Canaan

September 29, 2019

I thought it was about time to complete my trilogy of girls with guns. After my stint with Noir and Madlax many years back, El Cazador De La Bruja was supposed to be next. For some unknown reason, I kept delaying wanting to watch that one. A signal that maybe I wasn’t so interested after all? And when I somewhat did, I thought it was strange. That Spanish sounding name definitely didn’t sound like the other two. They were just single named titles. WTF. And this somehow led me to Canaan. Not one of the original trilogy but still falling under the category of girls with guns. Sorry Mexico. Not going there this time. But Shanghai. Funny how some decisions make you go and end up where you are now?

Episode 1
While the streets of Shanghai is having its festivities, Canaan finished her sniping job. A monologue reminds Canaan despite being a victim of war, she mustn’t fight hate with hate. This will also not rid the world of hate. When she returns, Yuri Natsume who is her employer and informant tells of another job she has to do. A truck protecting an Unbloom was destroyed by Snake. Her job is to retrieve any survivors. If there are no survivors, it is likely the attacker are Unblooms themselves. Meanwhile, Minoru “Mino” Minorikawa is a journalist of a small magazine and is in Shanghai for an assignment. He hopes to make it big with a big scoop here. His assistant, Maria Oosawa seems to yearn to reunite with Canaan. Hence he goes off to get this old guy whom he thinks is some important figure in disguise. This leaves Maria by her own as she frolics in the festivities. There are a group of people wearing weird headgears. When it is removed, they go crazy and in a violent trance before dying. The people around think it is part of the festivities and don’t care. Maria has the misfortune to stumble into one of them as she realizes the mark on their bodies. She is about to be killed by masked guys but Canaan rescues her and takes her to safety in the back alley. No time for a reunion yet as Canaan ties her up with a wool yarn (a symbol of their friendship that she cannot break) and returns to her mission. Mino realizes his target was false alarm. Then he sees Canaan running around and real bullets flying about. With the people still frolicking, he realizes the people have closed their eyes not to accept this reality and think this is all part of the revelry. Canaan uses her super magic sight to sniff out the masked people and shoot them. Meanwhile, a truck with soldiers escorting a young girl, Alphard who is supposed to be the head of Snake is ambushed.

Episode 2
It’s Liang Qi and Cummings to the rescue! All American soldiers slaughtered and even Alphard takes out some of them before she escapes. Liang Qi informs that girl is back in Shanghai and can’t wait to kill her. However Alphard ignores her little sister and wants Cummings to hand over the report for some anti-terror summit in New York. There are things that must be done in order first. Mino goes through his film’s negatives and notices some of the weird marks on the corpses. Flashback shows his boss told him about the deadly Ua virus. Derived from the Swahili word that both means flower and death (hence the mark looks like a flower), its mortality rate is 100%. Maria was a victim of a virus attack in Shibuya a few years ago and only survived because her dad was a researcher and administered an anti-viral drug. Because of the shock, she has a little amnesia and doesn’t remember about the incident. Ironically, Maria came looking for a job in their company and Mino was tasked to look after her. At the restaurant, Mino wants to ask Maria more about Canaan. However they are ambushed. Isn’t that the old guy? He looks like a bloodthirsty mad killer now. Maria manages to hail a taxi driver (I nickname him Taximan for ease of reference) to escape. Taximan is equally crazy as he drives them to escape the trigger happy old guy’s hail of bullets. Maybe he needs some sort of thrill in addition to his mundane taxi life? So crazy that he drives his cab off an unfinished bridge! I don’t know how they survive and his cab still okay! Luckily Canaan is here. With the target now switch to her, the old man chases and fights her atop a bus. Smarter Canaan has him jump in the air so he gets electrocuted by the wires. One tangled fried old geezer coming up. Mino and Maria return to their hotel only to see it trashed with red paint. The only thing missing are their negatives. So spending the night outside isn’t fun. But are they seeing things because who this hot sexy cat girl babe???!!! Meow!!!

Episode 3
I don’t think Maria is going to believe Mino that following this cat girl, Hakko to her workplace where there are other cat women is going to lead him to the biggest scoop. Since Hakko can’t communicate well, Mino makes signs to interview her. Guess what? She shows her boobs! Best lost in translation ever? However Mino sees the mark but before he could ask further, the bartender, Santana kicks him out. He would have preferred him to touch her body but not her heart. Strange. So being a typical pervert is okay? Yeah, curiosity kills the cat. The duo stay in a different hotel but Canaan is able to find Maria thanks to her ‘different colour’. Mino wants to interview her but Canaan wants to hang out with Maria. With the girls having fun, Mino hangs out by himself. He sees Hakko again but this time in her normal clothes. Must be off duty. He tries to talk to her but since she doesn’t respond, he thinks she is a mute and shares his bread. Meanwhile Canaan and Maria are in some underground tram when suddenly it stops. Maria senses something amiss and rushes ahead. She should have known better than to leave Maria alone since the culprit is a young kid in the tram. Once Canaan realizes the trap is just a decoy, Maria has already been taken hostage. The kid believes Maria will come to her as he explains some complex synthesis of her senses blah, blah, blah, whatever. By the time Canaan arrives, a bomb is on Maria’s head and she can’t rip it off or else it will explode. The kid explains he is also from a village that was experimenting the Ua virus. And some gene mutation the virus did. Long story short, the kid accuses Canaan of killing his older brother. That old dude. The mutation caused him to be strong and agile but he aged fast. Canaan is able to sniff out the kid. Looks like his body can contort and hide in tightest of places. Yup, gene mutation thingy too. The effects caused his body to not grow. As time is running out, the kid swallows the diffuser. Flashback shows the kid is betting that Canaan will shoot him since he doesn’t intend to kill Maria. Maria can’t reveal that or he’ll kill her. To Maria’s shock, Canaan shoots the kid. Bomb still ticking. When the timer is over, the bomb is just some jack in the box. Canaan feels nothing but Maria is clearly shocked and shaken from what she has seen. Canaan notices she is beginning to show colours of rejection.

Episode 4
Maria is still depressed. She always thought Canaan was a normal girl. That moment wasn’t it. Canaan on the other hand wonders if she will lose it again. Flashback shows she was the only survivor in a decimated village. A soldier, Siam picked her up out of pity and trained her to be a mercenary. Canaan loves guns because they give off no colour. She hates blue as it is the colour of hatred and that’s why she is able to pinpoint her enemies. Remembering Siam’s words about not fighting hatred with hatred, Canaan knows it but she desperately doesn’t want to lose it again. It seems Siam was killed by Alphard and that was the first time Canaan lost something precious. Alphard attends a party of Daedala whom she is a majority stockholder of and the company will be hosting the upcoming anti-terrorist conference. She is sure turning heads with that stunning dress. Of course Canaan is also staking out at that party, waiting for her perfect chance. Mino gets more information about the mark. It is actually bulging veins that overlap each other. Maria is running around looking for Canaan. She needs to apologize to her. She realizes Canaan has always saved her from dangerous moments. It’s the reason why she is able to hold a camera. All because she met Canaan. She wanted to understand her but instead she blamed her and ran away from the guilt. She almost got into trouble with some backstreet ruffians but thankfully she got rescued by Yunyun. Not Canaan this time. Maria desperate to make a new friend that she wants to get to know her too? Alphard knows Canaan will ambush her in the toilet. She claims Canaan has fallen into the same place that she was. As they shortly fight, Alphard is clearly superior and can even restrain Canaan while keeping her dress clean! It must be hatred that has made Canaan sloppier. Alphard was once like that but escaped it. But Alphard won’t kill her yet since she still can have fun. Canaan is left to lick her wounds as she escapes, Alphard’s words still haunting her every move.

Episode 5
Maria is treated to Yunyun’s hospitality on her sampan. But Yunyun soon has to leave. It seems she is also an agent employed by Liang Qi. She has a special job for her. As the Japanese vice minister is visiting, her only job is to infect him with the Ua virus. Liang Qi will set up everything else. Yunyun is worried Canaan will pop up and kill her. In that case, just die. They have no other use for her. Not so funny now, huh? Yunyun goes to Santana’s bar to set up. She meets that Hakko. They know each other and Yunyun doesn’t want her to further get involved in what she’s doing. Just live the rest of your life happily. When the Japanese vice minister enters, Yunyun and Hakko serve them. Yunyun tries to spike his drink but this guy rather have the sexy Hakko serve him. After Mino tells Maria about the mark and the veins, thus they head down to Santana’s bar to get some answers. Yunyun runs out upon seeing them. At the back alley, she is shocked to see Canaan next to her. Fumbling to use her gun? Don’t worry. Canaan teaches you! With the guys insulting each other, Maria leaves only to see Canaan threatening Yunyun for info in which she doesn’t know. With Maria protecting Yunyun, Canaan sees the sadness in her eyes and leaves. She’s just a killer in her eyes now. Thank goodness Maria is here or she would have really killed Yunyun. Oh Yunyun. You’re such a lucky girl!

Yunyun then gets a call from Liang Qi who knows she has failed. She gives her a last chance to use Maria and die with Canaan. Hence this desperate joker uses Maria as a hostage to lure Canaan out. Yup, she’s strapped herself with dynamites! Going to blow themselves up together? Yeah, tumble into the river together. Yunyun tries to hold her down and drown together. When Canaan thinks of slicing her to break free, she remembers Maria’s sad face. Canaan drags them out to the side. It’s not that she doesn’t want to kill her, it’s just she doesn’t want to make Maria sad. When Mino returns to his room, Maria beats him up thinking he is trying to rape Yunyun?! Actually he spots a mark on her butt. She claims she is a Borner ever since that incident at that village disappeared. Her ‘special power’ is having 2 appendixes. It doesn’t have any kind of power. She knows nothing more about Snake and feels useless. Maria disagrees. Because she manages to help reconcile her friendship with Canaan, she is now their friend. Mino can help her financially to break free from Snake but in return she is to be their special correspondent since she blends well by having experience in multiple jobs. The Japanese vice minister is done in by Cummings while he is taking a massage service. Cummings wonders if Liang Qi intends to get Yunyun go. She is confident she will come back because she cannot live without the drugs. Otherwise she has chosen death.

Episode 6
Mino thinks his journalism effort has been recognized since he receives a reporter pass to the anti-terrorism press conference. But he’ll let Maria cover that as he goes to talk to Hakko for more details. As he questions her, the moment she speaks, his head starts to hurt. The conference begins and as Maria snaps pictures, Alphard approaches her. She is unsure if Maria is playing dumb not to recognize her. The US president is really making a weird speech about love and peace (this guys should be a comedian) and it is probably cue for Liang Qi to set off the bombs. The place is in panic but the bombs have cordoned off all exits. After Mino recovers, he barges back to Santana’s bar to question Hakko if that is her special power. But here is live on TV that the press conference is under attack. Time to call Taximan and make his way there. Maria is brought to the control centre where Alphard and Liang Qi are waiting. Liang Qi calls Canaan (it must be a long way running towards the convention centre via sewers) and tries to rile her by threatening Maria. Instead, it is Liang Qi who gets riled up as Canaan and Maria ignore her to reassure each other. Liang Qi is at boiling point and wants to kill Maria but is stopped when Alphard fires a warning shot. She warns her about letting her hatred get the better of her and those with such hatred should be disposed. What is it that Liang Qi wants? Love. Love of her nee-sama of course. Alphard tells Liang Qi to end her games and get to work. Then she tells Maria that her role is to live. In the underground shelter where all the politicians are taking shelter, the Japanese vice minister starts to feel sick. The Ua virus begins to take effect as he dies a bloody death.

Episode 7
OMFG! Canaan is so fast dodging the bullets that the soldiers shoot each other?! Liang Qi wants to go handle Canaan but with Alphard warning how mistakes will arise when one doesn’t listen, Liang Qi throws a childish tantrum and storms off. The White House staffs deliberate on how to save the situation. An option is to get the vaccine in which Kenji (Maria’s father) administers. Unfortunately the moment he leaves his building, his car explodes! So much for that. Time for Plan B. Alphard then speaks to the politicians holing up in the safe room. She informs that all of them are infected with the Ua virus and in no time will die. However America has decided to make sure they go out in style and they have ordered the stealth bombers to bomb the hell out of this place! When Maria doesn’t remember a thing, Alphard beats her up and tells a back story of a soldier who trained a couple of kids to become mercenaries. Both shared the same name. Alphard’s real name was Canaan but she tossed it away a long time ago. Alphard takes her men to leave once it’s time. Canaan then comes in to rescue Maria but is told of the situation. Yuri sees Santana since he has a secret room with hacking devices. Wow. Those still work? She contacts Canaan and tells her intentions to hack some American satellite. Kenji is seen dropping into the convention centre. Actual footage shows that explosion was fake and edited just to bamboozle USA into using this bombing order. With the stealth bombers already dropping a bomb, Canaan’s ability now goes digital? I don’t know what she sees but eventually she sees it. The bomb explodes. However everybody is still alive. Something about Canaan and Yuri managing to change the GPS coordinates of the bomb. Yeah, it didn’t hit the convention centre but I hope there were no people at the spot it exploded. The stealth bombers abort mission, the White House are left guilt-ridden and red faced due to their ‘incomplete mission’ and Yuri lecturing Santana about forgiveness will not be waiting for you at the end of running away. Canaan starts to feel weird. She now cannot see colours. At least the colours she has been accustomed to be seeing.

Episode 8
Mino has connections to Kenji as he asks about Ua virus. Kenji believes there can be no survivors because before any mutation can take place, you would already have been dead. But with Mino believing there are survivors lurking, could it be related to the disappeared village? It could be possible that Snake has a vaccine and taken in such people. Alphard calls the White House and even offers America to keep their power among the third world countries under the guise of protection but in exchange for some arms deals. As long as they need a conflict somewhere, feel free to call Snake. Alphard then orders Cummings to destroy the factory that Liang Qi left behind. Hakko is reeling from her past whereby she didn’t know her voice was destructive. She tried to calm a boy who lost his mother but little did she know the more she spoke, the more pain he felt until he exploded!!! Maria takes Canaan out. The latter feels weird and is not used to this normal sight as she cannot see colours. Nearby, there is a street concert put up by this idol, Nene. Taximan is a big fan of hers. Hakko is also there too. Unconsciously she starts singing along and this affects everyone. Luckily she realizes it and stops but ultimately feels sad. Mino now confronts Santana. He thinks he is forced to work under Snake in exchange for medicine. He wonders if he a member of Snake supervising Hakko. Because Hakko wants to go to the disappeared village, road trip! Mino and Santana make horrible road trip singers… We also hear Maria expressing to Canaan she always felt empty until she met her. Yeah, another big thanks to her somewhat. In turn, Canaan was worried when she couldn’t see colours but always knew Maria was a kind person even if she can’t see her colours. That night as they sleep, Hakko tries to strangle Canaan. Of course she fails and escapes. You mean nobody was awakened by this commotion? The guys do but that’s only after Canaan went after Hakko. Santana mentioning how Hakko has not forgiven him as he was the one who destroyed her village. Canaan doesn’t intend to kill Hakko but find out why she is hated. Of course she can’t speak but Canaan ultimately could read her lips. It seems a sad Hakko blames her that it’s her fault. The road trip continues and they see a manjuu seller out in this isolated place. Yunyun?!

Episode 9
Yunyun pretends not to know them but I guess she has no more strength to peddle. Hop on. We’re going to the same place, right? Cummings reports Liang Qi at the factory. He is shocked when Alphard orders him to kill her. Yunyun explains she is heading to that village because if she’s going to die, might as well where she came from. As for the medicine, you can’t get it from anywhere else since it is tailored specifically to that person’s symptoms. And then Maria starts punching Yunyun because she doesn’t want her to die? I think she will at this rate! Awkwardness interrupted when a strange masked guy starts firing his machine gun at them. Canaan has a hard time approaching since she lost her ability. Hakko then screams out not to kill him. After temporary dizziness in every one, the strange just explodes and dies! Some of them recognize him as one of the locals. Santana points out to him as an Unbloom. Arriving at the village, Santana tells Mino what really happened. Santana used to work with Langley from the CIA. Under the pretence of disinfecting the town of some virus, they were the ones who spread it. They also test out the vaccine’s effectiveness on them. The result was the entire town turned into a hellish monstrous nightmare. Santana discovered the truth later and quit. Subsequently he stumbled upon into Yuri and they both shared the same goal to blackmail the CIA into revealing the truth. He further explains about Borners (those affected and were given special bodies as side effect) Unblooms (those who couldn’t become Borners and Snake keeps them to find out why they failed). Crazy Liang Qi flies in trying to kill Canaan. However Alphard also flies in trying to kill Liang Qi. Cummings tries to shoot Alphard but his gun is fake. Alphard lets him say a last word before she kills him. She shoots him with a fake gun. Liang Qi retreats. Alphard then finds Canaan lying in the ruins. She thinks Canaan lost her ability since she didn’t see her coming. Alphard reminds her about that desert train mission in which Siam died. Canaan claimed her tattoo is prove she has family. Siam was her light. But now she has a new light. That’s why Alphard wants her to live. Canaan’s power might be coming back because she sees strange colours on Alphard. It is the same as Siam. When the rest gather, Santana is ready to shoot her but Alphard advises against it. She tells him her next plan is to destroy the factory so no more corrupted flowers will bloom again. She also leaves a message: Canaan’s real name is Despair.

Episode 10
Santana’s plan is to expose CIA’s cohorts with Snake. Then the government cannot continue to cover this up. This way there would be free flow of the medicine. The factory is disguised as an abandoned village. Inside, looks like somebody had thoughts of Resident Evil so several zombie Unblooms are released. Don’t worry. You won’t turn into one of them when they bite. But this scene activates Hakko’s trauma. She runs away into a room whereby a video of Liang Qi wants her to join her to kill Canaan. She reveals this factory was built so that a second Canaan is created. After all the sympathetic words, Hakko isn’t moved. Canaan may have started all this but it was Liang Qi who dragged everyone else into this mess. She will not join her. Further flashback reveals Santana pleaded to Alphard to take Hakko with him. She agreed as long as he forgets this place and play by their rules. Though, Liang Qi was against it since Hakko is a valuable Borner. Hakko enters Liang Qi’s room and starts ranting about her pitiful state. To her shock, it is actually captured Santana who is strapped onto the seat. Hakko is left in despair while Liang Qi (in another video) laughs her ass off. Santana doesn’t blame Hakko. Because he knows he isn’t going to make it, he wants Hakko to say she loves him in her voice. Uhm, you want to say that louder? I don’t think he heard you. She keeps repeating it until he dies! Liang Qi then activates the entire factory. Something about cancelling out normal noises. While this means everyone is resistant to Hakko’s voice, only Canaan will be affected as she processes her senses differently. Hence Canaan starts experiencing a massive headache since a despaired Hakko continues to be a broken recorder. Mino tries to approach her since Santana has him promised to wake her up from this dream if something happens to him. Luckily Hakko is a bad shot. He still took some bullets before managing to hug her. Meanwhile Maria and Yunyun stumble into an underground lair. To their shock, is that Canaan stuck in some ice? Yuri is also here and she sounds like she doesn’t want witnesses over this secret.

Episode 11
There won’t be dead girls for now since Alphard wants Maria and Yunyun to return to Canaan. Yuri thinks this is a big mistake but Alphard knows she only cares about the data. Alphard no longer has interests in this disgusting experiment and hands over the Borner data to her. After that she burns everything in this lair to the ground. Not sure how Mino survived all that but Canaan managed to drag him out. After all that he just got an arm injury? Reuniting with Maria and Yunyun, Canaan decides to go back in to rescue Hakko. She has to move fast as she sees American special forces moving in to raid the place. Liang Qi is on the verge of madness. Then Alphard pops up. She gives Cummings a chance to show his love. Cummings tries to convince Liang Qi to return but she beats the sh*t out of him. With that, Alphard tries to kill Liang Qi who is now a super masochist, enjoying every pain nee-sama brings to her. But when she wants to be killed by her, Alphard leaves it to Cummings. Then they see on the footage, Canaan slaughtering the special forces and this makes Liang Qi super mad again. So mad that she swallows some experimental drugs that of course drastically changes her body. She is now frail and old. Alphard reveals that she has known this letter that was written by Siam addressed to her is fake. She knew it was Liang Qi’s ploy to let her be captured by the Americans so that she can come rescue her. She knew the letter is false right away because Siam never addressed her as Alphard. It is then Liang Qi hears Alphard’s real name as Canaan. Now she has gone full blown crazy. Seeing her frail self in the mirror, she thinks she sees Canaan and wants her dead. She is so psychotic that she will do anything, including returning Cummings’ love, just for Canaan to be killed. So tearful Cummings shoots her. Finally this crazy drama is over. Alphard observes how love is such a troublesome thing. Canaan finds Hakko. She’s making out with Santana’s corpse? Long story short, Hakko can’t go with her and gives the medicine so she won’t return empty handed. Cue for the place to collapse so Canaan can get her ass out. Canaan returns to Maria. After she takes a photo of her, they just give each other a long hug.

Episode 12
Canaan is still reeling from despair. But with Maria around, she breathes a little better. Canaan, Maria and Yunyun take a train trip. When the train suddenly stops as the guards at the checkpoint do their inspection, this triggers Canaan’s trauma. She rushes to the front and sees Siam sitting there. Could be just her hallucination as she also sees other dead people whom she killed. They’re all blaming her. Siam tells her not to over rely on her senses. Because it warps her senses and makes her overthink. This also makes her lose her sense of truth. He wants her to see things as the way they are. Meanwhile Alphard approaches Maria and Yunyun. It seems she wants Maria to live up to her duty to awaken Canaan’s true power as she is still living in the stone age. Maria agrees to do that but in exchange wants to take a photo of her. She realizes she can’t walk alongside Canaan anymore. The moment she does that, Alphard shoots and wounds her. When Canaan realizes the light she needs to protect now, she rushes back. She only sees Alphard. She can see Maria’s blood trails as Alphard tells her she locked up the duo in the back of the train. Oh, there’s a bomb too. So if Canaan wants to save her, let’s keep their playtime to a minimum. Both start shooting each other in this narrow carriage. Both having different interpretations of Siam’s teachings. From what I understand, Alphard points out that Canaan was the one who killed Siam. Because had she not been there, Siam would not have been killed. Hence Alphard doesn’t intend to kill Canaan but rather shoot through the ghost of Siam. Yunyun tries to find a way to free themselves. However Maria knows she cannot make it and tells her to go it alone. Yunyun manages to climb out of the window and derail the last coach. Maria doing her monologue of Canaan as her light but because she is being loved and protected by her, this light also casted a shadow on her heart.

Episode 13
What’s this? Alphard is starting to feel scared of Canaan? Because her eyes are looking different now. She is now seeing the way things are. So scared that she can’t even shoot straight? Damn, role reversal and Canaan is the cool cat now. Alphard tries to escape but Canaan chases after her. She believes Maria is still alive. She might not be able to see her colour but she can sense her kindness. Indeed Maria is still alive because Yunyun changed her mind and ran all the way back to grab her out before the bomb explodes. Alphard laughs when Canaan claims Maria isn’t her light but her friend. Alphard then realizes Siam called her once by this name. It was before his death. He told her the meaning of that new name is solitude. She tries to kill herself by dropping off the train but Canaan grabs her hand. Canaan relating the day Siam died, she moved on and met new people. Hence Alphard can’t die because she is already dead? Huh? Wow. Canaan so philosophical now because she means her heart died the day Siam died. That’s why Canaan wants her to live and won’t let her die. Alphard is left to reminisce Liang Qi’s words about being stuck in the past. It was Alphard and not Canaan who is still trapped in the past. To free herself from this haunting, Alphard shoots off her own arm! Long way down the ravine… We see Maria together with Canaan despite just a dream. It’s like a goodbye because Canaan says they can’t be together anymore. Maria wakes up in hospital (sorry girl, not heaven) and Mino updates her Yunyun carried her most of the way back until he picked them up. He tried to contact Canaan but she ‘vanished’. Maria feels sad Canaan won’t let her stand by her side till the end. But Mino believes this is what Canaan had wanted. To protect her. Even if they are 2 different persons, Maria can still get closer to her via her heart. After all, it’s her kindness that bonds them together. Mino is thinking about a career change. He visits Santana’s bar one last time. Damn he is going to miss this place. And Hakko’s ass. Taximan picks them up to the airport as Maria praises how amazing Canaan is. We get it for the umpteenth time. It’s goodbye, right? Better have some closure than none. In the aftermath, we see Yunyun doing odd jobs, Cummings is now a monk (?!), Alphard hinted to be alive because there isn’t a one arm woman in Shanghai but her and Maria back in Japan organizes a photo exhibition of her exploits in Shanghai. Finally, Yuri still hires Canaan for certain jobs. This time her target is a certain one armed woman.

The Holy Land Of Deadly Virus, Raining Bullets & Past Ghost
This sure looks like a bittersweet ending. Our main female leads didn’t get to end up together. Not that I am expecting something yuri to turn out from that short reunion but I guess it is better this way that they lead their separate lives. As said, they are from both different worlds and from the looks of it, the entire time their reunion sometimes felt like they’re trying to get into each other’s way. You know, Maria just wanting to be Canaan’s equal and Canaan just wanting to protect her. So to say, had Maria not returned to Shanghai, all this trouble would not have surfaced? I don’t think Maria will be going back to Shanghai anytime soon. There’s no reason to. That’s what that final episode ‘goodbye’ was all about, right? Then there’s the curious case of Alphard. She got an arm blown off and miraculously survived that long ravine drop (thank goodness there’s a river below) and is her business with Canaan considered finished? I mean, I thought she wanted Canaan to display her true powers but looks like it wasn’t what she desired. Alphard’s a survivor so don’t write her off yet but how relevant is she after this? What will be of Snake? What about that terrorism business partnership with America? Nothing to do with Canaan so don’t really care at this point.

Despite being just a single cour series, I find it hard to understand the general story and what is going on in the overall picture. Maybe that’s why I didn’t understand? Too short? But if they somehow managed to drag it out to another cour, will there be a guarantee that I would understand better or just be even more confused? It might look like some terrorism via biological warfare on the surface. But eventually it is something much deeper than that especially the connection between the 3 main female leads of Canaan, Maria and Alphard. I think. So basically the story and plot itself is intriguing. However due to many parts that I couldn’t understand, it somewhat hinders me to enjoy this series as a whole. After all, this series was conceptualized by co-founders of Type-Moon for a visual novel game, 428: Shibuya Scramble. Since I didn’t play that game nor even heard of it until I was watching this anime and doing my lazy Google research, I’m not sure how much both series are related to each other. The Ua virus, Snake’s factory for manufacturing all this, I feel they are just touching the surface and didn’t go in too deeply to be fleshed out. It feels like as though you need some sort of background knowledge before watching this series. Because at the end of the day, I still don’t really get the difference between Borners and Unblooms. Are they the same but just different in desired outcome? And in the end, they don’t really matter because if Alphard has lost interest in them and could easily throw them all away, should we care too?

The action is the main draw of the series though I would pretty say it is just pretty much standard. But it is not swift gun totting all the way as they have to make room and weave some character development in it. Therefore the action scenes I feel are rather okay. Exhilarating for that short burst of adrenaline but compare it to animes like Shingeki No Kyojin, yeah it’s just average. Sorry. Looks like my standards have really gone up in this category. And perhaps I have come to expect something when I skim through the reviews about this anime being action filled. Good action, yeah, okay. Masterpiece top 10 action of all time? Nah, not really. But I have to admit that some action scenes are quite enjoyable to watch especially Canaan and Alphard trading lead with each other in fast paced mortal combat. What do you expect when you pit the best among each other?

Other than the action, the character development especially among the main trio is also important but like I’ve said, there are some aspects that I already do not understand and therefore couldn’t go forward when bits of their past and history are further revealed. So to condense it all to a point that I understand, both Canaans are trying to get over the ghost of their past and that link is Siam. Alphard being the calm and composed antagonist, Canaan is her obsession because of her need to prove her own hatred is the only way to conquer her past. It’s a reason why she pushes Canaan to her limits and do not kill her outright. Canaan on the other hand is also cool, composed and lacking any emotion. Except whenever Alphard is in the picture. Then she gets her emotions overwhelmed and Alphard usually owns her at the end of the day. So it’s like the battle of the one with the calmer head wins? It is evident like we see in the final episode where the tables were turned.

Maria might feel like the weaker link among the trio and making it hard for me to appreciate her character is how her back story was never really fleshed out. It was just merely pinpointed that she was a survivor of the Ua virus during a viral attack on Shibuya. Also her initial friendship on how she became friends with Canaan felt like it was merely skimmed through. The series does a decent job in portraying and developing the relationship between them but that is only what we see on screen and currently when they reunite once more in Shanghai. Maria and Canaan as 2 females giving each other the strength to live, it’s nothing really new or ground breaking in terms of storytelling and character development but as far as this series is concerned, better to see the colour of life than the colour of death!

On a side note, I wonder if Maria’s character was cheekily named so. I’m not sure if the creators were aware of this but Maria Oosawa definitely sounds too close to Maria Ozawa! You know… The famous porn star!!! I know the different kanji writing but still too close to call. Yeah, the first time I heard Maria’s name, I had to do a double take so as to confirm my ears weren’t playing any tricks on my simpleton pervy brain. Coincidentally this series was released back in 2009, the same period where the said porn star reached the pinnacle of her popularity! Is this why there is this running joke in the series that this photographer Maria is always teased for her small bust size? As opposed to the porn star who has somewhat a voluptuous figure? Strange… Too much to be called a coincidence but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the creators.

Yunyun I feel her character is primarily written as a comic relief. A joker of the series. Almost every move she makes. Almost every word she says. Almost every reaction she reacts. It’s like she is born to look and sound this funny no matter the situation. She would have been a natural clown had she not get involved in all this mess. Seriously. Heck, even her Borner ability is a joke. The thing about Yunyun being this joker character is both good and bad. During times of conflict and high tension, Yunyun’s presence can mostly take some of that pressure off thanks to her comical actions whether she intended to be funny or not. I mean, taking Maria hostage to lure Canaan out and then trying to blow herself up? And failed spectacularly? While making it all look like a joke? Only Yunyun can pull that off! While Yunyun is welcomed as this sort of comic relief, sometimes it really makes her out of place. In such serious and tense moments, and now here is one of Yunyun’s antics. It just feels so weird. It’s like, girl, WTF? I don’t think it’s the drugs she’s taking. So yeah, Yunyun, keep calm and carrying on being you. Sometimes too much Canaan-Maria melancholy colour drama can be bad for the soul. We need to see a different (comedy) colour, you know.

Then there is this Liang Qi character who is written as a psychotic b*tch. Her obsession is no other than her nee-sama Alphard and it would have been a lot better if we could see how she and Alphard first came to be instead of just skimming through a brief flashback. It makes it feel insignificant. Anyway, with Liang Qi being a crazy psycho b*tch, in some ways it draws out the drama because a Canaan-Alphard showdown would be too quick without this woman. Hence with Canaan still breathing, it gives Liang Qi all the more excuse to show her crazy b*tch side just to get on the good side of Alphard’s love. We know this one sided love will never be fulfilled but it never hurts to try, right? Yeah, love is weird. Oh well, till death do us part. Sorry, didn’t feel a single sympathy for Liang Qi’s last moments. Just, good riddance. The annoyance’s gone. Despite having to dedicate 1 whole episode just to kill her off. Also, this Cummings guy who is definitely a big masochist since he loves to get shot by Liang Qi’s airsoft bullets. Yeah, he orgasms each time he gets shot. Even his name feels so ambiguous… Caught between the absolute big boss and the crazy mistress he is in love with, this guy sure had it rough… And he probably likes it that way ;p. The biggest shocking change of becoming a monk. Because it’s like subtly hinting to us to throw away all our depraved porn and lead a clean life! Is this even possible?! Cummings showed us he could… This guy is so zen right now…

The other characters somehow don’t feel significant. Like Mino who is trying to make his big break but this case changed him in some ways that he didn’t care about it anymore. He is only here because otherwise why would there be a reason for Maria to return to Shanghai? Yuri being the sneaky operative, nothing much is known about her but CIA operatives are like that. She could be the real ‘snake’, a double agent since she has her own agenda. Santana and Hakko also feel unnecessary but to prop up some bits of drama and plot convenience. Since Hakko is the one who keeps blaming Canaan for whatever and Santana is trying to make amends and atone for his sins. I know he is smart enough not to put his hope this will absolve him of his sins, but maybe he just wanted someone to love. He got that in his death wish, right? Oh well, till death do us part.

This is one of the few animes in which the setting isn’t set in Japan but overseas. And no, I don’t mean fantasy settings either but settings of real world locations. Sure, that tragic experimental village might be fictional but other than that, China is real. Shanghai is real. What I want to point out is the use of foreign languages especially Chinese and English. Firstly, the Chinese spoken sound so odd. Is it their accent? Because I couldn’t properly catch them. Yeah, it’s like your Japanese trying to speak Engrish and now they try to speak Mandarin and it’s like fail too. For the English part, these are mostly when the American military give their commands. Sounds authentic enough so I’m not really complaining… In view of this, the oddest part is that if there are English dialogues in this series despite only in very limited scenes, remember the American president who is giving his speech? Damn guy speaking in flawless Japanese!!! I just find this odd, honestly. Even if he speaks in English about his crap speech about love and peace, it would still sound funny but at least not as bad. Imagine American soldiers giving standard orders in English for some realism but the most powerful man in the world speaking Japanese? Just feel weird… Even weirder the White House staffs deliberating in Japanese and Alphard calling the vice all speaking in Japanese… Should have went with Japanese all the way then…

The art and animation are pretty good. At least for an anime that is released back in 2009. Some scenes are gorgeous and some scenes are just grim just to highlight the plight of the Ua virus. This series is of course animated by P.A. Works and to me they’re known for drawing some of the prettiest and beautiful character designs. Unfortunately, not this one, though. Maybe no cute high school girls like I expect to see in Glasslip, True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari. Hence the character designs feel a bit like Type-Moon characters (duh) such as the Fate series and Shingetsutan Tsukihime. Therefore sometimes when I look at Canaan, I could see shades of Arcueid in her. Yeah, Alphard so badass that I thought she was the reincarnation of Black Lagoon’s Levy.

Attracting my attention to watch this series is because of the star studded casts. Well, at least I recognize some of them like Miyuki Sawashiro as Canaan, Haruka Tomatsu as Yunyun, Hiroaki Hirata as Santana and Jouji Nakata as Taximan. And that was Rie Tanaka behind Liang Qi? Never would have guessed it. Of course it would be one my greatest delight to hear Mamiko Noto as Hakko. Her voice is still so amazing then and that’s why when her character speaks, it causes all our brain cells in our heads to fry! Haha! How fitting for the most beautiful voice in the world. Oh wait… What’s that… F*CKING HELL THEY KILLED OFF HER CHARACTER AGAIN!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!! TRAUMA! TRAUMA!! YOU MEAN EVEN WAY BACK IN 2009 HER CHARACTERS ARE ALSO MET WITH THIS TREATMENT!!!!! WHY JAPAN, WHY????!!! WHY DO YOU OFTEN KILL OFF CHARACTERS WHO IS VOICED BY THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY VOICED SEIYUU OF ALL TIME????!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO???!!!!!!

And the rest of the other casts include Yoshino Nanjou as Maria (Kokoro in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Maaya Sakamoto as Alphard (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kenji Hamada as Mino (Jouji in Paradise Kiss), Junko Minagawa as Yuri (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis), Akio Ohtsuka as Siam (titular character in Black Jack) and Toru Ohkawa as Cummings (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist). If you are familiar with Faylan’s style of rock music, you can feel at home here with the rock paced opening theme of Mind As Judgment. From all that high octane rock music, suddenly the ending theme, My Heaven by Annabel drops down to be some soul-like lounge music. I’m not saying the song is bad but it feels out of place considering the action pace of the series. Maybe after all that action, some soul searching is needed with this song? That is what it feels like listening to this one. Just close your eyes, let the music envelope all around you! There are a few insert songs here all sung by Ayahi Takagi (voice of Nene). China Kibun De High Tension is your typical genki pop idol anime that gets your feet shuffling while Inochi Nan Da Yo is a pop ballad. Life too is a slow and calming ballad but this sounds like it could be a Christian song. Just saying… Also, some parts feel like it could fit for an epic Hollywood emotional dramatic scene.

Overall, even if Canaan isn’t the promised land for anime for me, it is enjoyable. If only I could understand the bigger plot, appreciate better the character development and not be too greedy wanting to see more action scenes like Canaan just raking up the body count of her enemies. If only I had the ability to see this anime as it is instead of relying on my past stereotypic biasness to label this series as just slightly above average, I could have seen the truth better as it is and appreciate this series a little bit more. But alas, I relied too much on that cliché judgment of mind and that clouded and impeded some of that enjoyment. And don’t fight hatred with hatred? Sure, fine. IF YOU STOP KILLING OFF MAMIKO NOTO CHARACTERS!!!!!!!!!!

One Punch Man S2

September 28, 2019

It’s finally here! 4 years later! That’s right. But better late than never because with all the hype and anticipation for One Punch Man S2, it better deliver. Yeah, a hero always makes his late entrance. So you never heard of this guy? You know. The superhero that ends everything with just a single punch, hence his eponymous hero name. Yeah, that would hardly be any fun. But fun enough to have garnered many followers to warrant another sequel. So how many more can he add to the body count list of defeating his enemies in a single punch? We’ll just have to see.

Episode 1
A villain thinks he can harass the women in public. However with the arrival of King, he grovels and begs for mercy. You see, the people is happy that he is one of the strongest S-class heroes and they’re so happy he is back! After doing his errands, some giant robot challenges him. But King tells him to wait as he needs to go to the toilet. Can’t fight at full strength if he is holding it in, right? But in the toilet, we see King’s true nature. He is actually a coward. Although he attracts bad luck, before he knows it, the enemy is down. He didn’t anything. Somebody else always did. Because he didn’t deny, one thing led to another and now he is in this sh*t. That’s why he wants to quit being a hero! The only way left is to run. What about the robot? Don’t worry. Genos is tackling it. King goes back to relax but WTF why is Saitama here?! He saw him bought some video games and is interested to play with him. He plays along until Saitama asks if he is so strong that he doesn’t want to fight anymore. Yeah, he saw him running away. Oh sh*t. How to answer? Then a monster crashes into his place. Time to prove it? King remembers how always gets dragged into such mess but somebody was always there to clean it up. Hence he always ends up running away. Was Saitama the saviour? Yup he was and still is. Saitama easily destroys the monster. King repents his action. Although Saitama doesn’t care and doesn’t want to lecture him, he wonders if he is going to continue lying to the public. Genos meanwhile barely defeats the robot threat and sends the parts to Kuseno in hopes he can do something to help his upgrade. But he is reminded to find clues about the cyborg that destroyed down his home and went on to destroy countless of towns and lives. Don’t worry. Genos will also get to that. That’s why he needs to undergo training from a master. Meanwhile Sitch, the minister of justice for Hero Association has gathered lots of ruffians at HQ. He plans to seek their help with heroes to fight against the foreboding omen. It is gaining ground as there are more disasters happening every day. As Sonic is among the group, he is disappointed that Saitama is not here and leaves. He is not going to play hero with them. Meanwhile Fubuki and her team also target Saitama and they’re going to move in now. What’s Saitama doing? Playing video games with King!

Episode 2
Sitch continues his briefing but among them is Garou who claims he supports monsters. He wants to know who the strongest is here and will kill them all. Some of the heroes attack him but they are easily killed. Then he goes off to kill all the other ruffians. He lets Sitch live since he has had enough warming up. He warns he will return stronger in 6 months so be prepared. Sonic is outside Saitama’s door. Genos confronts him and won’t let this pipsqueak do as he wishes. Hence an epic duel begins. Meanwhile Fubuki and her team ring Saitama’s door. They try to be intimidating and to cut all that threat short, she is offering her to join her faction. Of course he declines. When she orders her men to attack him, they are easily repelled. Fubuki gets serious to fight him but Saitama lectures her that she doesn’t know what it means to be a hero. She is not cut out to be one since she is more interested in factions and crushing newbies. That’s why she gather weak lackeys so that she feels stronger. The fight is interrupted with Genos-Sonic accidentally cutting in. Fubuki is shocked and confused to see Genos calling Saitama his master. This S-class cyborg calling this B-class hero his master? Genos continues his fight with Sonic but Saitama stops him since Genos is going to destroy the whole place just to take out Sonic and his speed. Hence Saitama shows him how it’s done. Sonic relishes this rematch and does his special ability of moving so fast that he cloned himself 10 times. But Saitama does his side step so fast and cloned himself 100 times!!! OMFG!!! Yeah, Sonic lost. Fubuki explains her situation. She remains as top of B-class because A-class has got lots of crazy heroes whom she can’t control. As we know Tatsumaki is her sister, she is always number one. Hence being number one of B-class is the only thing she can. She thinks manipulating factions isn’t wrong until King waltzes in. Friends with Saitama? WTF is this super strong group? She wants to join!!! Oh man, looks like she joined another faction. Meanwhile Sitch is disappointed that the committee is more interested in giving heroes their nicknames instead of addressing Garou’s threat. They think other S-class heroes can handle it when they are up to the task. Speaking of Garou, he is on a hero hunting spree.

Episode 3
Bang mercilessly beats up his best disciple, Charanko and exiles him from his dojo. Charanko talks to Genos about this and the latter deduces Garou might be behind this. You see, Garou was once Bang’s student and with that incident at Hero Association HQ, Bang is distancing himself from his students to avoid bystanders getting hurt if there’s an intense battle. On the way home, Charanko spots Garou trying to pick a fight with Licenseless Rider. But Tank Top Vegetarian who was recently defeated by Garou, brings back his brothers and S-class master, Tank Top Master to give his due punishment. At first it seems Tank Top Master owns Garou and could have defeated him had Licenseless Rider not stop him to spout crap that Garou is still human. Garou turns the tables and defeats them. He is going to kill the rest of them. Of course they all lose and when Charanko decides to enter the fray, no surprise upset either. Saitama visits Licenseless Rider and Tank Top Master recuperating in hospital to find out about this Garou dude. Despite being human, Garou seems to be a master in martial arts. All attacks were dodged, parried and blocked well. Even his strikes to the joints and vital points were brutal. It’s like he was able to read his moves. Unlike monsters who let lose all their strength in a rampage, Garou has special techniques to break people. Visiting Charanko, he gives Saitama a participation ticket for a martial arts tournament. Since he is injured, he can’t participate. Oh sh*t… 3 million yen prize money… Meanwhile Garou continues his hero hunting by facing off with Golden Ball and Spring Mustachio. Once he learns their moves, it is easy to bring them down. After all, he also knows all their trump cards since earlier on a kid lent him a guidebook on all the known heroes. Later Garou stumbles into Saitama. Thinking the latter is some low level hero trying to get some fame, Garou strikes first but Saitama is hard!!! I mean, real hard!!! Then Saitama just chops him down and Garou loses all strength and passes out!!! OMFG!!! Don’t get in my way of shopping! So why is Saitama buying a brown wig? So it’s not to permanently cover his head as Genos worries that the baldness may have got to him? Nah. It is to impersonate as Charanko at the tournament.

Episode 4
When Garou was young, he loved monsters but found it baffling the heroes always win despite the monsters also tried their best. In that case he will become the ultimate monster and won’t lose to anyone. Garou wakes up in the dumpster, not remembering what happened last night. With Garou targeting not only heroes but Hero Association as well, it is suggested that S-class heroes become their bodyguards. King was called but he is busy ‘fighting a boss’. Yeah. Playing video games. Hence Metal Bat now babysits an executive and his son. When an attack occurs, it isn’t Garou but some monsters. As Saitama waits for the tournament to story, some cocky guy who seems to know Charanko talks to him. He talks about last year’s event where somebody impersonated a participant and went on to win the tournament. That is why this year all disguises and aliases are banned. Otherwise you get sued and even banned permanently. Oh sh*t. The guy believes that impersonator was Garou. One day he got tired of training and decided to beat the crap out of everyone while Bang was away. Though he badmouths Charanko, Saitama calls him a coward since he quit his dojo but Charanko fought Garou one on one. After Metal Bat defeats the monsters, looks like bigger monsters (even monsters have seniors?) attack him. It might seem Metal Bat is having a hard time fighting them but after he pumps himself up, it becomes easy as pie. But it’s not over yet because giant grandpa monster is here! It seems the monsters are targeting the executive and it’s a good thing Metal Bat has been able to hold his ground. With the city under evacuation, Garou is glad to hear Metal Bat in the vicinity. Metal Bat is already busy trying to take down this behemoth and Garou is itching to have a fight with him? He’s serious. Here it comes! Don’t make Metal Bat mad. Because he’s going to bash your crazy head in!

Episode 5
Metal Knight comes to deal with the grandpa centipede monster as Garou fights Metal Bat. However the more damage Metal Bat takes, the stronger and faster he becomes. It somewhat ends only when Metal Bat’s little sister, Zenko intervenes. She forbids the men from doing more violence so I guess nobody can defy nor hurt a loli so that’s that. Some monsters are watching Garou in action. Phoenix Man approaches Garou and invites him to Monster Association. However he is not interested. Phoenix Man leaves for now but believes they will be seeing each other again as long as he is targeting heroes. Once they’ve got the executive’s son, the monsters retreat. However monsters in other cities are still running rampage and many A-class heroes have fallen by the wayside. Meanwhile the martial arts tournament is about to begin and we are introduced to lots of the weird participants. The highlighted ones include defending champion, Bakuzan and an unrivalled contender who has returned after many years of absence, Suiryu. Saitama faces off with the cocky Zakkos who thinks he is hell of a strong. Too bad just one slap is enough to put him down! Damn, is Saitama that strong? Rather, Zakkos is that weak! Yeah, you can hear the crowd in the background laughing like as though this is some sitcom!

Episode 6
Suiryu instantly takes out his opponent. Meanwhile monsters are popping up everywhere and a few are close to the martial arts tournament. Bakuzan doesn’t want the organizer to announce or it will cause panic. If any are close enough, he’ll take care of them. But it is of course Genos who goes to take care all of them before Saitama’s next match. But he is going to miss it since some of them are pretty tough. Because Saitama is now facing off with Bakuzan. The latter thinking he is some newbie with no ambition so he brags what he is going to do to him. Then in one punch Saitama sends him flying out of the ring! OMG! An upset! Genos has finally taken care of the last monster but something fast takes him out. Meanwhile Fubuki is fighting a monster babe who can turn others into her zombie slaves with her whip. She intends to use Fubuki to lure out Tatsumaki but don’t need that because here comes Tatsumaki to clean up Fubuki’s mess. Monster babe can tell she is dangerous and uses her zombies for her escape. She only succeeds since Fubuki doesn’t want Tatsumaki to hurt her zombie-turned subordinates. Suiryu’s next opponent is Snek. The latter contemplating how he has gone weaker and not being able to protect the people like before. He gets riled up hearing Suiryu’s reason for being strong just for the money and to have an easy life. He also believes in survival of the strongest. Because whether there are heroes or not, humans will still survive even if there are monsters or not. That’s how nature works. And in 1 kick, Snek is defeated. Meanwhile we see the king of Monster Association, Orochi. He is pleased with the reports of the rise of their Monster Association and sending panic waves to Hero Association.

Episode 7
While more monsters pop up, don’t fret because S-class heroes are fighting back. Those we see in action include Drive Knight, Child Emperor, Pig God, Flashy Flash (?!) and Tatsumaki. Atomic Samurai discusses with his other sword buddies on taking down Garou before Bang gets defeated. But one of them has betrayed the human race and ate monster cells to become one. He wants them to eat them too or die. Unfortunately for him, Atomic Samurai’s slash is so fast that he disintegrated before he could move. Back to the tournament. After a few boring rounds that end in a single hit, we are now here at the finals. Saitama versus Suiryu. Suiryu starts off with a feint but powerful kicks. This is just warm up, you know. Saitama isn’t fazed and he is more concerned in holding down his wig! Must not get busted. They come to an agreement that Suiryu will teach him martial arts in exchange to be entertained. So a few more powerful moves but it is clearly Suiryu is holding back. And Saitama still holding down his wig. Not until Suiryu starts badmouthing the Hero Association that it hits a nerve in Saitama. So when Suiryu does a surprise kick on Saitama and his wig fell off, Saitama doesn’t give a damn. So if Suiryu wants to have fun, shouldn’t he not get any stronger? Luckily Saitama holds back or else Suiryu would have died. But the force was enough to blow away his shirt! The officials have disqualified Saitama because he broke the rules and declare Suiryu the winner. But the crowd doesn’t want this exciting match to end. So does Suiryu. He gives it his all as he slams and punch all he’s got into Saitama. So after all that Saitama is still okay? But Saitama has learnt something about martial arts. It’s all about the flashy moves, right? And just with the swing of his hips, Suiryu is flung to the other end of the arena! OMFG!!! Cue for Saitama to escape since the officials are going to capture him. Suiryu is in shock that he lost for the first time. Not so fun now, eh?

Episode 8
Suiryu is being awarded and he doesn’t look too happy. Suddenly monsters storm into the arena. One of them being Goketsu. He was previously this tournament’s winner and was rumoured to have been killed by monsters. On the contrary, he was captured and given a chance to eat monsters cells. Now he is stronger than ever. He wants all of them to eat monster cells or die. Those who are weak or desire power eat them and quickly evolve into monsters. However they are easily taken down by Suiryu. Goketsu finds it a waste to kill him and gives him a chance to change his mind. It sure sounds tempting he can enjoy life and do as he wishes but Suiryu passes. He doesn’t want to end up looking ugly. Suiryu fights Goketsu but realizes he cannot even make a scratch on him. As he gets puzzled, he sees Bakuzan and asks for his help. Bakuzan then admits Suiryu is stronger than him but has now given up on being the strongest human after seeing the irony of him having a hard time fighting these monsters. Hence Bakuzan eats all the monster cells to transform himself. But his body can’t handle it and he collapses. To Suiryu’s surprise, Snek and Lightning Max return to help. They easily defeat the monster subordinates but Suiryu is shocked the duo is going to fight Goketsu. Suiryu uses this chance to run as the duo gets pummelled but Suiryu is also hammered by Bakuzan. Looks like his monster activation was delayed. Goketsu leaves and tells Bakuzan to come to their base. But first, Bakuzan torments Suiryu and enjoys every moment of it. On the verge of death, that is when Suiryu sees the importance of heroes. He realizes he needs them and desperately calls out for help. Bakuzan is going to stomp other unconscious participants but they are quickly whisked away by Saitama! IT’S ABOUT TIME YOU SHOWED UP!!!!!!!!!! He thanks Suiryu for holding out and he came after hearing his cries. IT’S ABOUT TIME WE HAVE SOME ONE PUNCH MAN ACTION!!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 9
Bakuzan mocks Saitama. He should’ve sensed something wrong when his punches and kicks have no effect. And then Saitama does his specialty. One punch and he is dead!!! Suiryu informs him what is going on outside as well as Monster Association and those monster cells. He is devastated that Saitama is going to face off Goketsu. He believes he is destined to save more people than die here. But surprise! A decapitated head of Goketsu!!! Suiryu is so impressed that now he has a new goal: He wants to be a hero. Oh Saitama, I know you’re being realistic but please don’t be a wet blanket. How does Suiryu becoming his disciple sound? No way! With the monsters suddenly disappearing, Saitama is left to think deep. He has been bored and this recent events and even joining the martial arts competition out of curiosity, nothing has changed. He talks to King about this empty feeling and how he can’t grow anymore to be strong. Hence he is so bored. For once, King says some mind blowing things. Saitama refuses to do things, take up challenges or stimulate himself but yet he complains. If he wants to see something new, he must open a new path himself because life is an endless journey. If he thinks becoming strong is the end goal, he is mistaken. The endgame of a hero isn’t that simple. Being courageous and taking action for the sake of others is what give heroes their meaning. In that sense, he is still not the ultimate hero. After hearing all that, Saitama is even more bored! Meanwhile, a shocking surprise as Garou barely escaped and is covered in bruises after picking a fight with S-class hero, Watchdog Man. He believes he still has a chance to grow stronger and will test that when he sees King. He is charging at full power when Saitama kicks him away, thinking he is one of those punks trying to earn a name for taking down a hero. Sonic is being confronted by comrades from his village, Tempest Wind and Hellfire Flame. It seems they have joined Monster Association and want him to do the same so they can take down Flashy Flash. Sonic refuses but they give him a monster cell in case he changes his mind. Sonic contemplates on turning into one because his goal is to defeat Saitama and his humanity side already died when he lost. Is he going to eat it? Based on Drive Knight’s info, Hero Associations discuss about Monster Association and their initial ploy is to play along before finding a way to destroy them. Then a message from Monster Association arrives. We see Sonic eating the monster cell. But not after he cooks it well because he is disgusted to eat it in its raw form. What does he feel? A super diarrhoea coming up!

Episode 10
Gyoro-Gyoro negotiates to the Hero Association that the monsters want to be left alone and promise will not rampage anymore. Hence the recent rampage was just to show them their power and hopes both humans and monsters can live in harmony. When one of the executive agrees and puts down his gun, he is shot and killed! So this is just a joke by Gyoro-Gyoro. The real deal is this. He wants Hero Association to gather all their heroes and come to their base to rescue the hostage. Once the message is done, the parasite monster is going to kill them all but S-class hero, Superalloy Blackluster easily squashes it. Gyoro-Gyoro addresses the monsters that this plan is to gather all the heroes and destroy them all once and for all. Once this happens, they can easily take out the rest of the humans. Some monsters aren’t impressed to pledge their allegiance to Orochi. Hence Orochi shows his fearsome tyranny by eating losers, monsters who lost their fight during the rampage. Noticing that Goketsu isn’t around, Gyoro-Gyoro checks about and sees his corpse. Uh oh. Things aren’t going too well. Genos has been given a new body by Kuseno and advised not to rush in. Monster Association makes an official war declaration on Hero Association. Child Emperor is mad that Metal Knight wants out of this operation. The latter thinks this plan will only bring forth more casualties. He has sent in the proposal once they find the Monster Association’s hideout, they should just nuke the damn place and forget about rescuing any hostage but since the executives are thinking about their funding, they rejected his proposal. Hence he doesn’t want anything to do with this mission. Garou takes a rest in that secret shack of that guidebook kid. But other A-class heroes led by Death Gatling have surrounded the place and want him to surrender. Of course Garou won’t do that so they start fighting. As Garou is weakened, he cannot effectively defeat them. Furthermore, the heroes are in sync working well to take this guy down. Eventually Garou gets hit by a couple of poison arrows and is losing strength. Last chance to surrender.

Episode 11
Death Gatling talks about the hierarchy among heroes and that S-class heroes are treated differently. Something that irks him and many other heroes because there are many other talented heroes ignored. Hence he gathered these other Hero Association heroes to make a name for themselves and prove they aren’t just second rate heroes. Garou thinks some would be disappointed in that kind of thinking. Amazingly despite his weakened state, Garou manages to fight back and take out all the heroes. He has learnt their pattern and timing. He even went as far as protecting the shack from Death Gatling’s all-out firing. Yeah, all the bullets had no effect on him. After Death Gatling’s defeat, the poor kid got so scared of Garou that he runs away. Before Garou could take a breather, Genos pops up. Apparently one of the heroes called for backup. With renewed and upgraded power, Genos goes head to head with Garou. Meanwhile Saitama loses his consecutive 81st video game match with King! Damn. Maybe he’ll take out some steam with those monsters rampaging near his place. King asks about Genos because he hasn’t been back and might be taken out by Monster Association. Nah. Saitama believes that guy will be okay. On second thought. Maybe he’ll go check on him. We continue the epic power fight between Genos and Garou. The latter trying to mimic Watchdog Man’s moves for a surprise attack but Genos is still better. Suddenly monsters pop up to tackle Genos. They are here with orders to assist Garou and to bring him to join Monster Association. Garou doesn’t appreciate the help, though. Of course Genos rebounds and kills all the monsters. Just before Genos can finish off Garou, here comes Bang. Time to put an end to this.

Episode 12
Time for master to give his disciple a beat down punishment. Garou tries to flee but Bomb (Bang’s older brother) stops him and joins in the beat down. So great the beat down that it looks like Garou’s life flashes before his eyes. The point in time whereby school kids were playing heroes and they made him the monster. Not that he has any problem with it nor the most popular kid in class, Tatsu playing the hero. It was rather he learnt of the injustice because all the kids ganged up, played unfairly to let Tatsu dominate over Garou that he had no chance to fight back. Even when he did, he was scolded by the teacher that he went berserk and owed everyone an apology. Garou was mad. Unforgiveable. Hence becoming this hero hunter was to make such people feel the blow of the weak. Garou revives and is about to get real when Phoenix Man snatches him away. He lets grandpa centipede handle those pesky heroes. Garou is frustrated and doesn’t acknowledge this because it is meaningless if he doesn’t do it himself. But Phoenix Man tells him he only has himself to blame for not being strong enough to finish this off. We see Bang and Bomb use their martial arts to break the centipede’s exoskeleton. However it moulted and revived. Genos decides to handle this and against the old dudes’ advice not to throw away his life, he does so anyway. Even with all the firepower and innovations he has, including burning the monster from inside out, the centipede is still breathing. At this point Genos is close to defeat. He has tried everything in his book and yet he cannot defeat this monster. He is starting to question his own worth. Bang and Bomb take other heroes for safety but when they realize they will bring the fight back to the city and there would be more casualties, Bang is going to sacrifice himself? Don’t worry, that won’t be. Because King makes a brave announcement to the monster that he has brought Blast (the S-class hero whom this monster has a grudge with). After throwing more insults, the centipede charges at King. Any time now… Saitama!!! This baldy pops up and destroys this monster for good in one punch!!! IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! Genos then asks his master what he is lacking. Uhm, maybe power? And Genos is now enlightened and realizes the path he should strive for! Time to go home.

Own Pace Man
WTF… With that cliff-hanger ending, a third season is very most likely although no news of it has been said. But I’m very sure of it. There’ll be a third season. Very sure… Because if it does not happen, it will surely leave a bad after taste in the mouth. There will be many disappointed fans and angry viewers alike who have come to expect so much and this is what we get? Oh come on. You can do better than that. Why didn’t they expand and make this into a double cour season in the first place? Not enough original and interesting material? Not enough budget? Not enough interest (NO WAY!!!)? Maybe there were reasons but I guess there are somethings behind the scenes that we will never know.

No doubt that this season is also great, I can’t help feel there are mixed feelings while watching this season. You see, there were times when I felt that the martial arts competition as well as introducing the antihero called Garou felt more like time wasting although I believe that it eventually helps in contributing to the bigger picture overall plot. Because of Saitama being away for the martial arts tournament, this contributes to Saitama making somewhat less screen time this season. Yes. This feels somewhat strange seeing he is supposed to be the star of this series. However when I think about it, Saitama being away at the tournament and oblivious to the Monster Association’s rampage, this gives other heroes of Hero Association more screen time to flex their muscles. Remember, Saitama can literally win a battle with just one punch! What was his name again? Therefore had Saitama not participate in the tournament and went on the fight the monsters, it would have been one rather monotonous (although not necessarily boring) affair. After all, so far nobody has ever lived long enough to take his second punch if Saitama is serious in throwing his first punch. So yeah. Saitama racking up the monster body count might be good for Saitama and all you Saitama fans and supporters. But this means other heroes would not get that much needed screen time and some of them might not be even introduced. Then yours truly will complain about this show should do away with all the other characters and just let Saitama and the few be the only heroes in this city.

Then there is the other interesting side plot of introducing another strong character, Garou. At first having this hero hunter felt like also filling in the time and void since showing Saitama participating in the tournament would be just absolutely boring as you know it won’t take up as much screen time. Garou proves to be formidable and what makes him more interesting is his support for monsters. This does not necessarily mean he wants to become a monster but merely he cheers on for them. Many of us never question why we support the heroes and always undermine the villains based on our simple thinking of because they’re the good guys or bad guys. This is natural for many of us so what happens when you have an irregular like Garou? Because of his different opinion, he is shunned and that is probably what drives him to become strong and prove others wrong and that monsters can also become heroes. Sure, many monsters live to destroy humans, etc but not all of them. We don’t really question why they attack those with valid reasons of attacking humanity and thus Garou is out there to prove that point. Maybe they just want to get along? Nah! Garou’s reverse support sometimes reflect reality. You know, when you’re a kid you support all those heroic heroes. But as you grow older into an adult, you realize and connect better with the villains. Yeah, monsters here could have earned the sympathy of some viewers had not they look so hideous. Had they look like those cool mutants in X-Men, well, maybe. Garou does have a valid point to prove. Just that he might be going about in the wrong way. So remember kids, remember who you bully back in elementary school. It’ll definitely come back to bite you if you’re not careful. Despite Garou making his name around as the hero hunter, I don’t think he’ll have the last laugh just yet.

As mentioned, thanks to the martial arts tournament as well as Garou the hero hunter, these help give other heroes some of the spotlight and introduce some that we have not previously heard of. While I have no complaints about the heroes, sometimes I feel that this is just one big convention of weird cosplayers. You know, heroes seem to have this unwritten code of wearing really odd clothes to supposedly match their ridiculous and odd powers. I guess there are so many heroes that sometimes it becomes a chore to really differentiate them. It’s like whatever ideas you got here, please throw them in and we’ll call that some A-class or B-class hero. Some even so lazily named like Megane because he wears glasses. Not that I can see how his power comes from there either. Then there is this typical cowboy westerner who shoots with his twin pistols. What’s he called? Gun Gun. Yeah… And there is this punk who has a Mohawk hairstyle so he is called, you’ve guessed it, Mohican. Damn. These heroes sometimes feel more like jokers and seeing them when they are first introduced it serves up to make you smile and laugh. If you want more laughs of the kind of lazily named heroes, you can look up the internet. Yeah, you’ll find plenty of such hilariously named known heroes for now…

But for all the other characters that have appeared in the first season, some are a hit and miss. Hits like Genos who seems to be trying to improve himself battle after battle so as Saitama’s disciple, he seems to be making quite a steady progress despite still having a lot more room for improvement. That is why the much needed final episode to have some Genos drama to doubt his own abilities. And just like that his insecurities are assured thanks to Saitama’s whimsical (and possibly honest) answer. Even Metal Bat is cool going so far as to have an episode named after him! Some misses like Tatsumaki just making that one short stinking cameo appearance and it feels like Fubuki has more screen time than her. Albeit that is just the start of the season and when the real sh*t starts to hit the fan, she’s like back into the shadows. Same for Sonic and from the looks of it, I think his revenge match against Saitama will yet be put on hold again. Though, I have a feeling that Sonic will eventually team up with Saitama and the heroes. I may be speculating wrongly but this baddie isn’t just a baddie and for him to still be alive and come this far, he’s got to have more than that. I know this series isn’t over by a long shot yet but it’s sad thinking that many of such beloved characters are somewhat ‘forgotten’ and ‘not heard of again’ by the end of this second season. Damn, I really starting to hate how this season’s cliff-hanger ended.

Talking about the star of this series, Saitama seems awfully side-lined this season. But remember what I said about him easily defeating his opponents. Having him do that for this entire second season may not be so fun. That’s why even the final episode we see some other action and drama from other characters before Saitama shows up his short cameo and ends everything. Are we supposed to be happy or disappointed with that? Because you know sh*t is going to happen if Saitama takes more than one punch to defeat his enemies, right?! Hence we see him being absolutely bored at the martial arts tournament as well as hanging out with King and playing video games with him. The irony is that he never wins against King and this might be a sign that says if Saitama doesn’t end his fight in one punch, could he have actually lost the battle if the fight requires the enemy to take many hits before keeling over? This is really food for thought. Even much more than the thought of why his gloves are still intact after his one punch specialty. Because if the monster wears the same material from his gloves, will they be safe from his punch?

Saitama being the strongest character (though not officially in this series’ setting) means that he is just bored with everything and there is nothing more that could challenge him. This explains why he sounds so monotonous and so mundane in everything he does. Like as though he doesn’t care. Actually he does. Somewhat. But he views it as troublesome rather than something excited to look forward to. We can see it from both sides of the coin. While he does look like he has reached the pinnacle of supposedly being strong, this might look like an insult to those who have been trying so hard but never reached a fraction of his strength. Essentially both are right and wrong. Nobody is perfect. Not even Saitama is because although he is definitely super strong, he isn’t quite happy. He has been questioning his life’s goal and purpose but thankfully he still has stuck to his heroic qualities. He might sound half-hearted in shelling out his motivation to many of those heroes he stumbled into and saved, but I’m sure he also means it. I mean, I’m sure he isn’t just saying it for fun that if you have time to be depressed, you should use that to move forward and improve. And because he is at the peak of being strong, he certainly can’t see what ordinary people see. So sometimes it is also good like for King to give a good pep talk to try and bring him down to perspective. So keep trying harder in those video games.

With Saitama having this line of thought, there is this scary thought that he might just screw being a hero and join the Monster Association or become a solo entity like Garou and just go around killing others for thrill. Because he is the main hero and character and what we have been invested seeing in him so far, it is not very likely he will turn into that but as the chances aren’t zero, there is still that dangerous small probability. I know I won’t like it to see Saitama turn out like that and I am very confident the producers won’t (lest they want to anger everyone with this sick twist) but still, sometimes you can’t help worry about this small minor unimportant stuffs.

Saitama may not have realized it but he does change a few people’s lives that he has touched. As we see from last season why Genos decided to follow him and become his pupil. This season we are introduced to Suiryu who is probably a frog in the well. He thinks nobody else is stronger than him until he actually meets one. And the irony was how he viewed heroes with disdain and doesn’t really care much about them until his own life was in peril. It goes to show that a man can change. It would be really even more awesome if Suiryu actually becomes Saitama’s follower and I am betting that he would. Otherwise it would be a waste to just introduce this character and then toss him away like he never existed. Then Saitama’s exclusive club of strong people will continue to grow…

Just like the heroes, the monsters are equally, uhm, is diverse the correct word? Sometimes I feel that designs of characters who are ‘ugly’ enough are to become monsters instead of heroes. And you’ve guessed it, some of them even weirdly and hilariously named. Like Black Sperm… Seriously?! And did Sesame Street’s Big Bird moonlight as Phoenix Man or his distant cousin or something? So last season we had an alien coming all across the universe just to fight the best. Now we have a local antagonist and with the introduction of Monster Association, we can see that things are really heating up and sh*t probably to hit the fan another time. Interestingly the monster cells seen that can turn humans into monsters should have been fleshed out better but I guess they might want to leave that for next season and I hope they do. Are there cells to turn monsters into humans? Well, I certainly don’t see humans making this technology. They might have created the most advanced and destructive weapons but I don’t see them doing so in this medical and biology thingy. Orochi being the ruthless king of the monsters, let’s hope he would give Saitama a much better run for his money than last season’s Boros so that we are all entertained.

This season’s action bits are still top-notched and it is the driving factor why this series continues to be popular. All the ridiculous and overpowered moves from the characters are still fun to watch no matter how freaking fast or absurdly strong they are. You can say the firepower packs a punch. You think that they are strong enough? Wait till another character shows up and shows us another stronger move! So earth shattering. If monsters don’t destroy the city, the impact of these monstrous heroes would do the job. These heroes sure put those in Dragonball to shame. It’s not merely just over 9000! It’s over 9 billion may not be even enough! And then of course, Saitama’s specialty of ending it all with just a single punch that makes him look like making no effort whatsoever (and making other heroes slog like hell with their skillsets and firepower), I don’t know if we are supposed to be glad-cum-entertained with everything ending so fast.

With last season’s seiyuus retained, new ones are added to the already bloated casts. Yeah, a lot more heroes here so I believe the list is twice as much. But I’m going to mention the notable and main ones. Heh. Not much. Those I recognized include Hiroki Yasumoto as King and Takehito Koyasu as Gyoro-Gyoro. The rest are Hikaru Midorikawa as Garou (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Masaya Matsukaze as Suiryu (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Atsushi Ono as Orochi (Giriko in Bleach) and Kenji Nomura as Goketsu (Ushiyama in Golden Kamuy). Maintaining the absolutely epic style of last season’s opener, JAM Project returns to sing again this season with an equally epic hard rock Seijaku No Apostle. Don’t you just feel the power welling up in you right now?! And that totally epic metal hard core scream at the end of the song! YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!! Also following last season’s trend, the ending theme is also a slow ballad, Chizu Ga Nakutemo Modoru Kara by Makoto Furukawa (voice of Saitama). Though, this song doesn’t feel as empty and hollow like last season’s. Damn, Saitama belting out this piece? If he wasn’t a hero, I bet he is a good crooner!

Overall, this season still rocks but because of the cliff-hanger and Saitama not in action in so many scenes, some felt like this season is a downer and did not live up to its amazing first season. Sometimes I too get caught in that thought and that it could have been much more epic even though there was an onslaught of heroes vs monsters action. That is the danger when you have built up so much hype and expectation that you become too big to fail. If Saitama knows all this and could break the fourth wall, he would have told us all off to stop b*tching our lazy asses because the producers and staffs worked really hard to bring you this epic entertainment! So at least be grateful you can watch this season in comfort without having to worry monsters suddenly come stomping in your neighbourhood and all animes on air have to be temporarily suspended until further notice! Yeah, that would suck a lot. Look at all the monsters that the anime industry has created. Now it is coming to bite them back with toxic fans and complacent viewers now complaining about how ‘inferior’ this season is. The only heroes that are going to save this series and the anime industry is to make better animes!

Wait. What?! WHAT?! There’s still some more? Oh heck. I guess they really want to play into our nostalgia and introduce newbies to it. Because it has been more than 5 years since Hyperdimension Neptunia The Animation graced the airwaves and then all of a sudden… Boom! Hyperdimension Neptunia Summer Vacation OVA! Like I have said, this single OVA is to make old veterans like yours truly feel nostalgic and sentimental and perhaps go back and watch everything again, or expose this ‘old’ series to newcomers in hopes that they will be attracted and start buying some of the merchandise. Yeah, the bottom line. I don’t know how popular this series is but I suppose it does has its followers in Japan. Enough to make this single OVA that doesn’t has no relation or continuation with the TV plot whatsoever. So like even yours truly who has forgotten almost everything can just jump in and watch it without losing much.

Summer haze & dreams…
WTF is this dramatic start?! Neptune is dying?! Oh the horror! Nepgear tries to tell her to hold on because help is on the way. Yeah, as you would come to expect this dramatic exaggeration, IF and Compa finally bring out the shaved ice treats… Yeah, we’re all dying for that for summer! Histoire reminds Neptune that she has a lot of work to be done but apparently she doesn’t want to waste her summer so she continues playing more video games… We see our lovely sisters take a summer trip to the pristine mountains. Nothing like some outdoor activity to relax, huh? Later as Nepgear and Uni try to find Ram and Rom, they see them being attacked by a giant beetle. Bad news: They cannot transform. Good news: Neptune comes to save the day with her kickass kung fu kick. Hiya! As quickly noted, this is not the Neptune we know and she is from another dimension. When the young ones try to bring Neptune back to their villa, it is not there. This is when Neptune realizes they have crossed over to another dimension. They must have passed through a giant shrine. But don’t despair, as explained by her own mini Historia, Croire says that the gate opens briefly every half a day. So while they are being stuck here for the time being, Neptune offers to take care of them. Nepgear observes Neptune to be very reliable as she can’t help make comparisons to her other carefree sister. Speaking of the other sisters, they are seemingly locked in some video game battle! Is this more fun than nature? But it isn’t that they don’t care. You see, time flows differently in this other dimension and much faster. Hence in their original dimension, it is still noon compared to night time here. This Neptune also wishes she had a nice and cute sister like Nepgear. They know they can’t stay like this forever so they are glad they met each other and spend whatever time they have together.

In the original world, it evening and the sisters are worried their young ones haven’t returned. They start looking for them. Meanwhile in the other dimension, it is morning and it is about time the young ones depart back. Apparently there are monsters on both sides of the dimension so it’s some excuse for the girls to transform and kick some butt. To show the focus on Neptune and Nepgear, they hear each other’s voice resonating from the other side of the gate. Uhm, their hands touch and voila! Your sexy transformation scene to blow away all those negligible monsters. The sisters are reunited and when Nepgear wants to introduce Neptune to her other counterpart, luck has it that the portal is closing so the other mature Neptune has enough time to say her goodbye. Yeah. We’ll always remember you. From that confident and charming voice, our Neptune can tell she is a cool person. It’s good she thinks highly of herself… And the sisters return to the villa and continue to have their usual (Japanese) summer fun of baths and fireworks till IF and Compa arrive to pick them up. Definitely the best and weirdest summer vacation ever.

The Sister You Have Always Dreamt Of…
Oh well, I guess that’s it. But it is hinted there might be more because you know how ambiguous ‘mata ne’ (see you again) sounds, right? I’ll probably watch it when that happens because, no harm, right? Gotta have more dopamine of nostalgia! Anyway, as far as this OVA is concerned, it’s relatively simple and straightforward. The focus is on Nepgear who has experienced the mature and reliable big sister should her actual Neptune be this cool and steadfast. Thankfully because of all the cuteness and adorability of this series’ pace, nothing twisted or dark is going to happen like Nepgear suddenly wanting to be this alternate Neptune’s sister and ditching her real one. Or telling her Neptune to buck up. No siree. Can’t have that here because we can see all the sisters love each other so much that they might as well be married to each other. Oops. Gone too far there. Alas, this experience only has Nepgear appreciating her own Neptune even more because you know, Neptune is Neptune. There are some things you can’t change. Even all the more so, this Neptune is her Neptune. You just accept it as it is.

The other motivation for me to watch this series as well as the other factor that increases my nostalgia points is that I get to hear the voices of veteran seiyuus. Rie Tanaka, Yui Horie, Eri Kitamura and Kana Asumi are great to hear again since the more seasons of new animes pass, the lesser I get to hear them as they are already in semi-retirement and with the competition of the voice acting industry heating up with new ones coming out, I guess old ones like them have to take a back seat and let the newer generation take the spotlight. Hey, don’t want to do this for your entire life, right? Well, maybe. Some like Rina Satou and Yui Ogura are still in the industry but it is sad to note and come to realization that there will be a time that the seiyuus I recognized will completely stop and retire. Will there be another dimension where they will always do voice acting forever? Only in your dreams. So yeah, probably this OVA has invoked a lot of these kind of thoughts and the lesson learnt is to appreciate what you’re doing now. Because it won’t last forever. Even one day the annual summers will stop coming… :’(. Better go get some shaved ice while I still can.

Shoumetsu Toshi

September 22, 2019

Why do I have this tingling sense that yet another sci-fi anime series is going to bomb? But yet I am interested to catch what it is all about? Shoumetsu Toshi somehow brings to mind that failure in RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida. But at least this one doesn’t involve time travelling. So the intriguing thing that had me wanting to find out more was thanks to the synopsis that didn’t reveal much. An unfortunate incident that caused a big chunk of Tokyo to disappear and life to be extinguished, a young girl was the only survivor. Many years later, her father who was thought to have perished in that phenomenon, a message was somewhat received for him. A guy is tasked to deliver her into that black hole to decipher the truth. And of course, there is always that hidden conspiracy behind it that makes moving one step closer to the truth hard and life difficult for everybody.

Episode 1
While the popular idol group, SPR5 is performing, a sudden phenomenon of the place being engulfed in some black hole occurs. Fast forward many years later, Yuki seems to be an experiment subject in a facility run by the Agency but Takuya easily takes out those personnel and kidnaps her. Takuya claims he was hired to deliver her and the contract ends once he does that. Riding fast on his Vespa, WTF strange spiritual monk starts standing on his hands to stop him from steering his bike?! More WTF as I don’t know what Yuki did to release some spirit balls to knock him away. With others in hot pursuit, they are then picked up into a truck. Hopped in, rather. Unbelievable manoeuvrability. And with that the pursuers lost them?! Fail! Scientists Eiji and Kikyou examine Yuki and she seems stabilized. They want to know what the Agency has been doing to her. They also narrate about that black hole incident 3 years ago called Lost. Rumours say it was manmade as many victims lost their lives. Yuki is a lone survivor of Lost. Something about those spirits being called Tamashi. Huh? Anyway, Eiji wants Takuya to do another job and that is to head to Lost. The place is quarantined by the government, no progress whatsoever ever since and all forms of communications within the area are blocked. Oh, did he mention that nobody alive has ever returned from entering there? So why hire him?! It seems they received an encrypted code that is from Yuki’s father saying that he is waiting at Lost. Hence Eiji wants Takuya to take Yuki to Lost to ascertain if her father is still alive. Better pay him good.

Takuya seeks the help of his geeky friend, the aptly named Geek to fix his bike. Yeah, he is a big SPR5 fan. Geek thinks it is dangerous to go to Lost but Takuya’s policy is to finish his job. Because he sees Yuki as a package instead of a human, I guess Yuki felt hurt and left on her own. How the f*ck can these guys lose a girl like that?! Did she wander that far?! As Takuya goes to find her, he also calls Yumiko to help find the quickest route to Lost. Eventually Takuya finds Yuki. She doesn’t have to believe in him. Believe in your father! Yeah. Enough for her to get on the ride with him. Unbelievable manoeuvrability as Takuya dodges debris and even that damn monk! This guy is taking all the damage but his bike is still functioning?! Yuki feels bad and wants to give up (flashback of her happy family moments – because dad and brother are now victims of Lost). After Takuya lectures her about not giving up again, WTF moment for Yuki as she somehow manages to summon her former bodyguard, Akira! WTF?! Gun slinging Akira shoots down the monk! With submachine guns!!! Although Takuya and Yuki are safe, the people from Agency crash them. It seems they know where they are because Yumiko betrayed him. She works for the Agency too. She wants to do the honours to kill Takuya.

Episode 2
Yumiko shoots the agent instead. Betraying the Agency, huh? She and Kouta decide to help them. With the area now under intense lockdown, they hide in Yumiko’s secret place. If Yumiko is going to help him, he also needs her to work with Geek as he knows how to fix his bike. So the easiest way to bait him is to use SPR5 on the chatrooms? It worked. Later as Takuya talks to Yuki, he learns about Akira who was her father’s bodyguard but died during Lost while trying to protect her. She isn’t sure if that Tamashi she summoned was actually him. The gang take the subway as the fastest way to get into Lost. Of course the Agency guys led by Suzuna are waiting for them. Conveniently a door to another room. Yumiko lets the rest proceed while she deals with Suzuna. I think Suzuna is just toying with Yumiko. She could have really shoot and killed her but yet they talk about their different ideals on freedom. On Kouta’s side, they manage to dispatch the stupid Agency henchmen. Until Kouta gets a knife stabbed in a back by this Tamashi knife dude! Takuya takes and forces Yuki to escape instead of mourning over Kouta. Oh no. Don’t lose heart again. No time for that as knife dude is hot on their tail. Convenient so convenient because here comes Geek in his truck to bring them away. Oh man, knife dude is fly and chasing them. Takuya sounds like he wants to sacrifice himself to stop this bastard but Yuki comes along with him. Hey, don’t lecture her about decisions. She decides this one by herself. I’m amazed his bike can make such great moves without any damage. So what Takuya figured out this knife dude’s trick that he can pop up to where he throws his knife? Because at the end of the day, Yuki just needs to summon Akira and blow him away! Yeah, should have used the submachine gun instead of your pea shooter in the first place. In the aftermath, Takuya and Yuki agree to help each other. But first they need to pick up Yumiko and Kouta. I wonder if Suzuna has done the job. And poor Kouta looks like he bite the dust…

Episode 3
Yeah well, Yumiko is amazingly alive albeit bleeding all over. The place where Kouta died, looks like his body is missing… Geek and Takuya realize something amiss. They have been going around in circles. Even weird, they witness SPR5 arguing outside the concert hall they are supposed to be performing shortly? Something about group leader, Yua unhappy that she heard SPR5 will be disbanded. Geek realizes they have gone back to a certain point in time. As they try to move along, they come back to the same place and see the same argument taking place again. I guess this makes Geek he needs to take action to prevent SPR5 to perform in that doomed concert. He finds Yua and talks to her. Not that she believes him. As a big fan, he can tell her character and some hit close to heart. This concert that Yua is supposed to perform in, she didn’t actually perform and was stated as sick although many fans believed she wasn’t and there was a conspiracy behind it. Just when she starts to believe him, she disappears. Takuya and Yuki try to get out but again end up in the same place. Same SPR5 argument. This has Yuki believe Yua is responsible for this space pocket and wonder if those Tamashi are controlled by others. This time Yuki goes to find Yua, talk to her about the need to do something or nothing happens. Otherwise she’ll end up like her. Damn that worked. Meanwhile Takuya tries to find SPR5’s manager, Seiji but to no avail. Yua makes up with the rest of SPR5 and they go on to perform together. With that, Takuya and co manage to get out of this time loop. But when Geek checks for change in history, it is still the same. Yua did not perform at that concert and SPR5 was still a victim of Lost. With fatty feeling down, Yuki thinks she understands about Tamashi. With so many people getting caught in Lost then, they have regrets and unfulfilled wishes. Hence Tamashi is a person’s will taking shape. Yua’s regret was strong that she created that time loop world. Even though they couldn’t change the past, she doesn’t think their efforts were futile. Oh look another Tamashi crashing their bike. Oh sh*t, is that Souma? Yuki’s brother? Well, Yuki doesn’t seem all too surprise to know he is alive. Because he is trying to kill Takuya and claims Yuki should come back with him. They’re family and need to support each other. Yuki won’t accept this. Because of that, did she try summoning so hard that it becomes a huge explosion? Crater size explosion!

Episode 4
Takuya is wheeled into ICU and Geek blames Eiji for putting him up to this. It’s partly Yuki’s fault too, right? Eiji offers everyone his home as a place to hide for now. When they leave, they are confronted by police officers, Ryouko Negishi and Shunpei Aoyama try to press Yuki for answers since a CCTV caught Yuki and Takuya within the restricted area. Luckily Eiji has got his answers prepared so they can’t prod further. Wow. Eiji’s place is a mansion?! I guess when he meant it was a good place to hide, it meant luxurious. Yumiko stays by Takuya’s side. She is shocked when Suzuna is here. Don’t worry, she won’t kill him but to offer her info. Ryouko goes to see freelance detective, Keigo Hidaka to find out more info on Takuya since she has a hunch he used to be in this same profession as him. Takuya wakes up and is updated by Yumiko. He asks about Seiji but is told he just died in an accident. Ryouko tries her luck and talks to Yuki again. She talks about her own father who was an officer whom she looked up to. But when he became a victim of Lost, she became frustrated rather than sad. That’s why she became an officer and still believes he is still alive. This reignites hope in Yuki for hers. A little PR goes a long way because now Yuki opens up on what the Agency had done to her. Ryouko tries to investigate a lab belonging to Lacuna. She should know better she can’t search around without a warrant and is of course turned away. Ryouko gets scolded by her superior for snooping where her nose doesn’t belong but if her instincts tell her, it is only because she is getting close to the truth. Keigo has found an old picture of Takuya. Ryouko looks at some old real estate files and finds a contract of Lacuna trying to buy a certain factory for their second research facility. Although they won the bid, they retracted soon after. As the date shows the day before Lost, it only confirms they knew Lost was going to happen. Suddenly Shunpei stabs her! Yup, this guy is from the Agency. So he doesn’t make sure she’s dead?! Yumiko talks to Yuki about Suzuna’s info. Souma is still alive. As long as she heads toward Lost, he will appear again. Is she is not resolved to do not, please don’t involve Takuya. Yuki’s answer? She wants to save Souma. I guess we’re going.

Episode 5
Yuuji reports to Keigo that Aoyama’s body is found floating at the port. Ryouko’s division has been shut and the chief transferred out. Though they are frustrated with this, it seems Keigo has another plan. A plan that involves the famous magician, Yoshiaki. He goes to see Takuya and knows about Phantom Thief Brigade X that Takuya and Yumiko once tried to catch but failed. The team’s leader, Tsubasa is Yoshiaki’s older brother whom he hasn’t seen in 10 years. He hopes to make a deal so he can see him again. Yuki notices an Artefact known as Tsuki’s Tears is on display at a museum. Because Souma had something similar. Eiji explains research showed it had mystic powers and it is believed to give wielders powers. Now, Yoshiaki believes Hoshi’s Tears that Brigade is holding is its pair and hence they will target Tsuki’s Tears. Takuya and Yumiko are suspicious. Because Hoshi’s Tears is in the Agency’s hands. Could it be Brigade and Agency are connected? If so, this could be a trap. Takuya’s side are heading towards the museum but they are intercepted by Brigade. So putting out Eiji’s van is enough? Flashback shows Tsubasa tried to ambush when Taiyou the boss of the Agency was trying to make some deal. However his secretary, Tsuki protected him and received a huge slash on her back. It left a hideous scar. Was Tsubasa in despair that he got killed? When Brigade prepares to steal Tsuki’s Tears, they are shocked to see Souma and in possession of the real Hoshi’s Tears. Flashback shows they tried to prove to Tsubasa they can also steal something without him but unfortunately the Hoshi’s Tears they stole was fake. Souma wastes no time to pulverize them. Meanwhile Takuya’s side realizes Hoshi’s Tears is not in its display. I believe they aren’t so dumb to leave it unguarded, right? Besides, where’s security in this place?! Then they go join in the fight. Takuya and Brigade’s side accuse the other of working with Souma. But Souma is not happy to see Takuya alive and tries to kill him. Oh just in time for Akira to pop up to protect him! Apparently Souma also has bad blood with Akira. When mom died, Souma blamed him for not protecting her despite being their bodyguard.

Episode 6
I guess who shoots better projection wins and looks like Souma is having the upper hand. It took a while for Akira to use his submachine guns but that’s still not good enough. Yoshiaki tries to be a hero and intervene but fails. However this distraction allows Akira to shoot and destroy Hoshi’s Tears. Don’t be happy yet. Souma has another trick up his sleeve. Yup, he has Tsuki’s Tears. He summons Tsubasa from it and has him blast Akira with his magic icicles. Cue for short flashback showing how his subordinates followed him because he’s a nice chap? I guess Akira holding out this long means Yuki’s determination is strong, right? Well, she can’t hold out longer. It’s really killing her. After Akira is destroyed, Souma orders Tsubasa to kill Yoshiaki. We can see Tsubasa reluctant and purposely missing his icicles. I guess we never learn because with Souma being mad and distracted, the Brigade guys manage to make him drop Tsuki’s Tears from his hand. Yoshiaki picks it up and feels some connection to Tsubasa. He uses his power to make it disappear. Now Souma is the one panicking as he loses power. Yoshiaki now access Tsubasa’s memories. The memories he never knew. As they were part of an orphanage for disabled kids, it seems the kids also underwent experiments. Tsubasa made a fuss with his ability to make things disappear. This was so that the attention can now be brought upon him. With the focus on him, he vowed to destroy all Artefacts before Yoshiaki’s power awakens. Only then he can be truly free. Tsubasa formed his little Brigade and subsequently got caught up during Lost because he received a distress call from Yoshiaki, thinking Taiyou did something to him. The brothers say their last goodbyes before Tsubasa is gone forever. Now that the Brigade wants to cut up Souma, Yuki won’t let them yet. She tries to save Souma but he accuses her of always thinking she is always right. I guess he can’t jump to his death because big sister’s hug saves the day. Tsuki blames Suzuna for this failed plan because now Souma is in the enemy’s hands. She should have seen this coming. Even so, Suzuna notes this is what Taiyou wanted. Souma is unconscious and ‘safe’ at Eiji’s place. They need to do something before Agency comes for him. Takuya and Yoshiaki meet Keigo who wants them to head to the orphanage.

Episode 7
The moment they step into the orphanage, they are transported back in time. Looks like some Tamashi still has regrets. And Takuya believes it is Hinako, one of the caretakers of the orphanage. It all began when Takuya tried to save Geek when he raked up debts in some bar. Of course the punks can’t ‘joke’ so before they deal with him, Kaibara stepped in to warn them and they back off. Takuya was then invited to join Kaibara’s detective agency and introduced to Yumiko. Takuya continued training and before you know it, he became their ace. So to show appreciation, Kaibara gave him his scooter? Gee, thanks. One day, Kaibara wanted Takuya to investigate the orphanage as they are being suspected of child abuse. Hence Takuya went undercover as a caretaker. He noticed there is a certain line of thought that runs through the orphanage and free thinking like Takuya isn’t welcomed. It is obvious that the more Hinako interacts with Takuya, the more she wavers in her beliefs. Takuya’s regret was never pressing her about the children who were chosen that were taken away from the orphanage. The reason given was they were to meet prospective parents but we know the real reason was that they were sent to the lab. However Takuya had a hunch what was going on but before he could do anything, Kaibara pulls him out of the investigation and drops the case. Takuya even saw Kaibara talking to the orphanage’s principal and should’ve continued investigating after being taken off the case. On the day Hinako invited him to go watch the circus with the kids, he declined with reason he tendered his resignation. Yes, that day was Lost. The current Takuya regretted not stopping her and now tries to do so. Hinako tells him her wish is to tell the kids the truth when they get back and thanks Takuya for changing their line of thought. With the regrets taken care of, Takuya and co return to normal time. Shortly after that incident, Takuya quit the detective agency but kept the scooter as he wanted to continue believing in Kaibara. Keigo thought he wasted time looking through the documents in the safe but it’s all trash. But Takuya knows where Hinako kept the documents. In the birdhouse, there is a ledger of financial records that links the orphanage to Lacuna. With this damning evidence, Yoshiaki is willing to risk everything to testify as live witness. When they return, Yuki sees the orphanage’s group photo and recognizes the principal as she has seen him many times in the facility. Takuya and Yumiko are surprised because they thought the Agency disposed of him.

Episode 8
Yoshiaki puts up the greatest magician show. Making it look like he is going to randomly make a building disappear, that building is Lacuna! With that, people and reporters flock outside Lacuna hoping to glimpse this magic. I hope he isn’t pulling off a Lost style disappearance. With this commotion, Takuya, Yuki and Geek manage to get in via their fake IDs and Geek streams the inside live. They confront the principal who has been promoted to some director but he calls the Agents to beat them up. We didn’t see how but Takuya manages to beat the sh*t out of them! These guys need more training! The principal somewhat confesses he did it all for the money to run the orphanage. So in a way, he’s still thinking about the kids, right?! Meanwhile Yoshiaki turns this magic show into some big revelation as he reveals he was an experiment subject at Lacuna. With the public now hounding for answers, the police take action to take Taiyou and Tsuki in for questioning. Taiyou surprisingly agrees. After Takuya and co leave Lacuna, they are being told Souma is starting to act strange. Damn, this kid is shooting light beams now?! Taiyou’s interrogation won’t last long as the commissioner is his lapdog and apologizes for all this and sets him free. It seems all this is part of Taiyou’s plan to test Souma. He considers him a failure as he can’t control himself without an Artefact. As he didn’t go berserk after losing Tsuki’s Tears, that is because Yuki was nearby and served as his Artefact. Now she’s away… Yup, he is displaying symptoms of Lost. It’s like an excuse that he has to die for Lost to be triggered because this allows the city to be evacuated. Of course Yuki won’t let this go. Once again, Takuya delivers her as far as he can but when his scooter can go no more, damn is Yuki flying????!!! Oh, it’s Akira. I wonder how his machine guns can fight against the light beams. Nope. Lost. But he did bring Yuki closer to Souma who is now a big ugly blob. She hears him hate everything, fear everything, don’t come close, don’t want to die. Then she hugs him. He explodes but not Lost v2. Yuki sad her brother’s gone. Taiyou disappointed Lost didn’t happen.

Episode 9
Daichi along with Taiyou and Tsuki were researchers at Lacuna. One day, Ryouko’s dad came to investigate Daichi because a person who died 50 years ago somehow had the same dental records as him. So what? Murder for stolen identity? In time, the trio quickly rise up to the top thanks to Taiyou and Tsuki systematically disposing the higher ups. With them in control of the lab, it is revealed that they are from another universe. There were many other volunteers too but it is not known what happened to them and the 3 of them are left. That’s why Taiyou wants Daichi to concentrate in creating a portal to save millions in their own decaying universe. This is called Project Noah. So theoretically to open that portal, an immense amount of info is needed and it will open a big hole in Tokyo, hence the more people, the better. While Daichi was working on the portal, Taiyou and Tsuki were handling the bioengineering. They were testing kids with abilities and trying to filter out those who aren’t affected by the surge particle because people must move freely through the portal without losing their memories. However Daichi soon gets romantically involved (an awkward one, that is) with the nice cafeteria lady, Mifuyu. He sympathizes that some people hate her because her bus driver dad killed many. The real story goes when she was sick, he worked extra hours to cover the medical expenses but that backfired. She liked his idea and theory of a parallel world because she wished there was one where she never existed and her dad could do his job happily. With Daichi’s work affected, Taiyou warns him not to prioritize a single life over millions. But you know, they both fell in love and had their first child named Yuki. That was when Taiyou blew his top because he thought a being that is not fully from either universe has been born. Daichi believed she has both and her existence is not a contradictory. Daichi warns if they touch his family, he will kill them. Though Daichi claims the portal will soon be ready, Taiyou warns back to run tests and no more slowdowns are allowed. Or else. Many years later as he has completed some safety device and is going to run tests to ensure it won’t be used for evil (yeah, they always think that), somehow WTF how in the world did those agents hack and disable the safety features?! That is when Lost happened. Daichi realizes he has failed to protect the ones he loves but believes there is still a chance. Whatever encryption he left behind was picked up by Eiji, his researcher partner.

Episode 10
Surprise! Kouta is still alive! Apparently Kaibara saved him. Takuya is in disbelief because he thinks that guy is now on the Agency’s side but Kouta claims he is the one who is misunderstanding Kaibara. While Takuya’s scooter is being fixed, we see Kikyou talking to depressed Yuki, Eiji trying to lay off Takuya from his delivery job as well as Taiyou explaining to Tsuki and Suzuna. Just to let us know that now everybody knows the truth. It seems the Lost created by Souma isn’t over yet and is slowly expanding. Albeit it will take decades. The reason being could be Daichi doing something to suppress its expansion. Because Taiyou tried to send messages there but none was received, only that single message from Daichi was received. It could be the reason why Yuki is heading there. Hence Taiyou thought let Yuki run free or Souma go berserk. But the answer is simpler: Eliminate Daichi. He is going to do so by entering Lost. What about the surge particle thingy? That’s what the experiments are for. Of course so far all have failed as the test subjects at the minimum limit turn into vegetative state or in worst case, die. So we see the gang hang out and kill some time. Yeah, Takuya’s scooter must be the most important factor. For some reason, Yumiko called Kouta to ask Takuya to get some tomatoes. This leads him to a farm whereby he sees Kaibara being a happy tomato farmer! A few words of advice. Including his life is how he sees fit to live it. I guess that’s enough to make Takuya’s day. Taiyou’s experiments continue to fail. He then starts thinking maybe they themselves can’t be affected since they’re from the other universe. Tsuki can’t take any more of this so she offers to be the test subject. Everything goes well and she still remembers her memories. Then Taiyou decides to up everything to the max! Oh sh*t! Looking scared now, huh?! But it did confirm Taiyou’s hypothesis… Meanwhile, a weird conversation between Takuya and Yuki. They’re talking about the kind of normal life and house they want to live in. Is this a sign they want to date after all this? Once Takuya’s scooter is ready, it’s time to ride to hell. Hold on to your seatbelts. In Yuki’s case, hold on tight to him.

Episode 11
Takuya and Yuki continue their journey. They see Taiyou’s team and realize he is already making his move to Lost. Better hurry. Yoshiaki and Brigade hand them a transmitter so they can stay connected with the rest while in Lost. Wait. Nobody knows anything in Lost so how do they even know this technology can work?! Meanwhile, the rest are trying to hack and storm into Lacuna facilities. I see that’s why they need to hack the antenna so they can constantly stay connected to Takuya and Yuki. Don’t worry. It’ll be easy. Those agents are dumb. But Geek is having a hard time trying to hack and decrypt the password security. Until a member of Brigade (hacker loli, rather) helps by hooking him up to some super computer so everything is okay. Taiyou is at the fringes of Lost as he relieves Suzuna of her duties. Suzuna then points her gun at him. It seems her real intention is to get revenge on him for all the people he sacrificed for his test. By the time Takuya and Yuki arrive, Suzuna is close to death. Shot by her former employer. She tells them Taiyou has gone into Lost by himself and apologizes to Yuki for making her go through a lot. Too late, but I guess it’s better than never. Takuya and Yuki dive into Lost. Do they even need to ride the scooter? Whatever. They experience weird flashbacks. Is this some sort of pseudo summary of important things that have happened to them? Anyway, those flashbacks also feel like regrets that they could have done something. As the duo are like living zombie since Lost is taking a toll on them, Taiyou is still cool and sinking deeper. He finally enters an area where Daichi is. The latter only existing in digital format. We return to the memories of the duo. This time, Takuya is losing his recognition of Yuki. Who this girl? And somehow the moment they touch, they get their memories back and resume their ride deeper into Lost. I suppose that is why others keep telling us in that hopeless situation when they lost contact of the duo in Lost (pun not intended), only their strong bonds allow their memories to stay intact as long as they continue supporting each other. How convenient. Breaking through, they see Taiyou trying to kill digital Daichi. How do strangle something made out of 1’s and 0’s? Yuki is distraught and summons Akira for his submachine gun overkill! Sure she won’t hit her father like that?!

Episode 12
At least Akira did something good by blocking Taiyou’s super blast. Taiyou thinks the reason Daichi is trying to prevent Lost is Yuki. He wants to eliminate her but he starts to feel the effects. The medicine effects wearing off? Daichi then tells him it is because he is alone. One’s existence is maintained from continual mutual confirmation. With Tsuki being the last one who believes in him, I guess Taiyou can’t be God anymore. Daichi reveals the reason he brought Yuki here is because she can choose worlds. As an observer, she has the ability to do everything over. We are shown scenes of Yuki living a happy and normal family life. Taiyou and Tsuki are sentenced to prison over their exploitation of the orphanage’s kids. Ryouko’s dad has been credited in bringing them down although Takuya’s infiltration was also a large part to play in that. Yoshiaki and Tsubasa continue to remain together. SPR5 continues to perform. This is what the future should have been and Daichi wants Yuki to choose. However she won’t. WHAT?! Despite the tragedy of Lost, everyone lived on so desperately. Choosing one means to deny the existence of the other. Also, this is to show that they are not as weak as he thinks. WTF?! SINCE WHEN YOU A MASOCHIST, YUKI?! Oh, father must be so heartbroken that he did this all for her only to be wasted. Because Taiyou returns to crush this dude! Yuki, see what you’ve done?! However Taiyou (not looking a lot like some last boss demon monster) starts to grow weak. It seems there is some shard embedded in his heart. He remembers when Suzuna shot him, part of her bullet managed to get stuck there. Suzuna’s ability is to predict the future. All paths ended in failure except for this outcome that technically didn’t spell success outright, but it wasn’t a failure. Good thing Akira left his gun because now Takuya can guide Yuki to shot one in Taiyou. Daichi then holds Taiyou back and tells the duo to get out on the scooter. Vroom! But it seems Brigade only finds Yuki lying unconscious. In the aftermath, we see Yoshiaki still a small time magician, Keigo still a small time detective, Kouta is Kaibara’s tomato farmer assistant, Eiji, Kikyou and Geek forming a new Lost committee to recruit talents to help solve this Lost problem and Yuki living a pretty normal high school life. Unfortunately she has no memories of Takuya. You mean only him? Despite no news of Takuya’s whereabouts, either they’re doing a bad job or just straight out lying to protect him (for whatever reasons). Because we see him riding his trademark yellow scooter (can’t miss it)… STALKING YUKI?! I guess he didn’t want to call out to her so he leaves her familiar ribbon on the post. Recall something?

Still Lost And Never Found Ever After
WTF?! What the heck is this weak and unsatisfying ending?! Yuki not remembering Takuya anymore feels like a sad ending. But since it isn’t confirmed that ribbon would spark her memories back, I guess it is up to us to interpret if we want to or not. But it doesn’t matter. Because unlike Yuki, we don’t have the ability to choose worlds! WTF?! I still can’t believe Yuki chose the status quo path which has everyone continuing their suffering. I guess she lost too much (pun intended) that she has gone crazy so there is no difference at all with the outcome staying the same. It could have been utopia and paradise but nope. She didn’t want that. No siree. She’s so kind so as not to deny the other existence whom we’d all probably won’t give a f*ck nor remember had she chosen that. Uh huh. Screw the other people from the other universe. Oh Yuki, your actions have killed the future of millions! You’ve also wasted daddy’s efforts because if this is what Yuki chose, is there any reason for him to delay Lost? Besides, the final episode also feel so rushed and had a few things shoehorned in especially Taiyou conveniently being defeated. I guess he didn’t see things that far ahead, huh? Suzuna’s character being written just for this convenient role and some other stuffs that prevents Taiyou from being Almighty, oh well, that’s the path we’ve chosen. Also, it’s not clear whether Taiyou perished along with Daichi or they remained trapped in that hell hole for eternity. But whatever. And how was only Yuki found unconscious after escaping Lost? My guts tell me Takuya rode out and left her there. That’s why you don’t see him around. Hey, mission accomplished. Delivered her to and back. Not like he’s getting extra paid.

I believe the story has been a train wreck from the start. Rather, a scooter that has taken on so much damage and continue to limp its way to the finish line. Feels a lot like that. I think they want to keep up with the intrigue and the mysteries surrounding Lost and hence they added in all those elements to ramp up the captivation level but it got messy and beating around the bush that I felt it was just an ultimate fail. Thus the only ‘interesting’ episode was the flashback on Taiyou and Daichi, their true goals and intentions. The mystery behind Lost somewhat solved. But it still didn’t take away the bad pacing and storytelling of the rest of the other episodes like how they deviate and meander with that SPR5 time looping déjà vu crap and Yoshiaki and Tsubasa’s past. It’s not that we understand anything much about this Tamashi thingy. Just an excuse that serves as Yuki’s ‘weapon’ because Takuya’s scooter can only do so much. We also have Takuya’s flashback doing his infiltration cover at the kindergarten job and something about Ryouko’s dad and while all those and more seem like they add something to connect it all to the bigger picture, ultimately Lost is just one big incomplete portal trying to be connected to the other universe. And the whole roundabout thingy of having sacrificial test subjects was because they fear of losing their memories while going through the portal. Yeah, it’s that simple. And the simplest way to counter that is to have f*cking strong bonds! Bonds, people! Bonds!!!

It made me wonder if Takuya and Yuki are that close. Sure, they seem to have gotten to know each other since Takuya took on this job and they’ve spent most of the subsequent moments together. I mean, it’s not like I could see them becoming an item. Could they? Not likely. At least, not from what I can see. He was just a delivery boy. She was just a test subject to be delivered. That is all. Excuses to deliver or postpone this mission only serve to drag out the plot convenience and make it seem like as though they have some sort of bond. Not that I can see that they are THAT close. No wonder that cheesy moment of them together talking about the normal life and what kind of house decorations they would like! Sheesh. Because they didn’t mention how many kids they would like, I guess that is why we aren’t confirmed they were an item or not. Even if they did, we’d be pointing fingers of this cheap and forced romance drama part. Heh. No way out of this checkmate. If that is the level of bond needed to prevent memory loss while traversing through Lost, I guess it’s pretty easy. All those high technology and researching were just a waste of time. But I suppose as a researcher you need some concrete proof of science rather than relying on guts and emotions.

I don’t feel like making a long commentary on the characters because they’re just as bad as the plot. Takuya and Yuki as the main characters, you know the drill. Then you have the other supporting characters whom you aren’t likely to remember, just because. You know they play some part in providing support to our main duo but whatever. The plot has got to move forward, right? Like the aptly named Geek who is a computer whizz, an idol crazed nerd as well as the only mechanic in town who can fix Takuya’s bike. I guess Takuya doesn’t trust those other shady overcharging mechanics to fix and juice up his precious two wheeler. Then you have Yumiko, Takuya’s former colleague whom, oh I don’t know what her role is. Eiji and Kikyou trying to get to the bottom of this Lost message. They don’t really seem prominent or of significant. Except maybe for that brief period Eiji providing his luxurious mansion as respite. How the f*ck does a workaholic scientist manage to afford such a big house and land?! Was it inheritance? Keigo, some small time detective doing whatever ground work that needs to be done. Nothing that I would remember. And is Yuuji is dog helper or something? Yoshiaki, victim of the orphanage. Another really insignificant role. Now he has Tsubasa’s groupies. Like that would change anything. Kouta, why the f*ck do they have to bring this guy back and not let him stay dead like Ryouko? It’s not like an extra pair of arms can do anything, right? And Kaibara… Probably the ‘best’ character because he is happily being a tomato farmer not giving a f*ck not to get involved with the rest. You do you. By the way, I don’t like tomatoes…

I always wondered why Suzuna always have that poker face and I suppose it is to hide her real intentions. No wonder when she had so many chances to finish off the good guys, instead she dawdles and gives excuses. So she’s like a double agent, being close to Taiyou, waiting for the right moment to kill him? Why now? Why not earlier and prevent him from doing all this madness? So, the more people sacrificed, the more hatred she will build up in her heart, the more then it will justify she should kill him? Too late. She got what she deserved. Now we can’t totally think badly of her because she tried to do the good thing. Oh right, I almost forgot that soothsaying ability. How convenient. I guess lots still have to die just to reach this outcome. Mission accomplished. Now she can die happy. Same thing for Souma. Little jerk brother of Yuki has some sort of issues to pick on her big sister. Tries to come off as a strong antagonist of the series but sputters out because deep down he is still her little brother. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. And Taiyou being the baddest of the baddest, yeah, probably the producers write him that way. Killing off his subordinates with no mercy just to show us how heartless he is so that when he gets his just desserts, we won’t feel a thing for him. Don’t worry. I didn’t feel anything for the other characters too!

I probably want to say that the hidden star of this series goes to Takuya’s bike! Uh huh. I think this scooter is no doubt the highlight and poster child of this series. Maybe that is one of the reasons that intrigued me to watch. Not that I am a bike crazy fan or anything but seeing the poster of Takuya and Yuki on this bike, well, why do I have a feeling that this bike is also the star? And you can see why because as early as in the first episode, it did a lot of bat sh*t crazy stunts and survived! This bike withstood all the energy projection attacks from Tamashi and is still able to continue moving! Is this freaking awesome or not?! Just a little tweaking and maintenance and this bike is as good as always. Damn, I wonder what it is made of anyway. And they gave that cheesy flashback that Kaibara gave it to him so as to convince us why Takuya is so attached to this bike rather than getting a new one. After how it did the impossible, I can see why he won’t sell or trade this for a better one. And even in the final push, Takuya brings his scooter into Lost itself! I bet his bond with his bike is stronger! Haha! Hey, it got them out of Lost, didn’t it?! In the event if they lose their memories, maybe the bike won’t. What if the bike is Takuya’s Tamashi?! Holy sh*t!!!

This is supposed to be an action sci-fi, right? Fail too! Firstly, those stupid mindless agent clones from the Agency are comparable to all other useless goons you see in other shows and genres. Their numbers might look threatening but it is easy to take them out. I can understand if they are lifeless clones but I don’t think so because if they are normal humans like you and me, it would be a great shame and should be sent back to training. As bad as these cheesy action to fight off easy agents, the battles with Tamashi is over the top absurd! First we got a heavy monk and then some knife throwing hoodie. Whatever happened to them? I guess we don’t care. Even more absurd is Yuki’s ability to summon Akira for his firing power overkill. I think that was the one that broke my camel’s back. Because I can’t contain my laughter anymore and started cracking up. So are they saying that Yuki’s bond to Akira is a lot stronger than Souma or her father? Otherwise, why can’t she summon her dad as he might bombard his enemies with his digital projection! 0101 data coming your way! It all seems like a loose and poor execution to why this Akira character even exist. Like I said about those Agency’s goons, they’re incompetent so Daichi just needs to hire one gun totting bodyguard in case Taiyou decides to move on his family.

The animation is also poor that it makes you wonder if this is the same Madhouse staff that produced other animes like One Punch Man, No Game No Life, Highschool Of The Dead, Overlord, Black Lagoon and even Death Note. If I should say, the animation and even the characters look and feel sloppy. With the Lost area being cordoned off and abandoned for a long time, they want to give off this dystopian feel but with such bad quality, it feels like this anime is the one that is being affected by Lost! And the oddest character design goes to Yuki. No, not how she looks but rather the way she dresses. Even when everyone else is somewhat casually dressed, it is mind boggling for Yuki to wear a sleeveless white dress wherever she goes. Yeah, you might want to cover up a little considering the harsh environment she is getting into. Especially when she rides with Takuya? And doesn’t her white dress get dirty? Damn, she stands out like a sore thumb because her dress is like so bright compared to the rest! Even Kouta dressing sharply in his suit and Tsubasa’s Brigade dressing like cosplay weirdoes aren’t so bad.

This series has got a few famous seiyuus voicing its main characters. Particularly, Tomokazu Sugita as Takuya and Kana Hanazawa as Yuki and Mifuyu. All I can say is that their talents are wasted on this poorly written story and characters they play. It’s not their fault they can’t bring the best of their characters out, it’s because of this poor limitation that they are unable to fully release their potential. The other recognizable seiyuus having their wasted talents here include Ayane Sakura as Suzuna, Kenjiro Tsuda as Daichi, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Yoshiaki, Yuuichi Nakamura as Akira and Mamoru Miyano as Seiji. The rest of the other casts are Hidenoari Takahashi as Taiyou (Waka in Amnesia), Taisuke Nishimura as Geek, Ayaka Asai as Souma (Hazuki in Hibike! Euphonium), Tarusuke Shingaki as Eiji (Kariya in Fate/Zero), Mitsuki Nakae as Yumiko (Tsubaki in Hagane Orchestra), Masaki Terasoma as Keigo (Kiroranke in Golden Kamuy), Asami Imai as Tsuki (Ikaruga in Senran Kagura), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Tsubasa (Itsuka in Date A Live), Aimi Terakawa as Kikyou (Kasumi in BanG Dream), Makoto Takahashi as Kouta (Kouta in Majimoji Rurumo), Tomoyo Kurosawa as Ryouko (Kumiko in Hibike! Euphonium).

Something that doesn’t suck: The opening theme, Kotae by Mao Abe. This energetic hard rock outfit would have been really awesome had the series itself at least being decent. Now I feel that this song is a waste to be put into such mediocre series because this song isn’t that bad. It’s edgy as well as it’s badass to say the least. And then from hero to zero. Because the ending theme is like so out of place and WTF. With Your Breath by SPR5 is such a lively typical idol music that doesn’t fit the setting of this series. You know how mostly gloom and despair the episodes are. Suddenly they have this happy fanfare blasting at the start of the ending song which really makes you go “Huh?! WTF?!”. Really. I suppose this is the only way SPR5 can get its fair share of limelight. What a way to make your debut. Yeah, they got zapped by Lost and killed off! I prefer the special ending theme, Hello Again ~Mukashi Kara Aru Basho~ by Kana Hanazawa (I almost mistake its name to be some alternate cover on Adele’s Hello). Though a generic pop music and still lively, but at least I get to hear Kana Hanazawa’s cute voice while singing it. There are also some other BGM which are dramatic electronic music but they aren’t that memorable.

Overall, this is one big disaster that it seems Lost did not only affect the people and the plot of this anime but it also bombed for all of us who were unfortunate enough to have watched it. Yeah, you could say they really lost the plot and we all lost it with this crap! Haha! Pun intended! Poor storyline pacing and execution as well as uninteresting characters did not help in improving the intrigue of this series especially when some of the action scenes are just downright mediocre or ridiculous. Sometimes we feel we want to walk through the Lost portal and lose our memories of this series but that won’t do because it would mean we might repeat the same mistake and go watch it again. Maybe better to summon a Rambo Tamashi and shoot this series to bits! Haha! Oops. Hopefully, the mobile game that it was adapted on would fare better but since as usual I didn’t play it (nor have I heard of it until I watched this anime), I wouldn’t know. I suppose that is why they also call this series as Afterlost. Because it’s supposed to stay lost after that. Where I End and You Begin? It ended even before it began to lift off! This is also where I end trash talking this series and begin watching another one. I’m such a lost sheep of sci-fi animes after all…

Sarazanmai

September 21, 2019

What the heck?! What the hell is this trippy LSD trip?! Is this Mawaru Penguindrum 2.0? Apparently not quite so. Because Sarazanmai might have all the crazy and weird visuals that is seemingly similar in Mawaru Penguindrum, it is only because it is connected by the same director, Kunihiko Ikuhara. Otherwise this series is very much different despite all those bizarre stuffs keep reminding you about Mawaru Penguindrum. Just replace penguins with kappa. Replace destiny with desire and hope. Replace the coveted mysterious item that is Penguindrum AKA apple with something that is not so mysterious like magic dishes that grants your wish. Crazy, huh? Told you this felt like Mawaru Penguindrum v2.

Episode 1
Kazuki Yasaka narrates connections are important to him. He’ll do anything to protect them. Hence there are 3 rules he must always do: 1) Carry this box (Kappazon?); 2) Check lucky selfie fortunes of this idol, Sara Azuma; 3) Send selfies to a person he is connected to but doesn’t know. Having done all this, he doesn’t need anything else. Toi Kuji is trying to break into a car when Sara is seen taking a selfie. Naturally Toi wants her Smartphone but she won’t hand it to him and runs away. As Toi gives chase, he stumbles into Kazuki praying at the kappa plaza. He notices his Smartphone the same as Sara’s and attacks him. This causes the kappa statue to break and a small explosion occurs. Next thing Kazuki knows, he is in class. His friend, Enta Jinnai is mad he quit the football club without knowledge. More weirdness when Toi is the new transfer student in class. Throughout the day, Kazuki and Toi seem to be doing weird kappa stuffs like pouring water on their head and eating cucumbers. They start to hear weird bell sounds. It leads them back to the plaza. The broken statue acts up and turns into Keppi, the prince of the kappa kingdom. He claims he erased their memories this morning and since they know about his existence, he must do something about them. Keppi begs to help his kingdom! But Toi refuses and calls him a frog. This taboo word makes Keppi angry as he devours them and sucks out their Shirikodama from their ass! Both realize they have become kappa!

Keppi explains they are now in an alternate dimension called Field of Desires. Neither humans nor kappa can see this. When Enta is seen running by, because he can’t see them, Keppi puts a sticker to allow him to see them. Guess what? Enta thought he saw frogs! Extraction time! Now we have 3 boys turned into kappa. As explained, Shirikodama is an organ that stores human desires. But in the anus? Underlings of a zombie kappa steal boxes that contain desires. The only way to defeat it is to extract their Shirikodama. And so the trio begin fighting this cardboard zombie via musical? Yeah, it is one trippy fight to extract it. Doing so also has them learn the darkest secrets that is kept. Keppi tells them to give him the extracted Shirikodama before it melts via Sarazanmai. What is that? Whatever. Some weird dancing and poses. We learn that the box Kazuki carries contains female clothes. He cross-dresses himself as Sara and takes selfies. So it was him who stumbled into Toi trying to break in and the person he sends the selfies to is Enta! Keppi further explains Sarazanmai refers to the connection of the soul and mind and this means they share all their deepest secrets. Enta despite is shocked to learn Kazuki’s secret, believes their friendship is strong. But Kazuki is upset. He doesn’t care if anyone understands him. As long as he can be connected to Harukappa, he will pretend to be anything.

Episode 2
For their troubles, Keppi gives them a Dish of Hope that allows a wish to be granted. Stupid Enta got so excited and wastes it for a year’s worth of cucumber sushi. Damn. Hence Keppi’s job for them is to fight kappa zombies if they wish to get more Dish of Hope. Back home, we are introduced to Haruka, Kazuki’s little brother. Uhm, looks like a girl, acts like a girl, name of a girl, but a boy?! Whatever. As we can see, Harukappa is her online account name and Kazuki is pretending to be Sara for him. He wants a Dish of Hope for Haruka. Haruka is a happy little brother and has Kazuki to thank for because he wanted a cat and now they have one, Nyantaro. Meanwhile Toi and his brother, Chikai are doing really shady things. Toi doesn’t want to do this anymore although big bro says the next gig will bring in big money. With all that is happening, Toi also wants a Dish of Hope for his brother. Enta orders a package but inside is a gun! He realizes his package has been mixed up with Toi’s. Toi is trying to make some, uhm, condiment? Not sure if it contains catnip because Nyantaro waltzes in to steal it! They bump into Kazuki (dressed as Sara). Both chase after the fat cat. Weird part it enters some ninja festival that is only opened to couples. Good timing, right? Yeah, they chase a cat inside while holding hands. Can the park let a cat do as it please inside? Toi is willing to give back Nyantaro if Kazuki gives his Dish of Hope. Not going to fly.

Meanwhile a corpse of a man has been found in the river. This guy had a penchant for skinning cats but has been released since no evidence was established. This guy was once interrogated by policemen, Mabu Akutsu and Reo Niiboshi. It seems they fire some special bullets into him to extract his desires. Yeah, some weird otter dancing ritual… With cats now going missing. I guess it is cue for Keppi to signal to our kappa boys to defeat another kappa zombie. Enta shows Kazuki the gun belonging to Toi and that he is bad news. However Kazuki needs Toi to pull off this mission. It is all for Haruka. Transforming into kappa, the trio battle against the cat zombie and extract his Shirikodama to learn his secret that he has been skinning cats for their fur so he could wear them. Uh huh. His girlfriend loves cats and recently left him. So he thought by being a cat he could get back his love. Sarazanmai also reveals that when Haruka wanted a cat, Kazuki actually stole somebody’s cat just to make him happy! With the cat case solved, the policemen believe somebody is interfering. The view those who can connect desires can have a future. Toi threatens the rest to give their Dish of Hope. However Keppi points out that they must collect 5 to truly have their wish granted. So the first time was just demo? Work harder, boys. With Haruka happy that Nyantaro is found and thanks Sara for her lucky selfies, Kazuki feels relieved as he falls asleep. Just like that in the open? Because cue for Enta to steal a kiss!!!! Only the fat cat is the witnessed…

Episode 3
Enta pulls back as Kazuki wakes up! Nothing suspected. We hear Enta’s thoughts that he has a crush on Kazuki. He doesn’t know when those feelings started but he has had them for a long time. Worse, today’s lucky readings from Sara is a kiss! Otone, Enta’s sister even teases him by giving him a kisu. The fish, that is. Yup, it’s from her boyfriend. Later Enta and Haruka talk about Kazuki. Haruka feels sad that Kazuki has stopped smiling ever since he quit football. Enta remains positive that Kazuki will come back to play football with him. As Enta is thinking on how to do that, suddenly Kazuki comes by and regrets leaving football. He wants to play with him again. That’s quick. Unfortunately this is just his delusion as that person is actually Otone. She is supposed to meet up with her boyfriend but he is late. Enta then gets mad when he sees a couple of football boys playing in their secret area. When he tries to act tough, they beat him up. WTF Kazuki beats them up and saves him? Oh dear. Another delusion. Turns out to be Toi instead. Enta explains why he wants Kazuki to play football with him. A reason why he wants a Dish of Hope so badly. Meanwhile the police is investigating a corpse of a murdered man who happens to be Otone’s boyfriend and he has records of being a womanizer. Mabu and Reo claimed to have arrested him the day before, interrogated him and extracted his desires.

With brides gone missing, of course the zombie kappa is doing all this. The kisu zombie is turning brides into kisu. Among them is Otone. Enta begs Keppi to transform him so he can go save her. Yeah, get your Shirikodama extract first. So the trio extract the kisu zombie’s Shirikodama and Enta’s secrets are revealed during the Sarazanmai. We see him secretly sniffing on Kazuki’s jersey and also blowing on his recorder. And yeah, that kiss on sleeping Sara. In the aftermath when Otone returns to reality, it seems she can’t remember who she was waiting for. It seems Kazuki isn’t fazed about the kiss as he thinks it was a penalty game the football club imposed on him. Enta denies and claims how Kazuki always gave him motivation, the reason for him to play football. After Enta confesses he loves Kazuki, OMG a yaoi kiss scene! We should know better by now it is a delusion as Enta just kissed Keppi. How does it feel kissing a kappa? Meanwhile with yet another interference, Mabu and Reo are being admonished by their mysterious boss (only known as Otter) because the harvested energy has dropped significantly recently. Buck up or else he considers this as betrayal. Enta talks to Haruka that he can’t get himself through to Kazuki and wants to give up. But Haruka gives him a missanga bracelet that he threw away. Because he can’t run with Kazuki, he hopes Enta could give it to him and run together. We see Haruka wheelchair-ridden at a hospital.

Episode 4
Haruka is happy that she is going to have a handshake session with Sara. The real one. Toi gets a call from Chikai. The former is sick of living apart but the latter promises they’ll live together once things are settled. Later Toi meets Enta because the latter continues to bug him to give his Dish of Hope. Not a chance. Asking about Toi’s recent transfer to their school, he explains he was once from this area but left for a while after his parents died. Currently he is living with his relatives who are running a soba shop. Subsequently, Kazuki in a Sara’s drag seeks out Toi’s help. It seems he wants him to kidnap the real Sara so that he could substitute her place for Haruka. It’s an identity he needs to protect! This has Toi remember the ‘teachings’ of Chikai how the weak perish and will be forgotten. After their parents died (he later found out that they were cheated into debt), Chikai is seen trying to sell their belongings for money. Hey, they aren’t of any use to the dead, right? Toi was mad but was told off that only bad people survive in this world. Toi then saw Chikai meet up with his yakuza boss and being given a gun. When the family soba shop was about to be evicted, somehow Chikai managed to bring in the cash to keep the store running. Before Kazuki could finish his Sara kidnapping plan, soba bowls are now flying everywhere? And of course, a soba shop owner is found dead. He was arrested on suspicions of stealing his girlfriend’s bathwater but was released due to insufficient grounds. And also of course, Mabu and Reo arrested that guy and extracted his desires.

With a soba zombie in action, our trio transform into their kappa form to extract his Shirikodama. So that soba owner guy just wanted to make soba using the water from his girlfriend’s bathwater? Sick. And now for the Sarazanmai. Toi later found out the money Chikai got was from swiping his yakuza boss. They wanted to make him pay but because the relatives disowned him, they couldn’t touch the shop. However the boss thought of using Toi as bait to lure him out. But Toi used the gun and shot him. As Chikai witnessed this, he took the gun from his hands and shot the boss. This is to claim that he is the one who shot and killed this bad person. The brothers vow to survive in this world together. With yet another loss, Mabu and Reo contemplate of taking action. Since it is inefficient for them to go out there, they’ll have to raise the target’s desire level. Enta is devastated that Toi killed a guy but Toi insists had he not, he would have killed the brothers. It is easy to talk about morals and justice means nothing to the strong. Hence Toi decides to live for Chikai’s sake and won’t let his sacrifice go to waste. He will not hesitate to kill them if they let this secret out. Surprisingly Kazuki gives his Dish of Hope to Toi. He needs it more than him. Furious Enta opposes. He thought he was doing it for Haruka. Kazuki cuts off his ranting and claims he hates Haruka. Say what?!

Episode 5
Kazuki narrates he was the happiest kid in the world when Haruka was born. But a few years later and grandpa on his deathbed muttered the words that Kazuki’s mom is an indecent woman. He found out and realized that he had a real mother whom he was taken away from. And that was when his happiness shattered. He wasn’t connected to anybody. The plan to switch the real Sara begins. Toi knocks out the manager and then escorts the real Sara out on pretence to take some promotional photos before Kazuki in drag moves in. Meanwhile the police has found a corpse of an unemployed guy who was suspected to be involved in some natural treasure sachet incident but of course released due to insufficient evidence. And our usual duo interrogated him and extracted out his desires. No matter how many times Toi tries to lock up Sara, it seems she always escapes by transforming into some sort of kappa?! Kazuki is up on stage to greet the fans. Yeah, nobody realizes this is Kazuki except for Enta. Haruka is thrilled to meet ‘Sara’ since ‘she’ knew their password (Haruka texted her that password regarding connections before the meet). This has Kazuki remember a time when he found out about the truth about his mom and contemplated to leave so Haruka said the same things of how they are all connected in a big way. Handshake interrupted when the manager pops up to call out this imposter. Haruka refutes him and believes this ‘Sara’ is the real deal. It gets worse when the real Sara shows up. When Haruka asks for the password, she doesn’t understand, making Haruka believe this fake is the real deal. But that soon comes crashing down when the manager pulls off Kazuki’s wig. Oh no! Kazuki runs away in shame and fear.

Later Toi says some harsh words that he is the one who hurt Haruka and that eventually all their secrets will be exposed. Kazuki laments he promised never to hurt Haruka but has done it again. Suddenly Keppi interrupts them because a kappa zombie is detected. Yup, better go fight that sachet zombie. After they manage to defeat this sachet zombie, Sarazanmai reveals that Kazuki one day for the first time met with his real mom. The thing is, Haruka also had the same scent pouch as her. This regret causes Kazuki to lose the sachet zombie’s Shirikodama and thanks to that, no Dish of Hope for them. Mad Keppi also lets them be in this kappa form although Kazuki thinks he prefers it this way. Then he starts lamenting about how Haruka knew that they weren’t real brothers. More revelation as that day when he met his real mom, they both found out they each have their own separate families and decided to keep this tryst a secret and return to their respective family life as they viewed it as important. But soon, Kazuki decided to leave the family and Haruka didn’t want that. He thought he was being a bad boy and pleaded for Kazuki to stay. Kazuki turned his back and when Haruka tried to go after him, a car rammed into him. This left Haruka paralyzed from waist down and the thing that Kazuki regretted a lot is how no one blamed him despite it was really all his fault. They all continued to be a real family to him and he continued to stay with them. However he feels all he has done isn’t enough. From quitting football, stealing Nyantaro and even dressing up as Sara. It was a lie that he is doing this all for Haruka. He deceived Haruka just to protect himself.

Episode 6
Kazuki didn’t come home and his family is worried. Especially Haruka. But oh, Kazuki has gone crazy living the happy kappa life! Oh yeah, having fun doing kappa sumo? What about kappa football? Of course this isn’t going to last as Kazuki remains gloomy. When he sees Haruka in the streets, he runs away. Haruka is worried if Kazuki is ever coming back. He is approached by Reo and wonders will be arrested for stealing Kazuki’s smile. Reo is interested to see whether the inside of him is desire or love and puts Haruka to sleep before taking him away back to his police box to have his desires extracted. Nyantaro is flung away. Kazuki still can’t face himself until Nyantaro lands near him. He realizes Haruka is missing. Keppi then receives a call that Haruka has been taken away by the Otter Empire. They kill humans and turn them into kappa zombies. Time for a little history. It seems kappa and otters having been at war since the dawn of time. They fought over the energy inside Shirikodama and when the otters won over the kappa, they set the humans as their next target. Keppi is the only one who can create Dish of Hope so if this secret is blown, his life will be targeted. Keppi takes the trio to the Otter Empire’s secret underground hideout where they extract all desires and put them in a box to devour. How can they find Haruka in all the boxes? Yeah, Kazuki calling Haruka’s handphone somehow pinpointing Haruka’s position. But as they chase after it, it is too late as it gets dropped into the pit. Desperate Kazuki wants to save Haruka’s life. How? Keppi suggests the other way is to transplant his Shirikodama into him. However this means that Kazuki will be disconnected from everything. To cut things short, he will be erased from existence and the memories of everyone who knows him. A fate worse than dying. That is exactly what they have been doing to kappa zombies they defeated.

But Kazuki starts thinking that exchanging his life would mean Haruka’s accident would never happen and that is good enough of a deal to do it. Of course his pals won’t allow this sorry excuse. You think that would make Haruka happy? STFU about this is your choice to make. Enta shows him the missanga he threw away that Haruka saved. It shows that he never gave up on him. He believes in him and is waiting. This is enough for Kazuki to change his mind. Back to operation rescue Haruka. The system detects Haruka’s desire as love and is rejected. It is being sent to the shredders but at least there is window of time for them to rescue him and he is still alive. Flashback shows Haruka’s final message to Sara that he did something horrible to a certain person. The reason he chased Kazuki down was because he was afraid he would leave him. It seems Haruka also stumbled into Kazuki’s real mom. They look alike and he picked up her dropped scent pouch. Similar scent. Haruka told her not to take Kazuki away but she smiled and said everything is going to be okay. But Kazuki stopped smiling after that. He is happy the things he has done for him and will continue to believe he will come home and smile again. How to save Haruka moments before being dropped into the shredder? This is where their football skills come in handy. Use Keppi as the football! Goal! Keppi also conveniently acts as a glider-cum-parachute to land Haruka to safety. With that, the trio are able to defeat the sachet zombie for good. Mabu is not pleased with yet another defeat. However Reo is ecstatic. Calling Haruka’s real love as something they never needed in the first place, he is glad he kidnapped Haruka because he has found Keppi, their hope. Kazuki feels he has been reborn into a new person despite staying pretty much the same. This is the real him. He is glad to have friends like them.

Episode 7
From what it sounds like some ambiguous gay sex between Otter and Mabu turns out to be a ritual for the latter to become his vessel. When Mabu returns from his ‘maintenance’, Reo is not pleased since he is trying hard to eat his old favourites and trying to pretend to be his old self doesn’t mean he will accept him. He is just nothing but lies. Even so, Mabu is doing this for a certain person precious to him. Flashback reveals that Mabu and Reo got entangled during the otter’s invasion of the kappa kingdom. When Reo woke up, he was in the care of Otter who claims he is the chief of the science and technology division. Although Reo was relatively unhurt, the same can’t be said for Mabu. From what it looked like, he died. Reo was devastated and would do anything to bring his partner back to life. Mabu reports to Otter that the energy reserves of the kappa zombies are dangerously low. This of course would mean both their lives are in danger. Otter wants Mabu to prove his loyalty via action. With summer break here, Kazuki happily tells Enta that he will rejoin the football club once the next term starts. They also invite Toi to join them since he is quite good. But as they head to their usual spot to practice, they see it vandalized. Undeterred, they start cleaning up. However the next day, it is again vandalized. Kazuki hasn’t lost his spirit and wants to clean up so as to send a message to the vandals this won’t break them. However Toi gets a call from Chikai. Looks like he can’t continue playing football with them. Seems a huge job just fell through as a partner betrayed him. They have to leave town for a while as they are being wanted. Kazuki remains positive. All they need is 1 more Dish of Hope, right? Let’s defeat a kappa zombie and help Chikai. That way, they don’t have to leave. Toi wonders why they are willing to go this far for him. Enta explains this is Kazuki’s real personality before that Haruka’s incident. He is always helpful. That is why what Kazuki wants, Enta also wants.

The trio go to the plaza to see Keppi but he just got back. From a date with Sara?! Anyway, Keppi claims somebody trespassed on his home while he is away. Proof: The Dishes of Hope the boys keep here are missing. At the same time, all the balls start to go missing. Time to go fight the kappa zombie which is a ball zombie this time. After another victory, the Sarazanmai reveals a nasty secret. It is Enta who vandalized their football spot and the one who stole the Dishes of Hope! Enta did so because he is jealous that Kazuki is paying his attention to Toi. Mabu and Reo’s flashback continues. When Mabu was revived, Reo wasn’t happy at all. He believes this isn’t the real Mabu because of that eternally sad look. But Mabu claims he is the real deal as the otter’s technology is truly amazing. His personality has perfectly replicated. Otter adds that Mabu has been fitted with a mechanical heart and needs Reo’s help to keep it working. If he doesn’t like it, feel free to stop his heart. Reo is in distraught because that means he has to kill Mabu. Otter tells them they will be transferred to the human world along with the hope that they seized from the kappa kingdom.

Episode 8
It seems Toi and Kazuki met before when they were young. Toi was contemplating of following Chikai and decided to throw away his love for football. At the same time, Kazuki too just had his problems about being connected so Toi gave him his missanga because some dreams come true when one is disconnected. Chikai meets Toi so they could leave town together but Toi wants him to wait a day for him to settle things. But Chikai’s mug is all over the news. It is rumoured that there is evidence he killed a yakuza boss a few years ago and is now a wanted man. Kazuki is most upset that Enta betrayed them and surprisingly Toi is cool with it and believes he must have his reasons. Bummed out Enta is hanging out at the pachinko when he meets Chikai who is coincidentally there. Because Mabu and Reo are on his tail, Enta helps him to get away. Enta could figure he is Toi’s brother after the way he says things. Chikai even goes as far as to reveal Toi loved football when he was young and wanted to be a football player. He tossed away everything because big brother sacrificed everything for him. Some sort of reciprocation I guess. Kazuki then sees that missanga. They have to move again when the cops close in on them. However they stumble into this yakuza guy who is the yakuza’s boss’ brother and is out for revenge. When he charges, Chikai uses Enta as bait to escape. As this dude deals with the kid, the cops come by. Naturally Enta escapes as this guy won’t let the cops take the spotlight. So he attacks them and gets shot by Reo. When other policemen arrive, they believe the duo have shot him and they will be charged over this police brutality. However they get brainwashed and believe the shooter is now Chikai.

Keppi and Sara now have clues that Mabu and Reo are the ones who have captured Dark Keppi. They have finished creating some secret anti-otter device that will capture their prey alive. Enta is furious Chikai used him but he advises him about that bad people survive line before they part ways. Just in time for a call from Toi. Enta is mad that he didn’t say anything to Kazuki about the missanga. Well, no use saying something that he doesn’t remember. As Kazuki is looking for the dishes, Toi calls him to say he doesn’t need those dishes anymore as he is going away. Kazuki desperately tries to convince him to stay and doesn’t understand what he is saying about people only believe they have connections once they lose them. Toi wants to protect the connections he has left. With that, Toi leaves with Chikai. Frustrated Kazuki is squashing cucumbers at the plaza? With Enta coming by with the dishes to help, however Kazuki jumps the gun and punches him. Blaming him that Toi would have stayed if not for what he did. Enta also snaps back at Kazuki for not remembering something important but the latter won’t hear it from someone who has betrayed them. Mabu and Reo have found them. The Dishes of Hope, that is. Reo shoots at Kazuki but Enta jumps to protect him. The cops leave with the dishes and Kazuki is left confused why Enta did all that. Despite everything that happened, Enta can’t bring himself to hate him.

Episode 9
Sara accidentally uses the device on Keppi and freezes him. Then she slips while trying to move him. Yeah, right into the middle of the road as the truck slams into him! Pieces of kappa… You mean Sara is going to do surgery and piece him back together?! And it worked?! With Enta being admitted into ICU and Chikai as the suspected shooter all over TV, Toi is devastated when he sees this. Chikai gives him one last chance to go back or else there is no turning back. Toi reasons that Enta has someone else important. But for Chikai, he is all he’s got. The duo then go meet one of Chikai’s underlings, Masa who prepares for their next stage of escape. Kazuki is sad that the police do not believe him that he saw a couple of cops shoot Enta. Of course they are brainwashed and maintain Chikai is the shooter. Otone hopes Kazuki could take to Enta and be by his side. Kazuki doesn’t think he has the right so Otone elaborates how the family is always overseas and only returned here 4 years ago. Enta had a hard time fitting in but Kazuki quickly made friends with him and they became football buddies. That is why Enta owes him his life and will do anything for him. Kazuki sounds desperate praying for Enta to wake up and do his usual smile. Surprise! Enta lives! But only in his kappa form. It seems Keppi transformed him so but he still has a limited time to live. After Masa sees off the brothers, Chikai shoots him! He views Masa as being unable to survive in this world and did him a favour. Of course there are other enemies gunning for Chikai’s head. Talk is useless so a gunfight ensues. When Chikai runs out of bullets, it is Toi who pulls out his own gun to start shooting to give his brother some time to escape.

When Reo returns to his police box, Mabu is not around. Some strange sounds coming from the basement. Taking a peek, he is shocked to see Otter trying to do something to Mabu’s mechanical heart. Even more shocked to see Otter is taking Reo’s form. Otter explains that they only exist in concept and take whatever form in your heart. Otter continues to mock Reo that he is the one who wants to own Mabu. That is his desire. He is merely being made to dance by his desires by them otters. The question now is what matters most to Mabu. How does Reo look to him? Reo is in distraught as he vows to get back the real Mabu with his own strength. All he needs is the final Dish of Hope. Haruka talks to Kazuki and knows he is going somewhere to help Enta. Haruka also has Enta to thank as he always accompanied him during rehab. He claims he and Enta have the same wish of seeing Kazuki run again. He shows a drawing they drew to cheer on Enta. It is behind Enta’s prized football poster. Lionel Kappa???!!! That is when Kazuki remembers about Toi. Chikai manages to get away when Toi confronts him. He doesn’t care if he is bad to the core. He is still his brother. But he wonders if Chikai is going to throw him away as well. Chikai pulls out a gun on him. However it is one of those enemies who shot Chikai. Though he got paid back the same way soon. Chikai knows he won’t make it so he doesn’t bother to go to the hospital. Toi is left devastated over his brother’s body. Lots of memories of the good and bad they had :’(. He’s gone… All the money he’s been left can’t bring him back…

Episode 10
When Mabu was brought back to life by Otter, it was only so he could be his doll. He could let him see Reo again but with a condition. Reo finds Keppi and captures him. It seems Reo and Mabu were also kappa and Keppi’s vassals. Taking Keppi and the kids to the otter’s underground base, however Kazuki and co manage to escape when Reo b*tches about Mabu being the fake doll that he doesn’t want. At the most bottom of the base, they stumble into Dark Keppi. This is Keppi’s other half that he separated when he was captured by Otter. Hence he has been finding it to be reunited so he can defeat Otter. Otter then pops up and tries to gain control of them. First he possesses Enta trying to convince him to hand over his dish. But Enta stays strong and will not lose his connection to Kazuki by breaking his dish. Otter now wants Reo to hand over the dishes he stole but of course he isn’t going to do that. Oh well. Time to let him see the truth. Otter turns Mabu into a Mabu zombie. Reo has no choice but to see Keppi’s help to become a kappa and defeat Mabu. When Otter gave Mabu a condition, he must not say words of love to Reo otherwise his mechanical heart will explode. In other words, in order to stay connected to Reo, he must hate him. No choice, Mabu uttered those words. During Sarazanmai, we see Reo running his mouth about Mabu being an emotionless doll. However he realizes he was the one who didn’t understand. In the final moments, Mabu says the one thing he has always wanted to say to Reo: He always loved him as his partner. With that, Mabu explodes. With the final Dish of Hope at hand, Reo goes insane, thinking this is Otter’s tricks. He starts shooting everything in despair and wants Kazuki to hand over the final dish. He won’t of course. Before Reo could kill him, suddenly he doesn’t understand why he is sad and upset. Because now all memories of Mabu are gone. Mabu is then shot in the heart by Toi. Chikai’s dead. You know what’s coming. But with only 15 seconds to go before Enta dies… Enta then lives as the dish is used on him. It seems that is what Toi would have done to had Kazuki given him the dish. It’s not over yet as Otter unleashes despair on the world in the form of Dark Keppi. It swallows Toi. Kazuki tries to save him but Toi hears Chikai’s voice of getting out of the circle together. Forget all those connections. Toi lets go of Kazuki’s hand.

Episode 11
An apparition in the form of Chikai is trying to convince Toi to shoot himself and his past in order to sever connections. Had he done that, all this suffering wouldn’t have been necessary. Of course, Kazuki, Enta and Keppi dive in to try and save Toi. But with Otter trying to get in their way, the kappa prince faces off with him to let the boys go ahead. As Toi talks with Chikai, eventually Toi shoots him. Of course this is Otter in disguise. But Toi isn’t done yet. He is prepared to shoot himself but his friends get in the way. Dark Keppi aggravates things by stealing his missanga as the trio drop into some alternate dimension and their connections threatened to be erased. We hear the trio coming to terms with themselves, their weakness and what they have realized. Finally it is Toi who realizes he doesn’t want to lose what is precious to him. They come together as Keppi transforms them into their kappa version for their final Sarazanmai. They must deliver this missanga to Kazuki’s younger self to complete the mission. While Keppi confronts his dark self, Otter again tries to get in the way. When Keppi reunites with his dark self, memento of Mabu and Reo revive the police duo to help the kids deliver the missanga. Once young Kazuki has it in his hands, Otter starts disintegrating. He is but an abstract concept after all. And Keppi is now in his true prince version? WTF is this weird looking newt-cum-lizardman look?! The final Sarazanmai has the trio talking about wanting to keep connecting. Weird, it’s like they need to score a goal before the time runs out. Thanks to that, it is safe to say that the world is safe for now. In this weird scene of Sara turning into her equally strange kappa mode and Mabu and Reo flanking her like kappa angels, Keppi narrates that the future is not necessary a bright one but hope and despair are both one with life. Never forget that only those who connect their desires through the pain of loss can take the future in their hands. In the aftermath, Toi enters a juvenile detention facility and is released after 3 years. I don’t think he is committing suicide by jumping off the bridge, but it feels a very odd way for his friends to go pick him up this way too. Is that how they decided to greet him on his release? And happily the trio head to their favourite football spot to practice.

Otterly Krazy Kappa-nings & Konnections
Wow. Who needs drugs when you can have this sort of crazy hallucinations and trippy experience, no?! Heh. Just kidding. Don’t do drugs by the way. Anyway, the series has been quite a mixed ride of drama and craziness. Friends trying to stay connected and finding their place of belonging among each other and in the world. Yet again, the cliché power of friendship wins the day!

Desires and connections are the main themes of this series but I feel that the latter permeates throughout the series more than the former. Desires feel like it is an element to move to plot along or provide a narrative for the episode but the overall main theme would be connections. It may not be very obvious here but connections are a very important factor in everybody’s life. You might think that you are a loner but as long as people remember or know who you are, you are in a way still connected. It is only when everyone in the world forgets about you that your existence is truly severed. A fate worse than death is to have never existed in the eyes and the memories of others. That is why our characters here fight hard to try and maintain their connections. Once it is severed, there is no telling when it can be connected again. It’s not like it can be glued back with duct tape, right?

The use of kappa and otters are also a strange concept. While in this anime, kappa are the good guys and otters are the antagonists, in actual life it is actually the other way around. Sort of. You see, because of today’s media, kappa are now portrayed as some cute harmless little creatures. Lest you do your research, you will find that their true origins have a very dark nature. Let’s say that are not friendly creatures to begin with and the Shirikodama ass extraction you see here is just a light take on the horror aspects of their origin. And otters are supposed to be cute, lovely and helpful to the environment, right? And aww, they look so cute holding hands while they sleep together at sea to prevent from being drifted away. So cute… Well, if you love otters that much and can see no fault in them. Just like many other animals, otters too can be dicks (you should read an article about otters raping seals. No kidding!). Obviously otters are portrayed as the antagonists here only because of its Japanese word ‘kawauso’ in which ‘uso’ means lies.

Speaking of that, this series also has its fair share of puns. While it may not be as spamming and ubiquitous, say like the Monogatari series, there are still quite a few of them for those who are sharp enough to pick up and of course if you have a certain standard in Japanese vocabulary. For example, Toi’s episode regarding his relatives running the soba shop is definitely a wordplay of the ‘soba’ word which also means ‘next’. Toi wanting to be next to Chikai is definitely his desire. The start of every flashback scene you will see the words seaweed with it because ‘kaisou’ in Japanese means both flashback and seaweed, albeit same pronunciation but different kanji words. And of course it goes without saying that all the kappa zombies are puns of their desires. But I guess the puns that take the big share of the cake are kappa puns. You will see them in product placements (Kappazon?), places (Kappabashi? Yes, this place actually exists) and even celebrities. Lionel Kappa… Hah! I will surely remember one. Sorry, no Kappa-tiano Ronaldo, KR7! For more insights to the puns in this series, this site provides a good explanation as well as trivia and Easter eggs.

This show might be even weirder considering how it spams us a lot of butt and ass scenes, especially that Shirikodama extraction. But remember what I said about the darker origins of the kappa? Yes people, kappa is technically a yokai that loves butts! Therefore there are a few butt and ass visuals so it may look weird as hell and cringey. After all, when the kappa boys had to go inside deep into the ass of the kappa zombie to extract the Shirikodama out, it really looks like one weird sexual fetish. Even when Keppi begins his Shirikodama extraction, you see from a point of view that focuses on his butt. And Keppi doing farts and sh*tting out the boys because his anus is some sort of magical transformation device thingy, could really twist one stomach if you’re not used to this sort of craziness. There’s also some gay suggestions other than Enta for Kazuki or a hardcore male friendship among them leading to something yaoi and especially Mabu and Reo hinting to be close enough and more than best partners-cum-friends but it could be just my imagination. Yeah, just our imaginations when Otter seemingly tried to make out with Mabu!

The characters are rather okay. I suppose the main trio are fleshed out enough that you would want to support they stay together till the end. Everyone harbours secrets so it is no surprising that these boys too have some secrets that would put their friendship to the test. I wouldn’t say that many of the episode’s revelation like Kazuki being a cross-dresser or Enta as the culprit who vandalized their football spot, to be mind blowing. Sometimes it feels like a detective themed series. You know, whatever mysterious/curious case/phenomenon is eventually being revealed in the end. Only here, we aren’t furnished any clues to pinpoint the culprit and we should have known and see it coming by the connection theme of this series. By the time we probably are getting used to this, the series has probably already ended. In a way, Sarazanmai serves more than just revealing the darkest secrets of the main characters as it also helps in developing their characters forward. Kazuki wants the best for Haruka. Toi wants to be with Chikai. Enta selfishly wants Kazuki for himself. With Haruka reminding the previous Kazuki was better and more smiley and Chikai dead, it is like the wakeup call for the trio to realize that there are more important connections than their own selfish desires.

Chikai as a shady character, it was hard for me to determine if he was just playing the villain or truly a villain in his own right. From the circumstances that have arisen in his life, not to say that resorting to a life of crime is justified but it lets us understand why he took the path that he need to take. Bad guys surviving the longest is the world rings eerily true in real life and it might be heartless for him to teach this to his younger brother but that is how life works for them. Life wasn’t going to be a bed of roses for them so what else do they need to do to survive? Had Chikai being truly despicable, he would have left Toi and not cared for him a long time ago. So I believe he is just playing the big villain just to help Toi move on. The brothers are both each other’s strength and weakness. Because they have each other, they strongly trudge on in life but that is the same reason why it drags them down. While it is sad that Chikai dies in the end (live by the sword, die by the sword), it was probably a twisted blessing in disguise for Toi to set him free and open his eyes that he also has something else of importance other than his brother. What good is a guy when he is dead except for nostalgia and memories?

Mabu and Reo being antagonists feel a bit underdeveloped. Like as though they are characters created just for kappa zombies to run havoc. But that is okay because Mabu and Reo aren’t antagonists to begin with. Unwilling antagonists if I should say. After their truth is revealed, so as not to let them have a bad ending, somehow they revive and return to being the kappa prince and princess’ vassals? I don’t even know how that happened except for plot convenience. After all, it is not like they have been completely forgotten by being thrown out of the connection circle. Yeah, pretty convenient for them to just turn into memento after being defeat. And I thought Mabu’s mechanical heart was supposed to explode and leave nothing. Nothing. But I guess Otter was also lying. Because Otter is just an abstract concept, is the otter kingdom created because of all the negative emotions from humans? I mean, there is enough to go around because with so many unfulfilled desires and twisted secrets, enough for that cliché factor of bad feelings amass into an evil being that is what the otter kingdom represents. It’s a vicious cycle since they feed on the energy of humans. Otter being defeated in the final scene could it merely just mean the boys have overcome their obstacles? Because with the future still not secure, it could mean that Otter could come back anytime when some strain is detected?

The art and animation are sleek. I would be repeating myself yet another time if I try to explain how the visuals all look nostalgically similar to Mawaru Penguindrum. Crazy, weird, odd, strange, bizarre, flashy. Did I leave any other words out? But that basically sums up my main point about this segment. Especially some of the movements during transformation and the ritual to extract Shirikodama, they’re just wild as hell. Wow. You have to go through all that just to get there? Truly flashy indeed. Unimportant people are portrayed as stick people. You know those male and female signs you see outside the toilet? Yeah. Toilet sign people… And for those other characters who don’t matter but are slightly ‘important’ like those dead victims, all of them have a white paper covering their face. Don’t have to draw their face. Better than putting a censor over their eyes. I suppose we don’t care for them that’s why they can be thrown out of the connection circle so easily. Keppi looks weird as a kappa because I at first I thought he was some duck! Hey, at least I didn’t mistook him for a frog! And with him having red eyes, yeah I thought he was high on drugs. Can’t say I like his new handsome kappa form, though… Looks even weirder. While some of the backgrounds are 2D animation, I think some of them are using real backgrounds. I may be wrong since the 2D animation might be so good that I couldn’t tell the difference. This series is animated jointly by MAPPA (Kakegurui, Shingeki No Bahamut series, Banana Fish) and Lapin Track.

For the voice acting department, Rie Kugimiya sounds quite meek as Haruka. Though, she is still recognizable. Glad to hear that she is still around and it might not be a main character role but it’s still good enough to hear her voice once in a while. Looks like I’ve reached a point in time where I am starting to worry that I won’t be hearing seiyuus that I am familiar with because they are already on the path of retirement. And with so many new and young upcoming seiyuus these days. Ah well. Better be grateful for all that I can get. The other recognizable seiyuus are Junichi Suwabe as Keppi, Kenjiro Tsuda as Chikai and Mamoru Miyano as Reo. I was thinking Mamoru Miyano would be a flamboyant character but that is only because I was amazed by his performance as the main character in Zombie Land Saga and think he could replicate that in this crazy series. Guess not. The other casts are Ayumu Murase as Kazuki (Riku in Show By Rock), Shun Horie as Enta (Koshiyama in Nana Maru San Batsu), Kouki Uchiyama as Toi (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Yoshimasa Hosoya as Mabu (Reiner in Shingeki No Kyojin), Takaya Kuroda as Otter (Dagger in Show By Rock), Mariya Ise as Otone (Levi in Fairy Tail) and Teiko Kagohara as Sara (debut voice acting role as she is originally a singer – maybe that’s why she sounds a bit raw and weird).

Fitting the crazy pace of the series is the opening theme, Massara by Kana-Boon. This rock outfit also feels suitable for those who would love to do their own AMV. Yeah, it feels pretty much like that. Stand by Me by The Peggies isn’t a cover that was originally sung by Ben E. King. Instead this rock piece has this edgy feel to it. Sounds okay to me and not bad. But it is the insert songs that take the cake. Sarazanmai No Uta and Kawausoiya are the songs featured as the kappa boys begin their fight against the kappa zombies and the policeman duo extracting desires from their victims respectively. The songs are pretty catchy and I can’t help sing or even dance along to the tune each time it is played. Sarazanmai No Uta has this jazzy and samba mix to it while Kawausoiya blends traditional Japanese fold dance with modern music. There is also Houkago Kappa by Teiko Kagohara. But this sounds more like a children song if you ask me. Cute but not as exciting as the former duo.

Overall, despite all the craziness and bizarre presentation, this series is still fun, enjoyable and at times thought provoking especially on the concept of connections. While it started off looking and reminding us a lot like Mawaru Penguindrum v2.0, slowly when you get drawn into the setting and concept of this series, it starts to stand out entirely on its own. So the lesson of the series is to keep your connections and count your blessings for having them. You may not know it but still take the time to thank those around you and putting up with your incorrigible habits. Every day. But the irony in today’s world that despite we are being so connected and staying connected 24/7 via technological advances, the classic and traditional connection of human to human relationship is eroding. We are already zombies looking at our Smartphones every day. Otters could be personified as giant tech companies, brainwashing us and feeding on our raw emotions. Literally, f*cking us in the ass! Hence the only true fear that we will dread the most is when we lose connection to the internet! Oh the horror!!! Usooooo!!!

Majimoji Rurumo: Kanketsu-hen

September 20, 2019

Better late than never. That’s what I thought that many old animes that were last aired 5 years ago getting its sequel. It is the same case and it came as a surprise to me that Majimoji Rurumo: Kanketsu-hen got a pair of special OVA episodes back in July 2019 since its TV series last aired in 2014. It wasn’t the kind of series I was hoping for to get a sequel and of course now that it has come out, I don’t remember anything much except about a witch in training maintaining a contract with a perverted guy. In exchange for magic tickets to grant his wishes, the moment he uses them up, he dies. So perhaps as seen in its title, this is the last leg for this series and to bring back the nostalgic hype for hardcore fans who want to see some sort of closure.

Episode 1
It’s that time again when Kouta runs into trouble with Inoue and her public morals gestapo goons. He wishes for Rurumo to save him in which she does his magic. However this means he uses up all his remaining tickets and die! Phew, thank goodness it was just a dream. He then sees Rurumo sleeping so cutely and wants to sleep together?! Thank goodness mom is around and tells him to go do some errands. Along the way, Rurumo is curious to go out for tea. Kouta obliges but this isn’t the kind of tea he had in mind. While he is thinking of being on a date, Rurumo dumps all the sugar cubes into her tea and still finds it bitter! Later Kouta talks to Chiro about seeing Rurumo smiled a little bit. He suggests she should live here forever since he won’t be able to use up his tickets. However Chiro tells the grave truth. Trainee witches only have 500 days limit. Whether they pass or fail, they go back after the time is up. If she fails, it only means she will lose her right to be a permanent witch. And that deadline is in 2 weeks. Wow. Thanks for letting us know such a crucial detail as this point. Then 2 weeks passed without anything happening. Kouta thinks of going on a spending spree to celebrate her send off. He stumbles into a loli who needs his help getting her balloon. After done, he is startled to meet Rurumo in the streets. This is where they first met. She thanks him for all that he has done and just wanted him to remember there was a witch named Rurumo. She can’t make it sound any sadder, can she? Kouta then hugs her and feels stupid for not realizing it sooner. Hence he decides to use all his remaining tickets to have girls look at him. Might as well go out with a bang. Unfortunately he sees that loli crossing the road and a truck is going to slam into her. Oh well. Time to use the tickets to save her. With that, the loli is saved and Kouta drops dead. His corpse confirms Rurumo passed her training.

Oh my. Kouta is really dead! Not a dream! Everyone crying at his funeral! Apparently Rurumo doesn’t know Kouta will pay with his life after using up his tickets! Seriously, girl???!!! Chiro blames herself for not telling her because she wanted Rurumo to really become a witch. But how now? Everybody so sad. As Rurumo is now a full-fledged witch, her first mission is to erase the memories of all humans who know her. But I think she isn’t powerful enough since she goes to each of them one by one instead of casting a wide spell over the city. The last is Tanako who now confirms Rurumo is a witch and learns the truth that Kouta did. Her final wish is that if Rurumo sees Kouta, please tell him how cool he was. Rurumo and Chiro return to the Underworld. We hear a narration of witches divided into 13 ranks with the Witch Queen being the most powerful and occupying the top. Maybe that’s why Rurumo’s power isn’t so powerful yet. She just became a real witch. When Harulily talks to her, it seems she knows that Kouta is still alive. Sort of. Humans whose lives have been taken when a witch’s contract is fulfilled are stored in a soul crystal in Underworld. Many witches don’t know where it is located. While the soul crystal has no means to listen or speak, the human’s mind still remains intact. And so happens Harulily knows where the soul crystals are. She wants Rurumo to go see him before he disappears for good. Rurumo thinks about this and ponders further on Harulily’s words that she is in love with Kouta. Otherwise why could she not stop thinking about him? Does she need to hesitate on her next move? Let’s go see Kouta!

Episode 2
More narrations about how nobody has conveniently seen the Witch Queen and the soul crystals reside in the underground of the admin bureau. Of course they are guarded by top ranked elite witches so can a newbie witch like Rurumo bust in? Conveniently Rurumo and Chiro overheard wardens, Sillia Saland Alphoa and Mimilmia talking about a recent soul crystal being a pervy one because it tried to molest their boobs and butts. Definitely Kouta. Amazingly they manage to steal his box and I know Rurumo is being nostalgic with Kouta but can she save it for another and like, get out of here? I know she feels like she can take on anything but seriously, ranked 1 witches? Of course Sillia and Mimilmia are going all out to stop Rurumo. Thankfully Harulily drops in to help. As she has prepared some top end magic, she manages to stop their time so as to buy them time to escape. Oh, Rurumo conveniently putting memory erasing magic on them. Back in her home (you mean there were no other wardens or security to stop them?), because Kouta’s soul crystal is unresponsive, luckily we have Mimi who has created a doll as his vessel! Long story short, Mimi is in love with Kouta! Putting the soul crystal into the doll, Kouta can only speak and listen, albeit very weak. Rurumo thanks him that she has now become a witch but when Kouta wants to tell her something, he has run out of steam. That is when Rurumo gives up and decides to return him to the chamber. After going through all that trouble? The memory erasing spell won’t last long and the duo will soon catch up. After all, she has been in prison before and now that she has settled the matters of her heart, it’s not bad being imprisoned again?! Girl, you just sounded that you got imprisoned in your own heart.

Soon, Rurumo and Harulily are arrested and are to face a trial for treason. In short, the judges hand down their judgment that Rurumo is to be imprisoned for 300 years and stripped of her witchhood forever while Harulily will be demoted to rank 13. Whatever they have to say or reason, it’s not the court’s problem. So a convenient revelation for us to understand why Rurumo is handed down such harsh punishment. You see, when humans are contracted with witches, when they die, their soul then becomes the source of magic witches use. Now you know why witches descend to Earth, eh? That is why in the chamber, the soul crystals are connected to tubes and all and are managed by the wardens. However this power is not limited and to maintain the balance, the Witch Queen imposed strict rules and certain methods. Rurumo has disrupted that order by awakening the human spirit inside the soul crystal. Because of that, it is deemed useless and will be destroyed. Oh Rurumo. No use crying how she made things worse while trying to save him. So accept that punishment and bear the guilt? Before the judges could hand down the verdict suddenly that loli comes in. Guess what? She’s the Witch Queen! Surprise, b*tches! She heard what happened and rushed all the way back here. She immediately annuls this session and voids all of their punishment. Wow. That was easy. That’s the Witch Queen for you.

The Witch Queen then takes them to her palace. Although she narrates that no one can stop death, but if it is caused by a witch’s contract, ah yeah, I see where this loophole is going. Hence the Witch Queen can use her special magic to revive Kouta and return his soul crystal. But didn’t Kouta get cremated? Lucky boy. Because the Witch Queen snuck into his funeral and swap his real body to her palace! Damn Kouta’s kindness goes a long way. With her special powers, Kouta is revived. The real deal. This time it is Rurumo who comes running to hug him. And finally Kouta is able to say he loves her from the bottom of his heart. I suppose he can’t stay in Underworld so he is tossed back to his home. Damn, his family and friends so happy to see him come back alive?! So what about him being dead? Oh, he lied about waking up before being cremated and escaped. Since he is standing before them, I guess they don’t want to question any further. Seriously. Let those pervy days return! Soon, Rurumo becomes a new transfer student in class. All the guys are crazy over this new cute chick but soon get jealous since Kouta knows her. Yeah. Former sister. Not going to cut it! But screw all that since Kouta gives Rurumo a kiss. Uhm, can he upgrade former sister to girlfriend? Why didn’t he just go with long lost childhood friend since everyone’s memories on Rurumo were erased? Ah well, whatever. And Rurumo is back on Earth as she was promoted and assigned to work on Earth as advisors for Earth-based witches. Can this fun last forever? Maybe not. But at least Kouta doesn’t have to use up his tickets for this now. Live life to the fullest!

Write Your Own Ticket Or It’s Tickets For You!
I’m not sure if these OVA episodes are meant to be the end and closure for the series entirely. At least for the TV format. Because they were released in conjunction for a manga volume released on the same date. Also, I read that the OVAs were original stories to begin with. Since I don’t read the manga, I am not sure how it would deviate. Not that it matters to me since I still won’t be reading them and hence the OVAs are considered the end of the series to me. Unless they decide to adapt the continuation, which would be an entirely different story but that would be for another time.

These special episodes focuses a lot on Rurumo and Kouta being relegated to a side character as we see Rurumo trying to come to terms with her feelings for Kouta. I guess only when death occurs and hits you real hard that you start realizing what is most important to you. It is really a sweet ending for Kouta and Rurumo to be together again although typically that is what I expected it would be. Pretty cliché that both the characters who never realized they were in love with each other or have a hard time saying those magical words until they are pushed to the limits, only when they overcome those obstacles, a fairytale happy ending of them being together again. And they live happily ever after. The end. I wouldn’t have it any other way for them, though. It would be really sadistic of me to aspect Rurumo to say her goodbye and peace and be locked away forever in prison. Not the kind of bad ending to leave as the final impressions of viewers.

There were a few mind boggling moments too. Most probably to drive the narrative and plot of the story. For example, it was said that nobody knows who the Witch Queen looks like. And with that loli revelation (isn’t that why they foreshadow of this unknown character in the first part?), now a lot of people know how the Witch Queen looks like? She doesn’t seem like a nasty person and a very reasonable one so why doesn’t she make her appearance known to at least the denizens of Underworld? She doesn’t have to be known to humans that’s for sure but I wonder why her appearance is kept a mystery. Is it those who only deserve to know her will get to see her face? Strange order if you ask me then. Then the other mind boggling part is how she switched Kouta’s body. I am assuming that a few days passed so why did she not immediately seek Rurumo? Why does she not know she is a witch? She saw her using her magic to save her, right? So what was she doing putting Kouta’s body for a few days in her palace? So that we could all have this dramatic scene of Rurumo going through all the trouble and emotions of rescuing Kouta and feeling her actions were for naught.

And when Kouta revived, where the heck was he if he said he escaped from his coffin? This assuming a few days have passed. Where was he hanging out? So okay, I believe there were no security guards at a funeral so nobody saw a corpse walking out. Even so, this has got to be the biggest prank Kouta would have played on his fellow family and friends and they don’t even reprimand him for this? Maybe we just didn’t see but yeah, making everybody worried sick and crying over your dead body isn’t funny the more you think about it. The funeral was real, you know. I guess everybody realizes how precious Kouta was and couldn’t care less about this and overlooked it anyway. I mean, he is alive. What more do you want? Don’t get me started on the soul crystal thingy. Sure, I saw it coming from a mile that they are used as power source to feed witches’ magic but come on, awakening them once will make them lose that magic worth? Are you sure the producer quickly try to think something up so as to give us that scene where Rurumo was filled with guilt and remorse? That her genuine actions brought more harm than good to the boy she loves? Seems like that to me. But don’t fear. Thanks to all the clichés and ingredients for a good happy ending, that’s why everybody is such a lucky person.

Overall, this series has wrapped up nicely and for viewers like me, a nice and cute closure to everything that was. Lots of typical and cliché moments to pull your heart strings as well but I guess there is no other way for this series to end so that we could all feel good when it comes to a close. If there is one thing that this series has taught me, it isn’t the magic tickets and the wish that you wish upon that really matters most. It is the actions of what you do that affects others that counts. So that is why the next time when you see an old woman needing help to carry her groceries while crossing the street or that little girl whose cat is stuck high up on a tree and can’t come down or the homeless guy who is asking for a spare change or bread to spare, don’t turn them down. Who knows? They might be some higher deity in disguise or even just that ordinary person who will return that favour to you in the future when you needed it most. Just like how Kouta’s seemingly insignificant action to help a loli and be selfless scored big points for his reunion with Rurumo. You could say he won the golden ticket then. And that the best magic comes from that not of witches, but that of the heart.

Grimms Notes The Animation

September 15, 2019

Just when you thought classic western fairytales have been given their fair share of anime style adaptation and interpretation throughout the years, here comes another one. Grimms Notes The Animation now takes many of those classic stories from the Brothers Grimm’s collection and turn it into another anime based on western fairytales. Yeah, we’re running out ideas, aren’t we? The stories here are indeed somewhat ‘twisted’ but that is only because some anomaly is turning the stories to not follow their original script and go astray. Hence a group of young people going about through different stories to correct them to its original tale. Yeah, I guess that is why people love originals instead of reboots, retellings and remakes… Or even sequels. Oh yeah. Those were the days where fairytales just ended without any sort of sequels that some franchises these days do that tainted the overall story.

Episode 1
Ex, Reina, Shane and Tao defeat a Villain and revert it to the human it possessed. They are looking for Red Riding Hood because something is happening in this Story Zone and they need to destroy that Chaos Teller messing with it and restore everyone’s fate to what it should be. In town, everyone is worried since Red Riding Hood has been missing for a week. They are even worried about meeting the travelling quartet since their Book of Fate says nothing! So they follow the Woodcutter into the forest as he was the last to see her before she disappeared. When they arrive in a cave behind a waterfall, there she is hiding. She chased away the wolf?! Actually somehow the Woodcutter transformed into that. As they walk along, Red Riding Hood tells of her worries. It is understandable that she is going to be eaten by the big bad wolf. Her fate and life lead up to this. Ex assures her when that happens, they’ll save her. Uhm, isn’t that going against the fate of the story? As they return to the village, everyone has turned into a Villain. Outnumbered, they run to grandma’s house. Nobody is around and Shane realizes something amiss. Asking Red Riding Hood a few questions, it is revealed that she plans to feed them to the wolf. They manage to get out of the burning house as they realize Chaos Teller has possessed her. Red Riding Hood laments her fate. She knew the Woodcutter used her to get close to his mom. Because all men are wolves, she turned him into one. Because everyone knew she would be eaten and didn’t care, she has had it and will make them all suffer. She thinks people are worried only because she might not be eaten by the wold as was supposed to. No choice, the quartet use their Bookmark of Guidance to transform themselves into other fairytale characters to fight her and the hordes of Villains. After she is defeated, Reina tunes everything to return it all back to normal. Though, everyone’s memories of this will vanish. The story returns to normal. Red Riding Hood’s mom cares for her and gives her the strength to go face the wolf. The Woodcutter plans to marry her mom and talks to Red Riding Hood about it and assures they both love her very much. Ex narrates everyone is given a Book of Fate when they are born that dictates their entire life. But how is one supposed to act when it is blank? That is Ex’s Book of Fate.

Episode 2
The quartet are a small group of people with a blank Book of Fate. This allows them to travel between Story Zones to correct them. Now they enter the Story Zone of Don Quixote. He offers to help them fight the Villains but thanks to his back pain, they are the ones who did the bulk of it. He also keeps thinking Ex is Sancho. Back in town, he has a reputation of being a lying old man due to his exaggerated stories. They are brought to see Dulcinea who is helping the nuns tend the wounds of refugees who fled from neighbouring towns. The quartet split up to find out more about Don Quixote. When monsters pop up to attack, Don Quixote will fight them and some of the people are pessimistic. But Dulcinea rallies them to fight alongside him since the threat is real. In the end, they emerge victorious. That night, Ex is confronted by Loki who mocks Don Quixote as just a sad puppet dancing to the Storyteller’s tune. Ex refutes him but Loki tells him Red Riding Hood is now trembling inside the wolf’s stomach before disappearing. He reminds him that they are always right beside him. Dulcinea talks to Ex and Reina. They should know she is not a real person. Don Quixote’s imagination is so strong that she became real. It all began when he mistook a windmill for a monster and after that she was created. It is most likely his desire to be a hero created the Chaos Teller. Speaking of the devil, the windmill monster then attacks the town. Don Quixote bravely defends it from its hurricane attacks but there is only so much he could take before he hands it to Sancho, or rather Ex. Cue for the quartet to use their Bookmark of Guidance and save the day. With Reina’s tuning, Dulcinea disappears and this Story Zone reverts back to its original state. Though he insists that Dulcinea is real although the real fat and ugly Sancho thinks it’s another one of his fantasies.

Episode 3
Ex’s flashback. Born with a blank Book of Fate, his uncle and aunt took him in after his parents died. Though they aren’t very fond of this and hope to get rid of him one day. Is that written in their Book of Fate? Or is this just whimsical? Soon he met Cinderella and helped her with her errands. As we all know, she lives with a wicked stepmother and equally b*tchy stepsisters. She finds solace befriending Ex and when he learns her Book of Fate to go to the ball and then marry a prince, he vows to help her achieve this. Uhm, I know he doesn’t have a role but wouldn’t this still be her fate regardless he intervened or not? Many years passed, on the day that the ball is to be held, Ex is confronted by Loki who claims he has made preparations for this unforgettable event. Ex starts thinking about his fate once Cinderella is done with hers. For some reason that night he went out and stumbled into Reina fighting Villains. Yeah, I’m surprised the heavy log she is stuck beneath didn’t kill her. She gives him her Bookmark of Guidance that turns him into a hero to slay the Villains. She doesn’t want to explain or answer his questions but lets him keep her Bookmark of Guidance? WTF. Eventually she just tells him. For the sake of progression of this story, I guess. Reina is looking for the main character of this Story Zone. Well, what do you know? Cinderella’s Book of Fate sounds like she is the main character… So cliché, right? So they have to rush to her because since she is the main character, Chaos Teller almost always lurks around them. Better hurry because the fairy godmother has turned Cinderella into a splendid princess (also, T&C apply because that 12 midnight caveat too) while Loki has turned everyone in town into Villains.

Episode 4
Cinderella arrives at the ball. Eh? Wrong ball? Because this looks more like a Villain party! It is revealed the fairy godmother is on cohorts with Loki as she wants to preserve Cinderella’s happiness. Wait. So to do that she now turns Cinderella into Sleeping Beauty? This is confusing. With Ex meeting Tao and Shane, Reina explains more about the Chaos Teller. When they are to power up using their Bookmark of Guidance, they are shocked to see Ex is a wild card. This means he can connect with any kind of hero unlike the rest, the heroes they can connect to are limited based on their crest. Time to kick some Villain butt as warmup before the big showdown. As they get into the castle, Loki shows up. He is one who creates Chaos Tellers and he believes he gives others hope to break out from their repeated fates. Reina only accuses him of making everyone suffer. Then they face off with the fairy godmother who is no other the Chaos Teller. She rants about Cinderella’s fate. Despite being married to the prince, she never found true happiness. Yeah, married woes. You mean they really divorce after that? So making her sleep is for the best? Fairy godmother then turns into her true hideous form. Ex eventually defeats her and manages to speak to Cinderella for one last time. Must be exhausted from that nightmare, huh? Reina is about to begin her tuning and this means Cinderella will not remember Ex after this. He doesn’t mind since that is what he wants. After all, he wanted her to have a happy ending and can’t get in her way. In the aftermath as the Story Zone returns to normal and Cinderella happily married to the prince, Ex joins the rest on a journey and an adventure he can call his own. He thought being born without a fate was normal. But now he realizes he has yet to pick one.

Episode 5
Beach episode? Well, they pull out John Silver almost drowned at sea. Yup, welcome to Treasure Island. According to Silver’s Book of Fate, he is supposed to help Jim find Flint’s treasure but that boy went down with the ship when a monster attacked. Tao is eager to help him the treasure since he has the map. But Reina almost messes things up with her bad luck, setting off traps. I’m starting to think that because of her bad luck is so bad, she survives all the traps. Yeah… When Shane spots somebody else, she follows him hiding in the cave. Turns out to be Jim and he reveals that Silver is the culprit who sank their ship just to get the map to the treasure. Conveniently when the truth is out, Silver bombs and traps them in the cave. Don’t worry. Shane has some bombs to blow them out. Then they make their way to the treasure. If something feels wrong with the treasure being so openly displayed, it’s because it is definitely a trap. The moment Jim touches it, he turns into a Villain. Cue for Silver to cue in and rant about screwing fate because it tells him he could never get the treasure or become the greatest pirate. Our heroes transform. I suppose they all had to transform into female characters because fanservice swimsuits. Anyway they face a hard time until Tao sheds some light of truth whatever. A vision of Flint is enough for Silver to admit his loss and accept his fate. After Reina tunes this Story Zone, it seems Silver is still trying to be a rogue but doing it on his own and without the power of a Chaos Teller.

Episode 6
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all? I think we know the answer. Until the mirror tells more about the ugly truth that one day the evil queen’s daughter, Snow White will surpass her. Ex and co are in this Story Zone when Ex is whisked away by, uhm, 7 septuplets are actually the 7 dwarves? They force Ex to kiss sleeping Snow White. She wakes up and thinks he is her prince. I’m sure the rest aren’t too happy to see Ex getting kissed but whatever. So these 7 idiots are actually fairies named Tsuberks? Whatever. Seeing there is no error in this storyline, they want to leave but Snow White refuses to let Ex goes and really believes he is her prince. She throws a tantrum that she gave him her first time (what a way to say a kiss) and needs to take responsibility! The rest thought the story will restart if they bring her back to the castle and Snow White is delighted as she wants to introduce Ex to her mother queen whom she loves so much. Flashback shows she was strict but as loving. Then there’s a twisted time she told Snow White that her Book of Fate said she will be killed by her own daughter. When that time comes, don’t hesitate. Meeting the queen, she wants them to stay as thanks for saving Snow White. Dinner is great but desserts? Apple themed… Damn, this looks suspicious. Snow White didn’t think twice in sinking her teeth in but luckily or unluckily, those 7 idiots barge in. They ruin everything but saved her. Because Snow White still loves her mom, the queen reveals she was the previous Snow White. After eating the apple, she hated her mother and eventually went on to kill her. So that flashback was hers? The apple’s poison actually made her forget the love instead of killing her? The memories were enough for the queen to realize her mom also loved her a lot and let jealousy get the better of her. Mother and daughter have the greatest big hug. Reina theorizes because Ex broke the curse before it could take effect, it is a reason why the apple didn’t have an effect on this Snow White. As they leave, Snow White admits she knew Ex wasn’t the real prince but couldn’t let him leave because he was such a wonderful person. Don’t worry, you’ll find a much better prince. It’s in your Book of Fate, right? Oh wait. Does this mean she must eat another poisoned apple and fall into a deep slumber?!

Episode 7
In this Story Zone, Ex and co stumble into an unconscious lady in the snow, Gerda. Sorry, not Elsa. They take refuge and rest up in a nearby cabin belonging to a blind lady, Curly. As we all know the story from Frozen, oops, I mean the Snow Queen, Gerda is on a mission to retrieve her brother Kai who has gone to serve the Snow Queen. Next day as they arrive at the ice castle, Kai pops up but refuses to return with Gerda. He will be contracted to the Snow Queen as stated in his Book of Fate. However Gerda then thought of exploiting this contract loophole. She immobilizes Shane in hopes she would take Kai’s place instead. However the Snow Queen isn’t amused and sends the ground crumbling. Our heroes are okay at the bottom. Gerda feels confused with what she has done thanks to partially some cursed mirror shards stuck in her eye but due to recent events, she is getting some of her feelings back rather than being some emotionless girl. Shane and Gerda really hit it up as they talk about siblings’ love. They manage to get out and confront Kai again. He reveals his contract is to stay by the Snow Queen’s side forever and in exchange she will remove the shard from Gerda’s eye. However Shane points out that the Snow Queen will not remove it but Kai himself. Because you know, when the siblings start reconciling, lots of emotions welling up, voila! The shards break from Gerda’s eyes. Because tears of happiness. With the happy siblings reunited, the only one not happy is the Snow Queen. No prizes to guess she is the Chaos Teller. She reveals that she was the one who brought sorrow to them so as his sadness and all are purest. That makes him beautiful. Whatever. Can we just transform, fight and defeat this crazy b*tch and move on? There. Easy win. Before Reina could tune things, Curly pops up. She claims she created this Chaos Teller and warns them about forcing her into eternal solitude. Giving other cruel fairytale fates, she believes this is the only way these characters can break out from their vicious cycle. Turns out Loki is working under her and whisks her away to do some priestess duty. Gerda is grateful and will forever remember Shane. Yeah, wait till Reina tunes everything. Ah, all back to normal.

Episode 8
Tao once told Shane since they both had a blank Book of Fate, they can wander anywhere. However to prevent being lost, it is best they venture together. Since it isn’t Tao’s policy to take on a servant, he made Shane his family. Now the travellers are in Momotarou’s Story Zone, Tao and Shane’s homeland. Momotarou being owned by Villains? As he explains, he already went to Onigashima and defeated them. However his animals did all the work and left him. He hopes they can help him defeat a few oni making boats as they are planning to assault the coastal village. Shane recognizes Onihime as dumb Momotarou tries to attack her. Tao knocks him out. It seems the oni aren’t going to attack humans but return home to Onigashima. Tao agrees to help them. When Momotarou wakes up, he is told what happened by grandpa. Even more so about Tao being the traitor because he was the one who betrayed the previous Momotarou and let the oni defeat him. Without his animals, Momotarou is lost. Don’t worry. Grandpa has new servants for him. By the time Tao and co reach Onigashima, the place is razed. How the f*ck did Momotarou get there faster than them? Yeah, he’s got Villains as his servants. He talks about Tao’s betrayal and although Tao doesn’t deny it, his friends believe in him. Momotarou further tries to implicate Shane as she is an oni born without horns. Tao then tells the true story. As a boy despised by others because of his blank Book of Fate, impressed with Momotarou, he wanted to go on a journey with him and was made his partner. It is believed that the oni injured Momotarou and because he didn’t want Tao to die along with him, he pushed Tao into the sea to escape. Now this Momotarou is in disbelief. He orders the Villains to attack but they turn against him. Grandma reveals the weakness in his heart and it gets creepy as grandma and grandpa are the same person! Is this Quirinus Quirrell?! Then they transform into their true twin headed oni form. Yup, they’re the Chaos Teller. Time for our heroes to transform and defeat them. In the end after Reina tunes this world, it is back to the oni planning an attack on humans. Tao and Shane aren’t sad and have accepted this. Tao further remembers Momotarou despite his Book of Fate saying he will be victorious, he still have doubts. Because it said nothing about Tao. It could be possible their fates have changed. Momotarou although considered Tao his family, however it is not eternal. One day he must find new connections and leave. And when he finds that, never let it go.

Episode 9
The gang finds themselves in the desert. With Reina dying for water, she is saved thanks to Aladdin. Now that she has got her groove back, Ex notices her book is missing. Damn thief stole it! Luckily she manages to track him down and slap him. Guess what? He likes it! Is this some sort of awakening?! In fact, he loves her and wants to marry her! But that aside, it seems Aladdin got his magic lamp stolen by the sultan. But don’t worry. His Book of Fate says he will get it back and will eventually marry a princess. That’s Reina, right? As the Story Zone is starting to collapse, so is Reina. Aladdin is intrigued with her past so the rest say she wants revenge against the Chaos Teller who destroyed her home. She was a princess in her Story Zone and Loki destroyed that. With Villains all around, the rest go fight them. Yeah, Aladdin left to protect his princess. WTF he is a wimp? Luckily Reina had enough strength to get up and fight back. But the next Villain stabs Aladdin as he protects Reina. Oh sh*t?! Main character died?! Really?! Although Reina can tune this Story Zone, it doesn’t bring the dead back. Somebody else will become Aladdin and the story goes on. Then Ex gets this idea. What if they get back the magic lamp and wish for Aladdin’s revival. Nah, that’s not going to cu- WTF you mean they believe it is going to work???!!! I hope this isn’t made up. As they head towards the palace, Loki is before them. He mocks Reina’s hate and continues to blah his usual of freeing the people. Then he warps them into the sultan’s palace. Is he going to give up the lamp? Of course not. I wonder if this lamp has unlimited wishes as he orders the genie to attack. Red genie? Better than being blue. I mean, the new blue one and not the old original one! They transform, fight and defeat the sultan. However Reina can’t use the lamp. It’s broken! With the Story Zone close to collapsing, Reina has no choice but to tune it. She has come to accept the choices made by others and because of those choices is also why they live. So why is Ex b*tching about?! Can’t he see this is hard on Reina too? Poor Aladdin remains dead. The world returns to normal as the gloomy quartet ponder on their actions. Well, a new Aladdin became the sultan after marrying the ex-sultan’s daughter. And they at least saved thousands of NPC lives, right? Yeah… Meanwhile Loki and Curly are glad their long awaited ritual is soon finishing. Soon they will end all old tales and write their own stories!

Episode 10
Wait a minute. Is Jeanne d’Arc a fairytale? I thought she was a real historical figure? Anyway, with Ex and co joining the French’s side after the battle at Orleans, Ex seems to be very worried about Jeanne. Ex also spots Curly here but she finds it baffling that he is worried about Jeanne. Does he not know how her fate ends? That night he goes to talk to Jeanne and the latter isn’t particularly afraid of death but rather failing to achieve what she believes in. She fears there will be no one to carry on her feelings after she dies. Cue for some weird English monk fairy monster (?!) to sneak in and own them. He takes Jeanne and will execute her soon. Because Ex is cursed, he is weakened and grounded while the rest try to go save Jeanne. Curly visits Ex and this guy tries to be strong for Jeanne. He isn’t concerned about her fate but her feelings that he wants to protect. With that, Curly heals his curse. Do as you wish. Meanwhile Reina and co have a hard time fighting the monk since he has no physical form and was born out of the hatred of the English. Gee, he is so focused in trying to eliminate them that he didn’t hear Ex free Jeanne? Because now Ex rejoins the group, now their attacks connect and they can defeat this monk?! I thought they can’t even touch him?! With Ex talking to Jeanne about believing in fate till the very end, I guess Jeanne lets him carry hers. Because Reina tunes to world to return everything back to normal. Ex still feels sad that Jeanne will eventually be executed by the English but hey, remember he has the duty to carry her feelings like he has for other characters. Hope it doesn’t get too heavy the more feelings he takes on in time…

Episode 11
We’re in Alice In Wonderland now! Reina is being flirted by Mad Hatter and March Hare when Alice comes in to arrest them? She’s part of the moral police squad?! But Reina is amazed to see Alice. She is a big fan of this story. But no time to admire, they have to run or risk being arrested. In town, Alice continues being a b*tch to arrest anyone who violate the slightest of rules. Reina won’t have that and reveals all her dark secrets to turn Alice squirming. This allows Mad Hatter to kidnap her to their base to have a tea party. Reina wants to talk with Alice. The latter thinks stories and fantasies are stupid and is done with those stuffs. But Reina thinks otherwise and the reason she loves this story because it saved her. Alice relents and they talk about Reina’s other adventures over tea party. However, Alice’s assistant, Watch Rabbit surrounds the place to arrest them. Because Alice doesn’t think they are bad people, Watch Rabbit thinks she has been corrupted by them and will arrest them all. Reina and co are ready to put up a fight but Mad Hatter gets kidnapped. Watch Rabbit retreats. Bad news because Mad Hatter will be put on trial by the Queen of Hearts and her ruling always ends in death! So as they arrive at the palace, they are surrounded. It is all a setup. Alice was just playing along to lead and capture them in one fell swoop. The Queen of Hearts (damn, she ugly) orders their death and of course our heroes won’t go down with a fight. Transform! They are going to show Alice why stories aren’t useless as she thinks they are. Eventually they defeat her and this confuses Alice. Yeah, her entire outlook about being an adult staying rooted in reality just got smashed. Too late for Alice wanting to talk more with Reina but she starts tuning the world. However something is wrong. Alice still remembers them and the Queen of Hearts is missing. Mad Hatter is the culprit as he unleashes a dragon to go on a rampage. Everything going according to plan…

Episode 12
This dragon is Jabberwock and Mad Hatter was just his false form he used. Jabberwock’s attack separates the team. Ex is forced to take Reina to safety but she gets emotionally upset thinking Tao and Shane are left to die. Cue for her explanation why she is traumatized when people die. Because everyone in her world died instantly and she was all alone. That’s why she must continue to keep living. Cue for Ex to assure he will always be with her. Trolling romance scene interrupted with Shane and Tao popping up. They’re doing fine eavesdropping their faux romantic conversation. Reina is so happy that she hugs them instead. Also with them is March Hare. However they realize this is not her from Alice In Wonderland but Through The Looking Glass. She and Mad Hatter help draw a map to the Red Queen’s castle where Alice is supposedly held. Of course stopping them is Loki and Curly. Time to remind us they are from Church of Fortem and their role is to free this world from Storytellers. Freeing by destroying? They consider others here like puppets and having no feelings. Like NPCs? On the contrary, Ex and co would love to disagree. Since they can’t agree on this, no more talk, action time. After a tough fight, Jabberwock is down. But Loki intervenes. Since he has a blank Book of Fate, he transforms into Aladdin. Not just Aladdin but Chaos Aladdin! Stronger and faster! I’m sure this guy wants to traumatize Reina because he aims for her. Ex is weakened when he hears a voice telling him if he wants to keep his promise, say his name: Ludwig Grimm. He transforms into this character and kicks Loki’s ass while defeating Jabberwock for good. Met your match, eh? Ludwig disagrees in Church of Fotem’s ways because what good would all that do by destroying the one who tells the story? With the battle over, Ex reverts back to normal as they listen to Jabberwock’s rage of only existing within the poems and wanted more listeners to get out. Sure they don’t understand but Ex knows he is lonely. But now he has friends whom he can share his feelings. Damn, is that what a dragon needs? Oh well, time’s up. Back to your slumber. Alice is returned and as they exchange their last words, Reina then tunes this Story Zone. I guess Reina needs everyone’s assurance that they’ll stay with her. Okay. Off to your next adventure.

The Pagemaster: Spoilers Alert!
Oh well. Looks like the story has only just begun! Since we still know nothing about the Church of Fortem except for the fact that they want to free the Story Zone from the cruelty of the Storytellers but I guess that would be a story for another time. Translate: If this is popular and profitable enough, stay tuned for next season! But sadly this is where this season ends for now. A story that is left hanging and incomplete. Heh. I wonder if there is a Book of Fate that writes your life’s story halfway and then suddenly it goes blank. Yeah. You were just getting to the good stuffs in your life and then suddenly all the hints and spoilers just ran out. Life abandoning you and you’re on your own.

My only advice is that if you really want to love this series, it is best to play the role playing game this anime was adapted from. There are more heroes in addition to the quartet and possibly features ‘big bosses’. You know, the Storytellers! I didn’t play the game so I don’t know the story and mechanics but it would have been awesome to see them face off with the likes of William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Hans Anderson, Charles Perrault, Dorothea Viehmann and even, get this, Mother Goose! Damn, this could turn out to be like Kingdom Hearts but Brothers Grimm version!

Despite the story having a good premise, but that is all only on the surface. When you try to think deeper on the mechanics and everything, it all falls apart. There are so many loopholes and the unexplained that you will start to think that it was poorly written and not thought out properly to begin with. For instance, every character in Story Zone possessing their own Book of Guidance. While it looks good that all the characters know their fate, but that’s about it. Because everything else just feels like hogwash and nonsense if you really start to analyse and think deep about this Book of Fate thingy. With this Book of Fate dictating that character’s fate from start to finish, I find it odd that people can still go about living their daily lives. Like as though the book isn’t part of their lives. You see, with everything laid out almost to perfection for their lives, do you not think that they are motivated to do beyond that? Hey, it is stated here in my Book of Fate. Can’t argue with it, right? Just blindly follow it. My life already has spoilers so no need to worry. No wonder, everybody with a Book of Fate here is NPCs! Besides, can you get rid of your own Book of Fate like burn it?

Then there is the issue of others knowing what is written in your Book of Fate. At first I thought everyone can read it but it is subsequently said that only you yourself can read what is in it. So who is to say that you would lie about your own Book of Fate to others because if your fate is less favourable, what are the chances that you would lie and make up some other stories, right? Hey, it’s not like other Book of Fates have something to cross check your story, right? So one who destined to live a life of poverty and die of hunger in the streets, you think they would try to lie to others and say hey, I’d be a normal salaryman or something. But then again, remember all of them are like NPCs so everybody is following their fates so diligently. Wow. Like as though they are programmed to do so. Besides, if one is fated to die in a cruel way, it is just mind boggling for them to accept that fate. Yeah, it’s my fate. Can’t do anything about it, can I? Like Red Riding Hood who is forever destined to be eaten by the big bad wolf. No wonder I keep calling these extra minor characters as NPCs!

The other mind boggling thing is how this story isn’t just a looping story. Sure it does loop but that story happens again like the next generation or something. So it is mind boggling that when someone becomes Snow White, she becomes a lesser somebody else after she becomes old? And then her daughter or some other girl becomes the new Snow White? I was once Snow White in my heydays. But now I’m just an old jealous hag and trying to stop my own daughter from becoming the next Snow White! WTF?! Sounds really weird and messed up from all aspects if you ask me. And if you wonder if it is in their Book of Fates to meet Ex and co, well, remember their Story Zone is being corrupted and out of line. Definitely they weren’t meant to meet blank Book of Fate adventurers and that is why when Reina tunes the world, everything returns to normal like as though contact with those adventurers were never made in the first place.

Another interesting concept but also fails in its execution is the baddies’ intention to free all the roles. I can sympathize and understand why Loki wants to free the characters from their cruel fate. Isn’t it much more fun without spoilers? I mean, you go to watch a movie and somebody spoils you the ending. Not fun anymore, right? The same case can be made here. You people are happy living what is being told in your Book of Fate despite how crappy it is? Why don’t you go write your own damn stories! This idea looks fun and nice but it is poorly fleshed out as our antagonists seem to be biding their time and with Reina and co being successful in tuning a lot of the Story Zones, it feels like Loki isn’t really interested in freeing them but merely seeing Reina’s party do what they do. On a side note, if those characters are freed from their Book of Fates, wouldn’t that be chaotic? Because Snow White wouldn’t be Snow White. Cinderella wouldn’t be Cinderella. Alice In Wonderland wouldn’t be Alice In Wonderland. That is why there are spinoffs and alternate retellings. With this, now I am in a dilemma to support whether or not these characters should be free because the story will change and it will not be the original we know anymore!

But don’t worry if you don’t know if all the stories here and if you think that they are being rewritten again. Good news is that in the beginning when Reina and co enter a new Story Zone and the start of getting involved in this ‘trouble’, viewers will be told how the original version of the story goes or at least what it is about. A good short narration told in some silhouette style storytelling. Not everything is totally made out or strayed differently from the original too. For instance, those Tsuberks whom at first I thought it was just nonsense. But my Google search ‘enlightened’ me as I discover that it is a bad translation of Zwerg, which is German for dwarf.

On to the characters, well the main characters feel like they are also poorly written and not much is developed from them. Ex, Tao and Shane are given their own so called origins but somehow I feel that they are ‘shallower’ than Reina. Because we don’t know which story Reina comes from. All we know she is a princess in some story (thousands of stories have princesses and even so, is she a lesser princess?). Therefore personally, Reina seems to have a lot more ‘personality’ than the other trio because they write her character to be some sort of a joker and comic relief. Because her traits are easy to get lost AKA poor sense of direction as well as a very gullible and naïve girl when it comes to treats. You can see that in many troublesome situations the gang doesn’t want to get involved but with Reina being susceptible and already taken the bait, I guess it can’t be help. Time to stick our noses in. Then the rest like Ex is the newbie and the more serious guy who is worried about those around him, Shane sounds like a slacker but shows great interest in antique guns (unfortunately this is never fleshed out properly) and Tao trying to be a lead character and calling everyone in his group as his Tao Family. These characters may have blank Book of Fates but they are sure not writing their own stories well! But I have a speculation that these characters who hold a blank Book of Fate, they could actually be the Storytellers themselves. So Ex’s real identity could be Ludwig who is part of the Grimm Brothers. Hence they are diving into their own stories to save it from being corrupted by those who intend to destroy their original tale. Yeah. It’s too bad that in today’s world, the original authors are not alive to see their works being readapted with different versions. Definitely turning in their graves.

Even the antagonists, Loki and Curly are a bit of a joke. Sure, I did say I somewhat support their idea of freeing the NPCs (who doesn’t sympathize with Thanos’ intention to snap and wipe out half of the universe’s life to save resources?), but like I also said, it seems that they prefer to see Reina and co in action and bide their time to wait for something rather than take action now. For example during Jeanne’s story, Curly was like being an ally to Ex than being a thorn by his side. Not that she has been a thorn as much as Loki did but what I am saying is that if these baddies really want to achieve their goal, they could have done so from the start. But instead we see them pull the strings by turning certain characters into Chaos Tellers and let the havoc wreak for a while. And when Reina and co are successful, it’s not like Loki is super upset when he retreats. He looks a lot satisfied with today’s entertainment. All according to the plan. All according to the script… It would have been also good to flesh out the past between Rein and Loki but I guess with only a dozen episodes, better to parody other fairytales instead. Not sure if Loki is gone for good but I highly doubt it. After all, considering Loki is just another character, a Storyteller can just bring him back to life with the flick of the pen. Yeah, revivals and resurrections are so the in-thing in today’s stories and franchises that love killing off their characters too.

The fight scenes aren’t the best nor the main draw of the series. They felt like obligatory scenes needed because, how else do you defeat the Chaos Tellers? It’s like a side distraction that is unnecessary but only necessary because the script says so. Ah… After all, it always comes out predictable. The Chaos Teller despite being cocky and confident (because who doesn’t want to be the ruler of their own world?), usually their downfall is because they underestimate our heroes. Yeah, it’s all in the script already… Didn’t see that one coming, huh? One thing that confuses me is how the heroes obtain the fairytale characters in their crests. Do they have a set of stories laid out already in their crest or they only obtain that character after visiting his/her Story Zone? If that’s the case it sure feels confusing because since Alice In Wonderland is the final episode of this season, I remember seeing our heroes using Alice in prior episodes. Unless you tell me they’ve been to Alice In Wonderland before and now they revisited it again because the baddies decide to mess with it again thinking they might have forgotten this story they have saved. Hey, nobody said you can’t alter a story again after it is tuned, right? If that’s the case, truly a vicious cycle.

Having our heroes transform into different fairytale characters look interesting at first but it quickly becomes boring. Their special moves are based on the story is from and they are not memorable at all. Yeah, they all shoot some sort of fancy magic with effects and their names of the moves are boringly named after their traits in the story. No prizes to guess whose move is called Beware The Wolf! Do you know Miracle Of Orleans belongs to who? Yeah… And those useless Villains feel like all those useless foot soldiers you see in those tokusatsu series. They’re just there for the numbers to give the hero some warming up before they fight the big monster boss of the week. Not threatening at all unless you’re a wuss. Like Aladdin… Yeah, that is still the most ‘shocking’ one because I never expected a main character to actually die! But yeah, the heroes transforming into their fairytale characters do feel like some tokusatsu imitation. But all in all, still better than that Marchen Madchen series disaster!

The art and animation are just pretty average. Classic western fairytales being given the anime style treatment, I guess I still can’t get used to Snow White or Cinderella looking this kawaii and bishoujo. Damn the Disney’s version of them is still strongly stuck in my memories after all these years… And Alice doesn’t look anywhere near with that trademark blue pinafore that I always pictured her (thanks again, Disney) but this Alice’s uniform somewhat reminds me of the uniform used in Absolute Duo and Koi To Senkyo To Chocolate. And those Villains are so lazily designed that I thought they were ripped off from some tokusatsu series’ foot soldiers and added a pinch of Halloween. Seriously. This anime was done by Brain’s Base who did Baccano, D-Frag!, Durarara, the Natsume Yuujinchou series, Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun and Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru.

Voice acting isn’t anything special. I didn’t recognize any of the main characters but it is ironically that the cameo characters appearing in the different stories whom I recognized some of the veteran seiyuus. For instance, Aoi Yuuki as Snow White, Yui Horie as the fairy godmother, Yuu Kobayashi as the Snow Queen, Sayaka Ohara as the Queen of Hearts, Risa Taneda as Red Riding Hood and Fumihiko Tachiki as Don Quixote. Some seiyuus play several roles like Reina Ueda (Miyako in Watashi Ni Tenshi Ga Maiorita) doubling as Reina and Cinderella, Miyu Kubota (Medusa in Jashin-chan Dropkick) handling Shane and Alice while Rumi Ookubo (Aguri in Gamers) also did Jeanne and Kai. Sumire Uesaka (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai) did a lot of roles like Curly, Jim, Onihime and Dulcinea. I guess they must be quite flexible in their voices that’s why I didn’t realize they were the same character. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention as I was trying to wrap my head around the weird stories…

Anyway, the rest of the casts are Ryota Ohsaka as Ex (Climb in Overlord), Takuya Eguchi as Tao and Aladdin (Koikawa in Mushibugyou), Takahiro Mizushima as Loki (Christopher in Scrapped Princess), Hiroshi Shirokuma as Silver (Gazef in Overlord), Ai Kayano as Gerda (Darkness in Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shikufuku Wo) and Sachika Misawa as Momotarou (Sakuyo in Mahou Shoujo Ore) and Junji Majima as Mad Hatter (Kinji in Hidan No Aria). I was expecting Ayana Taketatsu to be voicing one of the cameo roles but unfortunately she only performed for the opening theme, Innocent Notes. Typical rock outfit, kinda fitting for this genre, I guess. Iris sings the ending theme, Endless Notes that sounds more like a slow rock ballad. I guess this one also sounds okay. There are a few BGMs that have that medieval feel which is fitting seeing the origination of these classic stories.

Overall, the animation adaptation may have a lot of shortcomings despite its interesting premise and idea, it falls short in a lot of aspects like its execution, characters, action scenes and even the mechanisms. To put it shortly, a bad story. With so many stories being left out and not told yet, it could only get ugly if this series went on for another cour. Or have another season. Because I’d be flabbergasted to see Rapunzel using her hair as a whip and to strangle everybody! Or the Ugly Duckling turns out to be a giant fowl that runs rampage over the kingdom! Then there’s the naked emperor who went on flashing as a serial streaker to his people in his kingdom… And Goldilocks killed the bears just for their paws to be sold to the Chinese for medicinal properties! Grim indeed! Hansel and Gretel? They become a pair of witch hunters! Oh wait! Hollywood did that back in 2013!

So you see, in today’s world where nothing is that original anymore because we keep borrowing elements here, there and everywhere, it all boils down how you tell a story. Many stories are best left as it is in its original form no matter how twisted and dark it is (remember The Little Mermaid had a true tragic ending?). Because it is definitely weird to see cross culture fairytales being given such an adaptation like white guys playing samurai (remember that Tom Cruise one?) and white guys playing Dragonball characters (still shuddering over all that mediocrity?). It’s like we all want to write our own best of the best stories but we often forget that all of us are the main characters in our own story known as life. After all, what good is a story if there are no listeners and people to tell to. But unfortunately for this series, this is one story where we will put down away forever after picking it up. Left to grow dusty on a forgotten bookshelf in time… Didn’t hear of anybody’s Book of Fate saying this series could be rescued…

Sewayaki Kitsune No Senko-san

September 14, 2019

Are you having a rough day? A long and tiresome day? Things didn’t turn out for the best? Don’t worry. Because when you get home, there will be a cute fox girl who will pamper you to your heart’s desire and let you do anything you want till you’re satisfied. Holy cow! Sorry dirty minded people. If you’re hoping that Sewayaki Kitsune No Senko-san is going to be some sort of sleazy porn, be disappointed that this one of those calming and relaxing animes you watch after the countless sex, violence and nonsensical slapstick comedies that have corrupted your anime life. The plot is just that simple. A fox deity taking care of a single working guy who has had it rough at work when he comes home. Nothing more. And also, so calming and relaxing that this might be a cure for insomnia…

Episode 1
Kuroto Nakano is such an overworked man. He is forced to stay back since his colleagues messed up and they need his help to clean up their mess. Because of his ever growing dark aura, the heavenly foxes believe they need to address this issue before darkness brings ruin to the world! Oh dear. You mean this guy is the catalyst? Senko offers to pamper and bring his spirits back up. When Kuroto returns, he thought he got the wrong apartment when he sees Senko cooking. Okay, correct room. This kid is real. Not imagining things. He then fears he will be arrested for kidnapping a loli. He tries to get her out and since she looks pitiful that she is going to throw away all that she cooked for him, I guess a little taste won’t hurt. He is hungry after all. He is treated to several delicious servings as Senko explains she is an 800 year old demigod fox sent to serve him. Don’t worry about the food. They are offerings people left at shrine. Senko claims she is doing this because he is her type of guy. All he needs to do is being pampered. He then notices her fluffy tail and requests to touch it. She reluctantly does. Ah, so fluffy and warm! Kuroto feels guilty he can’t repay her but she maintains she is doing this for him because she wants to. After all, he has already worked hard enough. A fox demigod’s care is priceless and no amount of good deed could add up to that. He gives in and lies on her lap. Kuroto vaguely dreams of the past when he stayed with his grandma in the mountains. When he got lost, he met some weird deity that looks suspiciously like her. He ultimately found his way back. Kuroto feels refreshed after the nap. But it’s not over yet. There’s more to come.

Episode 2
Kuroto has to leave for work. I guess not enough time for morning pampering. It is obvious he doesn’t have enough sleep. Thus Senko is going to prepare and pamper him to his heart’s content when he gets home. Another rough day at work. Yeah, this time he gets chewed out by his boss. He returns home, Senko begins the pampering by preparing his bath. Once he gets out, the perfect chance to dig his ears with cotton swabs. Everybody likes that, right? But Kuroto makes a deal he will allow her to do so if she lets him touch her fox ears. Okay. Kuroto is in heaven getting his ears nicely dug. Her lullaby reminds him of another vague memory. As a teen gathering resources in the woods, it looks like he let Senko rest on his lap and he was happy despite Senko complained she was supposed to help him. Kuroto can’t remember her face but Senko hints they might have met before. Now it’s time for Senko to live up to her promise. I guess he really went all out to touching them. Extreme ear molestation? Even Senko is sulking… Time to sleep so Senko tells him to sleep as much as he wants rather than just 4 hours. Screw work. Because lack of sleep also can hamper productivity. Later as they sleep, Senko sleeps on the floor but decides to sleep next to him. Kuroto is conscious of this but as she hugs him, the warm and softness makes him fall asleep like a baby. He is late next morning but Senko won’t let him leave until he has had his breakfast. She sees him off and hopes he won’t overwork himself.

Episode 3
WTF?! Kuroto trying to touch her fur but she won’t let him molest and hence running away?! Yeah, this look like a weird rape scene… Because they are too noisy, Yasuko Kouenji the neighbour barges in. Got the wrong idea seeing Kuroto trying to rape a loli?! She is confused when Senko explains she is way older and that since she is living with him, he can do anything to her! Kouenji is further suspicious of her ears but since she is hungry, Senko feeds her. With that, Kouenji is now their friend because you can’t be a bad guy if you feed others, right?! I guess as a college student who works from home, she hardly has time for meals. Yeah, she last ate 2 days ago. Now Kouenji asks about Senko’s ear and tail. However she is under the misconception she is an avid fan and cosplayer of an anime series, Little Yoko Inari Girl. Such authentic cosplay true to the character! After Kouenji leaves, the duo watch that anime to find out more. WTF this paparazzi trying to take unauthorized pics of Yoko?! With Senko’s interested in watching more, Kuroto orders the entire library for her to binge watch. Don’t worry. She won’t slack on her job. Kuroto then goes shopping with Senko. Putting on disguises to hide her ears and tail, Kuroto for the first time feels fun shopping with somebody as he has always been doing it himself. He is also assured that she can now go shopping on her own the next time. Don’t feel guilty relying on her. As long as he is happy, Senko is also happy. Kuroto feels he wants to spend more time with her on his off days. Upon reaching home and before they could start making dinner, Senko’s powers were too strong that the potato sprouted.

Episode 4
Another bad day at work. But luckily tomorrow is Sunday, right? What do you mean you still have to go back to work?! Yeah, even Kuroto wonders why… :’(. As he sets his alarm, Senko believes she is more reliable to wake him up. Okay. But morning comes and Senko trying to wake him up, it seems he wants to sleep a little longer. Okay. As you wish. Then she lets him cuddle her tail for ultimate sleep. When he wakes up, he realizes he is too late to go to work. But he doesn’t blame her and instead feels guilty about cuddling her tail. She promises to wake him up properly tomorrow. Senko cooks dinner and uses her own fox flame. She teases it is filled with love. His reply? At least he can save on gas. Is it a wonder why he is still single???!!! When Kuroto leaves for work, Senko thought he has taught all she needs to know about using machines and controllers. The air-cond was easy. Trouble begins when she tries to vacuum. Too loud! I wonder how she ‘tamed’ it. Oh well, clean the old fashion way. She fails at the washing machine too. Oh well, old fashion manual hand labour. When she does multi-tasking, that’s when real trouble starts. With all the machine working at the same time and she is pressing the wrong remote, it gets louder and worse. Are all the machines against her today?! Even somehow the vacuum wants a piece of this ‘fun’ and starts acting up. The machines aren’t going to listen to you to pipe down. When Kuroto returns, no lights are on and Senko in trauma mode in the dark?! Yeah, all the machines suddenly ‘died’. Turns out the circuit breaker tripped. Checking everything, no damage so it’s all okay. Senko wonders why he isn’t mad at her failure. Because coming home to see her smiling face is all he needs. Oh, so touching. Yeah, now he’s touching her tail. That makes his day. Meanwhile Senko’s brethren, Shiro doesn’t think she is doing a good job and is screwing up instead. She is going down to do the job.

Episode 5
Kuroto returns to see Shiro. He’s not hallucinating. Apparently Shiro isn’t here just to eat Senko’s cooking. She has business with him. Even though Shiro sounds flirty and hinting of doing that, don’t worry this isn’t that kind of anime. She allows him to pet her head. He does so and it’s like heaven. You jealous, Senko? She wants in so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Double happiness for Kuroto. Shiro goes a step further and thinks she can satisfy his deepest craving. She uses her magic to reveal that side of his. Again, don’t worry it isn’t that kind of anime so that deep and darkest desire that Kuroto wants… Squeeze her fluffy tail! Gee Shiro. You mean this sounds a lot worse than rape? Shiro is really freaking out and getting scared as Kuroto tries to get her. Eventually she flees. Kouenji thinks she must be hallucinating to see Shiro coming through her wall. In the end, Senko allows him to touch her tail. Yeah, this is the best. I suppose Shiro is done pampering Kuroto. All just talk, huh? After Senko prepares the bath for him. She wants to wash his back. He refuses but knowing she will still do it, might as well accept her service. Yeah, the best back scrub ever. Now it’s his turn to return to favour. However he realizes something horrifying after washing her back. Her tail is wet and no more fluffy! It’s like the world’s ending? Then they soak in the bath together and remember, this isn’t that kind of anime. Because the most we get is Kuroto teaching her how to squirt. Water hand gun squirting!!! After getting out of the bath, Senko uses the blower to dry her tail and it is all fluffy back in no time. Kuroto is so happy! Can’t wait to cuddle it, huh? Oh Senko. You should know the drill by now. This is going to be a long night… A happy long night.

Episode 6
Shiro is back! Is she serious in pampering Kuroto or is she here just to have fun? Probably the latter because she thinks it is rude for resting Kuroto not to be pampered by her. Also, he lets her play his video games he hardly has time for :’(. Super Fluff Bros Melee? Starfluff? I wonder if there is The Legend Of Fluff-da… More Shiro selfishness as she eats the snacks Senko makes for Kuroto. But he doesn’t mind since he is happy to see Shiro enjoying herself. Because Kuroto also wants to eat Senko’s handmade snacks, hence a video game challenge. Unfortunately because she can read his mind, he keeps losing. Once she has her fill, she leaves. Yup, she’ll be back next time. At least somebody had a good time. Next day, Senko visits Kouenji to apologize on behalf for Shiro. Because that fox girl always accidentally steps into her room thinking it belongs to Kuroto. So you’re not hallucinating, Kouenji. It’s a good thing Senko made lunch and has time. Because her place is a pig sty and needs some cleaning too. Once done, Kouenji feels envious that Kuroto has such a good kid by his side. Then it hit her. She wants Senko to cosplay as a maid! I approve!!! Kouenji loses herself in taking pictures of her. To thank her for everything she’s done, she allows Senko to keep the maid outfit. When Kuroto returns, he is shocked to see Senko in a maid outfit that he tries to run away! WTF?! Are you saying you’re not impressed by a maid outfit! Shameful! Didn’t Kouenji said all men love maids???!!! After learning Kouenji is behind this maid influence, Kuroto says it isn’t that he doesn’t like her in this outfit, he prefers her in her usual because only then he feels more like home. How sweet. Despite he is thankful for her, I guess it’s a roundabout way of saying he wants to fluff her tail.

Episode 7
Kuroto has been carrying things in office so naturally his back hurts. Don’t worry. Senko can help. She will step on his back! Oh damn, is this the first S&M? Don’t worry, it’s still not that kind of anime. And Senko is joking too. She’ll use her hands. Because she is so damn good, Kuroto wants an ‘upgrade’. Yeah, use your feet! Oh yeah. That really felt good. That really hit the spot. Kuroto wants to repay her by doing the same. Okay. She’s making a few strange noises and at the end of it, she gets back at him by tickling him. Hope he didn’t wake up the neighbourhood. On another bad day at work, Kuroto is forced to stay late and when he leaves, he missed the last train. On his way back, Shiro is waiting for him. She can use her powers to send him back but requires a tribute. Don’t worry. Nothing serious. It’s her way of saying she wants to try that corndog from the mart. Mmm… Yummy… Shiro isn’t going to send him flying home. Instead, they’re going to walk through this portal. Kuroto would really love to walk through this otherworld but since it makes Shiro tired, I guess this is just a one off thing. Shiro then asks him if he knows why Senko is doing all this for him. Apparently all those strange dreams of Kuroto being nice to Senko in the mountains are actually of his ancestors. Hence Senko might be imagining him as his ancestors. Is he fine with that? Of course. Senko looks happy so does it matter? Kuroto returns home and Senko is glad to have him back. Fluffy tail come to papa! He tells her about Shiro so she teases him that he ‘cheated’ on her when she was waiting for him the whole time. Joke time’s over. Now is big comfy time. She cooked some really nice meal, you know.

Episode 8
Finally! Kuroto’s summer break has begun! Just for 1 day! Bummer. Don’t fret, Shiro is here to bring them to the beach. Kouenji is also here but doesn’t remember how she got here. Shiro ‘kidnapped’ her while she was asleep. Yeah. But she’s happy so I guess everything’s fine. We see the quartet having fun at the beach. Then they play beach volleyball and they absolutely have a great time. Until Senko sprains her back. Yeah… I guess she’s already that old… When it’s time for BBQ, it seems Kouenji has all the necessary things. Uh huh. Prior to this, Shiro promised to bring her to the beach if she bought certain stuffs for her. And they went on an online shopping spree. Too bad they didn’t buy any ingredients. But don’t worry. They can always do fishing! Meanwhile Kuroto visits the beach house to get some food. He thought nobody is in but this busty bartender offers him sumptuous dishes. He feels modest to take them but the moment he blinks, she’s gone! Kuroto tells this to Senko and she has an idea who she is. Kuroto getting scared about ghosts when he has a fox deity? Meanwhile Shiro and Kouenji’s catch of the day: Seaweed. Thank goodness for the lavish dishes! At night, they play sparklers but Kuroto realizes it’s back to work once this is over. Senko cheers him up by unleashing her own brand of fireworks. Floating fox fireballs? Sure this isn’t eerie? That busty lady is of course a fox deity and Senko and Shiro’s master. She too sadly notes that all this will eventually end.

Episode 9
Because Kuroto is salivating at gratin on TV, Senko thinks of making one for him. So while he is at work, she seeks Kouenji’s help. Kouenji gives instructions to Senko as she skilfully prepares the cheesy dish. Shiro? She just supervises and eats whatever she can get her hand. Yeah, her role is only to eat. The gratin dish comes out good and they have their fill. Kouenji realizes her place is even cleaner than before after Senko cleans up after cooking. And of course, Kuroto gets his taste of Senko’s delicious gratin once he returns. Shiro heats up instant ramen for Kouenji but WTF she put sugar in it?! Senko wants to cut Kuroto’s hair since it has grown and hot days are here. Don’t worry. She kept up with the latest men’s hairstyle. Kuroto isn’t sure but whatever. Oh my, did Senko did a blooper? Don’t worry, don’t worry. Everything’s fine. Kuroto feels good as she snips his hair. Reminds him of how mom did it. Then she also washes his head and you could literally say this feeling is so good that she washes away his troubles! When all is done, Kuroto learns this is the first time she is using a scissors and doing a modern haircut. She admits there were times she messed up and snipped too much but she used her magic to glue it back! Don’t worry. Those parts won’t drop off. Hey, you’re going to grow old and get bald one day, no? Senko is shocked when Kuroto jokes he won’t ask her to do it again. But Senko is grateful to him since she gets to experience something new.

Episode 10
It’s snowing! Just when Senko thinks it means fun time, why the heck is Kuroto waking up and getting prepared for work? Yeah, company hasn’t declared an off day yet. Are the trains even running? That’s why he must leave early. And if he can’t make it back? He’ll stay in office. Oh dear. Senko clinging on to him not to go. And then the saviour email: The company declares an off day today. Hooray! Now they can go frolic in the snow and let out their inner child. And Senko is really rolling up a super huge snowball?! Once they get back in, Kuroto has a request: Please let me fluff your tail to warm my hands! Should have seen this coming. Senko holds it in as Kuroto does his usual. But after that, Senko catches a cold! Did he fluff too much. Temporary ban on fluffing! Horror! With the kotatsu being so comfortable, I guess Senko is getting a bit lazy. That is when this busty fox lady visits them. She is Sora and Senko’s boss. As Kuroto cannot help notice her busty figure, Sora hints that she is willing to give him what Senko cannot. You mean sex? Okay. So are you ready, big boy? What is it that you want? He wants to fluff her tail! Should have seen this coming. Even Sora is surprised by this odd fetish. But not as shocking as Senko comes to ‘protect’ Kuroto from her boss. There is no other fox deity that Kuroto needs to be looked after or other tails to fluff! With that, Sora gets the hint and leaves. But she warns him that because of his eternally tired looking face, something bad may happen. Later when Kuroto thinks Senko was jealous, she refutes it. Even blaming him she lets him molest fluff her tail but it’s still not enough for him and had to go look for other tails. Imagine tails being substituted with boobs and pussies… I hope Senko won’t use this as blackmail and pass to fluff her tail. Kuroto is smart enough not to make her mad so he eats whatever dinner she cooks for him, even if it’s a dish he doesn’t really like.

Episode 11
When Senko sees the plum blossom bookmark design, this brings back memories when she guided a lost young Kuroto back to his grandma by providing him a plum blossom branch. When he was reunited with grandma, he thought he saw Senko peeking from behind the fox statue so he left the branch there and thanked her. With Kuroto having another long day at work, upon his return home, Senko treats him to her style of izakaya. Drink up those wines! But for a while it backfired since when he is drunk, he gets sad thinking about himself as useless since today he still got scolded despite all the work he put in. Unpaid overtime too! :’(. With Senko willing to listen and let him do what he wants, Kuroto relaxes after shedding a few tears. :’(. She lets him sleep on her fluffy tail. Only if he can stop drooling… Meanwhile Shiro is mad that it has been a year since Senko served Kuroto. At this rate she won’t get to eat Senko’s cooking again! Hey. How many hundreds of years old are you? I’m sure she still have many more years so what is just a few more to wait? Kuroto finally applied for some paid leave. At this time when they’re rushing for the deadline? Yeah, screw it. I guess even his boss gives him another shelling before he leaves. With some spare time to rest up, suddenly mom calls to inform that dad has been hospitalized. He is in stable condition thankfully. Although Kuroto has promised to go out with Senko, fox girl wants him to visit his parents and they can do their date another time. So he leaves his Smartphone with her. She can contact him via his work handphone. Kuroto visits his family. No biggies. As he prays at grandma’s grave, he sees the plum blossom. That is when he remembers his childhood and that Senko has been watching over him all the time. He tries to call home but she isn’t picking up. Looks like Senko has packed her things and left.

Episode 12
Nothing breaks your vacation when your colleague calls you to ask when you’re coming back! Tomorrow. But for now you’re on your own! Kuroto calls Senko again but as we know, the phone is left unanswered. When he comes home, Senko is not in. Weird. Did she go shopping in another town? Asking Kouenji about it, she recalls seeing her leave yesterday but had a sad look in her eyes. It is also weird because Shiro hasn’t been coming down to visit too and today is the last episode of that Yoko anime. Senko is back in heaven and Sora knows what is going on. It has been a year since Senko has taken care of Kuroto but because she cannot rid of his darkness, is there a reason for her to be by his side? We see the final episode of Yoko as she sacrifices herself to save Earth from a comet. This has Kuroto realizing that what if Senko’s actions meant she was saying goodbye? So he runs out to the nearest local fox shrine to look for her. He is afraid he won’t see her again. Sora continues that she knows Senko has got her wish to repay her gratitude but the outcome will still be the same. A sad parting still awaits her. Flashback shows before Senko could repay her debt to Kuroto’s ancestor, he died and this left Senko distraught. Is she willing to go through that again? Even so, Senko wants to help him as much as she can. Just when sad Kuroto thinks he will never see Senko again, here she is before him! With an excuse to scout the perfect hanami spot, yeah they have their own hanami party. Just the two of them. It seems all this was just a test by Sora to see Senko’s resolve. Now she’s got her answer, no worries. The private party is going well until Kuroto remembers he has to return to work tomorrow. Senko, weave your pampering magic on him. With that, Kuroto relents and wants to stay like this a little longer. It’s not bad to have some fun once in a while. They are joined by Kouenji and Shiro. Luckily Kouenji taped the final episode so we get to see Yoko somehow surviving the ordeal and return home, much to the delight of the people and her arch enemy. Life returns to normal. Kuroto’s boss isn’t as mad as before. Because he shares Senko’s food with him! Ah, so I see maybe that’s why he’s always yelling. Some people get mad on an empty stomach. Senko continues to take care of the errands and welcome back Kuroto.

Have A Break, Have A Kitsune Caretaker
Are you refreshed? Are you feeling relaxed? Are you ready and motivated to do your best in life tomorrow? Or are you feeling sleepy and tempted to go back to watch animes with more violence, sex and nonsensical slapstick comedies? And so it is pretty much expected that Kuroto and Senko will eventually return to be together as long as they can. You don’t think that they being separated is going to be the series’ real ending, no? I guess that is the much needed jolt and wakeup call for those who are feeling sleepy and starting to fall asleep without any sort of drama. Senko leaving Kuroto for good?! My, how suspenseful! At least for this anime’s level.

And yeah, with not much of a plot here, some may find it really boring and fall asleep. But those who have watched calming shows like Aria The Animation as well as its spiritual successor, Amanchu, I’m sure ‘veterans’ like us could see its, uhm, wonderful side. Unfortunately I can’t say that this series lives up to the greatness as the aforementioned duo but it is still calming and relaxing in its own right. After all, this series is something that many of us can relate to as for us who are working, there would be some days that aren’t in our favour. So coming home and finding somebody there to have taken care our basic needs is something that most of us would long for. No weird friendship adventures on Aqua AKA Mars or no scuba diving friendship thingy. Not fantasy but reality. And certainly not a lot of people likes scuba diving. Just your plain and normal someone pampering you after a hard day at work. How much simple can you get than that?

The characters themselves too aren’t that deep. After all, this anime aims to make you relax and instead of spamming you with complicated back stories, pasts and twists, what you see here is what you get. Though, that bad omen thingy that Sora foreshadowed may be just some sort of trolling and just to get Senko moving to do something about Kuroto’s ever growing dark aura. Because it would have been super mind blowing if this guy was like some chosen one and if his dark aura goes berserk, the whole world would explode and be consumed by his rage! Then his boss would be so sorry for yelling at him and now it’s his turn to prostrate and apologize profusely! Yeah. I don’t want to see that kind of plot here and the characters turning into something entirely different either. So perhaps the darkness is something that can never go away. It will always be there and the only way to seal and suppress it is Senko’s pampering.

While Senko seems like a good 800 year old fox deity, the good thing about her is that she tries to lift Kuroto’s spirits in a good way. What do I mean? We all very well know that Kuroto’s workplace is a hell hole. With him being close to depression and all, Senko has never once put in weird ideas in his head like quitting the company or go as so far as to talk back to his boss and give him a piece of his mind. I might see Shiro doing that but not for Senko. Instead, she concentrates in trying to bring back his positivism in her own ways by cooking for him and doing his other household chores. It might not be much but at least it lifts the burden a little off his shoulders. Even when things are seemingly bad at his workplace, Senko doesn’t butt in. Like as though she understands there is a clear division between his work and his leisure time. It might seem like this vicious might never end because after Kuroto is refreshed, it is back to that stressful place and all back to square one. But remember, Senko isn’t here to make a life changing miracle but to heal his exhaustion with her tender care. Everything else is up to Kuroto to decide if he wants to continue in this exploitative company or quit and move on to do something else.

For those who can’t get more of Senko’s cutie goodness, be glad to know that at the very end of every episode, there will be this Super Senko-san Time in which Senko ‘serves’ us as the view is now in first person. Don’t expect anything much except for the usual Senko being the nice little fox to pamper us. It feels like a reward for viewers for putting up with the boring, oops I mean calming episode proper and we’re probably tired after watching this boring, oops again I mean calming episode so it is time for Senko to spoil us with her hospitality. Not sure if we prefer Sora as the penultimate episode, she hijacked this segment and it felt a little bit sexually charged. But then again, it could be our tired minds wandering and our eyes wandering to those huge twin peaks…

Kuroto is basically a nice guy. Such a nice guy I wonder why he doesn’t have a girlfriend. Yeah, job commitment… Such a nice guy that he is able to put up with all that yelling from his boss and he still didn’t turn into some psychopath. Damn, this guy is patient as hell. But I have a hunch that a lot of typical Japanese salaryman are like that. They put up with all the reprimanding from their superiors and hold it up within. There is only so much one can take before the time bomb explodes… Just so as to prove why Senko chose to serve Kuroto instead of any other random guy who is in the same shoes, that is why they provided a little past between them. It’s not much but I guess you can see that a little kind gesture goes a long way and for life. With Senko around, at least this guy learns to relax and take it easy. There is something else preoccupying his mind other than work.

The other characters don’t feel relatively important but I guess it does provide a little bit of extra spice since it would be awfully boring if it is just Kuroto and Senko. Like Shiro the bratty fox deity who seems to want Senko for herself but because she cannot be serving 2 people at the same time, I guess that’s why Shiro sometimes come down to bug them and at the same time have some fun. Yeah, basically she might get a bit lonely up there. It’s not like Shiro has any sort of special caretaking skills, right? Then there is Kouenji who is your typical next door neighbour who works in the otaku industry. Yeah, another punishing industry for those who work there. She is also constantly working and probably too hard that she thinks the fox deities are cosplay enthusiasts. Even if she realizes their real identity, I don’t think it would change a thing. After all, Senko has been awfully nice to her too and it won’t sit well if she becomes cautious just because she realizes she is a fox deity. Kouenji’s character sometimes feels a bit out of place because it’s not like they’re setting up some romantic liaisons between her and Kuroto, no? And then when she sees Kuroto and Senko doing something amazing, she’ll just like watch it for a while before returning to her work. Though, I love her artwork and specialty in drawing maids! Kouenji should be a maid character!

Lastly, Senko’s boss Sora feels like as though she is to provide busty boobs fanservice that this series lacks so much. Just when our eyes are feeling heavy from all the calm Senko goodness, suddenly here comes this buxom babe to raise our eyes and probably our ‘little buddy’ ;p. I suppose this series wants to tease us and be a little sexy but because Kuroto being the ultimate good guy and virgin, all sexual subtexts of letting him do whatever he wants usually turns into a serial tail fluffing molesting incident. No wonder this guy’s a virgin. This is better than sex? Yeah, work has really gotten to his head. Tail fluffing and molesting is the sex to this guy. Sure, he might look enthralled at Sora’s boobs and she is willing to let him have his way with her as he is naturally a man, but ultimately this anime isn’t that kind of anime so back to the running joke of tail molesting. Oh Senko, these are the kind of things that you put up with if you truly love somebody.

So yeah, there might be a few very subtle sexual subtexts here but that is only if you have a very dirty mind. Well, I do admit that certain scenes only made me think so but it is all just harmless fun and joke and nothing serious. Yeah, I blame, uhm, anime for making me have a dirty mind! It’s not my fault! Honest! How can you resist when they insert sleazy and ecchi fanservice in so many animes? And then that seasonal porn inserted and disguised as a normal anime in your typical seasonal anime line-up?! (That I could have chosen not to watch). But don’t worry about Kuroto turning into some serial fox deity rapist because this anime will not allow it. Zettai ni! The most he would go so far as to just molest their tail. Phew?

The art and animation are simple. Not to say that it is not visually pleasing but compared to other animes done by Doga Kobo like New Game, Gabriel Dropout, Luck & Logic, Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Mikakunin De Shinkoukei and even YuruYuri, it is like as though they have some budget issues and aren’t spending entirely on the animation part. I mean, you know what this anime is already about, right? Why the need to further spend and make the visuals look drop dead gorgeous? So yeah, sometimes the characters do look one kind like Kuroto looking a bit blocky and simple. I want to believe it is the stress from his work. On a trivial note, sometimes when I look at Senko, I think that she looks like the gender bender version of Tails from Sonic The Hedgehog. And doesn’t Shiro look a bit like a bratty version of Hiiragi from Konohana Kitan? Perhaps fox characters in anime all have this one kind similar look because you need to have fox ears and wearing the traditional kimono to show they possess spiritual power.

For the voice acting department, hearing Junichi Suwabe as Kuroto, well, I don’t know if it’s funny to hear him voicing a normal character. I mean, a really normal character. Hearing him in various roles like Dandy from Space Dandy to Heydrich in Dies Irae and Yami from Black Clover, it’s like he really needs a break from those roles. Not to say those roles are taxing on his voice in the first place. But come to think of it, I guess he’s got that sleepy and dreamy feel to his voice so I think he fits well as his Kuroto character too. Ayane Sakura is recognizable as Kouenji although she is mostly in that low voice and not in her typical bratty voice that I often identify with. I didn’t realize Eri Kitamura behind Sora’s voice since her character speaks with an accent. There was also something familiar with Yoko’s voice too. Unfortunately not enough lines for me to finally realize it was Rie Kugimiya behind that squealing anime character until the final Yoko episode. Yup. Definitely our tsundere specialist in her trademark squeaky voice here. Azumi Waki (Ao in Midara Na Ao-chan Wa Benkyou Ga Dekinai) does a nice job in portraying the cuteness of Senko that I sometimes think that she herself might actually be a fox deity! And the other cast left is Maaya Uchida as Shiro (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai).

If the series is a bit too slow and sleepy, perhaps the opening and ending themes should wake you up or at least make your feet tap to its beat. Because Koyoi Mofumofu by Senko and Shiro as the opener is cute with its hip hop-like tune. Even cuter when you have Senko’s tail popping out from the rice cooker waving to us in such a hypnotic cute fashion. But Moffumoffu De Yoi No Ja Yo by Senko as the ending theme takes the cake. Still a hip hop-like music, it is catchier and cuter to boot. Makes your heart wanna go ~kyun!

Overall, this simple anime is indeed soothing to the soul but some on the other end of the spectrum may find it boring as hell. You are not supposed to expect anything much from this and if this anime manages to calm you or as a bonus goes so far as to help detoxify you from the toxicity of current animes, then it has done its job. It’s not supposed to break any ground either and it does what it needs to do. Not perfect but at least it got the job done. We might not have a cute fox deity to serve us like lucky Kuroto has but this also teaches us that for many of us, we should count our blessings that after a hard day at work, we still have someone waiting at home to return to. Whether it is your family, wife, parents, girlfriend/boyfriend, be thankful that somebody still cares for you. And not necessarily the things they do for you that magically replenishes your morale but rather by being there by your side. So many thanks to this anime that I am now refreshed and relaxed by all of Senko’s pampering. Thus I’m ready to get back to the next anime season’s action of bloody violence, over the top sex and nonsensical slapstick comedies! Hey, sometimes I got to let it all out and have some real fun too, no?

Sob! Sob! SOB!!! SOB!!! Boo hoo!!! I’m crying because I am both happy and sad. Happy that Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: Psycho No Aisatsu special has finally been subbed! At the same time I’m a very sad panda because this is going to be the last Milky Holmes episode ever!!! NOOOO!!!! Oh no! OH NO!!! Milky Holmes my dearest, we’ve been together hot and cold throughout the years. Together with your silly antics and dumb retard actions. I thought we’d always be together. Sob, sob. I thought we will always go on forever like how the way things are. Sob, sob. But now, looks like reality has smacked us in the face. It is time to graduate. Time to move on. Sob, sob, sob… And hence this final graduation episode that did a crossover with that Cardfight Vanguard anime, we’re going to see how well you have grown into great detectives. Sob, sob, sob… Oh, I just can’t take it anymore. I just can’t… *Continues to bawl like a baby*.

Down memory lane…
Oh my. Milky Holmes really doing an impressive run with their detective work and putting dumb useless G4 to shame? Uhm, that’s how it should be? Well, okay. Arsene hears Milky Holmes talks about wanting to graduate. Hence she is in a dilemma as she ponders if it is still too early for them but nevertheless, she will give them a final test to prove their worth. Thus Phantom Thief Empire steals a precious card from Aichi Sendo (that protagonist from Cardfight Vanguard). She has left a message for Milky Holmes and is waiting for them to show up but it is Feathers who pop up instead. I guess they need to get some fame too and asked Milky Holmes for permission. Go ahead, girls! And with that… Feathers get brutally owned by Arsene! Don’t waste my time! Poor Feathers return to report to Milky Holmes and with some memories thingy blabbing from Sherlock, I guess they’re taking up the case. So as part of the memory lane trip, they pass by several places they have been before in search of Arsene. Finally they stumble into Arsene and her men. Time for some epic fight. Remember how Twenty can shoot his nipples like projection? Somehow he lost a rock-paper-scissors fight to Cordelia. And why is Hercule holding Stone River’s sword? She acts like a girl being stalked so that’s enough to defeat him. Nero summons the cats to lick on Rat. I guess that works too. The real epic showdown between Arsene and Sherlock… Interrupted by some memories thingy. Suddenly Kokoro intercepts to handcuff Arsene. OMFG! Stupid Kokoro just usurp and took all the credit? I guess she and her G4 are being dumb obnoxious cocky lying b*tches that she agrees to just get arrested by them. Laugh while you can, Kokoro… Badmouth Milky Holmes all you want, Kokoro… Because Milky Holmes seems to be taking all this well and in good spirits. Ah well. Time to go home. Meanwhile G4’s HQ is being decimated as Arsene easily destroyed and broke her way out. Not laughing anymore now, eh? Kokoro is the most badly bruised but don’t worry, Irene still loves how cute you look.

Milky Holmes is summoned to the hall and looks like it is really graduation for them. Henriette rolls in their final task. Uhm, does this bomb disposal task look familiar? If they manage to stop the bomb in one minute, a surprise also awaits them. Spoilers: Past characters in the series are waiting behind the door to congratulate them. And so we see Milky Holmes being f*cking confident in doing this. So much so they start off by singing a song!!! 5 seconds left to go… They easily use their toys to disarm the bomb and take the envelope within. Oh my. They are truly competent! Inside the envelope contains their graduation certificates. But why is Milky Holmes looking sad and disappointed? Actually when they talked about graduation, they meant graduating from their attic dorm. Oh my. Henriette feels so embarrassed that she was the one that misinterpreted the situation. What now? She goes to tell all those past characters that the surprise party is cancelled. Go home. Get out. Scram! And they came so far for this… And so Henriette graduates them from the attic dorm. We see this is all a plan by Mori Arty to move them out. Not sure if she is going to stay here now but she is definitely keeping it clean. Milky Holmes each have their own rooms. Sleeping comfortably? Not quite. Because they all gather and sleep together like the crammed style they are so used to. Nothing like the old times. With Milky Holmes becoming competent detectives to chase after Arsene, uhm, maybe some things don’t change too since they are still clumsy…

Milky Holmes: Homey Homecoming
Oh really? That was it? Sure they aren’t going to pull off a fast one and prank us that there will be another special by the end of this year? You sure about that? Not trying to do Gintama style of trolling and keep long time fans like yours truly surprised and happy? No? I guess this is it then. Time to really, really, really face reality. So this final Milky Holmes special really does hit the feels as we see the typical clichés that really made the Milky Holmes franchise funny and cute as we know them. Of course there was one season where it was really serious and truly competent Milky Holmes (there was also that Alternative alternative) but as far as this final special is concerned, they balance it all out. What I mean is that Milky Holmes still maintain their retard ways but they are not as much as a retard before and they have shown to have control over their Toys now. I believe that Arsene too was feeling sad to see that Milky Holmes graduated. That is why when she head they aren’t really into graduating from school, you can feel that she heaved a sigh of relief and kicked out those past characters. Well, Milky Holmes will still be doing detective work after graduation but being in school, this means Arsene can continue to play as their mentor and guide them as Henriette. So yeah, maybe after being so long with them, I don’t think Arsene really wants to say goodbye so suddenly like that. Let’s keep the status quo for now, shall we?

This special might not be able to incorporate everything that would make us feel totally nostalgic about Milky Holmes because otherwise it would have been a recap episode. Hence it is nice to see some of the things making their short cameo like those characters and places. G4 is also much welcomed with their cameo especially dumb IQ boasting Kokoro who is still as obnoxious and bratty as ever. It is amazing G4 haven’t got fired yet. Nice for Feathers to also make their cameo but so as not to steal the limelight from their senpai, I guess it’s too bad they had to get some beat down. Mori Arty still mysterious in her agenda and all but she could be just a normal girl for all we know. Initially I thought Milky Holmes was going to have some card-like fighting theme like Yugioh, because you know, Cardfight Vanguard crossover. But this feels more like a side distraction and they could have taken other themes like Pokemon’s Pikachu getting kidnapped or some device from Digimon gets stolen whatsoever. So the only running joke to remind us about this crossover is the fact that Milky Holmes cannot remember Aichi’s name and spout it out totally as a different name altogether. Only Hercule remembers but nobody listens…

It is really sad and it really hits the feels in the heart when the ending theme, Soshite Gunjou Ni Toketaiku by Milky Holmes is such a sweet and lovely ballad. So sweet and lovely that it almost sounds like a song that is played at high school graduation ceremonies! Oh damn. Here I was holding back my tears and then they had to play this song? You really want me to bawl over mah dummies?! I mean, my detective angels?! Oh well. Sherlock, whatever crap you said about those memories thingy, I don’t really remember nor understand, but I think I kinda know what it means for a long running (technically) series to have its final send off episode. It is sad that it has ended but also remember, be happy for all the antics and fun that they have brought to us in almost 10 years span. And so the opera curtains finally draw to a close. Thank you, Milky Holmes. Thank you for everything. Eyes getting blurry, nose getting stuffy, voice getting croaky… I think I need another pack of tissues…

On a trivial note, I wonder why this special is named as Psycho No Aisatsu, literally meaning, a psychotic greeting. Hmm… Could it be a play on the word saikou (the greatest)? Either way, Milky Holmes has always greeted us in the most Milky Holmes of fashion and with this final, it is rather Psycho No Sayonara (a psychotic goodbye) AKA Saikou No Sayonara (the greatest goodbye). Once again, thank you Milky Holmes.

Allison To Lillia

September 8, 2019

Due to that amazing flight themed Kouya No Kotobuki Hikoutai, I started looking around for another anime of the similar genre. I know I’m not going to expect something this awesome but what the heck, probably to satisfy my whimsy flight craze for the moment. And that was when I remembered an old retro show, Allison To Lillia. Yeah, that anime came out like 10 years ago back in 2009! I suppose it was one of that shows where I wanted to watch but never came around to it because there wasn’t anything ‘of importance’ to watch it. And it is thanks to Kouya No Kotobuki Hikoutai that I could finally come around to this one. Like I said, not likely to be as awesome as that airplane series but catching a few aerial stunts should be more than suffice.

Episode 1
Wilhelm “Wil” Schultz is such a bright student that he briefs the young ones about the history of the land. Roxcheanuk Confederation AKA Roxche and United Kingdom of Bezel Iltoa AKA Sou Beil have been at war for 130 years due to their differing opinions on the originations of men. Lesson interrupted when Allison Whittington flies down. Isn’t this dangerous? Yeah, Wil’s old friend has just gotten enlisted into the air force although her tasks are mainly transportation. As they head to town, they stumble into an old man. Wil knows him from the rumours as a guy who likes to lie because he tells everyone grand stories like being a butler from the royal family. He hitches a ride with them home. He treats them to tea and admits all his stories are lies. Except for this one. There is a treasure that no amount of money could buy that can stop the war between the nations. However it is on the side of Sou Beil. It was discovered during some poison gas war. History said that thanks to a lieutenant colonel’s thinking, it saved Roxche. However gramps points out that everybody who died from the gas are actually alive as he is part of that special unit. This is to protect them from retribution. Also the lieutenant colonel did not exist. So did history lie? History is written to suit one’s purpose. Allison is willing to fly there whenever she has missions. Of course she cannot be found out or she’ll be expelled. But she thinks they will let it slide as the treasure will justify her actions. You think so? Just then, a man from the town hall wants to bring gramps away to discuss about tax matters. He agrees to go with them. Wil is suspicious because he mistook them for being family members when their sidecar would have told him they are students. Yup, time to go after him. True enough, they are heading away towards town. Wil spots the guy taking out a gun. Jump! Man, they survived that crash. So they’re going to chase by foot all the way? I hope the destination is nearby. When they reach the private estate, they see a plane just departing. They think gramps is on it. They trespass into the hangar and the place is so big that there are no guards?! Oh look. A plane. Convenient. I guess leaving an apology letter to borrow doesn’t constitute as stealing.

Episode 2
Crossing the Lutoni River means entering into Sou Beil’s territory. An enemy fighter attacks so Allison pretends to be shot down. Even got some smoke material. Crash landing could have been perfected had not the wheels got caught by the electric wires. In the middle of the forest?! Luckily they jump out in time before the plane explodes. Next day, they talk about Sou Beil that is supposed to be Moot’s homeland. She is the caretaker of their orphanage. As Allison plays with this Bambi, the mother attacks her but Wil protects her and gets injured. Oh Allison, you want to shoot and kill the mother and fawn?! I guess not. So Allison has to carry him for the nearest aid. Who knows where this house in the middle of nowhere is but at least this lone woman, Radia takes them in and treats Wil. She asks Allison why she came here so she tells the truth about gramps and the treasure. Radia finds it bogus because Sou Beil’s side of the story is about the lost gold of a general who was about to attack Roxche. People have been trying to look for it but nothing was found. Later Allison apologizes to Wil for dragging him into this mess but Wil thanks her as he is able to see what Soul Beil looks like. Yeah, just a day in enemy territory… Next morning, Radia learns about Moot from Wil. She explains Moot was labelled as a traitor when she emigrated to Roxche and opened an orphanage there. Wil continues how Moot continued to take in orphaned kids whose parents died in the war. Allison was no different but instead of crying from loneliness and fear, she first made Wil her henchman! They’ve been together since. Unfortunately Moot passed away 6 months ago. Radia’s answer to why she lives remotely here. If a war ever breaks out, she is ready to take up arms and fight the enemy. When Allison wakes up, a cuckoo badge that secretly signifies her army rank drops out, Wil remembers what gramps said and realizes his story is true. Radia wants them to stop this foolishness or they’ll lose their lives but after seeing they are determined to get the treasure to stop the war, she gives them army uniforms from her sons. They are from Sou Beil Royal Guards, the elite of the elite so they are able to walk around in most army bases without showing ID or suspicions. She also gives Wil her husband’s gun. As they leave, Radia realizes that despite she hated Roxche for taking her sons’ life, Roxche also had people who had lost their lives. That is why Moot took them in.

Episode 3
Benedict Carr is the pilot for the plane that kidnapped gramps. He doesn’t understand about the treasure his higher ups are talking about as they interrogate the old fart but nothing came out from his mouth. Allison and Wil manage to infiltrate the base and get a nervous private to show them around. Of course this leads to where gramps is. After telling the stupid guards to bring blankets, gramps is amazed they are here and only requests for a hairpin and will meet up later. As the duo leave, they bump into Benedict. Allison recognizes him as he was the one who wrote the love letter but she rejected him. They tell him about the treasure. Meanwhile gramps brazenly unlocks before the guards and pushes open the door to knock them out?! Shameful! They’re so stupid and weak! With the alarm sounded, gramps rendezvous with the duo and try to get to the hangar via secret passageway. This guy is still as sharp as ever. But you know a death flag is coming up when he tells them the route to the treasure. Just in case. Gramps stalls the guards to let the duo take off via seaplane. I know the entire base is on alert to hunt down this old fart but only a handful of soldiers chasing them and none guarding the hangar???!!! Gramps is so heroic that he makes that soldiers look like morons because he rolls barrels of oil conveniently lying around and then shoots it for some great explosive distraction. Even though he gets shot subsequently but it is all worth it since the duo have already taken to the skies. Benedict is ordered to capture the duo and if he fails, shoot them down before they cross the border. As insurance, they also order another unit to follow him and if he does something suspicious, kill him. Allison and Wil are sad that gramps is dead. So to honour his wish, they are going to head for the treasure at all cost.

Episode 4
When Benedict catches up to them, he lets them hear the radio that the enemies want them shot down. So Allison challenges him to a dogfight? Allison gets to strut her stuff and even gets the better of Benedict. She fires! He still survives because it is only paint bullets?! How the heck did she know it’s not real bullets? Did she have time to examine?! With that, Benedict wants to join them in their treasure hunt since gramps’ last words to him was to take care of them. But he has to shake down those Sou Beil bogeys first. Don’t worry. His skills are even more exceptional considering those are just low level goons. As they make their way towards a cave in the mountains, little do they know those greedy Sou Beil higher ups are secret tailing. Inside after following gramps’ instructions, they arrive in a section where there are primitive paintings. But the ‘treasure’ turns out to be a big mural. One man is holding a spear (Roxche’s military insignia) and the other holding a dagger (Sou Beil’s military insignia). They realize both sides originated together. They also realize that gramps fictional lieutenant colonel and was forced to kill his men to keep this treasure a secret because they didn’t want to get along with the enemy. He waited for 30 years since people will not believe so soon during the height of the war. Wil wants Benedict to announce this mural since it is too heavy a responsibility for them. Those greedy higher ups are here. Hand over the treasure. I don’t know if Wil is super fast as they didn’t see him whip out his gun and fire. Just a shoulder wound. It causes them to fire at the ceiling and the rocks fall and crush them! WTF?! What a stupid way to die! But good riddance. Soon news breaks out that the war is over thanks to the discovery of the mural. Wil and Allison visit gramps’ housemaid. She is sad he is gone but is finally relieved of his agony.

Episode 5
Wil is on his way on a fieldtrip to the kingdom of Ikstova. During a stop, he gets kidnapped! Turns out to be Allison. Looks like she is also here for a mission so what a better way to spend some time with him. Yeah, and also she has something important to tell him that she can’t write it in a letter… She drives him to a joint military base by Roxche and Sou Beil where they will be conducting a joint ice rescuing expedition. They meet Benedict who is part of this expedition. He is promoted to major after becoming a hero and that nation’s most eligible bachelor! Benedict invites them to a party later where the top brasses will be attending. I guess he doesn’t want to be alone. Later a blizzard hits the place so Allison and Wil change their plans to take shelter at the nearest village. Benedict notices the blizzard and that his friends may have been caught in it and goes to look for them. But for the villages he went, his friends were not spotted and he had to entertain the people wanting his autograph. After an old lady points Allison and Wil to the assembly hall, she makes the call to her comrades about a couple of suspicious Roxche personnel. In the assembly hall, another old lady serves them tea as Wil displays his knowledge about Iktsova’s royalty insignia. Each of them has different plants or animals representing them. The old lady leaves and confides in her comrades that they might be spies since they know the insignia well. Allison sums up her courage to ask what Wil will be doing after graduation. She even suggests a university to go to and because she will be flying all over the world, it will get a little lonely. So won’t he come stay with her in the capital? Dumb Wil fell asleep… Not his fault as Allison soon realizes the tea is laced. Benedict sees fresh tracks and believes this is where Allison and Wil went but there is no village on this map. So he is going to walk there by foot? He stumbles into this girl, Fiona who recognizes his notes that was written on a poster of the portrait of Owen Nihito. She wants him to take her to the capital of Ikstova now but change of plans as her comrades call for her return.

Episode 6
Allison and Wil find themselves locked in a cellar. But nothing like a bit of improvisation to let themselves out. This isn’t maximum security, you know. Hiding in a cabin, they thought somebody is coming so Allison ambushes him. Luckily she misses because it would’ve been bad news had she really hit Benedict. Thanks to their noisiness, the villagers are coming. Lucky for them again, Fiona hides them in her house. Because of the icy night, they have to wait at least till tomorrow morning to have a chance. So Fiona tells why she is bent on heading to the capital. Nihito is a politician and is holding a speech. She wants to use this chance to declare that she is alive. You see, Fiona is the sole survivor of the royal family’s massacre and her real names is Francesca. She wants Benedict to teach him how to use a gun left behind by her late grandpa but he can’t let a princess swing around something so dangerous and leaves it to Wil. So shooting is not okay but punching is? Next morning (even had enough time for breakfast), they sneak out via hiding under a white sheet. Seriously. They think the snow can camouflage them? When they reach a lone guard, Fiona pretends to take Benedict hostage. When he is close enough, he knocks him out. But not after he sounds the alert. Suddenly the villagers surround them! Woah! How did they get here so fast?! Where were they hiding?! Fiona protects them and if they want to shoot, shoot her first. She tells them of her intention to head to the capital. The villagers look shock that she knows she is the last surviving princess. You mean they really didn’t know she knows? Anyway the chieftain gives his blessing for her to go since she is already an adult. But if she fails to achieve her goals, feel free to come back here anytime. And so a few last goodbyes before Fiona leaves for the capital with her friends.

Episode 7
At the base, Benedict and Fiona take off in an observer plane. But shortly they ran into some trouble. This is just a distraction so that Allison could ‘steal’ a fighter jet. Yeah, it’s the second time she ‘borrowed’ a craft. With the military blocking their path, there is not enough runway to take off. I understand she intends to use the cliffs and drop to fly but if she has to go through the town and even causing a major accident, shouldn’t she have took off in town? I mean, the roads are wide enough to accommodate the plane’s wingspan and there are not obstructing towers. Yeah, they really took the military for a ride. Once in the air, Fiona tells Benedict the truth. She is not the real princess but an imposter. The real Francesca died during massacre. So yeah, she wants to deceive the people of Ikstova. She just wanted to tell somebody this. Cue for Benedict to say he too isn’t a real hero. The credits go to Allison and Wil. WTF do we have time for Benedict-Fiona’s sky romance?! I know this isn’t like roads where you have to constantly keep your eyes forward. This makes Allison really jealous and poor Wil has to bear the brunt of it as she makes him sick with her wild aerial stunts. Once they reach the capital, Benedict lands directly in the square where the speech is taking place. Thank goodness everyone knows how to get out of the way. Using his hero status, everyone loves him and this gives him a free pass to speak on the podium. Nihito allows him to do so if he supports his idea to reject independence. Benedict then introduces Fiona as Ikstova’s princess and shocks everyone. But Fiona’s plan to re-establish the royalty comes to a grinding halt because Nihito does an igi ari. Objection!

Episode 8
Nihito calls this a farce but Fiona can show proof. This royal pendant. But is this real? Fortunately, the head of security, Rean Warren was the security for the royal palace and he can vouch for that. Yup. It’s the real deal. Nihito tries to escape but Fiona stops him. Here is his cuff links she is returning. 10 years ago when he tried to kidnap Francesca, she ripped his cuff links in her bid to escape but he shot her parents who came chasing after him. Fiona arrests him for treason. Guess what? Nihito takes Fiona hostage! How the f*ck did that happen???!!! All the guards surrounded him and yet this happened?! Warren tries to be a hero to save her but gets stabbed in the thigh. WTF. Worse, Nihito takes Fiona up the tower. Dead end. Checkmate. Benedict confronts Nihito. Alone. Where the f*ck are all the useless guards???!!! Nihito tries to stab him but thank goodness for his expensive watch blocking the stab. Then one punch in the face! Do Benedict and Fiona have time to lovely reunite because Nihito isn’t done yet. This guy loves taking hostages and when he tries to do so again, that angry Francesca’s face resonates in Fiona’s face. WTF he got scared and fell off the tower himself! WTF???!!! Later when Wil and Allison join them for tea, Wil asks Fiona if she is not the real Francesca but her twin. Fiona tells the whole truth that 10 years ago after the fire broke out, Francesca was injured and somewhat brought to the village. It was the only time both sisters met. Before Francesca passed on, she gave her this pendant. When Fiona’s grandpa passed away, among his belongings was Nihito’s cuff links. So when she saw that poster (still wearing the same cuff links, huh?), she realizes that bringing that man to justice is what she existed for. As for how Wil could tell, at the assembly hall, the royal insignia tilted in the opposite position. Hence this symbol was originally made for Fiona. Ikstova’s weird custom is that the royalty can only have 1 child?! Thus this village was created by the royalty to protect Fiona. This answers the question why there are only old people and they have military training. With the issue resolved, I guess the only thing sore for Allison is that Wil could notice all these details but not her feelings…

Episode 9
The transcontinental express linking Roxche and Sou Beil is ready. Although its fare is expensive, Wil and Allison manage to board it thanks to Benedict’s invitation. Fiona is also riding along as she is incognito as a photographer. She isn’t officially the queen of Ikstova yet (must be all those red tape to bring back the monarchy) so she is still in the process of learning a lot of things. After passing the Roxche military supplies and artillery field, they stop at Green Island. This was the place where Allison’s father died during the war. As Allison pays her tribute, Wil tells Fiona about this. It is probably her dad, Oscar was killed by his own subordinate because of the bullet from the gun that only their division used then in the battlefield. Since Allison had no pictures of her father, it could only mean he worked in the intelligence agency. So to prevent any risk of him being captured and interrogated, the only conclusion was that his subordinate killed him than risk betrayal. Benedict is supposed to board the train on the next stop and while waiting, he meets Major Fran Stork who tells him this ‘embarrassing’ secret of his mission here. There is a customer in the royal car who will play an important role in the future of both the nations’ trading. Because there will be lots of companies trying to court him upon arrival and one of them being a company that delivers artillery to the army, they are trying to gain the upper hand in competition by making a request to the army to dispatch a valet under the pretence of a security guard. Benedict boards the train and the gang could hardly recognize his disguise. Long hair and beard. The friends spend their time together on the train. Allison trying to be considerate and give Benedict and Fiona some time together. When it’s time for bed, Allison hints to Wil not to peep at her changing. Why the constant reminders? He assures her he won’t. She’s not satisfied. Wil no baka…

Episode 10
I guess Allison is taking too long in her preparation to confess something of importance that Wil fell asleep! Please don’t take it out on the pillow… Frustrated, she sits by herself at the observation coach. There she meets Stork and he learns she is from the air force and daughter of Oscar. Next morning, Wil and Allison are up early. However they witness a murder at the back of the train. The chief conductor had been thrown off! Allison tries to go after the perpetrator but thanks to the train entering a tunnel, the culprit ‘vanished’. They go warn the other conductors and then Benedict. He in turn goes to tell Stork but is met with Thomas Eyen. When he learns the chief conductor is dead, Eyen kicks out Stork. Eyen will not let anyone into the room to harm his master and that includes Stork. The plan now is to gather everyone in the main car and hold them there for a day until they reach out of the mountains where they can alert the authorities at the next stop. Benedict doesn’t want to accuse everyone of being a suspect and if they start searching, they’ll reach the next stop by that time. Stork then suggests taking a detour because there is Sou Beil’s military base where they can use their phone to contact authorities. Unfortunately the phone service is out. Just then, Gautier Terol walks in and claims he is the target. As a head of Terol Steel Foundation and a war magnate, he shows them a threat letter addressed to him. It states he will not return to Roxche alive and will start killing everyone around him and he will be the last. Terol thinks everyone might be accomplice and hence it is better they do not mix since it is understandable they don’t want to be suspected and certainly they don’t want to be near a target. As the train continues its journey, it seems this was an act by Terol. His goal is to make Benedict pay for making that heroic announcement. Wil is suspicious that the culprit hasn’t moved to kill them yet as they were eyewitnesses to the murder. Suddenly a military train is chasing from behind and shoots a flare that signals them to stop. WTF Stork thinks he can shoot them with his pea shooter pistol? Of course they fire back! It’s a wonder they missed our heroes with all that firepower.

Episode 11
Stork wastes the fine liquor and sets them on fire. The military train is forced to put some distance. Stork then bombs and detaches the last coach, causing the military train to crash. Then opposite but on parallel tracks is a special armoured tank designed to run on railroad tracks. Stork contacts them and learns they are an escort to protect them. However he wants all of them to do him a favour: Destroy that armoured tank. He can’t tell them the reason now and wants them to believe in him. Since it is to avert a crisis, they sheepishly do as he says. They are going to shoot it down via a special tank gun belonging to Terol. He wants Benedict to fire but since this isn’t his forte, the only one to do it is Wil. So as they wait for the right time, Wil and Stork have time to chat. Stork reveals his true mission. He is here to arrest Terol on grounds of firearms smuggling and crimes against humanity. Terol is planning to defect to Sou Beil with his weapons and the one who invited him are no other than Sou Beil military personnel who were against the ending of the war. To prevent his arrest, the opposing side is planning to kill everybody else on this train. Because you don’t search for a dead man, right? However Stork was the one who killed the chief conductor because he needed to disconnect the train to increase its speed from the attackers so he had to get everyone believe to go along with his plan that an imaginary killer is out to get Terol. When Wil is in position, Stork instructs him to fire. Miss. The armoured vehicle then speeds up. Benedict tries to distract it by taking pot shots at it. After a few more tries, Wil finally derails it. When Stork goes to tell Terol about this, Wil tells his friends about Stork. Just then, Eyen comes in and wants to kill them all. WTF Benedict runs faster to bump the gun out of his hands but gets knocked out by his bigger size?! Allison tries to shoot him but is a bad shot. Yeah, how the heck can she miss?! Last bullet left. Don’t worry. Wil is guiding her. Uhm, this isn’t the right time for such close proximity. Is your heart beating fast, Allison? All that build up and just a shot in the shoulder? Oh, Stork did it. When they go and see Terol, looks like he committed suicide. But Wil still has his suspicions on Stork because if he was behind all this plan, wouldn’t he have got rid of them too as they too pose a great threat to his plan.

Episode 12
The train stops at the food of the mountains. The gang stays in a hotel and the next day what’s this urgent business that Benedict brings them to a chapel? Long story short, he confesses to Fiona and they proceed with this ‘ritual’ called kissing. So Benedict is going to be the king of Ikstova, eh? You jealous, Allison? Stork seems to be running late for this ‘ceremony’ but manages to come by. Since they won’t meet again, he makes it clear he was never on board the train. As he leaves, Wil takes out his gun and shoots him! Don’t worry. Just a rubber bullet. But his bodyguard rushes him and addresses him as colonel. Wil deduces Stork’s real mission: To silence Terol. As he holds important military secrets, should he testify, this would bring about the greatest military scandal. Wil also believes Stork’s initial plan was to let Terol die in an accident. Even if that meant sacrificing all the passengers. However something made him changed his plans: Allison. But Allison has no recollections of meeting him before the train trip. Wil remembers the talk with him during the firing at the armoured vehicle. He knew about Roxche’s festival as well as Moot. He thanks him for had he not come to the orphanage, he wouldn’t have met Allison. Since Allison isn’t the brightest tool in the shed, Wil reveals that Stork is actually her father! He definitely can’t kill his daughter on this mission, right?

10 years ago he came to the orphanage. Oh my, he looked so different as he was plump! He feared he would die in the battle and didn’t want to leave Allison alone and hence left her there. Oscar was actually from Sou Beil and doing a covert mission inside Roxche’s military and had to relay back some important mission. When Wil first saw him, he had those sad eyes. The same eyes that Stork has. As for Oscar being killed by his own subordinate, actually he killed his subordinate and assumed the identity of a dead soldier. This is all to relay the information back. This is why Sou Beil had the same military artillery as Roxche and hence their similar strength ended in a truce. Now Stork goes by the name of Icacia Cross. Because he abandoned his role as her father, he cannot return with Allison. She is still having troubles accepting him since he looks so different but he explains an important birthday event so like it or not, he’s your dad. As for why Wil went to great lengths for this, he hoped both father and daughter could meet. After everyone has left, why is Allison and Wil still staying behind? Allison quickly ushers him back into the chapel. Is this going where I think it is going? Since she is still too scared to say it, more runabout beating around the bush talk. You know, Allison is graduating, needs somebody to stay with her. Sure, Wil is mostly glad to stay with her and even help pay the rent and everything but I think he is missing the point to what Allison wants to hear. Eventually frustrated Allison pushes him down and tells him what he thinks of her. A person who always gives her courage? Duh! Screw it all. She just asks him to kiss her.

Episode 13
After graduation, Wil moves into an apartment with Allison in the capital. Wil meets Icacia and the latter praises his knowledge in history. Wil admits it is only after the discovery of the mural that his interests peaked since he wanted to see how the world would change. As Icacia laments how even in peaceful times there are those plotting behind the scenes. Hence Wil is an important person for him for his job. In short, he wants Wil to join the intelligence agency and assume a new identity in Sou Beil. The catch is that he can no longer live as Wil and with Allison anymore. Wil thinks hard about it and remembers the time when Oscar left Allison at the orphanage. Wil asked Moot about that man and was told he was a knight who promised to bring peace to everyone in the world. In order to do that, he must follow his destiny. Thus Wil must find something he can do when he grows up and someone who approves of it. It is hinted that Allison is married to Wil since she took on his surname. She is returning from the fertility centre and going to relay the good news but what’s with the long face, Wil? He tells her about this new mission of his. Allison is sad but tries to remain positive. Even though they technically can still see each other, he will no longer be Wil. It won’t be like old times before. Since he has found his calling, Allison supports his path. On the day Allison sees Wil off via train, he finally confesses to her that he loves her. Well, better late than never. But not too sure if she heard it because the damn train whistle. F*cking train whistle always finds the right time to ‘interrupt’…Or did Wil perfectly timed this? We fast forward 15 years later. Lillianne Acacia Corazon Whittington Schultz is their daughter. If that is a mouthful to pronounce, Lillia is fine. She is told that her dad died in a train accident and his body was never found. Lillia might be a fine and responsible girl, but has Allison regressed into a slob?! Lillia forces her mom to wake up! She only does so because Major Travas is coming. She is Allison’s boyfriend and a Sou Beil soldier working for the embassy who lives nearby.

Episode 14
In school, Lillia is not pleased her childhood friend, Treize is here to pick her home as requested by Allison. You mean this guy rode all the way from his home in Ikstova and took 20 days to reach here?! That’s some major dedication. As narrated, Treize is her childhood friend who lives next door to Allison and Lillia whenever they visit Ikstova annually. She doesn’t particularly like him because he knows about the affairs of others but hardly talks about his. Lillia introduces Treize to Travas for the first time. After Lillia leaves them alone, it seems both guys know each other. Treize is the son of Ikstova’s royalty. Yes, the son of Benedict and Fiona. Seems he can walk around freely like this is because his twin sister, Merielle was chosen as the heir. Remember their one child policy? Yeah… Also, here is another big revelation: Travas is actually Wil! Both promise to keep each other’s secret. Lillia is looking forward to her summer break at Lartika with mom but last minute she can’t make it and sent Treize in her place instead. Of course Lillia doesn’t like it and ‘fears’ that he would ‘jump’ on her. But Allison jumps on Lillia first. Who knows she might be the one who ‘jump’ on him. Who knows? Like mother, like daughter. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. During the train ride, an old couple sits with them. They are actually Treize’s royal guards in disguise. When Lillia goes to do things herself, they try to advise Treize to be a gentleman for a lady. Unfortunately when Lillia returns, she thinks Treize harassed the old couple and smacks him. After lodging in their hotel, they go sightseeing. They get lost in the maze-like town but a young lad helps them to be their tour guide for a small fee. After returning them to the hotel, a guard arrests the lad because it is against the law for unofficial tour guides. The lad will be returned to some priest. Next day, the duo see this guy, Mateo who gives aerial tours of Lartika. Being an ex-Roxche military man, he happily takes them around. Meanwhile Travas calls Allison (it is hinted that Allison knows he is Wil) about an emergency regarding a prince and a princess. Some evil plan will be executed in Lartika and both cannot be allowed to board a plane. Uhm, too late?

Episode 15
Lillia and Treize are treated to a breath taking view of the town and lake. When they are to return, Mateo spots a stranded plane on the sea. He goes to check it out and from its insignia, it seems to belong to the Torcacia Air Defence Force. Mateo gets off to talk to the pilot but is taken hostage. Suddenly Treize pulls out a gun and then jumps into the cockpit to fly away! WTF?! I’m sure everyone was so dumbfounded by this that’s why there was enough time for their getaway. Treize’s plan is to return to Lartika to inform the police but looks like they have boogies on their tail. Even armed with machines gun they can’t take down this seaplane?! Is Treize that good or they’re just lousy? Treize crash lands near the shore as they run into the forest before the plane is shot and exploded. So the enemy is going to presume they’re dead? Time to hike as far as they can. Flashback shows when Treize and Merielle celebrated their 15th birthday, Treize was called by his parents. Something about the proposal to marry Princess Matilda from Sou Beil. Fiona doesn’t think it is a bad idea but gives him a chance that by his 20th birthday should he not find anyone he loves, he will marry that princess. Hence this summer break is for him to find a chick? I can already tell who that love is. Night fall and they stumble into a cabin in the woods. Nobody in. No harm resting, right? Dead in the night, the owner returns and lets them sleep. I guess Treize failed in his night watch. Next morning, they apologize to the owner, Eyne Morceau but he is fine with it. They learn he is the priest who runs an orphanage and that kid got arrested, Carlo is safe and sound. Morceau is kind enough to lend them his vehicle to his orphanage (because Lartika is 80km away!). There, rich people conduct scenic flights for underprivileged children in the name of charity. They can join in with no charge after Morceau writes a letter of recommendation. You mean Morceau is not coming with Treize and Lillia? This is the middle of nowhere. Is there somebody else to pick him up? Along the way, they pass by a group of soldiers hiding in the woods who think they must be that person’s accomplice. They reach the facility and are awed to see the very huge seaplane.

Episode 16
Carlo is also part of the orphanage on tour. When the soldiers report back to Travas about Lillia and Treize boarding the seaplane, he has Allison take off immediately. It’s going to take a while since the lake is huge and they have no direct coordinates of the seaplane. After a while, Treize realizes something amiss. They should have landed at Lartika by now but everywhere is still a body of water. Then he realizes the plane is heading in the opposite direction instead because of the sun’s direction. Rudely waking up Lillia from her nap, they go check the pilot cockpit and see the pilots trying to parachute out. Woah, Treize. You gonna shoot them if they remain? The turbulence is the perfect chance for the pilots to jump off. Bye, kids. With nobody manning the cockpit, Treize takes control despite this is his first time flying a plane this big. The pilots destroyed the radio so they can’t call for help. But luckily they dropped the transreceiver but that is just short range. Treize calls Carlo to look after the kids and not make them worry. Don’t worry. They’re having fun alright. Oblivious to what is happening. Lillia pays him as motivation. When Treize tries to turn the seaplane around, warning shots are fired by the Torcacia fighters, the same ones who shot them down yesterday. Communicating them via transreceiver, it seems they want them to get out of the seaplane before they shoot it down. Changing direction also means getting shot down. Huh? Why wait to shoot it down if this is their original plan? With Treize running out of ideas and the Torcacia side bugging for them to get off, Lillia scolds back to shut up or she’ll ram them off the skies. This gives Treize an idea. He’ll do just that and with the wing damaged, a transmitter signal will be set off. With such dumb pilots, I think it’s totally feasible.

Episode 17
Treize hopes Lillia can forgive him if he fails. WTF is this pessimism? You won’t know if you don’t try, right? Nothing serves as a better motivation when Lillia will give him a kiss reward if he succeeds. Of course this was Carlo’s idea. Treize speeds up the seaplane to make the rest chase. This allows Treize to knock one of them off. Why don’t the Torcacians just shoot them down now? Because the commander says not now? To add more drama, Treize has Lillia speak to them and they’re shocked there is a woman on board? She manages to make them reveal why they are doing this. Because of the bad and poor conditions in Torcacia, they are going to sacrifice these orphans. This news will be highlighted throughout Roxche and only then the capital will notice and take action. Of course it is a dumb and stupid plan if you ask me and nobody is as mad as Lillia as she chastises them for just being terrorists. So now they are going to shoot the seaplane down? Oh yeah, Lillia can buy more time with her scathing complaining. Enough time for mom to come to the rescue. Allison tells the Torcacia side to surrender and when they return to their airbase, they will be arrested by the military. Of course they won’t listen and call her bluff so Allison shows her skills by shooting a couple of them down. With the commander left, Allison toys around with him. He gets mad and tries to shoot her down but obviously Allison’s plane is faster and more flexible. This is part of her plan to make him run out of ammo. When that happens, the commander still won’t give up. He is going to do a kamikaze crash into the seaplane. Allison is forced to shoot him down. With the drama over, it is now up to Treize to land the seaplane on sea. Allison’s advice isn’t helpful at all. All planes are the same. I guess he has got to rely on the kiss reward as motivation. Go for it! Don’t worry about the kids, they have been sleeping before the dogfight action began as they tire themselves out from all the excitement. Treize makes a rough landing but unfortunately the seaplane hits the bedrock. It is now taking in water and sinking.

Episode 18
Don’t worry. The kids can swim! They’re really having fun from start to finish. But there’s a problem: Treize can’t swim! I guess it’s all ice in Ikstova. Not sure Lillia throwing him into the water and shouting instructions would make things better. So far so good. Until he sinks. Not sure how Lillia pulled him to shore but I guess it’s time to resurrect him with a kiss. CPR is too hard to pronounce. So Lillia starts off with that and then presses his chest. I wonder if Allison could see all this from the sky. Treize revives and soon the Roxche army arrives. They really setup a picnic for those kids. Damn these orphans are lucky. Carlo then talks to Treize personally. Carlo hints Treize knows his secret. Carlo is actually a girl, Carla! But Treize already knows because of the way she admires Lillia’s hair. In exchange, Treize also tells his secret of being a prince and needs to do something before he reaches 20. I don’t think Carlo believes it and thinks it is his way of trying to get to Lillia’s heart. But whatever. Both promise not to tell each other’s secret. I’m confused they say it’s a man’s promise. So if Treize isn’t married by 20, is Carlo booking him to be his bride? When they reach back, Treize asks for the reward. So he really wants it? Unfortunately Lillia shifts the goalpost. Not today. Treize sees Travas alone. Travas reports that the real mastermind behind this is Morceau. 30 years ago, he was given a mission to gather orphans in Torcacia. Though he earned the people’s trust, he actually sells them to the rich in Roxche in exchange for info. But after the war ended, he was abandoned. Roxche and Sou Beil discovered this human trafficking plan at the same time. Treize is upset because Travas knew about this but still let the orphans boarded the plane. Had Treize and Lillia weren’t on board, it could have been a tragedy. Still, Treize thanks him for helping to save them and the kids are alright. Probably Morceau let them ride the seaplane as he believed one of them could fly a plane. Treize tells Lillia he wants to head back to Ikstova on his sidecar. No problem. She can take the train home by herself. Treize is sad and had to put up a fake expression since Lillia is praising Morceau as a good guy. On his way back, he stops by a store, hoping to pick up a book on swimming.

Episode 19
Lillia is excited to be invited by Treize to Ikstova for the New Year. Because this time he is going to reveal everything about himself. Lillia takes this as a chance to find his weakness (I guess Treize already mastered swimming) and win against him. Is that a longwinded way of saying she loves him? I guess not. Grats “Ax” Axenteanu, Travas’ assistant reports in some irregularity about an anonymous account making large purchases of film rolls to film at Ikstova. Could it be they are spies? Further investigation reveals Lowry Productions headed by Elicia Lowry are going to film a documentary there. Nothing suspicious until they discover a note with vague words that sounds more like a revenge plot. Better safe than sorry. With no direct flights to Ikstova, Allison and Lillia are forced to take the bus. During the journey, a mini avalanche blocked the path so instead of waiting for reinforcements, everyone gets up to shovel. Until the snowplough ploughs through. Well, at least the road is clear now. Too bad it wasted everyone’s efforts. So when mother and daughter reach Ikstova, they’re dead tired. Time to get some beauty sleep. Benedict and Fiona host their own New Year countdown party and Lowry Productions are also there to help film this historic moment. With that kind of face, we can tell that Elicia is harbouring some sort of grudge. She talks to Fiona about her hobby in making movies all thanks to her late father who left enough fortune for her to live easy. As the countdown begins, Treize and Lillia are alone. Hard to say the right words, I suppose. I guess we just enjoy the moment with great fireworks rather than spoiling it with some nervous confession. Meanwhile at the palace, Elicia fires a warning shot as her crew takes everyone hostage. Where the heck are the guards?! I mean those young soldiers on duty rather than those old farts. Wow. Security is really lax here.

Episode 20
Meanwhile Treize is still finding it hard to say it to Lillia… I don’t think Lillia wants to hear about the weather in Ikstova… Elicia moves Fiona and Benedict to another room to interrogate. It seems she wants to know the whereabouts of the royal treasure. Fiona plays dumb to stall for time. Ikstova’s treasure, huh? The people? The nature’s beauty? Please be more specific. Meanwhile in the other room where the guests are being held, one of the old guards does a distraction so that Emma could flee. Yeah, nobody saw the OPENED window! Emma manages to wade through the thick snow to the cabin and tell Treize what is happening. Time to go do some rescuing. Lillia wants to come along too. I guess being with him beats taking care of Emma. Meanwhile Allison is in town drinking alone when she stumbles into Warren. Ah, relive those good times, eh? Warren mentions that after Nihito’s death, his bereaved family moved out from Ikstova to Roxche. He hopes they are living in peace there. Since Elicia knows about Fiona’s past, she then takes out an old but detailed map of Ikstova. From what I understand, there is a valley that supposedly hides the royal treasure. The royal family has prohibited access to it (hence untouched for 400 years) but they have been searching for it there but to no avail. That’s when they thought of ‘asking’ the royal family. Time for Fiona to spill all the beans or her husband dies. Lillia wonders how Treize knows a secret underground mine cart that leads to some cabin. He has a bodyguard friend who tells him this? That bodyguard should be fired! Riding the mine cart, it it’s bad enough the brakes broke, they crash and they f*cking survive the fall!!!!!!! Then they stumble into a room filled with dynamites. Really. How convenient. Time to use this.

Episode 21
Treize wants Lillia to put the dynamite into the stove and hopes this explosion will serve as a distraction. After that she must return to the cabin. Lillia did just that but she slips. To avoid being find out, she returns to Treize. Are the guards dumb not to see a human shaped cavity in the snow? Luckily they’re not dumb enough not to notice the loud explosion. Returning to the guest room, now they take a head count and realize a hostage is missing?! Checking outside, they see other dynamites in the snow and realize this is a distraction. Meanwhile Treize and Lillia manage to enter the former’s room. He has to pretend he gets lucky and know where the things are. Like this communications receiver. He really hooked up the whole thing in time? He manages to call the airport but his message is not clear since they have to hide after hearing footsteps. Thankfully the closet has a secret compartment to the attic so after the baddies destroy the receiver and clean out the closet, the duo are still safe. The subordinates report back to Elicia about their suspicions and advise her to hasten their plan. As Fiona realizes who she is, it is no surprise that she is the daughter of Nihito. Her real name is Claire. During the height of the war, Nihito was a historian who thought Ikstova royal treasure would help bring peace and he asked the queen. Unfortunately she did not say and because he was deemed a dangerous person, was banished from Ikstova. A year later he returned to exact revenge on the palace. Claire claims Ikstova killed her father and is seeking revenge. The plan is to take Fiona and Benedict away, burn down this lodge and kill the rest. Fiona then tells the inconvenient truth about herself as a fake. Claire is surprised and disappointed. She gets angry but her subordinates calm her down and tell her to carry out the plan. Travas and Ax are at the airport and are suspicious about the reported transmission. It says the royal lodge before being cut off. Treize prepares himself and gives his pendant to Lillia. If anything happens to him, please give it to the queen. But she wants to keep it for herself so I guess he can’t let anything happen to himself. Treize makes his way out and sees his parents being taken by the perpetrators to trudge through the snow. Lillia continues to hide in the attic but sees a sniper coming in and taking aim at Treize. I can’t believe he can’t hear her coming out and then scream a warning to Treize. But too late. Treize gets shot!

Episode 22
The subordinate then knocks Lillia out. Noticing her pendant, he mistakes her to be Merielle. He calls Claire so she returns to the lodge. They set up timed explosives before carrying Lillia out. Benedict notices something in the snow. He talks to the terrorists to distract them. This allows the military agents to knock them out. Of course this unit is led by Travas. Meanwhile Treize still lives. Because we all should expect the sniper bullet hit his rifle. He treks back to the lodge but loses consciousness. Thankfully his dad picks him up. Back in the lodge, Travas has disarmed all the explosives. Damn, they really set it to a long time, huh? Oddly, Claire’s side reaches the point where their earlier team was ambushed. You mean they didn’t stumble upon each other on the way back?! Claire calls Fiona to confirm her back at the lodge. She tells her to come alone or else they will kill the hostage. Benedict and Fiona are confused at first because Merielle is now away at Sou Beil with Matilda. Could she be bluffing? Just in time for Treize to wake up and say Lillia got caught in this mess. With Lillia awake, because she is her usual dense self, she tells everything. Yeah, literally tell anything the hostage taker wants! With a smile! Does Lillia even know the situation she is in? This gives Claire a headache with this mix up. Travas thinks there is a risk that if Fiona goes alone, she will also end up as a hostage. Treize has an idea. So Claire really waited for her, huh? And of course this isn’t Fiona but Treize. Can’t see clearly from that distance, right? But this WTF moment as Claire’s side start shooting, they miss!!! OMFG!!! How could they miss???!!! It’s not like he is a slalom champion. IS HE?! Even more WTF when Claire realizes Treize is not Fiona, so shocked that she let him ‘land’ on her?! WTF?! Claire’s subordinates suggest giving up because as long as they live, they will still have chances. Oddly, Lillia kicks Treize and warns him not to bully Claire. WTF?!

In the aftermath, looks like Allison is late to the party. Still having hangover? Lillia apologizing profusely to the king and queen of Ikstova and even has her mother do the same. Now they all are going to find Ikstova’s treasure. In this secret valley. The inhabitants claim they don’t know any treasure. But they point out Sou Beil is just right over this valley. You mean it is this close?! YOU MEAN THE MAPS NO MATTER HOW VAGUE THEY ARE DID NOT CLEARLY EVEN STATE THEIR BORDERS?! You see, this valley is the treasure. It links both Roxche and Sou Beil together and had this path was known during the war, it would have changed the tide and would have become a battleground. That’s why Ikstova kept this valley a secret. But still, nobody had even a decent map, huh? Claire is frustrated this was the treasure her father chased after. But Lillia gives her motivation not to give up. After all, both of them lost their fathers. Remember, Lillia never knew her real dad. With this case solved, the only puzzle left is that Lillia is still unaware of Treize’s real identity. Time not on their side…

Episode 23
Merielle confronts Treize about that marriage thingy. She wants him to marry Matilda now instead of waiting till 20. WTF?! Is she his mom?! Since he is hesitant, she guesses that he might have a thing for Lillia. Hence she prays their relationship won’t go well. Some princess… Meanwhile Travas and his team will be providing security to Matilda as she will be visiting Roxche and Ikstova. Elsewhere, some prisoner is given a task to assassinate somebody. Don’t care how he does it, just get it done. Matilda has a great time in Ikstova. When it’s time to leave, Merielle starts getting emotional. Wow. It’s like they’re already sisters? Matilda and Treize are to ride with each other on this train and this activity is of course a secret to the public. Merielle plays Treize’s mom again and warns him not to screw up. Or else she will have Travas kick his ass on her behalf! Oh damn, she’s demonstrating a few kicks!!! The train stops at a station where Allison and Wil last met. It brings back lots of memories. Treize heard from his father about Allison’s dad and his actions somewhat prompted Wil to follow in his footsteps. Sacrificing his own happiness for peace of others. Treize hints he also wants to do that but Travas tells him not to rush it although ultimately he is the one who will decide. Allison and Lillia who departed on an earlier train to go on their own trip, the train experiences some malfunction. Stranded at the station, the passengers want to board the next train but is irked when it is told it is fully booked. Because it looks empty. Allison and Lillia spot Travas trying to explain to the conductor that he booked all the seats on this train and cannot reveal any further information. Lillia being suspicious wants mom to explain everything. I guess mom needs to play dumb. For some reason, Travas allows everyone to get on board after getting permission for Matilda? It’s not like he spotted his family, right? Why risk danger? Of course there are sections the passengers are forbidden to step in and his agents will be on full alert. It might seem cruel but they should have left the passengers stranded than take them on. Yeah, for the plot… Meanwhile it has been awkward between Treize and Matilda. You mean they said nothing to each other the entire trip? Treize thinks of getting tea to break the ice. Also, Lillia goes to stretch her legs. They both meet. The biggest freak out moment they have in their entire lives. Once again, Lillia beats him up and wants him to explain. This girl always in the dark and wants explanation, huh?

Episode 24
Worst case scenario when Matilda enters the scene. Treize, who the heck is this beautiful chick! I know Matilda is smart but damn she suddenly could grasp that Lillia is Travas’ daughter?! Just because of their same eye colour?! You mean she never met anybody else in her life who has those eye colours? Matilda is so smart that she knows the pinch Treize’s in and gracefully cooks up a story that she is here on her father’s behalf to buy gold in Ikstova. Hence Treize is her tour guide. Phew. Great cover there. Even smarter when she hears Lillia’s story and how she believes her dad died before she was born. Because now she feels grateful for Travas for sacrificing his life for her country. But soon a commotion when a student is poisoned and a guy brings everybody over and starts accusing the agents that they poisoned their food. Of course Travas denies this. When a culprit is spotted on top of the train and captured, turns out to be the accuser’s wife! He is in shock but this only aggravates his suspicion. When Travas wants to interrogate him, he takes Lillia as hostage! What a way to prove your innocence by being even more suspicious. Damn, Treize so useless and got punched away. Allison wants to take Lillia’s place as hostage and accuses him of poisoning because why bother to gather everybody when he could just scream for help? This is indeed for distraction. When he refuses, she fires a warning shot. Scared guy releases her and tells the truth that this woman isn’t his wife but an accomplice. They were told there were gold on this train and accepted their employer (whom they only talked over the phone) to pull off this heist. However he swears he didn’t do the poisoning. Just before more can be revealed, the guy and his wife experience chest pains. Supposedly the medicine they took turned out to be poison. Karma’s really a b*tch. Travas discusses with his agents that the perpetrator may have planned it all along. In order to safeguard Matilda, they will detach the train when they stop at the next depot and travel separately. This means dumping Treize with the rest of the other passengers in the other coach. As Matilda’s train moves along, somewhere in the woods, somebody switches the rail lines. The train driver spots a car blocking the path and wants to stop but Travas orders him to ram it. Unfortunately the train driver is also an accomplice and stops the train. Now bandits surround it.

Episode 25
The bandits want the gold on the train. Travas tells his agents they are going to fight back. Oddly, the train driver abandoned the train. So an agent is able to take control and start the train again! That was f*cking easy! I guess the bandit boss has a jeep to chase after but an agents snipes the tyre. F*cking amazing that the dumb bandits abandon ship, the jeep can still move straight on its own?! Oh, I see. Cue for Travas to jump off and take control of it! So those dumb baddies gave up chase? Travas’ next plan is to take Matilda via jeep. Meanwhile Matilda talks to Ax about Travas prioritizing his duty over his daughter, Lillia. This makes Ax shock. Matilda thought she knew. You mean agents are supposed to know each other’s life? Anyway, Ax then confronts Travas about this and wonders if he knew it all along. Yes, he did. You see, Ax is the daughter of one of that Sou Beil’s higher ups that was killed during the mural’s discovery. Although Wil did not kill him directly (remember the cave in?), Travas still faults himself as the one who did so. Therefore he doesn’t blame her if she chose to kill him as revenge. That’s why he put her closest to him. Nothing like a few more baddies for them to take out and take their mind of this. Travas has realized the mastermind’s true intention. Everything was a setup. Their target is not Matilda but Treize. Travas’ will continue to escort Matilda to her next point since it is his duty. However in that case, Matilda will go rescue the other train. He has to follow her, right? Meanwhile on the other train, Treize must be wondering why Lillia suddenly is asking him about marriage proposal. Gulp. Then confusion because she wants him to propose to Travas?! WTF?! She wants him to talk to Travas to propose to mom!!! Did admiring Lillia’s beauty made him a little dumber? She is okay as long they are both happy. Then Lillia starts hinting about her dance. Yes, really hinting. Can’t blame Treize for not thinking straight since she is being scary. Then she practises dancing with him. Is that a hint too? If that isn’t clear enough, more hints because if only Treize went to her school… Even if he sucks at dancing maybe he can be there… Do you get it Treize???!!! Conversation interrupted when another passenger seeks Lillia’s help. But when brought to another coach, this evil looking guy knocks her out. Allison and Treize notice something wrong when the train changes tracks. It stops then they realize too late their coach has been detached as the front part (where Lillia is) starts moving again. I don’t think they can run after a train, right?

Episode 26
A message is left for Treize that he is to come after Lillia alone. With Travas’ side rendezvousing with them, a train passenger tells what really happened (since he is a big fan of Matilda so he opens up). The culprit behind this who was also masquerading as one of the passengers is actually a very dangerous criminal known as Prisoner #42. The only reason why this guy is released is because somebody of higher authority allowed it. And that person is Duke Bessar who is also the Minister of Justice. It seems he has a son who is also a candidate to marry Matilda. Gee, this is really extreme and f*cked up way to eliminate your son’s marriage candidate! While Allison and Travas go borrow a plane, Treize drives the jeep. I don’t know if the jeep is boosted with some weird juice that makes it able to catch up with the train. Even more mind boggling fact is how Treize jumps on board the train!!! Damn this kid can be a stunt man! He tries to stop the train but finds all brakes and acceleration are destroyed. Meeting Prisoner #42 and Lillia in the room, Treize is forced to confess he is the prince of Ikstova since Prisoner #42 is going to reveal on his behalf to explain Lillia’s kidnapping. Gee, Lillia isn’t going to ask if that was a joke? Yeah, Treize looks so sad. Can’t be joking. Even more so, Prisoner #42 pressures Treize to confess to Lillia! It’s his last chance to ask everything! Oh damn. Trying to wait for the right moment, this doesn’t feel like it but yeah, see what happens when you procrastinate? With Allison and Travas flying by, how the f*ck can they hear each other talk???!!! Because Travas says there is a ravine ahead and the tracks end there. No prizes what will happen when the train reaches there. It seems Prisoner #42 intends to kill all on board including himself (though the trio are the only ones on the train). I guess it’s better than rotting in prison.

When Travas tries to shoot the chain to separate the coach (gee, did he bring this special gun and foresaw this?!), he is told to throw it away because now Prisoner #42 takes Lillia hostage on top of the train with Treize! How the f*ck can they maintain their balance on a speeding train?! For some odd reason, Allison masterfully weaves between the trees instead of following the train? Is she trying to show off her skills at this moment?! Then it’s like Travas and Treize got this telepathic mind and know what to do next. Travas drops him a ladder for Treize to climb up. Is he abandoning Lillia???!!! Actually he is using the ladder as momentum to give Prisoner #42 a flying kick! Phew. You sure scared Lillia for a while there. And damn, I thought Travas was going to jump on the train or something. He is that capable, you know. Oh come on, please can we do this romantic staring scene later and climb up the ladder? Because of this slight delay, Prisoner #42 grabs onto Treize’s leg (amazingly Prisoner #42 didn’t drop off?). F*ck! Can’t the plane carry all of them off at once?! Is Prisoner #42 that heavy???!!! Lillia threatens she’ll punch him if he doesn’t grab her hand. Uhm, I think you’re doing it wrong girl. And so Treize goes back to his usual procrastination. He’ll tell her the truth some other time. He lets go the ladder and the train plunges into the ravine. OMFG?! For real?! In the aftermath, Bessar is confirmed to have had a hand in this and will be prosecuted. However no news of Treize or Prisoner #42’s whereabouts. WTF?! You telling me people can survive that fall???!!! Some tears and hugs… But when the next school term starts, surprise for Lillia! Treize is the new transfer student in her class! How?! What?! When?! Why?! He looks fine… First thing she does is punch his guy! A little lover’s quarrel right in front of class. Can they do this spat somewhere more private? The class must be enjoying this. Oh, so Treize transferred just in time to be Lillia’s dance partner.

Peace Only Exists Because Of The Presence Of Love
WTF???!!! WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT ‘HILARIOUS’ MIND BOGGLING FINAL EPISODE???!!! It felt unsatisfying. It felt like a joke. It didn’t feel like a proper ending because it was so rushed just to give us a so called good happy ending. So how the f*ck did Treize survive that crash? Oh, he must have jumped off the train because if he can jump in, he certainly can jump out without taking injuries too, no? Oh, better still. I think Treize is an angel so he spread his angelic wings last moment to fly away!!! He probably got stuck in some pine tree and that’s why he was missing for a while!!! HAHAHA!!! Prisoner #42? Nobody cares about him so don’t bother. With Treize’s sudden return without any proper explanation, it somewhat ruined the experience of watching this series. Not to say that it is bad (not that it is good either) but it was so rushed like as though the producers ran out of budget and decided to throw in everything they could think of so that poor Lillia won’t be the only one sitting out alone during her dance party. F*ck yeah, just dance with your mama then! Oh well, what’s done is done.

Having said all that, there are lots of many dumb and mind boggling things that defy logic here (yeah, the last episode takes the cake on everything). Sometimes you want to let it slide and pass because you know, it’s anime! It’s supposed to be fantasy so okay. One or two maybe. But having it so frequent just had me thinking that this is really plot convenience here. For instance, when Sou Beil and Roxche were at war and at an uneasy truce, how come there are no soldiers stationed on either side of the border Lutoni River? That was why Allison and Wil could easily fly over and chase after that old man. You’d think that there would be at least soldiers patrolling along the river that serves as both countries’ natural border but nope. It’s like a virgin jungle that no men has ever set foot. I don’t know how long this river flows and from what I know, perhaps Ikstova somehow borders in between somewhere. Because that hidden valley was the real kicker. I mean, this shows that none of the nations have a clear idea about their borders. Sure, even if the place was kept hidden by the royalty, do you not think those warring nations would have at least tried to scout for ways? So close, yet so far. Right under your noses. Goes to show they don’t really hate each other and perhaps going to war then was just their pastime. Haha. Just kidding. I can go on a few more paragraphs about the dumb logic here but I don’t want to ruin my sentiments for this retro anime as the last anime already took a lot of HP points. Yet. Because if people can go to war over the dumbest reason like arguing over the origins of mankind only to later find out they’re the same and then suddenly let’s be friends… Yeah…

The stories aren’t the best or mind blowing in the world or even if you try to rank the best stories among all animes in history. But they’re pretty satisfying thanks to the mini arcs they are being divided to. At least, this small bite size is enough for us viewers to munch and digest before moving on to the next arc. While I find it unique that the series is divided into 2 big arcs (hence the name of the series), somehow I find that Lillia’s arc is nearly and almost (but not perfectly) similar to Allison’s arc. Like as though Allison’s spirit continues to live on and is now embodied in Lillia. Well, that is somewhat true since the latter is her daughter. But what I mean is that, while it isn’t exactly history repeating itself, the stories do you not see are somewhat familiar? Just in a different form. Or in this case, the next generation. During Allison’s time, there was an incident that would change Ikstova, right? Yup. Then in Lillia’s arc, we revisit Ikstova again for another incident. Thankfully, nothing that would change the nation’s history. And then there’s the train arc. You got that right. 2 train related stories here.

And sometimes certain plots don’t get resolved like remember that Morceau guy? What happened to him after that seaplane hijack incident? Last we heard was that he flew the coop by the time the authorities stormed his cabin. So he went missing and was never caught? So nobody is going to bring justice to what those orphans just experienced? Oh wait. They had a swell time. So I guess we’ll overlook that. And did that Terol guy committed suicide? That rich chicken guy killed himself? My guts tell me somebody else did him in… But who cares about bad guys, right? Not even Prisoner #42, the best character ever because he got Treize to confess to Lillia… And it would have been a successful one if not for that meddling Allison-Travas combo flying n! Just like the dumb logics of this series, I can go on a few more paragraphs but I think it’s time to move on.

The main characters are pretty okay. Allison and Lillia are really spunky and feisty as young girls and the guys seem a bit like wuss. Very evident in Wil because this guy looks more like the indoors type of bookworm despite being a sharpshooting ace. While Treize fares a bit better in his manliness than Wil, unfortunately he still feels as weak as f*ck compared to his crush. So, uhm, having him ride a sidecar is as closest as he could get being seen as a badass? Heck, even his sister Merielle is more badass than him despite being naggy and pushy. But that is expected when you have a brother who is this indecisive and soft. Because if he can’t even have the balls to confess his feelings to the girl he loves (I know, lots of guys are nervous when it comes to confession but still, we expect this prince to add least be brave in this sense!) and somewhat using that marriage thingy as an excuse to just delay, I think you can pretty much see where this is going.

As I’ve said about Lillia being a reincarnation of Allison, I guess Lillia takes after her mom in character but her hair and eye colour from dad. I think Lillia also got part of that clueless and density from Wil since I feel that she is the only one who doesn’t know about Treize’s true identity. And this guy taking his time to tell her… Dude, if you wait till the time is right, there will never be such a time! And now that God has given him a second chance, will he confess everything for real or will he wait for another life threatening incident that puts Lillia in danger for him to spill the beans? I’m sure Lillia will love you for who you are since you know, you’ve both been so long together. But better for Lillia, because he is the prince of Ikstova, right? Oh girl, you won the lottery big time. Nobody gets to punch the prince of Ikstova in the gut or give a flying kick and gets away with it! Many times! She’ll get even more pass for that if she marries him.

Hence the dynamic relationship between Allison-Wil as well as Lillia-Treize is amusing but yet annoying to watch. They have great chemistry together and they have managed to overcome a lot of obstacles with each other but only thanks to plot conveniences that includes making enemies dumber are the reason why they’re still breathing today. It is that same chemistry that might bug a few (like yours truly) since obviously they like each other but some sort of silly pride and nervousness prevents them from going all out and be an official couple. You want them to be together but if that happened, it will all seem too easy. Allison’s failed attempts to get Wil to be naughty to her only backfires and I believe Wil might be just be a good poker player in being a dense character. No wonder he is so good as Travas.

Meanwhile Treize continues to fumble with Lillia about himself. Better hurry. Deadline for this 20th birthday is nearing… Is it because of Ikstova’s weird royalty child policy that gives Treize and excuse to run around without close bodyguards and do as he wish? I see Fiona hasn’t rescinded this stupid law when she became queen… Also lots of funny quips between these pairs in the next episode preview. Mostly one is talking about something and the other would refute. They’re both on different pages and the revelation is the punch line. For example, the penultimate episode has Lillia being shocked about the truth as Treize tries to calm her down and be frank about it. Guess what? She’s shocked because the next episode is the last! Hmm… Since Lillia is handling Treize’s initial confession as a prince pretty well, I wonder if the real shocker will come if she learns who her real father is. I am afraid this might lead her to have trust issues since everyone close to her harbours secrets and what did I say about Lillia always being in the dark? Treize is a prince? Travas is my dad? Mom and dad are good friends with the Ikstova royalty? Damn, there is only so much a girl can take…

When one throws away his normal life to become a secret agent who will protect the peace of the world in secret, this means also changing one’s looks? I guess this is only correct because you don’t want to be recognized by people whom you know in the past. With Oscar/Stork/Icacia truly changed his appearance into a really unrecognizable one, the same fate befell on Wil/Travas (see what I mean when I said stories of both big arcs are familiar? This is another example). Wil really changed into a different man. He was no longer the wuss we all knew. He really manned up. I guess before I could start thinking down the episodes about the conspiracy that Allison was being thirsty for a guy to fill in her lonely heart and that it could be Wil masquerading as Travas, they make the revelation faster in the next episode to indicate Travas is indeed Wil. Heh.

At least I can’t blame Allison for cheating on Wil. Because Allison being Allison did ‘warn’ Travas about cheating on her with Ax as his right hand woman. Because she’ll fly and ram her plane into him!!! OMG! That’s the funniest and most epic revenge story I want to see! But Allison now as a mom (I wonder how she still keeps a freaking awesome slender body) is more toned down and like as though she passed all that feistiness to her daughter. Yes, people. Lillia is Allison v2. Thus this anime is also called Allison To Allison… Just joking… Benedict and Fiona as the other main characters don’t really do much. They just play supporting roles and perhaps the only shocking thing you’ll remember them is how they have no qualms in showing their love for each other. Hey, they’re the king and queen of Ikstova! They do what they want!

Unfortunately as I have said in my opening paragraph, I wanted to see some cool aerial flights. Sure, this series has a bit of planes being featured but well, yeah I blame myself for expecting despite warning myself not to put high expectations. I noticed during Allison’s arc, there were at least more plane flying scenes compared to Lillia’s arc. Even so, they’re just mediocre. Better stop talking about this to avoid being further ‘depressed’. As for the action bits, sometimes they are laughable. As I have previously said, it feels like as though it is for plot convenience. So much so this kind of logic or physics could only be acceptable in cartoons like Looney Tunes. I mean, it is not that cartoonish but you’d expect some sort of logic but they betray that and just go for it. Like that Travas jumping from a moving train to take control of a driverless jeep. That has its tyre blown out!!! Wow. This guy is definitely the top agent. It’s sad but somewhat a good thing this guy chose his duty and happiness of everyone rather than his own.

Art and animation feel pretty dated. This is after all an anime that came out in 2009. Characters look one kind although some like Allison and Lillia look cute. Round eyes. Round face… I don’t think I got used to Benedict changing his appearance from a clean shaven handsome young major to some shaggy bearded dude who looks like as though he is some rugged cowboy or something. On second thought, maybe this looks make him more mature. This series was animated by Madhouse who animated lots of other favourites like No Game No Life, One Punch Man, Overlord, Btooom, Highschool Of The Dead, Death Note, Black Lagoon, Trigun and Claymore.

Here is another reason why I keep saying Lillia is the reincarnation of Allison. Both are voiced by Nana Mizuki in her trademark cutie voice. I think it has been a long time since I have heard her voicing a main character for this duration. I don’t want to go so far as say she gets more loads of work compared to others for voicing 2 different main characters across the series but she’s doing a fine job in voicing them. And of course, because of that, it always feels like Lillia is a, wait for it, a reincarnation of Allison. Just change the hair and eye colour and voila! New character! When Allison became a mom, she is voiced by Houko Kuwashima (Sango in Inu Yasha). I guess this is for differentiation purpose. It would be really weird if Nana Mizuki voiced mommy Allison. 3 Nana Mizuki characters! I won’t be surprise since she can also do another lower voice but I guess that would be too much for her to handle. Maybe?

And oh yes, my favourite Mamiko Noto voicing Fiona might not have a lot of screen time compared to the other main characters, but at least she isn’t being killed off!!! Phew. That is still a trauma for me after all these years… The only other character I recognized is Sho Hayami as Nihito. There are many seiyuus lending their voice here due to the sheer amount of minor and extra characters. Some even voicing multiple characters because after all, can you really identify characters who only speak a few lines and then never seen again. Here’s the list of the selected casts: Motoko Kumai as Wil (Ginta in MAR), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Treize (Meow in Space Dandy), Kouichi Yamadera as Benedict (Ryoga in Ranma 1/2), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Travas (Julius in Black Clover), Chika Fujimura as Matilda (Haruka in Guilty Crown), Chiwa Saito as Merielle (Senjougahara in the Monogatari series), Rie Tanaka as Claire (Suigin Tou in Rozen Maiden), Tokuyoshi Kawashima as Prisoner #42 (William in Emma: A Victorian Romance), Megumi Toyoguchi as Ax (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist), Misato Fukuen as Carlo (Hime in Yozakura Quartet) and Hideyuki Tanaka as Oscar/Stork/Icacia (Doflamingo in One Piece).

The opening theme, Tameiki No Hashi by Kuricorder Quartet and Shione Yukawa although sounds like a calming ballad from a medieval time, sometimes I can’t help that some parts of the tune feel creepy (the beginning) since it sounds like some ominous hymn. Sometimes I also feel that because of the slow nature of the song, it is as though the singer is holding back on her soprano voice. She sounds like she has potential to reach higher and longer notes but the song doesn’t permit her. For the ending theme, Sayonara No Omajinai by Kuricorder Quartet and Sou Matsumoto, despite being a slightly livelier piece (still a slow ballad, though), the singer’s voice makes the song sound a bit gay…

Overall, this might not be the best show in any field or genre. Despite a lot of dumb logic moments (even though some of those mind boggling moments are later tried to be explained to cover the mind boggling-ness but still fail), it is still entertaining and enjoyable. No spectacular aerial flights, mediocre fight scenes, cheesy character romance that sometimes feel like it wants to annoy you just because, average storyline and plot, that really bad and rushed final episode… Wow. I make it sound like it is a bad anime. But don’t worry, at least it is not an isekai anime (gasp!) and with Smartphone (double gasp!!!). Those dumb moments at least make me smirk and go WTF (the good one, instead of the irritable one). Thanks to people like Wil/Travas giving up their own comfort in life to protect the peace from the shadows, it’s the reason why people like you and me are able to watch such animes with peace and even talk crap about it. And ironically we won’t sacrifice our anime and manga to make the world a better place…

Isekai Quartet

September 7, 2019

Oh God. The isekai genre is so freaking popular these days that in order to do the ultimate isekai series, here it is, the mother of all crossovers, Isekai Quartet. Four of the most popular isekai animes recently, Overlord, Youjo Senki, Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu and Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo somehow come together in this epic mash-up to relive their life in yet another world. School life, that is. And in chibi form too. I guess when life is too tough in the world you were sent to, they give you a chance of respite by sending you to another world. Because Japanese high school life is supposed to be the best time in one’s life, right? Unless it causes more stress and tension due to the vastly different culture and tradition. But can they smash all that difference and work together as one? That is what school life is for, right?

Episode 1
It’s already bad enough Kazuma has to put up with another one of Aqua’s complaints. Then he finds a weird button inside his bag. Meanwhile Ains is having a briefing with his Nazarick guardians when Demiurge reports the sighting of a strange phenomenon regarding buttons. Ains orders to take precautions. Kazuma tries to stop Aqua from pushing the button but it is Megumin who did it. Now they are warping into another world! As Ains sits back on his throne, he didn’t know he sat on the button. Warp time! Both sides find themselves in the school compound. Confused, it is going to get more confusing when they are ushered in as class is about to beginning. Also in this class is Tanya and her unit. She too is troubled over how this happened. She was testing a new prototype when it went wrong. The only way to abort was to press the button. Which button?! Schugel insisted there was only 1 button and so Tanya pressed both of them. Now that she is here, is this another test from Being X? Finally, the last group now comes in. It’s Subaru and his girls. Some going crazy at this weirdness, some in shock, some trying to stay positive. School life is fun, they say…

Episode 2
Roswaal is their teacher and he lays down the simple ground rules for their school life. Ains asks if he does not wish to participate in this and he is replied that there is no choice. For there will be punishments if there are violations. The class’ first task is to introduce each other. You bet it is going to be chaotic. For example, Kazuma briefly introduces all his girls rather than letting them do it by themselves because you know, it will take forever if they do it on their own to make it sound so epic. At the end of the day as Ains and his Nazarick guardians are walking home, they are being confronted by Aqua. She is not happy that there is another being who calls himself God as well as a myriad of undead creatures. She zaps him and WTF it causes Ains pain?! Though, still not effective enough to kill him. It ends only when Kazuma beats her up and takes her away, apologizing for the troubles caused. This has Ains to ponder a goddess was able to hurt him and yet a human beat up a goddess. This world has serious balance issues! Next day, Aqua is punished to stand outside the hallway while carrying water. Well, she is the water goddess after all.

Episode 3
Tanya narrates she would have really loved this school life had not the situation makes everything look baffling. Monsters as classmates, Rudersdorf as principal and Zettour as his vice, even the battlefield makes more sense than this! She remembers Roswaal warning Albedo wanting to get revenge on Aqua but Demiurge explains what he noticed why the school rules must be observed. Basically if they break it, they will not be able to return to their world. This makes sense to Tanya but I don’t think the upcoming hidden annual show for them to be closer friends is going to sit well with her. As Beatrice gets ‘teased’ by Koenig and Neumann as a little girl, she storms into the teacher’s room to complain to Roswaal. As he is not in, only Rerugen is around. She has not accepted all that is around her and demands to see Roswaal. It seems Rerugen’s words hypnotizes her to calm down and obey. Tanya thinks that Ains could be Being X and confronts him to have a private talk. This sets Albedo on rage mode, thinking she wants to seduce his beloved Ains. With Rem somewhat agreeing love knows no bounds, Albedo quickly becomes friends with her. Too late as Ains leaves with Tanya and Albedo can’t follow since Rerugen’s class is going to start.

Episode 4
At the park, Tanya accuses Ains as Being X. Of course he denies and soon points out if Tanya comes from Earth and more specifically Japan. Because of this ‘similarity’, they become good friends. It’s hard to think that Tanya is actually a salaryman and Ains a gamer guy-cum-programmer, right? Right at the moment the bell rings to signal school is over, Albedo and Viktoriya rush out to go get their comrade. Tanya sees Viktoriya and ends the conversation. She leaves a note that the food here in this world tastes good but unfortunately for Ains, he can’t eat. He then notices a very jealous Albedo stalking behind the trees. Barely keeping her rage in check… Next day, Rerugen is in shock. Did Tanya just smile? Never happened in their world, right? As Subaru is running late, she has Rem carry him. He isn’t the only guy being carried by a girl as Kazuma is letting Darkness to the same but he has no shame in doing so. Once the guys see each other, they realize they just need to get to school on their own feet. Unfortunately they are just a second too late. As they are being punished, both guys could tell they come from Japan. Best friends now. As they talk on about everything, it is only when Subaru starts talking about how great his harem that Kazuma starts getting jealous. He declares him the enemy and accuses him for having such a great harem compared to his. Some guys have all the luck, huh?

Episode 5
Roswaal will randomly draw a name from the box and he/she will perform his talent. First up is… Rerugen! I suppose he must lead by example since he is their teacher. So what does he do? Sing the national anthem? Lame. Nobody impressed. Maybe except Darkness. How embarrassing. Somebody please kill him. Then we have Subaru doing some lame cat’s cradle out of Tokyo Tower followed by Rem smashing a watermelon with her mace (hitting Rerugen in the process). WTF Weiss tries to strip himself but luckily Tanya puts a stop to this shamefulness. Darkness wants a volunteer to whip her to show she has a strong body so for some odd reason, Grantz volunteers. Since she is pestering him and looking so forward, this leaves Grantz in a lurch and everybody starts calling this poor guy a scumbag. Even his own comrades. Aqua wants to vaporize everybody but is stopped by Kazuma. Hence Roswaal considers her talent being idiotic with Kazuma as her show. Megumin wants to do her explosion so Roswaal prepares a target outside. Indeed the most impressive explosion. This in turn has Ains wants to show off his. So he uses his magic to make it snow. Super impressive.

Episode 6
It’s that time that every class must have: Elect a class rep. With the Nazarick team vouching for Ains, only Aqua opposes. Quarrel ensued, of course. With Emilia also volunteering to be one, Roswaal starts the draw. Emilia becomes the class rep while the vices are Ains and Aqua. Of course this means Albedo and Aqua protesting. With Aqua threatening to quit, this means an open post. The Nazarick guardians now become enthusiastic to be serving next the Ains. In the end Albedo wins the lottery becoming the vice with Ains. Other roles are: Animal care (Subaru, Aura, Aqua); Disciplinary (Tanya, Demiurge, Kazuma); Lunch (Ram, Viktoriya); Library (Beatrice, Mare); Gym (Cocytus, Darkness, Weiss, Koenig, Nuemann); Nurse (Rem, Shalltear) and Intercom (Megumin, Grantz). Demiurge once again comes up with the deduction that all of them are in different groups so as to gather info for Ains for his world domination plan. Yeah. Let’s go with that. When Demiurge orders Kazuma and Tanya to kneel, it only has an effect on Kazuma. Also, Tanya’s orders seem to have an effect only on Kazuma too. Since Demiurge and Tanya are having the same opinions about rules, both of them get along very well together. Oh Kazuma, you’re always screwed wherever you go. Meanwhile Darkness is trying to take out her masochism before her gym committee. It just gets weirder and weirder…

Episode 7
Emilia feels tired after a hard day as a class rep. However she feels happy as nobody calls her a half-elf and of course she’s never been to school before so this is fun. Subaru narrates how he was taking care of Hamusuke in her pen and that giant hamster had the penchant of chewing on his head! Rem is upset because he was injured but didn’t come to see her at the infirmary to get treatment. Beatrice doesn’t think much of her librarian job. Just reading books all day. With Mare. Subaru teases her about making a new friend and this makes this princess throw a denying tantrum. Ains and Albedo are discussing with Emilia and agree with her plan to do an activity that involves making school fun for everyone. With Roswaal announcing the upcoming field trip to the beach, Ains gets this idea to do an activity that all can participate. Emilia is motivated and gives off her best smile.

Episode 8
Ains chairs the class to discuss about their beach trip. Does anyone oppose this? Not unless you’re Aqua! Opposing for the sake of opposing? She really does have a bone to pick with Ains, eh? She only relents when Emilia says it is her idea and wants everybody to get along. Everyone discusses the activities they’d be doing but when it comes to night activities, certain females get turned on fantasizing about the other kind of ‘night activities’. Kazuma suggests kimodameshi but Subaru opposes. There are real monsters in this class, right? Unwittingly he exposes his own ulterior motive to get some sexy fanservice scene of feeling their boobs in jump scares. Eventually everyone agrees on it. I guess that is because pure Emilia doesn’t know what it means. Yeah, it sounded great but she doesn’t know how ‘scary’ the truth is… We see Albedo and Shalltear shopping for swimsuits. For Ains. Then Aqua shows up. Oh dear. B*tch fight on the cards? Luckily Kazuma is here to remind them about getting along. Kazuma gets turned on when he realizes Albedo is a succubus. Shalltear then whispers to him some embarrassing secrets that makes Albedo seething in anger. Something about she is supposed to seduce men but finds herself being seduced by Ains. Amazingly it is Aqua who butts in and lectures that it doesn’t matter who you are as long as you’re in love. She’s a real goddess for once. Then she hints about Shalltear wearing pads. That’s bad because it’s like lying to others. Now it’s Albedo’s turn to have the last laugh and Shalltear seething with anger wanting to kill Aqua. Patience, my vampire girl…

Episode 9
The beach trip is here. Tanya’s men think this is their reward after fighting hard in the battlefield. Until Cocytus tells them to give him 1000 push ups! Darkness also joins in and as expected her depraved mind hopes she’ll be exhausted and the men do something unthinkable to her body. Maybe those men are satisfied in just staring at her boobs… Kazuma tries to peep on girls but Demiurge flashes him to temporary blindness. I don’t think he flashed his monster dick… After loads of fun in the day, it’s time for kimodameshi at night. Nothing scary happens. Well, with monsters and far worst things that happened in their world, this is relatively tame. Aqua is in the same group as Ains, Subaru and Tanya. She notes how all of them are from Earth since Kazuma is also from there. After all, she is the one who sent him to his world. This statement makes Tanya lose her sh*t. OMG! Did she go full Super Saiyan?! With Aqua reduced to chicken sh*t, Tanya is absolutely mad that she is Being X. Luckily Ains and Subaru calms her down that this so called Being X can’t be as weak as this self-proclaimed goddess. They got a point. Sorry for getting worked up. That forced knocked out some of Tanya’s men so she berates them for lacking mental discipline. Aqua complains to Kazuma that nobody believed her as a goddess and they got mad when they did. Probably she deserved it. Ains noticed Subaru managed to withstand Tanya’s rage. In Nazarick, only those level 8 or higher can tolerate that. He wonders what kind of mental stress he used to live under.

Episode 10
The sports festival will soon be here. Roswaal motivates his class to win because the reward might be returning to their worlds. However, who are they going to rival with? Roswaal points out the other class besides them. So if you’re wondering why you don’t see other characters like the Pleiades Maids, Reinhard and Chris, yeah they’re in this class. Subaru, Ains and Tanya discuss their chances against these characters in their rival class when they overheard Chris talking to Kazuma and his girls that if you die in this world, you will not revive. This makes Subaru wonder if his curse is still relevant. Not sure what he did to Tanya’s ears but looks like his curse is still alive and well. But it also causes Hamusuke to run amok? With Ains rallying his class to win, however the only person against it all is Kazuma. He is fine staying in this world and doesn’t mind being a lazy scumbag. This is when Tanya snaps and will have him undergo some harsh training. Tanya and Puck rain magic on him. Not so lazy now, huh? Kazuma using all his energy to dodge and run. Even Megumin wants to join in the fun. Look out for some explosions!!!

Episode 11
Sports festival is here. Yunyun approaches Megumin who at first pretends not to know her. Yunyun is then spammed with the usual Megumin cockiness and is being told off if she even knows what to do and has friends to help her. So apparently there is a third class? The games start as we see snippets of it. The main rivalry is between the first and second class until before the final game is to be played, it is announced the winner will get 100 million points! Yeah, everything they played for was for nought, eh? The final match is kibasen but only 4 are chosen to represent their class. We have Tanya-Ains-Subaru-Kazuma on one side and the other consisting of Felt-Reinhard-Julius-Chris. And if you’re wondering about Yunyun, yeah, she is the only person in the third class. No wonder we don’t see her class participate in any games… However, surprise teacher team of Roswaal-Vanir-Pandora-Rerugen join in last minute. Hence both classes agree to cooperate to take down this menace before resuming their fight. All have their tricks up their sleeves but with the teacher’s team slightly at a disadvantaged, Rudersdorf and Zettour decide to unleash a giant robo spider to aid them. Beat that!

Episode 12
At least they have a chance to beat it. Not destroy it but as long as they take off its headband, they win. Of course it won’t be easy since it is so powerful and the teachers are putting up resistance. Julius and Reinhard discuss with Subaru to split their jobs. It seems the former duo will handle the teachers and they’ll leave the spider up to Subaru’s team! Why are the most powerful characters handling the easiest opponents? Something about not wanting to steal the limelight… But remember, we have the powerful Ains. So after unleashing his brand of magic, he throws his teammates into the air. Then he summons the undead to protect everyone. The trio are now flying towards the spider. Subaru sounds like he is going to sacrifice himself but that’s okay. His ability is to revive, right? He did just that for the rest to fly further but luckily the undead save him. Now it’s Kazuma’s turn to give Tanya her final push as he claims luck is his best ability. Well, I take that as long as it is not luck with girls. With all that, Tanya is able to steal the spider’s headband and win it for her team. In the aftermath, looks like they are still stuck in this world. Roswaal reminds them that he only said maybe. With them resigning to their fate of staying in this world a little longer, they think it is not a bad idea since they are having fun. Then Roswaal introduces new transfer students…

School Daze – Nippon Koukousei Banzai!
I guess the only logic that since everybody is having so much fun, they can’t return to their own worlds yet and thus this warrants another season! Hooray! Banzai for another season of chibi comedy isekai crossover! Uh huh. They did a lot of standard and typically cliché Japanese high school stuffs but they haven’t done everything yet. That is why the cliché transfer student trope as the surprise and shocking ending twist that leaves us hanging means we have to come back next season to find out more, right? Only then when all of them had their high school fun, their graduation means returning to their original worlds. Yeah, they’ll have so much fun, make so many close bonds that they’ll start crying and not want to leave each other. Sob, sob. Oh yeah. I can see this coming from a mile already. Assuming this speculation of mine comes true, that is.

If Avengers: Infinity War was the ultimate crossover for the Marvel universe, I guess this series is the anime equivalent. Although there is literally no real storyline and that everything is just random and light hearted, it still helps if you know the characters and the series that they come from. Not to say that you will totally miss out on anything if you did not see one or any of the other series but you would seemingly understand why some of the characters act so. Like for example why Kazuma is the only one among the main character quartet who is being ‘mistreated’ by his loser harem. Those who watched Overlord would definitely understand the subtle b*tch rivalry between Albedo and Shalltear. Among the cute maids, there is a reason why Ram treats Subaru coldly compared to her twin, Rem. But don’t worry, as I’ve said if you have not watched any one of these series, you won’t be at a total lost. Everything is meant to be funny and light hearted so nothing really serious in expecting any sort of drastic change in the characters.

I’m glad that the epic crossover is confined to these popular isekai series. Because imagine if they had crossovers from other crappy isekai series or do another series incorporating those sh*tty animes, it would have been a total disaster. Can you imagine if there was a crossover on shows like Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni, Hyakuren No Haou To Seiyaku No Valkyria, Death March Kara Hajimari Isekai Kyousoukyoku, Kenja No Mago and even Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken. It would have been an absolute disaster! Imagine these overpowered main characters getting together and owning it all in this alternate high school world is one thing, imagine again bringing their damn harem over! Damn, this world is going to be filled with overpowered cheesiness and girls! Babes, babes everywhere!!! So I’m happy we have popular and amazing isekai series for this crossover and not those sh*tty ones. I hope I didn’t give those producers any weird ideas! Because I sure hope these characters from these crappy animes aren’t the hinted transfer students!!! Say it isn’t so!!!

Still weird when you think that a high school setting is used. Sure, as said, high school days are the most fun in a Japanese kid’s life, right? RIGHT?! However as you can see, many characters here don’t really need high school or go to high school at all. The Nazarick floor guardians, Kazuma’s harem, Subaru’s harem and Tanya’s military dudes. Just take a look at them. Do they really need school? Monsters, fantasy babes and military guys all coming together to experience something they don’t need because it is not applicable in their lives back in their original world. A sad reminder that what we mostly learn in school aren’t applicable in real adult life… :’(. Good thing we see them having fun like field trips and sports festival. No homework too. Because seriously, if they are supposed to be studying for a test… What test?! For what purpose they need to receive an ‘A’???!!! Totally weird. But whatever. Three cheers for high school life! Now we need a crazily powerful student council body as the ruling autocratic dictatorship to fight against…

Despite all the familiar characters from the 4 series, unfortunately there isn’t enough screen time to let them all have their proper limelight. Uh huh. Me nit-picking that there are too many characters! While the main quartet like Ains, Tanya, Subaru and Kazuma get the bulk of the limelight (since they are the faces who represent their respective series), some mostly fall to the wayside and aren’t as memorable like Beatrice and Tanya’s men. Don’t expect to see any sort of character development because what’s the use of having so when everything is just for fun. Part of the fun sees how the characters try to get along despite coming from different worlds. Some try to do their best and assimilate like sweet dear Emilia, others doing it because their superior says so (Tanya’s men and the Nazarick floor guardians) and some just simply opposing and be a pain in the ass. Like Aqua. Although I can’t say they are 100% compatible but at least we can see them get along without turning this into a battle royale bloodshed. Oh yeah. Thank goodness it didn’t. Just when you think other characters in those series won’t appear, surprise! Another class! Oh boy. This is really getting crowded for one small but epic crossover.

If there was the most dislikeable character, it would be Aqua because even in another world, she still tries to be a b*tch and pick fights especially with Ains for whatever dumb reasons. Then she becomes a total chicken when she starts losing. That’s so Aqua for you. I guess some things don’t change. Albedo is also a b*tch herself but at least she obeys Ains. Aqua is like a loose cannon that not even Kazuma could control. Not that he really wants to care anyway. And then there are characters who are meant to be losers or the punching bag. Aside Kazuma, we have the lately introduced Yunyun (poor girl, still trying to be Megumin’s friend-cum-rival in another world – they really set he character up to be a pitiful loser) and Rerugen himself (always getting the raw end of the stick among the teachers if you noticed).

I’m not sure watching this series is meant to hype us up for any upcoming sequels (other than this one). Because the most I can see is the second season of Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (date yet to be confirmed) as well as the prequel movie. Then there is also a movie for Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo movie but it might be just me as I don’t see as much hype for the former. Youjo Senki’s movie just came out before this series aired. Oh damn, you mean this movie was the sequel to the TV series that I was hoping for another season? Not sure if I can sit through 2 hours of little evil girl… But the most anticipated series that I would love to see have another season is Overlord. Nope. Still no fourth season. Grrr!!!

The art and animation look great and of course with the characters in chibi mode, everything looks cute. But those who have watched these series other than their main TV series would be of no surprise with how these characters look in their chibi form. For instance, the characters of Overlord already have their chibi style in the Pleiades Maid’s special. Youjo Senki too have their chibi parody called Youjo Shenki. Remember those Break Time specials for Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu? I guess only Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shukufuku Wo only didn’t have their chibi versions, so uhm, welcome to the club? This series is animated by Studio Puyukai who specializes in chibi shorts. As you have guessed, they did the chibi specials of these anime series here as well as the chibi specials in Madan No Ou To Vanadis, Suisei No Gargantia, Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou and Kaijuu Girls.

For an epic crossover like this, it needs to have a really epic theme song. And nothing sounds really better and epic than this song that is of the same name of the series. Sung by the main quartet and faces of each of the 4 series, there is this frenzy pace to match all that greatness. But is it just me that there is one stretch of the song that sounds a bit like some Christmas shopping commercial? I don’t know. That thought comes to mind first when I heard that part. The ending theme isn’t as epic but doesn’t sound too shabby either. Isekai Girls Talk is a quartet piece by Emilia, Aqua, Albedo and Tanya. I guess they had to replace the guys for the ending but since Tanya is the only main female, it’s like she won the lottery and managed to sing for both themes – I guess Viktoriya doesn’t sound good, huh? This song has synthesizer effects and sometimes sounds close to those techno dance songs. Maybe it would if they hasten the beat and add more blaring synthesizer effects. Hollow Veil by Nonoc is a special ending theme song to complement Ains’ special snow magic as it is a nice and lovely slow ballad.

Overall, even if this is an epic mash-up, it is only in terms of fun, light heartedness and comedy level. I mean, compare this to Avengers: Infinity War, it’s easy to see which is one his seriously more epic, right? It has been a while since we have had a funny and satisfying crossover like this. Oh, you don’t remember Carnival Phantasm? But Carnival Phantasm is mainly characters from the same universe of their creators (Type-Moon). Something like Tsubasa Chronicle and those under the CLAMP name. But Isekai Quartet is a little different. They are characters from different creators and the only similarity they have in this sense is that they are all published by the same manga publisher, Kadokawa. Still much better than that One Piece x Toriko x Dragonball crossover still…

With another season confirmed, they could add other awesome series as well to the mix. Then they’ll have to change their name to Isekai Quintet or Sextet, Septet, Octet, Nonet or even Dectet! Hell, Centitet! That’s 100, for your information. But let’s not overdo this crossover thingy because adding too many worlds might dilute its worth and then explode since the world is not big enough to cram in everything. That’s why classes are more effective if they are smaller in size compared to having stadium level ones. Still, all of us could learn a lesson from a classroom like this one. Because it is so inclusive and has cultural diversity! Diversity is our strength! With such badass characters like these, you bet they’ll whoop your ass right back to your alternate universe safe space.

Senryuu Shoujo

September 6, 2019

I guess this must be a slow season, huh? Not much animes for me to watch hence I decided that this seemingly poetic anime, Senryuu Shoujo should be on my watch list for this season. You know, I’m not a guy into poems, haiku and furthermore this senryuu type of poem that is supposed to be some variation of haiku. Yeah, I only learnt that while I was deciding to watch this anime. Let me Google what the heck senryuu means… Ah… I see… So why the heck do I want to watch a show that is about a girl who only communicates by writing down her thoughts in senryuu style? Kana Hanazawa… Ah… Time to get nostalgic over that cutely retarded sweet voice.

Episode 1
Nanako Yukishiro doesn’t talk. Instead, she writes her thoughts on paper. This is because her thoughts are always jumbled up so by writing it down, she limits the words and helps keep things straight. So what about those that she can’t write? Body action. I hope others don’t get the wrong idea. Not speaking up has its downfalls too. Like she can’t order exactly the food she wants nor remember to tell the chef not to include certain ingredients. Can’ she just write as always? Then there is Eiji Busujima who is the infamous delinquent. Many are scared of him but not Nanako. It seems they are both in the literature club. Eiji tries to make a good impression around Nanako’s friends but often comes off as scary. So the literature club president, Amane Katagiri thinks he should try using senryuu format. May need some improvement. Then they discuss this month’s senryuu theme and Nanako cheekily writes Amane’s 3 sizes. How poetic. We see Eiji’s reason to join this club. He was often fighting and was fed up with it. So when he declared he wanted to turn over a new leaf, he sounded very poetic. But with others still afraid of him, Eiji doesn’t want Nanako to walk near him for fear others would fear her too. However she doesn’t mind. As long she is with him, what they think is irrelevant. Too bad that sounded like some sort of love confession and Nanako got embarrassed after Eiji pointed it out.

Episode 2
Koto Ootsuki enters Eiji’s class to hand him his forgotten gym clothes. Everyone is shocked this delinquent has a hot older sister! The literature club brainstorms ideas to help Eiji be popular. Listing one of the areas he could improve on: His habit of rolling his eyes when he is deep in thought! Koto then marches in to see how he is doing. We find out Koto isn’t his biological sister but his childhood friend. Ah yes… Amane wonders the club she is in: American armed forces combat club. Don’t mess with her! When Eiji and Nanako eat together, he notes her stomach getting a little round in the middle! WTF he said that to a girl?! Oh right, he’s a bit crude. Nanako asks her younger brother, Hiro about it and dad panics because if she is dieting, does this mean she has a boy she likes?! Nanako sees Koto to help diet. I don’t know what kind of training Koto is giving her because it looks like she is trying to snap her neck?! A week later, Eiji is worried seeing Nanako confront him with a serious face. She then puts his hand on her tummy. Is it flatter now? Awkward. Amane walks home with Koto and asks if she has a boyfriend since she is quite pretty. Koto teases her that she is trying to hit on her. Koto remains humble and thinks there are other girls prettier than her. As for someone she likes, this has her remember when she first met Eiji. Crude and rude even as a young boy. She then taught him some manners to at least address her as onee-san as she is older than him.

Episode 3
The senryuu theme today would be about the amusement park. Yeah, lots of fond memories. Hence Amane suggests they all go together on their next day off. When Nanako is picking a dress for tomorrow’s outing, as usual, father gets really sad. That day when Nanako is going away is inching closer. Oh…Oh… Oh… Such a crying shame… Eiji meets up with Nanako at the amusement park. Then Amane texts in that she can’t come as she is busy. Busy spying on them, that is! I guess this is more fun for her. Only if she didn’t dress so suspiciously. So I guess it is Nanako and Eiji themselves, huh? We see them take a few rides, each time Eiji is the one getting sick. Nanako is a cool cat. Then there is this rabbit mascot giving his lucky charm kiss to everyone. Unfortunately he gave one to Eiji and looking at his fierce face, he apologizes by licking his shoes! WTF?! Don’t ruin the image of all the kids watching! But Nanako is unhappy since his first kiss went to a mascot. She hinting something? Amane is enjoying every bit of this. Not only her but Koto too. Double the fun. The duo continue to have a blast and at the end of the day and it’s time to go home, when Nanako hints her shoelace is broken and she can’t walk home, dumb Eiji dismisses her because her shoes doesn’t have any shoelace! WTF?! I know. We’re as frustrated as Amane as she calls out to him. Busted…

Episode 4
For a few days, Eiji has this weird feeling that somebody is watching him. Could it be a ghost? Seriously, he is calling out to the ghost not to follow him? Amane teases what if the stalker is a really cute girl who wants to confess to him? You trying to panic Nanako? Oddly, Nanako asks what he would do if that happens. You mean he would turn her down? Nanako becomes embarrassed and then runs away. Eiji finally catches his stalker. Turns out to be Kino Yakobe. Just like Nanako, Kino has trouble speaking so she expresses herself via drawings. The story goes that Eiji dropped his handbook and she wanted to return it to him. However he is too scary to approach and hence she ended up following him. Eiji thanks her and invites her to hang out at the literature club sometimes. And here she is. Nanako and Kino become good friends thanks to their similar mode of ‘communication’. With Kino being passionate and good at drawing, they hope she can teach them. It starts off with Amane posing as a model for Eiji and Nanako to draw. Kino can’t make any decisions yet and wants to see more. So the duo sketch each other. Nanako feels embarrassed at Eiji starring at her but how come she can draw him without looking at him? Because she looks at him every day. She trying to hint something here? In the end, Kino gives them both full marks.

Episode 5
There seems to be a long queue to get a reading from a fortune teller. Even Koto has got hers. So when Eiji and Nanako pass by, Koto whispers something in Nanako’s ear about the reading that makes her burst into embarrassment. When it’s their turn, Nanako asks if they are compatible. Tao Hanakai takes their names and looks into her crystal ball. She is shocked to see them ill-suited for each other. However Eiji refutes it. As she tries to explain, Eiji realizes she misspelled his name and this has Tao realized wrong spellings could read to inaccuracies. She tries to read them again but Eiji passes. What about Nanako? She’s okay with the fact Eiji refuted. Tao reads again out of curiosity and sees they are the most compatible in the world. Eiji is shocked that Tao goes to their same school. She thinks she can fool people by changing the position of the bangs that cover her eye? She reads their fortune. While Nanako will have a good day, Eiji will be struck by lightning. At the sports centre, Eiji teaches Nanako how to play billiards. Thrust pole towards balls, aim for the holes! Classic senryuu! Then they go skating and Nanako seems quite happy when he grabs on to her hand. As they rest, Nanako feels hot so she takes off her shirt. Lucky thing she is wearing another underneath. Eiji never realizes her boobs were this big and got zapped by the electrifying sight. There’s his lightning strike for today.

Episode 6
Eiji has got a pet rabbit, Agu. Since Nanako wants to see it, he would have loved to bring her to his house. Only, he fears his parents will tease him about his ‘girlfriend’. So they’ll meet at the park instead. Meanwhile, Nanako’s insecure dad is reading on an article about teens in their rebellious phase. He is cocksure Nanako isn’t but to his horror she displays some of the symptoms like that evil stare (no contacts) and not responding to him (wearing earplugs). Say it isn’t so! So he thinks hard where he went wrong. Dig deep into those memories, papa. Then he makes a fool of himself trying to talk to her outside her room but she isn’t responding. That’s because she already went out! Then he tries to find out more from Hiro and gets even more a wrong idea that she will turn into a delinquent. Eiji brought Agu and his sister, Hanabi. Damn, Agu likes eating its own poo?! When Hanabi sits on Nanako’s lap and then offers her brother to do the same, Nanako eagerly looks forward to it! While Agu is distracting with his ‘machine gun poop’, Hanabi asks Nanako if she is Eiji’s girlfriend. Surprised at first, she replies she isn’t but it makes her happy that they look like that. Hanabi then asks if she is his mistress. No answer since it’s time to go home. With dad lamenting about Nanako’s rebellious phase, mom’s answer is to let her go for a while. That’s the taboo word that got dad riled up. Letting his treasure go?! Oh, if that’s the case, he is going to sever ties with Nanako! Can he do it? Because Nanako comes home and gives him cake. She also thanks him for being a great dad. Happy father’s day. Oh Nanako, you’re the best!!!! That’s my little girl.

Episode 7
Nanako hates rainy days since it messes with her hair. So Amane tells her a secret legend that if one shares an umbrella during a rainy day, they’ll forever be together. With that, Nanako loves rainy days. Although that was just a lie Amane concocted just so to see her smile. Eiji then comes to class almost soaked as he thinks it isn’t raining that hard for him to use his umbrella! So manly! Nanako manages to get him to walk back home with her afterwards. With the storm clearing up, the teacher hopes Nanako can help fix the rabbit shed since the storm recently destroyed it. No one else wanted to help because there’s a ‘monster’ waiting. No prizes to guess it is Eiji. Wearing bunny ears do not scare the bunnies? Okay. It worked. Tao tries to help out with her predictions but as Eiji moves the log, he has splinters all over his hands. He goes to the infirmary but Koto is playing the flirty nurse?! So he wants to ‘pull out’, eh? No problem… Eiji returns and Kino helps to design the hut. Isn’t this looking too majestic for a rabbit shed? After fixing it back, because of the loose hinges on the door, a few rabbits escape. Time to go rabbit hunting. Thankfully all of them are caught at the end of the day. With the storm here again, perfect chance for Nanako to pretend she forgot her umbrella and request to share with Eiji. Damn, Eiji forgot his too. Suddenly Amane comes rushing in to the rescue. Here. Borrow hers. And the both of them walk home together under an umbrella as Amane and Koto watch over them. Watching love stories of others is more exciting, eh?

Episode 8
Amane calls Tao for an important divination: To tell her which swimsuit will be the one to attract guys! I thought she prefer watching romance of others? This has Nanako mentioning she doesn’t have one since she has never been to the pool since she was young. That’s because she thinks swimsuits are like underwear and is embarrassed to get into them. There’s some truth in there… So the friends gather to go buy swimsuits. I don’t think it is Tao’s divination that tells us that this risqué string-like swimsuit is the best one to attract the guys. Meanwhile Eiji returns home and to his shock, Koto is waiting in his room in her swimsuit! Yeow! Sexy! Eiji tries to be a man by not looking at her skin?! WTF?! ARE YOU EVEN A MAN???!!! Of course she tricks him into opening his eyes. Back to the rest, looks like Amane is being a fashion critic trying to get Nanako a super sexy one. Tao ‘dies’ seeing how busty Nanako is. Now she wants melon bun sized extra paddings? The girls get to showcase their swimsuits when they visit the pool. Nanako is definitely attracting the attention with her svelte figure and plain and simple white bikini. She is embarrassed and will die of it if Eiji is here. You don’t say, here he is! She runs into hiding. Why is he here? Wasn’t he supposed to have other plans? Yes, that plan is to bring Hanabi here. Damn Nanako, you just made Eiji think he is some pervert and he is even apologizing for staring at her and will put some distance between them. Although she runs back out and says she doesn’t mind, she keeps blocking his view with her note. What’s the difference? Then Hanabi hugs Nanako’s leg and loves how soft and smooth it is, making Eiji worried and thinking something even weirder.

Episode 9
Nanako’s dad wants to meet Eiji?! Seeing Nanako puts up an expression he has never seen before, it’s time for the drama king to start acting up. Eiji sends his handphone for repairs after accidentally dropping it into his ramen. He wanders around and bumps into the rest. Like Koto handing out tissues (is she indicating trying to use it for other purpose?), Amane at the café (when she failed to hail a waiter, she acts like as though she is stretching), Tao eating ramen (she is shocked to be spotted by him and overthinks about her seeing her in such casual clothes) and Kino drawing (a gorilla and not the post box she was focusing on). Meeting all these weirdoes has Eiji think he hasn’t seen Nanako. Speaking of the devil, here she is. So what he wants to say to her? He misses her and wants to see her? What a coincidence. Nanako too. Then she asks if he would like to come to her place. Because daddy wants to see him. That escalated quickly. Eiji is as stiff as a robot. Can’t blame him. When dad is in some sort of interrogation mode. He asks Eiji’s relationship with Nanako. Not sure how he should answer, he says they are in the same C class but dad takes it the wrong idea they are in a sexual relationship. Calm down! Don’t lose your shirt and sh*t! Asking if they are just friends and only friends, the way Nanako longingly looks at Eiji, I think dad can’t take it anymore. He needs to go lie down. Mom takes over. She explains Nanako speaks via senryuu because she was bullied. It was so bad that she locked herself in her room. But then she met someone who liked senryuu and she rebounded. He cheered her up. That person was the first outside her family whom she wanted to have by her side. Oh Eiji, you sure she wasn’t referring to you? Oh look at the time. Got to go pick up my handphone. Nanako overheard all that and is nothing but smiles.

Episode 10
Amane thinks a club activity is in order for the start of summer. What better than to organize a kimodameshi. They might have to walk through this spooky tunnel but it’s the only way to get to the pond with fireflies. With Kino and Tao joining in, apparently Amane called them to help her scare Eiji and Nanako. Would it not be interesting to nudge them close together? While Tao’s bad acting gave it away, Kino played her part perfectly like as though she was possessed to draw some ghastly ghost! Inside the tunnel, the spookiness goes up several notches. Weird noises, Amane gone missing, Kino found unconscious in a pool of blood! Yikes! Tao is getting pretty scared and I don’t think scattering her cards is like scattering salt but whatever. With Eiji and Nanako hugging each other tightly, real sh*t hits the fan when a ghost pops up from the darkness and pulls Tao in!!! OMFG!!! RUN!!!! Eiji and Nanako manage to get out of the tunnel and as they contemplate to return to save their friends, no need because here they are. The ghost is actually Koto in disguise. Yeah, she’s in on this too. Superb acting. Mission accomplished. The best reward is of course watching the fireflies. They celebrate by writing senryuu. However Nanako won’t show hers and Eiji pesters her. It is hinted she is happy to be watching the fireflies with him.

Episode 11
Fireworks festival. The literature club trio have fun there until it dawned to Amane that she feels like a third wheel! Keep dreaming, girl. During the raffle, Eiji wins some glowing ring prize and puts it on Nanako’s finger. No prizes to guess why she flutters like hell. Meanwhile Amane wins the grand prize of a video game console but so sorry girl, I have never heard of any such stalls having a boyfriend as a grand prize! Before the fireworks start, Eiji and Amane go to the toilet. But as Nanako waits, her other friends take her along to their watching place. Why didn’t Nanako just say- Oh, she can’t. So you bet that when Amane and Eiji return, they can’t find her but Amane did saw she was taken away by her friends. Of course Eiji can’t let this be since he promised to watch the fireworks with her. And so he goes around searching as the fireworks begins. Oh dear. Nanako crying. I’m sure it’s not the beautiful fireworks. But eventually Eiji finds her. Easy. Nobody else wears that lame ring. Now they can happily watch the rest of the fireworks together. Only if her friends didn’t misinterpret and think the guy she is dating is Eiji. I guess Nanako can’t say anything to object that, eh?

Episode 12
This is when Nanako and Eiji first met when they were still in middle school. After having had it of fighting, he suddenly found himself liking senryuu. He attended a senryuu workshop that Nanako was also attending. He was amazed by Nanako presenting her senryuu and she was the only one among the old people who wasn’t afraid by his delinquent looks. When Eiji tried his hand a writing one (Santa beating up his father?!), Nanako was the only one who clapped. Later he thanks her for liking his poem. Though he doesn’t want her to hang out with him often because others might think she is weird, he hopes she could teach him the cooler aspects of senryuu if they ever run into each other. But the clincher was how he accepted her way of communication using tanka boards. Nanako couldn’t stop thinking of him and her dad thinks little girl hates papa now! Oh, so dramatic. So sad. But mom knows what she is thinking because (ironically) it is written all over her face. She suggests visiting the workshop again in hopes of meeting him again. Despite not meeting him, she notices he left his senryuu on the notice board. She also left hers. In no time, they start exchanging replies in this fashion. Gee, must be better than letters, huh? I thought she was going to ask for his number or address. Whatever. However one day there was no reply. It is rumoured he might be moving away. Nanako is in distraught as she frantically looks for him. Where to start? So many things she wants to tell him. She wants him to be by her side. Lucky her. He is trying to find inspiration at the park. He is surprised to see her. He didn’t realize she is the senryuu penpal whom he has been exchanging with until he realizes her style of writing. The rest is history.

Poetry In Motion
Of all the anime shorts for this particular season that I have seen, this one feels a lot more decent compared to the others like Nande Koko Ni Sensei Ga, Midara Na Ao-chan Wa Benkyou Dekinai, Chou Kadou Girl 1/6 Amazing Stranger, Nobunaga-sensei No Osanazuma, Miru Tights and Joshikausei. A season filled with lots of sleazy and cheap fanservice, this one stands out as a lot more refreshing. Despite there isn’t any real plot (just like the aforementioned animes too) and each episode can serve as a standalone filler, this one is more palatable and light hearted if you want something that isn’t related to carnal desires. After all, poetry is a boring subject and usually reserved for old boring people, right?! Having young kids and their romance with senryuu just feels… Weird.

I have this feeling they want to promote this senryuu poetry (because you know, Japan is very rich in other cultural aspects and is more than just the otaku world) but I just don’t seem to connect with it. Mainly because I’m not really a guy into poems so even when Nanako recite her lines in typical senryuu fashion, it didn’t make me go “Ah, what an excellent senryuu recitation she had there”. You know, that kind of inspiration. This isn’t the first anime that deals with Japanese style poems as there was this Go! Go! 575 anime short that came out in 2014 but that was more on haiku. I saw that series too but it didn’t really spark any interest in me to look it up any further. It may have created some sort of awareness in me then but by now I have almost forgotten whatever awareness that I had then. Thus it feels the same for this one. I don’t really see the difference between senryuu and haiku (there’s a Wikipedia explanation about it that I skimmed through and you guessed it, not really getting it either). So any senryuu references said here I would be more inclined to see it as one of those ‘meek attempts at love’ by Nanako. Yeah, seriously. I mean she is saying (writing, rather) all those senryuu poetry to amaze and inspire Eiji, right?

Despite the non-existent character development, it seems many of the characters we see here have another side to them. How shall I put it? Let’s just say never to judge a book by its cover. For instance Eiji might look like a delinquent but he is probably one of the nicest and considerate guys around. Not many delinquent guys can actually walk away from his thug life and continue living a decent life thereafter. Probably he hasn’t reached the point of no return yet, that’s why he is able to make a quick u-turn and recovery on the right path. After all, no other delinquents could best him and this show they are just pussies to begin with. Nanako might not say much but she sure is more ‘talkative’ (I know, the irony) when she starts putting down her thoughts on her tanka board. The same can be said about Kino. Very shy girl like Nanako and doesn’t talk but when she expresses herself through her drawings, she ‘transforms’ into a whole different character and a very ‘talkative’ and passionate one too. Not so obvious for Tao as she is gloomy and blunt most of the time. Even when she uses her divination, it’s not like she turns into some psycho fortune telling gypsy. I did say this series lacks any sort of sexual subtexts. Well, with Koto lately making sexual innuendoes to tease Eiji, I think this is the most ‘sexually charged’ part of the series we can get. Other than her busty and well developed figure…

The relationship and onscreen chemistry between Nanako and Eiji is fun to watch. No doubt it is unravelling at a snail pace but I think this is essential to build up their relationship. After all, we aren’t expecting a fast whirlwind romance. Impatient ones might find it frustrating that after a dozen episodes, their relationship is still at friendship level. At least on the surface. But you know how complicated when you try to translate that to emotions and feelings. Obviously it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that they both like each other more than just close friends from the actions they do and how often they hang out with each other. There is a time for everything so it is best they take it slowly and only pop the question when the time is right. Unfortunately, not this season. So make those memories together now as they will serve as (dating then marriage) flag in the future! But in the meantime, more senryuu poems in between! Yeah, that’s their romance.

Having said all that, no wonder Amane loves enjoying their romance unfold. It is so much better than your average Taiwanese and Korean soap romance drama on TV. Unscripted, live action and better still, the casts are people whom you know! Best reality TV ever! So much so this could have had a profound effect on her as well because you realize that lately Amane has been pining and ‘complaining’ for the need to have her own boyfriend. Uh huh. I guess it’s that time where her biological clock for love starts ticking. I know she is still young and has time, but if she keeps delaying and keep watching romance of others, in no time she will soon realize she has turned into an old hag! Serious! So perhaps watching Nanako and Eiji in turn help make her think about her own future. After all, she is quite accomplished herself in literature but when it comes to the topic of love, she is as empty as a mother bird’s nest whose nestlings have flown. She can continue to keep watching, but make sure it is for her own future reference. Maybe.

However I believe the best character for this entire series goes to Nanako’s dad. The series might be a little bland even with our youngsters’ brand of humour. But this guy ramps it up to a whole new level! We understand as a father with a daughter, he has insecurities when his girl grows up and starts doing different things out of the norm or what he expects her. But he overdoes it with his exaggerated drama like as though the whole world is coming to an end! At least his own world. Was he in the drama club before? Because mom and Hiro have seen this so often that they just roll their eyes and go, “Oh. Not again. Here dad goes into one of his usual fits”. Yeah. This guy is having a midlife crisis! At this rate he’ll grow white hair fast and die of anxiety before he becomes a grandpa. Will he even survive past their wedding day???!!!

It is still weird to think that Nanako prefers to put down her thoughts in writing than use her own natural cutie voice to speak even in times of emergency. It feels messed up and a flimsy reason to say she does so because she doesn’t want to say the wrong thing and by putting it down in writing, she has more time to organize her thoughts. I thought she has a throat cancer or something… Understandably she had a horrible experience. But the way she writes down her replies faster than any of us could open her mouth so speak, that sounds unrealistic… I know a few other anime characters also share this trait like Gintama’s Elizabeth but that one is a totally wacko parody anime. So with this method of reply, it’s like saying there is a problem when her brain processes her thoughts to her mouth but not when her brain processes them to her hand? Weird. Imagine carrying lots of those tanka boards around, I wonder where she hides them. I believe some of them are pre-written that’s why she is able to reply so fast but hopefully maybe she can grow out of it and use both her hands and voice because I fear she might become a mute for the rest of her life. Use it or lose it.

Art and animation are okay with everything looking bright and the characters have this cute and kawaii look. So much so that when I first looked at Eiji, he never struck me as any sort of delinquent. Looks like a normal guy. I only learnt that while reading the synopsis. And the girls, aren’t their eyes a bit too round? This anime is done by Connect and their first attempt in trying to animate a series on their own (the other being Strike The Blood III) as previously they have always been doing joint productions with Silver Link like Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism, Chaos Dragon, Death March Kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku, Bonjour Koiaji Patisserie and the previous Strike The Blood seasons.

It goes without saying and as mentioned before, one reason why I watched this was because of Kana Hanazawa. As Nanako, it brings back nostalgic memories when I stereotyped her voice as suitable in playing cutely retard characters from as early as the days of the titular Kobato to even as recently as that certain red blood cell in Hataraku Saibou. Well, sort of. I’m not saying her Nanako character sounds like a retard but it sure brings me back to those early days… After all, this isn’t the first time she voiced a ‘mute’ character as she also did something similar for the titular character in Morita-san Wa Mukuchi. Another seiyuu I want to note is Suzuko Hara as Hanabi. She sounds very much like an authentic little girl voicing her role. She is only 14 years old when she took up this role. The last time I heard her was in Barakamon as Naru and that was when she was only 9 years old! Wow. Her voice hasn’t mature yet even after 5 years.

The rest of the other casts are Tasuku Hatanaka as Eiji (Kaminari in Boku No Hero Academia), Sayuri Yahagi as Amane (Suzu in Seitokai Yakuindomo), Rikako Aida as Koto (Riko in Love Live! Sunshine), Misaki Kuno as Kino (Hawk in Nanatsu No Taizai), Sumire Uesaka as Tao (Shalltear in Overlord), Mutsumi Tamura as Hiro (Sonya in Kill Me Baby) and who could forget Mitsuo Iwata as Nanako’s dad because the reason I find him somewhat familiar is due to I recently watched Melty Lancer and this is the same guy who played that whiny Aide character. Oh wow. So fitting for this overdramatic dad character if I should say. The opening theme is Kotonoha No Omoi by Sonoko Inoue. Quite a bubbly piece that is appropriate for this series’ pacing. The ending theme goes at a slower pace, Ordinary Love by Rikako Aida.

Overall, this series is simple to enjoy and although it isn’t likely breaking any new ground, it can be considered as one of those little gems of the season. Not the best there is but with quirky characters and light hearted moments, this one is still passable. Many would consider this a ‘cool down’ series seeing that this season we are being spammed with lots of other cheap fanservice animes (like I have many paragraphs above) as well as considerably violent ones (Shingeki No Kyojin season 3 part 2 and Bungou Stray Dogs also season 3). I don’t think I will be pursuing further interests in senryuu but I can try to sort out my sentiments for this series in one:

Calming and peaceful,
Slow and nothing exciting,
Give me fanservice.

Now you can see why I suck in this… Yeah, I spent quite a while trying to think that up. Sure, it did help organize my thoughts to think up of something before putting it down permanently but I guess there are some things that are better left unsaid and not written down.