Mashiro-Iro Symphony

July 14, 2012

Teen drama and romance shows are aplenty these days. Mashiro-Iro Symphony is no exception and falls under this category. And for such stories to stand out, I was hoping it would bring me something unique and memorable. But I guess I have developed my own stereotype views after amassing a few of these facts: 1) Based on an adult visual novel game of the same name; 2) One main guy as the protagonist; 3) A bunch of girls that support him; 4) High school setting. I’m sure you can imagine what kind of show this is, right? Sounds like a typical recipe for a harem and fanservice anime, no? Well, I was mostly mistaken. There isn’t much that ecchi fans would find enjoyable. That’s because this is NOT an ecchi series or even close to it. I guess with so many adult visual novel games being adapted, it is not surprised that one might think it contains adult contents. That was one mistake I jumped into. The game may contain explicit contents but not the anime.

As for the plot, it goes something like this. A couple of schools in the neighbourhood are undergoing some experimenting phase by merging with some students from another school. However not every student totally loves that idea. One of the schools is a prestigious all-girls high school so you can bet there is some sort of standard and expectation they want to strictly adhere too and the risk if they open up to schools of a ‘mixed’ base. I guess this is where this main guy comes in. Can he sort of break the ice with the influential girl of this school and change her mindset or an inevitable ‘war’ is on track? And you thought being a high school student is easy with no responsibilities whatsoever. Well, not in this case.

Episode 1
A narration of what colour girls and boys should be and the colour of their relationship should they meet. It should be white, just like empty canvases as its colour is yet to be decided. Shingo Uryuu gets a call late at night from his sister Sakuno who is lost after returning from an errand. Getting the description of her surrounding, he knows where she is and scoots off to get her. By the time he got there, she is no longer waiting as she was following a strange cat creature and realized she got lost again. Before the batteries run out, Shingo tries to get more description of the place she is now. The funny cat returns to its master, Miu Amaha. Then it starts to rain when Shingo gets a call from an unknown number. She is Airi Sena and has found Sakuno waiting at a spot. Airi thanks Shingo because she too was somewhat lost and ‘saved’ by Sakuno. Eventually with more directions, they reunite at the park. Before they part, Sakuno is grateful and hopes they will see each other again. Airi agrees because they are already friends. Next morning, Shingo comes down to eat breakfast and wonders if this luxury fish was what she was buying last night. Actually rather it was in the bento she made because she knew Shingo wouldn’t be able to make it for today’s school opening ceremony. Shingo explains it isn’t strange that they go buy something luxurious at Kagami Mall but Sakuno tends to get lost. Seeing today is a special day, that’s why she went there. Along the way, they meet up with their friend, Hayata Mukunashi and come into a flock of high school girls in white uniform. As explained, their school Kagamidai Private Academy made a temporary agreement with Yuihimeijo Private Academy or Yuijo for short, which has been an all-girls school. They along with several freshmen will attend Yuijo for a test period of 10 months as test students. At the gates, they are greeted by an excited maid, Angeline Nanatsu Sewell or Angie for short. She greets them like as though they are coming home and is thrilled thinking Shingo is like a gentleman aristocrat. She brings them to the hall where the test students are supposed to gather. Teacher Machi Yatsuzuka seems to be afraid to come out hiding from outside the door since there are too many boys (she hasn’t seen this ‘much’ boys in her life?). Then they hear a familiar voice reprimanding the principal for being late and keeping the students waiting as she forcefully brings her into the hall. It is Airi and the principal, Ranka is her mother. Once Airi realizes Shingo and Sakuno in the group, she doesn’t seem too happy. In fact, she gets somewhat irritated and tells them that although Ranka wanted this merger, this doesn’t mean all the students will like it. This is their school and she will not accept them and the other boys because Yuijo is exclusive an all-girls school. I guess discrimination starts at school…

Episode 2
Shingo remembers he has long recovered from his asthma but is still sensitive to the air quality. Because of Airi’s stance, there is a gloomy atmosphere affecting both sides. Shingo goes to talk to her thinking she can help change this atmosphere but she is in no mood to talk. Looks like this is going to take a while. Angie tries to give words of encouragement as Shingo learns she is from mixed parentage (her mom’s from England) and despite wearing her maid clothes, she is also a student in his class. Shingo made the first blooper by accidentally entering the female’s toilet while Airi is in it. Hey, this was an all-girls school so signs weren’t needed, right? Shingo and Hayata talk about this school having facilities unsuitable for guys (what do you expect from an all-girls school? What’s wrong with changing behind bushes anyway?). Angie comes to cheer up the guys and they are joined by Sana Inui who mentions that though some are against the merger, there are others who aren’t. Just like the cup is half full or empty, eh? But Shingo notes as long as the influential figure in the form of Airi is around, the atmosphere won’t improve much. Shingo’s day gets worse. Blooper 2: Accidentally entering the class while the girls are changing. Blooper 3: Falling his face flat on to Airi’s boobs. Blooper 4: When his chalk broke, he bends down to pick it and Airi thought he was peeking at her panties. Even the girls from his own school now think he’s a pervert. So while eating bento alone in the garden, he sees that strange cat who is attracted by his food. That cat, Pannya returns to Miu when she comes by. She can tell he is somewhat depressed but she takes a good look around him. Since she has always been in an all-girls school, talking to boys is a new experience. She says though he may have a hard time till he gets used to things, this is a good school and he might get to like it. Back home, Sakuno tells Shingo her day and seems she has made some friends. She advises him to be himself. Next day at the assembly, some Yuijo girls are complaining about the boys from Kagamidai. Their vulgar language, their childish behaviour. But Ranka isn’t fazed, instead she notes how the girls started prettying themselves up since the merger. Saying they won’t become fine women if they don’t improve themselves and they’re being overconfident by not acknowledging the opposite sex, she holds a special curriculum. Starting off the long list of the curriculum is cooking class. The guys think the curriculum is going to make them more feminine seeing it is designed to improve femininity. As the guys have a hard time helping out, Shingo be himself and helps out the way he normally does. This earns Sana and Angie’s praises as she tries not to lose to him and overdoes everything. Hayata and the other guys decide to copy off Shingo and use this as a chance to cooperate with the girls. In the end, everyone manages to cook but too much of a portion. They have to finish what they make or else the teacher will fail them. This is where the boys come in. Large servings are no problem for them. So are you girls impressed now? Okay, maybe they’re close to exploding… A week later, uptight Machi needs the class to choose a rep from both sides. Initially Kagamidai wanted Hayata but he has his hands full as student council president on both sides. So naturally it goes to Shingo, right? Right. And guess who the rep is for Yuijo? Well, Airi couldn’t believe it had to be him. Believe it!

Episode 3
Shingo is worried he won’t get along with Airi but Sakuno is confident they’ll be alright. Shingo and Airi as the class reps work hard together but the atmosphere between them seems awkward. Airi makes herself clear that she doesn’t intend to get along well with the boys and thus to leave her alone. Once Shingo is done, he spots Pannya and follows it to the Nuko Club that Miu is a member off. It is a club that cares for injured animals like Pannya before releasing it back to the wild. Seeing the lack of members and Shingo isn’t in any club right now, she invites him to join. Next day when Miu visits Shingo’s class, Sana straightaway hugs her. She totally adores Miu and is also a member of Nuko Club. They meet Sakuno for the first time and introduce themselves. Miu invites Airi to have lunch together but Pannya is busy messing with her hair!!! So how to get the cat off? Leave it to Shingo. See how friendly the cat is with him? Though feeling awkward, Airi leaves and declines eating with them. Airi observes Shingo helping out the other girls and on another day as they rush to complete work together, he seems to have got the hang of it. She continues to keep her distance when Sakuno and the rest come by and want to walk home together. Airi has no choice but to join in. Sakuno talks to Airi if she is still against the merger. She mentions she can’t stand being with boys but funny thing she feels anxious when she’s near Shingo but not to the point of hating him. It just makes her feel weird. And it’s only him affecting her. I think there’s a word for that. It’s called love. Next day when the gang have lunch together, Sakuno suggests checking out Kume Mart which has the largest range of cheap goods. However Airi being the spoil sport reminds Shingo that they have tons of work to complete. So that’s that. As they are completing it, Airi is appalled at his suggestion of asking someone else to help them out. He has a point. With this pile of work and only them managing it, they won’t be finished till kingdom come. Besides, isn’t Airi in a hurry somewhere too? In a dilemma, Shingo offers to take on all the work. But stubborn Airi refuses to be in his debt. He suggests she could pay her back with interest. Since the midterms are near, she can help be his tutor in catching up to Yuijo’s level. How does this deal sound? Well, she isn’t happy either. She notes this is what she hates about him. He causes people’s hearts to sway. Sure it isn’t just you? As Shingo leaves, he is surprised Sakuno, Angie and Miu are waiting for him at the gates. Seems they want him to come along to Kume Mart. Well, they need a guy to carry the stuffs. While browsing through the aisle, Shingo catches Airi in the act talking to herself to make a purchase decision. Then she realizes Shingo starring at her and soon the rest and becomes embarrassed. Waiting a little longer to see if they’ll put a discount? And those savings can be used to buy vegetables? Can carry a lot if using the dry unwashed bag that is intended for the salt? Hmm… Sounds embarrassing if others heard it alright.

Episode 4
Airi comes clean. The reason why she wanted to finish work today was because of today’s sale. There’s a reason why she couldn’t tell everyone her secret. What secret? Since she lives alone, she couldn’t show signs of wavering and that could send signals of weakness. Being the principal’s daughter, she has to live up to expectations in the eyes of others though she barely manages to scrape by. But the rest are happy because they never think she had lied to them. Then they all visit Airi’s apartment and it is bloody cramped! The girls help make dinner and they happily eat together. Airi hopes they will keep this a secret in school and they agree. Next day, Airi joins them together in lunch and this brings a pleasant surprise to the rest. They see Airi’s bento which only consists of vegetarian diet! Poor girl! You call that healthy? Anyway the rest offer some of their meat to her which lights up her face very much. Airi decides to help Shingo study since it is next week and this brings an unpleasant reminder to the rest. Ugh… Exams… Soon. Airi wants him to come to her place for the tutoring. Isn’t it going to be cramp? So as not to make it as they’re doing suspicious, Airi wants Sakuno to come along too. Won’t that be even more cramp? Well, it’s going to get worse because Angie, Miu and Sana also tag along! I hope they can get some studying done in this small space. With Airi joining them for lunch every day, the mood at Yuijo also changes with the guys and girls mixing better. One night on the streets as Shingo talks to Miu (she’s wearing some weird animal cosplay as part of her part time job), suddenly Sana butts in between them and tells that male bug to scram! Woah! What the?! WTF?! What gives?! It is revealed that this is Sana’s true colours. She hates male and has been pretending to be a good girl since the merger. Oh great. Just when you thought Airi’s case is solved, now comes this one. See Sana staring at Shingo with full of detest? As the gang continues to study, they also help celebrate Airi’s birthday. It was a surprise because she never expected them to do such a thing as nothing of this sort happened when she was living with Ranka. Then the exams just came and went like that. After they celebrate, Shingo finds her staying back at the cafeteria. He extends his thanks for her tutoring. As the duo walk back, Airi says that she thought her lifestyle would be a weakness but oddly, everyone else didn’t see it as one. She thinks that is unfair and why she wanted to thank him for. Shingo mentions everyone has weaknesses and being able to change the mood may be his weakness as he does it for himself and can’t tolerate bad atmosphere. Airi and Shingo’s relationship may be a step closer as they start calling each other without honorifics (but still using their surnames).

Episode 5
When Airi reaches home, she is breathing hard and flustering. She can’t stop thinking about Shingo and wants to see him. Shingo sees Pannya outside the door of Ranka’s office. He overheard that the Nuko Club is going to be disbanded because some students are complaining the school is keeping animals despite the club just nursing them till they get well. Is it that big deal? IT IS THAT BIG DEAL! Shingo meets Airi in the hallway and the latter is obviously flustering while talking. Angie sees this and gets an idea what is happening between them. During lunch, the girls observe how Shingo and Airi interact with each other that they made this a topic of discussion among themselves. When the boys head to the toilet, Airi confirms Shingo is different than the other boys. Sana teases her that she is in love with him but this causes Angie to realize that Shingo is an attentive person and thus her maid rival! WTF?! So are they going to put him a maid outfit for some maid competition? Well, it’s not a fashion contest at least. But Sana doesn’t think it is possible for that guy to don a maid outfit and it would look better on her. The sudden silence has Sana appalled as she wants Angie to lend her outfit to her so she can prove it to them. However Angie says all her uniforms are in one size and that means it will be too big for her around ‘that area’. True, but Sana took it as an insult and starts chasing Angie around. Angie accidentally crashes into Shingo and before anybody knows it, Angie is crying like a little girl! Later Shingo visits Angie at her room (Ranka allows her to live in a room at Yuijo) and learns her mom is also a maid and currently serving an Earl in England. It is her dream to follow in her mom’s footsteps since she has been working diligently since young. The reason why she was crying her heart out then was because she almost lost her head dress. She considers them an important identity as a maid. Shingo doesn’t blame her but she feels he is like a big umbrella that covers her throughout the good and bad weather. As Shingo leaves, he finds Airi waiting outside. She mentions about him being different but he doesn’t understand. She is fine if he doesn’t. Next morning, Angie is full of vigour and is bugging just about anyone to give her something to do. Well, nobody has. So much so she even asked the teacher and cat (?!) for any task! Then she gets this idea of making the ‘crime scene’ herself. She’ll dirty the floor and when someone sees it, that’s where she comes in to clean it up. Unfortunately she trips and wets herself. Erm… Okay, that may lead to a misunderstanding but I guess that’s the best way how you should describe someone having the bucket of water poured all over. When her friends find out what she was trying to do, Angie thought she is a failure as a maid. Shingo tells her he understands she is trying hard to be a good maid but what she did today isn’t maid-like. Those words sting her heart as she excuses herself. Angie loses confidence and couldn’t help ponder why Shingo says those harsh words. Till Airi tells her about Shingo being a meddler and perceptive person unlike everyone else, Angie realizes that Shingo isn’t her rival, but an attentive person and a big umbrella. Then she rushes off to Shingo and requests to be her master and be an umbrella to protect him. Hope that doesn’t sound too S&M-like.

Episode 6
Seeing Shingo is now her master, Angie is ready to take on any task at his home. Unfortunately they have none for her. They do everything themselves. Angie at least wants to cook but that is Sakuno’s job. Insisting she still wants to cook for Shingo, Sakuno suggests a competition. Great. Now Shingo has to eat large servings from both sides. The competition continues as the girls want to scrub his back… And continuing right till bed time, Angie continues ‘helping out’ the way she can. Warming his bed? I don’t think he got enough sleep. In school, Shingo drops by Nuko Club to see Miu feeding Pannya (don’t talk with your mouth full! Besides, I don’t know what you’re saying, hehe). Apologizing he overheard her conversation with Ranka the other day, he wants to help out by joining the club. Their happy moment is disrupted when Sana comes in. She roughs him up for being close to Miu but learns a shocking discover when Miu tells her he is their newest recruit. So it can’t be help since Miu said so. Therefore Sana is going to have him work to the bone by putting up hand drawn recruitment posters all over school. I know her drawing is bad but at least any fool can tell that weird animal is Pannya. Not Shingo. He got punched for that. Shingo returns home and to his relief Sakuno and Angie have stopped their competition and cooperated to make dinner. Phew. No more over-full meals. Ranka pays them a visit to see how Angie’s doing. Ranka and Angie’s mom are good friends that is why she was left in her care. Reminding her if she has forgotten, Angie pinpoints she has been hectic with school, work and helping others. Plus, she has just found a new master. But when Ranka points out ever since Angie left, the student council members are finding it hard to cope with the increasing paper work. You know what this means? This means Angie is needed! And straight away she happily heads back to school. On a cold day, Shingo and Sakuno see Airi and Sana staring intensely at the notice board. Actually the Nuko Club posters are gone. Then with word from Hayata, Shingo rushes to the incinerator and puts his hand in (OMG?! WTF?!) to save the posters. DON’T TRY THIS STUNT!!! So how many did he save? Just two. And it earned him a bandaged hand. Was it worth it? Well, maybe. They learn the club will be disbanded if they don’t enough the minimum required members. They need six people and an advisor and the deadline is tomorrow. Angie and Sakuno take a look at the poster (see, even they can recognize that bad drawing as Pannya) and decide to join the club because the picture shows their feelings. They need one more. Just one more… Anybody… One more only… I think Pannya is trying to pinpoint Airi because it starts ‘harassing’ her! Of course since she doesn’t get along well with animals, Shingo couldn’t ask her and with Hayata swamped with student council work, it’s impossible. But he’ll try to bring up the poster incident during his meeting. Shingo and the girls start drawing new posters and put them all up over school. That night when it is raining heavily, Shingo and Airi forgot their umbrellas so they rush back to her home. Not wanting him to catch a cold, she insists he takes a bath first or else she wouldn’t let him go home! And she will only head in after in. Seeing they’re arguing on that, they start sneezing. I’ve got an idea. Why not go in together!!! Oh well, Shingo heads in first and suddenly the lights went out. Is it a blackout? Actually, Airi off the lights because she’s coming in too!!! Oh sh*t! Can’t see anything… With their backs facing each other, she wonders why he never invited her to join. Isn’t it obvious? She can’t handle animals well so it won’t be a good idea. For the record, nothing ‘happening’ happened in the cramped bathtub. But surprise, surprise. The next day, Airi says she is joining the Nuko Club.

Episode 7
Nuko Club has the required numbers to be officially recognized and Machi is their advisor. Ranka is surprised that even Airi who dislikes animals joined. Just what magic did they do to convince her? Well, let’s just say it is one boy… The club members attend to the wounded animals and Miu surprises Shingo by asking him to go shopping with her tomorrow. Can’t turn her down, can’t he? But why is Sana there too? She’s on a date with Miu? She doesn’t believe Miu invited him till she heard it from her mouth. Now do you believe it? Since Nuko Club is official, they are going to shop for equipments. Attempts by Sana to tell Miu to stay away from that garbage guy went futile. It’s like she ignored her and continued talking friendly with him. Then when Sana gives her a can drink, Miu drinks half and gives the rest to Shingo. But is she okay with that indirect kiss? Well, she doesn’t mind if it’s him but won’t do it to other boys. Well, that settles it. Sana couldn’t take it anymore and runs away. Miu wonders if it was something she said. Yeah, well… Don’t worry. Shingo doesn’t think it is her fault. It’s his. Like always. The Nuko Club members go on an outing to release a squirrel back into the wild. Sana got too emotional and cried! Need a handkerchief? Shingo and Sana are walking together as the latter mentions she still doesn’t recognize him as a club member. How to get him recognize then? Be a girl! Okay, here’s another plausible one: Show her the strength to make her recognize him. Next morning in the club room, it’s like everyone else purposely leaves to let Shingo and Sana be alone together. Sana helps put a plaster over Shingo’s shoulder because he slept in a wrong position. Shingo meets up with Hayata and he is shocked to hear from him that rumours are rife that he and Sana are going out. Well, he heard it from Sakuno. Uhm, she heard from Airi. Ah, but she heard it from Angie. She was the one who spread it around. WHAT?! It’s a maid’s job to further her master’s love? Oh, but she heard that from Miu. So Miu explains she didn’t really mean to cause the misunderstanding but thought since she dislikes men, Shingo would be the best person to talk too. Well, she was talking to him, right? Some not-so-nice-words thrown in of course. Then when Sana comes by to return his handkerchief, I guess this only confirms their suspicions. Shingo talks to Sana at the park and she allows him to call her by her first name. Without honorifics. She will do the same for him. Then he clarifies about the misunderstanding that they’re going out. I’m not sure if she’s happy or sad but she reasserts she has no interest in boys. She thinks he likes Miu even if they don’t match. I can’t tell if she’s happy or sad with that statement. Is she turning tsundere? But definitely Airi is worried because she spots them together. Next day in the club room, Shingo talks to Miu about Sana and how Miu works hard to keep care for this club. Shingo thought it would be lonely if all the animals are gone, returned to their natural habitat when Miu falls asleep on his shoulder.

Episode 8
There are a couple of abandoned kittens in Nuko Club. Because of their club only nurses lost and injured animals, they need to find a home for them. Everyone has their own circumstances that make them unable to take them home. Sana thinks she’s the only one left who can take it home but Miu disagrees and wants everyone to find them a home. Unfortunately there are no takers as well. Shingo comes into the club room to see Miu watching Pannya feeding the kittens (it seemed like a funny scene). Miu thought she should breast feed them and this startles Shingo. Suddenly the door slams open and Sana thought something perverted had come through his mind and kicks his face! Miu notices how good they are getting along with each other. You call that good? Shingo and Sana talk out the misunderstanding at the park. Sana feels she’ll take care of them if no home is found. Shingo remembers Miu’s scarred fingers so this prompts Sana to tell him on the day she first met her. Despite Pannya biting Miu’s fingers (because it was not used to humans then), Miu never gave up till Pannya became friendly with her. Does it hurt? As long as it’s calmed down, she doesn’t mind the pain. That’s when Sana started admiring her. As long as others are happy, Miu doesn’t mind suffering. That’s why Sana joined Nuko Club. She wants Shingo to admit he joined the club because of Miu. But worded it in another way I guess. It’s more of he respected her and wanted to help out. What about feelings of love or hate? Well, he doesn’t know about that. Seriously? He adds whenever he is with her, he feels relaxed. So what about Sana? I suppose he isn’t lying when he says she would be a great friend if he were a girl. Sana wants him to prove that he can become her first male friend (maybe he already did, just that she’s being tsundere). Next morning when Shingo enters Nuko Club, he is surprised to learn Miu had overstayed in the club room just to look after the kittens. He advises her not to push herself and he wants to help out too. She thanks him. Later when Sana talks to Miu, she asks her opinion of Shingo. Whenever she is with him, she feels relaxed. Hey. Doesn’t that sound awfully familiar? Yeah, probably the two think alike. Probably they… Oh, better not jump the gun. Another extraordinary thing happened. As everyone was trying to give names to the kitten, guess which name it responded to? Shingo. How about the other one? Make a good guess. Did you guess it was Miu? I’m sure this can be interpreted in lots of ways. But fun time is over as they are being called by Ranka. She really needs them to find a home for the kittens or it would be a bother for the school. Sana has drawn up posters for it but Miu thinks she will watch over them as her responsibility as club president. Shingo hopes she won’t overdo things and to rest because if she gets sick, it won’t do anybody any good. Again she thanks him. See that concern look on Sana and Airi’s face when they see them both talking? When it’s Sana’s turn to take watch, she tries to make the kitten respond to her name! Not working. She thought Shingo had overheard her (luckily he didn’t) and flusters. Shingo thought Miu had gone home and rest but is shocked to hear she got an emergency call from her part time job. Shingo is going to stop her. At first Sana stops him but realizes he is the only one who can do it and lets him go. Sana remembers when Miu asked her what she thought about Shingo. Her reply was someone who could make her happy. So she doesn’t hate him after all, eh? Shingo finds Miu doing her part time job and wants her to go home. But she insists she is fine. Uh… Coughing like that isn’t fine. And then she collapses. Now that is definitely not fine.

Episode 9
Miu is taken back to Shingo’s place to rest and recover. Next morning, Miu is fine and finds Shingo sleeping by the bed side all night long. It’s like watching over the cats, eh? As she leaves for home, Miu gives him her handphone number to let her know if anything crops up. In school, Sana laments her misfortune because Shingo got to nurse Miu instead. Then they go to the club room and are surprised to see Miu there! Isn’t she supposed to be home resting? Well, she couldn’t leave the kittens alone. She promises she’ll be leaving soon. I have a feeling I can’t take her word. Then Machi comes in and relays the good news: A kind soul wants to take the kitten home. Bad news? He can only take one of them. So it is with much heartbreak that they have to separate the duo (does it have any hidden implications on their human counterparts?). Sana asserts she wants to take in this Shingo the cat. I thought Miu forbid her? Well, the boss is away and since nobody opposes, she’ll just do that. On the way home, Miu talks to Shingo the cat like as though she’s in love with him, she’ll show him everything. Shingo just felt bad for himself. Curse yourself for having such identical names. Shingo gets a call from Miu as she invites him to her home. Sana doesn’t look please when she realizes he got her handphone number. Shingo asks Sana about Miu’s home and her family and I guess he must have said something wrong because he got kicked in the gut! While Shingo plays with Miu’s pair of cats, Miu went to bake some cookies while her mom, Yuiko comes in to thank him for what he did by hugging him from the back. How often you can get this kind of treatment from a girl’s mother? On to serious stuff, she wants to see the face of the boy who saved her daughter and that Miu is the kind of person who blames herself for everything. When she was young, the death of her favourite cat traumatized her. Thus she cares for those animals because she feels responsible for what happened. Now on to flirty stuff, Yuiko wonders when they can sleep together and blossom their relationship!!! Imagine what Miu would say if she sees mommy doing this. Oops, too late. And Shingo thought she was Miu’s sister. Buddy, in animes, mothers are ALWAYS young enough to look like your sister or girlfriend. So Shingo and Miu talk about the cats and Nuko Club. Shingo realizes he forgot his handphone and returns to get it. Then he sees a mind blowing scene: Miu running around naked chasing after her mischievous cats! Miu wants to walk him to the park seeing it will be awkward saying goodbye like this. Shingo assures her he didn’t see anything but she felt disappointed that he could be honest that he saw them. Okay, so he did. Now she panics even more. So which is it?! That’s why you can’t really understand women ;p. He has a request from her and wants her to involve him instead of doing everything by herself. She promises to it. Next day, Sana shows a picture of her being lovey-dovey with her cat and teases Shingo about it. They caught Miu doing sit ups (with Pannya?!) in the club room. She thinks she has gained weight but Sana was dense enough not to realize Shingo had seen something, the reason perhaps Miu is doing her exercise. Well, this saves another kick. Then Sana observes how Shingo and Miu help each other out. They’re so friendly that it breaks her heart. Airi spots Sana coming out from the club and wonders if something is wrong because she is crying. Yeah, she knows and understands it’s because of a certain guy.

Episode 10
Nuko Club release a pigeon back into the wild. Because Shingo continues to help Miu, Sana butts in instead. As they walk back, Airi talks to Sana and hopes she could cut that out. Sana dismisses whatever she meant and that she has always been acting like that. When Miu decides to stop over at a cafe, only Sana decides not to join them. So in class, the awkwardness between Sana and Miu is so obvious that even Hayata knows something is wrong, though he can’t pinpoint what happened between them. As the gang clean up the club room, Miu suggests Shingo to help out Sana clean the tank. Then when they return, Machi has some bad news. Seems the owner of Miu the cat has returned her because it was acting somewhat sick (like not eating its food) though the vet couldn’t find anything wrong. Sana relates that her cat too is experiencing something like that. Noticing Miu the cat wandering around the room like as though searching for something, then it hit Sana that it is looking for her other counterpart. Sana thinks of taking in this one too but Miu advises against it. She goes home to bring her cat as she thinks if they’re together, it’ll work out. Airi chases after her and mentions if she is fine living with a couple of kittens whose names are the same as her love rival. But Sana dismisses Miu as her love rival. She is someone whom she admires. And that’s that. Machi reports to Ranka what happened so Ranka thought she could take in the cat. But I guess she started comparing it to guys so there goes her chance. Shingo asks Miu why she opposed Sana adopting cats. She reveals that Sana is allergic to cats. I don’t understand about her symptoms not showing up right away when in the club room but it may be a different case when she’s at home. I thought as long as you’re allergic, your allergies will start kicking in. Shingo understands what Sana is feeling because he too had asthma when he was young and always felt impatient of unable to live freely. He notes them both as kind people who sacrifice themselves for the good of others. Miu lets him know that she plans to release the rabbit to the wild next week. This means Pannya will be the only one left. She tells him the first time she met Pannya was during her first year. It was a weird creature very timid of humans. The next time she met it, she was in her second year. But this time Pannya was weak, cold, afraid and alone. Like a lost animal who lost its mother. She thought of releasing it so it could rejoin its friends and family again. Besides, isn’t this what Nuko Club is about? Shingo felt the sadness in her words and suddenly hugs her. OMG! Is he going to rape her?! Just kidding. He confesses he loves her. She thought he likes Sana but he clears the air it was just a misunderstanding. And since he is okay with a girl like her, this time they mutually hug each other till Pannya interjects for some attention. They realize it is raining loudly but that is because the door wasn’t closed. Hey, I thought it was closed? Oh no. Want to bet somebody has seen it? Want to bet a zillion dollars it was ‘that’ girl? Sana sits alone at the swing, crying alone and thinking back all the fun times she had with Shingo (including the abuses). Airi covers her with an umbrella and realizes this may be big sh*t because Sana’s tears were so heartbreaking to see. She lets her cry her heart out while the losers in love hug each other. “Cry all you want for him today. Then forget about him…” :’(

Episode 11
The gang wonders Sana’s absence from class so Airi covers up for her saying she has flu. Yeah, she’s sick. Love sick perhaps. Shingo and Miu have a little intimate time together in the club room. They start off touching each other’s warm hands. Well, it’s a start. What were you expecting? Miu suggests he come study at her house tomorrow since her mom won’t be in till evening. But surprise, surprise. There mommy is ranting about her dreaming of becoming a teacher and her favourite subject is health and physical education. She wants to teach Shingo about fertilization. Be careful of this kind of mother. She’ll steal your boyfriend if you’re not careful! When Sana returns to class, she talks about her cats who are acting intimate with each other. Sana and Airi give Shingo that stare. He is having a hard time replying so what should be the best solution? Castrate Shingo the cat!!! And yes. Yuiko continues to bug Shingo over ‘physical education’… Can they study in peace?! When Shingo talks to Sana, he realized she knows about them confessing (heck, she saw it). Though it’s annoying, she can’t think of any other suitable guy for Miu. Then she warns him about getting dumped after Miu graduation but he’s being cool and level headed he can’t tell the future. I guess it’s her chance to say if ever that happens, she doesn’t mind being his girlfriend. However he assures her he will not use her as a substitute because that will be rude. Was that the answer she’s looking for? Sana comes back with a nice cover saying it was just a test and would report to Miu if he had caught on. Seeing he has not yet got any Christmas present for Miu, Sana wants to accompany him next weekend to go buy one. It’s their first Christmas and it mustn’t be a disappointing one. Later Sana talks to Airi about asking her to come along to buy presents. She thought it would just hurt her further. Though Sana seems to have better composure this time, she mentions that she still thinks of Shingo. Shingo accompanies Miu home from her job that night. Knowing Yuiko will be a ‘bother’, she wonders if it’s okay to go to his house. What about Sakuno? Don’t worry, she and the other girls will have a sleepover and all-night party at Airi’s place. When Angie mentions about seeing the lights on in Ranka’s office, Airi notes her mom is a workaholic but that is not what Angie is pointing out. She heard the merger has hit rock bottom and in worse scenario case, it will be cancelled. Not wanting to let this get them down, Sana has everyone play in the snow at the park. She asks about being in love and staying single. Well, the girls choose to be the latter because for Sana, with the exception of that guy, she won’t fall in love again. I guess it hurts too much on your first experience, huh? Sana teases Airi that the guy she’ll lose her heart to will be the best boyfriend in the world but she dismisses it and that she’ll definitely never fall in love after all. Even though it is snowing cold outside, it is getting hot and steamier at Shingo’s place. The moment we’ve all been waiting for: Shingo and Miu kiss! Several times! He must be one heck of a good kisser that Miu wants more! Man, I’m so jealous!

Episode 12
There’s always a right place for everything. So when Shingo and Miu got lovey-dovey in the club room, you have to expect that they will be watched by the other members, right? Of course Sana warns him if he makes Miu cry, he is going to pay. Instantly, he embraces Miu!!! Was that a reflex action?! Maybe Sana didn’t mean now so she tears them apart. Later when the other girls thought they see a larger and smaller version of Pannya outside, Sana notes it is Mamanya. Who? Pannya’s supposed mother. Though this means Pannya has a family, however Miu is paralyzed in shock. The gang head to the place Miu first met Pannya. The place was once filled with trees but now it is almost barren. Miu puts a hair accessory with Pannya’s scent on a stump. Then they hide behind a tree and wait for Mamanya and Chibinya (that’s what I call the little one) to appear. True enough, they both turn up and as Mamanya smell the accessory, she gives out a cry that longs for her offspring. The rest are in a dilemma to release Pannya because it has become their club’s mascot. But Miu with a smile decides to release it next weekend. Just like in life, they’ll all graduate and leave and can’t stay this way forever. Back in the club room as Miu happily plays with Pannya, Shingo thinks she may be overdoing it. Maybe she is because she’s hiding her grief through that. Airi remembers hearing from Machi that the merger has been disapproved by the board members. So when she tells her classmates, they are surprised. But they thought Airi was against it in the first place. Wasn’t she? Now she’s got her wish, eh? Airi explains she was against it at first because she was afraid Yuijo would change. However recently there is someone going through hard times and thought she is strong. She too wants to be strong like that for everyone. She feels if they encourage the merger, there may be big changes in their future, both for Yuijo and Kagamidai. So what can they as students do? Hold a student rally. Everyone gets excited and even thinks of bringing other classes and their parents to join.

Back in the club room as Shingo and Miu are alone, Shingo talks to her that the person Airi was referring to was her. But Miu dismisses she is a strong person Airi thought she was. In tears, she reveals she doesn’t want to give Pannya away. Breaking down, she wants to keep him forever. Shingo hugs her and assures he’ll always be by her side. Back home, Miu asks her mom for advice about cats usually dying before humans. Yuiko notes it is a painful experience but has always made memories with them in her heart. They have to move on. Giving an example like how she’ll graduate and move out of this house, it is a sad moment but if you let that sadness take over, you and everyone will end up in pain. What is important is the time you spend with everyone and what they mean to you. Airi sees Ranka about the rally for the merger. Ranka says to leave it to her and notes how the merger has been successful in its own way because her daughter is now more feminine. Yes, she even learnt to say sorry. Something she would never likely hear from her. On the weekend to release Pannya, Shingo wonders if Miu will be alright. She has already gotten over agonizing over Pannya’s departure. The time spent with it is her precious treasure. So before Pannya reunites with its family, everyone assures they won’t forget those times they had with Pannya. They may not be speaking the same language but you can tell they understood each other. And off Pannya goes with Mamanya and Chibinya. During graduation, Sakuno shows them her Yuijo uniform which will be worn next semester. Sana has become Nuko Club’s president when Yutsuki Onomiya comes in to tell them that she and others had spotted a raccoon giving birth behind the PE shed. I guess this means the club will continue to operate, eh? Shingo and Miu spend a lovely time together as she says just as she has made many memories with Pannya, now she wants to make memories with him. So the final narration of what colour should memories be. A colour sparkling like treasure. What about the future? Pure white because whatever colour it is, it hasn’t been coloured yet. Finally Shingo and Miu spot a familiar tail peeping out from behind the growth.

Boring-Coloured Love Story…
Oh well. That’s how it ended? I won’t say it’s a bad ending but I thought it could have ended better. Overall, even though the lack of ecchi fanservice is welcomed, I couldn’t help feel that this series was somewhat boring. I have to admit that there were many times that my attention was in the danger of being diverted to something else away from the screen. One of the few good points of a so called harem series is that the guy eventually picks a girl he wants to end up with and in this point, Miu, though she may be a year older but that is not the issue. The storyline of Airi opposing the merger seemed like the tone of this series but this was quickly done away with once she reveals her secret of why she was acting conceited. I thought this opposing thing was going to last for the entire duration of the series and thus the dozen episodes needed for Shingo to change her mind. Plus, he got off to a bad start in her eyes and accidentally ended up in ambiguous situations. But just a quarter of the way, Airi becomes docile and their friend. Which of course is a good thing. Quickly replacing that I feel is the interaction between Shingo, Sana and Miu. I am not sure if the school merger has worked because Sakuno showing off her school uniform could just mean that she decides to enrol at Yuijo next semester. But if it was so, doesn’t it feel like she’s abandoning her old friends at Kagamidai? I’m sure the siblings have more friends back in their own school, right? To just transfer to the new school to be with their new friends isn’t justified. So I really think that the rally had worked and those board members gave into pressure and some heckling by Ranka to withdraw their stance. After all, it is the students and teachers who want this merger, right? They are the ones going to school and making this a fun place. Not some fat bald old guys sitting on their fat luxury chairs making decisions that don’t really affect them.

The love triangle (or quadruple or more) does not feel intense and so you won’t be seeing the girls turning from best friends into bitter love rivals and slugging it out over a guy. For instance, Airi was just always there and watching. Especially over Sana’s actions. Maybe it is because of her hesitation did Shingo and Miu become a couple? If she had been true to her feelings (provided if she indeed had fallen in love with him at that time), it might have turned out differently. So when she sees other girls interacting friendlier with Shingo, she just gives out that worried look and doesn’t take any further action. Maybe she still has her pride to protect. What will the other girls think if the principal’s daughter suddenly finds herself a boyfriend? She’d be made to eat her words since she was against the merger at first. Now that doesn’t seem important anymore, eh? Sana’s actions were slowly becoming obvious that she is turning into a tsundere. If she truly hated him, any reason would have been good enough for her to beat him up and such. But was Miu the reason why she held back her feelings? Because she respected her so much, she’d be willing to give up on Shingo, therefore the tsundere attitude. It bugs me why she was putting up a facade and being friendly with him when they first met. Maybe it’s because once she finds out he and Miu know each other, there is this threat that her best friend will be taken away, thus the hostility. Either way, Shingo doesn’t realize Airi or Sana has feelings for him and the potential of this becoming a harem is like hoping the day pigs fly. Angie the happy-happy maid likes Shingo just on a master-servant basis while the expressionless Sakuno is well, naturally his sister. So does it feel like a harem here or just best friends in a club hanging out together?

Speaking of Airi, there is this special OVA that lasts around 15 minutes called Another Story “A Girlfriend’s Colour In Airi”. My big guess is that this dating simulation-like video is made for fans of Airi since she wasn’t chosen in the TV series. However we’ll be only seeing and hearing Airi’s voice as she interacts (the right word here is ‘talk’) with us viewers who are supposed to be her lover. We have no say in the dialogue. Isn’t that what real life is when a boy and a girl talks? Haha! The animation here is computer generated and this sometimes make Airi move like a robot. And at certain viewpoints, she really does look odd. Anyway if you love 2D girls saying how much they love you and all that or want to know what’s it like, this is a good chance for you. So basically we see Airi being shy-shy, embarrassed in become a couple. You know, the things couple should do like hold hands and kissing. Kissing? That’s to be expected right? Don’t so shy-shy. You’ll get used to it. In addition to just a shot of Airi’s face and upper body, I guess once a scenario ends, we can see Airi ‘hug’ us. Yes, that guy is supposed to be us. Then change of scenery of a date at the park. Expect the same kind of dialogue before it ends with that same hugging picture. Now Airi changes into her PE clothes and the drama and her emotions sort of intensify because she wants to us to be more than just classmates. With her status it’s going to be hard. Just give her a hug! So who says 2D girls aren’t easy to understand or ‘conquer’? And to assure all that, we get to see a close-up on Airi’s cute face (I thought at this point she looked a lot like Kodomo No Jikan’s Rin) and if you’re convinced or desperate enough, you might actually kiss the monitor! Note, I did not! Yeah well. Like she said, she probably would want to get to know us even better after school. What do you think she means and wants?

Pannya is one of those few things in this series that amuses me. What is that creature actually? Well, it looks like a cat and I thought it was that cat from Lucky Star. It is so round and its stubby legs so short, it is hard not to feel cute and go “awww…” deep down inside your heart. I guess with it being the first patient of Nuko Club and the last to leave (at least when the series ended), it feels like its whatever injury to its tail seems like a long time to recover. Like they say, it has become Nuko Club’s mascot. Who wouldn’t make such a cute creature its mascot? For example that scene whereby Pannya was nursing the abandoned kittens, all it did was just lie flat on its back and it looked like something round turned upside down! Get what I mean? Funnily cute, I’d say. For a creature that is very timid of humans’ presence, ironically Pannya has grown fonder to be with them especially Miu. It’s good that it isn’t afraid at the sight of just any humans but like all animal instincts, it too yearns for its family. Actually I never see that yearning in Pannya till the end. Maybe it thought its family are long gone and the only one left? The other amusing person is Yuiko. Not only she looks young, but is flirty. Maybe this isn’t like her but Shingo is an exception case. Yes, that guy is always an exception for the girls. There’s something special in him that makes him different. I bet it’s his kindness. So for Yuiko to even get physical with Shingo, it pretty tells you much about this mom. Maybe this is what keeps her young. Maybe that is why Miu never brought a boy home apart from her school being all girls only.

As for the fanservice, as I have mentioned it isn’t something you should look forward to when watching this show and if there are any, they are relatively kept to a very minimum. The bath scene whereby Sakuno willingly goes in to bath with her brother or Angie getting herself all wet wouldn’t constitute to anything stimulating. Really. Please don’t think I’m such a veteran expert in this area, okay? I guess the ‘biggest’ fanservice scene would be the one whereby Miu streaked out of the toilet in her home naked. I was wondering why the heck there was such a bright light coming out of the room. Were they turning on all the lights? Was there some sort of bright lights party? And when Miu ran across the scene, I instantly knew it was that damn bloody censor. I hope this isn’t the reason why Shingo decided to become Miu’s girlfriend! Hope not!

The voice acting casts include Takahiro Mizushima as Shingo (Nagasumi in Seto No Hanayome, Christopher in Scrapped Princess), Ryoko Ono as Airi (Mirajane in Fairy Tail, Hiyoko in Oretachi Ni Tsubasa Wa Nai), Noriko Rikimaru as Miu (Nori in Rozen Maiden, Kukuri in 11eyes), Mayumi Yoshida as Sana (Himeji in Himawari, Asuka in Oretachi Ni Tsubasa Wa Nai), Oma Ichimura as Angie (Ibuki in Happiness, Aya in Super GALS), Mai Goto as Sakuno (Mika in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu, Ritos in Shukufuku No Campanella), Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Hayata (Yuuji in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu), Harumi Sakurai doubling as Ranka and Pannya (Hayami in H2O ~Footprints In The Sand, Yuri in Angel Beats) and Michiru Yuimoto as Yuiko (Jun in Happiness). At first I was wondering why Kei Mizusawa (Clarissa in Infinite Stratos) who was the voice of Machi had some other anime roles listed under the alias of Rino Kawashima. Apparently all the roles she voiced in the latter alias turned out to be hentai animes… I’m sure the misconception of using your real name for this kind of genre, eh? The opening theme, Authentic Symphony by Choucho sounds like a typical anime pop for this kind of series while the ending theme, Suisai Candy by Marble feels like another one of their trademark pop style like the ending song for Hatsukoi Limited, Ryuusei Record in Hidamari Sketch x 365 and Kimikiss Pure Rouge’s Aozora Loop.

I guess the underlying theme of this anime is about treasuring the precious times you spend with your friends and loved ones. As we know time moves forward and it will be impossible to get it back once it is lost. It is best to have every memory as a happy and memorable one that will last a lifetime. However there are times we feel sad and down and it is important not to let that overshadow and affect us to a point we can’t move forward. Just like in this ever changing world, nothing stays the same forever and the only thing that never changes is change itself. We may be afraid to face something new or change out from our comfort zone because we do not fully understand the implications. Some things need time to nurture and flourish and as far as this anime is concerned, that is what making new friends is all about. If you have to put a colour on everything that goes on in this world, I’m sure this world would be a very, very, very colourful place indeed. That is why every day is a very interesting and vibrant adventure. If the colour of pure love is white, what do you think the colour of hentai otakus should be? White. Because they reek of semen… Oh God. Lack of fanservice in this anime and here comes the dirty jokes… My face is dyed in red for saying that.