Akanesasu Shoujo

March 17, 2019

For the strangest and weirdest reasons that I am still trying to understand by far to even as of now, I first thought Akanesasu Shoujo would be somewhat a spoof of the spy thriller, Princess Principal. Perhaps looking at the promotional poster of a group of girls hanging out and reading the pretty vague synopsis of conducting an urban ritual that very well came true, yeah, I’m still thinking how I ended up connecting this series with that one. Probably my mind was on a different frequency then. This series is closer to Flip Flappers thanks to its sci-fi take of parallel world thingy but looking less cartoony. Did they just copy some of its elements too? Like Fragments? Is this the slightly serious version of a parallel world of Flip Flappers? Never mind. Don’t want to confuse myself before I even start watching.

Episode 1
A group of girls are conducting a strange ritual. Setting the radio frequency at 4:44, suddenly… Nothing happens. I guess the theory of going to another world via this method is BS, eh? Asuka Tsuchimiya of the Radio Research Society gets reprimanded by the teacher for hijacking the school broadcast during recess and started playing her own music. Too bad she dragged her other friends into it too. Asuka, Nana Nanase, Mia Silverstone, Yuu Tounaka and Chloe Morisu got off lightly because they bribed him with his favourite food. Later meeting up at their usual café, Chloe shows them a stone she found and when she played it on her radio, it made some strange sounds. Hence Asuka gets this weird idea to do the 4:44 ritual with this sound. Don’t hold your breath because nothing is going to happen- HOLY SH*T!!! WTF IS THIS GOLDEN TWILIGHT WORLD???!!! Lots of cute golden bunnies too! Nice to play with them until you get rough with them, they all start to show their fangs and attack! However they are saved by this heroine. Uhm, doesn’t she look like Asuka? She slays all the bunnies who even combine to become a giant monster. Then she warns all of them to go back to their own world and never come here again. Though they return to their world, this Seriouska (nickname name for this Asuka because of how serious she is) somehow returns with them. Asuka notices she too has a cassette player but Seriouska then passes out. I guess it’s only right for Asuka to bring her clone home. Thankfully grandma is a blur case so I suppose she doesn’t even know her granddaughter well. I guess the rest of her family is so busy with their miso shop, they don’t suspect a thing. Asuka tries to get to know her but she isn’t in the mood to talk about the world and the coincidence they have the same name and wants to rest. Next morning, Asuka realizes her clone is gone but notices she left behind her locket. Inside is a picture of her younger brother, Kyouhei. Asuka believes she is her from another world.

Episode 2
The friends discuss the strange phenomenon they experienced yesterday. What better way than to ascertain it wasn’t a dream than to do it again? Meanwhile a shady fortune teller attracts Nana’s attention by knowing the state of her family. This causes her to believe to set the frequency to 696.9. With Nana given the honours to start this ritual, hey they’re back in the twilight world. However they notice Nana is missing. But Nana is with them at the café? Something feels strange. How come her crude talking friends are so polite? Worse, Nana discovers that she will be married off in 2 days because it is the law of this world for girls who turn 17 to get married! Nana in shock, her friends in shock and her real friends from her world also in shock to see their other clones. Thank goodness for Seriouska to be in this world too to explain things, right? Hey… This world now has 3 Asukas! Anyway, Seriouska explains about parallel worlds possibilities. In short, a timeline can branch off into many worlds called Fragments. Like this world was created 10 years ago from their original. Nana seems to be the only one not having a clone because she assimilated into herself in this world, becoming a link between their group and this world. This link will allow them to exist within this world and return to theirs. Oh, don’t worry about everyone thinking they’re missing in their own world because time flows differently. So when they go back, it’s like though they’ve never left in the first place. Nana goes home thinking it is all a big misunderstanding. Too bad her parents are hyped over her marriage. This causes Nana to blow her top. She thinks mom wants to get rid of her and kick her out of the house. Because her real dad died and she remarried another man. She thinks her life would have been freer if her real dad was here. But look who is here at the doorstep. It’s her fiancé. My, isn’t that the famous handsome actor, Tomoya Chiba? Now you wanna marry this heartthrob? Asuka talks to her clone about Kyouhei. It seems in both worlds, Kyouhei is missing when he was 6. When the friends go to pick up Nana to head home, however Nana doesn’t want to go back. She wants to stay and marry Tomoya! After that mini date and sweet words, yeah…

Episode 3
What happens if Nana stays? The Nana in their world will go missing. Duh. Next morning as the girls prepare to go back without Nana, suddenly Nana rushes in and wants to go back with them! WTF?! Now she doesn’t want to marry Tomoya?! She realizes that was just his stage name and his real name is Tomoya Chiyokoba. Imagine combining their names would make hers sound like Choco Banana! She can’t have that! She promised herself not to marry someone who would make her name change because ever since mom remarried and renamed to Nanase, you know how many ‘Na’ in her name is being repeated?! Too bad the Marriage Enforcement Agency is here to drag her back. Our friends look for Seriouska and see her killing those bunnies trying to sneak into this world. Good timing for another explanation. Those are called Noizies. However they are not what she is looking for but a much bigger threat called Clutter as they are the ones responsible for destroying Fragments. There is this Twilight King who grants other Clutters this power and her goal is to defeat this big boss and save her world. Well, what do you know, this world’s Asuka stumbles into her counterparts. 3 Asukas together! She’s so amused to meet a new version of herself. But there’s no time as she tells them about Nana’s wedding that is taking place right now. Gotta barge through those fan girls crying over the married status of Tomoya while Nana remembers her real dad teaching her about some radio crystal thingy and a lesson in life to live according to her own principals, not others. I guess Nana did the right thing to say no to take on Tomoya as her husband. Cue for Asuka to barge in and Nana to go to her. My, why does this look like some lesbian drama! Uh huh. To others, it looks like they are going to elope! With Tomoya forcing Nana to become his bride, it is no surprise that with Seriouska smashing in, Tomoya’s real identity is that he is a Clutter. Time to transform into sci-fi suits and do some mega battle. With Seriouska taking a beating, Nana joins in and also transforms. Taking out her frustrations with that weird name she will have, blah, blah, blah until she defeats him. Cue for Seriouska to explain about the ability of one to become an Equalizer to destroy abnormal things when one overcome one’s shortcomings. Once they return to their own world, Nana officially joins the Radio Research Society and has accepted her foster dad.

Episode 4
Asuka catches Seriouska trying to steal her family’s miso! Hungry? Anyway, she is here so that she could hand Nana a Walkman since now she is an Equalizer, she can use this to transform whenever there is Clutter from this world. How convenient. Looks like Seriouska detected Clutter from another fragment and off she goes. When the friends hear on the radio about some request by Asuka, well, it isn’t actually by our Asuka. Realizing the coded request contains a frequency, they do the 4:44 ritual. A bug scares Asuka so Mia is the one who becomes the link to the next world. Howdy folks, we’re in a wild western getup now. And Mia is a deputy sheriff? Yeah, she is tasked to stop some cheating in a bar but thankfully the sheriff Hakuma steps in. Meanwhile the other friends stumble into the saloon. I guess everybody must be so confused to see their counterparts. Because in this world, Yuu is a bartender, Nana and Cloe are outlaws who rob banks while Asuka is a bounty hunter targeting them! Need some chikuwa timeout to digest all of this… Bounty hunter Asuka chases after the real Nana and Chloe and ropes them in (the outlaws were hiding). Because the sheriff’s office is close for the night, is there no other way than to bring your bounty home and stay with you for the night?! Gee, this Asuka must really trust them not to run away. Oh, did I mention that in this world all disputes are settled via duels? Under the watchful eye of judge Hishii, I think there’s an irony of civil disputes being settled this way. So why need sheriffs? They are to gather evidence if there is a criminal act so criminals can be charged without going through duels. Unless they get death penalty, why does it sound more worth it to be a criminal? Mia thought today was tough as she returns to her mom and she learns the shocking truth that the Mia of this world really wanted this job to help change the weak. So don’t tell mommy you want a career change now. Meanwhile the outlaws become friends with Asuka and Yuu. Even asking them to help them rob a bank tomorrow! Their story is that they do this to help orphans. Western style Robin Hood? Strangely, this flirty version of Yuu pops in and wants our girls to join this robbery.

Episode 5
Sexy Yuu tells bounty hunter Asuka that Nana and Chloe aren’t the real deal. Mia must be getting used to her job chasing down criminals. Lady luck must be really on her side too. Back at the office, Mia talks to Hakuma about how she always wanted to be a hero but because of her cute appearance, everyone assumed she loved cute things. They get word that the bank is in the midst of robbery. Yeah, Asuka really had a blast joining in. They make their getaway with sexy Yuu and her Harley. I don’t know how bounty hunter Asuka’s horse can match the speed but she has Nana and Chloe put oil in their paths so the carriage overturns. Only sexy Yuu gets away while the rest gets arrested by Hakuma. All accomplices of the robbery! During the trial, all of them are charged to do hard labour but Hishii is so kind to have them enter a duel. The winner will be declared innocent. Mia is confused that Hakuma lied about all of them being accomplices so he talks about justice and averting eyes from contradictions and sacrifices to make things right. You understand all that crap? Mia then bumps into Seriouska in disguise. She tells her not to do anything otherwise all her hard work will be for naught. During the duel, Asuka-Yuu and Nana-Chloe are forced to face each other. If they don’t shoot each other, all will be executed. Of course the friends will not shoot each other but great timing for Seriouska to play a recorded sneaky conversation between Hishii and Hakuma that they framed and setup the innocent girls just to draw the crowd. The real kicker is how they look down on how easy it is to manipulate everyone. And no surprises, Hishii and Hakuma are Clutters. Seriouska transforms to fight them. 2 against 1. Fair? Justice? Not if Mia decides to join in. Yeah, conveniently with a Walkman in hand, she is now an Equalizer. Cowgirl! Yeehaw! They defeat the Clutters with their real brand of justice. In the aftermath, the orphanage has become popular and the donations from people keep streaming in. Bounty hunter Asuka decides to help the outlaws run the orphanage. After the girls return to their original world, Seriouska confronts sexy Yuu and knows she was the one who gave them hints to come to this Fragment and wants to know her goal.

Episode 6
Asuka calls her friends because she wants to go to the beach. It’s winter. And what’s this about she forgot about it during summer? Not their problem. They have valid reasons to reject her but here comes sexy Yuu telling them they can go to another Fragment without doing the 4:44 ritual and guarantees there are no Clutter. Chloe agrees to be the link this time in exchange she gets to spend time by herself. The girls are in for a rude shock as they find themselves underwater! But they’re going to love this Fragment. Everyone has their own remote island to live on and the community’s AI, White Goat brings them anything they order with their handphone via drones. This is perfect for Chloe as she enjoys all the amenities she wants on her own little private island. Oddly, you can’t email here and you have to write letters to be sent in boxes? Funny. These islands are owned by the Yuu of this world. But she went missing so sexy Yuu is just using it on her behalf. Hey, can’t rob from yourself, can you? The rest start getting used to this life but Asuka starts feeling disappointed because they rather be by themselves instead of hanging out and doing things together as friends. Meanwhile Chloe stumbles upon a notebook but it is too sophisticated with quotes, formulas and weird symbols. Oh well, back to VR. Meanwhile Seriouska confronts sexy Yuu about bringing the girls here. They start fighting only to be stopped by Asuka by the silliest of reasons. Seriouska finds this Fragment to be peaceful and lively (a bit ironic, don’t you think?) but this is the complete opposite of the worlds Twilight King intends to bring. It has nothing. No deaths, no births, no pain, no happiness. Chloe roams via VR through the streets of Paris where she used to go as a kid. She loved being alone and do things on her own despite everyone told her she was a weirdo. But being in Asuka’s company, she is afraid of feeling lonely and hence sometimes she wants to be alone. When she starts noticing those weird symbols, that is when she checks out the notebook again. She realizes everything and everywhere has those symbols and realizes something is truly wrong with this world. Subliminal? Brainwashing? Oh, I can see where this is going.

Episode 7
Chloe sends a letter via a drone. She is testing because if they have read her letter, they would have taken action. Chloe continues her research. There is a video on the PC that was left behind by her counterpart. She says they must destroy White Goat and along with Asuka and Yuu, they developed a virus that must be directly installed into the server. However Yuu went alone and disappeared and Asuka got brainwashed. Meanwhile Asuka notices her friends are so obsessed with their Smartphones that they have not slept. She cooks for them and like zombies they go to eat. Once they let their guard down, Asuka steals their Smartphones and they chase her like rabid dogs! She throws it away into the sea and before they could do anything further to her, sexy Yuu saves her. She would have outraged her modesty had not Seriouska come to stop this farce. With her friends back to normal and sexy Yuu getting them a speedboat, they can go save Chloe. Meanwhile Chloe is paddling to White Goat? Oops, she drops the virus. Game over. Thank goodness it’s just a simulation as her friends wake her up. With Seriouska detecting Clutter at White Goat, it’s clear what they must do now. Inside the tower, they have to fend off stronger versions of previous Clutters they fought. Chloe realizes she has never gone weaker with her friends but has been able to do many things with them. So this realization allows her to get her own tape and be an Equalizer? Okay. She dives underwater where the server is. With all the monoliths attacking her, looks like Chloe has a cheeky talking teddy bear, Nunurusu to guide her. Chloe inserts the virus into the server. Easy pie. Hey, it’s not like the server thought anybody could infiltrate this far or made any anti-virus programme, right? With that, everyone is freed from the brainwashing. Those who tried to oppose and went missing are just kept in some storeroom? Chloe leaves a note to her counterpart that she is not alone. Back in their world, Chloe joins her friends for lunch instead of eating alone.

Episode 8
The girls head to their café but surprisingly it is crowded. Seeing the master injured, Asuka and co decide to help him out. After a successful day, Asuka suggests wearing matching outfits. So they take inspiration from the fragments they visit, huh? Wedding dress and cowgirls. The swimsuit one has got to be the ‘creepiest’… Yuu then gets a call from her father and he isn’t amused. Looks like Yuu skipped cram school. Looks like she can’t hang out with them. With Seriouska just coming in, perfect chance for Asuka to rope her in as replacement. Heck, Seriouska looks so different and beautiful that the friends can’t tell and think this is Asuka! Seriouska stays at Asuka’s place. Suddenly grandma enters her room. Oh no! 2 Asukas?! Seriouska’s quick thinking says they coincidentally met down the road and have the same name. Grandma is cool with it. But what is her surname? Oh man. Quick, come up with one. How about Siri? Asuka Siri. WTF. Don’t blame Asuka if she starts teasing you that you have accepted your serious nickname! Seriouska joins the family for dinner and loves their miso soup. That night, both Asukas have the same dream of being worried that Kyouhei was missing but found him. Asuka lesbian time over when Seriouska detects Clutter from her Fragment. She must go now. Asuka wants to follow to help but Seriouska refuses. Not because it is dangerous, she wants Asuka to live in her Fragment as it has a future. Of course Asuka isn’t going to listen. Luckily she wrote down Seriouska’s Fragment’s frequency. Then she summons her friends who are more than willing to go help her. This time Yuu becomes the link as they arrive in Seriouska’s Fragment that looks like it is in the midst of a huge Clutter attack.

Episode 9
Flashback shows when Seriouska’s world was under sieged by the twilight, she was running away with her family when Kyouhei suddenly vanished. Seriouska ‘welcomes’ the girls. It will be a good chance for them to see what a world being attacked by twilight looks like. However in this world, Yuu is dead as she was consumed by the twilight. Thankfully, sexy Yuu is here so both Yuu now share the same body. Weird talking to yourself, eh? Seriouska continues explaining that when their world was attacked 10 years ago, it then stopped. They soon discovered this energy source known as twilight amber from the sacred tree worked as a barrier. Seriouska shows them the operations room as well as the room they keep all the crystalized Clutter. If the Twilight King is defeated, they might return to their original form. There is also a training room where Seriouska trains and leads young ones to fight Noizies. Good chance for Seriouska to give Nana, Mia and Chloe new Walkman with enhanced features. Meanwhile Yuu gets attacked by stray kids who think she is the Twilight King. Too bad she got pranked a lot before Seriouska calls them that she is her friend. Bringing her back to base, Seriouska reprimands the kids for straying too far but Takumi will not accept it and runs away. Time for them to go after him. At the same time a high concentration of anomaly is detected. Is the Twilight King in the base? Not surprisingly, one of the stray kids is the Twilight King, masquerading himself as one of them when they brought Yuu in. He heads for the sacred tree and attempts to destroy it. Time for some Equalizer action but with the Noizies keeping them at bay, yikes! There is even a hydra Noizies to fight! Even when Seriouska finally takes it down, Twilight King has destroyed the sacred tree. Barrier’s gone. World is dying. Evacuate everybody! But where to? I guess we all just get to die. Seriouska wants her friends to return to their world and at least save Takumi who will be the link. It’s like she has already accepted her fate after thanking them for becoming her friends. She is going to fight Twilight King and hopes defeating him will turn all worlds back to normal. Distraught Asuka doesn’t want this but Yuu takes control and forces them all back. Asuka tries to return but 4:44 ritual isn’t working. Have you ever seen Asuka this troubled? Like she’s in really deep sh*t.

Episode 10
Sexy Yuu hands Seriouska’s locket to Asuka. Then a sad hug to tell her that Seriouska has been swallowed by the twilight. A week later, Asuka is back to her chirpy and cheeky self. Not sure if this is her being back to normal or just trying to cover up her depression. But it is worrying Yuu because it looks so fake that it’s, uhm, fake. Better than being outright depressed, right? But still, it feels weird. Then the girls decide to throw a Christmas party for Takumi and fortunately for them, Nana has found out where he is living. With permission from the master, they have the café all to themselves as they give Takumi the best Christmas-cum-chikuwa party. Even though he is quite happy living here, he prays that Seriouska would come to get him back. He feels it is not right living off the Takumi of this world and should go back. That is when Asuka tells him not to worry because Seriouska is fighting the Clutter and will soon return. Later, Yuu confronts Asuka about giving Takumi false hope. Asuka doesn’t believe Seriouska is dead and sexy Yuu could be lying. True or not, Yuu accuses Asuka for being the real liar here. This hit a nerve as the tension brings up some old childhood trauma 10 years ago. Asuka thinks Yuu have always thought she has been taking life easy ever since Kyouhei went missing. All Yuu wants is for Asuka to say something true to her heart. In that case, there’s nothing else to be said. Asuka storms out. Woah. Is this for real? Asuka being serious? Is she the new Seriouska v2? Sorry with the bad jokes. As the girls talk how to get things back to normal, Mia has never heard of Kyouhei’s case before so Yuu explains how he suddenly went missing when Asuka just looked away for a second. Asuka wasn’t to blame as she was a kid too but she has always felt so since. Not even the adults and police searching could find Kyouhei. After his disappearance, Asuka went to every park every day in hopes that Kyouhei would return (that was how and where she lost him). There’s nothing else left to say so they’re going to find Asuka. However they detect Clutter anomaly. Their worse fear comes true as twilight has come to their world. Meanwhile Asuka thought she saw Kyouhei. She knows it isn’t him but yet follows him. Then the hooded kid whom we all are to believe is the Twilight King… Sorry, people. Not Kyouhei. In fact, a mini Asuka who calls herself Twilight Emissary as she is one of the many servants serving Twilight King. Wow. She looks even more serious than Seriouska. Seriouska v3? Okay, better stop with this uncalled for jokes.

Episode 11
Emissary says how all humans’ consciousness will be assimilated by the twilight via Clutter. This process is inevitable. She wants Asuka to join her to turn other Fragments into twilight. Emissary can let this world prolong a little longer. However this is not enough a deal for Asuka. She wants her to bring Seriouska’s Fragment back. Meanwhile Yuu can’t find Asuka and is given a pep talk by sexy Yuu why she is the only one who could save her. Otherwise she won’t forgive her. You mean, like won’t forgive yourself? Meanwhile the other friends stumble into their teacher who turns out to be a Clutter. He did the right thing by attacking them as they transform! So in his illusion, he is going to tell them the harsh truths of reality and crush their clichéd hopes. Chloe: She thought of always being alone until she made friends. But that will reset again once she joins society and will be alone again. Mia: She was always praised as cute but wanted to be a strong hero. Too bad it’s a man’s world out there and she’ll soon realize it is more efficient to toe the line by being cute. Nana: Always the rebel, she realized being straightforward and accepting would make her a better person. But it isn’t her stepfather whom she finally accepts. It is rather her mom. She is not strong and independent enough and that’s why she remarried. Nana will be the same and will take on even more men. But the girls realize their friendship is much stronger than the twister world. Enough for them to break out and turn into Equalizers and kick the Clutter’s butt. Emissary knows how Asuka feels as she too lost somebody dear 10 years ago. But she heard twilight calling her and went with it. She was freed from sadness and regret. Asuka looks tempted to go with her but here comes Yuu to scream her heart out not to. Too late, she’s swallowed by the twilight. But with Yuu crying and admitting she has always loved Asuka, is her device an MP3 that allows her to turn her into an Equalizer?! Yeah, power of lesbianism is strong. Inside the twilight world, Yuu and Asuka come clean with their feelings. They are joined by their friends to kick Noizies ass. Emissary showing the most displeased loli face when the friends claim they will defeat her because she is not their friend despite looking like Asuka. Before the final boss fight could begin, Asuka asks if the deal is still on. She will still go with her if she promises to not let twilight take this world.

Episode 12
Asuka leaves her Walkman with Yuu. I guess all that is left is to believe in her, right? Asuka is really annoying as she walks with Emissary. Complaining this, complaining that. Eventually the chibi’s patience wears thin and lets her eat some chikuwa. I guess time stopped for them so they even have some flashback on Kyouhei. Yup, that guy introduced chikuwa to Asuka who didn’t even like it. And because he ‘lied’ to her it has some wish granting properties, she loves it ever since?! Time really stops for them to even go look for Kyouhei but he is nowhere to be found. Asuka won’t give up on him because as we further see, Kyouhei never gave up on Asuka when she herself wanted to quit. Asuka reveals it wasn’t the fact she was really sorry when Kyouhei disappeared (she was but not so much), rather she wanted others to pity her. One day she realized how vile that was and thought she should be punished. That is, to live Kyouhei’s life even if it was fake. Hence she knows Emissary didn’t choose to lie but was also punishing herself. But in her case, she became so sad about it, she decided to erase everything after hearing Twilight King’s voice. Now Emissary gets mad as she makes a jealous rant that Asuka made more friends and smiled a lot. She should lose everything like her! But Asuka won’t use Kyouhei as an excuse anymore and face herself. Everything is a result of the actions you take. Once you accept the facts, you can be free. OMG! Asuka turning into an angel?! Kyouhei will always exist in your heart. Yeah, more borrowed Kyouhei words as Emissary turns into a normal little Asuka. It’s okay. Okay to cry your heart now. With that, Asuka returns to her world and friends. Man, that was easy. New school year. Asuka being the lively idiot we all know. Asuka then spots Mayuki (Seriouska’s assistant in her Fragment). She wants her to join the Radio Research Society but Mayuki scoffs at that idea. She intends to join the Broadcasting Club and dreams to be a radio star like Annie Maxda (who?!). Until Asuka plays a recording that Annie was a guest in her club interview. Now Mayuki is begging to join her club and promises to be her friends forever! Damn that was too easy. And now we see Mayuki descended into the club’s brand of mischief as they hijack the broadcasting room again and again. Such happy life. One morning as Asuka wakes up early, she sees mom and grandma trying to solve the problem of a thief stealing their miso. I guess it made her day. A reason to smile even bigger today.

Get Ur Freak(quency) On!
Well… Uhm… The last episode feels a bit disjointed. Instead of having the usual power battles, it turns out to be some sort of ‘battle’ with Asuka’s other and inner self. Uh huh. Are we feeling so zen right now? Because when you accept the facts of life, only then you can achieve true freedom. Woah. Did Asuka eat too much chikuwa to spout all that cliché stuff? Still, it leaves so many questions unanswered like the threat of Twilight King. Because you know, Asuka and her friends are living like as though they’ve defeated the final boss when for all they know the Twilight King could just send another servant or he himself comes down to destroy their Fragment (maybe they’re just busy twilight-ing other Fragments). But hey, gotta live life to the fullest instead of worrying about the minor stuffs. If the threat of the twilight comes, they’ll deal with it. They have the Walkman device after all. And I thought they’re going to leave Seriouska dead for good but they made hints it was her who stole the miso. Hey, it could be anybody. But who wants to steal the family’s world’s famous miso, right? RIGHT?! So I thought they screwed this last part up and made things worse so that Asuka could have more happy points. I guess we can’t accept the fact that Seriouska is really dead. We’re not truly free then…

The idea of tuning in different radio frequencies to get to another parallel world sounds like a good idea but also simplistic and not really thought out well. At least for this series. At this digital age, my guess is that they might want to promote some nostalgia among older viewers (like yours truly) because there was a time when the Sony Walkman was the king of portable music. Yeah, blatant product placement there but I guess nobody cares because I don’t think the masses now use this. Even though radio is still an important form of media today, you don’t see people frequently tuning in to it using their handphones or Smartphone devices. It is often that old fashioned big chunky boring block. There are smaller portable ones too but none can match the lightness of the Sony Walkman. I suppose that was the last time that a popular device would allow us to tune in to different radio frequencies with ease. I could be wrong. Because I don’t see an app just to tune for radio stations. But you know, I could be wrong.

Anyway, the story of discovering the main antagonist known as the twilight swallowing up worlds also feels paper thin. Unless we get to see the Twilight King in the flesh, can this be considered a disaster series then? The theory of having different Fragments being newly created and breaking off from existing ones sound interesting from the surface. But when you start to think about the other aspects like its past and suddenly there is another world popping up, say, after World War 2. You just wonder if it is feasible for 2 different worlds to share the same past but just branching out at a certain point in time. And then, people in that new Fragment is like, how the heck do they live before their world is being split? You know, it just popped up like that. I don’t know. Maybe my puny brain can’t understand but considering that there are so many points in history that could literally just branch out and create a new Fragment, I suppose the twilight is going to have a hard time trying to assimilate all the Fragments. At least not at this rate. And if there are more worlds being created, will the numbers reserve for frequencies eventually run out? Imagine tuning into a world with a frequency of 100 digits! After all, there is no evidence that our memories from 10 years ago or even yesterday are real and could be implanted and made up!

Like I said, it is a good try to have the characters go through a few different Fragments and experience some sort of different distorted ambiance but eventually having a dozen episodes feel like both good and bad because it is too short to flesh out anything and if has another cour, it would have taken a bit too long and boring because you know, it is getting repetitive. Going to a different world, get to know that Fragment’s problems, fight Clutter, the girls have their friendship tested but ultimately bond closer and then they go back. Imagine doing that same thing for another cour. Boring! I would definitely switch to another channel! And besides, our girls going to other Fragments and impacting the outcome of those Fragments, do they have the right to do that? What if some other doppelgangers from other Fragments do the same too to their world but screw up? Who is to blame now?

Let me move on to the characters. Not really interesting but the irony is that despite Asuka and Yuu are tasked to be the main characters, I feel that their other friends of Radio Research Society have got better character than them. Sure, they have their own mini arcs where they are in the spotlight (an excuse for them to gain powers of an Equalizer) but Asuka and Yuu don’t really have their own. So theirs is masked in some sort of twisted yuri friendship which I didn’t see coming because I was always under the impression that it would be Asuka x Seriouska. Seriously. Because Asuka being so obsessed with herself, yeah, even that sounds really weird. But I suppose you can’t have Asuka and Seriouska being yuri with each other because that would be like masturbating. Because you know, playing with yourself! HAHAHA!!!! Oops… And probably I wasn’t paying attention towards the end of the series and thought the friendship tension between Asuka and Yuu was just part and parcel of the much needed drama to eventually enhance their friendship.

Otherwise Asuka is like being the comic relief of the series since she is so bubbly and lively like as though she is acting like a retard to hide her sadness of her missing brother. It beats being sad and gloomy. Otherwise you get somebody like Emissary. And this chikuwa thing is something else you would remember her because if you want to spell out her personality, uhm, happy go lucky girl, always staying strong and positive, uhm, what else, aha! Chikuwa lover! Yeah. Feels like that. Or else she has no back story other than her missing brother which is supposed to be some sort of a plot twist reserved towards the end of the series? It’s like they know we were anticipating this and if that happened, we will point out the obvious. So the little antagonist turned out to be a mini Asuka instead. Damn, why are all the Asuka in this series has ‘something wrong’? Asuka too retarded. Seriouska too serious. Emissary is evil loli so evil. So people, don’t ever leave your loli alone. This is what would turn out in worst case scenario to them. The irony of Seriouska’s nickname is that it tempts me of wanting to make jokes out of serious situations involving Asuka… Seriously… Oops, dang. But on a serious note (pun not intended), I wonder if Seriouska is alive, is her Fragment destroyed? How did she come here without a link? Are there other loopholes I am unaware of? Whatever.

What’s up with sexy Yuu? Who is she and which Fragment did she come from? What is her goal? Why has she taken a particular interest in this Asuka? What is Yuu to her? So many questions but no answers because she keeps deflecting them by being flirty. And then all of a sudden in the final episode, she goes missing? So much Asuka drama in the last episode that sexy Yuu became irrelevant. It’s like she is more a plot convenience than some trump card or plot twist. I mean, who else is going to match up to Asuka’s zany quirkiness? One of the biggest unsolved mysteries is Kyouhei. I believe most of us might have come to think that he is the final boss. You know, ‘surprising’ us that the Twilight King is her little brother? Because isn’t it just baffling that Kyouhei is missing in EVERY AND ALL Fragments? Seeing this guy, heck he is such a good brother that it makes Asuka look even more annoying! Serious! No wonder Asuka wants him back. If there was only a Fragment where he wasn’t missing but Asuka instead. But sorry folks, no plot twist for Kyouhei whatsoever.

Nana, Mia and Chloe as I have said, they seem to have better stories than Asuka and Yuu because of their own mini arcs. Hence their stories, issues and struggles sound even more interesting despite they are just like distractions to the overall main plot (if I should call it that) even though eventually it doesn’t amount to anything much. So after they have their own spotlight, it is back to being side characters for them. Playing supporting roles would be suffice for them, I guess. Tres bien, continuez s’il vous plait… Oh Chloe. Spam us more with your French words! And now that Mayuki is the latest edition to the club, it only makes me wonder that it is truly indeed that your actions do affect the results of the world. Because I can only imagine Mayuki being such a proper and respectable girl had she joined the Broadcasting Club instead. Arrogant maybe but it’s hell a lot better than being in the mischievous Radio Research Society. Oh man. Imagine what impact one decision could make.

If there was anything enjoyable about this series, it is no doubt the very much exaggerated and power fights of the girls in Equalizer forms against the Noizies and Clutter. It is so over the top and everything blasting in your face that you know it is so outrageous and just for show. Unless you’re not into this kind of stuff. But for me, just casually watching these staple moments of the series, I have to admit that they are quite fun to watch as each of their special themed movements are packed with power. From Nana’s warrior bride to Mia’s cowgirl hero and Chloe’s weird scuba astronaut with a talking teddy, such scenes never fail to amuse me.

Art and animation are pretty standard. Though CGI moments are used in the battle scenes, they don’t really look that awkward or disjointed. Thanks to me being immersed with the extravagant battles. Also it could be because with certain battle scenes taking place in the twilight world, I guess you can’t really see things clearly when everything is in amber or yellow colour. Some of the designs of the Equalizers are nice like Nana’s bridal outfit and Mia’s cowgirl one but Chloe’s is just straight out weird while Yuu is like so typical sci-fi that it just comes off as normal. But the Noizies looking like those apple bunnies now make me wary of seeing apples cut in those shapes… And why do Noizies combine can only turn into some hydra? Why not other types of monsters? No wonder the girls can defeat easily as they know its patterns. This series is animated by Dandelion Animation Studio and Jumonji. They are new studios doing their first project ever although the former did RoboMasters the Animated Series and a few Pingu ones. Both of which I didn’t watch.

Voice acting feels decent although it never occurred to me that there are some veteran seiyuus lending their talents here. Like Ami Koshimizu as Nana, Marina Inoue as Chloe and Nao Touyama as Mia. I thought they’re like semi-retired since I don’t hear them often these days. Yeah, with new seiyuus flooding the market, looks like I’m going to fall behind even further. The other casts are Tomoyo Kurosawa as Asuka (Kumiko in Hibike! Euphonium) and Lynn as Yuu (Maya in Sabagebu). I suppose with different parallel worlds, this series tries to show the flexibility of the seiyuus’ voice acting chops. Like all the different versions of Asuka. Okay, not bad. The opening theme, Soranetarium by Michi sounds a bit weird. Overall it sounds like a song for some ominous ritual. Aside from the hymn-like voices, maybe it is because of the constant thick timpani or those kind of big drums that give off that low heavy bass beats, giving off that dramatic feel. The ending theme also feels weird. Kowarekake No Radio by Ami Wajima sounds like she is a student of Enya! If you know Enya’s trademark style of singing, you would feel very much at home here. That kind of songs too somewhat evoke some sense of nostalgia somewhere in me…

Overall, despite its less than stellar plot and characters that should have had better personalities and stories to them (somehow saying them having more meat doesn’t feel right), this is still a watchable series. It isn’t too heavy on the sci-fi side so dumb people like me don’t get a lot confused by sci-fi terminologies but once again relies on the power of friendship that saves the day and ultimately the world (which isn’t entirely a bad thing). Plus, exaggerated and overpowered fights that might give Dragonball a run for its money but not necessarily topping it. Some might find this series cliché in a few ways and it might have fallen under the same frequency of the tried and tested, nothing really new. But are we ready to change the frequency other than our favourite channels to find something that is totally new and different? Anime is hardly in its twilight years or setting into the sunset. It’s just breaking dawn.