Another reverse harem based on an otome game? Setting in the Taisho era too? Not really interested. Books are the theme of this series? Double nah. But then as I read deeper into the synopsis of Nil Admirari No Tenbin – Teito Genwaku Kitan, I found its mystery of people being burnt alive by books just by reading it to be quite fascinating. Ironically, I was never an avid reader and it became a bad habit that I never liked to read. Not even manga. Therefore it is strange that I suddenly found myself to be interested in checking this out, like as though I have been hypnotized and mesmerized by the magic of books. Or at least its book theme. It must be the way they worded the synopsis… Those damn words stole my attention ;p. So here I am watching this spectacular story. Just this story, though. Still not reading anything else.

Episode 1
Hitaki isn’t happy his sister, Tsugumi Kuze did not tell him she is getting married. He believes he is forced into it for the money. When she tells him off, he starts sulking and hating her. Feared words of an older sister. She narrates that her family was doing well before the earthquake struck and couldn’t recover. If she marries into the Yashiro family, her dad will receive a loan and help revive the family. Later Tsugumi tries to talk to Hitaki but there is no answer from his room. When she opens the door, she is shocked to see him burning himself! Luckily he was rushed to hospital. Although he is alive, his burns are bad. Tsugumi blames herself when she is approached by 2 hot guys from the Imperial Library Intelligence Asset Management Bureau AKA Fukurou, Hayato Ozaki and Akira Kougami. They have a few questions for her. First, they explain that Hitaki’s actions of suicide might be due to cursed tomes. Strong emotions of an author stored in a book and can have an effect on who reads them. Although this has been happening for a long time, recently it is getting more frequent. Just today, the son of the current Prime Minister, Shougo Ukai attempted suicide after reading a cursed tome. They are here to find out if there is some connection. Tsugumi remembers seeing Hitaki holding one and has her butler bring it. To her horror, she sees it burning. However nobody else could see its flames. They believe she is one of those gifted who can see the aura of the cursed tome. They hope she could join them for their cause. Tsugumi takes her time thinking but continues to blame herself. She is visited by a hot chick from Fukurou, Shiori Tokimiya who apologizes for her colleagues’ rudeness yesterday. But she is also here to request her help with her ability? I guess asking politely does make a difference. With the marriage on hold, Tsugumi has decided to join them as she believes she needs to change and for Hitaki’s sake. Off she goes to Fukurou’s HQ.

Episode 2
Hayato takes Tsugumi around the HQ and shows her the room where cursed tomes are stored. Wow. All burning books! She is surprised to see an old family friend, Yutaka Nabari. He is working here because he too has the ability to see auras. Shiori takes over and brings her underground to the research division. Meet Motofumi Mashiko who is the division’s head and flamboyant guy since his interest is in folklore and ornithology. Tsugumi is impressed with the huge national library where it houses books from all over. Later she meets a weird hottie who sells goldfish as well as a young boy captain with 2 different iris colours, Hisui Hoshikawa. During her welcoming party, she discovers that goldfish guy is Shizuru Migiwa, an author who lives here. He is Hitaki’s favourite author. Next day, Tsugumi goes on patrol with the guys and feels a bit shy since she is the only girl (probably her skirt is a little bit too short). They stop by bookstores to check for cursed tomes. One of the owners being Kuina who also sells other mystical stuffs. No cursed tomes here. Also, time for the series’ pet mascot to appear. Folks, meet Perry! Kawaii! Kuina jokes if he could be Tsugumi’s lover so she quickly brushes it off and says she has no interest in boys or marriage. As they go around several bookstores, Tsugumi soon feels disheartened she couldn’t find a cursed tome. Then at Touichirou Sasagoi, he doesn’t particularly like them since he attributes their suspicious presence driving his customers away. Tsugumi feels guilty when Sasagoi hints that she is a useless person hired by Fukurou. She spaces out and almost gets lost in the sea of crowd before the guys find her again. In the last bookstore they patrol for the day, the owner is very scared upon received a book he thinks it is a cursed tome (he has the wrong impression possessing one and not reading it will curse you). Tsugumi observes and then assures this is just a normal book. This guy is so happy he just couldn’t stop thanking everyone. Hayato points out to her that even if she hasn’t discovered any cursed tomes, verifying and confirming those that aren’t is also good enough.

Episode 3
Tsugumi cooks them breakfast. They are so impressed with her miso soup because apparently the restaurant they frequent to always rips them off. True cooking! That night as they dine outside after another hard day of patrolling, they hear a commotion of a guy being chased. While the guys go after the mob, Tsugumi tends to the victim, Rui Sagisawa. She sees his burning book but it isn’t a cursed tome but burning for real. Later as the Fukurou team gather and discuss, they believe this is the work of Kagutsuchi, a shady organization believed to steal books from others and burn them on the spot. With the people widely believing cursed tomes can kill you, Kagutsuchi becomes a self-proclaimed vigilante to burn such books. With such recent cases, the Tokyo police has assigned rookie Tarou Tsubameno to liaise closely with them. Tsugumi bumps into Rui again and he is very much interested in getting to know more about the cursed tomes as well as her. On another patrol, if this guy’s weird acting doesn’t alert you, perhaps the cursed tome aura would. They chase the crazy guy but he runs into the train tunnel where conveniently the train is coming head on. Splat. Taking back his book, Tsugumi could see the intense dark aura on this one. Nabari shows another cursed tome with a similar aura. They discuss about some who purposely create cursed tomes. Because a black feather is always found beside such cursed tomes, they nickname whoever the culprit is as Karasu, though they have no solid proof whatsoever. Good news for Tsugumi has Hitaki has regained consciousness and she meets her old high school senior, Koruri Masaki who is now a rookie newspaper reporter. Rui sees Tsugumi to give her a kaleidoscope she likes. They talk more about the cursed tomes but their ideas clash on whether one should burn a boko even if it has a potential to be dangerous. When Kagutsuchi is reported to be holding some activity in some building, Fukurou moves in. It looks like a silly setup wild goose chase just to lead Tsugumi into a room with a cursed tome. Obviously we can tell the ringleader behind this is Rui (same voice) as he believes such books should be burnt. Tsugumi disagrees because it is not the contents that are evil. He argues back her ideals might be right but what about reality? The contents aren’t the problem for sure but those exploiting it. That is why Kagutsuchi will eliminate them. He wants her to join them because of her power but she declines. Disappointing for Rui as he makes his extravagant and convenient escape. He is sure they will meet again soon.

Episode 4
Tsugumi had the misfortune of bumping into a rude guy doesn’t like a woman in Fukurou. As Shiori explains, he is Shougo. After his attempted suicide, it would be troublesome for him to stay at the Prime Minister’s residence where many people come and go and hence a rash decision was made to have him stay here for now. Shougo is being a dick, blasting his gramophone loud and not even his servant, Arata Kijitani could handle him. Tsugumi believes everyone should be patient with him since he is in an unfamiliar environment but I guess there is only so much one can take after he continues to snap at her so she snaps back at him. Kuina reports a politician killed himself by jumping off a building. As the police is keeping a tight lid on this case, it is believed he was having a cursed tome. Even more suspicious, he was coming back from Nachtigal. Back at HQ, Shiori introduces Tsugumi to Takuma Yoshikiri who works at the newspaper, Hayato’s college senior and Koruri’s boss. He often exchanges information about such cases. But this isn’t the first case of a dead politician. A month ago, a politician believed to have died from heart attack whose wife was a regular at Nachtigal. It is believed Takashi Shiginuma who is the founder of Nachtigal might be the mastermind behind Karasu but because of his high level connections, the law cannot reach him. That is why Fukurou is investigating every day and exchanging info. Since Tsugumi knows how to dance and Shougo has got an invitation, a perfect chance to infiltrate. Too bad Shougo will not go with her and badmouths everything he can think of her. Tsugumi is such a strong girl not to cry after hearing all that. With more hijinks like him accidentally entering the wrong bath and almost seeing her naked. Later he apologizes and reluctantly invites her to Nachtigal. There, Shougo introduces her to Shiginuma and his wife, Shouko. Then there is also this military dude, Owase mocking about his pacifism that could almost turn his father into a traitor. When Tsugumi returns, she reports to Shiori she saw Sasagoi with an unidentified man. Based on her description, Shiori thinks he is Shirou Mozuyama, a professor from the university with shady rumours. Later Shougo sees Tsugumi and has found out about her brother’s case from the other guys. He sincerely apologizes for saying those things without knowing the circumstances. So they’re like best friends now?

Episode 5
A woman is found dead near a park. Furthermore, a lilac flower is discovered inside her mouth as well as a book of Shizuru next to her. Hitaki is excited his sister gets to see Shizuru and hopes she could get a book autograph from him. She tries but unfortunately he doesn’t do such things. He also explains his goldfish selling was to help an old guy who couldn’t sell them. No prizes to guess why women instantly buy it from him. Looks like a serial murder is occurring in a similar fashion. While it may be premature to think Shizuru is the culprit because if he murders people, he won’t be so dumb to leave clues of himself, right? Perhaps the culprit wants to ruin his reputation. But then again, it might be for self-advertising as his book sales soon soar. Later Shiori talks to Shizuru if he still has that manuscript from his late teacher, Saichou Moritsune who committed suicide. He assures he has burnt it because he knows that is a cursed tome for he couldn’t stand hearing voices of wanting to kill others. Tsugumi learns from Hitaki about Moritsune. Apparently he believes the recent serial murders are trying to imitate a story he once wrote. When Tsugumi tries to read that book, she is approached by Sasagoi who claims he was also a student under Moritsune. Although Moritsune killed himself, Shizuru found his body first. He believes he has a motive for killing him because he criticized his first book and ripped it apart in front of others. Also, Moritsune’s manuscript may be a cursed tome since reading it might make Shizuru want to kill others. Tsugumi refuses to believe this crap.

Unfortunately the police now takes Shizuru in for questioning as another body is found. The police blame such books for the killings but Tsugumi protests the book is not to blame. The police interrogates him as they believe all victims have casual relationships with him. As Fukurou patrols, Tsugumi tells Hayato about Moritsune’s book. People claimed it to be the ultimate love story when it is a twisted love story. It is about the culprit killing all those the protagonist loves until the latter cannot take it anymore and kills the culprit. Hence the ultimate twisted love of wanting to be killed by the one you love. When a suspicious person is found with a cursed them, Fukurou moves in on him. However he is just a distraction as the real culprit targets Tsugumi. If not for Hayato staying back, she would’ve been a goner. Shizuru (with Tsubameno’s help to escape during toilet break), stops the serial killer in his tracks. He turns out to be a crazed fan of his and wants to be killed for him. Too bad he won’t. Because he knows how to differentiate reality from fiction. It’s prison time for you. Hitaki is delighted with Shizuru making an exception signing his book. Tsugumi has a better opinion of Shizuru but it looks like Shizuru still holds Moritsune’s manuscript and believes he is no different than the killer.

Episode 6
Kuina tells Tsugumi and Hisui that a man came here last night to sell a book but since he wasn’t in, he went to sell it somewhere else. Strange, how did he know if he wasn’t in? Don’t tell me Perry was manning the counter and since he couldn’t speak human tongue, he went away? Hisui is visibly concern when the book is believed to be written by a prostitute. They head over to Sasagoi who claims he has already sold the book to someone else and will not simply let out information. Client confidentiality. Later they bump into Mozuyama who warns him about carelessly burning his friends and finding his replacement. When he invites Tsugumi to his lab, Hisui warns him not to get her involved. Tsugumi notices the obviousness of Hisui not joining the party with the rest. So she goes talk to Kuina who reveals Hisui’s mom is a prostitute and because it was during the time where foreign sailors come and go, the reason why he has beautiful hair and eyes. Conveniently Shouko passes by and tells her she heard she was looking for a book. She bought it and if she is so interested, please visit her. In her room, Shouko has only read halfway and it feels like a heart-warming diary. Tsugumi hopes to give it to her or borrow it. She will consider the latter if she visits her again and be her friend. As long as she doesn’t betray her, she won’t do the same. What a strange way to become friends. Tsugumi talks to Hisui who further reveals that his mom used to dressed him as a girl. One night, a customer forced himself on him and his powers of burning others awakened. From then, he felt ugly for trying to kill others. He believes this is the reason why his mom left him shortly after. Mozuyama took an interest in his abilities and experimented on him before.

Before Tsugumi could tell him about the diary, here comes Shiori wanting to speak with her. She was seen with Shouko and this is serious. Tsugumi won’t give reasons and this only puts more suspicions on her. Conveniently Hisui heard this and barges in. He heard from Kuina (conveniently) and doesn’t want the book anymore. Of course Tsugumi won’t let this go and plans to visit Shouko. This time Hisui accompanies her with the excuse to protect her. Shouko sees Hisui as a mirror image of Hiwako. She was her best friend in school. Hiwako was from a noble family before economic ruin befell on the family. Shouko had other siblings to take care off and thus sold her body. Hisui doesn’t know this and is now more certain this is why his mom changed and hates him. Before you go berserk, here, read the book. A strange aura pops out and what do you know? Is this the spirit of Hiwako embracing her son? Whatever it is, mother and son reconcile. As the circumstances have changed, Shouko can’t be friends with Tsugumi anymore and hence can’t let her visit anymore. Conveniently right after Hisui’s personal issue has been solved, right? Hisui knows she will be nosy and meddle in others again that will put herself in danger. He won’t stop her but promises to protect her.

Episode 7
The fourth body of a minister is found. Although it looks like a suicide, all of them have a cursed tome with them. Also, all of them are members who agree with the Prime Minister’s disarmament proposal. It is believed Shiginuma is behind this since he is deeply involved in the munitions business. The ultimate goal could be the Prime Minister himself. As Koruri suggests, Tsugumi goes to watch a movie but bumps into Akira doing the same. Since separate seats are full, looks like they have to go in as a couple. Nothing much happens between them. Tsugumi and Shiori go to warn the Prime Minister of this. When Tsugumi returns, she is confronted by Shiginuma who wants her to join him in Karasu for her ability. His ability is to see the future and can tell the precautions that Fukurou takes. He warns her loved ones might suffer and that there is a spy in Fukurou. He can take her now but will respect her free will. Is this part of the future he sees? Because of that, we can see Tsugumi visibly a bit shaken but trying to act like normal and the only one who notices this is Akira. Over the next few scenes, Tsugumi becomes distraught as wherever she goes, a crow’s feather is there. Then Koruri almost gets killed in an accident, yup, a feather there too! Yeah, she’s getting paranoid that someone is watching her. She even calls home to check if Hitaki is okay. Thank goodness he is. Breaking point comes when she finds another feather in her room. She becomes panicky trying to rid of it but Akira discovers her. No use trying to hide it and it’s like she has to start spilling the beans when he says Shiginuma is behind this. Gee, did he guess? So after letting the cat out of the bag, Tsugumi becomes even more panic because she cannot believe anyone at Fukurou would be a spy because they are so kind. You think? And then what’s this?! Akira throws her down onto her bed and trying to rape her?! Is she showing off his abs?! Oh… There is a mark of a feather there. He admits he is from Fukurou. No wonder. I guess seeing a cute girl in distress has made him changed his mind. Because he is going to protect her now. By going to confront Shiginuma? He went all the way there with his abs exposed?

Episode 8
Akira confronts Shiginuma but gets beaten up. Since he has a fear of blood due to a past trauma, looks like he has become a pawn for Shiginuma’s plans. Shiori gathers her team and reveals about the rumours of Karasu planting a spy in Fukurou. Yeah, never thought it would be her own men, eh? When Tsugumi visits Hitaki, he is not thrilled that Hayato is with her. I guess little bro doesn’t like hot guys to accompany his sister. As Tsugumi researches more on cursed tomes, Nabari explains that it doesn’t necessarily be a book. As long as one puts strong emotions into his writing, even a letter can turn into one. Next morning, a body is found murdered in the dumpster. The media reports the corpse as unidentified but the police is not letting any of its information out because that corpse is a police officer. It is believed Karasu is behind this but Shiginuma hasn’t made any obvious moves yet. Koruri sees Shizuru for love advice. From the way she describes, we can tell she likes Yoshikiri. He advises to confess her feelings and a letter is a way to do that. She will do so once the case is over. Tsugumi is then teased of the man she loves but insists she is too preoccupied with work for love. I thought she was spoilt for choice. Yoshikiri steals a book from Shiginuma’s lab just to check if it is a cursed tome. Nope. Hence Tsugumi warns him not to do reckless stuffs. He won’t be slowing down because he doesn’t want to regret it. Perfect time for detour because he talks about Hayato’s first love, a girl who is always reading at the university park. Many confessed but all were rejected. In the end he didn’t confess because he didn’t want to be the only one happy. You see, he has a sister who loves books. She read a cursed one and burnt herself. Though she survived, the scars were too horrific and she took her own life. Tsugumi feels sorry for asking. She also discovers Shiori’s husband was also burnt to death in the same way. When Koruri visits, Yoshikiri has left. Tsugumi asks if the unidentified letter to Yoshikiri was from her but she isn’t sure what she is talking about. Tsugumi’s fears the worst as she runs around looking for Yoshikiri. It won’t be hard to spot him. Because that letter he is about to read is a cursed tome. Before you know it, he sets himself on fire. Oh Koruri, what a tragic start and end to your love story…

Episode 9
Thanks to Hayato’s quick action, Yoshikiri is saved although in coma in hospital. As Fukurou discuss about the recent case, Tsugumi notes the cursed tome that Yoshikiri had didn’t display aura like others. It had this burning flame like the one Hitaki had. They wonder if it this was not Karasu’s doing. With Yoshikiri waking up just in time to give his notebook on his investigation and reveal some juicy revelations, the artificial cursed tomes are made by several authors via drugs manufactured by Mozuyama in a lab underneath Nachtigal. The centre of these authors is Sasagoi. When the Prime Minister gives his speech, a soldier almost assassinates him. What is mind boggling is that he came up to stage to shoot him in the eye of the public! I believe that gun can still reach had he hid behind the curtains or stage. Thanks to that, the Prime Minister lives but before the soldier could be turned in, he killed himself. He is a subordinate of Owase. When Tsugumi is about to eat out with Hayato and Hisui, she spots a cursed tome. The guys leave her just to go chase the dude. It could be planned because Rui returns to talk to her. Although he assures he is on her side, she still won’t join him and tells Kagutsuchi’s plan of invading Nachtigal and hand Mozuyama over to the police. Tsubameno accompanies Tsugumi home. But they are surrounded by strange masked dudes from Karasu. Tsubameno’s karate can only do so much before he is knocked out. When he comes to, he knows Tsugumi is kidnapped by Karasu. Because they so kindly left her ribbon and a feather next to him. WTF. So when he reports back, the rest really want to take action now to save her. So they’re breaking protocol? Yup. Don’t worry. Shiori will take responsibility. Yeah, that explains why Hayato rides his bike into the building. Kagutsuchi barges in and causes commotion by throwing Molotov bombs? Akira sitting nicely in prison hears the commotion and decides to break out. Gee, he could break out any time but only now? I guess he didn’t want anybody to know. Tsugumi wakes up in Shiginuma’s auction house. So much about waiting for her to come here on her own will. It seems Shiginuma has the ability to see cursed tomes although not as consistent. He traded his right eye for that. Like a typical baddie, he reveals his plan of plunging Japan into war so that it could be rebuilt the way they want it again. WTF. But this is his plan now: He will take Tsugumi to Europe and have her bear his child. WTF?! Wait, he is going to rape her now???!!!

Episode 10
The logic of raping her is so that her child could bear her powers. What birth of the chosen one is he talking about?! We interrupt this rape session with Akira barging in. He lets Tsugumi flee and oddly Shiginuma has his henchmen fight Akira and look for Tsugumi. So what the f*ck is he doing then?! Tsugumi can’t escape with the commotion so Shouko hides her in her room. Still have time for tea? After a while, Shouko realizes she must go to her husband and tells her of a way to escape. See, what did I tell you? What the heck was Shiginuma doing as he asks his henchman if Tsugumi is found. Why the f*ck didn’t he get her himself? Anyway, usual bad guy ranting as he reveals his sick rape plan to Hayato. Confident his Hulk bodyguard can finish him off, eh? Not unless he has help from Akira. Meanwhile Sasagoi is escaping but he is dragging himself down with the books he is trying to pack. He is confronted by Shizuru and Shougo. Sasagoi starts accusing Shizuru for having it all. He thinks books are supposed to be dark and messy? He is the one behind the lilac incident just to bring down his name. When he realizes his books are only sought for murder purpose, Shougo says he is a fan of his and read them. Despite almost killing himself, he felt kindness and love in it. He wants to read a book from Sasagoi, not a cursed tome. So game over for him? Mozuyama is confronted by Hisui. When he badmouths Sasagoi as a third rate author, Hisui starts displaying some of his fire ability. Mozuyama wants to see more of that so he fuels his hatred by revealing the truth about his mom. She came to his lab and in exchange to leave her son alone, she is willing to be experimented on. Since her body was frail, she broke too soon. This enrages Hisui as he tries to kill him but stopped because the touch of the warmth of his (ghost) mom. He won’t kill him and let the law deal with him because mom would be sad if he turned into a killer. Too bad justice don’t play fair as Mozuyama shoots him. Don’t worry, it’s not fatal. Bad luck for Tsugumi has she bumps into Shiginuma. Luckily Akira and Hayato find them. Isn’t it a no brainer if Shiginuma threatens to kill her if they come close? Shiginuma tries to play on Akira’s guilt to do his bidding but Akira refuses. It is revealed they are both half-brothers from the same dad. He badmouths his mom dying in a pathetic way and with Tsugumi biting his hand to free herself, it’s time for the brothers to fight and settle this once and for all. Mozuyama now stumbles into Rui.

Episode 11
With Shiginuma defeated in boring fashion, we now turn to Mozuyama and Rui’s standoff. What is the point of talking about Rui’s dead parents? Mozuyama thinks his mind would change if he reveals who his real parents are. Who? Mozuyama is his father! NO!!!! Shouko is his mom and it seemed he raped her. Because she came from a noble and her family will not accept a child out of wedlock, the baby was given to a pair of scientist (Shouko’s friends I suppose) who promised to take care of him like their own. Soon she is forced into a loveless marriage with Mozuyama just to maintain their noble status. Rui is in disbelief but Mozuyama further reveals he killed his parents and make it look like an accident since they were threatening to destroy his research. Mozuyama wants Rui to join him but of course he won’t. Mozuyama’s escape is halted with Shouko showing up. She is going to kill him. Mozuyama begs for his life and is counting on her kindness to spare him. She can never forget that rape scene and calls him a selfish guy who only cared for himself. He tries to attack her but Rui pushes her out of the way. In that commotion, the injection he is supposed to inject into her, got injected into his own butt! More bad luck because his hot balloon escape is now on fire and his feet is tied to its rope! Shouko and Rui talk one last time before saying goodbye to each other. Rui crosses path with Tsugumi and assures he will no longer burn books. Goal achieved?

Akira thinks of repenting but the rest won’t let him go so easily so he and Hayato trade punches. It’s their way of saying he is forgiven and welcomed back because he is such a hot hunk. More bad luck for Mozuyama. Despite surviving the fiery crash, he read a cursed tome before him and walks into the flames to burn himself! I think that’s it for this guy. In the aftermath, the gang celebrates. But shortly after, Shiori and Mashiko call Hayato to inform him that the deaths of Hayato’s sister, Shiori’s husband and Hitaki’s near death are all from the cursed tome with the same type of flame aura. Further research shows they are written by the same person and that handwriting is deduced to be Nabari! Despite all books have different author names, they have the same initials as Nabari. They know he has some past trauma relating to fires and are going to investigate his home. Oh well, he along with Tsugumi has gone back to see Hitaki back home as he just got discharged. He talks about the book Hitaki was reading before it was burnt. He notes it came from their home’s library and back then he saw some flame auras around some of the books. Of course this has them investigate the library immediately but as they soon gather there, Nabari locks the door and relishes the 3 of them that now he can go back to his home in the flames. Look at his evil eyes. No wonder his eyes are always closed.

Episode 12
When he was working here, he who had no family, Tsugumi’s family welcomed a stranger with opened arms. Before this he had a happy life with his parents until his father was killed as a soldier and her mom fell into grieve and burnt herself. The pain of losing everything made him want to write it all down to soothe the agony. He felt better and noticed a flaming aura. At this point, he shows Tsugumi a cursed tome and poor girl goes into a trance. In this weird trance, she sees Nabari being curious about the effects of the cursed tome as he experimented on letting others read. Many died including Shiori’s husband. So now Nabari is going to burn everything down and return to his family. Geez, must he kill somebody to do that? Anyway, luckily Hayato and Shiori are here. They barge down the door as Hayato beats Nabari up before he completes his whatever insane ritual. How do you snap Tsugumi out? You keep calling her name! Damn, if it only was this easy for the rest. Shiori is mad at Nabari and has thought of killing him (Nabari even daring her) but of course at good guys, the best way is to let one live and atone his sins. Nabari breaks down after Tsugumi tells him his place to return is not within the flames and he must find his place here in this real world. Geez, if only people could easily turn over a new leaf this way.

Now that the case is wrapped up, Tsugumi has the option to leave. However she decides to stay on and our eavesdropping guys are thrilled. But there is something she needs to take care first before she continues. She goes to settle her marriage meeting with the Yashiro family. She is shocked to see Hayato. Wait a minute. This is not a joke. He is the guy she is supposed to be engaged?! Apparently Ozaki is his pseudonym as he doesn’t want his family name to influence his work. He reveals that the woman who always reads at the park is Tsugumi and will always be his first love. Geez, I guess Tsugumi never thought she fitted that profile. As Tsugumi prioritizes her work, he will respect it by putting aside this marriage arrangement for now but won’t give up yet and hopes she will come to feel the same as him. In the aftermath, we see snippets of all the characters. Some of the highlights include Yoshikiri recovering well in hospital and Koruri already playing his dear wife, Sasagoi continues to write in prison but this time with happy feelings. Shougo is learning to be the new iron chef (?), Shizuru burning for real his manuscript from Moritsune, Rui learning medicine in hopes of following his father’s footsteps as a doctor (and hoping Tsugumi would choose him), Nabari sitting quietly in prison and the curious scene of Shiginuma and Shouko overseas with a seemingly strange lady with strange eyes that screams some sort of ominous powers.

Judging A (Cursed) Book By Its Cover
I don’t really understand how Shiginuma managed to get away. I thought he was arrested? It is true that we didn’t see him get arrested by the authorities but didn’t Akira won over him? Didn’t he take him in after their fight? Because it felt like they realize Mozuyama is left and we must go to find him! Unfortunately the event didn’t even need them for Mozuyama to lose and then ultimately lose his life. So really, how the heck did such an infamous guy like Shiginuma manage to get out of the country without suspicions? Maybe some corrupted politicians covered it up. Yeah, no wonder it is a long way to go and that’s why Tsugumi and her Fukurou dudes continue to chase down unlucky people with cursed tomes. Uh huh. I guess somewhere out there, there must be some angry and sad people who remain writing such hateful works. They really want to see the world, or rather the people who read, get burnt down.

Like simulation games being adapted to anime, one of its many pitfalls includes trying to squeeze in everything, if not what is considered most important to be shown. This takes away the many possibilities and potentials that would have made the entire series in general to be satisfying. At least for those who played the game and are fans of it. By squeezing almost everything into a dozen episodes, it does come with some sacrifice especially the story and characters.

Now, I have not played the game but considering this is adapted from an otome game, there would be multiple branches of stories depending on the path you take or the characters you choose to interact more with. I am assuming (though I may be wrong and have no evidence to back it up because I’m just lazy) that this just follows one of the routes. The setting of Fukurou being set up to find cursed tomes is a bit boggling. Before Tsugumi, they had nobody to easily spot cursed tomes for them. So did they just wait for incidents to happen until they could nip it? Even if they had Nabari, that guy confined himself in the undergrounds of the HQ studying cursed tomes all by himself. And now that they have Tsugumi, patrolling the streets to identify cursed tomes should be easier. I mean, twice or thrice she might visit the same bookstore. By then she would have known which are cursed tomes and which aren’t. So isn’t it more efficient then to just focus at the point where the books come in or being imported from? It’s not like a normal book can become a cursed tome, right? So it feels like wasting time or waiting for a convenient plot device to happen by continue to patrol the same streets and bookstores.

Not so much about the predictable plot of the good guys defeating the predictable villains and saving the day, the characters fail to be interesting either. Tsugumi as the face of the series as well as the main heroine doesn’t contribute much except for the fact of her ability to identify cursed tomes. To troll us, they have 6 main gorgeous guys flanking her and to show that she does not give into the power of boner seductive hot hunks, she gives this lame excuse that she isn’t interested in love. Well surprisingly, she does look the part! The way Tsugumi shows her concern and worries, it looks almost like as though she is genuinely worried about that person’s problems. Not so much about whether or not she will fall in love. Yeah, blame that failed arranged marriage as an excuse. But she doesn’t have to feel guilty too since Hayato personally gives his permission to postpone that.

There are 6 handsome guys who share the potential to be Tsugumi’s love interest. Each has their own episode to give some limelight between them but apparently it isn’t enough and it feels rushed. Because it also feels like basically Tsugumi trying to help solve whatever issues or self-confidence problem they are facing such as Hisui’s mom and Shizuru’s master. My guts from the start told me that it is likely to be Hayato she’ll mostly end up with. True enough in that shocking twist that I didn’t see coming, Hayato is supposed the guy she is supposedly engaged to. And I guess he never told her because he wanted to respect her wish to focus on her job. Man, Japan is really a good place to be workaholics. But I suppose they are still young so they still have time to weigh in and for Tsugumi still has lots of options to choose from. But like I said, Hayato is the leading candidate by a mile.

Then there is this other problem of having too many other side characters that sometimes you wonder if they really do matter. Maybe some do like Shiori who acts as Fukurou’s leader and she is like the only other female around so it won’t feel that the toxic masculinity surrounding Tsugumi would look like a potential gang rape. The other is Koruri to show that Tsugumi does have her female friends. Other than that, I don’t see them playing any other significant role. But I guess they are better than those like Kuina who is just, uhm, I don’t even know why his character exists. Worse, Perry is like a forced mascot needed because this series can actually do without the cutie doggy. Sometimes you see it frolic around just to score some cutie points and perhaps hope it will sway your feelings that this series isn’t so bad because it’s got a cute canine. Even when it is cheating at that pool game to help Kuina win over Hayato, you’ll forgive little doggie because he is oh so cute. Then there is Mashiko who never takes off his exotic tribal headgear and Kijitani who constantly calls Shougo his bocchama in which the latter will always remind and rebuke him to not do so again. Is that the running joke of the series?

The villains are predictable and one dimensional. You can spot them from a mile away by the way they look and the way they act. I guess we need to make them despicable because like Shiginuma he tried to rape Tsugumi so that he could bear a child with her abilities. Does this have any relation to why Mozuyama raped Shouko? They try to shock us with this family thingy plot twist like Shiginuma being Akira’s half-brother (blaming him for whatever injury he had, hence Akira being subservient to him) and Mozuyama pulling a Darth Vader “Luke, I am your FATHER!” on Rui. On both occasions, somehow I found them funny and was laughing. Really. Not sure if the villains’ ties are matched and set up to correspond with the main characters. Because it’s like Hayato-Akira vs Shiginuma, Rui-Hisui vs Mozuyama and Shizuru-Shougo vs Sasagoi.

Something felt wrong because with an episode to spare, all the baddies were taken down. So does this mean we have an extra episode for fanservice or cheesy romance of the guys finally getting their break to compete over Tsugumi. True enough, another hidden villain! Nabari is like the final boss, eh? I figure there was something wrong with Nabari being Tsugumi’s childhood friend (the biggest factor for one to proclaim your love) and yet he is not part of her harem. Something is clearly wrong. Yeah, it turns out he too is a misguided villain with a sick twisted mind of his own. I can’t believe nobody sniffed him out while he is at Fukurou. Did he hide his sadness very well? Did defeating Shiginuma’s aides only then made them have time to really think who the authors of those cursed tomes are? Sounds like plot convenience to me.

On a trivial note, the opening narration of every episode sounds a little annoying. More or less the same thing is repeated about Tsugumi’s life and how her fate continues to hang in the balance. Cue for scales tipping to a side that I can’t seem to determine whether it is good or bad. Anyway, the way it is narrated sounds boring like as though the narrator doesn’t want to be here. If they think this is its way of putting in some drama, well it sure didn’t make me think so.

The idea of being killed by books sounds scary. Although the setting is that the authors put their strong negative feelings into it, I can’t help think the other reason why people get burnt after reading such books because they felt so passionate about it. So fiery and moved by their passion that they too literally are on fire! Moeta!!! Haha! Just joking. I wonder if this is set in modern times, when authors upload all their negative emotions online, will it be as effective? Considering the vast reaches of the internet, there’s going to be a lot more spontaneous combustions around. Yeah, there are going be to be lots of memes before and after that too! Haha! Oops. Just joking.

There is something a bit unique of this series’ art. Mainly it has this sepia shade and hue to it. In a way, it looks cool as it gives this Taisho era that olden day feeling. It goes without saying that all the characters are designed with this bishonen and bishoujo looks. I find Shizuru’s clothes the oddest since it makes him look more like a monk than an author. And Hisui, is he a naval captain wannabe? This series is animated by Zero-G who did Tsugumomo, Battery and Dive.

A few recognizable seiyuus including Yuuki Kaji as Hayato, Takahiro Sakurai as Rui, Kenichi Suzumura as Shizuru and Nobuhiko Okamoto as Akira (though he is more toned down here). The other casts include Juri Kimura as Tsugumi (Kyouko in Seiren), Ryota Ohsaka as Hisui (Vali in High School DxD), Ryouhei Kimura as Shougo (Kodaka in Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai), Rio Natsuki as Shiori (Nanami in El Hazard), Daichi Endou as Shiginuma (Herman Cross in Macross Delta), Seirou Ogino as Mozuyama (Tatsuya in Beelzebub), Akane Sanada as Shouko (Chiyoko Imura in Hayanaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku), Makoto Ishii as Sasagoi (Astreas in Guin Saga), Hikaru Midorikawa as Nabari (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Kazuyuki Okitsu as Mashiko (Hisui in K), Junya Enoki is Tsubameno (Horikawa Kunihiro in Touken Ranbu), Eiji Miyashita as Kuina (Sugaya in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Kentarou Tone as Yoshikiri (Hattori in Bakuman), Minami Takahashi as Koruri (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma) and Ayumu Murase as Hitaki (Joseph/Cartaphilus in Mahou Tsukai No Yome).

This has got to be the oddest and most irrelevant opening theme and animation ever. It is bad enough that Tandeki Miragism by Kradness sounds like some sort of pop disco dance music (those glaring synthesizers blasting away…), the animation feels out of place. What do I mean? You see all the characters wearing very nice and fancy clothes as they dance to the disco beat of this tune. May I remind you, what era is this anime set in again? So watching and hearing this segment really made me feel weird. I was questioning myself if I was watching the correct anime. Sure, those are the characters in different modern getup. But is this the anime that they are supposed to be in? Totally out of place. It also serves as a ‘hint’ to see which guys are part of Tsugumi’s harem because those who are get to dance with her. And that weirdly weird pose in the end… WTF… Although not as bad, the ending theme and animation credits are still bad enough. Cringe might be it. Black Thunder by Hiro Shimono is like a modern rock outfit. Okay, maybe fair enough. But still a bit out of place. But it is the animation of our hot guys being shirtless! Even if they are just sketches.

Overall, if I wanted to watch a reverse harem, I would still stick with Uta No Prince-sama series. Of course that series has so many seasons, they have the characters properly fleshed out. This one, my guts say you are better off playing the game if you want much more satisfying conclusions. Perhaps there is this subtlety they are trying to tell us here. Go read a book and let your imaginations run wild instead of watching TV or play video games that curtail your imagination. Movies and series get remakes and reboots while video games get remastered. Nobody does this to books. Ironically they blame TV and video game influence for violence but not so much on books. Until this anime came along! Now I can use this as an excuse not to read! I know the chances of being burnt alive from reading are near impossible. But why risk it? Like they say, ignorance is bliss…

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