Kekkai Sensen & Beyond

April 14, 2018

After that final episode fiasco from the first season, I thought I have seen the last of this series. Never to be shown again. However the sequel, Kekkai Sensen & Beyond came out without much fanfare and without much controversial either. It is like as though almost everyone had forgotten and/or forgiven about the huge delay of that aforementioned first season’s last episode whereby the staffs purposely delayed it not because it was lasting longer than the usual running time but hoping everyone lost interest in it and too busy watching other animes to give a sh*t! Oh yeah. You remember that? No? Oh well. Then let’s start watching the second season with lots of strange creatures and happenings in this weird melting pot known as Hellsalem’s Lot (formerly known as New York).

Episode 1
Leonardo and a few unfortunate citizens are free falling from the sky and have this strange glass containing a strange parasite in it stuck on their head. Luckily he is saved by Zapp. Those who are not so fortunate, when the glass breaks, the parasite grows into a giant carnivorous monster and eats them! You can bet this is all part of Femt’s perverted plan. Leonardo’s glass is on the verge of breaking and they are surrounded by the monsters. Cue for Libra members to jump in and show off their awesome devastating powers. Phew. That is sure taken care of. Back home, Leonardo gets ready to play his new video game he has waited so long for. But he is interrupted by Zapp who is being chased by gangsters as he throws him a suitcase. He did the mistake of opening it. Isn’t that the head of the American president, Franz Ackerman?! He is here for a ceremony tonight but it looks like he lost his head. No pun intended. His body, though, still at the hotel as Klaus and Steven believe this is the work of Headless Duke Durer. He decapitates and steals heads, putting them up on his illegal website so you can converse with them 24/7. Leonardo listens to Franz to escape leave his place. True enough, agents surround the room and explodes it! It proves there are enemies within the ranks trying to kill him. But there goes Leonardo’s video game… Leonardo is tasked to deliver Franz to his colleagues and the government will reimburse all that he has lost. Time to get back his new video game. So we see him run from all sorts of weird gangsters since Durer is posting a high reward for Franz. Not sure if Leonardo is one lucky bastard since he manages to escape by the skin of his teeth every time but at the cost of his Libra comrades being ‘sacrificed’. When Leonardo is close to his destination, Hummer and Deldro accidentally hit him (to protect from enemy fire) as he flies and lands back right where he started! Leonardo is disheartened and wants to give up so Franz tells him to only whine after he becomes a loser. So keep running. He borrows his pizza boss’ scooter and uses his eyes to storm his way through. By the time he enters the room, it looks like everyone is being held hostage by Durer. The culprit-cum-traitor is Franz’s secretary. Durer changes his mind and will have everyone’s heads. That is when Klaus and Steven stop playing the hostage and instantly kill him. He didn’t even see it coming. Franz is able to give his speech as Leonardo wonders if he’ll get compensated for it all. Only his handphone…

Episode 2
Looks like Zapp is dying as he is being ferried in a helicopter. A strange hospital pops up and they drop him and Leonardo there. Klaus and Steven arrive and they remember this hospital from the Great Collapse. Back then when it happened as all landmarks are constantly changing places, the duo found a baby and brought it to this hospital. They meet a good doctor and his assistant, Luciana Estevez. At the same time, a Blood Breed is walking his dog and looking to feed it. The duo fight him but the dog has already run inside the hospital. Klaus wants to save the people in the hospital but Steven warns the moment they separate, they will lose. Klaus promises to hold it out here for 100 seconds for Steven to save the people. But as he runs back, a building almost drops on him. Thanks to the Casters working their magic, he could have been flattened. The fight ends and vampire dude leaves. Now, inside the hospital is still as busy as ever. Klaus finds it strange that Luciana is now in the form of a little girl. In fact, there are many clones of her attending to the wounded. She relates what happened that day. After the dog unleashed some spores and almost killed everyone, Luciana is visited by the hospital director, Magra de Grana. She wanted him to grant the power to divide herself to perform simultaneous high speed treatments. It might have been over for her but not for those other people on that day. She has been keeping them on a life support as they are trapped in a cocoon state. The spores have been extracting their life energy. Now that the nutrients would no longer be transferred, the reason this hospital resurfaced as she is sure that bastard will return. And here comes that evolved dog. Cocky, isn’t he? Too bad cocky Zapp gets wounded even further by him. Luciana transforms into her adult form to slice him up. At the same time, the vampire guy returns to get his dog. He and Klaus resume their fight. Klaus looks like he is losing blood just from defending from his attacks. But Klaus gets the last laugh as Leonardo’s eyes are able to let him know his true name. The long outstanding battle ends. Oh, a very bitter Zapp is bandaged from head to toe like a mummy.

Episode 3
Leonardo gets robbed and beaten up in an alley. He thought Chain passing by would save him but she just continues her way. Meanwhile Steven is hosting a party tonight and Zapp is as usual sleeping with one of his many ladies. One of them barges in, upset that her cat is missing so she explodes the boobs of her rival who belittled her and puts the same magical time bomb on Zapp’s dick! Find her cat or else!!! Leonardo goes to buy a weapon and picks an electric baton. He tries to get back at the guy at the bar but gets owned again. Sad. This guy then notices sexy Chain sitting next to him and starts to flirt with her. But then she challenges him to a drinking game in which if he wins, he can do anything he wants with her. You bet he isn’t going to let this chance slip. But that will be his doom because everybody else starts betting and expecting Chain’s victory. As Steven’s guests start streaming in, he lets his servant, Veded go home early. Halfway through the party, all of the guests turn against him and order him to come with them. Resist and he will die. Steven plays it cool and doesn’t care. Before they know it, all of them froze. Earlier on, Steven purposely tripped himself so that he would bleed and uses his blood to embed inside their blood stream. Steven then summons his own personal dark army to take them away. Back to the drinking game, the guy has it coming. With so many glasses of whatever this atomic drink is, he finally collapses. And Chain looks so perfectly fine. He realizes too late Chain has stolen his wallet as well as his lackey’s. And since they can’t pay and resorting to violence would only wound them further, looks like they have to pay with their bodies. Looks like they are now walking heads in a jar. They got almost eaten by a cat but are taken in by Veded’s kids. Leonardo has got his wallet back but stumbles into desperate Zapp. Time is running out… You don’t know how scared a guy is when he knows his dick is going to explode… So Leonardo is riding his bike as fast as he could back to that lady as he thinks the only way is to apologize and remove the spell.

Episode 4
Chain is part of a team of invisible werewolves on a mission to kill some general in his villa. However despite them firing close to about 100 shots, they all missed!!! They get an earful from their deputy chief but pay no heed since they prefer to engage in espionage stuffs rather than assassinations. After they leave, a junior colleague asks Chain about the need to get a token that one has a strong attachment to. Chain warns misusing it could be fatal and then returns to her messy unkempt apartment. The general and his men get a mysterious call explaining how those werewolves could avoid all the high-tech security to get close to him. She hints they can be killed like a normal human being and don’t even need a silver bullet if they return to their true forms. The werewolf girls are called for a mission to infiltrate a facility that has a missile in pre-launched sequence. Although it is 99% trap, they cannot not afford to not do anything. Although the girls failed to prevent it from being launched, they move to Plan B as they erase their existence to almost zero to pass through solids to reach the centre room to stop the missile. Klaus and Steven barge in to see the deputy chief about this suspicious woman they spotted a week ago, Velved Rheinkeimer. She was once a werewolf comrade but was injured and is no longer capable of battle. It is believed she just made a contract with Zeodra, the king of hypersensitivity. She uses her new powers to restrain her infiltrating ex-comrades wherever they are since their existence isn’t completely zero. All that is left is to draw in Chain. However Chain is not cowed and in fact leads her into chasing her down. Velved gets frustrated as she advances to higher and higher levels in a bid to hunt Chain down. As she cannot find Chain, could it be that she has erased her existence to completely zero? There is a risk that she will never come back. I think Velved overused her power so much so it backfires and killed herself. Chain’s comrades are able to stop the missile as it falls into the sea. In the aftermath, Steven is made to visit Chain’s room. Upon seeing her messy place, Chain gets mad and slaps him. Apparently this is supposed to be the token that brings her back? So a messy room that she has to clean is the reason she has to come back?

Episode 5
Because Gilbert got into some injury and continues to work as normal (I wonder how all his bones are holding up), the head maid of the estate, Catherine Bates decides to send another butler to assist him, Phillip Lenore. He might be a bit loud but he is honest and can do anything just as good as Gilbert. He even saves Leonardo from a pickpocket but don’t worry, Leonardo has expected this sort of thing and doesn’t put all his eggs (money, that is) in one basket. Phillip isn’t happy when Gilbert doesn’t allow him to help access Libra’s database as it would put him in serious danger. So while he is out depressed and drinking, it is a trap set by that pickpocket to get him. He plans to scan his brain for details to kill all those related to him. But when he realizes he is part of Libra, he gets an idea to make some money. Gilbert soon notices Phillip’s brain got extracted. So he makes him sit at the database as the pickpocket and his goons watch through Phillip’s eyes all the data. They are going to sell this for cash. Gilbert has Leonardo use his eyes to track down those jerks. So hop into his Batmobile and let’s go for a ride. He contacts the kidnappers and gives them a chance to surrender. But they laugh at him so I guess it is no more mercy. We see Gilbert kicking ass as he rides his vehicle and tears through the place (and goons) apart. The big boss escapes with Phillip’s brain. A mad wild chase before the big boss thinks he has won by cutting Gilbert’s head in half. Too bad Gilbert can regenerate and then blasts him to smithereens. Brain retrieved. Mission completed. In the aftermath, Gilbert explains despite having regenerative abilities, this is only enough to keep him alive. So his body is still pretty much mangled but we don’t have to see all the hideous damage thanks to his bandages. Now we know why, right? Phillip is ashamed he has much to learn but Gilbert cheers him up he is suitable for this city and suggests he could officially join Libra.

Episode 6
Zapp uses Leonardo as a weapon against some monsters. Definitely knocked out. Because of that he dreams of that nightmarish eye stealing incident of Michella once more. He wakes up in hospital under Luciana’s care. He asks if there are any medical technologies to cure his eyes. There are many different methods of restoring sight via magic but has seen none of his case. Magra then points out for his case a mere medical surgery will not cure it but a unilateral breach of contract with a divine being. This almost makes Leonardo lose hope. But for now back at office, he gets bullied by Zapp. Steven is close to finish some tough computing that would expose the perpetrators when an old villain escapes his detention. Everyone goes to easily take him down. Only their secretary, Anila remains to finish the computing but when she thought she heard someone inside the office, turns out to be giant bugs on the ceiling. Scary! When the rest try to return to office, it seems the doors are not leading them there. They are now just random places. Anila cannot be contacted and Klaus calls locksmith Yurian (Ghostbusters?) to check what is wrong. It seems their office has been lockdown. Its defence has been activated so nobody can get it. Yeah, the place is swarming with those bugs. Klaus then receives a call from this bug master who will use their place until he evolves into God. Steven will not allow K.K. to blast it because it will undo all his hard computing work. At the same time, not sure what this earth shaking monster thingy is trying to crush the city that is not visible to the normal eye. Klaus then has Leonardo use his eyes as they climb up their office. The bug master thought there is something amiss when K.K. starts taking pot shots at the building only to realize this is just a diversion for Klaus. Bug master summons his bugs to rid of them but the moment they touch the defensive barrier, everything short circuits. This allows Yurian to do all the hacking he needs to diffuse the lock and Klaus to destroy the bug master. With the lockdown over, Steven in time finishes his computing and by the skin of his teeth manage to trace the culprits right before they unleash whatever earth shaking disaster they were counting down for. It has been a tiring day for him. As Libra’s office is being renovated, looks like Leonardo and Zapp’s favourite diner will for now be patron by Klaus and Steven. Fancy seeing your bosses’ faces too soon? Leonardo decides not to lose hope for Michella.

Episode 7
Leonardo has finally made enough money to host a special party for Zed. Zed hears the rest talk how his equipment at Libra are very costly so he tries to go look for a part time job. No luck. Either they don’t want him or he doesn’t find the place suitable. What has a fish guy got to do than to do some drinking and reminisce about his master talking to him about his loneliness. Meanwhile, Mira Gordon who is some expert negotiator in wars and making decisions on the fly, this busy woman only has music has her refuge. She passes by Zed and mistakes his air gills equipment to be some sophisticated headphone she has always wanted. As she has a meeting with the queen scheduled, she has her men take it from him by force if he doesn’t voluntarily give it up. And so the former was used. Zed of course is left for dead in the streets. Leonardo can’t seem to contact Zed when he sees him lying on the streets. Luckily Zed is taken back to his tank and lives. Since ordering his air gills will take a long time and this means cancelling the party or Zed not making it (he has to be stuck in his tank), Leonardo vows to get it back. Well, if the other Libra members weren’t busy answering to some lunatic necromancer trying to take over the world. So Leonardo has only Chain and Zapp for assistance. He manages to trace where his air gills are taken. They need a plan considering the huge war mongering corporation they are dealing with but Zapp just heads there straight in to ask. After all, you don’t change your angriness based on who you get pissed off with, right? The best thing he has said so far this season. While Zed handles the guards, Chain uses her invisibility to take back the air gills. Mira thinks she can take her out but is given a stern reminder why she shouldn’t f*ck with them. As they head home, a mecha almost takes them out but Zed suffocates the pilot with some water bubble. How can Zed be fine outside without his air gills? Using some trick he learnt from his master, he surrounded his head with a water bubble. There’s a reason why he doesn’t do this. Everyone is laughing their ass off at this ‘space alien’. All is well and the party proceeds smoothly.

Episode 8
Leonardo and his scrawny friend, Riel get mugged again. Shortly after all that is over, some metal ball drops down from the sky, hitting Leonardo on the back of his head. It’s talking too. Taking a closer look, it is actually a flea named Li Gado. Oh, he is a hyper doctor. Fighting pathogens with his super weapons. He further explains he is currently fighting against some bacterial terrorist. No, not some germ warfare. Some bug named Gemnemo who is a micro terrorist. Speaking of which, this bug talks to depressed Riel and can give him the strength so he can view for himself from the side of the oppressor. Too bad his metal ball is supposed to be his greatest weapon and since it is in pieces, looks like Li Gado has to rely on Leonardo’s eyes. Riel has the misfortune to stumble into Zapp at the diner. The latter wants him to pay on his behalf. Riel doesn’t want to and accidentally shoves him, making him fly far! Yeah, he needs to be hospitalized. Fortunate or not, Riel then gets mugged by those same blokes. But this time he turns into Hulk and smashes them. When the police tries to intervene, he fights back. Leonardo takes Li Gado to Steven as he explains some biological stuff about some spontaneous evolution that enlarges muscles and even the skeleton. Well, they get a call from Klaus who is accompanying Hummer and Deldro at the art museum with the warden. Some large organism is taking out the riot police. It doesn’t take too long for Li Gado to figure things out. However when Hummer and Deldro try to fight it, they are being overpowered and thrown back. From the explanation, it seems those hyper accelerated tissues will always heal itself endlessly when torn or broken. So going head on via brute strength with him is a bad idea because all that strength you throw at him will be turned back to you twice as hard. And now Riel has evolved into a giant monster.

Episode 9
With the place in chaos, but soon everyone starts cheering and watching this as though this is some live wrestling match. Indeed. Because the largest individual in town, Gigagigafutmassif (giga-what?!) is going to take him on. Until Riel grows bigger this Giga guy chickens out! What a disappointment! The real Riel is trapped within himself as Gemnemo commends this is way better than expected. However Riel doesn’t want this. He cannot see or hear anybody at this height. He wants to be turned back but Gemnemo will not see his experiment go to waste. Riel remembers his arm broke just by catching a baseball that almost hit Sonic! It was Leonardo who stood up for him to those blokes who laughed at his weak stature. He head butted him and they ran! Riel feels guilty for abandoning Leonardo then and pleads for his friend to save him. Libra goes into action trying to take the giant down. Gemnemo wants him to stomp them but he won’t since Riel sees them as those who won’t back down despite his giant size. Gemnemo has had it and will directly take control of his nervous system to control his body himself. Meanwhile Gilbert flies Leonardo up close to Riel so that Sonic can enter his system. Leonardo then uses his eyes to guide Sonic to where Gemnemo is. He has to do it fast because prolonged use of his eyes will result in overheating. It’s like frying his eyes and brains. Eventually Sonic manages to find and destroy Gemnemo. Sonic escapes in time but Riel trips and falls into the abyss as he reverts back to his normal size. Life returns to normal in the aftermath. Zapp has a field day running his mouth against a very regretful and embarrassed Chain who was not part of the action as she was out drinking with her werewolf girls and got too drunk to answer the call. Until Leonardo points out that Zapp too wasn’t part of the action and that Chain’s inaction couldn’t have inconvenienced him in any way. Prepare for Chain’s counterattack. Sent back to the hospital again. Leonardo ponders if Riel is still alive. If so, he is worried if he is lonely. Suddenly he steps on him! He is ant size?! Leonardo would have Li Gado operate him back to his normal size but Riel likes the view here. Okay. As long as he is happy. Then a bird plucks him away…

Episode 10
Steven’s team is trapped by the terrorist and there is no way out! They relay to K.K. for help! She’s not responding! Where is she?! At her son Kane’s school for parent’s day! Previously went Steven enlisted her as part of the team, she pleaded she had to attend her son’s parent’s day. Steven allows her but not after he made her feel guilty how there would be some casualties, blah, blah, blah. So when K.K. tried to talk to Kane about it, he throws a tantrum that she would be lying as usual. Oh, mommy so hurt. Luckily daddy managed to calm him down and give encouragement to both his wife and son. K.K. finally responds with her great sniping skills. So did she ditch her son’s school? Actually, she has bought several high-tech remote weapons that allows her to see and control them from her sunglass. The team is sure in a pinch since she has to multiple times come to their aid. There was even one time she had to go to the toilet for weapons that require more operation. Almost having Kane thinking she had to ditch today for her job. Well, almost. K.K. then sees Kane being friendly with his classmate, Caroline. Naturally her mom’s instincts make her go excited about her little boy growing up so fast. Then another stupid reinforcement request. Don’t let it get to you… When she fires a missile, it didn’t explode upon impact. Instead, a robot Blood Breed has stopped it dead in its tracks with his hand. Steven is forced to engage it and pulls out all the tricks he knows just to fight on par. K.K. has to personally see to this and hugs her son before leaving. Of course Kane is not happy as it has come down to this like always. K.K. then confronts Caroline’s father who is a Blood Breed remote controlling that robot. She is suspicious of his intentions although he is just like any other parent. The tension breaks when Caroline comes by to eat lunch with him. At that moment of distraction, this allows Steven to destroy the robot once and for all. Otherwise it could have been the end of him. Caroline’s dad admits he lost completely this time. In the aftermath, Kane tells mom Caroline didn’t even stay for the farewell gathering. She could only hug him. It seems Caroline will be transferring school because daddy has a change in his job. He tells her one day when she is older and independent, she can go see Kane again but until then, he will keep her safe. But thank goodness for technology because Kane and Caroline keep in touch via social media!

Episode 11
Leonardo still keeps in contact with William. He is told to contact Michella once in a while. The moment he decides to do so, Michella drops the biggest bomb: She is getting married! SAY WHAT???!!! She also surprises him that she is coming to see him so he could meet her fiancé and arranges the time and place. Leonardo talks to Klaus and Steven about this and they agree to provide some security from the shadows since there would be no telling what would happen to his eyes if anything happens to her. I guess the entire Libra had nothing to do as we see the whole gang peeping from a distance. Leonardo hugs Michella the moment she enters. He is then introduced to Toby McLachlan. Looks like a decent and nice guy. However it seems only Leonardo can see that Toby is being possessed by another being. As he excuses himself, that being, Dr Gamimozu confronts him. He knows he has the Eyes of God and assures he did nothing to Michella. Yet. His job is to observe the Prostheses of God scattered around the world. He reveals Riga El Menhunt, an ophthalmological engineer implanted those eyes in him. These eyes are somewhat recorders all events from the holder’s eyes as it records mankind’s history. Leonardo is not happy Michella is dragged into this so Gamimozu demonstrates how he could easily kill everyone here even if it is just an illusion. All eyes in this area are under his command. When Zapp talks to Leonardo, he unintentionally reveals he is from Libra. Gamimozu is interested to follow him around to see why he is in such organization. Leonardo gets back to Michella. But a call from Klaus that a Blood Breed is going berserk and rampaging has him leaving her but promising to come back in a while. So as Libra tries to fight and stall this regenerating Blood Breed, it seems Leonardo is hesitant in using his eyes. He finally gives in and uses it to reveal to Klaus the real name. After the Blood Breed is sealed, Gamimozu is impressed and now understands of his worth in Libra. He now wants to possess Leonardo.

Episode 12
Gamimozu follows melancholic Leonardo as he walks around town. He seems to know he will get a call from Klaus since he left the scene without saying anything to them. He then convinces him to throw away his handphone into the abyss. Sonic swiftly zooms by to give Leonardo a soft slap on his face. Leonardo notices Gamimozu didn’t see that and does a little test and is now convinced that his eyes is not all-seeing and powerful as it seems. Leonardo then walks into a dark alley to get mugged. He uses his eyes to confuse their vision before making a run and letting a car hit them. Gamimozu almost lost his whereabouts during that commotion but is reunited with him. Klaus has realized something is wrong with Leonardo and summons all Libra members. It seems he has left a secret code at the very bottom of the last text that he is in trouble. Leonardo returns to Michella’s room and is shocked to see the place as their usual nostalgic lake scenery. He gets mad and attempts to physically attack Gamimozu. This allows him to deduce that Gamimozu’s actions are all concealed via visual manipulation and to prevent anyone from catching him, he must be very light. When Gamimozu realizes Libra backup is on the way, he tries to do a quick surgery on Leonardo to take his eyes. Leonardo fights back and overuses his eyes. At this time Michella wakes up. Gamimozu takes her hostage and warns him to let him operate or she dies. Before he gives up, Michella tackles Gamimozu. Leonardo move in to attack and tries to break his eye. Mad as hell, Gamimozu is through playing nice guy and will kill him to take his eyes. Leonardo defends like hell as he tolerates all his stabbings. In great timing, Klaus bursts in to destroy Gamimozu one and for all. A big explosion for bigger satisfaction. In the aftermath, Leonardo is hospitalized. Klaus visits him and has heard from Michella who has left for home with Toby. He praises him for his brave act and strength that makes him no coward. Life returns to normal. Leonardo is shocked that William is working at the diner because he got mugged. But as usual, Hellsalem’s Lot is now swarmed with giant carnivorous monsters, apparently upgraded versions sent by Femt. Oh well. This is just like any other day for Hellsalem’s Lot.

Stranger Things & Beyond
Despite Leonardo being physically the weakest among the capable Libra members, I guess the last couple of episodes were meant to show us he isn’t a wuss as much as Zapp loves to mock and tease him. It was really odd but at the same time inspiring to see Leonardo drawing out strength after strength to protect what he loves most. You could feel the ‘pain’ as he tolerates each of the stabs but that may be just me getting too engrossed in the final episode seeing Leonardo fighting mostly by himself. But still, it might feel that he ‘cheated’ seeing that somebody has to eventually finish off the baddie in good timing but for his standards, he has done well as much as he could. At least overall, no final episode drama and fiasco like the first season. So technically this season fares a bit better?

This season feels more like fillers and standalone episodes instead of a continuous story. Not to say the first season was continuous and had a few filler-like episodes too. Hell, I think it was more or less the same except with that White and Black drama in the background that became the first season’s final arc story. This kind of filler-like episodes feel like a double edged sword here. Because in the first season we had to establish to plot and characters and all so there was some sort of story that viewers could follow (almost). But in this season, it has become a series of more random misadventures that don’t really do much if you are hoping for great overall plot and further character development. However I do not find these silly misadventures boring and in its own way, they are still quite fun to watch. But like I said about series like this once having a continuous story is now a filler-like series, it takes away the epic feeling that this series should have been. See Cowboy Bebop if you want to know what I mean.

However with the lack of a proper story that is worthy of a dozen episodes isn’t all that very bad. Firstly, as viewers who have watched the first season before, they are should be by now know what kind of characters the main ones are. At least generally. Therefore they don’t need to go further into some deep background storytelling to tell us more. While many of the episodes do give each of the Libra members its focus and the share of the spotlight, it is nothing that deep. It just provides some insights on them, that is all. With the establishment that fans and veteran viewers know how these characters are, therefore it is safe for this sequel to be able to do standalone fillers. Secondly, this allows newcomers who have never seen the first season to jump in and enjoy without understanding the deeper aspects. Though, they will be confused as they will not understand how Hellsalem’s Lot came about. Besides, it has only been 2 years apart between the seasons so can a lot of newbies miss that much?

Well, there is nothing much to say about the characters because like I have said before, veteran viewers would already know what they are. Not to say that the first season had very great character development, this season we just get a little more insights about them like Chain being part of some werewolf group and can almost erase her own existence which is her ultimate trump card and skill set, K.K. is a doting mother who loves her kids more than anything in the world but is tied down to her job. And there are those that never change like Zapp. Yeah, this guy is a big idiot. I still maintain my viewpoint that he would have looked more respectable if he kept his mouth shut. Instead, he continues to be the series’ main comic relief and it is like a running joke that in some episodes he gets beaten to a pulp and being sent to hospital. And he can’t even die from all that. Yeah, I feel I should insert this lame joke of how he can’t die no matter how much you kill him. But for the rest like Klaus and Zed, they don’t really make much of an impact this time. This means all the other minor side characters that only appear for that episode, I guess we won’t even care much about them. You will mostly forget about them once the episode is over.

At least in this season, Michella makes a pretty decent appearance in the flesh instead of just in flashbacks. Even if her appearances were just short but it is better than nothing. At least it puts to rest my conspiracy theory that I was building along that she could be dead and Leonardo who couldn’t accept her death was just deluding himself to keep himself going. Holy sh*t! Sorely missing from this series is the main antagonist Femt. After that very brief cameo in the first episode, he has gone ‘missing’ since. Except for the final episode where he makes his cameo just to remind us that he is still around and not dead yet. If last season felt disappointing about him (and Aligura, if you still remember who she is) you would be even more for this season. This guy gets his kicks from creating chaos but seeing that every day is just as chaotic as another, I don’t think he even needs to intervene to bring disorder to this hell hole. Maybe that is why this series feels so filler-like. So if you were looking for a mainstay antagonist for this season, you’d be better wishing for another season. Gamimozu was just something to showcase and bridge Leonardo’s relationship closer to Michella. It may not be physically but the bonds they have since young.

Another reason of this season feeling so filler-like is because we know anything more about the Blood Breeds. There were a few but still lacking hints about them. This season it is even more so despite a few cameo skirmishes with them. They are still formidable as well as scary. They are like Gods, invincible and all powerful until you manage to recite their real name. It would have been very much interesting if this second season would follow a story that discovers more about the secrets about the Blood Breeds. But then again, would the series be the same if it follows a dark and gruesome route? I mean, the series itself is already dark in its own but comical and fun way so if it gets this serious (I’m assuming cases pertaining to those vampire breeds will not be funny), will the series lose its charm?

The action still kills it here with all the over exaggerating effects as well as all the exaggerated flashy moves and the names they give to it. I guess when you live in a city mixed with monsters, aliens and other supernatural beings, it is only right to have such ridiculous amount of power and moves that are equally and aptly named in ridiculousness. So yeah, the fight scenes might be short but they still pack a punch and power that keep you entertain for the moment. And I still can’t fathom how the place gets fixed each time a huge destruction takes place. And everyone still goes about normally in their life like as though they don’t give a f*ck if they die the next second they step out on the road. Oh well, even if you hole up in some corner of the darkest place, there will still be chaos brought to you courtesy of its crazy denizens. You are never safe anywhere in Hellsalem’s Lot. Be prepared to fight or be killed. Expect the unexpected. Considering all that, Leonardo must be one hell of a lucky boy to have survived this far seeing he still has no decent martial art skills at this point. Good thing he made the correct and great friends, huh?

Art and animation still feel the same, as good as the previous season. It still feels like the streets of New York (although haven’t been there myself) but at the same time feeling weird to see strange looking aliens walking among normal humans. Is there a subtle hint about ‘aliens’ (read: illegal immigrants) in New York considering the very politically correct era we live in now? Like my sentiments from last time, the designs of some of the aliens feel like rejects or they were just using as many ideas they could get on the alien designs and put them all in here. Why didn’t they contact me if they want some ideas on alien designs? I bet I can draw much worse!

With the old casts maintained, due to the nature of this series of having new minor side characters almost in every episode, there are some recognizable ones like Yukari Tamura as Mira, Takehito Koyasu as Li Gado and Daisuke Ono as Phillip (oh, a butler role…). Some of the other notable ones from the long list of casts are Maaya Sakamoto as Luciana (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kenji Nojima as Riel (Taihei in Himouto! Umaru-chan), Yuriko Fuchizaki as Veded (Ibuki in Maison Ikkoku), Yuko Sanpei as Kane (Seita in Gintama), Yasuyuki Kase as Gemnemo (Kankurou in Naruto), Junji Majima as Yurian (Ryuuji in Toradora), Kenyuu Horiuchi as Franz (titular character in Guin Saga) and Toshihiko Seki as Gamimozu (Senketsu in Kill La Kill).

Remember the first season’s catchy and jazzy ending theme? We have something of that sort this season too. Unison Square Garden who sang Sugar Song To Bitter Step now sings the opening theme, Fake Town Baby. Although this one resembles more of a fast paced rock piece and isn’t as jazzy as the aforementioned one, it is still great in its own right. But if you really want something to dance to, the ending theme, Step Up Love by Daoko x Yasuyuki Okamura feels right at home. But no strange dance here from the casts in this disco and funky piece. Though, we have a few crazy short animations in weird hues like as though the characters are high on drugs and having fun. This season seems to have a quite a number of insert songs and many of them have this blues, sultry, jazzy American feel and blend to it that really makes Hellsalem’s Lot at times feels like a ghetto New York City.

Overall, this season is a hit and miss. You may love it or hate it. Depending on how bar you set your expectations of this show. If you are not looking for deep character development or a very compelling storyline, the action bits as well as its bizarre setting and its own brand of bizarre humour are enough to satisfy and entertain you. To borrow and edit from the last time what Femt said, all of us are in need of some nonsense. Looks like the nonsense has extended its run a little longer. Or maybe everything is just nonsense. It is how we choose which ones are less nonsensical to others to a lesser degree.

Kekkai Sensen

June 19, 2016

When you talk about a culture as a melting pot, what kind of image does it conjure in your mind? Could it be a place with lots of other races other than the locals? You mean aliens, right? No, not aliens as in illegal immigrants mingling about in the local crowd. I mean, real aliens. Even if they are not extraterrestrial, at least the kind that comes from the other world. And that people, is the setting of Kekkai Sensen also officially known as Blood Blockade Battlefront. The great Big Apple of America that was once known as New York has now become a melting pot of all kinds of weird, strange, bizarre and funny aliens from the other side of the world mixing and blending with the daily life of humans, American style. And when you have such a huge paranormal chaos at hand, how do you keep all those aliens in check to protect our human asses? Yes. A secret organization to keep the balance in check. Heh. Humans have a hard time keeping each other in check. Can this one do it for all known races?

Episode 1
Leonardo Watch is writing to his sister, Michella that he is doing fine after arriving at the Big Apple for 6 months. It is the still the same chaotic and noisy place it has always been. As narrated, the mysterious city of Hellsalem’s Lot from the Otherworld suddenly merged with New York. A strange mist barricaded the city and ever since it has became a melting pot of humans and bizarre aliens. Leonardo quickly runs into trouble when a monkey steals its camera while he is eating at his usual diner. However it is no ordinary monkey and it has some supersonic speed that humans cannot catch by their naked eye. But Leonardo could and starts chasing it down. By a stroke of luck, a nearby bank robbery’s explosion takes them out. He is rescued and picked up by Zapp Renfro who is going to bring him to the secret society of Libra. This has been the organization that Leonardo has trying to find and join. It is believed to be a secret group of super humans keeping the balance of both worlds. After going through secret passages, Leonardo meets the chief, Klaus Von Reinherz and fellow member Chain Sumeragi. However, they realize Zapp has got the wrong person because Leonardo looked like this Johnny Landis kid they’re supposed to recruit and they just got word that he died. Leonardo pleads to stay when the news reports regarding the bank robbery when the robber splits itself to cause more rampage while being arrested. The broadcast is being hijacked by Femt, the King of Depravity who is bored with the way things are and wants the entire city to play his game. They must find the Gate that split the robber in 2 before the demon does and destroy it or else… Our gang deduces the Gate is most likely that monkey. Oh, there it runs…

Their base is shortly destroyed by the police and Zapp thinks Leonardo is a traitor although Klaus did save him from harm’s path. He notices something special about Leonardo’s eyes so he explains 6 months ago he was with his family here. They thought Hellsalem’s Lot was a place of miracles and something could help cure Michella. As he was about to snap a family’s photo, a large monster appeared and asked them to choose a witness. Leonardo was so scared that he froze but Michella offered the thing that would be taken from her. With the police breathing down their neck, Klaus has an understanding of Leonardo’s ability and would like to enlist his help in which he believes is the key to restore balance. In exchange, they will help with his goal. Long story short: Welcome to Libra. Klaus fends off the mechanical police so Leonardo and Zapp could start their mission. Zapp gives Leonardo a lift as they try to find the monkey. Zapp materializes his blood to fight the demon. Leonardo uses his sight ability to dodge all the attack to run towards the monkey. However he does not kill it but the bug implanted in it. This upsets Femt because had he done so, something interesting would have happened. His plans ruined. Steven A. Starphase. Libra’s second-in-command is unsure about Leonardo possessing the Eyes of God and Klaus taking him in. He believes they can deal whatever it is should anything happen.

Episode 2
Leonardo witnesses a few quirks of his Libra team. Zapp always trying to kill Klaus whenever he thinks he has his guard down but is often defeated. Steven explains the priceless artefact being the Eyes of God. It allows the user to see into the past and future. This means there’ll be many who will be targeting Leonardo. That kid is doing pizza delivery as part time job for living expenses but each time, Zapp intercepts and steals his pizza in the most bizarre way!!! WTF?! You can’t escape from this dude! He knows where you are! So much so Zapp just rides along on his pizza bike! They pass a dry cleaning company loading clothes into a van. But Leonardo’s eyes mean there is something more sinister lurking underneath all that. Leonardo realizes he has been noticed and tries to ride away. However he is intercepted and kidnapped by this samurai alien who knows his eyes aren’t but ordinary as he could see him. Zapp is left bleeding profusely. Inside the van, Leonardo realizes the aliens are doing something illegal by sneaking vacuum sealed humans as food to the Otherworld. The alien boss relishes his Eyes of God and wants to get over this job so he could quickly experiment on him. Zapp is not lying in hospital unconscious for nothing. Before Leonardo was kidnapped, he tagged him with his blood so he is in full concentration while trying to mark his position. Leonardo can’t just sit around and wait for help. He uses his eyes to make Sonic (the monkey is now his pet) visible as distraction to crash the van. The aliens are mad and are going to kill him. Once the van is stationary Klaus and his team make a mad dash as they follow Zapp’s trail of ignited blood. They fight the aliens and they’re so scared by Klaus’ blood martial arts that they got no chance of fighting back. The abducted humans are recovered and Leonardo is recovering in hospital. Bandaged from head to toe. He learns Zapp was being assigned to watch over Leonardo and thus that hilarious pizza hijacking scenes. Leonardo should be grateful but can’t help feel pissed off over all the trouble he got into because of that. As Leonardo bums around the hospital, he wanders into a cemetery nearby. He meets this girl, White who wants to be friends with him. What’s the catch? She’s a ghost!

Episode 3
He snaps a photo of her to be sure. Hey. She’s in the photo! She finds him interesting and takes a liking for him. But it’s more woes for Leonardo as he is evicted from his rented apartment when the landlord decides to convert the place into a luxury hotel. So that is why he is sleeping in Libra’s HQ? There is also the case of some synthetic drug called Angel Scale going about. Let’s say the unwanted effects are devastating and they need to put a stop to this before this gets out of hand. But no matter how hard they try, they could not find a clue of its trafficking route. There is only one way left for Klaus. Meeting up with K.K., they head into the Otherworld. Klaus is surprised to see Korshakov Ulchenko here although this important human being denies he is so. Both sides enter to see Don Arlelelle Eruca Fulgrouche, one of the big bosses of the Otherworld. They are supposed to play a game of Prosfair each (a complicated game resembling chess from the Otherworld) for a deal. Klaus wants Arlelelle to dissuade Ulchenko from playing but that guy tells him not to keep his nose out of his business. Ulchenko goes to play first. It seems he wants nuclear weapons for his country. If he can beat Arlelelle within 9 hours or force a draw by then, he will grant his wish. Or else, he will pay with his life. Because Ulchenko also wants Klaus disposed, he adds another hour to the game play. Unfortunately, Ulchenko lost and it was only 2 minutes before time. Yeah, with 1,200 years of experience playing the game and all that brains as his body, seriously you think a mere human could beat this monster? He is going to have his life but Klaus tells Arlelelle to hold his horses. Due to their special relationship, he allows to put off the killing until his game is done with Klaus. Klaus wants info on the Angel Scale routes. Okay. 99 hours of game play! Oh sh*t! He also wants Ulchenko’s life to be spared. Arlelelle mentions that guy did not hesitate to eliminate him as part of his request. Why would he save someone like that? Klaus views humans as weak and because of that, they behave in ways devoid of self respect. Even if he himself has his own problems, there is no way he would compromise on his way of life. The match is taking a toll on Klaus as he is bleeding! What kind of game is this?! Eventually Klaus is successful in forcing a draw at the end of his allotted time. With the information given, K.K. contacts all her agents to get their ass and haul up all the culprits and not put Klaus’ efforts to waste. Not too sure if Leonardo got a new place of his own but White is hanging out with him and enjoys his company.

Episode 4
Libra is hanging out at the bar. Leonardo doesn’t seem to be in the groove. Awkward. Perhaps he thought a change in pace would be great so when he mentions earlier on he saw someone giving of a bright red wing shaped-like wings, it got everyone’s damn attention! Care to say that again? To put it shortly, Leonardo saw a vampire and this calls for a specialist. Blitz T. Abrams is a close friend of Klaus and an expert in these vampires known as Blood Breeds. Only catch? Disaster happens around him! No wonder Zapp is looking so scared. He shows a suitcase containing a severed hand of a vampire clutching tightly to a piece of paper. They believe it contains true names of the Elder 13. Many agents and men have died trying to take the scrap off but to no avail. They want Leonardo to use his eyes to peek into the names. He gets blown back after that and then he starts seeing sparks everywhere. Seems his vision has gone overdrive (seeing more than he should) so they are taking this chance to head to their supposed lair to take a glimpse of how they look like. Peeking down at the chasm at the centre of Hellsalem’s Lot, what he sees is not 1 or 13 of them but thousands of them! An emergency call just came. Seems the subway is being attacked by Elder class vampires. Steven and K.K. head there first to buy time for Klaus and the rest to return but they got owned. As the video is being streamed live by Chain, Klaus wants Leonardo to use his eyes to see their weaknesses. Klaus arrives in time to show off yet another of his blood martial arts and seals them by mentioning their true name.

Episode 5
White is just like any other woman. When she’s mad, she won’t say. Leonardo has to guess. And damn right when she says it’s nothing, it means something! Apparently Leonardo has ‘experience’ in this case because Michella was like that too. Women… Zapp and Leonardo are riding on a bike when a huge monster truck (literally) starts gobbling up vehicles. Klaus and Abrams quickly go release Dog Hummer because Aligura is after him. Ali who? The women who altered Hummer’s body. You see, he is fused with this talking blood named Deldro Brody. When Leonardo gets thrown off Zapp’s scooter, he is hanging by a thread on the monster truck that is Aligura’s base. Leonardo has to pray ever so hard for Klaus to rescue him because he certainly can’t stand hearing her torturing love stories. Like how she has a boyfriend named Deldro but since he wasn’t that handsome, she found good looking Hummer and then chop Deldro’s blood and put it into Hummer. There. Two in one. She even forces Leonardo to talk about his love stories. Despite that guy doesn’t have any love or crush, she tries to force it out of him and to confess to whoever that girl he is getting closer lately. Hummer and Deldro turn into a giant monster to fight Aligura’s truck but get blown away by the force of their own punch! It did stop the truck in its tracks for a while but in no time it is up and running. Steven then contacts Leonardo to tell him they’re going to blast the truck away. Before you jump to conclusions, he wants Leonardo to use his eyes to control and lead the truck to the park. He does so as the rest of Libra display their special powers to help guide the truck to where Hummer and Deldro are waiting. Gathering all the blood in the fist and punching it away in the plainest form, the truck starts disintegrating in midair. Its debris rain all over Hellsalem’s Lot and although there are many casualties, we couldn’t care the least bit because all our heroes survive, right? After Leonardo is discharged from hospital after a few stitches. He is supposed to go home and sleep but he screws that and instead goes to sneak White out of the hospital to bring her to a movie. I believe this movie is supposed to be comedy but she starts crying and apologizing to him! So as not to make her feel bad, he too mentions his heart strings were pulled because it reminded him of his family. His sister is the strongest and always took care of him. Just pathetic. White disagrees and thinks he is a nice guy.

Episode 6
As Leonardo is going to cross the street, a truck hits a white mushroom head kid! Don’t worry, he is okay since his body is like rubber. Nej (short for Amagranoff Luozontam Ouv Lee Nej) wants his burger! The truck driven by those burger guys (I’ll just call them Blondie and Blackie) aren’t really that remorseful although they give him a half eaten burger as compensation. On another day, Leonardo catches Blondie and Blackie selling burgers to Nej at a very marked up price. He doesn’t mind getting ripped off because he loves burgers. Leonardo then decides to buy burgers on his behalf and soon they become burger buddies spending time together as well as eating lots of burgers. Yum. Things get a little serious when Nej doesn’t remember her mother. Or rather, he somewhat knows her but mother doesn’t remember giving birth to him. Blondie and Blackie are in deep debt sh*t. So deep that Blackie soiled his pants. Blondie had to wear a gas mask. Then they ram into Nej again. Blackie is so mad that he takes out his frustrations beating that mushroom kid. He continues beating and beating till his head turns red and finally explodes into spores. Instantly everyone collapses. Scared Blondie pulls Blackie back and escapes. This incident is reported as mass fainting followed by amnesia. Blondie seems to get an idea when Blackie doesn’t remember a few hours before. When Leonardo learns of this incident, he goes to find Nej. Luckily he manages to find him and he looks alright. But then Blondie hits Leonardo on the back with a bat. When Leonardo wakes up, he sees the duo hitting Nej with all their might. Blondie thinks if the spores are released, they can make their loan shark forget their debt. Blondie knows because he saw it with his own eyes what happened. When they won’t stop, Leonardo uses his eyes to control them. Blondie is not happy he did something and hits him on the head. The pool of blood was enough to make Nej furious as he blows up into spores. No time for the duo to get their gas mask. When Leonardo wakes up, he couldn’t remember how he got in hospital or anything that happened 2 weeks before. He still continues to buy burgers but couldn’t understand why he buys for 2 people. Eating it makes him cry. In a case of déjà vu, he sees Nej getting hit by a truck again and mushroom kid wants his burger. He relents and their friendship starts over again. Leonardo returns home and surprised to see White talking to her big brother, Black. Leonardo remembers seeing him at the subway (during the vampire episode). Black likes him and instantly becomes his friend.

Episode 7
Leonardo hangs out with Black. He asks about White’s condition and it seems she has a bad heart condition. Now Leonardo feels bad for taking her out that night. When he returns to Libra, he receives a call from Zapp that he is in trouble and begging for Klaus to come rescue. Of course he goes on his way and surprisingly the place is an underground battle arena. It seems this is a ploy by Zapp to clear his debts but that depends on Klaus’ performance. He is cutting a deal with this arena’s boss, Ozmaldo. Klaus’ first opponent is human and he knocks him out with one punch! One punch man?! The next opponent alien and is taken out after a few punches. Now the crowd loves him and Klaus is forced to stay and fight more opponents. Leonardo hears from one of the contenders that Zapp has a hand in it. Also, there is this ranting about this underground fist fight. Despite all the dangerous crimes in Hellsalem’s Lot, nothing beats a good fist brawler. And it looks like Klaus is getting into that mood as he takes down wave after wave of champions! They should just hand him the belt already. He is so good that Ozmaldo steps into the ring himself. The final boss? After trading punches, Klaus uses his best punch that blows off his head! Oh wait. There is a little demon inside it?! Everyone is shocked. Leonardo’s eyes determine he is a vampire. The demon reveals he was only using this corpse and he didn’t kill him in the first place. But he is satisfied to have fought Klaus and leaves. Zapp cries crocodile tears over his gratefulness of being saved. And Klaus is glad he isn’t hurt! But that scumbag shows his true colours thinking Klaus is tired and this would be his chance to beat him up. Too bad Zapp got owned as usual. After Leonardo picks up Black and sends him home, the latter tells him White is a good person despite the crazy things she says and hopes he will be good to her. Black then seems to meet up with Femt and reveals his plan to end something. Also revealed is his true form as Blank and one of the 13 kings.

Episode 8
Black tells Leonardo a little history about New York’s Great Collapse. It could have been worse had not Casters stop the spread. It seems his parents were Casters but Black doesn’t want much to do with it anymore. Not what he had went through once. Something about his parents leaving his sister in his care before perishing. Zapp must be living the good life. Wine, women and junk food? No wonder he is getting fat! But Chain warns him that her friend, Angelica has called her about some creep visiting the fast food chain she works and keeps harassing her for her number. We can guess who that stalker is. Then they get a call from Fang Hunter HQ that some bloodline gate was opened in India and now New York is being targeted. A hunter is currently engaging in mortal combat with a vampire. As Libra rushes towards the scene, the epic power fight is turning New York into one big demolition wasteland! Eventually the hunter, Master Raju Jugei Shizuyoshi uses all his powers but the vampire enclosed himself into a womb egg for regeneration. Libra acknowledges Jugei’s awesome powers but he berates Libra for having this fat useless indiscipline subordinate (that’s you Zapp) and all other insults that would make a grown man cry. He wants to take Zapp as his disciple to train him. Everyone knows there is hell to pay so if Zapp wants to continue staying here, he must destroy the egg. It is virtually impossible to get close to it because it will attack anyone in its radius. So how the hell is he going to solve this? Just thinking of the training hell is not enough. He must do something. Chain gets a call from Angelica that she needs to see this Zapp guy and she’s getting wet just thinking about him. Suddenly Zapp in a flash uses all his skills to cut the egg. So awesome that Jugei is praising him as his best disciple. Zapp goes to answer Angelica’s call but it is just a time teller. The egg is still intact and not even Leonardo’s eyes can see anything inside. They think its other half of the body is operating independently somewhere else. Jugei says his other disciple is bringing it here by plane now. Meanwhile, I think there is some sort of bipolar argument between Black and Blank about something happening to White. Black wants him to remember the deal to leave his sister alone in exchange for whatever things to be done onto him. However Blank says he didn’t do anything and it is White that is doing things on her own.

Episode 9
As the plane enters Hellsalem’s Lot, some giant tentacle crushes it to pieces. Even when it crash lands, the vampire half continues to attack. Leonardo is trying hard to see his full name (he is only halfway there) as Klaus and Zapp fight him off. Once Leonardo has finished, Hummer and Deldro get him out of there while the rest continue to fend off the menace. Leonardo thought he saw a strange aura from the plane. It turns out to be a fishman, Zed O’Brien and Jugei’s disciple. Zapp can’t help laugh his ass off at his texture and such. It might look like Jugei is purposely letting the vampire reunite and join back with his other half but it is so that Klaus can seal him as a whole once and for all. Jugei praises their competency and leaves Zed in their care. Fishman must be the most shocked at this decision. Abandoned? Meanwhile, Blank has been watching and betting the entire spectacle with Femt and Aligura. Because it failed, Femt is calling him a liar and such. Blank is happy that Aligura saved his day when she lends him some device. A flashback shows White and Black up against some entity. Black told it to take his body and do whatever he wants with it and leave his sister out of this. In turn, he got possessed by Blank. White, who was experiencing chest pains during the epic showdown, now wakes up in her room with Blank by her side. He gives her the device supposedly to take Leonardo’s eyes. However White says she wants to become friends with Leonardo although Blank tells her it is impossible since everything has been set and the bets placed. More flashbacks of White and Black’s younger days. Dad was probably drunk when he suggested his children to be nicknamed White and Black. Though, Mary (White’s real name) agreed to it. Despite they are different, they are still so similar. They are twins after all. Dad wants her to help William (Black) if he is about to make a mistake. It is just their wish for them to be always happy.

Episode 10
Just when Leonardo is about to sink his teeth into a decent meal of juicy hamburger set, suddenly a large concrete slab crashes into the diner. He could have been squished had not Zapp and Zed act fast to save him. Outside is Klaus facing a thousand alien enemies in mecha suits. Great timing. Time to help out. To find out how it all came to this, we go back earlier in the day when Leonardo, Zapp and Zed head out to eat for lunch break. However every damn place they go, the food is either disgusting, creepy, can-you-even-eat-that kind of feeling and in worst cases the food eats you. WTF?! Though, ironically Zed isn’t fazed and is fine eating just about anything. Sorry, the duo will have to pass. Next! They thought this fine dining restaurant would be an end to their food woes but they were wrong. Nothing to do with the food, though. The chef seems to be having affair problems with his wife and mistress. And they’re fighting in open! What is worst than hearing this drama to make your food taste bad? Having their blood spill on your food! Meanwhile Klaus and Steven see Daniel Law about some upcoming mafia group trying to stir more trouble in this city. Intelligence has it that a thousand power suits meant for China went missing and it could be stolen by that group. He is requesting their help for manpower to stop this. Looks like Klaus is all itching to get into the action. Then they go see League of High Order Spirituals (LHOS), an influential group of Casters that raised the barrier to halt the Great Collapse, for more information. I guess all is lost so Leonardo and co just head back to their usual diner to order the usual. The rest is history. The Elder of LHOS also told Klaus and co that one of the barriers has been damaged. It is not their fault or all the fighting. Ever since the barriers were raised, there was one person whose whereabouts elude them. The Caster couple in charge then had perished and nobody knew what happened to them although their children survived. Leonardo sees White praying in the abandoned chapel. But Blank spoils the mood by calling her a liar because she is praying for her own sake and still hoping for salvation after all that has happened. White then gets serious and tells Leonardo to give him his eyes.

Episode 10.5
This is a special recap episode. In the form of a radio programme trying to give some advice to a troubled caller (Leonardo going under the alias of Tragedy of L!), we hear mostly about Leonardo’s experience ever since coming to Hellsalem’s Lot, from the people he works with to the misadventures he had. I guess it was so traumatic that the radio host had to calm him down from time to time. Although the scenes are mostly recycled, it is amusing to hear what they talk about although basically it is just recap. We learn that the reason Leonardo is here is to find a cure to Michella’s eyesight, the reason he came to possess Eyes of God in exchange for her eyesight. The remaining half of the series has Leonardo talking about his meeting with White. It is then the interview narrations stop and thus the recycled important montage and clips pertaining to White and Black (and Blank), their past to their current goal of taking Leonardo’s Eyes of God so Blank will return her brother as agreed.

Episode 11
Time for a big flashback as told by White. The Macbeth family has always been Casters. Therefore when Mary was born, she was somewhat the black sheep as she is the only one without such power. However her parents accepted and loved her as much but this only made her more miserable. Will on the other hand had full powers but he was a cry-baby and a wimp. One day he stopped using his powers and Mary wasn’t happy because of that he got bullied and accepted it. When she complains to her dad, he continues to believe Will is strong and he doesn’t have to become a Caster if he doesn’t want to. He talks about an important incident that made Will want to stop using his power. Mary took up photography not because she likes it but since anyone can die, she thought photos would still be around. When bullies took her camera, Will went to get it back. They threw it in the river as he dived in to save it. Although he was rescued and hospitalized, nothing life threatening. Mary started crying about how worried she was. He should just use his damn powers. She won’t know what to do if he had died. Will then reveals about the perfect mud ball Mary once made. So perfect that it made him jealous and blew it away with his power. But Mary wasn’t irked. Instead of crying, she went to happily recreate another one. He felt ashamed of misusing his power and vowed that he will not use them again until he becomes stronger. He shows her a picture he took of her while drooling as she slept. She is crying as thanks and gives her brother a big hug. The siblings become closer until that Great Collapse incident. Mary narrates about Casters need not to be big or strong. They just need something they had all along. That is why White will now take Leonardo’s eyes and get Will back. She cannot live in a world without him. After slapping the goggles onto him, Blank takes Leonardo as he narrates about death being the privilege of the living. As he is immortal and forgotten by death, it made him despair thinking he is not truly alive. He uses Leonardo’s eyes to cast a great havoc over Hellsalem’s Lot. White must be feeling guilty as she goes through Leonardo’s camera photos. Is that why her heart is in pain? With Sonic appearing next to her, she pleads for the monkey to save Leonardo. Change of heart? And letting a monkey do it? Blank continues to tell Leonardo about his bad luck in meeting White as a ghost. The barrier in place of her heart is what is keeping her alive. It is her parents’ last resort to save her. Lingering attachment is also what keeps the siblings alive. Blank then shoots unconscious White in her heart. Femt is pleased with the beginning of the Second Collapse.

Episode 12
A 50 minute finale, Femt wants Leonardo to start destroying the world. Casters are trying to fix the barriers all over Hellsalem’s Lot but apparently there is a missing piece and Libra is requested to help look for them as well as for Leonardo. It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. For those old enough to remember the Great Collapse 3 years ago, the same thing might be happening all over again although it looks slightly different this time. It is deduced that Mary is the final piece in the barrier and she herself is the barrier. Something must have happened to her and her family that her life was fused with the barrier. Femt goes to see Blank who isn’t pleased that he let Leonardo go. Because that kid wasn’t interested to play any of their games. Femt wanted to wager if Leonardo won, he would answer any questions but Leonardo wasn’t interested because those questions weren’t probably for him. Besides, it doesn’t make any difference seeing that he is going to die anyway. Just the question of in here or out there. Femt also knows Blank to be some sort of silent observer throughout time and mankind’s history. He only set feet on stage after the Great Collapse. He thinks he needs more nonsense. Chaos begins all over Hellsalem’s Lot as the buildings shuffle like Rubik’s Cube and the road just uprooted like as though gravity went on vacation. Oh, there are ghouls attacking the place too. Our Libra members become Resident Evil protagonists to whack all of them. Femt and Aligura are watching this entertainment from their haven. Meanwhile Klaus confronts Blank at the top of the floating pile. They note they aren’t the ones they are supposed to meet. Because Klaus is supposed to see Will. Not sure if Blank is trying to kill Klaus and himself but the former is doing a good job in preventing that since he is here to save Will from himself. There is some talk about light and hope but I’m not really interested in that crap.

Leonardo emerges from his captive and not really happy to see the chaos. Sonic is here to show him the video of White pleading for Leonardo to be saved. Erm, shouldn’t the monkey give the video to Klaus or Libra? Anyway it gave Leonardo the motivation to save the day. So put on your running shoes as he runs through the chaos. Along the way, he encounters several Libra members who help protect and clear the way for him. Some like Zed wants him to know he is an ordinary kid like he thinks he is. A kind and ordinary kid that will not hesitate to risk his life to save his friend. And some like Zapp is the only dude whom Leonardo doesn’t hesitate to beat up because he nearly killed him while despatching the ghouls. Leonardo panics when one of his eyes cracks. He is unconfident he can finish the job. But Zapp just tells him off to just do it. As long as he has his life and back in one piece, it’ll be okay, right? Blank assures semi-defeated Klaus that even if he dies here, his successor would carry on his ideal because of the determination in his eyes. Leonardo has finally arrived and he disagrees with that. So is he going to kill Blank with his eyes? He isn’t sure. He isn’t sure if that is right too. As long as he is alive, he has got that time to think about it. So the next time they meet, he’ll give a better answer. Leonardo uses his Eyes of God to separate Black. Once he hears the whiny kid cry he wants to live, Leonardo calls out to White about never giving up to reach the light. Her soul will never be defeated. Since her other half hasn’t given up, she shouldn’t just yet.

The chaos all over in a blink of an eye. White wakes up with Leonardo by her side. He knows her secret so it’s okay. Telling her that light line again, but if the light is too strong sometimes, he will help guide her as many times as it takes. Leonardo then head butts Blank to draw out Black. Brother and sister reunite. Black tries to act tough like he doesn’t care about the world but White tells him to shut up and be the brave brother she once knew. Blah, blah, blah. More reconciliation. They’ll always be together. Don’t give up. Yeah, we get it. Black then transfers whatever powers he has into White’s body so that she will be able to put up a new barrier. She claims her love for him and their parents helped her weathered through the 3 years. White returns into her barrier form and with the barrier finally complete, LHOS can now rejoice and finally rest because the day is saved. Yeah, Elder had to work overtime and almost had karoushi, eh? Klaus praises Leonardo for his work. He is the only one who could have saved them. His reaction? An emotional cry. Wow. I guess he was never complimented like this before. In the aftermath, this entire season might be just one freaking long ass letter he wrote to Michella. And now I am wondering how the heck can she read all that if she is blind! Or is that the universe in her eyes? Anyway, he writes to tell her he is fine and hopes to tell her all in words what he experienced. Oh God…

Steven is addressing his Libra comrades. They are about to attend dinner with some Sultan at some fancy posh restaurant. He reminds them not to be rude because if this goes through, they will receive annual funding of 3 million! So that’s why… As the food is created by the best chefs from both worlds, Leonardo and Zapp find it hard to contain their ecstasy! The food is damn freaking good! I’m glad they held it in instead of ‘vomiting’ it all out on the Sultan. K.K. might look calm and composed but inside she is going crazy! But Zed doesn’t seem to have such nonsense. Raw fish isn’t his thing. He’s not a cannibal. Because of that, Leonardo and Zapp try to fight over his food till mad Steven hints they can share. Remember, don’t be rude. Before the next food arrives, Leonardo excuses himself to the toilet and warns everyone not to touch his portion! Such cheap friendship. Steven is already having a hard time trying to control himself from the food ecstasy. The others are also going crazy with their own flashbacks. Worse… Zapp and the Sultan are like best drinking buddies talking about women! So uncouth… Oh well… Klaus realizes Leonardo has been gone too long and at the same time a bunch of terrorists are trying to storm in at the front gate. Leonardo realizes he is lost because the space of this restaurant keeps shifting. He has the bad luck to meet Femt. However Leonardo is able to tell when the dimension is shifting and this saves Femt a few times. Not sure if Femt is feigning if he knows Leonardo or not as he is wondering if they met before. They finally reach the front gate just when the terrorists are about to come in. Femt uses his demons to kill them all. Femt then heads back in and assures Leonardo he loves this place and respects the restaurant’s rules. He wants him to forget this incident and that they have never met. When Leonardo returns, he finds Klaus and Steven outside their dining room. It seems everyone inside has gone crazy from the food and has to be restrained! Definitely food to die for.

Local Alien World, A Living Nightmare
There was this big issue about the last episode being delayed. Apparently the excuse given was that the final episode was too long to fit into the usual half an hour time slot, thus the indefinite delay. I am not sure if this is some sort of publicity stunt because keeping viewers waiting for the finale this way is a big no-no. Because except for this announcement, there was nothing else mentioned about when it was going to be aired of if this final episode was going to be a DVD only episode. Heck, I even remembering reading a statement on the website that the staff will only air the finale once everybody loses interest in it and when they are too busy watching other animes to give a sh*t! That might not be the exact words but it amounted to something like that. To me, I think it was just arrogant. I’m not a fan of the series even after watching it but since I was interested to even watch it, I think that kind of excuse was just plain dumb.

Eventually the last episode was aired 4 months later and it took almost an hour for this finale. So was it that spectacular? Okay. At least it wasn’t bad. My thoughts that if the time slot and duration of the series were the problem, shouldn’t they just split the final episode into 2 episodes? It will still be under the 13 episode per season, right? Then we did not need to have that recap episode in the first place. Maybe they don’t want to ruin the continuity of it but heck, they’ve just ruined that continuity by suddenly halting to stop airing the final episode months earlier. So what difference does it make? Even if they split the episodes and pissed us off that the real final episode will only be released as an OVA, it wouldn’t be as bad. Although, it is still as bad to do it that way. But to delay it like this method so as to maybe gauge if people still cared about the series is just plain wrong. It is a bold unique way to make people talk about the series (if they still cared) but I certainly wouldn’t be proud to be part of it (this was also actually stated in their statement) if I were to do it this way.

One of the things I find to have mixed feelings is the filler-like episodes of most of the episodes. I am not saying that the stories of each episode are boring as they are quite entertaining in their own right. Like that lunch hour searching for the right place to eat. That was hilarious. A place with so many eateries and yet not a single suitable one! Just like a drop of water in the ocean, huh? Because of this standalone-like episodes, I somewhat felt it diminishes the epic greatness of this series. There is no ‘continuity’ in the plot as we are shown such fillers and misadventures of the Libra members. Even if there is a plot, it is subtle and ‘cameo’ in the initial episodes. I’m sure it is for the build up for the climax especially with that White and Black story just brooding to explode, which of course became the story of the final arc. But of course, once you get into the pace of the series, you start accepting that you shouldn’t be taking this show all too seriously. That is why we have so much weirdness in everything here. They throw in such amusing ‘fillers’ amidst the developing plot. At least this way it is better than to have a great but confusing plot that is hard to understand. The series may have its own terms but they aren’t that hard to remember since from time to time there will be quite a comprehensive and brief explanation being shown across the screen to explain some of the new terminologies that viewers just come across in the episode.

Leonardo feels a bit lacking because other than his mission to help find back Michella’s eyes, this guy feels like someone who is playing the role of a tsukkomi. You know, a retort. So much so I feel he is somewhat very similar to that character in Gintama, Shinpachi. There is another reason why I said so but more on this later. So as far as this season is concerned, looks like his quest to find her cure is still a long way to go. I am sure Klaus will keep his end of the bargain but that will be another story. Heh. Maybe play another Prosfair with Arlelelle for the answer? Back to Leonardo, it is quite hard for me to see how this guy is pivotal in ending the chaos that almost begun. We are given the perception about his Eyes of God that are so important. I don’t even understand its true potential. Or why his damn sister would even trade it for him. Maybe because I don’t have such farsightedness and vision so I can’t really see it. I don’t even understand how his eyes were the catalyst in turning this everyday nightmare to become and even nightmarish nightmare. Not that it matters to Leonardo anyway because life has been hell since he first came here. He has just gotten used to all that nonsense.

Zapp, this guy is actually a joker and his secret hidden role is this series’ comic relief dude. I mean, take a look at this guy. No doubt he has got great fighting capabilities but that is all that is cool about him. Because if you notice, the more he tries to act tough and the more he opens his mouth, the more stupid he becomes. The longer it gets, the dumber his character looks. It isn’t entirely a bad thing since he made me laugh a handful of times but if you were to take him seriously right now at the end of everything, I think it would be hard. Had he not been a show off, he would have been a great and respected character like Klaus. From that brazen Leonardo’s pizza usurping scheme to that fast food worker harassment, this guy is just one big idiot. Don’t even get me started about how he thinks he can take on Klaus thinking he is not on his guard. Of all the members of Libra, this guy’s attitude makes him the most interesting. Really.

But if you want to look into character development of the series, the other characters of Libra just feels lacking. Perhaps of the many side characters in this series that you won’t care about help contribute to this. Like Klaus is the strong and reliable gentleman of Libra but nothing much more is known about this guy. Nothing much more is known about the other Libra members like Chain or Steven. While Libra’s second-in-command seems to be a shady guy thanks to his mysterious connections to just about everything, is it me or does Chain seems to fail in many of her part of a mission? Then there is K.K. as a strong kickass woman whom you’ll wonder if she admires Klaus or has a crush on him. They should have more scenes of her with her big guns. Man, she looks kickass firing those. And newcomer Zed is like, uhm, strangely calm and serious fish dude. He came in late as a member due to circumstances and it made his character even suffer from making a great late impact. Sonic? Not too sure if he is Libra’s mascot aside being Leonardo’s pet that doesn’t do much. Overall, the Libra members don’t really leave much impression seeing the way how the stories are executed as it slowly focuses on White and Black.

The biggest mysteries are the vampire breeds themselves. Who are these breeds and what are they are certainly captivating. We have seen some of Libra members engaging in a few of them and it took really a lot of everything just to fight on par with them, which is basically no sweat on those vampires’ terms. I thought they would be the antagonist of the season but with White and Black and that barrier crap thingy, I guess maybe it is for another story and another season. But even more disappointingly, Femt and Aligura whom I thought would make a better impact than they are. I don’t really know what they are up too except that perhaps for being so bored with Hellsalem’s Lot that seeing chaos is the only kick they get. So what happened to them at the end? I don’t see them screaming in frustration yet another chaos thwarted or their enjoyment ended too soon or perhaps they are satisfied with all the destruction that they just decided to go back and sleep quietly. Yeah right. So it is a shame for such psychotic characters to be given this kind of treatment.

The action scenes are quite good and with all the super powers with some of the characters, you can bet that there will be one hell of a big explosion, blood, chaos and destruction along the way. The great flashy impact and effect of the big battle can be felt. It just boggles me how Hellsalem’s Lot will get fixed and repaired. No wonder the place looks like a decimated slum. But still, if it has been many years since the Great Collapse and the blending of aliens within human society, why do many parts of the city still look like they are standing nicely? Especially if some sort of devastation is seen every day, it just boggles me the rate of patching up the city to function as normal (well, sort of) instead of becoming a lawless ruin. I know, Libra and alien technology that make Hellsalem’s Lot still standing. But the buildings still look like of human design than of alien culture. The other thing about the action sequences are when Klaus takes on the enemy. This guy has a few variations of his Brain Grid Blood Battle Style (pattern numbers that I can’t seem to remember) and some even with freaking tongue twisting names (they’re in German actually), they’re just freaking huge when materialized and epic that it just feels like game over to the poor enemy who is at the receiving end of it. No chance.

The art and drawing are quite good. Looking at the streets of ex-New York actually does make it look like walking in the streets of one (unlike that fake Miami city in Miami Guns, no?). So if you have this perception that New York is one big depressing dangerous slum, well, with the way it is shown here, I am sure you’ll believe in it even further. Other stuffs like the effects and background scenery (like the cemetery garden near the hospital) are gorgeous but I won’t go so far as to say they are a masterpiece that would make you go wow for days to come. Sometimes I feel that with the many alien characters in Hellsalem’s Lot, it is like a big place where rejected ideas of alien designs go to. Get what I mean? It’s like the producer has asked his team and perhaps they in turn asked others to draw designs of aliens. Who cares. Just draw them. And as a result, you have a mish-mash of one of the weirdest and most bizarre aliens ever seen as an excuse to populate Hellsalem’s Lot with them. Some of the character designs of Libra felt like I have seen them somewhere before like Steven looking awfully close to Cowboy Bebop’s Spike but without the afro. I’m too lazy at this point to think about the rest, though.

A reason why I said I found Leonardo to be similarly close to Gintama’s Shinpachi is because he is voiced by the same seiyuu, Daisuke Sakaguchi. If you have watched Gintama, you would be familiar with all the stupid antics and especially that Shinpachi character who is the voice of reasoning that nobody listens to as well as the glasses character whose main role is to do retorts and rebukes. At times when Leonardo does his rebuking role, the way Daisuke Sakaguchi pulls off that retorting screaming voice, it just sounded so freaking familiar. Even in his deadpan voice of such retorts, I thought Shinpachi transported himself into this anime after having had it for not being taken seriously enough in Gintama. Haha!

Rie Kugimiya is familiar playing dual roles of Black and White (or Mary and Will if you prefer) although she doesn’t go into her trademark tsundere role. There are other seiyuus that I recognized such as Yu Kobayashi as Chain (she sounds quite flat here since she doesn’t go into her crazy trademark voice), Rikiya Koyama as Klaus, Kazuya Nakai as Zapp, Akira Ishida as Femt (he is really enjoying his role as a villain, isn’t he?), Mamoru Miyano as Hummer, Keiji Fujiwara as Deldro and Nana Mizuki as Michella. Then there is Ikue Ohtani as Nej. It is refreshing to hear her voice other than that yellow blob in Pokemon or that tanuki, oops I mean reindeer in One Piece. There are other popular seiyuus lending their voice here as I found out later but they are just minor background characters and I probably didn’t notice thanks to the myriad of casts. They include Yuuki Kaiji, Miyuki Sawashiro and especially my favourite Mamiko Noto. Wait a minute. She was in this anime???!!! I MUST GO BACK TO THAT EPISODE AND I FIND HER CAMEO!!!!!!!!!! Yup, it’s that vampire villainess. Hey wait a minute… ANOTHER SHORT CAMEO ROLE MAMIKO NOTO GETS KILLED OFF!!! WTFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As the cast list is long since the series is filled with lots of minor background characters whom you’ll never care about, let me just list down some of the recurring ones whom I don’t recognize. They are Ai Orikasa as K.K. (Shizuka in Working!!! S3), Hikaru Midorikawa as Zed (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Mitsuru Miyano as Abrams (Ayame in Fruits Basket), Akio Ohtsuka as Abrams (titular character of Black Jack) and Satomi Koorogi as Aligura (Himawari in Crayon Shin-chan series). I didn’t realize that even Sonic has a seiyuu attached. It must be the easiest job ever seeing the monkey has no lines and does not frequently make noises. Yuuma Uchida (Nagisa in Classroom Crisis) is behind Sonic’s voice.

The opening theme Hello, World is quite an excellent rock piece that gives you a feel of what this anime is going to be about. The only odd thing about it is that it is sung by this group named Bump Of Chicken. Wait. What?! WTF?! I don’t know about the group but having this kind of name feels more than just raising an eyebrow or two. But I prefer the ending theme, Sugar Song To Bitter Step by Unison Square Garden (I thought Daisuke Sakaguchi was the voice behind the leading vocals but I was wrong). Despite its name, this is a very upbeat and jazzy piece with a funky feel to it. It is quite catchy that you might even want to join all the characters dressed like the Blues Brothers as seen in the ending credits animation in one big strange dance. Whatever that works, huh? Yeah, they are just having fun, aren’t they? Some of the songs also have that jazzy feel to it and a sultry insert song totally in English, On My Own by Ai Ninomiya that is just lovely.

Overall, perhaps another season will do more justice seeing this has quite the potential but seemingly falls short thanks to the single cour of the series that just takes away the interesting character development and in-depth interaction between the Libra members. I don’t mind the filler-like episodes since they were quite funny and amusing but at least they could have weaved the characters better into them. But if you are in for the artistic and flashy exaggerated fights, then this series would be an entertaining value. Maybe this kind of nonsense is the in-thing and trend for thrills and spill as opposed to your typical linear storylines. Yeah. To borrow and edit what Femt has said, I think all of us are in need of such nonsense. A little bit of chaos once in a while is good for everybody, don’t you think?

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