Himawari!

May 2, 2009

One of the lesser known ninja genre animes is Himawari! Of course when you say ninja anime, many anime otakus would surely think of Naruto or Ninja Gaiden at least comes to mind. Because of so, you can’t really blame that this series is not as popular as the other ninja themed animes as they easily overshadow this one. Since this is a short anime series which spans only 13 episodes, I guess I decided to check it out since I read that there is a few comedy and adventure in it. Not to mention a little fanservice ;p.
 
I’m not really a fan of ninja animes so I’m not sure if this is the only series which focuses on a kunoichi ninja. What’s that you ask? A kunoichi refers to a female ninja and their training which they undergo is much different from the male ninjas. For instance, their training basically uses their gender to their advantage. Like disguising as a geisha so that they could be close to their target and poison them. Generally that’s what a kunoichi is but you won’t get to see this kind of stuff in this anime.
 
In this series, there is a kunoichi school called Shinobi Gakuen right smack in the middle of the Village Of Mist. Where’s that? Heck, I don’t know. Since stealth is part of the kunoichi and ninja’s way, I guess we’ll never know. One of the many would-be students of Shinobi Gakuen, Himawari Hinata, a lively but klutzy girl is seen arriving at Shinobi Gakuen, soaring through the skies with her giant kite in episode 1. Why is she so keen on becoming a kunoichi? The episode opener sees her being rescued by a mysterious ninja while she was hibernating in some test tube in some large hi-tech plane, which is on the verge of crashing. The only clue Himawari has to this saviour of hers is a little odd shuriken mark on the back of his neck. What happens after that is anybody’s guess because Himawari soon faints.
 
In present time, Himawari is having trouble controlling her kite. At the same time, a new teacher named Hayato Marikouji has just arrived before the steps of the Village Of Mist. I guess this place has a scary reputation so much so the taxi driver just dump his bags and leave right away. Hayato then spots Himawari spiraling out of control and his instincts tells him to borrow a nearby bicycle and save her. Hmm… How does he pedal so fast in such a bumpy path? Himawari soon gets entangled and trapped on Shinobi Gakuen’s entrance shrine and when Hayato arrives, everybody is just like watching. Hayato proceeds to climb up the shrine to bring her down but Himawari soon fell off. With sheer luck, Hayato manages to do some acrobatic move to save Himawari and bring her down. Note that Hayato is just an ordinary guy and that feat itself was actually mind blowing. Himawari is grateful and then spots the shuriken mark on his neck and thinks Hayato is her saviour. Thus she proclaims him to be her master (nothing kinky okay) and will do anything to protect him. Of course Hayato doesn’t know what she’s talking about and is reluctant about this master thingy.
 
We are introduced to several other characters in this episode. Let me go over Himawari’s so called ‘friends’. This quartet at first don’t really like Himawari and Hayato seeing that she’s not a pure bred test tube ninjas with superior genes like them. But as the story progresses, you’ll see that they form some kind of bond. First, there’s the information specialist Azami. Why information specialist is because she tends to start most of her sentences with "According to my information…". Where she sources it from is anybody’s guess. Then there’s the bespectacled Shikimi who is quite knowledgeable in medicine and herbs. Thirdly, a wild crazy one named Himeji. She speaks with some sort of accent and ends her sentences with "~de arimasu" (no relation with that Keron invader, though). She’s some sort of weapon expert and don’t really hesitate to use them or just to have her ‘fun’ (dig her wooden machine guns!). Finally the loli of the pack is Yusura whose specialty is communication with animals. You can guess by her animal-like outfits as she sometimes make references or similes with animals in them. Yusura has a little pink cat (I think) named Momota. The funny thing about this ever-smiling cheeky creature with a peach-like butt is that it likes to give off its smelly fart while snickering! As for Himawari, she loves to watch some ninja drama show called The Shinobis and sometimes quote lines from the show or uses its examples during training or faced in some situation. Then there’s the principal of Shinobi Gakuen, Yatsugashira, who is a weird looking lady who has a weird mechanical life-size doll, Yotarou, to carry her around. As for the other teaching staff, some look so weird that you may think this is some cosplay school.
 
As the story progresses, you’ll wonder if Hayato is really the man who saved Himawari because he’s quite whinny and well, normal. Not only that, he’s so poor so much so that his biggest concern is his next meal. So why did he take up this job? It seems he had lent some buddy of his 2 million Yen and he stood him up. Until he saw some recruitment sign to be a teacher in the Village Of Mist with a salary of that amount, I guess it could make any guy jump straight in without thinking. I wanted to make a comment out of Hayate No Gotoku but couldn’t come up with any, if you know what I mean. Oh yeah, Hayato will soon learn that his 2 million Yen salary is like easy come easy go. Uh huh, there are so many silly expenses while living in the village which is being minus out from his salary, Hayato is left with close to nothing. Also since he doesn’t possess any ninja skills, his job is to teach the kunoichi girls general knowledge so that they have an idea of the workings of normal society when they graduate. Seriously, are ninjas still in demand? Well, not if you consider stealthy assassinations of high political figures as your line of work.
 
In this episode, since the quartet isn’t really fond of Hayato, they decide to test him by tying him onto a railway track and an oncoming train (Hayato thinks of quitting since he found the job unsuitable). Lucky the train changed course to another track or else Himawari won’t have enough time to untie him. Hayato continues to leave but finds that wherever he turn, he comes back right into the village. Just like Hotel California. You can check in but you can’t check out. Yeah, even a friendly chubby kappa named Yonezawa even told him so. Later the quartet confronts Himawari and wants her to leave because they think she’s not up to mark like them. However she refuses and so they have her to prove it. Thing is, Hayato has to do a William Tell by hitting an apple on Himawari’s head. Well, since he’s a good dart player, he’s confident. Not till Momota cheekily jumps on him when he throws the dagger right at Himawari’s head! Good thing is that Himawari did a body substitution technique with a tree trunk so rest assured she is safe. As the quartet acknowledges her, it looks like Hayato has to continue staying here. Partly he can’t get out and secondly he needs to recover his debts. And Himawari continues to pester him to be her master…
 
In each episode, you’ll tend to notice this sort of trend. The girls and Hayato in some adventure of theirs in which it’ll all end well. Other things viewers will notice are a mysterious pointed ear lady in kimono named Tsukiyohime who appears out of nowhere and seen enjoying her meal. Her role is some sort of a soothsayer as she shows whoever is looking into a miso soup, which will show the future outcome of certain events. Then there’s this ninja woman from some Shell Clan named Okashira (literally meaning boss) and her 2 kiddie subordinates Wabisuke and Sabisuke. Okashira seems to have some grudge on Hayato and wants to take revenge. However she is quite bungling and moronic. Whenever she puts her plans in motion, it ends up being screwed and suffering from it. You could say she provides short comic relief. Also, the gang seems to like hanging out in an okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza) shop named Monjaya run by an uncle, Mansaku.
 
Shikimi searches for some herbs in episode 2 and because of that goes missing. The gang has to find her because as Hayato finds out a kunoichi cannot make contact with a boy or she’ll be punished. And if she falls in love, she’ll be expelled. Shikimi stumbles upon a rare herb when she also spots a male ninja Nanafushi injured and unable to move. She helps him out and he suggests they exchange herbs so that Nanafushi could heal his injured leg, much to Shikimi’s dismay. Since Nanafushi isn’t having any herbs, he has to go back and get it as promised to Shikimi. Nanafushi keeps his part of the deal as he and Shikimi meet on a tryst in the village. Soon news of Shikimi’s tryst comes to light and it’s pretty funny to see her pals trying to disguise as her to save her to convince Yatsugashira but failed miserably. Of course Shikimi tells Yatsugashira everything and wants a chance to erase Nanafushi’s memory instead. On the night which they’ll meet for the last time, they both already know it will turn out this way so they both exchange dangos and hairpin laced with memory erasing medicine. Shikimi was going to pin it on her head when Himawari appears. Sly Shikimi decides to stick it in Himawari’s head! Haha, so it’s Himawari who forgets instead. Though we won’t see Nanafushi for a while, you can sense that there’s some chemistry between him and Shikimi (even if she doesn’t admit it) and the other girls will mildly tease about it.
 
There is supposed to be some mecha competition between the girl’s and boy’s school in episode 3. So our girls will need to make a robot themselves and part of the game is to spy on the enemy camp as well. Since the teacher for the mecha department is away, you guessed it, Hayato is in charge. While Himawari is at Monjaya, she spots Azami and her suspicious actions indicate that she may be a spy for the boys! After the girls created a big robot and named it Eggplant, it’s time for the challenge the next day and they find the boy’s robot is much smaller. The objective is to collect as many missing statue heads and put it back to its original body. Depending on the head size, the points may vary. So we learn that big isn’t necessarily good because the girl’s mecha is so clumsy whereas the boy’s is more practical and fast. And to think the girls want to put everything into that machine when they know how the game works. Himawari spots Azami trying to give the boys clues so she tries to prevent the other girls from finding out. However they tell Himawari and Hayato that Azami is a boy! OMG! Hey, if she’s a guy, how come she can enrol in a kunoichi school? What about the expel rule? I’m confused. But I’ll still refer to Azami as a she. Not only that, they all are keeping quiet since Azami is playing double agents as her information could prove useful at times. Though the girls are catching up in points, there is a final head which will decide who’ll win. The girls win when Azami relay inaccurate information about the head, which turned out to be a watermelon.
 
Due to poor attendance in Hayato’s general class in episode 4, the kunoichis are to be grouped into groups of 5 each and if anyone breaks a rule, the whole group will be punished. Guess who’ll be part of Himawari’s group. In addition, Yatsugashira is leaving the school for a day for some health check-up. After seeing her off, Hayato spots a broken head of Yotarou in the woods. The other teachers spot him and think Hayato has done something bad and warns him to leave before Yatsugashira comes back because rumours say whoever messes with Yotarou will never be heard of again. Hayato packs his bags while Himawari tries to find the place where Yotarou’s blueprints in order to fix it back. The other girls have no choice but to tag along because of that punishment rule. Klutz Himawari goes through some creepy mansion filled with traps and if not of the other girl’s help, Himawari could’ve been toast. Meanwhile Hayato has been kidnapped and tied upside down by a drunk woman in the woods (I believe is one of the school’s many weird teachers). Then a male teacher caught Himawari (she’s trying to disguise by using her butt as a rock?!) but the girls save her again as they made the place on fire. As they run out, they follow Hayato’s screaming and manages to save him (that woman didn’t do anything weird, must be his fear which’s causing him to scream). Then they go back to the mansion to find several spares of Yotarou! With Hayato’s name cleared, Yusura lectures Hayato of Himawari’s mediocrity and the trouble she put all their lives in danger just to protect his job. Hayato’s class soon has full attendance but he might be thinking of quitting when the normal classroom turns into a danger-filled room. Hayato nearly died…
 
While Hayato despairs with his ever shrinking net salary, episode 5 is Valentine’s Day. Do kunoichis celebrate it too? Yatsugashira announces a new transfer student in Hayato’s class. She is Tsubaki Kazama and it seems she wants Hayato to be her master after she reads some scroll while coming out from Monjaya. Oh oh. Another rival for Himawari. Things are sure heating up. Of course Tsubaki seems better in terms of skill as compared to Himawari such as making chocolates. Even if Himawari confronts Tsubaki about Hayato being her master, Tsubaki seems to indicate polygamy as acceptable because she still will give Hayato her chocolates and doesn’t care if Himawari give him hers. But Himawari isn’t going to give up and continues to burn the midnight oil to make the perfect chocolates so she could give to Hayato first before Tsubaki. I think the quartet got a kick of watching this love rival so Shikimi and Yusura makes a bet with Azami and Himeji to see who will give Hayato their chocolates first. So it’s funny to see both sides trying to intercept each other to prevent the other side from winning and poor Hayato got caught in the middle. Then desperate Tsubaki makes a false smoke signal to distract other teachers of a war signal and to give Hayato her chocolates. Of course Himawari and the girls soon arrive and another round of duel since the bet is still in place. Tsubaki uses her giant kite to kidnap Hayato but accidentally drops him. Himawari sacrifices her chocolate shuriken to break his fall and pin him to a tree. We learn Tsubaki is from a masterless clan and according to the scroll Hayato is the one after she makes him eat her chocolates. Tsubaki admits defeat after seeing how Himawari risks her life to save Hayato from a fall and leaves but promise to return. While the other girls are splitting the bet into half at Monjaya, to Himawari’s dismay finds out that the Mansaku writes scrolls as a part time job and even scribbles on Himawari’s precious (but fake) scroll. But Hayato cheers her up as he eats her leftover shuriken chocolates and says how he has received them.
 
Himawari is feeling depressed in episode 6 after doing badly in a training. Azami suggests for her to go see a legendary sage in some cave so that she could be a powerful kunoichi. Yeah, Himeji is thinking of fighting with him. They manage to find him behind some waterfall and to their disappointment doesn’t look anything like legendary. However the sage is making the gang doing mediocre chores so much so they’re wondering its training or just a rip-off. Uh huh, he even made them do some performance. I don’t know if he’s faking illness because he says how he liked to see those maple autumn leaves like those of his hometown before he goes. However Himawari still believes him and tries to oblige with his wishes. Then I think Himeji is losing it because she burned the surrounding trees with her flame thrower so as to resemble those autumn leaves. She’s going crazy! But luckily Yonezawa is there to stop and lecture her. Then it occurred to me that Yonezawa is Yusura’s boyfriend! Wow. Himawari even tried to use Tsukiyohime’s illusion miso soup but that didn’t work because she didn’t want to teach her. Azami then tells Himawari how her info on the sage may be wrong because she fell asleep and dreamt of him at a mini shrine. But still, Himawari is bent on showing him. So the rest decide to make the maple leaves using paper colour. The sage sees them and is happy. He tells Himawari to leave him alone for awhile. But when she returns, he’s nowhere to be found. Tsukiyohime then says how he’s a spirit of an injured man who died at this spot long time ago and Himawari fulfilled his wish before returning to the next world. Even if he didn’t teach her any techniques, she did learn from his advice that those techniques are obtained and polished by training, act of foresight and careful preparation.
 
Himeji wants a clever pet like Momota in episode 7 but she wants a bigger and cooler one instead. Hayato is on his way back (usual complaining of getting involve in some training) when he trips and his head broke some stone seal! Wow, his head must be real hard. Likewise, Himeji stumbles into a cave and is saved by a mysterious robot. Ever since, Himeji is acting strange (like eating more than her huge portion and sneaking out with food at night) and Hayato thinks there’s a monster in the school grounds. It seems Himeji has got a pet of her own, that giant robot whom she named Kakunoshin. They’re getting along quite well and one thing which bugged me is that why does a robot need to eat human food? Fuel? Heard of oil then? Anyway the next disturbing scene sees Himawari dreaming of what might Hayato be doing something kinky to her. "Hayato-dono, please don’t. We can’t! I can’t… eat anymore". Yeah, she was sure dreaming about food. Then when news of Monjaya got destroyed during the night, everyone starts to believe that Hayato may have seen a monster. Himeji still believes that it isn’t Kakunoshin’s doing. So everyone stays on guard that night and another rampage occurs. Good thing the monster isn’t Kakunoshin but one named Giant Warrior. Yatsugashira chants a temporary barrier as she explains how the Giant Warrior is a result of fusing a soul with an inanimate body. They also learn that Hayato was the one who broke its seal and need to find a way to reseal it. Giant Warrior is making headway while Himeji tries to take on the giant herself with her wooden machine guns. Is she crazy? Well she is in the first place. Hayato pilots Eggplant to save her but was no match. Then Kakunoshin appears to protect Himeji and the giant robots engage in a fiery battle. Kakunoshin protects Himeji (who’s in tears asking him to stop) till the very end as Yatsugashira chants an incantation to seal it all as both robots fell over the cliff and disappear. The next morning a bed of flowers covered the cliffs and Himeji isn’t sad anymore as she wishes him farewell.
 
Himawari still slacks in disguise transformation in episode 8 when a teacher named Takechi disguises himself as Hayato in his class for lessons. Plus, Azami says nobody has ever seen Takechi’s real face. Himawari continues to persevere in her disguise techniques but since she isn’t doing well, she heads over to Yusura’s place for her opinion. Just to quote what Yusura said on Himawari’s weird dressing, "You call that a disguise? It’s just cosplay". Yusura is seen putting on cucumbers on her face, scaring the lights out of Momota. Soon a blackout occurs and one by one, Himeji, Yusura, Shikimi and Azami turned into chibi little kids after smelling some weird fragrance. Shikimi thinks there is an intruder who is after their genes in the school grounds because each of the girls has some suction mark on their neck. They suspect Takechi since he’s a master of disguise and to infiltrate the grounds without raising any suspicion. But as they confront Takechi (in the guise of Himawari) being little chibi kids, their powers are being suppressed and you know, they fall asleep easily. Kids must go to bed early. In the end, they managed to unmask the real culprit which is some foreigner ninja disguising as the school nurse. They easily pin him down. Meanwhile Takechi is reporting to Yatsugashira about the foiled plans of an enemy ninja to obtain superior genes from this school and that the blood samples of the quartet has been returned and they will return back to normal in 3 days. Then we see that weird shuriken mark behind Takechi’s neck. So he may be the one who saved Himawari! As for the chibi kids, they’re thinking of having fun first by jumping on Himawari before returning back.
 
There seems to be a young boy stalker around Himawari in episode 9. Everytime Himawari forgets to do something or does a mistake, it’ll be corrected but each time there’s a round flower pattern (Goshiki Mai) on the ground. So you could say that Himawari is receiving quite a good treatment when she receives her favourite dish to her dorm even without ordering it. Of course the quartet senses something amiss and did some investigation. Azami receives info from Nanafushi that the stalker may be a genius from the boy’s school who is playing truant. Himawari decides to meet him and puts some encryption on the ground for their meeting place. While the quartet is using Himawari stuff as bait to lure the stalker out but since he’s smart, he doesn’t fall for it and the poor girls waited for a long time. Till hungry Hayato picks up the Goshiki Mai and the quartet ambushed him. When Hayato learns of Himawari’s danger, he rushes to find her. Meanwhile the stalker, Komurasaki Ichimonji, meets Himawari and to cut things short, he admires her and I think he has a crush on her. As the duo chat, Hayato arrives and misunderstood that Komurasaki is trying to hurt Himawari so he tries to protect her. Komurasaki unleashes an attack but Himawari intercepts and got injured a little. She says she can’t forgive anyone who hurts her master. Komurasaki understood and decides to leave after thinking that she has dumped him. In class as Hayato and Himawari’s relationship improves, the quartet are fantasizing of a possible love rival in 5 years. Is Hayato jealous? Later Komurasaki is seen eating Himawari’s bitter and burnt bento as her favour repayment for his earlier deeds. Yeah, like he said, first love should be bittersweet.
 
The gang takes their midterm exams in episode 10 except for Shikimi who is out with a cold. Everyone including Shikimi turns up next day for the practical skills test. The kunoichis are to be grouped into teams of 6. We all already know who Himawari will end up with, right? But who is the 6th person to fill in their group? Why, it’s Tsukiyohime! Didn’t know she’s a student in the first place. However this test is quite different. The objective is that each group has a scroll which needs to be delivered to Yatsugashira waiting at the mountain top with the winner getting loads of points. But the person in the group who scores the lowest in the overall test will be forced to leave school. Gasp! So it’s every kunoichi for herself! All friendship down the drain! Everyone tries to make a head start in this no rules test. Though Shikimi is still ill, Himawari still looks out for her but the former is still cynical about it even if Himawari’s intention is true. So we see the gang unleashing all sorts of tricks from Himeji’s crazy guns to Yusura’s animal assistance (yeah, love Momota’s smelly fart technique). As the scroll change many hands, Shikimi finally has it in hers but got injured due to Yusura’s call of rampaging wild boars. Himawari can’t leave her and that’s when Tsukiyohime show up. A gust of wind appears from her miso soup as she disappears and takes the scroll to Yatsugashira and wins. That sly girl. Later Yatsugashira announces the results of the group and it seems there is one person who beat the rest by a single point. It’s Himawari! Would you believe it she scored perfect on Hayato’s general paper! Which means the other 5 are tied at the same score. Everyone is surprised, which means 1 of them has to drop out. However Yatsugashira says how they’re all cursed together with extremely bad luck and passes them all in this exceptional case. Hooray! What a relief. So the gang celebrates together with Tsukiyohime at Monjaya. So I guess Tsukiyohime made for all those absent classes by winning this one, eh? Did she see this coming? If she didn’t, she could’ve been the one who dropped out. Even so, Tsukiyohime still doesn’t attend classes and prefers to mysteriously appear here and there enjoying her meal.
 
The gang takes a field trip up to the snowy mountains in episode 11 and the funny part is that Himeji is afraid of the cold because she was born in the south pacific island. So in order to calm herself down, she hallucinates being in the sunny and sandy beaches and in the mean time goes crazy and takes off all her warm clothes in the middle of the snow! But this episode is more on Yusura and Momota. It seems Yusura has recently got into a fight with Yonezawa during their date because Momota couldn’t stand see Yusura being with someone else and interfered. So it’s either the kappa or the cat. Yusura chose. As the gang treks up the mountain, Momota spots Yonezawa and goes after him. Due to that, Momota went missing and this adds to Yusura’s worries because her pet will get sick if his bottom gets cold. So they split into groups of 2 and mount a search for it. We hear how Yusura saved Momota from a trap and they became separable ever since. During the search, Yusura and Himawari fell into a deep chasm. Good thing they found Momota but it’s starting to fall ill. Himawari tries to climb out but fails. Since Yusura doesn’t want it to end like this and wants to make up with Yonezawa, she uses her animal communication to ask several animals to bring help (should’ve done this in the first place). Meanwhile Yonezawa meets Tsukiyohime who shows him Yusura in danger as he rushes to save her. When everyone converges at the chasm, Hayato and Yonezawa is hyped up to get the duo out but lacks strength. Then I don’t know why, when they are given cucumber and fried eggs, the duo suddenly powers up to remove the boulder and free them. In the end as everyone enjoys a hot meal at the mountain top, Yusura and Yonezawa both reconcile and it looks like Momota doesn’t hate Yonezawa anymore.
 
Hayato is seen sneaking into Himawari’s room in episode 12. No, he didn’t turn into a lolicon. It’s just that his cheap and poor nature now takes him to a new level as he can’t afford to have a warm bath and it’s embarrassing that he has to borrow 1 of his student’s. But you know Himawari is so willing because he is her master. However, the duo got into their first quarrel over the water temperature. That’s it?! Later Hayato accidentally discovers a hotspring below a sacred sakura tree and takes a dip. The next morning, everyone is surprised to see the tree slide down due to a landslide. Hayato receives another transfer student, the seemingly shy Sakura who can’t seem to get Hayato’s name right. Himawari made friends with her but it seems Sakura is some sort of airhead, doing things she shouldn’t like doodling on the wall. So much so poor Himawari has to cover up for her. Then when a group of kunoichi are getting ready to battle fair and square over some rare melon bread, Sakura takes the whole tray and gives it to Himawari, earning the wrath of those girls. Since Himawari and Hayato still don’t see eye to eye, Hayato is saddened to learn his private hotspring is now occupied by Yonezawa. I guess he’s so poor that Hayato even demands some membership fee. But he gets an idea to find and dig a hotspring of his own (thinking of making big bucks here?). Hayato starts digging near a chimney of a crematorium but Sakura senses danger so in her anger she is going to make Hayato pay. While the girls are doing their research and stumble upon Hayato’s belongings, Tsukiyohime informs them that Hayato’s life is at risk. As Hayato research at a bookstore, a strange gust of wind whisks him away (it’s funny to see him like dancing) and onto several life threatening dangers like in front of a tractor but was saved by cheeky Momota (is that cat smoking?). Himawari goes in search of Hayato and finds him on the verge of being thrown of the cliff! Himawari’s will to protect him stuns Sakura and soon she gives up her vendetta. We learn that Sakura is some sort of sakura tree spirit and over time fell in love with the chimney and that’s why she wanted to protect it (both are some sort of deity which protects this village). Well, love works in mysterious ways. Sakura vanishes and reappears as a sakura tree around the chimney. As everyone takes a bath together in the open hotspring underneath the sakura tree, Yonezawa lectures Hayato and Himawari for being greedy and stubborn. Hayato and Himawari then make up.
 
After all that bungling and failures, Okashira is going to zoom in for the kill in episode 13. But first, she abducts Himawari and sends a note of their cave hideout to Hayato. The quartet actually knows of Okashira’s presence a long time ago but they deem her insignificant and not a threat. Haha, what an insult but how true. While Okashira and Sabisuke go out to find Hayato, Wabisuke has to watch over Himawari. As Himawari chats with Wabisuke, we see a flashback of how Okashira took the homeless twin orphans under her care. Thus the reason they stick with her and treated her as their master. Himawari manages to free herself when Wabisuke collapses. Then Hayato arrives and Okashira takes this chance to duel with him. Of course when Okashira says how he is the descendant of the tyrant Nobunaga who ravaged villages and killed innocent villagers, Hayato is still in the blur. Himawari then gets her strength to protect Hayato and gets even encouraged by his words when he says how it’s a master’s job to protect his students. Meanwhile the quartet are searching through Okashira’s hideout and finds out some ultimate deadly technique of the Shell Clan and thinks they have underestimated their enemy and that Himawari is in danger as they rush to her. The gang has Okashira cornered but us forced to back off when her subordinates held the upper hand. Then Azami says how Okashira has mistaken Hayato for being Nobunaga’s descendant. Taking out a family tree scroll, let’s just say he’s a bloody distant relative. A nobody, that is. Furthermore, the scroll is written by Mansaku! Okashira is horrified that she’s been on a wild goose chase all this time. Then Wabisuke collapses again. Later they find out it was due to hunger and after getting a meal from Tsukiyohime, he’s back to normal. Okashira then decides to drop her revenge for Wabisuke and Sabisuke’s sake and become some sort of wanderers. In the end, Hayato and Himawari underwent some master-servant ceremony officiated by Tsukiyohime which looked so much like a wedding. I guess the girls really do get a kick seeing the drama between the duo. Well, partly they say Hayato have to show some sign of apology for causing trouble to everyone. What a fine mess Hayato got into as he finds out their vow is eternal. Just like marriage, eh? But the end scenes show Takechi on a plane saying how the war has started.
 
With that kind of ending, there’s a 2nd season is most likely and it did with additional 13 episodes. But an eyebrow raiser for me is that the name of the 2nd season is called Himawari!! See any difference? Uh huh. They just add another exclamation mark. WTF?! Because of so, sometimes it’s a little misleading because if I skim through it very fast, I might misinterpret and thought it is still season 1.
 
Basically the story continues off where the previous season has left off and as seen in episode 1, Himawari is a little more skilful an still loyal to her Hayato master. But this episode starts off with the boy’s ninja school being attacked and according to Azami’s info, there’re no body remnants while the academy is decimated. Hey wait a minute, Azami is also a student of the boy’s school too? I mean, she’s on her way to attend some welcoming party for new male students when the attack occurred. The girls investigate the devastated site only to find Hayato in his Eggplant and learning about some demolition orders from Yatsugashira. When they confront her for answers, she is reluctant to tell them more as they sense that they’re being tapped so they back off. In this season, we can see that Takechi is communicating with some guy in a high-tech plane about putting his plans in motion for those test tube kunoichi. Therefore in each episode, he unleashes some experimental human-cum-creatures to target Himawari and co. So in this episode, a blue weird looking gum boy (who decides his next course of action through his gum machine) kidnaps Himawari as his target. As the rest goes in search for her, gum boy decides to kidnap his next target. Better think fast because his gum is real sticky. Uh huh. It gives a whole new meaning to a sticky situation. Though Tsukiyohime still randomly appears, her miso soup illusion now can be used to see someone’s past. In this case as she shows Himawari and Hayato the reason why gum boy is doing this was probably those naughty kids of the boy’s academy bullied him and stepped on his precious gum. Tsukiyohime frees Himawari with her chopsticks as she goes to save the rest. It’s funny to see how whinny Hayato is so Himawari just told him to shut up as she lectures gum boy. He is insulted by her words and is going to kill her when Himawari shoots her shuriken to disperse his gum machine and Momota eating it all and its fart turned into a huge bubble before exploding into a huge stink! Himawari does some parody of Luffy’s Gomu Gomu No Gatling Gun to send him flying. While the gang enjoys a big meal at Monjaya, we see Takechi talking to some guy but isn’t disappointed with the outcome.
 
In episode 2, Shikimi finds a weird mushroom but there are several mysterious warning attacks which tries to keep her away from it. As usual, hungry Hayato picks it up and eats it so the next morning he has a mushroom grown right out from his head! The gang learns that some weird mushroom boy is behind this and Nanafushi was the one who was trying to warn Shikimi. They manage to tie the mushroom boy up and it seems Hayato is slowly turning into a plant if he isn’t cured. Not only that, Shikimi has a little stub sprouting out of her head too! Perhaps she ate it out of experiment. Nanafushi tells of what happened at the boy’s school. During the night of the party, some organization gate crash to kidnap the boys to some place but only Nanafushi was able to escape. Then when they decide to make an antidote, they use Hayato as a guinea pig. Yeah, it looks like a poison more than an antidote. But the mushroom boy soon escapes. Since Himawari spilled the antidote, Nanafushi and Shikimi suggests a rare plant which can cure all disease located at a cave. After traversing the maze tunnel, they finally arrive at a spot with the plants. Hayato starts eating but the medicine experts seems to note there is no effect and realized the stalactites which filters the water are all gone. Where has it gone to? Well, Mansaku seems to have broken it off for his new okonomiyaki recipe. There goes their hope. They then go see Tsukiyohime and Hayato thinks of this as his last meal. After he’s done, he hugs Himawari farewell but it seems Hayato is soon returning back to normal. They find out that her miso soup has healing attributes. Shikimi and Nanafushi are overjoyed but hold it back when the others are looking. Later Tsukiyohime is seen talking to Yatsugashira and the latter says how she wanted to see where their skills are. Nanafushi parts with the gang as he is going to stay in the mountains for awhile to watch the organizations movements. We know Shikimi is saddened of his departure so she gets a new hairstyle by letting her hair down.
 
Just when Hayato has become an advisor for the newly created okonomiyaki club, Monjaya has been destroyed again in episode 3. Also the school has a new teacher named Misa Ushikubo. She’s busty and sexy enough to make any guy go gaga over her. Love rival for Himawari? Plus, she’ll be assisting alongside Hayato in his lessons. One night Misa comes to Hayato’s room with an intent to kill him but was saved when Himawari comes in with an okonomiyaki. It seems Misa has some sort of okonomiyaki phobia as she runs away everytime she sees them. Not only that, we see she’s some sort of flying squirrel creature who’s responsible for the recent midnight rampage in the village and has a hard time controlling her transformation. The next day, I think Misa is trying to kill the girls when she locks them in the bath with the rising water. They’ll drown in no time. I don’t know how but Tsukiyohime turns up and breaks a wall with her chopsticks to free the girls. Misa tries to kill Hayato again but luckily Himawari appears in time and throws an okonomiyaki at her face. Funny to see Hayato’s ‘I-can’t-believe-she’s-a-flying-squirrel-creature’ look on his face. As Misa chases Hayato, we learn that she’s Hayato’s childhood friend and the reason why she developed a fear of okonomiyaki was back then Hayato told her how she got a seaweed stuck to her teeth! I guess it must be traumatic. And I suppose that turned into hate and revenge. Ironically the quartet thinks it’s his fault as Misa mercilessly chases Hayato who admits his fault but didn’t had any ill intentions at all. After seeing how persistent Himawari is protecting him, Misa gives up but warns them that there’ll be other ninjas coming after them. When Misa leaves, Takechi confronts her and wants her to transform and complete her mission but it seems she doesn’t fear okonomiyaki anymore as she disappears. Meanwhile the gang has okonomiyaki as usual and I guess Hayato learned his lesson when he spots a seaweed on Himawari’s teeth and keeps quiet.
 
Episode 4 has Himeji flushing out the girls with her machine gun while playing kick the can. Is that legal? Anyway Himeji is the target as several micro ninjas abduct her. The gang follows the animal’s direction to the mountain top where she is held but Himeji is unconscious. Nanafushi appears and tell them that the micro ninjas are in her subconsciousness to control her will. They can’t attack the micro ninja’s body since it won’t have any effect and in order to save her they have get unconscious too. Poor Hayato who’s finding food gets dragged into it while Nanafushi stays on the outside. The gang are walking through Himeji’s mind and they have to solve it all in 15 minutes or they’ll never get back to their own bodies. The gang spot the micro ninjas trying to destroy Himeji’s precious memories (which are being represented by film clips?!). They learn the reason why Himeji wants to be strong because her masters sacrificed their lives to save her from a hostage situation. The micro ninjas are using the sun to burn her memories (thus why they put her on the mountain top) and without fear and other emotions, Himeji will turn into an ultimate killing machine. But would the rest allow it? Everyone cooperates to bust the micro ninjas and save Himeji’s memories. The micro ninjas combine into a giant form but Himeji appears in her subconscious to kick them out of her head for good. Then all in good timing everyone manages to get out safely before time’s up. Phew. On the zero mark! Every wakes up but decide to let Himeji sleep a little longer. Micro ninja goes back to report of his failure but it seems Takechi isn’t fazed and the other guy saying something about announcing their results?
 
Hayato as usual tries to find food in episode 5 but stumbles upon Takechi inviting Yatsugashira to a party announcing some results but the latter refuses. After they’re gone, Hayato decides to go in her place. All he thinks is food. Next morning, Himawari finds a wounded Komurasaki during her training and takes him in for treatment. He tells the girls how he barely escaped from the organization’s base and the abduction of the boy’s academy being drugged and used in some experiment. Azami decides to play spy while leaving a giant satellite for the rest to hear her info. After Azami infiltrates the party, the gang hears her scream and thinks she has been abducted so they decide to go rescue her. Meanwhile, Hayato is stuffing his face and pocket with food. He is then whisk into a VIP room whereby the guests are shown results of some research. Since Hayato isn’t interested he tries to leave but got lost and sees Takechi in a room with some little vehicle. Even if the girls try to sneak in stealthily, their presence is soon discovered and they have a hard time evading the security. The girls are cornered but Komurasaki arrive in time to save them. Then a beast appear and at first seems to attack the girls but it’s actually Azami in disguise. She didn’t get abducted, just that when security discovered her, she disguised herself as 1 of the model exhibits. As the party guests leave, the place starts shaking and soon flying in the air (the party is held on that plane). The gang and Hayato fell out of the plane and it’s free fall. Luckily Azami’s spy kit sprout a giant kite as the gang floats safely towards the ground. At the same time, as Hayato tells the girls Takechi’s real, they see him riding in a little aerial vehicle.
 
Tsubaki returns in episode 6 but is being chased by Takechi and a subordinate. Though Takechi wants her alive, the subordinate says he has orders to kill her and manages to wound her. Himawari spots this and hurries to her. Upon arrival she sees Takechi who then leaves (he’s treating her wounds). As Himawari and the other girls treat her back at Shinobi Gakuen, Azami informs them how their school is on an indefinite break and all the teachers except Hayato (whining about his allowance) are missing. Tsubaki then tells how she saw teachers of Shinobi Gakuen burn her village down the previous night and challenges Himawari over Hayato but this time the former wants to marry Hayato. Since Himawari isn’t willing, Tsubaki threatens to burn her special The Shinobis DVD collection but Hayato stops them (he thinks of selling them but Himawari soon learns he was just faking it and doing so for her sake). Himawari then receives a note from Tsubaki saying how Hayato is in her hands. Himawari meets Tsubaki on the mountain top with Hayato being tied to a rock. Then they learn that somebody has been writing them different letters so as to fight among themselves. A paper guy then appears so Tsubaki challenges Himawari whoever beats him will get to marry Hayato. Try as they will but this is no ordinary paper as it can regenerate. After getting Tsukiyohime’s advice, Hayato goes over to the feuding duo and tells them that this is a trap to tire them out. For once Hayato looks cool as he makes the true perpetrator appear, which is Takechi. He admits that he’s the one who sent the letters and a plan to have them kill each other. Everyone discovers Takechi’s shuriken mark and Tsubaki has a sudden change in heart and decides to marry him! But Takechi says she can follow him, which she gladly did. So is Himawari having doubts of her true saviour? Guess Hayato will have to do.
 
The circus is in town in episode 7. Yusura and Yonezawa go on their date for their Cucumber Anniversary. During the show, the ringmaster, Yohi, hypnotized the spectators and that night they attacked Himawari and friends. Thankfully they managed to flee. Yusura and Yonezawa has the girls temporarily take shelter in a cave and later Yonezawa secretly tells Yusura to run away with him or they’ll get killed and meet him at a designated statue. But Yusura turned up only to leave her cucumber present before heading back to her pals. The rest suspects them to be under a spell except Himawari who still believes in them. Next morning Hayato finds ransom posters on his students and that night, the hypnotized villagers surround and assault them. Though they manage to flee once more, they are met with Yonezawa (what manly looking face!) who attacks them. Yusura’s pleas to stop fell on deaf ears and Tsukiyohime shows them the reason why Yusura isn’t affected. She was asleep during the show while Yonezawa was half asleep, thus only half controlled. Yusura tries to make him remember the first time they met and become a couple at a cucumber field and throws all the cucumbers to jock his memory. Unfortunately, she accidentally threw a shuriken which strikes his heart. The other girls managed to find Yohi and defeat her, releasing the villagers from her spell. But everyone is relieved upon finding out that Yonezawa is fast asleep rather than dead because the shuriken hit the present cucumber instead hidden in his chest. Phew.
 
A guy from the organization is tired of Takechi’s failures in episode 8 and sends several men to destroy Shinobi Gakuen. Thankfully no one was around but the place is totally destroyed. If not for Nanafushi’s advice, our heroines would’ve been toast. They take refuge in the forest as Himawari goes in search of Tsukiyohime when it starts raining. When she finds her, she tells how her grandma looked after her when her parents died in a plane crash. Then Hayato comes by and tells her to go back to her grandma and live a normal life but you know Himawari and her master-student thingy refuses to do so. The forest gets colder and everyone decides to leave but Tsukiyohime refuses citing that she will die with the forest if it does. Himawari decides to stay put and this has the rest following suit. As they pass a lake, they encounter a semi-liquid assassin who attacks them. They throw everything they’ve got at her (including trigger happy Himeji) but it was futile. The assassin then paralyzes them with her cold blizzard but Tsukiyohime makes a deal that she will help retrieve them alive in exchange if she leaves the forest alone. Is she betraying them? The assassin agrees and soon Tsukiyohime rounds them up and toss them into a hotspring. She then grabs the assassin since her body warmth is able to melt her. I guess she was just playing poker too because although her forest is her family, those comrades are her friends and she wants to protect them both, not caring if she dies along with her. After hearing those words, Himawari and the rest spring into action and team work has them defeat the assassin (Momota farted in her face!). Back at the organization, that guy now takes an interest in Himawari.
 
However that’s far as I go since the subs are only till there. See, this isn’t a popular ninja anime to begin with. I find that the 2nd season storyline is more interesting and probably would answer several questions like what those experiments on the boy’s academy are, Takechi’s true intentions and Tsukiyohime’s mysterious presence. But even so, I’ve lost interest in it. The 1st season felt like fillers and as it introduces things and has the gang in some random adventures.
 
I can see how Himawari grows from a klutzy ninja to a more skilful one even if she needs a little more practice. It’s good to see that she is still loyal to her master but with Takechi’s mark, that will be a big question mark. As for Hayato, I still find him whinny. Nothing but complain but I guess I have to give him his dues too because at times he does provide advice to the girls. The other girls too play an important role in terms of cooperation with Himawari. See the bond of friendship between them? It may not be obvious that they learn to lean on each other but I guess a motivation for the quartet is getting a kick of seeing the developments between Hayato and Himawari (Yusura thinks it’s romantic). As for Azami, I’m still wondering if he’s really a guy even if she’s confirmed as a he because at times when the gang takes a bath, the rest have no qualms over it. Equality or just don’t bother? Oh yeah, Momota’s fart has been useful in the 2nd season as it saves the gang from various life threatening situations. So don’t look down on gas!
 
Himeji is my favourite seiyuu because of her accent and crazy laughter which makes her sound like a witch sometimes. She is voiced by Mayumi Yoshida who was the voice of Hiroko in Kaibutsu Oujo. Himawari’s dreamy voice and whenever she’s in a pinch makes her sound different as opposed to those ubiquitous high-pitched girly voices. She is voiced by Kana Matsumoto, a relative unknown as I checked her resume that this is the only voice acting she has ever done. I was surprise to find Aya Hirano as the voice behind Shikimi and you know that name instantly rings a bell for those who know Suzumiya of Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu. Other casts include Ryoko Shiraishi as Azami (Hayate in Hayato No Gotoku), Asumi Nakata as Yusura (Lucia in Mermaid Melody), Kouichi Tochika as Hayato (Neji of Naruto) and Yui Kano as Momota (Momoko in Sumomomo Momomo).
 
I know this may seem trivial but I kinda noticed that some of the characters here resemble closely to those in the anime Lemon Angel Project either in terms of appearance or character. Like Himawari is a little like Tomo, Himeji like Erika, Shikimi like Fuyumi, Yusura like Miru, Azami like Miki and Hayato like Ryouta. Yeah, probably they can all form a ninja pop group in the future. Haha.
 
The 1st season opening song Taiyou No Kakera by Ryoko Shiraishi feels like a pop rock just like the 2nd season opening theme Sora Iro No Tsubasa also sung by the same person but with heavier electric guitar play. Hmm… Sometimes the 2nd season opening song feels like a kindergarten tune with rock beat. The 1st season ending theme Guruguru by eufonius sounds like a slow lazy summer song with the animations showing Himawari changing several outfits based on the season. The 2nd season ending theme Kirakira also by eufonius sounds more lively but sometimes like a kindergarten song to me. If you keep your ears peeled, you’ll notice that the seiyuus of Himawari, Azami, Himeji, Shikimi and Yusura take turns singing their own version of this piece. And I don’t know why but the animation here has the characters in cute drawing which reminds me a little of Ichigo Mashimaro. Another thing I want to mention is the background music (BGM). In short, most of them are unsuitable especially there’s a frenzy piano piece like as though someone is just simply pounding away and another piece which sounds a little techno. I find the BGMs which are being played doesn’t suit the scene and thus ‘annoying’.
 
Unless you’re into ninja themed animes or a fan of Aya Hirano who would like to hear her voice in lesser known animes, perhaps you might one to skip this one. Though some of the episode titles are meaningful (for example "When master and servant fights, the dog is not fed") and the fanservice here isn’t that much. I’m still why the animation of the 1st season opening credits starts off with the girls in their swimsuits. And you know Azami’s case… So I’m thinking is life as a kunoichi that bad? Well, life as an anime otaku for me sure isn’t. Anime is always my master and I’m forever its slave. Er, I mean servant. Oh wait, follower sounds better.
 

Himawari!