Hatsukoi Limited

December 4, 2009

Have you ever fallen in love before? I guess everyone has in one way or another. There are quite a number of romance comedy animes out there and though Hatsukoi Limited falls under this category and is not likely to make a significant impact like many of its more successful counterparts, still it is good enough to give this one a worth of shot. There’s nothing to lose when it comes to love, right? Well, depends on how you view it.
 
This short series focuses on a group of middle and high school boys and girls in a particular school in the vicinity. It depicts their love life, the ups and downs, and the obstacles they go through during their teenage years. Sounds like a typical plot? Unless you are done with such stories, then forget about reading any further. The stories in this series are somewhat intertwining and would all come together in the end. Though I feel that because they are friends, classmates or even relatives, I guess that’s why I could consider it intertwining in the first place.
 
Episode 1 starts off with the main bunch of female middle school students. Kei Enomoto, Ayumi Arihara, Koyoi Bessho, Rika Dobashi and Nao Chikura are on their way home discussing about love. Kei is more particular about a guy’s looks whereas Ayumi considers the inside to be more important. Suddenly a huge ‘ugly’ high school guy comes up before them and it is natural for the girls to be frightened by his intimidating looks. This guy, Misao Zaitsu, whips out a love letter and passes it to Ayumi. He tells her she can give her reply later and walks away. So is Ayumi really regretting about what she said? Of course she can’t go out with him and rather die (she did say that!). However Ayumi is in a dilemma because she fears that she will receive a horrible consequence if she rejects him. Oh what mess has she gotten into. She continues to space out back at home till her brother Yuuji comes by. She gets an idea and wants a favour from him: To beat Misao up. Though Yuuji is more than happy to oblige, but upon hearing the person he is supposed to beat up, he chickens out. Ayumi, you’re on your own. But that’s not the end of her nightmare. For 1 week, Misao continues to follow closely Ayumi to and fro school. Stalker? So in class she can’t take it anymore and semi-collapses. Her classmate, Mamoru, carries her to the infirmary and that’s when Ayumi started to fall for this prince charming guy. Well, at least he looks better than that beast. But to her horror, she finds out Mamoru is Misao’s little brother! NO! Think of the kind of relationship if she is to marry Mamoru! It’s like between the devil and the deep blue sea. Speaking of which, how can Mamoru and Misao look so different? Doesn’t matter.
 
One day while walking home, Ayumi summons her courage to tell off stalker Misao to stop following her. Misao is stunned but Ayumi interprets it as being mad. She runs away to a safe distance but she somewhat felt guilty in her heart. Suddenly a thug kidnaps her. A flashback reveals why Misao decided to confess to Ayumi was because when he nearly lost his life in a gang fight, he just felt he needed to tell her his feelings. Mamoru then gets a call about Ayumi’s fate and rushes over. At an abandoned building, it seems the thugs are using Ayumi to lure Misao out for a fight. They think she is his girlfriend. I’m sure she’d love to differ. Ayumi then says he isn’t coming to save her because she rejected him and starts throwing girly tantrums. This must be harder to handle than a fight, eh? Then Misao surprises everyone by turning up. But the thugs threaten him that if he doesn’t stay still and get beaten, they’ll do some hentai stuff to her. For a start, he flips up her skirt! Misao has no choice but to get beaten up even if Ayumi told him not to care about her. However Ayumi manages to free herself because the rope isn’t tied tightly in the first place and she was just acting like a damsel in distress as she thought she couldn’t get away. Smart girl. Useless thugs. With that, Misao is free to teach them the meaning of pain. In the aftermath as Misao asks if she is alright, Ayumi gives him a good kick saying how scared she was. Taken down in 1 swift blow! The thugs saw this and bowed at Ayumi’s feet, thinking that she is the strongest one! Even Mamoru who was peeping outside couldn’t believe his eyes. As Ayumi continue to walk to school, Misao too continues to watch her from afar with a happy feeling in his heart.
 
In episode 2, as high schoolers, Misaki Yamamoto, Meguru Watase and Yuu Enomoto head to school, Misaki receives an SMS from Misao wanting to talk to her. Meanwhile, rumours are spreading that Misao lost to a girl. You know who lah. In class, Mamoru is talking to his buddy the perverted Kusuda and bespectacled Sogabe when Ayumi comes by to give him her handmade bento as gratitude. You can tell that she is really going all out for him but Mamoru is oblivious so much so Kusuda has to say it straight in his face. He suspects that he already has someone he likes so out of curiosity, Kusuda goes with him to see the girl he has a crush on: Misaki. And she’s looking back at them. Hmm… With that curvaceous figure, it’s hard to not wonder why. However Mamoru notes that it is just a one-sided love. Kusuda agrees to help him get close to her in exchange to touch her boobs. Sicko. Kusuda goes back to Mamoru’s place to discuss the plan when suddenly they hear a girl’s voice outside the window. Yikes! It’s Misaki! And she is Mamoru’s neighbour! It’s really a small world. Misaki says she’s just passing through and proceeds to slide over Kusuda giving him feel the ecstasy of a woman’s body. Yeow! Full body rub-over! Anyway she is here to go see Misao. Mamoru says of their relationship as childhood friends, thus their relationship can’t progress beyond that.
 
Misaki goes to Misao’s room and the latter is sort of talking indirectly about his love. In order to get him to speak straight, Misaki does some wrestling submission moves on him. If this was official, she’s another girl he’d lose to. He tells her how he fell for Ayumi to moment he saw her picture from Mamoru and the reason for his stalking. However Misaki can’t really give him an advice as she doesn’t have anyone she likes yet though she tells him to stop following her. She also thinks liking and going out with someone you like is too much hassle. She promises to keep it a secret from Mamoru and goes back the same way she came in. Kusuda tries to prevent her from leaving so he tells her to sit down while he recites lame puns. To my surprise, she fell asleep! Unbelievable! What is the point of doing this? With her unconscious, Kusuda says that they can do anything with her body. Not good. He’s going to take pics of her underwear with his handphone! Definitely not good. Mamoru being the good boy he is decides to protect Misaki and won’t let Kusuda lay a finger on her. I’m not sure if Misaki has woken up or sleep talking because she did some submission moves on Mamoru. Seeing the kind of pleasure Mamoru is going through, Kusuda too wants part of it. Yeah, he gets one too. Heaven and hell… Now their joints are out of place. As Misaki goes to school with her friends, she gets an SMS from Misao saying that he can’t help himself and eventually followed Ayumi. So Misaki notes how bothersome it is to fall in love so she’s not bothering with it just yet.
 
Mamoru and his class are taking down names of participants for the sports festival in episode 3 when Ayumi is shocked to learn that Kei got a marriage proposal from an elderly geezer! She was asked to have an extravagant romantic dinner with someone her sister knows and that’s when he popped the question. But she rejected that lolicon even if he was willing to wait. Yeah, maybe she would if he was handsome. Dobashi shoots back at her about her love taste so Kei gets back at her by proposing Dobashi to run for the girl’s 100m sprint. In retaliation, Dobashi suggests Kei for the cheering duties. Well, Dobashi did mention she’s good in bossing people around. Kusuda also volunteers himself for the cheering duties. While Kusuda is into it, Kei is lamenting her fate of being paired with that kappa-faced guy. You can tell that the duo aren’t on good terms and just about anything could spark them into a lengthy argument. As they continue with their cheering duties, Kei starts to think he may be a reliable guy when he starts drafting lyrics for their cheer song but he drew cheerleading outfits instead. She beats him up and returns to her usual perspective of him.
 
Kei decides to do the outfits all by herself because he doesn’t want perverts like him to see. She burns the midnight oil and continues to do so in school till she fell asleep. When she awakens, she is surprised to see Kusuda helping her sew. She feels bad for saying mean things to him and going by her body language, she is going to turn tsundere at this rate. She’s still psychoing herself that a guy is all about the looks. But why are you blushing then, girl? Just then, she heard him say how he needs to finish them because he wants to see Ayumi and Koyoi with these outfits on. Hate meter rising again. She kicks him and knocks him out. Oh now who is going to finish the job? They didn’t so their cheerleading outfits has the girls wearing the boys’ uniform and Kusuda himself in the finished one. So odd. But instead of being mad for being forced to wear it, Kusuda is happy. Kei’s feelings are confused once more. We also see a picture of Kei sleeping while sewing in Kusuda’s handphone. After the race, Kusuda does his lame victory cheer. The teacher compliments Kei for a job well done when Kusuda continues to give Kei more credits. Ker’s face is as red as a traffic light but since she has her pride to protect, she tells Kusuda to stop acting cool while reiterating that cool looks line. Think not. Yeah, I bet she’s falling for him. And tsundere too…
 
If you haven’t seen an extreme case of onii-chan fetish, episode 4 is a good one. That fetish belongs to Koyoi and as she and her friends are leaving school, Yuuji is trying to take a peep at Yoshihiko’s little sister, much to the latter’s dismay. Something about Yuuji wants to know if Yoshihiko’s sister is uglier than his because Yuuji believes in brother-sister love. Incest? Suddenly Koyoi in her excitement grabs Yoshihiko and pins him down. Soon they leave together but it’s a different case for Yuuji and Ayumi. Yeah, they both hate each other. So ironic. Yuuji is a siscon but Ayumi doesn’t like him much but Yoshihiko who has that isn’t fond of the attention Koyoi gives him. Where did it all go wrong? Back at Koyoi’s apartment, she is praying to her late mom that tomorrow will be the start of the happiest day of her life. Her dad is going to be transferred due to his job. Which means, nobody can come between her and her onii-chan. Oh God, she’s even praying her dad’s job will continue for a long time. She even starts acting like a housewife and get all lovey-dovey with Yoshihiko. Enough to send shivers down to any guy’s spine. Would you want this kind of sister? If you have siscon, maybe. As Koyoi is eating lunch with her friends, Kei’s slip of a tongue said how Yoshihiko looked plain and useless. But Koyoi is happy because there will be no rivals to gain her brother’s affection. She’d better hope he never gets a girlfriend then. Speaking of which, Yoshihiko seems to have a crush on Misaki… Yoshihiko and Yuuji are talking about the possibility of Ayumi falling for Misao. Yuuji is getting paranoid and thinks Misao seduced her with lollipops. Yuuji decides to demonstrate this theory. As Misaki is walking by, he suddenly pops a lollipop into her mouth. She just stood there silently so Yoshihiko thinks she is mad and takes Yuuji away. Is she? So much for the demo.
 
Yoshihiko goes home yet again to be treated like some married husband from Koyoi, the ever lovey-dovey and caring wife. Please… It then hit him that today is the day of dad’s transfer, the reason why she’s acting so. Koyoi proceeds to prepare a sumptuous meal for him. How much does that lobster cost?! Do they have that much allowance?! As Yoshihiko takes a bath, Koyoi answers a call from Misaki who is looking for him. She starts to fear the worse and even thinks she has gotten the wrong number. But upon hearing that Misaki is on the line, Yoshihiko quickly shoves Koyoi out of the way to answer the call. Koyoi’s heart is unsettled to see Yoshihiko’s happy face but still thinks she has a chance if this is an unrequited love. The next day, she follows him to a cafe and easily spots who this Misaki is. Yeah, she’s an eye puller. Everyone is looking at her curves. And the way she’s licking the lollipop… It’s really none of those crowds’ business because you can see their jealous looks when she greets Yoshihiko. While Koyoi thinks she has lost to her in terms of boobs and sex appeal among others, Yoshihiko painfully learns that Misaki is in love with Yuuji the moment he put the lollipop in her mouth. OMG! I can’t believe that worked! And I thought she said she wasn’t going to bother with love. The reason Misaki called to meet him is because she wants to find out what kind of guy Yuuji is like and his love history seeing that Yoshihiko is always close to him. Though Koyoi is happy, she can’t help feel guilty about her brother’s heartbreak. So she fixes him another meal with expensive meat. Though he scolds her for using up the money, it can’t be helped since it has been done. But Koyoi notes that this soft-hearted and gentle person is the brother whom she loves very much.
 
Episode 5 focuses on Meguru. In school, some crazy guy in Speedo trunks, Gengorou Takei comes to ‘persuade’ Meguru to join the swimming club since she was a top swimmer during her middle school years. She apologizes that she has quit swimming and can’t join his club. Maybe it’s the way he asked her, no? Plus, does this guy have a sense of modesty? He’s running around chasing her in his trunks! I don’t blame anyone who thinks he’s a pervert even if his intentions are genuine. Meguru comes running to a cafe where Misaki and Misao are in and hides underneath their table. If not for the store manager dragging him out, who knows what would have happened to that frightened girl. Meguru explains the reason why she quit swimming. She was uncomfortable with her large busts (would F-cup be enough to fit? Just kidding) and attracted many stares and molestation. So she wears a smaller bra to make them look smaller. Then here’s another twist. Misaki wants Meguru to tell him her feelings clearly to stop this endless chase but Meguru says she isn’t bothered with that. In fact, Takei was her first love and still is! So why can’t she just ask him out on a date? Erm… Something about he sees her as a rival rather than a woman. Since Takei breathing down their neck, I guess he is desperate enough to say he’ll do anything if she beats him in a swimming challenge. This is a good chance. However the other swimming club members come rushing to tell Takei that one of their members has transferred school. Meaning with 1 member short, their club is threatened to be suspended. Takei begs to the teacher not to close down the club (begging in his trunks?!) but he gives him 1 week or else he has no choice but to do so. Takei then goes to beg Meguru to join the club but she runs away instead.
 
As time pass, Takei and his swimming club guys try to recruit an additional member like handing out flyers but to no avail. Furthermore, it is winter season so nobody in their right mind would want to join. I guess Takei is burning so hot in his passion that he can be out in the cold with only his trunks. Meanwhile as Kusuda talks to Sogabe about joining the swimming club for the busty girls but Sogabe scoffs him off because his kind of ideal girls are those with pure heart. He bumps into Chikura and loses his glasses. She puts them back on for him and her polite behaviour steals his heart. Sogabe is adamant in returning her feelings. Back at Meguru, she is in a dilemma of joining the swimming club. Though it will solve the problem, she still has that fear of everyone just interesting in looking at her breasts. On the final day of the deadline, as Meguru goes to see Takei (thank goodness, he is fully clothed for the first time) and learns the reason for his love for swimming (something about swimsuits for the tournament?) so she agrees to his swimming challenge. Well, at least she’s not afraid to don her swimming suit even if her breasts rely defy science and gravity. The race begins and Meguru wins. Takei is ready to listen to her wish and that is, she wants a swimsuit for her to use in their upcoming tournament. Everyone rejoices that their club won’t be suspended. However Meguru joins as their coach and has them undergo intense training. Takei wishes for Meguru to another race once he gets better so Meguru wonders when Takei will look at her as a woman.
 
In episode 6, Sogabe and Kusuda plan a Christmas party in order to get closer to the girls they want and blackmails Mamoru into their plan. Kei, Ayumi and Chikura agree to come. But Kei is disturbed on what spending Christmas with Kusuda so much so her fantasies run wild on what might developed. Her sister Yuu spots her rolling around in bed clad with a towel. Bummer. At a store, Kei thinks of what to get Kusuda for a present and thinks a scarf would be good when she spots Kusuda too shopping nearby. They get into another argument and when she sees the pink gloves in his hand, she shoots that any girl won’t be happy receiving them and if she were to receive them, she’ll throw them right away. Upset Kusuda throws the gloves down and leaves. Kei feels guilty for her actions as Kusuda continues to snub her so she has no chance to apologize properly. Kei walks back with Dobashi when Dobashi decides to walk back with a guy she knows. Next day in class, Ayumi asks Kei is it is okay for her to wear pink for the party because they don’t want their colours to clash. Ayumi notes how Kei’s favourite colour is pink as most of her stuffs are of that colour. But Kei herself is surprised that she herself doesn’t realize this and wonders if those gloves were meant for her.
 
Kei meets up with the gang on the day but only sees Kusuda and Sogabe. They say how some Santa collapsed so Mamoru took him to the hospital as Ayumi accompanies him. Then Kei gets a call from Chikura who can’t attend because she fell sick so alarmed Sogabe decides to rush over to her place because he claims that he is the only one who can save her. Oh, now he’s a doctor. This leaves Kei alone with Kusuda. He wants to call it off but thinking of the need to apologize, she persuades him to go out and eat something since they’ve came out all the way here. Can’t believe Kei can still be picky on what kind of restaurant they’re supposed to dine in because Kusuda settled in for some cheap family restaurant (that guy trying to peep at Meguru’s panties – she’s working there part time by the way). After dinner, Kusuda decides to go home but Kei can’t let it end like that. Then at a snow covered playground, they start throwing snowballs at each other and accusing why you’re so cold to me, because you’re like that, because you’re like this, you don’t know my feelings, bla bla bla. Before Kei could apologize (or confess), Kusuda leaves so she throws him his present, which is a scarf. He also has a present for her: A sexy Santarina outfit! Anyway Kei apologizes and takes back her statement and that those pink gloves may look good on her. Just as luck would have it, Kusuda has got them and gives it to her. He shortly u-turned and bought them that day. Kei puts on the gloves and after that pesters Kusuda to put on the scarf too. We also see how the other characters spend their Christmas with their loved ones (except for Sogabe. He’s concocting some poison, I mean medicine) and lastly as Kei goes back to put on that Santarina dress, Yuu comes in… Perhaps she should try locking her door next time.
 
In episode 7, Kei asks Dobashi if that guy whom she walked back was her boyfriend and to her surprise she admits it. But Kei tells her she feels bad for him because Dobashi has no openings and always relied on herself and to a man, that is like making him feeling useless. Yeah, Dobashi quipped how she was lectured by a person who doesn’t even have a boyfriend. That guy is Haruto Terai and is one of the tennis club members just like Dobashi. The other guys are commenting on her harsh ways and that nobody wants to be her girlfriend. Terai and Dobashi walk back together and Terai feels hesitant to hold her hand. By the time he is going to do so, they’ve reached her house. A short flashback sees how Terai was an amateur tennis club member. He thought of quitting when Dobashi decided to personally train him. During that time, he indicates that he may have fallen for her so she suggests going out for real. Back in reality, Terai talks to Dobashi about how he’ll never catch up to her so she tells him that even if he thinks lowly of himself, she knows he is trying his best. She hugs him as a reward. As New Year’s Day approaches, Terai invites Dobashi out to the shrine.
 
Meanwhile Koyoi and Yoshihiko are there too for prayers. I can’t believe Koyoi is playing some RPG game straight for 90 hours! Finally restored peace to the Earth, eh? Yoshihiko makes a wish for Koyoi to fall in love with another guy (hope that comes true) while Koyoi fresh from her RPG victory wishes for world peace. Then they have their fortunes read and Koyoi’s one read "Terrible Luck". On the way home, they meet Misaki so Koyoi thinks she is the Demon King after having a close up look at her assets. No elite equipment to fight back, haha. When Misaki learns that she is his sister, she proceeds to hug her and feels envy because she’s an only child. Instant defeat for Koyoi. Then she regrets her wish for world peace and should’ve wished for bigger boobs. See lah. Play some more RPG lah. Terai and Dobashi are returning from the shrine and he once again fails to hold her hand. In class, Koyoi and Ayumi did some weird chanting ("Beat the Demon King"?) and ritual to make their breasts grow. Dobashi notices Kei wearing pink gloves to class, same with Kusuda in his scarf. Then after school, Terai walks home with Dobashi again and finally manages to ask to hold hands but he got more than that. She kisses him! She thanks him for trying hard and thus she too will try her best.
 
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner in episode 8. Misaki meets Yoshihiko to ask a guy’s opinion for that day and his reply is a day to find out who likes who. Misaki eventually bought chocolates to give to Yuuji when someone bumps into her before rushing off. Mamoru comes by and is disheartened to see Misaki with the chocolates so he says he wants chocolates from her before rushing off. Then it hit Misaki about his feelings. In school, Yuu and Meguru hint that Yoshihiko may have feelings for Misaki and as proof, he’ll wait for her after class even if it takes forever. True enough, Misaki sees him waiting. Back home, Misaki faces a dilemma of giving her chocolates now that she knows the feelings of the other guys. In class, Ayumi also learns Mamoru like Misaki because she was passing by and eavesdropped how he wanted chocolates from her. She and Koyoi discover that their loved ones like the ‘Demon King’ and proceed to form an alliance to defeat her. How desperate they are? The duo confront Misaki after school and tell her to give her chocolates to Yuuji tomorrow. But Misaki says she can’t because she can’t see a reason to love him but Ayumi tells her she doesn’t need a reason as long as your heart thumps when you’re with that person. With that, Misaki decides to give it a shot. Ayumi and Koyoi are happy and as long as their loved ones see this, they’ll give up their love for Misaki.
 
Misaki calls Yuuji to meet him tomorrow underneath a bridge as she wants to give him something. Yuuji starts to panic because he knows tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Koyoi leads her brother there while Mamoru follows a note to the place. Meanwhile Kei is giving Kusuda her chocolates but realizes that this isn’t hers. She remembers bumping into somebody (Misaki) and perhaps that’s when the switch occurred. She rushes off and promises Kusuda that she’ll give him her chocolates. Kei calls Yuu because she faintly remembers that person she bumped into is her classmate. She wants to know her location and hopes she doesn’t give away that chocolate because it’s a chocolate bomb! Yikes! Ayumi also overheard this and is going to rush over when she bumps into Misao. Ayumi then says she’ll give him all her chocolates if he’ll take her to the bridge as fast as possible. That guy would do anything for her. I think the world record is in danger of being smashed. Misaki meets Yuuji at the bridge as Koyoi, Yoshihiko and Mamoru are also there. Before Misaki could give her chocolate, Ayumi arrives in time and in dramatic fashion jumps down (don’t try this anywhere) and kicks away the chocolate. It turned out to be a round brown ball with a kappa inside. Misaki gives out a heartily laughter and feels relieved. With that, she apologizes to Mamoru and Yoshihiko for all that has happened. The dejected guys leave as Misaki turns to Yuuji and say to start off by being friends.
 
Sogabe is really happy that he is able to walk home with Chikura in episode 9. Meanwhile Kei lectures Koyoi and Ayumi for their selfish plan which ended up hurting their loved ones. In tears, they rush to go apologize to them. Elsewhere, Chikura is staying late finishing her painting and we learn she looks up to a sakura painting of a person named Yukito Renjou. Then a high school guy comes in and comments on her painting. She learns that he is Renjou, an ex-student, and is thrilled to meet him. Because she always claim she could never reach his standards or finish her painting, he suggests that they finish it together, delighting her. So over the next few days, Chikura and Renjou happily paint together and Sogabe gets disheartened when he finds out. He leaves them alone. As the duo continue to paint, Chikura learns that he is going overseas and it is his dream to travel around the world to paint for children of poor countries. That night Chikura walks back with Sogabe and tells him about Renjou’s work though she displays her happy self. On the day of Renjou’s graduation, he comes to see her. Chikura says how much she respects him and wants him to do his best. Renjou is taken aback and hugs her while offering his thanks. In her embarrassment, she runs off. The next day, Chikura eagerly waits for Renjou to complete the painting in her club room but he never turned up. She notices a letter on the easel and sees the painting finished with a picture of herself smiling amidst the sakura trees. Tears stream down her eyes when she read the letter. It seems Renjou is to leave the country right after his graduation but upon seeing how happy she was painting, he couldn’t bring himself to tell her. He was worried about his future since his family and friends disagreed with the path he chose, the reason he came back to this school. He is glad to have met and painted with her and wishes for her to continue smiling as he’ll never forget them. She rushes up to the rooftop and cries her heart out. In the aftermath, Chikura continues to paint. I’m not an expert in art but does that painting take a long time to finish? But I really sympathize with Chikura. It’s so sad to see her cry like that.
 
In episode 10, Sogabe joins Mamoru sighing in some unofficial broken hearts club of theirs. Meanwhile Kei and Kusuda get into another argument when a girl named Sumire Fudounomiya overheard the kappa word Kei has been calling him repeatedly. She proceeds to smother Kusuda in her busty boobs and you can tell Kei is jealous even if she doesn’t admit it. Sumire is from the theatre club and needs a kappa for her performance for the new student’s reception. At the cafe, Kei’s friends think she has a rival when Misaki and her pals come in. They learn Kei and Yuu are sisters. Suddenly a flat chest loli, Nanoka Kyuuma challenges her so called eternal rival Meguru to a swimming duel. In class, Kusuda is obviously dreaming about Sumire’s boobs even if she is showing her script for the play. It isn’t significant and just a cameo appearance. Elsewhere Nanoka pesters Meguru to swim but she says she has stopped doing so. Nanoka then wants the guys to convince her. Takei says he likes the faster one. Meguru instantly gets into swimming gear. But she lost and instantly leaves. On the way home, she meets Kei and they had a chat. Kei thinks Meguru’s boobs are the key to changing her life. Then in school, she sees a trail of cucumbers on the floor. Obviously a trap set up by Sumire for that kappa. She really thinks of him as a kappa?! I guess Kei wasn’t thinking because she tells Sumire that she can’t tempt Kusuda with cucumbers but porn mags instead. She does so and it worked! Kei is pissed and confronts happy Kusuda collecting those mags. Kei continues to show her tsundere side and tells him to go to the big breasted woman’s side instead. Then Kei meets Meguru on the streets again and learns she has taken her advice. Yeah, now she has them lose. And a hazard it is because all those perverted guys are staring at them!
 
Then Nanoka confronts Meguru and asks why she is absent from club activities. Meguru instantly takes Nanoka to do some shopping. She puts on Gothic Lolita clothes on her while a loose one for herself. But Nanoka isn’t happy because she is showing off her breasts in public when she should be showing them in pool instead. Takei then drags Meguru back to the pool and forces her to have a race with him, in which she lost. She tells them about her big bust problem so he replies not to worry about them and just swim. She gets her confidence back and everyone rejoice. Elsewhere, the usual spat between Kusuda and Kei though the former wanted to just tell her he declined Sumire’s offer. Then in class, some guy wants Kusuda to help him give his love to Kei since he is always with her. Of course the others misinterpret it. Even if Kusuda clears this up by saying the letter is from some popular and handsome guy, Kei continues with her stinging remarks that a handsome guy like him would suit her better than Kusuda. Dobashi thinks Kei has gone out of line. Next day, Kusuda is talking to Sumire about the love triangle when Kei chides him for talking to her. Kusuda has had enough of her attitude and tells her back that if she hates ugly guys like him, she should just leave him alone and that she is the type of girls he hate most. However those words left Kei hurt for real.
 
Thus Kusuda joins Mamoru and Sogabe in episode 11. Kusuda and Sogabe suggest running away on a soul searching trip and drags Mamoru along. The guys meet up early one morning and decide to just head east via their bicycles. Hey, they didn’t make any long term planning after all. Not to mention the kind of limited supply and money they have. In class, the girls notice the trio missing and decide to pay a visit to them after school. Upon arriving at Mamoru’s place, they see Misao frantically running out, saying how Mamoru has run away. They suggest Kei to call Kusuda but she is hesitant so Ayumi takes over. In some rural place, Kusuda picks up a call when a loud broadcast announcer interrupts them. Sogabe tells him to immediately hang up. They then turn off their handphones. Chikura recognizes the broadcast and has a rough idea where they are. Ayumi suggests for them to go bring the boys back but Kei says she can’t because she thinks Kusuda hates her. Misao tells her that even if it is so, she still has something she wants to tell him. Kei gets her confidence back as everyone head home to make the necessary preparations. Dobashi won’t be tagging along because she doesn’t want to make Terai worry. Elsewhere, Misaki is trying to personally get to know Yuuji better but that guy tells her to go out with those other rejected guys instead. Then Yoshihiko comes in to tell Yuuji that their sisters ‘ran away’. Misaki also gets the same SMS from Misao that he is going to look for them too. Yuuji panics and rushes off to find his sister. Misaki then tells Yoshihiko seems that Yuuji isn’t interested in her. Night falls as the girls ride a train to their destination when Kei spots the guys peddling as hard as they could away from a pack of chasing angry wild boars. She could’ve jumped off if the girls didn’t restrain her. Is this their idea of soul searching? Are we having fun?
 
Thank goodness they managed to escape from that but another problem crops up. In episode 12, the guys have to uncomfortably share a camping bed. They really didn’t come prepared. As for the girls, they’re really relaxing at a hotspring inn. See the difference. When morning comes, more commotion when the guys accuse each other for finishing their snack rations. All are equally to blame. We also see Misao, Yoshihiko and Yuuji taking a train. Misao is trying to get all nice with Yuuji but the latter isn’t going to give his sister to that beast as he proclaims he loves her sister more. Siscon. Yoshihiko advices Yuuji to give some thought about Misaki. The runaway boys are peddling while yelling out to their hearts desire of their loved ones, weaknesses and what they could do. They then reach the beach and facing towards the open ocean, they shout out loud I-love-you of their loved ones. However, the girls have arrived and heard them. Embarrassed, the guys make a run for it. Kei, Ayumi and Chikura start chasing them as they leave their bags to Koyoi. Since Sogabe has been cycling too long, his legs motion are unbalanced as he trips. When Chikura comes up to him, Sogabe starts ranting the difference between him and Renjou. But Chikura notes that Sogabe is Sogabe and a different person. She wishes for them to try their best. Ayumi catches up with Mamoru and asks why he is running away. He says is to recover from the impact of rejection and after he shouted out loud, he felt a little better. Ayumi is relieved and starts crying, happy to see his smile. At the same time, Misao, Yuuji and Yoshihiko have arrive and see this.
 
Kei tackles Kusuda to stop him from running. Kusuda asks her why don’t she date some handsome guy but she replies she knows his cool points. Kei then confesses she loves him but Kusuda thinks it’s a lie since he remembered her saying she hated him and only liked guys with looks. However, Kei says that it is the inner beauty that counts. Now she’s talking. She has sure changed. The gang regroup and watch the beautiful sunset before leaving. Yuuji thinks of letting go his siscon ways. Elsewhere, Dobashi gets word that the guys have been found. She tells Terai that she won’t let him run away if anything like this happens. In school, Ayumi is down upon knowing the boy she loves still likes the other girl. She thinks of going along with his siscon brother but she got advice from her friends about love and feelings. Yuuji is seen confronting Misaki and is interested in getting to know her more. Though she is initially reluctant, she gives in. Finally Ayumi rings the doorbell of Mamoru’s home and though she apologizes for the late reply, she isn’t going to give up her precious first love on Mamoru yet.
 
I’m glad of how things turn out well in the end. To me, this whole series can be summed up as heart warming. Maybe for those season romance viewers, you won’t find anything special but still I feel it is good mix of love stories between the several characters. Even if some of the characters didn’t get to end up with the ones he/she wanted but even so as Sogabe mentioned "Love with no results still give you many rewards". To see the person you love happy is one of such rewards. As they also say, love is a give and take thing. Love does change a person too. Especially Kei who initially thinks it’s all about the looks, after all that bickering and denial, look how she turned out into a self-proclaimed preacher of inner beauty. Hmm… I don’t think I’m ever going to try popping a lollipop into a girl’s mouth just to make her fall in love. There’s a thin line between wanting a girlfriend and just being desperate.
 
Hey, I just realized that Yuu doesn’t have a love story among the girls. I thought that seeing that she is also being featured in the opening and ending credits with the rest of the girls, perhaps there will be an episode that will focus of her. Even if Sumire and Nanoka’s appearance were short ones and serve as fillers, but in a way they are part of the little development in the love story of the middle school kids. But if you buy the DVD, you’ll get special episodes lasting around 5 minutes each called Limited Girl. Who is this girl? She is Soako Andou, self professed mega klutz. Yeah, this unknown girl gets some screen time of her own compared to Yuu. Special 1 sees Soako running late for school. Because of that, she forgot to wear her bra and panties. Ooohh… So a lot of things going through her mind as her day will just get worse. She’s so scared of being exposed so much so like simple tasks of walking up the stairs seems like a nightmare. As Soako inches up slowly, Kei is chasing Kusuda over his porn mags when he bumps into her. Soako falls and this will expose what is underneath her skirt. With quick thinking, she points out a UFO with feathers and it was enough to fool everyone. Safe for now.
 
Not yet because in Special 2, she has gym class. Her mind goes crazy again, thinking she will be exposed if she changes in front of the girls. Of course, she later changes in the toilet cubicle. As they are doing jumps over the horse vault, Soako notices how Kei’s boobs bounce so much even if she wears bra. So she fakes that a failed jump but the teacher tells her to do it again. In her haste to get it over, as she jumps, her shorts ripped. Oh dear. She stops dead on the vault. She tries to move off slowly without exposing but crashes the whole thing. At the end of class, she volunteers to fix the vault alone while holding its wooden outline to hide the ripped part. If you think the nightmare is over, it is just about to begin. In Special 3, she drops her eraser deep between the classroom cupboard so it’s really awkward to see her trying to retrieve it while covering her ass. Then Koyomi rushes in to inform her the sale of the once-a-month melonbread which they love so much. When they go over to the cafeteria, Soako is devastated to see only boys tussling and pushing for the limited bread. Koyomi pushes her into the crowd as she experiences ‘severe molestation’, including Kusuda, Sogabe and Mamoru. When the breads are sold out and the crowd disperse, Kusuda notes how he felt a different kind of melonbread pressed against his back. While Koyomi happily eats her melonbread, Soako is left lying on the floor feeling real violated. Hey, it beats getting raped.
 
Soako’s class is doing cleaning duties in Special 4. She notices the certificate frame tilted and since there is no teacher’s desk and the chairs won’t help in reaching them, Sogabe suggests Soako to stand on his shoulders to adjust the frame. Of course we know what Soako’s problem is and not whether Sogabe’s back is strong to support her or not. Since Soako is pretty occupied of whether her boobs are showing, she can’t concentrate as her balance shifts. Naturally Sogabe’s reaction is to look up to see what is wrong. In Soako’s panic, she tries to shield her lower part resulting in her butt sitting right on top of his head! Just then the frame drops and knocks Sogabe out. Soako leaves like as though nothing happened. In Special 5, Soako can’t go home yet because it’s her turn to be a model for the art club. Uh oh. Those piercing eyes are like saying right through her clothes. During the break, the mega klutz goes to get water but turns a faulty tap which results her entire clothes getting soaked. Mamoru instructs someone to get a towel and during Soako’s daze, I guess she starts to fall in love with Mamoru. Then Chikura and Mamoru start to notice… That’s when Soako is snapped back to reality. She gets very embarrassed and runs away while hiding herself in a room. So in Special 6, she strips herself naked (oh yeah!) while waiting for her clothes to be dried via some heating equipment. The door is locked and the curtains drawn, all she have to do is wait, right? I guess she fell asleep waiting so much so it’s evening. The girls are worried about her locked in there for so long but Mamoru decides to handle this situation on his own. In a gentleman’s way. That’s because he secretly knows Soako is wearing nothing underneath and feels he musn’t reveal her immodesty. Yeah, a gentlemen says he. The girls agree and leave. He opens the door with a key and is he going to get a free show of Soako? Thankfully, he blindfolded himself with a towel. He hands a towel to her so that she could clean himself but I don’t know why she uses it to blindfold herself (unless she was thinking of having blindfolded sex! Haha!). Yeah, really mega klutz. As she walks home with him, she feels that she may start to fall for him. Phew. The day’s nightmare is over. On an unrelated note, it’s amazing she didn’t get raped. Just kidding.
 
The drawing, art and animation of the series seems a little ‘bleached’ or light at first that’s because it is produced by J.C. Staff, the same company which brought you Honey And Clover and Nodame Cantabile. Other than that, the drawing is your typical anime standards of pretty bishoujos and the sorts. As for the fanservice, there are but I would consider them as mild. Well, if you’d love to see the girls in random outfits like nurse or even cowboy, yeah the ending credits animation has them too. Even the Limited Girl fanservice could be considered mild. Heck, no serious panty shots. It’s like they’re just teasing us viewers.
 
This series isn’t meant to be definitive on how teenagers go about in their love life. But for a clueless chap like me it gives a little insight. Yeah right. After watching so many kinds of this genre and I’m still unable to find one. I still my eyes and heart set on Mai, though. Oh Mai, when will my love be returned. Dream on. Like 2D characters ever count. While there are many types of love in this world, the way one fall in love and countless love adages, quotes and the likes, it is something that should go unlimited. So now, do you believe in love? Or rather have you fallen in love?
 

Hatsukoi Limited