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!!!

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