Da Capo III

September 14, 2013

OMG! OMFG! I don’t believe this! It actually happened! When I first heard that Da Capo III was scheduled to be released as an anime back in January 2013, it really caught me by surprise. After all, I really believed that this series have really ended ever since the last time the TV series for Da Capo II Second Season ended a long time back in 2008. I was really sure there was never going to be another Da Capo forever. Oh. That Time Paladin Sakura OVA, I don’t really consider it as a proper Da Capo TV series. Apart from being surprised, I was also jumping with glee (okay, maybe I wasn’t jumping but you get the idea of happy I was) and feeling a tad nostalgic when this series finally had another season. This series always gives me a nostalgic feel as it was one of the very first animes I watched when I became an anime junkie. Yeah. That feels like a very long time ago.

Of course this being the fifth season (Da Capo I and Da Capo II had 2 seasons each) and the ‘third’ in its title would indicate that this would be s new storyline with a new bunch of characters although the setting is still set on the crescent shaped island of Hatsunejima. As usual, the characters have that very similar look to those in the past Da Capo series. There is one looking very much like Nemu, another like Sakura, another like Aisia and also one resembling Azusa. Oh wait. Azusa isn’t a Da Capo character. Whoops. As the story goes, ever since the events of the last Da Capo series, the everlasting sakura tree has not bloomed since. Yeah, that was 20 odd years ago. So much so it became like a distant memory to many of the people of the island. Some still believe in its magic. The main protagonists are of the Newspaper Club of Kazami Academy. When a strange event that causes the everlasting sakura tree to bloom again overnight takes the islanders by surprise, they go all out to investigate this phenomenon. Of course, it wouldn’t be really a Da Capo series if you don’t have that single, the one and only guy in the club surrounded by a bevy of beauties. I can see where this is going. Yeah. The girls are more interested in that guy and having him more on their mind than this story. I think I’m going to get all nostalgic again over this harem series…

Episode 1
We are introduced to the Newspaper Club in the meeting. The club president, Ricca Morizono and the rest of its members Aoi Hinomoto, Himeno Katsuragi, Charles Yoshino, Sara Rukawa and the only boy in the club, Kiyotaka Yoshino. I’m not sure if Ricca’s speech is so boring that Kiyotaka had fallen asleep. Not only him. Aoi too. She wants to sleep for another 3 decades! Maybe she should just sleep forever. The rest whisper into her ear the secret word of the need to get to work. Instantly she springs into action and starts stripping to change. Wow. Fanservice this early? Back to their discussion, Ricca thinks they should use the theme of magic for the next issue. Ricca’s determination is to beat the Unofficial Newspaper Club as they are gaining popularity. In short, it’s Ricca’s personal grudge against Suginami who is the president of the unofficial club. It is decided they will do a special edition on the graduating class. Since they are going to use the theme of magic, what better way than to pay a visit to the everlasting sakura tree. Rumours once had it that it was supposed to grant any wish. In addition, it blooms all year long before it withered into a normal one 20 years ago. Ricca believes there is something magical about it since her father was alive to see them during his time. So the Newspaper Club gang are at the sakura tree making their wish. You won’t know if you don’t try. All of a sudden, the sakura tree starts to bloom in full! What did they do? Has it revived? Then each one of them gets a mail simultaneously. However the words are jumbled up. An unknown sender. Did somebody send this by mistake? More perplexing, the date of the message dates back to 1951. Blast from the past? A prank? Ricca thinks the date is part of the message someone has sent them from that moment over a century ago.

Kiyotaka and Charles are back in their room discussing about the possibility of the revived sakura tree to perhaps grant their wishes. Charles becomes persistent in wanting to sleep with him. He’s got no choice whether he wants it or not. He tries to hint the implications of doing this as she is now an attractive woman but it is that precise reason why she is doing so. Next day, the TV is rave with news about the shocking revival of the sakura trees all over Hatsunejima. At the school gates, Suginami waits to confront the Newspaper Club (his assistant Mikoto truly adores, admires, respect this dude whatsoever). He is here to declare war on the official club as his next article will unravel the mystery of the sakura trees blooming. To make it more interesting, the loser must do what the winner says. Kiyotaka is not interested but as usual, Ricca accepts the challenge. If the Newspaper Club wins, the unofficial one must disband as long as Suginami is in this school. But if the unofficial club wins, Suginami will take Kiyotaka as his personal partner! Why? Because he wants him!!! Oh sh*t!!! Is that an open declaration that he loves him???!!! I’m sure Mikoto is so devastated to hear that. Ricca is confident that their club will win since their bond cannot be broken. So don’t worry Kiyotaka. Easier said than done. Are we motivated to win yet? Everyone except Kiyotaka… Lastly, sitting by the everlasting sakura tree is a familiar petite blonde…

Episode 2
Kiyotaka’s buddy, Kousuke Edogawa must be praising how popular Kiyotaka is getting. Actually it sounds like a jealousy rant because Kiyotaka is in a club that has the school’s best beauties! Yeah, he thinks he is hogging them all! In the club room, Ricca discusses with her members about last night’s incident. Especially about the mail they receive, could it be some error or is there a chance that others aside them have received it. For the latter, it might not be possible as Ricca has asked the students and they do not receive it. So it is only exclusive to them. Ricca suggests splitting into groups. Four will head into town to get more information about the sakura tree and the remaining two will investigate deeper into that message. They’re going to draw lots so hold no grudges. In the end, Ricca drew the short end of the stick and the one ended up with hard feelings. Because she didn’t get to be on Kiyotaka’s team to go interview the townspeople (hint, hint). Hey, it’s her idea, right? And she was so confident about it… The rest of the episode feels like Charles-focused episode. Charles wants to cook for Kiyotaka but he knows she’s a bad cook despite eating all the food she cooks every time. He is ‘saved’ when Himeno comes in with proper dinner.

At school, Charles tells Kiyotaka to strip because she wants to fix back his button. Then she talks about wanting to repay and rely on him. Since they’re family, she hopes he won’t hold back. And as repayment for fixing his button, she wants to eat his home cook dinner. I think she wanted a kiss but it’s too early for that. Charles is so happy looking forward to it that she spaces out during her student council meeting. Kiyotaka and his team interview the people in town. At the end of the day when they’re about to head back, Aoi realizes her house key is missing. The key to her workplace is also attached with it. Everyone agrees to help retrace her steps and find it. By night fall, thankfully Kiyotaka has found them. Happy ending? Not when he reaches home. It’s dark… There’s a lonely figure munching bread all by herself… Oh no! It’s Charles! It’s the incredible sulk! Did he forget his promise?! Worse, he forgot to text her about what he was doing. As he takes a bath, he remembers how Charles first came to live with him. As atonement for not making dinner for her, Charles wants to bath with him. This isn’t good. Or maybe it is. She enters the bathtub with him but he can’t take it anymore and wants to leave. She won’t allow that. Finally, that familiar petite blonde wanders around town in the dead of the night.

Episode 3
While conducting his investigation in town, Kiyotaka catches glimpse of Sakura. She is surprised that he’s talking to her (duh?). She ‘vanishes’ when a gust of wind blows the sakura petals across. Sakura continues to wander around and meets Utamaru (“Nyaa~”). They become best friends and continue wandering. Kiyotaka researches for past articles about the everlasting sakura tree and finds several mysterious incidents reported before it wilted. Guess what? All the articles are written by the Unofficial Newspaper Club. Do they exist way back then? Annoying Mikoto probably wanted Kiyotaka to show some respect for the club but he manages to get away with a little seduction, telling her face is cute. On his way back, Kiyotaka catches Sakura falling off a wall before continuing his investigation. He visits the everlasting sakura tree once more and is surprised to see Sakura there. She is devastated that Utamaru is gone and can’t find him. Kiyotaka agrees to help find the cat and finds it stuck atop a tree. Sakura is delighted to be reunited with Utamaru. When Kiyotaka asks her name, she thinks a while before replying the same as the cherry blossoms. Kiyotaka treats Sakura to sweets since her stomach is growling. After she is charged up, she wants to play with him. Not that kind of hentai play lah! At the beach, she plays sword fighting with Utamaru (amazingly she lost to the cat!) followed by tag. Then they go pick some shells at the rocks and draw pictures in the sand (OMG! Sakura drew a very surreal image!!!). Kiyotaka stays by her side as she falls asleep after playing hard. It is sunset by the time she wakes up. It’s time to go home so happy Sakura leaves with Utamaru. Kiyotaka gives his last sweet to her. He notes her as a strange girl since she starts calling him “onii-chan”. Because Sakura is thinking too much, Utamaru steals her last sweet. There goes dinner…

Episode 4
A Himeno focused episode this time. Kiyotaka goes to check on her since she is running late for school. What a wake up morning call because he sees her in her undies while dressing up! Pink lingerie! WOWWW!!! Morning fanservice, me like! The odd part is that he continues to ogle at her while trying to give excuse how she has matured into a fine woman! Does he need her to tell him to get out???!!! Yeah, I bet he enjoyed looking at her. So do we ;p. While taking the bus, it suddenly breaks when a pedestrian suddenly jumped into the street (thankfully nobody died). This causes Himeno to fall off balance and Kiyotaka catches her. His hand got hold of her butt… Going to release his grip any time? Himeno wanted to invite Kiyotaka to her lunch but her friends got to her first. She has a hard time saying no so it turned out too late when Kiyotaka hits off with Kousuke to the cafeteria. Of course that guy wants to know if their relationship has progressed. Especially if they’re doing this and that. The Newspaper Club meet to compare their research data. Himeno has found out that their former principal may know something about this sakura tree and its powers because she disappeared after it wilted. Coincidentally, she shares the same surname as Kiyotaka and Charles. Is she related? Not that they remember. When she shows how their former principal looks like, Kiyotaka is shocked that it looks exactly like Sakura. Later at town, Kiyotaka is oblivious to Himeno’s feelings so she leaves his side. Kiyotaka spots Sakura and Utamaru and accompanies them at the playground. He thinks back of all the good times he spent with his childhood friend Himeno. Sakura spots his sad expression and assures she will be here for him. As he helps her make a sand castle, he asks if she knows anything about Yoshino. Apparently her puzzled face means she doesn’t.

Late that night, Himeno texts Kiyotaka to meet. She wants to spend some quiet time with him. For the question if he is lonely, it is more of regret because although they’re having more fun together in the Newspaper Club, it feels like they are having lesser time together. It’s like a relationship he thought that will never change has changed. She wants to hold his hand like old times. Even though they’re embarrassed by it, they manage to do so. Himeno relishes every second of it. Next morning, Kiyotaka learns his lesson to knock before entering. Since there is no response, he enters her room to see her still sleeping. Worse, she is sleep talking of something erotic! She wakes up only to find herself nearly indecently dressed and that he has heard about her dream. At the bus stop, Kiyotaka continues to ask her what was it that she is dreaming. She doesn’t want to tell him. He teases her that judging by her reaction, it was something erotic. It would have been fine if they had talked about this somewhere more private. There are other people at the bus stop too, you know. And they look more embarrassed than them, hearing them talk aloud such lewd and private topic. Then Kiyotaka got himself in a corner. Doom if he says he wants to really do such erotic thing with her. Doom if he says he doesn’t want to. So which is it?

Episode 5
Kiyotaka talks to Sara about her amazing grades and in no time she can skip up all the way the main campus. He might have to call her his senior. Well, I think she prefers the way things are. Suddenly Charles comes smothering Kiyotaka with her faceboob. He doesn’t want her to show too much skinship. Okay. She’ll reserve the rest back home. Back home?! This embarrasses Sara. More embarrassing, Kiyotaka have no qualms telling her how close they are at home. Sleeping together and bathing together. Doesn’t he feel embarrassed even though Charles is his cousin? If he doesn’t, Sara sure is. Sara demonstrates her exceptional rationale in class when the teacher asks her to interpret a sentence (I’m too stupid to understand that line of “Everybody dies eventually”). After sports practice, Kiyotaka helps Sara keep the equipment. Classic cliché situation. The teacher accidentally locks them in. They’ll have to wait… To pass time, Kiyotaka asks her why she came to this school since her grades could have qualified her to other better schools. On the day she was born, her parents dreamt at the same time of her wearing this school’s uniform. They think it’s some kind of omen. Sara thinks it’s fate and good too because she gets to meet him. Suddenly… She needs to go to the toilet and can’t hold on any longer! Now, where have I seen this situation before? Oh, some perverted hero anime and some incest sister anime… Luckily Himeno is outside as she was looking for them. She heard Sara crying for help. When she opens the door, Sara rushes out in tears. Oh boy. She must have misinterpreted the entire thing. That smile isn’t cute. It’s scary!!! Later Kiyotaka teaches Sara practice her softball swing. Mmm… Seems ambiguous. I think she likes it. Not the lesson. The feel of this. It took him long enough to realize this looks fishy. Can’t finish the lesson now? As he picks up the balls, Sakura and Utamaru come by to help. Having fun, aren’t they? After school, Kiyotaka follows a stray cat and it leads to Sara sleeping underneath a sakura tree with other cats. Cute… He puts his jacket on her but this wakes her up. She gets embarrassed when she learns he was watching her while she was sleeping. And he can’t help tease her too because she’s cute when she’s mad. Though she forgives him, as penalty she’ll confiscate his jacket. Maybe she wants to keep it. Lastly, she hopes he can forget that sleeping look. How can a guy like him forget a cute girl’s face? Seriously? But he’s glad to teach her softball swing again.

Episode 6
Ricca takes Kiyotaka to the clubroom by hand and even made him lunch. Truly the envy of the other guys… Her plan is of course to have lunch with him alone because he has been spending too much time with the other girls. Like living with Charles (because they’re cousins), Himeno always comes over from next door (that’s what childhood friend are for), working at the same part time job with Aoi (she always needs the extra help) and coaching Sara’s softball team (he wants to help the genius fit in). Ricca reveals she formed this club so she could spend time alone flirting with him. She can’t refuse others who wanted to join since she was happy to have people joined. Besides, making newspapers are so much fun too. She believes they are connected by the red string of fate and swore to each other in their past lives. Later Suginami talks to Kiyotaka. Even though they are enemies, he thinks it is a good idea that they still share information about their reporting. Kiyotaka can’t trust him yet and Ricca butts in. Suginami leaves but not before offering that his doors will always be open should Kiyotaka become stuck in his investigation. A guy in a hurry pushes Ricca. Kiyotaka catches her. So close their proximity that they could, well, anyway they did not. When the Newspaper Club gather to update their investigation findings, Kiyotaka mentions the strange little girl he always met, Sakura. This led the girls to misinterpret he is a lolicon. After school, Kiyotaka turns back to give Ricca her lunch. It’s already evening… They eat together and she’s really happy he was worried for her. But she’s not happy that he doesn’t have any ulterior motive to kiss her or even hold her hands. Well, he’s the kind of guy who is nice to everybody.

Since she wants him to be especially nice to her, Kiyotaka has to take her out for a night date. That includes taking photos, dressing up, eating ice cream and a free accidental fanservice view of her pantsu! Ricca is a happy girl at the end of their short date even though it feels like forever. He asks if Ricca really loves him. Of course she does otherwise she wouldn’t have kept repeating that they are destined lovers. When he brought her lunch, she was very happy. She’s harping on their past lives thingy because sometimes it makes her upset that she is the only one who can remember those fun times. It’s like she is the only one who cherished those memories and that he ‘betrayed’ her. Because in their past lives, he had a good look at every inch of her body. She is willing to show it to him now. Really? Maybe some other time. But she’s going to make him remember it all one day and make him say he loved her since 100 years ago. Next day, Sakura and Utamaru wait for Kiyotaka at the school gates. They are happy to see him. The other girls meet Sakura for the first time and think she is pretty cute. Learning that she calls Kiyotaka her ‘onii-chan’, they really misinterpret he is a lolicon.

Episode 7
Kiyotaka knows Aoi is sick but does he really have to feel her forehead with his own in front of the other girls? Can you sense a different kind of temperature rising? And so Kiyotaka gets permission to carry Aoi back home. Along the way they meet Sakura and Utamaru. She’ll promise to play with her once she gets better. Back at her home, Aoi requests him to change her clothes. This involves stripping her, right? Why so reserved? Do it already! We all want to see her underwear. She’s even telling you where she keeps her underwear! Yes Kiyotaka, just like Aoi said, we trust you! And so in this awkward moment, Kiyotaka takes every piece of clothing off Aoi. Oh yeah! Then with his eyes close, her bra. Oh lala! Her panties. SWEET! No turning back now. I mean, he should turn his back. Perhaps Aoi realizes this is getting too much so she dresses up on her own. Damn. After that, Kiyotaka goes home. Next day, he tells Sara to leave a message that he won’t come in for club activities today. She understands what is going on and asks would he help her should she be in trouble. Of course he would. Kiyotaka is at Aoi’s place to cook. The mother of all guys’ dream: Aoi in naked apron! But wait! Why isn’t Kiyotaka looking excited? Such a disappointment! Even Aoi is tempting him to look at her! Such a disappointment and let’s say that the food had more sex appeal than Aoi. Big disappointment… As they eat, Aoi gets permission to call him ‘onii-chan’ since he is like her ideal brother. Then she wants him to sleep next to her till she falls asleep. Well, nothing much happens. Aoi huddles close to him and loves his warmth. Maybe hinting about her big boobs but nothing much. We trust this guy to not do anything funny to her despite given the green light to do anything to her. Even if that was just a joke. Next morning when he returns home, he has to face the wrath of Himeno. She was worried sick last night that he never came home and never called. Will sorry do? She understands it is for Aoi’s sake but he better be prepared for Charles for she was even more upset. Himeno feels he is somewhat lightly dressed. That’s because Aoi is hugging his jacket asleep. Maybe she’ll develop some kind of sick fetish. So back in the clubroom, Kiyotaka is going to get an earful from the girls. Especially Charles who is going to continue this back home. So it’s not over… When Aoi returns all healthy and normal, she attributes it all to Kiyotaka whom she received lots of power. The girls become suspicious when she calls him ‘onii-chan’. Since when did that happen? And looks like today’s club discussion will be a total different matter when Aoi mentions they slept together but did nothing else. This is going to be one hot topic of discussion.

Episode 8
Kiyotaka won a prize to the indoor pool. Since Sakura happens to be there, he invites her. Little did he know that the other girls are also there too. Call it a woman’s intuition. Yeah, they just know. How come he didn’t invite them? How he didn’t tell them? And why Sakura? Oh dear… That’s the least of his problems. He has to pick which one of them has the best swimsuit. Ricca is somewhat upset that his lower anatomy has no reaction! Maybe he’s gay… He is ‘saved’ by Sakura when she invites him to play. Yeah, he might be a lolicon for ditching the other girls… So we see the girls trying to vie for Kiyotaka’s attention but ultimately Sakura distracts them and he goes with her. Lolicon… Then there is Charles’ top slipping off, Sakura teaching Sara how to swim and Himeno finally getting her swimsuit praised by Kiyotaka. During the slide, Kiyotaka sees Mikoto scared but that tsundere acts tough and in her struggle, they both slide down (in 69 position). She loses her top at the end of the ride and the other girls begin to think the perverted guy he is. Kousuke is also here and relishes his swimsuit harem. Just when he thought he had spotted the perfect girl, it turns out to be his sister Shiki. Sister is going to teach brother a lesson. Say goodbye to his harem. Bold Ricca has Kiyotaka rub lotion on her (even if they are indoors). She makes him rub lower and when Sakura’s voice startles him, he finds his hands grabbing her ass! Then the girls enter a swimsuit competition and onstage they flaunt their sexy swimsuit and poses. I think all the guys got turned on except for Kiyotaka. Maybe he is really gay… Ricca as the last contestant struts her stuff when her top comes lose. Sakura jumps on stage to prevent any free show. In the end, Sakura won the contest. I think the judges are lolicon. Yeah, how can all the girls with such voluptuous boobs lose to a flat chest? When Sakura notes she prefers Ricca’s boobs because when she felt them touching her back it made her feel relaxed, Aoi decides to grope Ricca’s boobs to test that theory out. Does she swing this way too? At the end of the day when everybody parts, Sakura stumbles upon a girl who knows who she is. Is this Minatsu?

Episode 9
Kiyotaka needs to make haste to the toilet. However Charles is occupying it and the door wasn’t locked. He saw her ‘very relieved’ face. Gosh… Suginami seems to have planned something with Kiyotaka and Kousuke. Of course Kiyotaka wasn’t listening but Suginami has no time to explain and leaves. Then Kousuke keeps bugging Kiyotaka about the kind of dress he would prefer his girl to wear when they first have sex!!! WTF?! I know Kousuke has his preference… Kiyotaka tries to bluff him that Shiki is around. Yeah, that sister scares the hell out of him. Apparently the second time using this trick, she’s really there. In fact, she was there the entire time! Because of that, the duo are ‘captured’ by the student council and ‘tortured’ to spill what they are planning with Suginami. At least Kiyotaka isn’t as bad as Kousuke who became Shiki’s ‘stepping stone’. A smoke bomb is thrown in and Suginami only saves Kiyotaka. He couldn’t care less about the rest because remember, it is only Kiyotaka whom he considers his life partner. So jealous Mikoto had to curse Kiyotaka to get diarrhoea. Suddenly her stomach feels bad… That’s what you get… Suginami gives Kiyotaka a capsule. He knows there is something fishy about this and wants to return it but Suginami wants him to hold on to it and that this will help him in his time of need. Kiyotaka on his way out of school, sees Kousuke continue to be reprimanded by scary Shiki. God save his soul. The student council president, Elizabeth stops him and hopes they could have a private chat. She seduces him into revealing his plans with Suginami. But the rest of the student council members pop up. Especially Ricca and Charles who aren’t satisfied with this ‘cheat’. But Kiyotaka must be more wary of Tomoe Gojuin because she is going to kill Kiyotaka with her wooden sword! Luckily Kiyotaka manages to make his escape by deceiving her with the oldest trick in the book. “Hey! Look at that cute cat!”. Well, Utamaru is really there but Tomoe is still looking for the cute cat. Poor Utamaru… At the beach, Kiyotaka wants to hand back the capsule but was told to continue keeping it. Opening it, Kiyotaka is surprised to see it. Well, Suginami puts it as something he needs ready to climb the stairs to adulthood. Anyway Kiyotaka knows he doesn’t need it. Back home, I guess he calls Mikoto just to piss her off. I mean, he was really worried about her diarrhoea? Charles comes out from the bath and wants to seduce him like Elizabeth but he had to bring up the topic of seeing her in the toilet this morning.

Next day in school, Mikoto confronts Kiyotaka. Here we go again. Kiyotaka can deduce from her pity life that she sits around at home doing nothing. Though she claims it as waiting for Suginami’s orders. Never did receive them, eh? Mikoto is brought to tears seeing how ‘eventful’ Kiyotaka’s life is. So pitiful of her that he decides to take her out this weekend! Serious?! Well, Mikoto is tsundere after all. He then gives her the capsule. She happily takes it seeing it’s from Suginami. Of course we hear her shocking reaction once she finds out what’s inside it. And so, Mikoto did really wait for Kiyotaka at the café. He is surprised Aoi is working here too. Looks like Aoi is not happy he is ‘dating’ another girl. The tsundere dismisses anything like that when Aoi reveals she saw her happy face while waiting for him since this café opened. That was like 2 hours ago! How many coffee cups did she have?! Kousuke is spying on him but is made to treat Shiki to parfaits. Or else… Kiyotaka brings her to the amusement park. I don’t know who this girl Mikoto suddenly became rival with because they challenge each other to the games and the extreme one came in during the air hockey whereby both sides cheated (like breaking the disc) just to ensure they beat the other! Kousuke lost Kiyotaka when he tailed him to the amusement park. Then Shiki had to make him go all scared when she accuses him out loud as a failure being a stalker. His life is really hell. Kiyotaka and Mikoto ride the Ferris Wheel. He learns she doesn’t have many friends because she considers herself that way. She feels she is always outside the circle. He thinks she is over-thinking because if they didn’t like her, they wouldn’t have even talked to her. She wonders if they can do this the next time. Of course. Back to tsundere mode. But we know she’s very happy. Later that night he gets mail to meet Suginami. He gives him the website of a detective agency called Amakase. This is to help him investigate the sakura mystery. The bill? It won’t cost a thing. Just tell them that the Unofficial Newspaper Club recommended him. That’s all. He also thanks him for keeping Member #1 (Mikoto) happy. Kiyotaka is outside the detective agency as Minatsu welcomes him.

Episode 10
Minatsu further explains she is a robot and wants to prove it with her rocket punch. However nothing happens. As her assistants, Yuzu Kohinata and Yuuhi Takanashi put it, such feature wasn’t installed in her because of the trouble she would bring. Despite looking like a human, she is more ‘unique’ than high-tech. Because she needs constant bananas to run on! So back to the case, when Minatsu learns he is recommended by Suginami, she knows he is here for the sakura blossoming case. Meanwhile, Himeno, Charles, Sara and Aoi are enjoying tea at a sakura viewing sight and discuss about magic. Aoi, if she had them, hopes to make the day longer so she could work longer. Workaholic… Of course the other girls if they had magic would want to do something for Kiyotaka. I guess it’s something embarrassing that they can’t say. Kiyotaka shows the jumbled message to Minatsu. She says that the magic of the everlasting sakura tree is real. Minatsu was a student at Kazami Academy and had all sorts of experience with it, good and bad. Her assistants too had friends who experienced such magic and some of them experienced hardships as a result of it. This makes Kiyotaka ask what is magic. Minatsu replies it is something that grants shape to people’s feelings. As for the jumbled message from the past, she thinks of one possibility: Another parallel world. Her interpretation is that the members of the Newspaper Club from the other world used the everlasting sakura tree to try and communicate something to their counterparts in this world. Kiyotaka didn’t understand what Minatsu meant when she said she recently met someone she shouldn’t have met. But when that time comes, she hopes he could gently reach out to her.

This prompts Kiyotaka to remember the first time he met Ricca. She practically leapt out right in front of him. He thought she mistook him for another person but she was adamant she had found him. What did he do? He stole her heart. Love at first sight? She explains how they’re connected in their past lives. Kiyotaka goes to have lunch with Ricca in the clubroom. She’s sleeping. But she wakes up and chats with him how this room allows her to be who she is and will always protect it. She wants to flirt with him over lunch but he reports his findings and this magic thingy. Ricca is happily surprised because she never thought he would say such words. Despite it doesn’t mean Kiyotaka has believed in their past lives, it feels that their distance is shrinking and that he believes in her more than he used to. Also, ever since the sakura trees blossoming, her dreams had been clearer. It involves a giant escalator descending from the sky, an island with an underground lake where sakuras bloom, a western academy, a foggy city, a clock tower and a girl beneath it which she believes is herself. Is this London? Ricca feels the need to investigate further to get Kiyotaka to know her better so in her haste she falls on top of him. Want to stay this position longer, Ricca? She makes a surprising move by kissing him! Sure, you can attribute it to her feelings of love flowing out spontaneously but Kiyotaka hopes she won’t just kiss him out of the blue. Yeah. She’ll ask him beforehand next time. When the duo arrive at the everlasting sakura tree, they see Sakura and Utamaru. Sakura looks sad. Ricca thought of patting her head and upon contact, visions of her dream flash before their minds. Sakura gets scared and runs away while Ricca is left in shock.

Episode 11
Sakura is feeling guilty. She blames herself for being selfish and the one at fault for making everyone suffer, including her onii-chan (Junichi?). During the meeting, Ricca is more spaced out than usual so the Newspaper Club ends it for today. Ricca feels the memories of the everlasting sakura tree flowed into her. Her memories are somewhat confused. She remembers a flashback. A couple that looks very much like Ricca and Kiyotaka moved into Hatsunejima. The planted a sakura seed which eventually bloomed into a large tree as their own family expand. Sakura looked like her granddaughter. Himeno thought she spot Sakura walking alone and drenched in the rain. She couldn’t find her and calls Kiyotaka about it. He goes off to find her but to no avail. Sakura wants to be alone and dreams back during the time with Junichi. And Nemu… Yeah, that sibling thingy. If you remember. Ricca has found Sakura. They talk and Ricca learns because of Sakura’s wish, everyone got hurt. She thinks Sakura that is why Sakura is running away without doing anything. Ricca tells her a story. Ricca once travelled with a girl named Jill. After 10 years, Jill decided to part ways and gave Ricca her magic wand. Because she can’t use magic anymore once she found someone she love or wanted to protect. Jill thanked her as she was able to meet her special someone but it’s been a pleasure for Ricca. However it didn’t end there. Jill became a victim of witch hunting. If she had her magic, she would’ve been saved. If Ricca had set foot earlier, she could’ve done something. It was too late when Ricca found dying Jill. Ricca felt guilty for taking her magic away during their travels. However Jill had a final request of her. She didn’t want her to hate others and hoped the world will be a wonderful place where flowers can bloom. After Jill died, Ricca blamed herself, hated it, got stuck and ran away. But she remembered in the end, Jill was smiling. Although she still doesn’t know what to do, she doesn’t want to run away anymore. Sakura realizes if she keeps walking, she might get to see Junichi again. With that, Sakura is back to her happy self once more. After she leaves, Kiyotaka arrives and only sees Ricca there.

Episode 12
Ricca leads her Newspaper Club members to meet Sakura. She has something important to announce. She will be leaving this island today and wants to spend her happy last moments with them. And so everyone helps make happy memories for Sakura. From shopping to taking photos to the video game arcade and eating sweets. They feel sad that a friend has to go. Kiyotaka wonders what happened so Ricca mentions she only learnt of Sakura’s departure yesterday. If this is what Sakura has decided, she wants to watch over her. The fun continues at the beach and watching over the island atop a lighthouse tower. After that, Ricca and the girls decide to part just to give Sakura more time to spend alone with Kiyotaka. Even Utamaru understands. So what are they going to do? Sakura wants to go on a date. I don’t know if it makes Kiyotaka look like a lolicon… They walk to the place where they first met before heading back to school. Sakura notices the graduation banners and it will be that time soon for Kazami seniors. Sakura feels sad about graduation and wonders what Kiyotaka will be in the future. Undecided, of course. When night falls, Sakura and Kiyotaka are at the last stop. The everlasting sakura tree. When she touches it, it brightly glows. We see Sakura making a promise to young Junichi. From what I deduce next (and remember), at the end of the events of Da Capo II Second Season whereby Sakura cut her hair short and used her powers to merge with the sakura tree to save Yoshiyuki, she appeared at this place when the sakura tree bloomed for the first time in 20 years. Now she is about to go meet that special someone although she isn’t sure if she’ll meet him. Kiyotaka is confident she will and she notes how similar Kiyotaka resembles to him. His kindness and all. Kiyotaka says she can come back anytime. She is glad to have met him. Soon Sakura floats up and the glowing sakura tree bursts out a bright light. Man, I thought it was an atomic bomb engulfing the island. Sakura is able to reunite with Junichi. Next day, all the Newspaper Club members receive a mysterious mail to come to the everlasting sakura tree tomorrow evening. Hey! Isn’t that grownup Sakura?

Episode 13
Kiyotaka and the girls head to school. Another usual day with the sakura trees in full bloom. They talk about the upcoming article they should do for graduation and also their inability to unravel the mystery of the sudden sakura bloom. Thinking that this evening’s meeting will unravel everything, Kiyotaka thinks they should write from a different perspective. The other girls feel suspicious because ever since Sakura’s incident, Ricca and Kiyotaka seem to have grown a lot closer. For the next few scenes, it is like the rest of the girls try to tussle for Kiyotaka’s attention. Whether being Charles doing her shameless skinship flirting with him in public, Sara trying to invite her to coach softball again and Aoi clinging on to his arm like her own pillow (including throwing in that naked apron offer). Then Himeno calls him to meet at the courtyard. She is serious in wanting to know his feelings for her. But that is ruined when Charles jumps right into him followed by Aoi and Sara. It’s no surprise that guy is really tired so Kousuke the stalker confronts him on how lucky this celebrity is. Yeah. Tired of trying to choose? Envious, isn’t he? I’m sure Kiyotaka is also envious of Kousuke’s position that he is not in such headache position. Ricca finds Kiyotaka alone at the rooftop and joins him. He gets a feeling they will see Sakura again and wants Ricca to tell anything she remembers of their past life. Because she remembered more about Sakura so he thought she might have something to do with their past. Ricca tells one of her stories again. No, that’s not what he is looking for. So does he mean about the night they become one? Before she can go further, they are interrupted by Suginami and Mikoto. He points out that they have been neglecting their club duties for getting involved too much with Sakura and reminds them about their competition. Apparently Ricca conveniently forgot about it. Anyway she doesn’t care about it. Eh? What? She takes Kiyotaka away but the other girls come looking for him. They want him to make it clear which one of them he chooses. Oh God. Oh dear. The moment he dreads. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Who is it going to be? Because Suginami has obviously been snubbed, he orders Mikoto to drop a flash bomb. This allows Kiyotaka and Ricca to get away.

Away at somewhere else, Kiyotaka wants to continue their talk on their past life but Ricca isn’t so interested in that. She’s more interested whom he is going to choose. Whatever happened in the past doesn’t matter anymore. The present is more important. What is more important now is how he feels about her. She wants him to kiss her. What? Hey, at least she gave notice. I guess they took too long so the other girls have arrived. Now he must make a decision. WHO?! He wants… He wants… He wants things to stay the same like this forever. THAT’S IT?! What kind of indecisive answer is that?! That’s not even answering their question! How disappointing. I am surprised that the girls accept it! I suppose if he really did choose, everyone will be unhappy. Those not chosen will be sad. The one chosen will be happy but also feels guilty for causing the heartbreak. So yeah. Stay neutral. When they go to the everlasting sakura tree, they see Sakura popping out from behind. Introducing herself as Sakura Yoshino, she thanks them for taking care of her other self. She explains they have all met before in a different place but it seems they don’t remember a single thing. Sakura relishes all the fun times they had together and the final promise they made in the end: When the sakuras bloom, go to the promised place. She is the sender of that mysterious message. It took a bit of time but she is glad to see them again. Kiyotaka doesn’t understand but suddenly starts feeling very nostalgic. As Sakura puts it, he was the one she was most attached to. Eh? I Do we really need another rival at this time? That’s another story. But this explains why the loli Sakura always wants to hang out and play with him. Now Sakura is going to tell them the long story of everything. She shows them her magic of making sweets from her palm. The only magic she can do for now to make people smile. I think it’s really going to be a long story. So she summarizes for us. There was a girl, a sakura tree, a promise and a modest wish. A precious feeling that remained unchanged throughout time and seasons. It is a tale of beginning and that dream-like dream repeating just like da capo. Switching to a different scene, we are at London beneath the clock tower. Sakura with her hair cut short and a sakura tree branch in hand seems lost and confused. She encounters friendly Ricca and Kiyotaka and they help her out.

Wither The Magic?
Uhm… So that’s it? To put it bluntly right from the start, it wasn’t as enjoyable as I expected it to be. My expectations were too high? Well, as the series reached its end, I lost that nostalgic feeling of this series that I always had. I had so much of them when I first heard about this and then it just withered… I don’t know if it is gone forever or not. Firstly I would say that the plot is the main problem. So what exactly is this season about anyway? What does it plan to achieve? I know there is always the harem factor in the Da Capo series so it is quite expected and welcoming that each of the girls has their fair share of a dedicated episode to them. Heck, even Mikoto had hers. Why not Shiki then? We probably don’t want to see how she torments her brother. This focus-a-girl-per-episode takes up at least half of the series. What does the other half do? Beats me? Trying to solve the mystery of the blooming sakura trees felt forgettable. Like a side distraction. Even if it never bloomed, I am sure Kiyotaka would still be frolicking around with the girls. Or let me put it the other way round, the girls will still be frolicking with him. There might be something I am missing or did not understand (since I did not play the visual novel game that it is based on). And then comes this ending about grownup Sakura and whatever crap on this da capo story thing. I no understand… They added a teaser right at the end with a London setting (I read the game itself has this place). So? SO?! I don’t get it. Therefore, when it is all over, I can’t help feel a little letdown. This season was just mediocre. Perhaps that itself is an overstatement.

There was also no magic whatsoever. Magic in the sense like how Junichi could make sweets with his hands or Kotori’s mind reading abilities. I guess this is true since the everlasting sakura tree withered, all the magic that comes from it just disappears. So with the magic of the sakura tree gone, it is like the magic of this series has also somewhat diminished. We don’t know if Ricca’s tales are just made up stories or some surreal dream. But I don’t think she is the kind of girl who would lie. Or maybe she’d do anything to get Kiyotaka. I hope I’m just thinking too much. Even though with the everlasting sakura tree blooming back, there is no magic seen. Probably some of the people who could use magic have forgotten or lost touch. At least in the final scene whereby Sakura shows them her little magic, it proves that it does exist and not merely some fabrication of one’s imagination. Or perhaps Sakura has become the greatest magician and illusionist. Hah. I know I’m thinking too much on this one.

The characters play a big part in this series but in this season I don’t see that impact. Kiyotaka as the usual main protagonist is just like his predecessors Junichi and Yoshiyuki. Nice guy. Helpful guy. Indecisive guy. I expected somewhere along the lines that he won’t end up with anybody despite we saw Junichi ended up with Nemu in the first Da Capo series (or Kotori if you watched Da Capo If). There are indications that Ricca could be the one since it feels she has more screen time with Kiyotaka (excluding Sakura). Can you believe it that the girls who had pent up all their feelings for this moment of truth, only to be told he wants them to stay like this forever? Is he saying he wants a harem? Are they implying they are okay to allow a harem? Well, I suppose things won’t get serious if nothing is confirmed. When in doubt, just delay it. It seems to work here. So the other girls. They’re just typical. They all love him. Full stop. I have nothing else to add. Except maybe the Nemu character design must be popular because her design has been reincarnated for the third time here as Himeno (Yume for Da Capo II). Sara’s favourite line is “Fuketsu desu!” (“That’s dirty!”) whenever she sees Kiyotaka and the other girls in some ambiguous position. Like as though she doesn’t harbour any herself? And no Kotori look-a-like! Boo hoo! Well, Shiki looks close enough… It’s amusing to see her reign in her brother. I think she loves it. That feeling of control. Controlling somebody and Kousuke is her unfortunate victim since she can’t control Kiyotaka’s heart. Oops. Just speculating. Why isn’t she or Elizabeth or Tomoe taken an interest in Kiyotaka even though if they are just minor characters? I don’t think we should add to any more of Kiyotaka’s women woes. As for Mikoto, she’s a tsundere… She won’t ever be part of Kiyotaka’s groupie.

Sakura also feels very lacking in this season. I thought she would make more of an impact but we just see her bum around, play around and hang out with Kiyotaka when she gets the chance. It’s a good thing he didn’t turn into a lolicon. He’s already got his harem reputation to deal with. Worse, yaoi with Suginami! Man, he’s got all the sexual deviants covered… Ahem. So how Sakura got lost or transported to this time due to events of last season and all that crap, I don’t understand. Then that moment she bumped into Minatsu. So what? Did she remember her role when she saw her, thus making her final decision? I wished it was something that simple. I also thought there was something more and mysterious to Suginami. You know, since he appears in all Da Capo series looking the same so I thought he must be some sort of local god or something. So whatever happened to his dream of making Kiyotaka his life partner? Why that? Seems we didn’t care enough to find out. Maybe it’s because we won’t want that to happen too. If he’s going to fall for someone, at least be it a girl. It would be tad shocking and disappointing if he had chosen Suginami. Yeah. A real outrage. The girls, the fans, the viewers, everybody. Even his initial challenge was thrown out by Ricca. Don’t care about that anymore, don’t we? Since the show is going to end soon. Hence, I felt Suginami was really redundant as the series goes by. His appearance in the final episode was just to remind us that he was still around with Mikoto. Like as though he didn’t really matter. Finally there is Kousuke. You always need a loser guy in this kind of show as comic relief just to make our main guy stand out. All he ever does is complain about Kiyotaka’s harem. That’s all he does in this season. Minatsu’s cameo appearance only serves to make us ponder the possibility of parallel universe and alternate worlds. So what? So the characters and such plots only serve to bring down the worth of this season. Utamaru… Still around… Nyaa~. Don’t even know what its significance is for this season besides being Da Capo’s mascot. Well, sakura and the cat are something that this series must have, right? It’s its trademark.

Sadly I don’t even feel the impact of the romance factor despite having focused episodes on the girls. That is because one main reason is that this season, the fanservice level has been really upped. I don’t remember if the previous Da Capo seasons had this much of fanservice but this one really go for broke and could have turned into an ecchi series. They already started out the first episode with Charles’ skinship and followed by her bath scene in the next episode. Who wouldn’t like to see a girl like Himeno sleeping in her undies? Ricca is quite the teaser girl because sometimes she flashes us her panties. Fanservice mode reaches its high during Aoi’s episode when she has him take off her clothes. You can’t get better than that, can’t you? If all these fanservice is not stimulating enough for Kiyotaka, I am afraid I have to label him as gay. I’m not sure if you buy the DVD and you will be able to see tits. Probably Himeno and Ricca had some proper potential for romance but you know, it didn’t turn out well. Himeno ends up the most holding his hand and Ricca still ranting about her past life with him. At this rate I don’t think he’ll remember them. Ricca’s kiss was just to throw us off balance for a while. Though it is nice to see the girls’ background relationship to Kiyotaka, somehow I wished that they would have expanded it a little further instead of just making it a quickie. Oh, right. This show is dedicated to fanservice and Sakura. So real romance thrown out of the window and almost all the girls love Kiyotaka. Simple. At least Kousuke can take heart that even though he has no girlfriend, he still has a girl always by his side: Shiki. Yeah. That’s a demon and not a woman. I’ll bet he’ll say that. But it proves that he is not totally a loser when it comes to girls, right? Or maybe he is… The first Da Capo had lots of drama while the second had tear jerking elements. So I thought they wanted to make the third one more light hearted and thus the excessive fanservice.

The one thing that I will give credit too is the drawing and art. It is nice to see the sakura petals blossoming and scattering everywhere throughout Hatsunejima. Sakura trees are a lovely sight to behold although their life span is short. This island never had this problem till those events 20 years ago so I suppose everybody took it for granted. Now that it is back, although everybody is amazed with its return, instead of trying to find out why it happened, better enjoy it while they can before it withers again. The background and scenery are also well done but the main highlight is still the sakura. Needless and goes without saying, the characters are still the typical trademark design of Circus, the creator of the Da Capo series. Personally, I feel that Kiyotaka is the least handsome guy compared to all the leading guys in the Da Capo series. Even to all the other side character guys too. I think Kousuke looks a bit better than him. Really.

For the voice acting, the very one thing that bugged me in this series was that Yukari Tamura wasn’t the voice of Sakura! It was indeed shocking. When I first heard her, I was appalled. But not to the point of disappointment. I mean, Sakura had a different voice actress in her Time Paladin spin-off. I thought at least Yukari Tamura would be retained but it seemed Hitomi (Primula in Shuffle) did the honours. But her squeaky loli voice did make Sakura sound like a cute loli. As I suspect, the only guy who has voiced in all Da Capo series would be Daisuke Kishio (Kaname in Vampire Knight). He is the voice of Suginami and it fuels my speculation who this dude is. Like he is able to transcend space and time and is always in every Da Capo series. The same look, the same voice, the same attitude. Also retained is Haruko Momoi (San in Seto No Hanayome) as the voice of Utamaru. The rest of the casts include Yuuki Ono as Kiyotaka (Arai in Kimi Ni Todoke), Emi Nitta as Ricca (Malga in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon), Mikoi Sasaki as Himeno (Hercule in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Ui Miyzaki as Charles (Aisia in Da Capo Second Season), Hiro Shimono as Kousuke (Keima in The World God Only Knows), Sayaka Aoki as Shiki (Kyon’s sister in Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu) and Arise Satou as Mikoto (Christina Sierra in Mobile Suite Gundam 00). Erika Kaiho and Chiyo Ousaki make their voice acting debut as Aoi and Sara respectively. It is the only voice acting roles so far by them at this time.

The opening theme this time isn’t helmed by Yozuca. Instead, Sakura Happy Innovation features the voice of the quintet ladies of the Newspaper Club. Although sounds like your typical anime pop, it didn’t really appeal to me. What is more intriguing is the strange dance that the girls put up. Personally I don’t think it is that cute. It just looks odd. It feels like they are going Kyuuuunnn~. Watch it to get what I mean. Not going to be as infectious as Gangnam Style. There are 2 main ending themes and they are sung by the usual alumni of Da Capo opening and ending theme singers. Yozuca is featured here in her slow rock ballad called Aitai Yo. The other ending theme is Meguru by CooRie. She still sounds like how I imagined her to be. But somehow the tune of the song reminds me of Sora No Manimani’s Hoshikuzu No Surround, a song which she sung for that anime. The special ending theme for Ricca focused episode is Reflection by Emi Nitta, a slow-moderate pop piece. In that episode too, Yozuca sings the insert song, Futari Dake No Melody. CooRie also sings a handful of insert songs like Kimi Ga Suki and Kimi Ni Saku Hibi. These songs have this easy and calm feeling and pace to them and they enhance the mood of the scene.

I’m not sure if this season would warrant a second season because based on its predecessors, each has a second season to their name. Maybe. Big maybe since nothing has been heard of yet. I guess some of the teasers and other revealed plots towards the end are for. A big probability of another season and you might have guessed it from why this series is named so. It goes on forever and ever. The same thing. Just different time and characters. Maybe there is still some magic in that. That’s why even though I am a little disappointed with this season, if there is going to be another season or some spin-off OVAs whatever, I will definitely watch it. For nostalgia’s sake. For old time’s sake. I hope the magic of it all will be restored then. Otherwise, not even wishing hard on the everlasting sakura tree could even save it.

Time Paladin Sakura

June 1, 2012

Hey, hey! It’s another Da Capo series! Actually, Time Paladin Sakura is a spin-off from the Da Capo series. It has nothing to do with the original plot of the Da Capo series as in this double OVA episodes, we have Sakura Yoshino as the main protagonist instead. Don’t expect this to be a love-romance genre, though there are some magic bits involved. This spin-off that came out in early 2011, uses the characters from the Da Capo series and some of its setting, nothing more. The plot is relatively simple (why make it so complicated when it is going to last for only 2 episodes?). Sakura may seem like an ordinary third grader but she has some secret powers. She is what you can call a Time Paladin and travels through time to fight villains, especially those who want to destroy or alter history for their own nefarious ends.

Episode 1
Back in the period of Edo, the magistrate chief and his men are chasing the elusive thief, Nezumi Kozou. Thanks to the distraction of a black cat, Archimedes (a black version of Utamaru – and talks!), Nezumi is apprehended. Sakura then appears not because she is arresting Nezumi, but the chief magistrate himself who is actual the Temporal Thief Suginami! He has loads of treasure stolen in his sleeve. Sakura uses T.P. Evolve Change so that we can see some henshin scene like a magical girl to reveal her true pink kimono uniform. In an attempt to capture him, Sakura accidentally destroys part of the roof with her magic cards. Not good if you’re trying to keep history intact. Suginami continues to mock her but gets trapped by her Giant Punch spell. He seems confident like as though he has a trick up his sleeve. Indeed he does. Out of the wormhole come his assistants, Nemu and Miharu to rescue him. Suginami thought he had the last laugh but Sakura zaps him as he drops his treasures. Maybe next time, eh?

Back in present time at Hatsunejima, the Sakunomiya Shrine houses the headquarters of the Historical Continuity Defensive Department which is headed by Chief (who is also Sakura’s grandma) along with Alice, Mako and Moe. Sakura gets lectured by Chief over her little destruction, which is unacceptable for a Time Paladin. You know who much work needs to be done to maintain history coherence? I don’t know. She reminds her of their important mission to stop those planning to rewrite or destroy history, bla, bla, bla. You think a young girl who is forced into this kind of line is interested to listen? She meets up with classmate, Junichi and on their way to school, he gives her some sweets seeing she had to rush for another time travelling job without breakfast. Junichi is the only person who knows of their secret. However they are stopped and chided by Suginami who is the student council president for eating in the school grounds and is going to reprimand them for being delinquents. With Nemu and Miharu coming by, Nemu offers to take care of the situation seeing Junichi is her little brother as Suginami can’t be late because he’s the school role model. In class, Sakura is a slacker in just about anything. She sucks in history (you think travelling back through different times would make her good in remembering dates, eh? Wrong!), she sucks in music and she definitely sucks in art (heck, Archimedes fares even better). During PE, Sakura thought she could dance with Junichi but got Suginami. Yeah, the duo are like cat and dog. It’s lunch time and before Sakura could sink her teeth into her food, she gets an emergency dispatch call from headquarters to move out. Oh darn. Hate this on-the-job-duty-calls, don’t you? Yeah, she’s being chased by the mammoth anyway. How can she run on an empty stomach?

Somehow she manages to finish that mission and she’s not too happy. Archimedes reminds her that only the Yoshino family has the powers to travel through space and time. Therefore it is her destiny to be a Time Paladin. Sakura isn’t amused, though. Junichi saves the day with more sweets and desserts for her hungry stomach. He mentions his dream of becoming a great pastry chef to make great Japanese sweets to bring smiles to everyone so Sakura says her dream is to become someone who will protect that smile. Back in the student council room, you might have guessed that Suginami is that thief. Yeah, the room is filled with stolen treasures. He is unhappy that this time he had only stolen a Bible. It could be from Geronimo or Shirou Amakusa, the one during the Shimabara uprising whereby the Christians rebelled against the Shogunate. Junichi knocks on the door and immediately the room reverts back to normal. Junichi got the scare of his life when he sees an eye popping out from the Bible. Maybe he’s just seeing things? One Suginami’s student council duties are over, he is now free to do as he wish as the Temporal Thief. He’s going back to Edo. Meanwhile Sakura gets another dispatch message while cleaning so she has no choice but to leave it to Kotori. When the eye from the Bible opens, Junichi suddenly collapses. The headquarters identify a Time Eating Worm, dangerous worms born from distortion of time that feed off various things and damage history. It must be eliminated before it grows. Though Junichi is resting at the infirmary, his mind finds himself in a desolated place, and Amakusa materializes from the Bible. He is going to be one with Junichi and… Did he kiss him?! Anyway, Junichi falls under his spell. Mako thought she detected another Worm but the signal disappears and she scoffs it off as a mistake.

Sakura is still in the Edo period when some guy is nearly completing his Elekiter. A lightning strikes it and the Worm turns the Elekiter into a giant monster. Sakura is to intercept it when Suginami and his assistants intervene. He won’t allow her to destroy that historical treasure even if it’s being inhabited by the Worm. Why? That’s because he is an ally of justice! Is he kidding us? Both sides attack and though Sakura won, the distraction causes the monster to go on a rampage. She brings order back by firing her Dimension Rifle (I thought she was going to pull off something like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica’s Mami’s super blast) to destroy the monster. Suginami thought the treasure is done for but to his surprise and relief the Elekiter is still intact. But this causes him to be tied up and arrested by Sakura. Suddenly Sakura receives a distress message to return to headquarters as they are being attacked by an unknown enemy. Amakusa, who has seen visions of the world being led to the path of destruction and feels the need to correct it, barges into the main bridge and wipes everyone out. Sakura returns with Suginami only to find Chief messed up. Her worse fear comes true when she sees Junichi in Amakusa.

Episode 2
But as Amakusa explains, he is just borrowing Junichi’s body and memories. He is going to absorb the sakura tree, which is the spiritual tree connecting to all epochs. Chief, Alice, Mako and Moe combine their Fusion Magic to blast a Rainbow Storm into Amakusa but is has no effect. He returns the favour and knocks them all out. Amakusa continues to absorb the tree till it withers and is pleased to have the ability to time travel and rewrite history. When everyone regroups, they assess the damage as Chief orders a Dimensional Lockdown. Sakura keeps wondering about Junichi and wants to save him but Chief mentions she is in no shape to do so. Even if she could, the tree is already withered so time travelling is impossible. Meanwhile Amakusa has trouble using his powers and went back too far in time instead of his intended destination. Nevertheless he still causes rampage. The headquarters are able to detect him as Chief plans to deploy Magical Torpedoes and even the powerful but forbidden weapon, Magical Cannon. She has no choice since the enemy has absorbed the tree’s powers and must prepare for the worst case scenario. Sakura protests in using that as it might destroy Junichi’s body. She is escorted back to her room but breaks out and returns to the roots of the tree. Chief orders the firing of the torpedoes. Not only it did not work but Amakusa can still hop into other dimensions despite the lockdown. Suginami is confined in a room and ponders if the Bible and Junichi had anything to do with what’s happening now. He pleads for someone to release him when the door suddenly comes down on him, thanks to Miharu’s super punch. He should properly time his move. It’s time to bust out.

Emotional Sakura pleads to the tree to give her powers to save Junichi. A single petal drops into her palm and this is enough to open the dimensional gate for her. Amakusa finally arrives at his intended time period, the Shimabara uprising. Since Junichi is awake, Amakusa lets him see how his brothers and sisters were abandoned by God they believed so much and got slaughtered. Amakusa couldn’t believe He chose a corrupt future where cruel dictators flourish. His hatred developed into a Time Eating Worm and waited for ages for this chance at revenge. He chose Junichi because of his special body. It won’t be affected by the changes to history. His goal is to destroy everything and become God himself. So, another maniac who wants to play God, eh? Sakura arrives on scene as Amakusa dispatches his Worms to keep her company. Mako intercoms Sakura to return as they are going to fire the Magical Cannon. That distraction has Amakusa binding her for the moment. Chief fires the cannon but to their dismay, there is no scratch on him despite taking a direct hit. Amakusa is enraged and blasts away Sakura. Luckily he is caught by Suginami who happened to pop up just in time. Why is he helping her? Because he is the ally of justice! Remember? Actually, if the world was destroyed, he had nothing more to steal :).  Sakura can’t give up now and will think of a way to save Junichi. She will tackle Amakusa while Suginami and his assistants will take on the pesky Worms. Sakura wants Amakusa to give Junichi’s body back and he challenges if she manages to touch her, he will. Sakura clones herself as Amakusa confidently takes them all out till the real one is left. In perfect timing, the headquarters did a brief Dimensional Lockdown and transfer Sakura to the imaginary space. This allows Sakura to appear from behind Amakusa as she pats him on his back. But Amakusa isn’t going to honour his words and strangles Sakura instead.

Junichi fights to regain control of the body so Amakusa lets him taste some electrifying pain. Junichi wants Sakura to defeat Amakusa but she can’t because of his promise. He too reminds of her promise so Amakusa is surprised he is willing to sacrifice himself for these corrupt people. Junichi says there are people who would help others even if they are already hurt themselves. Sakura is convinced to finish Amakusa off and blasts her Dimension Rifle through Amakusa while Junichi holds him down. In the aftermath, Sakura is weeping over Junichi’s body. But alas, he opens his eyes! No, this is not heaven. As Chief explains, anything inhabited by the Worm will return to normal once the Worm is destroyed (like the case of the Elekiter). Junichi hopes Sakura won’t hate Amakusa too much because he just naive that he couldn’t forgive the evils of this world. Before he disappeared, he whispered something to Junichi: “It isn’t God who creates the future. Therefore I shall leave the future to you two”. Well, that’s a huge responsibility I’d say. But we’ll think about that after Sakura fills her stomach. Guess what? It’s deja vu again. Just before she can sink her teeth into that yummy dish, it’s another dispatch order. Why does Suginami always ruin her lunch time?

Magical Girl Sakura…
Everything is rather okay and perhaps the nostalgic feeling of the Da Capo series is what compelled me to watch this spin-off. So will Sakura continue her Time Paladin destiny with a different view now seeing it’s just more than a job or a family tradition? Well, that’s another story. But it still boggles me how they kept history intact with Sakura bloopering in some of the missions. Maybe they have a way. Like making all those who have seen lose their memories. I mean, if that is not the easiest explanation, how do you explain that all those people back in the olden days seeing magic from Sakura and hi-tech inventions (Suginami’s flying saucer)? Wouldn’t they be spooked to see flying humans and magic spells that come out from just cards? Hmm… Maybe that’s why we have legends and this sort of fairytales passed down from generations, eh?

Though the main art and drawing is still similar to what we see in the other Da Capo series, some of the characters have been slightly altered in their appearance. As we know Sakura in the original Da Capo series looks like a little kid but she’s actually a teenager. To match that, Junichi and Kotori have been turned into third graders themselves! While Kotori looks cute as ever (as she was even if she’s a teen), Junichi was just unrecognizable. The only reason why I would have guessed it is him is because off the process of elimination. Who else could this person be if you’re going to use the characters from the Da Capo series? Suginami also looks different too. He looks a bit like a villain. Due to the couple of episodes, don’t expect to look out for any character development. Don’t bother finding out why Suginami is a Temporal Thief along with Nemu and Miharu. It is mind boggling the fact that if Junichi knows Sakura’s secret as a Time Paladin, how come he doesn’t realize his sister Nemu is part of Suginami’s thief trio. Who the heck is Archimedes, really? Maybe every magical girl needs a pet mascot? Miharu is amusing because well, she gets to shoot beams out from her eyes! Okay, so the Miharu in the original Da Capo series was somewhat an android too. Kotori has been driven to the sidelines so much so her presence was forgettable. In a way, this OVA would’ve moved on with or without her appearance. The action is rather okay with all those fancy magic nicely executed. Thus Sakura isn’t just your ordinary magical girl who transforms but fights villains using her magic cards. If she had used those to capture her enemies, she might have been called Card Captor Sakura! On second thought, maybe not.

A totally different aspect to this OVA is that all of the characters are voiced differently from the original Da Capo series. Except for Suginami (still by Daisuke Kishio – Kaname in Vampire Knight). Yeah, it’s like the same guy transcending different parallel worlds. I guess putting different seiyuus mean you get a different feel like as though this is another parallel dimension. It felt a little odd at first without the squeaky Yukari Tamura voicing Sakura and instead we have Suzuko Mimori (Sherlock of Tantei Opera Milky Holmes) doing the petite blonde. Then we have newbie Aina Kase doing Junichi instead of Yuuki Tai. No more Yui Horie for Kotori but Emi Nitta (Malga Naruze in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon). What was Akemi Kanda as Miharu now has become Ayana Taketatsu (Azusa in K-ON!). Mako was done by Yuki Matsuoka and now is voiced her by Kanae Itou (Sanae in Shinryaku! Ika Musume) likewise newbie Hitomi Haruka does Nemu instead of Sakura Nogawa. Archimedes is voiced by Rie Nakagawa (Nue in Tayutama -Kiss On My Deity-). The opening theme, Fly Away T.P.S. by Sayaka Sasaki is an upbeat dance-pop beat while the ending theme, Boku Wa Kimi No Soba Ni Iru is a moderate pop piece by yozuca.

I’m not sure if there are going to be another spin-off projects from this series. But if they do make them, I’ll definitely have a look because, well, for nostalgic reasons. This anime has become such to me. Maybe they can do one with an RPG theme, eh? So time travelling and keeping it safe from those with evil intentions seem like a tough job. Well, if it seems plausible, then the perpetrator who altered history will have a different path in the future, which means he/she will never had the chance to go back in time to alter history, right? Confused? Never mind. Can’t think on an empty stomach. Lesson learnt after watching this series: Better grab something to eat fast before something ‘important’ turns up. Well, like they say: Time waits for no man. Or a little girl in Sakura’s case.

Da Capo Second Season Omake

September 16, 2011

Woah! What’s this?! I thought I saw everything there was to be for the Da Capo series when it surprised me that there were extra specials called Da Capo Second Season Omake. How come I didn’t know about it? More like I didn’t bother to find out more then. So yeah, more nostalgic trips down memory lane. Though they are extra short clips lasting around 10 minutes or less, nevertheless they are fun to watch because I still liked the series even if the comical short clips do not have any bearings with the storyline. Well, this is of course like its name suggests, extras you get when you buy the DVD.

The leading character in these extras is Aisia. What do I mean by leading character? Well, she is the only character that appears in all 7 extras. However the amusing thing is the visual presentation. You see the chibi characters in card board cut-outs while there are strings and such to show their ‘movement’, usually bobbing around or the card boards flipping between sides to show their different state of emotion (hey, there are 2 sides to a card board, right? Might as well maximise its use and if there are more, use more!). It’s like as though they’re in a play. It’s pretty obvious but that’s where the fun and hilarious part is.

At the start of each clip, we are being given a dramatic narration about Hatsunejima Island, the place where the series is set and of course these extra episodes. We are being told about this crescent-shaped island’s exact location, population and other detailed information are unknown. There are even legends that this island could be the sunken Atlantis or floating in the sky like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Man, I know this story fiction but to even say like this is stretching it. In short, it’s a mysterious island with no shortage of stories in the imagination. And this story is the crystallization of the blood and sweat of the girls of Hatsunejima. Wow. Some legend…

Extra #1: Girls Have Their Secrets
Aisia is pondering her recent arrival on the island and everyone is being good to her. But there are some things she doesn’t understand like why Kotori always wear her white cap everywhere she goes. She starts imagining the secret she might be keeping underneath it. For instance, a yakisoba bread for Junichi when all other breads are sold out or a textbook in case he forgets to bring his so she could share and get lovey-dovey with him. Then it gets more ridiculous as she starts imagining she keeps a pet tiger that likes biting her head for lunch or a tank for world domination since the school only needs one idol and that is her. Now Aisia is pushing it when she starts thinking about more convenient things hidden under the cap like clothes, detergent, laser disc, calligraphy brush or… She’s an alien and the cap is her real body! As Aisia starts freaking herself out, she feels a cold chill down her spine. It’s Kotori and since Aisia knows too much about her real identity as an alien, she devours her! No! Say it isn’t true! Kotori isn’t an alien! I refuse to believe it!

Extra #2: The Job Yet Un-Dreamed Of
Aisia pays the infirmary a visit and meets Nemu. Seems she has a little problem and Nemu is glad to help. Though Aisia pisses her off a little when she thinks Nemu’s job is Junichi’s little sister and not a nurse-in-training. Worse, a little sister who can’t cook! Anyway back to the problems Aisia is facing, seems she has trouble reading and writing Japanese characters. After Nemu departs her advice in the form of an idiom, she decides to have Aisia undergo an operation by slicing her! Notice the rip in Aisia? However that isn’t the end of Aisia’s problems. Heck, she has more problems. And each time she tells her problem, we see this trend of Nemu giving her that idiom-like advice before slicing her with her operation and another tear appears on Aisia. Her subsequent problems include not liking the taste of natto, troubled about Japanese people bowing their heads when they greet and hard to count Japanese money. Each time, the slicing operation gets faster and faster so much so Nemu does away with the advice. In the end, when Aisia asks about her problems of the boy she likes, before she could finish her sentence, Nemu conducts another operation. Now Aisia is full of tears and rips! It occurred to her that Nemu just wanted to cut her! Yeah, she’s loving it. And the good news? All her problems are gone! Really? Hey, can’t argue with the nurse, right?

Extra #3: The Nabe Kingdom
Aisia meets Mako and Moe pulling their giant nabe pot and are in the midst of gathering ingredients for their nabe. She learns about the duo’s obsession with the nabe dish so the duo explain in detail more about it like Japan having more than 600 million types of nabe (obviously made up!) and that the nabe dish was first developed by NASA to withstand heat of atmospheric re-entry (bullsh*t!). And what the heck is this theory that clay nabe pot comes from space? Now it’s extra-terrestrial? What about the aliens that crashed in Roswell were actually here to reclaims their nabe pot? UFO sightings are actually nabe pots? Oh, now you’re really pulling a fast one. Notice how every poor animal that passes by, be it a bird or cat, gets quickly ‘kidnapped’ and put into the nabe pot? I don’t want to know what kind of nabe this will turn out. Most likely a yami nabe… Anyway the sisters continue with their nabe legend via a play (why does Moe keep interrupting with a giant comet falling in?). Anyway in this peaceful kingdom with a beautiful princess, the Demon Lord of Nabe appeared and kidnapped the princess. If they want her back, they have to give him their legendary nabe pot. Failure to do so means forfeiting the princess’ life. BY this time, Aisia is also dragged into the play and as the king who prepares the nabe for the Demon Lord. The king lets the Demon Lord eat it but the burning sensation in his mouth allows the guards to attack him and save the day and thus the peace of the world is defended. Till today, it is believed that hot nabe is essentially in having powers to drive demons away. Aisia isn’t going to believe in any more of this crap and even spews that they’re going to say the universe is made of nabe. Right on! We see the entire island inside a nabe pot floating in space. It’s final! The universe is actually one big nabe pot! I realized something out of all this: I don’t like nabe!

Extra #4: Forget About Everything
As Aisia strolls in the park, she is suddenly hit by an arrow in the forehead! It’s amazing she didn’t die. Tamaki and Nanako come rushing to her side and are relieved to find she’s okay. This was what happened. Nanako wanted to get inspiration for her new manga work and had Tamaki as a model pose in a ‘kill everything’ expression and wanted her to hold that mean facial expression while she sketched away. For realism, she also had Tamaki hold a bow and arrow and fired it. The rest is history. The thing is, though there are no external injuries, Aisia seems to have lost her memories! But being amnesiac isn’t necessarily a good thing. At least for Aisia. In her case, she starts calling them names like Glasses (Nanako) and Red Skirt (Tamaki). Nanako gets inspiration for a new plot for her manga and wants them to play along even if she gets branded evil for doing so. Aisia continues to mock Red Skirt about her lame fashion seeing that hers and Glasses are wearing the same uniform and that she is old-fashioned. Furthermore, she ridicules her black hair and Tamaki is close to boiling hair while Nanako is taking down precious research notes. The last straw came when Aisia derides her bow and arrow weapon that can’t really win against modern weapons. Now Tamaki blows her top and is going to make sure she loses all of her memories permanently as she fires her arrows randomly. She just snapped big time. In the end, the arrows hit each of their foreheads. Yeah, that’s 2 arrows for Aisia now.

Extra #5: Hatsunejima’s Last Day?
Sakura and Utamaru watch the news reporting about a comet approaching Earth. She’s cool about it until she finds out it will crash into Hatsunejima. With 1 hour to impact, Sakura rushes out the house and meets Aisia. Seems that airhead Aisia isn’t alarmed yet and thinks if the comet crashes, 3 wishes will be granted! It’s not a genie lah! The comet is visible as both girls argue about the crashing sound of the comet (they have so much free time, eh?). Yeah, even Aisia has the cheek to say if the comet really crashes on Hatsunejima, they’ll be no more DVD extras. Then some theory about Hatsunejima’s creation via volcanic eruption and its shape via crashing of the comet. So what to do now? For the first time ever, Utamaru actually speaks! I believe I’ve never heard this mouthless cat say anything other than “Nyaa~”.  Utamaru has a suggestion to stop the comet. And that is for them to transform into magical girls! After chanting the lines to transform (sorry folks, no transformation scene, which is good since we’re running out of time). Okay, so they start arguing about their costume so Utamaru tells them to focus and have a mental image of destroying that comet. Anyway it doesn’t turn out good and got distracted by their own fantasies. Utamaru adds the essential 3 ingredients to destroy the comet: Concentration, courage, friendship and concentration. Wait, that’s four but why repeat concentration twice? Shows that concentration is important. WTF?! Now they need a spell to cast but since Utamaru hasn’t thought about it, they start arguing about saving the world. Don’t care how but as long as they look good saving it? The need to speak English too? Do they know the intensity of the problem here? Then the girls get annoyed by the loud noise and by that time it’s too late because the comet comes crashing on them! The football as the comet just smashed onto them! KA-BLAM!

Extra #6: Banana Relation
Miharu is seen doing some dark monologue about her secret garden which is the residence of electronic fallen angels at the cutting edge of technology ruled by a demon known as science. She is snapped out when Aisia and Alice pay her a visit. Noticing her strange room with lots of buttons, Alice can’t help push ‘beautiful’ buttons that result in weird effects like ribbons come covering them. Then Miharu mentions about the self-destruct switch and this pisses off Aisia for even having such a button. Alice once again couldn’t help press it and sets everything on fire! Well, at least the lights of explosion are pretty. Once everything calmed down, Miharu shows them more meters, buttons and switches in this research lab of hers. How does she know which switch is which? For starters, she introduces the self-destruction switch! Okay Alice, please refrain yourself from pressing it. Then Miharu shows them an altimeter but nothing happens when Alice presses its buttons. Aisia is further angered by what kind of lab this is so Alice says she wants to have good memories since she finally got to see Miharu’s room. Miharu shows them the weird stuff she has like an exact proportionate doll size of Nemu and a comet! Plus there is this new experimental banana that will fill you up with a bite. Miharu takes one and she bloats up into a fatty! Plus, she’s talking like a sumo wrestler! Panic ensues as they try to find a cure for Miharu in the lab. Then they realize the whole lab is flying after looking at the altimeter (Alice pressed the button, remember?). Aisia messes with the precision instruments in hopes of getting things back to normal but to no avail. By this time Alice can’t help herself and presses the self-destruct button. Ten seconds to self-destruct! Let’s just leave it here.

Extra #7: Congratulations
The visuals here are totally different. We see actors dressed in black while the characters they represent as a card board hanging around their chest. Aisia meets Nemu and Sakura on the streets and it seems they are planning some secret thing. Hint: Cake store and decorations. Later, Aisia is invited to a dark room whereby Sakura and Nemu surprise her with a birthday greeting. However the shocking factor isn’t the surprise they pulled off but Aisia mentions it isn’t her birthday today. Thinking that it might be the Xth day she arrived on Hatsunejima or staying with Junichi and co, they soon invite her to stand in a certain position. Then the room gets dark again. A girl comes in as they surprise her with a birthday greeting. She is Inarimon and it seems today is her birthday as Sakura says that since today is Inarimon’s birthday, might as well celebrate it with Aisia’s one. Aisia gets mad that she’s just an afterthought. She holds it in as Sakura brings out the cake. How come it has the name of Yamada on it?! Who the heck is Yamada?! Apparently another person who shares the same birthday with them. Seems she is busy and couldn’t make it, just like their other pals who are celebrating other friends’ birthday party elsewhere. Why the heck are there so many people’s birthday today? Aisia is annoyed of Inarimon’s friendliness and wonders who the heck she really is. Is she even supposed to be on this show? Now for the presents. Nemu presents their gifts: 3 rubber bands, 1 ballpoint pen and a screw. WTF?! An amazing haul, they say? Aisia has had it with this lousy party and wants to go home. The rest feel guilty and with innocent tone mention that they’re doing this out of love for her to be happy. Aisia apologizes, thanks them and makes peace. She then extends her friendship to Inarimon but that girl mentions this is a different case and not to get carried away. Aisia back to her pissed off version wondering if she has misread the signs. Then Sakura and Nemu leave the duo alone as it’s time for them to go shopping. An awkward of silence as Aisia curses what she has done to deserve this fate. Soon Inarimon also leaves as she says she’s got a birthday party thrown for her back home. With Aisia all alone, she starts going crazy and plans to remake the world the way she wants it. A world whereby nobody is happy and every day is her birthday. And with a cute devilish laughter, a line narrates that’s how her magical wish for happiness went hopelessly out of control. Hey, that’s why in the TV series, in a way it did screw up, right?

Extra #8: There are no more extras! Really!
Well, that’s pretty much about it. I have to say that I enjoyed every bit of the comical skits. Aisia in every extra seems to either be pissed off about something or that sarcastic look on her face. The other girls seem to take turn and have their own fair share of screen time as well. Too bad my favourite Kotori only appeared in the first one and that’s it. I like some of the endings which ended abruptly or hanging. For instance the comet crashing or the arrows sticking into their foreheads or the self-destruction end. It made me go, “Oh my”. Hey. Noticed that at the end of each extra, the girl(s) will experience some sort of ‘death’? Whether is being eaten, getting cut, getting strike in the forehead, blown up or being squashed. What about Aisia losing her sanity in the final extra? I guess that’s a dangerous ‘death’ to her sanity.

The creative part as mentioned is the visuals. Nearly in each episode we see almost different formats either for the characters or the backdrop. For the cut-out of the characters, we don’t just see them hanging on strings, but sometimes on sticks or even human fingers. There’s one even using stop-motion action. And the final one using the whole human is purely creative and unconventional. But in most Japanese acts on stage, this is quite normal. As for the backdrops, if you pay attention, some of them are real still images of sceneries and there was one background with live action movement. Others include simple drawn pictures on a cardboard backdrop (one with colour and another one only in black and white) and a montage of pictures. These experiments may not be groundbreaking but they are fun and amusing to watch especially when they put into action the characters. They look cute and funny.

So once again, it proves that I still like this series even if they are in the form of extras. Hoping that there will be sequels or spin-offs in the future but as of this time, looks like there isn’t any news on the Da Capo series and even so I can’t be hoping it would be going on forever. Everything will come to an end eventually. Maybe I should go do some research if the other seasons had other extras to it as well. But then again, maybe I’ll let it surprise me.

Here is another set of anime series which I find closely similar to each other. This time they are Da Capo and Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~. One reason why they are suspiciously similar is because they are both based on the H-game developed by the same company, Circus. So just change the few characters, the storyline and plot a little bit, add some novelty here and there, and wah lah! There you have it, another different story altogether. So okay, here we go:

The lead guy
Refers to the main male protagonist.
Da Capo: Junichi Asakura.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Haruhiko Amami.

The harem girls
Refers to the girls who are seen as the main love interest to the main guy. And yeah, the main guy eventually ended up with one of them.
Da Capo: Nemu Asakura and Sakura Yoshino.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Riko Fukamine and Kirino Konosaka.

The other girls
Since they are both harem anime genres, it is not surprising that there are other side and supporting girls in the fray too. Albeit not as important as the ones mentioned above.
Da Capo: Kotori Shirakawa, Miharu Amakase, Mako Mizukoshi, Moe Mizukoshi and Miski/Yoriko Sagisawa. In the second season, Tamaki Konomiya, Nanako Saitama and Alice Tsukishiro join the harem.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Chisa Fujimiya, Rinka Hokazono and Yukari Kamishiro.

The other guy
In order not for this series to be dominated by a single guy, he needs to have a best buddy, eh? They do have that similar personality…
Da Capo: The mysterious Suginami seems to have knowledge just about anything and though a top student and excellent athlete, loves dragging Junichi into various situations. In the second season, Suginami seems closer to classmate Kanae Kudou.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Maki Endo is an outgoing and passionate person obsessed with anything to do with science and has crazy inventions but often goes out of control. Also likes setting up Haruhiko in various situations.

The returning girl
One of the girls who have returned from a faraway place back when they were young and now back to their hometown when the series begins.
Da Capo: Sakura returns from USA.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Riko.

The detesting girl
What’s this? A girl who does not seem to like the main male lead? Ah well, nobody is perfect.
Da Capo: In the second season, Aisia may not show her loathing side towards Junichi but she does not like the fact the way Nemu is hogging Junichi so she creates a little magic-cum-trouble to level the playing feel for those who are after Junichi’s affections. In the end she realizes her mistake and notes that magic can be used for greater good.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Nami Satou is obsessed with Rinka and doesn’t like the fact (rather jealous) that Haruhiko is too close to her even if that guy doesn’t harbour any romantic feelings. Nami causes trouble when she tries to use her Gift resulting in dimension and space distortion. In the end, she reconciles with Rinka, accepted her Gift and became part of her dojo.

Siblings but not quite blood related
Must be the trend in today’s animes because Junichi and Nemu of Da Capo consider themselves as siblings while Haruhiko and Riko of Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~ too regard themselves in the similar way but of course not blood related. Does she have big brother complex or is this situation to confuse viewers about incest? Either way, they both ended up with each other. Blood is thicker than water, eh?

Pet
The little animal that seems to always be by a character’s side.
Da Capo: The mouthless white cat named Utamaru seems close to Sakura. In the second series, Sakura has a little puppy named Harimao.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: A little black crow (I thought it was an owl!) named Jinta seems close to Chisa.

The place
The setting of the story.
Da Capo: On an island named Hatsunejima.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: In a seaside town named Narasakichou.

The magical phenomenon
The distinguishing occurrence always seen 24/7.
Da Capo: Sakura trees bloom all year long throughout the island and a large never-withering sakura tree which grants wishes.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: A permanent rainbow in the sky, night or day, rain or shine.

The magical feature
Refers to the magical aspects that the residents of that island/town has.
Da Capo: Some of the inhabitants posses magical powers like the ability to make sweets from one’s palm or read the minds of others. However later in the series, as the never-withering sakura tree is able to grant wishes, it doesn’t filter bad ones from the good ones and thus mishaps do occur. That sakura tree withers in the end.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Each of the residents posses 1 Gift, a once in a lifetime miracle which can only be evoked once. There must be a willing giver and a willing receiver or else it will wreck havoc and this is evident with 1 of the rainbow colours turning black. That rainbow in the sky disappears in the end.
The teacher
Refers to the homeroom teacher for our student casts.
Da Capo: Koyomi Shirakawa, Junichi’s homeroom science teacher and Kotori’s elder sister.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: The name of Haruhiko’s lolicon homeroom teacher is not known but I referred to him as Sensei. Sick loli lover!

The school
Refers to the school where our student casts goes to.
Da Capo: Kazami High School.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Shimono High School.

Student council
Da Capo: Nemu is part of the student council. In the second series, Otome Asakura is the head of the student council with Mayuki Hosaka as her assistant.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Because student council president Sena Asakawa is so klutzy, her assistant Ibuki Yajima is the one pulling the strings. She also has 2 followers which echo every sentence she says: Ayako and Maiko.

Researcher
Da Capo: Koyomi is also part of the research team responsible in creating the robot Miharu.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Tamami “Tama” Konoe is part of the research team studying about the existence of Gifts.

Catfight
When things get tense and the desperate attempt to get the main lead guy for herself. All part of the conflict in a harem series.
Da Capo: Episode 20 has Sakura trying to play psychological guilt on Nemu by forcing Junichi to carry out his promises. The heated quarrel has Nemu collapsing and coughing out sakura petals.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Episode 9 has Kirino accusing Riko for breaking their promise about not using their Gift for Haruhiko, in which the latter did so. Kirino is unwilling to forgive Riko which causes the latter to be guilt ridden and gloomy.

Beach episode
Ah, what is a harem series without the mandatory fanservice. And what better way to show off some skin at the beach.
Da Capo: Episode 6 whereby Junichi invites his pals to the beach for some fun and relaxation.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: Episode 4 whereby Haruhiko and the rest take it to the beach on a hot summer day.

Jungle and hotspring episode
Yeah! More fanservice episodes! Hooray!
Da Capo: Episode 13 sees Suginami inviting the rest to a jungle themed hotspring but ditzy Moe causes a little havoc about misinterpreting and saving some ostrich eggs.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: In episode 4, Maki sets up a test of courage through a forest to test the relationship between Haruhiko and Riko but it awfully went wrong when real ghosts appear. Episode 13 (OVA episode) sees Haruhiko and the girls running a hotspring inn belonging to Kirino’s parents and faces tough competition from an unscrupulous new hotel owner.

Jealous guy
Not that song from John Lennon. We know that he’s the main harem guy so I guess it’s obvious when someone else shows an interest in one of his harem girls. Pfft…
Da Capo: In episode 9, Nemu receives poems from an admirer but it turned out to be a girly guy instead of a girl she’d hoped to be.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: In episode 3, Riko receives several requests from other guys (who are much uglier) to be their boyfriends. But in the end, Riko’s first love has always been Haruhiko.

Number of episodes
Da Capo: In 2003, the first season span 26 episodes followed by second season with another 26 episodes in 2005. It then spawned a sequel spin-off containing 13 episodes in 2007 and another sequel following that in 2008 with a further 13 more episodes. If that isn’t enough, in late 2008 and early 2009, a 2 episode OVA called Da Capo If was produced. Phew! They sure stayed true to the meaning of its name Da Capo.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: The original TV series ran in late 2006 with 12 episodes and a single OVA episode.

Opening and ending themes
Da Capo: Yozuca does the opening themes. First season is Sakura Saku Mirai Koi Yume and for the second season is Sakurairo No Kisetsu. All ending themes are sung by CooRie which include Mirai E No Melody (first season’s first ending), Sonzai (first season’s second ending), Akatsuki Ni Saku Uta (second season’s main ending) and Kioku Love Letter (special ending theme).
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: The opening theme is done by Miyuki Hashimoto entitled Nijiiro Sentimental while the ending theme is Kokoro Niji Wo Kakete by Misato Fujiya.
I know I’ve said this before in my blog but let me say this again. Notice how most of the lyrics in Da Capo songs have sakura while Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~ has niji (rainbow)? Yeah, even the lyrics are themed this way.

Drama CDs
Da Capo: There are lots of them produced ever since its inception. Based on Wikipedia, a total of 11 drama CDs covering the anime and the visual novel.
Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~: A total of 5 drama CDs which features the 5 main heroines of the series each.

Conclusion
In my opinion, since Da Capo was one of the very first animes that I have watched, I would definitely prefer it over Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~. Besides, the drawing for the former is much better as compared to the latter because in the latter’s case, there is something about the way the characters’ eyes are drawn. Too big their pupils? Because of that, the character designs in the former series is better and taking into account that this series has spawned several sequels, there has been ample character developments, storylines and other factors which makes it a better series. But I wouldn’t say that the latter series is totally bad. Rather I felt it was a little rip-off of the former even if they are both different but from the same producer. If both shows ever have any sequels, I’d definitely go watch them.

Da Capo Gift ~Eternal Rainbow~

Da Capo If

September 11, 2009

Unbelievable! I really didn’t think that there would be more sequels coming out from this series. So this Da Capo series in a way does live up to its name of never-ending, eh? After 4 successful seasons of TV series (in my opinion, by the way), I wouldn’t have guessed that the producers would come out with a 2 episode OVA called Da Capo If.
 
Now, this OVA goes back 50 years back to the original first season of the Da Capo series. This is an OVA made for Kotori fans. In short, the story has our main male protagonist Junichi going out steady with pretty red-head Kotori. All Kotori fans rejoice! For those anti-Nemu people, they would be happy to know that Nemu does not even make a single appearance here. I’m not anti-Nemu but I’ve always preferred Kotori. Hence, the name of this OVA, If. Yeah, if it would only turned out that way in the TV series. So what is in store for Junichi and Kotori in this OVA? Tune in to find out…
 
Episode 1
Kotori comes downstairs one night to see her sister, Koyomi, drinking alone. Note Kotori’s wedding dress and wedding reception note. Wow. It is true that she is going to get married to Junichi soon. Kotori thanks Koyomi for all that she has done and the reason why she could move forward so Koyomi replies everything will be fine since it is him that she will be happy (not to mention all Kotori fans too).
 
The next scene changes and we see Kotori cooking and preparing her bento before rushing off to school. Late running Junichi finally meets her and the duo are off on their way to school together. Along the way, Junichi thanks Kotori for all that she has done and without her, he wouldn’t know where he’d be today. They could’ve got more intimate but Miharu interrupts them, citing that they may be bothering other students (must include her too lah). Even in class, Kotori’s friends are asking her if there is any progress in their relationship.
 
On the rooftop, dreamy Moe makes nabe for the gang. Mako and Suginami are there too. Miharu seems to be the cheeky one now because she wants Junichi to eat all her 3 packs of bento but Junichi says Kotori’s one is enough. With that, Miharu takes away Kotori’s thinking that having a beloved wife making him bento is against the rules (yeah, her bento are all banana ingredients!). Junichi doesn’t like it and starts chasing her to give the bento back. Suginami wonders if Junichi and Kotori are truly lovers already and decides to ask directly. Feeling that Suginami isn’t reading the atmosphere, Mako tries to punch him several times but he as usual evades them all with ease. After school, Junichi and Kotori went out shopping together and at the beach, Junichi catches hold of her when she losses her footing. A little staring. A little blushing. Lips getting closer. Oh yeah! Oh damn! They backed off upon realizing what was about to happen and suggests going home. Back at Junichi’s place, after dinner, he tries to get cups to drink tea but spots Utamaru-patterned ones and spaces out (something to do with Nemu, I guess). He snaps out and is a little panicky when Kotori talks to him. Upon sending Kotori back, Junichi wanted to ask her something but backs out.
 
The next day, Junichi visits a grave which is believed to be of Nemu. So she’s dead, huh? Then he gathers Kotori, Miharu, Mako and Moe to his place and enlists their help to clean up Nemu’s room. Miharu and Kotori didn’t want to but since Junichi requested them, they can’t refuse. As they pack away Nemu’s stuff, Miharu says that there are some items that she doesn’t want to put away but Junichi says that will defeat the purpose. They reminisce about the good old days when they look at certain stuff like Nemu’s neat notes. Then Kotori sees a small shirt and Junichi tells her that is the clothes that she wore when they became siblings and must’ve kept it as a memento. Kotori suggests of keeping this one but Junichi is bent on cleaning every last bit of memory of Nemu. He goes on to say how he has become useless during that 1 year of Nemu’s absence but with everyone’s support to help him get back on his feet, he feels that it is them that he should be looking at. However this statement upsets Kotori as she hastily gets up to return home.
 
Junichi chases her just outside his house and she asks him if it is okay to clean up Nemu’s room. With his stuttering and incomplete sentences, I can guess what he is trying to say that he won’t be able to move forward if he doesn’t. Before he could confess to her, with a gloomy look Kotori apologizes and this shocks Junichi. In such scenes, rain starts pouring to add to the dramatic effect as Kotori runs away leaving him stunned. As she walks drenched in the rain towards the already withered sakura tree, Kotori starts crying and wonders why even though it is the moment she has been waiting for, even though those are the words that she has longed to hear, why she had rejected him. Why oh why, Kotori. It is the perfect chance for you. Because of that, we have to drag on this drama for another episode. ;p
 
Episode 2
Kotori comes home all drenched and wet, which causes Koyomi to be worried. The next day when Kotori comes down to talk to her, Koyomi suggests that she sit school out due to her cold (though it’s not that bad) even if she isn’t supposed to do this as a teacher but she’s doing so as her sister. Junichi walks to school alone and the dejected look on his face is obvious. He meets Miharu who teases him that he had a lover’s quarrel but he is in no mood. Upon finding out from Kotori’s friends that she is absent due to a cold, he goes to see her after school and outside her doorstep, though Kotori says her cold has gotten better, Junichi apologizes for yesterday’s events and leaves.
 
Next day, Kotori goes back to school. At the hallway, she sees Junichi in front of him. They walk towards each other, pretending like as though nothing happened between them. When they passed each other, Kotori just walked on without looking back and this shocks Junichi. Later Mako and Miharu ask him what has happened but he thinks that this isn’t Kotori’s fault since she has been saving him again and again ever since that day. After school, Kotori hangs out with her 2 friends and back home she recollects her thoughts and feelings while wondering why she couldn’t understand why Junichi wanted to clean up Nemu’s room.
 
Another nabe lunch on the rooftop with the usual suspects minus Kotori. Suginami mentions the unusual thing for Junichi to clean Nemu’s room. Why did he do it now and not 1 year ago? Was it strange for him to leave her room as it was? But the answer as Suginami says, is up to him to find out. That guy is as mysterious as ever. Later in the evening, Koyomi spots Kotori sitting alone at the playground swing and goes to talk to her like why she had fallen in love with Junichi. Also as Junichi is looking at the nearly cleaned up Nemu’s room, Sakura makes her short cameo appearance and questions his rationale of cleaning Nemu’s room since it is cruel to do this. He replies he needs to draw the line, make this clear and move on. Sakura chides him back if he could really forget about Nemu if he cleans up her room. He answers he couldn’t. Then Sakura asks did Kotori wanted this or wanted him to forget about Nemu in the first place and this made Junichi realized. Finally Sakura says how he always shoulder anything that bother others even if he’s at the short end and because of that, everyone loves him.
 
Kotori is alone at the withered sakura tree as she remembers the first time she met Junichi at this place. She remembers the time spent with him and liked him for being a person who is honest with his thoughts (Kotori had the power to read people’s thought back when this sakura tree was in full bloom). She starts singing and at the end, Junichi appears and tells her that he remembers. They apologize and embrace. He also thanks her for everything and confesses that he loves her. Soon enough, Kotori too confesses that she loves him and kisses him.
 
The next scene then changes to whereby the duo in their wedding outfits kissing each other in the church. Yay! They finally did it! The day of their wedding reception arrives and everyone eagerly waits for the new bride and groom. Junichi and Kotori are making their way to the school (where the reception is being held) when suddenly all the green leaves on the side transform into pink sakuras. The entire island is in full bloom of sakura leaves! Kotori thinks it is Nemu as the newly married lovebirds take a big step forward, arm in arm.
 
Da Capo Maybe
Hooray! What a nice ending though I felt that the second episode was a little draggy. Nevertheless it was good to watch this series again after some time and of course it does bring back nostalgic memories. Overall though this OVA may not offer much and that the drama and suspense between Junichi and Kotori isn’t intense, but if you’re a Kotori fan, you can’t complain, right? I’m still wondering what the cause of Nemu’s demise is but heck, don’t mind about the minor details. Besides, it’s not that I care anyway (oops!). Utamaru makes short cameo appearances here and there and is still as cute as ever. Nyaa~.
 
Also, I’m still really pondering why Kotori is upset about Junichi cleaning up Nemu’s room. I mean, it’s not like she’s a selfish person and wants Junichi to totally forget about Nemu but perhaps erasing Nemu from his memories would indicate that Nemu is no longer significant in his memories. Sometimes leaving the past behind to move forward may not seem right but in order to move forward, one needs to learn from the past. But I’m glad that the duo reconciled in the end. With the never-withering sakura tree already withered at the start of this OVA, I’m also thinking the time line of these events (no characters from Da Capo Second Season like Aisia too). I know it is an alternate path but without that sakura tree, I don’t feel the magic here. Noticed Junichi didn’t make sweets from his palms? Is that even necessary here? Yeah, there is no harem here too. Not that I actually mind since it is Kotori he ended up with.
 
Something I noticed about the opening theme, which is only for the first episode (the second episode has no opening theme and gets straight into the drama). Named Da Capo ~Dai 2 Botan No Chikai~ by yozuca, there is no ‘sakura’ word in the lyrics! It is quite hard to find lyrics for this song even so. Then I realized when they used the first season’s second ending theme, Sonzai, as the ending theme for the first episode, this song too has not got the word ‘sakura’ in it. But this sombre piece definitely fits the suspense of the first episode’s ending. Then they used the first season’s opening theme, Sakura Saku Mirai Koi Yume, as the second episodes’ ending theme. Very fitting since it ended on a happy note. Yeah, a ‘sakura’ word there. Also, Kotori’s insert song has the word ‘sakura’ in them. Why am I being picky about this? Simply because this a sakura-themed series, right?
 
Let’s see, after an OVA series, now it has got me thinking and speculating that there will be another Da Capo series to follow. Whether it is soon or some time later in the future, whether it is an another alternate storyline or another spin-off sequel, I’m sure I will want to catch it because I still like the series. Not only it has to live up to its sakura theme, but the meaning of its Da Capo name as well. Maybe, just maybe they will make one between Yoshiyuki and Nanaka. Hmm… But that will look and sound more the same like this one, right?

 

Da Capo If

Akatsuki Ni Saku Uta

December 26, 2008

  Shizukesa no naka fureta yubisaki sukoshi tsumetai,
  Tashika na mono wa doko ni mo kitto nai dakedo
 
Another nostalgic song… Brings me back to those days when I was watching Da Capo Second Season. There must be something enchanting about the series which still makes me feel that way after all this time. Not that I’m saying I would like to rewatch it a hundred more times, since watching the whole series once was more than enough.
 
  Yawaraka na hi ga toki ni maichiru utakata no you,
  Boku no kokoro ni ano hi saita mirai kimi ga iru
 
Of course, the other thing which I liked about this second instalment is the ending theme entitled Akatsuki Ni Saku Uta. Sung by CooRie, I think from my listening experiences of her songs (not many by the way), all her songs have some sort of a ‘trademark’ which listeners can easily identify with. Is it her voice and/or the tune of the songs she sing?
 
  Surechigau tabi hi kasaneta omoi wo,
  Sora ni kanadeyou akatsuki no kono uta wo
 
The overall pop song has a nice and smooth play of the strings throughout its duration and some bell chimes here and there. Probably one of the main reasons why I like the song a lot even till this day. Though the verses does not have the strings as I feel it’s to ‘bring out’ the singer’s voice and a dramatic build-up just before the chorus starts.
 
  Owari naki kono michi wo mayoi nagara mo,
  Togireru koto mo nai ai wo dakishimete
 
Although this song alphabetically would be the first few songs that I sing when I start my karaoke session, due to the nature that I need to sing some other ‘easier’ songs first as a warm up for my vocal chords, I usually pass this one in the beginning. So when I have completed my first round of A to Z songs on the list, I will start a second round for the other more challenging ones. And this song usually takes the lead and start for the second round of my several hours long session.
 
  Sakura kaze kara oborete shizuku,
  Nee zutto isshoni mitsumete itai
 
Because of that, I kinda noticed that I can pull off those slightly high-pitched alto lines, especially those lines right at the start of each chorus. Not to say that I’m 100% perfect but at least it sounds much better. Really. Even the last lines of the chorus which has her going to a higher alto tune, didn’t sound so bad for me either. So If I had started this song before warming up, it’s going to be more than just a disaster. A catastrophe. A tragedy. But I hope I can keep going on this way for this song.
 
  Negai wo tsugeru you ni kisetsu wo koete,
  Hontou mo uso mo nai ai wo shinjiteru
 
Though the only grouse I have for this karaoke version is that there are no background vocals, so it made me wonder why it was omitted because CooRie also did a karaoke version with background vocals of the ending song of the first season of this series. Due to that, I felt a little ‘hollow’ while singing this piece. But it’s better than no karaoke at all.
 
  Unmei no ne ga yume ni hibiku yo,
  Sou subete kimi ni tsunagatte yuku
 
I kinda noticed that when I sing the verses, my voice need to be all breathy in order to follow closely to the singer. Sometimes I think I sound close to her. Initially, as I progress throughout the song, I seem to find myself a little out of breath and tired by the time the song ends. Is it because of the way I sing, the higher pitched lines, or have I sung too many songs before this. I need to find a better way to sing this song effectively. But at least by putting some effort into this song, I don’t have to worry about screwing up somewhere while I’m in the middle of singing it. Ah, one of the few songs I can sing with confidence.
 
  Kokoro ni sakasou akatsuki no uta…
 
Da Capo Second Season

Mirai E No Melody

November 16, 2007

  Sora no fukasa ni tomadoi,
  Utsumuku watashi no koto wo,
  Yasashiku mimamotte kureta ne
 
Those are the opening lines of the verse from the first ending song of the anime series Da Capo, which is Mirai E No Melody, sung by CooRie. I suppose it was natural for me to like the song when I first heard it back then since in a way I liked the series.
 
  Kokoro no kakera atsumete,
  Sugu ni todoketaku naru yo,
  Afurete shimaisou fushigi ne
 
This song is quite a slow and lovely ballad which is easy on the ears. The mix of piano playing, synthesizers and a little sound effect makes it a nice song to hear. Okay, perhaps the song don’t stay slow all the way but it gradually picks up a little especially during the chorus. I like the second verse in which the singer sings to a piano solo in the background.
 
  Suzu no ne ga hibiku,
  Namikimichi futari aruita,
  Hitotsu ni naru kage,
  Ureshikutte yuugure mitsumeta
 
Even though I enjoy singing this song, there’s a problem which prevents me from singing it perfectly. Yup, it’s that long voice sustaining high pitched part which is the line just before the chorus and around the last line of the chorus itself. Usually I’m out of breath after crossing that part. I remember that I manage to negotiate that part successfully a handful of times and usually during my peak. But at other times, I flop big time. Talk about inconsistencies.
 
  Sakura no ame ga mau,
  Komorebi ni tsutsumare,
  Ima kono mune ni,
  Furitsumoru setsunasa yo
 
Lyrics wise, this isn’t really a hard song to remember since it’s a love song. Well okay, not so simple since it involves sunsets, sakura cherry blossoms and the seasons. The karaoke version of the song itself has some background vocals so it isn’t that all bad. Actually, partly to ‘hide’ my awful voice ;P.
 
  Meguri yuku kisetsu to,
  Owaranai egao,
  Kitto mirai e no melody,
  Kanadete yukou
 
The tv animation for this song shows real time footage of some scenaries like the river and the sakura petals. Seems calming. The only anime animation is just a short appearance of the character Nemu, at the end of it. So they say practice makes perfect. But I’ve been singing this song for quite some time and I still haven’t quite perfected it yet. Oh yeah, nobody’s perfect. So why practice, right? Well, it’s more like because I love and enjoy singing this song.
 
  Hitomi tojite mo kimi ni aeru itsumo,
  Issho ni…

Da Capo Second Season

September 30, 2006

Further to my blog on 28th April 2006, finally I get some answers after watching the entire Da Capo Seond Season series. Though it’s another one of those abundant harem genres, it isn’t too bad actually. But with 26 episodes in the second season as well, perhaps in a way I wonder what adventures and stories will await our main characters, since I thought that with so many episodes how would the producers ‘stretch’ the storyline.
 
Okay, to start things off with a recap on the first episode on my previous blog. It’s been 2 years since that fateful day on Hatsunejima. Now all the sakura trees are blooming according to its season. Nemu and Sakura are gone. Junichi and the rest of the other girls are graduating students of Kazami Academy (that Junichi guy still has waking up problems). Also some new faces like Tamaki Konomiya, Nanako Saitama, Alice Tsukishiro and Kanae Kudou as Junichi’s new pals. Yeah, seems that Junichi and Kotori had some ‘fling’ together. By the end of this episode, a mysterious girl named Aisia fell unconciously when she arrives at Junichi’s home.
 
So the next episode continues where the end of episode 1 left off. Junichi and Kotori are trying to nurse back Aisia’s health. Good thing she’s regain herself the next morning. Soon she shows Junichi a map of Hatsunejima but the contents of what she’s searching isn’t clear. Yup, she doesn’t talk much either. As usual, a kind hearted Junichi decides to help her look for whatever she’s looking with that map, at the expense of skipping school. During their search, Junichi meets his ex-teacher, Koyomi Shirakawa. Looks like she’s retired, married and have a child of her own.
 
Of course the duo didn’t manage to find it until Suginami appears and helped them solve the mystery. It’s actually Sakura’s old house that Aisia’s looking for, and Sakura’s grandmother in particular. Duh! Next door to Junichi’s only lah. As they arrived at the run-down home, Junichi explained that Sakura’s grandma has long passed away, much to Aisia’s disappointment. But her gloominess disappears soon after she heard that Junichi and Sakura were related, and thus proceeds to call him master and requests for him to be her teacher. Uh-huh, she wants Junichi to teach her magic. Now she’s more lively and talks more.
 
We find out that Aisia’s actually an enthusiastic wizard-wannabe. She wants to help people using her magic, just like Sakura’s grandmother. However, since she’s just an apprentice, her magic usually doesn’t end up all too well, usually with some disastrous (or hilarious) results. And Junichi’ll always sternly remind her not to do so due to the events that happened 2 years ago, but she’s stubborn and doesn’t listen and be tempted to use it.
 
So over the next few episodes will try to see how Aisia fits and adjusts herself with her new surroundings. Like in episode 3 where Mako thinks that having a little girl staying at Junichi’s place isn’t a good idea and proceeds to ‘snatch’ Aisia and take her in to live with them. Unfortunately, that’ll be her huge mistake. Yeah, her magic messed up everything giving Maki and Moe a hard time. In the end, they decided to let her live with Junichi, saves them a heap of trouble. Phew!
 
In episode 4, where as usual, Aisia uses her magic to help several people ‘in trouble’ (actually they’re doing fine, but it seems that Aisia’s treshold and definition of in need of help is quite ‘low’), so in school as Junichi finds out, there’re rumours of such weird things happening. Junichi suspects it’s Aisia, and it gets worse since Aisia wanders into the school compound. So he and the girls split up to search for her. Unfortunately, one of his search place was the girl’s locker room. You know what that means. A lot of angry, modesty-outrages high on Junichi’s tail. In the end, though Junichi manage to find Aisia, Suginami the saviour helped them to get away from that sticky situation. Yeah, Suginami’s a real friend, as he’s always there when you need him. Or is it?
 
Episode 5 is just Junichi, Aisia and the rest doing their school cleaning up chores. Aisia somehow fell into a garbage truck along with Junichi, which is on its way to the garbage compacting centre. Luckily Junichi’s pals are aware of this and are racing against time before they become squished. Fortunately, they arrived just in time to save them. It is here that finally Aisia found out about Junichi’s only magic (yeah, that making Japanese sweets with his palms) and wasn’t too impressed by it. Disappointed, now she calls him by his first name. Oh, the shockness. Nobody ever calls Junichi by that. Well, there’s a first time for everything.
 
Well, the unexpected happened in episode 6. The moment that I’ve been waiting for. Actually, it was more like I was caught off guard. NEMU HAS RETURNED!!! Yay! The episode started as Miharu discovers a letter in her shoe box. Everyone thought it was a love letter and Miharu’s too shy to say anything. During the assembly, it is announced that there’ll be a new school nurse trainee at Kazami Academy. Yup, you’ve guessed it. It’s Nemu. And Junichi must be real shocked and surprised to hear that news. Her old buddies later rushed to greet her, including a tearful and emotional Miharu. Yeah, that letter’s actually stating Nemu’s return but Miharu was pretty shocked by the news, that’s why she didn’t say anything.
 
And as usual, though Junichi and Nemu finally meet face to face, at first it was like Junichi’s quite angry at her and there’s this question of whether she’d be better off if she didn’t return. Yeah, that usual sibling tension as before. Eventually, Junichi welcomed her back and they both embraced. Aww… so touching. As they both returned to Junichi’s home, Nemu spots Aisia doing household chores. And she gets mad when Aisia calls Junichi by his first name and accusing her of being a burglar (actually that only happens in the next episode where she tries to sneak into the house to find out more about Aisia). She walks out furiously. Oh well, the good ol’ days are back again.
 
The next day in episode 7, it’s a little more light hearted at first, with the girls at school taking a physical examination. Don’t worry, Nemu’s doing the examination. I wonder what’s the big fuss of girl’s wanting to have larger breasts size. Yeah, Mako tried to ‘bluff’ Nemu that her bossom’s actually grown larger by putting her hand behind her back so that the measuring tape will seem to go round longer. Then there’s that Miharu who squeezed Kotori’s breasts and in her mind she thought that Kotori had ‘betrayed’ them with her larger ones. They look the same to me. No… I’m not a pervert.
 
But the turning point of this episode is when Junichi’s hiding in some locker when Nemu came in the room together with her mentor, Akishima. From his point of view, it looked like the doctor kissed her! Oh, now he’s real mad and jealous. And the sibling squabbling starts later at night when Junichi argues with Nemu about that incident. A confused Nemu felt hurt and ran away crying. Bad move, Junichi. You shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions without getting all the facts.
 
So in episode 8, as Junichi tries to find Nemu in the rain, again another misunderstood situation as Junichi saw Nemu being driven away in Akishima’s car. Oh well, I guessed he jumped the gun again. So the next morning, he tries to take his mind off this by doing some housework, something we never see before and much to Aisia’s amazement. Then he and Aisia along with Kotori went to do some shopping. Aisia who noticed Junichi’s strange behaviour began to worry, but Kotori explains to her about Junichi and Nemu’s relationship as lovers. This made Aisia wanted to help them.
 
And as usual more quarrelling from the siblings when they meet again (Nemu’s temporarily staying at Miharu’s place after that fight). So Junichi decides to meet Akishima directly and clear things. He’s in for a surprise. You see, Akishima isn’t a bad guy. He’s just Nemu’s mentor and their relationship stays that way. Good man. Akishima proceeds to explain to Junichi about Nemu’s motivation during her 2 year training under him. Looks like her source of motivation was Junichi and she wrote letters to him everyday but didn’t want to send them because she doesn’t want to make him worry and things like that. So now Junichi must be feeling like an idiot, huh. Serves him right. He should be ashamed of himself. In addition, the night he saw Nemu in Akishima’s car was because Nemu fainted and so happened that Akishima was passing by and rushed to take her to the hospital.
 
Therefore, in episode 9, a realized Junichi tries to reconcile with Nemu. But she’s still mad at him. Can’t blame her, right? Anyway, Junichi took the opportunity to explain about Aisia’s presence. Now the scene shifts focus to Aisia. Yup, she’s still a little depressed not finding what she hoped for. Then she meets a girl on a swing at the playground. At first I though it was Kotori, but she looked a little different. Actually I found out later that she’s Misaki Sagisawa. Remeber the cat lady from the first season, Yoriko. Yeah, it looks like eventhough Yoriko won’t be making her appearance this season, at least her master had the courage to finally come out of her shell (her room, that is). And she’s telling Aisia the events which happened previously 2 years ago.
 
Also more ‘dating’ by the siblings and flashbacks of when they’re young. Ah… the memories of season 1. Just like back then Junichi once again promise to continue protecting Nemu. Looks like they’ve both made up and I think they see each other as a couple now rather than siblings. At the same time, Aisia, after hearing those stories from Misaki, starts believing in the powers of that old sakura tree, the one that Sakura ‘killed’ at the end of last season. Uh-oh, I smell trouble.
 
Okay, I felt that the next 3 episodes, episodes 10-12 were just fillers. Yeah, theyr’e actually just some side adventures of Aisia and the 3 new girls. Also I felt that this was to make their presence known a little better. Like how Aisia joined some priestess club of Tamaki’s and tries to use her magic to help some high school baseball players. Or the part where she tried to help Nanako with her manga as the latter’s editor is getting impatient over her work. Plus the editor doesn’t believe in magic. And because of that, er… Aisia even played some magical girl thingy and this inspired Nanako to even do her best. Then it’s some circus performing thing with the rich girl Alice. The pair are suppose to do some performance for a sickly girl at the local hospital. Also, a statement from Junichi about how Aisia uses her magic to bring people happiness, motivates her even more. Hey, why isn’t there one on Kudou? Maybe he isn’t that much to tell.
 
I too felt that the next 3 episodes too, episodes 13-15, could’ve actually been squeezed into 1 episode. But instead, the producers manage to drag it over 3 epsiodes. Here the whole gang took a trip to the beach after the gruelling exams. Plus, it’s summer! Yay! Time for some real fun and relaxation. They even rented (I think so lah, if not maybe belong to one of them’s) a summer house. So a lot of bonding between the friends, a lot of Junichi and Nemu time, a lot of Aisia thinking about her grandma and Sakura’s grandma (read: flashback), a lot of Aisia having doubts here and there about happiness and magic. Perhaps, it was better to drag it over several episodes. Or else we wouldn’t get some information of how things came to.
 
Also, we see how Kotori come to terms with her feelings with Junichi. Yeah, looks like she still harbour some hidden feelings for that guy. Then there’s one part where Nemu was thanking Kotori but the latter said it’s okay because she too likes Junichi as much as the former. Uh-oh, a deafening sound of silence and uneasiness. Luckily Mako stood up and said that she liked Junichi too, and everybody else followed suit. Er… then the girls proclaimed that they’re some sort of Junichi Support Team. I guess this guy still need those girls to continue his life. Or else, he might end up far worse off. Symbiosis or parasitic. You can look either way. Meanwhile, Aisia who’s watching from afar, is then confused about Kotori’s feelings on Junichi.
 
Because of that, we’re gonna see several near misses of Kotori trying to confess her feelings to Junichi. Yeah, there are times when she got close to him, tried to do so, but couldn’t. Don’t you just feel frustrated. I mean, perhaps Junichi’s really looking at Nemu only. Poor Kotori. I guess you’ll never be Junichi’s at this rate. And it’s because of this too that Aisia in a way felt a little disgust with Kotori as she thought Kotori wasn’t true to her feelings. But Kotori said that it was okay, and that kind of stuffs. This made Aisia wanted to do something about it.
 
So episode 16 was more of Aisia feeling irritated about the Junichi-Nemu relationship. A lot of daydreaming of it, can’t-get-it-out-of-my-mind feeling, must-do-something- feeling, you know that sorta stuff. From this point on, I felt that Aisia was no longer that cute innocent girl. Instead I have this feeling that she’s gonna turn into some busybody that will ‘right the wrong things’. I also noticed that she confides herself with Misaki at times. No doubt those 2 are like friends now, they seem to get along pretty well. Hey, hasn’t Misaki met anybody else yet? Junichi in particular. Maybe she’s just ‘watching’ and doesn’t want to get involve.
 
I remember that one time when Aisia was pouring out her heart’s discontent about it, Misaki told her that perhaps Aisia herself also likes Junichi. Oooh… Didn’t realize that, huh, little girl. Anyway she denies it. Another self-denial case of not being true to her feelings. And she’s the one to speak. Maybe. But we’re not sure if Aisia really have feelings for Junichi. As Aisia decides to investigate the other girl’s feelings for Junichi, she discovers that Junichi is overall a nice guy and it’s no wonder that the girls have a place in their heart for him (aside from his bad habits, of course). Then Aisia slowly understands and started to like Junichi herself. Ironic, isn’t it.
 
Episode 17 wasn’t really much except that more of Aisia’s confusion about Junichi-Nemu relationship. She gets angry at Junichi for being a slob (okay, no man is perfect) enjoying himself while Nemu is slogging with all the housework. Yeah, Aisia did some ‘Nemu Observation Diary’ to observe her. And it’s pretty contrasting the way things turn out like that. Then, Nemu tries to comfort a grieving and confused Aisia and reassures that she’s happy with the way things are right now. However, this made Aisia thought about the other girl’s feelings for Junichi. Thinking could be a dangerous thing. Looks like Aisia has some ‘evil’ plot up her sleeves to use her magic for the other girls’ happiness.
 
Episode 18 takes a breather from all that. And again I was caught by surprise. You know why? SAKURA HAS RETURNED!!! Forgive me for spoiling you so early. But I didn’t expect her to return for the second season. Anyway, the episode starts with Miharu telling the gang that she saw Sakura in town. Well, it wasn’t clear cut but it was enough to convince them to go look for her. However Aisia doesn’t really know who Sakura is but gets fed up and decides to go home instead of helping the rest look for her when nobody answers her. I guess everybody’s eager to see Sakura too.
 
Hey, I totally forgot to mention Utamaru. In this episode he plays a role as Sakura Finder. Yup, the gang thinking that Utamaru would be a good device to track Sakura since those 2 are quite close together. Unfortunately, they’ve been on a wild goose chase the whole day. You see, Utamaru’s just going from store to store, eating its favourite food, sleeping in an air-conditioned room. And the store keepers gladly allowed it do so. They must’ve been captivated by its cuteness.
 
So the gang leaves Utamaru and went on to search for Sakura themselves. Just then they saw a girl just like Sakura from afar. Whoops… wrong girl. It’s Akishima’s little sister. Darn. So as the day soon to draw to a close, the gang disperses. As Junichi and Nemu are walking back home, they saw how Utamaru dashing somewhere excitedly. Of course they followed it. And tada… Finally, it’s really Sakura! Welcome back. Okaerinasai as the 2 girls hugged each other. At home, Sakura and Aisia gets acquainted and as they walk Sakura back to her old house, Aisia began to see the connection between Sakura and the house. By the way, Sakura didn’t grow up much didn’t she. As far as I can see, she’s till petite in size. Plus, she even made a joke that her breasts have grown larger (what’s with girls and wanting to have large breasts). But what’s the reason Sakura came back? Dunno. That part’s still a mystery.
 
Episode 19 was just a prelude of things to come. Yeah, the whole gang came to fix Sakura’s house. Notice how Suginami is now so ‘attached’ to Kudou. They seem to be together most of the time, like his new best pal. I guess he has to, since his buddy Junichi’s got a girlfriend now. In additon, an enthusiastic Aisia tries to write and jot down everything that Sakura does. Going a little overboard, isn’t she? By the end of the episode, Aisia and Sakura have that 1 to 1 talk on magic. Yeah, her reasons why she killed that old sakura tree, how magic is a dangerous thing, bla bla bla. Therefore, she’ll never teach Aisia how to use magic. Shock!
 
From now on, you’ll see how stubborn Aisia is. In the sense that, no matter who explains the whole damn thing to her, she’ll remain adamant from her stand and believes. Yup, she believes that she should use her magic to bring happiness to others, just like what her grandma did. So, it’s like, I’ve explained to you a hundred million times but you still don’t get it. Or rather, she doesn’t want to understand. Hmmm… Yeah, she’s planning to revive that dead sakura tree again. This girl’s really out of her mind and lost.
 
Isn’t it like deja vu again. I mean, episode 20 and 21 is like another round of flashbacks of that fateful event 2 years ago, Aisia still refuse to believe what others had told her, Sakura’s constant reminder and lecturing towards Aisia about what she intends to do, then another one of those Kotori’s I-still-love-him-but-can’t-confess-to-him situation. Can she go on living like this? Yet she says how happy the both of them are and it doesn’t really matter to her. And then some conflicting thoughts from Aisia, something like if Nemu’s happiness can come true, why not Kotori’s, and something like how that old sakura tree was imperfect in a way.
 
Before I could say that this anime is going to be another draggy one right to the end, the producers put another light hearted episode 22. Yeah, at least another breather before the ultimate finale. As Aisia is still desparately trying to revive that dead sakura tree, the others have some fun at the school’s pool. There’s this funny incident where Moe was calling out to Junichi. Suddenly a ball hit her head, causing her and her breast to be pushed and pressed against the fence. You should see that slo-mo effect. And that Junichi was ogling at it until he saw Nemu’s deadly aura. Better get away. Hahaha.
 
Later at night, the gang plans to make Junichi and Nemu closer together by organizing some test of courage thing. Junichi manage to see through their ‘lame’ plans but Nemu’s pretty frightened as she’s really clinging on to him. Uh-huh, it’s just Junichi’s pals in some lame ghost outfits trying to scare the pair. Whoa! Nemu’s really freaked out. Anyway, the 2 of them manage to end up alone and closer. But Aisia’s still not amused and continues her sakura tree reviving task.
 
I guess I could pretty much say that episode 23 is the start of the turning point of the series. One significant part is that Junichi and Nemu bought a matching pair of white watches. And over the rest of the episode, the 2 experience strange talk from their pals. What kind of strange talk? You see, they notice how strange it is that their friends are treating their relation as siblings. A brother-sister kinda love and nothing more. And slowly, Junichi and Nemu too are forgetting that they’re being a couple. Oh no, the sakura leaves are starting to fall again. Could it be? No way. She couldn’t. Ah, nevermind, she did it.
 
So strange things happened in episode 24. Suginami sense something strange with most of the girls as they seem to be wanting to be with Junichi more boldly. Call it his intuition but Suginami still can’t place his finger on it. Plus, Nemu and Kotori have that feeling that Junichi-Nemu’s relationship are siblings only but felt that it isn’t. Something’s not right. Sakura began to realize something that the memories have been turned back or reset, as she rushed to that sakura tree. To her horror, it’s alive again and in full bloom. Sakura now has to find Aisia and reverse what she has done, but it seems to no avail. The sakura tree had reacted to Aisia’s desparate plea. And it doesn’t seem like slowing down. With this in effect, Junichi and Nemu are now merely siblings and this would mean giving the other girls a fair chance to be with Junichi.
 
As Junichi and Nemu hug each other under that sakura tree and promised that they would never ever forget or be separated from each other, they finally kissed. Unfortunately, the powers of that sakura tree is wrecking havoc in Junichi and Nemu’s minds. My heart sank a little when I watched this part. And we can see that satisfied evil grin of Aisia’s. She’s really turning into an evil mage.
 
By episode 25, the process of turning back the memories has been completed. It’s like there’s no recollection of Junichi and Nemu being lovers ever before. This time, all the girls are trying to be Junichi’s girlfriend. Suginami even came out with some betting scheme and statistics who’d end up as Junichi’s gal. And look how happy Aisia is. But Sakura confronts Aisia and asked her if everyone is truly happy and something about feelings can’t be triumphed over magic. However, Aisia still refuses to believe and insists that she had done nothing wrong.
 
It’s starting to get worse when Junichi accidentily dropped the white watch from his pocket as he was trying to take out his handkerchief. He was taking refuge under that sakura tree with Kotori when suddenly he remembers the kiss he had with Nemu. It’s like his memories are coming back, as he rushed home, leaving Kotori behind. Meanwhile back home, Aisia is surprised to find Nemu crying. Yeah, after Nemu saw that white watch of hers and the letters she’d written for Junichi. Aisia’s now in shock and doubting whether what she did was right. Took you long enough to realize it, huh girl.
 
The final episode starts off with a gloomy tone. Everybody’s feeling depressed and Aisia’s regretting her actions. So there’re instances where Junichi tries hard to remember that he and Nemu are lovers, but the powers of that sakura tree takes effect (reminds me just like Sakura’s case in Tsubasa Chroncle). Aisia finally rushes back to the sakura tree and desparately wished for her actions to be undone after Nemu collapses. Her effort was in vain. Then Sakura appears and have some long chat with her.
 
Realizing that this whole mess was her fault, she began to understand everyone’s feelings and she’d do anything to make them happy again. Then this part I don’t understand. Junichi, who’s searching for Aisia, finally found her at that sakura tree. Looks like Aisia is going away. As Junichi tries to stop her, Aisia apologizes and then soon disappeared. With that, the sakura leaves also disappeared. Not before Aisia said a few touching final words for the girls she encountered. Poof! She’s gone. Everything went back to normal after. So, did Aisia use her magic to really really stop that sakura tree? Or did she sacrifice herself for this? So where did she disappear to? Huh? I dunno lah. At this point, I had mixed feelings for Aisia. Felt pity for her though she finally saw her wrongdoings and corrected it but couldn’t help feeling disgusted with her earlier actions. You could’ve saved us the heap of trouble and probably the episodes. Just kidding.
 
In the final scenes we see a wedding ceremony in progress. Looks like it’s Junichi and Nemu getting hitched. Yeah, Koyomi said that it’s good for them to get married while they’re still young. At least this solves the problem of other girls trying to go after Junichi’s affections. And all those girls who onced liked Junichi, especially Kotori, gave their blessings. I guess they accepted it. Hey, now Misaki is part of the group as well. A little too late, huh. But it’s better than never.
 
Then as Nemu throws her bouquet of flowers, a mysterious hooded girl grabs it, throws it in the air, and pop… mini bouquets fall into each of the other girls’ arms. As the hooded person walks away, Junichi calls out Aisia’s name and that person’s identity is revealed. It’s Aisia! She’s back?! When? How? What? Why? Oh, nevermind. She turns around and throws herself at Junichi.
 
As the ending credits are playing, we see how the rest of the girls are successfully pursuing their dreams. And finally, the mind boggling picture at the end of the show reveals that the girl who puts her hands on Junichi’s shoulders as he browse through the photo album is Nemu. Ah… mystery solved.
 
Overall, I kinda liked how the ending went. Good happy ending for the protagonist and all ends well for the others. Though I felt that at times the series was a little too draggy with some time wasting repetitive scenes. There wasn’t too much of character development for the other characters. Even the new ones. It’s just like a one-off thing or ‘for decoration’. It mostly concentrated on Junichi, Nemu, and Aisia. Even I felt that Sakura’s appearance was solely for this purpose in the series and nothing else. And Suginami isn’t as prominent as he was in the first season.
 
The drawing and animation is still consistent with the first season, so there isn’t any big significant difference. Not that the animation is that good or that bad, but I felt it’s rather in between. Nothing special and at the same time nothing to shout about. Same goes with the voice acting. Especially I can’t get that Utamaru voice out of my head. Nyaa… Hehehe. Yeah, no side story this time. Probably the whole series in a way, Aisia was the main and side story. No lah. Just made that up.
 
I’m not pretty sure if I’m gonna stay around and watch if there’s a 3rd season. Most probably not since the way it already ended. Unless the producers have too much free time and cooked up something crazy. And as for Junichi-Kotori fans, I hope that they accept the outcome. No, it’s not that I’m a Junichi-Nemu fan. I figured that the latter would be much better and more fitting. Since, we’ve heard of Kotori’s own admission too.

Da Capo Second Season

April 28, 2006

Note that this is a blog on episode 1 of Da Capo Second Season only.
 
SHOCKING NEWS!!! SHOCKING NEWS!! WHERE’S NEMU?! WHERE’S SHE?! After watching this episode, I was left with much confusion and questions. And the thing is that this season has a few elements that reminded me of that anime Shuffle.
 
We start off with a girl’s voice trying to wake up Junichi. You’d taught it’d be Nemu, but surprise, it’s actually Miharu. Miharu?! She’s taking over the job of waking Junichi up? Plus, Junichi looks so much like Rin from Shuffle now. I mean, his hair is grey colour and no more brown.
 
Yeah, and there’s a little hentai element. The part where Miharu taught that ‘part’ on Junichi was a banana (you know what I mean) as said by him. When she found out it wasn’t, she freaked out and punched him. Aww… Still so naive.
 
On their way to school, Junichi receives a slap on the back from Mako. Whoa… So much like what Asa did to Rin in Shuffle. Yeah… Mako is still that tough tomboyish character. By the way, it’s mentioned that it’s already been two years since the first season ended.
 
Oh what’s this? Is there chemistry between Junichi and Kotori? Looks like it. They’ve been subtly doing some things together. I thought Junichi rejected her in the last season? Maybe Nemu’s not around and so he might have felt a little lonely and well, maybe Kotori sees this as an opportunity.
 
Then there’s the part where the both of them were waiting at the bus stop because it was raining. I really thought Junichi was going to hug Kotori. Boy, was I surprised. He’s actually shielding her from some unscrupulous speeding driver splashing puddles as he zooms pass them. Then the part where the both of them finally reached Junichi’s home. Junichi told Kotori to take a bath first before she gets a cold. And Kotori suggested that if he wanted to bath together with her. What the? But she was just kidding. Oh, the tell tale signs. The tell tale signs I tell you.
 
Plus, Junichi’s has got new additional friends to his circle. One guy and three girls. Now, one of the girls here suspiciously looks and sounds like Primula of Shuffle. Hmm… Is it mere coincidence? Didn’t I say that this anime is beginning to be so Shuffle like.
 
But hey, Utamaru’s back. Yeay! Looks like that cat is still around. It showed up when there’s some mysterious person in cloak appeared near the end of the episode. Yeah, I know who she is, because I did some reading before hand. That girl’s supposedly to be Aisia, looking for Sakura’s grandma to learn some magic. So the episode ends with her fainting into the arms of Junichi at his front door.
 
So in the end… WHERE’S NEMU?! Let’s see. We won’t see Yoriko because she’s turned back into a cat and there’s no more magic anymore on the island. That’s fine. We won’t see Sakura because she’s gone back to America. So that’s fine too. We didn’t get to see Moe in the first episode, but when the end credits were rolling, you could catch a glimpse of her. So which means, she’ll be appearing in future episodes. But Nemu… Haiyah… what happened actually. Maybe somewhere in this season this mystery will be explained. Even when Nemu’s name was accidentally mentioned to Junichi, he seems to get that sad expression. The kind of situation where you musn’t say her name or indicate anything about her. I guess something big did really happened.
 
Oh, wait… At the last part of the end credits, while Junichi’s reading at his home, some lady puts her hands on his shoulders. But we couldn’t see her face because the tree leaves were conveniently placed to cover her face. Could it be Nemu? Maybe. That body structure… Maybe it could be Kotori as well. Nah… I’ll wait and watch the rest of the episodes first.
 
P/S:- I noticed that the opening and ending songs of the first and second season have the words ‘Sakura’ in their lyrics. Hmm… This really is a sakura show.

Da Capo Characters

April 15, 2006

Well, not that I’m really that addicted to Da Capo, but I feel that it’s still quite a nice anime. So here’s a blog on the main characters of the series:
 
Junichi Asakura
Not actually related by blood to Nemu, he plays the role of the older brother to her and is Sakura’s cousin. Later on, he and Nemu became a couple. Has the power to see other people’s dreams and make Japanese sweet cakes with his palms. Although with a few bad habits, you’ll find that he’s actually quite a nice and kind person. That’s why that most of the main girls in this series have a place in their heart for him. Can’t seem to wake up on his own even if there’s an alarm clock. Needs somebody to do so. Plus, he also seems to dislike Nemu’s cooking. I wonder if it’s really that bad.
 
Nemu Asakura
Her parents passed away when she was small and has lived with Junichi since then. She harbours quite a deep affection for him but wasn’t able to convey her feelings at first. Although she and Sakura eventually had to ‘fight’ for Junichi’s love, she still considers Sakura to be her friend. Though, in the end, she ended up being the one with Junichi. She wears a bell necklace around her neck. This is because when she was little, it was a promise from Junichi that she wouldn’t get lost and that he’ll always find and protect her. As a sign to show that they have taken their relationship a step further, Junichi bought her a ring.
 
Sakura Yoshino
The petite girl with quite a considerably child-like character. Six years ago, she left the island for America but has since returned. Much to the surprise of Junichi and co. That’s because she hasn’t physically changed abit. She came back to remind Junichi of his 3 promise to her made before she left, and one of them was to be his lover. She somehow has the power to make her wishes come true (due to that big sakura tree her grandpa planted). She felt jealous and view Nemu as her main rival in capturing Junichi’s heart. Therefore, she used her powers against Nemu when she confessed her love to Junichi. In the end, in order to save Nemu, she had to ‘kill-off’ the sakura tree. Sadly, she had to leave the island once more back to America. But she said she’ll be back when the time is right to woo Junichi.
 
Miharu Amakase
She is Nemu’s underclass-men and looks up to her. Very energetic and genki with that high-pitched squeaky voice. However, earlier in the series, she went into coma when she fell down a tree trying to save a cat. So her professor dad created a very life-like and look-a-like of Miharu, who wants to be just like the real Miharu herself. Only Junichi and his class teacher knows of this secret at first. Whenever she overstrains, you can see smoke arising from her head. Plus she needs to be ‘wind-up’ with a key whenever she’s out of energy (which is located at her back). In the end, when the real Miharu was recovering, the robot Miharu was ‘dying’ while she was intensely searching for Miharu’s memories, and eventually her spark ended. Her favourite fruit is banana and she’s quite obssessed with it.
 
Mako Mizukoshi
A classmate of Junichi and Nemu. She is quite tomboyish in nature and a little fierce. At least that’s how Junichi views her. That’s because he view her having ‘small chests’ for a girl her age as compared to her sister, Moe (much to Mako’s ire, of course). She’s quite concern for Nemu too. If Nemu’s feeling depressed or whatsoever, she’d usually suspect if Junichi did something wrong to her. Also, she seems to always vent her anger by trying to punch her other classmate, Suginami, but always misses. That’s because he sometimes says things which make her mad. At one point, she had to ‘date’ Junichi for a while to get rid of a pesky little girlfriend-wannabe. Hmm… Don’t know if she harbour some feelings for Junichi after that. Maybe not.
 
Moe Mizukoshi
The older sister of Mako by 1 year. Very dreamy and blur-like. Reminds me of Kasumi from Ranma 1/2. She always cook her specialty nabe (casserole) for breakfast, lunch, dinner and sometimes explains what she put in her nabe or how she makes them. She seems to be able to sleepwalk and play the xylophone at the same time. Really weird. She and her sister are quite well-off and lives in a seemingly oversized mansion, since her father is the director of a hospital (which is just right next to their home).
 
Kotori Shirakawa
A schoolmate of Junichi and Nemu. She’s a quiet and shy girl who is also part of the school choir. She has to power to read other people’s minds. She uses her power often to please people so as not to upset them. She is silently in love with Junichi but couldn’t bring herself to confess her feelings. Until the sakura tree starts dying, she took a bold step to do so. But she was rejected. She didn’t feel bad or sore, instead she felt happy that she manage to be true to her heart and be herself and not rely on what others think and want.
 
Yuriko Sagasiwa
The cat women (not from Batman) as she’s actually a cat with the power to change into a human being. She liked Junichi because of his kindness he showed to her when he saved her from some bullies. Since then, she lives in his house as her maid, though at most times she fails as one. She has a fear of being seen by other people except Junichi and co. Therefore, she ‘practices’ by sneaking out of the house and ‘go as far as possible’. In the end, when the sakura trees were dying, she went on a date with Junichi and told him the truth that she’s actually the ‘eyes’ for the lonely girl locked in her room. When she turned back into a cat, she returned to her master and shared with her all the beautiful moments and memories she had with Junichi.
 
Suginami
Junichi’s classmate and best guy pal (since there are no others that I can see). He seems to be quite observant and knows what’s going on. Especially when Junichi and Nemu had to discard their sibling relationship when they became a couple. Sometimes says things which annoys people, especially Mako, whom he always seems to avoid her punches, and sometimes gives advice and words of comfort. Though, I notice that sometimes he just pops out from no where when interrupting some conversation. Considers himself as a walking encyclopaedia as he’s quite knowledgeable about many things as well.
 
Utamaru
Yeah, the strange cat that never fails to break me into a smile. Quite cute looking, though never seen its mouth before and sometimes got no legs too. Also sounds like a human trying to sound like a cat. Seems to be quite close to Sakura and understands what other people tries to tell it to do. But I wonder who Utamaru really belongs to, or is it just a stray cat. Also, it doesn’t seem to get along well with Yuriko.

Da Capo

March 25, 2006

I’ve got this mixed feelings when I finished watching Da Capo. Yeah, I somehow got addicted to this magical comedy school romance anime type.
 
This series takes place on a crescent shaped island called Hatsunejima. Here, the sakura trees bloom endlessly all year round regardless of season. Hence the name Da Capo, which is a musical term meaning repeat again from the begining. Plus, on this island, some inhabitants posses mysterious magical powers.
 
The main protagonists are Junichi Asakura (who has the power to see other people’s dreams), his adpoted sister Nemu Asakura and his cousin Sakura Yoshino. When I say adopted sister, what I mean is that Junichi and Nemu aren’t really related by blood. It’s just that Nemu’s parents died in an accident when she was still very young and has to live with him. Ever since then, Junichi has been treating her like his own little sister. So you can tell that the story revolves around a love triangle between these 3. But the good part is that, unlike in Ranma 1/2, these 2 don’t actually go into fist fights. Yeah, they really tolerate each other if the other show some signs of ‘advancement’. That’s because they consider themselves to be good friends too and wouldn’t want to hurt each other (at least in the beginning).
 
The story starts off with Junichi and Nemu making their usual trip to school, when they found out that Junichi’s long lost cousin, Sakura, has returned from America to the island to remind him about the 3 promises which they both made six years ago before she left. However, physically she hasn’t changed and looked exactly like the way she was 6 years ago.
 
The first half of the series is more of the play-play, not serious type, while at the same time introduces other main characters to the series. Like spending the day at the beach, or visiting the natural springs-cum-resort-cum-zoo, or the girls telling some ghost story, or the school organizing some cultural festival thing. Other ‘adventures’ include Junichi ‘dating’ Mako just to help her out and that internet admirer of Nemu’s which seem to be ‘stalking’ her.
 
Speaking of characters, besides the main protagonist, the other main characters really does provide some spice and variety. Like the hyper-active Miharu, who’s Nemu’s best friend, whom later on is revealed to be a robot! Created by her scientist dad to look and act exactly like her. Well, that’s because the real Miharu went into a coma after trying to rescue a kitten from a tree (we didn’t see how she fell). Then there’s Kotori, the singing lass with a beautiful voice and the mysterious power to read people’s minds.
 
Don’t forget the tom-boyish Mako who at first seems not to like Junichi because he viewed her having ‘small chests’. I wonder if her feelings changed after that ‘dating’. Yup, there are some signs showing but not conclusive enough. Oh, and there’s Mako’s elder sister Moe. She reminded my alot of Kasumi of Ranma 1/2. Yeah, she’s the dreamy kind and the way she talks too is dreamy. Plus, seems to be very easy going and casual. In order words ‘blur’.
 
Also, there’s that cat lady, Yoriko. She’s actually a cat and with the mysterious power to become a human. She’s very afraid of meeting other people because they might be intimidated by her cat ears. But she doesn’t feel so when she’s with Junichi and co. Somehow I think that her character was somewhat ‘redundant’. She ended up being Junichi and Nemu’s maid but can’t do anything right at first. Then most of the time she sneaks out of the house just to build up her courage to meet people. Hmmm…. Anyway, to avoid making this a 1 guy all girls anime, I think the producers made Suginami as Junichi’s best friend and the one who’s the most ‘seng mok’ or ‘aware of his surroundings’ kind of guy. Sometimes saying the most unlikely of things but most of the time giving supporting advice.
 
Then there’s that cute and funny little cat, Utamaru. At first I thought it was a statue or furniture. But later on I found out that it’s actually a real cat! Yeah… Such a small kitten with no mouth and sometimes no legs. But the weirdest part is how it sound. It’s like a human trying real hard to sound like a cat, but fails at it. Nyaaaaaaa…. That’s how it sounds like. Looks fake, sounds fake. So is it fake? Also, it seems to understand what people tells it to and is quite close to Sakura.
 
I also notice that 2/3 of the series shows that Da Capo Side Story at the end of its main story (except for in episode 21 where it was the last side story and it was shown first). I don’t really get what this side show is really about except that of the beautiful sceneries and sometimes it focus on 1 or a few of the main characters at a time. Then later on, you’ll notice that mysterious cat man dressed in a detective like overcoat, appearing here and there. Who or what is it, actually? I dunno. But the last side story saw him leaving on a ferry and those who met him said that he really did exists. Huh? Besides that, I think the side show is just used as fillers. You know, the main story’s too short and they need to fill the remaining 10 minutes with something. I think.
 
The second part of the series gets down to more serious stuff and there won’t be anymore happy happy situations. After that episode 16 recap, Nemu finally confesses her love to Junichi and this has caused Sakura to feel jealous. The reason for this sibling treatment thing is that Junichi didn’t want to lose Nemu as a friend as things could’ve been really different. So, you’ll also find that Junichi’s actually a nice guy by now. But you might stop to think for a while, won’t it give rise to a little incest if Junichi and Sakura became a couple. And that’s what Sakura thinks (although she didn’t really say the word incest) between him and Nemu being one. But I wouldn’t have guessed that she’d confessed quite early in the series, as I thought perhaps 1 or 2 episodes before the end.
 
Not wanting to let go of Junichi, Sakura has that mysterious power to have her wish to become true. Yeah, that big main sakura tree that was planted by Sakura’s grandma many years ago seems to be the source of the mysterious powers on this island. Because of this, Nemu fell ill and she coughed out sakura petals! How horrifying. But seeing how Junichi really loves Nemu, Sakura tried to let go of her feelings for him. Just as things seem to get a little better, disaster strikes again! Well, deep down in Sakura’s heart, she really didn’t want to let go of Junichi, and the Sakura tree was becoming stronger and stronger instead of dying as Sakura wished so desparately.
 
Before the final 2 episodes, I think the producers wanted to ‘kill-off’ certain characters with episodes 22, 23 and 24, particularly Yoriko, Kotori and Miharu respectively. Like in Yoriko‘s case, since the magic of the sakura tree is dying, she knows that this’ll be her last chance to be with Junichi as a human, she went on a last date. Whereas for Kotori, she confessed her love to him finally but got rejected (we won’t get to hear or see that part). But I think it was the right thing Junichi did. I know that there’re lots of Kotori fans out there crticising Junichi for it. Yeah, I know, she may be prettier and has a better personality than Nemu (that’s because there’s not many episodes focused on her). I mean, Junichi’s already in love with Nemu and you wouldn’t want him to be two-timing on her don’t you. Plus, Kotori didn’t felt sad but happy that she cleared her mind.
 
As for Miharu, her constant search for her lost memories in order to become the like real Miharu had drained her ‘batteries’. As the real Miharu becomes better in hospital, time is running out for the robot Miharu. But it’s ironic you know. Think about it, All these 3 ladies confessed they loved Junichi but the ones Junichi wanted them to stay were gone, like Yoriko and Miharu. But Kotori, she’s gonna be around… You know what I mean.
 
Now back to Sakura and Nemu. My heart sank and I felt disgust when Nemu started to lose her memories at the end of episode 25 and only wanting to be with Junichi! That’s so not like her! So pitiful. Even though I felt sad, but I’m proud of what Sakura did to end this. She really let go of her feelings for Junichi this time and you could see all the leaves of the main big sakura tree fall off like it died instantly.
 
In the end, Sakura decided to go back to America because she doesn’t want to cause trouble again to them. But she promised she’ll be back again in the future and will be a full fledged ‘bong-boing women’ (that’s what she said and you know what I mean) to win Junichi’s heart.
 
But I’m not really sure whether Nemu became her usual self back again or not. When the end credits of the last episode role, we could first see a headshot of the other main characters, including that Mako’s pesky little girlfriend wanna-be and that charming admirer from the internet of Nemu’s. Then we could see Junichi rushing to school passing his school mates and teachers and finally Nemu waiting at the school gates smiling. End of show. I hope she’s cured.
 
Overall, like I said earlier on, I had mixed feelings at the end, some happy and wonderful, some sad and bitter. And sometimes I have goosebumps just thinking about it. Still, I find this quite enjoyable and heart warming. But hey, it’s really a bittersweet tale of magic, love, hidden desires and unattainable dreams (quote taken from Anime News Network). *long sigh* Now that this is over, I think I’ll be watching the second season to follow up what happens next.