Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi

August 11, 2012

Boy from city returns to rural town for healthier environment due to his little brother’s asthma condition. Check. A bevy of local girls setting the stage for a potential harem. Check. Romantic encounters with those female residents. Check. Ends up with one of them in the end. Well, you’ll have to check it out yourself in Hoshizora E Kakaru Hashi (A Bridge To The Starry Skies). Basically this is what you would expect from this anime that is based on the adult visual novel of the same name. I have seen quite a number of this kind of visual novel game genres adapted into animes so I wasn’t really putting my hopes up even though I knew deep down in my heart that this is one of the type of genres that I love watching throughout the years.

The said kid is Kazuma Hoshino and due to his little brother, Ayumu‘s asthma, the duo moved back to the countryside town Kazuma once lived in, Yamabiko. I guess with all the kinds of pollution in the big city, it would only wear out Ayumu’s weak little body. What are big brothers for if they can’t even care for their little siblings? So being the new kid in town, Kazuma will eventually encounter and make friends with the other town residents (I think it’s a pretty small population so my guess is that he’ll be able to know everybody by the end of the day or two) and as expected, the encounters and meetings he’ll get into with his friends. Okay, make that female friends. What else is there to do in this small rural town?

Episode 1
As usual, there’s always this type of flashback when a boy leaves the town. The kind of memories whereby he leaves the girl behind and the promise they’ll always be friends. Don’t worry if you can’t remember this scene because I’m sure later on it will play up again to jog our memories. So the brothers arrive at the countryside via train. Ah, such refreshing greenery and clean air. Kazuma feels nostalgic visiting here because he was friends with the previous inn’s owner. As they continue their journey by bus, Ayumu realizes they are heading towards the wrong direction. Quickly getting off at the next stop, the next bus will be in one hour’s time. Hey, what do you expect in this backwater town? What to do? Wait lah. While bidding their time, a monkey steals Ayumu’s cap. Good brother Kazuma chases after the naughty simian. It’s like the simian is leading him deep into the forest and toying with him. Hoping across rivers and even climbing trees, wow, Kazuma sure can keep up with the monkey. So once he manages to get the cap back, he realizes he is lost. He is not seeing the forest fairy when a girl, Ui Nakatsugawa is standing before him. Seems she is gathering food ingredients and from the way she explains things, she’s a glutton. Why isn’t she looking fat? Probably the countryside has better chance of burning out those fats. Haha! Kazuma follows her as she leads the way back to the bus stop. As she hops over the river stepping on the stones, Kazuma flusters upon seeing her pink panties. But he is suddenly remembered of doing the same hopping thing on this river. The flashback distracted him so he misses his step and ends up falling on Ui, kissing her. I don’t even know if this move is possible. If you think nobody else is in this forest, think again, Ui’s friend, Ibuki Hinata saw what happened and accuses him of being a pervert (including a kick in the face). His explanation of the misunderstanding didn’t convince her so Ui settles it. Then they part and he returns back to Ayumu at the bus stop. Thankfully he didn’t get kidnapped. Kidnappers in this rural area? Putting the cap back brings back another memory that he did so to that girl he left behind.

Boarding the right bus, they arrive at the inn, Yorodzuyo. Kazuma doesn’t recognize it since it has been a long time he has been here and thinks it must have been rebuilt. The inn’s hostess, Senka Yorozu knows who they are and greets them. Taking them around the place, she reveals that some parts have been rebuilt. Then she shows them their room they will be living in from today. Since Kazuma is dirty after that monkey chase, he goes to take a bath but didn’t expect somebody cleaning it, Tsumugi Toudou. He panics and bumps into Senka. She makes a snickering comment about his ‘little brother’. I guess now he can’t get married, eh? That night, Ayumu can’t sleep by himself and sleeps next to his brother while Kazuma ponders the events that have happened today. Kissed a girl, being spotted in his birthday suit. Hmm… Very eventful today. Next morning, Senka introduces them to Tsumugi who is a part time waitress at this inn. She will guide them around Yamabiko. Though Tsumugi says she didn’t see anything about him yesterday, Senka cheekily points out with that size, anyone could hardly see ‘it’. That’s so insulting to his manhood, isn’t it? On the way to school, Tsumugi learns of Ayumu’s asthma condition and they came here first to settle down before their parents. In class, Ui seems to be spacing out over that kissing incident so Ibuki suspects that to be the case. The teacher introduces Kazuma as the new transfer student. Ibuki is surprised to see the pervert and he too is equally surprised to see the girl he kissed. Fate or coincidence?

Episode 2
Ibuki didn’t want that pervert to be in the same class but what do you expect this is the only class for their grade. Blame the small population of this town. Daigo Minamikokubaru, who is also the son of the homeroom teacher doesn’t act like a student in front of his mommy teacher but like her idiotic son. She scolds him like a mommy and has Kazuma sit in his place while relegating her son to a makeshift cardboard box. Naturally as the newbie, his classmates are eager to know more about him. But Ibuki isn’t so interested in that pervert and the way she says things has the class misinterpret that Kazuma pushed down the natural airhead Ui by force in the forest. Ibuki gets close to Kazuma by sharing her textbook so that he won’t get close to Ui. During recess, Kazuma witnesses the big eater Ui is. Still not full after devouring 2 big bento boxes? So after school, his friends show him around town. Tsumugi also joins them and Kazuma’s friends are surprised to see Ayumu is this cute. Could they be related? Well, save your conspiracy theories and genetic jokes for later. Adding to the group is Kasane Toudou, Ayumu’s classmate. Tsumugi observes that Kazuma is a considerate brother because he paces his strides to match Ayumu. So the gang visit various places and the first stop being a snack store. Guess who is eating all the snacks bought? Why all cheese flavour? Other places include the sake shop, bike shop and ramen shop. Kasane as the insider girl of Yamabiko knows every detail or information. So should you have any queries or topics for gossip, she is the best person you should look for. Next stop is the viewing platform as Kazuma learns the place he got lost yesterday was the Twin Mountain. Legend has it that a god and goddess lived on its top and were so deeply in love with each other that they neglected their work. The God in heaven was angered and split the mountain into two to separate them, thus the name of the mountain. Ever since, the lovers had to call out to each other “I love you” from the summit. When they do so, their power and feelings reached the village and a huge crop formed. This is how Yamabiko came to be. The next stop is Kotama Shrine and the shrine is famed for its steep numerous steps. I don’t know why Ui and Kazuma raced each other to the top. Must be tiring, eh? At the top, the shrine’s priestess, Madoka Koumoto is surprised to see Kazuma. So surprised that she runs away. Did he scare her or what? So maybe all that running was to whip up Ui’s appetite because now they patron Bagpipes, a dessert restaurant as Ui orders a jumbo parfait. Don’t worry. She can finish all that. Where the heck all the food in her stomach go? Is there some sort of warp time-space dimension inside her stomach? As Kazuma wipes the mouth of a very satisfied Ui, she thanks her ‘onii-chan’. The rest are surprised to hear this so she apologizes that she got lured in hearing Ayumu calling his brother so. Back home, Ui ponders about this and concludes although Kazuma is Ayumu’s onii-chan, Kazuma is also the onii-chan. Huh? What?

Episode 3
Senka thought she should do some service to the boys and wake them up but what she heard coming from Kazuma’s room are ambiguous words that only yaoi fans can expand with their wild fantasies. No, they’re not having homo sex but Ayumu trying to fix Kazuma’s messy hair. On the way to school, Kazuma meets up with his friends but had this feeling that somebody is watching him. On a trivial note, Ui’s favourite period: Recess. You know why. Rumours are also spreading about Kazuma pinning Ui down in the forest. When Kazuma thought he had found the culprit who had been watching him this morning, he chases after her but bumps into Madoka. Since she has mild androphobia and Kazuma didn’t realize he has his hands on her shoulder, Madoka panics and gives him a judo throw. I hope he didn’t break his back. Later Kazuma learns that she was raised by a strict grandfather so he decides to go apologize to her at the shrine. After making up, Madoka asks if he really did push Ui down and do all sorts of things to her. Madoka is relieved once he explains what happened. Perhaps he explained everything. Including the accidental kiss. Enough to bring Madoka to tears. Wow, this guy. First he somewhat scared her. Then he freaked her out and got thrown. Now he made her cry. Suddenly Kazuma get shot by acorns. Acorns? It is that stalker, the tomboyish Koyori Toudou. She is the self proclaimed ally of justice who protects the peace of Yamabiko. So Kazuma is now the bad guy? First it was Ui, now he made Madoka cry. Madoka begs Koyori to not do anything bad to Kazuma since it’s a misunderstanding. No choice, Koyori backs down only because Madoka said so. But she warns she’ll kick his ass again if he makes Madoka cry. Then she makes some lame ‘disappearing’ move by having the duo close their eyes. Duh… Kazuma walks back home with Ui since Ibuki has archery club practice (she’s been selected to participate in the next tournament) while Daigo has extra English lessons (it’s a way to say he failed). On the way home, they meet Ayumu who happily tells them he joined the sketching club. Ui hopes to be his model next time. Kazuma checks Ayumu’s forehead to find he has a slight fever. He wants to carry him back despite Ayumu feeling everything is okay. Ui remembers how her brother used to carry her like this. After putting Ayumu to bed, Kazuma and Ui are alone in his room. She flusters upon thinking if Kazuma should check her forehead like that. Kazuma can tell Senka is eavesdropping so as he makes sure she isn’t by the door, Ui starts whacking all the snacks she brought in. I’m not sure, is she not supposed to eat them?

Episode 4
As Daigo throws a bag to Kazuma, the latter accidentally bumps into Hina Sakai. She thought he was teasing her when he called her cute. Actually he was pointing to the handphone strap she has that Ayumu likes. She leaves embarrassed while Daigo teases him about the cool beauty Kazuma just talked to. Hina narrates she was born a tall girl so nobody called her cute. So when Kazuma said that, she thought it was teasing her. During recess, Kazuma learns about the local Hikonan Race. It’s a big event for the locals since there’ll be TV coverage and the winner will be interviewed. The participants represent a local shop so it’s no wonder why they are looking forward to this race. Look it as free publicity and advertising. Guess what? Kazuma has to participate too so Senka gives him special training that turns out to be chores cleaning the inn. Is she making him doing her job? So when he starts his real training outside, Kazuma sees a groceries bag beneath a tree. Koyori who is trying to save a cat stuck up a tree thought he is a thief now. She was reprimanding all the way till embarrassed Kazuma pointed out that he could see her panties. This throws her off balance and she lands on his face. I don’t know what he was trying to do to save her to end up in that position. Kazuma learns Koyori is Tsumugi’s little sister and also Kasane’s elder sister. However he finds it hard to believe they’re related since their bust size is so different. He got a deserved kick in the shin. Kazuma helps Koyori deliver the groceries she bought for an old man, Gengoro Yamakawa or more affectionately known as Gen-ji. He thought Kazuma is her boyfriend but she dismisses this villain to be one (why is she stammering and blushing?). Kazuma learns more about Gen-ji’s family. His wife died 3 years ago and his only daughter is now married. But his grandson, Keita is supposed to undergo a simple operation. However he is nervous and refuses to undergo it. He hopes Koyori can go talk to him.

On another training day, Kazuma meets Ibuki on the streets as she doesn’t mind sharing her water bottle with him (she’s not worried about indirect kiss?) while Ui does her own training: She’s eating a huge bowl of super size ramen. What has that got to do with running? Koyori and Gen-ji visit Keita at hospital. She tries to give encouragement to him and to be in high spirits. However if that’s the case, Keita wants Koyori to win the Hikonan Race. She agrees to join and win it and in return, Keita will undergo the surgery and get even better. Hina who has a penchant for cute things, is out jogging when she sees a cute but abandoned teddy bear. She adlibs with it but gets embarrassed thinking that Kazuma has heard her. However he apologizes for not knowing she was his senior then. Kazuma runs up the shrine and sees Madoka. They talk about the race and it seems the winner will get to play the coveted Ogami (male god) part for the Fall Festival of the Twin Mountain legend. Madoka explains further how the festival of the legend is played out between Ogami and Megami (female god) as this festival is also about the God of the mountain descending to the village and uniting with one of the villagers which brings blessings. Then, when the feelings of Ogami and Megami calling to each other meet in their hearts, as proof, at the night of the festival it is said that a beautiful bridge of stars will appear in the sky.

Episode 5
Seems Daigo has a secret outfit for Ayumu for cheering to help Kazuma get through the race. The school’s sports day has arrived. Ui scores perfect in the bread eating contest, the boys can’t get their eyes off Madoka’s bouncy boobs as she tries her best to jump and reach the bread, Hina wins the 100m race by a mile, Tsumugi is so clumsy and her hips are so big that she got stuck within a ladder and for the hunting race, Kazuma got the weirdest request: Big boobs. Whose? He takes Madoka but gets beaten up instead. Then it’s Ibuki’s turn to demonstrate her archery. But she got distracted just by looking at Kazuma and thankfully nails it with the second shot (imagining Kazuma’s face as the bull’s eye). During break, Kazuma and Ayumu meet Ui’s parents. Mommy made a feast considering her daughter’s big appetite. After that butt sumo wrestling among mothers (WTF?!), the much awaited Hikonan Race begins. As the participants warm up, everyone (especially Kazuma) is shocked to see Ayumu in a cheerleading outfit, cheering for his brother. I know he looks cute in the eyes of many but it’s a big embarrassing moment for the big brother! Just when Daigo thought he is going to get pummelled, Kazuma gives the thumbs up instead. Wait a minute. He’s into this sort of thing? So the race starts and there are a few checkpoints that participants need to clear such as eating 30 bowls of shiruko soup (guess who tops in that), catching 10 eels (fanservice cue?) and the final checkpoint that they need to wear a random costume. Hina gets sexy qipao outfit but she sees Ui clumsily walking in a penguin suit. Her cute penchant is alerted and she starts chasing Ui like a mad woman. Now, that really made Ui run for her life. Koyori who is leading the race is wearing a wedding dress but trips and sprains her ankle (it’s hard to run in high heels). Kazuma (in a groom’s outfit) comes by and lends her a hand after seeing how she is determined to win this race for Keita. She initially refuses help from the enemy but seeing Ui and Hina gaining ground, Kazuma carries her like a princess and starts dashing to the finish line. Imagine the people’s surprise upon seeing them like this. In the end, the photo finish reveals Koyori as the winner while Kazuma takes second place. In the interview, Koyori encourages Keita to be in high spirits and drive away his sickness since she kept her promise and won. Keita watching the live interview has his confidence boosted.

Episode 6
Wait a minute. Kazuma doesn’t know what final exams are? Even if he is too busy moving around to study, he should know what that is. Hope he’s just pulling a fast one. So to help study for the exams, the usual suspects head over to Yorodzuyo for a sleepover study session. Hina is also here because she wants to use this opportunity to apologize to Kazuma. But she got distracted by Ayumu’s cuteness. So as the study session begins, the first thing Ui took out was her snacks! Is she serious? Is food all she got in her head? Take two. Taking a break, it’s bath time and this is the part Daigo is waiting for. Of course he got disappointed seeing that it is not a mixed bath. He expected too much I guess. Then after hearing the girls engaging in tantalizing bath time dialogues, Daigo feels the need to infiltrate. I mean, he is so turned on that he could hang the wooden bucket on his… You get the idea. Watch out for splinters. So as he climbs to the top to peep, Koyori squishes shampoo powder into his eyes. Perhaps Daigo should keep his harem paradise to his imagination instead of turning it into a reality. That’s because now he is going outside the garden but Senka has predicted this pervert. Punishment time. So after the ping pong match (the ball got stuck between Madoka’s boobs?), when the gang go to see fireflies, Ui remembers how her brother introduced the girl he is going to marry to, Kuriko. Ui didn’t like it and didn’t properly greet her. She ran away and sulked at the viewing platform. Ui came by and stayed by her side, listened to her till the end. She was afraid she would lose her brother forever but when she realized she shouldn’t feel this way, she went to search for them to apologize. At the riverbank filled with fireflies, she saw her brother and Kuriko kissing. In the end, she was so shocked that she didn’t even congratulate them on their wedding day. This flashback causes Ui to lose her appetite and definitely a big shocker to her friends. Something is wrong. Then they continue their studies till it’s bedtime. Daigo of course is disappointed once more because under this roof with 7 beauties, he had to sleep next to a guy. I suppose you can commend him on his wild imagination of the girls comparing breasts and showing off their lingerie. He should know better than to sneak out because Senka is waiting for him… In the middle of the night, Kazuma gets up for a drink and bumps into Ui who can’t sleep either. Probably she’s hungry. They both talk about Ogami and Megami’s feelings when so happen Madoka wakes up and is disheartened to see them close together outside staring at the night sky.

Episode 7
With exams over, Daigo suggests they head to Honchou, the biggest town around to have their post-exam party. Ibuki can’t tag along since the tournament is around the corner and needs to practice. Hina joins them in hopes she can apologize for real this time. At the arcade, Kazuma beats Koyori in a fighting game (the sore loser wants to settle it via real wrestling), Madoka attracts the guys with her dance moves (must be her bouncy boobs), Ui fails to get a snack in the vending machine (despite she can get the snack anywhere), Daigo tries his luck in playing a strip mahjong game, Kazuma tries his luck in a crane game and wins a rare Bobopin memento. Then he plays some Q&A dating sim with Tsumugi and the questions asked feels like sexual innuendoes. Probably Kazuma is imagining too much. Just when Hina gets the chance to face Kazuma and apologize, she got distracted by the Bobopin he gives her. Then the gang goes karaoke-ing (I guess Ui is here to order the food only). Meanwhile Ibuki can’t concentrate and gets reprimanded to do better. When the exam results are out, Kazuma failed a couple of subjects, Daigo a few more and Ui, maybe just about everything. And she’s so relaxed about it. So it’s remedial classes for their summer, eh? Since Ibuki’s tournament is around the corner, Daigo plans to for them to go cheer on her. To his dismay, Hina and Tsumugi couldn’t come as they are busy with their jobs. To him, this halves, the group’s breast percentage by half. Is that what he is here for? The gang meet Ibuki before the start and give her the encouragement to do her best. Ayumu apologizes he didn’t bring his cheerleading outfit. That’s a joke, right? However Ui feels that Ibuki is forcing herself to be cheerful. The tournament ends with a disastrous result for Ibuki. They’re supposed to meet up at the lobby but Ibuki never showed up. On the way back, Ayumu thought she just wanted to be left alone so Kazuma had an idea where she’ll be. He finds her sitting alone at the viewing platform. He hears her out that although she has been training since young, there’s always this thought that she would miss her target. True enough, that fear came true and her mind just went blank and couldn’t focus. She was so frustrated with herself that she ran away here. Seeing the tears rolling down her eyes, all Kazuma could do is to shout out from the top of his lungs that he hates final exams. This way, she could feel better in letting her frustrations out. Thus Ibuki also gives it a shot and despite yelling herself an idiot, she feels much better.

Episode 8
Ibuki hopes he could keep this a secret between them and also to call her by her first name. For this episode, it’s the much anticipated obligatory beach episode. Babes, swimsuit, the sea, the sand, what’s not to like. By now you can guess why Hina is tagging along, eh? Kazuma teaches Ibuki to swim and Hina does the same for Ayumu. Ui sees what is happening and you can say it’s not an enjoyable expression. Tsumugi notices this. Then later alone with Madoka, Madoka remembers that night she and Kazuma were together and asks her opinion what she thinks of him. Does she like him? Though she flusters, Ui says she likes him in terms of a big brother. Next is the watermelon splitting event. I’m sure nobody wants to hear Daigo’s rant and just hurry up with the cutting. Ibuki did something cheeky to test whether Kazuma’s blindfold has no holes in it. He puts his hands on Ayumu’s chest and wants him to figure out which girl’s breasts are these. Seriously, a girl would’ve screamed when he put his hands over them. So when he mentions the flatness belongs to Ibuki, it’s understandable why she hit his head with a stick. Can you blame her that when it’s her turn to slice the watermelon, she’s aiming for Kazuma instead? Ui perfectly splits the watermelon for everyone to enjoy. Daigo wonders where Ayumu and Tsumugi are and fantasizes about something perverted. Actually Ayumu is asking if there is anything she wants to buy since she is working part time at Yorodzuyo. Well, she’s thinking of working there in the future and she loves the place as well as Yamabiko. Ayumu feels he has been a bother to Kazuma but she doesn’t want him to think that way since he is trying hard to make him happy. If he wants to be grateful, he should also make him happy by being happy himself. Meanwhile, Hina is admiring the cute anemone when Kazuma comes by. Now it’s her chance. Though she apologizes, he misinterpret it’s for being late to leave the beach with them and thinks it’s no big deal. Ui asks when Ibuki got so friendly with Kazuma. She doesn’t have a clear answer and asks Ui back. But she doesn’t seem convinced that Ui was just asking out of curiosity.

Episode 9
Ui is testing a new jumbo parfait when she got the spook of her life. She thought she saw a hungry ghost outside the window but it turns out to be Hina. Kazuma finds Hina collapsed at the park due to hunger. After she regains her strength back (if she keeps up this eating rate, she can be second best to Ui’s appetite), Kazuma learns she has ran away from home after having a fight with her dad and didn’t bring anything along. Even if she did her cute puppy eyes pleading, Kazuma has his hands tied since he’s a freeloader at Yorodzuyo. However he really pities her so he sneaks her in to his room. As he goes down to get dinner, Hina takes off her clothes to wipe her sweat. Then he comes in to find a big surprise and had to make up an excuse to keep Senka’s suspicions at bay. Because Hina couldn’t let him sleep on the floor, she suggests sharing the futon. Seriously? Can they fit into it? Okay, put it sideways. Legs sticking out… Kazuma hears her out. Seems Hina wants to go study at Tokyo University but her dad is against it thinking she won’t come back. It’s true she gets dizzy smelling the liquor in her shop but she’s good at selling them. Thus she wants to study business management and use this knowledge to tell people about their different liquors. She tried telling this to him but was always cut off and yelled at. Then remembering about proper timing and all, she apologizes to him for the misunderstanding when they first met. Seeing that she has finally got this off her chest, Kazuma is confident she’ll get a chance to properly explain to her dad. Next morning when Senka wakes him up, she sees Hina sleeping all wrapped around his body! It’s not what you think! And Hina did say she had good sleeping habits… Though Senka reprimands them for not consulting her first, she’ll have Hina earn her keep and has her work at the inn. Due to Tsumugi taking a few days off, I guess this means Kazuma also has to help out. In the midst of her job, Hina’s father barges in to take her back. She is reluctant but when Kazuma comes into the picture, daddy blames him as being a bad influence to her daughter. Kazuma puts his foot down by telling him what Hina had wanted to tell him all along. However daddy gets rough on Kazuma but Senka warns of any violence in the inn. If he insists, she’ll get down and dirty too. Can’t risk that, can’t he? Daddy goes back alone and his wife has a talk to him about their daughter’s feelings to help out the family business.

But this isn’t the end yet because Kazuma is being challenged to a duel. Long ago, villagers settle their difference via tug of war at the shrine. Usually this was how it was done when 2 men fought over the affections of a woman. Kazuma isn’t going to back down and will render that old geezer speechless. A considerable crowd gathers at the shrine for the showdown. If Hina’s dad wins, Kazuma has to pack and leave town. Though Kazuma is a little embarrassed wearing the traditional outfit, he is surprised that Ayumu too donned the same clothes. Did Senka put him up to this to cheer him on? The duel starts and Hina’s mom could even make a cheeky remark if she could exchange her husband’s dirty butt with a younger one! Hina’s dad draws first blood and his immense strength almost has Kazuma crossed the red line (it means you lose if you do that), Kazuma fights back and with his youth he slowly regains ground. Though Hina’s dad is motivated on the thoughts of his daughter, age is catching up with him. Kazuma uses every ounce of energy left to pull the rope and not only it resulted in his victory, he crashed onto Hina. Hina returns home and feels daddy is still sore over his lose and hasn’t forgiven her. But mom says he challenged Kazuma despite knowing he would lose. He wanted to lose intentionally in front of her and to be able to support her without realizing it. But he took it too seriously, got his stamina drained and felt upset that things didn’t go the way he planned. Hina goes hug her father sulking in his room and mentions how cute he is when he’s embarrassed before thanking him.

Episode 10
Madoka who missed the event because she was reading books to children at the library, learns about it and misinterprets Kazuma was battling Hina’s dad over his daughter. It causes her to sink into depression so Koyori pays her a visit and thought would cheer her up. Of course when she learns from Gen-ji about the meaning of the tug of war, she storms down to the inn to confront Kazuma (who is about to start his summer homework with his friends) that he is going to get married. Of course he’s not. Koyori thinks of explaining this to Madoka when Daigo comes up with a shocking revelation. Could it be that Madoka likes Kazuma?! But why is Koyori the only one flustering? Daigo and Kasane get an idea and recruit Ui and Ibuki to help play cupid and pair the duo up. But Ibuki is not so interested and storms out with Ui following close behind. Ibuki wants to know if Ui is okay if Madoka and Kazuma end up together. They both can’t answer that either. On the other hand, Kasane and Koyori see Madoka and give her a book to read on how to date. They are going to set him up with Kazuma. Madoka is obviously nervous when she meets Kazuma (unaware this is a setup) at the amusement park. Kasane, Daigo and Koyori spy on them hoping that something interesting will happen. The date didn’t go too well for Madoka because she got frightened by the roller coaster ride, got spooked by the haunted house (despite being a priestess she has fear of ghosts) and though the petting farm may be less scary, she got disheartened when Kazuma mentions how the rabbits were eating non-stop just like Ui. Then after the Ferris wheel ride, the stalkers think the duo have kissed judging from Madoka’s body reaction. Actually she’s still nervous about the whole thing. On another outing without the stalkers, Madoka dressed in a rather near-revealing outfit (reminds me of Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft) takes Kazuma hiking to the mountains. When Madoka crosses the stream, the wind blows off her hat. Kazuma grabs it and puts it back on her head and remembers this familiar scene. Now he remembers she is the girl whom he met back then. Madoka explains she was never good in interacting with boys and always came here to play alone. That’s when she met Kazuma and felt fun playing with him every day. Now that she thinks about it, it was probably love at first sight. When she first saw him at the shrine, she was surprised and everything happened too quickly for her to explain. She thought if she didn’t say a thing, there’s a chance he would remember who she is. Even if it’s just a little, all she wanted was a place in his heart. She wore the same clothes back then today in hopes he could remember. Well, back then her hair was short, right? So I guess he can’t really remember it was her. Madoka understands his feelings and wonders if he remembers the final words he said before he left. She wants him to say them to her again even though this isn’t a farewell. She starts crying so he says they’ll always be friends from now on. Good enough but isn’t that another way of saying that she’s being rejected?

Episode 11
Daigo teases Kazuma that he rejected Madoka. Speaking of the devil, there she is and she’s not bitter about it. Elsewhere Ibuki talks to Ui about the festival that the parts played by Ogami and Megami were usually served as proposals. Though Tsumugi is taking the part of Megami, she wonders if Ui should switch place with her since Ogami is played by Kazuma. Ui has her doubts about the confession this seeing she views Kazuma as her brother. Ibuki hints that at this rate Kazuma will be taken away by Hina, Koyori or even herself. Hint, hint. Big hint there. Ui thought she was joking. We know she isn’t. That night Ui gets a call from Ayumu. Next morning, Kazuma is quickly ushered out to take a long stroll. He meets Ibuki at the bridge so she decides to go hang out at Honchou since she didn’t come the last time. So the usual. Karaoke, video games, shopping and eating. But they didn’t expect a shop to treat them like a couple since they are having a promotion for couple’s day and it’s making them embarrassed. Seems Ayumu has called Ui over so she could sketch her. Why is she starting to strip?! Didn’t she say she wanted to be his model? After Ayumu finishes his sketch, he reveals that he plans to give it to his brother as a present seeing that they’re both going out. Woah! Wait a minute. Where did he hear that from? After that advice from Tsumugi, he thought that he would draw for Kazuma and the reason he heard from Kasane that Kazuma rejected Madoka was that he liked Ui. She dismisses all that and still feels he is just like her brother but Tsumugi says Kazuma is not Ui’s brother but Ayumu’s. Ui is worried if she dates Kazuma, it’s like taking him away from Ayumu. Would he be okay with that? He may feel lonely but since it makes him happy, he too will be happy for him. Meanwhile Ibuki jokes to Kazuma about the free can drink they got because they look like a real couple. If that’s the case they should start going out for real. She’s not joking isn’t she? Then when Kazuma leaves, he thinks hard on Ibuki’s words. Then it hit him. He runs back to see Ibuki still sitting at the same spot. He quickly apologizes that if he had caused any misunderstanding if she suggested that they go out for real. If she was serious, then he apologizes he can’t. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Even if she dismisses that as a joke, why is she starting to cry? Oh look how convenient, it’s starting to rain too. Oh, she’s under the hut. Ibuki comes back home all drenched and when her mom asked, she answers “Furarechatte”. It can both mean “get caught in the rain” or “got rejected”. Ui still wonders why she couldn’t congratulate her real brother back then. She gets her resolve to call and congratulate him. But her brother is surprised how she knew Kuriko is pregnant. He meant to break the news to her but seems she beat him. Ibuki goes to yell out her frustrations at the viewing platform. Feeling much better, she is ready to move on. Then meeting Ui, since she is still somewhat excited, Ibuki thought she got pregnant. It’s her brother. Oops I mean his wife lah.

Episode 12
Kazuma is shocked to hear that he will be playing the Ogami role in this year’s festival. He thought the winner of the Hikonan Race had the honour but even if Koyori qualified, she is still a girl (despite her tomboy character). So the highest ranked guy in the race is Kazuma and he is the all-important male representative for Yamabiko. Kazuma further learns from Daigo that Hikonan Race was a competition created to see who would play the Ogami part. There have been couples who have got together after confessing during the festival and when a couple is born out of it, legend has it an abundant harvest will be imminent. Ibuki has club practice while Daigo’s mom drags him away for being too relaxed since the festival around the corner. This means Kazuma and Ui will have to walk home alone together. Hina senses an awkward silence between them. Kazuma and the rest dress up in their traditional costumes and practice for it. Kasane is around to snap pictures so she could sell them to her classmates who are willing to pay a high price for it. Sneaky little girl… Later Tsumugi talks to Ui and wonders if she and Kazuma are fighting. Ui explains the feelings of her heart and Tsumugi concludes that she is in love. This causes confused Ui to fluster a lot. Still deny that it’s love? On the other hand, Kazuma gets his lecture from Hina. She is straight to ask him why he didn’t tell Ui how cute she is. Relating her case of how she wanted to say things but never got around it till Kazuma told her, she realizes that if there is something she wants to say, she has to say it herself. Ui couldn’t help thinking about the word of love and yes, that first accidental kiss. So much so she didn’t have much sleep. After school, Senka goes over the programme for the festival to the players. This include Ogami receiving a scroll from the angel (played by Madoka), riding the float down to the bridge to meet Megami and reading out loud to her what’s written in the scroll. So even if he’s reading the scroll, he has to put his entire heart into doing it. Then what he says will become the truth for Megami. Later as Madoka practices her moves, she gets a call about feigning illness.

On the day of the festival as the girls are about to change, suddenly Tsumugi got stomach ache. Cancelling it would not be wise so they need a replacement. Who? Ui! Can she do it? Well, since she was with Tsumugi throughout the practice, she’s confident she can pull it off. And to replace Ui? Kasane! Can she do it? Well, since she was with them snapping away throughout their practice so she must have memorized some of the moves. Hina isn’t giving Kasane much choice. “Do it or do it!”. Well, what choice does she have? The festival gets underway and Kazuma is shocked to see Ui at the other end instead of Tsumugi. The crowd is bewildered over his silence. So once Ayumu cheers him and he recomposes himself, he opens up to read the scroll but it turns out to be a love confession. Taking a deep breath, he shouts out loud that he loves Ui. She is shocked and nervous by his words so Ibuki nudges her to reply. At first Ui was too soft but as Ibuki encourages her to speak louder, finally she lets out a loud answer that she loves Kazuma too and sends the watching crowd cheering happily for them. Just what this boring town needs. A real life love drama. In the aftermath of the festival, everyone celebrates at Yorodzuyo. Daigo has to serve his drunk mother while Ayumu is a hit with the ladies! Are they trying to seduce and corrupt him? (“I actually look pretty good when I’m nude”). Kasane knew she has been tricked when Tsumugi couldn’t remember the stomach ache she had. Madoka notes to Ibuki that they got rejected. Then at the riverbed, Kazuma and Ui kiss underneath the bridge of starry skies. It may be their second kiss (and of this entire series) but their first real one.

Episode 13 (OVA)
This is Daigo’s episode. How often do you have the supporting male loser taking centre stage? Yeah, he hogs the limelight. For all the wrong reasons. While Kazuma and Ui are having fun in their date, lonely Daigo plays his online RPG game and seems the virtual friend he made is a girl named Yuuka. After class, Daigo hints to his friends to hang out together but Kazuma and Ui are part of the upcoming cultural festival committee and have stuff to do together. Since Daigo didn’t ‘understand’, Ibuki has to point out to him that he is disrupting a couple’s date. So Daigo walks home alone and he’s so frustrated that he is still single that he shouts out loud he wants to get a girlfriend. Right in the middle of the road. Oh, in this sleepy town, I guess only the birds heard him. He meets Ayumu halfway and learns his sketches and drawings will be put on display during the festival. However Daigo starts fantasizing on his own when Ayumu mentions about Ui’s near-stripping incident when she was a sketch model. Nude drawing? Only happened in his mind. Yeah, this made him want to draw to. I guess the subject has got to be a girl, huh? Then he gets an idea. He doesn’t necessarily need to draw but can take photos. Convincing Kasane to lend her camera, he manages to convince Tsumugi to be his model with the lame excuse that he has awakened to art. After school, Daigo snaps like crazy as Tsumugi naturally poses. He hopes that this will progress to the point whereby Tsumugi will strip in the name of art! Oh yeah… Then Hina’s mother and the other moms come by and learn what Daigo is doing. They volunteer to be his subject (and even strip down for him!) but Daigo made the wrong move by saying he might be into older girls but not middle age women. Suddenly the sky turns dark and the eyes of the mothers… They’ve become Terminator!!! Tsumugi could sense something bad is going to happen and excuses herself. Here comes the pain courtesy from the middle age mothers. Daigo plays his online RPG once more with Yuuka and after logging out, he notices someone posted a comment on his question on how to get along with girls. Complimenting the things she is self conscious of seems to be the answer and thinking back, he remembers Kazuma complimenting Koyori’s outfit as she is supposed to be holding a concert for the festival. He tries his luck with Madoka but her friends tell him she’s changing into a maid outfit in the locker room and since her bust is too big, she’s in the midst of fixing it. A cue for Daigo’s fantasies to get ahead of him. He thinks his compliment will allow Madoka to let him examine her boobs! Madoka gets a call from her grandpa so she has to explain the maid outfit she wears isn’t indecent. As she goes outside to get better reception, Daigo’s mom comes by and sees the maid outfit lying around. She puts in on for size to make sure it follows school regulations. Daigo is eavesdropping outside and happily thinks it’s Madoka. Then he sees her outside and wonders who could this person be. Opening the door, he saw mommy dressing up. A scene he never wanted to see in his life. He’ll have a hard time erasing it from his memories.

Walking home, he sees Hina obsessively fawning like a maniac outside the window of a pet shop. Hmm… Maybe he can hit on her too. In the spur o the moment, he dresses up in a cat costume. Isn’t the box a little too small? He thought this won’t work since it’s an obvious epic failure but what do you know? Hina actually buys it and brings him back to her room! Hina goes out to get some food so he takes off his head gear. He didn’t expect her to come back so soon and puts it back on. But it’s backwards! Hina got spooked out and in his attempt to calm her down, crashes into her. Her father goes up to check the ruckus only to see Daigo on top of his daughter. Now he’s dead meat! In class, Daigo laments his fate when Ibuki nervously asks him (like a tsundere) if he wants to go with her. Perhaps he doesn’t want to let this chance slip as he never thought the girl he considered his friend would ever have feelings for him. Of course things didn’t turn out the way he wanted because at the archery club, he becomes a target practice for Ibuki! She’s going to pull off a William Tell! What if she misses? Don’t worry. She only misses one in every ten shots. That’s not convincing! I don’t know how it happened next but it must be a harrowing experience for him. On the way home, he meets Ayumu again. Kazuma’s brother invites Daigo to his room. While he waits, suddenly Ayumu comes in wearing a female school swimsuit! Oh sh*t! WTF?! What gives? Ayumu noticed Daigo down lately and seeking Kasane’s advice, he thought wearing this was the best option to cheer him up. Oh God! Yaoi scene. Even Daigo can’t resist the temptation to do in cute Ayumu despite him being straight. Holy sh*t!!! Daigo pushes him down to the floor!!! SO YAOI!!!Then Kazuma sees what is happening. Daigo is one dead man… The festival begins as Koyori sings her heart out on stage, the customers are taken aback by Ayumu’s cuteness serving them in a swimsuit, Senka finds Madoka cute in her maid outfit, Ui is more cute than scary as a cat monster in the haunted house and Ayumu’s sketch on Ui is part of the exhibit. At the end of the festival, Daigo sits alone by himself while Kazuma and Ui dance at the bonfire. A bespectacled girl, Yuuka Dai comes up to him. She is the online girl he plays with as she thanks him for always helping her out in the game and wonders if he would care to dance with her. But of course. Finally he gets the girl! Hooray. So what is the lesson that we learn? Perseverance and persistence pays? Heck no! If you want to screw around with the harem girls meant only for the main guy, don’t. Because you’re better off dating a lesser known side character not included in the list! Haha! See, even losers like him get the girl in the end. After getting beaten up so many times, like they say: No pain, no gain.

A Starry Bridge Too Far…
Oh well. There wasn’t anything much to expect from this kind of anime. Boy-meets-girl(s) in backwater town, the friends spend some time with each other and no sudden shocking twist in the end that has him leaving the town for whatsoever reasons. Oh yeah. That would be terrible. Otherwise this anime is just average stuff and nothing much to shout about. The ending may seem rush and could have been better but what more do you expect after the guy finally chooses the girl? At least this is one thing good about this anime. Our main guy finally ends up with the girl. She becomes his girlfriend and they become a couple in the end. So we don’t have the dissatisfaction of that guy choosing nobody in the end which of course disappoints everyone. Though fans of other pairings may not like it but it’s better to have some disappointed rather than all. You can’t please everyone. Though many (including yours truly) would have spotted from a mile that Kazuma will eventually end up with Ui. She is the first girl he meets in Yamabiko. She is the first girl whom he accidentally saw her pantsu. She is the first girl he kissed (albeit by accident. It still boggles me how they can really end up in that position after slipping off a rock). Heck, she has that feeling of the-main-heroine-that-the-hero-will-end-up-with aura around her. Like it was written in the stars. Okay, so maybe that was just me. After all, I also felt that this was leading to an Ui-route.

So of all the other girls, why would Kazuma choose one who is an airhead? Even more, a glutton. I don’t know. Maybe it’s his taste so I have no right to criticise it. Perhaps girls who exude that clumsy and dojikko trait have that extra edge in the moe factor. At least this shows that not only popular, pretty and perfect girls would end up with the hottest guys in town. Okay, Kazuma may not be the most eligible bachelor but as the newbie in town, he is something fresh to the locals. Yeah, he is a hit with some of the moms and middle age- whoops, I mean young mothers. If Ui is really going to be Kazuma’s wife, I’m sure a big budget of their household expense will go into food. That girl has nothing but food on her mind. But I guess being a simpleton makes things easier and less complicated. Call it a trade-off for brains if you will. Now, if she eats brain food, would that improve her airhead-ness? I don’t think so. If Ui is the lively airhead, I also consider Hina as another airhead but she is quieter. The only reason why she is called a cool beauty in the eyes of others is because she doesn’t open her mouth. But when she does, you can tell this tall girl is somewhat a slow person like Ui. For instance, she actually spells out the definition for certain subjects even if the situation doesn’t require her to. Like when Kazuma’s in a pinch giving Senka an excuse that there is a wasp in his room (to hide Hina), she went on ranting about wasps. Heck, information that I don’t even know. Or want to know. So wasps are diurnal? Just like Ui’s obsession with food, her obsession is with cute things. So kittens and puppies beware. Don’t let her crazy cute fetish awaken. Initially as part of the official harem, Hina’s part and body action never seem to indicate that she likes Kazuma more than friends. It feels she was worried about getting the proper chance to talk to her dad about going to university, that’s all. I thought that her role of trying to apologize to Kazuma would be a recurring gag but that ended in her little arc when she ran away from home and slept at Kazuma’s place. Perhaps she is the kind of person that doesn’t succeed at first go and needs many tries before she gets it right.

The other harem girls too had their fair share of screen time so I suppose in this sense that they are given equal treatment of being ‘rejected’. Haha. As expected, Ibuki the tomboyish girl who didn’t like Kazuma when she first met him eventually turned into a tsundere and got flat out (pun on her boobs intentional) rejected. I don’t know how she came to like that guy whom she accused of pushing Ui down in the forest and doing funny things on her. Maybe it’s when he came to console her after her disastrous outing at the archery tournament. He didn’t seem like he has done much but at least by being her company, it makes her feel better. Aside Ibuki, Madoka was the other potential rival for Ui to end up as Kazuma’s girl. I guess all those flashbacks of them spending their younger days were just a distraction and just a build-up so that Kazuma could remember his forgotten memories once more. And then reject her. So would you believe me Kazuma’s taste in girls is weird? I mean, he chose an airhead over a busty miko priestess. Any (perverted) guy would have chosen Madoka over Ui any time. No, I’m not one of them ;p. And I won’t choose Ui either ;p. But one thing about Madoka bugs me. I know she has a case of mild androphobia but after that judo throw, it seems that the phobia has gone ‘missing’. After that you notice her mixing well with the other men in town like as though they’re nothing. So does she really have fear of men? Or was it Kazuma acted too impulsively? Koyori is the other tomboy and brute. Just like Ibuki, she too didn’t like Kazuma very much but after that tiny falling-from-tree incident in which Kazuma broke her fall, she started to like him. However you won’t see Koyori in trying to pursue the feelings of her heart because she is more preoccupied in helping Keita overcome his fear of the surgery. And after she won the Hikonan Race, she became a minor side character. I guess that makes it less one girl he would end up with.

Tsumugi may not have many chances like the rest and even the closest scene that she got to being Kazuma’s potential girl was the one playing the Q&A video game. Despite that, it was just Kazuma’s horny misinterpretation gone wild. She is more like the big sister of the pack and imparts advises when needed to especially to Ui and Ayumu. Judging from the poster, I knew Kasane wasn’t going to be part of the harem but it didn’t stop me from hoping. Sheesh. Anyway she’s not. All she’s interested in is getting the latest scoop and gossip in town. She’s got a reputation to uphold and what happens if she finds herself in love? How would news spread about if the insider girl isn’t around? What about Senka? She’s just like a caretaker for the brothers in this town. One thing that amuses me about Ayumu is his gullible character. I know that he would love to help out and the best he could do is to cheer on them. But to believe and take other’s advice and seriously cross-dress? Does he know no shame or embarrassment? Sure, he is a naturally cute boy that every guy and girl would love to have fawning and swooning over, but to do it over and over again in different female outfits feels like he wasn’t brought up as a proper boy. I’m not saying that he should be a macho and naughty kid. If you ask me, if he starts cross-dressing and act the way he does, nobody will see him as a boy. Yeah, he’s good in either way too. Then we can call him Ayuko… What else is there left to describe Daigo? Just like other animes of this genre, every main male protagonist needs to have a perverted buddy who is also a loser for comic relief and also to show why the main guy gets the girl instead of him. Just as not to make it really bad for him, that’s why in the OVA there is a girl that takes an interest in him. Hey, with so many fish in the sea, there has got to be at least one that suits you, right? Whether or not they hit it off or break off (I would personally blame it on her perverted behaviour), that’s another story. So next festival for the Twin Mountain legend, may it be Daigo and Yuuka’s turn to get some blessing.

Of course with this kind of series, it’s hard not to talk about the fanservice. I’m not saying that this show is overwhelmed with them but if you keep your eyes and ears peeled, you can spot some of the deeper erotic meaning. What do I mean? Sure, there are a handful of panty shots scattered here and there and of course some of the scenes with strategic censors that will only be removed if you diligently buy the DVDs. Then there are those subtle erotic sexual innuendoes with the characters in such poses. Including Ayumu. This kid is so girly sometimes you feel that if you are a straight person, your horny sense will go haywire and in a dilemma whether to get stimulated and turned on or not. That’s for the visual part. Now for the aural part, mostly you can hear cheeky comments and naughty remarks from Senka. Especially about Kazuma’s dick. And then you have some homonym words in Japanese in the sense that if you’re a perverted person, you’d probably see the double meaning in those words. Like ‘shasei’. What does it mean(s)? Go Google it to find out :). The sexual innuendoes also reach as far as the next episode preview. At least some of them. And they had to involve innocent Ayumu in it. For example, which hole in your body would be the most painful if you shove an acorn in it? Now, if you’re a dirty minded person, you would have quoted a certain hole but there are other holes in your body too, right? Like your nose hole. Then you have Kazuma’s ‘King Cobra’, something that taste like ‘cheese’ and even pink Nyanbobo. Pink what? Probably tits…

If there is one other thing that I like, it is the art and drawing of the sceneries. The setting being in the remote mountains, it is quite nice to see the luscious greens and other natural environment. I like the special effects on the water and flowing river. It feels quite real and nice that it calms my heart. Not to say that my heart was beating and racing like mad watching this show but by looking at the clean surroundings, it sure puts your heart at ease even though they are just animation. But I can’t say the same for the characters. I won’t go as far as to say that they are horrible, but the kind of drawing somewhat reminds me of another adult visual novel adapted into anime: H2O ~Footprints In The Sand~. It has its own style but I prefer my animes if they’re going to have lots of cute and beautiful people in it, to be those bishonen and bishoujo type. It’s not that both games were created from the same developer or the animes were produced by the same company either. Heck, the opening theme, Hoshizora No Horoscope by Nomico, had that similar feel and beat to H2O’s opening outfit, Katayoku no Icarus. As for the main ending theme, Dash No Cinderella by Eriko Nakamura and Ai Shimizu (voices of Ui and Madoka respectively), I feel it’s somewhat weird. Frenzy beat, some lines that are a little too fast, the girls trying to sound cute and making giggles with cutie exclamations of “Saikou!” (“The best!”) at the end? I don’t know, it’s a sign that it’s one of those songs that I won’t like since my hair was standing on ends.

Probably in an overall sense, I would rate this anime, 3 stars. Out of billions in the sky! Haha! Just kidding. If you like cute harem romance animes with uncomplicated storyline and some ecchi elements in it, you can consider giving this anime a try. Just beware of the typical cliches you’d find so prevalent in many of the animes these days. You don’t have to live in the big city to have a decent romance harem. Thank your lucky stars as long as the small village has a decent amount of cute girls, a harem, oops I mean, romance is possible. Just beware that news spread around way faster since everybody is somewhat connected. And if the parents catch you deflowering their daughters, you don’t have to wait for the festival to be sent to the stars.