Asu No Yoichi

September 20, 2009

In the 21st century, how often do you hear the existence of real samurais? Close to nil, right? Read them in history books or storybooks, right? Only hear and see them in the movies and TV shows, right? Well, unless you are talking about the anime series Asu No Yoichi, then it may be a little different story.
 
Based on the manga of the same name, unlike many samurai genres out there which centres around the bushido and code of honour principles, I read that this is more of a samurai harem, which means there will be fanservice, bevy of pretty girls and stuff like that. Don’t worry. Our main hero samurai isn’t a pervert. As expected all these fanservice are attributed to the comedy and action of this series.
 
Thus we are introduced to our 17 year old samurai Yoichi Karasuma in episode 1. He has been living and training vigorously under the tutelage of his dad in the mountains all his entire life, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With his skills improving over time, it is no surprise that Yoichi would surpass him one day. And that day has come when daddy is no longer able to teach Yoichi anything further. So he sends him to go live in the big city for him to gain experience. How is a country bumpkin going to fend himself even if he has mastered his ultimate Soaring Wing, Divine Wind technique? The city can be a ferocious place, you know. Luckily for him, Yoichi’s dad already sent a message to his long time buddy in the city, the Ikarugas. They have 4 daughters who currently live at the dojo and both parents are not around. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? They are, from eldest, Ibuki, Ayame, Chihaya and Kagome. Ibuki is eager to meet this newcomer to their dojo.
 
Yoichi arrives in the city and as expected he gets lost. Not to mention the stares he gets from other people. A real samurai or just cosplaying? He bumps into a couple of delinquents, Ryo Washizu and Keita Torigaya, who mocks his appearance. Washizu insults him by kicking Yoichi’s wooden sword. So Yoichi does a warning move and sends Washizu flying. The amazing part is that his wooden sword didn’t even touch him. That’s using the wind alright. Washizu is left to wonder who that guy is while Yoichi is being taken into questioning by the local police. I guess due to his sincerity they let him go. Meanwhile the Ikaruga sisters are waiting for him at a designated spot. Thinking that he is running late, the rest decides to kill some time by going to a nearby shopping mall while Ibuki continues waiting. At the same time, Yoichi too is lost and decides to enter that same mall in hopes of finding his direction. His rationale is that since the mall is high, he should be able to find it by scouting from above. Of course his path crosses with the other Ikaruga sisters, all unaware of who the other party is. Like how Yoichi accidentally enters a cubicle while Ayame is changing (she thinks he is a pervert) and Yoichi bumping over Chihaya in the bookstore (she thinks he has weird yaoi fetish after books of the genre fall near him). Also, a snatch thief is in the vicinity and Yoichi plays hero by chasing him down and successfully nailing him.
 
Then he meets lost Kagome and decides to help her find her sister. I find it funny that when Yoichi asks Kagome to describe how her sister looks like, the first thought of description that Kagome gave was her big boobs. Ibuki is worried about her sister so she too came into the mall looking for them. Kagome spots her sister but the police wants to take Yoichi in, thinking of all the nuisance he has caused while chasing the thief. Yoichi then does a Tarzan thingy (don’t try this anyhow!) to escape from the men in blue and reunites Kagome with Ibuki in one swoop. But his momentum is too great that he smashed through the window and onto the train for who knows where. I don’t know why he didn’t just jump off so he only returned in the evening. Thankfully, Ibuki is still waiting for him so the 2 finally get to know each other. The police too didn’t give up and handcuffs him but since Yoichi went about apologizing to everyone in the mall, they let him off the hook. Back at the Ikaruga dojo, Yoichi finds out about the other sisters and they too are surprised to see him. Funny how fate works. He is looking forward to his stay with them.
 
So in every episode you can almost guess that Yoichi gets a beating from Ibuki because he seems to always end up in some perverted or compromising positions even if his intentions are true or by pure accident. But it does not help too because he nose bleeds in those fanservice situations. Uh huh. I wonder after all his life living in the mountains and animals as his only companions, it’s a wonder he nose bleeds at the sight of such things. Must be his inner instincts, eh? If he has been living in the city at the start, I wonder if he would turn out to be a real pervert. And as for the sisters, you’ve got a colourful bunch. From a busty gentle but violent dojo instructor, a tsundere flat-chest, a megane mangaka and a moe loli. What more could you ask for?
 
Thus in episode 2, Yoichi is to be a transfer student at Ibuki and Ayame’s school. Can’t be bumming around at the dojo as a freeloader all day, eh? Other developments include Washizu and Torigaya too are students of this school and they are surprised to see the samurai here. Not only that, Washizu has a secret crush on Ibuki and you can tell that this tough delinquent softens everytime he is near her. Note his pathetic Washizu Vision of being lovey-dovey with Ibuki or being a hero to save her from that baddie samurai. Not only that Yoichi will be in the same class with him as with Ibuki, when he learns that he too is living together with his beloved Ibuki, I guess he has his limits. So he challenges Yoichi to a duel. Yoichi seems positive and not the kind who would put anybody down. So even if boxer Wahizu uses his fists, Yoichi puts down his sword and takes him on fair and square. But Yoichi is upset to learn that his fists conceal some hidden weapons and tells him off. In the end, Washizu lost. Ibuki lends him her handkerchief and nicely advices him not to use anymore weapons. Now that guy is more motivated than ever, saying his fight has just only begun. Ayame has been watching the fight and her body action tells us that she is falling for the samurai…
 
Back home, Yoichi falls sick so Ayame tries to learn and cook a porridge dish for him and gets some help from Kagome. Yoichi learns from Chihaya how Ibuki took on a maternal role after their parents left and the reason why she became strict was because she puts her family first. Yoichi apologizes to Ibuki and their friendly conversation doesn’t go down well with Ayame. Uh huh. She causes a fuss and runs back to her room. While thinking how she is always second to Ibuki, she trips and all her hard work in the porridge is threatened to be ruined. Faster than the naked eye, Yoichi dives and saves he porridge but ends up crashing outside the window. He gets a taste of her porridge and finds it delicious, making her happy. Ibuki notices her happy expression which she has never put on for a long time. And when Yoichi comments on her smile, she blushes and tries to act like a tough girl and kicks him. Yeah, she’s turning into a tsundere character alright. An obvious one. Meanwhile, a pair of ladies, Angela Takatsukasa and her master Tsubasa Tsubame, arrive in the city seeking Yoichi’s blood.
 
In episode 3, while Angela brags about how Tsubasa will be the one to defeat, Tsubasa runs away because her heart is not in seeking revenge but rather to enjoy the city life as a normal school girl. Back at the Ikaruga dojo, tsundere Ayame tries to get closer to Yoichi after getting advice from Chihaya, who knows about Ayame’s feelings. It’s like Chihaya is really loves watching the developments between Ibuki-Ayame and Yoichi though her intentions are not bad. Everytime Ayame receives advice from her, she just shrugs it off as nothing. Yeah, your character is showing. Too obvious. At school, the class gets a new transfer student: Tsubasa. The other classmates are thrilled of this cute loli. Angela is spying outside and thinks this is part of Tsubasa’s stealth plan to get close to Yoichi and then go in for the kill while his guard is down but Tsubasa’s real intention is otherwise. Another thing is that Tsubasa bumps into Washizu and Torigaya. Noticing how kind Washizu is to let her off, she starts falling for him. Note her pathetic Tsubasa Vision too.
 
Angela swoops down to remind Tsubasa of her mission and the monetary reward they will get if they finish it. However Tsubasa refuses and runs away. Angela rips Tsubasa’s clothes to reveal a revealing sexy leather S&M-like outfit. Angela then confronts Yoichi and Ibuki to tell of their true intentions. I’m not sure about the reverse psychological training that Tsubasa had but it seems that Tsubasa’s embarrassment is the reason why she can’t display her true power and after all those embarrassing training, Tsubasa has reached the limits of her embarrassment and will cut off all emotions. Now she is like an emotionless warrior taking on Yoichi. Washizu who is passing by thinks Yoichi has some fetish with that loli and decides to step in to fight in her place. Tsubasa returns to normal upon seeing him and flees in her embarrassment. Seeing that Tsubasa is no longer to finish her mission (since Washizu saw her in her embarrassing state and her claims that she hates martial arts training), that night Angela decides to finish the job herself. Yoichi is partially paralyzed (and nose bleeding) because Angela is clad in a revealing black leather outfit. He learns that she has been hired to take out Yoichi and has been offered huge sums of money by an unknown party. Their goal is to revive the Swallow Benten style school. Yoichi is upset of her shallow conviction and tells her off the wrong path she has taken. Angela realizes that she has been wrong and gives up. See, they can solve this without violence. She goes and apologize to Tsubasa for everything and the next day, the duo gives up their mission to kill Yoichi and are working part time at a ramen restaurant. Lastly, the person who hired Angela and Tsubasa, Ukyou Sagonomiya, isn’t pleased with the failure. Why is he wearing a cat mask? Pimples? Just kidding.
 
In episode 4, Washizu is contemplating to return the handkerchief to Ibuki, but his chicken guts got the better off him because he is more concern of what to wear and present himself to Ibuki than anything else. He’ll never return it at this rate. But this episode is mainly on Chihaya. We learn that she works as a manga artist and help supplement income to the family. Yoichi learns of this when Chihaya calls him to her room. As part of her plan to generate material for her manga, she gets close to Yoichi, sending mix signals to him. She even unbuttons her top and tells him to be his boyfriend! She’s a damn good teaser. Yoichi is trying hard to control himself when Ibuki comes in. To make things worse, Chihaya says Yoichi forced himself on her. Pain time. One day Chihaya forgot to take her supplement to class so Yoichi decides to bring it to her. Yoichi hears a bunch of Chihaya’s classmates mocking her and don’t like what she’s doing. He doesn’t bother much about it until he finds that they have torn her work and put up insulting remarks. Though he wanted to teach them a lesson, Chihaya stops him. But behind the classroom door, he can tell that Chihaya is sad and the pain in her heart is unbearable. So outside school, Yoichi confronts the guys and lets them have a taste of his technique after telling them off. Chihaya comes out to see the delinquents lying on the ground and even if they repent, Chihaya is still nice to them. Back home, Chihaya finishes her manga story which is somewhat a resemblance to Yoichi. Chihaya notices Yoichi’s rough hand due to his sword practice, which is the same with her for holding the pen for too long. She puts her palm with Yoichi’s and this sends Ibuki and Ayame into panic mode and threatens to beat him up if he makes a move on her while Chihaya rushes off to fax her manga work to her editor.
 
Yoichi gets a love letter from a freshmen, Yui Hinagata in episode 5. Every guy in his class must be damn jealous. Not only he gets to live with beautiful sisters but now a love letter requesting for a date this Sunday too? I think Ibuki is more of jealous rather than worried about how Yoichi would end up in this dating game so she suggests a practice date herself. What else to do when you’re out on a date? Bowling, singing (Yoichi is horrible!) and shopping. Ibuki gets him to wear normal clothes. While shopping, Ayame is out with her friends and her worse fear confirms when she spots the duo. Chihaya and Kagome follow and spy on them. At the park fountain, Ibuki and Yoichi accidentally fell into it and got all wet. After Yoichi proceeds to give her a kitten doll (it’s ugly if you ask me) as a thank you gift, she goes to buy drinks. Yoichi is then confronted with Yui. In short, he rejects her date offer because he isn’t familiar with her. However this doesn’t go down well with Yui as this ruins her plan. Looks like Yui is a martial artist too and takes out her weapon and starts attacking Yoichi who has left his wooden sword behind. Yoichi can’t return a blow because Yui will put up a moe expression whenever he closes in. But he manages to break a part of her weapon and uses it as her sword to defeat her. Yoichi notices the other sisters spying and has known it all along. They then heard Ibuki’s scream. While getting juices, she is being harassed by guys who wants to hit on her but she is self-sufficient and takes them all out by herself. Help not needed. Later we learn that Yui is another one of those being hired by Ukyou to take out Yoichi but since she failed, Yui won’t get a single cent. Back home, Ayame is relieved that the date was just a practice but starts to panic after thinking that this practice is for a real one. That night, Yoichi explains to Ibuki why he turned down Yui. Yoichi’s words of how his fate as a warrior has him unable to find love which causes Ibuki to blush and deny. But she quickly hides that and scolds him for being a pervert and such.
 
In episode 6, Washizu is still finding it hard to return Ibuki’s handkerchief. So he puts a letter to meet him in her shoebox. Just when he’s about to confess, he is surprised to find Yoichi there. Wrong shoebox? However Yoichi and Ibuki (who is standing behind him), misinterprets the letter and thinks he wants to join the dojo. Meanwhile Ukyou has hired a real samurai, Jinjurou Nuezume, to kill Yoichi. Jinjurou is the opposite of Yoichi’s school technique teachings, Dark Crow, Black Sky technique. The best part is that he burns away all the money that Ukyou is prepared to give him and will gladly accept the mission to get rid of Yoichi. Back at Ikaruga dojo, Washizu is a bundle of nerves at the dojo’s door. Torigaya is just there to accompany him. He’s like sticking like a leech wherever Washizu goes. The Ikaruga dojo as 4 young boys as students so I guess with newcomer like Washizu, they get to throw their weight around. Don’t worry. Those kids aren’t that bad either. Since Washizu is a newcomer, his dreams of being under Ibuki’s guidance is dashed because he is put under Yoichi’s care. Initially he didn’t want to listen to Yoichi but after hearing from Ibuki, that guy is so into it. Then it becomes an endurance challenge of 400 straight push-ups. Not wanting to lose face, Washizu follows Yoichi’s pace to reach a thousand. Everyone cheers them on while Chihaya and Kagome go out shopping to get stuff so that they can celebrate at the end of the lesson. Everyone is amazed by their determination and digs in the meal Chihaya and Kagome had made. Ayame tries to get closer to Yoichi while Washizu is happy to be close to Ibuki. Meanwhile the threat of Jinjurou never materializes because he is always getting lost in some parts of the world. All that potential threat was just hyped up for nothing and never materialized. Ah well, money burnt anyway. New plan, Ukyo. Besides, his cat mask sister, Sakon, too thinks it’s time for her debut.
 
The fanservice episode 7 we’ve all been waiting for. Hooray! The beach episode with our heroine babes in bikinis! Even Tsubasa and Angela are here to enjoy the fun in the sun on this little isolated island but to Tsubasa’s dismay, Washizu isn’t here. Well, Ibuki did invite him but that guy forgot that it is tomorrow instead of today. Yup, he tries to catch a ride here. What are the chances he’ll reach? Your guess is right. Another thing is that Angela is starting to have feelings for Yoichi when she spots his six pack! Also we learn that this private beach belongs to Ukyou and Sakon and is part of their elusive plan to rid Yoichi as they hire a pair of surfer Mizunagi brothers. Some fanservice events include, Ayame thinking of padding her top because of her inferiority boobs complex, Yoichi accidentally tripping and pulling off Tsubasa’s bikini (because he notices a seagull attacking her, courtesy from the command of Mizunagi brothers) and yeah, another one landing his face in Ibuki’s boobs. Since Yoichi doesn’t know how to swim, Ayame and Angela vie for the right to do so but Ayame lost out after knowing she has a bigger bust although they are of the same age.
 
We also find out that a student of the dojo, Masashi, has a little crush on Kagome. The gang thinks Kagome doesn’t know how to swim because she refuses to take off her shirt. She runs away even if Masashi offers to teach her. Everyone starts looking for her and Masashi finds her but they both fell into a ravine. They follow the path which leads to cave, a place where the Mizunagi brothers intents to lead them and Yoichi to (by using that seagull). Masashi falls off the cliff when he rushes out of the cave mouth. The Mizunagi brothers commence their attack when everyone else arrives and Yoichi dives in straight to save him. He can’t swim, remember? Kagome eventually dives down to save Masashi while the rest throws Yoichi’s sword and float to have a fighting chance. Standing on top of the float, Yoichi unleashes his usual technique to turn the tide on the brothers. Though Sakon thinks it’s a waste of money and planning, at least Ukyou has got some important footage of them in action. When everyone regroups, they learn that the reason why Kagome refuses to take off her shirt was not because she doesn’t know how to swim. She actually is quite good in it. The real reason: She doesn’t want to let everyone see her growing breasts! She’s got them grown even at such a small age and hid them under wraps. But Kagome isn’t happy because she wish how they were as small as Ayame’s. On the other hand, Ayame is devastated that even her little sister and ‘comrade’ has overtaken her. Makes you wonder if Ayame is part of the family since she is the only one not well endowed. When you have it, you don’t want it and vice versa.
 
In episode 8, this is the day Washizu will confess his true feelings to Ibuki via letter. Can he? At the store, he bumps into Ayame and they both enter into an argument over a bottled water. At the same time, a bunch of delinquents enter the shop to see Washizu in a losing battle and snaps a pic of them with their handphone. Back home, as part of Chihaya’s advice not to lose Yoichi to a certain somebody, Ayame tries to give Yoichi a towel after his dojo training. But she screws up and puts on a rather scary face instead. Then an accident causes Washizu to slip his letter into Ayame’s hands. In his panic, he quickly rips the letter but falls onto her. At the same time, Tsubasa is doing her ramen delivery when she spots the duo in a compromising position. You can guess what her vision looks like when she hears the ambiguous line "It’s a secret between the 2 of us". She is more than just devastated and just left in lightning pace. Even back at her ramen store, she is inconsolable. So pitiful. Yoichi goes to return the ramen box that Tsubasa forgot to take when she left in haste. On his way out, he overhears 4 delinquents who are planning their easy revenge on Washizu because they think he has gotten soft.
 
They later go to the Ikaruga dojo and get Ayame to follow them. On Washizu’s way, the delinquents surround him and Ayame as their hostage. They think Ayame is his girlfriend from the pic but they both quickly deny. Thinking that they are playing dumb, the delinquent head threatens to do something funny to Ayame and all Washizu has to do is stand there and get bashed. The delinquent head starts stripping Ayame, paralyzing her. I thought she would fight back but nope, she’s just like a damsel in distress. Washizu has no choice but to stand there while the rest take their shot at him. Washizu remembers how he got the title of being the strongest after he single-handedly defeated a group of delinquents because he got nothing to lose. Then came Torigaya and they started out hanging out together. Before long, Ibuki came into his life and that’s when he think it is his downfall. Thankfully before they could land the last blow, Yoichi appears to lend him his strength. After his usual lecture like how the need to protect someone makes him/her stronger, Yoichi and Washizu teams up and proves deadly as they defeat those punks for good. Just when Yoichi is about to offer a handshake for being friends, Ibuki comes running and Washizu’s pride got the better of him so he shrugs him off. Ibuki mistakes that Yoichi may have done something perverted on Ayame seeing her near naked state and you know what is to happen lah. As Washizu leaves, Ayame thanks him by handing him a towel but he tells her to give it to the samurai instead. Does he know of her feelings as well? Ayame does so and clears up the misunderstanding that Ibuki had while Washizu meets up with Torigaya who is worried about the bruises on his face.
 
In episode 9, Washizu’s umpteenth failure to confess to Ibuki has caused him to say out loud his attentions accidentally to Ayame. Since Washizu addresses Ibuki by her surname, you can guess that Ayame misunderstood it is her and gets flustered. Tsundere style. After finding out that Torigaya knows Ayame likes Yoichi and there is an upcoming festival, Washizu hatches a plan. Yeah, girls in yukata this time. At the festival, Washizu and Torigaya collaborate through a rigged lot to cover the festival area in groups so that Washizu could be with Ibuki, Ayame with Yoichi and Torigaya with the other 2 sisters. However Torigaya screwed up and has Washizu and Ayame paired while Yoichi gets Ibuki. Ukyou is at the festival too and he unmasks and introduces himself to Yoichi. Plus, I think he’s got some crush on Ibuki, judging from his fawning face. Perhaps the reason he wants to rid Yoichi. Tsubasa and Angela are working at the festival as haunted house monsters when Tsubasa spots lost Ibuki and thinks Washizu is around too. She gives Angela the slip to go find him. Meanwhile unmasked Sakon approaches Yoichi to enter a shooting game. Since he is too nervous, Ibuki takes over and shoots a golden carp and wins a luxurious hotspring inn trip. But that win was discreetly helped by Ukyou’s wind and Yoichi notices it.
 
Since Ayame is criticizing and mocking Washizu, everyone around them thinks he is getting scolded by his girlfriend. Washizu can’t take it anymore and clears up the misunderstanding that his confession was towards Ibuki. He puts salt to Ayame’s wounded heart by saying that she isn’t cute as her sister. It was heartbreaking news. Washizu apologized for everything but says that she is the biggest loser for giving up at the start. When Yoichi and Ibuki comes around, Washizu quickly rushes off with Ibuki’s hand to let Ayame be alone with Yoichi. Though nervous, at least she puts on a smile. Washizu continues running and is going to confess but to his dismay finds that he is holding on to Tsubasa’s hand instead. Another failed shot. Everyone regroups as Ibuki tells them about her winnings while Washizu and Ayame continue to argue which leads Ibuki and Yoichi to notice how well they get along with each other.
 
The gang arrives at the hotspring inn in episode 10 located at the very outskirts from any civilization. Your typical mandatory hotspring fanservice episode but it won’t be much as the turning point starts when Ukyou drops by Yoichi taking a dip in the hotspring and plays guilty mind games like how he is a freeloader caring only about his training and did nothing to help the sisters. During dinner, the gang learn the reason why the inn lack customers because the owner says a legend about a haunted cave nearby in which prisoners died. Yoichi and Ibuki volunteers to go eradicated the evil spirits. Chihaya sensing great manga material goes to tell Ayame about this so as not to let her chance slip. After tsundere Ayame leaves, Chihaya and Kagome fell asleep through Sakon’s incense. At the cave mouth, the ground caves in which causes Yoichi to be separated from Ayame. Yoichi finds lost Ayame but she is acting different because she is seducing him! Desperate? On the other hand, Ibuki meets Ukyou but doesn’t remember who he is, depressing him. Then they spot Yoichi and Ayame flirting but Ibuki thinks she is an evil spirit because she knows of Ayame’s shy personality. Yoichi too knows she isn’t the real deal but adds another unnecessary reason: Her boobs aren’t that big. It’s understandable that Ibuki whacks Yoichi rather than the evil spirit. But that fake Ayame is actually Sakon in disguise (just like that inn owner). Sakon unleashes her incense to turn Ibuki unconscious and since Yoichi inhaled a little, he is weakened. With Ibuki in his arms, Ukyou reveals that Ibuki is his fiancee and vows to crush Yoichi and believes he has somehow altered her memories. But Yoichi isn’t giving up and wants to fight back so Ukyou tells him to go back to the inn.
 
Yoichi returns to find the place dark and Chihaya and Kagome missing. He is then confronted with past nemesis like Yui and Mizunagi brothers and lots of extra ninja underlings. They are motivated to beat him because the reward from Ukyou is any amount they desire. Luckily he defeats them with his trademark move. Then he comes face to face with Jinjurou. Finally. If you’re thinking that a cool battle is going to start, get ready for another disappointment because just as Jinjurou is about to strike Yoichi with his sword, he is hit away from the back by a wooden sword by the real Ayame. Just like that? Yoichi tells Ayame to wake Chihaya and Kagome seen unconscious at a nearby open hut. Ayame whacks Yoichi when he accidentally touches her boobs and even so, Yoichi is happy to know that this is the real Ayame from her boob size. I hope he doesn’t turn into a pervert. Yoichi makes Yui tell them where Ibuki is being held as they rush into a room to see Ibuki waking up. However, she does not remember who they are. Oh no.
 
Everyone returns to the dojo in episode 11 but Ibuki’s amnesia has caused her to act like a 4 year old kid! Due to that, Ibuki doesn’t recognize Yoichi, Ayame and Chihaya and thinks her sisters still should be little girls. Worse still, she doesn’t know who Kagome is because back then she wasn’t born yet. Kagome feels heartbroken. Her childishness has her acting real strange like releasing her full strength on her dojo students and hurting Masashi (why did they even have lessons in her state?). Ayame is pissed off Ibuki’s childish nature and blows her top while Chihaya tries to restrain her. Then Ukyou and Sakon comes by. They say that though they are at fault for turning Ibuki like that, it is partly Ibuki’s wish who desires to return to her happiest point in life. This has the rest realized that Ibuki may be tired of taking care of the dojo and family. The medicine will take several months to prepare. During that time, Ukyou says that Ibuki will be in his care while the rest will get to live a luxurious celebrity life. Rich foods, good clothes, maids. Wow. They can retire and get use to this. Say, how bloody rich is this guy?!
 
Meanwhile Ibuki is chasing a cat when she bumps into Washizu and Torigaya. She pleads for them to take her away and of course Washizu happily obliged. Although he notices her strange behaviour but he is still pretty much love struck as they accompany her playing sand at the playground. Torigaya rushes off to find the rest while Ukyou has another round of private chat with Yoichi, playing guilty mind games on him and his training in which he did nothing to help the Ikaruga sisters. He suggests Yoichi continue his training under Angela’s Swallow Benten School and he will provide the funds. A butler of Ukyou who has been watching Ibuki, gets an order from his master to take her away. Washizu resists but gets a taste of his stun gun. Yoichi goes to tell Ayame and Chihaya that he will be living with Angela. Ayame is fine with it until they notice Kagome crying in her room and wondering if Ibuki will ever remember her. This made Yoichi realized that he was on the verge of running away and vows to bring Ibuki back as he is still in the middle of training. He leaves with the Ikaruga sisters. Tsubasa is seen carrying Washizu while Ibuki is being put to sleep by Ukyou’s spell in his limo. It is revealed that Ibuki’s request to be turned back to 4 years old was just a lie and is actually Ukyou’s wish. He wants Ibuki to stay this way.
 
Yoichi and co arrive at Ukyou’s palace in episode 12. Upon entering, they are greeted by Sakon and her maid with guns. Yoichi uses his trademark technique to protect the sisters and knock out the maids. He then wishes for Sakon for an audience with Ukyou and asks her how would she feel if her brother was taken away. But Sakon slaps him and says her brother has been taken away a long time ago and that if they want Ibuki back, they’ll just have to come get her. On the bridge, they face several butlers this time. Though weak, their numbers are overwhelming. While Ayame helps out with her wooden stick, Chihaya uses her thick manga as her weapon. See, it’s useful after all. But Yoichi is overwhelmed by his adversaries and before they can deliver the final blow, he is saved by Washizu along with Tsubasa and Angela (why is Torigaya a little chibi kid now?!). They let Yoichi and the sisters advance while they take care of the rest. Angela strips Tsubasa into her embarrassing self so she could unleash her true potential fighting skills.
 
Meanwhile Ukyou prepares a wedding ceremony with Ibuki and remembers the time he first met Ibuki. He was weaker in martial arts and lost to her so he vowed to train hard and vowed to marry her if he had become strong. Ibuki’s reply was that she will wait for him. Sakon is concern for her brother and wishes for him to defer the wedding but gets scolded for her incompetence. Not long, Yoichi and the sisters arrive and Ukyou reminds him how he will never make Ibuki happy. However Yoichi acknowledges that he can’t make her happy as the only thing that will make her so is her family. And that is Yoichi’s job to protect and support them. Ukyou leaves it to Sakon to deal with them as he escapes with Ibuki. They notice how Sakon is crying and Yoichi concludes that she knows what Ukyou is doing is wrong and has been lying to her heart. Sakon drops to her knees and pleads to them. On the rooftop, Yoichi manages to get Ukyou to face him by using martial arts against martial arts instead of money and assassins. Though Yoichi is impressed with his Azure Sky technique, Ukyou is still no match for Yoichi as he realizes the gap between them. Ibuki starts to regain her memories when she slips off the roof. Ukyou wanted to dive down to save her but Sakon clings on to his leg. Yoichi and the rest jumps down and with his wind technique, everyone lands in the water safely. Because Yoichi is still struggling to swim, he clings onto Ibuki’s boobs, only to be greeted with her trademark punch. Yup, she’s back to her normal self. In the end, Yoichi writes to his dad and says how he wishes to stay a little longer and continue his training. But his dad calls him stupid and uses the letter to blow his nose.
 
Okay, so the ending feels alright though I feel that it could have ended a little better. I mean, a happy ending whereby everyone goes back to their normal lives. Like how Ukyou and Sakon are spending quality time together. Though he still yearns for Ibuki but at least he realizes his sister’s feelings. I’m not sure what that final Washizu Vision whereby Washizu is shocked to see Torigaya as a girl. He can’t be a girl, right? Did he turn into one somehow? That part where he turned chibi too isn’t explained and still left me with stitches.
 
Something I feel about the love chemistry between the characters didn’t materialized at the end of the series. Perhaps I was hoping to see Yoichi end up with either Ibuki or Ayame but that didn’t happen. Besides, he did say that it is his role to protect the Ikaruga family. Training and family comes first. No time for love, eh? Likewise I don’t think Washizu will ever get to confess to Ibuki or Ayame to Yoichi but I’m sure that they’ll be happy so long as their loved ones are happy. Hmm… I wonder if Angela’s passion for Yoichi was just for a short while only. So where’s the harem? Tsubasa is still infatuated with Washizu even that ‘flirting’ moment was just a misunderstanding. Ah well, Yoichi doesn’t need to be directly be the main centre of attraction and have the girls vie for his attention. Man, he’s living with them. But he still needs to keep on his toes and watch for those compromising ecchi positions or else each beating he gets from Ibuki will be even harder. Hmm… Maybe that should be considered as part of his toughening up training too.
 
Another thing I want to mention about Yoichi’s different wind technique is that they all look the same to me. I don’t know how many tachis are there in his Soaring Wing, Divine Wind technique and calling each with a different name had me thinking that a rose by any other name is still a rose. The effects are the same, don’t you think? He slashes, the wind appears and the enemy gets blown off their feet. Therefore the fight scenes aren’t anything spectacular. I was hoping to see the clash between Yoichi and Jinjurou since the latter portrayed a lot of potential. Just all talk, eh? Keeping in line with the little fanservice theme of the series, most of the mid-intermissions will show fanservice shots of the female characters in poses. As for the next episode preview, I find it a little odd as it is narrated by Yoichi’s dad in a strange and funny tone and accent. Is he drunk or what? Well, he’s ranting more on his son than what is in store in the next episode. At least, that’s what I feel.
 
The voice cast include Nobuhiko Okamoto as Yoichi (Yorito in Sola), Rina Satou as Ibuki (Haruka of Minami-ke series, Negi in Mahou Sensei Negima series), Haruka Tomatsu as Ayame (Nagi in Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens, MM in Kemeko Deluxe – I personally think her voice is suitable to play tsundere roles), Yukari Tamura as Chihaya (Nanoha in Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha), Kana Hanazawa as Kagome (Potemayo of Potemayo), Kazuya Nakai as Washizu (Hijikata of Gintama, Zoro of One Piece), Yui Makino as Tsubasa (Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicle series), Hitomi Nabatame as Angela (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Katsuyuki Konishi as Ukyou (Ren in Skip Beat) and Sayuri Yahagi as Sakon (Haruna in To Love-Ru).
 
You don’t need to be a olden day samurai to so called train yourself. Even in modern times, everyday life is like a battle field and there are many ways one can undergo his/her training regardless of the occupation. So in my case, since I feel I haven’t watched enough animes to become an otaku of my own standards, I will continue watching all my favourite animes as part of my ritual and training. Love comedy romance especially those harem ones with a little fanservice are top priority. Bummer. Looks like I’ve still got a long way to go.
 

Asu No Yoichi