October 17, 2015

Have you ever wondered why the cat is never in the Chinese zodiac? Such a well-known animal and yet it doesn’t have its own spot. Yeah, who is the damn dude who only restricted it to 12 freaking spots? Don’t tell me he has the fear of the number 13 and thus decided to limit it to only 12. Anyway, I am sure there are many stories, theories and nonsensical craps out there to tell you why the cat is not part of this legendary family. No, please don’t say the tiger is from the cat family. It does not qualify. And so in Etotama, it isn’t exactly an origin story to see why the cat is not accepted into a zodiac. In fact, the cat is working hard to join it. If only the rat wasn’t so against this and trying to stop her. According to this series, there is a rotation system on how other animals can join the zodiac. You have to beat the 12 main ones. And so, this is the journey and struggles of a cat as she makes her way fighting the best to claim her rightful place. Or it could just be the daily life of a scatterbrained amnesiac cat doing things her way (including living as a freeloader in a normal human’s house) as she takes it one step at a time to achieve her goal.

Episode 1
It is narrated that thanks to the rat’s trickery, the cat was excluded from the zodiac and deprived to become part of the divine messengers. The Eto Shin (the Chinese zodiac girls) are asking Takeru Amato to list the zodiac in order. He starts but could not name those after the snake. The top half revel in joy while the bottom half feel defeated. The same trend continues so they thought the zodiac in the bottom half is hard to pronounce and suggest pronouncing it the Chinese way. Well, it sounds awfully weird. Takeru arrives at his newly rented house. There is a fluffy hole but a cat girl, Nya pops out. She starts flirting with him and giving mixed signals of wanting to be flirted and not but since he isn’t really amused, she puts up some dramatic scatterbrain act. From naked bathroom folly to playing housewife to wrapping up in ribbons as her present, Takeru is sure one patient guy not to kick her out of the house for good yet. However Takeru’s kindness has him emit some sort of golden ball on his head. When Nya absorbs it, she feels its warmth. Boar girl, Uri comes to see Nya to check on her training progress to join the zodiac and is appalled that she has been fooling around. As she begins to explain, dragon girl, Dora attacks the place. She even tries to attack Takeru. Nya is not happy with Dora’s betrayal and wants Takeru to give her his Sol/Lull. Eh… What? That golden ball of warmness. That moe power is some sort of sacred power given from gods to people and then from people to Eto Musume (animals possessing Etotama, the spirits of the Chinese zodiac. Eto Shin is the highest form). Once Nya receives his Sol/Lull, she powers up and turns into a chibi version and takes on Dora in this icy battle stage. Takeru and Uri get to watch it on some divine TV channel. They trade punches as Nya tries to find out Dora’s betrayal but she won’t say claiming she wouldn’t understand. It ends after Nya takes a beating and runs out of Sol/Lull. Dora laughs at her idea of becoming Eto Shin. Nya is crying like it’s the end of the world so once again, Takeru’s kindness has him pop up a first class Sol/Lull. Then it is revealed all this is just a convoluted setup to touch Takeru’s heart. Dora is Nya’s spirit master and took on the role of the bad guy by attacking him. Explaining Takeru’s first class Sol/Lull, it is rare and finest in both quality and quantity. That little amount was even enough to give Nya a lot of power to fight her. As the girls are happy with today’s development, Takeru thinks of fixing dinner and getting some rest. Oh, he just remembered his house was destroyed!

Episode 2
I don’t know how Takeru’s house is fixed but he wakes up in the morning and Nya is happy to cook him breakfast. Holy cow! Isn’t she cooking Moo the ox and Piyo the chicken???!!! Takeru pours water to douse the fire but was given cooking oil! Mmm… Smells good! It seems the other Eto Shin are also staying in his house. He observes Nya loves to bully and pick on Piyo but is afraid of Moo because she always wants to pulverize her with her (boobs) love. Takeru asks about Nya’s chaotic character and they explain she is amnesiac and perhaps is trying to find her character type. They also explain about the other clans and the cat clans are of the strongest Eto Musume. Can’t say the same for Nya, though. After Nya tricks Takeru into making his Sol/Lull, they clarify Nya is not part of Eto Shin. Unlike them who get their Sol/Lull from humans’ devotion and do not need to lift a finger, Nya needs to constantly find Sol/Lull herself as it is the life essence of Eto Musume. Because Takeru’s Sol/Lull is quite exquisite, Dora begins an auction to sell him! The bidding price is escalating very fast. More explanations on Sol/Lull. Proper emotions like gratitude create it and when Eto Musume collects it, they can transform into 3 modes: Adult Mode (human form to exist in human world), Pretty Mode (chibi version to fight and can use Sol/Lull more effectively) and Natural Mode (animal form). Because Nya continues to be clingy to Takeru and won’t accept Moo’s love, the latter suggests a fight and if she wins, she’ll give Nya her seal. There is an Eto Shin Selection Festival AKA ETM12 held once every 60 years where Eto Musume can attain the rank of Eto Shin with their own fists. To do so, one must defeat all 12 Eto Shin in battle and obtain their Sol/Lull seals. This is the case for Nya. So if she loses once, she’s out. Oh, that bout with Dora was just a skit do it doesn’t count. Moo suggests a game of tag and if she can protect her socks for 3 minutes, she wins! Sick fetish she’s got there. You bet Nya is going to run away from her sick love. It’s going to be tough since cow girl is freaking strong in bulldozing down everything. Nya tricks Moo that she will give up and this let her guard down. Nya fires her cat gun to send her flying and win the match. Nya is happy to have got the seal but her boasting about is being ignored as the rest discuss that little Sol/Lull from Takeru was enough to power her up this much. Nya beats up Takeru for ignoring her and wants to be praised. Meanwhile, news has it that Chu the rat has defeated all 107 Eto Musume. She has a vendetta not to let the cat clan exist.

Episode 3
Takeru is shocked to see a house built next to his! Dora built a home for Nya? Is this legal? Takeru goes out shopping with Nya and Uri. All they wanted was to get sesame oil but got attracted by the washing machine. Can they afford to buy this? Don’t worry. Nya is going to get her advance pay. Maid Cafe Eto is a place where Eto Shin work as maid cafe to earn money. Oddly, these ladies are good in making money. They even play the stocks! Nya wants to rip apart the cash register but was told off she never worked, lazed around, stole food and even annoyed the customers. If that doesn’t get to her, then perhaps the cafe manager will. This galaxy character lectures her about no work and no pay. He kicks her out since she didn’t learn her lesson. Now it’s Takeru’s turn. He tells her she has done wrong and must apologize. I don’t know how they afforded the washing machine (they also got the sesame oil), but suddenly Chu appears before them. Ironically, Dora and Shima rush to defend Nya but cat girl isn’t the least worried. Chu is not happy to see her reincarnated and what irks her further is that Nya doesn’t remember a thing. The rest tell Nya not to accept Chu’s challenge but Chu makes it tempting for her. If she can defeat her, she’ll swap her Eto Shin place with her. Immediately Nya agrees. Time for battle. The rest don’t understand why Nya is doing this. Simple. She has always wanted to do things herself with her own powers. But she is begging and relying on Takeru for his Sol/Lull? Not so fast. She hasn’t apologized yet. With her heartfelt apology, Takeru feels glad and lets her have his Sol/Lull. The rules of this battle are simple: They fight until one dies! Simple, enough? Of course Nya takes a beating and is no match for Chu’s strength. Rat girl thinks Nya is playing dumb when he questions her. Takeru is puzzled why Chu wants to kill Nya and annihilate the cat race. Because based on the old story of how the rat tricked the cat, shouldn’t the cat be the one angry and not the other way round? Nya uses all her Sol/Lull and puts a big gamble in this single cat gun strike. Chu is able to deflect it. Game over. Uri can’t bear to see her friend die so she dives into the battlefield to intervene. As she staggers her way there, Chu preparing to kill Nya accidentally stabs her! The battle is declare void and everyone is thrown out. Uri is injured badly and taken home to be treated but unfortunately nothing more could be done as she dies and disappears… URI!!! NO!!!!! And so that is why we have the entire ending credits dedicated with snippets of Uri…* Sniff, sniff*.

Episode 4
Such a gloomy day for Takeru. He knows Nya is trying to cheer him up and make him laugh. Or is she naturally an idiot? While visiting Maid Cafe Eto, Takeru is surprised Uri is serving them! She’s alive! But how?! It is true that she died but all Eto Shin will reincarnate after that. She didn’t return soon because she got lectured by ETM12 committee for interfering. With this over, they talk about standing out a character in which Nya doesn’t have. In fact, those lower half of the Chinese zodiac also face this problem. Usa is a pro in this as she points out their character flaws. Since Nya wants to have a character planning meeting tonight, those unpopular Eto Shin girls also come. But Usa is also here since she can’t leave it as it is now that she has said all that. Yup, she is going to offer her service to use her production services! Wow. Such a production pro. She’s like the master of production in everything. Even that cool realistic helicopter crashing scene was all special effects! First, Usa goes through the list of Eto Shin members who are for, against or neutral of Nya joining Eto Shin. Based on majority results, more do not want her to join. So what does this has got to do with anything? Usa has devised the perfect plan for her character to stand out. Does this include some mind control thingy? Thanks to Moo’s boobs in breaking the spell. Kii and Inu are interested to have a production makeover so Usa turns them into long lost twin boys. But there are double standards for Nya because she has to pay lots of fees upfront just because she is not part of Eto Shin! So Nya suggests a battle and if she wins, she’ll get her seal and free production as well. Agreed. They’ll play 3 times and if Nya wins in any one of them, victory goes to her. Usa does lots of distraction in this rock-scissors-paper game. Nya loses the first round and Usa uses her stopwatch to stop time and slap her. Nya also loses the second round but thinks of snatching the stopwatch. She did but nothing happens. She gets slapped. Uri and Takeru rewind to see in slow motion Usa’s super speed in stopping time. Wow. She has got so much time that she did other things while waiting for time to resume. In the third round, Nya grabs Usa’s foot (legend says a rabbit’s foot is its erogenous zone) and throws her off balance. Nya not only slaps Usa once but 3 powerful times! Nya wins! She gets the seal and a thick booklet of for her free production programme. What’s this? This isn’t the same as she was told. Because Nya is not Eto Shin, she must endure lots of hard physical training to shape herself up. Oh dear… Doesn’t look so fun now, eh? Usa won’t back out of it since she accepted her production request. It’s hell time…

Episode 5
Nya and Eto Shin are making some curry meal. Nya must be desperate for some Sol/Lull that she steals Mei’s secret sauce to dump it all inside the curry and ruin it. Takeru hasn’t been giving off his usual Sol/Lull ever since Uri’s reincarnation and you know who is the culprit, right? But Nya doesn’t learn, she thinks of getting some and goes to wake him up. Ah, there he is. Sleeping defencelessly in his bed. When she touches him, man he is hot! Turns out he has caught a cold. But it is no ordinary cold. This divine cold virus only infects Eto Musume and has never infected humans before. The first sneeze changes everyone’s outfit into swimsuits. Wow! Fanservice time already? The only exceptions are Mei and Nya who remain the same. The second sneeze only has them clad in towels. I guess you must be hoping for the third sneeze, right? Well… It is those damn light censors. Will the fourth one be the charm? Instead, it turned them chaotic. Different sizes, different personalities and different clothing. Nya notices that if she retorts them, they’ll return to normal albeit temporarily. So she goes on a retorting spree but thanks to everyone’s idiocy, Nya is being a natural. Who’d knew retorting is such a tiring job? An emergency occurs. Looks like the virus is devouring Takeru’s Sol/Lull and at this rate he will never wake up. The only way is to dive inside him and take out the virus. However Mei is left to do that task as Nya is busy keeping the idiots away. Mei manages to destroy the virus. She is touched that Takeru thanks her. Suddenly the virus tries to break free in its new variation. It is blabbing how it is the supreme ruler of realms, blah, blah, blah. What did Nya do? She gives a super delayed retort that destroys it for good! Everyone returns to normal although Nya herself is now naked. Mei heals Nya’s bruised hand (for retorting so much) with her seal and this also means Mei has approved in giving Nya her seal. Telling Nya to put on some clothes before she catches a cold, she remembers something like this vaguely. Last night she already had a little cold. She came into Takeru’s room, sneezed on him and stole his blanket. So it’s her fault, eh? Mei is mad that Nya is the one responsible causing this new strain in virus. She is going to give her and everyone else a new vaccine shot! When Takeru is well and compliments Mei for working hard, she could feel the warmth of his Sol/Lull. Oh no. Mei can feel she is coming down with a sickness. Love sickness!

Episode 6
Shima catches Nya in the act of trying to trade the seals of Kii and Inu with some high quality stuffs! Because after beating up they still do not learn their lesson, Shima talks to Takeru that at this rate Nya will not be able to be part of Eto Shin. He could guess this too. As Takeru’s Sol/Lull is of high quality, Nya has been complacent being around him and not exerting any effort. She thinks she’ll be fine by just stealing or getting them for free. That is why Shima is going to challenge her to a duel and then take her away for training. Next day, Shima looks for Nya but again sees her trying that sneaky trade. Nya threatens to blackmail with rowdy pictures of Shima from last episode. Shima is saddened her student turns out this way and will commit seppuku as atonement! But the trio will also be coming along with her! They are easily defeated when they attack. Even more disappointing for Shima is how her kick is so pathetic. Shima will have all of them battle her now. If Nya wins, she will get all their 3 seals. The game is kick the can. Shima is it and whoever gets to kick it from her wins. Seeing her tigress aura, the trio converge for a plan. Kii and Inu get beaten up as distraction so that Nya can sneak up. It didn’t work. Kii and Inu are out of the game. With another pathetic weak kick, Shima scorns that at this rate she cannot defeat Chu. Speaking of her, she is being confronted by Dora who wants her to let go the past. Nya is already a different person despite being eliminated 60 years ago and reincarnated. But Chu is hell bent in destroying Nya. Her soul screams of it. She has also added a new rule that no outside third party can intervene during a battle. Dora notes the new rules will take time to be in effect and she needs to do something about this. Shima wants to take Nya away for training and start anew but Nya doesn’t want to leave Takeru’s side. Can she name all the good things and memories they did together? Can’t express in words? Here are some recycled scenes as flashback. Heck, it is repeating itself! Not enough memories made, eh? Shima tells her to treat Takeru not as a human being but a battery to fully reap his Sol/Lull. Nya won’t do that because his Sol/Lull comes from his heart and because Takeru is with her, she can do her best to make her dream come true. This heartfelt speech makes Takeru want to support her. I think his Sol/Lull seeps into her as Nya defeats Shima with a new powerful move. A happy cat sleeping with a big grin on her face. Who wouldn’t after getting 3 prized seals at one shot?

Episode 7
Takeru and Nya thought Shaa is into gardening but she is planting food for her snake ornament. You mean that is real? Nya fools around with it and gets bitten. Oh, it’s a venomous snake. She’s turning into stone! Where’s the antidote?! Not sure. You serious?! Well, maybe if they go on this galaxy express journey, they’ll find it. They stop by a shrine whereby Shaa introduces the Eto Shin members, their personalities and the area of Japan they protect. Hmm… She must have really condensed the bottom half to save time, eh? The next shrine feels like a recap episode… Uh huh… It tells us the basic rules and laws pertaining to ETM12. Takeru wonders he has not seen the rest of the Eto Musume that is because they have already been beaten by Chu who is the most powerful and leader of Eto Shin. If you’re hoping to find out why the rat hates the cat, Shaa lazily puts their relationship as a messy tangle that no one can unravel or else it will destroy them. I don’t think anybody knows it either. Because the flashbacks were just begging for it, the remaining half of the episode becomes a recap episode of the first half of the series. The final shrine they enter is decimated. It belongs to Nya and this means her soul hasn’t been completely regenerated. Takeru sees some of Nya’s memories and wants to take it back to Nya but Shaa wonders if it is such a wise thing to do. There are some memories that are better left forgotten. Takeru admits he is not a god or part of Eto Musume, but he feels he is the most suitable person to support Nya right now. However Shaa says he cannot even look at all of Nya’s memories because this place is collapsing soon. Before he knows it, he is back on the train. And it seems this entire journey was just to kill time so that Shaa could finish cooking her curry dish with that plant as the antidote. Biggest troll ever. Nya returns to normal after eating the curry but a big bonus is that Shaa gives Takeru her seal. She believes that if there is anyone who can touch the cat and rat’s relationship, it is him. Maybe.

Episode 8
It is time for the commemorative Maid Cafe Eto Manager’s Cup. Uma is pretty serious (is desperate the right word?) in seeing this year’s cup will be a success. The reason being because throughout the years, the viewership ratings among the gods for the event has been plummeting. Last year was at 1.8% and if they get less than 1% this year, it will be cancelled. So what is the big deal? Well, Uma fears that people won’t remember the zodiac from the horse onwards… There’ll be no meaning to her existence! However nobody is interested in listening further and that is when the manager comes down (striking Nya) and proposes some sort of reward. He will grant the winner a wish. Don’t believe? Let him demonstrate. A broken cup? Magically fixed it. A dying bird? Cured and healed back to health. Stale curry? Now it’s fresh again! This has all the girls fantasize their utmost crazy desire if they win. So you up for it now? The cup will be a futuristic Mario Kart race. Nya thought she could be in pole position to take Chu’s place but Shima tosses her to start at the back. The race starts and there are already a few fouled ups that send some out of the race. The real race is between Dora and Shima but the interviewer had to interview them in the middle of the race, the blinding light causes them to crash out. With the rest crashing out in high speed blooper fashion, only Uma and Nya are left. Oh dear. The rating is dropping as low as 1.3%! Uma is panicking… The interviewer interviews Nya about her wish. It is to join Eto Shin. However he tells her that wish can only be granted by wining ETM12 so Nya loses interest in racing. Uma becomes desperate that she will give her seal is he beats her in the race so it becomes a neck to neck race to the finishing line. Uri’s ship that went out of control earlier, returns to damage the final stretch, sending the duo falling off. Uma resigns to her defeated fate but Nya won’t give up and uses every last ounce of power she has to get back up and cross the goal. In the end, Uma has learnt a valuable lesson. She was so fixated on ratings that she forgot the true meaning of divine rituals. She feels ashamed but Nya praises her for trying her best and that it was fun overall. Nya emits too much Sol/Lull that it turns her naked. What? Cue for Moo to get perverted. A big smile for Uma when she learns that the climax of the rest has the viewership shooting up to 40%. The cup is a huge success. After-party celebration, girls?

Episode 9
Piyo is about to join Takeru in a game of shogi when Nya crashes in to ruin it. This has the cat and chicken argue so Piyo is adamant Nya can never beat her let alone Chu. Nya wants a challenge right now and despite the game is shogi, Takeru suggests playing a friendly game first since Nya is not familiar with the rules. Despite having a handicap, Nya still loses. Since Nya talks bad about shogi, the duo start talking about shogi philosophy (shogi is the universe!). It is set. After Nya is done with her shogi training, they can do battle for real in which Piyo will place her seal on the line. And so Nya undergoes strict shogi training under Takeru’s guidance. I guess physical pain is the only way she’ll learn anything. To expand her mind, Nya is made to read shogi proverbs for strategies. Despite the hectic cycle, Nya perseveres till she can read her opponent’s mind. During the final test game with Takeru, she is so zen that she saw herself as her own enemy and overcomes it. The real battle is here. It is very strange to see Nya and Piyo exchange polite pleasantries although they are talking in shogi proverbs and terms that only Takeru can understand and translate for the rest. Wow. It is like Nya is a completely different person with her civil and well-mannered demeanour. At first Nya seems to have the advantage but Piyo makes a move that turns the tides. It is getting difficult for her when Takeru realizes he might have been suppressing Nya all this time. There is one proverb he has not taught her because he feared she would never learn to play it properly. That proverb is: A master needs no patterns. You don’t rely on a single pattern and use many unique moves to win. With that, Nya finds an inner piece of herself and uses a secret technique to win the game. Once they return to the real world, Nya quickly turns back to her old scatterbrain self. She has had it with shogi because sitting at such a position made her legs numb. Then she causes an accident with Piyo and starts another argument. Ah, back to the Nya we know. With her usual random fickle mood, Takeru notes Nya needs no patterns.

Episode 10
Nya doesn’t want to fight Uri but if she doesn’t, how will she get her Sol/Lull? I guess we should have seen this coming. Uri is easily defeated with a single kick to her face. Hey, at least she didn’t die. All that happiness turns into despair when Moo continues her extreme sexual harassment on Nya. Takeru wonders why Moo loves her so much so she briefly states their encounter on that one rainy day. So Nya proposed to her? Sure she is not making this up? There is recorded proof of this! Nya is forced to give a sock if she wants the proof. Yeah, Moo already has her 67th Nya sock so she can make a bed out of it and roll in her love forever. Pervert. And as you know, she has infinite copies of the proof and the one she just handed over is a dud. On to more serious stuffs, the other Eto Shin are concerned about Chu making her move because the new rule has been approved. Dora is the only one who hasn’t given her seal to Nya. She would love to but her amnesia is what making her hold back. So with a silly excuse of slapping mosquito, they use the old fashion method of beating her up in hopes her memories will return. Nope. They explain to Takeru this is to avoid the worst case scenario to get her memories back as they protect her. Moo is praying at a shrine reminiscing how she met Nya on that day. It was at the grave of her human family. She feels sad humans have short lives and always die before her. Nya assured her she will always be her family. Before her reminiscing can get erotic, Chu is here. Moo won’t allow her to fight Nya. So they’re going to fight? Chu has something she wants to test out. Everyone is shocked to see the rat and cow engaging in battle. Moo makes a great start but becomes wary when Chu starts using a move that only gods could use: Etotama Kagura Senguu. Chu believes she might have mastered this move 60 years ago so it is highly likely the reason why Nya died and lost her memories. More bewildering, it didn’t break Nya’s Etotama. Moo’s answer is simple: She loves Nya! Moo thought she finished her off with her special pile driver attack but she got up and used her Kokushi Tenchuusatsu attack. Chu doesn’t care about the balance falling apart if she kills Moo as her only goal is to destroy the cat clan. She rips out and destroys Moo’s Etotama. Then she declares only Nya can challenge her to battle. Back in the real world, before Moo succumbs to her fate, she plants something inside of Chu.

Episode 11
Flashback shows Chu is concerned what Nya is about to do would incur the wrath of the gods. But she isn’t afraid and is positive it will work out. When the first ETM12 is held (a footrace), Nya is notably missing so Chu told them all she tricked her into not coming. Now everyone is sad and gloom over Moo’s death. But she’ll be reincarnated, right? Not quite. Her Etotama was destroyed. Then what is this little Sol/Lull of Moo floating around then? It is just a residual of her thoughts. Moo is here to warn about Chu. Since she has seen the battle, she must know about that deadly move. If she cannot defeat it, she’ll never win. She has bought Nya some time by implanting some of her Sol/Lull inside Chu to stop her from rampaging. Moo points out Nya has a very important emotion called love. Then a hug before she disappears completely. But this puts Nya to sleep. It seems her damaged Etotama is being repaired. Takeru confirms everyone would love Nya to have her memories back. They describe how she is the one who always go solo and does things at her pace (why does Piyo always get tentacle raped by her tentacle gifts?). Meanwhile Mei and Shaa are healing Chu’s Etotama in hopes of calming her down. But this would only delay the inevitable as they still need the Sol/Lull of other Eto Shin to save her. They go plead to the rest as Mei explains Chu’s Etotama is turning all the Sol/Lull she absorbs negative. So if they give theirs, it might heal it via suppression by force. They want Takeru to come but he will stay by Nya’s side till she wakes up. When the Eto Shin begin giving their Sol/Lull, the negativity is so great that it is trying to absorb every last Sol/Lull in them. Nya wakes up and is her usual scatterbrain self. Takeru is glad she is still the same but Nya has got her memories back. She now remembers why she needs to be part of the zodiac. With Takeru, they head over to where the rest are but they have already been defeated. Nya heals them all with just a little touch of her Sol/Lull. Seeing she has got her memories back, Dora gives her seal to her. Now for the final face off with Chu. Nya thinks they are being punished by the gods now.

Episode 12
The great battle begins. But when Nya pulls off the same Etotama Kagura Senguu move, she claims that she is the one who used that move first. Chu, you look so shock. Nya reveals that Chu’s greatest point is her being direct and upfront more than anyone. This is also her weakest point because she takes in all the pressure until it is breaking point. There were signs that Chu was already at rampaging point back then. Because Chu needed to put up a good example as the strongest Eto Shin, the reason she acted so cold and such. She was trapped. She couldn’t confide in anyone. That is why Nya underwent a lot of training to master Etotama Kagura Senguu. Further flashback reveals something like this. Their last bout 60 years ago, Nya wanted to save Chu by destroying her Etotama with this move. She believed it was the only way. Chu didn’t take that lightly. She thought it meant Nya didn’t need her anymore and therefore breaking the promise they had. She became enraged and called Nya her enemy. Nya became disheartened and during this distraction, Chu struck back with that same move that she just saw, destroying Nya’s Etotama. Nya now powers up to fight back but she claims it is not her power that has come back. It is her love for Chu! Not convinced, Chu tries to finish her off but Nya grabs her Etotama and won’t let go. Meanwhile, the cafe manager paralyzes all the other Eto Shin and asks Takeru if the zodiacs are needed. Because if they aren’t he will invoke a law that will cause them to disappear and the selection process will begin again from scratch. Right now, all the Eto Shin are imperfect and cannot protect the land or do their duty as messengers. Takeru boldly ignores him to continue watching the fight.

Nya laments that she thought destroying her Etotama was the only way to save her. She realizes that it is wrong. Therefore no matter what Chu becomes or what becomes of Nya, she will never give up. It seems this move repairs Chu’s Etotama. Suddenly… Suddenly! Chu turns into an emotional wreck! Not the evil kind but of the girly kind! While ‘beating up’ Nya, she complains how she was lonely as Nya travelled the world to keep the balance in check (although she did supported Nya from the shadows as per agreed). Despite the balance and order in the world, the fact remains that Chu was lonely. She wanted Nya to be by her side. For 2000 years she couldn’t just say it. So this is the big reason that led to this mess? Takeru’s advice to Chu is that she can be out of character as much as she wants. This will give rise to all kinds of feelings and she’ll be able to say what she wants like she does now. Being with Nya made him understand that. He supports both of them to go on. His Sol/Lull purifies Chu that her purple outfit now becomes white! Time to finish up this battle. Now he answers the manager’s question. After naming the zodiacs in order, he says he needs them. Although they are imperfect but this is what makes them great. The manager accepts his words. Besides, he feels relieved because he doesn’t need to conduct interviews and do everything from start again. Thanks boy. In the aftermath of the battle, Mei examines Chu’s Etotama and it is fine and stable. But Nya is throwing tantrums and bugging Chu to give her seal since she claims she has won. But Chu won’t. She has to take responsibility for killing Moo. Everybody ignores Nya to discuss about ETM12 laws and such. Aw, Nya… So sad all your efforts this season are wasted… Chu tells her this is a good thing because she is free and not bound by the rules. She can go anywhere and do whatever she wants. Suddenly, Moo in Sol/Lull form pops out from Chu. Although she previously planted part of herself inside her, it is Chu and Nya’s love that aided her reincarnation. So all is well, end’s well? Except for Nya… Still not part of the zodiac…

Special 1
As Usa, Uma, Kii and Inu take a break during their shift at Maid Cafe Eto, the monkey and dog aren’t too pleased the horse and rabbit are talking about girly things. Don’t they get tired of it? There is no break time from being a girl! So what’s it like being a woman? Usa has some tips (personal opinion, that is) and that is to say “That’s so cute~”. Kii says it to Inu and it makes her blush. She returns the same before they both get carried away calling each other cute. Usa snaps them out of it and they realize how scary being cute is!

Special 2
Chu and Shaa are soaking in the hotspring as the latter talks about beings walking on toes or heels. It may just be a bad pun or tongue twister thingy. Chu gets up and says they walk with the soles of their feet with no worries and no matter how sloppy the mat is, it will not be worthy enough to obstruct their path.

Special 3
Piyo is resting on the tree and is annoyed at cat’s purr. It is falling off the tree. No choice, she goes to put it down on the ground. Nya then runs zooms past her. With Piyo’s recent memories erased, she cannot fathom why the stray cat is rubbing at her legs. Annoyed?

Special 4
Takeru notices they are out of eggs to make sukiyaki. But don’t worry. Mei is here to share the eggs that she bought too much. She even knows and suggests where in his kitchen to get a certain sauce. Creepy stalker… After she has gone, Uri feels something suspicious. Nobody in their right mind would buy extra eggs. Mei might look normal coming from the front door but noticed she has already opened the door before Takeru did? It was locked, right? What does this mean? She has the keys to the house! Change the locks! Oh, Mei is back with a locksmith… Oh sh*t! She knows!

Special 5
Takeru never knew that hole had a life of its own. And no, it is not Nya playing any pranks. That hole is alive! And so Takeru becomes best friends with this holey and they do great things together. WTF. A guy and a hole?! Then one night while watching the stars together, a comet is going to crash on them. The hole turns giant to absorb it all to protect Takeru before vanishing. Takeru becomes distraught of his best pal’s ‘death’. Of course this entire sequence is just a dream as Takeru has fallen asleep and his head inside the hole while Nya tries her best to pull him out.

Special 6
Time to learn English from Moo. Yeah. Listen to a cow on how to use very good English. Very, very good English indeed… Just wait for it… A is for… Ny-A!!! An excuse to take out her horny kiss on her hand puppet Nya. Next is alphabet B. What does it stand for? Nya!!! Does she know the alphabet or not?! Or is this some lame excuse to take out her gross sexual fantasies on the hand puppet that it even needs a cow censor! And finally C is for… I don’t know, how does it fit in Moo stealing a sock of Nya and adding it to her collection? And she should have at least made a pun of C (see) ‘ya instead of saying goodbye to end it. Go back to English class, you perverted bovine!!!

S-CAT-terbrain CAT-titude!
So this is the true reason why the cat is not in the zodiac? And the fact that cats and rats are actually best of friends? Woah. Wait a minute. Then why does Tom still chase Jerry and the violent rivalry between Itchy and Scratchy continue till this day? Oh, that is their way of showing their love to each other, eh? Anyway, I guess the simple story of this anime is rather okay. The cat trying to join the zodiac and the eternal rivalry with the rat boils down to something deeper but if you have watched lots of animes and even movies from Hollywood these days, you can guess that stories like these would have some sort of twist to them and not as straightforward as it seems. Therefore it wasn’t a big surprise when the revelation between Nya and Chu came about. Not that I perfectly guessed what it was. Rather, I knew Chu wasn’t going to be a true villain from start to finish and there was something that made her to play the role of the antagonist.

The characters themselves are pretty lovable although I feel some of them do not get enough screen time despite most of the episodes at least dedicate one episode for an Eto Shin for Nya to challenge and obtain her seal. Each of the Eto Shin are unique and their personality somewhat becomes a running joke of the series. For instance, Uri is usually the character that ‘dies’. Until Moo broke that death streak by dying for real before being somewhat reincarnated as a mini version just to make us all happy that the 12 zodiacs are together. Uri also loves the sesame oil sauce and can’t leave home without it. The part which I find ‘funny’ about her is that she usually ends her sentences with ‘desu-desu’. It sounds cute but when I’m not concentrating, sometimes it sounds like ‘tes-tes’, close to as in ‘testes’!!! OMG!!!

The rest of the characters with ‘running joke’ include Piyo who seems to forget everything exactly after 3 steps, Moo’s brazen display of affection for Nya and unashamed perversion towards her in broad daylight, Mei’s creepy love for Takeru, Usa the business genius with everything in this damn world you buy originating from her UTC company, Shaa’s lack of emotional display and the irony that she can make bad puns and jokes with such a poker face, Uma always in constant depression thinking that she is the reason why people cannot name the bottom half of the zodiac and Kii and Inu whose characters are so similar and overlapping that they don’t amount much to anything. Also another form of running joke is how the characters from time to time break the fourth wall like as though they know and are pointing out to viewers who are watching the episode.

Nya herself may start out as an annoying character with her scatterbrain personality and doing things at her own pace. But that itself is what makes her likeable (unless you are not a cat person). Whether or not she remembers her past, she is still the same person and nobody else could beat that kind of liveliness you see in her. For most of the time, she is screaming, throwing tantrums, running about, getting into trouble and all sorts of other stuffs that make her funny and amusing. I thought with Moo’s ‘death’, she can be happy and free from all those unwanted sexual harassments. But now that Moo is back to mini size, I wonder how she will take out her harassment and annoy Nya. I mean, she used to use her big boobs to smother all over Nya. How is she going to do that now she is Thumbelina’s size?

For Chu, I had a feeling she wasn’t really a bad guy. Maybe she was just playing the antagonist just to keep everyone in line and especially about the reputation she had to keep up. Who’d knew that she was just a lonely rat and all that pent up frustration and emotions built up inside her, turned her into one big ticking time bomb. So don’t worry Nya. All your efforts this season may not get you a seat as part of Eto Shin. It was to save Chu. That wasn’t your goal? Don’t go crying over spilled milk now, cat girl. Takeru feels a bit redundant for most of the episodes. Most of his role goes to giving his Sol/Lull to Nya whenever he experiences positive feelings and watching the special TV of Nya in battle. It is hard to see him making a direct impact on Nya and the Eto Shin since from what I can see, he is trying to understand more about them and the zodiac girls can be sufficient in dealing with Nya to achieve her goal even without Takeru around.

The art and drawing of the characters lean towards the cute type. After all, when you are going to personify and anthropomorphize Chinese zodiac animals, might as well make them as cute as possible. Yeah, I suppose they’re cuter when they are in their Pretty Mode. But sometimes I feel that the character designs of Eto Shin make them feel like they are cosplaying. Because you have Uma in a miko priestess outfit, Mei dressed up as a nurse, Usa looking like a cross between a Playboy bunny girl and Alice In Wonderland, Shaa an Egyptian pharaoh and Moo who looks like some sort of sexy cowgirl. But the most disturbing design goes to Nya. Why? Well, let’s see. I don’t know why but the first time I laid eyes on her I thought she is the cat and chibi version of Haruhi Suzumiya! OMG! The striking resemblance! Did she reincarnate into a cat?! The sailor uniform also looks almost similar.

Not many animes that employ the use of CGI would do well to mix it with traditional 2D animation. Personally I think this one does a good job in this area although CGI is mainly used during the battle scenes during the Eto Shin’s bout. The action and movements are fluid and smooth and sometimes giving me a feel I am watching a cut scene from a video game, which isn’t that bad. But the most breath-taking and amazing designs would go to the backdrops and sceneries of the battle scene. I kinda like some of the designs and layouts of the stages and the CGI effect enhances its awesomeness.

Therefore some of the action and battle sequences are quite good although I won’t go so far as to say it is so awesome that my eyes were totally glued to the screen and craving for more when it ends. As said, thanks to the CGI effects, the battles that involve using their fists and kicks feel like they are coming from a video game and they do pack it with a lot of power. I suppose to stem the monotonous pattern that Nya needs to fight every Eto Shin, some ‘battles’ like in Piyo’s case are more brains oriented and Uma’s kart racing so it is good they provide variety in how Nya can earn their seals. Heck, some don’t even need to assert any effort like Shaa, Kii and Inu.

The best voice acting goes to Rie Murakawa as Nya (Hotaru in Non Non Biyori). Nya might sound annoying with her exuberance but it is not easy to voice such a lively scatterbrain character in every episode for most of the time. I think if I were to try and match that liveliness in Nya, I don’t think I would even last half an episode. Heck, maybe the first line would have killed me. So you have got to give Rie Murakawa a lot of credit points for perfectly portraying Nya and giving her character a lot of, uhm, character. The only seiyuus that I recognized in this series are Hiro Shimono as Takeru and Sayaka Ohara as Chu (she sounds like she is in her badass mode like Erza from Fairy Tail).

The rest of the casts are Eriko Matsui as Moo (Isuzu in Log Horizon), Yuka Tatsumi as Shima (Riko in KissxSis), Yuka Aisaka as Usa (Muse in Amagi Brilliant Park), Maaya Uchida as Dora (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Hitomi Nabatame as Shaa (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana), Ari Ozawa as Uma (Nozomi in The Rolling Girls), Mai Fuchigami as Mei (Miho in Girls Und Panzer), Megumi Toda as Kii (Yuzu in Sakura Trick), Mikoi Sasaki as Piyo (Hercule in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Mariko Honda as Inu (Kurimu in Seitokai No Ichizon) and Yumiri Hanamori as Uri (Chiaya in The Rolling Girls).

The opening theme, Retry Rendezvous by Rie Murakawa is a lively and fun anime rock piece, just very much like the Nya character herself. The playful opening of this song is already enough to make you want to listen to the rest of it before you start your episode. But it is a slow rock ballad for the ending theme, Blue Moment by Soruraru BOB. It is quite a touching and lovely song and could have more emotional effect had not the silly comedy parts get in the way. I mean, after watching the hilarity of it all, hearing this piece is just clashing with your emotions. Unless the episode gets serious or ends on a gloomy note. Like how when certain characters ‘die’, the ending credits animation will turn and become into a montage/snippets/clips on the character like as though you’re paying your last homage to her. Is this supposed to be funny? Can you laugh when you’re sad?

On a trivial note, there are lots of illustrations of the characters of the series especially during the sponsor screen, mid-intermission eye-catch and the end card. For the mid-intermission section, there are interesting bits, trivia and details in brief about the series’ terms and the laws of ETM12. It is a good place to get to know more about those stuffs if you are really fascinated with this series. As for the end card, the seiyuu will draw her version of the character she voiced. Some looking funny (Usa), some looking just plain simple (Takeru’s is just glasses) and some looking cool (Uri). Just sad that Kii and Inu didn’t get their own versions since Takeru and Nya replace them. If you believe in horoscopes, don’t ever listen to the one as told in the next episode preview because they’re just a load of bull designed only for comedic purposes. Seriously, don’t.

Overall, this might not be the best anime of the season or the year or would anybody remember it in time since the use of Chinese zodiac animals in animes isn’t something new (Fruits Basket comes to mind). It has a decent plot, lots of cute characters, lots of funny moments (though mainly relying on breaking the fourth wall and repeated running jokes) and some fight scenes to go with it in nice 3D effect. It is not bad so give it a try. If you like to add another theory to why cats aren’t in the zodiac, then just watch this show so you can impress-cum-bullsh*t your friends.

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