Busou Shinki OVA

December 7, 2013

I somewhat forgot that there is an OVA for Busou Shinki. Actually, I don’t remember if I remembered if this series had one to begin with. Just like the trend these days, OVAs are bundled with the final volume of the series’ DVDs and in the case of this one, it is the unaired episode or the 13th episode as some calls it. The original TV series doesn’t have much of a plot (not that I can really remember) so I didn’t expect the OVA to have any either. For this OVA, it is more of a flashback and somewhat a prequel to the TV series. About a fateful meeting between our main Shinkis. Yeah. They actually do meet before but circumstances have them not remembering so. I know myself as a human have a history of faulty memory recalls but Shinkis whose memories are written via programme and stored in their chips? I guess that’s why we have different terms for ‘forgetting’. Humans = amnesia. Shinkis = erase/reset.

Install x Dream
The Shinki named Zoura outside the Front Line Corp is making contact with her fellow Shinki, Leo who has infiltrated a high-tech Shinki maintenance building disguised as a nurse Shinki. Inside this building is Ann who is undergoing her maintenance. The nurse Shinki attending to her seems to make her check-up a little pervy. She notes how well Ann is taken care off by her master. Lene and Ines are waiting outside and it looks like they have to wait longer since maintenance-tired Ann mentions she still has to undergo some x-ray test. Ann is made to drink some cherry flavoured Jellycan and then spun around on the operation table for some G-force test by Leo who is handling this x-ray test. She then wants Ann to turn off her power as precaution for unwanted problems.

When she is done and leaves with her friends, they notice Ann is acting strange. Maybe too much maintenance has caused her to be light headed. They are stopped by the security at the exit as they want to conduct body checks to prevent any stealing of classified data since this company is conducting high level research to develop a new Shinki line. Ines is confident they didn’t steal anything but she forgot to return an eye checking equipment she borrowed for her amusement while waiting for Ann to finish. The security is about to apprehend her for stealing but Ann whips out her sword and threatens the security! I don’t know how but the trio were released. If this is the kind of security to give in to little threats, I don’t think the company’s secrets will be very safe. Outside, Ines and Lene feel something odd about Ann. Because she is testing her sword, maintaining them and talking like a soldier. Is this the Ann they know? Maybe the maintenance has made a screw loose in her head. Leo contacts Zoura and tells her about the data replacement of Ann and has sent her outside. The plan is to proceed as usual. Leo then spots a Strarf model awakening in the next bed. Leo wants to put her back to sleep but the Strarf runs away and even flies past the security! I’m beginning to doubt the security of this place.

When Strarf bumps into Ann outside, it seems that they have switched bodies. Ann is inside the Strarf model’s body. Yeah. It’s odd to see your own body. At first Ines and Lene didn’t believe her but after she reveals an embarrassing bit about Ines, they believe her and that their minds have been switched. How else do you explain Ann swinging her sword like a psycho? As the quartet are discussing this issue, they are approached by Zoura who claims she the Front Line doctor to tell Ann and Strarf to return to the lab in order to fix their switch. However it is a ploy to lead them into a car because Zoura’s master wants to steal the company’s secret (during the test, it was uploaded into their memories). Zoura ambushes the duo and puts them in a suitcase. Lene and Ines realize something is wrong and that there is no Front Line Shinki like her. They try to save them but the car just sped away.

As Ann and Strarf are locked down inside the suitcase, the real Strarf doesn’t understand the meaning of master so Ann explains to her and describes her own kind and caring master that loves them all very much. Ines and Lene chase after the car and puncture its wheel to send it turtle (I wonder what happened to the human driver). This causes the suitcase to be flung out from the boot and free the captured Shinkis. While Ines and Lene have their hands busy with Zoura, Strarf engages Leo but is told to disarm or else she will destroy the memories of Ann. Strarf feigns surrender and knocks Leo out in a single strong blow. At the same time, Zoura is also taken out. Before Strarf and Ann are to switch back to their rightful bodies, Ann laments that their memories will be erased since this is to protect the trade secrets of the company. This means the memories of them just becoming friends will also be deleted. Ann hopes they can meet again in the future but Strarf isn’t putting high hopes on it. Even if they could meet again, they won’t remember each other. Ann is hopeful that she will find a good master. Because Ines and Lene has heard and seen a lot, they too will have their recent memories erased.

Back in present time, Hina wakes up underneath the sakura tree picnic spot, probably just fresh from that past dream. She is joined by her other Shinki friends bringing in loads of cherries for their picnic. They notice she has been acting a little weird since she got a reset. Hina thinks events of that day brought back certain memories and hopes that one day they will remember that day too. She feels that it is good they can all meet again this way. The picnic begins when Master joins them.

It’s A Small World After All
Well, it’s nice to see how Hina previously met our main Shinki heroines prior to how they first did in the TV series. Call it fate or destiny if you will. Because of some selfish humans trying to get their hands on the latest technology by stealing classified data, this sets the stage for the first half of the show for Ann and Hina to meet when they got their bodies swapped. Otherwise, I think the so called villain Shinkis of Zoura and Leo are just forgettable. They didn’t really put up much of a fight. Really. Besides, I don’t think it is about them since the second half focuses more on Ann and Hina as how the former in a way convinces the latter about the warmth and benefits of having a master. Other than that, I don’t think this OVA provides anything ground breaking or refreshing and just something that I believe would ‘close’ the series. Even if they are just little dolls with artificial intelligence, the memories and experience they had were real. So treat them with lots of care and love. Because it is only right for something (alive or not) to love you back that much, an equal amount of love and affection is necessary. You get what you give and give what you get. Geddit?

Busou Shinki

May 11, 2013

Those who are crazy enough about mangas and animes in one way would have bought cute little figurines of their favourite characters, right? Say what happens if those little figurines can take a life of its own? They have their own feelings and artificial intelligence and are able to interact with us like we normally do with other humans. Only difference is that they are palm size. Slightly bigger than your average Thumbelina. That would be awesome and cool for those who can’t get enough of their favourite characters. Like a dream come true.

This was my perception when I watched Busou Shinki but instead of moe figurines, these Shinki models are able to equip themselves with miniature weapons and accessories to do battle. Okay, so they are still moe and kawaii in their own right. But you won’t get to see them fighting in deadly tournaments or battles that have a deep conspiracy brewing beneath them that will bring about the fate of the planet and humanity. What we get to see in the dozen episodes of this anime is the daily lives of several Shinkis and their daily adventures as they go about making memories and happy moments with their master.

Episode 1
As explained, Shinkis are 15 centimetres tall partners created to serve humans and are endowed intelligence with emotion to serve their master who in turn can equip them with armour and weapons for battles. We are given a short demonstration the Shinkis in battle and the destructive power they can put up. Even if they’re just small girls. Ann helps her Master to wake up and prepare for his first day at school. I guess it must be tough being little without being clumsy. As Master has to go off, Ann handles the delivery of his stuffs into his new room. Busting out from one of the boxes is Ines, who isn’t happy Ann got to ride with Master during the entire trip while she was stuffed in a box. Likewise, Lene also comes barging out of a box but is more infatuated they’ve finally arrived at Master’s birthplace, Japan. As they help to tidy and unpack things (man, this guy has lots of weird items), they see a box labelled ‘important’ and discuss what is inside it. Money? Porn? As they take a break, Ines accidentally flings a knife and it ‘stabs’ the important box. Needing to check whether its contents are safe, another blunder has them ripping the box and sends everything falling out. More weird stuffs. What is this guy? Some sort of odd collector? Among them is a love letter. They get curious to open and read it since it may be addressed to one of them. Suddenly… The window is open. The wind is picking up. What happens to the thin letter? Do the maths. The girls chase it as the letter ‘slams’ into Clara. She isn’t happy the trio ignore her ranting about being second place victor of last year’s Busou Shinki tournament (because the letter is more important, duh) so she is going to teach them a lesson on courtesy and activates a battlefield. Ines fights her but not until a beam scratches the letter, Ann blows he top that she damaged Master’s precious belonging that she powers up to fight back. And win. Lene inactivates the field and both sides hear a signal that their master calling for them. Master is pleased the trio did a fine job cleaning up but Ann is apologetic over his letter. Inside is a mini disc that contains a modified Shinki House he made. As he activates it, Ann remembers Master made this room for her on the first day she came. From now on, the room belongs to them. Later he sees a small black box but doesn’t remember packing it. When he opens it, a Strarf model Shinki awakens.

Episode 2
Strarf draws her sword at them but no cause for alarm yet. Seems Master’s dad signed him up for a monitor programme as surprise. Master registers her and calls her Hina. Since she is an ‘infant’, he wants the trio to show her around. I’m not too sure about Hina’s greeting of almost striking you with a sword. Test of strength? After chasing various sceneries in Shinki House, Hina throws her sword at the mouse hole, thinking there are intruders. No mice, but little Shinki spies, Pocchii and Tamamii. Almost got them there. Then she starts firing her gun into the hole! Of course Master is alerted by the noise. Hina seems disappointed when Master says he isn’t into Shinki battle and that kind of stuff. Ann wakes up Ines and Lene in the dead of the night to tell them about her idea for Master’s high school entrance gift: A feast. But the duo fear the cooking incident on Shinkis. Imagine what would happen if they fall into the oil or blender? Not pretty. But after thinking they’ll get praised by Master, danger or not danger, it’s cooking time. Hina sits this one out since it doesn’t involve fighting. The trio work their best to make the dishes (if they were bigger, things wouldn’t have seemed so ‘clumsy’). Pocchii and Tamamii return and interrupt their cooking by shooting a projectile that causes Ann to slip and sends the gourd crashing into the stuffs. As they try cleaning up, Pocchii and Tamamii cut off the electricity while the trio are attacked by… Slimy tentacles! Tentacle rape! Almost. Hina makes her way to the breaker to restore power. Then she frees her comrades from the octopus and in the mean time makes good octopus meat. She turns her attention to Pocchii and Tamamii as they throw and toss vegetables, fruits and other food. Each time, Hina nicely slices them all with precision and it ends up as high quality food decoration. Wow. She’s good! Saves time needing to cook again, eh? Running out of ‘ammo’, Pocchii and Tamamii flee. Because Master will be back soon, Hina is forced to help finish the cooking. Master is surprised and astonished with the feast awaiting him. He tastes the takoyaki and thanks Hina for it, making her blush.

Episode 3
Ann writes in her diary how it has been a month and they’ve got used to things. Despite Hina still not wanting to help around and forbids them from calling her name (she only allows Master to call her that), Ann feels she’s already part of the family. As the quartet watch a video of the Busou Shinki battle, they ignore Clara knocking on their window! Once she gets in, she is shocked to see Hina. Apparently she fought her model in the last tournament. So basically it’s their first meeting… When Hina wants to fight her, after seeing how fearsome she is, Clara backs down. Chicken… Anyway she’s here to warn them about a Shinki thief who has been stealing Shinkis and its accessories from the shops. She needs help to catch the thief but Ann and co are more interested in taking a bath in the Shinki House. Only Hina agrees to follow. Master sees several Shinki parts in the park and picks them up. Meanwhile Pocchii and Tamamii are setting a trap to lure in Ann and co but couldn’t resist the pretty pricey part they set and fell into the trap themselves. Clara and Hina follow a suspicious hooded guy but to their disappointment, he just bought a porn magazine from a vending machine. They sell those there? Then they see a suspicious helmet guy breaking in a Shinki shop and enter. The trio have to cut short their bath when Master calls to inform he’ll be late since he is at the police station for questioning (they suspect he is the thief since he spots some Shinki parts). The trio move out to clear his name. Hina and Clara are drawn into a battlefield and face off with vehicle accessorised Shinkis, Yda and Ach. Hina has to fight both of them since Clara is taken out.  Ann and co arrive at the store and see the thief get away. Lene and Ines go after the thief while Ann heads into the store. She inactivates the battlefield for a fair fight. Hina gets Yda while Ann takes on Ach. Ann emerges victorious but Ach remains defiant in protecting her master and views her as an evil Shinki. The match is stop when Clara comes between them. Hina also wins her match but this time Ach tells Yda that their master is the true Shinki thief. When he escaped, he activated and tricked them to fight for him. They decide to go on a journey to find a true master. When they do, they hope they can have a rematch. Just when Pocchii and Tamamii are out of their painful trip, they got run over by Yda and Ach. Just not their day. Master returns home since his name is cleared and the real thief is caught thanks to Ines and Lene. But the rest feel it is Hina that deserves his thanks. She becomes embarrassed as Master fixes her scathed part with a fresh coat of paint. That position… Looks so erotic…

Episode 4
The Shinkis are helping to clean Master’s bathroom when Lene slips and breaks something. But Master easily lets her off and cleans her up. Later Ines blows her top (more like she’s jealous) that she always gets away with her clumsiness and should put in more effort like her. Because of that, their relationship becomes awkward. Next morning, Ines spots Lene sneaking out and following her leads to a group of Shinkis waiting to participate in a Shinki-1 Grand Prix. Hosted by Mary Takigawa Celes and Ianeira, they explain the rules and the grand prize is a trip to Okinawa. Ines thinks of participating to win that prize since this is what Master wanted and if she wins it, he won’t have to work and save up for it. As the race begins, racers start falling into a sink hole created by Pocchii and Tamamii. Then off they go leading the race. Ach, Yda and Clara won’t be defeated as they transform into their mobile armour and continue. Is this legal? Well, Ianeira make some changes to the rules. As long as they have wheels, it’s okay. Ines searches for a mini car while Lene gets… A wagon cart? It’s got wheels, right? Ann is looking for her pals when she meets Lene. She wants to borrow her armour to boost her wagon and in return gives her an umbrella. Huh? Pocchii and Tamamii are at the pit stop refuelling themselves with strawberry flavoured Jelly Cans. With Ach and Yda approaching, they switch the remaining ones to nitro flavour. Is this legal? Ianeira approves it as it will liven up the race. WTF. Ach was careless to drink it and goes berserk before knocking herself out. Yda carries on and will avenge her.

Soon Ann stumbles upon Ach fixing her vehicle. The latter borrows her umbrella to fix her brake. It’s starting to rain… Just when she got a leaf as umbrella, then comes Ines losing control of her mini car. Without wasting any time, she borrows Ann’s leaf umbrella to ride the wave. Is this legal? As long as she is ‘riding’. WTF. I think this is starting to become an anything-goes race. Yda catches up and bypasses the sneaky duo. Ach and Clara also catch up but Tamamii scratches the umbrella so Ach’s brake backfires as it becomes air brakes and takes down Clara with her. Pocchii and Tamamii have set up a trap previously and unleash the apple avalanche to stop Yda. However she evades them all. I guess they didn’t see it coming that they themselves need to avoid it. They got rolled over and are out. Ines crashes into Yda and ‘borrows’ he mobile armour. She is neck to neck with Lene and entering the final stretch when Hina obstructs them. Seems she is hired by the organizers to be the final obstacle. Lene wants Ines to go ahead and finish the race while she takes care of Hina. After seeing Lene going down, Ines can’t leave her and fights alongside her against Hina. During the commotion, here comes Clara holding only a steering wheel crossing the finish line! WTF?! What kind of joke is this?! I guess she barely wins it. Back home, Ines feels it’s a shame they didn’t win but Lene points out her goal wasn’t to win the Okinawa prize but the rare strawberry Jelly Can offered.  She knows Ines likes them and they used to split them in half and share. With their relationship back on track, Ann then rushes in with good news she has won a grand prize to Okinawa. Seems she collected Ines’ mini car and traded it up till she won the raffles. Wow. How lucky can she be? Ines could only heave a tired sigh. So what was all that for? Well, they’re back to good friends, right?

Episode 5
The girls are finally at the shores of Okinawa! Sun, sand, sea and swimsuits! Yay! Hina doesn’t seem too fond to join in the fun so she has fun her own way. She wants to slice a watermelon blindfolded but Ines is buried next to it. Oh sh*t! Don’t miss! Thank God she didn’t. Ann lets loose a scream when a crab enters her screw hole (?!) and her top bikini come undone. Then it’s revealed it is just a simulation of their Doll House for tomorrow’s practice. Master tells them to get some sleep since they’ll be up early. He will follow soon after he finishes his homework. That night the girls can’t sleep because they keep thinking if they forget anything or start planning what to get. Maybe they should just cross the bridge when they get there. Next morning, Master overslept and hurries to catch his flight to Okinawa. Once he arrives, he thought he could heave a sigh of relief when he realizes he brought the wrong bag. Which means… His Shinkis are still back home! Yeah. They realized they got left behind. It’s amazing that none of them had set the alarm clock. Master calls them and apologizes for the screw up but they’re okay with that since he was pulling an all-nighter. But can they go on for 3 days without him? Ann suggests they go there themselves. They’re not going to fly all the way there so they hitch a ride on a bus, followed by a train that heads south. Along the way, they doze off and realize too late that their luggage fall off. They try to retrieve it but it’s gone for good. What’s in it? Their spare battery packs. Oh no. They better not run out of energy in the wild. They continue walking by following the rail tracks. However it hit them that they are following an unused line. They need to conserve energy since it is getting dark and camp for the night. Ann and Hina take first watch as Ann blames herself for the suggestion. Hina doesn’t fault her since if she hadn’t had suggested it, others would. Besides, Hina always wanted to see the sea for herself. Suddenly they are attacked by a pack of hungry wolves. A Shinki fires and scares them away. The girls are brought to the tent of Zelnogrard. Though feeling very grateful, they wonder why she is living on her own. Her master is part of the army nearby and it is her duty to protect these mountains. Next day, the girls leave and thank Zelnogrard for the spare battery pack. They look forward to meet again. The little ones continue their journey through various cities till they finally reunite with Master at the Okinawa beach. He’s sorry for all the trouble but the girls had fun anyway.

Episode 6
While waiting for their flight, Ines trips but is helped up by a flight attendant Shinki that is the same model of Ann, Arnval. The TV programme mentions about Shinkis were popularized by armoured battle games and now many are helping out in jobs. The girls talk about what kind of career they would love to do and to their surprise Hina wanted to become a pro wrestler. She’s serious. Once they board the plane, it’s understandable that Ines is insecure if they are left behind, if not boarded the wrong plane. They decide to explore their surrounding in the cargo when they chance upon Clara. Remember, she won the Okinawa prize for her master too. Since the girls had never seen her master, Clara shows a picture. They think their Master is better so Clara challenges them to show her a picture. Ann goes off to get the SD card picture. The rest see 3 flight attendant Arnvals entering the cargo. Suddenly they set up some fishy machinery. Unfortunately Clara’s clumsiness means they got spotted. They learn these Arnvals are terrorists and are planning to change the course of this plane. To hell. That means they’re going to bomb it. 30 minutes and counting. They don’t care what happens to themselves and will gladly sacrifice for their master. The terrorists split up so the rest go look for her. Clara is ambushed by one but thanks to the turbulence, a cargo drops on the Arnval. Ann returns to the gang only to be surprised to learn what is happening. Another Arnval confronts Ann so Clara wants her to act as though she is her comrade (Clara is out of energy from the last fight). I guess Ann is a bad actor. Except maybe insulting Clara. Keep lying still. The Arnval could tell Ann is a fake and fights her. Ann learns that only the terrorist leader has the card to shutdown the bomb. They both fight a while before Hina takes over. Ann decides to go find the leader while Ines and Lene try to disarm the bomb. Red or blue wire? They can’t use their lucky colour forecast this morning because both models have different contrasting colour as good luck.

As soon as Hina disposes of her opponent by making her drop into the sink hole, Ann faces off with the terrorist leader. How can the rest tell it’s the real Ann? It might sound dumb but it’s worth the shot. “Who is the real Ann?”. They both claim they are. Ask a question only the real one knows. What is Ann’s favourite Jelly Can flavour? Though each gave different answers, her friends don’t even know the answer! Of course the real Ann wins because of her determination and duty to protect her master. But the rest are still sceptical if she’s the real one. They’re glad to know she is because only the real one knows Hina’s name. Ann takes the card but the terrorist isn’t giving up and puts up a fight. In the struggle, the card is dropped. Ines takes it and inserts it. But it’s the wrong card! It’s a picture of Master! Oh sh*t! Countdown reaches zero!!! BOOOM!!! In the aftermath when the plane has safely landed, it is revealed a group of Arnvals were conducting terrorist training but the trio boarded the wrong plane. They are sorry for getting civilians involved though the bomb is just a visual one. That means you can only see its explosion effects but no damage. When Master comes to pick them up, how can he straightaway tell he picked the real Ann? I thought he was going to say that master bond relationship thingy but he too doesn’t really know the answer. But he says that is what makes someone a master.

Episode 7
The heat is going to kill them if they don’t move to a cooler spot. Where in their home could it be? The fridge of course! However they’re going to freeze to death if they don’t get out! So they keep things cool by walking through a haunted house via Doll House and telling ghost stories (Ann’s scary build up turned out to be… Momotarou). I guess they didn’t realize that a Shinki ghost joined in with her own ghost story version, eh? Anyway she is Fubuki and turns out to be a Shinki to Master’s neighbour. Since it is getting stormy, it is suggested that they will go bring Master an umbrella. Only one needs to stay behind and do the cleaning up. Ines is that ‘lucky’ girl. Alone in the dark… If lightning flashes weren’t that creepy…. And if Fubuki didn’t act and sound so ominous! Yikes! She accidentally dropping or slipping stuffs almost crushing or slicing Ines?! Too much of a coincidence, don’t you think? Thanks to Hina’s calculation, they are able to use the wind and umbrella to get to the station whereby they greet Master. They call Ines to tell that they have picked up Master but when he learns about Fubuki, he quickly rushes home. Along the way, lots of bad omen. His shoe ripped. His pants ripped (lol). Lots of black cats and ravens! Is something bad going to happen? He mentions he heard his neighbour’s Fubuki should have gone missing in the mountains a long time ago. Which could mean this one is a… Hurry home! Ines is starting to feel nervous because Fubuki seems to be preparing. Sharpening a tool and going to stick it in. Master returns home in time and it turns out Fubuki is glad she manages to complete a hairpin. It is something her master treasures. It fell in the mountains one day and she went looking for it but ran out of energy. Thanks to Zelnogrard finding her, she was charged up. The reason she came to their room is because she wanted to find tools to repair the damaged hairpin. Fubuki is sad that her master might not want to see her anymore but the rest give her the encouragement to go meet her next door. They know she wants to see her badly because Master told them his neighbour continues to wait for a precious Shinki to return home. After Ann and co play ding-dong ditch, Fubuki’s master is happy upon reuniting with her lost Shinki. Next day, Fubuki gives several Jelly Cans as thanks but Master notes he learnt from the landlord that there is no one renting next door. Fubuki confirms that because her master is clinging to it because whenever a new tenant sees her, they will run away. What does this mean? Everybody freaks out that her master is a ghost!!! FREAKY!!! Can’t believe they’re living next door to one, eh?

Episode 8
The rest ring in Ines when she is carrying a suspicious bottle rumoured to make one grow big. They want her to spill the beans about using it and date Master. In the struggle, the bottle is flung away and its contents spilled out. The next thing we know, Ann is at a bus stop and is a full human size! She’s not a Shinki anymore! In a panic, she grabs Clara passing by. Be gentle with the little one, okay? I guess Clara doesn’t know how to help her (her crap excuse was just nonsense) so she gives that do-your-best advice before leaving. Ann returns home but comes into Pocchii and Tamamii. The duo become suspicious of her and attack. Ann makes a run and we can see how big a failure the duo are because how can they lose sight of her when that big girl is just hiding behind the bushes right behind them? Rain saves the day as the idiots abandon mission to run home and save their master’s laundry. Ann waits in a shelter and chances upon Master. She fears he may suspect her as a fishy person and pretends she is a lost newbie. They walk together and he offers to help her find her home. I’m not sure why in order to get to a higher place to look for identifiable landmarks, Ann wanted to climb but fell on Master instead. Romantic cue? Why didn’t they use the stairs next to it in the first place? Since Ann can’t recognize any, Master takes her to town and it feels like going on a date. As I suspect, Ann is actually dreaming as her friends take a good look at her happy face. Ann is about to take out her handkerchief when she sees the suspicious bottle. She starts getting traumatic when the TV nearby is playing a drama that has the man breaking up with the woman for deceiving him and not telling her true form. Seeing Ann is depressed, Master cheers her up by getting a gift from a crane game. Ines gets news that Ann may be infected with a virus imitating as an update software. When activated, the affected Shinki will be unable to exit sleep mode and will lead to its function ceasing permanently. It is already encroaching into Ann. They contact Master right away. Though they install an anti-virus programme, they still need some part so Hina flies to Master to reach him faster. Meanwhile Ann confesses her true self to Master and thanks him for today. She is glad to be his Shinki and loves him. The rest scramble to get Ann fixed. Next morning, Ann wakes up to see Master sleeping by her side. Her friends are happy she has awakened. He is happy to see her back to normal. I guess he spent all night fixing her since the store was closed. But soon it’s déjà vu again because the rest bump into Ines and her suspicious bottle. What? Huh? I don’t get it.

Episode 9
A couple of Shinkis, Zil and Oorbel are praying to some underground Egyptian hieroglyphs hoping for a saviour according to some prophecy to come rescue them. Ann and co receive mail from Master that he forgot his lunch. He wants them to bring it to him before lunch time. Or he may starve to death. Better get moving. The quartet take a break halfway when the onigiri rolls off the slope and into a hole. Why does this always have to happen? Lene goes after it but tumbles down the hole and out into the sewer. She is picked up by Zil and Oorbel. Because she is taking too long, Ann and Ines go to look for her while Hina is forced to guard the lunch. The duo enter an underground slum with lots of bad Shinkis around every corner. They spot the onigiri in the hands of a group of punks however got arrested and sent to Empress Claudi. Meanwhile Lene learns from Zil and Oorbel that this underground empire consists of Shinkis whose masters have cast them away. By right, the manufacturer should have seized them but they didn’t want such fate because they will lose their memories of their master when reset. All is well in this poor empire till the arrival of Claudi who conquered the place by force. She along with her allies are those cast away by their master and forbade that word. All those who opposed were made into slaves. Zil and Oorbel are part of the liberation army tasked in freeing the city from her clutches. Lene agrees to fight with them. Claudi is not impressed that Ann used the taboo word ‘master’ and throws them into the dungeon (why the heck abuse the onigiri?). They see Pocchii and Tamamii becoming slaves to generate power and the slave drivers are heartless and even destroy a picture of their master. The liberation army plan their attack and soon a revolt begins. The city is engulfed in flames. Though Lene swiftly enters the prison to free her friends, they are soon captured. Meanwhile Zil and Oorbel enter Claudi’s room to face off with her. However she has been waiting for them. She shows her captured friends and comrades (and the onigiri) and wants them to fight each other to the death or else they will become scrap metal. I don’t know why they have to oblige. Couldn’t they just attack arrogant Claudi? Lene hopes for a hero to show up like in TV. Speaking of which, here comes Hina. She cuts the cage loose and has her bout with Claudi. I don’t know how she brought the bento pack with her underground but it got loose and the contents fall out. Lene grabs the octopus meat to save her ‘master’. With all the surrounding events fitting the description of the prophecy, everyone thinks she is their saviour. Lene becomes upset and with her power of love for Master, defeats Claudi and sends her crashing into a disco ball. The oppressors are captured and the liberators rejoice their newfound freedom. I hope they don’t get lost in the celebration because Master is starving…

Episode 10
Ann is being picked up by a Santa model Shinki, Tsugaru for a job interview. Since she likes Christmas, she gets hired for the job. As the company is paying thanks to its customers, they are holding a Christmas campaign whereby a tiny Santa will come to your doorstep and deliver a present. That’s Ann and Tsugaru’s job. Why does Ann want to do this job? Flashback reveals the girls wanted to get Master a present but the price tag has too many zeroes in it. So how? Get a job. Since most jobs required experienced career Shinkis, the only one left was an urgent help as Santa’s helper. Her job starts tomorrow so Ann goes home and along the way sees Ines doing her job handing out tissues while Lene is a street musician (I think the people donate due to her sob love story rather than her singing). Back home, they talk about the jobs that they are doing but Hina won’t reveal hers. They think it is something dangerous like assassinating somebody! When Master comes back, they are excited to hold a Christmas party of their own tomorrow night. Ann begins her job going around with Tsugaru delivering presents from door to door. Because it took more time than expected, they need to split as it is going to snow heavily. At first Ann was nervous on her own but after remembering the reward of smiles of children, she flawlessly becomes Santa. When she gets back to Tsugaru, she is devastated to see her left leg damage. She carelessly got bitten by a Doberman while delivering her last round. Ann wants her to head to a Shinki shop for repairs and assures she will take care of the last delivery. Easier said than done because the blizzard is picking up. Ann crashes into a Christmas tree, the mechanical reindeer scurries away and drops the present high on top of a pole. The blizzard makes it harder to reach. She sees Hina in a reindeer outfit handing out balloons. This is her job? Well, a term of her employment has her sworn to secrecy about her identity. Since her shift is over, Hina agrees to help Ann retrieve the present. They will use a Santa balloon to get there. The blizzard is still too strong when Ines drops in to help. Lene should lend a helping hand too and not just sit and sing for them. In the end, they manage to get it and do the delivery. Tsugaru thanks them as the girls go off to buy Master his present. When they are putting the final preparations, they all suddenly get fever for staying out too long in the blizzard and collapse. Seriously? Shinkis can get fever? Anyway Master nurses them and thanks them for the lovely gloves.

Episode 11
Ann, Ines, Lene and Clara converge secretly to discuss about a surprise birthday party for Hina since it has been a year she has come here. It would’ve gone great if Hina wasn’t there! This is where she maintains her weapons? Anyway Clara vows to enter the Shinki battle tournament next week and win the prize for her birthday gift. Elsewhere, a creepy looking guy, Jindou notes how he has finally found Hina. On the day of the tournament before Ann and co leaves, Hina spots a letter from a year ago. She is surprised to see it a rejection letter for an application to obtain the latest Strarf model Shinki monitor. The gang go cheer on Clara in the dressing room (they even come up with some cheesy lines in the banner). They also meet other familiar Shinkis who are participating (Ann and the rest including Hina are only on cheer duty). Tamamii rubbing some slippery oil onto Pocchii’s body in another one of their harebrained schemes, Ach and Yda found a virtual master to participate, Zelnogrard has just arrived from the mountains and Fubuki is also entering as well. That means her master is… Oh shi… Freak out! The first round battle is like last year’s final because it pits Clara against the Strarf model she lost to, Victoria. In the simulation, after all that firepower and slashing, Victoria easily overwhelms Clara and even goes on a rampage destroying everything. So much so the bullets go stray and are in danger of hitting the spectators. Hina swiftly leads the stray away and explode them in the centre of the ring, much to the crowd’s delight. In the end, Victoria once more wins the tournament for the second time. As the gang talk outside about Hina’s light injury on her leg she got from the battle, Iris thought she spotted Rosa. That is Hina’s old name as what she claims. It seems Rosa was damaged memory card and when her master sent her for repairs, it went missing en route. The rest feel she has got the wrong Shinki. Back in the Doll House, Clara feels down and she has a feeling that everyone expected her to lose in the first round. Well, there’s nothing you can do now but to drown in your sorrows, right? So let’s drink up to the Hard Nitro Jelly Can. Maybe it’s a bad idea because Clara is now drunk and spouting her woes. Lene too. Oh boy. Hina cools down outside when Iris visits her again. Hina wonders about the contents of the letter so Iris invites her to her master’s house to see if it could jog her memory. On arrival, Hina is surprised to see Iris’ master, Jindou who is also Victoria’s master. Jindou has Victoria and Iris guide Hina around the house. Jindou is a famous Shinki collector and a super rich one that his mansion has been devoted to give his Shinkis the luxurious life with all the top notched facilities and even sceneries. Imagine everything miniaturized. Of course Hina is in a dilemma if she should join them as Master treats her good. They won’t force her but wants her to take a test to check her serial number to confirm if she’s the real Rosa. Once she sits on a charger, she gets zapped out. It is a ploy by Victoria and Iris to grab this ultra rare monitor Shinki as they begin their operation to reset her memories.

Episode 12
Next morning. The hangover from last night must be bad, huh? However the girls note Hina is not around. Hina awakes as Jindou welcomes ‘Rosa’ into his home. He wants Iris to overwrite her serial number. After Ann and co plan what to do for Hina’s birthday, they return home only to get a ‘surprise birthday attack’ by Pocchii and Tamamii. They want to join in the party too. I think they just want the free food. Then they see the reject letter and it dawn to them probably the reason why Hina was acting strange lately. However they remember Master’s father was the one who applied for the monitor programme and so Master’s father’s name should be on the letter. Which means this letter might be fake. Fearing Hina may have run away, Pocchii and Tamamii mention that they saw her flying away with Hina last night (they were trying to get that slippery oil off Pocchii’s body). Clara leads the rest to Jindou’s place. She explains Jindou wants to build an enormous Shinki collection but he is a baddie because if there is a Shinki model he can’t get with money, he’ll resort to stealing them. When they sneak inside, they see his creepily large amount of Shinki models. They are confronted by Iris and Victoria and they are accused of being thieves. They just want Hina back when ‘Rosa’ pops up. She denies ever knowing that name or them. Once the Strarf models leave, Iris takes care of the intruders and blows them away into a locked cell. They can’t bust out or do anything and need to conserve all the energy they can. They wonder if they got the wrong Shinki but Clara notes despite her changed serial number, the bruise on her leg that she got during the tournament is still there. This is the real Hina alright. Just when Iris thought they have run out of energy, she enters to salvage their parts. But they were just playing dead and ambush her to run free. They are confronted with faceless Shinkis. Ines and the rest will hold them off while Ann goes to look for Hina.

She finds her waiting at an arena. Pleas to make her remember become futile as ‘Rosa’ prepares to eliminate Ann and all those who plan to steal what her master holds dear. Ann is defeated and before ‘Rosa’ could land the final strike, Ann sticks some memory pendrive into her back neck to knock her out. Victoria mocks Ann that what she’s doing is useless because her entire system has been reset. So calling her Hina won’t do her any good. Suddenly Hina gets up and warns her about calling her that name. Her memories are back. Both Strarf models fight and it ends in Hina’s victory. Well, if she had entered the tournament, she would’ve been the victor. Everyone regroups and is glad Hina is back. They return to Master worried about their whereabouts. The Shinkis are messed up and start to get emotional as they hug Master. Even Hina too. Jindou is devastated Victoria is defeated but she assures him no matter what happens, they will always be his Shinkis and will wait (sirens in the background could only mean one thing). Everybody begins celebrating Hina’s birthday as they also discuss what made Hina’s memories come back (eh? Wasn’t that pendrive it? Unless I’ve mistaken it as one). Was it a bug in monitor models? Was it the power of Master’s love? Whatever it was, Master is glad to have everyone back safely. And Hina feels the same and that Master is the only one for her.

Little Bundles Of Joy
Well… Uhm… Pretty much okay… I guess. I suppose if you want something light hearted and nothing too serious, then this show should be okay to watch. In fact, most of the episodes can stand alone by itself. If you don’t really watch them in order (except for the last couple of episodes), you’ll still get by. This is because we just see the Shinkis doing their own cute little stuff. Whether it is trying to cook for their master, entering a race, taking a trip to the southern islands, getting involved in a mock terrorist practice, getting involved in overthrowing a totalitarian dictator in an underground war or getting a part time Christmas job. There isn’t any real story plot to follow except for perhaps the last couple of episodes whereby Hina has been kidnapped and her memories are in danger of being erased forever. But even so, I felt how the way things ended was somewhat too easy. In the sense that we all want to have a good ending whereby our main Shinkis end up with the company of their Master. There’s the feeling that it ended too soon. This series is mainly where the Shinkis are the star so we don’t really even get a peek into the kind of life Master lives. We don’t even know what school he goes to or the part time job he does after that. Even for Jindou’s case, I don’t know who alerted the police to arrest him. Maybe it was trying to illegally change the serial number. Master did register Hina legally, right?

So of course there were some stuffs that I didn’t understand. Most probably I didn’t follow the Shinki universe so this is inevitable. About the rejection letter part, I don’t really understand that. So Master’s dad signed him up for some monitor programme. So? Like I said, I’m not so well verse into this Shinki world so I don’t even know what a monitor programme is about (I don’t think the series explains it either). And to say that Hina is an ultra rare monitor Shinki model, to me it feels like plucking that fact out from thin air because it doesn’t explain why she is such a rare model. Well, her friends certainly couldn’t care about it. Her Master sure didn’t care about it either. All they care about is that Hina is back with them. That’s all. And how did Hina end up in Master’s place instead of Jindou’s? Unless what Iris said about being mixed up en route to the repairs was true. Was even Hina their Rosa? Unless that was a fake story to get their hands on her. Then there are some conditions implanted in the Shinkis that raised an eyebrow. Like when they caught a fever, it made me wonder, weren’t these little Shinkis supposed to be perfect? If not, shouldn’t have all those undesirable conditions. I know they want to create Shinkis as close and realistic to humans but don’t you think like getting sick shouldn’t be part of the programme? You can have a bug causing their programme chaos and havoc but not getting sick even when exposed to the blizzard.

I guess the Shinkis are quite amusing with each their own personality. However I find that each of them has been somewhat stereotyped. To me, that is. For instance, Clara is considered the joker Shinki by everybody because of their tendency to make fun of her. Even she admits that in the final episode! Well, more like she was denying it to prove that she’s not one. But if you look at it in a way, it’s like also admitting it, right? Pocchii and Tamamii are also another bunch of jokers but they are more idiotic and usually their plan backfires and they will bear the brunt of it. I mean, from their first appearance, they’ve been annoyed by not been given soba noodles for housewarming (thus their ‘grudge’ in targeting Ann and co) and even at the end, they’re still harping about it. Ach is obsessed with fighting fair while Yda places important in style and grace in her fighting. Fubuki is always having weapons slipping out (I wonder where she hid those large shurikens) and each time almost killing Ines. Ianeira is so lax that any rule change is okay with her. Celes may start off as an eager host but when Ianeira allows some change in rules, Celes will turn into a near foul mouth host telling the competitors to get the job done. Ines’ role feels like she is playing the straight guy especially towards dreamy Lene. While Ann has that cheery, pure and innocent personality, Hina feels like an opposite. No doubt that she sounds emotionless in her speeches but in the end, you’ll get the see her displaying some emotions. She also wasn’t too hard up in becoming some battle Shinki since Master is a pacifist. As long as she could be with him, that’s all that matters. I guess even Shinkis can change given they have the right Master.

The action and fight sequence are rather okay but it is nothing to really shout about either. It’s good that the battles aren’t that draggy so much so it lasts the entire episode but I guess the important ones are given a decent amount of screen time. The aerial battles and the vehicle chase scenes are pretty decent too but adrenaline junkies would want to wish for more. I thought the Busou Shinki tournament was a little letdown because it ended as fast as it started. All we see is one stinking match between Clara and Victoria and that’s it. It’s like as thought it wasn’t the important thing (at least for this anime). I suppose with Master not the kind that allows his Shinkis to fight, the final story arc replacing this battle would be Hina’s disappearance. With the Shinkis different weapons, armours and accessories, it really feels that the missiles and lasers do give some impact. But when you think they are just tiny little figurines, magnifying all that explosion just seems miniscule. Besides, it will be really dangerous if something that small could pack a huge punch. Imagine if bad masters start using them for terrorist activities. That would be very bad. Although the different models have different unique weapons and the likes, the design seem pretty cool except that I thought that with all the gears they are wearing, don’t they feel heavy? Unless they have incorporated the science based on ants and how they can carry 100 times more their weight. At certain points I thought the Shinkis with their gears reminded me of those Beast Wars Transformers Transmetal versions. But not so shiny.

I don’t have any issues with the art and drawing except for one minor thing that keeps bugging me. I know that the Shinkis are little android figurines brought to life and not exactly humans. However the concave screw holes on their limbs like the shoulders and legs make them look a little ‘ugly’. To me, because of those ‘sink holes’, they look like those who are suffering from some sort of skin disease. At times my hair just stood on ends thinking about this or when I can’t help myself from staring at it. It’s pretty obvious so I can’t actually avert my eyes and focus on something else. Likewise the ‘lines’ connecting the limbs have this feel that they are little mannequins brought to life. It gets even creepier when those faceless hordes of Shinkis start attacking. I thought I was watching a horror genre using dolls. I don’t want to have nightmares! I guess they also incorporated a little fanservice element but if you ask me, I don’t really fancy seeing little figurines in swimsuits or in seemingly erotic positions. Maybe some people get a kick out of this but not me. How many of you otaku guys who own figurines contort those little ones in sexy turned on poses?

This series boasts a number of popular seiyuus. However a seiyuu voices a model of a Shinki. This means for those Shinki models that do not just appear for one episode and disappear forever, you’ll hear the same voice in the same models. Sometimes it is hard to tell them apart and you’ll be wondering if this Shinki was the other one you saw in the other episode. For example, Ryoko Shiraishi (Himeko in Sket Dance) is the voice of Zelnogrard. The Zelnogrard that comes from the mountains and the one featured as the liberation army in the underground empire are both different despite being the same model and voiced by the same seiyuu. Also, can you tell which Arnval is the real one and the terrorist when Kana Asumi is voicing them all? I thought it was going to be a Hidamari Sketch combo when Kana Asumi and Kaori Mizuhashi take on Ann and Ines respectively. In Hidamari Sketch, Kana Asumi voices Yuno while Kaori Mizuhashi voices Miyako. But Kaori Mizuhashi’s voice is more girly as Ines compared to Miyako while Kana Asumi may not be flustering and panicking as much as Ann as she did with Yuno. I have this odd feeling that Yukari Tamura and Yui Horie as Yda and Ach respectively, it reminds me of a pair of twin sisters they also play in Ben-To. They even sound so much like that part. Minori Chihara once more is going to prove that she will be a suitable person to voice deadpan characters. As Hina and Victoria, those characters sound similar to Minami-ke’s Chiaki, Horizon from Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon and Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu’s Nagato. Other casts include Takahiro Mizushima as Master (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome), Megumi Nakajima as Lene (Ruri in Sacred Seven), Emiri Katou as Clara and Claudi (Kagami in Lucky Star), Eri Kitamura as Pocchii (Mahiro in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san), Mai Hashimoto as Tamamii (Rin in To Love-Ru), Ayana Taketatsu as Zil (Eclair in Dog Days), Aoi Yuuki as Oorbel (Murasaki in Kurenai), Aki Toyosaki as Iris (Yui in K-ON!), Hiroshi Kamiya as Jindou (Nozomu in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), Yukari Fukui as Fubuki (Shizuka in Highschool Of The Dead), Marina Inoue as Ianeira (Kana in Minami-ke), Natsuko Kuwatani as Celes (Suisei Seki in Rozen Maiden) and Rie Kugimiya as Tsugaru (Louise in Zero No Tsukaima).

So I don’t really have the slightest interest in owning a little figurine myself. Not even after watching this show. I guess this won’t end up as an obsessed hobby any time soon. There are a lot of responsibilities even to own one of these little figurines. First, you got to take out a handsome sum of money to purchase them. In order to continue admiring them in their tip-top and most ‘beautiful’ form, you got to clean them, wipe them, dust them and keep them safe from any hazards that may do damage. Heck, it’s just like owning a pet. I understand that to some obsessed ones they are more than just a bunch of waste-of-time collections. Their lifelong companions perhaps. To each his own. But if you really ask me that in the event I have to own something small and cute, I’d rather take in Shinkis any day, any time. It beats having Sea Monkeys anyway.