Old propeller planes like the Zeros and Spitfires are boring compared to their modern counterparts like F-15 and MiG, huh? Lacking the firepower and the exhilarating Mach speed that would make you go faster than the speed of sound, huh? Well, I’ve got news for you. Don’t look down on old single propeller fighter planes too. Because in the world of Kouya Kotobuki No Hikoutai where the enter land is filled with nothing but desert sand and there are air pirates threatening the skies and livelihood of isolated towns, there is literally no one else you could rely on but these magnificent girls riding their magnificent propeller planes to come save the day. Thank your lucky stars for such great piloting skills.

Episode 1
The Kotobuki Flight Corp girls consisting of Kylie, Reona, Emma, Kate and Zara are chilling out in a bar when Adolfo from Yamada from Nazarene Air Force tries to hit on them. He mentions some of his records and achievements but the girls aren’t impressed and instead make a mockery out of his puny achievements. He really would have wanted to have a go had not his friends stop him. Just in time because the alert has been sounded. Pirate bogeys have been spotted and all pilots are to sortie. The captain of the Hagoromo blimp, Saneatsu issues his orders to take down the pirates and protect the cargo. It is very important because their employer, Madame Loulou despite will reward them for every enemy they shoot down, if one of the cargo goes down, that’s it for them. And so we see the Nazarene side being easily taken out without a fight. Time for Kotobuki to strut their stuffs. They stray a little too far and more pirate reinforcements pop up to attack Hagoromo. Although Hagoromo takes some damage, it is still airworthy and the Kotobuki girls manage to return in time to smoke them out. With the remaining pirates fleeing, Reona gives orders to her crew not to chase and return. However Kylie spots a rogue pirate and chases after it. This is a skilled one as they continue to engage in aerial dogfight. A tricky one too with, leading Kylie into the clouds and almost letting her crash into the ground. If not for Kylie’s skill and good luck, she would have crashed hard. Ultimately the enemy deals some minor damage to the plane but when Kylie is within range of defeat, it looks like time is up for the enemy so he flees instead. Kylie is frustrated and insulted. When Kylie returns to base, she is punched by mechanic, Natsuo for doing something reckless again. When Hagoromo lands safely, the Kotobuki girls immediately head off to town to do their own thing instead of receiving the reward.

Episode 2
As the Kotobuki girls drink in town, they hear a commotion outside. Looks like their comrade, Chika is trying to teach a few men who are looking down upon them. Yeah, she beats him up with her crutches. Kylie even joins in when her pancake was accidentally wasted. Once all that is over, Chika seems jealous that she wasn’t invited to their ‘party’. Technically she is hospitalized but is now discharged early. Bratty girl always seem to quarrel with Kylie on the pettiest of things. They have to put it on hold since they get a call from Saneatsu for another mission. As Loulou explains, this time they will escort Councillor Julia. You can instantly tell she has an attitude problem and basically a b*tch. So why choose to fly this crappy service? Because she hates Loulou. So as Saneatsu shows her around Hagoromo, the rest deduce Loulou and Julia must have go a long way for them to hate each other like that. It seems she gets her kicks by making enemies wherever she goes. Then there’s this sick perversion of men always flocking to Loulou but Julia will steal them before they get to her, twist and use them before tossing them away. Talk time is over with bogeys spotted. They thought they are just the usual pirates but their numbers suddenly rise up to 30. Even more surprising is how they are using the expensive Hien type planes and their formation is very controlled. Skilled fighters to say the least but of course our Kotobuki girls are still better. Even during the dogfights, Kylie and Chika can continue to be buttheads with each other and still shoot down the enemies and cover for each other despite not really liking this order Reona put them up to (they have to or she’ll ground them the next time). They are so in unison. Are they friends? Enemies? Frenemies? In the end, Julia arrives safely and Loulou hopes she would never fly with them again. But what if Julia flash the cash? Loulou is not impressed as Julia waves a load of lovely goodbyes to her. The Kotobuki girls hang out and nobody is paying attention to bratty Chika bragging. For the eleventh time…

Episode 3
Upon reaching the town of Rahama, they find it partially destroyed. Talking to the mayor, it seems a small group of salesmen from Elite Industries flew in. They want to exchange their old Raiden plane for this (fake) painting. They rejected of course and when they leave, they attacked the town as sourpuss and promised to return with their full force. So is it worth to give up Raiden which is the pride of Rahama just to save the town? The mayor thinks so because Loulou’s bill is too much for his budget. But his vice thinks they should fight. Too bad in the name of democracy, the mayor decides to hold a discussion with everyone to come to a solution. As expected, the town is split. Everybody’s shouting and disagreeing. Until Emma steps in to give them a piece of her mind. If they allow this trade, they will be back to demand more. Plus, if everyone agrees to help out, Loulou might cut him a deal. With everyone reminiscing the old days of protecting each other, they want to fight back and thus the mayor finally decides to go with that. With Elite Industries returning with a strong 40 plane fleet, they take Rahama by surprise by coming from the other direction. This is the opposite of where Kotobuki is. Hence the local vigilantes suit up and take flight. But Elite Industries won’t have it easy as they display Raiden in the middle of town (they can’t damage it) and they have ground artillery support. The locals hold them enough for Kotobuki to return for a real challenging dogfight. When Emma is shot but before being blown out of the sky, here comes the mayor flying the Raiden to save her. A dilemma for Elite Industries because they cannot shoot it down. Too bad Raiden runs out of bullets so the boss hijacks it and kicks the mayor out! That easy?! With mission accomplished, Elite Industries retreat. Kotobuki is forced to give up. Although this is a failed mission, the vice believes this is a wakeup call for Rahama to believe they can protect their town like they used to. Emma apologizes to the mayor and thanks him. But it’s not over for Loulou yet. Because as per their contract, they are to protect Raiden. Yup, they’re going to get it back.

Episode 4
As Kotobuki reach the next town, they receive a warning shot from an old guy. However it wasn’t the Elite Industries but those darn air pirates. It gets personal when Kylie realizes the pancakes are also the casualties. It’s getting personal. They discuss about getting into Elite Industries’ base which is located in the natural canyons. When they show him a painting, he claims it is drawn by the boss’ daughter. Since Elite Industries just ordered a bunch of dance girls to their base, this is a great chance for Zara to disguise as one of them and infiltrate. Yeah, she’s hypnotizing the men with her dance moves. She challenges them to drinking and none can even hold their beer. Perfect time for her to sneak around. She finds Raiden in chains and the boss’ daughter holds the key. So she visits her and sees her trying her hand at drawing. Zara gives some motivational advice and Zara wants her to be her model. Meanwhile the other Kotobuki girls take this chance to ambush the base as distraction and in hopes Zara will get Raiden in 10 minutes. Or else they will have to find and rescue Zara and abandon Raiden. I wonder how they could fly through those tight canyons at night!!! It’s like they know the place like the back of their hand or are they on auto pilot mode?! With Kotobuki beginning their attack, Elite Industries is taken by surprise as they scramble to sortie but many of their planes and equipment have been grounded by the sneak attack. With some managing to take flight, however there seems to be a rebellion from within the company. The HR chief along with the sales division have teamed up to attack the boss. Kotobuki is confused but it buys more time for them. Meanwhile some men try to steal the daughter’s key but Zara easily beats them. The daughter gives Zara the key in hopes she could save her father. Zara takes Raiden to the skies as she chases after the HR chief. He pulls a sneaky move on her by escaping via a hidden small hole and this forces Zara to pull up hard. Luckily she is still in one piece as she rendezvous with her pals. Since they’ve got Raiden, they’re out of here. In the aftermath, the boss and his loyal men have turned over a new leaf and will make an honest living. His daughter is pleased when Zara keeps a painting of hers.

Episode 5
The usual Kylie and Chika bickering almost had them being run over a car. Luckily this driver is quick. Such an eccentric joker too. Is he a street magician? Kotobuki is called by Julia for a mission. In a few days, she will have to attend a meeting she hates. She has to meet with Isao who is the head of View Trading because she can’t stand the way he tries to preach his ideals to become famous. I guess there’s nothing wrong about justice, safety, unification, mutual benefits, etc. Is it because Julia can’t be a sneaky shady b*tch now that Isao is turning those in power to his side? Because of that, there would be air pirates targeting the meeting. Julia could ask the local Areshima services for protection but she doesn’t want to be in their debt and would rather be in Kotobuki’s. By now, we should know that eccentric street magician is Isao and man he loves playing pranks. Either you love him or find him annoying. With Loulou not around, looks like Kotobuki is split in whether to accept the job but Reona is adamant to take on the job. This has the rest wonder her strange act ever since Isao came into the picture. Is it love? Is it some debt repayment? The day Julia and Isao have their meeting (I thought it sounded more like a comedy talk show!), air pirates attack. It looks like there’s a handful of them so Kotobuki should be enough to engage. The couple of guys who are remnants of Nazarene just get to patrol the other peaceful end. Until it turns out it was a diversion and the enemy horde is heading from this direction. I figure Nazarene has to hold them until Kotobuki arrives. Just in time because they run out of bullets. Time for the guys to head home in shame while the girls do their usual kickass. Their aim is to take out a couple of heavy bombers. During the dogfight, Reona becomes ruthless, something that Zara points out to the rest that this is her true nature. But so ruthless that she almost fell for a trap and Kate had to cover for her. Kylie lashes out at Reona if she wants to get ahead of herself, do so by all means but don’t let others take your fall. With the enemies closing in, Julia will not evacuate as not to be deemed a coward. Isao? He is going to fly! Yup, he was once known as the Soaring Magician. And now only Reona remembers him?! That guy who shot down a dozen enemies in some war?! The guy who saved her from being shot down?! I know she hasn’t seen him in 8 years but she can’t even remember him until he flies? As usual, Isao shows off his skills and even takes down the last bomber that crashes right at the doorstep of the hotel of the meeting. The tea must be still warm and nice for Julia.

Episode 6
Reona feels guilty for acting out of line and wants to be indebted but is told to believe in her squad and let them help out whenever they can with no strings attached. Hence Chika asking to borrow money! That was really a fast one! Kylie went to see Julia to get their payment. On her way back, she spots that rogue air pirate and chases after it. It seems the rogue pirate is toying with her as they fly through the skies and canyons. The rogue pirate is much better than her and you bet Kylie is mad and trying to get the better of her. In the end, Kylie is shot down. End of chase. Thankfully, only her engine is blown out. Her plane is still intact as well as its fuel tank. Phew. Man, how did she even landed so perfectly? She recognizes this place as Ofukouyama, a small slab of flat rock in the middle of nowhere that rookie pilots used to practice short landings but always ended with disaster. Hence the wreckage all around. Meanwhile the other girls are worried that Kylie might have run off with the money but they believe she won’t because she’s not into all that. Okay. Time to mount a search. As Kylie scavenges the wreckage to find parts, we see her flashback. She met an old man name Sab and is interested in him because she thinks she come from outside and knows a lot. She often hangs out in his place and is not scared of him despite his fugitive status. Better than her own home where they always fight for food. She soon learns he came from Yufang. People there came here via a hole to build planes and factories but one day they left. Did Sab get left behind? He didn’t say. Since she continues to be amazed by his stuffs and wants to know more, Sab takes her flying in his plane. Awesome view for a kid flying the first time. One day she overheard a guy wanting Sab to come back but he rejects the deal. Soon Sab shuts her out and the next time she returns, his hut is burnt and she felt disappointed he left without her. Kylie has fixed her plane and prepares to take off. Remembering the teachings of Sab, she pulls it off. Yup, you don’t fly a plane. It flies itself. You just follow its lead. Not sure if Sab died but Kylie made a tombstone for him and promised to go see the world. Just in time for Kylie to rendezvous with her comrades. Feels good to be home.

Episode 7
Kylie and Kate are having a mock dogfight as Natsuo is testing the octane level of the cheap fuel they bought. Kylie thought for once she beat Kate but soon realized it’s because Kate was being held back by the cheaper fuel. This cheap fuel proves a drop in performance and they should avoid using this fuel altogether. The irony is that Standon Oil Company as one of the biggest companies out there is supplying it. Kate goes to see her brother, Allen in hospital. He is interested in finding out the disappearance of Yufang but was attacked during one of his flights and still recuperating. The Nazarene guys stop at Nanko to refuel. They notice a plane from Standon here. Talking to the bartender, it seems they are here to make a deal to buy out their oil. However there is no deal struck yet since Nanko rather have quality over quantity and know these corporate guys will make them work to the bone for every last drop. Soon after, the oil fields suddenly explode and the entire town is on fire. Hence the Nazarene guys fly over to the next town for reinforcements. Good thing Kotobuki girls are there. Saving the town is more important than evacuating its people. If they lose their access to Nanko, they’ll be forced to deal with Standon. Despite their inferior quality, they will soon monopolize their oil and jack up prices. Also, there is no other place closer to refuel as Nanko. Losing this means they will be block off and grounded indefinitely. Loulou agrees to help put out the fire but Nanko will have to pay one year’s worth of gas at reduced price. And how are they going to stop the fire? Kate’s answer: Fight fire with fire: Bomb it! To Kylie’s dismay, she will be in the driver’s seat of the bombing plane with Kate guiding her since her plane was damaged the last time. As expected, Standon’s planes come to ‘greet’ time. However they are flying Hayate types that have better power and turning speed. Also, their body armour is thicker. Kotobuki meeting their match since these pilots are really pros and don’t give them space to fight back. Our speculations that emotionless Kate might be a robot as she guides Kylie to move directly while she mans the gunner. When it’s time to bomb, she has to light the fuse manually and then calculate to release the bomb accurately! It does!!! The explosion wipes out the fire and at the same time the enemy retreats. A mission accomplished although Chika is frustrated she couldn’t shoot down any bogeys.

Episode 8
Isao has become the mayor of Ikesuka, he formed the Brotherhood of Freedom Union and to celebrate that he bought a rare arowana fish for public display. Hence the Kotobuki girls are to transport it there. Loulou didn’t want to take this job but since he recommended them and the press asked if they were up to the task, certainly she can’t say no. With Saneatsu having stomach discomfort, Loulou takes command of the bridge. As expected, multiple bogeys in sight. As Kotobuki goes to intercept their unusually large numbers, to their surprise this is only a decoy. Because a few more air pirates crept up on Hagoromo by flying very close to the ground. Because Kotobuki took too long to deal with the decoy, the others have boarded and took over Hagoromo. They order the Kotobuki girls to go away in which Reona orders her girls to do so. Then the pirate leader makes an announcement. In addition to the fish, they demand Isao’s resignation and the disbandment of the Brotherhood. Otherwise they will blow up Hagoromo. Kotobuki isn’t giving up of course. After they receive word from Saneatsu about the situation on board, Emma flies up to Hagoromo’s radar blind spot so that Reona and Kylie can board it.

First they have to go find Johnny the bartender and Ririko his barmaid. Although this is where most of the crew are being held captive, Reona hints to Ririko to make a scene. With Reona crashing in, she hints to Johnny and he is forced to use his gunslinger prowess to dispatch the pirates! You mean this wuss is a sharpshooter?! Because we see him ‘dance’ as he guns down all the baddies?! OMFG!!! So cringe! So cool! Ironically all the pirates are dumb. They have machine guns but cannot even shoot straight? The other crew just throw whatever they got and it counts! Isao has received word of Hagoromo and takes his own action. When Loulou retakes the bridge, a small struggle ensues. Stray bullets damage the controls. With some of the pirates escaping, Kotobuki wonders why they aren’t fighting back. Well, Isao’s full air force is coming their way. Loulou contacts them but no response. This could only mean they are here to take down Hagoromo. Can’t have it explode over Ikesuka, right? Hence Loulou wants Reona to shoot down Hagoromo. No, not destroy it. Take out enough helium so it could safely crash land. Of course Reona the pro does it perfectly and Isao’s air force don’t have to cause any tragedy. In the aftermath as the fish gets displayed, the girls learn Johnny was once a good mercenary but left this trade when he met his wife. However because he continued his gun collection, she resented this and left. No wonder this wuss is still praying for her to come back. Not a chance… Loulou hands Isao the bill and hopes never to take another job from him.

Episode 9
Kylie’s unhappy. She has to hold the fort while the rest of her Kotobuki girls are away on a mission. Yeah, this sucks. It seems Kotobuki are to be guards for some retirement ceremony. Something about the new licence system and union registration red tape made it unbearable for them to go on even if they are just flight postal workers. Meanwhile Julia is being heckled by the men in the council for speaking the truth. Something about giving up their own culture and system to adopt another city’s system. But you can’t beat all those sexist men, right? They kick her out of the hall as she notes being an air pirate will definitely be better than working for Isao. Her underlings know it is not safe for her here anymore and suggest she flees before they come arrest her. Kylie is summoned by Loulou for a job. It is giving Allen a scenic flight around Rahama. She also tells her she has been invited to work under a new company in Areshima. In fact the offer comes for any one of the Kotobuki girls. They’ll double their pay and get whatever aircraft they want since they are teaming up with View Trading. Kylie interprets this as she doesn’t want them anymore but Loulou puts it this way: She has no right to tell them to stay. Kylie takes Allen on a scenic flight with her mind preoccupied with this. But Allen talks about the portal to Yufang. He could have seen it had he not been shot down. He believes the portal didn’t close forever but on and off on a smaller scale. At the same time, the ex-Elite Industries HR chief and his men are rummaging through Allen’s room to find some info. Allen gives Kylie directions until they reach a certain point where they see strange circles in the sky. That’s the portal? However suddenly they are attacked by bogeys. I don’t know how Allen fitted his machine gun in this aircraft but at least they have a fighting chance. I know it’s just fantasy he gets to shoot down the enemies while they all miss but I’ll believe it because he says his aim gets better after drinking! Just when they think they’ve gunned down all the enemies, more of them pop up! Can Kylie outrun them in this canyon chase? Soon reality catches up as they are hit and Kylie crash lands. Oh, they also pretend to be dead to stay alive and let the enemies fly away. If not for Chika, they wouldn’t be rescued. With Kotobuki returning, Loulou tells the rest what she told Kylie. But Kylie instantly says she will always stay with Kotobuki as she doesn’t want to take orders from anyone else but Reona. She shocks everyone by optimistically saying another portal might open over Rahama.

Episode 10
Allen tells he gang about the portal. There are many sizes and opened up here and there many times. It was just coincidence the one that appeared 70 years ago connected them to Yufang. The holes may also be the culprit that absorbed the seas of this world. Then Julia barges in, complaining how she is no more a councillor as all the men voted to kick her out and framed her with fake allegations. While the rest think Isao is a pretty nice guy, Julia then reveals this whole thing is just a setup so Isao can become a dictator of the world. As Rahama has not decided to join the Brotherhood, she doubts he will let it go scot free. Because as per Allen’s calculation, looks like another hole has opened up over Rahama. This is why Isao is targeting this place. They take in a damaged fighter plane. Woah. Who this sexy dolly babe? Camilla from Shouto Vigilante has been shot down despite being allies of Isao. They were accused of plotting something and bombed out. Even though Camilla wanted to surrender, they continued bombing so she escaped. The town of Rahama is now in a discussion over the portal over their town. They are discussing whether to join the Brotherhood or not. Isao knows about this hole because his men stole Allen’s notes from the hospital. Then here comes the HR chief who is now representing the Brotherhood. He is giving Rahama a chance to join them and hand over Julia the fugitive or risk being bombed in 24 hours. However it soon dawned to them that their plan is to evacuate Rahama so that Isao can monopolize the entire portal himself. Rahama’s mayor had balls for the first time to reject all that and with the crowd chanting for them to leave, looks like it is war.

Hence Kotobuki and their allies now take to the skies to defend Rahama from the oncoming onslaught of huge bomber planes. The good news is that the bomber planes are huge so you can’t miss them. The bad news is, it’s going to take a while to shoot through their thick armour. Kotobuki shoots down a couple of bomber planes but they were too late for the last one as it unloads over Rahama. Uhm, did it not see the portal was in its path and hence everything just went through the hole?! The explosion causes some sort of huge temporary suction before the portal closes for good. With the hole gone, the enemies retreat. As Kylie is about to land, she spots this rogue pilot. Grrr! Time to chase! Eventually both run out of fuel and land safely. Next to each other! Time to get down for a fist fight! Kylie is no match for the verbal bout with Naomi as she accuses this little girl for always getting in her way. I think it’s fun to see these ladies trade some verbal barb wires but Naomi is the one who always have the upper hand. Yeah, she’s even better than you not only in flying but sarcasm too. Naomi claims she is neither friend nor foe and does what she wants. This time she just sided with Julia as she made more sense than Isao. Naomi then accuses Kylie of copying her plane’s mark that resembles the mark of her mentor’s. That is when Kylie is shocked. Does she know Sab? Oh yeah. Now the girls are like good friends talking about that old bastard. Naomi relates how she was his student training under him but he eventually abandoned her. Since Kylie was abandoned too, now they’re the abandoned sisters! Her goal is to find him and shoot him down with the techniques she stole from him. As for why Naomi flies, because it feels good being up there.

Episode 11
Isao uses his charms (and magic tricks) to convince the crowd that their Brotherhood is the only one that could bring true freedom to this world. Hence anybody else who tries to keep Yufang to themselves are criminals. Like Rahama and Porokka. So to say they aren’t? Rahama and Porokka combine their forces to lead an attack against Ikesuka. Kylie is spaced out not because the briefing was a really long one. She just couldn’t understand what they’re fighting for. Especially their mission to attack Ikesuka. Are wars fought on a whim like this? Is this what Kotobuki stands for? Well, she’s got a point. But no time to think all that because Isao has sent in hundreds of planes to fight them. Man, this is going to be one messy dogfight. I can’t tell who is who shooting each other down. But I’ll bet that the Kotobuki girls will be the ones staying up. Kotobuki is supposed to bomb the factory that makes the firepower for Ikesuka. However it is abandoned and empty. Is this a trap? Speaking of which, yes. 200 enemy planes in sight! At this point, Loulou makes the order to retreat and will not turn this into a gamble to lose any more of their side. They have underestimate Isao. However the Porokka side will not retreat and push on. Unfortunately their blimp gets shot down under heavy fire. And then Isao comes into the fray himself. Because of his more aerodynamic and specially designed plane, he climbs and turns faster and shoots down all his enemies at ease! Reona tries to talk to him to get his side to pull back so they can retreat. He lies so as to get her guard down and then shoots her down. Mad Kylie tries to take on him but Isao recognizes her mark that belongs to Sab. He explains something about Sab being abandoned by Yufang who call themselves the Japanese army. And when that stubborn old goat tried to fleet, Isao shot him down too! Not too sure where he is rotting in desert. This makes Kylie extremely mad and is going to teach this jerk a lesson. Chika is shot down and Hagoromo is about to take heavy damage too. But thank goodness for Elite Industries backing them up. Isao eventually shoots down Kylie but as he brags, he lets his guard down and gets shot by Kate. She confirms that it is this jerk who shot down Allen. In the aftermath when everyone is retrieved back to the blimp, Allen shows them that another hole will appear. This time right over Ikesuka.

Episode 12
Naomi leads her squadron to take on the Ikesuka fighters who have the air pirates on their side. Yeah, money does buy everything in this world. With the battle raging on, Kotobuki is to sneak in and attack Isao’s tower. Along the way, Zara asks Reona if she would like to run away and leave all of this behind. She can do whatever she wants. That will have to wait when the enemies have spotted them. Time for the most exhilarating dogfight action scenes through the narrow streets of Ikesuka’s infrastructures! When Kate gets shot down, it is by a plane with jet engine and using missiles! Just to show how good our girls are, they manage to dodge its radar missiles. Even better, Kylie and Chika trick it to fire multiple missiles at them. Then they dodge for the missiles to hit the huge statue structure to come crashing onto the jet plane. I guess with Chika being taken out because Isao is now itching to get into the fray, as the price to pay seems worth it. Emma gets taken down after her fill of shooting down many enemies. Isao’s butler uses a dirty trick to have the crane crash into Zara’s plane. Don’t worry. She still lives. In return, Reona sacrifices herself to take down the butler. All that is left is an angry Kylie trying to take down Isao. When the portal has fully materialized, that is when the signal is given to Hagoromo. It blasts off into the sky carrying loads of explosives to seal off the hole for good. So Saneatsu is going to do a suicide mission?! Desperate Isao tries to shoot down Hagoromo and even though he took down Kylie before that, Kylie like as though saw the spirit of Sab and remembers his words to let the plane fly itself. I guess it’s a cue so that Kylie’s plane could amazingly land a few more shots on Isao. Hagoromo explodes upon contact with the portal. Saneatsu not on a suicide mission after all. He escaped in his mini plane. Good for him now that he has a chance to confess to Loulou. Isao now being a desperate greedy megalomaniac hell bent on keeping the portal all to himself, gets sucked in as the portal closes. The air pirates retreat and all our heroes fly home, dreaming all the things they want to do. Wait a minute. Naomi seriously considering dating Adolfo?! Amazingly, Kylie’s plane still manages to fly home. I guess her plane really does fly by itself. Reona explains to the rest that Kotobuki comes from the Yufang word of good fortune. I guess it really served them well till the end.

With Flying Colours!
Is this the official retirement of the Kotobuki girls?! But I’m sure like Kylie, she’ll continue to do what she loves doing and even with Kotobuki or not, she’ll continue flying. The final episode to close to portal to Yufang felt more like a revenge plot because I am sure the portal will open up somewhere. It is probably to teach Isao a lesson and open up the eyes of all those who blindly follow him. Who knows if Isao will survive through the portal but I guess the important thing is that this world is now freed of his madness. Perhaps Yufang could have brought more and better technology and equipment to this world. But I figure that each world should retain their own culture and even if this one seems primitive, so be it as long as everyone here is free and happy.

Now, the very interesting aspect that I believe what makes this series stands out apart from other animes this season is the fact of its cool and exciting flight scenes. Whether it is just joyride or in the midst of some hot dogfight, the first person views of the flights are very thrilling. Even a casual viewer like me having no sort of interest in aviation have been charmed by the awesome and breath-taking first person flight views right from the start. I was so immersed in watching them that thinking back about it, it was as though I was in some sort of flight simulation! The visuals and views are done in a perfect manner that it really gives the viewers a great experience of what it is like to be in the cockpit of a plane.

Hence the dogfights are pretty much as exciting to watch too. Your staple fix for every episode guaranteed. Although it can be sometimes a bit farfetched that our Kotobuki girls are so skilled that they don’t usually get shot down. Maybe once in a blue moon. But other than that, they are so perfect in their shooting and flying skills that they could be the world’s greatest pilots. No wonder they are called the Magnificent Kotobuki. They live up to their name. Oh heck, I think that title is an understatement to their awesome talents. Sure, all of them got shot down in the final battle but after notching up their victory ratio to over a billion, it was probably time to bow out. It was worth it. A high score that no one can tops for a long time. Hey, can’t last forever being undefeated. The other unbelievable thing is how there are no casualties or deaths from the dogfights. Once a plane gets shot, you see smoke trails from its engine and the plane crash lands. Yeah, planes don’t explode in mid-air. They really avoided shooting the gas tank, huh? I rarely see people eject out so I’m assuming they went down with the plane. Even though the desert wasteland is vast, I don’t see wreckage of downed planes. Even the final big battle with so many planes shot down, where are those wreckages? Is it too small to see from up there?

The final battle at Ikesuka was exhilarating as well as it was exciting. But because Ikesuka looks like a typical modern urbanized city from our world, it felt so different than the rest of the other towns that we see that looked like old ranches from the wild west. So I wonder if Isao somehow managed to steal some ideas to create this big metropolis. I’m sure it wasn’t built in a day or night. However during the final battle, it felt so devoid of people. Like as though it is a giant ghost town. Such a shame with such beautiful skyscrapers and even roads, it really feels abandoned. Perhaps he has evacuated everyone. Or maybe this is one big giant personal playground Isao built for his dream world.

While there is nothing much from the overall story, I believe there is a lot more potential to be fleshed out. We mostly see the Kotobuki girls taking on job requests of certain towns and while they don’t constitute much, it does contribute a bit to the overall story and bigger picture. What could be fleshed out better is the Yufang side and it is confirmed that this world is another parallel world that exists aside from the real Earth. And since Yufang are actually the Japanese military, this feels like a plot rip-off from Gate. Instead of a single fixed portal, many random portals pop up here and there from time to time. It doesn’t help that these portals are not clearly explained except that they are gateways to Yufang’s world. Like as though they are pulled out from the air for plot convenience. Literally. But then again, more details could be clarified if this had another season.

The Kotobuki girls feel a bit shallow. Each of them has their own backgrounds and past but some are just merely touching the surface. I wish there were more meat to show the girls bond together but with the limited number of episodes, this would have replaced the cool aerial scenes and that is a definite no-no. Because of this trade off, the character development suffers. However you can still feel the closeness and bonds of the Kotobuki girls because of the amazing banter and dynamism in their conversations. Some of them are pretty witty and sarcastic especially Chika and Kylie who often don’t get along with each other and even when they do, still have time to throw a few banters at each other. Kylie gets the big bulk of the focus as we get to know her as a simple girl who just loves to fly. Her relationship with Sab makes it more intriguing and it’s like she continues to fly in hopes of looking for him one day.

Even in this world, there is deception. I thought Julia was going to be the antagonist and Isao some sort of hero but it turns out to be the other way round. Yeah, they had me fooled. Hence a valuable lesson to learn, never judge a book by its cover. Julia may look angry and sound a lot like a b*tch but that is only because of all the other men trying to bring her down and put her in place to toe the line. Understandably anyone could get this mad. Her relationship with Loulou also leaves much to be desired. It’s like a love-hate relationship between them and Loulou always keeps her cool and professionalism at all times. It is hard to see Isao as the baddie because he is always laughing and joking at all times. Even during hard times he can still make comeback lines! Not sure if this guy is the Hitler of this world because since Julia paints him in a bad light so I guess she must be right? Uh huh. Remember, don’t be fooled by appearances. If they really want to take on him, they have to be way more prepared than they are now as Isao still walk the talk and remains true to his legendary status.

Johnny. This minor character is really amazing and amusing. Better than the Hagoromo bridge crew whose names are I think puns of ABCs. His gunslinger skills are really so cool and had he been a pilot, his skills would have been even more extraordinary. This series’ mascot is a dodo bird who is supposedly the captain of Hagoromo too. I don’t see its significance except being a minor comic relief like sending messages to the Kotobuki girls. And laughing at Saneatsu’s forlorn picture of Loulou he keeps in his room.

On a trivial note, sometimes I feel that this series is more of a feminist series. Given that the politically correct era we now live in, I can’t help think about this even though I believe it is just coincidence and me overthinking. All the women here are capable, independent, strong and reliable. Even Ririko kicks ass. I have nothing against it but many of the men here are just weak and lame ass. Like the Nazarene guys are just losers. Especially that Adolfo dude who just talks big. Even when he tries to help, he’s just like useless. And he is even trying to impress and hit on Naomi? Yeah, that kind of strong girl doesn’t need this wuss. Oh wait. She did. Maybe he has some merit after all. Johnny is so gay, the mayor of Rahama is a wuss, Saneatsu is a wuss (I suppose he is doing it all out for his love for Loulou), the boss of Elite Industries is a conman and Isao is a bad guy. More than often you see females piloting on the good side, that is the side siding with Kotobuki like Camilla and Naomi. Sure, there are other guys fighting on their side too but they are so insignificant that they don’t matter. And here we assume all the faceless piloting bad guys flying on Isao’s side are males. I hope I’m just overthinking…

Like the few animes in the same season, this series is animated via CGI. However I am unsure as if to label the entire series as being done by CGI. Although the main characters like the Kotobuki girls are fully rendered in CGI (you know, you can see that one kind animation), there are some characters like the bridge crew of Hagoromo that I cannot determined if they are CGI material or not. It looks like they are your typical 2D animation but I just can’t say thanks to the lack of screen time. Overall if the CGI feels weird, at least it is not that bad. Luckily the environments and background sceneries are nice to look at despite it is mainly the desert wasteland. I guess I am really enthralled with the first person view flight experience as the animation here is seamless for a really good wholesome experience. I’m not an aviation enthusiast but I can see that they put in some details for the planes. Generally speaking, they look nice. This series is jointly animated by WAO World (Animegataris) and Gemba (Berserk – the new one).

Oddly when I first glimpsed the Kotobuki girls, I thought they reminded me of the same bunch of girls in Akanesasu Shoujo. But that is merely because Kylie has this strange resemblance to Asuka (and replace chikuwa with pancakes), Kate having this uncanny resemblance to Mia and perhaps Emma and Nana do look a bit similar. And Reona had the same seriousness tone as Yuu. It made me wonder if those Akanesasu Shoujo girls did the right frequency, would they have ended up in this strange Fragment? Well, frankly speaking, we did see our heroes and heroines fly off into the sunset. Geddit? Sunset? The twilight? Oh, never mind…

Voice acting feels fine with me only recognizing Shizuka Itou as Naomi and Keiji Fujiwara as Saneatsu. Sayumi Suzushiro as Kylie sounds so lively and amazing that it is hard to think of her as the one who voiced Oono in High Score Girl. The latter felt like it was really a waste of her talents. The other casts are Asami Seto as Reona (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Hibiku Yamamura as Zara (Sara in Island), Sayaka Nakaya as Kate (Orine in AKB0048), Eri Yukimura as Emma (debut role), Miyu Tomita as Chika (Aoi in Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou No Holmes), Akiko Yajima as Loulou (Kohaku in Inu Yasha), Ayaka Shimizu as Julia (Masaki in Sasameki Koto), Katsuyuki Onishi as Isao (Oga in Beelzebub), Kazutomi Yamamoto as Allen (Yumoto in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu), Youji Ueda as Johnny (Kisaragi in Basilisk), Nao Touyama as Ririko (Chitoge in Nisekoi), Mai Fuchigami as Camilla (Nagisa in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) and Rumi Ookubo as Natsuo (Aguri in Gamers).

The opening theme is Soranone by ZAQ. Nothing exciting that attracts my attention. It just sounds lively and okay, trying to breathe some sort of life into the series but I got my kicks from somewhere else during the episodes. The ending theme is Tsubasa Wo Motsumonotachi by the quintet of the Kotobuki Flight Corps. A slower and calmer pacing than the opener and although still not that appealing, it still is a good song if you’re just going on a joyride flight. There are a few fanfare and marching-like military BGMs here. If you heard Girls Und Panzer, you can have an idea what they sound like (heck, they both had the same director). Such BGMs add more thrill and excitement to the dogfights.

Overall, despite the less than stellar storyline and characters, the amazing dogfights and aerial views are the ones that blast all those minus points away. Not to say it is perfect but this is easily one of the best and favourite animes of the season. At least by comparison, still way much better than that other flight anime in the same season, Girly Air Force. To say that old is gold isn’t exactly accurate. It is all in the execution and this series did it right from the start. Truly the top flight. To quote a saying, the sky is the limit to some but to others who love aviation, the sky is their home. And truly this is where the Kotobuki Flight Corps feel at home with. Thank you for letting us fly with you and have a pleasant flight.

Murder Princess

June 28, 2019

Remember my case with Melty Lancer a short while ago? Yup. It’s the same for Murder Princess. Although this series isn’t that bad as there are still subs around the internet, I guess the panic button was pushed and so here I am. After all, alphabetically Murder Princess comes after Melty Lancer in the list of anime titles, right? Uh huh. I must have missed all the other titles that fall in between them and didn’t find them attractive. Anyway the title sounds as suspicious and intriguing because I thought it would be some crazy princess who goes around killing people using her royalty status or at least she was labelled as one when some royal family member framed her by killing the rest of the royal family and hence she has to fight her way back to reclaim her throne and innocence. I am both wrong in that instance. Instead, princess and bounty hunter switch bodies. The fight to fend off rebels from their country begins. And oh, don’t forget that royal conspiracy…

Episode 1
Alita Castilia Arago Forland meets up with her father, the king in the throne room. It seems the palace is under sieged by rebels. The king is gravely injured and he wants Alita to escape through the secret passageway into the forest. As long as their bloodline doesn’t die out, their family will continue to live on. Thank goodness he said all that before he kicked the bucket. To fool the enemies, Alita’s maid, Milano Entrasia substitutes as her as she makes her getaway. The rebels crash in. A bunch of lolis? Anna and Yuna? Make that mecha lolis. Because of their android features, it is believed that a traitor has sold the nation’s secrets and true enough it is Dr Akamashi behind this coup detat. They are given a chance to live if they surrender Alita but fighting to the death is their answer. As Alita runs through the forest, a monster kills her escorts. Run! She bumps into Falis and in her fear, accidentally fall off the cliff together. In that instance, they switch bodies. Luckily they are caught by Falis’ underlings, Dominikov and Pete Armstrong. Falis is shocked to see her own body before her and herself in the princess’ body. No time to rest and think yet as the monster is here. So Falis has Alita throw her sword to her as she cuts it down like hot knife through butter. It is explained that when both are facing death at the same time, their souls may intertwine. Alita then apologizes for bringing trouble to them and then begs for them to help save her country. Falis refuses. They are bounty hunters who do jobs for money. Alita offers anything as reward but what about collateral? She will use her own body for that. So that’s it? Enough for Falis and co to ride back to the palace and start saving the kingdom. Meanwhile, everyone is dead except the king’s aide, Jodo and Milano. Just in time for Falis and co to barge in. Akamashi’s monsters attack but Falis slices them all down. Then she dukes it out with bratty Anna and somehow manages to disable her body. Then she throws Akamashi sitting off her rightful throne and claims her right to it. So cool!

Episode 2
Yuna might be meek but when she panics, she releases a lot of weird weapons. This distraction allows the loli rebels to escape. Dominikov is suspicious since those weapons are from the old world. Alita is sad since Milano is dead. Next morning, still saddened over her death, she decides to cast away her own identity and continue to live as Milano. Then she goes to wake up Falis to get ready for the coronation ceremony. No matter how much she points to the maid as the princess, I guess the rest are playing dumb that Falis is the princess. Time to learn princess etiquette. It isn’t going to be easy seeing Falis is such a crude woman… Later Milano explains that their country’s law that a king must be crowned within a week (can’t they change this stupid law?!) and the only heirs are Alita or her brother Kaito. However he is away in another kingdom for military service and cannot be contacted. Milano hopes Falis will take the throne till he comes back. After all, the pact still hasn’t end yet as the rebels haven’t given up. In exchange for doing this, Falis will gain everything she has lost. I don’t know how Anna got the plans for the coronation procession but she did and they will as expected attack and kidnap Alita then. Falis is coronate as king (from now on, I’ll refer to her as Alita for easier reference). Jodo wonders if this is okay and Milano believes this is the only way. That night when she was running away in the forest, she already lost her title and her identity. She has given everything to Falis in exchange to save this country. Hence right now she is only her maid. Alita accepts her role but still acts a bit crude, confusing the crowd. A parade is held and Alita finds this country to be quite nice thanks to all its friendly people. As expected, the Akamashi unleashes his giant Frankenstein to attack. Time for Alita to go into action. She slices and dices with ease so Yuna shoots some booster into the monster. It’s like Alita herself has her own booster as she powers up into a merciless killing machine. By the time Dominikov confronts the rebels, they escape again. Even when the monster is down, Alita continues to kill it. Then when a kid is close by, Alita tries to strike her but Milano protects her, willing to be cut down. In that instant, Alita returns to her senses and although has no recollections of what she was doing, regrets what she was about to do. Milano calms her down by hugging her. In the aftermath, Alita’s actions have earned the people’s trust but Alita knows that the stronger one is Milano.

Episode 3
Milano tells Alita about Kaito. A very good swordsman but left on an expedition for a peace negotiation in a neighbouring country. Hey, that country is just next door. It’s not like it’s half a continent away?! Milano continues to sing praises of his kindness and loyalty but then the thought of passing the throne back to him, what would become of Alita? When Alita accidentally breaks a doll, they start quarrelling. WTF Milano blaming her she doesn’t understand her feelings?! Of course she don’t! How long did you guys met?! Thanks to the battered army, just in time for Alita to head out and lose some steam and kill some goblins making ruckus in some valley. She leaves with Dominikov while Pete stays back to accompany Milano. Jodo tells Milano not to blame Alita. The doll was given by the original Milano to the original princess Alita and though he is glad she still treasures it, the new Alita doesn’t share those same feelings. While praying in the church, those loli rebels manage to sneak a monster inside and kidnap her?! When Pete comes to rescue, one punch was enough to knock him down. WTF???!!! IS HE THIS WEAK???!!! Good thing Alita just finished kicking goblins’ ass and heard the news from Jodo that Milano has been taken hostage to the northern ruins. The lolis interrogate Milano. They know she is not the maid because they killed her. They believe she could be someone else and the one holding the key. They try to scare her enough not to kill her (although eventually they threaten they will) but as long Milano keeps her mouth shut, she thinks it will be fine. Alita leaves Dominikov and Pete to fight the monsters outside as she heads in. However she is told to drop her weapons lest she wants Milano dead. She does so and gets pounded by the monster. Anna mocks Alita that she may have some secret because a princess coming to save a mere maid. Alita shuts her up by replying she made a promise to save this country regardless to whom she made it. She’ll protect everything! Just in time for some guy to drop in, cut off the monster’s arm, disarm the lolis, free Milano, bring her to reunite with Alita (for some yuri hug), let them ride away to escape on his horse and then finish up the monster. Yeah… As expected the loli rebels run away when the going gets tough. Heck, even the other monsters know how to retreat?! Of course not surprisingly that guy is revealed to be Kaito. Awkward. Does he know who his real sister is? Awkward for Alita to welcome back his onii-sama…

Episode 4
A pre-coronation party is held. As explained by Dominikov, once the coronation is over, Alita and her subordinates will leave the palace and travel. This is because if she stays with Kaito, sooner she will be exposed as a fake. It is better for things to cool down while they’re away before returning. Hence Alita talks to Kaito that she is leaving for a journey after this. Big brother hugs her and wishes her well. Meanwhile we see Akamashi and the twins in the party. Where the heck is security check?! They’re supposed to be the highest on the alert list and here they got in so easily by just change of clothes?! WTF???!!! Milano is looking for Alita in her room but notices she left a note of apology and ‘fixed’ the doll. Meanwhile Alita is being led by this strange woman to a secret passage underneath the palace. Took some time for Alita to be suspicious about her and when she does, Cecilia forces her hand to activate something. Cecilia then attacks her. Milano and Alita’s subordinates continue to look for Alita. Strange, she left her sword behind. Oh look. Oil lamp trails. Lead to dead end AKA secret passageway. You know what this means. They arrive in time to throw Alita’s sword to her. Enough for her to slash out of Cecilia’s grasp and make a run for it. And damn, now they run into the loli rebels. Do we have time for this?! Anna hints about Alita being the key to Teoria. And just when Akamashi is about to have the rare moment of opening his mouth to explain that, he gets killed by Cecilia’s dark knight!!! WTF???!!! Lolis become sad-cum-enraged with his death but gets easily incapacitated. When Cecilia unmasks herself, Alita remembers her as the culprit who burnt her village and killed her people. Now it’s Alita’s turn to attack but with the dark knight defending her, she cannot cut through his magically infused thick armour. The battle then reaches the party. Milano thinks their worries are over as she calls out to Kaito for help. Surprise but not surprise, Kaito is the dark knight! He then accuses them of being the real rebels, conspiring with Akamashi to commit treachery and replacing the real Alita with an imposter. He orders the guards to arrest them. Milano is paralyzed in shock so I guess it’s this series’ specialty for them to make their escape via simple smokescreen. The next day, Kaito is crowned the king, much to the crowd’s delight while our heroes-cum-rebels are resting at the outskirts of the kingdom.

Episode 5
Kaito and Cecilia order a nationwide search for the traitors. Luckily they manage to get help from a group of travelling performers thanks to Pete’s kindness in helping their caravan out when stuck. With them hiding the rebels, they are able to easily pass checkpoints. Yeah, those guards sure didn’t do a thorough job. And since when did Jodo join the rebels?! As they rest, it gets awkward for the lolis since they’re once enemies now they’re allies? So they relate about Akamashi’s struggle. He was a scientist of a kingdom when his research was suddenly halted. Then he met Cecilia who introduced him to several lost technologies. That was when he created the lolis via that lost technologies. And when Teoria came into light, that is when he began executing his plan. The rest is history. But now they realize they have all been used by Cecilia. Dominikov demonstrates his own android abilities. This is the same lost technologies as the lolis but his and Pete’s are different as they are not completely robots. They are bioorganic forms infused with lost technologies. Hence Teoria is lost technology. Milano then explains the legend of how this world was created. Gods fighting, they cried at the end, their tears flooded the world, water gone, life appeared. Yeah, sounds pretty far-fetched. Humans then pop up and started living and now they are in the 672nd year of the Shandena Era. Before that, human civilization reached the peak of science and arts. The ability to even control time?! It was all thanks to the power of Teoria. But due to their constant wars, Teoria went out of control and human civilization ended. The few survivors sealed Teoria away and in time it was forgotten. Of course not all have forgotten of it as its arts were bequeathed to a certain country’s royal family. Jodo and Milano are forced to admit and apologize a secret they have been keeping for them. They do have the key that would unlock Teoria that is located underneath their palace. However the key can be handed to only female successors. It’s a good thing they had male successors all the while, eh? And does it activate when the female reach a certain age? Because why now instead of when Alita was born? It is believed Kaito betrayed them for this power that could literally change the world. Yeah, create a world the way you want it.

Storytelling time is over since the royal army is hot on their tail. Did they take too long to tell? As they run, the lolis ran out of juice so Dominikov and Pete try to stall them. They transform into their true hideous monster form to fight Cecilia and her army. As the caravan reaches near the body, I wonder how Kaito was able to ride this fast ahead of them? With the caravan toppled, Milano tries to be the decoy and runs away. Yeah, Kaito took the bait and caught her. This guy who committed the biggest betrayal dislikes being tricked like this?! However he can’t kill her. Milano’s piercing gaze looks familiar. And when she calls him a traitor, he is shocked to realize this is his real sister. Alita who was weakened and injured since the end of last episode, somehow manages to draw out her strength to save Milano. How the f*ck did she cut through Kaito’s thick armour and even injure him???!!! Is this the power of yuri???!!! Then it’s like since both sides are weakened, let’s call it even, let’s withdraw. WTF… And Cecilia calling the retreat order? I thought they’re not supposed to fail in this mission to capture the traitors? Alita has this nicely timed flashback. Cecilia killing her father or master before her eyes as he protected her. She vowed revenge and picked up his sword. This timely flashback has Alita remember why she became a bounty hunter. Realizing that she and Milano are now facing their destinies, they are not going to run away and will face it. This means returning to the palace once more.

Episode 6
With many of the guards thinking they have crossed to another nation, looks like there aren’t many around and hence they’ll use this chance to strike. But first, Alita and Milano talk things out. Alita has decided on what she wants as a reward: Her body back via Teoria’s power. They will go back to their old ways and of course she will still keep her promise. As the gang infiltrate the palace, Alita faces off with Cecilia. She asks why she burnt down her village. Oh, for fun. Just to test out her new power she got. As they fight, Cecilia zaps her but thank goodness for Milano throwing her doll as distraction. You mean the doll didn’t break at this impact?! WTF?! Anyway the distraction was enough for them to head to the Teoria room. Too bad Kaito catches them and forces Alita to open the door. Inside, he activates Teoria and wishes for the world to be destroyed! Alita has her second bout with Cecilia and this time she manages to destroy the crystal that is the source of her power. Turning Cecilia into an old hag before she bites the dust. Literally, turning into dust. Kaito explains why he wants to world destroyed. He is sick with all the wars and constant fighting and with them clinging on to lost technologies, is there any value in this kind of world? Well, he’s got a point but… For some reason, Alita goes into her berserk mode and only the voice of Milano easily snapped her out? With Kaito defeated, Alita explains there is a princess who is willing to risk everything just to make her happy. That itself is enough for her to find this sh*tty world to be worth protecting. But if Teoria is activated, can it be stopped? Oh, Jodo says it can with a switch! WTF?! Did the sealers create this in mind that this would happen???!!! Of course the only caveat is that everything related to lost technology will cease to exist. This means Dominikov, Pete and the lolis will disappear. Oh Alita, don’t waver now. So we hear Dominikov making his peace with her. Do it. As products of lost technologies, they aren’t supposed to be in this era. They’ve lived long enough to know that. And he explains it so well to the lolis and they’re like, “Okay, bye-bye”. Wow. Better go off with a cute smile, huh? Alita does so and with Teoria stopped activating, all lost technologies related beings disappear. In the aftermath, both ladies realize they failed to swap back their bodies. Alita will continue to live like this for a while and protect the country until they figure things out. And so with an enemy nation attacking, Alita does best what she does as she heads to the battleground to slice them all up, hence earning her the legendary nickname of Murder Princess. Good job for that title to send shivers down your enemies’ spine.

Battle Princess Alita
I guess it wasn’t all that bad. The story is clear cut and simple and doesn’t have anything long and complicated so it is easy to digest. So if you are hoping for really drawn out stories with convoluted plot twists (heh, I saw Kaito as the dark knight betrayer twist coming from a mile ago) or very long complicated character histories, this series isn’t going to cut it. Yeah, you’re going to need anime series to be as long as One Piece or Naruto or even Black Clover to drag things out. So I can’t complain with that kind of ending. Alita and Milano continue to reside in each other’s bodies because I figure if they somehow return to their original bodies, everything would just really, really, really, really, really end there. They part and that’s it. Sounds bittersweet. Because at least with them still being in switcheroo mode, it gives this sort of excuse for them to be together. For how long it may take. And they also ‘wrap up’ nicely her subordinates and the lolis by conveniently disappearing with the cessation of Teoria so that you don’t have to wonder what they’ll be doing in the aftermath. I mean, it would look weird and suspicious if a bunch of ghouls and lolis hang out with our princess, right?

Like I’ve said, the story is simple but so much so there are quite a few WTF moments that will make you raise an eyebrow or in my case, start laughing. From as simple as the numerous times they have to return to the palace (like as though this is the main setting of this series) as if fate always draws them back here (from the princess’ first escape to the final return to fight the final boss scene). Then there’s the use of Teoria which sounds just as suspicious and shady as it is. I think they want to give some sort of story to what this super power is but the execution just feels laughable. I mean, when those human survivors decided to seal it, you mean they also foresee that those greedy descendants will also want to use it for their own selfish reasons? Isn’t that why somehow there is a switch to deactivate it all despite the popular belief that once it is activated it cannot be stopped? And once deactivated, can it not activate again? Because from what I see, it’s like it is forever lost. Yup. Truly lost technologies now. WTF, dude???!!! It’s like I’ve got a wish to change the wold, and then changed my mind. Heck, this means Teoria is only good for one use!!! Like WTF???!!! If that was going to be the case, should have destroyed it instead of sealing it in the first place!!! Yeah, I don’t know what those humans were thinking. It’s like they want to save humanity but let’s just keep this little power just in case. Just in case… Or maybe not… Make up your mind!!!

Sometimes it feels more like annoying and a comedy too with certain scenes especially those that involve Akamashi and his lolis. They come into the picture for a while and then when the going gets tough, they do their best tactic ever which is to escape. And they’ve been doing this for a while for the first half of this series that sometimes I think it’s a running joke. And for them to be able to this again and again for a while, damn the kingdom’s security must be really flawed. I know they give excuse that the recent coup detat has decimated their main forces but allowing this to happen feels more like a joke than anything serious. Damn, the clincher was when they entered the pre-coronation party. These people should be on the wanted posters everywhere!!! Speaking about the royal army, I guess they’re a joke too because they’re so weak and useless I’m thinking that they are newly recruited amateurs. I guess all those really good ones died along with the previous king, huh?

When the princess and the bounty hunter first switched souls, the mind boggling thing is how Alita is now suddenly able to pull off her fighting moves with ease and flexibility. I am assuming that the original princess does not work out or train in ways of the martial arts so I don’t believe her body was able to adapt so quickly to fit the bounty hunter’s deadly techniques. Yeah, in this sense it doesn’t make much sense. Heck, when they swapped bodies, their voices also swapped. This leaves only their body as the outer shell while everything else from personality to skill is switched. Probably that is why it was so confusing for me at first. And before I know it, I got used to them as they are. Note, if they’re really desperate to change back to their original bodies, perhaps they can try another near-death experience? Say, fall off the cliff together again? Yeah, who knows if it would work again and besides, I think they got used to and liked their new bodies so it’s no use trying this risky scientifically unproven (heh) stuff because it’s the same like using Teoria to destroy the world, right?!

Character wise, nothing really deep about them. Alita and Milano are an odd pair due to their circumstances. It is hinted there is some budding yuri relationship between them. After all, they’ve spent some time together. In each other’s bodies. So what is there not to slowly grow to like the other? Yeah, it might be confusing at times if they make out with each other. Are they masturbating, because they’re like playing with themselves? Haha! Oops, went too far… Alita’s past is simple. Just motivated to become a bounty hunter for revenge and she finally got it. But it is never explained well about her berserk mode that allows her to have temporary boost of her power. Does that only happen when Milano is in danger and it puts stress on her mind and hence this mode? Well, good thing Milano was able to stop it otherwise she would really live up to her Murder Princess nickname. Yuri power banzai! As long as Milano is by her side, anything is okay. And yeah, Milano = maid character!!! Huzzah! I approve!!! The past between Alita, Dominikov and Pete is also never explained. How did she team up with those guys? It would have been interesting to see how they pair up but it won’t matter now since they’re gone. Dominikov feels like for plot convenience, at least he is there to explain things while Pete as the gentle giant so as to tell us that not all such big brutes are dangerous creatures.

The funny thing about Akamashi is that I wonder if he is a shy person or not. Because at points he is seen whispering into Anna’s ear for her to explain to the rest (and us) about things. I thought he had no voice but at very rare times, we do hear him speak. Besides, I wonder if Akamashi’s faceless expression is permanent. He has this boring look on his face that screams, “Damn this is troublesome, I don’t want to do this sh*t”. Yeah, it does give off that feel. Funny. But not as funny when he was instantly killed off. That moment for me was like, oh sh*t, you really kidding me?! Not kidding. Dead scientist for sure. The lolis are there for some loli cuteness. Even though they are androids and not supposed to have feelings I suppose they do because we need to sympathize with them. Because Anna said they aren’t supposed to have taste when they ate food but they do anyway so I’m assuming they too have feelings since Anna is the brat while Yuna is the shy one. But they look like they’re handling it well with Akamashi’s death. It’s not like they’re so overly emotional about it and even when it’s time to disappear, they’re cool with that. Yeah, maybe they do have feelings but not a wide range.

I wonder what will happen to Kaito now. Will he still be the rule of his country? I mean, he wanted the world to be destroyed. Didn’t get that wish. Now he is stuck ruling his sh*tty country in this sh*tty world. But then again, with Alita taking the frontlines of the battlefield as their fighting princess, could Kaito have been exiled? I mean, it’s not like the people found out about his treachery, right? Did they? The last we know is that Alita’s side have been branded traitors. Maybe somewhere in the epilogue that wasn’t shown, things were explained to the people. Otherwise, how would Alita have led the royal army to fight the enemies?

One of the reasons why I wanted to watch this series was because I read it was action packed. Well… Not exactly. Sure there are action bits but they aren’t from start to finish. Not to say they are shown sparingly either but at least in every episode you are guaranteed to see Alita go into some sort of sword swinging action. But the action sequences aren’t really top-notched either. Sometimes a bit laughable. Like when Alita slashes Akamashi’s monsters, it all feels so easy like as though she is cutting through just waves of mindless monsters whose sole existence is to be cut down like that. Dominikov and Pete don’t really do anything much since we focus more on Alita so they’re relegated to fighting whatever small fries in the background while Alita takes the bigger slice of the cake. This series has blood too but nothing that would really spook you. I think blood is ‘necessary’ so that you can see how it somewhat lives up to its namesake title when you see blood stains all over Alita’s white princess dress. I think Milano is doing a great job as a maid removing those stains every time…

The art and drawing aren’t anything to shout about. Came out in the last decade (year 2007 to be precise) so everything looks dated like from that era. The character designs, the monsters and even the fantasy setting. Some characters do look weird, though. Like Jodo whom I thought is some leprechaun without the trademark Irish green lucky clover hat. With that kind of serious looks, I thought Jodo would be some sort of traitor but thankfully nope. Then there’s Dominikov whom I thought is some discount version of Ghost Rider. I mean, did his design take inspiration from that? At least his bike on fire wheels made me think so. And Pete is he looking like some kind of punk rock golem? Well, don’t judge a book by its cover? I’ve already said about Akamashi’s look, having this boring outlook expression. How can you not identify this dude as he is the only one in the country with this broomstick hair?! When the dark knight (no relations to Batman whatsoever) first appeared, the first thing I thought was damn, how this guy looks like Overlord’s Ains-sama! More accurately, Momon! They are also dual handed sword wielders. Did Overlord take inspiration from this design? Because Overlord also have dark elf twins and was it these android loli twins they also get their inspiration from? This anime is made by Bee Train who did Tsubasa Chronicle, Noir and Madlax.

It’s nice to hear a few recognizable seiyuus lending their talents here. Oh, just Romi Paku as Alita/Falis, Ami Koshimizu as Milano/Alita and Chiwa Saitou doing twin roles as Anna and Yuna. The rest of the small casts are Kazuki Yao as Dominikov (Franky in One Piece), Akimitsu Takase as Pete (Tamotsu Kodate in Fafner), Takkou Ishimori as Jodo (Sengoku in One Piece), Megumi Toyoguchi as Cecilia (Revy in Black Lagoon), Daisuke Namikawa as Kaito (Mystogan in Fairy Tail) and Hiroshi Tsuchida as Akamashi (Grisha in Shingeki No Kyojin).

The opening theme is Hikari Sasuhou by Back-On. Typical hard rock music that suits this series. However, somehow hearing this song reminds me of hearing that American punk rock band, Green Day. I don’t know. Perhaps people who sing like that sound like that to me. And oh, also this reminds me a bit of Linkin Park because there’s a little rapping in this hard rock piece. As for the ending theme, Naked Flower, it is very rare to hear Romi Paku sing. I’m not saying that it sounds bad but she is one of those few seiyuus I know that don’t really have that kind of singing voice (I hate to admit it, because my utmost favourite Mamiko Noto’s voice also isn’t suited for singing). So rare that the only other time she sang was one of those ending songs for Ueki No Housoku. Yeah, it’s so long ago that I’ve forgotten about it that I Google it. But this ending theme in general is quite nice since it has that Latin vibe to it and those killer violins at the start.

Overall, looks like another one of those anime series resting in the back burners of my mind being checked off the list. With only 6 episodes in total, I guess I can’t really complain and b*tch about the simple story and characters since I do have to admit that I enjoyed watching this series despite some of the WTF moments that made me want to laugh. The action scenes are supposed to be the big draw but it didn’t really quite cut it for me and it felt more like just to showcase why Alita is badass enough to slice and dice with her sword while still in her princess dress. I wonder if Disney is thinking of incorporating her as part of the official Disney Princess line-up because she sure does kick ass with style like some of them. But then, not likely since Star Wars’ Princess Leia is still waiting her turn and most unlikely she’ll be that part of that elite group ;p. Don’t want to market to kids bloody stained dresses of a princess with an equally bloody sword now, do we? Kill Bill this isn’t either…

They say that if you snooze, you lose. To some, love is a game. A game whoever yields first loses because that is a sign of weakness-cum-submission and allows the other party to dominate you. Therefore it is a battle of wits to make the other party confess first in Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai. Yup. Love is more than just a game at this rate. Love is war. But not necessarily that war is love. Our main characters here who secretly have a crush on each other are engaged in some twisted battle of wits to make the other seemingly look like they have confessed. When you have both donkeys who are stubborn and don’t budge because of pride, no points to guess who will turn out to be the ultimate losers. Just a matter of how long they are willing to drag out this stubbornness…

Episode 1A
In Shuchiin Academy, Kaguya Shinomiya as the student council vice president is the daughter of a conglomerate and is talented in many fields. Then we have Miyuki Shirogane as the student council president who is the top scorer. Both are awed together by everyone else so much so they think they are dating. However with that said, both of them have this twisted pride of not being the first one to confess because the one who does so is considered the loser. Hence a battle of wits in trying to make the other confess first. Hence nothing happened for months… But Chika Fujiwara, the secretary who has no idea about this battle, seems to break that pattern as she gives them a couple of tickets to a romance movie. It seemed Shirogane might be giving in when he almost sounded like he was going to invite Kaguya. Luckily he manages to turn it around by giving her the option. Kaguya could easily turn him down but all would have been for naught since she was the one who planted the tickets in Chika’s hands. As both try to mentally strategize, Chika shows another pair of tickets to a children’s movie if romance is not their type. With this chaos thrown into the mix, their brains start overloading thinking for a solution. They crave for something sweet and there is only a manjuu in the room. As they race to grab it, Chika eats it and leaves. Battle result: Both lost.

Episode 1B
Kaguya planted a love letter in her shoebox just to rile Shirogane as she thinks of going to meet this guy. She is waiting for him to stop her and when that happens, it’s her victory. Of course Shirogane doesn’t want this but uses his position that he doesn’t endorse illicit activities between a man and woman. He even threatens to tell the teacher. Kaguya fights back that she is willing to even get expelled for the sake of true love. With Shirogane using assumptions if she would go for a better guy and she mentions there could be a possibility, this is enough ‘evidence’ for Shirogane to fire back this isn’t true love then. Still, Kaguya pretends she is going to this guy and the only thing that could stop her is his teary eyed begging. Too bad it is Chika who is clinging and crying all over her not to leave! In the end, it is Kaguya’s lost.

Episode 1C
Kaguya sees Shirogane simple bento and she would sure love to taste it. However Chika beats her to it and he even shares some with her. This has Kaguya looking at her with scorn but Shirogane thinks she is mocking his miserable lunch. He tries to show off more by making Chika eat more and of course she scorns even more. If this is what Chika wants, it’s war! No more friends. Next day, Kaguya brings in a super high class bento. The duo are amazed but continue to mind their own bento. Kaguya tries to tempt Shirogane to try some but he replies he has nothing of equivalent value to give her. Kaguya feels defeated and even more so when he hears Shirogane made Chika’s bento. That’s it. No more friends for real. Shirogane quickly finishes his and leaves. That is when Chika pops an octopus wiener in Kaguya’s mouth. A taste of heaven. It’s like she’s got her humanity back and considers Chika her friend again. In that sense, Kaguya ‘won’ on technical grounds that Shirogane escaped.

Episode 2A
Shirogane bought a new Smartphone and wants to of course get Kaguya’s address without asking her. Kaguya knows his game and will not do so since it would be shameful for a girl to ask a boy his. However Shirogane shows Chika his childhood profile picture in which he will soon change. Kaguya is interested to see so she fakes her tears and cries of being left out. Panicky Shirogane shows her but realizes his mistake and pulls back. But for that split second Kaguya has seen and memorized it. She no longer has a reason to ask his address. That is when Chika points out Kaguya’s old model doesn’t support the latest app. And so they both lost today’s battle…

Episode 2B
With Chika suggesting to go somewhere for the holidays, Shirogane fantasizes the mountains as the ideal place to get Kaguya to confess to him. However Kaguya prefers the sea. Although she fantasizes of a sunset confession and using her swimsuit to bewitch him, she knows Shirogane can’t swim. She has also prepared a list of answers to counter the dangers he suggests. And when she points out the mountains has bugs which he hates, it looks like a sure victory for her. Until Chika says her body has grown and needs to get a new swimsuit. Kaguya realizes she will lose to her and switches to the mountains. And now Shirogane wants the sea?! He hates bugs more than he can’t swim. Can’t decide? Let Chika decide. What’s it gonna be? How about Mt Osore. It sounds like a place where the dead soul roams. Today’s battle ruined… Is that the same as a loss?

Episode 2C
A guy comes to Shirogane for love advice. Too bad he didn’t know he is a virgin and Shirogane fearing his reputation may come to light if he gives the wrong advice, he likes like he knows it all. Of course Kaguya is eavesdropping outside and would love to hear his opinions. So this guy wants to confess to a girl he likes, Nagisa Kashiwagi but is unsure if she likes him. But Shirogane downplays all the friendzone signs to confidently tell him she likes him. This idiot thinks Shirogane is a genius! It’s all in the confidence. Shirogane even demonstrates this wall slamming technique for size (something he inadvertently practises on the door that Kaguya is hiding behind to make her heart flutter). The guy is grateful to him but gets the wrong idea he and Kaguya are dating. Shirogane refutes that and lists down all her bad points but suddenly praises everything good about her (because now he spotted her hiding). The irony of Shirogane telling him to confess because nothing will happen unless he takes action. Don’t those words resonate with him? Oddly the guy did all that and now they’re a couple. Meanwhile Kaguya is in good mood and this puzzles Shirogane. This means today’s battle is actually a loss for him.

Episode 3A
Based on a magazine, it seems 34% of correspondence already did their first time in their teens. Although this flusters Chika and Shirogane but Kaguya brushes it off and claims she has also done it! Even to her new born cousin?! When she claims they are not raised in a loving environment, it seems this might be the confession plan she needs. She thinks Shirogane will be pressured that he still doesn’t have a girlfriend and will confess to her. Shirogane on the other hand has no experience and is a virgin but ironically popular. Hence he cannot lie and say he has. This has him ask what does her first time mean. Due to her strict upbringing that term only means kissing to her. Hence Chika explains in ‘explicit’ detail what it really means. Wow. In shock. It’s her loss for being this ignorant.

Episode 3B
Shirogane claims he knows her well so Kaguya suggests playing a game. Usually one would ask 20 questions that could only be answered yes or no. If you can determine what it is by 20 questions, you win. Because Shirogane says he knows all about her, she cuts the questions down by half. So as he asks her stuffs and puzzled by the answers given, when he asks if it is something she likes, she starts to act flustering. This has him think he is the answer. A few more questions seem to likely point to that. Is this her way of indirect confession? When he thinks of all the nice expressions she had, he also remembers she has nasty ones. His answer is Chika’s dog. Correct.

Episode 3C
Kaguya is often chauffeured to school but for some reason today, a cat is hiding and doesn’t want to come out of the car engine?! Because of that, she takes the liberty to walk to school. An experience she longs to have. Along the way, she sees a crying girl who seems to be afraid of crossing the road without her friend. She helps her do so but there are much more crossings to come. I guess after a while and she’s still crying about not wanting to be alone, Kaguya suggests even if the official group crossing is over, she can make appointments with her friends to meet and walk to school together. I guess she never thought of that. Oh look. Her friend is here and they can go to school together. Kaguya is perhaps lost but here comes Shirogane peddling his bicycle, almost late for school. He wants her to hop on because hell they aren’t going to break the school rules as student council. School rules > Traffic rules? Kaguya’s chauffeuring days return but each time she remembers that day, she smiles to herself.

Episode 4A
With Kaguya putting on cat ears as part of the party planned to welcome French students, Shirogane’s heart is racing like hell. Of course he is holding it really hard and Kaguya thinks there is no reaction. When Chika puts cat ears on Shirogane, it is Kaguya’s turn to have her heart racing. As usual, she tries to hide it hard. Kaguya suggests taking a photo and Shirogane fears she might use this is for future extortion. How about both having their pictures taken then? Not a bad deal since Shirogane will get to legally have that photo. All they need to do is smile but since they can’t keep a straight face looking at each other, they look as though they’re going to fight. In the end, Chika confiscates the cat ears as everyone start thinking the scariness of cat ears.

Episode 4B
In order to but decorations and essentials for the party, somebody has to give up their free time on the weekend to do the shopping. Chika suggests a forbidden word game in which the winner is excused from it. Each player holds up a word he/she doesn’t know and if he/she says that word, you lose. Shirogane thinks of putting the word that Chika often says. Check it out? His goal is to have Chika win so he can go out with Kaguya. But Chika starts rapping! Yo! Yo! Kaguya is not speaking and despite it’s a way to win, they’re not going anywhere. Chika then tells her sob story how she is excluded from conversations. Kaguya comforts her and says she loves her straightforwardness. This causes Kaguya to lose since ‘love’ is her forbidden word! Chika was just straight up lying! This makes it easier for Shirogane. All he has to do is let Chika win but the problem is with Chika putting up that bluff, he now has trust issues. Besides, his pride will not allow him to hurt others at the expense of his own. This means his ‘date’ with Kaguya is unacceptable. Shirogane is going to get serious in this game but then he’s out! Seems his forbidden world is ‘serious’! Kaguya has the last laugh since she understands his character perfectly.

Episode 4C
Although they have exchanged numbers, Kaguya is still awaiting Shirogane’s first text. Her maid, Ai Hayasaka knows she has feelings for him and tries to confirm it. When Kaguya says she just likes the qualities she is lacks in him and it is not love, Hayasaka wonders if it is okay for Shirogane and Chika to date. I’m sure that deadly aura means no. She doesn’t want her best friend to be taken away either. Hayasaka suggests calling since he is expecting her to text. Hayasaka then calls on her behalf. Ready or not, you’re on the line. But it is Shirogane’s father who picks up! After passing to his son, Kaguya learns he is in the bath. Hayasaka trying to fuel the fire telling her she is talking to someone naked right now! He manages to make arrangements for tomorrow but Kaguya can’t take it any longer and hangs up. Eventually he finishes his sentence via text. Finally she got her first text. But next day, it is raining heavily. Kaguya even thinks of going because Shirogane might be waiting. Hayasaka doesn’t think so. Yes he is. And it took her 30 minutes to send a cancellation text.

Episode 4D
At the party, Shirogane can only speak a smatter of French. Kaguya sounds impressive. Chika can speak fluently too since her mom was a diplomat!!! Oh no. Does this mean Shirogane is the only one who can’t speak French?! Feeling isolated. This party seems to be set up by the principal to test Shirogane if he has what it takes to be student council president. Hence he sends the French’s vice student council, Betsy Beltoise to give it all to him. She has a razor sharp tongue as she insults everything about him that would make even God cry! Fortunately or unfortunately, due to his limited understanding, Shirogane is like cool with whatever he says. The principal is shocked that he can withstand her attack! With Betsy increasing her attack, Kaguya doesn’t like what she said and counters it all equally with her French tongue. Enough to send Betsy running away and fearing Japanese girls! After the party, Kaguya feels ashamed for doing all that but Shirogane reminds her he doesn’t know what they’re talking about except that Betsy badmouthed her and she stood up for him. Kaguya then says something inaudible and this only has Shirogane pleading for her to say it again.

Episode 5A
Kashiwagi comes to ask Kaguya for love advice. She agrees. What does she want to ask? How to break up with her boyfriend! Yes, it’s that girl whom that boy asked Shirogane for advice. She claims he suddenly confessed to her and she was shocked and at a lost at that time. Now she feels their distance has been growing. Kaguya tries to describe liking someone based on the unseen traits but she’s just describing about her preferences of Shirogane. Kashiwagi could easily picked that up if not for eavesdropping Chika who wants in on this love game. First she has them imagine their love being with someone else. They don’t like it (even more so for Kaguya). That means jealousy and this proves you are in love with that person. With Kaguya not wanting to lose out and suggesting some Romeo and Juliet trope, Chika’s intervention means it gets blown out of proportion. WTF fight against the inequality of society?! Yeah, Kashiwagi believes it. In the aftermath, we see them both as a couple but doing charity work asking for donations. They were already interested in doing charity in the first place. Kaguya also sees Shirogane helping them out since they are eager to help but have no experience. This makes him want to support them. Kaguya is impressed with him and this means today’s battle it’s her loss.

Episode 5B
Shirogane sucks in sports. He is having a hard time practising for next week’s volleyball match when Chika spots him. Did she see him how much he sucks? Well, her awesome perception of him still didn’t change. But after seeing how good Chika is, looks like he is forced to learn from the master. As you can see, he continues to suck. Missing the serves and somehow even slapping himself! Chika examines that it is because he closes his eyes and hence the brutal training begins. Yup, to the point of even sleeping with the ball! But still, he sucks. When he refuses to give up because he wants to look cool, Chika takes it as there is someone he likes. She keeps bugging for a name but that is when he shows his manly side and succeeds! Hooray! Now Chika can teach him how to toss and receive. Damn… On match day, Shirogane is flawless! So cool! And Chika is having bandages everywhere, talking as though she is his mom who raised him! Victory for Shirogane and Chika!

Episode 5C
It is a rainy day and it looks like the perfect excuse for that umbrella sharing incident. This would normally work if one forgot his/her umbrella. But in the case of Shirogane and Kaguya, they both forgot! Actually both of them have it but cannot admit because doing so will be a loss. Hence it becomes a game of exposing the other’s lie. Shirogane moves first that she may be lying but doesn’t have enough info to have anything conclusive. Then Kaguya hits back. She did not see him cycle today and in fact ride the train. So if he claims he didn’t check the weather forecast, of all days why take the train? Is he lying? Please check your bag again. Yeah, this is actually Shirogane’s fault for not planning far ahead unlike Kaguya who did lots of preparation and research! It’s scary! Kaguya is moments from nailing his coffin and perhaps scoring the biggest victory when Chika comes by to lend her hers! Just ruined everything. But it saved Shirogane’s neck. So upset that Kaguya sublets the umbrella to him. He borrows just half of it. And in the end, both shared the umbrella. A tie for today’s match.

Episode 6A
Yuu Ishigami is the student council treasurer. He is good at data processing and indispensable to the council. However he wants to resign! He thinks Kaguya is going to kill him! Ishigami can tell a person’s intention just by looking in the eyes (albeit just 5% accuracy). A month ago, he found some coffee coupons underneath a table. It was set up by Kaguya to have Shirogane to go out with her. When she is about to take the coupons, it is missing. She realizes it is in the hands of Ishigami and she threatened him not to tell anyone about it or else. Then last week he asked if she loves Shirogane. Her words don’t match her wobbly actions. In that case, Ishigami plans to tell Shirogane about this and that is when Kaguya almost strangled him! He thinks she is an assassin! And then Kaguya comes in covered in blood and a knife with hand! OMG! Is she really going to kill?! Turns out she was just helping the drama club. Ishigami warns Shirogane she is just playing cute to let his guard down. They almost lost it when Chika comes in ‘dead’! Yeah, just fooling around. Shirogane tells Ishigami to have more faith in his friends. Can he when Kaguya reminds Ishigami not to give Shirogane a hard time? This means she has been eavesdropping about his resignation! Now Ishigami cannot get away from the woman he fears…

Episode 6B
Chika has them take a psychological test in love. The answer given corresponds to your love life. Of course this is a setup by Kaguya as she has read all the questions. All she needs is to get Shirogane to answer in a certain way and hence making it look like an indirect confession. Hence the question of walking in a dark place and the first person that comes to mind who taps your back is actually your lover. Since Kaguya knows the answer, she answers Chika. Ishigami fears Kaguya and names her. Shirogane is suspicious of Chika’s eager behaviour and believes this is a trap question so he answers his sister. Chika thinks he is a siscon. Ishigami now thinks he has Stockholm Syndrome for Kaguya? Don’t kill yourself… However Chika decides to look for a question on the internet. This throws uncertainty for Kaguya. In a field of flowers, how many would you pick? Just a bouquet. Shirogane will have a truck load. While Shirogane and Chika argue about this, Kaguya peeks on the answer. The amount of flowers indicate how much you love that person. Embarrassed with Shirogane’s truck load, she shuts the computer.

Episode 6C
Hayasaka ‘lectures’ Kaguya about beauty and trendy because you don’t want opportunities stolen by women who only has good looks going for them, no? She thinks nails are the in thing although she is totally off. Hence Kaguya does up her nails and hopes Shirogane will notice although she does have her reservations. She tries to make it so freaking obvious but he didn’t notice. So frustrating. Actually he did and just pretended not to. He thinks if he compliments her, it would be sexual harassment. Ishigami then notes Chika using a different shampoo. He meant to compliment but the way he said he has Chika commenting he is a creepy person. He lost his mood and goes home. Hopefully not to die. This has Shirogane give more thoughts about this. At the end of the day as Kaguya leaves, disappointed all this is for nought, Shirogane then comes up to her. He is about to comment her nails but drops the idea halfway and pedals off. This only leaves Kaguya flustered and even more frustrated she couldn’t hear him finish his sentence.

Episode 7A
Looks like that guy is back to ask Shirogane more love advice. Yeah, he wants to hold hands with Kashiwagi now. This sounds like a relatively easy question so Shirogane makes some expensive suggestions. Can’t afford it? Work! He also has sweaty palms that he needs to solve. Surgery too expensive? Work for it! Could it be a ploy for Shirogane to hire someone as extra help at where he works? Kaguya is eavesdropping and won’t allow that because she has summer vacation plans for him. Good thing or not, here comes Chika thinking she could play cupid. But after hearing out the problem, she gets disappointed at how low level the issue is. Couldn’t he just hold her hand normally? All Shirogane could do was to wish his best. You don’t need a job for that! Just will power! And with that, the guy manages to hold Kashiwagi’s hand. So easy. And Shirogane loses today’s match since he failed to recruit a part timer…

Episode 7B
Other than social standings, the school has also a caste system in terms of club activities. So those who aren’t in one are ranked as inferior. Like Ishigami. So he is complaining so much about it and is even going as far as to suggest some happiness tax. Yup, slash budget for every couple for every club! Shirogane suggests he could join even though he is in the student council because the ladies are doing it. Chika in the table top game club and Kaguya in archery. That is when Ishigami starts to badmouth their boob size in relation to their clubs. Cliché moment for the ladies to be standing behind him. He hit the brakes too late… Punishment from Chika! He’s fortunate Chika ‘forgives’ him but not Kaguya… Ishigami is now scared as he goes home to do his will… Then the girls try to argue for Shirogane to join their club. For that moment Shirogane felt like a winner because it’s like his harem fighting over him.

Episode 7C
Chika is glad Kaguya is able to smile. Long ago she always casted this cold and distant exterior. Her dream is to make her laugh like mad someday. So when Chika talks about her dog’s dick, this sends Kaguya into a laughing fury. Remember, Kaguya just started on her real path on sex education so she is like a child, laughing each time she hears the wiener word. Hence Chika notices this and keeps spamming that word just to make Kaguya delirious. Not that Chika realizes it has anything to do with the wiener word, but rather Kaguya is laughing madly. Then Shirogane comes in. Can Kaguya hold her laughter? Of course the ladies can’t say such vulgar word before a boy but Chika is going to make Shirogane say it! So what is the other word for a dog that looks like a sausage? Before he can answer, Kaguya answers with a substitute word. Each time foiling Chika’s plan so much so she gets mad and admits all she wants is for him to say that word. This shocks Shirogane as he thinks they are nymphos. He runs away and Kaguya is left to rue this misunderstanding. Chika continues spamming wiener. More uncontrollable laughing. Little do they know, Ishigami has been eavesdropping outside and gets the wrong idea of them talking about wieners. Futanari?!

Episode 8A
Shirogane’s sister, Kei visits the student council room. Since her brother is away at a budget meeting, Kaguya greets her. Kaguya then devises a plan to get close to her so she could win Shirogane’s heart. Kei is about to give some documents for Shirogane that needed checking but Ishigami efficiently points out all the errors. Kaguya then changes her tactic that she should be her friend and equal and after that long delusion, Chika comes in. What’s this? Chika and Kei doing some weird pose together?! You mean they’re such close friends? Chika’s younger sister, Moeha is in the same class with her and Kei often comes for sleepovers. Kaguya’s hope is to be her sister but with Kei calling Chika her big sister, now Kaguya’s is boiling with jealousy. When Chika suggests they go hang out together, happy Kaguya would gladly love to. Back home, Shirogane heard that Kei stopped by his student council room and asks her opinion of his members. Though she finds Chika and Ishigami to be okay, she felt nervous around Kaguya that she can’t carry a conversation around her.

Episode 8B
The test is coming up. Hence we see Shirogane and Kaguya putting up brave but fake fronts about their perceptions on last minute studying. All lies! Yeah, Shirogane has taken leave from his job so he could burn the midnight oil so as not to lose his top status. He’s been helming it for 3 consecutive terms. Kaguya may sound casual in taking the tests but deep down she is dead serious to beat Shirogane. Unlike those 2, Ishigami doesn’t care. Yeah, all he wants is to play video games and he is already no stranger to failing. Chika falls into their psychological trap to not study. During exam day, you bet our prideful student council duo are as nervous as hell and somehow doing a good job keeping it all in. When the results come out, Shirogane maintains his top spot while Kaguya takes second place like always. Humble in victory, gracious in defeat. That’s what the duo may seem but deep down, Shirogane wants to howl and do shadowboxing while Kaguya is so frustrated she wants to cry and stomp all over.

Episode 8C
A week before the test, Ishigami is already warned if he fails again, he will have to repeat a year. Kaguya doesn’t really care about him but knows this will drag the student council down. Hence she is going to make him study! Poor guy thinks she wants to torment his soul. He tried to run away but each time she catches him and hence giving up to study with her. At the library, several girls note how creepy it is for them to be together. Ishigami just gives up. He doesn’t care if he repeats a year. He was a problem child back in middle school and doesn’t want her name to get dragged just because of such rumours. Kaguya then confronts those girls about judging others. She has judged Ishigami to be worthy of a relationship with her so do you have any problems with her judgment? The girls quietly go away and although Ishigami thinks this will still give them the wrong idea, Kaguya’s priority is not to make him fail. She will not abandon him and nothing will sway her. She swears to her family name. Without him, Shirogane will be troubled. When the results are out, despite Ishigami didn’t fail, Kaguya is upset he barely passed. After all the studying this is what he gets?! I guess Ishigami thought he had a better view of her now, returns to his original stance that she is a scary woman after all. Shirogane hopes he won’t take it to heart as Kaguya doesn’t lie to herself. You can be assured that she keeps her word, come what may.

Episode 9A
A storm is going on and Chika is afraid of lightning for fear it will steal her belly button?! But Shirogane is concerned because the train service is out. Kaguya fantasizes him riding her car for a driving date. However it will seem like she is inviting him and that will not do. With Chika hinting about sharing her taxi, Kaguya shoos her away. Kaguya then gets psychological with him about skipping his job due to the storm. As he thinks about it in the toilet, Kaguya realizes the trains have resumed. No choice, she quickly swaps out a dead battery for his phone. All that is left is for her to wait outside for him to beg. Unfortunately crazy Shirogane rides his bicycle zooms past her and splashes water all over her. Next day, Kaguya has fever.

Episode 9B
Now somebody needs to hand over prints to her. Chika would love to go since Kaguya acts like a baby whenever she is sick. Shirogane starts fantasizing the things he could do to her but Chika wants to be fair and has them play a memory card game. Because of the rules she set, Shirogane sniffs out her cards are marked. The game continues anyway and when Shirogane learns from Ishigami that it could be his fault for splashing water on Kaguya that made her sick, Shirogane ups his game and sees through Chika’s other trick (placing cards in clock time positions to remember their value) to win the game. Ishigami spams Chika with shame as she goes home to ‘die’. For once it isn’t Ishigami. Please don’t kill yourself. But now Shirogane faces a new problem: What to get for Kaguya!

Episode 9C
Shirogane is astonished by Kaguya’s mansion. He is greeted by Hayasaka and because she doesn’t want him chickening out last minute, she forces him into Kaguya’s room. Looks like she really regressed into a mind of a baby. From her psychology explanation, it looks like Kaguya won’t remember this when she returns to normal. Then she leaves them alone together and hints nobody will come here for a few hours and the walls are soundproof. Please don’t do anything inappropriate… Shirogane sits by her side, feeling guilty and needing to find out her true feelings. He knows she wanted to give him a ride and if this cold is his fault. However she doesn’t know. She feels sad for always giving him trouble and never know what to do. She doesn’t know other ways and it’s the only way she could do it. Then she invites him to sleep with her and pulls him in! Shirogane’s mind is in panic but soon falls asleep because of sleep deprivation. Later that night when Kaguya wakes up, she is horrified Shirogane is sleeping next to her. She kicks him out and accuses him for taking advantage. Shirogane runs home in tears while Kaguya fears how far she has gone with him. Lucky for you, Hayasaka examines the bed. Nothing happened…

Episode 10A
Shirogane and Kaguya are in a cake standoff. Ishigami thinks it is his fault because he ate 1 and now with only 1 left, the duo are trying to be polite and let the other eat it. Yeah, they’ve been at this for hours. Time to go get some Chika help. Now the duo are drawing up the pettiest and most trivial of memories of why the other should eat it. It all comes down to feeding each other. There is still some distrust about feeding each other at the same time but when they’re about to do it, here comes Chika as she eats the cake. Punishment for not being friends! Maybe she just wants to eat the cake… Shirogane and Kaguya double losers…

Episode 10B
Ironically, it is Kaguya’s turn to seek Kashiwagi’s advice on love. The same for Shirogane but he talks to Ishigami who is the self-proclaimed love master thanks to all the manga and games he played. So we hear them talk hypothetically about that night they ‘slept’ together. Kashiwagi and Ishigami go on the offensive to blame the other party. Shirogane and Kaguya try to control and not make it seem like it is entirely the other’s fault and that they also share some partial blame. Eventually if they did nothing wrong, there is no reason they should be feel guilty about. At the end of the day when Kaguya and Shirogane pass by each other, the latter admits he did lay a finger on her although it was only on her lips. That is when Kaguya puts her finger on his lips. Now they’re even. She hopes that with this settled, they will go back to being normal tomorrow. Shirogane and Kaguya double winners.

Episode 10C
Summer vacation will be soon and it seems Shirogane and Kaguya are hinting to Chika for plans. Yeah, remember that mountains or the sea decision? It’s time to put that to an end. Of course they can’t make it look like they’re initiating the trip or it will look like an invitation, hence a total defeat. Too bad Chika announces she is going to Hawaii for a week! Shirogane tries to steer Chika and put her ‘under his control’ to do at least something together for the holidays (because without Chika in the trip, the plan will not get off to a good start) but Kaguya knows better this is impossible and hence she has regressed into a retard mode just to avoid arguing with her. Even when Shirogane argues they can have one after their trip abroad, Chika counters that she needs to study. Balance between work and play! Can’t argue with that. Ishigami then comes up with the unlikeliest comment that he wants to spend time with them since this is the only year that they can possibly do so. Hence Shirogane suggests the summer festival. Suddenly Chika wants to come! Oh yeah. Fireworks and food. That’ll be great. Screw studying! As they try to make that date free, suddenly Chika realizes that week she’ll be in Spain. She even has the cheek to blame them to go there without her. Ishigami fires back that it is she who is having fun but have the nerves to tell them not to go? Hypocrite. Chika continues to blame them and runs away. For once, Shirogane and Kaguya side with Ishigami. Looks like he doesn’t have to go home and kill himself from guilt this time. Summer festival here we come!

Episode 11A
Half of summer vacation has passed and Shirogane and Kaguya have not done anything of importance! Kaguya is shocked that Hayasaka knows what Shirogane is doing as he posted it on Twitter. Yeah, Kaguya isn’t IT savvy and needs to look up what it means. Meanwhile Hayasaka is just getting ready for her own bath relaxation when suddenly Kaguya barges in to grumble about the broken internet! Oh dear. It’s that human verification code… Hayasaka points out a few starters and then returns to her relaxation. She too is grumbling this unappreciative job when suddenly Kaguya barges in again. Twitter has banned her! No, girl. It’s a protected account. I’m sure it all sounds alien to her as Hayasaka explains about trolls. So if she sends a request, he might invite her to look at his tweets. Of course you know, that would mean making her look like she’s begging to know him. She can’t do that and will let Shirogane follow her instead. You know that’s not going to happen… Hayasaka returns to her bath again and as she is about to go into deep relaxation, here comes Kaguya again…

Episode 11B
Saburo Odajima is a middle aged man who prides himself for knowing the best ramen to eat. So when he enters and orders his optimum ramen in this small shop, he thought Chika is a spoilt rich kid who knows nothing. To his shock, she also orders some optimum combo but fails on its firmness. Saburo decides to show her how it’s done to appreciate ramen. WTF, getting technical here? However she blows him away as she eats and enjoys it at her own pace. Then he gets over analytical how this is all calculated by her for the most optimum taste ever. But he thinks she will fail as a ramen connoisseur since women hate garlic. Guess what? She eats them all and even drinks the soup! This has Saburo remember his youthful days that he too once enjoyed it like this. He supports her to go all the way. When she leaves, he gives her the thumbs up but Chika doesn’t know what the heck it means.

Episode 11C
Shirogane and Kaguya continue to languish doing nothing. Yeah, how can you expect something when all your plans revolve around the premise of the other inviting you? So we see both of them flustering staring at their handphones, hoping some new mail will pop up. Keep waiting… Although coincidentally both of them have this idea to head to school in hopes of bumping into the other, it is unfortunate that they missed each other. Hence the sad day continues. To a point where they dread that summer vacation wasn’t so long. Although the results say nobody won because they didn’t meet up, I believe they’re both losers at this rate…

Episode 11D
Kaguya narrates she never experienced a normal family and do what normal families do like watching fireworks. Thanks to others treating her special due to her wealth and status. She feels blessed to have such resources and some wonderful friends in life but still can’t do as she pleases. Kaguya is summoned by her dad to the main house. However as she waits, her dad passes by and just notes she is there before walking off. Sad. She further narrates how father never said goodnight or I love you to her but it’s okay since it has always been this way. And nothing at this point will make her feel one way or the other.

Episode 12A
Kaguya is looking forward so much to see the fireworks with her friends. However she is shot down by her servant who thinks father will not approve of it. Kaguya well knows her father doesn’t care but sucks it up and accepts her fate. She texts to her friends she is unable to come. All she can do is cry in bed. Hayasaka tweets on Kaguya’s behalf that she wants to see the fireworks. Shirogane sees this and understands. He rushes to her place. Hayasaka talks to Kaguya about giving up this time. She has come to realize that nothing in the past works. It isn’t any different now. But Hayasaka has made preparations. Kaguya manages to sneak out and get a taxi driver to send her to the fireworks. Hayasaka is now impersonating as Kaguya. Shirogane sees this and understands fully what it means. Back to the fireworks? A traffic jam has Kaguya deciding to walk there herself. Damn, she and Shirogane just missed each other. Kaguya makes haste as she prays to God that she doesn’t need romance or love. Just her friends. Too bad there is no God. When she arrives, it is over. She cries alone in the alley and wishes to see the fireworks. Better rethink if God exists because he came in the form of Shirogane. He knows how to find her since he knows how she thinks. He is going to show her the fireworks. He and the rest have made arrangements to go to the next city to watch the fireworks as it was delayed due to the rain. Yeah, the taxi driver is really going to put the metal to the pedal. Can they make it in 20 minutes? Well, if you pray hard! Just in time they reach the next city, the fireworks begin. What a lovely sight. Only… Kaguya failed to see them. Because she was so enthralled with Shirogane’s coolness that she was looking at him the entire time. Her heart was beating so loud that it drowned out the fireworks’ sound.

Episode 12B
With the school term resuming, we see Shirogane reeling from embarrassment. All those cool things he said to Kaguya then was actually out of his excitement of seeing her the first time during the holidays. Yeah, so embarrassed that he could die! When Kaguya enters the room, he fears she is ignoring him. However she is doing that because she too is embarrassed to see him in the face. They have this thinking if they cross paths, it would make a natural reason for them to talk. Nothing happens. Kaguya realizes that he might be embarrassed and tries to take advantage of this. However Chika interrupts thinking that their path crossing is some sort of formation and a game. They try again but this time Ishigami accidentally walks into it and gets chided. Yeah, he’ll be heading home to lick his wounds. With Chika teasing him, Kaguya tells her off for being an annoyance. I guess she too will be heading home in tears. With the duo alone, looks like a great opportunity. This time, Shirogane realizes that Kaguya could be embarrassed. Another path crossing has them bump into each other. Can they do it? Kaguya starts off by wanting to tell him something. However he thinks she is going to taunt him and baulks. He runs away while Kaguya gives chase. I guess Kaguya wins this time.

Pride Comes Before A Fall In Love
I know we really want to see Shirogane and Kaguya end up together. But alas if that ever happened, that will be the end of the story. End of the war. End of the romance. Now you know why some people love war and want to keep it going, eh? Hence this love war will continue to go on as long as our main duo have their pride bigger than the Milky Way. Perhaps if we look from another perspective, this is their own way of loving each other because it keeps each other on their toes.

Even with the repetitive cycle and the predictable nature and outcome of each attempt, it doesn’t feel boring or tedious at all. Perhaps it is because we see the duo try so hard and going to great unrealistic lengths before they ultimately fail. The different methods and over analytical thinking as well as over the top exaggeration effects that they conjure up in their mind are most interesting and varied. Goes to show how far and creative (AKA twisted) a human mind can go. So I guess it is fun because we expect to see some sort of punch line AKA failure in the end. My, such sadists we are. Sure, we want to see them end up together but not before we see them fail a million times. Like they say, success is 1% inspiration and 99% perseverance.

Even though at the end of most skits the narrator will announce who actually won that battle, personally I feel that overall they are still both losers! You know, you might have won the battle but not the war. Yet. So perhaps the mini victories that each of them seized in each mini battle would one day accumulated to become the ultimate victory that they seek. Hopefully by then, it would be a win-win situation. At this rate it seems to be heading for a lose-lose situation but like I said, the war is not yet over by a long shot. They care for each other but just too scared to show it.

While it is funny to see the main duo engaged in their own ‘pathetic’ war on love, sometimes we can’t help think if it is society and the environment to blame that made them act and think so. For example as highlighted in Kaguya’s case, thanks to her very strict upbringing, she lacks knowledge and what is basically common sense to common people. For example, sex education and even the internet. You think all youngsters these days are well versed in IT like as though they downloaded all the skills while they were in their mother’s womb. Therefore all this affects the way she thinks and how she acts. More revelation about her upbringing is revealed towards the end of the series and many of us would sympathize with her status. So instead of identifying her as some sort of high class prideful b*tch, her back story does help make us understand why she does everything in certain ways.

Therefore I believe that despite Kaguya has almost everything that other people would die for (wealth, status, etc), she does not have that one thing that she really needs: Freedom. My guess is that love is the only way would set her free but thanks to the twisted notion of wanting Shirogane to fall for her, it’s not going to be that easy. In fact, downright close to impossible. Hey, at least the chances are not completely zero! I mean, it is not like she wants to please her father or anything. More than so, she doesn’t even really care all that much about him. Perhaps my theory is that if she wants to rebel against him, she would throw away that dumb pride of hers of waiting for Shirogane to be the first one to ask her and instead she goes to ask him. That would be a real shocker. Things would have been so much easier that way but I guess we won’t have much of a story to tell then.

Shirogane as the other half of the problem also has his own pride but I think his is more of biological rather than those artificial wealth and status. Because males have this dumb prideful thinking of the need to be manly and anything less would be seen as a coward and hence very unmanly. It is pretty normal for guys his age to have a crush (and vice versa for girls). But in regards to Kaguya’s status in the student council as well as her family background, it can’t be more than just a simple confession. That’s why he has to put on that stubborn male pride and have Kaguya make the first move. Other than that, Shirogane is just a normal and could be a very useful member of society in the future thanks to his workaholic ways. Japan loves their people being workaholic, right?

Therefore the ‘reward’ for us in seeing their ‘pathetic’ failure is that they make those flustering faces and emotions that they otherwise never show to each other. The Japanese have a saying that all of us have 3 different types of faces. One that we show to the public, one that we show to our family, and one we only show ourselves. So seeing this sort of expression on them is like their third and supposedly truest form. Like each time Kaguya from a very prideful and arrogant position suddenly drops to an agitated emotional girl who is frustrated things didn’t go her way. It makes you go, “Aww… So cute…”. Or in her words, “Okawaii koto…”. We all smirk at this reaction and at the back of our heads we blame them that they deserve this.

The other amusing character who is a joker and wild card is Chika. Unaware of the love war between Shirogane and Kaguya, she is like the unpredictable variable that threatens to unravel and reset all their efforts so far without even realizing so. The war could have been won long ago by either one of them but thanks to Chika’s unholy intervention, everything returns back to square one. Like as though she is God’s agent sent down to prolong the war. But Chika isn’t actually a dumb girl. She is actually smart and resourceful herself. The only thing is because she is always at her own pace and that is why she might have this ditzy girl outlook. I believe that Chika has something that Shirogane and Kaguya would envy to die having. And that is the freedom to freely express herself. You can bet that life around her will be short of anything dull but also it can get as annoying as hell. Maybe the world needs more Chikas.

Hayasaka as Kaguya’s maid has this very tired look and sound. I can understand why since she has to put up with all of Kaguya’s whims and fancies. And not just your typical whims and fancies. The kind of look and sound that screams, “I wish I wasn’t here doing all this crap”. You can see for yourself the things Kaguya does and the way she thinks that often warrants a facepalm. It is good that Hayasaka is very loyal and caring about her oujou-sama but more than often she has to put up with her shenanigans and that could really get to her. For her to be working under her this long (not like she had a choice anyway), this shows Hayasaka can tolerate any sort of antics to say the least.

The other characters are amusing in their own ways but not as significant as those aforementioned. Like Ishigami who is mainly a pessimist thanks to his misinterpretation that Kaguya is out for his blood. Hence he always feels sick and the need to go prepare a will. I am guessing he never got round to it since that is what he always says when it reaches this stage. I mean, does he need to amend his will all the time? Assuming he did one. And see? He has lived for this long so all is not that bad. I think. Then there is Kei whom I thought would be a bit more prominent after her introduction but I guess I was wrong. Good thing the siblings don’t have that lovey-dovey obsessed complex relationship that is so nauseating. Last and not least, Kashiwagi and her boyfriend. Despite being simpletons, you could pretty much say that their love is successful. The irony that they sought the (crazy) advice of their seniors and then hit it pretty much soon after. Uh huh. Lesson learnt here is to go with your guts! Worry about everything else later! These 2 should in fact be a role model and lesson for our stubborn mules.

Art and animation, well I got to say that overall it looks a bit dark and gloomy. Is this to highlight the depressing war that our main characters go through? Because even the colours just have this gloomy and depressing feel. Furthermore, Shirogane and Kaguya have this ‘evil’ look on their face. Maybe that is why others respect and admire them. Even Ishigami is always the eternal doom and gloom dude like as though his end is near. Not even Chika’s bright and lively personality can blow away all that. This anime is done by A-1 Pictures who brought to us Sword Art Online, Nanatsu No Taizai, Ao No Exorcist and Shigatsu Wa Kimi No Uso.

Voice acting feels okay, I only recognized Takehito Koyasu making his cameo as Shirogane’s father. The other casts are Makoto Furukawa as Shirogane (Shorter in Banana Fish), Aoi Koga as Kaguya (Hanabi in Mahou Shoujo Naria Girls), Konomi Kohara as Chika (Kasumi in Asobi Asobase), Ryouta Suzuki as Ishigami (Yuuga in Dorei-ku The Animation), Yumiri Hanamori as Hayasaka (Seth in Radiant), Sayumi Suzushiro as Kei (Oono in High Score Girl), Momo Asakura as Kashiwagi (Rona in Endro) and Yutaka Aoyama as the narrator (Yamada in To Be Hero).

One of the most amazing things of this series is the opening theme, Love Dramatic featuring Rikka Ihara by Masayuki Suzuki. His voice sounds like the Japanese version of the sexy Rod Steward as he belts out this piece that could have also served as an epic theme for a James Bond spy thriller movie. It has very catchy lines that you want to sing along and it fits the theme of the series quite well. While the main ending theme is Sentimental Crisis by Halca, typical anime pop that is nothing to shout about, the more epic one is the special ending song, Chikatto Chika Chikaa by of course the one and only Chika. What makes this song so epic is the very cute and epic way Chika dances throughout. Yeah, I can see there are many videos posted imitating her dance. I’d try it out too have I not have this dumb self-consciousness that I look pretty silly and lame… But I don’t think it will be the next Gangnam Style craze since there is quite a few complicated choreography involved.

In the end, love is all about give and take. The sooner our main characters realize that his is how love is supposed to work, this battle is going to take a while to resolve. If not, never. While there are so many types of love, I think Shirogane and Kaguya may have the wrong impression on what love is. Dominating over the submissive one, is that called love? But a lot of married household follow this type of ‘love’… And it goes to show that despite all the knowledge, wealth and status one might have, love isn’t anywhere in sight. You Don’t Know Love. Can’t Buy Me Love. It isn’t that Shirogane and Kaguya are at war with each other. They are rather at war with their own inner demons. Hence this series can be said to be fun and enjoyable not because we are seeing 2 people fail hard at trying to just fall in love, but the things they do for love. To quote Meat Loaf, “I would do anything for love… But I won’t do that!”. Yup. Pretty much summarizes up what this series is about. Okawaii koto…

Mob Psycho 100 S2

June 22, 2019

I see that this got a second season first than the much anticipated One Punch Man. Don’t worry, that series got its sequel the next season after Mob Psycho 100 S2 premiered. So before we get to see the superhero who could end everything in a single punch, we need to see how the most powerful middle school esper continues to live his life normally. Also, there’s the threat of that super esper organization, Claw vying for world dominance. Can Mob live his normal school life and thwart their schemes? More importantly, can he finally confess to his one true love, Tsubomi?

Episode 1
Reigen and Mob see a farmer client who believes a spirit is haunting his crops. Because he cannot pay in terms of monetary since his son will be starting school, Reigen agrees to a cut from his crops. There is indeed a spirit stealing nutrients from the crops and because it sucks its life force, it can control the plants to its will. So when Mob gets ‘eaten’ by it, he thought of the same thing too and uses this tactic against the spirit. With the exorcism over, they are paid in some seeds and fertilizers. Reigen thought he could do a side business of selling tomatoes but with Mob accelerating its growth, it tastes like crap. That’s the end of that business. Meanwhile Mezato and a few members are trying to uncover the origins of their cult’s leader. She wants to promote Mob but needs to perk him up first. Hence she convinces him to run for student council president under the pretence that he can close the gap with Tsubomi. Even if he is just to give a speech, does Mob need to go through all the rigorous forest training? Too bad he froze during his turn. Said nothing. Even Kamuro who resigned as the president is trying to make a comeback with a cleaner image. Mob then receives a love letter from a girl named Emi. She claims she was impressed how he mustered his courage to go up there despite being uncomfortable and had fallen for him. Wow. Mob now has a girlfriend?! Of course he is still reluctant to tell her about his exorcism job in fear that she would find it creepy. When Emi shows him a novel she wrote, he thought it is good. However Emi has doubts of their relationship after a week. She thinks he is dating her out of pity because when she confessed he rejected her. She can tell he ran for president was because somebody told him to. She is as guilty of him. The reason she asked him out was because of a dare by her friends. But since Mob walked home with her, they never found out she was initially rejected. She leaves as Mob thinks back all the times they spent together. Then he sees Emi’s friends badmouthing this crappy novel she wrote. Then they rip it apart. Mob then starts picking up all the shredded pieces and this freaks the friends out. Because Mob has decided to be clear with his feelings and pick up things that are important. The friends leave as Emi joins Mob to pick up the pieces. Otherwise it will be littering. When the wind blows away their hard work, Mob uses his powers to gather and glue them back together. He reveals he is an esper and Emi thanks him. Little do they know, Tsubomi is watching and she is glad it turned out well.

Episode 2
Reigen thinks of increasing his business by going to a town that has been posting several urban legends. So he is setting up office in the middle of the streets? Of course the local exorcist, Banshomaru Shinra isn’t happy since this is his turf and this means business rivalry. But they have to put that aside when a woman seeks their help. At first she thought it was a stalker issue but as the days past, she gets this very eerie feeling. Could it be that the urban legends are causing the rise of such cases? With her plea to get rid of the urban legends, Reigen and Shinra split up to make their job easier. Shinra is on the case of a ghost in a red raincoat. Turns out to be some creepy flasher but the way Shinra asks about especially young girls, they think he is the culprit. Call the cops! Meanwhile Reigen and Mob confront the dog with a human face. Turns out that naught kids just drew on its face. Yeah, the old grandpa owner appreciates their help to wash his dog. Shinra chases the pervert in the woods. He falls to his trap of being tasered. While bragging of the invincibility in stalking others, it suddenly gets spooky around. A strange woman asks him if he is thirsty and before he knows it, he gets dragged down into the pond. Luckily Shinra still has enough strength to try and stop her but it is not enough. Only thanks to Dimple possessing him that he is able to move like the wind. Until Shinra’s body cannot hold out, Dimple calls for help. Thank goodness Reigen and Mob arrive in time to put down this Dragger. However she is not easily defeated. As she is created by fear and curiosity, her personality is technically designed by humans and hence cannot be exorcised. Also, powers used in fear only empower its source. Reigen calls for a retreat. But Mob attacks and surprisingly defeats her. It is because Mob is detached from urban legends and fads, he has no idea what makes such spirits scary. And just like that, the Dragger is put to rest. All that is left is the dashing granny urban legend. With the granny seen rushing towards them in a narrow tunnel, Mob thinks she is the most powerful since his power has no effect on her! They run but granny catches up and zooms past. Yeah, just some normal granny running. Mob is devastated he lost to a grandma because he runs every day and this only shows there were no improvements… Back at office, Reigen has completed his website. Looks crappy…

Episode 3
A client bugs Reigen for a curse. He was reluctant to give at first but fakes one just to get him off his tail. The client warns if it is fake, he will curse him. But this has Mob thinking even if it is a lie, does it mean he is going to live like that forever under this impression? Next they visit a woman who feels a ghost is stalking her. She sees a shadow from her window but the thing is there is no balcony outside. They check it out to see if there are any other tricks (like hanging ropes) but then the spirit pops up! Freak out time! However Mob can sense it comes from the neighbour next door and is using some out of body experience. They confront him and he throws a tantrum about his love for her. He is arrested and Mob is surprised the woman who was initially scared of the ghost suddenly changed her character once she discovered it was only human. A group of graduates seek their help as protection as they want to go to a haunted place to take pictures for memories. Fearing evil spirits, that’s why they seek Reigen’s help. Of course nothing much happens and when Reigen asks for payment, they scoff him off as a scam that he didn’t do anything and even abandon them there! Next day as Mob heads to school, a couple of bullies want to extort from him. Dimple possesses him to strip himself naked. He only stops because Mob tells him not too. Still, this jerk doesn’t learn his lesson and continues to extort. This time Ritsu uses his powers on him. If that is not enough, Musashi and his Body Building Club buddies surround this loser. Got a problem? Now the jerk runs away. They advise Mob to fight back when necessary.

Those graduates return. Yeah, there’s a ghost in the picture. Now they change their tune and want Reigen’s help to exorcise. Before Mob could begin, he hears the spirit’s voice. The father claims they are harmless and despite the family died in a tragic accident, they want to live like this peacefully until it is the right time to ascend. Mob is in a dilemma since the clients are pushy since they are being paid to exorcise. Mob really doesn’t want to destroy them. Dimple pokes fire by telling the ghost to kill the clients and hence they cannot exorcise them when they’re dead. But the father won’t. He begs not to make him do something horrific in front of his family. This only makes Mob feel more conflicted. If he protects the ghost family, this means the clients will get hurt instead. That is when Reigen realizes what is happening. To Mob, humans the spirits are part of his life and he is equally close to both of them. He throws salt at the pushy clients and tells them the exorcism is over. Back in office, Dimple notices a curse on Reigen’s back. Must be from that earlier guy. He lets Dimple eat it. Reigen contemplates on the different things Mob can see and he might see something more terrifying than ever. He understood that there are things different from the norm. As for Mob, he continues to think deep about the possibility he might use his powers for evil to eradicate humans than spirits.

Episode 4
Reigen and Mob are one of the many psychics gathered by a rich CEO for a job. Among the psychics are Shinra, Kirin Jodo the president of some spiritual union and the former Scar member who is trying to turn over a new leaf, Matsuo. Masashi Asagiri is willing to any amount to anyone who can save his daughter, Minori who is possessed by a spirit. Reigen beats everyone via rock-scissors-paper to go first. From the way he talks to her, it sounds like her dad abuses her. This has the other psychics think he is using this supernatural excuse to change their relationship. However Reigen points out Minori is possessed by a real nasty spirit. He can tell from her inconsistent words she used and despite being the first time they met, she knew he is a psychic despite not introducing himself. The gig is up as the glass breaks. Minori is indeed possessed. Dimple is scared and wants them to run while they can. He knows this isn’t just an ordinary evil spirit and in fact, Keiji Mogami. He was a super psychic but died 40 years ago. Dimple was almost exorcised by him. Despite being viewed as an entertainer by the public, he was actually an assassin. What broke him was the high medical cost and treatment needed for his ailing mother. When he was about to exorcise Dimple, he wanted to absorb him and become the most evil vengeful spirit and teach everyone a lesson. It was by a stroke of luck that Dimple escaped his wrath. Even Jodo got possessed as Mogami runs wild. Reigen’s knee kick may help for a while but soon Mogami is back up strangling him and Mob’s powers can’t do anything. Father hugs Minori and tells her to stop but is stabbed instead. Now the psychics panic. The door is locked. Mogami is going to kill them all. Shinra tries to fight but Mogami contorts Minori’s body in ways unimaginable to defeat him. Mob has an idea to force Mogami out using out of body experience. His body will be defenceless them so he hopes they can protect it. Once Mob’s spirit is out, Mogami tries to attack. Reigen gets owned but Dimple possesses Mob’s body to fight back. When the moment is right, Mob enters into Minori’s body. He comes face to face with Mogami. It might look like Mob easily defeating Mogami but it was just to test his abilities. Mogami easily pounds Mob and tells how human emotions determine spiritual powers. He believes those with negative emotions hold better chance to have more powerful spiritual power. Mogami then alters Mob’s memories. He is now a normal school kid who can’t use his powers. He wants to see how Mob goes about without them.

Episode 5
In this illusionary world, Mob is bullied to the core. Minori is the leader of the bully pack and Ritsu doesn’t even care about his own brother. Despite all the torment, Mob remains patient and never used his powers for his own good. This has Mogami expanding his own sad story that because his mother’s treatment wasn’t enough, he had to resort to assassination for money. Even so, mother died. In her evil spirit form, she blamed him that all this happened because of the actions he took. That is why he is going to use his powers for himself and punish those who bring misfortune to others. He wants Mob to do the same and avoid ending up like him. Meanwhile Dimple is shocked that Reigen puts his trust in Mob to do the job and won’t run away. This has Dimple decide to enter Minori and help Mob. The barrier by Mogami is too strong and he could only get in with the help of Matsuo. Just when Mob is on the verge of losing it and using his powers to retaliate, here comes Dimple to lecture him. The sinker is when he mentions Tsubomi will be sad to see him like this. With that, Mob’s memories return. Mogami is disappointed but Mob agrees in some way that the world is cruel. But he is blessed and that’s why he needs to be more thankful to everyone around him when he gets back. Because of them, he was able to change and get a little stronger. Talking is over and now it’s an epic spirit battle. Oh my. Mob’s emotions reaching 100%, he’s like going Super Saiyan!!! Mob looks like a different person altogether! Oh sh*t! The fight is just getting to freaky and abstract! Even though Mogami loses, this means all the evil spirits in his vessel are freed. They go on a rampage but Mob is determined to purify everyone and save Minori (since he heard her cries for help). In the end, Mob goes over 100% and his abstract form might give Goku a run for his money. WTF is this?! Mob then wakes up. Welcome back. Mogami tries to escape but is captured by Matsuo. Minori regains consciousness and is very apologetic to Mob. But Mob is fine. Because of this meeting, he gets to change others and she gets to change. In the aftermath, Minori is interested in Mob although her dad didn’t recall hiring any boy her age for the job. But he did try to find out more about him and stumbled on this cult’s lame website. Yeah, they’re still struggling with the donations…

Episode 6
Mob is hanging out nicely with his club members when Reigen calls for an urgent job. Fun ruined. Despite warning Reigen about making such calls on short notices, Reigen still needs him. Luckily his friends understand. After another successful exorcism, Mob reminds him that he too has a life. However Reigen this time went too far. He says his club activities doesn’t constitute as life and shouldn’t be easily taken advantage by others. He also adds that his friends are only in the way and don’t understand him, hence only mocking him as weak. Mob argues back what he said is wrong. Now he understands that not everything he said is true. Reigen has dug his own grave. With Mob getting used to his private life, Reigen is busier than ever. Luckily they’re all easy jobs and Reigen is confident that the lonely kid will come back to him. He even gets confident thinking he can make it without that kid since this business he solely built it up himself. But one day he is shocked to see him hang out with friends. Dimple says he is living life just fine without him. Reigen mocks Dimple that he will forever be Mob’s pet at this rate while he himself goes on to do something big. Suit yourself. Back home, Reigen has serious thoughts about this. He goes check his social media. Oh, a message. Happy birthday. No birthday wishes. Except from mom. Still nagging him to get married… And she sends him some job recruitment ad as present… Oh mom… Then he heads to a bar where all scam victims patron. Because of his random advice, they respect him. However his plan backfires since he realizes he really had no friends. He now truly sees this is going to a bad direction and needs to shape up. Hence he soon changes. He widens his job scope like picking up trash and giving free seminars. Then there is some online ghost player that no exorcist want to take up the job. Reigen burnt the midnight oil to level up and even make lots of in-game purchases to finally beat that ghost player! Because of that, his popularity skyrockets to a point he gets magazine interviews and now a live national TV interview. Of course this is set up by Jodo who seeks revenge after that humiliating defeat on Minori’s case. Yeah, Reigen knee kicked him in the gut when Mogami possessed him.

Episode 7
There is a kid who is possessed by Kokkuri and it is Jodo’s job to exorcise it. However he wants Reigen to do it. Initially reluctant, upon hearing Jodo will then stick to the script, Reigen wants to do it. He thinks this is all part of an act and just needs to do some flashy moves. For 30 minutes, nothing happened. Time for Jodo to step in. He can’t exorcise because the kid is not possessed! The kid then reveals so. Now the focus is on Reigen. What was he doing? Was that a new dance? Jodo has all the perfect sarcasm each time Reigen tries to make an excuse. The final nail in the coffin: When Reigen says there was Beethoven’s ghost? Jodo: *Answering to the tone of Beethoven’s 5th symphony!*. Yeah, that really killed him. Reigen is now all over the news as a scam artist. When a friend brings this up to Mob, he believes this is all part of Reigen’s plan (getting the wrong idea of course). Reigen tries to fix his image but you know, the more you try to do so on the internet, the more you get burnt. Even his bar buddies all abandon him. When reporters are stalking outside his house, he runs. But he accepts when they suggest holding a press conference. But his mind went blank so screw it as Reigen returns to his normal self. The bottom line is, they can’t prove he has no spiritual powers and so are those so called ‘victims’. He won’t say he has them either because he knows the media will not accept unless it is no. Reigen continues to answer their questions until one brings up an essay he wrote back in school that he wanted to become somebody. His mind went blank. Flashbacks shows he quit his job and did this for fun. He was considering his next move until Mob came in to complain how to control his powers. Thinking it was a prank, Reigen listens and throws him some generic advice to be a good person. Mob is impressed, though. But when Reigen sees how he used his power to saved his spilled cup, this was when Reigen realizes he was something. He wanted to grab that something for himself too. But in the end, he realizes he didn’t change and tried to cage Mob in. He only kept using him. Reigen leaves the media stumped when he leaves a message for Mob that he has grown. Suddenly all the equipment start floating. Is this his power?! They are panicking but Reigen walks out. The conference is over. Hope you guys find your next big news. Reigen stumbles into Mob on his way back. Reigen prepares for the worst when Mob says he has always known his true identity. That is, a good person. Looks like they’re back on good terms again.

Episode 8
Mezato is glad the cult is gaining followers and popularity. All that is left is for Mob to show up as the leader. Hence she calls him to use his powers and win the annual marathon with style. Of course he won’t do that and will do it on his own. Mob gets even determined to a point it shocks Dimple because he realizes he needs to finish in the top 10 so he can confess to Tsubomi! Hence, Mob begins his training with all his pals supporting him. Even Reigen gives him time off and helps jog with him. Yeah, this guy lacks exercise too. Ritsu and Teru even fill in for Mob’s job. But Ritsu has to hide when he sees Tsubomi coming in as a client! Actually, her friend Miki needs some love advice. Reigen dispenses his love advice and eventually Tsubomi too asks some questions pertaining to love. Later Tsubomi tells Miki her questions were fake just to test if Reigen was the real deal. It doesn’t look like he is a bad guy. She notices Mob in one of Reigen’s wall photos. Marathon day is here and as it begins, the tussling has Mob falling and scrapping his knee. He is so determined that he gets up and continues running. Dimple suggests cheating and Reigen is also here to provide his support but with Mob being so focused, nothing will change his mind. Unfortunately he passes out and is taken into the infirmary. He might not have finished the race but he impressed a lot of people because he kept going. Back home, Ritsu thought Mob is at the door (you mean nobody waited to get him at school?) but to his horror it is Shou. When Mob gets back, he is shocked to see his house on fire. So shocked that he walks into the burning house and stays positive that his family is still alive. But when Dimple says there were signs of break in at the front door, Mob fears the family might have been kidnapped. But when he opens the next room, he sees a burning corpse… Oh no. Mob turning Super Saiyan in his rage!

Episode 9
Dimple reasons that the corpse is a dummy. But Mob will not rest until he finds the culprits. He uses his power to detect them and then beats the hell out of them for info. Before more of their buddies could come as reinforcements, Koyama and Sakurai takes Mob away to their hideout. It seems Reigen is the boss of the former members of Scar’s 7th division! So that esper thingy on TV made them think he is fit to be their leader against Claw? When Reigen tells that Mob’s family is safe, Mob only relaxes but falls asleep from exhaustion. Reigen’s office was also burnt down but luckily he was away. Also in this ragtag group are Mitsuura and those Awakening Lab kids. The whole gang is here with Teru who survived an attack from a Claw member, brings the arsonist in for interrogation. He reveals their boss plans for world domination and has gathered espers all over the world. Indeed, Touichirou Suzuki hijacks the world’s TV to make his announcement and Claw’s war declaration on the world. In order to achieve that goal, they will destroy Japan first. Well, gotta start small. This Suzuki turns out to be Shou’s dad and he has had it with this lameness. Ritsu is alive and well with him. Turns out Shou popped up to give hotspring tickets to Ritsu’s parents so you can bet they are safely enjoying themselves. Some of Claw’s foreigner members led by Joseph doesn’t think Claw’s plan to fight Japan’s numerous police will be good. Hence they try to bring down this organization by picking a fight with the division leaders. Joseph confronts Suzuki and thinks this will be the end. However he met his match as Suzuki isn’t flinching. The destruction of division leaders isn’t merely enough to take down Claw. As long as he has the strongest Ultimate 5 (Shimazaki, Hatori, Shibata, Minegishi and Serizawa), they are invincible. Joseph manages to escape by the skin of his teeth. Apparently Reigen’s party missed Suzuki’s broadcast because they were partying courtesy of Mitsuura’s food. Shimazaki kidnaps the Prime Minister as he has teleport abilities. However Teru tries to intercept but since he lacks knowledge of his abilities, he is defeated.

Episode 10
With Suzuki and Claw taking over a tower as their base, the lower members of Claw are enough to keep those police at bay. The surrounding area then becomes a battlefield. Some of Reigen’s side wants to strike first but Reigen disagrees as they are not superheroes and have to lie low until this blows over. But when Reigen receives a call from the insurance company that the fire will not be covered by esper attacks, he gets mad that he won’t get any compensation. Hence he changes his mind to go into battle! Meanwhile Ritsu and Shou’s side make their way towards the tower but they face Minegishi. Shou’s underlings fight him so the boys can go ahead but it didn’t take long for Minegishi to defeat them with his plant powers. Reigen splits his team to infiltrate into the tower. On Teru’s side, they face off with a few Claw members but Terada betrays as he claims he is working with the enemy to get info and will gladly tell them if they reinstate him back into the team. Sakurai’s side is infiltrating from the sewers but Shimazaki is waiting for them. Mitsuura warns Reigen that Claw members are here to get them so Reigen takes Mob to hide. Of course they are sniffed out but thanks to some curse spray he got from Sakurai, Reigen puts them to sleep. Now they have to deal with Shibata. The spray doesn’t work and he only becomes stronger and madder. Dimple possesses Mob to fight back but realizes he can’t win and runs. With Shibata hot on his heels, this dude is so strong that when he throws Mob, Dimple is pushed out of possession! Luckily the Body Building Club buddies catch Mob. When Shibata comes into the picture, Musashi tries to tell him off not to bully their club member but is smacked down. The other members try to fend Shibata off but gets owned. Shibata is about to stomp Mob but Musashi uses his body to protect him. Dimple then possesses Musashi to fight back. Because Musashi has been training his muscles every day, this is the reason why he beats Shibata whose muscles are developed only from spiritual power. Of course this damages some of Musashi’s muscles. When Shibata gets back up again, this time Mob wakes up and puts him down for good. Mob parts with those guys as Dimple fills him in on what has happened. Ritsu and Shou have reached the tower.

Episode 11
Teru’s side defeated the baddies. Terada claims he was just lying to get their guard down. Yeah… However on Sakurai’s side, they’re totally routed by Shimazaki. Now this guy goes to face Ritsu and Shou but Ritsu wants Shou to go ahead to put a stop to his dad. Reluctantly he does so and easily beats up Hatori along the way since he is physically the weakest. Mob tries to stop a few punks from looting and since they look down on him, time for Mob to lecture them about thinking they’re special. With Minegishi coming into the picture, time for an epic battle. With Matsuo helping out, one of the punks accidentally breaks a spirit bottle of his. It housed Mogami as he sucks the life force of all those around. Even Minegishi is scared and can’t control his plants. Mogami wants to kill all these bad people but Mob reasons with him that they can change. Though, he can’t guarantee if he can watch them all rehabilitate so Mogami makes a deal with him that he’ll let go of this in exchange if he becomes hard on others. Shou faces off with his dad but is no match for him. Like him who has been storing up power for 3 months, Suzuki has been doing it for 20 years. He explains his journey around the world was to see if it was worth dominating. And he concluded there are no other stronger espers than him. Ritsu isn’t alone facing Shimazaki. The other Scar members pitch in to help. Everyone against Shimazaki. Why does this feels like everybody against Thanos? Although Shimazaki owns everyone, Teru is able to figure out that he cannot be in top condition if he loses concentration. Because of that, Shimazaki tries to kill this in this overkill smackdown. Teru distracts him that he is just an ordinary human who can be defeated, allowing others to do relay combos on this guy. Too bad he finally got his focus back and returns to owning everyone. He awakens to the next power level but senses Mob coming. A more powerful esper. He relishes to fight him but gets punched by Reigen???!!! Oh, he can’t detect this guy! Knowing he doesn’t stand a chance against them, Shimazaki admits defeat. He isn’t interested in taking over the world and is doing it for fun. This doesn’t sit well with Mob because their actions have disrupted lives. Instantly Shimazaki felt scared and teleports away. All that is left is the last boss but Mob tells everyone he will go alone since they are injured. Even if they can fight, they’ll get in the way. That is Mob’s take on being harsh on everyone. Reigen has Dimple go with him. Mob now faces off with Serizawa.

Episode 12
Serizawa explains how Suzuki saved him from his shut-in life. He understood Serizawa was bullied and ostracised due to his tremendous power and wants him to join his side. Afraid to leave his room, he is given an umbrella that supposedly works as a substitute. Mob tries to take away his umbrella but like a child losing his blanket, he explodes in anxiety. This makes Mob realize that Serizawa has been given the impression he cannot live on his own. Mob understands his desire to want friends but at this rate he isn’t going to make any or integrate back into society. Also, Suzuki sees him as a tool and is only being used. Ironically, Mob is the one to say. Serizawa accidentally fires his most powerful shot but Mob absorbs it and feels its sadness. Then he returns it to Serizawa. He too could feel Mob’s sadness and now understands they’re the same. Shou definitely didn’t stand a chance against his dad. He mentions about the project to make artificial espers failed. All those under Claw can do so because Suzuki lend his powers to them. This means that since they are defeated, he can take them back. Mob arrives in time before Shou is dead meat. He knows what is going on thanks to Serizawa telling the truth. Actually Serizawa couldn’t stand watching Suzuki beating up Shou and that’s why he left to face Mob. Serizawa is grateful to Suzuki for changing his life but he realizes his happiness comes from hurting others and had he knew that, he wouldn’t have left his room in the first place. Suzuki can sense Mob’s powers. Viewing him as his potential enemy, he goes on the offensive. With Dimple getting owned, Reigen knows something is wrong and takes action. With Suzuki believing himself as the true and only power and that bonds are meaningless, Mob’s beliefs are contradictory to his. He believes everyone has their own shortcomings and that’s why bonds are important. Suzuki continues to beat down Mob. Cue for Reigen to pop up. He acts confident as usual. Even suggesting to join his side. Heck, he has a way to defeat Suzuki? Let’s hear it. Rather, Reigen tries to punch him with brute force but fails of course. Suzuki is going to kill him but is protected by Serizawa. Mob gets back up. He is done talking. Maybe guys like him only learn after getting hurt. Suzuki tries to destroy Reigen first and although Mob protects them, they are flung out. Thanks to Minegishi’s plants saving them. At this point, Suzuki realizes all his men have betrayed him and is now alone. Not that he is worried about it since he has always been like that from the start. Mob’s goal to float the tower is so that he can hit him with everything he’s got in this final boss fight.

Episode 13
The epic power boss fight begins! But when Mob sees Ritsu, he loses focus as he realizes he has let the power control him. With Suzuki pounding him and bragging he is a lucky man to have such powers, Mob notes he doesn’t lack luck but bonds since he is the only one in his world. Woah. Mob using all the buildings to crush Suzuki! But instead he powers up into a different being! Mob is beaten to a pulp but what sets Suzuki seething in anger is that Mob has given up?! Really?! He realizes he is not strong enough to change him. As Suzuki continues to take it all out on him, Mob then uses his powers to contort him unimaginable! What Mob meant is that he is fine with both of them losing. With Suzuki now a ball of energy waiting to explode, Mob tells the rest to escape. But he goes back so as to help contain the explosion. Wow. Mob even lecturing him that everyone is the protagonist of his/her own life and thus it is his own decision to come back to try and save him. Even though Mob doesn’t like him, leaving him to suffer alone isn’t what he want. I guess that’s the clincher. Flashback shows Suzuki being ruthless and his wife didn’t like it. He believed power is absolute and the only thing that would get him followers. Mob tries to absorb some of the explosion but it looks like the atomic bomb just went off. In the aftermath, Mob is plucked out from the rubble. He gets his much needed rest but since their home is gone, they head to school. Too bad the Body Building Club guys think they should all go on a training camp now! I guess that incident really hit them. Next morning, everyone is shocked to see a giant broccoli in place of where the explosion was. The Amazing Lab kids want to stop becoming espers as they don’t want to misuse their powers. Mitsuura accepts that but hopes they will drop in sometimes as friends. Other Claw and Scar members try to find their footing in society again. Surprisingly, Suzuki allows himself to be arrested by Joseph since he is an undercover agent. Suzuki laments he wanted Shou to meet mom again but rest assured, he has done so once in a while. Shou lets his dad know this isn’t over yet since she has yet to scold him for turning into this. Reigen gets a new office since the insurance finally pays out. Serizawa is trying to look for a job here. Reigen hires him but first a haircut. Man, he looks different but presentable! Since Mob is his senior, he has to show him the ropes. Getting nervous? Mob then remembers the giant broccoli is due to the seeds that was in his pocket.

Rage And Honour: It’s Over 9000!!!!!!!
Oh my. I thought the final episode turned into some sort of Dragonball crossover with its insane amount of power and fighting. Cool! The world could have ended that night but thanks to Mob, everyone gets to go on living their normal lives the next day, not knowing what really happened last night. Yeah, the city was so evacuated and I’m surprised there were no people taking videos or recording this even from afar. See all the clueless people the next day? Yeah, that huge power fight that took the final battle to another level of dimension, nobody else was witnessing it?! It is a good thing that Mob continues to be Mob in the end and didn’t have to turn to the dark side or sacrifice himself to save the world. Yeah, it looked like it could have turned that way as there were a few times that we see Mob on the verge of giving up and going to cross the dark side. But was he just trolling us or changed his manner of thinking? Either way, it’s good to have Mob back and with Claw disbanded, let’s hope he can get back to his real challenge in life as a normal middle school kid. That confession to Tsubomi is still on the waiting list…

It is without a doubt that this season rocks and perhaps even more thanks to the action packed second half and Mob changing into someone much better that surprises a lot because he feels a lot like a different person although maintaining as Mob. Get it? The first half of this season might be a bit slow and so I feared that the rest of the season might be this familiar pattern of Reigen dragging Mob around to do odd exorcism jobs (sometimes con jobs too). Thankfully the first half isn’t all that boring since it is surprisingly focused on Reigen. We know this guy has been using Mob for his con jobs but what surprises us the most that he actually cares about him! I mean, we know he does take care of Mob but that is only because he is using him and so as to continue his scams. That is what we all view and knew of Reigen. So when he showed some sort of empathy and compassion towards a very conflicted Mob, wow we only thought he was heartless. We started to see him in a different light. And then he goes back to being a dick again with those arrogant and careless quips that strained their relationship for a while. It was pretty much an eye opener and blessing for Reigen because now he really has to count his blessings. And while Reigen may overall still be Reigen, at least now that he acknowledges Mob’s importance and worth (not because for his own gains), we see Reigen in a slightly better light. But still, we need to keep our suspicions on him because at the end of every episode as he narrates the next episode preview, he will eventually be talking and promoting about this series on DVDs and BDs and the likes. That’s the best way to support this series!

Things really picked up the pace in the second half. This is where everything goes off at full speed. The sudden attack of Suzuki and his Claw organization really took everything by surprise with their quick offensive for world domination. Starting with Japan, of course. In this part, it is Mob’s growth that astounds us the most. He is no longer that meek and indecisive kid we once knew a while ago. It is as though he went on a long journey to search for himself and then come back a wise sage! Wow. Suddenly he can lecture us about loneliness, bonds and friendship. But he isn’t pulling it out of the air since he has put in a lot of effort and experienced a lot of harshness to get where he is right now. So with Mob awakened on all fronts, it is indeed shocking to see that he has grown and changed in that short amount of time. It is during such times of chaos that we see characters being built and thank goodness Mob has grown up fast in that situation. But still, why all that running and jogging didn’t make him the least bit physically stronger?!

Everything happened so fast in the second half with Suzuki suddenly coming into the picture as Claw’s big boss, it confused me a little at first. Because at the end of last season, I remember Shou was calling his dad about Scar’s failure and wanted him back in Japan as soon as possible. Damn I thought there was going to be this father and son combo to take over the world. But surprise! Shou is actually on the good side? Did something happen while we weren’t watching? Perhaps. Because since when was Shou and Ritsu such ‘good friends’? And then suddenly bringing back all the disbanded members of 7th division of Scar and to fight along the good side against Suzuki and Claw, that was unexpected too. At least I didn’t foresee that. Maybe one or two of them would return but all of them? Damn, was I paying attention?

With this season, there are many more characters introduced that I think the character pool has become bloated. Many feel insignificant but some of them do play their moments like he Body Building Club buddies to prove that their friendship with Mob isn’t all muscles. Some feel like red herring or didn’t really go anywhere like Kamuro’s comeback as student council president and Mezato’s goal to make Mob the cult leader (Mob would have really become God had his heroics being known). I thought Mob might be starting get a harem of his own since Emi and Minori I feel take genuine interest in Mob. But that would be unnecessary distraction from the final battle with Claw. And I wouldn’t want that either. That Joseph guy feels a bit redundant too. I thought I’ve seen the last of him after he fled his failed attack against Suzuki and his Ultimate 5. Because it’s like as though his role was there to arrest Suzuki, that’s it. Even some of the more supporting and main characters like Teru and Ritsu weren’t that prominent, like as though they don’t want to steal Mob’s limelight. Dimple feels more like an annoying sidekick (like that fairy that always accompanies Link) and it’s like we have forgotten his ulterior motive of why he is hanging out with Mob. Will he change now after being with him for a while and seeing Mob’s true powers?

Suzuki as the main antagonist, he might sound like a typical villain but because of Mob’s great profiling of him, he turns out to be someone who is just lost. Mob understands him the best because they are the same. When you are the most powerful being that is so different from everyone else, who would understand you? Is this the reason why we never really understand God?! But it goes to show that even Mob can turn this guy over a new leaf. It is safe to say that Mob doesn’t just talk the talk but walk the walk too. Who else better but to bring someone as lost as Suzuki to his senses as Mob has went through (somewhat) similar hardships. After all, Suzuki now gets a chance to make repentance. Something he can still do when he is alive and not dead. I guess he isn’t so powerful after all now that he is going to get an earful from his wife… ;p. On a trivial note, I have always thought that Suzuki would have been an evil version of Reigen had the latter had esper powers and misused them. Must be the way they dressed sharply that made me think they are similar.

Mob might not be perfect and still has his flaws. But it is a good thing that he continued to stay true to his beliefs. He might not have the best solutions for this wretched world, but he does what he can and to the best of his abilities. After all, Mob is Mob and the best he could do is to be himself. He isn’t any superhero (although technically he saved the world or rather Japan from Suzuki’s schemes) and definitely he is no God. It might sound naïve to wish that people will turn over a new leaf and learn from their mistake, but I guess that is better than many who misuse and abuse their power. Or in worse case, victims like Mogami becoming a vengeful spirit and continue the vicious cycle. Even if having esper powers give you the right to dominate others naturally and instinctively, does it give you the right to pass on misery to others? After all, Mob is such a good kid that he doesn’t harbour any ill intentions. Even when his master is being a scam artist dick, he still believes he is a good person! Even Hitler has his sympathizers, if you know what I mean… All in all, Mob’s self-realizing statements do make much sense. Mob isn’t a psycho, it’s the world!

It goes without saying that the power action bits here take the cake. With all the espers coming in for one big battle, we will soon forget that this series is about a clueless and meek middle school boy whose extraordinary esper powers is being used by his master for his own gains. The power battles are exaggerated but epic at the same time. If not for that ‘ugly’ drawing that makes it all look cartoonish but I guess this is the series’ trademark visuals. It’s not that bad actually. Of course this makes a lot of characters look weird. Like that moment exorcists from all walks of life were called to exorcist Minori. It’s like one freaking freaky cosplay convention and a macho guy wearing bra and panties showing up among the midst! Definitely a scam! So if you disregard the ‘crap’ art, the action sequences are quite enjoyable. It’s nice to see that moment of everybody taking down Shimazaki since it has that feel of Avengers and every other heroes in the MCU taking on Thanos. Was that fight inspired by this? Well, it was nicely done. With Mob know awakened to his even more powerful esper power, I just wonder why his hair didn’t grow any longer or turn glowing blonde like a Super Saiyan. Just saying… But in this mode, Mob looks more like Boku No Hero Academia’s Midoriya.

At points I was contemplating if this series was going to turn into a horror genre because of some of the scenes that almost spooked the living daylights out of me. Coupled in with that ‘crappy’ animation, yeah at points they look scary. For instance, the family of good ghosts that Mob was in a dilemma to exorcise. It may be nothing to others but for a horror averse guy like me, even those simple drawings were enough to give me the chills. But thanks to the ‘crappy’ drawing that makes it not looking so realistic and hence I didn’t suffer any nightmares subsequently. After all, when you are dealing with the supernatural theme, ghosts and spirits have got to be something to expect.

This season’s opening theme, 99.9 by Mob Choir featuring Sajou No Hana is as epic as it sounds. Because it sounds like one big cheer and support theme for Mob. Are you ready to get psyched up? Are you ready to dig your anger up? Are you ready for the hype train?! And while the opening animation credits is filled with lots of weirdness, I guess it doesn’t get weird enough to have Mob in Lego form. Sajou No Hana sings the main ending theme, Memosepia. A rather okay rock piece if you ask me. Special ending themes like Gray (1st and 7th episode), Mabuta No Ura (5th episode) and Ikiru Hitobito (final episode) feel more like slow rock.

Overall, this second season hits all the right notes. At least, most of them. It has got a good character development especially for Mob as well as heart pounding action sequences in the later half. It sure doesn’t look like it is going to have another season, the way things ‘ended’. But who knows? An even darker and more secretive organization could be lurking and Claw was just the front! Plot twist! Yeah, anything could happen in life. Ultimately it isn’t about who has the best esper powers but whether you have them or not, it is about human relationships and bonds. Humans being the more complex creatures compared to ghosts. Because the latter either wants to scare you or hurt you or kill you for vengeance. But the former tries to be friends with you first… Heh. Took and reedited that quote from a certain famous Australian Crocodile Hunter. May he rest in peace. As long as we are alive, we still have a chance to make amends. Something that no matter how much esper power you have could never teach you. Mob went through all of that to teach us that so we don’t have to. Thanks for reminding us what it is to be human beings.

At the end of the TV series, it was announced that there would be 3 additional episodes. And so I was happy that Double Decker! Doug & Kirill Extra would answer some of the more serious questions like those Nikai people that the TV series didn’t and ended abruptly, hence somewhat ruining my fun. Unfortunately these extra episodes aren’t that and instead are random standalone episodes that served like OVA style episodes. Oh well, as long as I can see more kickass and fun dynamics within Seven-O, I’m alright with that.

Special 1
Taking place about a month after Kirill joined Seven-O, we see the duo on a long stakeout shift but it was a waste of time since the lead was false. Back at HQ, we hear the ladies talking about taking a company trip together. But it’s not possible for all of them to go at one time. Kay explains why she joined the force. When she was young, she saved a kitten up a huge tree. They both got stuck and could have stayed there forever had not a police woman came to her aid. Although she tumbled, she protected Kay. No injuries whatsoever and this spurned Kay to become a strong woman like her. As for Max, she was already a pro boxer when she was an officer and at that time Travis scouted her. All this talking makes them thirsty so they head to Derick’s bar to drink despite saying earlier on they don’t want to go there. I guess he’s such a nice guy to bully because they disregard his no outside food and drinks policy too. Sophie continues talking how she joined Seven-O. She was looking for a new job and the ad Travis put up was too good to be true. Indeed. It was mostly lies and initially Sophie rejected this sleazebag (he was more interested to see what kind of cute uniform would fit her) but when she returned, she received a letter saying she is already hired. Damn that guy is good. Kay insists Deana tell hers. She started out as an orphaned who was trained to be an assassin. Her first mission was to kill some VIP but couldn’t because she heard his beautiful piano. Travis?! That guy supposedly died last year. While Kay is sobbing over her story, the rest are unfazed. Because it’s fake! Gotcha! Kay is mad as she really believed her story but she only has herself to blame for falling for it.

Meanwhile Kirill is unhappy that Doug doesn’t treat him like a partner. He complains to Derick about it but there’s nothing much he can do. On the way back from the stakeout, they stumble into Mark Belgar. He and Doug know each other as they joined the force at the same time. They go out drinking and jealous Kirill won’t be left behind and joins in. Shortly, Doug receives a call from Derick as he left something in his bar. So this guy abandons Kirill here just to go back to Derick’s bar? Oh well, Kirill gets to get acquainted with Mark. He finds out Mark is the same rank as him but is terrible at his job. Doug is a total opposite. So good that the next thing he knows, he already joined Seven-O. Kirill wants to know how Doug ended up there since Travis only hires girls. Sure, he is lazy when it comes to hire men but he only does so if they are not popular with women! When Doug leaves, Derick advises him to talk to Kirill because it’s like he has some trouble on his mind. Doug returns only to see Kirill and Mark getting on well together. Drunk too. Mark leaves since he is on house arrest. Kirill continues talking to Doug about Travis’ hiring requirements. If Doug got in, what about Jefferson? He’s married. Kirill fears he got accepted because he is unpopular with ladies but Doug reminds him that it was because of his recommendation. But why? He thought it would be fun to team up with him. I guess those are the words Kirill wanted to hear. So happy that he dismisses any problem on his mind when Doug asks about it. Of course we hear the actual truth of why Kirill was drafted into Seven-O. Travis thought he was a cute woman and immediately approved! Oh my. Kirill is Travis’ type?! Oh sh*t.

Special 2
Originally the ladies are supposed to infiltrate a party as a suspected Anthem trade will be done. However Kay is called to the HQ and Travis wants Kirill to cross-dress as a woman. Of course he objects but with Travis putting in twisted logic, Kirill accepts because it will somehow turn him into an elite force. I wonder why this cross-dressing is necessary. Isn’t it a running joke that Kirill looks like a girl???!!! Anyway, is it me or is Kirill as a woman looking a bit ‘ugly’? So much so, Travis didn’t even notice ‘her’ but Apple does. Immediately recognizing Kirill but didn’t recognize his getup. Weird. Because he lacks femininity, he undergoes harsh training from Milla. Yeah, being a woman is hard. Eventually, it is because Kirill is forcing himself to be a woman. Just let it flow naturally. So once the training is done, Kirill is able to attract Travis’ attention and not even make that idiot suspect a thing. Now he is good to go for the job. Ready to go, Olivia? Deana briefs him that they have 2 targets to observe. Guillermo Galvis who is the Anthem dealer and Yusef bin Saeed Al Atal, son of a rich financier who owns the hotel. Their main mission is to arrest Guillermo when the Anthem trade is done. The ladies disguise as waitresses. Kirill must be so beautiful that a pervy old man wants to flirt with him. Luckily he is saved by Yusef. Later as Kirill tails him, Yusef can tell he is doing so. Kirill gives excuse that he wanted to thank him.

At the rooftop, as they talk, Kirill learns that he is quite a shy person and doesn’t like mingling in crowds. He is only putting up a brave front so as not to betray the expectations of others. It is not wrong for Kirill to lend him some advice that he should be who he is and not force himself to pretend. With Deana calling in since Kirill didn’t answer for quite a while, Kirill has to get her off his back, exposing his crude side. In this struggle, Kirill falls over him. OMFG. Almost kissed???!!! Yusef laughs and realizes he too is putting up an act. Kirill admits it and with Yusef feeling better, he returns inside. The agents then observe him meeting Guillermo. But Yusef wants to deal to be off because he doesn’t need Anthem to change himself. However Guillermo won’t let him off so lightly now that he knows he is an Anthem dealer. The Seven-O agents bust in as Deana fights and apprehends Guillermo. In the aftermath, Yusef is also arrested but he is glad Kirill is unhurt. Damn, did Kirill just blushed?! Next day, Kirill thought he is lucky Doug wasn’t on this case but he knows all about Olivia! Damn Deana spread those cute photos of him! Kirill learns that Yusef will get a lighter sentence since there was no Anthem trade that happened although he is charged with possessing illegal drugs. But with Yusef relaying his thanks to Olivia, the Seven-O agents start teasing Kirill that this might be his true love. Yeah, he gets to marry a rich man after all. Kirill will not accept this and rushes down to prison to clarify this once and for all. He vows never to cross-dress again. Later Deana passes a photo of Olivia to Milla. Keep it. It’s previous memories of his little brother. Next time, she hopes to see Kirill in a wedding dress! Man, Deana is having a blast. Derick sees the photo and wants to know who this hot chick is. Milla’s little sister you say, huh?

Special 3
Seven-O are going to a hotspring inn. Well, Travis is feeling down. Why? He begged Sophie to come but that girl doesn’t want to spend her free time with him! Boo hoo! It seems Kay has created a very strict schedule that everyone must follow. After all, she was put in charge of organizing this trip and she’ll see to it to the very end! Like this ping pong tournament. Yeah, the guys want to prize as to swap rooms with Travis! They don’t really like him, huh? Before the tournament is over, Kay moves on to the next programme. Because Derick still thinks Milla is a girl, Kirill tries to tell him but finds it hard. Better hurry before things get out of control. During meal time, Max was supposed to sing but instead gave a heartfelt speech of how grateful she is to be with everyone. Cue for Travis to think this is a good time for a Japanese style bonding to have everyone dip in the hotspring together. He better be joking if he doesn’t want to get beaten up by Deana. Speaking of her, she passes out from getting drunk. She didn’t have that many, by the way. The men take a bath first. Apple being gay weird as he wants to touch Doug’s muscles?! Travis thinks Sophie is regretting this but on the contrary she is enjoying a luxury life to the fullest! Yeah. She doesn’t need Travis. Just his wallet!!! When Kirill tries to talk to Doug, the latter takes his special lemon soap but it’s so slippery that it flew into the women’s area. With Kay getting drunk too, she rants about how she didn’t have fun when she first came here and hence why she got so enthusiastic to stick to this schedule so as to have fun memories with everyone. I’m sure everyone heard that. Right, Deana? Doug and Kirill then see a poster of a panty thief. Yeah, 300 panties stole in a night!

As Milla and Kirill take soak in the hotspring, they hear the screams of the ladies. Derick is dead!!! Actually, he passed out. They catch the most suspicious suspect: Travis! He explains he didn’t do it. He was trying to break the pipe to the women’s area in hopes they would use the mixed area but someone was approaching so he ran. When Derick wakes up, he says he was supposed to be in the men’s area. So how did he end up in the women’s area? Yeah, everyone wants to take the easy way out and just blame Travis! With Doug figuring out the details, they all head to the cliffs because this is where all murder mysteries at the hotspring is revealed, right? He points out Kirill! You see, Derick wanted to ask Milla for a night walk and followed him. As Milla entered the male section, Derick unwittingly also entered the female section. As he ponders, Kirill’s soap knocked his head. Doug then reveals Milla is a man. Derick is disappointed but not as disappointed as Deana who wanted this charade to last another 6 months! Derick picks himself up and is glad he didn’t ruin the trip. But what about Travis after being treated as a criminal? No one cares! When they return, they realize their bags have been rummaged and their underwear missing. It’s the panty thief! Make that 6 of them! Luckily they are easily captured. Turns out these are sextuplets who are in competition to see who can steal the most panties! Sick. No wonder they could score 300 per night but 50 per person is still devastating. Everyone enjoys the morning hotspring. Milla hopes he can still work with Derick. Of course he welcomes him. Gender doesn’t matter as long as the person is nice. But it’s back to Kay’s tight schedule. Hope everyone had fun.

Trouble Pecker! Smug & Free Zeal
Yeah, the episodes are fun in their own way. So much so it took my mind off about the Nikai thingy. Uh huh. I didn’t care about it anymore. They are nice episodes to showcase the dynamism of the members in Seven-O and although not much, but I suppose this is why they are such a close knit unit. Except maybe for Travis. If there is one thing that all the other members of Seven-O can agree on about their most disliked thing, it would be their idiotic boss. Poor guy gets stepped all over by his subordinates and even got his wallet swiped. I hope he has very deep pockets. It’s the only way that Sophie is ever going to feel ‘needed’ of him. Haha!

The first 2 specials focuses more on Kirill with the first one trying to have him get closer and understand his dick partner while the second has him change the heart of a young rich but directionless Middle Eastern hotel tycoon heir! I guess in a way it helps Kirill better understand himself that sometimes acceptance comes from the heart and must be earned instead of demanded. That sometimes the best way is to just be yourself instead of acting like somebody else to impress others who don’t really see the real you.

The third special shows the little bond between Kirill and Milla but it is mostly about Derick as the final member of Seven-O has come to realize that Milla isn’t really a woman. And also turning Travis into one tragic fool whom nobody cares. What’s with Apple turning gay for Doug? I think we assume he is some peeper as the ladies accuse him of so thanks to his technologies but what if he is gay for people like Doug? Thankfully, Derick is still straight, right? Milla’s the same nice person so I hope that doesn’t awaken some twisted side. It is bad enough Derick is the butt of jokes that nobody patrons his bar and this gay sh*t? Come on, can we leave all the blame on Travis?

Overall, the extra episodes provide a little more entertainment and well, a little extra to those who want a little more of the series ever since the TV series ended (like yours truly). Perhaps 3 extra episodes were not enough for that Nikai or another story arc (because then it certainly needs another season) and therefore suffice as random standalones. If they are thinking of adding more extra episodes, may I suggest the cliché high school spoof setting? Yeah… I’m glad that I find this enjoyable thanks to my simpleton ways rather than relying on Anthem to enhance my pleasure in watching this. Yes, people. For the umpteenth PSA time, don’t do drugs. Do anime instead!

Go-toubun No Hanayome

June 16, 2019

What is worse than tutoring a single brat? Nope. Terrible twins aren’t even that bad. Not even the triple threat of triplets can match it. Fearsome foursome? Not even close. Needing to tutor quaint quintuplets would give anybody a real challenge not to quit within 24 hours. And so, Go-toubun No Hanayome has our young high school student who does very well academically to the point of perfection, his job is to tutor quintuplets who are all failing grade. I guess this is not the case of having both beauty and brains. With each having their own quirky characteristic and personalities, how is our teacher going to round them up and make sure they listen? I don’t know. But I heard that it’s pretty cliché that after a while the student might develop feelings for the teacher when they spend a considerable amount of time together. I guess how to handle quintuplets and love were never taught in textbooks…

Episode 1
Futaro Uesugi is mocked by others because of choosing the cheapest school meal set. He gets into a silly argument with a transfer student girl, Itsuki Nakano over a seat. When that’s settled, she finds him rude studying while eating but when she looks at his test scores, he scored perfect! She mentions about wanting a tutor because her grades aren’t so good but instead he mocks her for ordering too much food that will make her grow fat! Later Futaro gets a call from his little sister, Raiha that father found a part time job and a real rich family just moved into the area looking for a tutor. They are willing to pay 5 times the market price and alleviate their family debt. Too bad he learns the person he will be tutoring is Itsuki and she is also in his class. Damn he is seeing the money signs and feels the need to apologize to her and get on her good side. Next time when he tries to sit with her during lunch, too bad the table is already full with her friends. Futaro has weird experiences with her friends like Ichika thinking he is targeting Itsuki and is willing to help her. Yotsuba showing off her perfect zero test scores and following him around. Then you have Miku thinking he is a stalker and outside their rich luxury apartment, Nino stops him from entering but Futaro gives her the slip and runs all 30 floors up to where Itsuki lives. So he is faster than the elevator? At this point he reveals he is her tutor, shocking her. He is puzzled why her friends live together with her. They aren’t her friends. They are quintuplets! Yeah, he is going to tutor them all. Too bad, gathering them is already a handful. Either being spite, ignored or Ichika just plain lazy in her messy room. Before an accusation drama from Miku accusing him of stealing her jersey, thank goodness Nino is wearing it. Finally when they all gather, nobody is in study mood and Nino drugged his water, making him pass out. When he comes to, he is in a taxi outside his home and Itsuki for company. Normally it ends there but with Raiha being so overly cute in inviting Itsuki for dinner, can’t say no. Itsuki hears something about their debt and being so earnest about her brother’s potential, I guess she has to play along that tutoring went well and even hopes to come back again for dinner. With Itsuki giving him ‘permission’ to do as his wish and tutor them, Futaro thinks he doesn’t need to deal with all of them and those who are just failing. Does he not know that all of them failed?!

Episode 2
Futaro gathers the quintuplets again and has them take a test. As long as they pass, they will never have to see him again. Guess what? They scored 100! Combined, that is. Yup, all of them failed. What now? Run away! Next day at school, they’re still being haughty that they don’t need a tutor so he reminds them have they even reviewed their failed test. Nope. Futaro tries to approach Miku since she scored the highest among them. But Yotsuba and Ichika get in the way. From Miku’s reaction they think she is in love with a boy. Futaro discovers a letter from Miku to meet at the rooftop in his desk. Thinking this is a prank, he waits to disprove it but she turns up. Is it true she likes him? Actually it is just to answer his question this morning. It seems she is a fan of the Sengoku period. Obviously nobody knows this since other girls would rather like hot current guys than bearded old men. Futaro tries to use this to get her to study but she remains suspicious he knows more on this area than her. She quizzes him on some Sengoku questions. By fluke he got them right. Just when he thinks she has given in and she gives him a can drink as gratitude, he doesn’t understand why she said it doesn’t have snot in it. This has Miku become suspicious again and will not be tutored by him. Futaro won’t lose so he borrows all the Sengoku library to read up. When he requests for a re-challenge, she refuses. Then it descends into the slowest chase around school as they even play some Sengoku shiritori until they tire out. WTF. He explains the drink snot that has some Sengoku connotation to it but admits he had Yotsuba look up that one for him. Miku doesn’t want him to tell her sisters about her Sengoku fetish as she thinks she is the biggest loser among them. What she can do, others can do. That is when it hit Futaro. Because if that is true, the reverse is also true. Miku can do what others. From that test, he noticed that none of them got the same question right. He vows to have them all graduate with flying colours and he believes all of them have the potential to score 100 on their own. Miku agrees to be tutored by him although her excuse is so that he could take responsibility for what he said.

Episode 3
It’s another tough day for Futaro to gather the quintuplets for tutoring and Nino is here to disrupt again. She tells Yotsuba to go help out a basketball team that has a member injured, reminds Ichika she has a part time job and Itsuki to go somewhere quiet to study. With that, Futaro is only left with Miku. It then descends into a catty argument of outer or inner beauty between Nino and Miku. With Futaro’s stomach growling, they decide to settle this via cooking. If Nino wins, no tutoring today. While Nino’s meal looks good, Miku’s look pretty much ‘destroyed’. Good thing or not, Futaro isn’t a gourmet and finds both delicious. Nino is not happy but we can see the big relief in Miku’s face. With so much time taken up by this, I guess lesson’s over. As Futaro leaves, he realizes he forgot his flash cards. He returns and is surprised to see Miku out of the bath and drying herself. To his horror, she is actually Nino! However she has near-sightedness and cannot see without her contacts. She thinks Futaro is Miku and starts complaining about that guy who has no place among the sisters. Even if her eyesight is that bad, could she not tell the outline of her sister?! Futaro then saves her from the books that were going to topple over her. It is then she realizes it is him. But it gets worse from here with Ichika snapping a picture of this scandal. Hence we have a kangaroo trial court. Only Miku is defending him but when accused she is doing so because of her feelings for him, Miku backs down. Finally the rest realize it was just a mistake and Futaro did save Nino from the falling books (and such a nerd won’t have the balls to rape!). But Nino is not pleased and it hit a nerve when Ichika notes how all of them used to get along so well. She runs away. As Futaro leaves, he finds her bumming outside the building. I guess she locked herself out. He didn’t want to help her, thinking she would just continue her scorn but decides to sit down and talk with her. From the way she says things, Futaro believes she doesn’t hate her sisters but loves them. That’s why she hates outsiders like him getting in between them. Nino’s twisted reasoning has her decide she’ll never accept Futaro even if it means her sisters hating her.

Episode 4
Itsuki is at Futaro’s place to pay him. Is he going to be alright seeing that much money? He can’t take it citing he hasn’t done anything. Since she insists, he asks what Raiha wants to do. Yeah, they hit the arcades. On their way back, they stumble into the other sisters who are just on their way to watch the fireworks. But Futaro reminds them they have homework. Not if Raiha puts up those puppy dog eyes. Okay. Let’s go! But he makes the quintuplets finish their homework first! Hurry. It’s going to start soon. Nino has rented a rooftop of a shop to watch the fireworks but the sisters start going their own way to buy other things first. Futaro learns from Miku that fireworks are very important to them as they used to watch it with their late mother. When Nino is swamped by the crowd, it is Futaro who rescues her. When they arrive at the rooftop, the fireworks just start and Nino realizes they are the only ones here. That’s because she is the only one who knows where this place is. Her sisters are all over the place. Futaro decides to gather them before the fireworks ends. Yeah, the longest fireworks show ever. 1 hour!!! He finds Ichika first but a strange man wonders what his relation with Ichika is. He says acquaintance but everyone gives him that weird stare. He is supposed to go after them but Miku has her feet sore. I bet she wanted him to carry but he bandaged it instead. Wonder why she’s pouting… Some survey assistants ask their relationship and think they’re a couple (how did they end up holding hands?). So as Futaro ponder between acquaintances and schoolmates, I guess Miku didn’t like that answer too. Again she’s pouting. Futaro manages to find Itsuki next and straight up asks their relationship. Without skipping a beat, she says the most as strangers. But she points back he doesn’t need to ask because he already knows. All that’s left is to find Ichika (Yotsuba and Raiha are hanging out at some clock tower) but Ichika finds him and brings him away to an alley. She tells him she cannot join then in watching the fireworks.

Episode 5
Futaro can’t answer when Ichika asks why he is going out his way when they’re just their tutor. Since that guy who is her co-worker is close by, Ichika and Futaro had to pretend they are making out in the dark alley but that co-worker continues to look around the same area?! Looks like Futaro hits a nerve again when he explains why they aren’t friends. Because Ichika thought they were. More trouble when the co-worker mistakes Miku as Ichika and drags her away. Yeah, he doesn’t even care about her injured feet… So when Futaro saves Miku and the co-worker asks him who he is again, chance for Futaro to correct his wrongs. Certainly they are not friends. They are partners. And he wants them back. I don’t know, that sounded odd but to the girls, that sounded better than acquaintances. The co-worker reveals Ichika is late for an audition (despite he was so sure he would never mixed up Ichika’s face!) so Ichika decides to go with him. Is she really ditching the fireworks? Miku tells him to go with Ichika. Can he leave her alone? Yotsuba and Raiha are conveniently here. The co-worker conveniently went to get the car so enough time for Ichika and Futaro to talk it out. He asks if this is what she wants. It’s her dream to become an actress and this audition could land her in a very big role. They even practice her lines here. Before Ichika goes off, Futaro wants her to cut it out with her fake smile. She always uses it to hide her feelings and he could sniff it out as her smile always looks different from her sisters. He explains his true feelings he doesn’t want to get paid with nothing to show for and earn what he work. What about her? She acts like she’s cool with everything but she’s really not. When they were pretend hugging in the alley, he could feel her shaking. He allows her to go but with a condition she apologizes to her sisters. Ichika makes it to the audition and for once she lets out her real smile. I think that could win the audition. When it’s over, she returns and finds Futaro still waiting for her although the fireworks is long over. He brings her to the park where he had the other sisters gather to have their own mini fireworks festival. Mainly sparklers. Nino thanking Futaro for once and Ichika apologizes to the sisters as they in turn also apologize for their own shortcomings. They renew their old promise to share happiness even with one of them finds it. Does this apply to love? Finally Ichika personally thanks Futaro but he is sleeping with his eyes open! The best she could thank him now as partners is to let him sleep on her lap.

Episode 6
Ichika told her sisters about her job and they were thrilled. Ichika felt a burden lifted off her shoulders. But the midterms are coming and this is where the real test is. Futaro tries to get Itsuki to study together. Too bad sounded insulting about her stupidity so that’s no go. What about Nino? He sounded so ambiguous about their relationship that he got a slap in return. I guess only Ichika, Miku and Yotsuba will do. But they’re more in having fun mood than studying. When Futaro goes home, Itsuki suddenly catches up to him. It seems father wants to speak to him. Suddenly the good son, huh? Of course he ‘threatens’ him if any one of her daughters fail, he will resign. Say goodbye to your money. This in turn leads to Futaro and Itsuki arguing. Itsuki thinks he is doing it for the money and hence she is not his tool to make money. It ends with both vowing not to teach or learn from the other. Oh Futaro, you’re going to regret that. Futaro is tutoring the trio at their home and Nino wants to shoo him out. Ichika’s quick thinking means Futaro is going to sleepover and tutor them. As he baths, he thought Itsuki wanted to talk to him so he apologizes and reveals the firing business. Too bad it’s Nino actually and she has now got a gist of what’s happening. Futaro has got a reason to be worried. She’s definitely not going to study and get in his way to make any one of her sisters fail. Futaro returns to tutoring the rest but Ichika is more interested in setting Miku up with him. And out of the blue, Miku asks what kind of girl he likes! Is that part of the study? Futaro will reveal if they finish a page. Wow. See what motivation can do. But the qualities of the girl he likes can only be fulfilled by Raiha! Siscon? Miku must be so disappointing since she’s quite to opposite. With Itsuki still being stubborn, Ichika talks to Futaro about her sister having a hard time being upfront and is definitely hurting inside. She hopes he can do what he does best. Futaro pats her head and notes she really does live up as the eldest of the sisters. Ichika has Futaro sleep in Miku’s room while Miku will share with her. That night Miku went to toilet and back to bed. However she returned to Futaro’s bed! Guess what happens when Futaro sees her sleeping next to him next morning?

Episode 7
Ichika and Nino think of pranking Futaro by making Itsuki look like Miku. Futaro tries to get away before Miku wakes up but look, it’s Miku at the front door! Of course it’s Itsuki. In order to hide the scandal, Futaro pushes her away just when she’s ready to reconcile. This makes her even furious. Futaro takes Ichika and Yotsuba to the library to study. Ichika hints to Futaro about forgetting somebody. He gets the hint and goes back to their suite. On the way out, he passes Miku who is worried if something weird happened last night. He lies about it but at least her heart can rest in peace. Futaro returns to see Itsuki asleep while studying. Because she is still in Miku’s getup, he chastises her to continue studying instead of slacking. With both somewhat apologizing to each other, he continues to tutor her. Futaro sleeps over as they pull another all-nighter since tomorrow is the start of the exam. Too bad they wake up late! Run! I’m sure they could have reached in time had they not been distracted like helping the old lady to cross the road. Of course they arrive late and they can’t simply walk in since a teacher is guarding the entrance. Thankfully Yotsuba was the only one who reached on time so Futaro has an idea. He has all the sisters wear Yotsuba’s trademark ribbon. Pretending to be Yotsuba, one by one they manage to give excuse that a teacher sent them out for errand. Yeah, teacher must be confused. Even Futaro tries to pull this off! Didn’t work! He gets his ass hauled to the office. The exams come and go and the results are out. What’s it like? Let’s just say that each of them pass their best topic but fail the rest. But hey, at least their accumulative score is no more 100 and is way past that. Futaro seems to be telling each one of them how to improve their weakness. The other sisters are confused. Their dad calls and wants to hear the results. Futaro is going to tell the truth after saying he hopes to find a better tutor for them when Nino snatches the phone and hears what it’s all about. Technically she isn’t lying when she says all of them avoided failing all subjects. I guess father is going to keep Futaro for now. Looks like the sisters will have to study harder to avoid being busted for this lie. Futaro would normally want to review their work but allows them some respite and treat them to parfait. The sisters laugh since he is so out of place. I wonder if they have the mood since they see Futaro’s score. Like usual. No biggies. Perfect in every subject.

Episode 8
Futaro’s dad thinks he should cut some slack in studying. Because not too long ago he was a delinquent until a certain girl he met changed his life. Dad fools around with that old photo he keeps in his student handbook since Raiha wants to look at it. With Futaro floored by Miku’s bad cooking, Nino and Itsuki are about to leave but he needs to keep them here to study. Hence he has Yotsuba tell white lies to make them stay. Of course she is a bad liar. Eventually Futaro realizes that telling the hard and blunt truth suits Yotsuba better as she gets pretty honest the 5 of them should study together. With Futaro’s fake illness being discovered, Nino and Itsuki leave. Futaro notes it is just like the beginning. Just the 2 of them. Yotsuba points out everyone has slowly changed. Even Nino didn’t try to kick him out. Yotsuba hints to him there is a reason why she has always been by his side. It’s not to get good grades but rather she likes him. Before Futaro gets to react to this shock, Yotsuba was just trolling you! White lie! She learnt something today. Haha! But really…? Too bad Futaro now has trust issues. Ichika suggests Futaro exchange email addresses with the sisters. All he needs is Itsuki and Nino’s so he had to throw in a bargain that he will give Raiha’s email for Itsuki to join and play on Nino’s psychology that she will be the only one left out. Since Nino will not use her Bluetooth, she lets him write in his handbook. But with the basketball club calling Yotsuba, Futaro tails her to check if she is using this excuse to escape studying. To his relief, she turns down their invitation to join them. Back home, Futaro realizes his handbook is still with Nino. So he enters her room while she is still sleeping to get it back?! Even if Miku allowed it, was he that desperate? She will give it back to him if he helps pierce her ear. Is this his chance to get back at her? As he makes his countdown and slowly try to take back his handbook, Nino changes her mind. This causes Futaro to drop his handbook and unfortunately open to the page of his old photo. So this young delinquent punk is him?! Because he looks so different, Nino can’t tell and really likes this kid! Yeah, badass are her types. Futaro lies that it is his relative. Futaro is glad she didn’t see the other half of the photo. Supposedly that girl who changed his life. Yeah, no surprise but it’s one of the quintuplets. They look so alike (copy and paste?) that it makes a great guessing game.

Episode 9
The school will have a camping trip. And there’s that legend of couples dancing together at the campfire will forever be together. Ichika has Miku substitute her for the meeting. However there is no meet. It was just Maeda’s scheme to get Ichika to dance with him at the campfire because he likes her. Confused Miku tries to weasel her way out but he needs an answer. Good thing Futaro is here so he makes an excuse her sisters are calling. Bu Maeda still isn’t convinced so Miku pretends he is dating Futaro. I guess holding hands is enough to make him give up. Miku asks why people confess to the ones they love. Because they want them all to themselves. The sisters bring Futaro out to shop for clothes for the trip. But Futaro realizes several miscalls from his dad. He rushes home since Raiha is sick. He nurses her until the next day and he is willing to give this trip a miss. After all, he already missed the bus. Too bad the sisters heard about it and came to pick him up in their limo. This sure beats the bus ride. Due to the blizzard, they have to stop by an inn. The sisters especially Nino are wary about spending the night in the same room with a guy. It’s just a room built for 4… And the outdoor bath is also mixed… Why do they assume Futaro is going in at the same time with them? As the sisters bath, they discuss who should sleep next to Futaro. Ironically if they all claim he is just a friend and won’t do weird stuffs, so why is nobody willing to sleep next to him? So their answer is all of them to sleep next to him?! Besides he can’t tell, right? But wait. Wouldn’t that means he knows all 5 of them will be sleeping next to them? I think they aren’t bothered with it now seeing he is fast asleep. Next morning, Ichika wakes up and is shocked she slept close to him. The other sisters are all over the place… Ichika then puts her face close to his… At that point Itsuki opens the door and sees this before quickly shutting it. Too bad she can’t tell which sister did that. Itsuki is shocked to see her school teachers here. Amazingly they too stopped for the blizzard and never stumble into each other. Now they all get to continue the bus trip together.

Episode 10
Futaro helps Yotsuba with the kimodameshi. Ichika and Miku aren’t scared… Since Itsuki is weak in this, what is scarier than a clown mask? A clown asking you to go study!!! Thanks to that, Itsuki runs off on her own and Nino tries to chase her but gets lost. Futaro sees this and tries to get them. When he stumbles into Nino, because he still has that blonde wig on, Nino thinks he is Futaro’s relative and starts getting girly around him. Futaro realizes this mistake and is forced to play along as Kintaro since he knows Nino will blackmail him if the truth surfaces. He tries to act wild and smart but Nino just loves it all. Just when he thought he is busted, it is just Nino putting a bandage on his bruised forehead. Hearing strange ghostly voices has Futaro running off. She is disappointed with this lack of manliness but when she almost falls off a cliff, he saves her. Since she is still reeling from that fear, he gives her some band as charm (from Raiha). She hopes he would be here tomorrow for the campfire dance. You know what all those legend says about those dances, right? The ghostly voice turns out to be lost Itsuki. She is glad to have found Nino. When Nino wants to introduce Kintaro, he is gone. Not a ghost. Because she’s still holding his charm. Meanwhile Miku asks Ichika about Futaro. How does she feel about him. They try to give each other their dance spot to him. Back at the inn, Futaro thinks he has incurred the wrath of all the quintuplets. Perhaps he asked the wrong question at the wrong time. Fearing they would hate him, he tries to be nice but it’s just so unnaturally creepy. While helping out Ichika to move the logs for campfire, he seeks he advice. Just be nice and natural. Futaro has thoughts about choosing to dance with either Ichika or Nino. So he asks if Ichika would like to call their dance off. Not the answer she is looking for. Oh dear. She’s crying. They have to hide when other students come by to lock the place up. Cliché moment of being stuck together for the night.

Episode 11
Futaro has Ichika stand on his back so they could activate some alarm. Too bad they’re still too short. And she’s too heavy… Oh, Futaro! At the same time, Itsuki and Miku realize Futaro and Ichika are nowhere to be found. Suspicious… Futaro tries to make a fire and won’t be distracted by Ichika’s talk. Until she says she is planning to quit school. With her acting roles piling up and that she isn’t quite fond of high school either, she thinks Miku would be better off without her. Though Futaro is sad because that means 20% loss in income (?!), he believes she should pursue her dream because it will be good if it works out. With the fire successful, Ichika thought they could have their own mini campfire dance. Until she realizes that he knows about the legend because Yotsuba knows about it and so does Miku. Ichika panics upon knowing what Miku meant now by leaving Futaro to her. In her clumsiness, a log threatens to fall on her. Luckily he saves her. Weird tango pose… The log also caused the alarm and the sprinkler to go off. All wet and miserable. Even more so when Itsuki and Miku open the door. Whatcha doing?! The duo get a real scolding from the teacher and it is going to be hard to explain things to Itsuki and Miku since they don’t believe what happened. No rest on the final day of the trip. Yotsuba wants to teach Futaro how to ski. With Miku around, he thinks it is a good chance to explain to her. However Futaro as an amateur in skiing can’t stop and crashes. His bandage falls off and Nino thinks he is Kintaro. He runs away to avoid getting caught but she gives chase. More bad luck as he stumbles into Yotsuba adamant trying to teach him. Luckily for a well-placed igloo for him to hide. Yeah, why is Miku hiding here too? They talk about Yotsuba’s athletic abilities as Futaro points out that the quintuplets started out having the same abilities. Along the way, Yotsuba became athletic and he doesn’t want to disregard that effort. Being equal is okay but he prefers it to be fair. So there’s a difference? This gives Miku some inspiration as she makes up her mind. She calls Ichika. We need to talk.

Episode 12
So Miku is suggesting that to be fair, they take each his hand? Yeah, good thing Futaro has only 2 hands, right? However all of them soon gather as Itsuki is missing. As they contemplate where she has gone and what to do, Futaro suddenly realizes something. He will search for her but takes Ichika with him. On the snow elevator, he knows this Ichika is actually Itsuki in disguise. OMFG! The sisters couldn’t tell her apart but Futaro did???!!! The trick was the way she addressed him. Thank goodness the sisters all addressed him differently, eh? So once this mystery is resolved, Futaro collapses on her. He is brought to rest in the infirmary and the sisters feel guilty for making this trip a miserable one for him. The teacher makes the room off limits for everyone for him to rest. During the campfire, Miku and Ichika talk again. About Futaro, about their feelings. Miku realizes that seeing all of them get along well with Futaro, she thought it wouldn’t be fair for her to be special. So she’s done being fair and wants him all to herself. Yup, your official confession from Miku that she loves Futaro. It would be more meaningful had she said it to him instead of Ichika. Yotsuba and Itsuki find Futaro’s memo that lists down all the fun things they were going to do together. So the entire trip isn’t ruined. Itsuki manages to sneak into the room while the teacher is asleep and hide until the teacher gone out! When she turn on the lights, it seems her other sisters also had the same idea! All of them decide to accompany Futaro so that he won’t be alone when the final ‘ritual’ of the campfire takes place. Fast forward to the future, it is Futaro’s wedding day! But Raiha is dismayed because he forgot to bring the wedding ring! Like father, like son. And daddy doesn’t even want Raiha to get married so as not to leave him alone! WTF?! Raiha brings the ring to Futaro’s room in the chapel. This dude is sleeping? Must be tired from all the planning, huh? As Futaro waits for the bride, he fuzzily remembers on the last night of the camp. The quintuplets were holding a finger each. However he had to chase them out come morning because they were so noisy. And when they get back, the sisters are more receptive to studying but might regret a little since Futaro is going to get tough on them. The finals are coming up.

Five Of A Kind: Cute-Win-Tuplets!
And they still leave us hanging! From the opening episode we were treated to see Futaro getting married to one of them. Although we get to see the bride’s face, there is no telling which one for sure because all of them basically look the same. I thought they would at least say who and put an end to the speculation but I guess this means this leaves room for a possible sequel (just to play out the romance part of the quintuplets fighting for his love) until we really get a confirmation on who his bride is. But at least Futaro marrying one of the quintuplets has at least proved that he has earned enough money to stage this lavish wedding! Good for him. I believe he didn’t borrow all this on the quintuplets’ father’s wealth and is all his own efforts. His family still somewhat poor, though…

Basically the entire premise is predictable. The main characters do not get along very well at the start but slowly with lots of persistence, perseverance and stubbornness, you can see that they eventually open up to him. Thanks to the first episode spoilers of telling us that he ends up marrying one of them, it is no surprise to guess that he would at least get along very well with one of them. Characters do not get along well at the start and are only brought together based on circumstances are the perfect ingredients for a budding romance story. You know that all of them will at least have some sort of feelings of varying degrees for Futaro but only the question of when and how.

Due to their initial awkwardness of their relationship, hence we can drag out the romance of the quintuplets trying not to be so obvious that they have fallen for him. You know, they didn’t really like him or his lessons at the start but then they find out he isn’t really such a bad guy and has got lots of merits to boot, now how do I tell this guy that I love him without making it so obvious and ruining my reputation and embarrassing myself? Yup. That’s the big strategy employed here to tell this story. Not a bad thing since it is funny in its own ways. Though, some I feel there are missing pieces to the story like Futaro meeting one of them being young. That felt like a red herring but could also be a great plot device of fate reuniting them together. But then again, troll you again because they aren’t just quintuplets but sextuplets! Long lost twin!!! Haha! Whoops… Gone too far. Besides, is it also considered a harem if all the girls in love with you are also sisters?

My own personal fun was to eventually guess which girl Futaro will end up marrying. Considering all the vague hints to troll and possibly lead you astray, my most likely bet was Itsuki since she had this feeling of being the likeliest. It could be Miku or Nino from that vague hair colour or hairstyle but then again, it could be Yotsuba as she could dye her hair later. Miku looks promising due to her having being the first to recognize her feelings for him or at least officially say those 3 magic words even if it’s not to his face. With Ichika being pushed to the fore in the final episodes, maybe she could snatch him too. So yeah. Everybody is possible. I would go for the harem route but that doesn’t sound likely. Please don’t tell me it’s Raiha! I know he loves his precious little sister but I don’t think it is to a point that he wants to marry her!

Oh Futaro, forget having to choose one of them. Choose all of them! It all comes in one big package, right? So you marry one of them is as good as marrying the other so might as well take on all of them at once. Saves the problem of sleeping with the wrong quintuplet… In view of this, I hope Futaro married to correct one… It would be the biggest prank of the century if suddenly they pull off a Candid Camera moment. That’s really messed up.

I’m sure you can tell that the characters will eventually change over time and their goals slightly modified. Like Futaro he was initially doing it for the money (and he still is) but instead of being a lifeless teacher-student relationship, he goes to great lengths to be on their good side. Because eventually he still needs the money. Yeah. At the end of the day it all boils down to money. But still, you can see that he cares for the sisters in his own way rather than being just a smart ass arrogant dick. But still, it’s the money at the end of the day. Okay, okay. So all in all, it is both money and his human side that makes Futaro care for the quintuplets. I mean, he has a little sister so he should at least know how to treat a girl. Or 5 girls in this case. He might not have normal friends but not many can say they had rich hot quintuplets as friends.

The quintuplets trying to be very considerate for each other, that sounds very sisterly. After all, who knows themselves better but themselves. Hence it gets a little more complicated when it comes to the matters of the heart. Ichika trying to play the big sister to pass Futaro to Miku since Miku is the first one among the sisters (and hence the longest) to have shown some sort of passable romantic interest in Futaro. Miku is like, yeah I’m too shy to go about this so perhaps big sister Ichika should better deserve Futaro. Nino obviously dislikes Futaro but since she is in search of the elusive Kintaro, I suppose it counts since it is the other side of him. Nino being the b*tch because it will be too easy if everybody ends up obviously liking Futaro. Somebody needs to play the b*tch character. Itsuki is like she doesn’t care but deep down she wants to. Stop citing Raiha as an excuse for whatever. Yotsuba has always been such a happy go lucky athletic girl that she might be passed off as a retard. Therefore all the sisters are like playing the greatest pretender game. So the first one to move first wins? Too bad Futaro can’t clone himself so when it comes to the game of love, sister or not, every girl for herself to snag his heart. I think that’s the fairest they can get. Because everyone one being too considerate and giving way will end up everyone getting nothing. Better that somebody ends up with somebody in the end rather than nobody, right? Can we all say they learnt about love through experience rather than studying and in books? I bet they pass this one with flying colours.

Because now that they have a guy whom they are interested in, at least they can put in the effort and stop being ‘stupid’. At least academically. Maybe the way to Futaro’s heart is through his brain? Oh yeah. Where have I heard of smart guy likes dumb girl? Right. Itazura Na Kiss… So either the girls level up and be smart to love him or he dumbs down to love them… I hope it is the former. I guess that’s the downside of being filthy rich. You think money can solve everything. Maybe. Still can’t solve this love polygon… With the quintuplets being so different like night and day so that we could easily profile and tell them apart, it feels like they initially split from one single core into 5 different people. All of them excel in different areas and it feels more like a joke than coincidence to even get this sort of probability. It makes me wonder if they combine together like those sentai shows, will they transform into one big Nakano person. Herald, Reiko! Number zero, if you didn’t get the joke…

Art and animation are your current conventional anime style. The quintuplets are differentiated visually by their hairstyle, hair colour and hair accessories (if any) so you won’t get confused to who is who. If they still want to disguise each other and confuse us, I’m sure they could. That’s why never downplay and laugh at the importance of the wild variations of anime hairstyle and colour! The visual differences among the sisters also serve as a reminder of how far the quintuplets have grown individually. Because you see how they all look like indistinguishable clones when they were young and when they started growing up, each started to have their own personality. That is why it rings true when Futaro says he prefers fairness of equality. We don’t need 5 sisters who have the same personality and looks, right? Might as well give us 100 sisters then! I don’t know, Futaro looks a bit dorky to me. If he wore glasses, he would’ve been even dorkier. And Raiha has got this killer cowlick that makes you feel like you wanna grab ‘em. Really. This series is done by Tezuka Productions who did Sakamichi No Apollon and Dagashi Kashi S2.

For the voice acting department, no complaints since they play their part to fit their characters well. I recognized a few popular seiyuus lending their talents. They include Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Futaro, Kana Hanazawa as Ichika, Ayana Taketatsu as Nino and Ayane Sakura as Yotsuba. The other casts are Miku Itou as Miku (Nono in Busou Shoujo Machiavellism), Inori Minase as Itsuki (Hestia in DanMachi) and Natsumi Takamori as Raiha (Yuzu in Sunohara-sou No Kanrinin-san). The opening theme, Gotoubun No Kimochi by the quintuplets is your typical generic anime pop. I prefer the ending theme, Sign by Aya Uchida since it has this very catchy hip hop tune to it. The rap-like whispering makes it sound both cute and catchy.

Overall, this is a cute and funny romantic series. Still enjoyable if you can put aside the romantic comedy clichés like mischievous and stubborn girls hate smart boy but only to fall for him. Something that no matter how smart you are how much money you have in the world, love is something you can only get via experience. Because knowledge fills your brain and money fills your wallet but love fills your heart! Woah! Cheesy! But I think I should put that saying in the opening credits animation where there are different flash cards of idioms that Futaro use to study. On a trivial note, did they pick quintuplets because five closely rhymes with wife…? And so is strife…

Gyakuten Saiban S2

June 15, 2019

Matta!!! Wait a minute!!! You mean after that cheesy and mediocre first season, nobody said “Igi ari!!!” for another season?! Nobody objected to it?! Maybe somebody did but objection was overruled. I guess not because Gyakuten Saiban S2 went on air in late 2018. I suppose the game that this series is based on is still popular as this second season adapts the third chapter of the game. Oh well. Time to find more contradictions and truths. And how cheesy and mediocre they go about it. Can’t argue with that. It’s the court of law we’re talking about.

Episode 1
Naruhodo is about to review his case for his trial when he is knocked out. When he wakes up, officer Mako Suzuki pins her hope on him to set her free. However, Naruhodo has lost his memories! In the courtroom, Mako is accused of killing a fellow officer who is also her boyfriend at the park. Yeah, the case must be coming as a shock to Naruhodo as he learns everything on the spot! Not bad for a guy who just had amnesia. With Itonokogiri giving his witness testimony, Naruhodo is guided by his instincts to cross-examine. Even if his brain doesn’t remember, his body does. So he notices the discrepancy in the evidence like how her boyfriend spelt out her name wrongly and using his right hand when he is a left hander. This would have set her free if not for the prosecution calling another witness, Moroheiya Takamasa. Hmm… Isn’t this guy the one who knocked out Naruhodo? He claims to have witnessed Mako killing her boyfriend. However it soon proves his sight is in doubt as he can’t see well without his glasses. Earlier on, he lost his handphone but Mako was the one who picked it up and agreed to wait and give him back so he must have misheard her name. Even if Takamasa’s glasses were found on site, what motive did he have to kill her boyfriend? Before Takamasa walks free, here comes Mayoi with evidence. A name list of conmen that Naruhodo told her to put together. Yeah, he can’t remember all that. Because Takamasa’s handphone contains info of other fellow conmen, when he saw Mako, he thought she called the cops (her boyfriend was still in uniform) and panicked. Takamasa claims his handphone is still with him and it is just coincidence it looks like the same model as Naruhodo’s. Just then, Naruhodo conveniently gets his memories back and remembers him knocking him out to take back his handphone. So he has Mayoi call his number and the handphone in Takamasa’s hand rings. With that Takamasa is found guilty and arrested while Mako is declared innocent. You know, Takamasa must be so dumb. He killed a cop but couldn’t do the same to a lawyer and at least give him some time to run and avoid this mess? Yeah, his own carelessness that’s what got his ass caught. Not Naruhodo’s skill. Oh Naruhodo, you’re the one who has all the luck, not Mako who claims herself as the goddess of luck.

Episode 2
A phantom thief named Kamen Mask has been stealing rare artefacts. One of them being the urn from Kurain Village which is being exhibit at a local exhibition. You bet Mayoi and Harumi want Naruhodo to turn detective and get this important urn back. At the exhibition, Kirio is working to manage the place. She reveals she did receive a calling card 10 days ago that a priceless exhibit will be stolen. She never thought it would be the urn because the appraiser appraised it at zero value! Then comes in the supposedly world famous ace detective, Aiga Hoshiidake whom Kirio also hired. He rants about being Kamen’s arch rival and even confronted him last night when he was here to steal the urn but let him get away to lure him into a false sense of victory. A call just come in. Kamen has turned himself in?! This guy, Yuusaku Amasugi is pathetic, weak and lame?! And what’s this? He claims he lost the urn?! WTF?! Plus, he has a wife, Mareka?! She claims her husband is a big fan of Kamen. Because of his timid nature, he looks up to such ‘heroes’. She knows he is being framed and hopes Naruhodo can defend him. This doesn’t sit well with the sisters as they claim they are the victims. They think Mareka is lying but Naruhodo believes she might not. So they go their separate ways to investigate. The sisters try to believe in Mareka and head to her house to investigate. Meanwhile Naruhodo visits Aiga’s office but he isn’t in. So why let himself in and despite knowing it is against the law to go through his belongings, he is going to do that???!!! But Aiga returns. Knowing Naruhodo will defend Yuusaku, he tells him he will also be taking the witness stand and put an end to Naruhodo whom he thinks is Kamen’s accomplice. Because you see, the prosecutor is a prosecutor whom Mitsurugi acknowledged as the best in the country, Godot.

Episode 3
Is Godot being disrespectful drinking coffee and even questioning the judge? Yeah, he claims he hasn’t lost a trial but this is his first trial! Technicalities. The trial begins with Yuusaku taking the stand and he wants to be proclaimed guilty! However Naruhodo is here to proof he isn’t Kamen. That is where Mayoi comes in to bring Yahari as a witness. He is working as a security guard and can proof that Yuusaku was also an ex-worker of the security firm, KB Security. Based from the access card, Yuusaku went to his previous employer’s building the night the urn was stolen due to a blackmail letter Mayoi found at his place. With the KB Security being 30 minutes away from his home, hence Yuusaku cannot be at the exhibit at that time. Even with Godot admitting that, now Naruhodo thinks the only person who can steal it is Aiga. He is called in as a witness as Naruhodo accuses him of being Kamen. Wait a minute. He did that without any evidence?! And he admits it too?! Thank goodness for Mareka bringing in the urn supposedly from Aiga’s office. However can she prove it was from there? Naruhodo believes he can. His own fingerprints are on it. Because Kirio cleaned the urn to make it look valuable, Naruhodo might not have looked inside the bag that contained the urn but he did touch it. Before the judge could ask the bailiff to dust for fingerprints, Aiga starts laughing like a madman. He also admits he is Kamen and doing this to find a worthy rival. I guess you can’t rival that sort of genius by creating one yourself. With Yuusaku declared innocent, however real sh*t is just about to begin. Because Godot comes in and claims the CEO of KB Security, Kurobei Busujima is murdered at the same time Yuusaku went there. Yuusaku is detained again on grounds of murder. Everyone is left in shock as Naruhodo could sense some sort of calm and deep hatred from Godot.

Episode 4
Although the urn is back, Mayoi noticed the writing on it has returned to its original position. Harumi will take it back to Kurain Village to ask her aunt. Then Kirio comes in to confess that she was the one who broke the urn. She tripped on some paint and tried to put it back afterwards. She moved a statue to cover the paint but on the day Naruhodo came to investigate, the statue was moved. The only person who could move it was Aiga but why did he did it? They head down to KB Security to investigate. Itonokogiri points out Busujima’s body was found in the safe. There is also a button on it that would send an emergency buzzer to the security room but that night no buzzer was heard. Apparently Busujima dabbled in some shady job of selling info too, probably why some want him dead. Heading to the security room that Yahari was supposed to be on duty, on that night he snuck out to go hit some chicks. Checking the log again, there was indeed a buzzer that went off on the night of the murder. Yahari is so getting fired… Next they visit Yuusaku to get his statement. He claims after getting the blackmail letter, he went there. I am surprised an ex-employee still has the access card. But upon entering the room, someone knocked him out and the next thing he knows, Busujima’s body is lying there. He hid it due to his panic and turned himself in hoping the theft incident would be his alibi. Yuusaku admits that all other Kamen incidents were his doing. However after his first job, somebody must have spotted him and continued to send him blackmail letters. Those letters also tell him his next raid and you could say the heists are all planned. After he deposits the heist, he waits for the money to be delivered. Yuusaku did all this for the money as Mareka loves to spend. With that kind of wage he earns, stealing is the better option. He once told her he is Kamen but she didn’t believe him. But definitely he didn’t kill Busujima. Next they talk to Mareka. They learn she fell in love with Yuusaku at first sight. She was working at the bank when a robbery happened. Weak Yuusaku who was a security guard somewhat (pathetically) saved her. With Harumi returning, Naruhodo seems to have pieced the puzzle together. But tomorrow’s trial is a battle of speed as Aiga is facing his own trial next door. He must drag Aiga here before his verdict is handed down.

Episode 5
Godot explains Yuusaku’s motives. In order to get money for his wife, he stole confidential data from KB Security. He was caught and fired by the CEO. Hence he murdered him. Yuusaku maintains he was knocked out upon entering the room. Everyone hears for the first time he was in Kamen’s disguise during that night. How could he forget such important detail? Naruhodo argues that only because Yuusaku/Kamen was out cold, he could not have heard the very loud buzzer. Because he would have run away instead of placing Busujima’s body in the safe. All to frame Yuusaku. Naruhodo believes the killer is Aiga. If he is accused and found guilty of theft, he cannot be charged with murder. The key is to drag him here before his verdict is passed. Aiga is summoned to this trial as Naruhodo shows the picture proof of Kamen stealing the urn that night. However this was taken a few nights before the incident. The picture shows the time but not the date. Furthermore, when Kirio moved the statue to cover the paint, Aiga panicked and moved it back so as to line up with his alibi. Even so, Naruhodo cannot prove he is at KB Security that night. Oh my. Is Aiga going to walk free and be charged with a lesser crime? I guess Naruhodo must be praying hard for a miracle. That miracle is Chihiro! Time for his ghostly mentor to motivate him to think harder. She hints Aiga said too much that proved his downfall. Because Aiga praised Yuusaku as Kamen’s biggest fan and even went to meet him on that night, Naruhodo points out that nobody knew Yuusaku was in Kamen’s outfit until today. Aiga praises this brilliant deduction and as a reward, we now need to know the whole story. I don’t know why Aiga was hiding in the dumpster when Yuusaku did his first gig as Kamen because Yuusaku went to the back alley to toss away his outfit. Aiga then devised a brilliant plan to blackmail him. Part of his bigger plan for an ace detective to fight a phantom thief and captivate the world. One night he got a bit careless and stole a ring from Busujiuma. The CEO discovered it and blackmailed him. Hence Aiga decided to use Yuusaku and frame him with Busuhjima’s blackmail letter. Once Aiga is done bragging, it’s the slammers of despair for him. With Yuusaku not guilty, he might be a free man but laments he has lost everything. Don’t worry. Mareka forgives him. She finds him brave for admitting to his crimes unlike that detective who was a coward and being sneaky. All’s well, ends well. Until Harumi thought Naruhodo was trying to flirt with Mareka. Loli power knocks out a lawyer!

Episode 6
Naruhodo and Mayoi are trying to do an ad for their firm. Lame… Samurai lawyer?! WTF?! Anyway, this is a flashback episode on Mitsurugi. 3 years after his father’s death, he is now living under Karuma’s household. Mei was more of a cute loli than a sadistic b*tch. With Mitsurugi unsure of following his father’s footsteps, Karuma is contemplating of sending him to an orphanage home! I guess he doesn’t need a useless adopted son. But after watching a few of Karuma’s victories in court, Mitsurugi did find some inspiration albeit not enough to make it his life’s ambition. One day at the shopping mall, his dog simply ran off. Mitsurugi listens to his radio for some hints. It seems his dog chased another bitc-, I mean female dog. Then this fat cow woman claims this lost dog is hers. However it is growling at her. Mitsurugi doubts she is the owner but she mentions about some of its traits. With no further evidence, Mitsurugi releases it to her. Of course we could tell this sneaky b*tch just wants to claim the reward for the lost dog. But she made a mistake by humming a song from Signal Samurai. Mitsurugi questions where she heard that song. Because it was just recently played over the radio. If she claims she has no kids, how did she know it was from a children’s TV show? Because Signal Samurai ended 3 years ago! And if she is the owner, she should pay him the reward as he was the one who found it. Fatty is mad and wants to get violent but thankfully Karuma is here. Do you want to settle this in court? Think not. This event made Mitsurugi firmly want to be a prosecutor. Karuma cancels that orphanage plan and realizes when he took him in 3 years ago, it wasn’t just out of guilt. It was to see what path this would lead to. Mayoi uploads the lame video online. Yeah, Americans think Japanese lawyers are crazy! However the video has only 1 like! It is hinted Mitsurugi saw it and liked it. So this dude is in USA now?

Episode 7
Itonokogiri barges into Naruhodo’s office to claim a phony has been using his name to defend clients and lost! It’s right here in the magazine?! It happened a month ago! WTF?! Nobody verified this for so long?! Not even Naruhodo knew about it?! They go see the accused and to their surprise it is Mako! At first she is mad at him for his amateurish defending but soon realize how different the phony was. You mean she never realized it then?! Anyway she relates her story. After quitting the force, she worked as a waitress at a café. There was a table with2 customers. She saw one of them lacing a cup of coffee with poison that killed the other. She was so shocked that she fainted. However everyone testified that there was only 1 customer at that table and that the poison was found in Mako’s apron. Mako is sure there were 2 of them as she served them. Naruhodo will get her a retrial. First they visit the café in which the gay French chef, Kaoru Hondobou. His testament is the same except for the fact he forgot to mention a medication bag of the victim in the previous trial! As the retrial begins, the victim, Takao Oka is a programmer and it is believed he was hearing a radio that announced the lottery ticket’s winning numbers. Hence Mako is accused of killing him to steal the ticket that was found in her possession. Also, Godot has examined the medication to be applied as cream and not eaten. Because the day before he got into a fight and busted his left ear. The judge doesn’t see any reason to prolong this trial but Itonokogiri won’t give up (because he’s in love) and has arranged a witness to be cross examined by Naruhodo. Shouhei Igarashi was the only other customer there and testifies the same. However Naruhodo believes he is an unreliable witness because he claims Oka used his left ear to listen to his earphone and left hand to drink from the cup (evidence shows he used his right thanks to the coffee lip stains). Even more so when he couldn’t describe Mako from the front and only from her back, which is very ambiguous. He also can’t identify the ketchup stained apron Mako was wearing that day. The judge postpones his verdict for both sides to find more evidence. As they leave, Naruhodo notices a messed up scooter. Then this hooligan threatens him not to touch it and takes off with it. So this guy is the phony Naruhodo?!

Episode 8
Checking the café again, in the kitchen there seems to be bottles of aromatherapy. But one of them stinks so Itonokogiri will take it back for testing. Naruhodo hears Hondobou talking to Urami Shikabane outside. From what is deduced, it looks like she is from a loan shark company and he borrowed money from her. Then at the park, they see Igarashi sitting around. Since he was pretty annoyed at the retrial, time for Chihiro to pop up and make this pervert talk again. He maintains what he said and also when the murder happened, Hondobou told him to call the cops. So he left the café and looked around for a phone for about 10 minutes. He also knows Hondobou has borrowed money from a loan shark. Naruhodo and Mayoi head there and are greeted by Urami. As they wait, they rummage through the stuffs. No warrants whatsoever. They find a CD and an invoice by the Shikabane Group worth 1.5 million Yen. Also there is this suit that looks like Naruhodo and it is confirmed this phony is the one, Toranosuke Shibakuzou. He is quite the ruffian but is very lovey-dovey with Urami who claims he saved her from a car accident and she owed his life to him. They are forced to leave. Returning to Itonokogiri, he reveals Urami is the only granddaughter of Gonta, the head of Shikabane Group who controls the black market in Japan. Also, Oka had also taken loan under them and as a programmer if he can’t pay back that loan, he would have used his skills as repayment. The CD contained a virus. Going back to Mako, now she reveals there was another customer other than Igarashi: Urami. They go ask her stuffs and even though she claimed Shibakuzou paid her operation in full out of love, Naruhodo can tell he was only doing it because he cannot defy Gonta. His messed up scooter proves he was the one who banged into the car and the expensive invoice, most of it was ‘compensation’. Urami sadly admits she knew it all but wanted to believe it was truly love. Because a person’s life is hanging on this case, she gives Naruhodo a medical papers. As they leave, Shibakuzou returns. He wants to pick a fight with them when conveniently Itonokogiri tackles him. He will handle this ruffian and wants Naruhodo to go save Mako.

Episode 9
Itonokogiri returns with the lab results. The bottle is the ear cream medicine but has unknown fingerprints on it. Trial resumes with Hondobou being called to the stands. As he testifies, Naruhodo calls his bluff. Because of the lottery radio programme Oka was listening it couldn’t possibly ended so soon. Because Igarashi wouldn’t have witnessed the crime then as he was not in the café yet. Naruhodo claims that Mako and Igarashi’s contradicting statements are both true because they both witnessed different events. This means Igarashi witnessed a re-enacted scene. Hondobou admits he helped hide the body but did not kill Oka. However he will not name his employer or he will be finished. Naruhodo believes it is Shibakuzou since Hondobou took out a loan with his company. Shibakuzou is called to the stands and is shown the medical papers. Behind it is written his appointment time with Oka. After Oka was killed, Mako fainted. Oka’s real body was hidden as Shibakuzou pretended to be Oka while Urami pretended to be Mako just to re-enact the scene to Igarashi before putting everything back in order. All this elaborated setup just to frame Mako. Godot argues if Oka had won the lottery, there is no reason for Shibakuzou to kill him as his winnings is more than enough to cover his loan. But Naruhodo points out that it isn’t the money Shibakuzou is after but the virus programme. You see, he also owes Urami’s medical bills that amounts to millions. If Oka won, this means his debts are cleared but this will leave Shibakuzou in a lurch. Had Oka lost, he would have given his virus CD as collateral and this is worth millions! Thus he poisoned Oka and stole his CD. To cover this, he pretended to be a lawyer to frame Mako. But even if Itonokogiri returns with fingerprint evidence it belongs to Shibakuzou, it doesn’t prove his anything because they are supposed to meet and hence the fingerprints are given. But when Naruhodo tries to explain the poison bottle containing his fingerprints, Shibakuzou foolishly denies the one in hand and describes the bottle. How does he know what bottle the poison was in? Even if he claims he saw it in the last trial, this forces him to admit he pretended to be Naruhodo. This stupidity brings an end to the trial and Mako is declared a free woman. Shibakuzou is taken away. He wonders why Urami betrayed him. As a Shikabane, they always get their payback.

Episode 10
I guess they wanted to make a spoof of the Murder On The Orient Express. Naruhodo, Mayoi, Itonokogiri and the judge are invited to ride Silver Star. It is a luxury private train made by Avery Richman from Goldstruck Republic, the typical foreigner who loves Japan that he bought up their railways and made his dream come true. Naruhodo and Mayoi are served by Rick Steam as he explains all the workers on this train are from Richman’s country. The train departs. Mayoi and Itonokogiri are on the same childish level to play some bomb squad game with their toy communicator. Is this allowed? Oh well, dinner time. A blizzard builds up and the train suddenly stops in its tracks. Itonokogiri sees a fireball and is shocked to think it is some human soul. The train starts moving again and it seems they have picked up Richman himself. All the employees now brandish machine guns to take away any communication devices from the passengers. Some are confined to their rooms and those in the dining hall have the ‘honour’ to meet Richman himself as he explains things. You see, he was convicted for murder in an American trial a year ago and is sentenced to death. Gee, how did they go ahead with this Silver Star thingy then without knowing this?! Anyway, Richman conveniently just naturalized as a Japanese and was hence being transported but managed to escape with the help of his people. What he wants is a retrial as all the evidence against him during that trial were false. You mean right here on this train instead of a proper court? Yeah, this train even has a court room! That is why he invited all those related to his case for this ride. He heard of Naruhodo’s heroics and he will be his defence attorney. The prosecutor is Yusaburou Saiga, an American prosecutor. This retrial will be broadcasted to a certain place and in the event if Richman is still found guilty, he will accept the verdict. Mayoi excuses herself to the toilet to contact Itonokogiri who is being grounded in his compartment. After learning everything, he tries to get to the courtroom but a clumsy employee shoots and a stray bullet grazes his arm. When he tries to get to the dining coach, it is missing.

Episode 11
Saiga fills in the details of the trial. Yendol Kanesky was the secretary general of America’s trade federation and was killed on stage while giving his speech at the yearend ceremony. It is believed Richman shot him since Kanesky saw Goldstruck Republic as a threat to America’s economy and wanted to kick him out. When police restrained him, they found the pistol with him. Richman insists he did not have a gun then and although the murder weapon was registered to his name, he claims someone had stolen it. Other witnesses mention a waiter with bandages on his right hand dropping an ashtray before the gunshot was heard. Before that, he also spilled champagne on an old lady in wheelchair. Suspiciously, he followed Richman to get the cloth to clean. That waiter is Gale Gaelic and before they could call him to the stand, a fire breaks out in one of the rooms. After putting it out, to their shock, Gale’s dead body lying there! Meanwhile Itonokogiri is being treated by Regina Locomoti who apologizes for accidentally shooting him (Richman gave specific orders not to harm anyone). He needs her help to contact to the outside world and gives his word he will not tip off the Japanese police who are looking for Richman. Hence he sends a message to Mitsurugi. Saiga insists in preserving the crime scene but lets Richman in since he needs to identify the witness. Upon opening the door, the body is gone! Is the retrial going to be postponed? Naruhodo and Saiga talk. Saiga might be a prosecutor but he prepares cases for indictment and doesn’t stand in court. Learning that Mitsurugi is Naruhodo’s rival, this brings back memories how Mitsurugi was the only one who could defeat him during his law college days. Because of that he ran away to America?! He only came back for a vacation but got this invitation. Mitsurugi is researching the records of Richman’s initial trial when suddenly agents tell him to come with them to see the chief prosecutor. Mitsurugi can see that there are malpractices of Richman’s trial including strange cross examinations and unnatural evidences. So if they claim America’s justice system is perfect, why summon him here when he is just looking up the records? Actually it is to show the live broadcast of the retrial. Meanwhile as Itonokogiri waits for Mitsurugi’s reply, he hears a thud outside. It is Gale’s body!

Episode 12
Itonokogiri connects to the trial room and shows Gale’s corpse. Teleportation? When he mentions about that fireball soul, Naruhodo and Mayoi remember seeing something like that. When the train went dark, it was to celebrate granny’s birthday. However one of the candles fell and burnt the cloth but was luckily put out. That was probably the fireball. Itonokogiri could only see it because they were at a path where there were several tracks. It was at that moment the coaches changed positions and hence the dining coach is not missing but went to the back. Saiga calls all this pointless but Naruhodo points out he is able to pinpoint Gale’s murderer. It is Saiga. The one they saw in the room is fake and somebody was just pretending to be Gale. When the fire broke out, Saiga went to inspect it first. When they re-examined it later and the corpse gone, the perpetrator was hiding behind the door while everyone was in shock before sneaking. The only person who appeared after that was Rick. With Naruhodo calling out Rick, he apologizes for this betrayal and admitted he was cooperating with the American law enforcement. He was asked to buy a gun with Richman’s fingerprints on it. The killer who shot Kanesky was indeed Gale and he did near Richman to frame him. Even the cops were in on it as they planted evidence in Richman when frisking him. Rick was once again put up to do this as he was threatened by Saiga or else he will expose his betrayal. Although Naruhodo believes Saiga killed Gale during dinner time when nobody was at the passenger coach, what evidence does he have to show Saiga’s motive for killing him?

This is where Mitsurugi comes in. He shows the report that Saiga’s name in charge of building this case. Gale was a key witnessed but during the American trial, he was cancelled by Saiga as an unimportant witness. This is to hide the proof that he was at the centre of the conspiracy. Even America’s chief prosecutor is disappointed at Saiga for dragging their good name through the mud. Even if Saiga says he did as the top brass ordered him to, that is precisely the reason why he will be severely punished. You see, Gale was an assassin hired by the federation. Hence there is no justice in this but only blood money. Cornered, Saiga is forced to tell the truth. When he was invited for this ride, he didn’t expect to see Gale too. They talked and it seems Gale had this idea of turning this into some blackmail stint. However Saiga didn’t want to himself to be exposed and quickly hatched a plan to kill Gale in another coach and hid his body. Gee, this assassin must be pretty rusty to be killed by a lawyer. Because Saiga didn’t foresee this retrial and others would be suspicious of Gale’s disappearance, that was why he wanted some time to prepare and that was to blackmail Rick into partaking in this plan of his to pretend to be the fake corpse. Now that Saiga is apprehended and Richman is pronounced innocent, it’s not over yet because Richman has put bombs on this coach! He has everyone evacuate but will go die himself in this explosion. This is why he rearranged the dining coach to be the last. He is resolved to do this no matter what the verdict was. Although this retrial proves his innocence, he thinks it will change nothing. However the chief prosecutor apologizes for the mistake and vows to give him a fair retrial. Oh my. Another retrial? At least this one is official. And with that, Richman realizes he needs to live and evacuates with the rest. With Itonokogiri is now a train driver and speeds up before the dining coach explodes! I guess we have had enough twists and drama for today.

Episode 13
This 1 hour special tells how Naruhodo became a lawyer. Yeah, he was accused of murder when he was a university student. Kikuzou Nonda warned Naruhodo about the girl he is dating, Chinami Miyanagi. Yeah, she’s Kikuzou’s ex. An argument broke out and Kikuzou ended up dead. Chihiro was tasked to defend Naruhodo and ironically she’s pretty nervous while Naruhodo being quite the chirpy lad. Amazingly, Chihiro devastatingly lost a case a year ago and never set foot in court until today. Man, she sure took a long time to recover. Naruhodo is accused of killing Kikuzou by way of shoving since the latter was holding his cough medicine (Naruhodo is currently sick). But can a fall kill a man? Turns out actually he was killed via electrocution by a nearby broken cable and this is supported by the university lab losing power at that time. Since this doesn’t prove Naruhodo’s intent to kill, the prosecutor then calls Chinami who witnessed the event. I guess she’s so cute that any guys would not hesitate to believe her. Anyway Chihiro finds flaws in her testimony. Because she said everything happened so fast, there is a discrepancy in the time of Kikuzou’s death (since amazingly his watch stopped at the same time). Hence there is a 10 minute gap from the electrocution and time of the stopped watch. Chihiro further accuses Chinami of wanting to frame Naruhodo. Apparently this isn’t their first meeting and Chihiro met her before. Plus, half a year ago, Chinami was in a trial that accused her of poisoning a lawyer. However she was set free as the supposedly poison was not found anywhere. But dumb Naruhodo interjects. He remembers that trial was the day they first met and he fell in love with her. She even gave him a weird pendant. Yeah, this guy wouldn’t shut up about his love and that’s where Chihiro has got Chinami cornered. Chinami poisoned the lawyer and then gave the poison in the form of a pendant to Naruhodo. Because as one who is not related to the case, he was not searched at all. Dumb Naruhodo objects to it all as he can’t believe his love cannot do all this. Especially obtaining very specially made poison. Oh yes she can. Her ex was a pharmacology student and hence had access to all sorts of poison. Dummy lover boy can’t believe it that he runs away!!!! WTF?! Can he do that in court?! Of course the bailiffs brought him back.

Chihiro wants the pendant handed over to be analysed. Guess what? Lover boy swallowed it!!! WTF?! WHAT THE FFFFUUUUU???!!! However, Chinami is b*tch laughing because since he is still alive, this proves it isn’t poison. So did the poison lose its potency after 6 months? Chihiro now desperately telling Naruhodo to tell the truth. So I guess no more evidence so taking his word as the truth? Naruhodo feels bad for acting this way when Chihiro has gone out of her way to defend him. Hence he is going to tell the truth, something he has not told the courts. I see only now his conscious prevails over his boner. When Kikuzou told him to stay away from Chinami, he warned him about some poison she stole. And last night he found some poison stolen too. Naruhodo didn’t believe this and shoved him. He ran away soon after but got worried and returned. He saw Chinami by his body and she told him to keep this a secret. With this, Chihiro puts together the pieces. Because Naruhodo did not want to give her the pendant back, she planned to poison and kill him. It’s the reason why she dated him. To get close to him and poison him. Chinami in b*tch mode now admits she is the killer but without evidence, she cannot be thrown into the slammer. That is when Chihiro shows the definitive evidence of the cough medicine bottle. This is where the poison is. Chinami’s testimony as witness for the 2 guys was a lie. She was the one who cut the cable. It took her some time to move the body and this explains the time discrepancy. She was about to put in the bottle that she stole earlier from Naruhodo but that dummy came back. No choice but to hide the evidence, she left it in Kikuzou’s hand. If she is so certain that there is no poison in here, drink it. At that moment, Chihiro is about to turn into some evil vengeful spirit???!!! But she goes back to her nice girl mode and admits her defeat. She is taken away but warns this isn’t the last she will see of her. Naruhodo is declared innocent and although sad about his love live, he has to move on and is motivated to become a lawyer to help a friend. Chihiro pays a visit to her senior lawyer in coma in hospital. She is glad she has finally avenged his poison case.

Episode 14
Oh no. Not again. This time Harumi broke a giant conch seashell that Mayoi gave her. So she pleads for Naruhodo to help her find this special seashell that seems to be available only at this certain beach and not tell Mayoi. Flashback shows that Harumi and many other women of Kurain Village are forbidden to step outside of the village. Harumi saw a photo of the sea and wanted to see the real deal. Even when Kimiko warned Mayoi not to do it, she secretly took Harumi there. Of course Kimiko found out and was reprimanded, giving Kimiko more reason to badmouth her mom and Chihiro who did the same thing and look what misfortune it brought to the village. Harumi regretted causing her trouble but Mayoi didn’t mind and gave her the seashell to remember this day. As Naruhodo and Mayoi continue to search, they stumble upon a little shrine. Oh look, it’s Mayoi taking a break from whatever ceremony. She relates how her first view of the sea was also here when Chihiro brought her here. Yes, this seashell was from Chihiro to her to commemorate that day. This only makes Harumi feel guilty. So they let the loli run off like that? As they eat ramen, Naruhodo realizes the uniqueness of the seashell is because it is actually a bowl! Hence they buy this bowl and give it to Harumi. However she prefers this old broken one since it holds lots of memories. Cue for cousins to emotional reassure their sisterly love. I wonder if they can get a refund for the bowl. More flashbacks after Chihiro gave Mayoi this seashell. Yeah, she was clumsy and dropped it. Although it was only broken in half. After that Chihiro told Mayoi that she wanted to leave the village and become a lawyer to find the truth about their mom. With a heavy heart, this means she had to throw the village head’s responsibilities to her but Mayoi accepted and will support her.

Episode 15
Going back more in time to witness Chihiro’s first trial. She’s nervous as hell as rookie and it doesn’t help her senior, Souryuu Kaminogi (definitely Godot) leaves teasing hints for her to think through. Anyway, Chihiro is to defend an escaped convict, Michiru Onamida. He is on death row for killing a girl (Chinami?) by throwing her off a bridge into the rapids 5 years ago. He claims he was framed but the policewoman who arrested him then, Yuki Miyanagi testified so. A few days ago, there was an accident transporting the convict. He escaped and wrote a note to Yuki to meet and cleared things up. However she is instead killed. The meeting place was at the same bridge where the murder took place. With Mitsurugi as the prosecutor, Chihiro has a hard time but manages to decently hold her ground. She argues Yuki who was stabbed in the back and bundled into the car wasn’t wearing a white scarf as per instructed so as Onamida could identify her. But Mitsurugi points out a damning photo of them meeting on the bridge and she is wearing a white scarf indeed. He calls the witness who took this photo. Chinami? However she goes by the name Satoko Mukui. Chihiro argues from her point of view, she wouldn’t have known Onamida put the body in the trunk. Hence she accuses her of being the murderer. Because Onamida says he drove off and had no time to put the body in the trunk, this only means that Satoko killed Yuki beforehand and planted her body in the trunk. She was also impersonating as Yuki as in the photo (the camera was on timer) as Onamida could not recognize Yuki and that’s why he wanted her to wear a white scarf as identification. If Onamida had killed her, why not just dump the body in the rapids below? So much easier. This is Satoko’s plan to frame him. Satoko uses her girly innocence to score some points. But what motive does she have to frame Onamida? Kaminogi then points out the girl he killed 5 years ago, Chinami was Yuki’s sister. However her corpse was never found and if she was alive today, she would be around Satoko’s age.

Episode 16
From what Satoko says, it sounds like as though she knows what the memo between Onamida and Yuki states. Because the memo also pinpoints Chinami’s name and to go public with the truth, Chihiro is fully certain that Satoko is Chinami. Chihiro requests Onamida to testify and tell the whole truth. 5 years ago when he kidnapped Chinami, it was actually a setup staged by the sisters. Onamida was Chinami’s tutor and was very much in love with her. As Chinami’s family had an expensive jewel, they thought of staging this kidnapping. The plan was for Yuki to make the transfer but she betrayed him. After Yuki shoots at Onamida’s arm, Chinami herself dives off the bridge with the jewel. Onamida passed out from the shock. He was then tried and sentenced to death thanks to Yuki’s lies. Onamida spent these years wanting to know why she betrayed him. That’s why he broke out to find the truth before he dies. He insists he didn’t kill her. Hence Chihiro points out that Chinami too had a motive to kill Yuki because they were going to go public with the truth. So with her silencing Yuki, it is a trap to frame Onamida and keep the jewel to herself. For the past 5 years, this guilty conscience must have weighed heavily on Yuki’s mind too. So right after Onamida called, she panicked and called Chinami. This had Chinami came out with another devilish plan that sealed Yuki’s fate. Chinami laughs it all off. He calls Onamida’s testimony a lie and that she changed her name because as a kidnapped victim once, she went into hiding. At this point, Chihiro has no evidence to prove the kidnapping was staged. Kaminogi hints to her even if there is no evidence, someone’s testimony can be used. Hence Chihiro needs Onamida to tell the whole truth. First he asks if Chinami betrayed him. Chinami says this only to him: Her life is in his hands. With that, Onamida testifies the person he met on the bridge was Yuki. As for why he came 30 minutes earlier, it was to go to a special place. He and Chinami made a promise 5 years ago and she brought a memento to represent their vow. He went there to get it. At this point, Onamida starts coughing blood. He has swallowed the poison from the memento. How the f*ck did he even bring this into court?! The promise was to trust each other till death. If not, drink the poison. Onamida fears he cannot keep the promise and might kill Chinami. Onamida’s death left a deep scar in Chihiro’s heart. It was a day nobody won nor lost. Maybe for Chinami because she gets to strike again…

Episode 17
Naruhodo accompanies Mayoi and Harumi to the mountains to Hazakura Temple where the latter duo will undergo training to boost their spiritual power. They meet the head nun, Bikini (yes, that’s her name) as well as another trainee, Elise Tenryusai. She is a fortune teller who is also a famous children’s picture book writer. Harumi is a big fan of hers so she is delighted to do stuffs with her. Elise has an apprentice, Mathis who is out painting. Naruhodo and Mayoi then check out the area. Hmm… The bridge looks like a familiar suspicious crime scene… At the inner temple, they stumble into another meek nun, Ayame. Naruhodo is puzzled that she knows him. Mayoi then notices a hanging scroll and is shocked to see her mom’s image. Wait. If she says she recognized it because of the Kurain symbol, what makes she think that’s her mom since she herself said she couldn’t recognize her? Then they meet Mathis. Yahari?! So he dislikes himself and is trying to find a new personality via painting? That night, Naruhodo bumps into Ayame again. He requests she take off her hood. OMG! Chinami???!!! It could be just coincidence since Chinami is still serving time. She gives him her hood as good luck. Naruhodo has a feeling that she definitely knows him and will ask her more tomorrow. However in the middle of the night, a scream is heard. Naruhodo rushes out only to see Elise stabbed by a sword in the back. Thankfully Bikini isn’t another corpse. Just passed out from the shock. She tells him to call the cops. A landline phone near the bridge? But the bridge is on fire. He believes Mayoi is stuck across due to her training. He runs across but the wood gives way. He falls down into the river. Don’t worry, he is still alive and somehow in hospital. Just caught a cold. I don’t know why but he has been looking at Chihiro’s case of this. It seems Ayame has been arrested for murder. But surprise! Mitsurugi returns! Yahari called him and told him (and everyone) that he is dead. Naruhodo wants Mitsurugi to defend Ayame on his behalf. The prosecutor now playing the defence? Mitsurugi sees her in detention. She maintains she has never met all of them before as she has never left Hazakura. She explains she saw Bikini and Elise together after dinner. After that, Ayame didn’t leave her room until the incident happened. Mitsurugi still believes she knows Naruhodo because he acts strange whenever her name comes up in their conversation. Ayame tells the truth that she deceived him 5 years ago and is doing this nunnery as repentance. She might not want to see him again but Mitsurugi points out he is still hurting. Until she tells him the truth. She promises to tell him the truth and Mitsurugi agrees to defend her.

Episode 18
Mitsurugi visits the site and with Itonokogiri’s assistance, he learns the bridge caught on fire because lightning struck it. Elise’s body had bruises, consistent from the fall from her room. Then interviewing Bikini, her statements are in line with Naruhodo. At first she was accompanying Mayoi but because of her bad back, Ayame brought her back to the main temple to rest. When she came back out, she saw the murder incident. Next, Mitsurugi interviews Yahari. However this painter is obviously hiding something and won’t tell. So he runs away. WTF. Also, Harumi has been missing and was last seen in Elise’s room. The trial starts and Mei is the prosecutor. Because a prosecutor can’t be a defence lawyer, hence they changed the judge. WTF?! Can they easily fool him like that?! Isn’t Mitsurugi famous?! Yeah, just say it’s your imagination. WTF???!!! Bikini gives her witness testimony but is quickly overruled by Mitsurugi since it contradicts about Ayame not leaving her room after 10pm and hence never been to the inner temple. Bikini is very sure she saw Ayame because of her usual getup. Again overruled because she gave her hood to Naruhodo. With a warning to tell the truth, Bikini explains at about 11pm she saw hoodless Ayame stabbing Elise from the back. While this might sound like a guilty verdict for Ayame, Mitsurugi objects. If Ayame truly stabbed Elise with the sword, the entire sword would be covered with blood instead of just the tip. This could mean the sword wasn’t the murder weapon and despite Ayame’s fingerprints on it, doesn’t prove her as the murderer. Although Bikini believes in what she saw, she didn’t actually see the murder being committed. She already saw the sword was already in Elise. As for the real murder weapon, Mei argues that there were snowmobile tracks near the river and it could have been thrown in here. The rapid currents make it hard to retrieve. Bikini testifies that only Ayame had the keys to the snowmobile. Because Ayame will not confirm, her silence is confession. But before the judge can hand down the guilty verdict, here comes Yahari to object! He is going to save his beloved Ayame. WTF?! Can he do that?!

Episode 19
Yahari says the snowmobile wasn’t to commit murder but to inform everyone about dinner. Mitsurugi notices a 45 minute gap when the lightning struck the bridge and Yahari calling the police. So Yahari was so inspired by the bridge on fire that he was sketching it?! Yahari reluctantly shows them what he was drawing. The bridge on flames and somebody flying over it?! That’s supposed to be Ayame?! That’s why she didn’t need a snowmobile?! Unbelievable! Yahari also picked up a crystal believed to be from Ayame’s hood at the foot of the bridge. It has bloodstains on it and he thinks Ayame fell and injured herself. Mitsurugi objects to his testimony. Because his drawing indicates Ayame was wearing her hood, unfortunately she gave it to Naruhodo. Also, the crystal is too big to fit on her hood and proof shows it was from Elise’s staff. Mei argues Elise didn’t leave her room that night so Mitsurugi points out the possibility that the murder didn’t take place at Hazakura. She was killed somewhere else, her body brought back to the temple to make it look she was killed there. Sure, it might take 10 minutes from the bridge to the temple but that’s what the snowmobile is for… With this deadlock, this is what Mitsurugi has been aiming for. Due to the inconclusiveness of the case, the judge has to adjourn this session and order a new investigation. With Mitsurugi’s job over, he passes over the baton to Naruhodo. Is this guy okay to do the job? Mitsurugi updates him about the case while he goes investigate Ayame. He felt he has seen her somewhere before. With the bridge fixed, Naruhodo and Itonokogiri head across. Naruhodo finds a new lock at the inner temple. And then Harumi pops up. She feels guilty for what happened and then runs away again?! WTF?! Naruhodo notices curry on the hanging scroll. If that is not bad enough, Godot returns since he will be facing him as the prosecutor. He explains the trick lock can only be open by the person who set it and that was Ayame. Godot then explains how he died once but it took a lot of effort to bring him back. Read: Hospitalization. He hints that without his mask, he cannot see. Investigating the stone lantern, there is no snow around the base and it is believed this is the murder scene. With Mayoi still missing and possibly stuck inside the inner temple that temperatures could reach below freezing levels, Godot accuses he will send another woman to her death. He accuses him of killing Chihiro. Despite the baddie was prosecuted, this will not bring Chihiro back. Godot believes Naruhodo who was there was the only one who can protect her. He hates it when he calls Chihiro his mentor but he robbed his life. That is why he will never accept Naruhodo. Oh Naruhodo, not the time to be in despair now. Then he sees Mayoi’s name on the stone lantern.

Episode 20
Itonokogiri explains because Mayoi’s name was written backwards, it could mean it was written from the victim’s point of view. Hence the police believes Mayoi is the killer. More discoveries as Naruhodo picks up Elise’s pendant and realizes the mark of Kurain on it. Also, an almost burnt note that spells out this crime in detail! Talking to Bikini, he notices her strange way of addressing Elise. Bikini reveals that Elise is actually Maiko! She came here a week ago because she was worried about the bloodline of the main family is dying and was here to stop it. Because only the main family can become the head, there are assassination plots from branch families. Like last year’s case that involved Kimiko. With this revelation, here is another one: Ayame is also Kimiko’s daughter! Not shocking enough? Ayame is the younger twin of Chinami! Damn, it feels like they’re making this up. When Kimiko’s husband realizes they cannot become the family head, he took the twins and left but decided to give one up to look after Hazakura. A short earthquake occurs. Worried Naruhodo heads to the inner temple only to see more locks! Ayame decides to try and unlock them but it will take some time. Come back tomorrow. That night, Mitsurugi returns. He is investigating Elise’s staff and what do you know? There is a hidden sword in it! It’s covered with blood! You mean he never tampered with the staff like he did now with Naruhodo? Off to the forensics. He has also researched about Ayame. However he tells Naruhodo the heart breaking news that Chinami cannot be implicated in this case. Because she was executed last month! Is Naruhodo confused or sad?

Naruhodo then returns to talk to Ayame. Because he knew he talked to her before the bell rang and that she was also seen at the inner temple, this could mean there were 2 Ayames! WTF?! He explains actually somebody channelled the spirit of Chinami by a medium. Impressed with his deduction, she knew about this but never said a thing because as a traitor who was supposed to be part of that fake kidnapping, she was afraid to be implicated and hence don’t want to get in Chinami’s way. This kidnapping was supposed to be Chinami’s revenge against her father who abandoned mom because she couldn’t be the head. Naruhodo asks one last question. Did Chinami say anything about a guy she dated after that poison case? Yes. She hates him. Oh well. The truth hurts. Let’s hope he can get over it for good. Naruhodo then sees Harumi hanging out with Yahari. He thinks she channelled Chinami. The note was written by Kimiko for her. Because her vocabulary isn’t that good, she misinterpreted a line and hence threw curry on the hanging scroll. Harumi reveals she visited Kimiko the last time and was told about this to help Mayoi. Damn, Kimiko planned all this even before being put in prison? However she claims the seal on the note was already broken. Meaning, somebody else read it first. More revelations as Harumi says after dinner, she didn’t go to Elise’s room but went to the inner temple. She was supposed to help channel Chinami’s spirit but couldn’t summon her no matter how much she tried. The only explanation is that somebody else channelled Chinami’s spirit already. Meanwhile Kimiko in prison is relishing that Harumi has done her bidding well without knowing the truth (how does she know? Did Chinami’s spirit report to her?). Once this is over, Harumi will become the next head.

Episode 21
If Ayame will be testifying today, who will be trying to unlock the locks? Mei?! Can she do it?! The trial begins with Godot pointing out Ayame would like to confess to the crime. She admits to being an accomplice of covering the crime up to cover for Mayoi. She lied about not heading to the inner temple that night. When Mayoi was getting ready for her training, Elise showed up and attacked her. She took out a small knife to stab Mayoi but Mayoi stabbed her back in self-defence. Naruhodo objects to her testimony as lies. He shows the staff that has a hidden sword. Also, Elise is Mayoi’s mother. What intention does she have to kill her daughter whom she has not seen for 17 years? Naruhodo is puzzled why Ayame is trying to frame Mayoi. However Godot also shows the small knife with blood on its tip as the murder weapon. The blood is currently being analysed. However Godot panics when he cannot see that blood writing on the stone lantern. Ayame claims she moved the body to the main temple via snowmobile. However Naruhodo points out another contradiction. The bridge was on fire. He has proof that the corpse was ‘flown’ over. Remember Yahari’s drawing? It’s a complete contradiction. Huh? Describing Yahari’s drawing of the bridge is slightly different, it is because Yahari was drawing it upside down as he was sleeping when he saw the incident. This means the ‘flying’ body was actually being swung under like a pendulum. Where to get a string that long? The wires of the suspension bridge is long enough. Furthermore, bruises on Elise’s body as well as her crystal being knocked off from the landing impact proves this. However, who is to receive the body? Ayame. Wait a minute, if she was sending the body, somebody has to be there to move it? That’s right. It’s Ayame. Remember, she was seen by Bikini at the main temple. Are you confused? Naruhodo points out there were 2 Ayames. Hence he claims the Ayame here is not Ayame but Chinami! She might be dead but this is not impossible for those in the spirit channelling trade. Also, Ayame gave her hood to him that night. But at the same night at the inner temple, she was seen wearing it. Showing the burnt note that was written by Kimiko, Naruhodo points out Ayame switched place with Chinami during that short period of earthquake before the addition of multiple locks. That is when Ayame drops the act and reveals herself to be Chinami. Remember me, boys? I’m back.

Episode 22
Chinami doesn’t even try to hide her identity. She’s dead after all. What can they do? When Chinami was in prison, it was easy to see Kimiko as she told her the plan. This entire plan was to kill Mayoi and install Harumi as the next master of Kurain. Chinami agreed to help as she too had a personal agenda against Chihiro. However she died and the only way to get her revenge was on Mayoi. Chinami tells the whole truth. She was materialized about 9.30pm, put on the hood and switched places with Bikini. Taking the dagger from the store, she cornered Mayoi at the stone lantern and tried to kill her. Strangely, she had no memories after that but knew Mayoi stabbed her because she was the one who wrote Mayoi’s name on the stone lantern to cast suspicions on her. The next time she wakes up, she is inside the inner temple’s cave. She couldn’t get out because of the lock and it took her hours. When she finally did, Ayame came by. Chinami forced everything out of her, tied her up and put multiple locks after that. At that point Chinami realized she was under the assumption that Harumi was the one who summoned her. However it then dawned to her it was Elise. How else to explain Elise’s body lying at the stone temple? Mayoi must have felt so guilty of killing her mom that she killed herself by jumping into the river. Naruhodo objects that Mayoi isn’t the person to do all this. Godot receives a call that the locks have finally been removed. They only find Ayame inside. No Mayoi. With Chinami screaming victory, Naruhodo realizes there is 1 possibility where Mayoi is. Who is channelling Chinami now? Definitely not Harumi because she is here in court watching. Therefore Chinami is possessing Mayoi’s body. Chinami is distraught because who could have told her such a plan? Nice timing for Chihiro to return! Via Harumi of course.

Although Chinami claimed she was stabbed by Mayoi, Chihiro says that Mayoi passed out before her. Hence the real killer was the one who stabbed her. Chihiro left a note for Mayoi what to do and the best way to protect herself from Chinami is of course to channel her. She had to do it fast because otherwise it would be Harumi who would have channelled Chinami and it would be very tragic if the loli killed Mayoi. Naruhodo calls Chinami a failure since all her plans ended up that way. Yeah, it happened so many times that it is not funny anymore. They used her own quote against her. Even though it is impossible to punish the dead, Chinami will forever be a weak loser and she lost that chance to redeem herself when she was executed. Chinami is mad but Naruhodo and Chihiro shoo her out of Mayoi. That was easy. The judge is about to hand his verdict to Ayame but Godot objects. Elise’s killer is still unknown. This means putting Mayoi on trial but since she is unwell, the court will take a short recess until she is ready. Naruhodo tries to get Ayame to tell her the truth. She admits she did receive orders to take the snowmobile to move Elise’s body but refuses to say the killer’s name. Naruhodo talks to Chihiro one last time before the trial resumes. They know the killer knew the plans all along and was on the side of the inner temple as the bridge was not crossable then. The rest is up to Naruhodo to think. The judge discloses the blood on the weapons. It is the staff. As for the knife, at least it is not the blood of Elise. The trial resumes and Mayoi is back on the stands. Again.

Episode 23
From what Mayoi says, Naruhodo believes she knows who the real killer is but is trying to protect him. But how can she identify him clearly when there is no light? There are some things you can identify clearly in the dark. Naruhodo has the courtroom off the lights. What do you see? Godot’s visor’s lights! He also deduces that Godot cannot see red colours on white backgrounds, that is why he cleared the snow around the stone lantern. As for his motive to kill Elise, it is rather he protected Mayoi. She is after all the younger sister of his love. Time for Godot to tell his side. He was smitten by Chihiro because of always putting in the effort. It all began going downhill when he got poisoned by Chinami. When he came out of coma, Chihiro was already dead. Hence he only had 2 reason to live. It was to see what kind of man Naruhodo is and to protect Mayoi. After Kimiko got arrested, Godot knew it wasn’t over by a long shot. He went to Kurain and eavesdrop and found that note. He could have destroyed it right away and end it there but he wanted to play along with Kimiko’s plans. That is when he contacted Ayame and Elise to cooperate. The plan would have worked well had Harumi be with Elise that night but instead she went to the inner temple. Hence Elise had no choice but to summon Chinami first. Godot hid himself there just to make sure Mayoi was safe. The rest he leaves up to Naruhodo to finish. Even with Mayoi pleading not to, is she trying to obstruct justice?! Anyway, Naruhodo points out the knife has Godot’s blood. Mayoi objects since he was trapped on the other side, how could he have changed his clothes or hide his wounds? It won’t be impossible if that would is behind that visor! Because Godot saw Chihiro in Naruhodo’s vigour, so he is admitting defeat?! Godot now admits that he doesn’t really hate Naruhodo but himself as he was the one who failed to protect Chihiro. Instead of facing the truth, he ran away and hid behind a mask. Him becoming a prosecutor perhaps wasn’t just to save Mayoi but his own broken soul. He isn’t sure of it now if it was the motivation to protect Mayoi when he stabbed Chinami with the sword and in return Chinami slashed him with her knife. Godot praises Naruhodo for never running away from Chihiro’s death. Is Godot crying blood?! Oh, must be his wounds opening up.

Before the judge hands down the verdict on Ayame, he gives her a chance to say a few last words. She apologizes to Naruhodo about her twins’ despicable act. After all, they only met twice. The first time she gave him the bottle and the second was when she killed Kikuzou. So the 6 months they’ve been dating was actually Ayame taking her place! She didn’t want Chinami’s soul to be further tainted and hence offered to do the job to get the pendant back. However she became impatient when Ayame couldn’t accomplished it. Ayame feels guilty for deceiving and hurting him but Naruhodo has always believed in her. Even now. Damn this episode trying to make us feel the feels with people crying? Mayoi, Godot and now Ayame. So the case ends with both lawyers drinking to a cup of coffee? Cheers! The judge declares Ayame not guilty. Good for Naruhodo, even Mitsurugi congratulates him. Mayoi is reunited with Harumi and Naruhodo’s confidence boosts even further with the voice of Chihiro praising how he saved everyone. Something that she couldn’t. Damn, I hope this doesn’t mean he is the next Jesus Christ! Because if so, igi ari!!!!!!!!!! And Chihiro hoping they would meet again? I hope she didn’t mean when he dies! But don’t you worry. With more court cases coming up, you bet Chihiro will materialize from time to time to deceive the judge help Naruhodo out.

Hung Jury: Verdict Not Returned
May those dead souls rest in peace. I suppose justice is served. Even if God doesn’t bring divine retribution to you, Naruhodo and the Japanese justice legal system will! Even if you’re dead! Haha! Damn, I sure love it if reality really operated in such a way. I suppose Godot won’t be facing his trial in killing Elise because you know, he killed her in self-defence. And because he cried tears of blood that suddenly turn into normal tears (is something spiritual messing with our vision?), I think this gives him a free pass to say that he isn’t guilty of whatsoever and absolve him of his crimes. Yeah, he convinced us enough not for him to think that he would be convicted. Godot sure played everyone. Damn, I sure love if the courts use emotions and feelings to decide!

I wonder why this season had such an odd number of only 23 episodes but I figure that if they split up that one hour special, they would still end up has 24 episodes just like last season. This season feels more like, uhm, how should I put it, like as though everything is related. Especially with many of the characters in many of these cases. We also get a few flashbacks on the past of our main characters and to our surprise, Naruhodo had a girlfriend? Last time I said how this world is so small that some witnesses were recalled twice in separate cases. It also feels the same here with Mako being accused of murder twice! Same detective to work on the case. Same judge. Same defence lawyer. Same verdict. Wow. Is this what you call a precedent?

Hence just like last season, it follows the familiar pattern of how the trial proceeds. You wonder why they can’t bring out the damning evidence and explain it all and instead they present whatever evidence they have now and then one thing leads to another. I know it is for entertainment purposes because everything that has been said or shown will have some sort of consequences that is evident as the next lead in the case. No red herrings. Or at least every dead end clue has a reason to it. Otherwise it’s like wasting your time with unrelated facts. Everything presented is somewhat related, I suppose. I guess it is only logical if you want to get from A to C, you have to get through B first. So once all the evidence and the circumstances are presented in a way that the guilty party has no way out, then comes the verdict. Wow. If only real life cases were this simple and easy.

And I’m starting to see the power of igi ari. Because when you nail the person giving testimony, you can see such superb special effects that blow the person away! Yeah, everyone has their own special unique reactions but I guess the more damning your counter evidence to the lies, the greater the effects will be so much so that a hurricane can blow and destroy the courtroom! And then be fixed back to normal in the next scene like as though everything never happened. Must be all imagination, huh? No wonder the lawyers are waiting for this chance to point out igi ari. Yeah, but it gets unbelievable with spirit mediums now trying to cheat the law. Are there law provisions for the dead?

Chinami feels like the biggest link and factor linking to almost everything that had happened this season and what probably led to her ultimate defeat. She feels like the ghost of the past that keeps haunting you forever. Hence she is this season’s biggest antagonist and thorn in the side of justice since the final arc is the longest trial in the series, spanning 7 episodes (most trial arcs only last the most at 4 episodes). How convenient. She had a twin to fool us and pull a fast one. But I saw it coming from a mile away when Mayoi went ‘missing’ in the last trial arc and it wasn’t really Ayame on the stands. Uh huh. If I was the lawyer, that trial would have only lasted 1 episode as I would have pointed out Mayoi was being possessed by Chinami who isn’t Ayame on trial. But then again, I would have been chided for lack of evidence for that conclusion. I suppose my guts aren’t conclusive evidence enough. I wonder if Kimiko the great mastermind has another plan up her sleeve seeing this one failed. Like as though she saw her first plan failed and quickly made this backup plan just in case. And what if Plan B also failed? Maybe she too thought of having Plan C… Yeah… Please don’t let her be executed and come back as another vengeful spirit as the ultimate move. We’ve had enough of that this season already.

But you know, it really gets a bit silly with the final trial that they bring in spiritual factors as evidence but then again, logic isn’t supposed to be the strongest evidence here. Get what I mean? Remember, in the court of law, evidence is all that counts and most important. Therefore whoever has the evidence and the better logical argument of it has a better chance in winning the case. So with such spiritual factors being hauled into the trial, not to say it is all BS, crap and illogical. At least in this world’s setting, the existence of spirit mediums and channelling are valid. All that is left is to connect the dots. Yup. Going by this logic, you can still charge a ghost with murder so long you can present your evidence and convey your points. After all, this isn’t the weirdest thing that has happened in the courts for this series.

Having said that, I still feel the courts here are somewhat of a joke. So much so that people don’t really take this seriously and the courts feel more like a place where people come in to discuss what happened. Uh huh. We see almost everybody acting so disrespectful while the court is in session that you wonder if the circus is in town. Uh huh. Witnesses (AKA clowns) who can even tell off the judge or barge into the middle of a testimony, Mei still whipping everything, Godot even drinking coffee and getting his cuppa like as though some hidden bartender slide it into his hands. All this would never fly in reality and you would be charged with contempt of court! And everything in the end looks like a spectacle, an entertainment. For us viewers, of course. But if you put yourself in the shoes of these characters, you would soon understand why the courts all look like a big farce. I guess now the judge has seen spirits possessing and leaving a body, why is he not surprised about Chihiro? Oh yeah. Spirits are eternal. Can come back temporarily via medium. Okay. Cool with that. WTF?! As long as you are assertive enough, you can really control the court. Not the judge. Yeah, you be the judge of that. You can fool him all the time if you’re convincing enough.

The biggest slap in the face was my understanding that when you are accused of both crimes and if you are found guilty with a lesser one, you cannot be charged with the other. WTF???!!! Haven’t they heard of the rule of being charged with multiple accounts and crimes?! So they’re saying that if I kill somebody but have no proof to charge me for it and instead charge me with damning evidence that I stole a little boy’s wallet, I cannot be charged for murder? Are they saying I can get away with murder?! Oh my! No wonder we see perpetrators being so confident in courts because they think they can get away with it! And they would if it’s not for that meddling Naruhodo…

Lady luck must be smiling on Naruhodo so many times because he has been freaking lucky to have won all his cases so far. And that lady luck takes the form of Chihiro. Case in point when he lost his memories in the first episode! Damn, he fumbled his way successfully! I dare say he has not lost any cases at all. At least not the very important ones. With his impeccable record, this guy’s reputation would have soared and many would have sought his services. I don’t know about his wealth status but he still looks pretty same. I mean, I don’t really see him riding his bicycle and wearing his mini backpack. But thank goodness his sense of justice is still so great so I suppose he isn’t blinded by money and greed. But overall, Naruhodo mainly remains the same. In the sense that he still panics and looking around thinking hard for clues when the prosecutor corners him. Sometimes Chihiro helps him but more than often, he manages to figure out the contradiction. Yeah, the courts also feel like a big game of objection. This season feels personal since Naruhodo has to deal with his former lover who turns out to be one scheming b*tch whether dead or alive. Thank goodness his sense of justice is strong, eh?

The last time I said Mayoi felt like a useless character. She still is. Still the happy go lucky girl who is always at her own pace and sometimes the way she nonchalantly does things, you can say it might put Naruhodo in jeopardy. If he ever loses a case, there is a good portion that Mayoi is to be blamed. And so Mayoi in this season once more feels like a damsel in distress. Last season she was accused of murder and even kidnapped in that season’s final arc. Now, she went missing and is still accused of murder! Do you not agree with me that trouble should be her middle name? WTF Harumi trying to set up Naruhodo and Mayoi as a couple? I think that would be the greatest disaster ever! Their romance better not happen! Igi ari! I’d rather see the cheesy romance between Itonokogiri and Mako. Hopefully the latter is slowly opening up to this clumsy guy. By the way, since it was the real sweet Ayame that dated Naruhodo, are there chances of them getting back together again? I suppose everyone has moved on. It would have been a different battle and a more complicated one that the law doesn’t cover… ;p.

With Mitsurugi and Mei missing sorely this season, it felt that their temporary return was only so to satisfy fans that they are still around. I mean, these are important characters too, right? Last season saw the rivalry between Naruhodo and Mitsurugi going head to head on opposing sides. This time, Mitsurugi has to abruptly return from his trip to America to side with Naruhodo in a few cases. Yeah, they should already join forces already. At least Mitsurugi had a reason to make his cameo but Mei feels just forced. She was really unnecessary and only for some slight variety. Because if Godot was the prosecutor Naruhodo faced every time, that would be so suspicious. Like as though there are no other prosecutors in the land. Sure, there are but they aren’t as famous or even noteworthy.

Godot as the other new main character, yup another weirdo. Like what I said about almost everything about this season feels related. So Godot is on a grudge mission to defeat Naruhodo because he couldn’t save his junior. That’s very grand of him blaming Naruhodo for something that he could have a slight chance of preventing but how is Godot himself any different? Because for him to let his guard down and got poisoned by Chinami, that says it all. He is no different. Now he looks like some sort of robo knight with those strange visors that supposedly gives him sight. Sure, he finally admitted his mistakes and made his peace with Naruhodo. Was he just playing the villain? Because while I thought of mostly seeing him as one who just wants to get in Naruhodo’s way, but what if all those objections are just a way for him to ‘teach’ Naruhodo to think harder? As I’ve said, Naruhodo still feels like a rookie lawyer and probably that is what pisses Godot off so he has to tell him off he hates his guts for him to improve. I mean, it’s not like Godot is a bad person. Just bitter. Like his coffee. Haha! Oops… Damn, can he still drink coffee in court? Just act a bit tough and scary and the judge will be too afraid to question you. Besides, that other judge we have for ‘variety’, is his brother???!!! Damn, I thought he looks like some bearded troll! Not kidding! Santa guy and troll guy as judges… This is really some f*cked up justice system. Trivial note: I have a theory why Kaminogi chose Godot as his new moniker. As I know kami is Japanese for god. And ki is the general word for tree. Hence, god of tree. God of t. God-of-t. God-o-t. Godot. Geddit?!

This season with Rina Satou helming as the voice of Chinami and Ayame, she really sounds sweet and devilish both at the same time and even depending on which mood she is playing. Next time when I remember her other gentle anime characters like Minami-ke’s Haruka and Sunohara-sou No Kanrinin-san’s Ayaka or her tsundere type character like a certain biribiri character in a certain scientific railgun series, I’d be sure to remember this very devilish and sly character that may send shivers down my spine. And Hiroaki Hirata as Godot, I figured he needs a break once in a while as that Straw Hat Pirates’ cook. As for the art and animation, still weird as usual with some character designs really weird. Like Aiga being some sort of nightmare Pinocchio. And the worst offender of it all: The horrible CGI of the observers.

This season’s first opening theme, Never Lose by Tomohisa Yamashita feels more like some mild techno dance music. Not to say that it is appealing but I guess it is much better than the second opener, Reason also by Tomohisa Yamashita. Because this techno dubstep song sounds so gay! I know the singer’s voice is soft and the first opener also sounds a bit gay but it isn’t as bad as this one. It has gotten bad enough that some of the English words and tune are now stuck in my head!!!! GET IT OUT!!! Even odder, we see all the main characters doing that trademark objection finger pointing pose. IGI ARI!!! MAKE IT STOP!!! Halca sings Starting Blue, the first ending theme. A lively tune with some synthesizer effects. Come to think of it, much better than the gay openings. But I suppose the best one and the biggest shocker is the second ending theme, Beautiful Days by Coala Mode. This is quite a beautiful slow ballad and even though it doesn’t match the frenzy and illogical pace of the series but after all that court madness, I think this is a great song to listen to and wind down.

My overall sentiments for this season mainly still remains the same as last season. Lots of cheesy but fun moments especially how the court systems and the lawyers arguing and duking out feel more like a big showpiece to show how cool you can object. At least they know how to entertain and amuse us with their legal rhetoric and style. Sadly, it wasn’t the contradictions and the truth that awed us ;-). I would want to object to another sequel should the producers decide that another season should be in the works for being an insult to the legal system (heck, like I know anything about it) but I figured my objections would be overruled anyway. Besides, it could be fun to see more igi ari moments from Naruhodo and the bunch of clowns lawyers taking their stand and day in court in the name of justice. Are they making a mockery out of the justice system? Goes to show how complicated the legal system has become. Igi ari!

Melty Lancer

June 14, 2019

Retro time! It is one of those moments that I weirdly remembered. Long ago, I harboured this ‘interest’ in watching this Melty Lancer OVA series but somehow never got around it. It was always kept on the back burner of my mind and I keep blaming the ‘obligation’ to watch more current animes of the season than just quickly finishing up these 6 OVA episodes. Throughout the years this thought has been floating in and out of my mind and one day I just realized that if I keep delaying this, this series would not be found anywhere anymore! Yeah, it’s old enough to be rare and the ones online are dubbed. So what a way to press the panic button and put this case to rest. Boy, that sure did the trick. Anyway, this series is some ‘futuristic’ sci-fi space action adventure about a group of girls that formed a special space police organization that was disbanded but now deployed again thanks to some new conspiracy that threatens the fabric of space, time and the existence of the universe! And to think episodes are enough to save the galaxy…

Episode 1
When a scientist created a small capsule that could alter an entire planet, terrorists led by Defiant D storm into the place to steal it. Collins who has been incarcerated for 5 years is now eligible to obtain his freedom in exchange for this small task. After he was imprisoned, a paramilitary police force named GPO was set up. Recently they are getting bad press and their relationship with Galaxy Federation isn’t good. His job is to lead a group of females known as Melty Lancer. However they were disbanded a year ago. An aide (only known as Aide) is currently being sent to gather them. After miraculously surviving some civil war zone, he manages to get Sakuya Lansaihe who is now preaching as a priestess. At the same time, an asteroid is detected to crash into Earth. Actually a group of criminal students consisting of Vanessa, Ligel and Grianos (collectively known as Vannesars) are hiding in it and hope that their act will lure out Melty Lancer. Sylvie Nimrod finds Jun Kamishiro and Angela to take them to flee as she warns them they are being targeted. Aide now sees Melvina MacGarlen but she refuses seeing that she is now a politician and cannot leave in the middle of her job. However she realizes that there is a conspiracy to it all and agrees to get drafted to get to the bottom of this. The asteroid crashes into Earth and a giant mecha pops out. She then leaves a message that they are going to continue their job to alter the Earth’s natural environment. Nothing is going to stop them and if they insist, do send Melty Lancer. Is this the reason why Melty Lancer was recalled? Sylvie’s groupie is driving through the African savannah when the animals weirdly surround them. So is Nana the Lion King? She is happy to be reunited with them but save that for late as Melty Lancer is reunited for the first time in a year as they join forces to take down Vanessars’ menace. Isn’t this causing more destruction? Things get heated up when Melvina somewhat gets injured. But it ends with Sylvie attacking from the top since there are no weapons attached there. I guess Vanessa was too cheapskate to install any weapons there. Once Melty Lancer is victorious, immediately the Surface Security Bureau steals the limelight by securing the criminals. Melty Lancer is frustrated that they were just the bait but Melvina knows there is more to come and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Episode 2
Despite the mecha secured, Vanessars are reported missing. Eastern Metropolis (EMP) was a city that was almost hit by the asteroid. With the citizens evacuated, Defiant D and her team take this chance to infiltrate and steal some genetic package. Melty Lancer enter their underground base for the first time. So run down. It doesn’t help that Collins is being a dick. He doesn’t care why they are being put together as a unit and this doesn’t sit well with Melvina. Worse, he dismisses her as the team leader and has Sylvie take up that role instead. Later, Aide gives each of them tasks. Menial tasks. Directing traffic, finding a lost cat… On the news, the criminal organization known as Defiant has been going around stealing DNAs of endangered species and leaving notes that only say “Iyonesco”. Sylvia speaks to Collins about this and wants to hunt them down as she knows they will target rare species like Jun, Angela and Nana. Collins however accuses her of stealing a vehicle then. Although she admits she would file in a report after the case is solved, he threatens to report her. He challenges her to a gun duel in which he will forget this if she wins. Of course he ‘cheats’ and is faster. But this is just a test as he gives her a new prototype gun to test. Sylvie tries to hunt down Defiant but it seems they are quicker than her. After raiding the place and leaving, only Sylvie arrives. On another stakeout, Sylvie is surprised that Jun, Angela and Nana are here to help. Why not? After she is acting so strange in office (due to her failures), they figured it out. Just in time when a slime monster goes on a rampage in a lab. Jun and Angela head in to tackle it but find themselves running away since they hate slimy things. Meanwhile Sylvie and Nana intercept Defiant D and her team impersonating as medical officers. Unfortunately Defiant is better than our Melty Lancer duo as they make their getaway. But this leaves Sylvie puzzled as she is unsure if they intentionally dropped their evidence. When Jun and Nana are cornered, I guess desperate Jun got this weird idea to fight DNA with DNA and fires the entire blaster. Although the monster is calmed down, it turned into some big giant friendly bubble? A cute creature pops out from it. Meanwhile Melvina must have failed her horrible CGI 3D rendered simulator. With the authorities being useless dicks, she goes to find some hermit whom she has known for a very long time.

Episode 3
So that cute creature is now their pet, Moumou? Thanks to that incident, the news is all over Melty Lancer. You can say that they are now famous and there are lots of creepy cosplay fans waiting outside. Yikes! Sylvie tells Collins about the equipment left behind by Defiant. She seeks permission to analyse it but is denied as he knows it will blow up the entire place. Instead, he wants her and Sakuya to dress pretty. There’s a ball tonight. Melvina continues to gather intelligence. There is some connection going on between the religious order and the federation that have bigwigs involved in the setting up Melty Lancer. They seem to be building some spaceship. Then she blackmails a former lover, Oushita who is now some top official to get more info on Collins as well as the reason behind Melty Lancer’s reunion. At the party, Sylvie and Sakuya could identify lots of important bigwigs around. The party then starts but it is all a setup by Vannesars to eliminate all the syndicates at one go as they unleash some robots that could do carbon freezing. That is, freezing live people. Sakuya manages to summon a barrier to protect them but how long can they hold from this onslaught? Especially Collins is still eating away! WTF?! Aide sends Nana and Angela as reinforcements but upon arrival, they too are met with resistance from Defiant. Where’s Jun? Not sure how she ended up in a gay bar brawl. As for Melvina, she goes to see Oushita but is already down for the count. A mysterious man talks to her about the data in Oushita’s hands. From her reaction. Looks like it reveals everything. Aide thinks Moumou was being a cute toying with the computers. Suddenly it grows fangs! Oh sh*t!!!

Vanessars watches the havoc and Vanessa is feeling pretty good about her success. She is trying to prove her worth to Defiant D but the latter will only believe when she achieve the results. During Angela’s fight, a henchman accidentally destroys some power core. Why the heck did this cause the robots to stop moving? With this failure, Vannesars quickly escapes. Sylvie faces off with Defiant D when Collins get in between. It seems Collins was the boss of a secret unit before Earth became part of Galaxy Federation. They were all nameless people with no records and you can say they do a lot of dirty work. However their last mission to rescue and escort and important person, Lady Marvel ended in failure. Collins disbanded the team. This left everyone in disarray. Defiant D accuses Collins of pulling this stunt that left many of their comrades dead soon after. She gives him a chance to return but too bad he is now the commander of Melty Lancer and won’t go back to his past. So what does Defiant D do? Blow up the entire building? All this just to escape? If you wonder why Collins and his girls survive, thanks to that bubble cushioning their fall. Melvina hears that same story from the mysterious guy. However he cannot tell her about Iyonesco and can only say that Melty Lancer is the scapegoat. She then starts to feel pain. Not sure if Moumou is playing around with Aide by chasing him around. Because it gets tenser when Melvina barely breathing returns as she tries to warn everyone the fate that is about to befall on them. She should leave a note or something if she’s going to pass out at the crucial moment.

Episode 4
Aide is getting drunk and complaining his sh*tty life. A couple of hot chicks decide to hear him out. Really?! With Melvina in hospital and stabilized, Jun and Sakuya are sent on a mission to infiltrate this religious Ark Organization who are taking in people with trouble. Guess what? Aide is the motivational speaker???!!! He is giving a speech that gives hope to this troubled people. A new paradise will be born! Jun and Sakuya realize everyone has been scanned for their genetics. Think they won’t be found out? Yeah well, Defiant D already knows they’re here and have fallen for their trap. Sakuya relays back to Sylvie as the rest of Melty Lancer sortie to rescue them. Meanwhile the mystery man talks to Melvina. He has given permission to let her know more. They must stop Iyonesco who are within EMP. They only recently managed to pinpoint their location thanks to their transmission of activities regarding some experimental second phase. Now they’re heading into the third phase. Iyonesco collects genetic material through Defiant and also conduct experiments to create unusual space phenomenon. It seems their goal is to annihilate space. No time for Melvina to sit back in bed when there’s so much to do. A black hole materializing from converted energy. Sylvie is shocked with this but she has seen this before. All the ecology systems on a planet were wiped out. However the planet was eliminated 20 years before the incident, proving that the destruction not only travelled across space but across time. Like as though somebody built some giant space teleport device. The organization shows its true terrorists colours by showing this ‘miracle’. Everyone is going to die!

Sylvie is being caught up with the suction and finds it hard to escape. However Nana figures out how to stabilize their position. Not sure this sci-fi mumbo jumbo explanation but she realizes this phenomenon is something like a vacuum. You just need to supply the mass shortfall with the same material as the reverse field. Melvina confronts Collins about Galaxy Federation leaving Iyonesco alone. Something about they’re too scared of that organization and that is why Melty Lancer was recalled to handle that task. In fact, they draw in the crowd. Though the goal was to improve GPO’s image, expectations were not high. By breaking ties with Iyonesco, they divert public attention, hence their re-organization. Thanks to Melty Lancer working hard in the recent incidents, they manage to charge high officials with corrupt acts. Of course it won’t end with that as Iyonesco is hell bent on annihilation. Sylvie manages to break through and assist Jun fighting a Defiant goon in a power suit battle. And before they could arrest the other members, they flee again. Damn they’re good at this, aren’t they? Of course Melty Lancer goes after them. Meanwhile Aide is given the task of guiding the lost sheep. Yeah, just preach God’s name! I think this is going to be tough with everyone hounding him for salvation! Ah, a God’s messenger’s job is never done. Defiant D still has an ace up her sleeve. After tricking Melty Lancer into following them (just holograms, fools! Gotcha!), then whatever this she activated. Huge space light laser explosion or something?

Episode 5
Collins seems to be overworking the scientists. Well, what do you know? The experiment to teleport Melty Lancer is successful. So that’s what the transmitter he gave them for in the first place. Don’t have to grieve over their deaths now, eh? However they notice that only Angela isn’t around. Did her teleportation failed? Sylvie is the most affected by her death. Because Angela is some bioengineered soldier, if she dies, her body will turn into ashes and not leave a trace. No time to cry over her because Melvina has received orders to hunt Iyonesco instead of Defiant. Everyone goes about their own way to gather info. Except for Sylvie. She’s still dead like a zombie. Of course Angela is still very much alive and in the care of a fellow kin, Rufus. Some weird explanation how he teleported her away although she was still partially injured from the blast. Rufus also lets her know that he is a follower of Defiant because they saved him. He was once experimented on as a bioengineered soldier as he is a rare species but Defiant came to save him. They gave him the option to do what he likes but he rather follow them. Defiant has been stealing endangered species’ DNA to avoid them being wiped out by stronger rivals. Ironically, Defiant D doesn’t like Rufus harbouring an enemy. So Angela is enemy first and endangered species second? With Rufus pleading for Angela to be spared, Defiant D allows it but will not let Rufus stay with her. Aide returns to base, very sad and blaming himself for Melty Lancer’s death. However he sees Sakuya and it’s like the biggest relief to him. Weird sexy trolling moment as Sakuya rewards him for his efforts with her healing. Yeah, they sure made this scene look like she wanted to make out with him. No sexual healing. Just some weird healing.

I guess the higher ups have had it. That means destroying Earth. With explosions everywhere, you bet everyone is going to panic to try and leave this planet. Melvina experiences yet another weird interference dream. However she follows those cries for help that leads her to some dying android girl? She feels so sad for her and laments had she only arrived sooner to help. The moment Aide tells Sylvie about Melvina uncovering Iyonesco’s true identity, it’s like she suddenly spring back to life! Like, WTF?! Like it blew her blues away. They go to see Collins but he is gone. Yeah, conveniently he dropped his video that shows Defiant holding Angela as hostage. So Melty Lancer join Collins to go save Angela. Meanwhile Melvina has the scientists salvage what is left of the place and watch the video of the horrifying experiment on this girl AKA Iyonesco. Shortly after Earth joined Galaxy Federation, they caught a lost species who was caught up in the confusion. The experiment failed as she turned into a monster. She became some sort of computer virus that sought knowledge of itself and was able to propagate and think. Trying to find her own existence and kind, she infiltrated various networks and managed to find various secret and criminal organizations. When the higher ups learnt of this, they made a pact with her whom they abandoned before. All in the name of greed and self-interest. Although Iyonesco is taken away, some programme starts activating by itself. Collins and Melty Lancer seemingly step into yet another Defiant trap. Uh huh. With Defiant D’s signal, she blasts them to smithereens. Is Angela going to cry over their deaths now? We should know better…

Episode 6
Yeah, as expected, Collins tricks Defiant and singlehandedly beats them up. At point blank range with Defiant D, looks like Iyonesco has plans of her own. Both Melty Lancer and Defiant side are teleported onto the Ark that Iyonesco has absolute control over. I don’t understand that chaotic space battle outside but Collins berates his ex-members about being too afraid to be independent and free on themselves, hence they depend on Iyonesco and be her puppet to validate their existence. They claims he only taught them how to kill, steal, etc. So Collins has nothing further to ‘teach’ them and dares them to kill him. Not sure what the people on Earth are protesting at the federation’s HQ. Vanessars are reluctantly supporting this. They spot Aide who seems to be desperate in helping Melty Lancer. So they agree to help him out for money. So they just give him a mic to speak to the masses? Looks like his screaming speaking skills come in handy. He rallies the crowd to force the federation to deploy the fleet. And when they do, why does he look so shock? You mean he didn’t expect them to? Rufus explains how he is going to carry out Iyonesco’s wish to destroy the galaxy and create a new one. So this spiral thingy is the centre of the galaxy and bombing it will destroy everything? Wow. So simple yet so confusing. With Ark getting sucked in, all those on board start to experience some weird trippy trip. Past, present and future all meshed up together. Everyone’s memories out in the open for all to see. And this weird cliché moment of everybody suddenly getting philosophical about the past, present and future. Uh huh. No past, no future. We won’t be here today if it’s not for the things that happened in the past. For the future! With that, everyone returns to reality. But they’re not out of the woods yet. Because Iyonesco’s programme is still activated. So the Ark is still going to crash into the centre? Yeah, the only way to stop it is a 3 billion character password! OMFG!!! THIS IS THE MOST HILARIOUS THING I’VE HEAD SINCE WATCHING THIS SERIES!!! But don’t worry, Rufus points out the password… Moumou! Yeah, this critter’s DNA is the password to stabilize everything! But wait! Still not really out of the woods yet. The centre is still sucking them in. I suppose this is now where Aide with the help of Vanessars in their puny ship come to help pull the Ark away, huh?

Once they are safe, the commander of the fleet contacts them. So this mysterious guy is actually a clone of Collins? Wait. So this Melty Lancer Collins is also a clone? He is here because his boss wants to speak to Collins. Guess who? Marvel! Seems she faked her death and went into hiding to stay out of Iyonesco’s network. Somehow Iyonesco’s plans didn’t take into account both the Collins. Back then, info was leaking out too much and they had to kill comrades who knew too much. If she fell into enemy hands, everything would be for naught. Hence to save the troops and Earth, she had Collins deceive his unit and pretend to kill her, then sealed himself off and kept silent. Thanks to that, she was able to protect Earth from the shadows. Now she credits them for saving the galaxy. Because the federation is still unstable, she cannot come out in public. This means their heroics too cannot be officially recorded but will be sure it will be passed on as a legend to the next generation. As the Ark is too tainted, they have to abandon it. Defiant D is still asking Collins to come back to them and define their purpose of existence. What more has a guy got to tell them that he’s not into the past anymore. So I hope with that final goodbye, they manage to make peace and move on. As Melty Lancer and Defiant part ways, Rufus stays with the latter. I guess no romance for Angela then. Only Moumou decides to go with Rufus. WTF?! This critter decides to abandon a group of hot chicks for some terrorist group?! WTF?! Fail!!! As Melty Lancer celebrate, they think they forgot something. I bet it isn’t important. But you’ve guessed it, Aide has been whisked away by Vanessars since Vanessa is smitten with him. Going to take him all the way across the galaxy, huh? With Melty Lancer’s mission somewhat completed, they now have a duty to keep the peace in EMP.

Collins’ Angels: Fool Troll-ttle
Oh boy. What a mess. I am not sure if I find this series tolerable is it because this is a retro series? You know me. Because animes that came out in that era, I seem to give such a pass and forgive all its other weird atrocities that would not even make me bat an eyelid had this came out more recently or a few years back. So yes, there were some fun moments but largely if I am going to summarize my overall sentiments about this series, that would be disappointing. But I suppose that would be better than keep procrastinating for another few more years and delay finding out how disappointing this series is.

Firstly, the big problem of this series is the pacing of the story. It’s a mess. Here, there and everywhere. Because right from the first episode that is supposed to tell the tale of reuniting the girls of Melty Lancer, suddenly it is like they were already reunited. Eh? Did I miss something somewhere? I mean, the girls are now scattered after their disbandment for a year. And to suddenly come together like that and do their first mission flawlessly (as in their communications and teamwork) like as thought the last they seen each other was yesterday? Yeah, I thought they skipped some parts here. But that is the thing about just having 6 episodes. You cannot tell much and it does not give room for proper fleshing out. Maybe animes were harder and more expensive to make back then. But anyway, then they throw in too many other stuffs that just confuses the viewers. Conspiracy, terrorism, genetics and what is this about a failed computer experimented girl trying to restart the universe? Is she trying to play God? Fortunately God was stopped by a 3 billion character password that was conveniently in Moumou’s DNA! Oh yeah. If I am ever going to remember this series, it is this one that takes the cake.

The next problem are the characters. Melty Lancer being the main characters as well as the name of the anime itself, you would have thought that there would be some sort of prominence given to them. Unfortunately there is no backstory for these main characters and my guess is that if you really want to know more about them, you should play the games that this series was adapted from. Hence the series sort of expects you to know these characters and for those who never played the games like yours truly, you are guaranteed to be lost. Because there are many things about them that are not explained like Nana’s transformation into a sexy curvaceous adult body. It’s not like she could control when she can transform into this state any time either. I mean, how the heck is this relevant except for one small scene where she needs to get some info from guards who are thankfully not lolicons but into mature babes. Then there’s some traumatic flashback of Melvina’s past that I think that is pretty forgettable. I could be mistaken since Melvina could be seeing the dreams of Iyonesco instead.

So basically you can guess the Melty Lancers are made up of a few ‘unique’ individuals who are as predictable and boring as they can be. They’re supposed to be close but you don’t feel that way as the series didn’t really flesh them out properly to make us feel so. Sylvie the face of Melty Lancer just because she’s a pretty blonde babe. She’s good in guns but we don’t get to see that often to ascertain that skill. Melvina is the brains of the team and often works independently with her own network to get info. Jun is the brute tomboy and Sakuya is like the soft spoken priestess or something of the group (I read somebody referred her as the discount version of Belldandy of Aa! Megami-sama). What is better than a loli? Having 2 lolis! So that’s what Angela and Nana are. One animal version and the other some magic princess or something. Lastly, Moumou as the pet mascot of the series feels useless in most of its part except for that password thingy to make it relevant. Yeah, don’t look down on such critters. I think Iyonesco failed to take into account this critter. Should have made a 10 trillion character password!!! It felt disjointed that it suddenly became part of Melty Lancer after that incident and hence when it ‘defected’ there wasn’t any much love lost because personally I never felt that it was part of the team to begin with.

Ironically, I feel that Collins and Defiant have been given slightly better characterization and storytelling albeit just a little. This commander of Melty Lancer is so shady and weird that he gets more fleshing out than the main girls themselves. Which just feels pretty odd. You might think that he is a dick but the big revelation reveals that he was just playing his part to perfection. Yeah. The tired trope and overused cliché of hope. Always believe! And Defiant not merely being evil terrorists, even though they had a reason to steal genetics of rare endangered species, it still makes them no less a terrorist group. After all, a thief with a cause is still a thief. Though, Defiant D feels annoying as she keeps bugging Collins about their old times. Give it up, girl.

Aide feels more like a comic character, a punching bag whom nobody gives a damn about. Either way, he is more ‘memorable’ than Melty Lancer because of his constant annoying voice while he whines about his job and life. Yeah, that’s basically what he just does. Whining and mumbling. Well, got any other better career choices? And now he struck the ultimate jackpot by being Vanessa’s boyfriend. Oh sorry. The ultimate misfortune. God help him. I bet he is wishing the universe to be reset, huh? Speaking of Vannesars, their role as the secondary antagonist feels more comical than anything since they always slipped through Melty Lancer’s fingers. They are more of an annoyance than threatening. Had this series been given more episodes, we could have at least seen their love-hate relation with Melty Lancer. As of now, it’s like they aren’t even significant nor matter at all.

Action parts are just average at best. Nothing really to shout about. You know, with Sylvie firing her gun and Jun being in her power suit and bashing everything that stands in her way, it doesn’t give much of a variety. Not sure if it is a good thing that such action sequences don’t last long but I guess it beats having it last for many episodes. Because this is some space sci-fi setting, I guess we need some gunfights and laser fights and bombs and explosions that go with it.

Art and animation feel pretty retro. This is after all released back in 1999 to 2000. Yeah, you know me again. Forgiving how anime in that era having that kind of one kind look. Even the characters have this feel of other cliché and other typical look of characters from other series. Like Melvina the brains and cool beauty, strong independent female. She has that same look and feel to Airi of Those Who Hunt Elves. Hot blonde chicks who is the face of the group like Sylvie, same feel like Rio of Burn Up Scramble. I wonder why girls in that era of tomboys have this one kind look too. So you can say Jun and Angelic Layer’s Misaki are of the same kind. Lolis like Angela and Nana, I guess they’re pretty similar to petite girls like Slayers’ Amelia. Then b*tch face female antagonists like Defiant D, see the similarity with Fushigi Yuugi’s Yui? And doesn’t Collins’ clone look a bit like Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Gendou? And Aide looks so plain and typical like a normal salaryman that I think this kind of plain design still follows today. And of course, who could forget that in that era, you can see how futuristic such metropolis are with so much fancy computers and holograms that it looks so outdated. Yeah. Ironically you can tell how dated a futuristic setting is by watching a show from that era.

The opening and ending theme of course have this retro feel and personally I think they sit right at home with me. Flying High by Matsuura Yuki and Yume Mita Watashi No Soba E by Aya as the opening and ending songs respectively are my cup of tea but if you think if they fit the pacing of this series, I don’t think it’s suitable. For instance, Flying High might sound fine but I keep thinking this kind of pop music suits better for dating and romance genre. You know, it doesn’t give that action oomph that the series is. Same can be said for Yume Mita Watashi No Soba E. It is a slower pop ballad that just feels out of place. Yeah, I am reminded of hearing the first season of Galaxy Angel’s Horoscope Rhapsody. You know, that kind of feel.

Overall, this series is a let-down in many aspects from the storyline to the characters lacking any substance. Too many things going on that confuses us and rushing everything for a good happy ending that makes it all feel just numbing. Especially the final episode with the threat of the destruction of the galaxy at hand by a single jilted computer, they managed to preserve everything by changing their outlook about the future. Oh sure, I guess it shows that we won’t really get to where we are today had not been for the decisions we took in the past! And just like that, everything is over. How anti-climactic. And Melty Lancer continues to operate together instead of being disbanded again and doing what they’ve been individually doing for the past year? You got me. I don’t see any difference either. I bet they must be there because of the fan clubs and fan boys. Just remember to keep your passwords safe and strong. Make that 3 billion characters safe and strong!

Endro

June 9, 2019

Once upon a time, a long time ago in a land so far away, a group of heroes went on a journey to defeat the Demon Lord. They win. The end! Holy crap! That was it?! When you have a fantasy land that is freed from the fury of the Demon Lord, what else is there for the denizens to do? Let’s frolic all day long! Yeah, cute girls doing cute things, RPG version. But wait! It’s not yet over! Because in Endro, the Demon Lord hasn’t been defeated yet and everyone is merely thrown back in time. And with our budding loli heroes still trying to learn and grow as one, this is the chance for the big bad baddie to nip the problem in the bud once and for all. Hwahahahahahar!!! Evil laughter cue. Just don’t get swept by the cute girls doing cute things stuff…

Episode 1
A group of loli heroines, Yulia “Yusha” Chardiet the hero, Mather “Mei” Enderstto the mage, Fai Fai the fighter and Ellenoar “Seira” Seiran the priestess work together to defeat the Demon Lord and eventually seal him in another dimension. Hooray! The day is saved! End of series! No kidding! I guess times must be so peaceful as we see them heading to adventure school to level up their skills. They have a new teacher, though. This chibi demon, Mao is so cute that nobody even sees her as a Demon Lord?! After learning Yusha is a hero class, she claims she is classless since a hero only exists when there is a Demon Lord. Since there are none, she has no class (it’s right under your noses, people). But that doesn’t stop Yusha from staying positive. All she needs to do is find one! Next day, Mao has everyone do some practical training. Retrieve some item from the ruins and you pass. Or else you are expelled. Of course it is easy for everyone and our quartet is the last the head in. We hear Mao narrate that she is actually the real Demon Lord whom the quartet fought. However their spell was incomplete and hence instead of sealing her, she was sent back in time and turned into this state (although her memories were intact). Hence this is when the quartet defeated her and she is going to make sure they never get to there. The ruins is of course laced with false directions to lead the quartet astray. Not sure where they travelled to but they end up in some prison. Seira is the only one crying over their predicament and the rest are like, “Meh. Seems fine”. Yusha accidentally press some secret switch that has them falling into another chamber. Oh look, a hero sword. Yusha pulls it out without reading the warning and hear comes this kitty golem as her trial. With the help of her friends, she manages to turn the sword into some awesome lightsabre that destroys the golem and the ruins. Just when Mao thought they are going to be expelled, here they are popping out and Yusha pretty confident she is now a hero with this sword. Oh Mao… Looks like you’re going to have to work harder…

Episode 2
The quartet are describing their ideal love. Of course it turns out to be their favourite monsters. In class, Mao has Seira explain the history between the hero and Demon Lord. It seems that when one is vanquished, another will soon pop up. Hence the fight between the hero and Demon Lord has been going on that now it is the 999th one. Mao tests her students and finds the quartet to be strong and extremely lucky. So when Mao goes drinking with her colleague, she inadvertently notes how the 4 will become respectable adventurers and even defeat the Demon Lord! Is she drunk? Yeah, she’s taking this teaching job so seriously. Demon Lord plots again and this time wants her class to take a quest. Her plan seems to be in motion because the quartet have always thought themselves as the leader. This is part of Mao’s plan as she knows them as free spirited. By trying to force them into a group with no clear leader, they will only splinter and disband. So the girls think hard who should be the leader and give weird excuses. They think their pet monster, Chibi should be the leader because it tries and manages to be bipedal? Of course Mao rejects! Hence the quarter try a test run to see who will be fit as leader. Of course all fail because Yusha barged into somebody’s house without permission to start searching whatever, Seira got clumsy in housework and eventually everyone cleaned her room, Fai ate everyone’s food and Mei did the illegal night camping outside a store for some goods. So is Mao finally going to hear the good news of their disbanding? Heck, no. They are all going to be leaders! Eh?! They even quote Mao on what she said about combining their strengths. Yup, they are all leaders in their own respective field. Then we cut to a scene of the girls entering Demon Lord’s chamber. But they’re so scattered and in their own pace that it’s just vexing to watch them. Finally they unleash a spell to fight Demon Lord but Yusha mispronounces the incantation and a void swallows them. Mao realizes the failed spell and stupid mistake sent her back in time again. Thoughts of how this will happen again and again as long as she becomes the Demon Lord. History repeating itself. So? Screw becoming the Demon Lord! She’s going to take life easy and drink to her heart’s content! Oh Yusha, looks like you’re going to have to wait longer for the Demon Lord to show up…

Episode 3
The quartet talk about their ideal quest. With Seira ranting on about her horned gorilla thingy, saving the world from evil, blah, blah, blah, little did she know the rest already fell asleep. As they head to the guild to seek a quest, others get very cool quests. What do they get? Find a cat. Not that glamorous but they manage to do the job. They didn’t lose heart and next day return to get more exciting quests. Guess what? Find a cat. Is there a conspiracy against them? Well, the quests are all pulled at random. Yusha thought they could do multiple quests so guess what? For 5 consecutive times, she pulled out searching for a cat quest!!! Looking on a positive side, they decide to do it and at the end of the day are successful. Next day just when they decide to find more cats as quest, they are given a quest to find moss in some cave. It took them for a while to realize it’s not finding a cat! On the way out, they spot a young girl crying. Looks like she lost her cat. Not to disappoint her, they decide to help her find it in this ‘side quest’. That’s what heroes are for, right? So they head to the forest to look for her cat. That night, Seira realizes she forgot to bring food and this ‘activates’ Fai hunger pangs. Oh no. Is she going to cannibalize them?! Well, just nibbling on Seira’s ears. Yusha better come back with her hunt soon or her ears will be damn sore… The quest leads them to a tower filled with traps and enemies. Just with Yusha’s luck, they find a shortcut all the way to the top and battle and defeat a monster boss. There’s the cat. But it is stuck up there in the centre. How to get it down? Seira reluctantly uses he bow to shoot it down. It isn’t that she is not good with a bow but rather she is near-sighted. She has to wear glasses every time and doesn’t want to so as not to make others think she is a bookworm. They return the cat to the girl and she is so happy. Then they realize they forgot the most important thing: That moss quest! Oh no! Hurry up and finish the real quest!

Episode 4
Summer vacation is here and of course Mao is going to give them homework in the form of quests in which they must submit as a report. The quarter figure where to go and it seems they want to go to the sea. Seira can guess they all have their own motives but majority wins. Despite Seira’s attempts to remind them they are here for a quest, the rest continue to have fun. I guess when you can’t beat them, join them. So they have fun the entire day while encountering a lot of weird monsters. When it is time for food, looks like their rations are empty thanks to Fai eating all of them along the way. The only way left is to fish. They pull out some mackerel dude and he pleads for their help. While he was flirting, accidentally he broke a seal of a temple and unleashed an evil god. Now his fellow mackerels are taken hostage. Our heroes take this chance to rescue the mackerels and complete their quest. After freeing them from as slaves, they head into the temple to face the evil god who is trying to scare them with his huge words. Too bad our young heroes’ vocabulary isn’t that good yet. Eventually the evil god is defeated with Yusha’s sword. After they leave, little do they know he has reverted to his true spirit form. He then leaves the sea and is hell bent to bring darkness to the world. Only, Chibi eats him! Burp. Mackerel guy thanks the quartet although his girlfriend is now flirting with someone else. Don’t worry. There are plenty of other fish in the sea! The quartet eat their fish catch as Yusha thanks them for coming and helping out. Yusha offers some fish to Chibi but obviously he is still full… Burp…

Episode 5
Yusha hands in their homework report. Mao rubbishes this fantasy and asks her to redo it! I guess Yusha must face reality she isn’t accepted as a hero yet. Oh, look at her sword. It’s rusty and covered with barnacles! Princess Rona Pricipa O’Lapanesta of the Lapanesta Kingdom arrives. She is here to look for the hero. Mao is sceptical but here comes Yusha and co doing their explosive entrance! Yeah, the guards arrest them thinking they want to harm Rona! At first Rona is in disbelief to see the hero as female. But I guess she has no qualms trying out lesbianism and so she jumps into Yusha’s arms. She narrates the story how the first hero defeated the Demon Lord and hence established Lapanesta. Then she uses a card to determine Yusha’s credibility as a hero. Easily, it confirms her. But what she says strikes fear in Mao. Something about the hero and Demon Lord sharing a close bond and one might be under their noses right now… Because not everyone admires Yusha that highly yet (although they love her), Rona creates a festival to honour Yusha. Yeah, the academy is run by the royal family so you bet even if Yusha wants her freedom, eventually she’s just a pawn for them and politicians. Oh so true! So they go around having fun in the festival that pays homage to Yusha. Yeah, everything in her image. Including that whack-a-mole is whack-a-Yusha. WTF?! Then there’s this lame play of them. I think it’s comedy because of how everyone is laughing their ass off. Except Seira. She thinks she is being misrepresented… More Rona and Yusha moments as Rona explains how she often read books of the hero when she was young and dreamt of one popping up. Mao accidentally pulls the tail of a monster bull that is supposed to be used for a show. It goes on a rampage. Yusha goes to save the day to prove herself. This has Rona believe it is not Yusha being a hero but rather Yusha being Yusha. In the aftermath, Rona becomes a transfer student in Yusha’s class. With Rona whispering about this fate thingy to Mao, petite little teacher realizes she knows what’s going on. Don’t mess with this princess…

Episode 6
Mao falls ill. Don’t worry. It’s just fever rather than transforming into her true form. Resting in bed, she finds she has no food or just scraps of honey. Reflecting on her pathetic life, she remembers her recent resurrection and was being taught by a golem maid (why do her teachings sound like trick questions?). When Mao was ready and sent her minions to dominate the land, however Mao felt empty and unfulfilled. Until Yusha and her friends came did she somewhat smiled. The rest is history. As Mao curses them, looks like they’re here to visit. Worried Yusha’s hug is so strong that she could almost kill Mao… Yeah… If that’s not bad enough, Fai eats all her food! Damn, her fever is going to rise. The quartet realize that they don’t need magic to heal Mao. Because they remember the power of mother’s love! Oh yeah. And so they decide to become Mao’s mother! Oh dear. Can’t blame her thinking they want to kill her! However to her (and our) surprise, they do great cleaning and cooking. OMG. Is this a dream? Nope. It’s real. This has Mao remember when she was sent back in time. She noticed her powers weakened and must have gone back so in time after researching a hero doesn’t exist. Needing to regain her power and procure a base, she goes around looking for a job but many brush her off as a little girl and gave her candy. Mao sleeps and when she wakes up, she realizes she is being taken away by a woman (her future colleague) because she is on her way to a quest and couldn’t help pick up a cute girl. She faces off with a ferocious dragon and Mao realizes her power has returned partially due to candy. She tells its weakness and off they go to defeat it. As colleague works as a teacher, she offers Mao a teaching job. Mao declines at first but after hearing it is run by the kingdom and this means stable income, she’ll gladly take it. Mao wakes up and finds colleague sleeping next to her. After the quartet left, they left Mao in her care. Mao realizes her students really loves her. Even the cold stew tastes warm. Mmm…

Episode 7
Rona knows everything about the hero. But now it is also time to learn about her comrades. Yup, she wants to get to know Yusha’s friends well. As she hangs out with them, whenever she is impressed with whatever they’re doing, she will quote how similar their action is to a comrade from the nth hero party. Wow. She really memorized them all, eh? Starting with Seira, she observes how responsible she is but also her room is untidy and unkempt. Next is Mei as she brings Rona around to find some rare magic Cartado cards. In a tavern, Mei battles with an old dude for a rare card and loses. However Rona claims she has a few of them! Legendary ones too! Then she uses her money to buy all the rare cards to give to Mei. She is tempted to take them but the old dude tells her all her collecting efforts will be wasted if she accepted something so easily. Next is Fai and it looks like a wild jungle adventure! Having fun? I wonder how Rona keeps her dress clean considering all the dirt and filth they’ve gone through. This jungle journey leads them to a village that is holding its annual watermelon eating contest. Fai was last year’s winner and this year they’re going to hold it as a team event. Last year’s runners up were the Macho Brothers and you bet they’re not going to let Fai win. In the preliminary rounds, Fai-Rona pair wins. Rona didn’t even eat any! The final round has Fai-Rona and the Macho Brothers eat as many as they can within a time limit. As usual, Fai starts gobbling all on her own and builds up a considerable lead. Then she hits her limit, allowing the Macho Brothers to make a comeback and tie. However with Rona’s determination, she finally ate her first melon and with time’s up, Fai-Rona pair wins by a melon! A year worth of melons as first prize! Eww… I think Rona isn’t such a melon fan and gives them all to Fai who is of course so happy. When they return, their other friends are amazed that Rona is able to keep up with Fai’s wild trip.

Episode 8
Rona talks to Mao that Yusha isn’t so heroic and is more like a normal girl. In fear that she might not be prepared when real disaster strikes, she hopes Mao can help out. She won’t. Until the gold bars as bribes become too hard to resist. Hence Mao tells the quartet that the Demon Lord has revived and kidnapped Rona in his castle. Go save her. They get hyped for the rescue mission and as they enter the castle, they are faced with lots of traps. But most feel like props. And the enemies are kinda weak… WTF a hotspring to even replenish their health?! Is this being taken seriously?! The quartet now face the strongest generals of the Demon Lord who are just Rona’s strongest servants. They lose but because Yusha will not give up, they get back on their feet to fight. With that, the generals let them pass. The generals have been serving Rona since young and note the great friends she has made who care a lot about her. Rona is now in a dilemma to carry on because she still wants to see her hero in action. Hence Mao transforms into her Demon Lord form so she can witness how her hero fights. When the quartet arrive, the Demon Lord puts Yusha’s friends in a barrier. She must defeat him with her powers alone to save all of them. When asked why she is doing this, Yusha dismisses it is for money, fame or destiny. It is because Rona is her friend! With that, Rona feels bad for setting everything up. She realizes Yusha has always been calling her by her name instead of her title. She puts a stop to this and admits all this was her setup. She apologizes for imposing her hero ideals on them as she was too hung up on the heroic stories of the past. Put all that aside, Yusha is glad she is okay and not really kidnapped. The quartet are shocked to learn that Mao is behind the Demon Lord. Don’t worry. You weaklings won’t even scratch her. Our friends return to their daily lives with Rona appreciating the natural company of her friends more.

Episode 9
Mei is so happy that she has been invited to a secret Cartado festival by her Tarka friend, Dodo. But she isn’t the only one having that exclusivity as Dodo believes it is okay for her friends to come. Arriving at the Tarka village, feast your eyes on how Cartado cards grow on trees! I think Mei really wants to harvest them all but luckily her friends stop her greed. Dodo brings them to the village where they change into the local outfit to celebrate the festival. It begins with singing the festival’s song and then having fun at the local festivities that is a lot like Japan but substitute them with Cartado. Then the main event is here. Whoever harvests the best Cartado will become Cartado King for that year. Of course you can’t just find common ones lying around the forests so our friends try the cliffs. Just when they think they spot a super legendary rare one, it is snatched away. Mei doesn’t want to give up and continue searching for better ones since she wants to enjoy herself for participating. But at the end of the day as they are about to give up, they spot a jumbo size one buried in the ground. But Mei has her reservations since its content indicates it is pretty normal. They submit this and surprisingly Mei wins! Legendary rare cards might appear in a few years but this is the first jumbo size they’ve seen so that itself is legendary. Mei is paraded as Cartado King and she has the happiest look on her face. To end the festival, the girls are shocked that all the harvested cards will be burnt as part of their offerings to heaven for a good harvest next year. Although it looks like a waste, Mei respects their culture as a Cartado fan. Let the tears flow, Mei…

Episode 10
Our quartet are trapped on a snowy mountain after being sent by Mao for a mission. They try to keep each other awake but can’t help fall asleep. Hence they start telling stories. Of course with disastrous results like Fai who talks about food suddenly gets hungry herself and turns into beast mode. Poor Seira the victim again. When their tent collapses from the snow, they use a pole to help support but it bursts through the roof. Now we see Yusha defeating the Demon Lord, Fai eating to her heart’s content, Mei marrying a Cartado character and Seira having a clean room. And boobs. Of course you would know this is all a dream as Seira snaps out of it because there is no way she could have all that. Then she sees a little monster over the girls’ heads. It escapes when it is noticed. Thanks for Fai’s monster encyclopaedia that she realizes this monster lulls adventures to sleep. As ordinary methods can’t wake them up, she uses a Cartado to dive into their dreams. However they don’t want to face reality and tell her if she really wants to destroy their happiness. They even give her a chance to join them. Yeah, she’ll have her boobs big! However this only makes Seira mad! Even if they’re big, they’re just empty! Seira is going to force them to wake up and becomes the dream destroyer! To get out of here, they combine their dreams into some weird character and start eating it. Once they had their fill, they spot the monster and beat it up. This returns them to reality. Although everyone is mad at Seira for destroying their dream, ultimately they praise her for being strong as she was able to resist them with willpower. They also thank her had she not wake them up, the monster would have eaten all of their Cartado. Yup, Mei’s worst nightmare. Seira is humble in her rescue. It’s only natural to save your friends. But she notes she needs to start cleaning her room.

Episode 11
Yusha and co defeated a griffon. Since Mao doesn’t believe them, luckily Rona has records on their victory. Because of that, the girls want a hero quest but is rejected. How can they go on a hero quest when the Demon Lord isn’t even revived? Do they really want to be up the Demon Lord that bad? Hence all of them decides to visit Mao’s house. Hey, what else have they got to do? As it is messier than Seira’s, I guess it’s cleaning up time. Mao won’t lose out and cooks for them. However they almost died! OMG! Don’t you see, Mao-chan?! It’s your chance to kill them! But yet she thinks they’re here for a sleepover! WTF?! Anyway, she force feeds Chibi and this causes the monster to vomit out everything. Everything. One of them being that golem maid. Mao is worried if she remembers her, she’ll be screwed. Luckily, she has no recollections of anything. Meigo (maid golem, geddit?) now follows Mao around as her maid-cum-assistant. And this is making Mao’s colleague real jealous. One day when everyone gathers at Mao’s home since Rona has finished finalizing her hero records, Rona thinks of using magic to restore Meigo’s memories. Oh sh*t. Luckily, she still can’t remember. Phew. However, Yusha and co’s memories return! OH SH*T!!! They remember they actually graduated and defeated the Demon Lord but came back in time due to Yusha’s blooper. Yeah, it’s her fault. They remember Meigo as the sub-boss defending the Demon Lord’s room. Rona suggests keeping her in her castle for now. Mao thought that would be best for her but seeing Meigo shivering and then whispering in her ears not to worry, Mao has second thoughts. With Yusha being prideful as the hero, this reminds Mao that she too has her pride. She will not let her servant be taken and transforms into the Demon Lord. She kidnaps Rona and if they want her back, come to her castle. Everyone is left in shock that Mao is the Demon Lord. Yeah, I guess they never figured it out from her name… Back in her castle, Mao regrets doing so because she was just caught up in the moment.

Episode 12
Everyone is at a lost on what to do so Mao’s colleague gives them a Cartado that shows the path to the Demon Lord’s castle and also hints if they ever get lost, go back to the start. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Rona doesn’t really know about Mao’s true identity. She said seemingly ominous things to her because she quoted it from previous heroes. As Yusha and co camp outside the castle and discuss what to do, here comes Meigo to talk to them. The land has seen the revival of the Demon Lord and hero for 998 times. Each time the hero vanquishing the Demon Lord. However with the Demon Lord so powerful, they always regain the power to revive. However it is not that the Demon Lord is reviving on his own. You see, the generations of heroes have been for long trying to wear down the Demon Lord’s power. In this 999th time, this means if they defeat the Demon Lord, Mao will forever be gone. And if they don’t defeat the Demon Lord, the land will be destroyed. She is telling them this because by knowing the truth, they won’t kill Mao. Not that they can measure up to her either. With our heroes in a pinch, I guess it’s time to go back to the start. Yes. Literally to the school! So as they reminisce how they got together and all, suddenly the Demon Lord appears. I guess he got tired of waiting. Take out your weapons now and fight! But Yusha won’t. All of them claims Mao is their teacher. I guess those heartfelt words got through her as Mao too said it was fun. If she destroys the island, all that awaits her is cold loneliness. She doesn’t want that anymore. She wants to be defeated by her students.

Yusha agrees and readies her sword. So she’s really going to kill Mao? Nah. Just throw her sword into Chibi’s mouth. She reasons if being a hero makes Mao cry, she doesn’t want to be a hero. So does she mean letting the world get destroyed? Didn’t think that far, eh? Then Meigo tosses Mao into Chibi’s mouth! I don’t think she tastes that bad so as to be spitted out. During the last failed defeat of the Demon Lord, Meigo was also caught up. As she was floating in some dimensional gap, Chibi swallowed her. Normally, golems cannot move on their own, but after being eaten by Chibi, it is like she has taken on a life on her own. Hence she thought the same concept would apply. Meaning, Mao now will lose her concept as the Demon Lord. True enough, Mao doesn’t sense any power from within herself. So Mao is going to reprimand them for keeping such a pet but none of them knows who actually owned it. It just popped up like that? Heck, it wasn’t around when they defeated the Demon Lord. So? Who cares? Everything is back to normal! Life returns to normal. Yusha must be crying because since there is no more hero and Demon Lord, why the heck are they still going to school? Rona shows them a new volume of her hero series. Sorry, it’s still blank. She just got preoccupied in designing the cover. This gives Yusha an idea. Because the future is still blank and they can be what they want, she is still going to become a hero. Yeah well, Mao says good luck and try your best.

Hataraku Mao-chan: Yuusha Ni Haiboku Narenakatta Ore Wa Shibushibu Shuushoku Wo Ketsui Shimashita
Oh wow. The hero and the Demon Lord actually living together in harmony? Damn. Life is going to get boring. Maybe on certain occasions and anniversaries they can do some mock battles of the hero trying to defeat the Demon Lord. Failure to do so means having to clean up Mao’s room for a year. Haha! But I guess that is the end roll that these characters have decided to achieve. See the power of bonding? Instead of the typical hero conquering the evil Demon Lord for good, they now coexist so it’s not entirely a bad thing. Especially if the Demon Lord is a cute little loli. I bet everybody wants to have a Mao-chan now! So let future hero and Demon Lords in other series and genres take note of this. Spend more time together and see if you like each other. If it doesn’t work out, then go back to killing each other. But more importantly, try getting along first.

Either you will love and can’t get enough of all the loli cuteness the story and characters have to offer or you will puke at all the loli cuteness the story and characters have to offer. From time to time I have said this over and over again. I have been watching such genres since for who knows when for so many years, that this genre is starting to feel generic and nothing new. And I still keep coming back because of how they portray everything in a different light, order, sequence, form, etc. So thankfully for this series, they manage to keep it funny where I do find myself laughing at certain scenes. But I guess that is better than being bored to death. Or worse, being bored to death after suffocating from all the cute loli goodness permeating in each and every episode.

Hence basically there is no general plot of the story since our heroes have already defeated the Demon Lord so early in the series that had the foul up never take place, this could have just been a 3 minute WTF anime short that everyone would have forgotten by next week. We either see the heroes going about in their daily lives or do some sort of ‘simple’ quest, that’s all. Eventually they are all having so much fun that it feels like they’re living a fantasy life. Just need to wait for the big bad Demon Lord to show up. And Mao is like, just f*ck all that Demon Lord thingy. Why bother to kill the heroes when she can enjoy life as a teacher and go drinking? I suppose in this world, there is no age limit for those who can drink. Because technically Mao could be the oldest character around. But it is interesting to note about the generations of heroes being destined to suppress the ‘reviving’ Demon Lord. I guess I never thought about this side of the story and this might answer to questions to why the bad guys keep reviving. Because one hero wasn’t enough, they needed generations to do it to subdue the Demon Lord. Nice thought there.

Basically for a comedy genre like this, the characters are funny and in a way retards. Do you not see how Yusha, Fai and Mei are so in their own pace and world that most of the troubles created are basically their fault? Not to say that Seira is faultless too and although she usually serves as the voice of reasoning that no one listens, eventually she too falls into the retarded pacing of her friends. Because, that’s what friends are for, right? So we’ve got a really colourful hero party with Yusha being so lively, cheerful and energetic that it has become a subtle joke that her obsession is to defeat the Demon Lord even when the big baddie hasn’t appeared yet. I guess that is what it means to be really dedicated to your job and role, huh? Fai loves eating and Mei sounds like she is stuck in dreamland and loves nothing but Cartado. Seira who is more reasonable of the pack often becomes the victim to their foul ups but she is no total angel either. That’s why her room is the messiest and she has this inferior boobs complex. Ah well. Nobody is perfect.

And Mao is trying to be realistic here, trying to live a decent and normal life but with the usual heroes being retarded and absentminded enough to give her trouble, she has to keep her back watched at all times. I guess she realizes the merit and benefit to earn a decent living than becoming a Demon Lord and destroy the entire world. After all, history has always dictated that the hero will eventually defeat the Demon Lord. So how will this time be different? Just be different and go against the flow! Hence the irony of the ex-Demon Lord now tutoring the future heroes in what could be the biggest irony because eventually she’s like training them to defeat her in the future. If Mao ever materializes back to her true form, that is.

Rona feels like a fringe member of the quartet. I thought she would be a regular and turn the hero party into a quintet but she more than often is always away. Her usual excuse is that she is studying or reorganizing the hero archives. I guess that is her obsession and running joke. Maybe it is weird for an RPG to have a class called princess but have they not heard of warrior princess? Nah, maybe not in this world. Besides, have you seen Rona kick ass once? Hence her role is so cliché that she was kidnapped not once by the Demon Lord, but twice! Sure, the first time it was just all a set up but still, that is considered a kidnap nevertheless. Her character feels like to set up some yuri loli relationship with Yusha but I guess the hero is being too retarded at her own pace to even think about this. Thank goodness.

Last and not least, Chibi the pet mascot of this series that is so underutilized. Its stomach is like a black hole and I suppose it also preserves time because nothing that it spits out is rotting or decaying as that evil god from under the sea is still alive! Damn they should use him as a fridge instead of the need to hunt food and turn Fai into some serial Seira assaulter. Seriously. In the final episode, Chibi is hinted to be much more than some cute little mascot. Since we never know its origins, could it be that Chibi is actually God? I mean it can exist outside the normal time, dimension and space and nobody knows about where it comes from. Yeah, a penchant to pop up everywhere? What if Chibi is the one who watched and preside over the destiny of the hero and Demon Lord over the millennia? And because the current generation was too goofy, it’s like let’s do away with all the fighting and destiny crap and live together in harmony. Yeah… Who knows? Chibi could be the most powerful character ever and no one cares because it’s so cute.

Art and animation of this series is colourful and cute. It is like the fantasy version for young children since everything is so adorable. Heh. Even the Demon Lord who looks the most menacing isn’t that scary at all. Maybe that is coming from my perspective. Hence this series feels like it is targeted for younger audiences with all its cute and colourful visuals. This series is animated by Studio Gokumi who did animate a number of cute loli yuri series such as Kiniro Mosaic, Tonari No Kyuuketsuki-san, A-Channel, Koukaku No Pandora, Saki Achiga-hen and Yuuki Yuuna Wa Yuusha.

Voice acting of course has all the characters sound as cute as their characters are. If Mao sounds extremely one kind cute, that is because she has such a trademark squeaky voice and you’ll definitely identify her as Hawk in Nanatsu No Taizai, Belphegor in Beelzebub-jou No Okinimesu Mama and Momo in 3-gatsu No Lion. Thanks, Misaki Kuno! It was shocking to learn Satomi Satou as the voice of Meigo. I haven’t heard her for a while and thought she retired but it never would have really occurred to me that she was the one behind this monotonous maid golem considering I am more familiar with her voice like Fairy Tail’s Wendy.

The other characters are Hikaru Akao as Yusha (Chika in Back Street Girls: Gokudolls), Shiina Natsukawa as Seira (Nonoka in Sora No Method), Ari Ozawa as Fai (Nozomi in The Rolling Girls), Inori Minase as Mei (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Momo Asakura as Rona (Ayumi in Charlotte) and Chibi even having its own seiyuu, Asuka Nishi (Ravel in High School DxD). The opening theme is Endor~ru by the main hero party quartet. Such a lively and fun genki anime music that it shows basically everyone is having so much fun! Yeah! But I prefer the slightly slower tune of the ending theme, Wonder Caravan by Inori Minase. Feels a bit like a marching song or a song suited for departing on a journey.

Overall, if you are looking for blood and gore action packed fantasy series, try elsewhere. Because cuteness is the order of the day and there is nothing much to it unless you find the shenanigans and antics of our main loli characters to be its charming points. So why go on and train yourself and defeat the Demon Lord one day when you can actually co-exist together in peace! Sure, it sounds so oxymoronic that the hero and villain living together. But hey, even cats and dogs can live in peace. The only war is between cat lovers and dog lovers! So yeah, maybe the hero and Demon Lord don’t really hate each other (as proven here – but only after lots of teacher-student bonding moments together). Just the warmongering people and denizens. When our lolis can no longer cutely frolic together like they do now and force to become brutal, that is when the Final Dead End Roll truly begins.

BanG Dream S2

June 8, 2019

I didn’t really expect this series to get a sequel. So when BanG Dream S2 came out as a surprise, what else could even surprise me even more? The announcement of a third season at the same time! Woah. I guess we’re done with idols and now it is the era of girl bands taking over by storm. Just kidding. I made that up. In the last season, the closure of a popular live house didn’t signal the end of the series nor was it the end of the girl bands. Because it opened up a few opportunities for them to further live and pursue their dream. So yeah, I’m here to see how far they can go. And also how cute girls playing instruments can be on stage.

Episode 1
We are reminded that girl bands are the trend now. So overly popular. So that we don’t freak out at why every girl in town is part of a band. Yeah, it’s a new school term with Arisa being part of the student council body. Rinko Shirokane is the new student council president and unlike the previous one who was spunky, she’s a nervous wreck. Poppin’ Party members are all in the same class. Except Tae. Don’t worry. This won’t break up the band, right? After another practice until the wee morning and heading to the convenience store, Rokka Asahi pleads for their help to come perform at Galaxy tonight. Can’t pass up this chance, can they? Rokka is relieved since she needed to find bands to play for the reopening of this place. We see a few bands perform like Afterglow, Hello Happy World and Roselia perform, it is Poppin’ Party’s moment on stage. Once it’s over, Roselia’s Yukina makes an announcement. They will be self-sponsoring a live show of their own. I guess Poppin’ Party got pulled into the hype because they too announce they’ve got a show coming up. I hope they just didn’t devise this impromptu.

Episode 2
Yeah, Poppin’ Party is already making plans for their show. Such big dreams. Until Sayo points out the literally so many things to do and prepare. From ticket sales to rehearsals and checks. Can you rookies manage that? Then Yukina officially invites Poppin’ Party to perform with them and of course they accept. Wow. So exciting. It’s going to get busy. Even shy Rokka wants to come see. Poppin’ Party practice hard and come that day when they head to the backstage, they see Roselia members passed out! It looks like a murder scene. Apparently they got so busy in preparing for their own show that they burnt out. I guess this is what happens when you self-sponsor your own show and to keep cost, you do literally everything yourselves. Poppin’ Party would love to help but Yukina insists they can handle it fine (were they?). It’s their show. Poppin’ Party could learn a thing or two watching them making preparations. It’s time for the show as Poppin’ Party heads out as the appetizer before Roselia nailing it as the main dish. Although Poppin’ Party feel good despite admitting they are nowhere near Roselia’s level, they are confident to throw their own self-sponsored live show. Too bad Yukina had to rain on their parade. They are in fact nowhere near that at all. Yeah, why the shock look?

Episode 3
This brat, Chuchu is some genius producer? She confronts Yukina and wants her band to team up with her to produce the most awesome label. Rejected. Poppin’ Party are now having doubts to do their own show. Meanwhile Rokka wants to form her own band as she can play the guitar but looks like there are no openings. Yeah, looks like every other girl is already in a band. I don’t know if she is tailing-cum-stalking Kasumi for inspiration but gets caught. She brings her to a bathhouse where she works part time. Is this a free pass for Poppin’ Party to hang out so that she could come enjoy their shows? Rokka tells them her story. As a newly transferred student, she came here to see the last performance at Space. That’s how she knew about Poppin’ Party as she saw them perform. Rokka was in a band too in her old hometown but they broke up as the rest wanted to concentrate on their studies. She is confident she can find others to play with here. Seeing Poppin’ Party on stage gave her a lot of motivation to make her dreams come true again. Poppin’ Party then play a song for her. Cue for Rokka’s life story so far. We see her love bands so much and started out with cutting a cardboard shape of a guitar. Then she saved up to buy her own electric guitar. Man, she must have saved up loads of money or electric guitars in her village must be darn cheap. Short snippets of her time in her band till they break up and Rokka’s moments to come to Tokyo. Either the memories or Poppin’ Party’s song made Rokka cry a lot. She hopes to form a band and perform with them. With that, Poppin’ Party decides not to give up on their self-sponsored show. Meanwhile Chuchu is furious that Yukina still rejects her. It’s like she can’t take no for an answer. She even gives a song she wrote for them to try. Again rejected. Roselia will write their own songs to the way to the top. They don’t need a producer. Oh Chuchu, please don’t take it out on the trash if you’re frustrated. At least she cleans up. Still in disbelief, she’s starting to sound like a villain because if she can’t team up with them, she’s going to destroy them. Yeah, she really can’t take no for an answer.

Episode 4
Poppin’ Party is sure coming up with lots of (unrealistic) ideas for their live show. FLYING?! Lovely. But can it be really done? Hello Happy World’s front vocalist, Kokoro Tsurumaki wants to help seeing that Poppin’ Party isn’t smiling with this idea. Hence she rallies her other bandmates for a brainstorming session. Not sure if all those scribbles make sense. Maybe. If you’re as quirky as the rest of them. Like the dramatic queen (chuunibyou?) Kaoru Seta, the happy go lucky cheery Hagumi Kitazawa and positive thinking Kanon Matsubara. Maybe. Only the dog mascot, Michelle or real name Misaki Okusawa is the voice of rational that nobody listens. Poppin’ Party is invited to Kokoro’s luxurious liner. Damn it’s huge. You mean this entire liner just for this exclusive performance? Okay. It starts off with Kaoru ‘kidnapping’ Rimi. Then the rest are made to run and chase them all over the ship. Yeah… Is anybody tired yet? Nope. Show’s just getting started because now Kokoro and Michelle take off in a giant bear air balloon before jumping off! Wait, what?! I wonder if Poppin’ Party can see anything from down there. Anyway, Michelle notices Kokoro has no parachute! Michelle only has hers and despite being afraid of heights, she takes the dive. Well, parachute has no strings. OH SH*T!!! Kasumi, you call that flying?! They’re falling!!! Turns out Michelle’s suit has some Ironman technology so a voice activates and tells her to do some Konami cheat code activation for some special boosters! Now they’re flying! To top it off, more fireworks and a huge writing in the sky, “SMILE”. I’m more flabbergasted… As expected, Poppin’ Party is so amazed at this concert (was it?!) and is now motivated to do what they want. Sure. If they have the money. But I suppose this ‘concert’ was to motivate and bring their smile back because nothing can stop them once they have that smile. Unless, money. I mean, you really want to fly like that in your live show, right? To end it all, more ‘drama’ with Kaoru and Michelle ‘dying’. The latter finally having her nerves give way. Man, what a really out of this world episode.

Episode 5
Pastel Palettes is excited to be debuting at the biggest idol festival, World Idol Festival (WIF – I can see why didn’t call it World Idol Festival Event…). They are only worried not to make that same blunder the last time. Bassist Chisato Shirasagi has a busy schedule since she is also acting in some drama. She rarely practises along with her bandmates and that is partly she is also secretly practising by herself in her studio. Too bad Tae works there and she hopes she will keep this a secret. But I think everyone knows she is practising too hard because they can hear her bass lines getting duller. Uh huh. Her bass strings are wearing out. Wow. People noticing the bass part? Vocalist Aya Maruyama is already having some sort of self-confidence issues (also some strained relationship with Chisato due to a song that they are to sing as a duet). She sure doesn’t need any more issues with the internet all abuzz that this fake girl band is going to be at WIF. You see, the blunder they did was during a performance, they were caught lip synching. If not for Chisato bravely explaining the technical difficulties that made them unable to perform live, it could have ended much worse. Now they are ready and will be playing their instruments for real. With Chisato bribing Tae with expensive bread to keep her secret, keyboardist Eve Wakamiya spots this and thinks something is wrong. Telling to the rest, it gets awkward when Chisato pops in. One of those rare times she decides to practice together. They change to topic to start practising. However it didn’t go well as Aya blunders. Some tension here and there that made Chisato blow her top. Wow. Such drama. But you know, it won’t last long. The duo eventually made up and vow to get better. You can tell the drama is all over when Aya starts crying. Now the band is truly one again. At WIF, Pastel Palettes just got a small stage. Ah well, it’s a start.

Episode 6
The local market district is going to hold a local festival. Hence our girl bands are eager to participate. But the focus of this episode is Afterglow since they will be performing a live concert at that event followed by Poppin’ Party. During the festival, it starts to rain just as Afterglow is about to start jamming. Yeah, the rain sure knows how to put a damper on the show. Yeah, extra effort is needed to keep the rented equipment from getting wet. So while they way for the rain to stop, time for some flashback. It seems Afterglow members have been childhood friends ever since young. Mostly in the same class, grade after grade. Then that one time one of them got placed in a different class, Ran Mitake thought the only way for them to be together more often is to be in a band. So picking a name wasn’t easy. Yup, the trusty English dictionary for reference. After stumbling upon a few weird words, they like the sound of Afterglow. Coincidentally it’s evening when they pick this name and they can only practice after school. And that was how Afterglow came about. With the rain stop, it’s time for the performance to be back on schedule. Thank goodness the rain didn’t last forever or it would have been a no-show. Like as though fate is trying to make them live up to their name because it’s evening when they finally could start jamming. At the end of Poppin’ Party’s show, Kasumi announces their self-sponsored show at Galaxy. Rokka is shocked but it should surprise everyone else too since Poppin’ Party never told anyone. No flashy fireworks to end the festival but the first star in the sky sure made everyone’s day.

Episode 7
Sayo’s twin sister, Hina (who is the guitarist of Pastel Palettes) wants both their schools to jointly hold their school cultural festival together. And since Poppin’ Party is eager to play there too, looks like their schedules are getting busier. Rokka laments she still can’t find a band to play in but her day is light up when Poppin’ Party makes reservation to play at Galaxy. As if that wasn’t enough, yeah, Tae feels that she really needs to convey her music and practices aren’t cutting it. Hence she does solo live street performances. Because the other members of Pastel Palettes are busy with their own commitments, they can’t play at the festival. Hence Hina suggests Aya form their own temporary band for this. So they rope in Kanon and Tsugumi Hazawa (keyboardist of Afterglow). Completing this line-up is their own Roselia’s Lisa. Ran is not amused Hina dragged Tsugumi into this but Hina takes it the wrong way and thinks they want to help out. Yeah, they’ll have a special double festival band! Can’t they just say no? As Tae is playing one of her street solos, she is joined in by Rei Wakana. Rei is Tae’s childhood friend and they used to perform together at the park before she moved away. It was Tae’s first exposure playing music with another person. Rei recently moved back and is now a bassist in a band. Time to remember that promise of forming a band together. Oh right. Tae’s already in a band with her school friends. Rei still wants her to think about this and suggests listening to her music. Give it a try. You’ll not regret it. Meanwhile Chuchu is ecstatic at the blazing performance of drummer girl, Natsumi AKA Masking. She is confident that her all-star band will explode into the scene and knock Roselia off their high horses.

Episode 8
Tae drops the bomb to her Poppin’ Party girls: She wants to play in another band. With Rimi interpreting that as filling in as a support guitarist, everyone is relieved that she isn’t quitting the band. Is she? I mean, it’s not like Tae confirmed that either. So Tae goes to see Chuchu who of course tests her to see if she is worthy to be part of the band. Of course she is. How could she face Rei if she failed? Kasumi tries to imitate Tae’s way to write songs. Not working. But of course. So she goes to see the makeshift band for hints. Well, everyone has their weird habits in writing them. And so Kasumi tries lying flat on the chairs… Well, you won’t know if you don’t try. But I don’t think this will work either. Speaking of which, the makeshift band want to write a song for the festival but none of them are songwriters. So they just decide on the theme of the song. But of course. To cheer others up. What else? Meanwhile Rokka is still having a hard time trying to recruit band members. Lisa talks to her about Roselia’s dream of playing at Future World Fest. As you can tell, it’s the world’s biggest music festival. It started as Yukina’s dream (hence why Roselia was formed) but soon became their dream. On the other hand, Kasumi stumbles into Yukina and hopes she could play with them at the festival. She’ll think about it. Hey, at least it gives some possibilities. I’m guessing the reason why the festival is holding a rehearsal in the hall is so that we can see the makeshift band strutting their stuff. Now we go over to Tae’s side. After a brutal practice, Chuchu announces their band’s name to be Raise A Suilen (RAS). With Tae on guitar, Rei on bass, Masking on drums and Reo Kurachi AKA Pareo on keyboards, she is confident they’ll be the next big thing and her music will put an end to the girl band era (isn’t this technically a girl band too?). Hence more practising until their explosive first solo concert. Guess what? It’s on the day of the festival. Tae, you looking worried.

Episode 9
Tae tells her bandmates about the scheduling conflict. She still wants to do both, though. How? By cloning herself! Damn, Tae. You worse than Kasumi. But don’t worry. Poppin’ Party stays positive. They’ll try to reschedule or something. Meanwhile Chuchu invites Yukina to her band’s debut and brags about it. Too bad she can’t go. She has her festival. Well, back at you Chuchu. You think your concert is more important than the festival? We see the festival having really weird themes. Like a happy haunted café and Kaoru serving her guests that makes all her fans swoon like hell. And yeah, Rokka is jamming with the grandmas from the shopping district?! Grandmas truly rock and roll! With Tae being so busy with her practice with RAS, she can’t make it for her Poppin’ Party practice thereafter. Now on that crucial day, RAS performs a concert so stunning that the crowd just wants an encore. Yeah, I don’t know how many times they go back out and played but you know it is going to eat into Tae’s festival’s time. And when it is about Poppin’ Party’s turn, I guess RAS is over and Tae leaves immediately. Woah. Can she actually make it now?! I don’t see the idea of Kasumi rushing to go get her. Will it make them run faster? Maybe. Friends motivate each other, maybe… So to buy time for the final performance of the festival, poor Aya has to go up that and tell some weird story after her makeshift band is done performing. Luckily we have Rokka to start doing her solo power riffs and devilish jamming! OMFG! Is she human?! Why hasn’t any death black metal bands scouted her???!!! This inspires Roselia to take it from here. By the time Kasumi and Tae arrive… It’s over. The hall’s empty. Everyone’s gathered at the campfire for the closing. Oh Tae, crying now won’t do you any good. You made your choice. Yeah, tell it to her, Arisa! Uhm, I guess she’s not even in the mood either. Poppin’ Party’s party just got popped…

Episode 10
No time for Poppin’ Party to feel gloomy. Time to move on. Poppin’ Party accompanies Tae as she goes around apologizing to everyone. I think the looping apology between Tae and Rinko is going to take a while. Surprisingly Yukina isn’t harsh on them since she knows what happened. Just don’t let it happen again. Many are talking about Rokka’s insane skills and thinking of recruiting her but Rokka herself isn’t in the mood since she is worried about Poppin’ Party getting back on their feet. Tae then talks to Chuchu that she wants to quit RAS. She has no energy to play for both bands and thought she could grow and practice with them. But this pisses off Chuchu a lot. RAS is everything to her and she doesn’t need amateurs using it as a stepping stone. She is selfish if she thinks she can quit when things get rough. Tae tells Poppin’ Party about her decision to quit RAS. But with a condition to play her last gig at their next show. Poppin’ Party wants to come see of course. Masking talks to Rei about Tae. Before she moved, Tae played her a last song. The tears in her eyes made her know she would be back. But she can’t stop her now. Seeing her again is good enough. This ‘sad’ story is enough to make badass girl Masking cry?! Poppin’ Party design their uniform for their show. Because they all want to add something, it turns out… WTF is this hell hole?! Poppin’ Party attend RAS’ show. They are amazed with the crazy fans. After their performance, Tae makes the announcement that she is quitting. Some fans plead her to stay but I guess back to those wild screams when she fist bumps with Rei. Why is Poppin’ Party looking gloomy? They saw how amazing Tae was up there as though she was like a different person. Are they in shock? Then Chuchu confronts them. She wants them to hand over Tae to her.

Episode 11
Chuchu can’t stay since there is an after party. Next time. But that comes soon as Chuchu’s visits their secret studio (Arisa’s basement) to once again ask Tae to quit Poppin’ Party. But wasn’t she to quit RAS? Yes. As a support guitarist. She will now be reborn as the main guitarist! Does Tae get a say? Yes. That’s why she is here to talk to all of them. She tells them straight: They are holding her back. After she left, Poppin’ Party contemplates on Chuchu’s words. In many ways they are true. For Tae to be scouted means they acknowledge her talents. Their music sounds super awesome and to be playing for a band like that is a chance of a lifetime. To drag out the drama, they don’t want to pressure Tae to give an answer now. Meanwhile Rei confronts Chuchu. She didn’t know she was scouting Tae as the main guitarist. You mean Rei didn’t intent on Tae playing together permanently?! So we see the rest of the scenes of Poppin’ Party gloomy. Yeah. Thinking about the future direction of their band. Eventually Tae and Kasumi talk. Oh heck, nothing to blow the blues away by playing some guitar together. Flashbacks, snippets of their time together. Uh huh. Really moved Tae’s soul that she started writing some lyrics in the sand?! Do tears come with it? With that, Tae texts everyone as she has something to tell them. Oh no. Is she going to play an opening act just for her announcement?! Oh wait. This song reflects her feelings. So yeah. Once done, the rest have their tearful say on this but nothing really that conclusive to point out if Tae is staying or leaving. And then more tears. I think they cried so much under the name of friendship that they managed to write a new song. Wow…

Episode 12
All the bands have prepared their set list for Poppin’ Party’s self-sponsored show. Everyone is so neatly done except Poppin’ Party. Are those scribbles? All that is left is Roselia. Because Yukina didn’t reply, they thought it was a roundabout way of turning them down. Like Kasumi is going to give up so they go ask again. Surprisingly Yukina accepts. So they were so busy in preparing their show to perfection that they were practising and didn’t even have the decency to reply? So what if Poppin’ Party didn’t come and the show didn’t have arrangements for Roselia? Oh yeah, I think they can accommodate last minute surprises. Because, they’re Roselia. Kasumi gets this idea for Poppin’ Party to perform twice. She wants to debut their new song in their final appearance. As they leave, oh no, it’s Chuchu. However she is here to support them and root for their show to be a success. Because she knows Tae is going to be a blast. After all, she is the best guitarist for RAS. That is when Tae tells her. Thanks for the opportunities. However I am Poppin’ Party’s lead guitarist. Chuchu suddenly has a mood change. The kind that says get out of my sight NOW. Snippets of everybody making the final preparations for that day. Yeah, Tae making some final adjustments to their new song to make it perfect. Last minute inspiration, huh? All the bands are on site to prepare and thus the cue for us to have a sneak peek at Poppin’ Party’s new song, Returns. Brilliant, of course.

Episode 13
This final episode is like a big promo music video and blow away the fact that Tae was ever scouted in the first place. With all the girl bands streaming into the backstage, Poppin’ Party leaves a camera message for them to record as ‘guestbook’. Rei is outside Galaxy, still wondering if she should go in and hear. She is surprised to see Masking here. Get this. She lives just upstairs because her dad who looks like a fishmonger but runs a fruit stand is actually the owner of Galaxy! Damn! The show kicks off with Poppin’ Party being the first to perform. They shock everyone by playing Returns. Rokka didn’t see this coming. Hope she doesn’t blunder with this sudden change. If the crowd isn’t too stimulated with that slow ballad, time for Hello Happy World to rev things up with their sunshiny performance. Since they too sing a new song, this throws Rokka off too. Now we ramp up the cuteness with Pastel Palettes also doing a new number! You keeping up with this, Rokka? Next is Afterglow with its rock style. And you guessed it, new song! Oh Rokka, you should see the pattern here. No introductions needed for Roselia but they do a familiar number. No unnecessary shocks here for Rokka. Phew. Poppin’ Party comes out to close the performance. She thanks everyone for their first self-sponsored show and especially her band members for being in this band. Funny, why should they look surprise? Did they not expect this? Especially it’s from Kasumi. They hit it with the familiar Dreamers Go piece. Hey. Is that Chuchu dancing to their tune?! And that ends the splendid performance. Do we hear an encore? Yeah. Time for bonus stage with another song! After the show as everyone leaves, Chuchu confronts Poppin’ Party. She hates to admit it that she was moved by every second of their performance. So she admitting they better than her? Too bad being the sore loser she is, she ‘threatens’ she’ll make a bigger comeback that will leave them eating dust. GTFO! Your threats mean nothing!

Go Like A (BanG) Dream!
Oh well. Until the next season arrives, we’ll only know if Chuchu can walk the talk. But I’m glad it somewhat ended on that note because it is like cutting this brat off before she could do more harm. And it ends with our girls giving this confused look that screams, “Huh? WTF this loli?”. But anyway, I still don’t understand how Poppin’ Party managed to get the sufficient funds to sponsor their first self-sponsored show. Maybe they got a huge discount from Galaxy’s owner. Yeah, Japanese people are pretty generous if you know how to push the right buttons. I thought Yukina shot them down that they weren’t prepared. Unless it was just to scare them to see if they were really going to do it. With that kind of sparkling confidence, you think Poppin’ Party can’t do it? Yeah. They did it. Wow. Everything so perfect. Ganbare! Po-pi-pa, pi-po-pa, po-pi-pa-pa-pi-po-pa! Damn their huddle shout sounds like a tongue twister or scatting. Good for some verbal password. I think. Not.

This season feels like it can be separated into 2 parts. The first part seems to be introducing the other main girl bands. Their brand of music and style of entertainment. I think this is so that people like me who didn’t watch that chibi comedy, BanG Dream Garupa Pico (or those who didn’t play the Girls Band Party) will get to know and be familiar with them. It is not a very deep story about them or their band members but they are at least given an episode of prominence just to indicate that they are one of the few main players besides Poppin’ Party. The second part seems to be about Tae’s dilemma to join another band. Personally, with the first half already close to being boring in my books, they needed some sort of drama to ramp up the drama effect that Poppin’ Party might be breaking up or at least move on either by finding a replacement for Tae (Rokka comes to mind) or just carry on without her. But of course, we all know very well that a band’s bond is strong and there is no way that Poppin’ Party is going to break up, right? RIGHT?! After all, we already had Poppin’ Party origins story in the first season.

With so many characters, I couldn’t be bothered to feel if there is one that I really liked. All of them felt boring despite the myriads of personalities and quirky behaviours. You got the serious one, the dreamy one, the ditzy one, the reliable one, some even having this chuunibyou effect, yeah a whole bunch of them. Last season, my favourite character was Arisa because she was funny. This season she was really toned down and I thought that was really disappointing. Not to say that Arisa was totally revamped and changed her character, she still retains what Arisa being Arisa is but to a much lesser degree. Sometimes she still cracks sarcasm but it wasn’t on the same level that appealed to me like she did in the first season. Kasumi isn’t as annoying as she was in the first season but still annoying nevertheless. She is still going at her own pace with her happy go lucky demeanour. Saaya and Rimi feel insignificant that they don’t matter but because they are part of Poppin’ Party, they do. Remember, their origin story was already told in the first season so whatever issues they have then are already ‘solved’. That’s why Tae is now in the spotlight and they don’t have any problems that would have us focus on them. I wonder if Tae who isn’t in the same class with the rest for the new term served as a foretelling for this issue. You know, a band is supposedly strong when you do everything together. Everything!

Although the other girl bands were given their episode of prominence, they still feel pretty insignificant and I still can’t remember their names. Yes, they are around to help each other but when it comes down to really getting to know them, something that would make you want to care for them, I don’t see there is any reason for me to support them. After all, Poppin’ Party is the star of this series so perhaps they don’t want to take away that limelight from them. So generally the other band girls follow their own theme that makes them ‘unique’. Like Hello Happy World with their marching band outfits but their songs are so lively and exuberant, you wonder if they are high on drugs on each performance. Really. Roselia’s trademark is being dark and gothic, Pastel Palettes are like colourful sunshine magical girls the musical version and Afterglow feels like street musicians.

One very underrated character is Rokka. I was under the assumption that she would play a big part in this season but as far as I can see, she is just a minor character. Sometimes I think she is just a red herring considering she just became a worker at Galaxy and somewhat an ardent supporter of Poppin’ Party. Not sure if this is her running joke that she wants to form a band but couldn’t manage to do so and hence her awesome guitar skills lying dormant and going to waste every second a band doesn’t scout her for her talents. Like I said earlier, I thought she was going to be Tae’s replacement but I guess fans would prefer the original Poppin’ Party. Maybe in the next season Rokka would play a more significant role. For now, she is just doing fine with her part time job at Galaxy. Hang in there.

This season’s supposed ‘antagonist’, Chuchu. Probably a character everyone loves to hate because of her very obnoxious sounding manner. Yes, she sounds annoying and tries to sound big and important as she mixes English words in her sentences. Wow. So trendy. You understand? Capisce. Okay. Because she has big ambitions and wants to achieve them quickly, it makes her look very pushy and demanding. Maybe this is the part that all of us misunderstood about her. It is hard not to try and look at her this way since it only enhances her bratty behaviour. You know, a young girl who claims to be a genius producer and then being so in your face, are you going to take all that? She is also arrogant thinking her music is the best in the world. The problem with that thinking is that she doesn’t see the point of view from others. Yes, we understand you believe your works are the best. But not necessarily everyone out there agrees. That is why Yukina and Tae rejected her. That inability to accept that reality mostly had Chuchu fuming and frustrated. And add more English words to the mix. Why? What? How? Unbelievable! F*CK!!! ;p.

RAS might be making waves in this series’ setting and it makes me wonder if the main girl bands here are living in a world of their own. Unfair of me to say this since obviously the focus is on Poppin’ Party and the other bands. They have their own followers and fans but with RAS taking the girl band world by storm and revolutionizing the industry, I just wonder if these girl bands here will they continue to stay the same or change and adapt to the new music scene. Eventually it will be a tough call to make because it all boils down to remembering their original goal when the band was formed. Will they be able to still achieve that dream if they have changed? After all, if nobody listens to their music, being part of a band is somewhat redundant, right? Unless they enjoy playing together themselves but I think that defeats the purpose.

As I researched RAS (read: Lazy Google research), I found out they are a real band although they were created as backup bands as some of the seiyuus in some of the girl bands are unable to play their character’s instrument. So who is the guitarist of RAS if it is not Tae? It’s the one behind Rokka! I never really thought of it until now but perhaps next season they could scout her and make her part of their team. And then Chuchu can brag about this blessing of being rejected because now she’s got a real awesome guitarist. But still, genius producer or not, you’re still an annoying self-centred brat.

And the rest of RAS, I wonder if they are the best of the best as Chuchu claims to have scouted. If you asked me, they are a bunch of ragtags formed together only by chance. After all, if they were this good, how come they weren’t scouted before? I mean, it is the age of girl bands in this anime, right? How the f*ck did Chuchu scout them anyway? For them to accept Chuchu’s invitation, they must be making the biggest gamble in their life to entrust her. Furthermore, RAS is the only band who is not made up of high school girls. This gives the impression they have more practice and exposure. But as I have said, they are a bunch of talented ragtags. Rei has been bumming around here and there doing part time jobs, Masking is a delinquent (probably beating up others, made her good at drumming – just a theory!) and Pareo whose rainbow dye hairstyle makes her head look like some Neapolitan ice cream feels like a lapdog to Chuchu because she does everything to please her. Even if it means being the object to take out her frustrations because you don’t want to attract the authorities’ attention by vandalizing a safety cone, do you? Do you see how weird these band members are? On second thought, that weirdness makes them look interesting than the other girl bands…

Music is supposedly the star of this series but just like last season, they still don’t resonate with me. Not to say that I don’t like their brand of songs but they didn’t sound catchy enough to retain my attention. So we have Poppin’ Party’s brand of happy rock music in Kizuna Music (opening theme) as well as Jumpin (ending theme). But sometimes Poppin’ Party don’t hog this section because we need to show why Roselia is the best among the bands featured here. They do not stray from their dark gothic rock style as they sing Brave Jewel as the opener and Safe And Sound as the ending theme.

One of the very obvious difference when watching this season is the fact that the entire series is now CGI! Woah. Why?! Hence the character looks slightly different but still maintain their recognizable features. Unfortunately the CGI effects make the characters’ movement feel stiff and one kind. Not to say that it is bad, but it really feels weird seeing the characters that we were introduced in the first season as traditional 2D characters to suddenly now become 3D render models. But the CGI might be a little appeasing during performances because this generation has gotten used to performances like Hatsune Miku so it’s no big deal. The big change in visuals might be due to the fact that the anime studio was changed from Xebec and Issen to Sanzigen who did Black Rock Shooter, another music based series back in 2012. I hope they do better the next season.

Overall, I still find this season boring and unimpressive. Chuchu being an annoying pushy brat trying to steal scout Tae was supposed to be some big drama but eventually the band that plays together, sticks together continues to prove true. But I’ll stick around for the third to see if there would be any shocking twists and revelations that would make me change my mind or perhaps a final closure on the series. But I doubt the latter will happen any time so soon since there are quite a number of fans of this series who really like the show, its directions, its music, its growth of its characters, etc. Makes me feel like I’m the only odd one standing against it all… You all gonna hate me for not liking this bunch of cuties? Wait till you see my awesome power chords and riffing! I’ll show you! Oh sh*t, I still flub my lines of Jim Croce’s Time In A Bottle for the umpteenth time…

Girly Air Force

June 2, 2019

With a name like that, surely many would have had the first impressions of Girly Air Force to be something like Strike Witches. You know, lots of cute girls in cute military outfits with cute accessories and weapons… Yeah… Too bad. Sounds more like click bait. I still can’t see why they came up with his unsuitable name. Like as though they already got the story and everything written down but couldn’t find the right name for the series. With the deadline approaching, hence they just slap whatever that comes to mind. Hmmm… What does this show mainly have? A few hot girls flying modern fighter jets shooting down the enemies. Uhm… Oh… Aha! The unit is all girls so that means it has got to be girly, no? And since they are fighting from the air force, hence Girly Air Force to the fore! Heh… Don’t worry, I made that BS up. But it is about a few hot girls flying modern fighter jets shooting down the enemy. But with a guy in the middle. Ah…

Episode 1
A couple of military terrorist planes known as Xi (pronounced as Zai) attack a civilian evacuation ship that Kei Narutani and Song Minghua are on. You think a bunch of ordinary jet fighters can take down this alien technology fighters? Don’t worry, here comes this red Japanese fighter, JAS39 Gripen. It matches its speed and agility to take down one before the other flees. Gripen then crashes. Normally no civilian in their right mind would dive into the ocean just to save the pilot. But Kei did. When Gripen’s hatch opens, the girl wakes up and kisses him before falling back to slumber. WTF?! Kei and Minghua are now living their refugee life in Japan. Yeah, Japan is so peaceful from Xi. Minghua is not happy that she finds a JASDF booklet in Kei’s room. He plans to join them and become a pilot. Partly they have free tuition and dormitory and you get paid, but his main objective is to avenge his mom who was killed by Xi. They start arguing with Minghua being pretty pessimistic about his chances since he is inferior to her in every way so how could he even think of becoming a pilot? Later as Kei does some errands, he spots the red Gripen being transported before him. This guy tries to chase it with his bicycle?! Thank Google Maps for locating a nearby military base! As he tries to get close to it, Minghua finds him. She was worried about him doing stupid things and tailed him. Another argument ensues. He calling her like his nagging mom and Minghua opposing it all because she has no one but him here so what if something happens to him when he is drafted? All this commotion has some thugs kidnapping them! Kei is then interrogated (they think he is a spy) and threatened to be killed when Gripen activates. That’s when the show is over. Haruka Yashirodoori who is a technical research officer under the Ministry of Defence and is tasked to find ways to combat Xi. So why is he telling a civilian kid all this military secrets? Like how the Xi uses HiMAT (Highly Manoeuvrable Aircraft Technology that has the planes turn and accelerate at impossible rates) and EPCM (Electronic Perceptory Counter Measures that has your vision blur when you get too close to them). Hence Gripen as an experimental craft is fitted with technologies to counter that and piloted by an autonomous piloting device known as Anima. His job is to tune these Daughters to fight Xi. However they are unstable. They know Kei was trying to rescue Gripen them and notice it stabilized when he is nearby. Like just now. Yashirodoori wants Kei to make sure Gripen can fly properly. It’s for the sake of mankind’s future!

Episode 2
Kei and Minghua are reunited and set free. With their heads cooled, they apologize to each other. Kei convinces Minghua that the military has gave him a part time job at the base. Next day as he arrives, he is greeted by Gripen. Because she has never interacted with anyone outside, he can observe her awkwardness. Also, she seems to be attracting a lot of stares from other JASDF pilots. Gripen shows him around the base as well as an old bunker she uses as her ‘secret hideout’. This job ends when Gripen is called for her usual check-up. Back home, Minghua tells him her refugee review application has been passed so she will be away tomorrow. She even teases him not to bring a girl home. Not if the girl comes to him! Yeah, that’s what Gripen did since Yashirodoori told her to. As they talk, Gripen also mentions how she is defective because during tests, she cannot seem to perform well. She can feel something is missing but doesn’t know what it is and hopes he could help teach her since Kei’s mom was a pilot and she let her young son fly a lot with her back then so technically he has got over a hundred of hours of flight time. It gets a bit heavy when he mentions she is gone (she was shot down by Xi during a stunt show). They try to stay positive and for the rest of the day, he brings her out. Like as though they’re on a date. With the news media talking about the possible negotiations with Xi, Gripen vows to protect mankind no matter what since she is a weapon made to do so. Date continues till the end of the day when Gripen suddenly collapses. Yashirodoori and his men then cart her away as he explains to Kei. Yeah, they were watching them all day. It seems Gripen only stays awake for 3 hours before ‘sleeping’. But today, she sailed uncharted waters by staying awake for 10 hours straight. Can we say Kei is the factor? Yashirodoori would like to develop a hypothesis for this but time is not on his side. Next week, Gripen will take a test flight. If she fails, she will be scrapped. Yes, it is costly to maintain one and if one fails, move on to another. If he claims Gripen saved him then otherwise he wouldn’t be here, he should stop complaining and help them.

Episode 3
Gripen uses a test simulator and fails. She complains it is not like the real deal. After explaining the NFI thingy that connects the plane to your sensory organs (like how you use your brain to control your limbs), Kei decides to give it a try. Heck, he is better than Gripen! Oh sh*t! He even thinks with a few more practice he can fly the real thing! Well, don’t let it get to you, girl. For the next few days, we see her in training as well as ‘dating’ Kei. Yashirodoori then shows Kei the EGG readings of Gripen. When her brainwaves start to destabilize, only Kei manages to stabilize it. Not only that, it matches exactly Kei’s brainwaves. It seems his proximity to her helps the stabilizing but they need to figure out how to increase the interval because he can’t be up there piloting with her all the time. Kei receives news that a city in China has been flattened by Xi. More woes when the pilots mock Gripen a monster that should be locked up. Kei goes to her defence but he learns the shocking truth. It seems Anima are made out of Xi parts that were shot down! With Kei in shock, Gripen runs away. Flashback shows the stunt show Kei’s mom was in being attacked by Xi. So the one who shot down mom was Gripen?! Thank goodness just a nightmare. Hopefully. So Kei is planning to skip her test flight day? Until he sees a muffler and letter from Gripen. I wonder how he got them. The letter states her gratefulness and her apologies for not telling the truth. She wanted to but when she learnt he hated Xi so much, she just couldn’t. So this letter is enough to make Kei ride all the way to go to her test flight? At least this wasn’t setup by the military and was Gripen’s true feelings. The test flight begins. Everything goes well until a real Xi shows up. Yashirodoori wants Gripen to abandon mission since she is only carrying training equipment. However she remains stubborn in wanting to take it down on her own. Because of that, her EGG pattern destabilizes and she loses consciousness. Looks like Kei’s screaming voice isn’t going to wake her up. Before Gripen is shot down, here comes F-15J-ANM Eagle taking down the bogey.

Episode 4
When Kei is hanging out with Minghua, suddenly Eagle comes to hide with them. Dumb SPs went looking the wrong direction. Apparently Eagle didn’t want to be put on a leash so she ran away. At least just outside the base to see what normal life is. So now you can expect a cat fight between Minghua and Eagle over Kei. Not. Eagle has a mentality of a kid so Minghua is ‘safe’ in that sense. Eagle then tells Kei that Gripen will be scrapped after the higher ups decide to shut down her project. This makes Kei dart back to the base. Yeah, military base must have very slacking check points. He finds Gripen at her secret hideout. She has resigned to her fate to be scrapped but Kei tells her not to give up as she has worked so hard. Cue for the alarm because Xi is spotted. Yashirodoori calls for Gripen’s help. Inside the control room, they see numerous Xi fighters advancing and the normal military jets of course can’t do much. Eagle is up there to stall them but it’s not enough. So Yashirodoori’s plan is to turn Gripen into a suicide fighter and take down all the Xi? Kei is disappointed in this but Yashirodoori points out another option: Take Gripen and run and hide. Just then, the base is hit by the Xi. Luckily it is bad shot otherwise everything would have been turned into rubble. Eagle is ordered to return and protect the base but she has her hands full with several bogeys. Gripen decides to fly even if it puts her life at risk. Don’t worry. Kei will fly with her to keep her conscious. It’s not like they’re going to listen if Yashirodoori refuses, right? With the base in tatters, they use the normal highway as the runway. Kei is suit up as Gripen begins taxing and take flight just enough time before Xi blows up the highway. With Gripen having trouble maintaining her conscious, Kei temporarily takes control. Remember, he has better flight skill than her! He even did some crazy move to destroy a Xi fighter! That must really have woken Gripen up. So she takes control of her plane and gets into the grove to shoot down Xi at crazy speeds. Let’s hope Kei’s body can keep up with the G-forces. Not sure if they break any sound barrier or Kei losing his mind because now he sees the world that Gripen supposedly sees. With them flying together, they take down the Xi horde before Kei passes out. Kei’s body takes some damage although he is overall stable. Yashirodoori deduces what Kei saw as impossible as human brains cannot be linked to NFI or have shared senses with Anima and Daughters. Scientifically, the only explanation is that he is hallucinating.

Episode 5
Gripen sulks after losing to Eagle in a test flight and the latter continues to brag she is better. Kei sees Yashirodoori as he is explained Gripen is carrying extra baggage and had to be careful. For now Kei’s solution is to train his body more but even so, there is a limit of how many G’s he can take. Gripen continues to lose to Eagle even in physical training. So to get over this, she take Kei to her room to ‘show him a good time’? WTF? Don’t worry, there are cameras around so no doing sneaky stuffs. He sees a Chinese private pilot licence exam book. Then he sees more than he bargained for because she got out of the shower naked. Gotta go. After leaving the base, he sees a girl being harassed by a thug. So he helps her out by pretending to be her acquaintance. He didn’t think of it much as he gives her directions to the airbase that she is asking. Next day, Kei is introduced to a new Anima. Yup, it’s that girl from yesterday, RF-4EJ-ANM Phantom II. The Anima and Kei gather before Yashirodoori as he explains the new announcement of turning this base into an independent unit called Independent Mixed Test Unit (IMTU). In view of the recent attack, the higher ups have approved for all Anima to be stationed here to improve their fighting chance against Xi as well as it is easier to maintain all of them in one place. Putting all eggs in 1 basket? It goes without saying all of them don’t get along and if they’re raring for a fight, Yashirodoori agrees to give them that in a test flight and test their capabilities. In the skies, despite Gripen and Eagle teaming up against Phantom, they easily lost. On the ground with Phantom rubbing it in to Eagle who is just moments away from crying (oh, she lost it already), Gripen realizes that Phantom had been cheating by feeding false info. This is why she could suddenly disappear and reappear in the radar screen. Although Phantom argues it doesn’t matter what you do in a war to win, Kei is not pleased because you don’t feed false data to your allies.

Episode 6
Kei complains to Yashirodoori about Phantom’s attitude so he is told that she has the highest priority to save humanity. Not humans. Humanity. Later Kei talks to Gripen about this. Gripen understands because if she goes down, humanity is as good as gone. Then a little bit of history like Russians were the first to research on Anima followed by Americans. Kei has to bail out on yet another hangout with Minghua for an emergency debriefing. An island near their defence line has been spotted to have Xi building their forward operating base. If they are successful, Japan is doomed. While it makes sense to bomb the hell out of them, however Phantom points out they are not bombers. That is why Japanese and American military will supply tons of explosive. Due to EPCM, this is where the Anima come in. It is suggested that Phantom leads to provide targeting support while the rest are escorts. Phantom disagrees with this plan as she doesn’t want to let weaklings escort her and die for nothing. But she will reconsider it if she is given freedom to decide. As they take off, Kei personally talks to Phantom about her goal. She believes if this mission fails, it is better to sacrifice whole of Japan which is just a small percentage to the world’s population because she cannot allow herself to die here and needs to get stronger to defeat Xi. She explains when she was born, she was forced to undergo countless simulations trillions of times worth a century! That’s some extreme conditioning. Bogeys in sight. Gripen and Eagle engage the enemy but there are too many and ammo is running low. Plus, Phantom is not cooperative. They give her an opening but she’s not responding. Actually, she is trying to maintain their air superiority and looking out for them for enemies coming in at blind spots. Eagle takes a hit and it gets worse when the base launches cluster bombs. Kei orders a retreat. Back on base, the usual bickering. Phantom insists they will have the necessary power to take down the base (even if it means requesting military aid) or else they abandon Japan altogether. This has Kei provoking Phantom being a weakling because she chooses her battlefield and can’t win unless she ‘cheats’. He claims this mission was nothing compared to the Xi attacking the base. Why is he putting all he said in Gripen’s mouth? He then challenges her that if they win, she must change her attitude and listen to them. Otherwise, Phantom will have Kei be her partner.

Episode 7
Yashirodoori won’t normally approve this mock battle but they need to get Phantom to participate in their next raid, so okay. But their planes need maintenance so a simulation will just do fine. Now Kei has to talk to Gripen but she is depressed thinking he doesn’t want her anymore. With a little sweet talk that he won’t give up on her, that was sure easy. Kei calls Minghua that he won’t be back. Bad timing with Eagle coming to hug him. So is he busy flirting? Call you back. Actually Eagle heard from Yashirodoori that the mock battle with Phantom is also to help avenge her. She felt happy and wanted to give him a hug. As the mock battle begins, as usual Phantom messes with the data. Gripen is overloaded and cannot process them all until she passes out. So with Kei taking over, suddenly he knows where to find Phantom and shoots her down. I guess Phantom has to be a good girl and listen to him now. Kei explains how their cockpit was manually fitted with 2 different versions. When Phantom overloaded Gripen’s Anima data, Kei switched to his version to receive data from the craft itself. Hence turning in an ordinary manned fighter made it easy for him to spot her. Phantom agrees to tomorrow’s raid but wants him to be the one piloting. She reasons that Gripen lacks capability to handle piloting and other few instrumental stuffs simultaneously. With him piloting, at least Gripen can focus on radar and weapon systems. As for tackling HiMAT, the key is altitude and speed to minimise loss of kinetic energy. That night, Gripen shows Kei another Anima of this base, Viper Zero. It has the best upgrades but since its mission is to protect the base, that’s why it never participates in other missions. Next dawn, the raid continues. Our trio are heading towards Xi’s base when they hear reports of other nations’ fleets backing them up have been destroyed. Phantom lies to Eagle to go shoot down the baddies and support the fleet since Yashirodoori says she’s the best. Can’t argue with that. Kei and Gripen are left with the task to protect Phantom. Multiples bogeys in sight.

Episode 8
Cluster bombs hinder their progress and even take out their own Xi comrades. All of a sudden, Viper flies in to bomb the heck out of those cluster bombs?! With the coast clear, Phantom is now able to lock on and relay message to all the artillery support as they fire all they’ve got at the base. With the remaining Xi retreating, mission accomplished. Kei and the Anima get their well-deserved res at the beach. Phantom hints that Kei might be the key in winning this war and perhaps could think about joining forces with her. She can show him things that Gripen can’t. Kei is back home and already with an argument with Minghua (about some movie they’re supposed to see). Nice timing for an emergency call from base to take him away. Somehow they screw up parts for Gripen so it is easier to bring him here than to bring Gripen back? During the break, Kei is surprised to see Minghua here but in a frilly dress. He tries to explain himself but she ignores him and leave. He finds it baffling and perhaps because they are arguing that she doesn’t want to talk to him and only communicates via text messages. Heck, she is even suggesting how to improve his relationship and hinting she likes him? So confusing. When he gets distracted and then looks back, she is gone. So Kei calls Minghua and it adds to the confusion that she starts yelling at him and that she is still at home. When Kei sees Yashirodoori, he is told that Minghua lookalike is actually Viper. Her core is very unstable and who she resembles depends on who is looking at her. Even if you take her pictures, every person will see her differently as she takes on the form based on the emotions of the one who looks at her. So the only explanation why she looks like Minghua is because he likes her, right? Time to debunk that as he only looks to Minghua as his sister. Yeah right. Kei returns home. Minghua mad. Time for apologies. Of course she can’t stay mad at him forever. Better still, he bought tickets to the movie. Everything solved? Until he starts ranting how she would look weird in frilly dresses and isn’t the feminine type. This time it’s really his fault for flaring up the argument again. I thought at this point he should have learnt to keep his mouth shut. If he can keep his job a secret, why not this?

Episode 9
Kei has this weird dream of Gripen. He is told not to cross over this Unphysical Layer as his existence will cease to exist. Also something about Gripen falling into the sea because that’s where she could get her memories back. Kei has lots of questions for her but you know, interference. What was it she said about Xi giving hope? Anyway, it looks like a nice day for Kei to finally spend some time with Minghua. Not! Because Yashirodoori takes him away for a very important last minute mission. Damn, Minghua abandoned again. Taken to another airbase, they meet their American counterpart, Dr William Shankle who is in America’s defence R&D and his Anima, F/A-18E-ANM Rhino. Their mission is to retake Shanghai and counterattack Xi across the Asian continent. Of course the Americans doesn’t think of just using Anima to deal with Xi. Introducing an unmanned fighter, FQ-150A Brawler. After analysing billions of EPCM patterns, they have developed a software and loaded it onto 12 of them. He is confident they can shoot down Xi. With Shankle and Yashirodoori arguing, the rest go get lunch. Kei asks Gripen about Brawler. However she cannot feel anything for it and its response is too slow. Rhino gives her opinion as Americans aren’t spending on making more Anima, they are now panicking with the recent failures. Hence teaming up with Japan who has more Anima and perhaps double that if they collaborate with Russia. However she hints that they aren’t looking for an enemy outside but an enemy inside too. Because they also look like humans, will they also experience the same thing and fight each other? Shankle has Kei play some Xi turn based simulator game. No matter what Kei does, Xi rules the world and humanity perishes. Until Gripen tries hers, Shankle becomes interested because despite Xi conquering the world, humanity still lives albeit in very remote places. He wants to know how she did that (intuition, she claims) and becomes pushy in wanting to analyse her routines and memory area. Yashirodoori puts a stop to this and takes them back. Shankle warns humanity needs data but is warned back he doesn’t understand Anima. Yashirodoori elaborates to Kei on what he means. It is impossible to analyse a living creature’s brain. Same goes for Xi. Shankle is a software engineer and hence he thinks he can unravel the mysteries if he finds their source code. Xi and Anima re totally different from each other.

Episode 10
In the weird dream again, Kei asks Gripen’s logic of moving the humans in the game. Something about Xi’s main goal is not elimination of humanity. Damn interference. Then she leaves him with a riddle. It will be soon that Kei must make a choice. Hence her job is to ensure he survives until all the pieces are in place. Kei is in a dilemma to tell Minghua about his Shanghai job. He knows she will be upset but if he doesn’t go now, he will not avenge his mom and will regret it. While jogging, somebody tries to shove him in the path of a truck! Thank goodness the truck misses. Kei tackles the perpetrator. Phantom? Actually she just wanted to hurt him (so this beats poisoning his dinner?) and wanted him to stay out of the Shanghai mission. If he does, Gripen will also follow. She believes this mission will fail and is intended to fail from the start. You see, the Americans plan to use those Brawlers to get combat data and also sacrifice Japanese’s Anima because they are jealous they have more than them. Damn power balance thingy. Kei goes back to talk to Minghua. Ignored at first but he sure does get her attention when he starts saying how important he is to her. I guess it wasn’t enough so here is a slap as thanks. Eventually she knows it’s coming and just accepts he’ll be away. It’s not like he is going to listen to her, right? So it’s best to trust him that he will finish the job and return home. Kei and his Anima harem see Shankle who briefs them first before the American military. The Brawlers will go first and the Anima last. Their mission is to significantly reduce the number of Xi because base on the algorithms, they will retreat once their numbers reach a certain level. Theoretically. Phantom asks if the Americans plan to win. Shankle can only speak on his own behalf. He wants to know more about Xi and their deepest secrets. Rhino then takes them to a place where the Americans throw them a welcome party. I guess you got to have fun before the final battle. Later Gripen talks to Kei and knows he is willing to sacrifice his life. She isn’t here to tell what is wrong or right. Just want to make him feel he wants to come home alive after completing the mission successfully and safely. Now there’s no reason why Kei should die meaninglessly, right?

Episode 11
The big operation begins and what is possibly the biggest dogfight ever. The Brawlers are dispatched too late but managed to find an opening for Kei and his Anima. They are then confronted by heavy bombers. They aren’t your typical heavy bombers. Because Xi heavy bombers are like aircraft carriers, carrying many smaller Xi crafts! Another round of dogfight but this time the EPCM takes a toll on the girls and the Xi could even manipulate the surrounding EPCM patterns to take control over the Brawlers. The mission is failure and retreat is the only option but with the relentless pounding from Xi, damn it must be their lucky day to finally break through. However they are low on fuel and the nearest airport to dock is Shanghai. It’s a ghost town with nobody around but oddly the electronics and other mechanisms are still functioning normally. Did everyone get spirited away? Since it is misty, Kei has this weird feeling remembering a certain dream. Since there is no fuel around, I guess they take their time to eat and rest. Since Gripen is drowsy, Rhino has got a room for them to stay. Rhino tells Kei why she likes the darkness because the boundaries disappear. When she was first born, somebody took her camping and she was overwhelmed by the stars in the sky. She felt floating in it and was part of the universe. Next morning, Kei wakes up and sees Rhino left a note that she went to look for fuel. Kei hears strange noises and checks it out. No jump scare. Just Rhino in a hoodie…

Episode 12
Rhino takes him to her Daughter as she talks about staying here forever. The more she talks, the more suspicious Kei feels. Is she really Rhino? He wants to leave but Rhino pulls a gun on him. Oddly, Kei manages to unscrew the fuel pump and throw it to her as distraction before running away. So he is faster than Rhino pulling the trigger? Anyway, Kei realizes the entire place is slowly turning into glass. He goes back to get Gripen. She is lost in some hypnotic dream and only snaps out because, you guessed it, Kei’s voice. They make a run back to Gripen’s Daughter. Damn, Rhino so kind to give them time to even take flight? As they engage in aerial dogfight, Rhino tries to convince them to just give in to the quiet, peaceful darkness. Gripen falls under her spell but of course once again, no surprises, Kei’s voice reminds her of her dream to fly with him. Sorry, Rhino. You’re all alone. Our pair wins the dogfight and sadly Rhino gets blasted out of the sky. Although this brings them back to reality, more Xi bogeys on their tail. Don’t worry. Eagle and Phantom are here to assist. Even Viper coming in for some more explosive action till the remaining Xi retreat. Kei learns that they went missing for 3 hours. The Brawlers went out of control and the mission was cancelled. They refuelled and went to look for them. In the aftermath as Kei recuperates in hospital, he talks to Yashirodoori about Anima. One tried to kill him but another tried to save him. Yashirodoori reveals he looked at Rhino’s source codes. USAF put a heavy limit on her character and treated her as a tool (f*cking Americans). There is no way of telling her true character now. Even if she acted differently before Kei, it could have been what she was programmed to do. When all those bonds were removed, she lost sight of herself. Luckily the Japanese Anima have their safeties. Just remember in any case, treat your Anima like humans. Treat them kindly. Yashirodoori gives him some hope because he and Gripen showed that there is a bond between a human and Anima. Kei later talks to Gripen and wonders if everything that happened to them were coincidences. However she doesn’t believe in fate and this has Kei to believe it is their own will and choices that brought them here. Kei has lots of questions than answers. Humanity gained nothing and they still know nothing about Xi or Anima. But if Xi isn’t taken care of, there is no future for humanity. For now, Anima and Daughters are enough to make that happen.

Top Gun: The Prince And The Pilotress
I can’t say that I am impressed with everything. I can’t say that I am impressed that this season ended either because with so many unanswered questions, it just gets more confusing and hence that unsatisfied feeling that it could have been much better. You mean like Kei ending up in some harem hijinks with his Anima harem? Damn, that would be worst! So what was eventually this whole season about? We didn’t get to know anything about the enemy more or their goals and in fact we just realize how weird everything is. Whatever. Kei and Gripen get to be together, right? I guess that is enough for now.

Unfortunately the whole story feels like a mess. Not only it does feel incomplete but it feels like it is also here, there and everywhere. From the general picture, it looks like it is about Kei trying to further his relationship with the Japanese Anima so that they could fight better against the Xi. But I see hardly anything going in this direction despite Kei spending a lot of time with Gripen. And we still don’t know anything! I guess one of the biggest gripes is that we don’t really know what the enemy is. We are not sure if they are humans or some alien civilization but logic and the so called hints that dictate here, they are mostly the latter. If that is the case, they must think it really justifies the series’ plot because well, mankind doesn’t know much about the Xi except for their truly ferocious aircrafts. Imagine how disappointed we will be at this point when some truths of the Xi are revealed. Even right of now they teased us about Anima being salvaged parts of Xi and that weird dream that Kei has with Gripen that makes her sound so philosophical or nonsensical depending on how much you understand what is going on (no prizes to guess which side I’m on). All this are just big question marks that were never really left answered.

Therefore having such ‘cool’ dogfights between such futuristic jet fighters seem to be the series’ only selling point but even so, they are not that interesting. Sure, they are entertaining to say the least (that’s me being generous) but it overall comes off as being in-your-face loud. You know, everything is taking at such a high speed, the chase, the attacks, the dodging, the explosions, like as though they are trying to spam all that and instil some sort of exhilaration within us. You know, when you’re watching a racing event like Formula One? Don’t you just feel the excitement when those fast cars zoom by? Thus it is the same thing here. The action sequences are so fast and furious like as though it is like me watching my nephews take up their jet model toys and getting this chaotic with both these toys in their hands. Really. It makes me think if those action sequences were inspired by Michael Bay or something. And Anima being made from Xi… Is this their logic of fighting fire with fire?

As far as the characters go, they are really disappointing and as generic and cliché as they can get. Yeah, they’re trying to make it some sort of harem, fighter jets version but failed. Kei seems to be the lucky guy selected out of millions of possible people because he was the only one who had the heart to save Gripen who saved the whole lot of refugees then. Sure, thanks. But if I were him, I would rather be a coward and stick hiding in my safety zone until I reach Japan. True, this kid wants revenge on his mom and so this chance of saving Gripen feels like a flimsy reason why he gets to join the military since he is the only special one who can ‘move’ Gripen and possibly other Anima. Damn, you mean the military didn’t do this screening for other potential candidates even after Kei’s proximity to the Anima proves something even though it is not conclusive evidence? At least try something. Aren’t you researching ways to fight Xi? No wonder Kei gets to monopolize his pseudo harem. And sure, his mom was a pilot and that naturally makes him a better pilot than Gripen too, right? Whatever. Another excuse for him to be paired with Gripen more often as she isn’t that stable to begin with.

Kei’s Anima harem can be easily pigeonholed. Gripen the retard, Eagle the bratty child and Phantom the arrogant b*tch. That’s all you need to know about them. Really. And then they put in this wild card, Viper who amounts to nothing more than plot convenience or red herring. There was a reason why they can’t use her for every mission (something to do with her being the last line of defence) and when that one mission she literally flies in as a surprise attack and bombs the hell out of the enemy, that was more BS and crap than anything else in this series! I mean, like WTF?! It’s like, we introduce this not so important character, tease you a little, make her go into action for a while to leave you dumbfounded and then bring her back into the shadows again. And it feels like they are lazy to design her character and gave that excuse she takes whatever form your memories think of her as. Yeah, real ‘unique’ you guys. Sadly for Rhino, I thought she would defect from America to Japan but she had to die to be truly free. It gives us the wrong impression that Americans are heartless bastards. And Japanese are the kinder ones. Because, Japan. So in order to preserve their so called balance, now the Americans have no more Anima (assuming Rhino was their only one). Yeah, served them right. And with the Brawlers failing their role, back to the drawing board.

I feel pity for side character Minghua. Her literal role becomes a running joke because as soon as she thinks she has got free time to spend with Kei, suddenly a mission pops up for him and he must go. Mission and future of humanity more important than this fleeting romance. Wow. Minghua is the most patient girl ever. Kei, you better be thankful that there is a human girl willing to be there and understand your situation without question! So few frustrating moments from her is understandable. She’s a woman, you know ;p. Too bad Kei only looks to her as his sister, though. Yashirodoori as your nerdy and under the weather chain smoking scientist to explain all your crap about Xi and his Anima, it makes everything sound so technical. In other words, BS. I guess he can spout all those seeing he has been in this research for so long that his long sour face justifies it all. Damn they really use hard terms like EPCM and EGG pattern that dumb and ordinary users like me don’t seem to connect. Whatever is happening, sure, just quote those terms and we’ll accept it just to get through the episode.

I have not seen the anime Evangelion but somehow watching this series makes me draw a few comparisons even though they sound so ridiculous. I mean you have main character kid who can only pilot a certain machine (because you don’t see other military dudes doing the same), he’s got a mini harem, they fight a certain alien race out to harm humanity, a nerdy scientist to back up all the sci-fi technical crap, and instead of depression we got some mild revenge as the theme for our young hero here. Oh yeah. So original…

I believe it is for characterization because when you have very colourful and colour coded jet fighters, it just feels so odd. Because in real life if such fighter jets were this colourful and bright, the enemy would already spot them easily and shoot them down. So you can’t really miss it when you see the red jet fighter. It’s Gripen! Yellow, it’s Eagle! Green, it’s Phantom! Blue, it’s Rhino! Purple, it’s Viper! Go, Go, Power Daughters! Now I wonder who will be the black or white colour coded jet… Other than that, the art and animation are just average. CGI used during the dogfight sequences don’t look jarring because everything is so fast. After all, with Xi alien technology, the craft has to look so futuristic and alien-like and that is only possible when you do bad CGI. Yeah… This series is animated by Satelite who did Nanbaka, Log Horizon, Mouretsu Pirates and Sousei No Aquarion.

Voice acting nothing special in particular. I thought Rhino sounded so familiar and then only I found out and it hit me, Ryouko Shiraishi. Damn, I thought this kansai-ben seiyuu had long retired. Maybe making a temporary return to kill time, huh? And Kenjiro Tsuda being Kenjiro Tsuda as Shankle. The other casts are Ryota Ohsaka as Kei (Climb in Overlord), Yuuka Morishima as Gripen (Otome in Wake Up Girls! Shin Shou), Hitomi Ohwada as Eagle (Ayano in Hanebado), Shiori Izawa as Phantom (Yui in Uchi No Maid Ga Uzasugiru), Lynn as Minghua (Maya in Sabagebu) and Kenji Nomura as Yashirodoori (Ushiyama in Golden Kamuy).

Many of the music in this series are really heavy on the techno side. Especially the action sequences that could be dubstep worthy. Seriously. Sometimes I feel that prolonged hearing of these pieces would make you lose your mind because they are really, uhm, how should I put it? Piercing… Even the opening theme, Break The Blue by Run Girls Run is so heavy on the techno effects that it could be our EPCM when exposed for long periods of time. I suppose all is not lost since the ending theme, Colourful Wing by the trio behind Gripen, Eagle and Phantom sounds more like generic anime pop. Though, the ending animation credits can be a trippy hell because WTF, girls flying through some colourful trippy space. Colourful fish! Colourful leaves! Rainbow! Lights! Lights everywhere! WTF is this LSD trip???!!! Also to note when the series tries to get funny, especially moments of Kei having trouble with his girls, they play this really awkward comical tune. Sounds so cartoonish. Sounds one kind. Are we supposed to laugh here? I don’t know if some snake charmer’s flute got hammered broken and thus this weird sound effect.

Overall, if you want a better aircraft anime in the same season, I definitely recommend you go watch Kouya No Kotobuki Hikoutai. That one is definitely superior in many aspects. I guarantee you that despite their propeller powered planes that lack any sort of technology, that series flies higher and grounds this one totally. Confusing storyline and bad characters didn’t help this series at all and certainly the loud and explosive air battles are just the air version of the Fast and Furious franchise. No, seriously. Too bad with such a girly name in its title, they can’t make this the ultimate manly anime for men. You know, hot chicks and hot fighter jets all in one? Garrr!!! Sadly this series didn’t manage to fly off into the sunset but crashed and burnt. Don’t worry, the pilots ejected safely so we can have another sequel or other sh*tty series of the similar genre the next time. Barbie 01, do not take off again, please!

Wait a minute! Hold on a second! You mean they really had Ore Ga Suki Nano Wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto Ja Nai OVA?! You mean they actually heard my ‘complaint’?! After watching this sh*tty series and then some other inferior substandard anime series after that, I vowed never to complain again so long as they give us such sleazy crappy anime. Because it is what most simpletons like yours truly would understand and ‘appreciate’ better. And hence I have to live up to my word and watch these double crappy OVAs since it was ‘my wish’ to begin with. Sighs. I didn’t think they would come up this fast but I suppose that is why the original TV only had 10 episodes so they can bump the last one as some sort of extra episodes. Time to rake up those BD sales.

OVA 1
The usual gang is summoned by Ahegao so as to test her newly developed 3D visor, Nerd Gear. I take it is a rip-off from NerveGear and supposed to do VR erotic stuffs with it. With everyone diving into this knockoff of this Life board game, Ahegao explains the theme and rules. Basically it is reversed NTR. The girls need to steal Yuu and make him their lover. Apparently only Suzuka doesn’t understand what it means and needs some ‘explanation’ from Ahegao. Is it just to see her embarrassed reaction? So what is Yuu’s goal? Nothing. His job is just to hang out and have fun. Oh, if he tries to do something that prevents an event from happening, the system will forcibly take over and continue for him. So basically he has no choice. It starts with Ahegao being chosen as his wife. She is suggesting where to put his dick and when Yuu tries to resist, the system takes over and turns him into some erotic lover. Yeah, he is going to take Ahegao from behind when Mai barges her way in. Ahegao leaves as she has had it with his affair. But all this was just a ruse by Mai so she can f*ck him. Could have done it had not Sakura crashed in. Now a school setting, Sakura and the Kanzaka sisters are unsure of this sine, cosine and tangent problem. Yeah, sensei is going to teach them the meaning of this theta signs that look like boobs when suddenly Suzuka intervenes! I guess we went off tangent. Suzuka washes Yuu’s back with her boobs. They were going to have a better way of making each other feel even better but the system overloaded and overheated. This brings everyone back to reality. Good news or bad news, they can’t seem to remember the game they played. Yeah, I guess it saved them a scene of rebuking and blaming Yuu for being a pervert, eh? But what a waste for Yuu. So it’s back to the drawing board for Ahegao to fix the bug and she’ll invite them over again next time when it is improved. I see. With their forgotten memories, at least they can’t say no, right? But back home, Yuu gets into another fanservice hijinks as he accidentally enters the bathroom while naked Suzuka is about to take a bath. Strange. Life mirrors the video game…

OVA 2
You mean Ahegao really fixed that VR?! But this time she only sees Yuu because she finds him suitable to play this VR game that needs him to rescue his sister. He can’t leave until he rescues her. In this Saw spoof, Yuu and Suzuka are trapped in a dark dilapidated bathroom. Mai’s corpse in the middle. Ahegao is the villain who wants to play a game. After killing Mai who tried to break them apart, Yuu must dress up Suzuka by his own hands within a time limit. Suzuka is willing to strip but he just can’t. Even more so the dress is a sexy oni bikini. Yuu falters as he can’t pull down her panties and time is up. On to the next game. A Die Hard rip-off, Yuu McClane is going to have to save his sister taken hostage by Mai Gruber. Yippee-ki-yay. In the iconic scene where the villain is shot off the ledge (Mai dying again of course), the twist is that Yuu is told there is a bomb on Suzuka. He must erotically satisfy her in order for the bomb to diffuse. Suzuka is willing to let him molest he but why isn’t the meter reaching its max? Suzuka strips to her undies for the steamy groping to continue and when it reaches its max, Yuu must press her tits in order to completely diffuse it. Success! Little sister rescued. Yuu returns to reality realizing he has his hands on Ahegao’s boobs. And as expected, Suzuka walks in to see this, accusing him of loving big boobs. He dismisses it and explains he was actually touching her boobs. Of course this makes her fluster as Yuu realizes he has dug himself deeper into the grave. And Ahegao thanks him for his input. Glad to see him enjoy himself so let’s play again next time. I guess she didn’t want to ruin the game of him being blamed by Suzuka.

Virtual Oppai-san Wa Miteiru
You know what? This is so crappy that it is good! No, I’m not saying that the OVAs were better than the TV series and in fact as crappy as ever. Because I find myself laughing at all the nonsense especially the Die Hard spoof. That was really so freaking hilarious even if it was not intended to be as one. The animation is still pretty god awful so even if these OVAs were for fanservice purposes, they aren’t that stimulating despite you get to see all the (virtual) tits of all the girls in glorious first person view. I am betting that these are what the OVAs are trying to sell on. After all, there are no annoying ‘secret’ censors that were permeating throughout the TV series so it is free and easy with those (virtual) boobs. I think they really want to give lots of boobs fanservice that so much so the boobs physics are just nonsense. Especially Ahegao being the main offender as you will obviously notice how just slight movements from her will cause her boobs to jiggle. And they make that weird boob whizzing noise. Yeah. So weird. But the funniest fanservice still goes to that Die Hard spoof. Yuu trying to be and sound so badass while making out with Suzuka that it was just WTF LOL material. So in the end, whether it is reality or the virtual world, Yuu’s life is basically screwed and there is no escape or reset button to save him from his twisted harem. Not surprisingly, he Die Harder. Yippee-ki-yay!