizes what needs to be done, she finally gets the good endings. I don’t know how many games she bought but can she clear all of it in just a night? Did she stop time? Kaoruko, Irina and Chimari are early to open the café when they find a dating sim game they think a customer dropped. They start playing Love Love Legend (Tokimeki Memorial?) when suddenly it stops working. Is it a bug? Nope. Just in time for the virus attacking. As they head inside the game, they are shocked to see the legendary sakura tree withered and the heroines of this game hating boys! Yeah, thanks to Maya spreading the word! She’ll turn them into independent women who don’t need men! They get to hear Maya’s rant about her disappointments in her love life and that’s why she’s such an ‘expert’. But don’t fear. Kaoruko transforms into a boy and vows to capture her heart. However her flattering has her losing points instead. Thanks to Maya being so twisted at love and the master of breaking up, words aren’t going to earn you brownie points. But soon Kaoruko finds her ‘weakness’ because since Maya sees herself as useless, Kaoruko helps out whenever she is in need. Hence earning enough points for the legendary ending. So on the day Maya is to confess her love to her underneath that now bloomed sakura tree, the heroines return and cry foul. They thought she taught them to hate boys but she snagged one herself. They’re not trusting anybody anymore! Hence they take out their bloodied cleavers and start hacking! OMG! Is this yandere simulator now?! Obviously the virus is turning them into violent zombies and they even summon mother virus. But Maya is stumped since she did not order the destruction of this world. Kaoruko and her friends go to great lengths to protect Maya until they defeat the mother virus and send those heroines back to normal. For once, Maya is satisfied and enjoyed her time here. Wow. A peaceful ending for her once? Back in reality, the rest discuss this game’s popularity was due to the shock ending of other girls turning into zombies attacking you and your girlfriend. It was all done during the zombie craze and hence part of the game. It doesn’t matter for Kaoruko because she still thinks she is perfect at everything.

Episode 10
For the first time I do not recognize this cliché shonen manga they are parodying. Anyway, Touya Kontoshi is about a delinquent guy who has to fight his way through several ‘floors’ of high school, each guarded by a powerful bancho AKA delinquent. However when Ayaka learns that Nao stopped reading and formed her own conclusions, Ayaka turns scary to lecture her about the true greatness of this manga. Oh dear. Her evil aura looks like she is being possessed by a virus! Is she?! Nao is so dead after listening to her long lecture. Wait, is this BL material too???!!! Then the real virus invades the manga and it’s time for our heroines to jump right in to save their favourite manga. Already at the start, the hero Touya is being defeated. He gives Ayaka his wooden sword to progress. In a typical shonen cliché, we see the gang fighting the other floor bancho as they let Ayaka pass so she can see the student council president, Akina at the top. As expected, we see them pulling off winning exaggerated moves like Michi using her forehead flick, Nejiusa and his giant drill and Nao turning into a boxer. When Ayaka reaches the top, she sees Akina being brainwashed trying to sign heaps of paper to hand over the academy to Maya. Is this even possible? Screw all that. It’s shonen manga logic. Ayaka frees her from the brainwash by stabbing the wooden sword into her chest! Yeah, no chest wound whatsoever. Ayaka then proceeds to lecture Maya… This is going to take a while… Is it because of this long lecture that mother virus is going to explode? Actually turns out it is being possessed by some secret shadowy student council character, blah, blah, blah… It’s going on a rampage but don’t fear. Shonen manga cliché at its finest! Touya returns! With all the defeated friends and foes uniting under him, they send power to the wooden sword for Ayaka to destroy the mother virus. Also expected, Maya gets caught in the explosion so it’s Team Rocket for her. Back in reality, the manga ends with Touya roaming the wold to fight other stronger people after graduation. World’s strongest unemployed delinquent bum? Nao feels sad since he wanted him to hook up with her with Akina in college. Oh no. Time for Ayaka’s lecture…

Episode 11
Oh dear. Not another store closing down in Akihabara. I guess you can’t sustain a business when there are no customers. And for today’s trouble, the virus have now invaded the world’s most famous that was a phenomenon 20 years ago, Neon Nova Exceed! Oh, you mean the Neon Genesis Evangelion rip-off? Izumi, Kaoruko and Komachi head into the world and are delighted to see the original Akihabara. Yup, Exceed’s setting is based on this so you can bet that the original otaku world is thriving. The girls can’t help get lost in this fascination but trouble is here. The town is soon evacuated and all the defences up. It’s an attack by Maya and her larger than usual mother virus. OMG. The girls can’t defeat it? The mother virus then goes on a rampage that not even Maya can handle. It is destroying Akihabara and the irony of Maya pleading to the girls for help to save the day? When they lecture her for always causing trouble, she regresses into a child and starts throwing a tantrum. Whatever. Anyway she explains this mother virus is powerful than usual because a lot of people hold special memories of it. So the more famous an anime is, the more powerful the mother virus? I guess this shows why the previous mother viruses were easily defeated… But don’t worry. Maya will help. First she snipes at it but the barrier deflects and hit her back! Too early for Team Rocket treatment so she now tries the cliché of talking to it! Remember our memories? Nope. Be gone! As expected. Maya’s last hope is to use Exceed and she might be a huge fan of the series since she knows where the secret base is. Yeah, it also shows how old she is… But in the base, no giant mecha! The sole scientist (Gendou and Ritsuko mash up?) explains that due to Maya’s viruses attacking, its development was disrupted. Even if they have the blueprint and facilities, they have no manpower to make it. They have this idea to go get Saori and make Exceed but mother virus pops in to wreak havoc. Nejiusa and Izumi are separated. The rest put their faith in her to bring Saori back. Back in reality, Izumi is fraught with guilt for abandoning her friends. I know we believe in them but can we stop stalling and move on? Thank goodness for Irina’s timely slap that Izumi shouldn’t let their efforts be in vain. That is why she came back in the first place. With that, all the girls gear up to enter this world for one big final fight.

Episode 12
The girls split up to create Exceed and to search for their missing comrades. They find a dropped camera belonging to them and it gives them hope that they are still alive. Somewhere. So don’t give up now! As they continue searching, seeing Akihabara filled with otaku stuffs remind them of the good ol’ days how they bonded and got to know each other because of that. I don’t know how long it took but finally they finished a few robots. Yeah, bad design. But the ‘better looking’ one looks suspiciously close to Di Gi Chara’s Dejiko. Nyo! And I suppose the mother virus was patient enough to wait for them to get ready and attack, huh? If individual mini robots can’t beat it, combine! They can fight on par with the mother virus but it absorbs other viruses to become bigger and stronger. Oh no. What will we do? Do you not know at this moment of pinch, it is always the cliché moment that the hero shows up. In this case, Exceed! Yup, the lost girls have somewhat created it. I suppose this explains the secret cave that led to some secret place to finish it. Yeah, so why didn’t the girls looking for them just follow that path? Whatever. With Exceed fighting on par with the mother virus and when the mecha fight looks like it is heading to a deadlock, that is when our girls get down and out to destroy the mother virus with their own individual power and weapons. Yes, they even summoned the power of the other previous worlds they saved. Because the feeling of love is invincible! With the mother virus’ defeat, the town returns to normal. Yeah, all restored back to normal like as though they reloaded a previously saved file of the city. The girls thank Maya but she notes it is just for today. They’ll go back to being enemies tomorrow. Okay. Whatever. Back in reality, the girls continue to serve customers who walk in. Are there any?

Pasty Parodies
And so the real world still remains lifeless and without any hint of the otaku culture at all! Yeah, I consider this a sad ending. Not even managing to save the world of the most famous anime 20 years ago could have a ripple effect on the real world. Even though the girls continue to put on a chirpy outlook but with this otaku culture no longer trending and close to non-existent, I say that it is only a matter of time before they really follow suit like other otaku shops in Akihabara and close down. That is why I believe with the girls continue to helm the café, it’s like they get to continue protecting the dream of the otaku world. I mean, where else can you find such vivid imagination in the real world except through all those anime and manga? I know they said love is invincible but they didn’t say it is forever! Haha! Gotcha!

Being an anime that tries to parody genres of anime, I guess this can be called the general plot of this series. Everything here is pretty much cliché and formulaic that it is, uhm, uninspiring. Because if you really want to make great and funny parodies, my reference would always be Gintama. Even Animegataris isn’t all that shabby. But this series feels like the parodies are done just to get on one’s nostalgia side, especially like yours truly who have watched so many animes over the years that the ‘fun’ is pointing out which anime series they are parodying for the day. Looks like I couldn’t get a clean sweep since I am still unsure of that high school delinquent parody. I think it is Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys but I could be mistaken since I didn’t watch that anime. But I guess the parodying was too much for some to take because towards the end, it has been hit with some copyright laws since some of the parodies are too close to home. Hence the streaming version of it was pulled. Yeah, don’t you dare make fun of our animes!

Other than that, the stories of each episode just follow the same predictable pattern that hardly amounts to anything in the end. Because after freeing the world from the invasion of the viruses and giving Maya her obliged Team Rocket treatment, all is well back in reality because they get to preserve the anime and manga. For now. Rinse and repeat. It’s just so mind boggling that the villains never tried to take over the anime or manga. So a world once freed is forever saved. Some anime logic there for you.

It also doesn’t make any economic sense that the café continues to operate as an otaku themed one albeit being one of the last few remaining bastions of the otaku culture in Akihabara. I mean, we don’t even see the owner’s nose anyhow so where the heck does he get the money to pay the girls? Twelve of them! Oh, the girls do volunteer work because of their love for the otaku culture! I hope so. I get a feeling that the real owner is doing something else to rake in the money (like drugs?!) and this is just some fringe activity he has in his portfolio. And the far and few customers who patron the café must be just a one off experience for them, huh? I mean, they’re passing by and they thought it’s cute so they enter to have a drink and read a manga or something. Then they leave and go home, never setting foot in there ever again. Because do you not remember after that Rabbit Café manga craze, looks the crowd died down after that. Back to zero customers on average per day.

The dozen of main characters feel pretty much one dimensional and lacking depth. At first when you are spammed the dozen girls of the café, you might be amazed of how this café employs so many young beautiful girls but hardly have any business. Because the series focuses way too much on the clichés of the parodies, the characters of these girls suffer. They lack any substance that would want to make you want to care or support them. You only do so because they’re the heroines and that’s what we’re supposed to do. And maybe perhaps because they’re looking cute. Anime girls have got to be kawaii, right?

Therefore my theory why there are a dozen of those kawaii bishoujo instead of just 4 or 5 is for variety purposes. The pattern in every episode has 3 of them ‘on duty’ to head into the affected world so you can bet they will mix and shuffle the girls to be featured. However I believe that not every girl gets an equal amount of screen time AKA featured in an episode. For example, Saori only featured once. But it’s not like we keep count, right? And it’s not like we really care for them either, right? Yeah, by the time the next episode airs, I don’t even remember who is who. Not even their names… Sad… And it’s funny to think that if you erase an entire anime or manga volume or series, the whole world forgets it. That’s not even altering the minds of every individual on the face of the planet. Even more mind boggling how the virus targets those otaku works sitting right in the main room of the café instead of their obscure store. Because of that, the girls are able to dive in immediately and take action. Had the virus infect those inside the store, nobody would have even noticed! They would have easily gotten the job done! Damn, the villains are just as dumb for plot convenience.

Maya is supposed to be the antagonist but considering the nature of this series, she turns out to be more of a comic relief. Ironically, she is the only character that appears consistently in every episode (the other being Nejiusa), hence making her the series’ regular. Despite being totally cliché, she seems to have more character than the heroines. Even more ironic is that Maya is the only character whom I can identify right away other than the dozen heroines. It is her role to be the punching bag (they really write and setup her role to be a failure anyway) and also having that running joke that she is an old woman who has past her prime to snag a boyfriend, hence her eternal complains about being a single woman at her age. So perhaps if she had a guy who loves her, she wouldn’t have to go around destroying the otaku culture? What does she think this is?! A manga romance fairytale?! ;p.

Because of all that, Maya despite being the villainess, she is the character that I guess most of us can relate too. Uh huh. When you’re an adult trying to just live life, then you get all those young punks who think they know more about life and sputter all that sparkling justice crap. And they get away with it while you get blasted away. That’s so really like life. Suspiciously, there is this plain Jane in reality who wanders around. My speculation is that this girl is Maya and the conspiracy theory is that because the real life is so boring, thus the reason why she plays the villain and cause havoc within the worlds. Holy cow! Because it is so much fun when you can still live your otaku dreams, right? No wonder Maya doesn’t get disheartened after losing every time and it’s not perseverance that did the trick. The goal was never to destroy those worlds. Let’s continue to live the otaku dream as long as we can!

Nejiusa as the series’ mascot comes off more than annoying than cute. I mean, doesn’t this zombie rabbit sound like some mouse whose got his ass stuffed with something?! Sometimes it tries to be a wise guy with some comeback lines but he is not funny. More so, Nejiusa is useless in combat and is only with the girls on the mission because he teleports them to the world. Other than that, he is just forgettable. So forgettable that I think they forget to make him appear in the last episode after the opening sequence! Yeah, thinking about it, where the f*ck was that zombie rabbit during the battle and after that? Like as though it vanished along with the mother virus.

The action parts feel boring and repetitious. It is just an excuse to have some sort of weird battle against the virus minions that doesn’t amount to anything much because this is all obligatory. You know, the heroines are here to purge the viruses out of the world. Hence I believe that the so called huge fantasy-like weapons that they hold, they feel redundant because it’s not like they pull off any memorable special moves with it. If it’s a gun, just shoot with it. If it’s a sword, just hack and slash with it. Boring. Why bother with special moves when the virus army is just going to stand there and not fight back with special moves whatsoever.

Art and animation feel pretty okay and sometimes mediocre. I noticed drops in quality in some scenes but at least it’s not that bad like that recent little sister crap. Yeah… Oddly, even with the various designs of the girls, I still can never identify who is who despite their cheap steampunk outfit design that makes some look like some Irish St Patrick’s outing thingy. It goes to show that even when you have different hair colours, hairstyles and the likes, you can’t remember the character if they don’t even have any character. Yeah, Maya is more identifiable than any of the heroines. The viruses and mother viruses look so generic that you think they didn’t put enough effort in the design. Probably what goes behind the production is something like this: We need a design for a virus antagonist. Just make it look like a virus, that’s all. Okay. Approved. This series is done by Project No.9 who did some of the works they parodied here like Ryo-Kyu-Bu and Ryuuou no Oshigoto.

Voice acting is pretty meh. I’m not going to do my usual casting list. Just want to note that Nejiusa is voiced by Chitose Morinaga and if this character sounds weirdly familiar, it’s because she sounded close to that weird rabbit, Timothy from Anne Happy. Unbelievable. I think I recognized Yui Ogura as one of the girls, but I don’t remember who. Yeah, can’t tell who is who still. There are other guests seiyuus lending their talents as one off cameo appearances but only Takehito Koyasu as Okayama was recognizable. Even with all the disappointments, the only thing I truly enjoyed is the opening theme, Believe In Sky by Asami Imai. It has this upbeat and catchy tune to my liking so if I want to forget the mediocrity of this series, I just sing this song. The ending theme, Sparkle Power by Iketeru Hearts, your typical all-girl J-pop anime song. Perhaps the episodes themselves lack fanservice so the ending credits animation spam all the sexy bikini and swimsuit fanservice of the heroines. Damn, they should have just made an ecchi harem or yuri parody instead.

Overall, initially it was a fun idea to parody anime itself. But because of the repetitive cycle of each episode and the characters that lack any depth, this mission to bring back the glory days of the otaku culture feels like it is doing more harm than saving it. No wonder the people here don’t want anything to do with the otaku culture! While it is unthinkable that this otaku culture will die out, but the chances aren’t zero. Let’s just hope it does only for this anime… Because without the otaku culture, Japan is nothing. Heck, Japan should not even have the right to exist if they don’t have the otaku culture at all!!!! FFFUUUUU YEAH!!!!!!!! VIVA ANIME AND THE OTAKU WORLD!!!

Last season, we had a loli who was being very much annoyed by her lolicon maid. She is forced to be around her because nobody else takes care of her and her daily needs. For this season, we now have a loli who is being very much annoyed by a lolicon NEET. Sort of. She is forced to be around her because nobody else makes great sugary sweets like she does. Ah yes, it’s this season’s cute girl doing cute doings and loli yuri genre combined together, Watashi Ni Tenshi Ga Maiorita. I suppose nobody bats an eyelid when the lolicon offender is female and we’ll all be instead be fawning over the cuteness and the comedy that it has to offer. Imagine, a male lolicon would have cancelled this series forever and its only viable option is on the black market. So how will our lolis fare against the lolicon in this series? I think we all know how it will generally turn out. Bonds, people. Bonds…

Episode 1
Miyako Hoshino sleeps in the morning and when she wakes up, she makes herself a wonderful French toast. Her little sister, Hinata returns from school but she also brought her friend home, Hana Shirosaki. At that instant, Miyako instantly fell in love with Hana’s cuteness. Oh dear. Not another lolicon. Miyako thinks of ways of becoming Hana’s friend. Including dressing up suspiciously? No wonder Hinata got scared and beat the hell out of her. Hana rejects Miyako’s offer to be her friend until Hinata points out she has no friends! Yeah, became her friend out of pity. Too bad Miyako is acting like a pervert that makes Hana on full alert and threatening to call the police. Hinata’s secret to make her docile again is to feed her. A week later, Miyako must be having withdrawal syndromes without Hana so she thought Hinata could invite Hana over. She didn’t want at first but relents. Best still, she is coming for a sleepover. When Hana arrives, she wears this ‘ugly’ character shirt. WTF is this Higero?! It’s her favourite character? Miyako doesn’t want to offend her and says it is cute. Miyako watches Hana’s cuteness as she eats her pudding. With Hinata pointing out how ugly Higero is, Hana becomes suspicious that Miyako lied. I guess she’ll bring something cuter than that ugly thing. Hana looks cuter in this gothic dress but with Miyako taking unauthorized pics of her, Hana’s done for the day. Miyako pleads for her to wear more cosplay costumes that she makes in exchange for unlimited sweets. I guess that’s not a bad deal. Hana is rewarded with delicious sweets but learns they are all made by Miyako. She fears that she must rely on this pervert for sweets. Oh, to think that Miyako will get bored with her and throw her away. Where will she get her sweets then?! Oh the dilemma! But I think it is creepier since Miyako says she’ll continue to do this for the next 20 years! When mom returns, she wants to lolis to go take a bath while she talks to Miyako. When they come out, they see her being hung out to dry. Mom got mad for feeding the lolis before dinner time. I guess Miyako’s respite is that both the lolis get to sleep with her. However with Hinata moving too much, eventually they have to sleep on the floor. And Hinata thought both of them move too much… When nobody is around, Miyako dresses up as a magical girl while spouting and doing magical girl action. Imagine if someone saw her doing all that, she would die in embarrassment. Like that blonde loli, Noa Himesaka across her home!!! Isn’t that house supposed to be empty? Looks like they just moved in. Pale, shining miracle flower, White Lily! Miyako is so dead…

Episode 2
Hinata not only brings Hana home but Noa too! As Hinata and Hana are not aware that Miyako wears her own cosplay costumes, we can see that smirk in Noa’s eyes. Uh huh. She’ll keep that a secret in exchange for doing anything she wants. Gulp. Thankfully Noa wants to cosplay too. When it is Hana’s turn to cosplay, Noa is shocked that Miyako goes into beast mode snapping away. She is in disbelief that Hana is cuter than her. Even asking Miyako herself, she didn’t bat an eyelid to say Hana is cuter! With Noa obsessed being the cutest, all of them are going to cosplay and Miyako will be the judge. Hana is cute in cosplay. But can she beat Hana who isn’t even trying and trying to pretend to lose as she wears Miyako’s jersey?! Miyako giving infinite points! Hinata cosplays as Higero and because Hana is so happy, Miyako gives her full marks. Miyako is forced to cosplay too seeing all the lolis want to see her. White Lily has arrived. But here is the ‘good news’. At least Miyako looks cuter than Noa in it. WTF… Since it is raining, the lolis suggest playing hide and seek indoors. Yeah, Miyako got dragged into it. With Noa as it, she sings until her song finishes while the rest hide. Coincidentally Miyako and Hana choose the same hiding place. When Noa is done, Hinata is first to be found. Actually she was hiding on the ceiling and her weak arms eventually gave way. The duo now start to look for the rest. They thought of tempting Hana out of with some sweets and she almost took the bait had not Hana smell something sweet on Miyako. She was baking cake (hey, I thought she just woke up from sleep?). With Hana mesmerized by her sweet smell and getting too close, Miyako can’t take any more of this tempting close proximity and bursts out of her hiding. Oops, she broke the door. And mom just returned. Looks like it’s game over. Later Noa has another cosplay contest. This time Hana cosplays while the rest will take pictures and judge her. I think Hana just wants out of it so she just says Noa will always be cute. Noa is mad that Miyako is taking pictures of her normally instead of her usual beast mode with Hana. Hinata must be the best because she gives Miyako’s jersey to her to cosplay. Noa now depressed. They think it is best to lift her spirits but Hinata physically lifts her! For that moment, Noa has the cutest face they’ve ever seen.

Episode 3
The class will be making original board games and guess what is Hinata’s suggestion? Making a board game theme using Miyako! So they’ve completed it and bring it home to play. The catch is that certain squares, Miyako must do what it is written. She is reluctant at first but after seeing some squares in her favour, let’s play! However the first square needs her to smile and greet. She can’t even do that?! Feeling embarrassed?! Finally when the square has her to hug a person, now she goes into perverted mode trying to hug Hana. Hana insists but Miyako persists. How? Hana slaps her away! Miyako learns that they made this board game in consideration of her. It is to rehabilitate and help her overcome her shyness of other people. Yeah, the teacher gave them good grades for this concept! Miyako promises to try harder tomorrow so they don’t have to worry about her. But come next morning, she doesn’t feel like doing it and procrastinates tomorrow. When Hinata wants to sleep in Miyako’s room, not tonight because she is completing dresses for her friends when they come over tomorrow. In school, Hinata seems to be asserting she loves her sister since forever. On their way back, the trio play this shadow game as they only step on places that has shadow throughout the journey. Yup, don’t mind ‘borrowing’ a random stranger to hide counts too. I guess Hinata got too tired trying to run after a truck so back home as she ‘replenishes’ herself in Miyako’s lap, Miyako ignores her and gives the cookies she makes to her friends. The last straw came when Miyako didn’t have time to make Hinata’s share of cosplay. She gets mad and runs away. Nobody except Hana knows why but I’m sure she’s not telling. Hinata continues to sulk as Miyako tries to figure out. In the bath, she remembers Hinata as a baby was always happy with her and followed her around. She gives Hinata a hug and will play with her until bedtime. So with Miyako allowing Hinata to sleep with her every night, let’s hope Hinata’s sleep strangling won’t kill her sister. Hinata brags to Hana how the sisters are doing things every day. Until Hana says she is an only child. Hinata feels a bit guilty and allows her to ‘borrow’ Miyako sometimes. Nope. Don’t need her at all.

Episode 4
Summer vacation is here. I guess the pool at the back of their house will do. Noa notices Miyako didn’t go bananas over Hana. She admits she isn’t a fan of school swimsuit that Hana is in. Does this mean Noa is the cutest today? So as not to hurt her feelings, Miyako agrees. That is when Noa tells Hana what Miyako said. With Miyako trying to explain herself, this proves she lied. And this is her punishment. So now Miyako is at a lost trying to explain to Hana but she doesn’t care about who is being the cutest. With Hana borrowing her jacket to cover up, Miyako finds her super cute and starts taking pictures of her. Noa gets jealous and splashes water at them. As the lolis bath, Hinata sneaks in shaved ice to eat secretly. But they hear Miyako’s voice and panic. Now it’s dropped inside their bath. Wasted. The trio now have clay crafting for homework. Hinata is trying to do Miyako’s head but it got bumped and looks out of place. Apparently Miyako is pretty popular in their class thanks to Hinata praising her. Imagine how disappointed everyone will be when they see the real deal. Hana wants to make Higero and this has Noa conflicted over the definition of cute. Because if Noa is cute and Higero is also cute, are they the same category?! But Hinata is brutally honest saying she still doesn’t find Higero cute. After the friends leave, Miyako finds her clay head sitting on the cupboard as decoration! Horror! Our lolis dress up in yukata to head to the festivals. Meanwhile their classmates, Koyori Tanemura and Kanon Konomori are also there and playing some games. Koyori is super bad luck with everything while Kanon just needs the first try to win big. In the crowded festival, Miyako thinks she can secretly take photos of the lolis. Too bad she gets arrested by the policewoman! With rumours that a voyeur camera was captured, it soon dawned to the lolis who this person is. Yeah, they saved her from the policewoman and you can tell Miyako was almost devastated. Noa forgives her since she was taking cute photos of her. Too bad most of them are on Hana. You lost again. Because Miyako has taken photos of them, this means Hana has paid her dues and now she must treat her. Okay. Now that Miyako agrees to treat the lolis, I guess she really does have deep pockets. All for their smile! Koyori and Kanon talk to Hinata and Noa about the voyeur. Bad explanation and jumping to conclusions had them think it was the awesome Miyako who caught the voyeur. Yeah, can’t really wait to meet her, huh?

Episode 5
The lolis make cookies. Hana is going to be a very strict QC while Koyori who is trying so hard to help is just making a mess out of things. Don’t make Hana mad… Koyori thinks others will rely on her to make cookies but none did. So she thinks Hana will probably do that and joins her in making them. It is no surprise why their cookies turned out burnt. While they are relishing the delicious cookies of Kanon, they talk about the greatness of Miyako. So smart, so athletic, so beautiful, so etc. Yeah, the rumours have really gone out of hand. They really want to go meet her and Noa is worried. When she tries to confirm the rumours with Hinata, she also believes them! Please face reality! So Noa had to rush home to warn Miyako about this. Yeah, the time has come when people will laugh and be disappointed at her. Don’t worry. Just follow Noa’s orders. Firstly, Miyako dresses up in a gothic outfit to make herself look presentable. But when Koyori and Kanon arrive, they are impressed although Miyako says nothing out of being shy. When Miyako cannot handle it anymore, she makes a tearful apology about the lies. However Kanon forgives her because despite her fears, she still tried hard to be that amazing person. And she is still overall the kindest sister ever. Oh my. Such great words. Is Kanon Buddha?! Koyori isn’t mad either because this means she can rely on her. Speaking of which, Miyako has a request. Yeah, cosplay time. Seeing the frenzy, inside Kanon’s brain must be like, “Abandon mission! Abandon mission!”. Haha! In class nobody relies on Koyori despite being the class rep, much to her dismay. Yeah, there’s a story to it. Something about losing everyone’s homework and they had to do it again. With Koyori really wanting Kanon to be obviously relied on her, hence she ties up her hand. Now she has to do everything for her. But when it comes to taking off the string, it won’t budge. Kanon could get out herself but she truly believes in relying on Koyori. She’s used to it. And some flashback how close they were since kindergarten. For the rest of the day, Kanon continues to have her hand tied (you mean the teacher didn’t do anything and just thought it was a trend?!) so Koyori brings her home and tries all sorts of methods to untie. Finally it comes undone and they both fall into the bath. It’s done. Now they can laugh over it.

Episode 6
The question we’ve all been asking for: What does Miyako do actually? She is about to head to university to hand in an assignment but the lolis don’t believe her! Especially Hana who is so disappointed to find out she’s not a NEET! Could Miyako be lying?! I mean, Hinata doesn’t even know as she has never seen her going to class! Well, that’s because she’s in school. Do we blame the lolis for being sceptical as they tail her to college? Yeah, she’s not lying. When they lose her in the crowd, a nice lady, Kouko Matsumoto takes them to tour around the campus for a while. When Miyako is done, she is surprised to see them. On the way back as they take a break, the lolis see a suspicious woman trying to ‘assault’ Miyako. She is actually Matsumoto and she claims she is Miyako’s friend. The lolis doubt her. Miyako has no friends! Even more so when Miyako has no recollection of who this person is. Matsumoto then changes her ‘status’. She is more of her rival. The way she explains their first meeting since high school seems to indicate she is her stalker! She wants to be like Miyako! The lolis are not convinced and threaten to call the cops so Matsumoto pretends to leave. Back home when Miyako feels her maid cosplay outfit doesn’t seem quite right on Hinata, here comes Matsumoto in the right maid outfit! Matsumoto and Hinata’s rivalry turn into praising Miyako since they’re both her ‘fans’. Matsumoto has also made the same outfit for Miyako and wants her to try. Reluctantly she does so and it fits perfectly. Now Miyako must know how Hana feels when she makes clothes without taking her measurements. More creepy ‘approvals’ from Matsumoto that just freaks Miyako out more than anything. Hana and Noa arrive and tell Miyako that her mom called her. More nervousness for her as she has to meet more strangers. They are actually Hana and Noa’s mom who are thankful to her because their daughters are less gloomy ever since they became her friends. Yeah, but Miyako can’t tell the activities they do… Will she be busted? Yeah, Matsumoto did. But they think Miyako wants to be a fashion designer so it’s okay. Phew. In the end, the lolis ‘officially approve’ Matsumoto as Miyako’s friend. Another weirdo to the mix.

Episode 7
Hinata is sick and she doesn’t even know it! Miyako skips class just to nurse her and Hinata is ecstatic that she gets to be with her all day. Although her sickness soon vanishes, she continues to be treated as though she is still one. Who wouldn’t love Miyako’s great hospitality? After her friends visit only did Hinata realize that she might have spread her illness to Miyako and is worried. Miyako doesn’t mind as long she gets better. Besides, she will then have a valid reason to stay home without getting scolding from mom. Today Miyako remembers it’s her birthday and suddenly Hinata is distraught! How could she have forgotten?! Yeah, it’s so bad that she’s crying about it. Who else will celebrate with her if she doesn’t remember?! Ouch. They discuss what to get for her. Hana for a day? Yes please! No way for Hana! So they make a coupon that allows Miyako to order them to do anything. Apparently you can see the scheming looks on her face that just creeps out Hana. A reminder not to do anything that makes Hinata sad, Miyako puts it away to use another day. Even though it’s her birthday, Miyako will make cake. Hana is excited to help but is told to stay out. Hence you can see her intense staring while Miyako bakes. So she tells her to do something else for an hour. Hana uses that time to buy a present. Miyako is so happy but Hana wants the coupon back! Yeah, since they’ve bought a real present, give that coupon back. Miyako desperate to keep it would rather buy the present. Three times the price! Hana just lets her keep both. As they all enjoy the cake, Matsumoto is late to the party thinking she can surprise Miyako in a maid outfit. They’re all already in maid outfits… Miyako notices Hinata really attached to her these days. Even wanting to follow her to the toilet! She learns this stems from the shock of forgetting her birthday so she’s in a ‘period of reinforcement’. Reasoning won’t do for her (not that Hinata understands how mom will kill Miyako if she turns out like her), Miyako is forced to use the coupon. Stay away from her for 5 days! Good chance to learn independence too. Devastated Hinata is so broken on day 1, what do you think day 2 holds? Yeah, she is near death in day 3! Miyako can’t break her promise or else she won’t learn so she gives Noa to dress up like her to lessen the impact. I suppose Hinata is so desperate that she gets attached to Noa! But Noa loves it because it means she gets all the attention! She thinks Hinata would even get attached to her forever! But once the time is over, immediately Hinata returns to Miyako! Noa so heartbroken. Feeling she was just a substitute, Hinata dismisses and claims she could only be Miyako is because she like her just as much. But Hinata’s clinging just got worse. I don’t think koalas are this attached! I wonder if she’s wrestling Miyako…

Episode 8
Mom lectures Miyako for being lazy and lacking fashion sense. Heck, Hinata is even more reliable than her! Of course Miyako is already whining like a kid when mom gives her money to go buy decent clothes. What is she going to do for her future? Miyako will let Hinata take care of her! Mom getting mad. Stop the jokes right now and get going. Luckily Hinata accompanies her otherwise how would Miyako handle the sales clerk who are pushy while interacting with her? But Hinata’s defence also ruins Miyako’s reputation since she keeps telling how shy she is of people. Can’t head back to that store ever again. Miyako gets this idea to buy fabric instead. Any extra fabric she can make clothes for Hana. With extra money, they go hang out and have fun. Meanwhile Hana and Noa learn the sisters are at the mall and head there to join them. However a lost puppy freaks out Hana. Yup, she has fear of dogs but Noa keeps teasing her with this cutie. Coincidentally, the dog is also named Miyako. I think it’s not coincidence because the owner is Matsumoto! It ran away when she was taking it for vaccination. However also missing is Matsumoto’s little sister, Yuu. Coincidence or fate, Yuu stumbles into Miyako and recognizes her. Eh? Who this little loli? Hinata is shocked if Yuu is some secret sister. It’s getting confusing when she thinks other lolis as her secret sister. Basically, everybody is everybody’s sister. So with the idea of Yuu being Hinata’s little sister, I guess that isn’t a bad idea after all. Yuu then has Miyako do some dog tricks. Miyako plays along and is unaware of what it means. Then the rest finds them as Matsumoto explains she showed Yuu lots of pictures of Miyako, that’s why she recognized her. Even that White Lily one. Oh sh*t… Matsumoto and Yuu leave but with Yuu being so politely cute, I guess it strikes a chord in everyone’s heart. Don’t you just want her to be your little sister? Noa also plays those dog tricks on Miyako and she obliges. When Miyako and Hinata return home, mom scolds Miyako for buying fabric instead of clothes. I suppose this was inevitable…

Episode 9
Noa’s mom gave tickets to a movie but since Miyako is busy with her college assignment, I guess she’ll just have to go with Hinata. It’s not like the movie is boring or anything. Just that Noa woke up early to make lunch and now she falls asleep. But later she is awakened when the cinema is a little bit too noisy. Is this part of the getup that young girls are supposed to scream and cheer for the heroine? After the movie, they go shopping. Hinata buys a Higero souvenir just for Hana and a hair ribbon for Noa. Back home, Miyako’s mom shows old pictures of her when she was young. Such a cute and good girl. But some of her photos have her during her chuunibyou period so Miyako is screaming in embarrassment. They notice she is always alone in every photo and vows to always be her friend. Sad. And some photos can be seen having Matsumoto stalking behind. Scary. Since mom never threw away those clothes, the lolis cosplay in it and they look as cute. Hana is forced too since she wants to eat Miyako’s snacks. Despite Hana’s plain Jane looks, Miyako finds her cute and imagines if she was the same age and goes to her school. Yeah, they can start dating but Miyako finds it so wrong. Eh? Miyako having conscious? The lolis stay over and after dinner and bath, they watch a horror movie. It is obvious that Hana is weak in horror genres despite she is bluffing about ghosts don’t exist because science would’ve proven it, blah, blah, blah. But seeing her in fear excites Miyako since she looks cute. Heck, she even plays a little jump scare prank. Then one jump scare from the movie has Hana hugging Miyako all over. Best movie ever! That night, Hana can’t sleep and needs to go to the toilet. Her friends are out (Hinata doing some choking move on Noa?!) so she has no choice to seek Miyako’s help. Still assuring that it’s not the horror effect? So why must Miyako stay until she’s done her business? And why must stay with you until you fall asleep? Miyako obliges as she feels nostalgic. Hinata used to be like that as she couldn’t fall asleep without her. Not to say that she changed much. Hana as the only child wished she had sisterly bonds. Miyako hopes she can call her onee-san. Hana cheekily does so to send her to heavenly dreamland. That should give her some peace.

Episode 10
After Miyako does up nicely Noa and Hinata’s hair, it seems Hana also want in. You mean this Hana allowing Miyako to touch her hair? Hana notes she bought her that hairpin present but she never used it. She doesn’t like part of her bangs covering her eyes. Although Miyako says she is shy with people, however she is okay with Hinata and Noa. This only insults Hana so she insists on doing Miyako’s hair. Horrible way to tie them like horns but this isn’t intentional. In fact, she thinks she did her best! Later Matsumoto is here. What’s the occasion? Their anniversary when they first met 2 years ago! Oh God… Matsumoto made a dress for her and in return, Miyako makes her some cookies. The way she says how she’ll eat them so as to be one as Miyako just feels creepy… Matsumoto and Hinata are close enough to have their own hand signals. Miyako and Hana are still one kind. So when Matsumoto asks about their relationship, Hinata points out it’s like Matsumoto wanting Miyako. Basically, kindred spirits? I think Hinata doesn’t understand that word so she agrees. As Miyako will be going to buy cream puffs tomorrow, one of the lolis is enough to accompany. Rock-scissors-paper to see who gets to go. Hinata becomes a sore loser when she loses to Hana. Even more so when she loses again. Next day, Miyako wears Matsumoto’s dress as they head out. Since the policewoman almost recognize this pervert, Miyako panics and runs away. Now that she’s lost, she is really panicking like a lost child! Thank goodness for Hana finding her and taking her hand. Damn, Hana is the mature one here. After lining up and buying the cream puffs, Hana eats them but doesn’t find them as good as Miyako’s. Miyako assures she will always make them for her but Hana doesn’t think they can do this forever. Even after lecturing her about being independent, Miyako tells her she’ll bake for her forever (why does this sound like an awkward confession?). This brightens up Hana’s day. Because she gets to eat sweets forever! Innocent lolis don’t lie. Aren’t they so adorable? For the school festival, the class will be doing a play and the leading role is to be decided via lottery. Those who really want to get the role like Koyori and Noa, didn’t. Yeah, Hana got it. She doesn’t look too happy…

Episode 11
While Miyako is happy that Hana got the lead part, the reason she was nominated in the first place was because Hinata thought that all nominees are supposed to be angels. And because Miyako always viewed Hana as her angel, hence she was nominated. In other words, it’s all your fault, Miyako! She is to take responsibility to make costumes for their play. After all, Hinata already promised the class that she will help. Dang. But Miyako manages to deflect this responsibility and convinces them to make it themselves. They’ll call Koyori and Kanon over too to help. Because many hands make light work, Hinata takes the liberty to call Matsumoto over. Oh… Koyori and Hana thought they can be useful but they are forced to sit out to reduce further damage. It seems that the mothers are also helping out at the school’s festival as the haunted house. Hana’s mom encourages Miyako to bring her daughter there despite knowing Hana is very weak with scary stuffs. You get to see her cute side, you know… Miyako’s mom is so happy that Miyako is attending this festival (since she skipped her own during her school days) and thinks she has already grown up. Wow. She must really have very low expectations of her. On the day of the festival, Miyako arrives but since she is still afraid of the crowd, dresses up like a suspicious person. When Hinata is summoned to the teacher’s room to ‘identify a suspicious person caught’, looks like it’s Miyako crying. Yeah, so fast the trauma has started. Hinata shows a stamp card in which if they go around and collect stamps, they will be able to get sweets as prize. We see them do various stuffs (Koyori even challenging them but failing hard) until they arrive at the haunted house. Obviously Hana is putting up a brave front. Her mouth might say she’s fine but her body reaction is a totally different story. Inside, it is obvious Hana is scared as hell. It culminates with her mom scaring the hell out of her. In the end, though Hana is mad about this, mom is glad since this is the first time she acted this way who isn’t part of the family. This means she has friends. So is this some sort of acknowledgement that Miyako and Hana are good with each other? Not only them, but Hinata and Noa are her good friends too. The lolis get an emergency summon since they are late for the play. Thankfully they arrive in time to prepare just before the play starts.

Episode 12
The entire three quarters is about the musical play. About Hana the angel who ponders about their job to bring love to human, can an angel find love too? She finds that in human girl Hinata but she realizes as a human, she would die first so no go. Hence Hana seeks permission to lose her angel status and become human just to be with her true love. She is warned that if Hinata doesn’t love her back, she will disappear. And so Hana does all that and even has to undergo some trekking trial across the mountains to reach Hinata’s village. But by the time she arrives, only Hinata’s granddaughter is around and grandma herself has passed on. But the granddaughter knows all about Hana since Hinata often told tales about the angel and Hana is left happy when she bakes her signature cake for her. Then they all reunite together in heaven again once they pass on. OH MAN!!! This play is so deep!!! I don’t think it is written for kids but heck, they really pulled it off with this one! No wonder this gets a standing ovation. In the aftermath, Miyako is called by the teacher. She fears she is going to get scolded but it is to thank her for making clothes for the play. And since the other classmates also thank her, damn Miyako has become a star now! How did this turn into a handshaking event?! She’s hanging in there… But eventually manages to slip out and run away. Hana finds her and they talk. Hana notes despite she is super shy, she can get things done when she puts her mind to it. And that is a good thing about her she likes. I’m sure this gives Miyako a lot of motivation but it’s back to the handshaking event… Oh dear… The mothers then hold an after party at Miyako’s home to celebrate their success. Hana realizes she forgot to hand in the stamp card but Miyako will gladly bake her sweets in exchange. Later when Miyako is relaxing in the bath alone, she realizes the festival is fun and decides to attend her own university festival. Then all the lolis barge in to ruin her personal time.

Special 1
The lolis go camping at the mountains. Initially Miyako didn’t want to come and prefer to stay home but with the rest forcing her, here she is. She tries to give excuses to not join them in the fun like not bringing any swimsuit or she is the camerawoman but the rest already came prepared for it. You’re in for the ride, like it or not. So we see them having loads of fun splashing water in the lake, preparing and enjoying their BBQ, roasting marshmallows and playing sparklers. Before bedtime, suddenly they hear something rustling in the leaves. The lolis get scared it might be a bear (or a ghost!) so Miyako feels the need to protect them (despite being a chicken herself). Turns out this ‘predator’ is Matsumoto. When she heard about the camp, she also wanted to come but got lost after looking for a toilet. Matsumoto gets the last laugh and the best prize as she snaps a shot of sleeping Miyako in the morning.

Special 2
Matsumoto narrates how she has been watching over Miyako ever since they first met and their bonds are growing stronger and closer each time. Getting closer and closer until they finally met. That means Miyako accidentally bumping her head into Matsumoto? Weird.

Special 3
Miyako realizes Halloween is one big cosplay event and she will use this chance to take pictures of Hana in her Halloween costume to her heart’s content. As she waits for the lolis, she starts imagining what kind of cute costume Hana will be in. Ah, she might be at the door now. Nope. Just Matsumoto (Where’s Wally?) and Yuu (pumpkin girl?). Matsumoto wants her to wear this fairy costume she made. Miyako refuses until Yuu’s innocent eyes pleads her pretty please. Damn. She feels so cursed after wearing it and learning how Matsumoto put her every heart and soul into it, just thinking about Miyako. Beyond creepy… Later the other lolis arrive. Cute little costumes. Trick or treat! Such lovely treat for Miyako, eh? She is now waiting for the ‘biggest prize’ in terms of Hana to show up. Can you guess what costume she shows up in? Drum roll… Zombie Higero!!! OMFG! Miyako so disappointed…

Special 4
We go back in time when Hinata was about to be born. Miyako couldn’t wait to see her. When Hinata finally came into this world, she couldn’t stop crying. So mom gave Miyako hold her new born baby sister and instantly she stopped crying. Wow. Her first word is “Mya…”? Miyako hopes they will forever get along with each other. Yeah, you don’t know how much of a leech she’ll become…

Fallen Angel: Gochuumon Wa Tenshi Desu Ka?
So seasons in and seasons out, this sort of genre has somewhat becoming numbing to me. Yeah, the irony of me still watching this genre means I really love it, huh? Therefore when the overall series is literally about cute girls doing cute things, this is some sort of veto that stamps out all need to have any sort of storyline whatsoever. Everyone will be so awed and amazed by the cuteness of these girls that they don’t need a story or plot to be convinced to keep watching it week after week. Yeah. Anime lolis are like your visual drugs. Thanks Japan, for introducing the world to lolicon and ‘legal paedophilia’ and open up a whole new world of possibilities. It is that angel musical play that I should say made the final stretch of this series very interesting because it was just different than the usual. Maybe in an alternate timeline, there was really such a thing and perhaps it would be Miyako and her loli angel.

Lacking a storyline, the characters come to play. Like I’ve said, I have watched so many of this genre that it is starting to feel numb and generic. Basically this kind of genre follows the tried and tested formula and it doesn’t really stray far from that kind of formula that you find in other series like YuruYuri and Mitsuboshi Colors. Thus fundamentally you can identify the main characters here based on their ‘obsession’ and fears. Once you understand that, it becomes also serves as the standard running joke when the scene calls for it.

So don’t be surprised at all when you realize that Miyako wants nothing but Hana and fears being in public. Hinata wants nothing but her big Mya-nee and fears not to be by her side. Noa wants nothing but to be called the cutest thing ever and fears otherwise. Hana wants nothing but sweets and fears scary things and animals. Initially I wanted to list down as cosplay as her fears but it isn’t that sort that would turn out to be a phobia and by the way, didn’t she get used to it? Koyori wants nothing more than to be relied on and fears nobody would ask her for help. Matsumoto wants nothing more to be Miyako’s friend and fears of that friendship being severed. I guess the only normal girl who doesn’t want anything much nor do we know what her fears are, is Kanon. Nice friendly girl who helps out in need. Hence the other half of this running joke for Koyori that other people would go to rely on than the class rep herself.

So it is basically a hit and/or miss for these characters. It gives them their so called unique personality and it might look charming and/or funny for newcomers but ‘veterans’ like yours truly, we’ve seen this a dozen times over the past years. It all boils down to the bonds they have, the times spent together that really matters despite their flaws. Like Miyako might be a failure as an adult (is she serious in wanting Hinata to take care of her till she dies?!) and definitely not a role model for the lolis (the lolis look like they make better adults than this college girl) but she is not entirely a bad person. Heh. At least there is some progress in her becoming a functional member of society, right? Right?! I hope when she says she will always be with Hana, that means allowing her to grow up into a proper adult. You know how lolicons hate the fact and will never accept the reality that young little girls do grow up with the passage of time. And the bottom line as such is that everybody is having fun, no actual harm were done and since this moment will never last forever, why not just let them do as they please. It’s called making memories. Sighs. Carry on, girls. After all, Miyako isn’t entirely a female lolicon like that certain lolicon maid as she is only obsessed into Hana and not other lolis. So I suppose all is not lost. But still a lot of room for improvement needed for Miyako.

The art and animation style reeks a lot of loli and yuri cuteness. And if you think the characters sometimes look like YuruYuri or Uchi No Maid Ga Uzasugiru characters, that’s because Doga Kobo animates this series. Cute loli characters are their forte as seen in New Game, Gabriel Dropout, Sansha Sanyou, Hina Logi: From Luck & Logic, Himouto! Umaru-chan, Anima Yell, Mikakunin De Shinkouke, Love Lab and GJ-Bu to name a few. Some character designs feel a bit familiar for instance I thought Kanon looked a bit like Yuno from Hidamari Sketch and Koyori looking like a tamer version of the titular character from Ueno-san Wa Bukiyou. I guess I’ve seen so many animes that the blonde loli like Noa and long black hair loli like Hana, I think I’ve seen them from somewhere before but can’t put my finger on it. I wonder if that Higero character is based on Pakalu Papito. Just saying… Other than the character designs, the overall feel of the art style is colourful but light (in terms of colour hues) that some scenes the backgrounds look like sketches. But with our focus on the cute lolis, I guess it won’t matter much.

In the voice acting department, I want to point out Rika Nagae as Hinata (Olivia in Asobi Asobase). There is a mixture of extreme cuteness and annoyance when hearing her voice. Especially when she spams and calls out “Mya-nee, Mya-nee~”. She’s like the cutest thing ever in this voice mode but also irritating since her character is an onee-sama lover-cum-retard. I thought it was Ami Koshimizu voicing Miyako but it is actually Reina Ueda (Ayado in 3D Kanojo Real Girl). Once again I am fooled with Reina Ueda’s voice sounding like Ami Koshimizu since the first time was in 3D Kanojo Real Girl. Is she going to be an occurring gaffe for me until I manage to distinguish their voice just like I did for Mamiko Noto and Saori Hayami? By the way, Ami Koshimizu did have a role here and as Miyako’s mom. The only other recognizable seiyuu is Aki Toyosaki as Noa’s mom. I guess she is ‘old’ enough and ‘not famous anymore’ to helm such roles. The other casts are Maria Sashide as Hana (debut role), Akari Kito as Noa (Misa in Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san), Naomi Oozora as Kanon (Satania in Gabriel Dropout), Hitomi Oowada as Koyori (Ayano in Hanebado), Lynn as Matsumoto (Yuu in Akanesasu Shoujo) and Hina Kino as Yuu (Sayaka in Toji No Miko).

The opening and ending themes are all sung by Wataten Five. Basically the quintet of Hana, Hinata, Noa, Kanon and Koyori. Kimama Na Tenshitachi isn’t anything special. Typical cute, lively, upbeat anime pop sung with exuberance in accordance to their loli characters that suits the loli theme of the series like the glove. If you have heard opening themes of the same genre like Sansha Sanyou, Comic Girls and Slow Start, you’ll have a pretty good idea how generic this song sounds like. It is the same feel for the ending theme, Happy Happy Friends but this time with some added fanfare and a bit sounding like Broadway.

Overall… Everything is just so cute, cute, CUTE!!!! Oh so kawaii!!! Oh so adorable!!! Oh so lovely!!! At this point you may be asking yourself what you are doing in life since you are watching this piece of loli yuri entertainment. Or just enjoy the simple, funny and straightforward antics. Don’t worry. This series won’t be the last of its kind and there will be many more of such genres in the coming future. It’s the only way that full grown adult men can legally love their lolicons forever. Thanks Japan, for bringing and enriching us such lovely angels into our lives.

Ueno-san Wa Bukiyou

May 17, 2019

There are so many ways to express one’s love. Unlimited possibilities to think of the different ways to confess your love. If you’re brave enough, that is, to live with the embarrassing consequences that come after. Our titular heroine in Ueno-san Wa Bukiyou loves a club member so much that she has gone to great lengths in creating the world’s craziest and most innovative gadgets and inventions in hopes he will notice her love. Heh. What are the chances that is the recipe of backfires and disasters since her crush is such a typical cliché dense boy. All this trouble of creating weird stuffs than just telling him upfront in plain simple words? Okay. You do you. Love is weird…

Episode 1A
Science club president, Ueno has created Rocker! It is some sort of liquid purification believed to turn a desert into an oasis. Because she has purified her own pee and wants Tanaka to drink it! It’s a matter of survival! Of course he refuses. So Ueno lets fellow club member, Yamashita to drink it. No taste… No Odour… But Ueno still wants Tanaka to drink it. It’s pointless if he doesn’t. Since she is begging and crying, he believes something is wrong. Is she being mean to him?! Even after Yamashita puts it in ‘nice words’ why Ueno is doing all this, I guess it didn’t get through him. Still a big no. Now they’re resorting to insulting him and he’s like cool with it. He leaves and this continues to make the girls frustrated over his density. Ueno has a crush on him and has made several subtle advances but he was to oblivious to even take a hint. Yamashita suggests slipping it into his water bottle but Ueno brutally wants to mix it in his school lunch and tell everyone about it.

Episode 1B
Ueno has completed another invention, Kumatander. It supposedly turns the localized area completely invisible. Some dark matter thingy so you’ll only see the universe! So today’s experiment has Ueno put it under her skirt and Tanaka to record in which angle it is visible (if any). So far so good as Ueno wants him to completely put his head underneath her skirt. Reluctant at first but he eventually does it. Can’t see anything. Just the universe! Ueno then hints she is so confident with this that she isn’t even wearing any panties! Tanaka doesn’t get it. And so she has to beat around the bush why it’s so ‘attractive’ to peek under a skirt. Furious he isn’t making the desired attraction, suddenly he just decides to lift her skirt to see it for himself. That is when Ueno gets embarrassed and now screams for help. Then he offs Kumatander since he can’t see anything. Oh sh*t…

Episode 2A
Meet the latest invention, Dash! It is a deodorizer that could deodorize anything. Hence Ueno wants Tanaka to hand over his underwear! No way! He suggests taking other samples so the other girls chip in. Their pantsu?! Eventually they give their socks and Tanaka his shoes. Now they need to smell it to see if it stinks. Ueno relishes Tanaka smelling her stockings because he is going to put up with that embarrassed face. Unfortunately he finds it smelly. Yes, it really reeks. Yamashita smells it and doesn’t think so. Thus an argument ensues of whether Ueno’s stockings stink or not. Poor Ueno got so embarrassed that she could only run away.

Episode 2B
Ueno has created some multi-layered protective gear that could absorb any attacks. This gear is thin enough that it looks as though you’re not wearing it. Her plan is to get Tanaka to touch her in the chest and make him conscious about touching a girl’s boobs, turning him into one who can only think nothing of tits. But Tanaka smacks her butt! Although she scolds him that isn’t the place, she hints to him to try harder. Okay. He slaps her butt harder!!! She tries to get away but he grabs her by her butt! Can’t get away this time. He thinks she wants to change the gear. Poor Ueno got her butt constantly spanked. I guess that’s enough for today. Tanaka wants to hand over the gear as promised. How to hand over something she doesn’t have? Aha. Just give him her panties. Looks like regular panties. After saying how she has no fashion sense, he gives the panties back to her. No use for it. Ueno’s pride has been shattered to pieces. Somebody kill her now!

Episode 3A
After Ueno hands over the invention she asked for, Kitanaga starts stripping! Ueno tries to stop her since Tanaka is in the room. Apparently there are rumours of a peeping tom in the changing room so with this Kilt Hide, the sensitive areas are somewhat blocked by a ‘mysterious light’. With Kitanaga still insisting to strip, looks like Ueno is trying hard to be the ‘natural censor’. Yamashita then hits Tanaka’s eyes with a book to stall for time. But Kitanaga (now completely naked) doesn’t think it would do any good if they don’t test it out on a boy. Before Tanaka, she asks his opinion. Can’t see anything. Just the universe! So she asks him a more specific question that sounds like as though she is teasing him but Tanaka touches her tits! Woah! Now Kitanaga is scared! Actually Tanaka wants to know how the censor works or what it is connected to since it is floating. With Yamashita distracting his curiosity, chance for Kitanaga to escape. Kitanaga feels relieved the club is having fun as she was worried Ueno was stressed up these days (I think she still is). Kitanaga leaves but forgot to put back her clothes!

Episode 3B
Garakutan is another invention Ueno created that when you turn the bottle cap clockwise, it produces fresh water from the universe! She wants Tanaka to drink it but he has his reservations. Yeah, remember that pee incident? To prove it, she drinks it. Now it’s his turn. To her dismay, he picks up another bottle to drink. He explains about the indirect kiss that Ueno might be conscious of. Despite Ueno denying that and doesn’t care, her red face and stammering indicate otherwise. In that case, Tanaka offers his bottle for her to drink. Gulp. Nervous, isn’t she? Yeah, she dropped it. See? She is conscious. As Tanaka goes get a rag, Ueno picks it up and tries to drink from it. Darn he came back too fast so she corrects herself by taking her own bottle.

Episode 4A
Tanaka enters class and doesn’t even know why Ueno is repeating herself. This is actually a robot clone created by her and is supposedly the perfect female robot that will charm him. The real Ueno is hiding and observing as the robot wants to lie on his lap and be petted. After lots of pestering, Tanaka does so. Looks like the real Ueno is seething in jealousy. Tanaka says if she has any problems, she can talk to him or Yamashita. That is when the robot gets up and confronts him. Before the robot could ask if he likes Ueno, the real one pops up and tries to destroy the robot. Yeah, it’s tough. Keep punching it to stop completing its sentence.

Episode 4B
Because Tanaka wants a pet but the problems of noise, health and money make it undesirable, Ueno has created Summonstat that could materialize things to look like an autonomous living creature. She uses her stockings as an example. Folks, meet this, uhm, black creature thingy, Tamon. It seems attached to Yamashita, though. Tanaka wants to touch it and this has Ueno smirking because it would be like touching her stockings and thus he will be powerless before her legs! However Tamon runs away and gets attached to Ueno. Because Tamon doesn’t listen, Ueno has had it and will revert it back to her stockings. Is she going to ‘kill’ it? Uhm… She makes it clear that she won’t take care of it. While the rest are happy with their new pet, Tamon continues to be attached to Ueno. Hey, it’s her stockings after all.

Episode 5A
The school has several urban legends. Hence the science club trio are here to bust those myths with Ueno’s invention, P-Spectre. With the school being so big, Ueno has her robot clone to pair up with Yamashita to cover ground. Of course this is Ueno’s plan to be with Tanaka and all the urban legends are planted by her. She starts off by screaming into Tanaka’s ears and then teasing him for being afraid. But what’s this? It is Yamashita who has wet her pants?! Oh dear. Yamashita is weak against such stuffs and never said so as not to hurt Ueno’s feelings. With the robot cleaning up everything and giving her a fresh pair, Tanaka then returns with his jersey and other Ueno’s inventions. Too late. His kindness didn’t accomplish much.

Episode 5B
Nishihara from the track and field club uses her amazing athletic abilities to get into the science clubroom that is located on the third floor. She is looking for Ueno to help with her profuse sweating problems because it makes her look like she has urinated. Don’t worry. Ueno has already made PE Reserver that absorbs any amount of sweat and also recycles the sweat to become drinkable water! Why do girls want to strip in front of Tanaka? The invention works well as Nishihara teases Tanaka that he wants to drink her liquids. I think he has had enough of that sort of bad jokes recently. With Nishihara pestering him to do so, Ueno can’t stand the sight of him sucking on another woman and drinks Nishihara’s liquids. At this point Nishihara could feel some sort of sensation welling up from this scenario. It is her motherly instincts so she continues to let Ueno suck on like a baby.

Episode 6A
So this butt plug invention is actually some sort of umbrella? It doesn’t form a barrier but uses gravity to push away the rain. With Ueno really getting full of outdoing herself this time, she slips and somehow falls on her butt. Just right on the butt plug… HOLY SH*T!!!! She becomes embarrassed as she tries to escape but dumb Tanaka tries to see what the problem her behind is. Yeah, with the device activated, her skirt is full blown open like an umbrella! And he still wants to see what the problem is? Yamashita ‘diagnoses’ and good news the device just got tangled in her panties as she delicately tries to get it out. Could it all be just her delusion as we see Ueno just sharing this umbrella with Tanaka?

Episode 6B
E-Q Booster is a belt that doesn’t increase you strength but analyses your opponent’s strength and gives the corresponding amount to you. Hence Ueno wants to settle a sumo match with Tanaka. Yeah, the battle of the sexes. Even if Tanaka is weak, imagine taking away the gap between men and women. It will be down to the one with the strongest will. So as it starts off, Ueno is already struggling since Tanaka doesn’t hold any punches as he grabs her pants and has a leg in between her crotch! Time out! Giving an excuse E-Q Booster isn’t on, the match restarts. This time she easily matches his strength. Ueno’s dirty plan is to rub her soft arms all over him, Tanaka gets serious he won’t lose. He grabs her by the pants! Yeah, he looks like he is going to rip it (for men’s pride!) as Ueno has surrendered! But he won’t! Thank Yamashita for stopping this and saving her modesty.

Episode 7A
Oh God. Ueno has created…. Edible panties! She has gradually reduced Tanaka’s food portion to a point he will feel hungry and eat anything. But even so, can you eat panties? Not if she makes it edible! Some theory of how it is made of glutinous rice flour and you just need to boil it. Even so, is it right to eat food resembling pantsu? She folds it to camouflage like a macaron! Still looks like panties to me… And so the plan to have Tanaka grow an appetite for panties begin. Yeah, they have to wait a while since Tanaka was arguing with the canteen lady for his shrunk meal portion. I wonder who’s responsible for that. When Ueno gives the Panty Roti, Tanaka eats it without hesitation! He wants another helping! Yamashita knows Ueno can give her own real panties to him and all it takes is determination. She is rooting for her and as Ueno looks like she is about to give him, she backs out. That reaction clearly shows she didn’t even anticipate him to eat it. Yamashita so disappointed…

Episode 7B
Ueno has created Gacha Porter. Touching the switch, it will scan your brainwaves of your desire and pop it out in this gachapon. Tanaka is eager to try and of course this is just another trick. There is no brainwave scanning and all has been pre-programmed to pop out her pantsu and thus he will go through life thinking he has a desire for removing clothes. However the gachapon didn’t come out her pantsu. It’s Yamashita’s! Slap! Tanaka insists the machine is broken since that wasn’t his desire. A few tweaking and what we got this time? Kitanaga’s dripping wet swimsuit! Tanaka you pervert! Ueno stays silent as Tanaka takes the blame. Then she fixes it and what does Tanaka get this time? Yamashita’s pantsu again! Oh boy. Yamashita looks mad…

Episode 8A
Ueno pretends to be sleepy so Tanaka can ask what’s wrong. But he never did! Even if he tells her to go back and she says no, he’s like, “Okay. Whatever”. So frustrating! Eventually she has to explain this Coitsu Nate Luna D pill. When you take one when you’re sleepy, it gives you a subconscious personality to interact with others so you don’t really look like sleeping. So basically sleepwalking and sleep talking? Since Yamashita is under one, Ueno tells Tanaka to interact just for size. Of course her answers are all out of line. Hence Ueno wants him to take one to test. He reluctantly does so and falls asleep instantly. And you would’ve guessed it’s Ueno’s plan to sit close next to him and ask questions about his favourite stuffs. But when it comes to the important question of whether he likes her or not, she is taking too long and before she knows it, Tanaka has awakened. Ueno is so embarrassed so she pretends to be asleep and sleepwalk home. Yeah, she’s crashing into everything. Meanwhile Yamashita wakes up and sees this and wants to sue him for sexual harassment?

Episode 8B
A couple of girls enter the science club. They are Yamashita’s classmates and what shocks Ueno is that Mizuna and Yomogi are Tanaka’s younger sisters. Never knew, huh? And what shocks Yamashita is that they are twins! Yeah, you just never know. Ueno gives them a lollipop. Somehow they taste it differently. Because so, they end up arguing until big brother arrives. They bug him to which is the true flavour. He will not take any more of their monkeying and smacks them on the head. Then he lectures them for acting like children and then makes them apologize to Ueno. Ueno must be pretty shocked to see this, huh? Tanaka hopes Ueno could explain the workings of the lollipop but she feels reluctant and gives excuses. This makes Tanaka smack his sisters again for causing all this. Awkward. So the narrator is left to explain the lollipop induces our hallucinatory senses to make it taste the way we like it. Not that it matters at this point…

Episode 9A
It looks like Ueno is trying to be a flasher and lift her skirt… Actually it’s to show her yoga pants. Long story short, it turns whatever energy stored into energy back. To prove it, she can charge a handphone. Yeah, stick the charger into it… Now she wants him to rub it! Damned if he do, damned if he doesn’t. Because in that case he would rather wear it and rub it himself but she accuses him of trying to cross the line and be a pervert by wearing her shorts. Hence he rubs her thighs. Ueno enjoys this as she fantasizes her plan to make him dependent on this charger. Hence he will always look for her and touch her. Because the charging is slow, she accuses him of being weak. Don’t blame him because he is going to rub really aggressive. Yup, it’s really charging fast. Ueno cannot take any more of this and beats him up for sexual harassing her. And she was the one who instigated this stroking… It’s not like Tanaka has turned into a pervert wanting her. He just wants his handphone back.

Episode 9B
As usual, Ueno chides Tanaka for acting ‘gentlemanly’ since he is going out of the room so she could change. Yeah, why should she change in front of him? Anyway, once done, Ueno is in a swimsuit. Not your ordinary swimsuit so to speak. From all that mumbo jumbo, this swimsuit allows you to float the more it absorbs water. Truly amazing. But as she explains its pitfall that it must only be used in closed areas, suddenly Mizuna opens the door to ask her brother about some stuff. Because of that, some space quantum pressure force sh*t starts pulling Ueno out. Oh dear. It’s sucking her out as she holds on for dear life. Oops, a strap snaps from the force! Tanaka grabs onto her and tells Mizuna to quickly close the door. Only if they don’t look like they’re in some weird groping sexy position! Is this some new Kama Sutra pose? Perhaps Mizuna got the wrong idea and shuts the door. And as expected, Ueno beats up Tanaka for groping her.

Episode 10A
Tanaka enters the classroom only to see it turned into a subway train! And Ueno wants him to grope her?! Seems this Kanchikan device she is wearing has some spirit connections and it warns the wearer of an incoming pervert. Just when he agrees to play that part, a siren pops out of the device. Is this how it is supposed to work? I am unsure of what follows next because Ueno is feeling anxious and embarrassed. Hence Yamashita calls for a time out to discuss about the device not reacting to light contacts and only a forceful contact would activate it. I am not sure if Ueno’s emotions are causing it to activate since Yamashita suggests turning it off. However Ueno is not ready to cross that line and the more restraint she acts, the siren activates. When the experiment resumes, Ueno manages to psycho herself as a dead fish. Tanaka is ready to grope her but the siren goes off. Ueno starts crying in frustration as Tanaka pets her and tells her to rest. Don’t really understand…

Episode 10B
Introducing Repara-te. When you rub the glove over uneven surface, some science sh*t explains it will rearrange the particles and make it smooth again. Ueno plans to use this on removing leg hair and what she meant is hers and not yours, Tanaka! And as she prepares herself to be rubbed by him, Tanaka kills her with this question: Do girls grow leg hair? That is when Ueno ‘died’. That is when Yamashita jumps in to explain the normalcy of girls growing leg hair. Ueno is almost brought back to life but ‘died’ again when Yamashita explains herself as the exception since she doesn’t grow much leg hair. With Tanaka confused, he is tasked to ask his sisters. Too bad they give conflicting statements. While Mizuna denies, Yomogi admits. Hence the only other girl he can ask is Kitanaga. She puts a rest to all the mysteries. Yes, girls do grow leg hair and she has seen many of them in the swimming club. She also points out Yamashita as an exception. With that, Tanaka now believes girls do grow leg hair and Ueno has just returned from the dead. Justice is served?

Episode 11A
Ueno is up to no good again. She wants to sit on Tanaka’s face? Introducing this invisible bloomer! Some mumbo jumbo explanation that you are able to sit on air. Of course her real goal is to slam her butt in his face and turn him into a pervert. However he moves and she lands hard on her ass. Ouch. Let’s try again because the bloomer might have malfunctioned. Again landed hard on her buttocks since he got distracted by Tamon. Her butt looks very painful. Again. Will third time be the charm? This time he deliberately misses and poor Ueno lands hard on her rear once more. So when she gets desperate to do it again, this time he catches her in his arms. He scolds her for trying to hurt herself as her device is working. Please take care of your butt. This close proximity leaves Ueno paralyzed with embarrassment and looks like she’ll be acting like a good girl for a while.

Episode 11B
Tanaka enters the clubroom and sees Minamine giving him the glare. As Yomogi explains, the tennis club president hates men. She is here to about Ueno’s invention, a skirt that shifts its angle to protect what is underneath when it detects unwanted glares. However this only attracts more stares and she goes about ranting about this unconsented glares. Minamine was so desperate that she took several measures into her own hands by showing the crowd her panties and telling they are not and also leaving signs on the ground that says “No pantsu!”. Yeah… So her logic is because the skirt attracts attention, she strips them! So that logic is the reason she isn’t afraid of doing so in front of Tanaka? Then he explains there might be other reasons why others continue to glare are her and not just her clothes. Could she be a cute girl? Minamine leaves mad. While the other girls go crazy about Tanaka’s density. Yeah, it’s that bad, what he said.

Episode 12A
Unogawa of the gymnastics club sees Ueno to fix Gan-Q. They are eyeball drones that will detect any peeping eyes. As she fixes them, Unogawa tries to convince Ueno to join her club and even goes so far as to claim her stomach is flabby. Of course Ueno isn’t moved. But after Unogawa slaps her butt, Tanaka starts to ask if their relationship is like that. So vague. Please explain. I don’t know what he is ranting about that eventually left everyone as confused as hell, but basically he is asking if Unogawa is a man! Is it the way she talks? Unogawa of course snaps back that she is a girl. She even goes so far as to take off her jersey to show the body of a woman in a leotard. After Unogawa leaves, Ueno gives Tanaka a kind pep talk that it is not cool to mistake a woman as a man. Also, don’t be too conscious about it since Unogawa won’t take it to heart. Uhm. Okay. But this irks Yamashita because Ueno didn’t follow up to ask why Tanaka is relieved and takes it all out on Tamon.

Episode 12B
So this Ballet-tan allows you to experience the taste of the other person? All you need to transmit this date is both parties wear the wristband and hold hands. With Tanaka grabbing Ueno’s hand like as no big deal, you bet she is going to be embarrassed. Yamashita holds her hand to help her but she is still embarrassed. Tanaka begins the experiment by tasting a sweet but before Ueno could reply, Tanaka says she can’t taste anything. Of course this is a ploy to make Ueno ask Tanaka to hold her hand properly. You know, interlocking their fingers? So as Ueno sheepishly ekes that request out, Tanaka understands. Like couples hold hands, right? Now Ueno’s embarrassment has shot through the roof as she decides it is enough for today and heads home. Meanwhile Yamashita tries to do kung fu punches on Tanaka…

Ai Wa Bukimi Yo
And so as expected, nothing really changes. Ueno is still the embarrassed girl who continues to dream of having Tanaka as her boyfriend. Tanaka continues to be a dense dude. Yamashita continues to be frustrated with all the wasted efforts. Damn they have progressed so much in science but they have not made an inch forward in the love department. Heck, I think they even regressed! Truly, science is easier to figure out than love.

Watching this series sometimes makes me think back of watching that old Looney Tunes cartoon. You know, that Road Runner and Coyote show? Yeah. Because you see, Ueno has the talent of creating all sorts of weird gadgets (akin to the Coyote buying all sorts of weird gadgets) trying to get her junior (akin to trying to get the Road Runner) in some sort of desperate attempt but it all backfires and she will be left embarrassed and/or frustrated (akin to the Coyote failing violently and miserably) while Tanaka continues to be dense (akin to the Road Runner getting away). Rinse and repeat this process.

While this is the basic formula of the series, with the different types of weird inventions, I suppose that is what keeps this series ‘fresh’. And yes, sex sells. Because Ueno who is trying to turn Tanaka into a pervert when she is the biggest culprit in the first place. Not sure about her logic of exposing Tanaka to her panties or ass once that will turn him into a hardcore panties/ass fetish pervert. I think you can count the numerous times that Ueno tries to make Tanaka see or touch her panties under the guise of her various inventions. While this formula didn’t get tired for me (I know, you’re calling me a pervert, aren’t you?), there are some skits that do not end with a punch line. I mean, it just ends. Maybe I’m too dumb to get the punch line but it feels like a let-down. Because like the Coyote, we expect to see him fail miserably in every attempt. So when Ueno’s invention fails and didn’t get the desired reaction from Tanaka, she’s just like embarrassed. End of skit. Uhm, okay? So what? Perhaps that is the end goal of every skit. Ueno being ashamed. How ironic for a girl who is so shameless in the first place. Also, do you not notice that many of her inventions are kinda pervy or solutions to stem perversion like peeping toms in the first place?

This is the problem that lies within Ueno’s character. At the start, we see her being overly confident that her invention will do this and that, mostly there is always an ulterior motive for her to create that invention. Under the pretence of an experiment in which Tanaka willingly or reluctantly participates, Ueno somehow manages to get close or in a situation that embarrasses her. Then she flips out. So it’s like, she already at least got her goal of being close to Tanaka, so why is she chickening out at this moment? This is what I find irritating about her character. Because with this method, we can continue the same shenanigans in every episode. Because when she fails, she gets to try again. Albeit the results are mostly the same. Hence it makes me wonder if Ueno is really interested in Tanaka in the first place or if she is just interested in the concept of being in love with him. Ueno isn’t your ordinary girl so being nice and girly doesn’t fit her image.

Hence the mostly tsundere attitude and how often she snaps at him for not thinking ‘normally’. Because it’s like as though she too doesn’t want to succeed. Imagine if they are now a couple. What now? How to take it from here? Yeah. Scary. Hey, even the Coyote caught the Road Runner once. So I suppose the bottom line is that status quo is the best because look how much fun everyone is having in the science club! Oh yeah… My only guess that might have Ueno speed up her confession is when there is a love rival for Tanaka. Oh yeah. Now there is none so it’s like she can take all the time in the world she wants.

One of the interesting aspects to ponder is the inventions of Ueno. The general idea seems to be really good but when you start to think about it, it sounds like they just really pull it out of thin air, enough to make it sound plausible with that simple sci-fi mumbo jumbo. Imagine Ueno as a genius has used her talents to try to get Tanaka to love her as a pervert when many of these gadgets of hers could have literally solved a lot of problems in the world. Seriously. Like Garakutan which could have easily solved the access to clean water that is unavailable in many parts of the world. And so it is with great sadness that once an invention ‘fails’, it will never be heard of again. Such a shame. Such a waste. I wonder where Ueno dumps all those failed contraptions because the only failed one that ever saw the next light of day is Tamon. Uh huh, the series’ so called pet mascot.

Tanaka has been casted as the ‘dumb guy’ thanks to his monotonous character and for this whole antic to work. I wonder he sounds like that is it because Ueno has been ‘harassing’ him for a long time and hence this kind of mundane voice because he expects her up to no good again and once more he has to put up with her crap. Even when he is lively, there is this monotonous sound to his voice. Like as though it screams I wish I wasn’t here. It is odd that as a science club member, the other members don’t really do much. Tanaka the most just participates in whatever experiment Ueno wants to while Yamashita is like a sleeping member. Is this the best place to read her weirdly titled books? It looks like she is Ueno’s partner in crime to snag Tanaka’s heart but she is more passive than active. An emotionless character who is even more monotonous than Tanaka. If not participating in Ueno’s schemes, she is more of an observer than anything else.

It is safe to say that the other characters are just as weird as our main characters. Because only weird people come to the science club for answers when they have issues. Like Nishihara switching on her motherly instincts. Kitanaga probably loves teasing with her stripping based on the fact that she knows Tanaka is not that brave enough to see her in the nude but then freaks out when the opposite happens. Mizuna and Yomogi are like day and night despite being twins. WTF they even introduced a new character in the final episode, Unogawa. I suppose that puts to ease that final missing character whom we see in the opening credits but has not popped out so far. Ah well. Better late than never. But just like the other characters that come and go before her, they don’t really matter or play a big significant role that would change anything between Ueno and Tanaka.

Art and animation look a bit cartoonish. Especially Ueno who looks a bit like some mad genius scientist thanks to those crazy eyes. Sometimes she looks like a robot and a distant relative to Jenny Wakeman AKA XJ-9 from the cartoon series, My Life As A Teenage Robot. Even more so that her robot clone looks this similar. Even weirder are her twintails that seem to have a life of its own and perhaps an indicator of Ueno’s emotions. At points I thought they were arms instead of hair. In the final scene, we see it turn into some hardened iron or something as it leaves scratch trails all over the walls as Ueno walks home. Is her hair natural or do I have to speculate it is another invention of hers. Can’t imagine Ueno is bald! No way! This series is done by Lesprit. The first time they did something other than the Cinderella Girls Gekijou series that they have been doing ever since.

Hats off to Yuu Serizawa as Ueno. She might not be nowhere near as Aoi Yuuki as the titular Aho Girl, but with her flexible and amazing versatility voicing the various moods of Ueno, she is just amazing. Like as though she become one with her character and played her flawlessly as a mad scientist. I wouldn’t expect her to be the one who voiced Iroha in 3D Kanojo Real Girl, Shera from Isekai Maou To Shoukan Shoujo No Dorei Majutsu and Tenma from Mushibugyou. There are a few crazy characters she voiced too like Youko from Jitsu Wa Watashi Wa, Yumemi in Kakegurui and Nijimi in Mahou Shoujo Site but this one easily tops all that. Initially I initially imagined that Rie Kugimiya was also fit to play Ueno but I guess that tsundere specialist has (semi)retired. Gotta find new talents to voice tsundere girls, no?

The other casts are Aimi Tanaka as Tanaka (titular character in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Akari Kageyama as Yamashita (Beatrice in Princess Principal), Nichika Oomori as Mizuna (Yurine in Jashin-chan Dropkick), Miku Itou as Yomogi (Miku in Gotoubun No Hanayome) and even Tamon has its own seiyuu, Shiori Izawa (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works). Unfortunately I didn’t recognize it was Haruka Tomatsu behind Kitanaga. Can’t remember if she sounded this squeaky. But thankfully I did for Ayana Taketatsu as Minamine, Rina Satou as Nishihara and Yuka Iguchi as Unogawa. Must be a coincidence of hearing Ayana Taketatsu in all the animes I watched this season (Date A Live III, Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka, Kakegurui XX and Gotoubun No Hanayome).

The opening theme is sung by Miku Itou, Hirameki Heartbeat. The song is actually decent and cute. Until it ends. It feels abrupt and one kind. Like as though they couldn’t come up with a decent way to finish the chorus and just simply put it as it goes. Yeah, it somewhat spoiled the entire fun of the song. For a short series like this, amazingly it changes its ending theme every 2 episodes. They are all sung by Ueno in her character’s fashion. They do sound okay like the samba-like My Pace Science (first ending – although this is a trio done with Tanaka and Yamashita), The rock-like Love Me Science (second ending), the slow rock of Houkago Traveller (third ending), the space-like Cosmo Luminal (fourth ending), the lively anime pop of Bukiyou Sensation (fifth ending theme) and the very sleepy song suitable for bedtime that is Kokoro No Furiko (sixth ending theme).

Overall, one of the funniest short series of the season that in a way is a much toned down version of Seitokai Yakuindomo. Because everyone is okay about lecherous and dirty minded girls doing lewd stuffs and saying pervy things to make the guy horny and turn him on. Some might find it a turn off and offensive because Ueno spamming her pantsu and ass to us just for some cheap dirty laughs and debauch humour. Also, the same bloody formula in every damn episode with somewhat the same outcome. Too bad, people. I never did grow up so I enjoyed seeing all the cheap fanservice shots. I’d trade places with Tanaka if he wants. Ueno could figure out the weirdest science possible and make it look so easy with a snap of a finger. But she still can’t figure out a way to one’s heart. This proves love is more complicated than science! You think science is weird? Love is even weirder!

How long ago was it since I’ve watched a high school teen romance drama with some magic? Oh heck, I couldn’t remember. Hence so I thought Irozuku Sekai No Ashita Kara may be that timely reminder that I should have a look at this. After all, this series somewhat reminded me of Glasslip and it is no surprise since both these series were done by the same studio. Maybe that’s why I started getting this nostalgia about the genre. And perhaps some bad memories. Heh. Like I still remember the disaster that was in Glasslip. So by substituting visions of the future with colours, I hope this series could avoid the mistakes of that one.

Episode 1
Hitomi Tsukishiro doesn’t look forward to fireworks. The truth is, she cannot see colour. Yeah, her life is one dull and sad monochrome. Suddenly grandma Kohaku decides to whisk her back in time when she was in high school. Yeah, collecting 60 years of full moons’ light just for tonight. Too bad Hitomi has no say and now she is in some weird bus and lemon driver. Thanks to her Popocky sticks to make the payment or else she would never have alighted. Back in the past, she finds herself in a room. Yuito Aoi is coming back so she hides underneath his bed until he gets out. Damn future is so futuristic, she doesn’t even know how to open the window pane lock! Once she luckily does, Kurumi Kawai and Asagi Kazano spot and record a woman sneaking out of Yuito’s place! Share this to spread the scandal! Later when they meet up with Shou Yamabuki to show him this, they spot Hitomi again. Lost? They help her find an address she is looking for. Hitomi notes they are from her same school but the uniform has changed. Of course they don’t know what she’s talking about. Along the way, all of them explain they are from the same photography and painting club that Yuito is in. They try to satiate their curiosity of her sneaking out of Yuito’s room but Hitomi looks very troubled so they drop the subject. At the magic shop at the hilltop run by her family, Hitomi is looking for Kohaku but she is currently overseas studying. She explains her circumstances and they are kind enough to let her stay here until she returns. So feel free to make this little attic like home. Hitomi realizes she has dropped her azurite earring. Too dark to search for something grandma gave her. But they are confident if she is a mage, it will return to her. Next morning, they guide her to close her eyes and concentrate. Oh, she dropped it in Yuito’s room. Meanwhile Yuito’s mom is teasing her son of having a secret girlfriend. Rumours sure spread fast in this small town. She is somewhat thrilled because she is worried her gay son is only ever interested in painting. But he isn’t thrilled. That person might be a robber. Something catches Hitomi’s eyes when she sees Yuito painting in the park. She could see his painting in colours! It even comes to life! She is so enthralled dancing among the colours that she realized too late she was making a fool out of herself before Yuito.

Episode 2
Hitomi explains herself before Yuito is going to report her for trespassing his room. You won’t do that to a cute scared girl, would you?! He hands back her azurite. Case closed. Back home, Hitomi’s family tells her the news Kohaku is cutting her stay overseas and coming home. They also ask her about her magic but it seems Hitomi hates it and rarely practises it. Well, she must master a powerful spell if she wants to return home. Since she is stuck here for now, might as well enrol in this school. The vice principal hopes she isn’t as flashy in her magic as Kohaku as he makes her sign some collateral agreement! Kohaku’s magic often caused mischief and her mom often had to come to apologize. It’s a reason why she is overseas to study. Hitomi is lonely in class since many don’t have a favourable view of a mage. Discrimination? Blame Kohaku for all that. But our usual gang from the photography and painting quickly become her friends. Chigusa Fukazawa keeps insisting Yuito admit Hitomi is his girlfriend. But Yuito only has a request of her and that is to show magic to dispel the rumours. Here she goes. Everyone watching with baited breath… A small spluttering stardust. Bummer. It only reinforces her hate for magic. Her friends try to take her mind of that by showing their club. But she looks ‘interested’ in Yuito and he is the only one not around. Try the rooftop. She apologizes for that disappointing show because she wanted him to believe her. He apologizes for forcing her to do something against her will. He lets her see his drawing and he hopes she could show her magic again. He finds it impressive. More impressive than his drawing. Yeah, do you not know to her his drawing is magic! Hitomi feels better because she never thought somebody would say that to her. And so we see her practice. She’s conjuring up a lot more stardust than before.

Episode 3
Hitomi is shown how to do simple magic as a start. A Popocky stick is a good wand. You can eat it too! It is that year the school is recruiting newbies for their club. Of course Hitomi is interested in Yuito’s art. I suppose thanks to the labels on the paint, she can ‘tell’ what colours she is using and paint a decent picture. The other friends hope she would be interested to join their club as they drag her to join in on their recruitment spree. They are to hold a workshop for potential newbies to take pictures but with the vice calling Shou to take pictures of the drama club due to the rescheduling, looks like somebody needs to replace him as the model. Nobody wants Chigusa despite he is hinting! Yeah. Hitomi! Please! Onegai! Her job is to walk on water via using a blue stardust. Oops. Bottle has no label. Did she pick right because soon she becomes like Jesus Christ. But nobody expected snow as part of this show and as soon that happens, Hitomi sinks like a hammer. Hitomi dries herself as Yuito accompanies her (since club activities are still ongoing). Seeking an explanation of her ‘lost face’ during the walk, she reveals she cannot see colour and doesn’t want him to tell this to others for fear of the unknown. It’s easier to keep this as a secret. You think? Hitomi runs away as Yuito feels bad as he can’t imagine a world without colours. With Hitomi avoiding the rest, they thought she’s through with them. But she is gathering her thoughts on how to talk to them and eventually musters the courage to do so. Yeah, this pool cleaning event helped a lot. Because she decides to join their club. Success! Now they can’t say their recruitment drive ended in zero recruits.

Episode 4
Kohaku returns! Hitomi knows it’s her due to her trademark hug. It’s her alright. Boy, it’s going to be weird calling a girl your age as grandma. With Kohaku’s return, some are wary but others want to see her magic again. Kohaku being Kohaku transports the class to some medieval building but then a locomotive train passes by. Yeah, everything is covered in black soot now. Kohaku must have broken the record of the fastest written apology. Unlike Hitomi, Kohaku is quite friendly and easily mingles with the club members. Hitomi is still pessimistic about her own magic but Kohaku believes she has potential. Because that locomotive was actually her doing. Just that her magic somehow lost its way. Kohaku is curious to know about her future but takes back what she said. Don’t want spoilers, eh? The club members get permission to enter school at night to take some photographs of the night sky and the city lights. The usual nice moments going on between Yuito and Hitomi until the rest fear the school’s urban legend ghost is spotted. They even got it on camera? Don’t be surprised because it’s just Kohaku’s magic prank. Hitomi thinks it’s mean but all Kohaku wants is to see everyone’s smile. See? Nobody got offended. Hitomi still thinks she hates magic but Kohaku is confident she will like it. She is her grandchild anyway. The rest overheard this and are confused. Kohaku allows Hitomi to explain it because she is sure they will not change. And so Hitomi reveals she is from the future. Shocked at first but they continue to remain friends. No big deal, right? The pair end tonight’s event with a little magic performance. And a photo to commemorate it all. As they are editing the photos, Kohaku decides to join this club. Although she’ll be the only sole magic club member. So is this officially the magic, photography and painting club? If I’m the only anime otaku in school and want to join this club, can it now be called the anime, magic, photography and painting club?

Episode 5
With the club approved, Kohaku now does love fortune telling! Man, a long line of girls. Even Asagi has one read and is told the truth that she has to step up her game or a rival will snatch him away. Hitomi is manning the magic shop alone. Oh dear. How can she get by when a customer asks for some coloured stardust for a certain effect? Don’t worry. Hitomi remembers their number labelling. Phew. With Yuito coming in asking for some stardust to help with his drawing, Hitomi is unsure but will find out more. Who better to ask than Kohaku. She agrees to help out. We also see Shou teaching Hitomi about photography. Of course spicing it up with some magic. The club members converge at the magic shop for their own little party. Kohaku gives Hitomi a little push to be with Yuito alone when their drinks ran out. More of Hitomi’s praising of his drawings that gave her a lot of hope. That’s why they are important to her. Back at the party, with Shou praising Hitomi’s handy work, it is no surprise that Asagi gets upset. Too bad the guys don’t even understand what’s wrong. Kohaku talks to her about predictions merely being guides. It is ultimately herself who takes charge of her destiny. Don’t let one failure bog you down as Kohaku gives Hitomi’s perseverance in not giving up to make stardust. Yeah, lots of materials wasted but she finally got it. Too bad Kohaku’s mom found out about it and now Kohaku gets a serious lashing for using up hard to gather materials. She thinks Kohaku told Hitomi to use them so she could be done with teaching since she would succeed quickly. Kohaku and Hitomi are made to gather those stuffs. Asagi isn’t giving up on Shou. Talk a bit about their childhood times together and they’re back to normal. Yuito follows Hitomi’s instructions in using the stardust. Golden fish swimming!

Episode 6
Yuito explains to Hitomi about that golden fish experience. Funny thing is, that golden fish was the painting that won him first prize during an elementary school competition. Hitomi seeks Shou’s help to show him that painting in the yearbook and oddly she could see that painting in colour. Later as Hitomi spots Yuito drawing, once more the golden fish pops out but this time it engulfs her into another world. A crappy drawing world? Hey, at least she could see colour. The more she walks, the messier the colours be and there are dead fish everywhere. She sees a shadowy figure trying to catch a fish but the fish ends up dead. When Hitomi wakes up, she is lying on the bench and Yuito by her side. She explains that weird dream and believes she went into his drawing. She also thinks that weird shadow who failed to catch the fish might be the cause of his artist’s block. When she suggests asking Kohaku for help, Yuito snaps at her that he doesn’t need any help. Thanks to that, Hitomi gets depressed and her facial expression is so obvious. The others would like to help but they have to respect her decision that she doesn’t want to open up to them yet. Kohaku thinks the tension between them is good. At least he isn’t ignoring her and this might bring them closer. Yuito sees a senior, Sanami Asagawa for some advice (she is currently holding an art exhibition). He asks why she draws. No reason in particular. She thought she would arrive at something if she kept drawing but in the end, it’s the simple fact she just loves to draw. When he leaves, coincidentally Hitomi just pass by. It’s like seeing the worst thing in her life because she turn tail and runs away! Not sure why Kohaku did some magic gust of wind. I don’t think it’s to stop her but get Yuito’s attention. He goes after her and when he catches up, he says he has already started his drawing and wants her to see it. We see Hitomi entering the drawing again. When she returns, it looks like she can now see colours for real.

Episode 7
Ah well. It was good while it lasted. Because Hitomi somehow can’t see colours again. But the bulk of this episode seems to be hinting something with Chigusa x Kurumi. With Kurumi failing her mock exams, she hopes there’s a magic to make her smarter. Nope. Only clear her mind. With Chigusa teasing the magic might even clear everything she learnt, this makes Kurumi annoyed. The club has a meeting and Shou intends to hand over his presidency to Asagi when he graduates. Asagi is nervous but makes Hitomi her vice. The club have their annual camp. Chigusa learns Kurumi has an older sister who runs a famous patisserie. He thinks of asking her to be his model but Kurumi doesn’t think so as she is always busy. Is this a roundabout way so Chigusa could ask Kurumi to be the model instead? Of course she rejects. Chigusa then asks the other girls, they too reject so it is back to him bugging Kurumi. This annoys her as she tells him off, making the atmosphere around them a bit awkward. Later Hitomi talks to Kurumi. The latter admires her sister a lot but views herself as empty. In a way she feels envious and unlike her sister who has ambition, she doesn’t. This photography thingy is just a hobby. We take a little detour as Yuito shows Hitomi his latest drawing. As usual, she can see its colours and Yuito thanks her for her magic. That night, the friends are supposed to take pictures of some passing ship with beautiful lights. Not sure if they got the schedule wrong as it arrives too early. Chigusa’s idea is to drop all their stuffs and run. In the meantime, Chigusa advising Kurumi to not make a decision now in life? Take your time? Since when you care about her future? Too bad they still missed the boat. With Kurumi blaming him for messing him, Chigusa snaps a ‘lovely’ pic of her being mad. They start their petty argument and funny enough, Hitomi is the one who started laughing. So she laughs when she is tired? Aren’t we having fun? So as not to waste this trip, they can still take the beautiful night scenery. This has Hitomi sum up her courage to tell them the truth.

Episode 8
Kohaku theorizes that Hitomi may have unconsciously casted magic on herself and made herself unable to see colours. As she is occasionally able to see colours, it could mean that magic might be fading. Hence she suggests conducting several experiments to determine the trigger. Why do I think she just wants to know if there is anything intimate happened between her and Yuito? Yeah, because the experiments seem to be making her getting close to Yuito. Doesn’t it make your heart beat faster? Doesn’t the excitement make you see colour? Yeah, what’s the colour of love? At the library, she shows several drawings from other books similar to Yuito’s but it’s still black and white. Kohaku gets a little naughty by trying to cram them together under the table! No excitement for Hitomi. Just pending anger. The club has their usual outing snapping photos of the town. But Shou has some heavy thoughts because he overheard how Kohaku was trying out magic to send Hitomi back to the future. Why so concerned? Oh right, Hitomi just joined the club. Don’t want to have that unwanted record of losing a member because she was sent back to the future. When a camera is spoiled, unless the repairman can miraculously save it or else all their hard earned photos are gone. But a miracle did happen. Because Kohaku uses her magic to fix it! Back to normal! OMG! Kohaku can put all repair services out of business! However she is disheartened that a rose she used magic to bloom withered within a day. I’m not sure how this relates to sending Hitomi back but her grandma reasons if her future self didn’t leave a note on how to do it, it must mean Kohaku figured it out herself. So have faith in your future self! With Hitomi now a full fledge member of the club, she feels so happy that she wants to say here. I guess this puts Kohaku in a bind.

Episode 9
Shou talks to Yuito that he is going to spend time with Hitomi alone tomorrow. He’ll be having exams and graduating soon. He doesn’t want to leave any regrets. So this ‘date’ is actually Shou teaching Hitomi the finer points of photography. And of course it’s that time when you talk about how much things have changed and how much special time they spent in the club, cue for Shou to confess he likes her. The shock is too much for Hitomi to take as she runs away. Is the day ruined? Don’t run in the dark. See, now you tripped and it hurts. Your feet? Or your heart? Sorry, my bad. With that, Hitomi is so obviously depressed that you can basically tell what happened. Even more so when she blatantly runs away from Shou upon seeing him. Kohaku knows what happened and tries to talk to her. It’s nice of Hitomi to spell out about the confusing feelings of the heart. You respect the person but don’t want to date him nor hurt him. How? Maybe talk this privately because other girls are getting interested in listening to her love story. And some boys are having their heart broken… Even Asagi gets the hint when Shou is being oh so philosophical that no 2 pictures are the same. Like WTF?! One outing with Hitomi and he’s spouting such lines? So Asagi talks to Hitomi and hints there is someone she likes for a long time. Even if Hitomi feels she doesn’t deserve love or to be loved, she can’t just ignore it. This was enough of a push for Hitomi to confront Shou again and to reject him. She has put a lot of thought into what he said and although her feelings confused her a lot at first, now she is clear. There is someone else she is interested in. Shou thanks her and is relieved he can now move on. But not before he screams out in the open like a mad man. Boy, you think the brass band practising was bad? This tops it! But it felt good to get that load off his shoulders, right? As Hitomi finds Asagi to explain to her, suddenly Asagi reveals she loves Shou. You mean Hitomi looked this shocked? Oh yeah. She didn’t know. One problem to another. Because now Asagi runs away before Hitomi gets a chance to explain.

Episode 10
It’s really awkward between Hitomi and Asagi. The latter avoiding her at all cost. But you know it’s not going to last long so eventually they sit down and talk it out. See, it worked. Back to being friends again. Magic word is just to blame Shou for everything. Yeah… Kohaku suggests an activity of bringing people inside pictures so what better way than to test it on themselves first. First, Yuito needs to draw a huge picture. Taking in requests on what needs to be in the drawing… Kohaku and Hitomi then practice their magic by trying out paper airplanes into a small painting. Tough at first but Hitomi soon gets the hang of it. Then it’s magic time as the club members is whooshed inside the painting. Wow. Everything so magical. With each of them exploring their own ways, Yuito stumbles onto a big door. Upon opening, he sees a young Hitomi drawing with a monochrome crayon. What a sad drawing of people being separated. Yuito draws a few things as suggestion to bridge them together but she refuses. It’s like she really wants to tell him to mind his business. Before he could draw with her, it’s back to reality. While everyone is happy, Yuito spots Hitomi crying. I don’t think those are tears of joy from the experience. After Yuito tells her he met her young self, she reveals that her mom had no magic. But since Hitomi had some, she always believed it was the reason why mom ran away and never took her with her. That is why she hates magic. Hitomi is sad and frustrated all she wanted was to make mom happy. But she took the burden all upon herself and then disappeared. She thought of going after her but was too afraid to do so. Hitomi cries to let out all the pent up frustration as Yuito believes it is not her nor magic to be blamed. With Hitomi feeling a lot better, she now realizes she was sent back here for a reason. Well duh, we figured that out right from the start, no?

Episode 11
While preparing for the cultural festival, the gang thought Hitomi suddenly disappeared. They look a bit here and there and soon realize that she was in the clubroom all the while. However Kohaku knows something is up. She sees a magic bookstore friend, Ichiyanagi about a book she needs urgently. She needs to learn time magic fast because Hitomi who isn’t from this timeline, the forces of nature might be trying to correct history. Yeah, nature is sure taking its time. Anyway, when that happens, there is a risk of Hitomi being stuck between time and space forever. That’s why Kohaku needs to send her back fast. For once we see Kohaku being so worried that you wonder if it’s really her. She tells this to Hitomi and just great, now we get another worrywart. One rainy day as Yuito and Hitomi are talking and walking home together, suddenly Hitomi just vanished! He rushes to tell his friends about it and that’s when Kohaku tells them the scary truth. Oh dear. Where to look for her? She could be on the other side of the world. The thought she could return to where she disappeared, true enough, she’s there albeit unconscious. Back home, Hitomi didn’t even realize she went missing. Kohaku tells her friends that she is alright and talking to grandma about it, looks like it is time to send her back as the magic is waning. However Hitomi herself isn’t ready. While the friends don’t like this one bit, they decide to help out because they care for her. Kohaku needs to gather stardust on the night of the new moon then send her back. That will be in 2 days right after the festival. With the preparations going on, Asagi cannot believe they’re acting like everything is fine. They can’t have fun at the festival like this. Eventually she come to realize that it’s better than Hitomi getting stuck so the friends gather at the beach to collect stardust that has fortunately been washed ashore after the typhoon and bathed by the few nights of full moon. Hitomi uses her magic to send paper airplane to Yuito’s house. It’s a good thing they know where they leave because they can communicate via Morse code from their room lights. When another paper airplane flies astray, Hitomi goes after it. Somehow Yuito had a feeling it wouldn’t make it too and chased after it. And this brought them together in which Hitomi instantly dives into Yuito’s arms to give the most heart breaking hug.

Episode 12
Hitomi really doesn’t want to go home and blames herself for being a mage. However Yuito is glad she is one. So instead of sulking for the remainder of her time, she decides to make it the best festival ever. You could say that their magic theatre is a hit with everyone having the greatest experience and a few girls becoming a fan of Yuito’s art? That’s nice. Even Asagawa visits and is glad he is making some positive impact. That night, Ichiyanagi sees Kohaku and looks like he made it in time to finish this device. The second day of the festival continues with our friends even more motivated to give their best. The friends try to be considerate and give Yuito and Hitomi some time together. So the haunted house is the best place? Maybe. Yuito wants to go around the festival more with her but Hitomi is reluctant. She’s had her fun. Time to head back. That night as the festival comes to a close, Kohaku surprises everyone by putting on a massive fireworks display. With everybody being happy and thanking each other, Hitomi feels this warm fuzzy feeling in her heart. Kohaku points out it is called happiness and what do you know? Suddenly Hitomi can see colours! Albeit it is just the fireworks and everything else still monochrome. Of course once the show is over, it’s back to that colourless world. But Hitomi can’t help but thank everyone. The friends get ready to for the time magic ritual. In Hitomi’s heart, there is a reason why she wants to stay. If there was any regrets, it would be this one… Hitomi, we all know…

Episode 13
Yuito narrates he loved drawing alone until Hitomi mentioned his drawing was special. At first he thought she was gloomy and lonely girl. He realizes that she showed him a lot of colours. Now we begin the final goodbye for Hitomi. Everyone has their last say. Each time, they fuel the device. Theoretically this would be easy if she had 100 friends. The guys are okay. The girls just get awfully teary. I wouldn’t consider Kohaku’s goodbye to be really one. They’ll be seeing each other again 60 years from now, right? Finally it’s Yuito. Be happy. I won’t forget you. Uhm, that’s it? That’s hardly satisfying. Hitomi has a few last words too. The usual thank you this, thank you that. Suddenly she is interrupted when the device starts acting up. WTF is this storm interference? Yuito dives in to grab her. In this weird world, Yuito realizes he is no different than Hitomi since he was forcing his emotions into a corner of his heart. How can he tell her not to close her heart when he does just that? Then he spots Hitomi straight ahead. You can’t miss her with the golden fish leading the way. This time they really say what they want to say. About the change they bring to each other’s life. And now we get to hear what we want them to say. After a hug and the magic words of I love you, it’s like the monochrome curse is lifted from Hitomi and she can now see colours permanently. With them returning back in time, Kohaku concludes the ritual and Hitomi returns home. But Kohaku notes that it wasn’t her time magic that sent her back. Her magic isn’t that powerful yet and it was Hitomi’s subconscious spell that wore off, marking the end of her journey to the past. Then this BS: Kohaku gets a mail from her future self that she arrived safely! WTF???!!! You can send a message back in time?! I wonder if Kohaku can reply to the future… Hitomi is back in the future. Right next to grandma like as though she never left. Grandma asks about her experience. Happy, sad, fun. She experienced all those emotions. This gives her motivation to go find mom. Kohaku then shows her a time capsule kept by the club members. Several photo albums. There is also a book that Hitomi often read many times with mom as it was the only one she could see its colours. Guess what? That picture book was written by Yuito! Hitomi now leads a normal life. She has friends, expresses herself a lot and joined the very same club in her school. Now that she can see colour, she is so glad her future is going to be filled with them.

Miss Monochrome & The World Of Love Blues
I am sure that Hitomi’s future is bright and all colourful now. Returning to the future would be the right ending because remaining in the past would be like losing your granddaughter to the past like forever and Kohaku would have grown up together with her. Weird. Although Hitomi is living a happy life, one big question just bugs me: Where are her club friends in the future? If they became such good friends and vowed never to forget, why haven’t they been in Hitomi’s life in the future? Sure, they may be grandpas and grandmas but don’t you think they would have at least tried looking for her? Or Kohaku at least updating her about their whereabouts upon Hitomi’s return? Don’t tell me all of them are dead! Because there was that snippet in the ending montage that showed Hitomi praying at the graves. Well, Kohaku is still around so it can’t be hers. Her mom? A tombstone for a person who is missing or officially declared dead? Besides, wouldn’t it be weird for Hitomi if these people were to show up and claim they met her in the past, they would be scaring the sh*t out of Hitomi before her time trip. Because if Hitomi did get acquainted with them, she should have known them when she travelled back in time. The more I think about this, the weirder it gets… Yeah, grandma waited 60 years to send Hitomi back for rehabilitation while knowing the exact events that have transpired. Kohaku has got to be one patient grandma…

Unfortunately, this is just a normal high school teen romance drama if you take away the magic. Yeah, ironically. I was putting my hopes that the magic would give the series some sort of life and hence, magic to be interesting but sad to say I fail to see all that coming together. Even without this magic setting, it could have been an even more boring and draggy high school teen romance drama. Just a bunch of high school kids of the same club trying to sort out their feelings. It could still work out that way but like I have said, it lacks any magic to make it anything interesting.

It is also sad to say that the magic here doesn’t play a very prominent role and serves more like a plot convenience or timely reminder that magic does exist in this world. Perhaps they don’t want to draw the focus away from the characters and their interaction but the way I see this magic thingy as a setting in this world, it looks like it is no big deal. Uh huh. It’s not like magic is everywhere and permeating the daily lives of everybody in every way. Hence when our main characters do their little magic, people around get curious, a bit of wow, when it’s over, it’s over. They go back to do their own ordinary stuffs. It could be the case of the worst role of magic in the history of anime. I mean, if magic was such a big deal, wouldn’t the government and the world be trying to exploit it? Here, people go about their daily lives and it’s like they don’t really mind whether there is magic or not, mages or not. Whatever. Maybe nobody bothers in this small town. But like I’ve said, if they are going to make a big deal out of this magic setting, it would have shifted the focus away on what they wanted to essentially tell in this story. That would have been even worse. So I guess we’ll have to deal with and be satisfied with the boring and draggy story then.

And the characters, do they like even matter here? It sounds intriguing at first that Hitomi cannot see colours and our hopes rest on the series trying to find out a cause and if she can be cured. I understand that as a teen going through that phase and being different from everyone else (hence she can’t enjoy the same experience like any other normal kid just because she cannot see colours), but this gloominess and pessimism in her, I somewhat find this annoying. Sure, there are times when she lights up or gets a little happy. But that feels fleeting and it was all because of in the moment thingy. It’s hard for her to shake that belief of blaming herself for having this ‘curse’ and hence mother left her. So it’s like she’s going to go through the rest of her life like this? Yeah, thank goodness she met Yuito and his club members, right?

I do have to point out the efficiency of magic here once more. As I have said in my previous paragraphs that magic might not be the most important and vital aspect of everyone’s daily lives, it just makes me wonder if the future of magic is also stagnant. You see, we see and hear how much Hitomi has improved on her magic, blah, blah, blah. Heck, she can even send people into Yuito’s drawings and have them experience the most wonderful fantasy dreamland ever! Or even fix a camera to save all its contents! But there is no magic that would cure her own colour blind problem? Sure, magic isn’t an easy thing to master but is there no mage in the future who could help her out with this problem? It’s one of this weird loopholes that the writers seem to leave out. The same reason why Harry Potter living in a world with so much magic, nobody can cure his eyesight since he still wears glasses. Weird. No wonder grandma sent her back in time, TO THE PAST, in hopes she would find her answer. Yeah, the answer to magic advancement lies in the past. Doesn’t that mean that magic in the future have regressed in this sense? Boy, now I’m confused.

The drama is prolonged thanks to the other side distractions of the budding romance of the other characters. Like, do they even matter to the whole story? I see. Because if they don’t showcase these characters, they would look like some cardboard cut-out and NPC, lacking life and traits that would supposedly bring a character to life. Not that I see the draggy romance would. So as expected we have Asagi x Shou and Chigusa x Kurumi, not forgetting the ultimate couple of the series should be on Yuito x Hitomi. Kohaku doesn’t get anybody because we’re sure she’s going to meet her soulmate that would lead to the birth of Hitomi in the future. Don’t want to complicate her story, do we? Yeah, it would have been really interesting and shocking if Kohaku wedded Yuito! Holy sh*t! Yeah, don’t tell me Hitomi don’t know who her grandpa is. Does she?! Hint: It could be Ichiyanagi… That one short scene of grandpa and grandma Kohaku together could be it. Shou having crush on Hitomi but ultimately getting rejected for some much needed and obligatory but unnecessary love triangle drama. And were we hoping something coming out from Yuito and Asagawa too? Perhaps just to reinforce those feelings inside Hitomi. With Yuito and Hitomi ultimately not together in time, this leaves possible room that maybe Yuito ended up with Asagawa… Just saying… So that I love you moment was just fleeting, huh?

We have to give a reason why Hitomi started falling for Yuito and it is oddly his drawings that brings colour into her life. Something about his drawings that allows her to see colours when everything else fails. I suppose they want to keep our interest to find out why this is so but this is never really explored nor explained at all. It feels like a let-down after sitting through the season, we thought we could at least find some decent answers but looks like we’re going to have to believe that magic would be the reason. I guess if we can’t explain it with science, magic is your next best guess. Thus begins the long drama of Hitomi initially interested in Yuito’s art but as they draw closer together, they somewhat change each other and because plot predictability demands it, they started to fall for each other. After all, when you have 2 people who led somewhat colourless life, hence this fateful meeting is a convenient plot device to bring colour to that mundane life of theirs. I think I can understand why Hitomi is always so gloomy and smiling less. How can you be happy when your world looks awfully gloomy? And Yuito never had anyone praised his art and that’s why he became interested in Hitomi who became interested in his drawing? I’m sure people did praise him when he won that first place with his golden fish… Unless they were just empty compliments until Hitomi’s praises that had more sincerity.

I’m repeating myself by saying the other characters feel bland. Ironically, not very colourful. Because it would have been a total bore just to focus on Hitomi and Yuito. So let’s see, Shou the responsible club president, Asagi a little bit insecure and weak, Chigusa the comic relief character and clown and Kurumi, uhm, we need a glasses girl to complete the trope. Then there is the very lively Kohaku who somewhat keeps the group together even though she is the latest member to join this hodgepodge club. Not many series have this strange family relation whereby someone older is actually physically younger than you. Like that Usagi Drop or even Futurama comes to mind. It’s weird at first to hear Hitomi call Kohaku as her grandma but you’ll get used to it because Kohaku doesn’t turn it into a running joke like correcting her she shouldn’t be called a grandma at this age. In fact, Kohaku embraces the fact she is her grandma and with that, anything that feels weird about this association quickly dies down. Even eventually future grandma Kohaku is fine with her granddaughter calling her by her first name. Yeah, it’s so ‘nostalgic’… And Hitomi must be the only club member who joined the same club in 2 different eras spanning 60 years apart. Or she could be the longest serving member since she didn’t officially quit the job. Just went MIA… Don’t the club members leave a photo of her for future members?

As this series is one by P.A. Works, one would expect their trademark of really gorgeous art and animation. Well, personally I have mixed feelings about this. On the ‘bad’ side, I do find the character designs looking a bit weird. Because at certain angles, they don’t have noses! While many Japanese anime don’t really like to animate the nose and usually leave them out or at least to a minimum, not to say the characters here are completely devoid of their nose but at those certain angles, I thought they look like distant relatives to Voldemort! Yes, really! It just looks weird. Therefore this is one of the few series of this genre under their belt that I don’t find they have cute girls. You say Asagi is cute? Meh. Passable. Yeah, blame my very high standards that I expect a kawaii bishoujo as seen in True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha, Tari Tari, Sakura Quest, HaruChika and even Glasslip.

But I still give them points for the very nice and beautiful background and sceneries. So when the story is a bit slow and the characters aren’t cute enough to look at, looking at the sceneries and the nice lightning and hues would be a better eye candy. After all, since this series was going to tackle the theme of colours, at least they get this area satisfactory right. I also want to point out one of the strangest 3D visuals ever. The fireworks in the future! So futuristic that you have fireworks rotating in 3D fashion! Like as though some programmer uploaded his hologram of the fireworks in the night sky. It didn’t really amaze me because after watching traditional fireworks for so long (in anime of course), this one does look weird seeing fireworks being displayed so. And of course, the future of such fantastic visuals are holograms! Holograms everywhere!

Voice acting feels pretty normal. It’s mainly drama after all so nothing really spectacular. Didn’t recognize anyone except for Sayaka Ohara as Kohaku’s mom. The rest of the casts are Kaori Ishihara as Hitomi (Konoe in Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru), Shoya Chiba as Yuito (Sing in Banana Fish), Kaede Hondo as Kohaku (Sakura in Zombie Land Saga), Seiji Maeda as Shou (debut role), Kana Ichinose as Asagi (Ichigo in Darling In The Franxx), Nao Touyama as Kurumi (Lacia in Beatless) and Ayumu Murase as Chigusa (Luck in Black Clover). The opening and ending themes aren’t catchy nor to my liking either and honestly, they sound bland. They are 17 Sai by Haruka To Miyuki and Mimei No Kimi To Hakumei No Mahou by Nagi Yanagi respectively.

Overall, quite a boring and draggy series that wouldn’t work on ‘veteran’ anime viewers like yours truly. Uninteresting story and characters as well as the uninspiring magic that I felt was supposed to play an important role here, fizzle out into something generic and less than spectacular. The irony that it made the series so much less colourful. Now I understand why Hitomi is being a gloomy b*tch for being colour blind for so long. Colours really do brighten up our day and sadly this series wasn’t it. Or maybe we’ve taken colours for granted that we fail to see the beauty and simplicity that is the magic of this love story. Nah. I don’t think so. I wonder what the colour of disappointments is…

Manaria Friends

May 11, 2019

I never expected this series would see the day of light that it would get released. You see, a few years ago when Manaria Friends was scheduled to be released, it was then hit with some sort of unexplained problem that caused it to be postponed indefinitely. So instead, we got the very amazing and awesome sequel of Shingeki No Bahamut. So I suppose whatever technical issues they faced then were solved now since it finally got its airtime. Although it is set in the same world, it is entirely a different storyline and not related to that fantastic action adventure. The daily lives of 2 best friends from 2 different races studying and spending time together in this exclusive academy.

Episode 1
Princesses of their respective races, Anne and Grea are having breakfast together. Anne asks why Grea studies here at Manaria Academy and it is because Grea’s mom was an alma mater. Suddenly Lou comes crashing in. It seems there is an emergency at the library. The phoenix guardian is mad after Lou accidentally stepped on it. With the librarians having a hard time dousing the fire, Anne steps in and unleashes her frozen magic. In the aftermath, Hanna beats herself up over her uselessness to contain the emergency and believes she isn’t fit to be the class rep. Anne then returns to Grea and is shocked to find her still waiting at the same place just for her. I guess it’s too long the wait that it’s time to go get something to eat. Owen narrates he is one of the greatest paladins of the kingdom. But one day he is tasked to be in the service of the princess. He notes Anne is blessed with great magic and has long studied how to be an effective ruler while striving to improve herself, thus making her popular at school. However he noticed a hint loneliness in her smile. Owen keeps watch over her but he looks like a suspicious stalker…

Episode 2
Grea is in great pain that no magic or medicine can help. When Lou brings in forbidden books thinking it might help, Anne gets an idea and darts off. So she’s like rushing to every place and completing some sort of tasks to get the whatever? Man, why does this arduous journey feel like a method to get the ultimate video game cheat code or equipment?! Even when Anne makes it back, she still needs to analyse it?! You mean it’s not ready?! Can she make it?! Because now something is happening to Grea… Uhm… Just shedding her scales? But since she is fine, this brings a great relief to everyone. Yeah, Grea didn’t remember all that and didn’t realize how big that incident was. Grea gets embarrassed when Anne keeps some of her shed scales. Later Grea thinks her tail has grown bigger is a sign of getting fat. She tries to diet and hide it from Anne. But Anne eventually sees a tail and finds it splendid. Unfortunately Grea didn’t take that as a compliment as she walks away depressed. Was it something Anne said?

Episode 3
Anne and Grea head out to town. Anne thinks her incognito will work but everybody soon recognizes her. In town, they discover a secret alley that leads them to a shop filled with various (cosplay) clothes. Turns out this shop is owned by their teacher, Miranda and this is her big hobby. But since school prohibits a side job, Miranda agrees to let them take whatever they want just to keep quiet. And so Anne tries her hands trying different outfits, much to Miranda’s glee. Grea wants to stay out but the cosplay maniacs force it upon her. She looks beautiful in that dress to say the least. Later when the duo go boating, Grea can tell Anne is afraid since she is holding onto her tail. Anne lets out a secret that she cannot naturally swim although she can use magic to float, etc. Grea thanks her for letting her come along today. Anne so happy that she rocks the boat. Thankfully it did not capsize but has them in an ambiguous yuri position. The mood is right for Anne to ask if she can stay in her room for a sleepover. Sorry, Grea rejects. Anne sounds so surprised… The reason being Grea’s bad habit to sleep cuddling her tail. So embarrassing she doesn’t want Anne to see. After Miranda finishes class, instantly she pops up her atelier and let her passion run wild. Once done, all she needs is somebody to try them. Anne and Grea return to retrieve something they forgot. Welcome, my guinea pigs…

Episode 4
The test is coming so you can see everyone studying and putting their focus into that. But why does Anne feel so sad? Why does she look forlorn? Does she feel left out because she is smarter than the rest? So we see some flashback of her waltzing into some place whereby she saw and heard Grea playing piano underneath some giant beanstalk tree for the first time. The test come and go. I know Anne is so smart that she handed in her paper first and probably got full marks. But does she have to walk away like as though she’s still so sad about something? I mean, what’s eating her? Thankfully, Grea notices this. So she finds her sitting at the piano. So it turns out that she was lonely all the while. Yeah, I guess that happens when you’re a genius. So with the test over, this means she can continue to do friendship thinks with Grea. On a side note, why do I have a feeling this episode feels like promoting this particularly calming piano piece that is permeating throughout the episode?

Episode 5
Finally we get to see some action? The academy is under attack by waves of monsters. Hanna as the student council president is in charge however with buildings collapsing, the monsters advancing their invasion and those getting injured increasing, she is under immense pressure. Will she flip? She wonders what Anne would do in such situation. Anne and some of the other students and teaching staffs are located safely in the other half of the school. Anne wants to help but is reminded of her duty and stay put. With the situation worsening, Hanna makes the decision to abandon their base and evacuate. When they are at a final stretch, a golem pops out from the ground. Grea tackles it but is no match. But thankfully here comes Anne to help out. With Owen guarding her back, she summons a giant knight to stab through the golem. It crashes into a building before crumble. That is when the teacher calls this drill off! Looks like they’re going to take a while to fix this building. Anne is an observer and shouldn’t have intervened. Now look at the damage done. As a teacher tells Hanna the flaws in her leadership, another building goes down. School is going to be closed for a while. Flashback sees the student council planning this drill. Anne was really excited to participate but is told to only be an observer since this drill will help student think for themselves instead on relying on Anne’s powerful magic. Complain this, complain that. Promise this, promise that. What to do? The answer is still the same. Life is so unfair when Anne learns Grea will be part of the intercepting group.

Episode 6
Beach episode! Sexy girls in swimsuit! Oh yeah. While we see a furious beach volleyball game (Hanna using her super flaming spikes while Liz defends by bending her voodoo doll and use Lou to block them all!), we see Grea take Anne through some dark cave. Anne is reluctant to go but Grea insists it was her idea. After all, she wanted to practice without anyone looking and Grea promised to see it through with her. At the end of the cave, a beautiful scenery of ruins by the sea. Anne is still reluctant but after constant pestering by Grea to get into her swimsuit and to not even use any magic, we see Anne being very afraid of the deep waters as she clings on tightly to Grea. Cool Grea guides her on how to float. Anne struggles at first but once she gets the hang of it, it is the best and most beautiful experience ever. Yeah, she’s doing it naturally now. Thank goodness she learns quickly. Thanks Grea. Not sure what happened to the volleyball match but I guess everything got destroyed. You thought Hanna and Liz’s handshake meant something sportsmanship but their grip is so tight… At night, all play sparklers and fireworks. It’s Anne’s turn to pester Grea for a sleepover. Look who’s turning all nervous now.

Episode 7
It must be a slow day as Grea helps Anne with her library job. So bored that Anne reads a book on how to snag a man. It even comes with a love potion. She wonders if it will work on a girl. I guess they’re really bored and no one is visiting the library on a rainy day so Anne suggests playing hide and seek. Anne counts to 100 as Grea hides. Anne is confident to know where Grea is hiding but she’s not there. Slowly as she looks around, the enthusiasm turn into worries. Where are you Grea? Has she really vanished? I guess Anne regrets this game and calls out to her this instant. Then she floats down. Miss me? Instantly teary Anne hugs her. Found you anyway. Later as Grea is invited to drink tea with Anne, she is suspicious if she laced it with the love potion. It doesn’t help with Anne sounding pushy and suspicious. Uh huh. She made it extra special today… As they talk about the books they read, Anne says she reads the kind that would bring them closer. Much closer. Grea freaks out and spills her tea. Is Anne trolling or Grea just overthinking?

Episode 8
Today is a big day. It’s the school play. Miranda just finished putting on Grea’s costume and she looks stunning. Gorgeously stunning. However she is nervous and naturally her stomach feels pain. But Anne interprets that to an extreme point. She thinks it is really big trouble and will use her magic to cure her! Luckily Grea convinces her it isn’t such a big deal. To help calm her down, Anne starts reciting her lines from the play and Grea also follows suit. The play begins with Hanna belting out a spectacular opera-like hymn. With Anne realizing it would be their turn next, now it’s her turn for her stomach to feel pain. Nervous, aren’t we? Flashback to earlier in the morning, we see Hanna up early practising her lines, Grea also up early but still feels nervous and Anne… She just went back to sleep. Pretty confident, eh?

Episode 9
Tension between Anne and Grea?! Really?! It all started because Anne saw Hanna coming out from Grea’s room. Anne was upset that she wanted and begged to go to her room but was always refused. They’re not on talking terms and this awkward silence is causing those around them to fear! It gets worse when Hanna calls Grea for some help. Anne then avoids Grea like a plague. As Grea spends time alone, she remembers all the moments spent together with Anne. I guess that’s when the power of friendship says it is enough. Grea rushes to find Anne and finds her sitting at that piano. The power of friendship weaves its magic. Grea sits next to her, touches her hand and invites her to tea. Okay. There. Back to friends again. We see Hanna giving a brave speech to her fellow student council members. What’s this? Something about some chaos will destroy the world and that this crisis will threaten the peace? Grief and despair? War between nations? She’s going to protect everything? Is she talking about Grea and Anne? Wow. So touching and moving that her friends want to support and help her! As she and her team make their way to Anne and Grea, looks like they’ve already made up and are back to being best friends. Hanna looks like a fool now. Deep in shock, she screams to return all the time and effort she spent to solve this!

Episode 10
With the seniors graduating, Grea ponders how much time they have left together. So Anne gives her a letter and they’ll talk about this when she returns from her trip back home to do some official duties. Now it’s Grea’s turn to be melancholy. She wanders around the campus and not even the library is her best friend. She goes to Anne’s room but it’s empty! Except for the bed. Probably it’s too big to move. Grea feels sad and starts crying. However Owen is here to get her as Anne was looking for her but couldn’t find her. Grea asks about her empty room. You mean she hasn’t read the letter yet? It states her application to share a room with Grea. Remember what she said earlier about how much time they have left together? Perhaps the best excuse to get yuri with her every morning. Oops! With that, Grea signs and acknowledges the slip and makes it official. We see Anne returning to her homeland to do her duties. Once she is done, she wants to leave immediately but her father the king wants to chat. She is not thrilled about it because yesterday’s quick chat lasted till sundown! Hence she makes her sneaky escape through all the secret corridors in her castle until she meets Owen outside for her getaway carriage. She says studying and experience at the school are her important priorities right now. But I can think of the other greater importance… Yeah Grea, Anne’s coming home soon…

Serenade Of The Bahamut: Madonna Friends
After all that mind blowing fantastical action in the first two Shingeki No Bahamut series, is this considered a let-down? Not quite. Even if the pacing here is slow and there is nothing much that basically happens, it is still able to weave a decently beautiful tale between 2 friends. But that is basically so much about it and if you really want a lot more than this, you’re definitely going to be disappointed. This slice of life series is meant to go at a slow and relaxing pace without any sort of convoluted plot and twists that would have ironically undermined the beauty of this series. Sure, there might have been some trolling moments (like the ‘attack’ on the academy) and ‘suspenseful’ moments (Grea being sick as well as Anne and Grea having a fight that turned Hanna into a worrywart, overthinking it to be the end of the world), but eventually it all boils down to the wonderful nature of their friendship. So those who are into fast moving plots, you’ll have to look somewhere else.

Some of the stories are really exaggerated and trolling like that attack on the campus. Even when Grea was sick and Anne and Owen went to great lengths and journeyed across the universe just to get some sort of solution that eventually didn’t amount to anything. Is this their brand of humour? It feels weird but, okay. Whatever. Some just feel like a long draggy drama like that hide and seek episode. You expected some sort of punch line or twist (or maybe jump scare in this instance) but in the end, perhaps we did a Hanna and overthink, thus nothing really happened.

At times I was contemplating with myself if because of the slow and relaxing pacing of the series, with nothing much that happens, are the characters a bore too? Well, there are always 2 sides to a coin. The problem when you are trying to expect something from characters and then they don’t turn out to those expectations, it is surely disappointing. Therefore this series just showcasing their friendship might simply be nothing much. Some might go, “So what?”. But if you stop being impatient to want to see their character development go somewhere, you would realize that being slow and steady is what builds this development. Like they say, it is the journey and not the destination that matters. Therefore watching Anne and Grea’s friendship unravel at a snail pace over the 10 episodes might not seem to amount to anything much but that is where the beauty of this series lies. You don’t come into this anime with any sort of expectations. You just go with the flow and accept all that has to offer. If you do basically just much that, the characters and series are very much enjoyable in this aspect. So sorry folks, don’t expect this to turn into some hentai flick with a hot dragon chick banging a cute human girl.

It would have been a lot better if the series fleshed out more of Anne and Grea’s back story but in some ways, perhaps it is a good thing that we just know them as best friends forever. Anne being seemingly the perfect princess who could do almost everything but she also harbours a few insecurities of her own (like swimming and fear of losing Grea as her friend) that makes her less than perfect as others may seem to think of her. She as after all a princess. At least for the human side. Grea is on the polar end with her character being meek and reserved despite being from the dragon race whom we all have stereotypic views that dragons are fierce and majestic. It makes you wonder if she is of the same dragon tribe that Nina of the original series is from. But I suppose the series do not want to delve too deeply on their character background and instead continued to focus on their friendship. Hence that’s why the English title of this series, Mysteria Friends. Maybe there is a certain charm when you don’t know much about the characters. Because if you do, you’ll look more like some sort of obsessed fan-cum-stalker!

Not much to comment on the other characters with Lou looking a lot like a comic relief character. Due to lack of screen time, she is almost as forgettable as the rest. Including Owen whose role is just hiding from the shadows and guard his princess. Probably the most wasted role ever since there is hardly anything threatening and even if there was, Anne probably could have handled it herself.

If the story and characters do not interest you, perhaps you would be a little more impressed with the animation and artwork. To say the least, the sceneries and backgrounds around the academy are picturesque and quite breath-taking. They are quite nice to look at if you are feeling a bit bored from the slow pace and this eye candy makes it worthwhile to sit through the 15 minutes. Though, the character designs are just normal and average, nothing really that spectacular. Just want to comment how Anne suspiciously looks like Princess Principal’s Princess. And Anne’s a princess too. Hmm… Suspicious… This series is done by CygamesPictures, a subsidiary of Cygames who developed the Shingeki No Bahamut series.

Voice acting is also okay with me recognizing Nana Mizuki as Hanna and Kikuko Inoue as Miranda. But I was stumped to learn Anne is played by Youko Hikasa and going back to listen to her lines again, I still couldn’t really imagine it was her. Maybe I have come to stereotyped her to sound something like Rias from High School DxD so making this slightly squeaky voice made her unrecognizable. The other casts are Ayaka Fukuhara as Grea (Kasumi in Dies Irae), Wataru Hatano as Owen (Gajeel in Fairy Tail) and Kimiko Koyama as Lou (Komoe in To Aru Majutsu No Index). The other spectacular thing about this series is the background music and I believe the piano themes are the one that take the cake. It is slow and easy, definitely relaxing. So once again, if the story and characters are too slow for you, the visuals and the music balance it out to make it enjoyable.

Overall, this series might not be for everyone and personally I was initially on the fence to call it boring or interesting. Seeing the hectic pace that I am watching animes these days, it soon dawned to me that perhaps sometimes this kind of slow and relaxing anime is what I need to relax my mind. So yeah, I personally rate this series to be a little bit more than average towards the interesting side. Perhaps the reason why our main characters’ friendship could blossom so peacefully because the other casts of the original Shingeki No Bahamut were on the other side trying to deal with all the chaos. And then one day, maybe, just maybe when things are so boring and slow, that we’ll get to see some hentai flick of a hot dragon chick banging a cute human girl.

With so many choices and shows these days, it is hard to find a series with a good mix of everything. I doubt that there would be one that can be called the perfect series. But with certain series seemingly having great potential, it would be such a waste not to make a sequel out of it, right? But do you ever notice this? In the case of anime, many series that get their sequels are usually shorter than their prequel. In the sense that they do not get as much episodes as the previous season and some just match the same number of episodes as before. But mostly sequels tend to get lesser or half the number of episodes from their predecessor. It is hard indeed for a sequel to have more episodes than the prequel due to varying factors (budget, contract, video sales, current viewer sentiments, etc). Rare but there are a handful of them out there.

Therefore listed below are some of the anime sequels with extra episodes. Please note that the list below is only strictly reserved for TV anime series episodes and DOES NOT include OVAs, movies or any kind of specials. Sometimes when you add those, you ‘magically prop up’ the number count.

Anime: K-ON! – 13 episodes (2009).
Sequel: K-ON! S2 – 26 episodes (2010).
Thoughts: Probably one of the more famous animes in this category. Cute high school girls forming a rock band and rocking. Is there any other reason not to produce a sequel twice the number of episodes? Rock bands have never been this moe. Continue to always rock on!

Anime: Yama No Susume – 12 episodes (2013).
Sequel: Yama No Susume Second Season – 24 episodes (2014).
Thoughts: I believe there aren’t as many true mountain hiker lovers in the world. Even rarer if you are both a mountain hiker and an anime lover. Even more so for Japan to celebrate when they make their new public holiday, Mountain Day official and thus you have a TV series doubled not only in terms of episodes but the length of the episode as well!

Anime: Aria The Animation – 13 episodes (2005).
Sequel: Aria The Natural – 26 episodes (2006).
Thoughts: Nice, calming, soothing series… We need more of such animes to detoxify ourselves from all those crap we see. Double the dose of boringness comforting peace and monotony tranquillity. Note though, the third season, Aria The Origination returned back to being just 13 episodes.

Anime: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha A’s (2nd season) – 13 episodes (2005).
Sequel: Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS (3rd season) 26 episodes (2007).
Thoughts: I didn’t really continue to see this series. I only have vague memories having watching the first season but I suppose they are one of those magical girls series that are popular to warrant a few seasons throughout the years. Especially when you have popular seiyuu veterans like Yukari Tamura and Nana Mizuki, there is no reason to close the chapter on this series yet. Recently they came out with the fourth season, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha ViVid back in 2015 but it only had 13 episodes.

Anime: Noragami – 12 episodes (2014).
Sequel: Noragami Aragoto – 13 episodes (2015).
Thoughts: Probably there were enough fans who donated enough for Yato to have an extra episode for the second season. Don’t laugh. He might be collecting meagre yen coins but he has been amassing enough of it to make a fortune!

Anime: Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei – 12 episodes (2007).
Sequel: Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei – 13 episodes (2008).
Thoughts: I suppose it still counts even though it is just an increase of 1 stinking episode. Yeah, an episode more worth of despair. Oh, the sequel Zan Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei that came out in 2009 maintains at 13 episodes. Total despair!

Anime: Galaxy Angel Z (2nd season) – 9 episodes (early 2002).
Sequel: Galaxy Angel A (3rd season) – 26 episodes (late 2002).
Thoughts: We can never get enough of the shenanigans of those dumb but lovable military girls. And they do it in a cute and silly way that makes us laugh and don’t mind it all. That is why despite the sudden dip in episodes from the first season (it had 12 episodes if you care to know), a sudden explosion of more episodes to showcase more misadventures that might or might not be related (usually the latter) to their mission. It is just sad the final season, Galaxy Angel X in 2004 was reduced to just 13 episodes.

Anime: Clannad – 23 episodes (2007).
Sequel: Clannad ~After Story~ – 24 episodes (2008).
Thoughts: Dango, dango, dango, dango, dango daikazoku. Was the song too infectious to render a sequel? Hah. Most probably there were lots of Tomoya x Nagisa fans out there that is why they needed to put up another season that is dedicated entirely for this route. By the way, I’m not really a Nagisa fan…

Anime: Girls Bravo – 11 episodes (2004).
Sequel: Girls Bravo Second Season – 13 episodes (2005).
Thoughts: Apparently one season of watching Yukinari being allergic to his harem wasn’t enough. Okay, actually I made that up. But really. A guy who was bullied till he develops some sort of allergies to girls? But we don’t care about all that, do we? Just bring on more harem and fanservice and we’ll be satisfied…

Anime: Hidamari Sketch – 12 episodes (2007).
Sequel: Hidamari Sketch x 365 – 13 episodes (2008).
Thoughts: Cute girls doing cute things. No real plot. Art version. Lovable? Of course. Bring on more sequels. Oddly, only the second season stands as the odd one out with 13 episodes because subsequent seasons, Hidamari Sketch Hoshimittsu in 2010 and Hidamari Sketch Honeycomb in 2012 are reduced backed to 12 episodes each.

Anime: Kanon – 13 episodes (2002).
Sequel: Kanon (remake) – 24 episodes (2006).
Thoughts: I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to include this in but eventually did since the latter version is an expanded remake of the former. I only saw the original version and passed off the remake because I thought it would be more or less the same thing. You can correct me if you want to. Anyway, with Key having an outstanding reputation for making great games with great storyline, it is all the more a good reason why a remake had to be made.

Anime: Wooser No Sono Higurashi: Kakusei-hen (second season) – 12 episodes (2014).
Sequel: Wooser No Sono Higurashi: Mugen-hen (third season) – 13 episodes (2015).
Thoughts: Who would have thought this little yellow mysterious greedy girl-loving rabbit could get an extra episode for its third season. It’s not like Wooser is going to experience some sort of significant life-changing experience, right?!

Anime: Mahoromatic – 12 episodes (2001).
Sequel: Mahoromatic: Motto Utsukushii Mono – 14 episodes (2002).
Thoughts: “Dirty thoughts are bad!”. Yeah, but it didn’t stop them from making more episodes for the sequel, right? And because Mahoro is running out of time to ‘live’, might as well give her more episodes to live her life to the fullest. Yes, a couple of episodes do make a difference for an ex-battle android turned housemaid.

Anime: Oshiri Kajiri Mushi – 20 episodes (2012).
Sequel: Oshiri Kajiri Mushi 2 – 32 episodes (2013).
Thoughts: I didn’t see this anime and would probably never in the foreseeable future just because the art and drawing look so much like it was made for children (in which it is). Wait a minute. A butt biting bug as the protagonist for children’s TV? I know it’s a funny show but take a look at western cartoons for children. They’re all violent, aren’t they? And kids love them! I supposed that is why the increase in episodes for the sequel. Although the third season that aired back in 2014 only had a paltry 10 episodes.

Anime: Sekirei – 12 episodes (2008).
Sequel: Sekirei ~Pure Engagement~ – 13 episodes (2010).
Thoughts: Before there was High School DxD, there was Sekirei. There was harem. There were busty babes and big boobs. There were power fights. And more importantly there was a good story plot that rendered a sequel and possibly more. Hey, at least it got 1 episode increase. Too bad I haven’t heard about a third season for years now…

Anime: Ansatsu Kyoushitsu – 22 episodes (2015).
Sequel: Ansatsu Kyoushitsu S2 – 25 episodes (2016).
Thoughts: Among all the other entries in this list, this is one of the very few series that doesn’t increase by one episode or another cour. Thanks to the relatively odd (even, rather) number of episodes from the first season. And then the second season for a proper ending and closure to everything this series had to offer. Thanks for the life lessons, Koro-sensei!

Anime: Ani Ni Tsukeru Kusuri Wa Nai – 12 episodes (2017).
Sequel: Ani Ni Tsukeru Kusuri Wa Nai S2 – 24 episodes (2018).
Thoughts: An obscure series that not only it got a sequel but a second season that has twice the amount of episodes than its first. I guess we really love our idiot brother. Indeed there is no cure for our dumb brother no matter how many seasons and episodes you put into it. Only more fun.

Anime: Boku No Hero Academia 13 episodes (2016).
Sequel: Boku No Hero Academia S2 – 25 episodes (2017).
Thoughts: A superhero series so great that the sequel had to add another cour for its second season. It also maintained the same number of episodes for its third season a year later. It remains to be seen about its fourth season (yes, it has become this popular and mainstream to warrant another season) but with all the potentials and developments, it is likely it will maintain its current double cour format.

Anime: Shingeki No Bahamut: Genesis – 12 episodes (2014).
Sequel: Shingeki No Bahamut: Virgin Soul – 24 episodes (2017).
Thoughts: Seriously, I never thought this anime would have gotten a sequel that is far more awesome than the already awesome first season. At least not by the way things have ended. Even though in some ways this can be considered as a new series because of the entirely new plotline and new main characters, old ones do make their cameo and the overall lore of the series still remains. So technically still a sequel in my books.

Anime: Wake Up, Girls! 12 episodes (2014).
Sequel: Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou – 13 episodes (2017).
Thoughts: The single extra episode stems from a special episode that aired midway during the second season. Some called it episode 6.5 but others like me consider it to be just another full episode on its own even if that special episode is live action, behind the scenes and interviews with the casts. It’s not a recap so I guess that counts.

Anime: To Aru Majutsu No Index II – 24 episodes (2010).
Sequel: To Aru Majutsu No Index III – 26 episodes (late 2018).
Thoughts: Oh my. What’s with this huge gap in between the second and third season? And I guess with that long wait means with have slightly a little more episodes to spare thanks to the World War III arc being the longest arc ever in the series. At least in terms of adapted anime. When science and magic clash again after a long while, 2 additional epic episodes are added…

Anime: Mob Psycho 100 – 12 episodes (2016).
Sequel: Mob Psycho 100 S2 – 13 episodes (2019).
Thoughts: I wasn’t really hoping this series to get another sequel but yeah, it did. Seeing out main character is going to explode with his emotions and the imminent threat of Claw trying to take over the world, can an extra episode save the day? Spoilers: He did. Sort of.

More Is Not Always Better
The list above is not meant to be exclusive as there may be others out there. Just that I have not noticed them. Too obscure for me to notice? Also, you may be thinking that this list may have omitted a handful of prominent TV animes. If you’re asking about the likes of One Piece, Fairy Tail, Naruto, Lupin III, Gintama or even Bleach, let me just say that I have omitted long running shows especially those with 3 digits because I feel those series itself may have separated episodes into seasons just for their DVD sales purposes but as far as this series is concerned and a series as a whole, it is still the same single season. Get it? And then there are those with too many spin-offs for their own good like the Pretty Cure series that I’m not sure if it is supposed to be actual sequels, spin-off sequels or just spin-offs under the series. Major headache coming…

Animes with ‘confusing’ seasons are also left out. Particularly the Monogatari Series. Yeah, there are so many stories in there so much so I am not sure which is supposed to be which. So to avoid having brain damage I just omitted this one. Same case for OreImo. Technically the second season had more TV episodes (actually by just 1 episode) but there are a few special episodes after that which I am not really sure if they are TV or OVA or whatever so I left it out. Eventually both seasons had the same amount of episodes. Also left out are those transited from other formats to TV series. A recent example is Houkago No Pleiades. It started out with only 4 ONA episodes before it got adapted into a full 1 cour TV series a few years later. Another confusion surrounding Nanatsu No Taizai’s Seisen No Shirushi and Imashime No Fukkatsu. The former has only 4 episodes and the latter 20 episodes. But many websites listed the latter as the second season although the former isn’t technically an OVA but a TV series. I’m so confused that I decided to leave it out.

Also being left out are those series that split its cours. For example, Shokugeki No Souma. Despite its second season having 13 episodes, its third season has a total of 24 episodes. However it split it to 12 episodes per cour. So I suppose this also confused the hell out of me so I decided not to put it in here. Otherwise the list will be so bloated that people would fall asleep. Haha! Assuming people have such short attention span these days! Not entirely false! The same can be said for Shingeki No Kyojin as its second season had 12 episodes but the third season doubled that although it split it into 2 cours. That’s why I also omitted Sword Art Online – Alicization as it is the longest arc in the series and ‘luckily’ it split into 2 cours. Phew? For the case of Miss Monochrome, the second and third season have 13 episodes each. Despite both cours being shown back to back, they are officially separated as different seasons.

Whether or not having more episodes would make a sequel better all depends on your taste in the shows that you are seeing. Theoretically with extra episodes means extra time means extra content but that doesn’t necessarily translate into something better. Heck, should I do a study if there is a correlation between number of episodes and how good an anime is? Because lately there has been quite a number of sequels failing to live up to its prequel and it is a worrying growing trend. Even so, that has nothing to do with this blog’s topic. Whatever the reasons it may be, I hope you enjoy the animes you watch.

Banana Fish

May 5, 2019

Oh no. With a name like that, Banana Fish really sounds very fishy and the kind of anime that I think I would clearly stay away from. Because the promotional poster and its synopsis seem to hint of some possible gay yaoi BL thingy. Banana Fish. BF. Boyfriend. Uh huh. Handsome American boy meets handsome Japanese boy in America. Uh oh. I can see where this is going. And even more so when I read that the main character is a sex toy to some old powerful guy. Yikes. However my guts were ringing like hell and telling me it wasn’t going to fall into that bias stereotypic of mine. It was going to be different. A lot different. Homosexuality, child trafficking, child pornography, paedophilia, drugs, street gangs. Wow. Welcome to America, people.

Episode 1
Nearing the end of the Iraq war, a group of Americans are resting and hoping they will go home when one of them, Griffin Callenreese fires and kills many of his own men. He is taken down but still alive. The only thing that comes out of his mouth is “Banana Fish”. In current time, Ash Lynx meets a dying man who hands him some pill and address. Noticing a few punks chasing this dead guy, Ash learns they were sent by Dino Golzine. He goes to see him and is upset about not keeping his promise not to kill anyone. Dino says he was a rat and it was necessary to take him out. Ash returns to his home as Skip informs him that a couple of Japanese guys are coming to interview him for their article on street gangs. Meanwhile the scientist informs the worst to Dino that something precious has gone missing. Want to bet it’s that pill? We see Griffin in Ash’s care. Although he is a vegetable and can say nothing but Banana Fish. This intrigues Ash because that dead guy also said the same thing. Ash sees Dr Meredith to analyse the contents of the powder in this pill. Dino of course suspects Ash has gotten something that belongs to him and summons him for questioning. Ash plays dumb but Dino isn’t convinced. So when Ash returns home, he knew Dino has sent his men to search his place. With the men finding nothing, Dino believes Ash is being careful and assigns Marvin to take care of it all. Hence Marvin makes a deal with Ash’s rival, Frederick Arthur. The Japanese photographers, Shunichi Ibe and Eiji Okumura meet the NYPD guys, Antonio Jenkins and Charlie Dickenson. Meredith can’t make head or tail of this drug. As for Banana Fish, it is from a short story of JD Salinger. In the story, if you see a Banana Fish at sea, you feel like dying. Ibe and Eiji set foot in Ash’s turf. I guess young Japanese guy isn’t sure of the American custom and still trying to be the polite Japanese, he asks Ash for permission to look at his gun! Surprisingly Ash does so. Skip believes Ash takes a liking for him since he never lets anyone touch his gun. Ash receives a distress call from Shorter Wong to get out of here now because Arthur has rounded up some guys to get him. Yeah, he should have called earlier because they’re now busting the place. However Ash soon realizes he isn’t the target and that they’re after Skip. They also kidnap Eiji too since he is with the boy. Ash borrows Shorter’s bike to give chase.

Episode 2
Ash confronts Arthur and Marvin. He is forced to throw down his gun to save the duo but Arthur now punches him as payback (for damaging his fingers). They are then imprisoned but because Marvin is such a gay pig, he wants to f*ck Ash in exchange of putting a good word to Dino. Ash pretends to allow him but once the fatty lets his guard down, Ash beats him up and they all escape. Too bad they hit a dead end. Eiji isn’t breaking the steel pipe to fight back. In fact, he is going to use it to jump over the barbwire brick wall! Yeah, he was once a pole vaulter. Eiji is successful and Ash is amazed of this beautiful ‘flight’. Of course Eiji lands hard. Wooden crates break his fall? Thank goodness it didn’t pierce him. Bleeding Eiji manages to call NYPD before losing conscious. Eiji might feel bad he left Ash and Skip behind but with the details, Charlie can move in and act now. Before Marvin could take Ash away, Shorter and his gang arrive for some gang fight. Marvin points his gun at Ash but then shoots Skip. Charlie arrives too late. Ash is mad as he chases Marvin. By the time he arrives at his place, he sees Marvin’s dead body. A gun on the floor. Oh no. Too late. The police are here. You’ve been setup. Evanstine interrogates Ash and this bad cop tries to provoke Ash into talking by taking out all the child porn material that they found in Marvin’s room. You see, Ash was one of his porn child actors. Evanstine plays a cruel video of that porn scene of Marvin doing in a young Ash. Hence there is motive for Ash to kill this bastard. Luckily Ash holds in his rage but is taken away. Evanstine is on Dino’s payroll as he reports to the big boss who in turn makes a call to a judge under his payroll too. Charlie tries to talk to Ash but Ash already knows what kind of fate is in store for him. Especially Dino owning a team of big shot lawyers. Charlie hopes Eiji could talk to Ash seeing he trusts him but Eiji being a lousy liar, Ash somewhat envies Eiji for being able to ‘fly’. Eiji is so touched that he comes out crying?! Yeah, he can’t force this guy to talk. More bad news as the judge has sentenced Ash to state prison. Their only hope is Max Lobo who is imprisoned there. Ash is ushered in and all the prisoners are making wolf calls at this pretty boy. Ash the target? More like his ass would be the first target!

Episode 3
Charlie makes a plea to Max to protect Ash. Luckily they are cellmates as Max tries to be friendly with him but Ash knows the pitiful columns he writes for a certain newspaper. As Max shows him around, Garvey tries to make a move on him. Ash loses his temper and beats the sh*t out of this guy. He is thrown into solitary confinement but that didn’t rough him up or make him repent the slightest. Ash remembers ever since Dino took him in when he was young, he has been waiting for a chance to be free. But to do that he must go up against him. Knowing the drug is the cause and key to it all, he needs to get word to Meredith and Griffin to stay away from it. But how? He is being closely watched. The phones tapped and the letters will be scrutinized. It looks odd that Ash allows Garvey to f*ck him up in the library. In the infirmary, he requests for a pill for his headache. Ash learns that Max also knows about Banana Fish. Somewhat. He believes Banana Fish is a person. There was some guy who wrote an article on the Iraq war. It is unclear if Banana Fish is an individual or an organization but it is connected to drug trafficking. Oddly, the rumours died out after 2007. Max supposedly knows this guy but Ash points out he is already dead. Max is also after Banana Fish as he had a friend who was seriously messed up by a bad drug. When Ash learns his friend is Griffin, he knows Max is the one who shot Griffin, his brother and put him in this vegetative state. Ash isn’t his real name but Aslan Callenreese. Ash blames him for leaving Griffin there to die although Max has done everything in his power to help him. Griffin can’t even recognize his own brother, will he even recognize Max? When Ash gets out, he will kill him. When Eiji comes to visit Ash, it seems Ash flirts with him and before they go, kisses him!!! This gay moment is only because Ash slipped a pill into Eiji’s mouth. Eiji knows something is up as he takes a look at the message inside the pill. He wants him to go to a shop in Chinatown and meet Shorter. Just say Ash sent him and tell him what he gave to Meredith to hide it somewhere. Max is affected so much that he sees Griffin in Ash and almost tries to kill him! Eiji enters the shop but is told that person is not around. Eiji isn’t careful as he isn’t aware Dino has sent spies to tail him. And since he said the doctor’s name… Before he knows it, he is confronted by Arthur.

Episode 4
Arthur threatens to kill the doctor if Eiji doesn’t talk. He spills everything and yet Arthur is going to kill. He is going to make Ash pay by taking away everything precious to him. Luckily Shorter is here before anyone dies. After getting the drug, Griffin miraculously got up. But Abraham Dawson panics to see him alive and shoots him. In the commotion, Arthur and his men escape. Meredith treats Griffin personally and can’t bring him to the hospital or the mafia will track him. Max changes cell? Yeah, some bull guy is now Ash’s cellmate and he wants to get gay with this guy. Ash isn’t a pushover and beats him up and would have killed him had not worried Max returned to stop the fight. When Eiji is finally reunited with worried Ibe, he mentions about Griffin saying Banana Fish when he saw Abraham. Meredith kept some of the substance and believes it is something like LSD but it symptoms last longer. Even way past 24 hours. The lab rats went aggressive and killed each other. It might have something to do with the recent strange suicide cases. Ibe wants Eiji to return to Japan now as it is getting dangerous. Eiji will not do it despite Ibe is only concern for his safety. What will Ibe say to his parents if he really gets killed? Worst scenario happens as Griffin dies. It is suggested they don’t tell Ash for now so he won’t do anything stupid like breaking out of prison. Charlie then calls Max to tell him this. Meanwhile Ash is being beaten up by Garvey as per Dino’s orders. Of course he fights back and when Max comes to break them up, accidentally mentions about Griffin. I’m sure Garvey won’t bother Ash for a while after sticking a fork in his crotch! Ouch! Ash pesters Max about Griffin and uses that betrayal psychology to talk. Max says Griffin is dead. Ash is in shock and beats up Max if he tries to get near him. Max has had it playing Mr Nice Guy and fights back. I guess this got nowhere so the duo go back to their cell to talk (Max transferred back?). Max tells how Griffin was his buddy. But the Iraq war totally did him in. Friend or foe were alike and he couldn’t take it and relied on drugs to get through. Ash in turn tells him all he knows when he was first handed the pill and address. Ash was fortunate to be brought up by Griffin and without him, would have starved to death. After the war, he was so weak he couldn’t even take a piss himself. But that is all over now. Griffin isn’t around anymore.

Episode 5
With Jenkins pulling strings, Ash is able to get out on bail. So as Charlie picks him up, Ash puts up an act of wanting to see Griffin so Charlie tells him the truth. More crocodile tears to let Charlie’s guard down. Then Ash steals his gun and kicks him out of the car. Charlie and Ibe struggle to contain him but Eiji decides to side with Ash and drives the car away. Meanwhile Arthur bugs Dino about this Banana Fish. Dino says that it is not a human but a drug. A drug that will change the world. Ash reunites with Shorter who wants to help Eiji with his fight against Dino. Ash was reluctant at first but since Shorter has a reason to go up against Dino and Ash can’t do it alone, Ash allows it. Even Eiji too. He was forced to retire from pole vaulting due to injury. Ibe saw him depressed and decided to bring him to America. Because he feels responsible for all this, he wants to see this one till the end. Ash gives Eiji a gun and teaches him how to sue it because when the fight starts, he won’t be able to protect him. Then Ash goes to see some Chinese corporate guy, Lee Wang Lung who seems to be on bad terms with Dino. He will help those who goes up against Dino and is more than willing to lend Ash a truck as per his request. Ash then explains about Club Cod. It’s not a seafood restaurant. It serves humans. In this secret club, Dino is the head and runs the operations of selling young boys to other prominent figures. That way, he makes a profit and has control over them. The club catches young runaway boys and sell them. They are drugged so they can’t run and only have a few years to live. Dino is always here in the middle of every month. Max just got out of prison and he goes to see Ibe and knows Ash will be at Club Cod. When Dino arrives at Club Cod, Ash begins his move. Shorter drives the truck to ram into the area. WTF Ash standing atop the truck and shooting?! Yeah, he got Dino’s shoulder. If not for Arthur’s men sniping Ash (on his shoulder), it could’ve been bad. A gunfight ensues in the chaos. Max and Ibe arrive and tell their friends to escape via jumping into the sea. Even after escaping, Ash still wants to continue picking a fight so Max punches him out and they all take refuge at his place. Dino orders his men to capture Ash alive. He doesn’t care what they do as long as they bring him back to him because Ash is his.

Episode 6
Ash and co return to his father’s home in Boston. Although stepmom Jennifer is happy to see him, Jim isn’t. Ash only wants the keys to the house Griffin used to stay and they’ll leave once the truck is fixed. Jim continues to dislike his son and considers his friends as manwhores. Ash relates that he and Griffin were born to different mothers. In the house, they find an old album. There is a photo that has Abraham’s picture in it. It must have been Griffin’s old platoon. Locating this dude, they find out his address similar to the one Ash was given. He lives in LA. As Jim continues to have bad blood with Ash, Eiji gets mad. I guess it’s time for dad to reveal how things turned out. When Ash was young, there was a military veteran who lived up the hills. The kids loved him and he coached a baseball team that Ash was in. One day, Ash came home messed up and he knew what happened. He was taken to the police but since everyone loved that army dude, they blamed Ash for seducing him. Hence Jim had no choice but to tell Ash that if anybody tried to same thing on him, just allow it but make him pay for it. A year later, Ash shot that guy with Jim’s gun. When cops searched his house, they found bones of children in his basement. Although Ash wasn’t found guilty of anything, Jim sent him to his sister’s place but subsequently he ran away. That night, a couple of guys enter the store just when Jim and Jennifer are about to close. Turns out they are Dino’s men and they take them hostage to lure Ash out. Ash has no choice but to give in. Lucky the fast thinking of his friends distract them for a while. Ash is able to fight back but unfortunately Jennifer was shot and killed. Jim was shot too but only in his shoulder. After killing Dino’s men, Jim tells his son to leave now as he has a friend to call the ambulance and cops over. Jim puts his fingerprints over the murder weapons so as to clear their name. After learning Ash is up against a big mafiaso who killed Griffin, Jim gives his blessings. No time for father-son reconciliation as they have to get running. Meanwhile Dino sees Wang Lung and informs how his Banana Fish will have no impact on his business. In fact, he is willing to relinquish some European territories to him next year. All he needs is his cooperation to catch Ash. He wants that kid because he has 2 journalists with him and will stop at nothing to stop to leak. Since they are heading to LA which is under Wang Lung’s territory, Wang Lung will send his men Yut Lung for the job. A week later, Ash and co arrive at the city of angels.

Episode 7
The gang stops by at Max’s home. Max is happy to greet his son, Michael but his ex-wife, Jessica is still mad at him. Because she is acquaintance with Ibe, she lets all of them in. So apparently this short detour is because Max wanted to leave a birthday present for Michael. After doing so, they head to the address but see Yau Si assaulted by some thugs. They manage to chase them off as they learn Yau Si is Abraham’s nephew. Of course, Yau Si himself is adopted. You didn’t think Caucasian parents could suddenly give birth to an Asian kid, do you? Currently, his father is missing. They check his room and find it messy. Ash hacks the computer to find more info about Banana Fish and they all realized it is a drug. Meanwhile Shorter who was sent to find out more on Yau Si because Ash finds him suspicious is now in a conflict. He was told by Lee Hua Lung (Lee’s younger brother) to be the traitor and report Ash and his buddies or his sister, Nadia dies. When he returns, he gets rough with Yau Si and demands to know the truth. Then he sees his dragon tattoo, a seal of the Lee clan and realizes that he is Yut Lung. Yut Lung drops his soft spoken demeanour and reminds Shorter that he will now take orders from him. Ibe remembers their visa has expired so Ash plays the bad guy to go tell Eiji he needs to go home because from now on it’ll get dangerous and he’ll just be in the way. Eiji accepts his fate but can’t help feel sad about it. Max knows Ash is going back to New York, the reason why he also wanted Eiji to leave. It might be Dino’s turf but it is also his home. Yut Lung orders Shorter to kidnap Eiji as bait to lure Ash. Shorter is so mad he wants to kill him. But he can’t. He still feels grateful for the Lee clan for helping his family survive in a foreign land. But not anymore. They are the same like Dino. Meanwhile thugs barge into Jessica’s home.

Episode 8
The thugs call Max to bring Ash over if he knows what’s good for his wife and son. Ash has Shorter stay behind to guard the Japanese as he feels something is off because if they wanted to lure them out, they would move the hostages and set a trap. When Ash and Max arrive, the police are already here. Jessica and Michael are fine. The cops came because earlier on Jessica was on the phone with a friend and he alerted the police. Yut Lung begins his move as he poisons Ibe and uses his acupuncture needles to knock out Eiji. While Eiji is out cold, Ibe can still see and hear. Yut Lung wants Ibe to witness all this so he could tell Ash what happened. By the time Ash realizes Yut Lung is the traitor and rushes back, they’re already gone. Another stranger pops in. But he is Alexis and this is supposed to be his home. Meanwhile Shorter regrets his actions but vows to protect Eiji. While waiting for the transit to New York, Arthur shows up to bring them back. Shorter threatens to take Eiji’s life and then himself if he does funny stuffs. Dino sees Senator William Kippard and Colonel Thomas Holstock to assure them about the perfection of the drug for their next experiment. After Alexis injects a serum to cure Ibe’s poison, he shows them a secret science room. The PC was dummy and he was staying in some condo after noticing strange men were tailing him. He came back because the sensor went off after being hacked. When the brothers were still in college, they thought of making drugs to make money. They accidentally created this drug. It wasn’t just some hallucination drug but induced all your emotions and nightmares to a maximum point. Russians once made a hypnosis drug but it was unreliable. Banana Fish makes it 100% reliable. So if you tell a person to kill immigrants, he’ll start doing it. Alexis got scared of its potential as a friend they tested on died but Abraham continued testing it out on soldiers serving in Iraq. So now that he has joined up with Dino and make a deal with the US government, Dino will become to top dog in the underworld. Alexis as a scientist couldn’t bring himself to destroy the drug. I guess the price to pay for that is everybody punching him. As Yut Lung reports to Wang Lung but failed to obtain the drug’s data, Wang Lung is displeased he didn’t do so as he thinks this makes him inferior to Ash. Yut Lung is all dolled up to become Dino’s plaything but Yut Lung as an ulterior agenda. He will never forgive his brothers for killing his mom and now it’s time to destroy them. Thugs enter Alexis’ home and apprehend the guys before burning down the entire place.

Episode 9
Yut Lung is dressed up as a woman and given to Dino as a token of friendship from Chinatown. He wakes up Eiji and the latter couldn’t believe Shorter had betrayed them. Shorter is then turned into a lab rat and injected Banana Fish. He is brainwashed by Abraham to fear Eiji and the only way out from this nightmare is to kill him. But Dino will save this show for Ash. Not sure if Dino had his fun with Yut Lung and Eiji because Ash has arrived. First they have a wonderful dinner as Dino praises the wonderful merchandise Ash was when he was under him. Meanwhile, Sing Soo Ling is now the leader of Chinatown after the elders banished Shorter. He and his gang are trying to make a deal with Ash’s gang led by Alex to fight against Dino. Once dinner is over, all the guests are taken to the execution room where the show is about to begin. Dino watches it from above with Kippard and Holstock. Shorter and Eiji are brought in. With Arthur’s command, Shorter soon picks up a knife to kill Eiji. No amount of yelling could snap him out. He must kill Eiji to get out from this nightmare. After that he will kill himself or live forever being haunted. Eiji is reduced to running and just when you think Ash’s screaming got through to Shorter for once, could it be coincidence? In this short lapse of Shorter getting his conscious back, he pleads to Ash to end it all because he can’t bear the suffering anymore. Shorter returns to his killing machine mode. But just before he is going to kill Eiji, Arthur releases Ash’s chains to hand him a gun. To save Eiji, Ash quickly shoots Shorter in the heart. Abraham is glad the brain is still intact as he could analyse the effects on the brain cells. Ash and co feel awful and only Arthur is laughing like a madman seeing Ash suffering.

Episode 10
Dino and Arthur leave that night for an important event. Yut Lung then relays an important info to Hua Lung. After that he goes to talk to Ash who isn’t in any mood. He leaves a key as a chance for him to escape. He accepts his fate if the next time they meet, Ash will kill him. Sing and Alex attack Dino’s residence. With that racket, Ash makes his move to escape. At the armoury, he tells Max and Ibe to escape while he goes to rescue Eiji. Yeah, Ash is going to gun down those henchmen mercilessly. It seems the next presidential candidate got killed by his secretary before taking her own life. So this is the event that Dino and the rest of the American bigwigs are waiting for? But when Dino hears Ash has escaped, looks like this has become the bigger issue. Sing interrogates a guy about Shorter and can’t believe Ash killed Shorter. In that case he will pay. Yut Lung confronts Abraham and paralyzes him, telling him that Ash is going to come for him like the devil. Ash finds Eiji and busts him out. He promises to protect him. After gunning more men, Ash stumbles into his gang. He gives the orders to destroy all the cars and take Eiji with him. Ash is going to retrieve Shorter’s body. For once Eiji listens and wants him to come back safely. Ash enters the lab and sees Shorter’s body being experimented. Horrified, he becomes mad and pumps all the lead into Abraham until there are no more. Ash then burns the lab and the body. Sing comes in and has the wrong idea. Ash is still in a bad mood and tells him to get out. Stubborn Sing fights him and loses but is let off by Ash. Sing returns to his men. Yut Lung picks them up and will let him off the hook by telling his brothers that he saved him. Sing hates to admit that Ash is much better than him but when they fought, he didn’t even see him as the enemy. He is still trying to know why Ash killed Shorter but Yut Lung will tell the reason one day.

Episode 11
Dino’s mansion is razed to the ground and he now has reporters tailing him. You bet he isn’t in the mood and even more so his favourite pet has escaped. Ash returns to his gang’s base. He orders them to find more info about the gangs who have aligned with Arthur. Eiji observes how Ash’s words are their law and they obey without question. But this isn’t the side of Ash he knows. Making it weirder as he spends more time with him, he learns Ash is afraid pumpkins due to a Halloween prank gone wrong. Is there some sort of bromance brewing between them? They laugh, chat and tease each other like nobody’s business. Oh right. We should expect this. More bromance drama when Ash wakes up at night after a nightmare. He relates he killed for the first time when he was 8 when a man tried to rape him. It still haunts him. With so many blood on his hands, he is still scared especially with Shorter’s death. Eiji comforts him and promises he will always stay by your side. Ash breaks down and cries on his lap. Next day, Ash meets Max. His first plan is to buy an expensive condo. He needs Max help to sign the contract as he is a minor. Where does Ash get all that money? It seems he has used Dino’s accounts to sell stocks and plummet its value. He also knows his secret fake accounts overseas and has wired it to somewhere else. Dino just got all this news and is looking real shocked how someone could hack all his details and use it in his name. Well, when he was f*cking Ash, Ash had a different idea. He planted a spyware in his computer and got all the access and passwords. Now that this has caused a huge damage to the foundation, Dino will have to answer to the dons and won’t be on Ash’s tail for a while. Ash wants Max to find out more about the secretary who used Banana Fish to kill the presidential candidate. Ash buys a condo right next to a building that is owned by Dino. Although Eiji will be cooped up inside this condo for his own good, Max believes Eiji will be his Achilles heel. Dino prepares to leave the country as he gives Arthur his last chance to capture Ash alive. When he comes back, he will strangle him with his own hands.

Episode 12
Arthur is mad. Looks like Ash’s men has been going around killing his. Ash then dares confront Dino at the airport just before his flight to declare war. He thought getting rid of him was the answer but now he will stop whatever he intends to do. Later Ash goes to see another gang head, Bloody Cain. He wants him to stay out of the war between him and Arthur. Cain isn’t obligated to do as he says but as long as he doesn’t hurt his men, they’re cool. Ash and co continue to mercilessly kill rival street gangs even if they surrender. So much so the news’ headlines are hogged with the increased number of gang killings. This has Eiji worried about him because it is not the Ash he knew. Ash insists that power is everything. This tension causes a rift between them but it won’t last long because you know, Japanese are quick to apologize, right? Besides, their bromance is blooming so it can’t break just because of this minor tiff. Cain sees Ash and tells him Arthur met with him to make a deal to become an observer between them. Ash accepts it even though it is a trap because eventually he has to settle things with Arthur. Ash lets Max see a few photos of the bigshots coming in and out of Dino’s building. In addition to Kippard, there is Arthur Smiles who is the White House’s chief of staff. With Holstock, Ash deduces America’s plan to turn Arab into their puppet state. Because America’s official stance is against terrorism there, they will use local terrorists to plot a coup detat. The new government will then ask America for military support. This sounds ridiculous but with Banana Fish, it will be easy. The mafia comes in with the money by investing in heroine distribution in Kafghanistan (WTF type error on purpose?!) that is responsible for 90% of the world’s distribution. Dino will control the underworld with this. When Ash returns to Eiji, he has set up a Halloween party! Pumpkin theme! After the party, you wonder why the guys are asking each other if they have a girlfriend. Does it really matter? Eiji doesn’t but Ash admits there was a girl he liked when he was 14. Too bad she died as someone got jealous thinking she was Ash’s boyfriend. Boy, that escalated quickly. The world won’t let him mingle with normal people anymore.

Episode 13
Flashback shows Ash and Arthur clashed over territorial disputes. Although Ash won, Arthur played dirty and tried to shoot him. Luckily he was such a bad shot that Ash could quickly severed his fingers. Ash and Arthur meet at an abandoned railway line to settle. Cain is joined by Sing as observers. As the fight start, Ash hears the sound of a train coming. He realizes this is a trap as Arthur’s men have hijacked the train and try to gun everyone down mafia style! With Sing throwing Ash’s gun to him, he makes every headshot count. Arthur has his men retreat but Ash manages to sneak on board. Does Arthur have unlimited goons at his disposal? Seems Ash is killing a train load of them. Does Ash have unlimited bullets? He doesn’t seem to need to reload. Meanwhile Eiji wakes up and realizes Ash is gone. Ash’s men are here to take him to the airport and Eiji knows Ash is up to something but decides to obey. Too bad the men can’t keep this a secret and tell him what’s going on. Yeah, now Eiji wants to go to Ash’s side. What’s this about thinking back when Ash told him about death? The times Eiji heard Ash cried numerous times in his sleep calling for his mama? Was it something to do with his tormented childhood and the killing of Shorter? Was his tough leadership a way to cover up his fragile soul? Wow. So many questions. Don’t think they’ll be answered by the time he reaches there. Anyway, Ash just gunned everyone down! Only Arthur is left. He didn’t kill him because he wants to give him a chance to fight? Okay. So on the railway lines, it is a free show of 2 men trying to kill each other with a knife. When Eiji arrives, he calls out to Ash. That distraction gave Arthur a chance to slash across his guts. See what you do, Eiji boy???!!! But Ash is strong and fights back enough to slit his throat. And to finish and make his death permanent, Arthur falls down to the asphalt below. Ash rules! I guess everyone so engrossed with the fight that they didn’t even hear the police coming. Looks like everyone’s getting arrested.

Episode 14
Ibe has doubts if he should separate Eiji from Ash. He brought him here to escape the stiffness of Japan. He thought separating them would protect Eiji but now he feels it would do them more harm. Looks like Ibe will miss his flight too when he sees the gang fight on the news. Ash undergoes surgery and miraculously survives despite the doctor only put the rate of success at 50%. Sing and Eiji are bailed out thanks to Yut Lung. He updates Eiji about Ash’s surgery but the bad news is that Dino is coming back soon. Must have heard the news. Yut Lung tries to tell Eiji off that Ash needs no friends and people like him are just in his way. Eiji admits it and this surprises Yut Lung feel like he wants to crush him. But for now Eiji will be his prisoner. Man, Ash has got 4 hot nurses wanting to look after him and he hates it?! WTF?! Oh, right… Anyway, Ash is soon tasked to take some psychiatric test but he shows us why his IQ is 180 by stumping the psychiatrist with some advanced maths formula. Kippard views Ash a threat and wants him taken out. That night a nurse comes into his room and Ash can tell she is not one of the usual nurses. He can ‘smell’ she is not a real nurse due to the lack of antiseptic smell from her. True enough, she tries to kill him but he fights back. He threatens for answers but she kills herself. Kippard won’t give up but will leave Ash in the hands of Dr Mannerheim who runs a mental health institution. This means having the CIA taking over this case from Jenkins and Charlie. Max visits Ash to tell him he plans to expose the story of Ash stealing from Dino’s accounts upon his return. He has the connections to do so. Ash is soon taken by the CIA and blindfolded. But he can tell where they are headed from the direction the vehicle turns as well as the surrounding noises. Next day, the shocking report all over the news that Ash has died after being transported to the mental health institute.

Episode 15
Yut Lung goes to see Eiji if he is okay but Eiji is smart enough to hide and then hold him as hostage to gain his freedom. Outside, they believe that Ash isn’t dead and if so, Yut Lung will continue to be Ash’s enemy. This means coming after Eiji. With Dino returning and hounded by the media, Max masquerades as one of them and tells him he was the one who leaked the story. Dino hides his surprise when hears news of Ash’s death and orders his men to check. Max and Ibe see the live autopsy of Ash. Looks like the real deal but Max knows better. It is just a kid that looks very much like Ash. True enough, he is being tested by Mannerheim. He is then introduced to a docile patient named Adam. Friendly, right? He actually raped and killed 3 nuns! Thanks to Banana Fish, he is now docile. Mannerheim brings Ash to his lab where there are lots of brain and spine samples for testing. But Ash gets riled up upon learning one of them belongs to Shorter! I thought he burnt it clean? Did he not? Mannerheim concludes by showing him a retarded Alexis. The goal is to control scientist but maintain their intelligence. That is why Ash is heaven sent for this experiment. Ash is then drugged out. Meanwhile Eiji almost gets attacked by a couple of guys (do these people like kawaii Japanese boys?!) but is luckily saved by Sing. He is taken to his place as Eiji explains the truth of Shorter’s death. Before Mannerheim could begin his operation, Dino barges in and wants this to stop. However the CIA guys tell him his place that Kippard is in charge now. Dino has fallen from power as the Corsican Foundation that funds this institute has taken him off the list and put Baron Zakharev as the new person in charge. Though, Zakharev as a newbie still has Dino assist him. Dino then waits for Ash to wake up. He is disappointed he has become this weak so it’s no point killing him. He wants Ash to get back to his usual strength. That is when he will hunt him down and corner and kill him. Max finds out about Kippard as a big investor in Corsican Foundation. Good timing for him, the institute gives a monthly tour and that is like tomorrow. Meanwhile Ash acts like a horny flirty gay boy in front of the camera. Are the guards gay because they are watching in shock. Until Ash throws the sheets over the camera. Obviously the guard who went down to check is gay. He came alone and left the door open to check on him! No surprise Ash gets the better of this dumb guard and steals his stuffs.

Episode 16
Dino lets Zakharev take charge to see how he handles this. And so Ash manages to evade the dumb guards and even knocking out those who come close enough. This is even when the ward is being locked down. He manages to make his way to even take Alexis with him. With the tour cancelled, Max and Ibe take this chance to snoop around. Even they too can bested a few guards before being captured and they play dumb about getting lost. It’s amazing Ash could carry a heavy luggage (Alexis) especially this unbelievable scene whereby they were hanging on the edge of the elevator’s exterior. Ash manages to pull Alexis and himself up! Super genius, super handsome, super strong! So much for this hi-tech security facility because they escaped via garbage chute. The only non-secured place. Heh. Ash is about to make his escape when he sees Max and Ibe being escorted. Now he has to go back and save those old geezers! Why do old geezers have to slow him down?! Anyway, Ash manages to knock out the dumb guard to save them. And they have the cheek to say they came here to rescue him. The trio disguise themselves as a doctor (Max), nurse (Ash) and corpse (Ibe). A horny doctor tries to flirt with Ash and gets punched! Damn Ash looks so hot even as a woman! They steal an ambulance and make their final escape. Zakharev is frustrated Ash has escaped. He is not amused when Dino admonishes him for never being ready to handle this. When Zakharev threatens to make him pay, Dino shoots him. Dino built this project and nobody is going to take Ash but him. Ash learns that Eiji is missing. Looks like now he has to go find and save him even though he is worn out. Otherwise he cannot stop worrying.

Episode 17
Ash returns to his gang. Glad to see him alive. But once Ash finds out what Eiji told Sing, he gets mean with this Chinese dude to keep Shorter’s murder a secret. Eiji had to make him stop. A little bit of tension before the guys made up. Bromance hug? Sorry girls. No kissing. Dino is called by Yut Lung. He sees Hua Lung drugged like a zombie. Yut Lung has done his research on Dino’s Banana Fish project. It seems Yut Lung has carefully planned and killed one of the board members of the foundation. He can kill the rest of them so Dino gets back control of it. In return, he wants Dino to kill the rest of the Lee clan including their wives and children to stop their bloodline. Yut Lung further shows him a garden. He can tell Banana Fish is made out of some mutation of a plant’s alkaloid rather than being 100% pure chemical. Ash won’t even tell Eiji to go home because he knows he won’t listen. Plus, even if he does, he gets worried. So there’s your reason to begin a bromance? They hang out together and Ash does research on drugs and stuffs at the library to even come up with the deduction that Banana Fish isn’t purely all chemical synthesis. All the while, Ash could sense someone is watching him but cannot tell. Is his guts playing a prank on him? True enough, there is someone stealthier than a ninja observing him. He is Blanca, Dino’s retired (now coming out of retirement?) subordinate. Apparently he is here to decline Dino’s request but when he tested and saw how Ash’s Spider-senses was tingling, he is now curious to see how formidable he is. Blanca accepts the job. Ash shows his findings to Max and his colleague, Robert. They report Abraham’s condition. His brain’s neural pathways have been damaged but the doctors cannot determine if drugs did it. If only they could find a causal relationship. Hence Ash goes to prostitute himself by becoming Kippard’s f*ck boy. Damn this fatso is also into young kids! Was he so aroused that he couldn’t even recognize Ash? Too late when Ash reveals himself. The cops aren’t looking for him since he is officially dead. Ash wants Banana Fish but Kippard is willing to die than sell out his country. So much for patriotism when Ash shows him a scandalous photo of Kippard having sex. Probably it’s from Dino. Before Kippard could say anything, Kippard gets sniped between the eyes! Nice handy work from Blanca. Ash immediately hides and knows the sniper is a very professional one to take this shot from afar.

Episode 18
Ash is puzzled that Kippard’s death is not reported in the newspapers. His suspicions confirmed when he sees the news that Holstock just died in a car accident. This is no more than just a coincidence. Then he realizes the only person who could pull this off is Blanca (a book he left behind as clue). In fact, Blanca is staking out opposite the apartment and even showing Dino and Yut Lung Ash’s ‘hideout’. Ash tries to test waters as he stands in front of the window. When Eiji comes in, Blanca snipes at him but only gives flesh wound. Then a personal call from Blanca to confirm it is him as well as Yut Lung to confirm he hired Blanca for this job. Ash is to come for a negotiation. Otherwise Eiji dies. Hence we get one last bromance of Ash and Eiji as the latter invites him to Japan once this is over. And yeah, Ash’s protection of Eiji grows even more solid. When Ash arrives at the negotiation point, Yut Lung gives him a gun to shoot himself. Immediately Ash takes and does so! Everyone is shocked but of course the gun is empty. Even more shocking as Ash asks for a loaded gun! On to serious matters, Ash is to hand over all their data on Banana Fish as well as Abraham. Then he is to go back to Dino’s side. Do all this and Eiji will be safe. Damn, Ash agrees! Yut Lung is in shock he is willing to throw everything away for a boy. Hey, you say it, he do it. What’s the problem? But Ash has only a request and that is to fight Blanca. Can this guy go up against the man who trained him how to fight? Nah. We see Blanca moving like a butterfly and Ash like a baby! Blanca privately talks to Ash and thought he had gotten over his past. He wants Ash to give up Eiji and return to Dino where he will have everything (I thought Dino said he will make him suffer like a prostitute?!). When Dino had Blanca taught Ash how to fight, he was reluctant to do so but realized it gave him a place in the world. He doesn’t want to lose him and ruin himself. Ash will not go back to everything that is fake. Better to be alone than with fakes. At least he is happy with 1 guy who cares about him. Ash’s plea is for Blanca not to hurt Eiji. No can do. He will do the job he is entrusted. So Ash returns to take Abraham, leaves some cryptic message to Ibe like it’s his last goodbye. Then he holds up Max and Meredith to get the data before giving it all to Yut Lung. Yeah, Ash looks so dead now…

Episode 19
Yut Lung wants Blanca to work for him now that his contract with Dino is over. Blanca refuses citing he is retired. Yut Lung won’t give up yet because he is obsessed in killing Eiji. Eiji sees Sing so he could take him to Yut Lung whom he believes knows where Ash is. Yut Lung tells everything and blames him for all this. So please kill yourself. But Eiji is done blaming himself and if he is going to kill to protect Ash, he’ll do it. We see Ash in some ruthless high level talks to use Banana Fish in Kafghanistan and the Maliban (?!) just to show the world America’s might even if it means abandoning their troops. Ash might sound deadly but behind the scenes he dreads doing this. This isn’t the prostitution thingy he signed up for. Well, he isn’t selling his body but his soul. So in some sort of protest, he refuses to eat and this takes a toll on his body. Sing tells his gang that Dino is going to hold a party to celebrate the recent victory of the courts dropping his tax evasion charges. They are going to use this opportunity to sneak in and save Ash. Yut Lung interrupts Blanca’s flirting with the maid. He mentions Blanca’s real name and his shady past as some elite force in Kazakhstan as well as his dead wife. Dino tells Ash about the big announcement at the party that he will make Ash his successor and son. However Ash cannot stop laughing and mocks people like him only sees him as some sex toy and dirty toilet. Is this what the American dream is? Dino beats him up only to be stopped by the doctors. He is going to teach Ash everything and make him his chaste wife. When Blanca and Sing visit Yut Lung, they apprehended an assassin who failed to kill Yut Lung. He poisoned himself. Luckily Yut Lung got a flesh wound. It seems Blanca is here to agree to his deal to be his bodyguard although the only condition is to protect him. Blanca then reports to Dino that he has made a contract with Yut Lung because he knows his past. Eiji and Sing begin planning their party ambush. The more the better because Cain’s side joins in.

Episode 20
At the party, Ash is temporarily blinded so he can’t see well. Sing’s side crashes in to cause panic. Eiji then points his gun at Dino. Ash recognizes his voice and is stunned he is doing something this reckless. Dino takes Ash hostage to see if he dares shoot. Well, Eiji shoots but only gets Dino’s shoulder. He missed at this range?! At least enough for them to take Ash and run. I can’t believe Ash can still be a sharpshooter at this point. It’s fine if he can even shoot with his eyes close but with all those noises? While the men keep looking for them above ground, they are actually hiding in an abandoned underground station. But when Ash realizes that everyone has gathered here, he orders all to get out because the sewers are like a maze. True enough, their pursuers come chasing them and trying to corner them like a rat. Eiji tries to be the bait to get Ash out. Cain knocks Ash out to bring him back to his base but Ash won’t be grounded. Hence Ash is spotted trying to take refuge in the museum. Yeah, museum has bad security. Heck, none at all. Yut Lung decides to catch him without Dino’s help. He gets to see how formidable Ash is when he snipes at his men. Unheeding Blanca’s advice to stay put and play the waiting game (because Yut Lung wants to catch him first), he sends some of his men inside and they got panicked by the darkness as Ash slaughters them all. Blanca knows this is Ash’s plan to draw himself attention as this means Eiji is still underground. Too bad he has just been caught. With Cain and his men driving by to do some chaos, Ash takes this chance to take Yut Lung hostage. Bad timing as Eiji and co are also brought here. Ash wants him to bring the hostages in if he is ready for negotiations. Eiji and all his men for Yut Lung. Blanca agrees to his terms and when both sides are exchanged, Ash and Blanca take pot shots at each other. In the aftermath, Yut Lung is shaken and Dino heard about what happened. It’s his turn to take charge of hunting down Ash.

Episode 21
Sing limps back in and he is very worried about his men being taken hostage by Yut Lung. He wants to go rescue them or they’ll be killed. It’s time for Ash to work his magic again. Once they find where they are being held, they bust in. Everything ended so easily that Ash feels something is off. Why were they held in an obvious place? If they were important hostages, why were there so few guards? This is all part of Dino’s plan as he shows Edward L. Fox the fruits of his labour of raising his ‘son’. Ash and Max reunite for the first time since the former’s ‘death’. Max needs his help to infiltrate a gay club run by Frank Zareb AKA Frog. He used to round up boys for Dino. While Dino doesn’t use pictures to blackmail his clients and only serves as insurance, Frog does otherwise. Ash is forced to rekindled unwanted memories of Frog and his men taking dirty pictures of him as a kid. Ash is tempted to kill him but with Max stopping him, they only get the pictures of victims. Ash wants Max to use his photos only since he is dead but Max just burns everything. Frog is later killed by Fox. When Cain’s men start getting killed, they thought it was Dino’s men. But Ash felt something strange about the way they attack and weapons they used. Some research and info digging reveal they are former elite soldiers who served in many missions and are officially dead. Their regiment leader is Fox. People like them love war because it allows you to legally kill. With Max and Robert targeted, Ash advises to put some guard for their family. Better still, Jessica joins in! So it’s safer to leave their son with some other relative? When Eiji asks Ash of putting himself in the enemy’s shoes, Ash starts to realize their viewpoint. The killings are to stir up the chain of command and see how the leaders act. True enough, they spot the soldiers taking formation outside their hideout. Ash has everyone divided into several groups and plan their several diversions and exits. They are to meet at the pier in 48 hours. The battle begins. Ash does what he does best at surviving. However that may be cut short because Fox has got Max and his side captured. They use them to lure Ash out in which Ash shows himself.

Episode 22
While Max and the captured are taken elsewhere, Fox interrogates Ash. It seems Fox wants Ash to join him and they can rule the world via the foundation. Of course Ash laughs at this and vows never to submit. So Fox’s idea is to rape him?! Why are all the old men so gay here???!!! Saved by the call from Dino. Because as Fox goes to answer it, his men continue to abuse Ash. Fox’s carelessly threw his unextinguished cigarette butt means Ash used it to burn the ropes and kill those men! With Eiji and co charging in, Fox and his men escape. Ash is shaken from all this but a hug from Eiji calms him down. Lao Yen Tai, Sing’s right hand man argues with him about being submissive to Ash. He will not accept this. Also, he is secretly working with Yut Lung and although he wants out, he is forced to continue because this is the only way he could protect Sing who is also his half-brother. Max and his men interrogate Max for the important data but he remains stubborn knowing he will at least be kept alive as bait to lure Ash. Ash and Jessica manage to get that data Max stored safely in the vault. Jessica goes through it and sees the incredible data that would turn the White House upside down. Some of Lao’s men want to kill Ash and Yut Lung gives them the green light although he knows they can’t but at least they may kill Eiji. Blanca against Yut Lung’s orders goes out to find Eiji because that Japanese boy must not be allowed to die. Another moment of bromance between Ash and Eiji. Yeah, they’re talking how they would love to experience the other’s lives. I guess we got some free time that Eiji teaches him some basic Japanese. Was the bromance too good that they didn’t notice Lao’s men entering to shoot?! If not for Eiji’s quick reflex, Ash would have been gone. But Eiji gets some lead in his guts. This turns Ash into a monster as he guns them down mercilessly and continues to do so even when they’re dead! Eiji is glad Ash is safe before losing consciousness. There, you wanted to trade places. Now you got it. Having fun?

Episode 23
Eiji is taken to hospital and a frantic Ash wants to go with him, only to be stopped by Blanca. Ash is still stubborn but is told that by doing so, they will only link Eiji’s relationship to him and make him a criminal. Frustrated Ash calms down but he has no time to rest. He summons everyone for a rescue mission. Before that, Sing apologizes for his men’s betrayal and will take responsibility. This means a one on one fight with Ash after this is settled. Lao cannot accept this and runs his mouth. Sing punches him and that’s it for Lao. He calls it quits. Ash agrees to Sing’s demands seeing he had that determined death in his eyes. But inside Ash is breaking as he keeps worrying about Eiji. Since when is he religious and praying to God to take him instead of Eiji? Blanca returns to Yut Lung and is forced to listen to his tragic story. His father was the most powerful man for overseas Chinese. His mom, a poor street vendor became his mistress when she was just 10. He was 65 then. When Yut Lung was 6, father suddenly died. Yut Lung is forced to watch his brothers rape and kill his mother. Thus Yut Lung believes he has the right to hate. And so like Ash, they are just demons underneath a beautiful face. He wants to tell him that he cannot be saved. Not by something so fragile.

Blanca resigns from Yut Lung’s employment. Now it’s his turn to tell his story. During his time in his elite force, he lacked emotions until he met his wife, Natasha. The government opposed their marriage but it was the first time he defied them. When he was away on a Crimean mission, she was killed. A terrorist group claimed their doing but who knows it could be the government. That is why Blanca opposes Yut Lung from taking Eiji from Ash. He learnt to hate but not to love. One cannot be loved unless you love. At least Ash knows this. I guess resignation accepted. Just go to your freaking Ash. And so Blanca did and have him hire him as his ‘driver’. But before they head to the mental institution, Blanca takes him to the hospital to see Eiji one last time. Because cops come to check on him every midnight, he must make it quick. Ash sneaks in and is sad to see Eiji sleeping. He says goodbye but Eiji could recognize that voice and musters enough strength to wake and tell Eiji to go. What a teary goodbye. Outside the mental institution, Ash tells Blanca his plan. He collaborated with Jessica to leak data on Banana Fish to the media (because either way, he knows the hostages will be killed). Because of that, Dino is now forced to suspend activities as he goes into damage control mode. Dino orders Fox to guard the place and kill all the hostages and send it back to Ash. As Dino and his entourage leave, they are ambushed by Ash’s men. Dino is taken hostage by Ash. Fox sees this and tells Mannerheim to give all the research data and drug samples to him. Ash takes Dino back to the institute as a bargaining chip for the hostages’ release. But Fox confronts him and gives his answer: He shoots Dino!

Episode 24
Fox orders his men to plant bombs all over the facility before they make their getaway. However Ash manages to escape despite being anaesthetized. Fox orders the lockdown of the facility but looks like somebody overwrite it. Dino?! Oh Fox, you failed in your mercenary teaching to always make sure somebody is dead. Jenkins and Charlie see Eiji in hospital. They say that thanks to Max’s evidence, an official investigation on Club Cod will begin. Ash will not be charged as he is the victim and they’re here to hear his side of his story. Too bad Eiji doesn’t know where he is. Cain’s men are in a gunfight with the elites to rescue their comrades. But it is Jessica who is badass, diving in and making her shots count. Like wow WTF?! Only in American where divorced couples can find romance in danger and want to remarry again. Good for you, Max. Sing neutralizes a few guards escorting Mannerheim. The doctor runs off by himself and is unfortunate to become Ash’s hostage. However he is shot and killed by Fox. I thought this guy wanted to tame Ash because he sends a helicopter unit to fire like hell! Is he that confident Ash won’t die from this?! Thanks to Blanca being a great sniper, Ash can have his one on one fight with Fox. Fox stabs his shoulder but Ash conveniently grabs a power tool and drills into him. Because one of the dying elites set of the bombs early, this blows Sing off. Ash has to rush to save him and tells him to just drop the Banana Fish samples. Hollywood cliché but Ash making this mistake of not making sure his enemy is dead? Yeah, Fox tells him to drop the kid or else. It’s Ash’s lucky day as Dino shoots Fox in the head. I guess Dino knows everything is over for him. So he just falls into the sea of fire. Sing doesn’t understand why Ash saved him. Had they kill each other, somebody else would have profited from it. Let’s just end everything right here.

Next day, the White House issues an official apology in light of government officials buying young boys as sex toys. Sing confronts Yut Lung and pulls a gun on him. Yut Lung accepts his fate but Sing won’t kill him despite ranting how he trusted him not to betray their Chinese brothers by teaming up with Dino. He was just jealous of Ash being able to open up to Eiji. It’s time to move on. Things in Chinatown have gone so out of control that it isn’t safe anymore. He hopes they can bring order back. Ash sees Blanca who will leave for the Caribbean tomorrow. Ash is okay in not seeing Eiji off. He always knew he was always trouble to him but couldn’t accept it. He describes Eiji as a warm person, a kind and honest person who completes him. He considers him his friend and if they never meet again, at least he could think about him. When Sing visits Eiji, he realizes Ash hasn’t visited him. Eiji gives him a letter for Ash. But where to find him? He is sure he is at the library. Sing is mad that Ash didn’t see Eiji one last time. Ash doesn’t want to get him involved again. Sing is willing to be his messenger but no words from Ash. The usual gang see off Ibe and Eiji. The latter finds it sad that Ash didn’t come but at least his gang members are here. Sing lies to put Eiji at ease by telling Ash wishes him well. Ash reads the letter. It writes of the different worlds they live in. But he is glad to have come to America because he met him. He never felt scared of him the first time but rather he felt he was hurt. He has always thought of wanting to protect Ash from that loneliness he is drifting towards to. At this point I guess it made Ash want to rush to the airport but Lao stabs him! Instant karma as Ash shoots him dead. Ash returns to the library and ‘sleeps’. Finally he can ‘sleep’ with a smile. The last lines of the letter reads Eiji’s will always be with him and although he says goodbye to America, he won’t say goodbye to him yet. He believes they will meet again. The greatest friend he ever has. :’(.

Gangstas Of New York
Damn, that ending sure hit hard and it was a very bitter pill to swallow. Despite so, it was really a bittersweet ending. Ash and Eiji didn’t get their final bromance together and although I was really sad that Ash died in the end, it was the only way left for him. After all, he has already achieved what needed to be done and unless he wanted to go back to his thug life, I think in a way that would make Eiji sad. Therefore Ash’s fate has finally come full circle. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. The irony of Ash surviving so many near fatal wounds and this is how he goes out? It is sometimes the most least expected thing that kills you. And for Ash, that is when he let his guard down thinking about Eiji. It’s also sad to think that Eiji left with a wrong impression of Ash’s fate but it’s better for him to return to Japan with a positive thinking. Not much good will be done if Eiji goes back home crying and broken hearted. Maybe he’ll learn about that much later when the news reaches him. Hopefully he will be ready. And even if the tragic fate that the greatest bromance brothers friends can never see each other again, it is good to know that they will always be each other’s best friends, heart and soul.

The plot and pacing of the story are surprisingly interesting. Overall, I could say that there was never a dull moment while watching this. Sure, there are moments when it is slow and the showcasing of the bromance between Ash and Eiji that serves more for building the bond between them rather than some cheap yaoi stuff everyone else thought it was going to happen. From the discovery to the hallucinatory drug of Banana Fish to Ash fighting against Dino and his organization, the ultimate path of this story is Ash trying to find salvation and freedom in his tragic and fragile life. Seeing him going through that journey was an amazing ride thanks to good execution of the story.

At first it keeps us intrigues as to what Banana Fish is in the first place. But once it is revealed what it truly is, the story didn’t lose its momentum as it shifts to the struggles of Ash and Eiji and what they must do next. Hence the title of this series may ironically be prominent in the first half of the series and become some sort of an extra thrown into the back burner of our minds in the second half, but with other developments and potentials keeping our minds preoccupied, this super drug would be the least of our problems when so many other factors come into play.

Ash as the central character is one whom viewers will mainly root for. His character is given ample and a lot of screen time to develop and flesh out properly. At first Ash might look like an overpowered character (but without any super powers) because of his sharpshooting and very keen observation. Besides his good looks, he is also very intelligent and knowledgeable in just about everything. Not forgetting his personality that can range from being suave and charming to tough and determined gang leader. Everything about him is almost oh so perfect save for his tainted past. When you discover the atrocities that Ash had to go through since young and the need to survive, it makes all his ‘overpowered moves’ to seem more justifiable. That is why in a way Ash is a lot relatable to us than other fictional characters with superhuman powers. The struggles of an exploited young soul and the decisions he is forced to take to survive in this dog eat dog world all rings too familiar in this sad reality of ours. Too bad a lot of us aren’t as hot as him :)… :’(.

Ash always looks strong on the outside but inside he is fragile and breaking down and this shows the human side of him because those who don’t know him would have automatically labelled him as a monster. Many of us could relate this kind of character to somebody we know. Like our mothers. Always being the scary drill sergeant but deep down just a caring delicate soul. This double face is perhaps the best way for Ash to survive. The only way he could be a leader to his men, a post he never wanted to have and stuck with forever.

Eiji is not as prominent as Ash but he is both the glue and hammer that holds him together while at the same time that frees him from his shackles. Ironically he is also Ash’s strength and weakness. Hence many of the situations that they are caught in danger with can be attributed to Eiji. It is that dilemma situation of because of Eiji was there, it happened. And also because Eiji was there, things got to work out the way it should. Hence Eiji is truly a catch-22 situation for Ash. But I believe that Eiji’s presence has brought a lot more good to Ash than bad. Ash wouldn’t have been able to fight against the oppressed had not Eiji come into his life. Yes, they faced many dangers along the way but that is only expected when one is defying the norm and fighting for your own freedom.

On the same tragic side with Ash but on the opposite end of the polar is Yut Lung. Unlike Ash who seeks salvation, Yut Lung takes the path of destruction. It might be his way to fight from the shadows because his specialty is poisons, he doesn’t go head to head with Ash. Hence it might seem cowardly that he tries to target Eiji to get to Ash. Unfortunately for Yut Lung, Ash always manages to step a few steps ahead of him. That is why Ash is more successful than him in terms of survival. Not to say that Yut Lung isn’t a survivalist but since he inherited his wealth from the Lee clan, he thinks money gives him the power to control. It is true that Yut Lung too has a tragic tale of his own but he isn’t the only one. Hence he has this shallow thinking of what demons like them should act and do. That is why many of Ash’s actions take him by surprise like the time Ash didn’t hesitate to shoot himself when Yut Lung told him to despite the gun is not loaded. Ash was prepared to do what it takes in what he believes in. Can Yut Lung match that determination? That’s why Ash could ‘progress’.

Dino as the main antagonist is also a formidable one instead of some old fart who has power, money and influence and a taste for young boys. Sometimes I thought it was silly when both Ash and Dino were so close to finish each other off, they decide to put it on hold because it is not their ideal way of killing the other. Back to waiting for that other perfect chance. It might sound silly but I looked at it from another perspective. Dino had poured in so much effort to raise his ‘best son’ and he surely had doubts of just killing him like that. Even if Ash is already hell bent on going against him, Dino had all the power and resources to just end Ash’s life like that. But he couldn’t. Because of all the effort put in, he needs to get that ‘satisfaction’ and squeezing him to the last drop before Ash kicks the bucket. And I believe it’s the same for Ash. Not that he has hopes for Dino turning over a new leaf.

Even if Ash ends this quickly by killing Dino, he would not have the chance to expose his secret heinous experiments and thus the vicious cycle goes on. Bringing Dino himself down might be just short term and wouldn’t do anything good. That is why Ash went to great lengths to bring down his organization so that a repeat of creating future monsters will not happen. Otherwise with Dino just gone, another monster would just step in to replace him. Thus the vicious cycle repeating once more. That might happen seeing Dino too met his fate. Glad it wasn’t the aptly named scheming Fox too. Imagine trained elite forces getting owned by street gangs. All that greed for money and power must have really brought their downfall, huh?

I have not much to comment on the other characters but they do play their minor role albeit not much. Like Sing who feels pretty much underused and looks the part because he was thrusted as the Chinese’s leader in a short notice after Shorter’s death. It is to an extent true what Lao said about him becoming Ash’s dog but remember, he was the only one who saw how fearsome Ash could be. You really don’t want to make enemies out of this guy. Literally, Ash could have been America’s representation for shooting at the Olympics. He never misses. Never. Ever. Then there is Blanca who also looks like another overpowered character. Because if Ash who already looks overpowered and cannot best his mentor, what does this say? But instead of being the ruthless mercenary he once was, Blanca plays the voice of reasoning especially to Ash when his head gets clouded each time Eiji is unwittingly involved. Hence somebody like Blanca prevents Ash from making an irreversible mistake that would have ended their bromance a little too sooner.

Max and Ibe feel almost irrelevant in the second half. Though Max did do a few things to help out Ash, Ibe overall feels more like an excess baggage. He is just a setting for a reason why Eiji came to America. Call him a poor guardian because he reluctantly lets Eiji run all over the place but if Eiji is being this stubborn determined to save Ash, what else can he do? It must be one of those longest trips to America for a Japanese. Until Eiji resolves this matter with Ash, looks like they’re looking for an extended stay in America. Remember to extend the visas again. I never had hope for Jenkins and Charlie to be useful cops. Being on Ash’s side doesn’t make their character any good because they look more like useless cops and totally absent in the second half of the series.

There are many social issues tackled by this series that rings so much closer to home and reality because it is still prevalent today. Especially child trafficking, child pornography and drugs. It feels like as long humans exist, these will never end and will carry on forever. Because as long as there are corrupt politicians and the widening gap between the rich and poor, you bet that the latter will definitely be exploited. Money makes the world go round. Everyone has their dark secrets. Too bad a lot of old ugly men here are portrayed as paedophiles. And politics of course. What a dirty word that is today. In the case of street gangs, I guess it is for the sake of this series’ plot that white boys, black guys and the Chinese all come together to fight against the common oppressor. Where are the Latinos, dude?! Internal gang struggles don’t seem to play a big issue with Ash being such a badass that he should’ve been a politician and change the whole political system upside down. Not that I think Ash cares about America as a whole either.

You can’t have gangs and organized crimes without some sort of action. So to say the least, they are entertaining and also satisfying to see Ash gunning down his enemies although sometimes it can get a bit unrealistic because he goes on and on, wave after wave like as though his invincibility AKA God mode and unlimited ammo cheat code have been activated. Although there are lots of blood and deaths here, it is not as gory compared to say, Shingeki No Kyojin. It’s pretty mild to say the least. But this series isn’t shy in killing a lot of characters off. As shockingly early and young as Skip to the typical cliché of villains like Dino and Fox eventually meeting their demise at the end. Some I never expected such as Shorter (not at least on a short notice) and some receiving their just desserts (somehow I just really wanted Abraham and Kippard to just f*cking die). Sorry, no double lovers’ suicide for you fujoshi fans out there.

The art and animation don’t feel like your typical conventional Japanese anime. It is more realistic compared to those sparkling wide eyed anime characters. Sometimes it feels like an American production doing a joint venture with the Japanese to produce this ‘cartoon’. I would also like to give points for the detail of the background since there are details being given attention to that makes you feel that the setting is really in America rather than a Japanese version of what they think of America is like. Of course it is not exactly a masterpiece since there are some scenes that are considered low quality. At least during scenes when they focus on the drama in front and not wanting our eyes to wander to the backdrop behind. To say the least, at least the animation is fluid during scenes that matter. This anime is done by MAPPA who did Shingeki No Bahamut series, Kakegurui, Zombie Land Saga and Yuri On Ice.

Voice acting I only recognized Jun Fukuyama as Yut Lung and a very meek Rie Kugimiya making her short-lived cameo as Jennifer. I thought Max sounded so familiar and it took me a while that this is the voice of Sanji of One Piece (Hiroaki Hirata). Initially I was mistaken to think that Tomokazu Sugita was behind Arthur’s voice but it turned out to be Yoshimasa Hosoya (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin). Same case of mistaken identity to think that Sho Hayami was behind Blanca’s voice although it did sound a little off. It was Toshiyuki Morikawa instead (Julius in Black Clover). My condolences to Unshou Ishizuka as Dino because he passed away in August 2018 from esophageal cancer. Since Banana Fish ran its cour in the second half of 2018, I wonder if he recorded all his lines before succumbing. I thought they would be replacing him with a new voice (like how it was done in Tada-kun Wa Koi Wo Shinai). I may be mistaken because I have this perception that seiyuus lend their talents a week before the episode airs or at least do a few episodes worth of lines to save time. Otherwise how do you think long running shows like One Piece can go on forever? But I suppose it is easier for shows with 1 or 2 cours seeing that the script has been laid out and fixed assuming there are no unforeseen surprises.

Kudos to Yuuma Uchida (Edogai in Golden Kamuy) in bringing out the life and various moods in Ash that it makes his character really sound convincing. I want to say the same for Kenji Nojima as Eiji (Yuuto in High School DxD) but he sounds very gay and weak most of the time. Really. The other casts are Shouyo Chiba as Sing (Koutarou in Tsuki Ga Kirei), Kenyu Horiuchi as Fox (Kinemon in Once Piece), Kenta Miyake as Blood (All Might in Boku No Hero Academia), Rica Fukami as Jessica (Sailor Venus in Sailormoon), Yasumichi Kushida as Kippard, Takashi Nagasako as Meredith (Gale in Soul Link), Makoto Furukawa as Shorter (Banri in Golden Time), Shinji Kawada as Ibe (Shino in Naruto), Souma Saitou as Lao (Utsumi in SSSS.Gridman), Yuu Hayashi as Abraham (Michizou Tachihara in Bungo Stray Dogs), Hidenari Ugaki as Alexis, Shuuhei Sakaguchi as Hua Lung (Kawachi in Yakitate! Japan) and Hisao Egawa as Wang Lung (Saigou in Gintama).

The opening and ending themes have this feel like they are songs from America bands. I know the world has integrated so much into a melting pot that it’s hard to tell but my first impression in hearing these songs is that they aren’t your typical Japanese anime pop or rock. The first opening theme, Found & Lost by Survive Said The Prophet is a total hard punk rock piece with all that typical insane screaming vocals. Hearing this song somewhat reminds me of Linkin Park. Or at least this is the kind of song that the American rock band would sing. The second opening theme, Freedom by Blue Encount is also a rock outfit but it feels a lot more toned down than the first one. The first ending theme, Prayer X by King Gnu has some hip hop elements in it although it is more of a slow one. It sounds fitting when you think about the state of Ash’s mind. Honestly, I prefer this one compared to the second ending theme, Red by Survive Said The Prophet. Though this slow rock is also fitting in terms of Ash’s state of mind, but hearing this piece sometimes make me feel I’m listening to some cult song because of that weird chorus vocals. And some of the lines sound weird too.

Overall, this is one of those animes that shouldn’t be judged by its promotional poster and synopsis. AKA the age old adage of don’t judge a book by its cover. It is surprisingly interesting and entertaining despite many of its unsavoury themes like drugs and child pornography. The bromance between the 2 main characters might look like clickbait for some yaoi moments but it is a good thing that those remain as delusions in our heads (except for that prison kiss that would most likely be the most yaoi you’ll ever see). It’s not a gay story (thank goodness) but a story of 2 guys rather. A story of revenge and redemption amidst the corruption and politics. If you like animes with an interesting story, tragedy and badass stuffs, don’t brush this one aside. After all, bananas and fish are good for you because they are filled with potassium and omega-3 acid respectively. Better this than drugs. And remember people, don’t do drugs.

This is it!!! The moment of truth is at hand. After putting hours after hours of effort, defeating waves after waves of henchmen, upgrading and levelling up as much as we can, unlocking all secrets and bonuses along the way, we’re finally here. Finally at the last ultimate final secret boss. One final match that stands in the way of ultimate victory. Victory is almost at hand. One final battle to justify all the hard work of finally reaching here. The final fight is at hand. Don’t lose heart now. Don’t chicken out now. Go forth! The way is forward! Show all that you have learnt! Show all that you have mastered! Only then you can grasp and taste the fruits of your triumph. Godspeed! Oh wait. What’s that? We’re supposed to be talking about the final extra episodes of High Score Girl – Extra Stage? Uhm… Erm… Doesn’t it feel like that? Yeah… Real life fight for love is much more complicated and harder than the fighting games in the arcade.

Episode 13
Haruo talks to Miyao hypothetically about a girl confessing to him. To his surprise, Miyao knows it is Hidaka. Even more surprising, he knows she has a crush on him since middle school. The best way is to tell her who he likes and turn her down. He has someone he likes, right? Unfortunately Haruo doesn’t know who! Oh boy. This is going to get messy. Meanwhile we are introduced to Makoto, Oono’s elder sister who is very crude and child-like. They are like day and night. Oono’s butler realizes that it is perhaps the brunt of Oono’s strict upbringing could have been a backlash due to Makoto’s lackadaisical ways. At the same time, Gouda visits Haruo’s home. Though she is not particularly here to thank him for that incident of Oono running away from home, she is also here to tell him to sever ties with her. She believes he is a bad influence on her and he is more than a nuisance. While Guile wants Haruo to tell her off that their relationship is more than that, Haruo just couldn’t open his mouth and fight back. Instead, it is his mom who will not accept her son being called that. She fires back that everyone has their own ways in raising their child and she has no regrets letting Haruo grow at his own pace. In that case, Gouda ‘thanks’ her for the advice and that she will do things in her own ways. After she leaves, Haruo has renewed respect for mom and is glad to be her son. He regrets not being able to talk back but mom is fine with that. After all, it still won’t be right if a kid talks back to an adult. Lovely mom and son moment ‘ruined’ when mom asks to see his report card. Oh my. Here comes mom’s unrelenting combos!

Back home, Makoto tells Oono what she saw. Gouda has reprimanded her butler as she knows he has been secretly letting Oono play his Game Gear in his car. He will be relieved of his driver duties and will be confined to house duties. One more mistake and she has the power to fire him. Oono felt bad and rushes to see him. But he decides to bring her somewhere as his last job. Of course, that is to Haruo’s house and Haruo could see the sadness in Oono’s eyes. Mom suggests Haruo take Oono to the local festival as the adults badmouth talk about Gouda. Since it’s too early for the festivals, they hit the arcade. They play lots of games and you can see both of them lighting up. If only they could live and play at arcades like this forever. Once done, they head down to the festivals as Haruo remembers what her butler told him. Today will be his last day on the job as Gouda has hired a new driver who will stick to the family rules. Her schooling will be even stricter and all chance to meet him will be cut off. That is why he is giving his last chance to them to be together and he hopes he could be her emotional support. Oono wins a FFVI game prize at the shooting gallery. She gives it to Haruo. He gladly accepts and invites her to come over and play any time. Then he realizes the problem: Will there be another time? Taking a closer look at Oono’s face, he realizes how cute she is. She kicks him in the gut! Is that a sign of approval? When they return, it’s time to part. So what’s her parting gift? Just planting her face on his shoulder. Well. Uhm. Okay. Bye. Take care.

Episode 14
Haruo continues to hone his skills at the arcade. Guile notes his progress an honour as a man. He relates why many video game characters brave the dangers and take risks is all because for their loved ones. That is why he must push forward and cannot afford to lose. Hidaka receives a challenge letter from Haruo. She has also gotten stronger thanks to the help of this goth gamer girl, Nikotama. She was impressed with her Darkstalkers’ gaming style and sensed she had the potential and invited her to her privately run arcade where night battles take place. For free, gamers can practice all they want. Hence you can see all those groupies (weirdoes with equally weird nicknames) with really insane consecutive winning streaks. D-day is here and the condition is that they will play 3 different fighting games. One battle each. Best 2 out of 3. The first is Samurai Showdown II. Hidaka easily defeats Haruo (WTF?! Weird group dance from the groupies to celebrate her win?!) but Nikotama can sense that something isn’t right. Next is King Of Fighters’95. Hidaka starts off aggressively in this 3 on 3 battle. When Haruo is down to his last fighter, that is when he turns the tables and easily defeats all of her characters. It is then Nikotama realizes what Haruo has that Hidaka lacks. Even though she has the desire to win, she does not enjoy playing the game like Haruo does. The final game is Darkstalkers. Haruo takes the first round and Hidaka coming back for the second. Man, it is really down the wire. So while at it, we hear Guile telling Haruo how he cannot lose because he has watched him work so hard in terms of life and gaming. In the end, Haruo wins! Then he starts bragging to Hidaka how cool everything was. However… She beats the crap out of him in her mini tantrum! I don’t think she’s being a sore loser. She takes out all her frustrations on him, accusing him that his way forward was meant for Oono. I guess when she’s done beating him, her groupies take over and continue the beat down combo. Hidaka is still angry at herself for losing despite working so hard. Nikotama says it is proof that she loves gaming. Hidaka goes home in tears :’(. But she refuses to give up on him or fighting games and will use this chance to grow stronger. That’s the spirit. On another day as Haruo hits the arcade alone, he thought he saw Oono at the mahjong game. Too bad it is Makoto and she knows all about him thanks to her sister.

Episode 15
Makoto gives Haruo a dating sim to play, Tokimeki Memorial. He’ll understand what women want. I’m not betting on it… So when Hidaka learns about this, she thinks he is doing this for Oono. Grr… She wants her Playstation back. Makoto is at Haruo’s place to see him play Tokimeki Memorial. Oddly, Haruo is being watched by Hidaka, Makoto and his mom! Oh damn! Women want to see how men struggle! As expected, he fails since he chose all the unpopular options. Yeah Haruo, you’re thinking only about yourself! Haruo is so bad at the game that he has got the bomb indicator for all the girls. Hidaka will lend her Playstation to him a little longer but reminds him that she too has a bomb ticking… Gulp. Even Makoto warns him her bomb will tick if he makes her sister cry. And mom’s bomb will definitely blow if he fails in his grades! Yikes! Later Makoto explains that because she rebelled against the family rules, Oono bore the brunt of it. That is why she wants to help out in any way she can. He thinks of bringing her to this AOU Show (some huge arcade convention) but it is going to sneak Oono out from Gouda’s view even for a day. Hence he gets this idea to create an RPG game for Oono based on RPG Maker: Super Dante. It will be based around Oono’s household and Gouda as the final last boss! After 30 days, he finally finishes it. Oono’s butler invites her to his room when Gouda is not around to let her play. Her face lights up as she is impressed with Haruo’s hard work. It is creative for Haruo to personify her mundane chores as demons she must battle to overcome. It is perfect except for one flaw: Makoto is one of the evil bosses! That sister is so pissed off… Every now and then, Oono sneaks into her butler’s room to play it but one day, Gouda sees this and realizes the truth. She thought Oono has been concentrating on her lessons and hence her methods were effective but realized the false assumptions she was under. The next time Oono comes in to play, the entire console is gone. Gouda catches her and says how she threw away all that. Oono is visibly angry and sad but all she could do is run away to her room.

Later Makoto tries to talk to Gouda about the awkward relationship she has with Oono. It is already tough that she has put up a barrier between them. Oono has been under her control since and yet she endures everything she tells her. Furthermore, she has to study under her. How can anyone stand that? Will this even make her grow up to be a decent person? Even the butler agrees. He doesn’t want Gouda to turn into an evil person just for Oono. Gouda goes to see Haruo at his job. She is here to apologize and compensate the console since she found out it belonged to him. Yeah, at least he got a better upgraded version now. When he asks about Oono, she replies she is hated now. She asks him back on his thoughts on Oono. A wall he can’t overcome and someone whom he wants to play games with. Although she’s weird, that is what’s interesting about her. Haruo even advises Gouda to lose those evil looking glasses. Oono would prefer her better without them. On the day Haruo invites his mom to AOU Show (mom so happy, I guess her son has no one else to go with), it’s a good thing the voice of Guile stops him. Because a second too soon, he would have missed Oono coming by to return the umbrella that Gouda borrowed the other day. I guess Gouda was decent enough to let her have a day off from studying. Mom takes this as a sign that God wants them to be together and is willing to trade her place with Oono. She tells him to be a man and use all that he has learnt from Tokimeki Memorial! On the crowded train, cliché moment for them to be huddled together and hold hands. Is this the start of a new relationship forward? At the convention, the duo are happy with all the new games on display. They enjoy the rest of the day together. Haruo thought it would be hard to start any conversation with her if she had no interest in video games. There is literally nothing else to talk about! Ironically, Oono being silent herself, can’t stand the silence either. So she wants him to keep talking? On the way back, Haruo notices her many prizes she got from the crane game. He asks which prize she likes best. She shows him that small ring. Ah… So nostalgic. Haruo hopes they can go to such shows together again next time. Just before they part, Haruo gets rammed by her butler’s car. It was getting late so he went out to search for her. Yeah, this feels nostalgic too…

No Game, No Life!
Eh… What… Why does the ending feel unsatisfying? I guess I have to blame myself for expecting that Haruo makes a decision with either Oono or Hidaka. While the ending might feel somewhat inconclusive, but it clears some of the more pervasive issues at hand. Firstly, to solve the case of Hidaka’s revenge match and although this puts an end to the route of him having to date her, not at least by a long shot because with Hidaka being a woman in love, looks like she’s shifting the goal post and still won’t give up. Even if Hidaka still has a chance in the future and will be backing down temporarily for now, this incident put at ease the gamer relationship between Haruo and Hidaka. It would have been interesting to see the other route in which Haruo lost and be Hidaka’s man because I’m sure this would also impact Oono greatly.

The other issue somewhat solve is of course Oono’s household issues. Gouda was fast becoming the main antagonist and final boss for our young ones to clear but thankfully to show that she is not totally a demon, she too shows her softer side as a human being and cuts Oono some slack. Even though Oono is not completely freed from her family’s strict upbringing cycle, the ending indicates that she has slightly more freedom than before. Even if we didn’t get to see Haruo and Oono officially become an item (or fans for Oono x Hidaka), but as Guile said, their relationship goes way beyond your typical male-female lovers. Their love for video games brought them together and I believe that is what the ending of this entire series wanted to demonstrate. Therefore from this perspective, it is a good and happy ending for our main characters because they bridged the gap and finally come together as gamers but not so good ending for purist romance genre fans.

While it is nice to see that Haruo and Oono’s friendship is slowly building towards what we would hope to see, the one thing that I still find it annoying and unsatisfying is that Oono still doesn’t speak!!! I was expecting and thought that perhaps in the final episode she would shock us all by saying one line in her decent voice even if it was a short sentence with only a few words that would put Twitter to shame. But nope. She continues to remain a ‘retard’. Hence, only solidifying my conspiracy theory that she is so traumatized by the family’s strict upbringing that she started losing her voice. Gee, I wonder who she would grow up into a decent adult if she can’t speak properly, huh? Maybe whoever she is betrothed to doesn’t need her to speak! Oh well. Don’t want to open a can of worms by foreseeing that future. Because the only future that we all want to see her is ending up with Haruo (or Hidaka for you Hidaka fans).

So with Haruo talking on her behalf while she only do soft grunts and groans, I guess I could say that Haruo is now definitely better in knowing what her heart is (albeit he has still got a long way more to learn – time to practice more Tokimeki Memorial) and what she wants to say after spending a lot of time with her. I think that’s the beauty of this relationship of theirs although thinking about it, it is a bit odd seeing the communication is only one way in this verbal sense. But whatever. It works for them. But in video game sense, Haruo can also be considered a success because he didn’t end up like video game protagonists saving their love, at least he saved her from the ‘imprisonment of her heart’. Oono might have the achievement of having high scores on almost every game but Haruo scores as the winner for these girls’ heart! As a gamer boy who is good at nothing else, having a couple of girls to like you or rely on you is as good as winning the game of life.

I believe that Oono is a very blessed and lucky girl. Despite her strict and less than fortunate circumstances, she has a few other individuals who would stand up for her. Other than Haruo, her butler and Makoto (even Haruo’s mom can be considered) are also her strong supporters. I’m not saying that Oono not rebelling against the family and Gouda means that she is weak. I think things will get a lot worse if she did that. It is sad that she had to endure and do all the things she dislikes but I suppose that is her way of fighting. Sometimes being obedient isn’t a sign of weakness. For her to obey everything that Gouda throws at her without question, that is a sign of strength because seriously, who can actually keep up with all that strictness without going crazy?

Gouda may look like the antagonist and is acting like one all for Oono’s sake but remember, she is hired to do her job. She was even willing to play the bad guy all for Oono’s future. Imagine if she slacks, she’ll get more than just being fired from her employers. Maybe she just needs to refine her educating methods and thankfully as said, to show us that she isn’t totally a cold hearted person, she eventually cuts Oono some slack and even takes up Haruo’s advice to lose those evil glasses! See, looking a little lovely there, no?

Makoto as the new character thrown in for this extra episodes, her totally opposite behaviour makes you wonder if they are really related. I keep wondering how she can still stay in the family and still be as loose as ever. Perhaps the parents have given up on her and couldn’t care less on what she does. I mean, it’s not like she does anything bad so she is free to do whatever she wants while continuing to live under their household. If Makoto was truly independent, she would have lived on her own but I guess she might still need some of her parents’ money. It’s not like we know what she really does, right? Oh yeah. She’s staying back to help Oono. I suppose every little help and support counts. Nikotama’s character feels a bit redundant. Could have been done without but I guess we need to see how Hidaka has grown and improved a lot thanks to the guidance of a mentor.

I thought with Makoto having decent lines here, I thought Sayumi Suzushiro who is the voice of Oono would be getting proper lines here playing as her elder sister. Nope. It is Chinatsu Akasaki who does Makoto (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby, Alice in Shokugeki No Souma). So I guess Oono’s seiyuu still has the easiest job of voice acting, huh? Hence Oono’s heart breaking scream during her parting with Haruo at the airport for her departure to LA in the TV series is still by far the ‘loudest’ we could hear from her. As for Nikotama, I recognized that voice from Witch Craft Works’ Tanpopo and Uchi No Maid Ga Uzasugiru’s Yui. Just couldn’t remember her name. Oops, sorry. Oh, it’s Shiori Izawa. Hope to remember her from now on.

As the retro games here are the main features for old viewers like yours truly, the extra episodes also didn’t disappoint. Especially the fighting games that are my favourite genres in video games. But with the episodes focusing on the battles of Haruo with Hidaka and Oono, these games are given slightly less prominence. Also, no mid-intermission and next episode distractions of featuring new and old games alike. WTF is that weird 3D render of, uhm, I don’t even know what the heck that item is in the next episode preview. I would like to credit these extra episodes for reminding me of a very old retro game that I think I have played in a relative’s house and would have forgotten totally about it had not it appeared here: China Gate. Not to say that I spent a lot of time playing this weird beat ‘em up, but I’m sure this was one of the many obscure games that I played or watched during my very seemingly hazy childhood years.

Overall, even though the ending was a bit unsatisfying, it is still a nice conclusion to the series. At least for this season’s arc. Our characters have grown a lot and more importantly, they still love video games. I still hope there is another season for this series but I doubt it will be as this interesting and nostalgic. Because I’m speculating about love woes when our main characters hit puberty. Hidaka might come back for another round for Haruo’s love assuming he isn’t officially dating Oono by then. With the arcades dying and the rise of consoles, that’s probably when my nostalgia of video games might also start to wane because by the mid-90s, I became more of a PC person. So they better show a few nostalgic PC games if you want me to love your sequel! Oh yeah. Those were the days where video games were simpler and complete. Uh huh. Damn those season passes, premium passes, pre-orders, DLCs, microtransactions, loot boxes, multiple complicated collectors and limited editions, game breaking bugs, incomplete games… I hope there won’t come a time they charge $15 just to put your name up on the leaderboards after achieving some really cool high score or stats. For the first 10 days. Because an extra $1 for every subsequent day thereafter to stay on the board. Argh! High Score Grrrrr!!!!

Mini Toji

May 3, 2019

I thought the series ended for good and that it didn’t needed another sort of spinoff whatsoever. Apparently I was wrong. Or rather I did not anticipate Mini Toji. Just like how Naruto had that chibi Rock Lee spinoff, Ansatsu Kyoushitsu had their chibi Koro-sensei Quest spinoff and Overlord having their Ple Ple Pleiades chibi spinoff, now it is Toji No Miko’s turn to have the same. I guess you can’t totally leave girls with swords alone. Not when the main TV series ended a few seasons ago. As you would have come to expect, having characters in their cute super deformed style means a whole lot of cuteness and comedy. No real plot to be confused over. No anxiety to fret over the dangers that will befall our cute heroines or the world falling into danger of being destroyed. Just expect to have some great fun and laughs in this 3 minutes per episode stint.

Episode 0
Kanami and Mihono Asakura host this somewhat recap introduction special. Mihono is particularly thrilled since she had no dialogue at all in her very short cameo in the TV series. It’s not like we even knew she existed! Anyway, the duo narrate some of the important events of the TV series, which is basically the first half. If you want to know more and can’t remember, go back and watch the entire thing!

Episode 1
Miruya Kitora analyses Kanami and co who are now considered the greatest heroines. Despite having largely different personalities and skill, they are a cohesive bunch. Because her team’s usual training doesn’t work, she sends them to spy and imitate what they’re doing. Like Kofuki Shichinosato and Kiyoka Musumi trying to imitate Kanami and Hiyori eating ice cream together (Kiyoka just wanting to take a cute pic of Kofuki eating). Also, Mihono and Chie Setouchi trying to imitate Mai and Sayaka eating cookies together (it only gets more embarrassing for them). Eventually Kaoru and Ellen discover this. Kaoru quips their side should have more missions to fight Aradama and in turn save them from getting sent out on missions. Unfortunately Sana calls. Get back to work!

Episode 2
Mihono realizes tomorrow is Kanami’s birthday. With Hiyori and Mai, they discuss about celebrating with her as well as what sort of presents to get her. Mai gives her pudding, Mihono a ticket for a free sparring match while Hiyori a great rice meal with dishes. As they argue whose present is the greatest, Kanami ‘solves’ it by offering to them all together. Can she spar with her mouth full? Meanwhile Kaoru just got back from a mission. Guess what? Sana’s calling…

Episode 3
Yukari and her elite guards are having a wonderful hanami. After Yume gives her toast, Maki and Shizuka become drunk as they pet some cat statue. Yukari turns this hanami into some personal teatime festival? Yume gets an idea of taking a group photo and everybody wants to be the one to take the picture. Eventually Yomi uses her Aradama to take the shot. Do they get only one chance because Maki certainly wasn’t ready and it ends up looking more like a blooper. But it was worth the memories. Meanwhile Kaoru is ‘dying’ from overworking when another timely call from her exploitative boss comes in…

Episode 4
Kofuki has had it with Miruya’s weird training. When Kiyoka wants her to go shopping for clothes with her, Kofuki rejects. Unless there is pudding involved. Too bad Kofuki’s pudding has been eaten by Mihono. I guess not writing your name on it isn’t going to cut it. Better go buy back a pudding before Kofuki blows her top. To kill time, Kofuki decides to play a prank on Miruya as she notices her foods are labelled with her name. So she packs her milk carton with dried sardine! Although busted by Chie for wasting food, Miruya analyses its ‘nutritional value’ and announces it should be made into stew for everyone! Sorry Kofuki, you must eat your share! Good news for Kaoru as Sana sends Ellen as backup. But the ‘Aradama’ turn out to be namahage.

Episode 5
Kofuki is very annoyed after seeing Mai treating Sayaka like as though she’s her mom. Not that Sayaka minds. When a request to take down Aradama comes in, Sayaka doesn’t need Mai’s babysitting anymore. This makes Mai worried and fears she will be left behind. So she tries to bribe Sayaka with cookies. If only Mai isn’t force feeding her and turning her face into a squirrel! Even when Kanami and Mihono tries to have some, Mai won’t let them! These are for Sayaka… Don’t touch! With Chie settling the issue and Mai repenting, the rest are glad this worked out. Then Chie boasts about her nature as a big sister. Oh no. Sayaka’s imprinting… Mai’s insecurity… Here we go again… And it goes without saying about Kaoru’s status busting Aradama’s ass around… It’s amazing she’s still alive.

Episode 6
Yukari, Maki and Shizuka are supposed to greet and welcome Yume as the new elite guard member. However she got lost and wandered into several prohibited places in the base. Having fun, is she? I guess they need to go get her. Yume then wanders into Yomi who is making omusubi (onigiri?). She explains how it’s made from the best rice, blah, blah, blah. When Maki and Shizuka find her, it seems Yomi was making omusubi as part of Yukari’s plan for Yume’s welcome party. I guess they can start the party now. Meanwhile Kaoru is turning into a zombie. Oh dear, she doesn’t even think she needs a break! Sana you better take responsibility if Kaoru dies from this!

Episode 7
Hiyori and Chie discuss how soy products are good for breast enhancements. After all, they are the ‘horizon alliance’! Since when did Hiyori joined this ‘alliance’? Kofuki was invited too but she didn’t want to join in. Probably for the best. As they head to the hotspring that supposedly helps in breast enhancement, the other Toji girls are there. Hiyori, I don’t think the effect will be fast. Hiyori thinks Kanami is an ‘ally’ but remembers her favourite foods are soy based. Will she be going ahead of her? Then they discuss if the uniform is part of the reason why the rest aren’t as flat. But what about Kaoru then? Not too sure how she makes the outfit work thanks to her fashion sense. When Mihono talks to them, Hiyori asks a few questions about Nene. Seeing their all positive, Hiyori considers her as their asset and now she is unwittingly part of their ‘alliance’. Speaking of Kaoru, she is now lying dead tired in church. Is she going to meet her maker? Not if Sana calls in…

Episode 8
It’s about time Kaoru gets some love. Yeah, we see her sulking and done being a Toji. She thinks of going to India but it’s not for a mission (not that taboo word!) but to find enlightenment. Hence the rest help out and although it’s not India, I guess Hawaii would do. Clueless Kofuki thinks this is great and to be perfect, they just need some Aradama action! Don’t jinx it! Chie takes her away but she still throws a tantrum. With that, we see Hawaii is just a backdrop. The girls work hard to make Nene feel like she is on vacation and thanks to all that, her work ethic has been restored to 2%! That’s great coming from a slacker like her. When Sana calls, it looks like Kaoru is in a great mood. Until she throws in another mission for her. I hope she got all the rest she could get.

Episode 9
It’s time for the festivals. Hiyori feels insulted since Kanami says her yukata is tight around the chest… I don’t think this festival is going to cheer up Kaoru any better. She’s been working to the bone so long that she’s seeing her job in the fun she’s supposed to have. Like saving the goldfish… Although she can’t save herself… Meanwhile Mihono’s side are actually tasked to make yakisoba for the festival. With Miruya putting in her analysing, their cooperation (including Kofuki who is only good at eating) makes the greatest yakisoba. Too bad now they have a long queue. Good luck serving them all. Meanwhile Hiyori tells Kanami that is the most dramatic to happen for this mini series so far… She is sent back to Heijou. Gasp! *Dramatic sound effect*.

Episode 10
With the crowd building up, Mihono is at a lost. But thank goodness for Kaoru and Ellen noticing this and offer to help. Kaoru sends a message to others. Hence Hiyori’s revelation to Kanami about going back is interrupted with Kaoru’s sarcastic message for Kanami to bring a ‘flat plain’ with her for help. Yeah Hiyori, it’s killing time… So all the friends gather to help. But Hiyori hints about even plains have hills. Kaoru’s comeback: You’ll never get to bounce it like that! With everyone pitching in, the yakisoba is a success. Miruya thanks Mihono for her special bond with others that enabled them to get through this. This is her special power. Kanami and Hiyori resume their talk. The former will wait for her till she returns. Nice fireworks as the big finisher and a group photo to top it all.

It’s Been A (Mini) Slice
Ah… Everything is so peaceful and fun here that not even the Aradama makes any sort of appearance to even interrupt our Toji girls. Not even those Aradama princesses. Maybe they’re not on call. That’s why we have Kaoru to thank for… You know what I mean? Well girls, have fun while you can until the next Aradama attack. Wait. Why do I sound like I want to spoil their fun here? Hey, don’t blame me. Blame Hiyori for giving that ‘tension’ drama of wanting to leave. Yeah, the biggest tension (not really) in this mini series. It’s like it could have been done without and had no bearing whatsoever since it came so late but what the heck, it’s to remind us the power of the Toji friendship. Now that they have more friends, the more the merrier! The friendship power is only going to get stronger…

Although the 3 minutes have been largely fun, one of the biggest downfalls for this series I find is that the newly introduced characters do not really amount to anything special. Sure, due to this series’ nature, we don’t see them being fleshed out properly and they’ve been reduced to just comical side characters. Hence setting our first impressions of them being some sort of jokers. It is a strange way to introduce a bunch of characters that did not appear in the main TV series but I suppose if Toji No Miko gets another season, these characters will be incorporated and then we will be shocked to find how different than they are from this chibi spinoff. Unfortunately for me, I don’t find them memorable. The most being Miruya with her over-analytic behaviour thingy and Kofuki being, uhm, the aloof type? I may be wrong, though.

Sometimes I have this feeling that this little spinoff was also conceived on the grounds that they want to really make fun of Kaoru being overworked the death, a recurring running joke over the TV series. Call me a sadist, but this is the part of the series that I enjoyed the most as I find myself laughing out loud the most. It’s also the segment that I could ‘understand’ the joke and find it the funniest. Somehow it never grows old despite at the end of every episode they throw in this shenanigan. She is the real ‘star’ of this chibi spinoff. Without her working so hard, you think the other Toji girls can afford to frolic so freely? Thank Kaoru for her unpaid hours of hard work! Yeah, maybe Kaoru is also a little workaholic because she would have run away from it all but she didn’t. Oh right, Kaoru is a responsible Toji although she may not look like it.

Oh my dear Kaoru, look on the bright side. You’re the only one who can withstand prolong hours, days and weeks of work without rest. Otherwise, why would Sana pick on you choose you for the job? If you don’t do it, can you imagine your other comrades like Ellen in your shoes? That’s why, Ganbatte, Kaoru-chan! You can do it! You don’t need a break or anything!!!!!! ;p. Or maybe Sana’s just a big bully slave driver, that’s all… At least the final episode didn’t see her being turned into a dead working zombie and even so Kaoru is still so lovable and killing it with her sarcasm. Somebody should really make a spinoff series just for Kaoru!!! The series’ best character ever!

Thanks to Kaoru personally being the highlight of the series, the other Toji girls feel like they didn’t matter. Kanami remains the same enthusiastically optimistic girl while there is this little running joke about Hiyori and her small boobs. It looks like she is starting to get really conscious about it. Fear not for the ‘horizon alliance’! Sayaka sounds so much happier that it makes her look a bit like a retard and Ellen doesn’t make much cameo here. Where the heck is she? It’s not like she accompanied Kaoru on her nationwide work, right?

Overall, there is nothing much to comment on this short series. It is fun and relaxing in its own little way but of course you would understand and appreciate a bit better if you have watched the original TV series. Newcomers who didn’t see that and stumble upon this might go, “WTF is this sh*t?! But oh so kawaiiiiiiiiiii~!!! Kyun~!!!!!!!”. Something like that. I hope that if they want to make another season of this, I pray it would be another spinoff but Kaoru as the main star. Yup, an entire spinoff series about Kaoru working herself to death while making sarcastic remarks about her old hag boss. On second thought, maybe I should give this running joke a rest. After all, Kaoru deserved it. She worked hard for it, you know. ;-).