Hatenkou Yuugi

February 7, 2009

Have you harbour any dreams of travelling and seeing the world? Are you the adventurous type seeking to explore places where no man has ever gone before or at least daring to go to the extreme, places which are outside your comfort zone? Now, before anybody starts thinking that this is some sort of travel guide blog, please bear in mind that this is still very much an anime blog. Avid anime fans who have read the first line of this blog will definitely know that I’m referring to the anime series Hatenkou Yuugi.
 
And no, that show isn’t about travelling the world. Okay, so maybe travelling is part and parcel of this show but it isn’t the main point. This series is one of the many manga titles to be given the anime treatment but one of the very few which has retained its manga name. Yup, those who have read the manga should know that it goes by its other name, Dazzle.
 
Surprisingly, this adventure-cum-comedy with a dash of magic TV series is shorter than most short season TV series in the sense that this anime has only 10 episodes instead of the usual 12 or 13. Probably it is to surprise viewers that the end had come too soon than expected. But after watching the series, you’ll find out that the end isn’t much an ending. More on that later on.
 
So let’s meet our reluctant traveller, the spunky girl named Rahzel. As seen at the very beginning of episode 1, for some reasons unknown, Rahzel has been booted out from the comfort of her home by her father who tells her to go see the world. Yeah, what a sudden and rude turn of events for a cute girl like her. How is she going to face the cruel world filled with injustice and other horrible stuff? What is a lonely girl got to do all by herself in this great big world? Well, whether she likes it or not, she has to. Furthermore, she’s only got a blindfolded teddy bear as her luggage. Or is it a travel companion? Is that all she needs for her long indefinite travel? But it’s better than being a damsel in distress, right? Rahzel is quite the independent girl she is.
 
As she is wandering around (okay, some may say travel), she spots an expressionless looking (but moody at times) white haired guy with red eyes named Alzeid trying to extort from a poor hapless guy with his gun. I don’t know how but I guess Rahzel has to look things at things the positive way if she is going to survive. Thus she proclaims how she is going to make her travels and Alzeid’s life filled with excitement and happiness. I’m not sure why either but ever since then, Alzeid becomes a travelling companion to Rahzel. And off they go to see the world. Well, that’s for Rahzel. As for Alzeid, the reason why he’s travelling is that he’s seeking out his father’s murderer.
 
Because they are low on cash, Alzeid does another quick extortion. In order not for their names to become famous outlaws, I guess Rahzel tells him that instead of resorting to such things, might as well take out a temporary job. Yeah, Alzeid extorts that poor guy on where to get a lucrative job. So the duo ends up taking up a job by some wealthy guy named Noma and their job is to exorcise a spirit in the woods nearby his mansion. The spirit is a lady who seems to have died while waiting for her love. Against the duo’s will, she begins telling her flashback story. Uh huh, Alzeid thinks she’s an idiot because she’s waiting for a man who doesn’t bother about keeping his promise even 20 years after her death. Of course this upsets the spirit as she chases them out of the woods.
 
So Rahzel did some investigation and found out that Noma was the once the spirit’s lover. We find out that the reason Noma hired them was to eliminate his guilt in his heart by asking some outsiders to do so. In addition, Noma places his family’s wealth above that poor lady’s love, that’s why he never showed up 20 years ago. When the duo left, Noma orders his men to take them out in order to silence them. The duo head back to the forest and had another round of chat with the spirit. Rahzel also remembers a similar incident of herself being abandoned alone in the forest while she was young. That night, Rahzel is seen talking to a guy called Baroqueheat or Heat for short, to get some explosive stuff for her. The duo once again visit the forest spirit but she attacks them. We find out that Rahzel is a magician and is able to use some magic to defend herself but the spirit has got a hold of Alzeid. She mentions about Rahzel breaking a promise with him so it’s better for to die now.
 
I don’t remember what happened next but Noma woke up that night to find the spirit coming to his house. Looks like after all those talking, Rahzel manages to convince the spirit to realize things. The spirit mentions how she has placed explosives around his mansion and will be waiting for him in the afterlife. Noma panics and tries to escape but is locked in. Time is ticking. Outside the mansion, the spirit tells Rahzel how she’ll reincarnate into someone who will fall in love again before disappearing. We find out that the ‘explosion’ is actually a beautifully displayed fireworks. Good enough to scare the wits out of that selfish Noma guy and teach him a lesson. As they leave, Alzeid asks if Rahzel wanted a promise and her reply is to spend the rest of their days having fun.
 
So in most of the episodes, it will follow this sort of random pattern. There is no real storyline plot like you see in most animes as the gang goes from one town to another town helping people in need or getting involve in some other people’s affair which they shouldn’t be. Speaking of which I don’t know how Heat came to join the gang, but he follows them on their journey. So we have a spunky and sharp tongue girl (listen to her witty lines and remarks. They’re ‘inspiring’), an emotionless gun-wielding guy looking for his dad’s killer, and a playboy who has a butterfly mark on the back of his right hand and sometimes provide some punch lines. What an odd travelling group. Well, opposites do attract. Plus, Alzeid and Heat seems to be like water and oil. Always in some petty argument and Alzeid hates him.
 
Episode 2 starts off with the gang in jail. How did they end up there? It seems Rahzel and Alzeid was looking for Heat when they spot a boy, Elmer, in trouble with the local police. Rahzel went to help him and before they know it, they got locked up. Oh yeah, we also find out that Rahzel has a bad sense of direction as she gets lost in the city. Alzeid even wonders why such a person is taking the lead. Her famous line: "You should blame the destination for not being where I’m heading". What a good excuse for people who get lost often. Anyway they find out that Elmer is trying to gain revenge for his father, just like Alzeid. We also find out that the person who killed Alzeid’s father was a woman. This gives a whole new meaning to lady killer. Elmer tells his story how his dad was locked up in this prison and he was waiting the day of his release. But when the day arrives, to Elmer’s horror, the prison warden boastfully tells him that he has been executed. Devastated, Elmer threw a rock at the warden’s carriage. Because of that little irritation, that stupid warden orders Elmer’s arrest.
 
Rahzel and Alzeid soon find Heat in the next jail cell. Though Alzeid thinks he got into some trouble, Heat says in jail he can enjoy free meals. Do prison meals taste good? Heat explains to them that with the other cities refusing to build more prisons, prisoners are sent here and this has led to overcrowding. So the prison warden has to execute some of them to make space. Alzeid promise that he’ll let Elmer get his revenge as he breaks out of jail using his brute force (handcuffs don’t work on him). Rahzel frees herself with her magic while Heat who is enjoying his prison meal has to hasten it and use his picking skills to free himself.
 
The gang went through various obstacles in the prison to reach the warden head’s office, including being chased by a pack of dogs (they ran away with their tails between their legs when Alzeid stared back at them!). They arrive at a room where all executed prisoners are taken to. Elmer spots his father’s belongings on the floor and fears the worse. The warden appears in a room above them and sends in more guards to take them out but Rahzel and co easily dispatches them. The warden is impressed with their skills and makes a deal with them that he’ll let the trio go scot free if they kill the boy. Don’t think they’ll accept it. Furthermore, the made fun of his baldness. Rahzel and Heat team up to bring the warden down to the ground. Elmer is pointing a gun at the warden but his hands are shaky. In addition, Heat and Alzeid are surrounded by the guards.
 
Now Rahzel is playing psychology on Elmer, who is still bent on pursuing his revenge. She puts the gun in the warden’s mouth because she thinks revenge the old fashion way is boring. She says to imagine what will happen once she blows his brains out. She continues to say once doing so, her pals will die and that she will have to kill Elmer because he is partly responsible for it as she can’t forgive anyone who takes away her friends. Soon she too will be hunted down and killed in this never ending spiral of violence. So she finally asks him does he have what it takes to pass the misery to others. Smooth. Lesson learn: Violence begets violence. This was enough to make Elmer realize as he cries in frustration while Rahzel hugs him. But the warden isn’t giving up yet as he tries to reach the gun on the ground. We see that Alzeid and Heat are pretending to be helpless when surrounded as they instantly took out the guards and stop the warden from taking the gun. After making another explosion in the prison, the trio moves to another town as Rahzel says how she just wants to be happy and be a cute grandma. Cute grandma? That can only happen in anime.
 
Episode 3 starts off with Rahzel remembering the time when her father played a little game with her in the woods. He tells her to stand in the circle and not move out of it till he comes pick her up. But in the end, he never did. Back in present time, Rahzel and Alzeid are in a city where the circus is in town. They find a lost boy named Romario and help him get back to his mom. During the circus performance, one of the clowns seems to be throwing daggers at Rahzel’s way but they turned into flowers in the end. It’s revealed that the clown is Heat. What is he doing there working part time as a clown? Well, he did mention how he did such a stuff before and the reason he stopped because he made more money doing strip dancing performances…?! Then the female Ringmaster decides to use a volunteer for her next performance and chooses Romario. She notes how beautiful and smooth hands he has. So into the cage Romario goes for her disappearing act. The crowd is amazed.
 
But by the end of the show, it seems Romario is nowhere to be found. Rahzel is worried and go asks Ringmaster but she says she personally escorted him out through the backdoor. Plus, Rahzel notices some weird tubes inside the circus. Romario’s mom is worried and goes looking for her son. Rahzel smells something fishy and can’t sleep that night so she alone sneaks back into the circus but are being attacked by several clowns. Ringmaster then appears and indicates that she has killed Romario for his hands! OMG! She’s trying to create the perfect child with perfect features! It looks like a Frankenstein monster if you ask me. Ringmaster decides to name it Viola and gets more of her clown to attack Rahzel, in which she easily disposes them off. Luckily Heat and Alzeid arrived just in time so Rahzel couldn’t have all the fun by herself. Why did they come anyway? They’re pals, right? Some magic soon prevents the gang from moving so Ringmaster tells Viola to kill them. Just then, Rahzel told to stop and Viola stopped his actions. Ringmaster wonders why he stopped and furiously tells him to kill them. Unfortunately, Viola grabbed Ringmaster and killed her instead! Alzeid says how Viola is just a mindless monster listening to orders without thinking. So when Ringmaster says to kill, Viola grabbed the nearest thing, which is her, and killed her instead. Alzeid then decides to dispose of Viola but Rahzel is against it. Although Viola is a mindless creature, Rahzel still feels it’s wrong to kill it. Heat takes her away as Alzeid shoots it to death. Though Rahzel remains depressed, she decides to cheer up the next day when the guys suggest they go out and have fun. Poor Romario’s mom is still waiting for him… What a gruesome and sad episode.
 
Episode 4 starts off with a flashback of a young girl named Madeira about how her grandpa told her and her sister of some treasure at some place. In present time, Rahzel is lost and alone in the woods thinking that her pals have gotten into some trouble of their own. She then reaches a house and seeks permission to stay but the house owner, a grown up Madeira refuses and shuts the door on her till her younger sister apologizes for Madeira’s actions and lets her in. Such contrasting difference in character. To Rahzel’s surprise, she finds Heat and Alzeid there. All cosy next to the fire place. While Rahzel is taking a bath, Madeira comes in and wants to hire her. Madeira tells her story of how she wants to go to university but her parents objected to it. Since they have no money, Madeira remembers the treasure her late grandpa told her. Rahzel accepts the offer even though she isn’t too pleased with her snobbish attitude. What is Heat doing in the bathroom too?!
 
Deep into the night, Rahzel enters Madeira’s room to wake her up to go treasure hunting. Yeah, it’s like Rahzel is giving her a taste of her own medicine by acting cold too. So Madeira and the trio goes adventuring into a cave filled with cliche traps. Then when they approached a little bridge over a stream, Madeira recalls how while she and her sis were drowning, her dad jumped in to save the weaker one. Probably, that’s why she’s so sour. So Madeira asks Rahzel if 1 of the guys are drowning, which of them would she choose to save first. Rahzel couldn’t answer back. After crossing, the ground gives way and the next thing Madeira knows is that she’s in some underground lake with Rahzel by her side and the guys trying to search a way out. Rahzel mentions about how she could use her magic to save herself but wouldn’t save anyone she doesn’t know but because of Madeira’s pessimistic attitude, Rahzel slaps her. I guess it’s a good way to make her realize things.
 
Madeira then notices a leaf floating in the lake and thinks that there must be a connection through the lake as the leaf must’ve floated from somewhere. Rahzel then creates a thin oxygen shield for the gang as they dive in. A funny quip by Madeira when Heat says how he’ll hold her hand and guide her through. Yeah, she says how that would be the scariest thing. Haha. When the guys and Madeira resurfaces at the other end, they notice that Rahzel hasn’t arrived yet. Earlier on, she’s seen struggling and Madeira says how Rahzel can’t swim. Oh so she was just trying to act cool, huh? But of course Rahzel soon emerges. Rahzel tells Madeira that she can answer her who-to-save-first drowning question. She says, she’ll save neither and let them both die since the one being saved will complain. Feeling insulted, Heat kicked Rahzel into the pool. Of course she changes her answer and say that she’ll save them both. Change of heart?
 
Madeira soon spots a light shining down on a fossil of a prehistoric bird. So this was the treasure that Madeira’s grandpa was talking about. The light that brightens her life. Something about how even though the fossil is trapped but it still seems as though it could fly. With that, Madeira realized everything and thanks her grandpa. The guys revealed that it was Madeira’s younger sister who told them to come and help them. When they get out of the cave, Madeira’s attitude takes a turn for the better. She tells them how she decides to run away from home and after cooling her head, will talk to her parents again to go to university. Madeira also says if they ever need her help, she’ll gladly return the favour before parting.
 
Episode 5 sees the gang entering into a town who has a weird burial custom of the deceased called Sky Burial. It’s like being hung and crucified out in the open on a stick and being left for vultures to pick on the remains. They stumbled upon such grave while chasing a little girl named Lalawel. They find out that she is the daughter of an innkeeper named Jean Foup as he tells them that Lalawel’s strange behaviour may be due to the trauma of losing her mom who died while giving birth to her. To make things worse, the townspeople doesn’t like them and Lalawel blames herself for the death of her mom, which partly contributes to her shy and fearful behaviour. Therefore, he wants to do all he can to protect her. Later, the townspeople including the mayor approaches the trio and tells them not to stay at Jean Foup’s inn because all those who stayed there, ill consequences befell on them. Instead, the trio mocked his slipping wig. Then as they discuss of heading to a village in the southwest (Jean Foup did mention that maybe Alzeid’s killer would be there due to the descriptions Alzeid said), Rahzel refuses to go because if she does, she won’t gain attention by being unique or standing out. Huh? That’s got to be a joke, right?
 
Rahzel finds Lalawel at the Sky Burial cemetery as the latter explains how criminals and those with diseases are brought here so that the birds could take their diseases away. The mayor is seen pointing his rifle at them from a distance but is being stopped by Alzeid. Earlier on, several nasty boys threw rocks at Lalawel, so it’s no surprise that Jean Foup got all worried to see her a little bruised. Funny part was when Heat found the boys, he decided to play football with them and the boys are the ball! But Rahzel stops them by showing him a red card! Though Rahzel disagrees with Heat’s idea of using violence against violence, when 1 of the boys called Rahzel an old hag, she too is trying her best to control her change in mind of using violence against him.
 
Of course the trio soon finds out that the townspeople has branded Lalawel as some sort of monster because when Lalawel’s mom was pregnant, she was killed during a burglary one night. Jean Foup who was devastated and it was obviously strange to see that the mother died while the child survive. So the townspeople concluded that Jean Foup must have used black magic to revive the child and keep it alive. And to do that, he needs sacrifices, which are rumoured to be customers of the inn. Later that night as Rahzel goes to sleep with Lalawel in her room (nothing yuri, mind you), Lalawel asks Rahzel if she despises her for being a killer. I’m not sure what was Rahzel’s assignment to Lalawel, something about why people could stand strong and go on living, but I guess they decide to sleep on it and compare their answers tomorrow. But we soon see Jean Foup in a small dark room with photos covering the walls chanting some weird lines…
 
Episode 6 continues with Rahzel and co having breakfast but Rahzel feels something is not quite right with it all. Alzeid tells her not to butt into other people’s problem and play detective because the police should’ve been involve if customers of the inn really died. Then some funny quip about if the people here died, it wasn’t due to murders but to horrible food. Yeah, Alzeid got a taste of it and collapses. Meanwhile one of Lalawel’s bullies who is also the mayor’s child, being chased before being shot by the unknown assailant which he recognized. At the same time, Rahzel and Heat decides to play some weird poker game but the numbers have been replaced with surnames. To kill time? But it was funny to see them play the game with weird rules even if I didn’t know what’s going on. Then I don’t know why or how but Alzeid revives and lands the winning hand. Wow. But they have to cut short their game when they heard a scream. They find the body of the mayor’s child and the townspeople looking in horror. The townspeople have had enough and decides to end this once and for all.
 
At the doorstep of the inn, Rahzel and co tries to protect Lalawel from being hounded by the unruly mob. They started attacking by throwing stones but Rahzel stops it with her magic and tells them off that they’re the real monster. The mayor then thinks that they are Jean Foup’s accomplices and that they don’t really know what is going on. The mob starts a fire to get Jean Foup out and when he finally does, he tells them that all this are his fault. He explains that he was the real killer of his wife and that the child in her womb wasn’t his. She even tried to ask for divorce to be with her lover and since Jean Foup couldn’t take it anymore, he killed her. Lalawel was just a child he found at the Sky Burial grounds and took her in as his own. He leads them to the dark small room and says he will not forgive those who hurt Lalawel but ended up hurting her the most. With that, Jean Foup slit himself with a knife! OMG! His body is given a the traditional Sky Burial but Rahzel suspects something amiss and thinks all this elaborated cover up to appease the townspeople. She thinks Jean Foup is willing to go this far to protect the identity of the real killer.
 
As the trio head back to the inn, they heard a gunshot and to their surprise, Lalawel holding a rifle and has killed the mayor! The reason was the mayor was here to get revenge for his son and so Lalawel took care of him. Then Lalawel reiterates that didn’t she despise her for being a killer? Oh no! So Lalawel is the killer! How could such a cute girl do such a horrible thing at such a tender young age?! And she doesn’t show any remorse! Lalawel tells how it all began many years ago when a customer of an inn accidentally stabbed her forehead with his cigarette butt. She was so furious that she killed him! It took only that! Ever since then, it has become an addiction. When Jean Foup found out, he became an accomplice by covering up her killing habit. Rahzel tries to get closer to Lalawel but she prevents her by firing a shot, which causes the candle to fall and start a fire. Rahzel remembers the time when her late mom has gone insane due to a mental illness. Her dad can’t handle it so he left and when her mom threatens to harm her, Rahzel kills her. After that, her dad returned and brought her to the woods where she was abandoned. Teary Lalawel says how she won’t be forgiven as she points the gun at her head. She also knows the answer to Rahzel’s assignment and says how her hands are warm like the sun. But before she could pull the trigger, an explosion occurs. Rahzel tries to save her but is being pulled away by Alzeid and Heat. Rahzel is devastated as she laments she couldn’t save people she wanted. The next day as they continue their journey, Alzeid and Heat extend their hands to Rahzel as she appreciates their thoughtful gesture. Oh my, what another sad episode.
 
In episode 7, Rahzel and the guys are trekking through the snowy mountains when an avalanche occurs. Rahzel and Alzeid use their magic to float above the avalanche and they left poor Heat being swallowed by the snow. They even offered their condolences! Haha. Don’t worry, he ain’t dead yet. They then met an albino girl named Rudovika who is awed by Rahzel’s blue eyes and thinks it’s like the colour of the sky that she has never seen before. A group of villagers are looking for Rudovika and initially mistaken the trio as her attackers. When it is settled down, they tell them that Rudovika can’t be exposed to sunlight. Due to this, it is only natural for a little girl to defy her elder’s advice and escape to go see the sun. When Rahzel mentions about Alzeid being able to walk under the sun, he says it’s nothing when one puts on sun tan lotion and sunglasses. Then there’s a part whereby Heat teases Rahzel about her shortness (Probably in sight and stature), Rahzel takes out a sword from her bear and tries to slice him! Holy sh*t! How did she keep a sword in her little teddy bear? I think she keeps her clothes in there too! It’s better than Doraemon’s pocket! At the same time, Alzeid remembers a woman who promised to bring him out when his dad didn’t. Probably this woman was the one who killed his dad.
 
That night, we see Heat unable to stand the cold (of course, it’s in his name!) while Rahzel suggests to sneak Rudovika out. But Heat mentions how he has that feeling that they’re being watched ever since they enter town and the odd part is that, this town wasn’t on the map (don’t tell that to the directionally challenged Rahzel, she’ll probably won’t understand). Then we see the villagers conspiring about saving Rudovika and to kill those 3 and use their bodies as fertilizers. That night as the trio escapes from the village, Alzeid notices the trees moving and Heat thinks they’re walking in circles. Then Rudovika appears. It’s rare to see Alzeid going up to Rudovika and talking things to make her understand the implications of her actions like her condition and the people around her who cares for her, even though it is still ultimately her decision. And when Rahzel gives her own speech to her, Rudovika asks Rahzel if she can do it, in which she says she can if she has the support of her friends.
 
Several tree branches starts to move and attacks them. Heat mistaken the branches to be some sort of tentacles and starts quipping some erotic lines like since things are going to be ecchi, he asks the ‘tentacles’ to rip off Rahzel’s skirt! WTF?! Yeah, also something about the village head being the last boss of the final stage, as he makes his appearance. The village head says how since the village is void of sunlight, their only wish is to protect Rudovika. Since there are quite a number of tree branches, all their effort seems futile and not going anywhere. Then as 1 of the branches is going to strike Alzeid, Rudovika uses her body as a shield! As the village head disappears into the background, the sun rises and in Alzeid’s arms, Rudovika could finally see the sunlight before she disappears as petals. Then it hit Alzeid that all the inhabitants of this non-existent village were just trees and that Rudovika was an albino plant in need of nutrients, which is Rahzel and co’s flesh and blood. Alzeid remembers the first time he went out and saw the clear blue sky and went on to rant on stuff which sounds so poetic. As the gang leaves, a white stalk with 2 leaves appears to be growing out from the snow, which I think could be Rudovika. For a non-talkative guy like Alzeid, he sure says quite a number of lines here.
 
Episode 8 starts off with a flashback and we see that Heat and Alzeid were in the army together, betting and watching a fight in which between a young man named Soresta was a contender. Heat was shouting out to Soresta that someone is beating his life on his victory. In present time, Rahzel saves a young boy named Vincent from a bunch of thugs by using her magic to bend their weapons. On the bridge, Soresta comes by to rudely interrupt Rahzel and Vincent and tells the latter the trouble he has caused for running away. Because Soresta is roughly handling Vincent, Rahzel defends Vincent by kicking him and saying he’s a bad guardian but Soresta knows that she’s a magician and he uses his levitation magic on her. Then Heat, in a badly designed afro disguise, comes by to stop them. Yeah, anyone can see through it.
 
At the cafe, Rahzel and co regroups as she finds out that Soresta is an old friend of Alzeid and Heat back during those army days. The trio were quite the group they were, doing missions like saving royals and blowing up castles (?!). Then they did funny things like Alzeid dressing up as a maid because he lost badly in poker. Soresta explains that Vincent is an illegitimate child of a royal family and is sent here under his protection due to a family feud. Just then, Heat says goodbye to Rahzel and kisses her lips! Of course her reply was a slap across his face as he apologizes. Back in Rahzel’s room, Alzeid tells Rahzel that she is prohibited to use magic for 3 days like how she did so freely and that the fight with Soresta she could’ve lost but Rahzel’s confident and says otherwise. Alzeid reveals Soresta’s technique of using strings against his opponents but because of Rahzel’s over confident nature, he pushes on to the bed. He reiterates her prohibition to use magic and if she breaks her promise, he will leave travelling with her. Rahzel ups the challenge herself by saying she won’t use it for a week.
 
The next few days see Rahzel taking Vincent out and having their own fun. Vincent wants Rahzel to teach him magic but when she says she can’t use magic for 1 week, he wants her to teach him fighting instead. Though Rahzel suggests Soresta, that kid doesn’t seem to like it because of his ‘scary face’. We then see Alzeid and Heat chatting together. Heat reveals that he left Rahzel to take up a job to protect Vincent along with Soresta while Alzeid says that Rahzel’s magic ban was to let her re-evaluate herself since she got too cocky over her magic powers. Soon Rahzel and Vincent are being surrounded by several thugs, supposedly sent by Soresta. They use a pepper spray to escape but ends up in a dead end. They enter a warehouse and Rahzel devises a plan using science since she can’t use magic. Necessity is the mother of invention. When the thugs arrive and opens the warehouse door, they find it a little dark so they lit their lighter, which causes a little explosion, taking them out. We see Rahzel and Vincent was hiding underneath the store’s hidden chamber when the explosion happen. Prior to that, they release some gas and use cocoa powder which acts as inflammable particles floating in the air. You know the rest once the slightest flame is ignited, causing a huge chain reaction. Smart. Soresta watches from afar the smoke from the explosion and knows it’s Rahzel’s doing as he talks to Alzeid. When the duo got out of the wreckage, Vincent says it’s because they are friends, the reason why he believes in her and Rahzel also says how an important friend will come to her aid whenever in trouble, which is Alzeid. He comes by to extend his hand though he blames her for recklessly destroying property. Meanwhile, Heat is talking with an unknown person that Soresta is going out of control.
 
The story continues in episode 9 with Soresta further explaining Vincent is the child of the noble and the maid and that the ring Vincent has is proof of his heritage. Rahzel again remembers the time her dad abandoned her in the forest and though she tried to find her way back (with only a knife in hand), she was crying. But she notices even so, her dad was still concern and watching her from afar her every move. Because Alzeid refuses to rejoin Soresta like when they were back in the good old days, that night Soresta plans to kidnap Vincent by starting a fire at the place where Rahzel is staying. While Alzeid is able to fend off the attackers, Heat comes by and knocks Rahzel out and kidnaps her. When Vincent wakes up, he finds himself in a room but Rahzel is nowhere in sight. Meanwhile Rahzel is being tied to a chair as Heat talks to her. Because of Rahzel’s sharp tongue and mockery of Soresta (about sexiness?), he slaps in his rage. Before Heat leaves, he tells her to wait patiently for Alzeid to come rescue her.
 
But Rahzel isn’t the kind to sit around and do nothing as she got out from her handcuffs by ‘loosening some bones’. As Rahzel goes in search for Vincent, Soresta confronts Alzeid who has just arrived. They soon engage in a fight-to-the-death match. Rahzel finds Vincent outside but is being surrounded by Heat and several guards. She jumps down from the window (?!) and into Heat’s arms. Well, she points a knife at him. Hehe. I’m not sure about Rahzel’s explanation of the Chinese word ‘man’ about supporting each other and will gladly die with a smile, but it was enough to prompt Heat to switch sides. Yay. He’s back on Rahzel’s side after kissing her hand. The guards are annoyed with Heat’s betrayal but Heat disposes them off when his butterfly mark suddenly changes into some magical angelic sword. Back to Alzeid and Soresta’s battle, we learn that Soresta’s intention of doing so was because he missed those war times. Uh huh. He’s trying to restart a war since it got all peaceful again. So he felt ‘lonely’ when Alzeid left and decided to use Vincent as for his revolution. In the end, Alzeid wins the match and tells him that he has no interest in war and has no feeling of those he has killed. Before Alzeid could kill Soresta, Rahzel jumps in front of him to block his attack. Though Soresta is surprised of her actions, he still isn’t satisfied with the way things turned out. In his last ditch attempt, Soresta tries to attack Rahzel but Alzeid uses his magic and blows him up. Woah! Later as Rahzel goes talk to Alzeid in the rain (after seeing Vincent off), she isn’t sure if he’s crying or not. But Rahzel realizes things and says she is more responsible and mature now. Just then, she spots her dad, who is here to pick her up.
 
Episode 10 starts off with the gang and Rahzel’s dad, Seratiido, celebrating Rahzel’s birthday (except of Alzeid who’s not too fond of this sudden weird custom). Not only that, Seratiido is the older brother of Heat! It’s really a small world. Yeah, even Seratiido won’t forgive Heat if he does anything funny on his cute Rahzel even if he is his brother. Also, Rahzel wonders why her dad is coming to take her home and of all times now, since he was the one who kicked her out. His reply was that even though he was rash in kicking her out, he believes that she will listen to him when he asks her to come home. With that, Rahzel decides to go on 1 last outing with Alzeid and Heat. We also find out that the mysterious man that Heat was talking to a few episodes back was indeed Seratiido, in which his real intention was to keep Alzeid away from Rahzel and that the Soresta-Vincent’s case was just a side distraction.
 
Rahzel brings Heat and Alzeid to the forest where she was abandoned, which is near her village where people are born with blue eyes and black hair. She reveals that her real name was Lazensha Rose and her real father goes by the name of Fabien Rose, was the one who abandoned her in the woods, then another guy named Seratiido came pick her up. So at that moment, Lazensha died and Rahzel was being born and assumed Seratiido as her new dad. This is getting a little complicating. So when Seratiido tells her to come back, Rahzel has no choice to oblige because in a way she feels grateful for ‘saving’ her that day. Thus, Rahzel tells the duo that their journey together ends here. The next day, Alzeid goes to a gift store to buy a present for Rahzel but since he can’t understand what the shop owner is trying to say, he quickly interrogates a poor guy who just happen to walk into the store! The way this guy said things indicate that he is the real father of Rahzel because he tells Alzeid that he is here to buy a present for a daughter he abandoned in the woods many years ago. This is really a small world after all. As that guy leaves, the shop owner tells Alzeid that spending time with a person is perhaps the best gift. In a coach, it’s confirmed that guy is indeed Fabien Rose as he recalls how was stuck and feeling helpless between his mentally instable with and his smart little daughter. So when his wife went out of control, he leaves the family but soon came back and that’s when he left his daughter in the woods. Though he made a u-turn to retrieve her, by that time, she was gone.
 
Heat is seeing off Rahzel and Seratiido at the train station. The train has departed when Alzeid finally arrives. Since he can’t allow Rahzel to go just like that, he chases the train. I guess Heat has no choice but to follow. Rahzel goes to the back of the train to see them in chase. We see Alzeid being the tsundere character he is as he says how he’ll not write letters or even think about her. But if she thinks that he is still her friend, then she shouldn’t have leave at all. He even wonders that even if they are apart, not knowing what they’ll be doing, will they still be friends. Rahzel still says that they will be. Because Rahzel has been infuriated by Alzeid’s ‘scathing’ remarks (ironic for a taciturn guy), Rahzel jumps down from the train and onto the Alzeid (don’t attempt this stunt anywhere kids). She is in tears since she is torn between following them and going home with her dad. So Alzeid tells her dad she still wants to go with them since she is crying so bad and that his birthday gift to her is the chance to stand up against her dad so that she could convince him and let her continue her journey with them. It seems Seratiido too has gotten off the train and catches up with the gang. After Rahzel and Alzeid traded some hard-talking, she decides to accept his challenge to make his boring life more exciting and mysterious. The final scenes show a mysterious guy coming up to Fabien Rose and killing him as he says how the real game for Rahzel begins now.
 
You know, that final episode wasn’t so much of an ending. It was like hanging with that little suspense at the end. In fact, it felt so much like a beginning of a new story arc. So why did it just end there like that? I have a theory. Test market. Yup, if there has been hot reception of this series, I bet that the producers will no doubt create a second season and continue off from there. So this particular season was more like the interaction between the trio and how they bum around going from places to places getting into some sort of adventure of their own. Feels a bit like Samurai Champloo, huh? But I’m glad in the end, Rahzel in a way decides to follow the guys. Since I didn’t read the manga, I’m not sure if Seratiido would be joining the group to make a foursome.
 
Rahzel is my favourite character because of her lively character and as mentioned before her sharp tongue and independent attitude makes her an admirable character. Say, I kinda noticed that Rahzel dresses up in different clothing or fashion styles each time they head into a new town or village. I’m not a fashion enthusiast but I feel some doesn’t really suit her. Talking about her bad sense of direction, I guess it doesn’t really matter to her since she has really no particular place to go or goal of direction, if you know what I mean. As for Alzeid, it goes to show that even expressionless guys like him do have a heart when it comes to friends. Would he probably end up as Rahzel’s love interest? You’ll never know. And it won’t be real funny without Heat and his antics too. Yeah, at times it feels like the trio are like travelling clowns.
 
The drawing, art and animation are nicely animated to your typical standard Japanese animes of bishonen and bishoujo feel. But one thing I would like to note is that the series sometimes has a little gruesome feel in it. I mean, in almost every episode, I tend to notice that at least 1 character would die in the end or being killed. Sometimes it leaves a bad aftertaste in the mouth. But I guess it’s better than to have all the episodes end on a feel good note. Life isn’t perfect like in the fairytale, you know. Another trivia matter is that, since the series takes place in a fantasy-like world which resembles somewhat like old Eastern Europe, the characters have names which are like… erm… fantasy-like. Not your usual Japanese names, huh? Just unique. Most of them have only single names and don’t even have surnames.
 
Rahzel is voiced by Sanae Kobayashi who did other anime roles such as Hitomi Kashiwa in NHK Ni Youkoso, Lucy in Elfen Lied and Carrie in Bamboo Blade. Takahiro Sakurai does Alzeid and you can recognize him in previous roles like Guiche in Zero No Tsukaima and Suzaku in Code Geass. Shinichiro Miki does Heat who also did voices such as Urahara in Bleach, Takumi in Initial D and Kyuzo in Samurai 7. Because each episode there are like new characters, so the list of seiyuus are a little longer than those in a normal short series anime. There are some seiyuus which I noticed who lend their voices such as Ai Shimizu as Lalawel. There are even seiyuus which I know being cast in minor roles like Mai Nakahara, Emiri Katou and Tomoko Kaneda.
 
The opening theme song is Heartbreaking Romance by Kanako Itou and sounds like a dramatic pop song while the ending theme is called Te No Naka No Eien by Kaori Hikita, which is a slow pop. I don’t know why but every time I hear the ending piece, it always evoke a sense of nostalgic feeling within me. Is it the way the opening tune is played (sounds like a slow country song with that sustaining electrical guitar play. I could be wrong) or perhaps how that particular episode ended?
 
I know that by travelling and seeing the world, one can learn and gain experiences, not to mention much needed exposure from different cultures of the world. But for me, I’m glad I don’t have to go through what Rahzel did nor did my own father kick me out for that reason. I don’t know, but travelling isn’t my stuff and I’d probably say the whole world is generally the same. If you have seen them once, you’ve seen them all (in the sense that in today’s modern society, you can see the same typical highrise and complex everywhere). I’m just happy to be watching animes back in the comfort of my seat. Yeah, probably I’ll be able to see the entire world that way. Yeah right, anime world, that is. Maybe I should have my own adventure there.
 

Hatenkou Yuugi