Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic

November 7, 2015

I suppose the genre of cute girls doing cute things is still going strong. Because I noticed that for animes that fall under this category, many are getting a sequel. I figure we can’t get enough of all those sparkly cuteness of the girls and their cute doings, no? Therefore it is with no surprise, Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic has become part of the statics by becoming the second season for the series. All you need to know about this series is about a group of cute girls, 2 of them blondes directly from England having their home stay programme with their Japanese friends. And one of the Japanese girls is a blonde maniac-cum-addict. No, this is not some sick perversion show. If you enjoy seeing cute girls doing cute doings and bonding their friendship in the meantime with no real plot whatsoever, you’ll find this season is no different either. Geez. How many times have I said cute girls doing cute things?

Episode 1
Alice’s mom receives a letter from her about her wonderful stay in Japan. Isami teases Alice’s blonde hair is dull this year and Shinobu actually panics! You don’t joke to her about this kind of things!!! This year will be Alice’s second year in Japan. Starting the new school term, it seems Shinobu and Alice are no longer in the same class. Although Alice has got Yoko for company at least Shinobu has Karen and Aya with her. Because of that, Alice already misses her! Even though they are just a few doors away… They try communicating telepathically. Doesn’t work of course. Aya takes it upon herself to keep an eye on Shinobu and Karen because who knows if their grades slip, it will be big trouble if they stayed back a year. But she too feels lonely without Yoko and visits her class although acting like her usual tsundere mode that she is here for Alice. Karen seems to not really like her homeroom teacher, Akari Kuzehashi. She views her strict and like a tiger waiting to eat her. Don’t look now but there she is right behind you! Kuzehashi reminds Karen of the printouts that she is supposed to hand in. I don’t know what Karen is thinking because she thinks of digging up dirt on her and observes what she does. Hmm… All good things… She is spotted and then reminded again. Despite her strict looks, we hear from Kuzehashi’s side that she actually likes students but thanks to her intense stare at them, they become scared. Her formal suit is to set a model standard so she asks Karasuma for suggestions for her student to like her. Wear bunny ears? She should have known better. Karen is caught again badmouthing her. Karen thought she could be optimistic about it but since Kuzehashi views it as she is not repenting her actions, she gets reprimanded this time.

Yoko and Aya notice Alice and Karen making observations on Shinobu and writing it down in a book. They claim they are fans of Shinobu and want to know her likes and dislikes as well as how she thinks. Alice talks to her first but couldn’t help start flustering the moment Shinobu says she likes her. Aya thought of taking the less direct approach but when asked about the problems she is facing, the plan backfired because Shinobu asks her back and Aya can’t wait to pour it all out. Karen plays detective and brags about the stuffs she knows about her. But Shinobu also knows some stuffs about Karen… Although they have gathered quite some information about Shinobu, Alice views this is not enough. Need more? They start wondering why Shinobu loves blondes and especially foreign countries so much. Was it the home stay at England that kicked start it all? Shinobu reveals that when she was young, she met an old foreign lady who needed directions to the train station. At that time Shinobu didn’t know a word of English and panicked but luckily an English fluent speaking lady came to her help. Ever since, Shinobu became interested to bring people closer via the power of words. But what made her decided to become an interpreter was her home stay with Alice.

Episode 2
Kuzehashi tries to smile… I know we have to give her points for smiling but she looks mean and scaring the students away! Karen then comes up to her to ask for her scrunchie. Turns out they are playing some sort of tag. Now Kuzehashi is mad! Kuzehashi is desperate to get her students to like her as she asks Karasuma for advice. Maybe she should work on her smile… Yup. Still looking menacing. Later Karen gives Kuzehashi some sesame seeds as gift. It only serves to make her feel she doesn’t understand her students. Shinobu invites her friends to her home for an English afternoon tea party. Shinobu is all geared up as a maid but thanks to her clumsiness by spilling drink all over it, I guess she’ll have to get back into her ordinary clothes. Karen is a little late since she will be bringing a cake stand. However she brought a delivery box instead since the other was heavy and thinks this is pretty similar. It is not! As the girls start baking cookies, Yoko’s clumsiness irks Aya and Shinobu tells them to pick up the pace or it will be night fall by then. By the time they are finished, Isami signals that it is dinner time and to save their tea party for tomorrow. So the quintet eat their cookies for lunch at school. As they have made a lot, they give away the extras to others. Karen gives some to Kuzehashi as she notices there are sesame seeds in it. Is this some sort of message? Karasuma thinks this means sesame seeds are the trend among young girls today. So she goes to class making open sesame puns. Only Shinobu plays along… Kuzehashi’s class will be sewing happi coats. Despite her scary facial expression not to mess around, what she actually meant was for them to be careful with the sharp tools. Alice happily makes a wedding head gear till Yoko had to ruin it with a local urban legend that those who do it before their wedding means they will be delaying their own wedding. Now she isn’t so keen on it anymore. As class ends, Kuzehashi felt that she did not make any progress with her students. Karen surprisingly gives her a little tiger mascot she made. All she wants is to see her smile. Kuzehashi might be seeing things because she thought Karen is trying to ‘tame the tiger’. A few days later, the students feel Kuzehashi has been more cheerful and easier to talk to lately. Karen thinks all this is thanks to her and that they are friends now. She pushes her luck by asking her to dance with her but Kuzehashi remembers Karen did not do her homework… Oops… Time to run away from the tiger! Ah well, back to square one.

Episode 3
Shocking news!!! Alice and Karen are not English but 100% Japanese!!! Turns out to be a joke. Phew. Thank goodness. They say England loves jokes that even the newspaper publishes fake articles but Aya tells them about lying too much or some god will tear out their tongue! I hope that’s a joke. Speaking of liars, this reminds Yoko of her little twin siblings, Kouta and Mitsuki. They have a notorious reputation for lying. Suddenly they pop up before them. Say what? They transferred here?! Don’t lie! Truth is they forgot their house key and put up crocodile tears to the teachers to get permission and wait in the infirmary. Aya thinks they also came because they’re lonely and wanted to see Yoko. The twins then say they don’t like their sister and this gives Yoko a big broken heart. After Aya brings them to the infirmary, she says she can tell they were lying that they hate their sister. As long as you are honest, you can get through her. Why do I have a feeling Aya is also trying to say this for herself? As Karen is the only child, she thought of acting out with Shinobu as her big sister. They pretend to fight but Shinobu is so convinced and starts apologizing! When the twins tell Yoko they do not hate her, she doesn’t know if it’s the truth or not but eventually she gives in to sibling love. Later Aya tries to be friendly and get closer with Yoko but since she is too nervous and Aya too dumb to notice, it is all over in a flash.

Because Alice misses her dog, Poppy back home but Shinobu has a fear of them because they can’t stop barking at her, Yoko thought of cheering them up by introducing Aya as her pet! Oh, you don’t know how she is feeling right now. Because of that, Shinobu would gladly be Alice’s dog. However this doesn’t sit well with her. Then her Poppy meter reaches its max and she faints. Karasuma goes to her rescue by putting on dog ears and acting like a dog. Kuzehashi is amazed how she handle the situation so Karasuma reveals to the girls that Kuzehashi has a pet cat. As Yoko asks about Aya what kind of pet she likes, Aya says she doesn’t need any because she has friends like them. It could have been a cool and heart-warming statement had not dumb Yoko start interpreting Aya sees them all as pets! Is this to get back at her? Shinobu thinks of asking Isami to allow the family to have a dog for Alice’s sake but Isami says no because they smell and costs money. Can she reconsider? No means no… That’s it. That’s as far as you go. Later Shinobu makes a dog toy to cheer Alice up. When Alice is running errands, she sees the twins and they whisper something to her. Soon all the friends rush to Yoko’s house because they heard something about her. She could speak 12 languages?! She’s going on a journey as a hero?! She’s going to be married???!!! As expected, they were just lies because the twins wanted to play with them. Nobody could be more relieved than Aya and the twins can tell from her looks that she is more honest today.

Episode 4
When Alice spots Aya in the streets in very adult-like clothes, embarrassed Aya claims she is a mannequin! Alice too once had that problem and she suggests becoming delinquents when she asked Isami why she looks so grownup, her answer was it was probably she wasn’t a ‘good girl’ like them. So the duo start acting like delinquents but they’re hardly threatening. I mean, smoking air cigarettes? Shinobu knows a way to approach them: Give them a banana?! Are they wild animals?! Karen has experience being a delinquent and decides to show them by breaking some glasses but Kuzehashi heard that and goes after her. When Alice thinks of dying her hair black as part of the delinquent process, SHINOBU BECOMES MAD!!! OMG! And because of that, their friendship is strained. Later Shinobu feels bad for saying too much and decides to go apologize. But since she can’t find her, she thinks she has run back to England! Actually she was just getting some juice at the vending machine. The duo make up in no time and back to best friends again. If you’re wondering why Alice doesn’t have Shinobu withdrawal symptoms, it is because Kuzehashi made a life size pillow with Shinobu’s picture on it for her! Karasuma confiscates it (for fear she may fall asleep in class) but when Shinobu enters the teacher’s lounge and sees Karasuma sleeping on that pillow, she gets the wrong idea. Aya is sad that she has cut her bangs too much and is desperate for someone to teach her to grow her hair faster. So desperate that she is watering and treating it like a plant! So desperate that she wears a box over her head! But Aya feels somewhat insulted when Karen places a hair accessory to make it matching hairstyle like hers. As Alice is tending to her plants in the garden club, she is worried that it is not blooming well. Too much sunlight or too much rain may be the factors. Alice starts crying thinking she’ll never make them grow so the friends couldn’t bear to see the blond loli cry and yell at the plants to grow faster! Of course at the end of the day, the plants grow well and they deduce the meaning of marigold as friendship. Till Aya had to ruin it by mentioning its other meaning of envy.

Episode 5
When Isami mistakenly puts salt instead of sugar in their drinks, Shinobu reveals this means she is in a slump. They think of cheering her up by inviting her out with them. Shinobu suggests holding a contest to take pictures and there will be a cash prize for the winner. While Shinobu dresses up like as though she is going to the ball, Isami disguises herself wearing Shinobu’s school uniform. Among the photo shooting spree from the girls at the mall include Karen taking pictures of Kuzehashi who looks different in casual clothes, Karen and Isami take a picture at the photo booth with only Karen making poses but Isami remaining the same, Isami wearing glasses on glasses and Shinobu collecting a heap of English travel brochures that will last her a month of fantasizing. Well, they say your mind is the greatest vehicle to take you to places. When she is about to fall thanks to the weight of the brochures, Isami saves her and in a way, brings her out of her slump. In the end, the winner of the photo contest is Isami as there is a shot she took where all of them coincidentally closed their eyes. In class when Karen shows Karasuma the photos of Kuzehashi, that teacher becomes embarrassed and corners Karen to hand over the film! But hers is a digital camera… Don’t be funny! Alice after reading the folktale, The Straw Millionaire, decides to experiment herself by trading up. She starts out with Isami, trading her kokeshi dolls with a picture whom Isami says will definitely be a good trade to Aya. That picture is one of Aya with Yoko. It is no surprise that Aya wants to pay for it! But eventually she trades it with an animal book. Kuzehashi hasn’t got anything to trade for this book when Karasuma will take it in exchange for her bunny headgear. Alice felt the value just gone down. Even worse, Yoko will trade that for her bottle water. Not just any water, it contains her energy! Don’t you feel cheated? Karen trades that bottle since she is almost choking on a food. But with a diamond ring???!!! Holy cow! And she says it doesn’t cost much but just 10,000 Yen???!!! How rich is she???!!! This causes Alice to feel guilty and perhaps learn the wrong lesson this is a way to get valuable items without effort. When Isami sees this, she wants to trade again. This diamond with what? Will Shinobu do? Gladly! That is so priceless! A win-win-win situation for everybody!

Episode 6
I guess Yoko was so hungry that even when Alice brought a fake sushi, she quickly eats it! Her teeth must hurt. Don’t worry. Karen has a flier where she can eat her fill for free. If she can finish this insane parfait, that is. Yoko takes up the challenge as the girls head to a cafe. Karen’s classmate, Honoka Matsubara who works in this family restaurant is shocked to see her and tries to hide herself via cat mask. Too bad Aya recognizes her voice. Honoka serves Yoko to jumbo parfait and Yoko better finish it because the penalty of not doing so is 8,000 Yen! While Karen and Alice try out wearing the waitress outfit, suddenly Yoko feels she cannot continue anymore… There is more than half left… Defeated?! Meanwhile Karasuma actually finished the entire parfait and tries to sneak out before any students could recognize her. Too bad Honoka is so freaking amazed at her ‘talent’. Honoka and Shinobu form a Blonde Alliance when the former points out there is a strand of blonde hair on her clothes. Because Honoka wants to get Karen’s email address, Shinobu cheers on her but it isn’t easy as it seems. Nervous and all that. Finally when she has got the courage to go ask her, Karen gladly gives her. Honoka has fun texting to her for the first time. But the next day Shinobu sees dark rings around Honoka’s eyes because Karen couldn’t stop texting her the whole night. When Karasuma and Kuzehashi see the girls on their way home, the girls are surprised to learn Kuzehashi once belonged to the athletics club. Maybe that is why she can always catch cheeky Karen when she runs away. Even more surprising is Karasuma who was once from the theatre club. She would gladly give them a demonstration and drags Kuzehashi to act out in this twisted Cinderella story where the poor princess loves to clean everything at her stepmom’s command. Karen then asks what it was like for them being students before. Karasuma shows a picture of her high school days when she didn’t wear glasses yet. This has Kuzehashi remember meeting senior Karasuma for the first time when she was a junior (she accidentally kicked Karasuma’s ass when she was bent down looking for something). And boy, were they the odd friends around hanging out together. Kuzehashi didn’t realize up till now that senior was actually Karasuma! WTF?! After the girls leave, Kuzehashi feel she doesn’t compare much being a teacher to her. But Karasuma believes that her words would have a long lasting impact on them even for the years to come.

Episode 7
Summer is here and Karen thinks wearing sleeveless to school will be cool. Till the friends ‘threaten’ to tell this to her parents that she becomes obedient. Seems Karen fears her mom because she is scary when she is mad. When Karasuma sees Kuzehashi still wearing her suit for summer, she thought of being thoughtful by matching her. But what’s with the bunny getup? It doesn’t take long for Karasuma to faint from the heat. That night, Karen suddenly runs to Shinobu and Alice’s home crying and ranting in English. Seems she had a fight with her dad about some necklace she wanted. He refused and she ran away. So she’s staying here for the night? Don’t worry. Shinobu allows it. The more blondes the better! Even her mom approves! So when Isami comes home, her eyes aren’t playing tricks when she sees double blondes. Alice must feel threatened about her place and tries to match and outdo Karen’s helping around the house. So much so, Shinobu becomes a sad cat as the blondes bond further. Later that very same night, Karen calls to make up with her dad. Even good news with dad has already bought that necklace. Now all the I-love-yous are coming out. Karen shares this happiness by calling all of her friends. Hey, at least she is happy. When Shinobu wants to hear more of Alice and Karen’s days in England, we have a flashback all spoken in English (duh!). Alice was studying Japanese hard and Karen wasn’t amused because this means they weren’t having fun together. When Karen thinks she could get her attention by bringing some Japanese game but never came back, Alice started to worry and went to look for her. She saw a cat having Karen’s shoe and fears the worst. Karen had fallen down a wall slope after a cat distracted her. Her ankle is twisted and it hurts like hell. Night is approaching fast so Karen desperately calls out to Alice in which luckily she heard it. They head home and Karen is very thankful for saving her. That’s what friends are for. Back in present, the blondes continue their bonding and Shinobu can’t help feel left out again. So much so, her worrywart has her call the authorities because a certain blonde still hasn’t come home. It has only been 30 minutes…

Episode 8
Summer vacation will soon be here so Karen and Yoko argue where to go. The sky or the beach? Eventually Karen relents and so the beach it will be. But this only serves to worry Aya because she is not confident of her waistline. Assurances from Yoko only makes her cry harder. The girls hang out at a fast food joint. Alice observes Karen ordering a smile with her food and thought this is what Japanese do and does the same. It made Shinobu laugh nonstop at how cute she was. They notice a couple spilled some food on the clothes so Aya starts fantasizing how great it would be if Yoko would be the one to clean her up. She is in a dilemma to get her clothes dirty that she looks like she’s coming down with some illness. As they talk, they wonder if Alice misses her parents or would like to go visit them during the holidays. Alice can’t bear to leave Shinobu although the latter would love Alice to let her parents know how much she has grown since coming to Japan. She might be using some chicken metaphor but chickens don’t fly even when they have grown up! When Aya mentions the big problem that they haven’t studied yet, Yoko and Karen start putting on glasses. Is this their way to say that they are blind from reality? And when the tests results come out, only Alice and Aya did well. Alice shows Yoko a handkerchief with a black spot in the centre. When she was doing the laundry, she thought of ironing Shinobu’s favourite handkerchief. You can guess what happens next. Alice is afraid that Shinobu will scold her and for each passing moment, finds it hard to apologize to her. Can Kuzehashi do something about it? Nope. Apologize is the only way. Seeing how pitiful she is, Kuzehashi even agrees to go apologize with her. Shinobu must be stumped on what is going on. But with Alice coming clean, the duo make up in no time. All you worried unfounded. Aya didn’t expect Yoko to throw the trash with her so she freaks out so much so it scares them both. Aya helps Alice go shop for a swimsuit. That picture Alice drew… Doesn’t the bikini look like a sumo loincloth? The last obstacle for the day for Shinobu: Showing mom her report card. I take it that running away is her way of telling us she is running away from reality. When she comes home, Isami wants to see it. She shows it. Wow. Lots of praises. Turns out it is Alice’s report card. So where is hers? Suddenly Shinobu starts pleading and begging for forgiveness… What’s with the sudden high drama?

Episode 9
Aya is coming up with a homework schedule for Yoko because throughout the years the same thing always happens. On the last day Yoko will be begging to ask her help on her homework. The problem now is how to hand it to her. Calling her resulted in Aya panting like a stalker. Sending an email about that would make it worse. Making her way there, Aya thinks Yoko may not be at home when she receives a call from her. Aya couldn’t fluster more when Yoko was just behind her. It is a good thing they pass each other since Yoko had the same idea of going to her house. After passing her the schedule, Yoko seems to be staring at Aya instead of starting her work. Although she claims Aya is very girly but she blunders by mentioning about her own chest which is feeling a little tight. Yoko then fools around with Aya, hugging her around. That is when the twins return from their school’s pool and see this freaking ambiguous yuri act. When Aya splits the ice cream to share with Yoko but unevenly splits it, Yoko bites Aya’s bigger portion (because Aya felt bad in having the bigger part) but at the same time causing her to be mad because it’s like an indirect kiss. And Yoko thought she wanted to eat it. Karen might be visiting Shinobu and Alice every day but she’s bored. How about reading? That entire book with only words? Maybe next time. Shinobu reveals her secret that she wants to go to the beauty salon today so Alice fears she might want to dye her hair blonde. Shinobu didn’t actually think about that! The blondes visit Honoka in her tennis club’s practice match. They distract her and Honoka got the ball bounced right into her forehead! Don’t worry. No serious injuries. As they hang out together, Karen uses a fake money bill to wipe her sweat (damn rich girl) and I don’t know why Honoka tries to copy it but uses a coin. When they return home, Alice sees Shinobu’s new look like a kokeshi doll. Personally, I don’t see a difference. Noting that Honoka is here, Shinobu feels she is not dressed for the occasion and returns in a cat maid outfit. When Alice gives Isami her ice cream, it has melted that it is now like soup! So disappointed… The girls play dress up to pass the time. As Karen leaves with Honoka, she invites her to come with the rest to the beach. Unfortunately she has a tennis game then. But she feels she is weak and wonders if Karen knows any good luck charms. I don’t think hypnosis is a good idea… Karen views Honoka good enough to win and worst come to worst, just pray to the sun. On match day, Honoka is doing great. Thank the sun, right?

Episode 10
The girls make their way to the beach via train. The blondes fight over the right to sit with Shinobu who is just in ecstasy in between. But there is no such rivalry for Yoko and why is Aya being such a tsundere? Because she’s Aya… Also at this same beach are Karasuma and Kuzehashi. Although they had lots of work to do, Karasuma mentioned about the new swimsuit she bought and tested it out in her bathtub. Kuzehashi felt pity for her and instantly they were on their way. However Kuzehashi is too technical and cautious which takes out a lot of fun. So we get to see the girls in their swimsuits. Nothing flashy, mind you. But why is Shinobu in her ordinary dress? She thinks she can take on nature like this? Too bad the tidal wave got her. Shinobu must be having bad luck with beaches. She can’t swim, got her leg cramps and is afraid of a harmless hermit crab. Aya takes up Yoko’s challenge to do distance swimming. But the thought that she might drown and Yoko will do CPR on her has her give up before she starts. Yoko thinks she chickened out. Suddenly Alice comes running to them. It seems Shinobu is missing. While Alice went to buy drinks, she might have wandered off. Then the announcement describes Alice as a lost girl. Turns out Shinobu made that report and is still frantically doing so because a certain blonde didn’t come back in 5 minutes!!! WTF???!!! Shinobu almost squeezed her to death… As they stop by the beach house to eat, Aya isn’t sure what to order and will have what Yoko is having. Regret having a big tonkatsu serving? Yeah. Why blame her? After visiting the souvenir shop, they visit the nearby aquarium. Shinobu and Alice watch the ocean as the former notes England is just far away across the ocean. Even if Alice goes home, they’ll still be connected by the sea. Shinobu will take a raft to go see he if she gets lonely. Alice wisely suggests taking a plane. On the way back, Yoko tells Aya she can sleep on her if she’s tired. Flustered Aya denounces that and will absolutely (x100 times) never ever (x1000 more times) do that. Karasuma and Kuzehashi are getting souvenirs but the latter feels it is a shame to go home. So the duo have an extended stay at the beach watching the stars from the hotspring. This is the life.

Episode 11
Karen leaves cryptic messages for Honoka to find her at school so she can give her a surprise. Too bad Kuzehashi found Karen first. She is about to give her usual lecture but Karen lets her ponder over some English riddle to escape. For the next few scenes we see Karen and Honoka hanging out together. Karen then tells her that she and Alice will be leaving for England although it will be just for a week. Shinobu sees Alice marking down the days of their vacation and notices a mark on a certain date. It is the day the blondes will be going back to England. Why look so shock, Shinobu? Didn’t Alice tell you this? Alice starts packing early, suddenly Shinobu jumps into her bag! Holy cow! She can’t fit! But take her along please!!! Alice tries to fit her in! Does not work. At least we know they fail at human trafficking and smuggling. Early next morning, Karen’s dad picks up Alice to head to the airport. And you can tell Shinobu has fast fallen into depression with her blonde withdrawal symptoms. Isami sees how pitiful she is but can’t help laugh after noticing she looks so much like a kokeshi doll this way. The lack of Alice is getting to Shinobu. Proof? She mistakes Aya as Alice just because of her twintails! Aya and Yoko accompany Shinobu in her home and they can obviously see she is breaking down. However Shinobu vows to become stronger so she can greet Alice with a smile when she returns. But I think she is getting the wrong idea of becoming stronger by working out her muscles… More woes for Shinobu because right after she finished bath, she missed a phone call from Alice to say she has touchdown in England safe. He mom picked it up… To calm Shinobu’s insecurities, Aya and Yoko sleepover at her place. Don’t be surprised if they treat her like a child. Remember last season we had that pirate fantasy? This time we have magical girl fantasy! Magical girls, Alice, Aya and Yoko must save Shinobu who has been turned into a kokeshi doll at the wretched hands of evil Karen and the twins as her underlings. In order to defeat them, they must use some forbidden technique. Shinobu wakes up from this pleasant dream and Aya misinterprets what it is and wants to see it.

Episode 12
Alice narrates her times in England when suddenly Shinobu has arrived to visit her! Actually it is Karen in disguise and she is bored fulfilling Alice’s request to play Shinobu. Take it from the top once more! Alice is worried that Shinobu might have forgotten about them albeit it is only a week but could it be that Alice is the one in danger of what Shinobu looks like? I thought the next few scenes felt odd. Because Alice and her mom are conversing in Japanese! I wanted to think it is for the convenience but subsequent scenes show them speaking in English too! Feels funny. English women speaking Japanese… On the morning they are to depart for Japan, Alice’s mom calls Shinobu to let her know. It is night time over in Japan and just when Shinobu is about to doze off, she springs back to life upon hearing Alice’s call! The much needed motivation of the week. I guess Alice is panicking on what to say and rants a long line in English so Shinobu starts off with a simple hello. Karen then switches with Alice to talk but after that hangs up. Alice couldn’t be more disappointed. She wants to talk more. Why not call again? I think international calls via fixed line phones are still expensive. On the morning our Japanese girls are supposed to greet them, Shinobu dresses up in her very best although it is just picking them up from the front of her doorstep. They could be singing reunited and it feels so good because Shinobu gets a week’s worth of blonde squeeze. As they have lots of gifts for them to choose from, Isami chooses a video that Karen recorded on Alice during her depression of missing Shinobu. Alice would gladly talk to Shinobu about her days at England. Till she realizes Shinobu hasn’t touched her homework yet! Not good…

Good news: She somehow finishes it on the morning of the first day of the new school term. Bad news: She only scored 5% for her English test! OMG! How can this be? She loves English and blondes so much and yet failed simple English?! As they discuss what Shinobu’s talents are, here comes Yoko who is feeling depressed. She accidentally tore Mitsuki’s teddy bear’s arm. The fact that made Mitsuki mad wasn’t this but the sloppy repair job Yoko did. Duct tape? No wonder she’s mad. However instantly it is all repaired in Shinobu’s hands. The girls view Shinobu having great talent in clothing designer but Shinobu reminds them she wants to be an interpreter. With that kind of English score? Nobody is going to believe you. But Alice will support her if she wants to be one. And so Alice becomes the strict teacher in making Shinobu study like hell. Don’t worry. A little blonde touch is all the motivation she needs. Karasuma and Kuzehashi see the girls having fun. Kuzehashi regrets wasting her youth only studying. But it’s not too old to do a little high 5, right? When Alice receives airmail from her mom, Shinobu hopes that when she replies, she could also write a reply in English to help practice and reach her goal of becoming an interpreter. So she’s going to use a dictionary while at it? Wouldn’t it be faster if she writes in Japanese and then translate to English?

Cheerio! My Fair (Blonde) Ladies
Well… It was okay. It was fun. Nothing too over the top and nothing too disappointing. Unless you are expecting some sort of drastic changes that would shock any viewers then no. Overall, this sequel feels remains very much the same to its roots from the first season. There aren’t any much changes since except maybe introducing a couple of new characters and more deepening friendship and blonde bonding moments. It is pretty much the same formula that you would expect if you have watched the previous season. Some of the jokes and funny moments are still spontaneous that will make you burst into short quick laughs. This formula keeps the gags fresh rather than falling into the boring trap zone although some do feel a little cliché.

You can still expect to see the main characters remaining the same overall. Like airhead Shinobu who is still a crazy enthusiast in anything English and blonde. The blondes themselves are equally interested in the Japanese culture but not as obviously as crazy Shinobu. Sometimes I feel that this ‘interest swap’ thingy is something similar to Code Geass. A British siding the Japanese to take down his own kind and vice versa. Only difference is that in this series you don’t have that revenge plot and it feels like as though they’re born in the wrong culture and place. Then once bitten by the cultural love bug, they start loving a lot what the other culture has to offer.

Shinobu and Alice’s friendship has grown so much that it is just unthinkable to see them part. It has only been a couple of years but it seemed like an eternity. True friends, no? Just when one is missing from the other for a few minutes, they’ll lodge a missing complaint! Talk about being insecure! But oddly and one thing funny is that, despite the popular trends in today’s social media, you would think that the duo would have somewhat kept in touch using those. But I think the producers want to subtly let us know something more important than relying on social media tools. It is the age old face-to-face friendship that you can see being played out here. No need for fake friends and annoying trolls. Ah yes, true blue friendship in the flesh. So I’m sure they’re trying to pull some heart strings when Alice and Karen return to England for a week by showcasing the emotional drama that Shinobu goes through. A high and low roller coaster ride of emotions. But personally, I felt this was more of funny than tear jerking because you know, it’s Shinobu we’re talking about. And she might want to brush up on her English while at it. At least the blondes take the trouble to speak and improve their Japanese so why can’t Shinobu? Oh, there might be another reason why social media isn’t used but the good ol’ letter: Japan and England are on the opposite sides of the world. Difference in timeline… Be careful not to bother your friend on the other side of the world.

Adding to the fun are the rest of the friends, from Karen’s cheekiness to tomboyish Yoko as well as not forgetting to getting-to-be-so-obvious tsundere Aya. So obvious that it is annoying that you just want to shout it out in her face or smack her to tell her to just confess her yuri feelings for Yoko. I am not sure if Yoko is just being a nice girl to act oblivious to her feelings or just love to see those embarrassed tsundere reactions. Or maybe she is just that dense, that’s all. I don’t remember the twins or Honoka in the first season (I checked they did appear although just cameo as they were listed in last season’s credits) but this time it feels they have more screen time and impact (albeit minimal). Like the twins who have penchant for lying and are even made better liars thanks to their emotionless facial expressions. I wonder where they get this from. Comparing the twins with Yoko is like day and night. I figure Honoka having more prominence this season is to give Karen a pairing so as not to feel ‘left out’. Sure, Karen loves Shinobu but I feel that is only teasing instead of the real deal in Alice who even feels jealous or threatened if her special beloved one is with somebody else! So I thought since we have Shinobu x Alice and Aya x Yoko, don’t want to let Karen be the lonely one out and subtly it could be Karen x Honoka the next time. If they get another sequel.

Kuzehashi is a new character joining in this season but despite her serious approach, she is just deeply misunderstood. At least from the outside. Because deep down inside she just like any other teacher who wants to be loved by her students and a goofy adult whenever you see her get tricked by Karen’s prank or believing/pitying Karasuma’s story/circumstances. Speaking of Karasuma, she is still as dreamy as ever. And Isami is still the cool big sister but don’t fool around with her or make her mad. I have not seen her getting really angry but I have a feeling I don’t want to. So don’t push it when she says no to having a pet or when you better show your report card means you better show your own report card!

Still impressive is the way English is spoken in some of the scenes. Although I won’t go as far as to say they are a masterpiece and that you can’t catch some lines in ‘Engrish’ accent, at least hearing for most of the part doesn’t make you feel that you are hearing a Japanese trying hard to speak English for an English character so much so the failing is obvious. But still, I can’t help feel that the longer Alice or Karen speaks, the more it feels their narration or lines are like as though they are coming from a children’s TV programme. Exactly the same sentiments I had for last season too. But then again, maybe this is the trying part on the voice actresses’ side. They have to make it pronounce and sound clear enough so as not to be passed off as ‘Engrish’. A commendable feat at least for one whose primary language isn’t English.

Even the opening and ending themes retain the similar feel as in the previous season. In addition to be sung by Rhodanthe (the voice behind the main quintet), the opening theme, Yume-iro Parade is equally as vibrant, fun and exciting like last season’s Jumping!! Only difference is that there are a few versions of it. At least for the opening lines. Whether it starts off by the entire group or one of them. You can tell (and hear) when you see either a group picture or a cute mug shot of the girl. My Best Friends as the ending theme gives off that Broadway-like feel similar to Your Voice. But this season there is a special opening theme for that beach episode. Kirameki-iro Summer Rainbow has a different feel since it sounds a bit like country mixed with anime pop.

The sequel is still a fun and entertaining series to watch and those who enjoyed watching the first season would feel right at home here. Even safe for the family and kids to watch. Please note that the beach fanservice episode does not amount to anything that would raise any alarm bells. And yes, no violent blood-spilling limbs-dismembering action. Please do not have unrealistic expectations for such a cute anime and ruin it all. But you can ‘die’ from the overdose of the blonde moe blob moments instead. You have been warned… ;p

The only thing that I expected that didn’t come into realization is adding a new blonde character! Holy cow! Triple blonde treat! I am sure if that happens, Shinobu would die of nose bleed every day. A very happy death indeed. That is why I am thinking for the safety of her health, she can never travel to western countries or live among blonde people. But you know, seeing how Shinobu can sometimes be obsessed into taking things into her own hands if left to her own devices, she might just dye everybody’s hair blonde and make it a mandatory requirement if she ever becomes the head of Japan. And then you have blondes and not-blondes trying to un-blonde everything. Wow. Just feels like escalating towards Code Geass scenario. If that ever happens, that would be like taking blonde to a whole new level. Then it would be scary rather than cute.

Kiniro Mosaic

February 16, 2014

Seasons in and seasons out, animes with a group of girls doing things together without a specific plot has been churning out like a dime a dozen. Kiniro Mosaic is no different because it features a group of girls and their antics. So what’s new? Well, they bring in a foreigner this time. Not just one but two foreigners! How is that going to be different? I am guessing that the laughs will come in the form of the foreigners lacking knowledge of Japan’s custom and all. Maybe. If you’re also thinking that this is going to be like Ikoku Meiro No Croisee, but unlike in that anime whereby a Japanese girl goes to France, we have English girls coming to Japan instead. Will it be Earl Grey tea over green tea, fish and chips over onigiri or scones over mochi? Mmm… Yum! Oops. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love blondes, right? Right?! With my past experience of such genres, something in my gut tells me not to put too much high hopes and expectations in this series if I want to ‘enjoy’ it and not end up with any big disappointment. But just like how blondes are believed to be good looking and all, don’t judge a book by its cover. Let’s see if this series has what it takes to be stand above the rest. Of course, there is no harm in being a little cautious.

Episode 1
Shinobu Omiya leaves for England for her homestay programme. She lives with her mom’s friend and is eager to meet her daughter who is also the same age. But the same can’t be said for Alice Cartelet because she is quite shy. To her, Shinobu looks like a kokeshi doll! Oh, the haircut… It’s like both sets of worlds clashing and they don’t really understand each other because Shinobu is conversing in Japanese, something that Alice hardly understands. And when Alice is talking, she speaks in English. Can they really understand each other? Well, Alice’s friend Karen Kujou once gave her a funny charm that supposedly even if they don’t speak the same language but if they try to listen to each other’s hearts, they can communicate. Well… Something tells me it’s going to be a tough road since Shinobu’s eager beaver cutie cutesy acting is freaking Alice out. I hope she doesn’t have an impression that Japanese girls are scary. Wait till you see Akihabara… Shinobu gives her a present, which is a traditional hairpin. Even Shinobu doesn’t know how to use it and thinks it is used to stab in the neck! After making a call to her sister (I wonder if that fixed land line is going to cost a bomb), she gets an idea on how to use it on the hair. I guess she doesn’t know how to tie it probably that it always propels off. Alice wants to play a traditional Japanese card game with her but Shinobu doesn’t know the rules. This makes her doubt if she is truly Japanese. True blue 100% Japanese girl, believe it! And so the girls spend their days doing lots of fun things together, bake together, bath together (okay, maybe Alice is just feeling dizzy after soaking for too long), sleep together and talk about visiting Japan one day. Of course that day to leave comes. Shinobu takes a picture and will send it to her later. After all this time staying together, you’d think the only words they really learnt and use with confidence are “Hello” and “Konnichiwa”. You’re using them wrong, girls! That’s not for farewells!

Shinobu is back in Japan. She is late to meet up with her friends Aya Komichi and Yoko Inokuma because she received an airmail from Alice and is eager to read it. Thing is, it’s all in English. Bummer. I don’t think her friends can do much help in trying to read it too. Even Aya’s translation sounds half bake. While Shinobu changes her shoes at school, her friends are approached by… Alice! Her Japanese is fluent now and is looking for Shinobu. She doesn’t have a picture but takes out a kokeshi doll. Yup. That’s what she looks like. Insulting? But the teacher calls her and she has to leave. In class, the teacher introduces Alice as the new transfer student from England. The best friends are happy to see each other again. After introducing herself, Alice mentions she did inform of her transfer in the letter. But it’s in English. Oh, there’s a second letter in romaji. Doh! Later when Alice gets to know Aya and Yoko, they comment how she has doll-like features. Not as scary as Shinobu’s comment of wanting to dress her up, keep her in a glass case and stare her all day long! Are Japanese girls this scary? Alice meets Shinobu’s mom and she will be staying at their place. I guess when you put your mind to it, mastering a language like how Alice did for Japan is a piece of cake. Yeah. She even wore a kimono which brings back lots of awful traumatic memories… Never knew it was this tough, eh? Alice hands Shinobu a gift. Don’t hope for anything English because it’s just a Japanese red bean paste pancake she got from the airport.

Episode 2
Alice is getting used to life in Japan. I hope she won’t take after Shinobu’s habit of being a sleepyhead in the morning and then go back to sleep… Alice briefly narrates about her friends that include Shinobu’s older sister, Isami who works as a model. Shinobu must be joking when she asks how old she is going to be this year! Aren’t they in the same grade? Can’t blame her since Alice is short and due to that she has some sort of height complex. Because Yoko has got the proportions, she wonders if bust size and height are related. Certainly not. She shows Aya as an example. Meanie! English is Shinobu’s favourite period because she loves her teacher Sakura Karasuma. In order not to lose out to her enthusiasm, Alice speaks out boldly in class and they are impressed. And made to do additional work… Aya is upset because her friends are late. Or is it she arrived an hour too early? When Shinobu arrives, they are shocked to see the kind of dress she is wearing. Is she cosplaying as some sort of maid? Goth loli? Actually she is dressing up as a westerner. What age is she in? Even Yoko notes her love for western stuff is hitting an all-maniacal high. Yup. She’s reading an English newspaper but with that I-don’t-understand-a-thing look on her face. As Shinobu brushes Alice’s hair, she mentions she wants to dye her hair after graduation to blonde. Won’t look good. Her friends don’t want to break her heart but Alice tells her straight it is a big no despite her looking good in western clothes. So remember, don’t ever dye your hair blonde!

Because Alice has never written a future job survey before, Shinobu writes it for her: Her number one dream job is to be a human! She’s missing the point! Shinobu’s dream is to be a translator and is confident she can translate what Alice says. But she already looks lost after the second sentence… Too fast! Stop! Yoko teases Aya that she wrote ‘wife’ as her future dream job. Aya takes the eraser and erases what she writes. When Alice feels tired, the rest misinterprets that she is homesick and wants to cheer her up. It ends up like them looking like pesky stalkers! After Alice brings the class log to Karasuma, she is being asked rabbits or cats. She picks the former and is made to wear bunny ears. WTF? Karasuma comments she is fitting in here well and has made lots of friends. Alice remembers what her friends were trying to do for her and when she returns to class, she sees them deciding if Alice is better being a hamster or some furry creature! She asks Shinobu what she thinks for her and the latter misinterprets it’s some sort of confession. Alice misinterprets it as heartbreak rejection when she replies she can’t answer that now. But she notes she is her good friend. That beats being a bunny or hamster, right? Shinobu also says her dream came true because she wanted to visit Alice in England again when she grows up but she came here instead. Karasuma hands back the English quiz and Alice scores perfect. The class is amazed and she gets praised as usual by the teacher who took the liberty to doodle cute things on her paper as reward. Alice feels she is being treated like a kid sometimes. Well, she looks the part, right? Who can’t resist this moe loli?

Episode 3
Alice now feels homesick and misses her mom and dog. Don’t worry. Shinobu will be her temporary mom and dog! Oh God… Alice shows her photo album and there is a photo of her with Karen. Why the hell must Shinobu feel depress thinking Alice had friends in England? WTF?! Alice explains Karen is a halfie as her dad is Japanese and was the one who taught her the language. We know Shinobu is back to her typical idiot head because she hopes to meet this Karen girl and be surrounded by blonde beauties. One morning when the friends leave for school, Yoko is telling how she saw a certain blonde. Speaking of which, there she is. Hey. Isn’t that Karen?! It is her! The blondes happily reunite and there is no place for Shinobu to get a hug from either one. Group hug will do? So what brings her to Japan? Airplane. No, try harder. Because Alice left without saying goodbye, she asked her dad and because she seemed interested in that place, her father decided the family to go live there for a while. Just like that. Yeah. Just like that. The friends notice Karen in their school uniform. Yes. A transfer student but in a different class. Imagine how distracting it will be for Shinobu if there are 2 blondes in the same class. But it seems Shinobu is fawning over her blonde dream every time Karen speaks and this makes Alice feels jealous (though she won’t admit it). So much so she is just acting weird and everyone can tell. I mean, she really wants Shinobu to demonstrate she’s like a ninja and can climb walls because her name sounds close to shinobi.

When they part ways after school, Karen pecks Shinobu a goodbye kiss. Shocking?! Hear Alice scream her head off! Shinobu is probably far away in dream land. Karen seems to be having a hard time making friends in her class so she asks Shinobu and co for advice. It’s probably her halfie status. Try imagining a lion and a group of deer. Yeah. That. They have Aya explain because she is the ‘expert’ as she was once from another town and transferred here. So we have a peek at how Shinobu and Yoko came ‘barging’ into her life with their liveliness as Aya was particularly shy. Yeah. Filled with lots of friendship drama. I don’t know how many of it was made up or exaggerated because Aya is vehemently refuting it. Alice becomes a stalker because she sees Shinobu chatting with Karen casually. When asked if Karen is going to join any clubs, Alice mentions they are in the Shino-bu (Shino club) because all they do is talk with Shinobu, eat with Shinobu, etc. Sounds like a fan club? Great. Count Karen in! And who made Alice the president? With Karen all fired up, she will try talk to her classmates. She goes up front and introduces herself and hopes to get along. Everyone is impressed and in no time she has her own circle of friends. Alice praises Karen about her good points and gets hugged. Shinobu wants one too and gets it. Alice not happy…

Episode 4
Aya hands over a present to Shinobu. Alice didn’t know it was today so she sings a lame birthday song. When Shinobu asks how old she looks, the rest guess (or tease, rather) she is around 30. It all began when Isami noted this morning she is turning 36! She thinks she has an old soul. Sure, she may be joking but is she really so when she thinks the perfect gift for her would be a bonsai plant? So the friends discuss why Shinobu has this old feel. Maybe it’s the way she talks. Shinobu tries talking like a high school girl but it doesn’t quite cut it. Alice wants to be old but from the looks of it, she might only qualify as elementary. Yoko then snaps some pictures of her and thought she really didn’t have what it takes to be a model like Isami. Alice really wanted to buy a gift for Shinobu but the latter mentions having her here is already a very good present. Aww… In that case, she wouldn’t mind giving her a strand of her blonde hair, no? Isami gives Shinobu a snow globe while a mini bonsai for Alice. Alice hugs her and we didn’t hear Shinobu bugging for one because she has already accepted the ‘defeat’ to her big sister. Shinobu doesn’t know how to use a computer because her sister told her it is infected with virus. Heh. But Aya thinks calmly the good reason for this ‘preventive measure’. Imagine her blonde folder will be filled to the max with blonde pictures! Good move. Alice and Karen end up quarrelling in public who acts more like the older sister. I guess Alice is quite sensitive to this and INSISTS she is the big sister. I don’t think nobody would believe that. Yeah. Alice used to act like the big one for Karen but before she knew it, she grew up faster than her. Karen seeks Alice help over one of her subjects: English! WTF?! She’s been speaking Japanese so often that she is starting to forget English! Alice thought she is academically superior to Karen. Even so, she feels jealous that Karen and Shinobu are talking in the same wavelength. When Karen gives Shinobu foreign stamps as birthday gift and the blonde lover starts fawning like mad, I guess this is the last straw for Alice. A drama nearly unfolds when Alice wonders if Shinobu likes Karen more than her. Then I think Karen also wants to play along so the blondes fight over Shinobu! It’s like a dream come true for Shinobu. Of course Shinobu wants to be fair and tells them not to fight over her. She points out Karen came all the way for Alice and this prompts her to remember how they vowed to be best friends forever. Alice realizes she had been jealous and they made up.

Shinobu is sick so she can’t attend class. Yoko is so excited (and very noisy) because she got a love letter in her shoe box. Or so she thinks. It’s just a plain letter but if it’s in a shoe locker, what are the chances? Aya is suspicious of it and thinks it’s a misfortune letter. She is about to read it but was reminded the letter belongs to Yoko. Since then, it has been bugging Aya about the contents. She’s really acting like a stalker hoping she would read it. And for the entire day, Yoko didn’t. Getting anxious, aren’t we? And we know Aya is feeling jealous that somebody, boy or even girl may be confessing and thus taking her Yoko away from her. Yoko is still excited at the prospect of her confessor and thinks of becoming more feminine like Aya. Only thing is, that isn’t really how Aya acts. Aya continues to be anxious about the letter’s contents that she can’t concentrate in class. At the end of the day when Yoko is about to read it, Aya suddenly congratulates her (but with tears in her eyes). Yoko says that was uncalled for because whoever this love letter is from, she is going to reject it as she loves Aya more. Great relief? Now see Aya turn into a tsundere. So here is the content of the letter. It’s from Shinobu… Asking about England and the weather… And to translate this into English. WTF… WTF???!!! Confirming with Shinobu, it seems she wanted to talk to Alice’s parents and thus wrote a letter for Alice to translate. She put it in her shoe locker just to surprise her like as though it’s a love letter but she got the wrong locker. The rest are so disappointed and disillusioned about love letters now. Thanks Shinobu… For breaking the girls’ dreams…

Episode 5
Shinobu gets embarrassed after realizing she mistakes calling Yoko as her big sister. As explained, they have been friends since elementary and when Yoko met Isami, she hoped she would take care of Shinobu while she is not around. Yeah. She gave a personal alarm while at it. Is that how you use it? Shinobu flops her test. She got zero! Not okay! Aya coaches her and I think Shinobu learnt everything even Aya’s slip of tongue, thinking it would be in the makeup test. When the friends arrive at Shinobu’s home for a group study, Karen’s English suddenly becomes flawless because she is a big fan of Isami and wants her autograph! When it is lunchtime, Aya’s stomach growls but doesn’t want to admit. She shifts the blame onto Alice but since she is so panicky (and cute too), Aya feels guilty and admits it. While Yoko tries to be reserved on Aya’s cooking, the blondes didn’t hold back and say how bland it tastes. Karen accidentally stumbles into Isami’s room and sees a camera on her table. She gets freaked out when Isami returns. Even more so when the telephone rings because she thought she has called the police! It’s her friend lah. Karen suggests taking photos and since the place is too small, they head to the park. Karen thought she had practised her modelling pose but Isami points out the way she is posing isn’t natural. At the end of the day, the blondes really hope Isami would send their pics to her cameraman. Who wouldn’t love to dream of becoming a model? Isami’s friend notes her sister has an English friend staying over. Isami says it feels like she has 2 sisters, prompting her to comment she is has siscon fetish. Isami narrates she used to look after Shinobu a lot when she was younger since she was clumsy. Now that she has found her passion, she is glad that she is becoming more independent. But then again, she is even more worried because she sees her trying to put dress up Alice… Be very worried…

Aya fixes Yoko’s clothes and reprimands her to dress better. For that slight moment, their face was close enough to… Sorry folks, no yuri moment. When the blondes come in, they couldn’t recognize Yoko! Is this a joke?! Alice challenges Yoko to arm wrestling? Serious? Since she is so cute trying all her might (it’s not budging), Yoko lets her win. Even cuter… Alice is now confident to take on a bear! Stop with that! Yoko offers to help Karen carry heavy books to a room. She didn’t expect she has to carry Karen too. Haha. Good one… Karen notes Yoko is like a convenience store because she always there to listen and always smiling. Then she prods her flabby belly and would like to order a nikuman. Not a convenience store… And not funny either! Yoko wonders what kind of person herself is so with Shinobu’s graph chart, it seems it is 100% tsukkomi! Karen has also observed her all day long and comes up with her own graph chart. 50% tsukkomi and 50% kindness. Not bad for a joker like her. Karen also does one for Aya. What is this big unnamed portion? It’s Yoko! In her embarrassment, she crumples the paper and acts like a tsundere. Because the blondes and Aya are the only child in their family, they want to call Yoko their big sister as she feels like one. Alice happily hugs Yoko the big sister. Wait a minute. She has no more qualms of wanting to be the big sister? Yoko feels empty when Shinobu doesn’t need her guidance around school anymore. Maybe little sister has grown up. And with Shinobu looking like the eldest compared to the blondes, Yoko visions Shinobu as being a captive alien! WTF?! Aya assures Shinobu will be fine no matter what. Whether she is stranded in the desert, shipwrecked lost in the jungle… Isami’s friend notices her handphone screensavers consist of Shinobu and her friends and thinks she really has this siscon fetish.

Episode 6
Alice and Shinobu are naming cute things. Eventually they name themselves too often that the cuteness just feels… Ugh… Summer holidays are here and Yoko and Karen end up arguing where to go. The beach or the mountains? Karen suggests a card game whereby they go to where the winner suggests. Despite she lost, everyone decides to go with Karen’s suggestion of mountain hiking. As the friends gather, Shinobu gives us a shocker because she is wearing some hooded cosplay dress! This is what a forest fairy is? Karen pulls up in a huge luxury truck driven by her dad. I see why she was really adamant wanting to go hiking. Yeah. He sets up everything for the girls too. They reach their destination and after much hiking (it’s amazing Shino didn’t faint in all that heat), they rest and relax at a mountain stream. We see Alice trying to compete in fishing with Karen to impress Shino but Karen is obviously the better one. So she tries to catch them bare handed… Alice thought a mosquito is on Shinobu’s face and slaps it! Oh, please don’t think the blonde hates you! Shinobu slips and falls into the river. Her entire dress ruined… And then everyone takes a tumble too. Back home, Karen notes Shinobu’s love for blondes and shows her an anime with other hair colour (Yuyushiki?). Suddenly she feels blue hair is not bad! Alice panics and doesn’t want her to be ‘corrupted’ with other hair colour! On another evening, the girls meet again for the festival. Shinobu’s cosplay yukata version may spell blasphemy to some. And so the usual fun of eating lots of delicious food and playing lots of typical festival games. The candy drawing is pretty amusing because while everybody’s candy breaks, Shinobu completes hers as she made a perfect cut of Eifel Tower!!! Holy sh*t!!! Yoko notices Aya not feeling well but before she could ask, the rest distracted them in doing more fun stuffs. Not until after the festival ends that she finds out her feet has been sore ever since she was waiting for them. She didn’t want to say anything as not to ruin the fun. After spraying some disinfectant, the girls play fireworks. They are joined by Isami who has brought watermelon. Shinobu has brought lots of candy souvenirs for her too but I think a model like her would prefer to watch her waistline. Shinobu notes it’s the best festival ever because she gets to go with Alice. Sure it’s not her blonde head? Karen has lighted up a big firework and doesn’t know what to do with it. The rest run for it. Don’t come close!

Episode 7
The class has singing practical. Aya hates singing… I guess it shows how bad she is. The girls would love to hear the blondes sing a duet. They sing out a lovely tune but Shinobu had to ruin it with her “Blonde hair” background vocals. Alice forgot to bring her gym clothes despite making several personal reminders. Don’t worry. Karasuma is glad to lend hers. Since they’ve got no longs, I guess Shinobu’s summer shorts will do. And the temperature outside is freezing… Also, Aya hates gym! Her body can’t stretch and she really looks like in (overreacting) pain while stretching with Yoko. Aya thought she is running the slowest but Shinobu and Alice are way behind her! When they catch up, Aya is surprised to see Shinobu’s face not breaking into any sweat. She can keep this up for 3 hours! What stamina! Oh, Alice looks like she is ‘dying’… In class, Aya sees a couple trying to feed each other and decides to do the same to Yoko (she finished her lunch earlier and hoped the rest would ‘donate’ some food). However she sounds like a maniac screaming… Karen is happy the girls gave her lots of their homemade snacks till the rest warned her about putting on weight. To stem this problem, Shinobu puts a sign over her that reads “Please do not feed Karen”. Is she some sort of animal? The blondes go to seek advice from Karasuma (caught in the act of doing a little exercise). After that, Karen is frank to tell her how big her butt is! Alice puts it in a more reserved way that she has child bearing hips. I don’t think that helps either. In the end, the girls go weigh themselves. Aya goes first and of course, she blames the scale or her clothes. Karen is relieved her weight is still the same as before and can now eat all she wants. Aya turns into a runaway cry-baby after learning their weight difference is ‘great’. Yeah. How many grams difference? Shinobu makes decoration in her rice bento. It is supposed to be the kanji word for rice but it looks like the Union Jack… See the resemblance?

The friends have to study since autumn is exam period. Karen says she loves exams because it is so quiet that she can nap! Do the questions please! Aya reminds Shinobu that with her kind of scores, she better pull up her socks. Is she even serious about tutoring Alice? And because she easily dozes off while studying, Alice feels pitiful and allows her to copy her answer sheet! And when Karasuma learns Shinobu is trying hard to study, she breaks down in tears that she believes in her! Wow. Just what is her impression on this girl? Shinobu returns with this dead serious look that she wants to study and wants Alice to teach her. So seriously motivated that she looks like a different person! Who is she?! Seems Shinobu is studying so hard that she is… Speaking French words???!!! Oh sh*t!!! Did she study the right materials?! Alice is freaking out with this confident and smart Shinobu (she really looks different) so she distracts her with a look-over-there-pretty-blonde and suddenly all Shinobu has learnt vanish!!! Her head is empty! During the test, Yoko stares hard at Aya’s back in hopes of seeing her answer. She too can feel the piercing stare and tries hard to concentrate. Meanwhile Karen is using the pencil to guess her answers. She’s doing it so often and when it’s so quiet, the class just realize what she is doing. It is a big relief after the exam and Shinobu is looking close to a zombie… But a few days later when the results return, she scores a high 96 marks for English! The highest ever in her life! Wow. All that studying did pay off. But the most emotional one goes to Karasuma. She never knew this day would happen, eh? But then, she only scored a paltry single digit in her other subjects. Ah, that’s the Shinobu we all know…

Episode 8
Since the cultural festival is around the corner, Alice and Shinobu won’t give in for what they want to do. It’s a maid cafe for Shinobu or else she won’t let Alice use the toilet at night! It’s a Japanese sweets cafe for Alice or she will hate her! Boy, these girls are stubborn! Since it’s heartbreaking to see them fight, Yoko suggests combining both and do a fusion. See, solves everything. Karen’s class is doing a play and she hopes they can come and watch her. She really thinks she can shine as an actress. No, really. Karasuma thought of using one-liners to be popular with her students. Aya sees her in the act and doesn’t know how to react. Was that even a joke? Aya then takes Karasuma to see the best person who can retort her jokes: Yoko! The class makes headway in preparing for the festivals. The night before, Alice mentions about a special day tomorrow. But Shinobu doesn’t remember even if she was hinted it is a celebration day. She can’t really remember. She feels she needs to figure out quick before Alice gets mad but she falls asleep soon after. Next day in school, Shinobu becomes so apologetic to the point she gets down on her knees and to even hit her as she pleases! Turns out that celebration day is the day Shinobu came to England for her homestay. They celebrate it every year and call it Shinobu Day. Seriously. The festival gets underway. While Shinobu has no qualms in a maid outfit, Aya is certainly embarrassed. But given time, she gets used to it. After all that mumbling and nervousness. Isami disguises herself to visit the cafe. She starts taking pictures of Aya and Yoko in their maid outfit. Aya becomes frightened by this ‘stalker’ so Yoko goes to tell it to her. Till Isami reveals her identity. She compliments everyone in their maid outfit except Shinobu. Because she’s always wearing them at home and it’s like normal, right? Karen hopes Isami could come to see her play and puts on that eager beaver star actress face again. After the friends take a look around the festival, they attend Karen’s play. Aya is a hopeless romantic and is looking forward to this Snow White play. But then when you see Karen as some samurai dude slashing away in this twisted version… You just go WTF…  Alice is nervous of wanting to give her present to Shinobu. So much she stalks around her and Shinobu thinks some grim reaper is whispering death words to her! Eventually Alice summons her courage and hands it over. As gratitude for the hairpin souvenir, Alice has got her a ribbon. Shinobu is happy to wear it every day till her other friends laugh and comment on her funny hairstyle…

Episode 9
Aya’s parents will be away for work so she hopes her friends could come for dinner and stay over. Yes. Please come. Please! Shinobu and Alice begin their journey but stop to pick up Karen from her house. Shinobu wonders which floor Karen lives till Alice points out the entire building is Karen’s house. Oh sh*t!!! Aya must be so eager for her friends to come over that she waited outside in the cold just for them to arrive! While making dinner, the blondes remember seeing a TV show how a guy cracked an egg with his head. Let’s say it didn’t go too well for them. Before they sleep, Aya is trying to give her grateful speech but it seems the rest are already preparing to tell scary stories. Next morning, Yoko sees Aya with a bed head and tries to push it down. Embarrassed Aya misinterprets and slaps her hand away. In school, Aya notices Karen always energetic and pleads for her to teach her ways. Aya wants to become like Karen? Sure. But wearing her clothes won’t just really cut it. Next step is to speak broken Japanese. Something which Aya really did but only greeted with puzzled reactions from her fellow classmates. For the rest of the day, Aya stays away from Yoko and continues to be under Karen’s tutelage. I guess trying to do something different is tiring as Aya realizes Karen is the sportswoman type. I suppose she can never be like her. Karen mentions she likes Aya being her traditional self and this causes Aya to break into tears. She reveals she was mean to Yoko and regrets it. Karen gives Aya her final mission to go make up with her. After all that bundle of nerves, Aya finally apologizes with all her might to Yoko. It was for slapping her hand away that morning. Yoko doesn’t mind and to patch up their relationship, they buy matching notebooks. After Aya thanks her, she realizes Karen and co were watching them and impressed with everything, much to her dismay. Later Karen does her impersonation of Aya, which really isn’t anything different than her usual self at all. While Aya treasures the notebook, it seems Yoko accidentally spilt tea on hers, making it so dirty that the friends end up arguing. Now they’re back to how they were before.

After school, the friends decide to play hide and seek in school. Yoko becomes it. Karen hides in a nearby closet, confident Yoko won’t think anybody would be this dumb to hide somewhere so close. Unfortunately she was the first one to be found. Meanwhile Aya is hiding in the library and remembers traumatic memories of playing this game. Kids gave up looking for her and went home totally forgetting about her. Then here comes Yoko and Karen. They didn’t put in much effort to look and decide to search elsewhere. Aya is appalled they’re giving up so easily but she is more jealous seeing how close Aya is to Yoko and thus gives herself away. Yoko notes Shinobu will be hard to find because she has this ninja feature that hides her presence. Really? Aya has a solution to that. She asks Karen about her cute British handkerchief and suddenly from out of nowhere (maybe it was in the tree), Shinobu pops out and with lots of enthusiasm asks for Karen’s permission to touch it. Meanwhile Alice is waiting in the art room. Yes. She’s waiting and buying her time by drawing instead of hiding. She falls asleep and when Karasuma does her rounds, she misinterprets and thinks Alice is dead and her doodle is some sort of death letter! Before she can turn a molehill into a mountain, Alice wakes up. Karasuma learns what is going on and to make up for her mistake, she will help her hide. Alice is horrified now she can’t get this game over. When the gang comes into the art room, Shinobu spots Karasuma. The teacher feels guilty that because of her big size, she couldn’t hide Alice and tells her to run. Of course this means giving away her hiding spot because Alice was small enough to use Karasuma to hide!

Episode 10
Karasuma narrates how she loves her students. One day she thought her students brought the wrong textbook. Turns out she entered the wrong class! Doh! Karasuma talks to Alice and notices how much she cares for Shinobu. She also expresses she likes Shinobu but this only results in jealous glances! Because of that, every time Karasuma talks to Shinobu, you can see Alice hiding in a corner, giving Karasuma that death piercing stare! Yoko picks up a photo Karasuma dropped and it turns out to be a photo of her pet rabbit. She is reluctant to say its name. With Alice continuing to stalk her, Karasuma finally summons her courage to confront her (after using a rabbit doll as a simulation). Does she hate her? Not really. Though she can’t say she can’t stand her being so close with Shinobu. Karasuma reveals her rabbit’s name is also Alice but this only freaks her out. Yoko gets another photo from Karasuma during her school days. But it turns out to be some cosplay party. WTF?! Alice is sad that her horoscope for today is bad luck. Because Shinobu’s horoscope reads good luck, she tries to stick close to her. They manage to escape all sorts of bad luck by the skin of their teeth? Could it be Alice? Amazingly Shinobu manages to stay positive despite all that. Later the quintet play baseball before heading to the bookstore. It’s not like Karen loves reading. It’s because her favourite manga is out. Aya sees a picture of Isami modelling in one of the magazines. She turns to the horoscope section as Shinobu wants to find out her luck today. Not good. But she is still optimistic because as long she is with Alice, she is fine as she views Alice her good luck charm. Alice just feels strange… Meanwhile Karasuma learns her lucky colour today is orange but since she has no orange clothes, she brings an orange with her. Does that count? Alice sees the similarity in Shinobu and Isami when they both wake up as sleepyheads. Shinobu was spouting Elizabeth in her sleep and it turns out to be a name of an expensive antique doll. Isami wonders how much Shinobu would buy Alice if she was a doll. Hundred thousand? So cheap? Isami then had the cheek to say friends aren’t supposed to be for sale. Alice hugs her and Shinobu realizes the con woman Isami is. Karen is taking a morning stroll and sees a white cat. She follows it and by the time she grabs it, she realizes she is lost. Which harbour is she in? Aya finally sums up her courage to call Yoko and hang out. Typical tsundere flustering. Thing is, it was her brother who picked up the call. She hung up. The quintet unexpectedly meet when they all had the idea of going out shopping together. Aya had to remind them to study for tomorrow’s English quiz, something Shinobu had completely forgotten. As for Karasuma, she starts crying thinking how her lovely students will someday graduate and leave this school. Aren’t they just freshmen?

Episode 11
It’s getting colder so the girls dress up in thick clothes. Alice is shocked that Yoko put on more clothes. It makes it sound like she never wears one. Because Yoko puts it in a way that she is quite macho without her coat, Alice wants to be like her and is going to take her coat off till Aya stops her, commenting Yoko is an idiot because she couldn’t catch colds. In class, they see Karen dressed as Santa Claus. Is this allowed? They discuss what they want for Christmas. Love. Yeah. More love. Everyone gathers at Shinobu’s house for a Christmas party. Next day when they open their presents, Alice is disheartened to find a rock! Shinobu says it’s a rock she got from England and it is her prized treasure. Alice is in a dilemma. She doesn’t want the rock but it’s from Shinobu. Oh what to do? Isami happens to come by with photos of last night’s party so Alice quickly shifts her attention to her. On New Year’s Day when Shinobu and Alice tug in for the night, Isami suddenly hears Alice scream. She rushes into the room only to find she had a bad dream. Then she takes out her wooden sword and with that expression that says don’t-you-scare-me-like-that-again-brat, I think Alice can’t contain screaming again. This one might sound scarier. And do you believe it that Shinobu was sleeping right through all that commotion? Karen comes to school in her kimono on New Year’s Day. She wanted to tell her friends about her dream when Shinobu walks in looking very sad. It seems Alice is speaking in English and dressing up like an English girl! Does she have amnesia and forgotten her Japanese? Well, that is what Karen’s dream was. Wow. Suddenly all her English words seem too difficult to comprehend! Shinobu thinks it was the nightmare on New Year’s Day she had and she had been gloomy ever since. Maybe she is jus testing if Shinobu’s English has improved? Don’t think so.

Shinobu has Karen and Karasuma translate for her. I think they too don’t even know what she’s saying (for Karen’s case, she might be so Japanese-sized that she have forgotten to speak English!) so they pin the blame on Shinobu and consider this her trial that only she must overcome. However Shinobu can’t flip the dictionary pages fast enough and catch all her words so she breaks down wondering if Alice hates her. Alice suddenly refutes and returns to her normal self. She thought Shinobu hated her. Alice realized that her stay here has caused her to become more Japanese than the Japanese themselves. Then that night she had a dream. Remember how Shinobu loves everything English? Yeah. Because of that, she dreamt Shinobu casted her away for another English girl. Both the girls made up and Shinobu comments no matter how Japanese she becomes, she will always love her for the way she is. Karen thinks if she becomes a samurai she can be more Japanese because after so long, her Japanese still sounds broken. Graduation day for the seniors come and although the juniors feel sad, Shinobu looks on the positive side that they will have juniors next year. Later Karen has another dream whereby all her friends become family members. Yoko the grandpa (WTF), Aya the mother and Shinobu the daughter. Alice thinks this would make her the younger daughter but to her horror she is the pet!!! It is Karasuma who is the eldest daughter as Shinobu focuses all her attention on her instead of the ‘pet’. This causes Alice to wake up crying from her dream. Here we go again?

Episode 12
It’s the new school term. Everybody is so excited with everything new. Except for Aya. Such a pessimistic person. What gives? She fears they’ll be separated. Alice is confident that they’ll be as connected as the sky. However true enough the friends got separated in different classes! Ultimate horror for Alice because she ends up with Yoko while the rest in another class! Aya too is horrified because she is now separated from Yoko. But why Shinobu isn’t raising any alarms? I guess she’s got Karen with her. A blonde will just do, huh? Alice can’t handle the separation and goes into mental breakdown. Seriously. Aya hints to Yoko if she is sad that they are in different class. She isn’t because she’s got Alice with her. This only further upsets Aya. Yoko gets the wrong idea that she wants to be with Alice so much. And so for the rest of the day, Alice and Aya are like 2 lifeless girls lacking any form of energy… Where’s the motivation to look forward to school anymore? But Yoko seems to notice Alice handling her ‘trauma’ well. Has she gotten over the separation? Actually, she brought a kokeshi doll with her… Looks like it might have gotten worse… But her loneliness is dispelled when Alice talks to Shinobu because she doesn’t look sad at all. Her reply is that Alice came from overseas to see her so this little parting is nothing compared to it. Besides, their class is just next to each other. Just a wall separating them. And so Alice tries to plead to Karasuma to join in her class to be with Shinobu. Not going to work!

One morning, Karen comes in with an eye-patch because she has read some manga and is taken in with the protagonist. It’s that chuunibyou thing. When they read a novel, Shinobu can’t contain her attention and her eyes suddenly feel sleepy. It is suggested she writes a story and reads it aloud. Karen also suggests to fantasize more by using the people they know. As expected, Aya has to use Yoko, does she? Everyone starts believing when Shinobu mentions Alice is the robot she created! But the next story narrated by Shinobu feels like a musical play (which surprisingly is amusing and fun). About Shinobu and Alice as blonde princesses. Being blonde is a treasure? So it’s no surprise that Karen the pirate threatens them to hand over the treasure, resulting in Shinobu being kidnapped. The duo then go on a world travelling adventure and one day Karen’s ship sank due to a storm. Shinobu was saved by Aya the mermaid. She is of course in love with the handsome prince who is no other than Yoko. Then a ship battle between the prince and pirate becomes inevitable as both sides trade cannon balls. They’re not going to stop. Isami the giant sea witch will grant her wish provided Shinobu gives up her most precious treasure. And so Shinobu cuts her blonde hair and with the princess losing it forever, the world is in peace and everyone lives happily ever after. WTF. But don’t laugh, because the blondes are getting emotional with this amazing story! So amazing that not only it attracted attention of their other classmates but other classes too! Shinobu the storyteller? Alice wonders if both princesses will ever meet. Of course they can. Just buy a plane ticket to see each other. There goes the excitement. Back home, Alice and Shinobu reminisce a letter Alice wrote and posted to Japan when she was young. It was that letter that led to their friendship.

Blonde Bond
Although this series isn’t that boring, I won’t say that it is that awesome either. One reason why it didn’t fail as badly as my stint with Yuyushiki was because of the spontaneous and quick jokes that the characters make. In a way, it keeps things fresh and fast so you don’t go yawning or your mind go wandering every few seconds. Sure, there are some jokes which I didn’t get but overall, the impulsiveness of the gag which makes you burst into a short fit of laughter is what really makes this series funny. But I still consider YuruYuri funnier than this. Then there are short skits in between the episode (might not be related to the main story) that provides short jokes in their typical fashion and some variety. Therefore Kiniro Mosaic isn’t as boring as I predicted it would be but still, nothing special about everything in general either. Just like candy without putting in any excessive sugar.

The cute characters of course are pretty unique and each has their own quirky traits. In a way it might make them seem generic like other animes but I guess in every girl group you need to have an optimistic airhead like Shinobu. I can’t say how big her love for anything blonde is but at least we don’t see her being the obsessed type because if she was, she would have dyed her hair blonde and this would make her look like a delinquent. Cute delinquent girl? Weird combo mix. If Alice dyed her hair into another colour, I think she will freak out and die of a heart attack. Yeah. You can say she probably loves Alice for her blonde hair more than anything else but as seen, Shinobu does care for Alice as herself. Being blonde is just a big bonus. A very big one. Ironically, Shinobu being a Japanese herself is lives a more westernized lifestyle. From the amenities in her home to the way she dresses up like those Victorian ladies in her free time. But still, her English sucks… Don’t worry, she’ll get better in time with more practice. Make that another 100 years! Haha!

Alice the cutie of the group provides the moe factor because of her petite size. You get to see her cute frantic reactions from time to time and it makes you want to go “Awww…” although it freaks her out. Don’t you love to see that cute side? Staying too long with Shinobu has made her have a Shinobu complex because at the height of it all, she really gets jealous no matter who it is whenever is seen talking more casual and friendly to her best friend than her. Even if you’re the President of USA, be careful if you want to talk to this Shinobu girl because a little blonde loli can suddenly become stalker material. Karen’s role in the group as the energetic and carefree girl (sometimes to the point of being blunt and in-your-face) while Aya is the tomboyish one. It is becoming obvious that Aya is harbouring some secret feelings for Yoko although this girl is quite oblivious to it despite many hinting. Tsundere is definitely the right word to describe her. Sometimes a little pessimistic and not true to her feelings especially when it comes to Yoko, just like the rest, she treasures the friendship with her friends a lot. Although another of Aya’s role is to be the main tsukkomi character, I feel that the other characters too had their turn in doing the comebacks, hence not relying on Aya for this sort of jokes. Everyone in the group is in their own way a weird girl. Karasuma feels like she is more of a student than a teacher because of her absent-mindedness and the way she meekly speaks. I don’t know how bad Isami’s siscon fetish is but from the looks of it, she isn’t really the extreme type and is more of a cool beauty.

It’s a good thing that despite the girly friendship between the quintet, there is no yuri-like relationship. Well, there are close moments of yuri scenes but nothing that is suggestive. Unless you view that moment where Yoko has her face close up to Aya as one. Then it must be your imagination running wild. You can imagine it if Aya has her way with Yoko. In short, no fanservice. No blonde bombshell. Do you expect such when everything in this anime is already painted cute? With everybody looking so cute and exuding a lot of moe charm (heck, even Karasuma-sensei had that sort of feeling), it would only mean death by over dosage of moe-ness if such fanservice is ever applied. So cute and moe that it would never cross your mind that there are dumb blondes but only cute blondes to begin with. Yeah, everybody is pretty ‘dumb’ in a certain way but that word has been substituted for cute. If the moe art and drawing of the characters feel somewhat familiar, it is because this series is animated by the relatively new production house Studio Gokumi who did A Channel, Kono Naka Ni Hitori Imouto Ga Iru and Saki: Episode Of Side A.

The series did take the trouble to have some of the characters speak in English especially the scenes in England. I won’t say that my English is so good but I suppose I can say that it is a good try. Of course it feels like there is the Japanese accent when the ‘English’ characters speak English so it makes the English conversation sounds a little odd. Moreover, when Alice is speaking in English, sometimes I feel the way she speaks it makes as though she is speaking for a children’s TV programme! But then again, it’s a good try for Manami Tanaka as Alice (Manami in Sacred Seven) who is making a debut as a major character, in squeezing all the moe elements in her and making her sound oh-so-cute. You can say that any expression Alice does, happy or freaking out, she is just so cute and adorable. Like a bunny. Haha! Yukari Tamura as Isami wasn’t so obvious at first since she didn’t put up her trademark squeaky voice like Muromi in Namiuchigiwa No Muromi-san but after a while, veterans will know it is her. The liveliness of Nao Touyama as Karen would starkly remind us that she is the moe version of Yui of Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Come Wa Machigatteiru. Other casts include Asuka Nishi as Shinobu (Rika in Hataraku Maou-sama), Risa Taneda as Aya (Xenovia in High School DxD New), Yumi Uchiyama as Yoko (Nagi in A Channel) and Satomi Satou as Karasuma (Wendy in Fairy Tail).

Both the opening and ending themes are performed by Rhodanthe, which are actually the seiyuus of the main quintet. The opening song, Jumping!! is actually quite a lively, fun and exciting piece. With its upbeat tune, you can’t help feel like wanting to get on your feet and do some exhilarating jumping as well. The ending theme on the other hand is Your Voice. This one sounds more like Broadway or a stage musical with a little jazzy feel (somewhat reminds me of Sengoku Collection). Though at a moderate pace, I don’t find this as appealing as the opening theme. Maybe I’m not into musical type of songs after all. I noticed that there is a wide variety of background music ranging from cute casual pop, calming acoustic pieces and even dramatic orchestra. Neat.

So it goes to show that the cute girls doing cute things formula always work (well, most of the time). As long as you can keep your audiences with all the cute and moe factor, it doesn’t matter what the girls do or what the setting is. Heck, don’t even need any sort of complicated and twisted storyline to further the plot too. Because people especially otakus won’t get enough of just staring at cute 2D girls as long as they can. Hmm… That sounds creepy. I suppose it has become an addiction since I did say seasons in and season out there are lots of such shows under this genre coming out. Even right now as I speak, there are one or two shows of this category being aired. I’m sure we’re trying to have as much golden time as possible but try not to have too many blonde moments. Cheerio!

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