Mayoi Neko Overrun

December 11, 2011

If you ever see a stray cat on the roadside inside a pitiful cardboard box with a sign saying “Please adopt me”, will you take it home? If it’s not a cat, how about a cat girl then? Say what? Maybe if you’re an otaku and have a fetish for girls with cat ears, cat tails and cat paws, yeah, maybe. But that’s not how it happened in Mayoi Neko Overrun. So what does this show have got to do with stray cats by the way? Well, even if you read the title, ‘mayoi neko’ already means stray cats. Haha. Just horsing around. Why isn’t there catting around? Well, cats don’t joke around I suppose and when you use cats in idioms are when there is intense rivalry and arguing between 2 girls. You’re going to see lots of that here. Yeah, you might have guessed this is somewhat a romantic comedy harem.

Takumi Tsuzuki is an orphan but was adopted by his non-blood related busty sister, Otome and currently lives in a home-cum-bakery called Stray Cats. He once lived in an orphanage along with childhood friend, Fumino Serizawa. Now, this Fumino girl isn’t your honest-to-her-feelings kind of girl. She’s always saying the opposite of what she really wants. For example, if she says she doesn’t want ice cream, she actually really wants them. When she says right, then it’s left. Takumi has known her long enough to know this attitude of hers. Though he terms her as not honest, I have a better term for it. To be exact, she’s totally tsundere. More tsun that anything. So you can’t blame men for sometimes getting confused of what women want. Oops. Did I mention that Fumino’s favourite phrase and quote of the series is “Go die twice!”? At times maybe a thousand or a million. She’s worse than Jigoku Shoujo’s Enma Ai because in the latter’s case, she only tells you to die once. Haha. You get this feeling that Fumino likes Takumi but being the tsundere she is, she can’t help deny anything and let that poor guy have a taste of her kick.

Episode 1
Like in the first episode. Takumi woke up from a dream. A dream of the past whereby young Fumino was bullied by other kids just because she fed a stray cat. Kids can be cruel sometimes. They associated Fumino and the stray cat the same because they’re both abandoned. Takumi consoled her despite denying that she’s crying (though it’s obvious she’s crying out very loud). And when Takumi wakes up, he saw her striped panties. You can guess what happens next. The opener also introduces other characters like the otaku 2D-lover Ieyasu Kikuchi, old fashioned Daigorou Kouya and the bratty Chise Umenomori, a rich girl who turns out to be the granddaughter of the school’s founder. Yeah, she even treats her school like her own house! Don’t mind changing in class, eh? With changing curtains of course! She’s so high and might that she has 2 maids, Satou and Suzuki following her everywhere she goes. You have got to love her maids because they don’t tell lies and have a nice way of wording the truth to Chise. Chise loves ordering people around and you can guess that her target is always Takumi. However Fumino doesn’t really see eye to eye with Chise so you can guess many of the nit-picking and quarrelling are from. We also learn that Otome has a penchant of helping just about anything or anyone in trouble. When there’s a little problem in a remote part of the world, she goes all out to help. Thus leaving behind the bakery for days or weeks. No wonder it never does well. Not to say her baking skills are top-notched but the only reason why they even survived this far is because of Otome. Yeah, people grateful to her or just becoming patrons to see her large melons. And yes, Stray Cats is filled with lots of cute (or weird looking, depend how you look at it), erm, stray cats that she picked up during… Who knows when.

After school, Takumi and his pals are disheartened to see that a cake that was reserved by a customer has been eaten. Elsewhere, Fumino saves a kid who thinks he is being stalked but it turns out to be Ieyasu. By the way, he’s not the stalker. At Stray Cats, the rest thinks this kid has eaten the cake but he denies and tells them he saw a cat ate their cake instead. A big cat. Like the size of Fumino. He’s not joking, right? Fumino believes him but Ieyasu doesn’t because of his otaku beliefs. Fumino throws down the challenge that she’ll find it and settle this case. In exchange, they’ll all die twice! Is that last bit necessary? If not, she has to show her striped panties. Okay, only a pervert like Ieyasu can think of something like that. Takumi and Daigorou continue to remake the cake while Fumino and the kid go out looking for the large cat. Chise and her maids pop by like busybodies to help out. Because they’re out of ingredients, Chise accompanies Takumi out to town to get some. Along the way, they caught glimpse of a person that looks like a cat. Fumino, Chise and Ieyasu chase after it but she was too fast and agile. She escaped when they had to save Chise’s little chick from being road kill by a lorry. Takumi and Daigorou find the kid crying in the streets because he’s alone and he didn’t know what to do after the big cat appeared. Late into the night, Fumino continues to search for the big cat despite Chise offering her services from her maids and personnel to do a wide search. To Fumino, she understood the kid’s feelings to not have anyone believe in him. Flashback reveals it was Takumi who gave Fumino that die twice phrase if anyone bullied her. She should just give them a taste of their own medicine and he vowed to protect her. So they didn’t manage to find the cat. The kid is reunited with his dad and they manage to deliver the cake by dawn. Who the heck eats cake in the morning? Then Otome returns. She brings back another pitiful abandoned cat. Hey, isn’t that the large cat they’re chasing the night before? Everyone, meet Nozomi Kiriya. She was so cute that Otome just had to pick her up. Uh?

Episode 2
So Nozomi starts living with them. She’s rather like an airhead, not the slightest embarrassment when she’s naked in front of the guys. I wonder if she really has cat ears. Or maybe her lump of hair just resembles like a cat. Plus, she likes to say “Nyaa~”. Since Ieyasu is bombarding her with lots of questions, Nozomi says if she is a nuisance, she will leave. But Fumino disagrees. To cut her long-winded speech, what she means is that she is worried about her and doesn’t want her to go. Next day, Nozomi is thought how to bake and it seems she’s doing an extremely good job, much to everyone’s delight. Better than Otome. So at least Stray Cats have a saviour. Nozomi is also the new transfer student in Takumi’s class thanks to Chise’s power. Now Nozomi is in her debt and her henchmen. So that’s her scheme? She gets more than she bargained for when Nozomi pats her head like a kid. She gets so shock with that nice feeling that it renders her ‘paralyzed’. Wow. They call it the Hand of God! After the guys have their field day of watching the ‘beauties’ of Fumino, Nozomi and flat chest Chise in their swimsuits, Chise summons Takumi and his gang to her base on the rooftop. She wants to form a circle with them. Plus, today’s gathering is to decide what their circle is going to do. However they’re not too interested since they’re busy after school. Yeah, they ignore her and leave. That night, a storm starts brewing. Tsundere Fumino didn’t want to stay with Takumi (though we know she really wanted to) so Takumi accompanies her back to her home. Takumi’s mind starts to get wild whenever Nozomi is close to him but it’s a sign that he’s a healthy young male rather than a pervert. Thankfully, nothing happens because Nozomi was just cool all the way. Then in the middle of the night, Takumi gets a call from Fumino. She’s right outside Stray Cats. What? Back again?

Episode 3
Before Fumino came knocking on Stray Cats’ door, we see Takumi and Nozomi both unable to sleep talk about family, his past, Fumino’s tsundere and some mystery bits about Nozomi like she never had friends like that and she doesn’t know who her parents or where she lives. Their conversation is interrupted when Fumino came by. She forgot some little accessory? Sounds like an excuse because as she takes a shower, the power goes out and poor Takumi has to bear the brunt of her die twice trademark whacks whether it’s accidentally seeing her naked (it’s dark by the way so how?) or telling a ghost story. With the storm getting heavier, Fumino has to sleep here for the night. Guess their sleeping arrangements? Takumi in the middle and the girls by his side. Man, he’s going to get a sleepless night. Fumino gets afraid of the lightning and holds on to Takumi’s hands tight. Though she says it’s for revenge for seeing her naked. I don’t see the connection. Nozomi too holds on to his hand. Bright and sunny morning comes but there’s already trouble. Takumi wakes up to find Nozomi missing. He and his pals go all out to find her. Yeah, Chise even employed her helicopter! Takumi feels it’s his fault because he tried to pry into Nozomi’s past (initially everyone agreed not to talk about it until Nozomi tells them herself). But Fumino says it’s her fault since Nozomi found out that she wanted her to leave. Well, oddly, Fumino didn’t really say that. Do you understand this girl? Not even years of experience could Takumi decipher what the heck that means. It all becomes clear when Fumino sums up her courage to say that Nozomi realized that Fumino likes Takumi. She really does. And hates him too. And love him. And hate him. And love him. Oh, make up your mind! No time for that because they’ve received word that Nozomi has been spotted. They rush to her sitting in some abandoned area. Takumi wants her to come back with them but Nozomi feels she would be annoying. Takumi continues to tell about his past how he used to live in an orphanage run by a church till it closed down. That’s when Otome adopted him and he was the first human she picked up. At first he had no name and was named Tatami due to the mat he was found with. But for convenience of writing, it evolved to Takumi with fewer writing strokes. The point is, after all the trampling he’s experienced, he turned out stronger. At one point he too thought he was a burden after his parents died in a crash and thought of making it on his own but couldn’t. He was found by Otome and instead of sending him back to the church, she took him back to her bakery and was treated to a nice cake. Nice at first but when you have too much of something… So the bottom line is, it’s okay to be a burden sometimes. Because there’ll be people who’ll support them. He wants Nozomi to stay with them and hugs her. I guess she can’t say no now, eh? Besides, if she goes missing again, it’ll be another big problem looking for her.

Episode 4
What? A hotspring episode with fanservice already? That’s what this episode is all about. All thanks to Chise’s super financial whatever that the gang is able to enjoy such luxurious facilities. As usual, Ieyasu tries to peep on the girls but steps on a trap that sends all the guys flying away into the sky. And landing somewhere in the middle of the nowhere mountain. Naked. We’re here to see beautiful girls naked not 3 loser guys! Oops. Don’t worry, we’ll have our fair share of fanservice too. While the girls are having the nicest time of their lives with ultimate body massage (ooh, feels good), sumptuous meal (yummy), a ping pong showdown (what is it with the slow-mo effects?), the guys are lost and trying to find their way back and Takumi got separated from the rest. It starts raining but Takumi is picked up by Kaho Chikumaen (supposedly an acquaintance of Chise) as they dry their clothes in a small hut in the woods. When a guy and girl are alone together in a small place, that’s got to be inevitable, right? So Takumi thinks. At times like this, body warmth is essential for survival. So maybe Takumi is rather surprised that Kaho is going along with this but the hilarious part is Daigorou doing the same to Ieyasu! So gay!!! Let’s hope nobody ever knows about this! Meanwhile the girls are doing rock climbing up to some scenic hotspring (WTF?!). Chise receives a message from Satou and she looks sad after hearing it. Takumi and Kaho continue their skinship and talk about their friends till the rain subside. Kaho has her dress but I guess Takumi has to walk around in only leafs. Call it perfect timing because Kaho-Kaho and Daigorou-Ieyasu rich the top of their trek to see Chise and co naked at the summit hotspring. Do you think dying twice is enough? On the way back, Takumi asks Chise about Kaho. He was told this entire area belongs to her and it is weird that she got lost since she use to frequent this place when she was young. Though she thinks her hidden SPs were protecting her. Takumi gets into more trouble when he laments all the trouble he went through with Kaho so Fumino didn’t like the ambiguous things they did. Meanwhile Chise reflects Satou’s message that her parents were busy and couldn’t make it under any circumstances to meet her pals. She’s rather sad because it was part of her plan to have them meet her parents. But she throws away her gloomy mood and discusses the activities they should be doing for their circle. So when did everyone became part of her circle? Meanwhile we see hordes of SPs behind Kaho as she watches Chise’s helicopter fly away. Who is this girl anyway?

Episode 5
Stray Cats are doing slightly better. But they seem to be forgetting something. It’s Chise’s circle meeting! Yeah, nobody turned up. Even if they all eventually did, the agenda on the meeting was to find a name for their circle. All lame. Even if Chise is getting passionate about it. But the rest have important things to attend to and leave the meeting. Poor Chise. Do they find her that annoying? Well… Chise continues to be gloomy so surprisingly Kaho picks her up and they talk about Takumi, the unprofitable Stray Cats and her failed circle. Kaho has a suggestion. Stray Cats is having no customers after a busy week. To their horror, Chise has opened her own patisserie right opposite Stray Cats! She’s raking in the customers! It’s part of her plan to crush Stray Cats and once that place is closed, she’ll hire them and pay them higher with bonus and other ridiculous perks. However Takumi feels that this isn’t about the rewards and declines her offer. Man, for anybody else, they would’ve jumped at that offer. Because of that, Stray Cats’ sales plummet to a point it can’t go any lower. Can it? It went off the charts! I don’t think the floor is enough, though. Chise has a flashback why she’s quite infatuated with Takumi. On her first day at school, everyone ‘feared’ her because she’s the daughter of the Umenomori family. When she tripped, nobody dared to help her up except Takumi who was oblivious of whom she was. The rest is history. Stray Cats is facing the possibility of closing down. But do not fear. Otome is back! To help increase Stray Cats’ publicity, she suggests entering a local swimming competition. I guess Otome can’t participate because each time she wears her bikini, it somehow just comes off. That’s more distraction than needed. I guess Fumino will have to represent their store then. So when Chise finds out about this, is she going to stay quiet? Not if you’re a kiasu. And when Fumino and Chise meet, you can expect a full-out argument.

But this time it’s different. Chise lets her know that all she wants is to hang out with Takumi and co. She even made the rooftop base and patisserie for them and thought if Stray Cats disappeared, everyone would have, more free time. Even Kaho agreed to this plan of hers. Of course Takumi has overheard all of this and went over to Kaho. He went down on his knees and begs her not to aid Chise in making any more mistakes. Though he knows they have no intentions, Stray Cats is important to them because it’s where all their memories lie. He laments he didn’t realize Chise’s trouble soon enough. However Kaho says back is he implying his impudent words that she doesn’t know her friend as much as he does and is he able to give what Chise desires. His answer? He may not understand the rich, but he understands Chise’s feelings because she is one of them. Chise who was eavesdropping heard his feelings from the heart that her face really contorted when she cried. Kaho agrees to step down. Chise still continues to enter the competition but this time to give Stray Cats some publicity. She is trying to find the swimsuit Kaho left her but she is dismayed when she finds it. Seems to be a school swimsuit. Yeah, she won. Then at Stray Cats, Chise makes it their second base and calls their circle, Stray Cats Association. Lastly, we see a group of people in despair because they’ve put everything they’ve got into supporting Chise’s patisserie and moved against Stray Cats but all their actions were nought. I don’t know how they have got to do with all these but Otome barges in to punish all those ‘bad children’.

Episode 6
Stray Cats Association now discusses their plans. Because they’re unable to come up with anything agreeable, they take opinions from others. But the feedback they receive shows that they are not popular. To the outsider, what the heck is Stray Cats Association. So in order to make their appeal worldwide, Ieyasu suggests doing a video and posting it on a popular video sharing site. So their first activity is to do a video promo and to complete it in 2 weeks! Can they? Because Ieyasu has some ‘knowledge’ in this area, he appoints himself as the director. Takumi the assistant director, Daigorou the camera man, Nozomi will do script writing, music by Fumino and Chise. They have to come up with the lyrics tomorrow or else Ieyasu can’t decide on the movie’s image! Oh, now he’s starting to be a dictator. But putting Fumino and Chise together is a big mistake because of their constant arguing. Even before taking off, it’s like breaking up. Now to go onsite for filming. One of the locations is Tokyo’s Akihabara. Because there is a towering building right smack in front of the scene Ieyasu wants shot, he wants Chise to remove it quickly! Besides that building belongs to her family! Chise has to comply with his wishes or else she’ll not live up to her name and expectations that she can do anything and bombs the expensive building!!! OMG! After years and toiling to build it, it’s gone in a flash! And all just for 1 crappy short scene whereby the girls do some weird pose. And some explosion in the background too? Why don’t they use CGI to edit it? For realism. WTF?! Even with Ieyasu’s fear of airplanes, the gang fly overseas to take shots in exotic locations like the world’s largest water basin, the pyramids in Egypt and Machu Picchu. Each time, everyone had to do more unnecessary work like painting all the leaves or making it snow just for that 1 crappy shot which is all the same (the girls’ pose). Makes you think doing it via CGI is much cheaper. Each time, they see Otome helping out with the locals. Each time, tired Takumi starts seeing mythical creatures like half-fish man and UFO and starts freaking out since nobody believes him. Takumi is so tired that he is starting to lose himself and has no time to study for his exams. Then at the Himalayas, they’re supposed to shoot at the highest point. But after doing so, a storm quickly forms, trapping Takumi, Fumino, Chise and Nozomi. And Daigorou’s emergency kit didn’t help much: A book on how not to get stranded on a mountain. Too late. At this point, Takumi feels sleepy. No! You can’t fall asleep! Takumi wants them to finish the video and be on good terms as his final wish. Just when he thought angels are about to pick him up and calling Otome’s name, speaking of the devil, Otome pops up! She’s here helping to clean up trash on the mountain. Hey, there is not one, not two, but a whole bunch of yetis with her! They exist! When the weather gets better, they are lifted off the mountain. They head back and put in all the editing effort and finishing touches before uploading it. All I can say is, there are some unrelated scenes (a war zone?), the girls’ poses are for fanservice purpose (the camera was aimed at their panties) and even with the multiple exotic locations, it came and went so fast that you won’t even give a damn where they went. And at the end of it, a big name of Ieyasu as director. So all the hardships they went through… I think dying twice won’t be enough for this jerk. And bad enough, Takumi failed half of his exams. So did Stray Cats get the worldwide appeal? I have a feeling it turned into a laughing stock.

Episode 7
What the heck?! What the heck?! WHAT THE HECK IS THIS EPISODE?! Suddenly it turns into some mecha sentai thingy with its own opening theme. Well, the characters do look slightly better and have different names. Like Fumino = Sayaka, Chise = Chizuru, Nozomi = Shinobu, Kaho = Hazuki, Otome = Professor. So we have this Grand Braver robot episode with Hazuki betraying our pals do attain revenge for her Machine Empire. Then she herself got betrayed by her own dad, Machine Marquis as he plans to destroy Earth by merging the powers of Sayaka, Chizuru and Shinobu. He starts fusing with the ground and absorbs all the energy from around the world. The Grand Braver trio charge into Marquis attempting to find the girls while Hazuki gets beaten up. She is paralyzed from all the guilt trip when the Grand Braver trio emerge from Marquis with the girls safe in their hands. The typical battle that sees them combining and forming powerful weapons to take on the baddie but he too has some ace up his sleeve. Grand Braver takes a beating and they could’ve been goners if Hazuki didn’t snap out from her spell and help them out with her Light of Resonance. Another round of merging into a more powerful, more super-duper, even cooler robot. Okay, maybe just add on a little accessory here and there. But heck, he sounds too cool to be dismissed. Ultimately Grand Braver fires his sword beam that Marquis can’t even absorb and destroys him for good. All’s well, ends well as Hazuki being the loner leaves the party. But Earth is not safe yet because the Machine Emperor and his henchmen (robots, rather) are planning to bring Earth to their knees and that Marquis dude was just a weakling. And if you thought those Grand Bravers were Takumi and the guys, well, we’ve never seen their faces throughout the episode so you can’t just bet on their voices, right? Turns out that they are the Machine Emperor… So Grand Braver just another person?

Episode 8
Back to the story proper but this feels like another filler. Yeah, all the gang are participating in the First Super Blocks Championship sponsored by Chise. At first I thought it was going to be some Saki rip-off but this isn’t going to be a mahjong game. If you’re familiar with the Jenga game, you’ll know that you’re supposed to remove and stack blocks and if the entire blocks fall on your turn, you lose. To up the ante, there are orders on the blocks in which the player must obey if they pull that block out. Failing to do so or losing, they’ll fall down a dark pit. So the last one standing wins. That’s the only way out or the dark pit seeing this room is completely sealed off. Isn’t that imprisonment? As the game progresses, we see everyone doing funny and embarrassing stuff except for Chise. Seems she is in cohorts with Ieyasu and the place is filled with hidden cameras. Behind it all, her maids are closely watching and calculating which blocks are safe for her to pick. Yeah, cheating alright. First one out is Daigorou followed by Otome (because her boobs knocked down the blocks). However it seems Nozomi can decipher the hand signals Ieyasu send to Chise. They fear that their secret is out but it seems she has no intention of ratting them out. Then on a calculated move whereby it would be either Ieyasu or Chise who will go out next and they think Nozomi calculated is. Ieyasu is in a dilemma because if Chise loses, the deal for him to meet and date some super star is off. But he becomes selfish and saves himself. At this point, Kaho decides to forfeit herself, thus saving Chise. Oh Ieyasu, it’s hard to take back those words now, eh? Too bad, he was next to go out. Then on a turn, Chise takes a block with an embarrassing order. Seems Kaho has hijacked the maids when she suspected something amiss. She assures Chise’s safety though she’ll have to go through some embarrassing commands.

As the game progresses, flashback reveals that Chise wanted to invite a certain number of people to test out her new game and the winner can ask for anything he/she wanted. Nobody was interested. Takumi who was fixing the mixer notes that it is gone and it will cost a lot to replace or fix it. Fumino participates so that she could win and get the mixer. Of course Chise’s intention is to get on Takumi’s good side and even get engaged with him. After a few more embarrassing turns, Fumino picks out a block which needs her to kiss a member of the opposite sex. And Takumi is the only guy left. She’s in a dilemma to pick it. We know she wants to but is just too tsundere. But she can’t let Nozomi or Chise do it because they won’t hesitate. So what to do? What to do?! Worse, Takumi did mention if she doesn’t want to pick it, he’ll do it instead! Now, if he does that, which girl will he pick? Ah, the dilemma one can face in a small game. No choice, she takes it out so this alerts Chise (because she was pretty confident she didn’t have the guts to do it) so she and Nozomi (probably she was just copying) stretch out their arms to prevent her from taking it and this results the blocks to crumble. Thus, Takumi is the winner. So the prize that he wanted is a Stray Cats uniform not only for Chise, but Fumino and Nozomi. Well, he didn’t want the mixer replaced since the old one was kinda hard to let go. Otome notes that once the game is released into the market, they should all play together here. Takumi agrees with her so Fumino isn’t happy with that (probably it reminded of the trauma she went through) and sends him dying twice. Metaphorically of course.

Episode 9
Noticing that Nozomi is noting how fun a trip to the beach would be, Otome announces a relaxation trip for Stray Cats. So yeah, your beach episode with swimsuit fanservice. Be careful when Otome puts on her bikini because… What else is there to do at the beach? Play water or swim. Check. Watermelon splitting. Check. Beach volleyball. Check. Well, at least Nozomi is quite happy. That evening as Takumi and Fumino stroll together at the beach, he has to put up with her cry wolf antics again. He decides to rent a boat. I guess he rowed too far out when it suddenly starts pouring. Thankfully they manage to row back to shore and take shelter in a hut. Doesn’t this feel like deja vu? Don’t fret, they’re not going to take off their clothes. However Fumino realizes that Takumi didn’t pull the boat onto shore deep enough as it gets swept out to sea. You’re not going to ask him to get it back in this weather, right? Good. So back to the hut. More of Fumino’s tsundere. She is bothered that Takumi was gawking at Nozomi’s swimsuit and thinks he thought of something perverted. However he assures and promises her that he will not have any dirty thoughts if he spends a night or two with her. Guess what? She didn’t like that answer too and slapped him! Boy, she’s sure hard to understand. Poor Takumi is left wondering what he said to make her cry. Meanwhile the rest are worried that the duo haven’t return from their stroll. They receive word that they are the only ones yet to return the rented boat. Gasp. Chise uses her powers to contact all the coast guard and helicopters to do an all-out search. The rain is gone. Takumi lies outside and watches the stars. Fumino joins him though she’s just giving an excuse she’s just talking to herself. You can do that anywhere and not necessary with him, right? He asks what did she wish back then and did it come true. Well apparently it did not so she keeps blaming him that it’s his fault. She starts chiding him why won’t he understand or realize it. I can understand why he can’t. Nobody can. She gets so upset that she falls over him. Their romantic moment is ruined when a bright light is cast upon them. Yup, they’ve been found. Almost busted on doing something scandalous. Takumi had to make up a story that Fumino’s not feeling well. I guess for realism, she really fainted. I wonder how many coast guards did Chise called in. The bay is all too crowded. Back at Stray Cats, Ieyasu and Chise notice the odd interaction between Takumi and Fumino. Whatever happened, I’m sure they’re not going to accept this.

Episode 10
Chise’s first day working at Stray Cats sure has her making her grand entrance. Yeah, she jumped off her helicopter! Anyway, Otome has picked up another stray cat. Sorry, not a stray cat but a little girl, Honoka. I hope she didn’t become a lolicon. She leaves them in their care since she has to attend to other troubles around the globe but will be back in a few hours. Plus, Takumi isn’t here since he is undergoing some top secret training with Ieyasu. So the girls treat her nice but as usual Fumino and Chise don’t get along. They even try sabotaging each other during work. Like when Fumino tried to fix the door bell, Chise tickled her and caused her to lose her footing. They went into Street Fighter mode. Too bad. I really wanted to see them pull off some Shouryuken or Sonic Boom moves complete with health meter. Then it started raining again. While Fumino and Chise were just annoying in their squabbles, Honoka and Nozomi bond closer. Honoka shows her a notebook that she was sketching a bird. She chased after it and before she knew it, she was lost and that’s when Otome picked her up. Then Otome comes back but this time with Honoka’s mom. She is worried sick about her daughter. Otome was late because she went to the nearest police box to see if there’s a search request for a lost child. However along the way, she got caught with helping other troubles. Otome notes that Honoka can’t stay here since she has a place to return to. Before they part, Chise asks why Honoka never told them she had parents. It’s because they never ask! Chise advises her she should hold her parents’ hand and not let go. Nozomi says that she should come back here once in a while since everyone will be waiting for her. Next morning, Takumi treks back and he looks all messed up. Turns out his training was watching a marathon of selected anime DVDs. Can you blame Fumino for wanting him to die 2 million times?

Episode 11
Stray Cats Association’s first promo video may not have hit worldwide appeal, but it seems to have caught the attention of a person who is looking for Nozomi. She is Shimako Murasame and wants to find the origin of this video. With the sports festival coming up, Chise has grand plans for it to be broadcasted to the entire world! Showing the true powers of her technology, she builds a large stadium in just a day! Woah! However, the school starts divided into 2 camps when Chise supports the use of bloomers for the festival and has the guys including that otaku Ieyasu supporting her while Fumino who’d rather die rather than wearing that would prefer to wear tights and has her other best friend, Kanae Naruko backing her up. But there’s another problem cropping up. There is going to be a three-legged race competition opened to those in the shopping district so Otome certainly wants to pair with Takumi. Not if Fumino and Chise would have their own say about that. As for Nozomi, as she feeds the stray cats, she notices that a plate can only bring a certain amount of happiness. There are too many cats and limited food as she realizes that some of them have no chance of getting their share. The showdown between the bloomers and tights faction begin and it all boils down to whose side Takumi is to choose. Besides him, Daigorou and Nozomi do not belong to any faction. So it becomes a bloody fight to get Takumi on to their side. Nozomi is pondering that insufficient meal for cats and poses this question to Takumi but since he can’t come up with an answer she drops it. But Daigorou asks Nozomi if she’s alright not going back. Then Takumi could see through Satou and Suzuki’s trick to bring her to Chise but was ultimately caught anyway. Chise asserts Takumi will be on her side and do the three-legged race together when the bloomer’s faction is ambushed. Chise throws a question to Fumino what she wants to do with Takumi and this renders her speechless. After thinking, all she wants him is for the three-legged race, though I suspect it’s something more than that. To solve this problem, the president of the light music club (no cross-overs from the K-ON! series), Tamao Fujino suggests that they should settle their match a week before the real festival since it won’t look good to the townspeople having their conflicts. Lastly, Otome is visited by Shimako, a director from the Fourth Murasame Academy, a child welfare institution.

Episode 12
Nozomi continues to be gloomy. Something about Shimako congratulated her for becoming the 13th Murasame but she ponders about the meaning of being a family. The day of the showdown is here. Fumino advises Nozomi to come straight out with her feelings rather than keeping to herself. So it’s a 3 way fight between bloomers, tights and lazy bums (term for the neutral ones who aren’t in any faction). Bloomers are leading when Nozomi shows up wearing both bloomers and tights! What is this new fad called? Bloots. Eh? Nozomi enters the fray but she is one-(wo)man show and enters all the events herself! Can she do it? Unbelievably, she beats everyone flat! I can’t believe it! She wins every race on her own! Though it has a major strain on her, Nozomi wins and her command is to have Fumino and Chise get along (after hugging them both). With that, both sides accept the strength and weakness of each other. See, problem so easily solved. And it took a girl to do it. Yeah, everyone will be wearing bloots. But the problem of who should be pairing up with Takumi for the race is still on. Our usual suspects argue when Nozomi for once mentions that she would love to do it. Seeing her in such a state, I guess everyone has no choice but is happy to give Takumi to her. She is so happy that she says how she loves everyone. Except for Ieyasu. Just normal, for his case. Haha! Come the day of the sports festival, Otome is seen talking to Shimako. The latter mentioning how this academy is equipped with the best facilities and staffs. The most outstanding students are granted the Murasame family name and thus officially inducted into the Murasame’s parent organization and family. Though Shimako notes that Nozomi possesses high IQ and athletic abilities and is the greatest prodigy for the institution, Otome says that it’s that very same place she ran away from. Since they can’t reach an understanding, Shimako says the next time they meet will be in court and is confident since they have parental authority. But Otome won’t easily let Nozomi go unless she says she really wants to go back there. She invites Shimako to come watch the sports festival.

During the lunch break, Shimako spies from afar on Nozomi and refuses to believe Otome’s words. But she notices Nozomi making such happy expression when she’s participating. For the much awaited three-legged race, other than Takumi-Nozomi, the rest are Chise-Otome (I hope her boobs won’t pin down this shorty), Fumino-Kanae and Ieyasu-Daigorou. The race starts but Takumi-Nozomi is dead last. Takumi realizes Nozomi has a fever after asserting herself previously and wants to withdraw but Nozomi insists on carrying on since she was given this chance by everyone. Then Shimako pops up. She gives Nozomi some supplement pills and asks her why she left the institution. Nozomi’s reply was that she doesn’t want to make everyone cry again. When she was chosen to become a Murasame, she noticed other children crying. She felt she stole their happiness from them. Shimako thinks she may have misunderstood. Though it’s true that they cried, but it’s because they’re worried that she’s not around. That’s the same reason she came here to get her back and not as a director of the institution. Nozomi adds that there are laws regarding relatives but none for family. If she could choose a family of her own, she’d rather stay here with everyone because everyone here likes her (flashback cue for all the emotional scenes of Nozomi and the gang). Takumi also pleads for Nozomi to stay since she’s part of their family and they like her a lot. It was enough to convince Shimako that she won’t be bothering them for a while. Takumi and Nozomi finish the race in last place but everyone is happily waiting for them. As Nozomi rests in the infirmary, she mentions how Fumino and Chise like Takumi. And it’s a special kind of like. Fumino starts fumbling, denying everything she said like a true tsundere. She stumbles out to the door when Takumi just happen to come in. Their lips almost met so in her embarrassment, he has to die twice. Glad it wasn’t more. In the aftermath, Nozomi continues to stay at Stray Cats and receives a letter from Shimako and the kids at the institution saying that they’re doing fine. And poor Takumi continues to get caught in between Chise and Fumino’s feud. Not even Nozomi’s airheadness could help.

Episode 13
I was thinking this episode was going to be a filler episode since the previous one did mention everything had ended. It didn’t dawn to me that it was a recap episode! Not just your ordinary recap. Well, we have Fumino, Chise and Nozomi commenting and narrating the selected and ‘important’ scenes of the dozen episodes. Sometimes with sarcasm, sometimes trying to outdo each other. I know at this point the squabbling of Fumino and Chise can be considered annoying or amusing but the coolest one has to be Nozomi’s with her cool comeback lines (ironically, I feel she has the least lines). So you will hear the girls yapping away from start to finish. This means the opening and ending themes are not even spared. Yada, yada, yada. Bla, bla, bla. Watch this only if you want to know the main gist of the series and it serves as a good reminder if you have watched the entire series. And if you don’t mind incessant talking, yelling and rebuking. I mean, that’s what Stray Cats is all about, right? Hey, I just noticed that the first half of the series is filled with fanservice and near-nakedness!

Stray Cats Theatre
Of course with these days, the motivation to buy DVDs is the short specials that come along with it. Stray Cats Theatre as it is called, there are 6 specials and lasts less than 4 minutes. They are very random, nonsensical and spontaneous so much so at times you’d be rather puzzled and bemused rather than laughing because the gag is so fast you’ll be going, “Huh? What just f*cking happened?!”. Each special also has a recurring stint. Such as the opening warm-up exercise on stage to the annoyingly cute “Nyan, nyan” song, Ieyasu’s rallying speech like as though he’s running for president and the rock-scissors-paper match between Fumino and Chise in which the loser gets something dropped over them or dangerous befall on them. Otherwise she’ll get splashed and this is where the fanservice pose comes in. Yeah, fancy seeing the girl’s undies right through her soaked clothes? Does it turn you on? So like in Special 1 after Fumino’s exercise, we have Takumi getting beaten up by Fumino after he accidentally saw her panties due to the breeze, Chise trying to bend a spoon but she bended Takumi’s bones instead, Takumi opening a room door to see multiple Nozomi clones and Takumi again getting beaten up but this time flying into the sky after seeing you-know-who’s panties. Then in Special 2, Fumino again starts off with her exercise but it’s a little bit filled with fanservice and Ieyasu films up her skirt only to be later beaten up. Also, Otome handing over a drink to soldier Daigorou in a war desert, Chise trying to do some mind bending thing with a box but it ripped Takumi’s clothes instead and Otome helping some gorillas in the jungles only to return home with her clothes all torn apart. Chise takes over the exercise in Special 3. Then she tries to do another mind bending thingy with the cards but it causes Takumi and the guys to disappear to an uninhabited island. Others include, several takes on Takumi seeing Nozomi’s naked butt as she sleeps and some Armageddon battle between evil Chise and Takumi but since the latter got his face in her pantsu, she got upset and split the Earth in half!

Now it’s Nozomi’s turn to start off Special 4 with her exercise. More takes of Takumi viewing sleeping Nozomi’s naked butt and the rock-scissors-paper battle takes a twist because when either Chise or Fumino loses, it’s either Kanae or Kaho who bear the brunt of the fanservice. Variety is the spice of life! Also, Nozomi got chased down by a group of ruffian cats but was saved by a cool cat hero. Then some Cat-zilla terrorizes the place and licks Nozomi. Yeah, it’s her turn for some wet fanservice. It’s back to Fumino for the exercise in Special 5. Nothing special… Here, we have some mosaic blob thingy Otome brought back. Don’t know what it is but it squirt something into Ieyasu’s face, Chise hugging and loving it. Another twist for the eternal rock-scissors-paper duo. Since they’re drawing too much, Nozomi enters the fray and beats both of them. So now we have double wet fanservice of Chise and Fumino. Oh yeah. Twice the fun, eh? Lastly, Otome brought back a kappa to Stray Cats. Special 6 doesn’t start off with the exercise but a group of students fixing the stage. For the rock-scissors-paper game, as we are all tired of the water-for-the-loser punishment, the loser gets burnt, losing all her clothes. Yeah, naked fanservice! Chise, Fumino and Nozomi (when she entered the fray and lost) all get a piece each. The other side adventure sees Takumi and Fumino astray on board a raft. Takumi gets punched after seeing Fumino in her undies (there’s no place else to dry her clothes) and meets mermaid Chise and pirate Nozomi. Then washed up upon the shore, they are ambushed by natives (Ieyasu and Daigorou) but easily killed them off. Then Takumi treks through the jungle and sees Tarzan Otome swinging on the vines. He wakes up to see Otome, Fumino, Chise and Nozomi in their swimsuit calling out to him. It ends with the warm-up exercise and this time with Fumino, Chise and Nozomi together. Notice the backdrops moving now? Why didn’t they feature Otome in the exercise? Maybe something will jiggle too much and it will be an abomination! Haha! Just joking.

Lost And Trampled…
Unfortunately, it was painful to watch this series. I have to say that it was just mediocre and sometimes plain silly. There wasn’t much plot or character development in the series. Even that, there was nothing that brings about any real tension or drama that would make you skip a heartbeat. I mean, take a look at this. Otome found Nozomi in the streets, brought her back and with her airhead personality, you’d think that there is more than meets the eye. Then when it’s revealed that she’s some sort of genius who ran away from ‘home’, the person who supposedly came to fetch her back didn’t really put up much fight or resistance. I suppose she realized Nozomi’s feelings and noticed how she finally has a place to call home but that scene lacks the intensity that is needed to surely convince Shimako for Nozomi to stay. It felt like there wasn’t any much effort or feelings put into that climatic scene. So if they were to hold a nice gentle discussion over coffee without any hint of threats whatsoever, I’m sure Nozomi still would have stayed. Takumi and Fumino’s orphanage and bully victim past wasn’t that traumatic either to warrant anything that will bring forth something tense and dangerous (not talking about Fumino’s abusive tsundere towards Takumi) though it may be pitiful. Then there was the time when Chise really wanted her parents to come meet her friends. I thought they were going to develop something out of that to add to the drama but nope. Looks like they’ve forgotten about it. So the filler episodes like the hotspring, the super blocks game and video promotion shooting were somewhat more ‘entertaining’.

Fumino was just annoying with her tsundere behaviour. At times you really don’t know what she thinks or what she wants. And the die twice, die thrice and Takumi getting beaten up got a little stale after a while. It’s more or less the same thing. Maybe that’s her way to show her love. Besides, didn’t Fumino already spit out as early as the third episode that she likes Takumi? So why is she still acting like as though he doesn’t know that? More importantly, did Takumi forget he heard that? I don’t remember anywhere he made any decision to postpone his answer to return her feelings whatsoever. Maybe he really does consider her to be his childhood friend after all. Besides, that one episode whereby Takumi and Fumino got grounded together outside because of the storm was supposed to bring their characters closer. Maybe it did. For about 10 seconds. Then it’s back to normal like as though nothing of importance from that ever happened. Chise is another annoying brat. But she’s that because she wants to get the attention of Takumi and the gang. Couldn’t she just be honest and tell them she just wants in instead of beating round the bush like forming a circle, etc. I have mixed feelings every time Fumino and Chise start their usual spat. On one hand, it’s amusing to see them at each other’s throat. On the other, too much of something is not good and I think I’ve got an overdose of their catty arguments. Yeah, probably the cat fight is the other cat related theme for this series. As for Nozomi, I thought she would have some major bearing on the show but besides her runaway act, whether it’s from Stray Cats or the institution, there was not much to her. I mean, she’s acting like a side character so much so I thought the series could’ve moved along without her making a single appearance. She’s just there, nyan here, nyan there, that’s all. And I conclude and don’t think those cat ears are really cat ears. It’s just her hairstyle. But at certain scenes like her sharp observation skills and athletic abilities proves that she really is a genius after all.

Takumi, he’s just a normal guy caught in between all the spat. Enough said. There’s something ironic about Ieyasu I want to say. If he is such a 2D-loving otaku freak, why the hell is he, say, trying to take peeping shots up the girl’s skirt? And I mean 3D girls. Many times. It goes to show that if you’re a guy and perverted, it doesn’t matter whether it’s 2D, 3D or 4D, you’re not going to miss out a great opportunity if there’s a chance to see some pantsu shot, right? Daigorou, I think he really likes Otome since I realized his reactions when she gets too close to him. Speaking of that busty airhead sister, it really bugs me about her very helpful personality. Without any hesitation, she will travel to the ends of the Earth to solve the issue. In that case, isn’t she one busy woman? She won’t even have time to come back to Stray Cats anymore, right? She’d be going around making peaceful negotiations between warring nations, solving the famine problem plaguing Africa and perhaps find a cure for the world’s deadliest disease! Man, why the heck do we even need UN for?! All we need is more people like Otome! With her around, the world would have been a much peaceful place. Very, very much, I guarantee. Did you notice that she can just do about anything and go anywhere? Except making a good cake. Now that’s a problem. Unfortunately, since she only exists in this series, that’s why the Middle East are still in conflict, children are starving from hunger and AIDS is still rampant with no cure in sight. And all the stray kitties at Stray Cats, it should have turned into a cat compound by now. Nothing much is known for Kaho except that she deeply cares for Chise and would go all out to look out for her. Even if it means saving Chise from herself like playing dirty and cheating. Satou and Suzuki are amusing too but they didn’t make much of appearance. It would’ve been fun to see them comply to each and every wish of Chise.

At first when I first hear Fumino’s voice, she sounded so familiar, that shaky voice. So when I learned it was Kanae Itou voicing her, it immediately reminded me of that crazy squid-lover Sanae from Shinryaku! Ika Musume and To Aru Kagaku No Railgun’s Saten. Similarly, Chise’s bratty voice sounded like I knew I hear her from somewhere but couldn’t put my finger on it. Once again when I find out that she is played by Yuka Iguchi, I instantly remembered that she’s that annoying sister Index from To Aru Majutsu No Index. Yes, I find that sister annoying. But do I see some Index anime relation here? That’s because Satou and Suzuki are voiced by Rina Satou and Satomi Arai respectively as they are the voice of Misaka and Shirai in that said series. Sorority sisters there, maids here. Oh, here’s another Index-related one. Nobuhiko as Takumi did play Accelerator in that show. Only he doesn’t sound as crazy and just normal. Ayana Taketatsu as Nozomi was unrecognizable at first since she wasn’t in her reprimanding mode like her role as Azusa in K-ON! series and Vanilla in Yumeiro Patissiere since she’s so gentle and hardly (if not, never) raises her voice. But upon closer inspection, yup, it’s her alright. At least Yukari Tamura as Kaho (Yamada in B Gata H Kei), Mamiko Noto as Shimako (Enma in Jigoku Shoujo) and Yui Horie as Kanae (Kotori in Da Capo) were identifiable. Other casts include Satomi Satou as Otome (is this really the lady who voiced Wendy in Fairy Tail and Ritsu in K-ON!?), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Ieyasu (Firo in Baccano) and Junji Majima as Daigorou (Ryuuji in Toradora).

I find the opening theme, Happy New Nyaa by the seiyuus of Fumino, Chise and Nozomi quite weird. I know it’s on purpose and part of the song but I find that singing their lines too fast is somewhat awkward rather than cute. Why do I get this feeling that they weren’t serious in singing? The special opening theme for the mecha episode, Go! Grand Braver by Yoshiki Fukuyama is your typical rock outfit expected of the mecha genre. If you have heard Yoshiki Fukuyama’s type of rock style like he did for Busou Renkin’s opening (Makka Na Chikai) or that one in Crush Gear Turbo, safe to say you can expect his kind of male-rock-screaming style. The main ending theme is Ichalove Come Home also by the seiyuus of Fumino, Chise and Nozomi. Sounds like it has a tropical tune in it. Why do I get this feeling that they’re somewhat lethargic when singing this? The special ending theme for the video promo is also sung by the same trio. Entitled Mayoi Neko Dokokoukai Uta, sounds better than the other ones they did but I still feel it’s so-so. The slow-moderate ballad of the ending theme for the mecha episode, Kanadete Hoshi Uta by Hitomi Mieno sounds better. Then the Bloomer No Uta by those bloomer loving guys led by Ieyasu sounds like a manly Broadway giving their praise and tribute to bloomers. The next episode preview is my favourite section. Because it is a section that Satou and Suzuki rant away while in the midst of doing something like sunbathing, cheerleading or even soaking in the hotspring. This part should have lasted longer. Speaking of trivia, you need not have sharp eyes to spot them. Just decent knowledge on anime pop culture. See the Code Geass reference Fumino made when her eyes were like activating the Geass? What about One Piece’s Chopper’s outfit that Nozomi donned during the race? And yes, that Index line said by Chise about the magic-nullifying Imagine Breaker?

Picking up random homeless people may seem like a noble deed but in the real world, it could get you into lots of trouble. How far do you know the other person? How sure are you the stranger has no ill intentions? Besides, if you can help one, how many more others can you help? It’s not the case of throwing as many stranded starfish back into the ocean because it will make a difference for those who are thrown back. Besides, having caught between a tsundere childhood friend, a rich obnoxious brat and an airhead genius (note the oxymoron) is a bit of a handful already, don’t you think? So think twice before really taking home a stray cat girl no matter how cute, irresistible, moe, kawaii or kawaiisou (pitiful) she is. Sheltering and feeding her is a big responsibility and you can’t treat her like a mere pet. Unless you’re into that kind of play, know what I mean? Otherwise, you might end up dying more than twice.