Pretear

April 24, 2010

My first impression on Pretear was it was anime’s version of Snow White and Cinderella. But there are lots of differences as I later found out while watching the show. Instead of Snow White’s seven dwarves, here you have seven handsome bishonen. Well actually, more like four bishonen and three shotas (little boys) to be exact. Instead of your typical western damsel-in-distress, you have a teenager, Himeno Awayuki, has a little brutish nature and the kind of girl who will not hesitate to kick your ass if deemed necessary. And just like in Cinderella, she is also living with two ‘wicked’ step sisters.
 
However that is where the similarity ends. Otherwise this is a rather ‘old’ anime which was produced way back in the year 2001 (see how a long way anime has come?) based on the 4 volume mange of the same name. It may seem to fit the magical girl genre in a way because you know, the heroine undergoes transformation in terms of physical powers and clothes to fight her enemies. Other than that, the usual drama, romance, fantasy and action you’d normally see in animes in those days.
 
As seen in episode 1, it begins with the 7 Leafe Knights namely Hayate, Sasame, Kei, Go, Mannen, Hajime and Shin, gathering and learning that the seeds of disaster is being called by the Princess of Disaster, Fenrir, for red snow of disaster to fall on Earth. They need to prevent her resurrection and find the one who will turn the snow white again. Back in present time, our main heroine and gardening-enthusiast Himeno is enjoying her new rich life in her super large mansion. Is she? Well, it’s going to be tough for a poor girl like her to adjust to her new surroundings even so. You see, her failed novelist dad, Kaoru, married a rich widow of a super large conglomerate, Natsue Hojo. How rich is she? Every business in town is affiliated with the Hojo Conglomerate and when she remarried Kaoru, she renamed the city Awayuki Town! Man, she’s sure totally in love with him. Love works in mysterious ways. As mentioned, life isn’t a bed of roses for Himeno as her high aristocrat step mom is obsessed with good manners and she also has to put up with her step sisters. That is, being a prank victim of snobbish elder sister Mayune or completely being ignored by couldn’t-care-less Mawata. Himeno realizes she is running late for school and on her way realizes red snow falling. The Leafe Knights are sealing demon larvae in the real world. They note the need of a Pretear’s powers to complete their task but Hayate is reluctant since he doesn’t want ‘that’ to happen again. To do so, the rest go around touching hands of girls to see any kind of reaction. Of course the shotas are okay (girls swooning over their cuteness, what else) but for the bishonens, they may seem like perverts, no matter how good looking they are.
 
Hayate is wondering around on his own when Himeno bumps and falls onto him. Since he criticized her weight, they got into an argument. She punches him but he blocks and causes a short static shock. Himeno rushes off after thinking she’s really late for school. In school, she tries to talk to her best friend, Yayoi Takato, but the other girls advice Yayoi not to mix with her and continue to badmouth her that her drunkard dad married for the money. Himeno walks home alone pondering how lonely she is even with her new life. As she sits in her mansion’s garden, the Leafe Knights appear. Himeno punches Hayate when he shows up, thinking he brought his good looking pals to do her in! Haha! Sasame explains the Leafe and Fenrir thingy like every living thing in this world have Leafe living in them and Fenrir is after Leafe to heighten her powers. He also says that Himeno is Pretear, the Princess of Light. They need her powers to save the world since theirs are limited. However she thinks this is a trap to make her feel good and when she’s willing to believe, they’ll abandon her. A matured demon larva turns into a monster and starts withering trees around it. The rest plead for Himeno to become Pretear but Hayate is adamant that they don’t need her. Himeno is upset and runs away. As the Leafe Knights transform to do battle, Himeno reflects on their words and turns back. The Leafe Knights are losing so Himeno asks Hayate what she needs to do to become Pretear. He stretches his hand as she touches it and transforms into one.
 
The battle continues in episode 2 as Shin engages a barrier so that the battle takes place in a different dimension and the effects won’t affect the human world. Himeno gets embarrassed and flustered Hayate is fused inside her body. No dirty thoughts here. Plus, no time for that as Hayate says to concentrate her wind powers since he is the Pretear of Wind. Though not perfect, after a few tries, she manages to destroy the larva by attacking its core. Everything returns to normal as Himeno notices Hayate is injured but he shrugs it off. She learns that the Leafe Knights become her shield and sword and take any wound her in place when she becomes Pretear. Though she feels guilty, the next morning, she requests Sasame to practice with her so that they won’t get hurt in the next battle. Himeno prets (a term to transform) with Sasame, who is the Pretear of Sound (apparently a different outfit for a different Leafe Knight). As she concentrates, she sees visuals of sounds like from her short balding chauffeur-cum-butler Tanaka and maid Mikage. They also practice a Sonic Arrow move but it was too powerful and blasted away some parts of the garden and Mayune who is passing by. Mawata is out in the city and doesn’t seem to like the over enthusiastic people who recognized her as the conglomerate’s daughter with that fake respect of theirs. She runs to an alley whereby she sees several stray cats.
 
During the break, Sasame thanks Himeno for being a Pretear so she comments on how nice he is compared to cold Hayate and that she could improve with him unlike the other guy. Sasame takes her to his work place and mentions the other Leafe Knights work at other jobs they specialize in. Himeno is astounded by Sasame as a radio personality and gets drawn in from the request postcards he received. Mawata is listening to Sasame’s programme and remembers the time how Natsue introduced her to her new dad. She later goes back to the alley to feed the cats but a demon larva matures and emits black smog which causes her to faint. Luckily Himeno sensed that larva’s presence and in time with the Leafe Knights appear in time to do battle. Himeno prets with Sasame and using what she has learned, destroys the larva in no time. Mawata comes to and is surrounded by Himeno and the guys. Sasame realizes that she is the one who frequently sent the postcards to his radio station which was being read earlier in the day. Though Himeno understands what she is trying to say, Mawata isn’t and still thinks there no way she could understand how she feels before running away.
 
In episode 3, Himeno is out with Yayoi as they talk about how Tanaka was once a classmate of Natsue and his unrequited love for her. Yeah, probably the cause of his receding hairline due to all that stress. Hayate wants to test if Himeno is worthy of being a Pretear. For the concentration test, he passes her a kendama. Of course she can’t get the ball in place as it hit her face instead. Next, the attention skill test has her to break a large pot with objects. When she does, lots of little colourful chibi birds called Tipis flew out so Hayate asks how many of them were red and so forth. Uh huh… I wasn’t paying attention either. Finally for the endurance test, Himeno must restrain herself from eating all the tasty treats. But unfortunately she gulped them all down before Hayate could finish his sentence. Too delicious to resist, eh? Upset Hayate walks away. He bumps into Mayune who has fallen for his looks so she takes him by his hair to her room. She tries to seduce him but is gone by the time she’s out from the bath. Himeno goes talk to Sasame about Hayate and once again his words comforted and encouraged her (that’s why he’s suited to be a radio DJ, eh?). Later she practices her Pretear skills but Hayate isn’t convinced and still thinks she’s an amateur (hey, she just got into this like a few days ago, right?). Feeling hurt, Himeno thinks he hates her and yells back she doesn’t need him. He leaves though she feels guilty over her harsh words. Though she’s down, she senses a demon larva.
 
That larva had dropped into the bicycle and weird sidecar of Kaoru and Natsue while doing their lovey-dovey ride around the park (how many rounds have they gone through via that embarrassing vehicle?). The larva transforms and sends both lovebirds fainting. Himeno and the Leafe Knights arrive to battle as she prets with Go (Pretear of Fire). However the larva multiplied itself so the Knights are in a bind. Until Hayate shows up to free them and buys Himeno enough time to destroy its core. When it’s over, Kaoru and Natsue wake up and continue their romantic time together, not realizing what just happened. Himeno apologizes to Hayate but he continues to spite her that it’s his job to work with a stupid and annoying Pretear. I guess she was so pissed off she even put words in his mouth that he called her a violent b*tch. That night Himeno is successful with her kendama and feels happy. The other Knights note how Hayate accepted Himeno because he did call her a Pretear.
 
In episode 4, while Tanaka thinks the reason for his receding hairline is stress (unrequited love for Natsue, remember?), Himeno is upset to learn Kaoru has just hired Hayate as his part time gardener (his reason as later revealed is to watch over her). As expected, they quarrel. Himeno then learns from the shotas that there’s a demon larva in her residence area so the quartet are off to search for it but Himeno got into a trap set by Tanaka. He volunteers to help find this ‘insect’ with them. Back in Himeno’s room, somebody plants a demon larva in her little garden. Mayune tries to get back at Himeno for splashing water on her earlier on but her plan backfired. She then spots Hayate and tries to go after him but bumps into Go going a delivery. She gets taken in by his handsomeness and drags him to her room (apparently any good looking guy will do for her. So easy to switch, eh?). That usual bathroom seduction plan and by the time she’s out, he’s gone. Only Yayoi is there and her incessant infatuation about doing research on Natsue-Tanaka’s forbidden love thingy. Yeah, she’s so into it. Tanaka drives Himeno and the shotas to find the insect in their huge yard. It’s a jungle out there! Lost World? All the wild animals here are their pets and have names?! Michael the Gorilla? Rodriguez the crocodile? Bob the Bear? Some zoo this place is! Tanaka sure knows all their names. He’s so cool even when he got bitten or attacked by them. Yeah, perhaps their way of showing their love. Make sure they’re not just hungry. Other than that, the gang got lost, chased around, etc.
 
Eventually Himeno and the shotas regroup back at her room and no demon larva was detected. However Shin notices her pretty plants and that’s when a demon larva starts to mature. The larva starts attacking so frantic Himeno tries to save Mannen. Luckily Hayate is there to save them from being crushed by her bed. Himeno prets with Hajime (Pretear of Water) to destroy the larva. When it’s over, Himeno is relieved that they’re okay, feels guilty and apologizes that she should’ve been more responsible. However Hayate tells her that her flowers are saying thank you to her. Himeno is being called by her dad who has completed his masterpiece. As he unveils it, it turns out to be a big tulip and smashes it instantly (because Hayate has been teasing Himeno ‘tulip head’ all the while), breaking daddy’s heart. And Yayoi is still nonstop talking about the forbidden love. Will she ever shut up?
 
Himeno wakes up from a nightmare that she’s being devoured by Fenrir in episode 5. She gets embarrassed when she realized she hugged Hayate. The next day, Himeno is annoyed that Hayate is watching her from afar like a stalker so Yayoi misinterprets that he’s in love with her and wants Himeno to accept his feelings! Oh boy, another round of ideas for that girl… After school, Himeno sensed the presence of demon larvae but it’s different than usual. The Leafe Knights gather as purple butterflies are seen. Sasame explains they are underlings/familiars that carry Leafe to Fenrir. When Himeno tells them she has seen them in her dreams, Sasame concludes that Hayate knew about this all along and spent all day guarding Himeno. Meanwhile Fenrir feels she needs more Leafe. Himeno that night decides to go apologize to Hayate but instead finds her dad and another weird tulip sculpture named Himeno Mark 2. She destroys it in her rage and proclaims ‘justice’. As Sasame is about to replace Mannen’s shift taking turns protecting Himeno, he bumps into Mayune. She instantly falls for him and that bathroom seduction again. However a blackout occurs and she takes this chance to run out and hug him naked in the dark. Unfortunately Sasame has left and she’s hugging Tanaka instead.
 
Soon the entire city plunges into darkness as Himeno feels the demon larva presence. Hayate takes her to the source which is on the city’s bridge. They come face to face with Fenrir. She launches a short attack before disappearing with Hayate. At an abandoned chapel, it seems Hayate realizes Fenrir’s plan to lure him out. She asks why he shielded Himeno so he replies that she is Pretear. Before Fenrir flies away, she kisses him as Hayate calls out to her real name, Takako. When the other Leafe Knights arrive, a demon larva starts attacking so Himeno prets with Mannen (Pretear of Ice) who feels guilty for falling asleep during his shift and wants to make up. The larva is a little stronger than usual and gives the gang some trouble before they manage to subdue it. But more demon larvae appear and surround them. However they stop short in attacking them. Fenrir appears and mocks Himeno that with her lack of ability, it’s impossible to win and if she continues to fight, she’ll definitely die. Fenrir then disappears. In the aftermath, Sasame talks to Hayate that his persuasion didn’t go to well. Himeno tries to find Hayate to apologize but is unable to and feels afraid.
 
Himeno trains hard while reflecting on Fenrir’s words but still feels gloomy. Kaoru even notices she isn’t herself because she isn’t the glutton she used to be (though she may have chowed down several bowls). So in episode 6, Mayune’s yet another prank to spill squid ink on Himeno backfires so she blames Tanaka and takes it out on him. Meanwhile Hayate and Sasame try to find clues of Fenrir but to no avail. Kaoru sees Mawata and invites her to sculpt with him. While she reminisces the time she used to sculpt with her late dad, Natsue comes in and the adults get lovey-dovey so annoyed Mawata leaves. Himeno goes for a walk in town and sees Kei and Go as they give her advice to cheer her up. Then she meets Mikage on her way and the latter can tell she isn’t her usual self. Of course Yayoi interrupts while dramatically saying that Himeno’s problem is love. As she continues to blab, Mikage advices her to find out the source of her problem. With that, Himeno knows what to do and rushes off but bumps into the shotas. She pleads to them to tell her more about Fenrir and learns that she is imprisoned at Leafenia. She also makes a deal with them to take her there. They take her to the tree where she is imprisoned and as Himeno looks around for clues, all she could find is a lipstick.
 
They return to the normal world but the bishonens aren’t fond that the shotas took Himeno there. She tells them that it is her wish and wants to know more. But they are reluctant to tell because there are things she’s better off not knowing. However Kei feels she’ll know sooner or later and spills the beans. He says Fenrir wasn’t born of a demon but originally a human. Just then, Fenrir unleashes her demon larva to attack them. They couldn’t detect its presence and think they’re being masked. Himeno prets with Kei (Pretear of Light) but she is more infatuated in knowing more about Fenrir rather than concentrating on the battle. Kei has no choice but to tell her that she gave in to her evil side and that she, Takako was once a Pretear. Himeno is taken aback but manages to get back on her feet and unleash a powerful but the larva escapes. When it’s over, Himeno is upset that the guys kept her in the dark and thought they fear she might turn out like Takako. The rest kept quiet and walked away except Hayate who is going to tell her an old story.
 
Mannen is upset that the shotas aren’t allowed to hear the real story. In episode 7, Hayate takes Himeno to the chapel to tell her how it all started 16 years ago. When Takako was a Pretear, she had some fear in her heart. In short, Takako fell in love with Hayate who helped her overcome that fear but he wasn’t able to reciprocate her love. Not wanting all this to happen, her powers turned negative and that’s when she became the Princess of Disaster. It’s so easy to turn to the dark side. In order to seal her away, a great deal of power was needed and caused the lives of 3 Leafe Knights. By that time, the shotas have heard all this from Kei so Mannen isn’t happy and blames Hayate as the cause for dragging Himeno into this mess. Hayate agrees. He tries to leave but Go isn’t happy. They could’ve fought among themselves if Himeno didn’t interfere and give them a piece of her mind. She calms everyone down and goes back to her cheery self. She thanks Hayate and feels that she’s one of them now. However back in her room, she feels guilty and pain in her heart. As Himeno is in school the next day, the Leafe Knights search the surroundings for the escaped larva. After school, Himeno wanders and unknowingly ends up at the chapel. She sees Sasame and Hayate there when a larva with Fenrir appears. The other Knights battle other demon larvae but realize that they were mere decoys. Fenrir questions Himeno about Hayate’s kindness and proceeds to play mind games that he is kind to her and not Himeno. Himeno is unfazed and decides to pret with Hayate but to her horror can’t. Fenrir mocks her that she has learned the truth from the Leafe Knights and the wounds in her heart will keep bleeding sorrow and that she has been used. Himeno is trembling in fear though she insists that she isn’t wounded but if she loses, she can’t protect anyone anymore. She breaks down as Hayate hugs and tells her she doesn’t have to do it anymore. Fenrir continues to scorn her that deep within her heart she doesn’t want to fight and starts attacking.
 
The other Leafe Knights are soundly beaten in episode 8. To show how powerless and burdensome Himeno is, Fenrir nearly sucks the entire life out of Sasame before disappearing. While Go is healing him, Himeno starts feeling at fault and that she’s to be blamed for all this. Next morning, Hayate eavesdropped from Mayune complaining to Natsue (after yet another failed spicy toothpaste prank) that Himeno has left the house early without telling anyone so he goes in search of her. However he bumps into Yayoi and she thinks he’s the cause that Himeno didn’t turn up in school today. Yeah, that stalker romance thingy… Himeno has her mind preoccupied so she isn’t concentrating while crossing the road as a speeding truck threatens to mow her down. Luckily Mawata was there to save her. The duo then proceed to talk things and go about doing stuff together around town. At the beach, it seems that they both made some progress in their relationship. As Himeno goes to buy drinks, she reflects on Mawata’s words that it’s better to live alone so as not to hurt anybody. Hayate then shows up and that’s when she gets emotional and starts apologizing profusely that she can’t be a Pretear. Hayate hugs and comforts her. Mawata spots this from afar and is in shock so she runs away. I guess in her eyes, her step sister is like having an affair with their gardener, right?
 
Fenrir suddenly appears to bring Himeno ‘gifts’: other defeated Leafe Knights. Himeno breaks down and goes hysterical so Hayate goes on the offensive but was beaten too. This causes Himeno to yell back at her if she indeed loved Hayate since she could hurt him. Her usual reply of being used and thrown away but Himeno says she won’t turn into a Princess of Disaster like her so Fenrir mocks her that she may be right because she can’t even turn into a Pretear. Himeno wants to power, will and determination to protect everyone again so she successfully prets with Hayate, emitting lots of Leafe powers as it heals the other Knights. With greater powers, Himeno destroys the larva and wounds Fenrir though the latter escapes but promises to be back and make her pay. Later Himeno thanks Hayate for coming. Back at home, Mawata cries alone in her dark room.
 
Mawata locks herself in her room for several days in episode 9. While having breakfast with her family, Himeno spots a demon larva bug crossing the ceiling and feels scared. Kaoru thinks it’s a ghost. Himeno tells this to Hayate and thinks Fenrir is taunting her. She plans to leave this place as she feels she doesn’t want to get her family involved. Kaoru organizes a ghost hunt with Natsue, Mayune and Tanaka in weird outfits. Yayoi is there too? WTF is she talking about occult of love and desire?! Himeno wants them to stop doing so but it fell on deaf ears so all the Leafe Knights gather as the bishonen help search for the larva while the shotas keep an eye on the ghost hunt party. Several blushing moments between Hayate and Himeno. I can feel some romance thingy between the duo. Kaoru and co search and abandoned storeroom and got frightened by tricks courtesy of Mannen. They scatter and lose each other so Go tells them to clean up the mess. When they regroup, Kaoru shows them a Tipi bird and thinks this is the ghost. Tanaka ‘screws’ with it so much so he broke an expensive table. Six months salary docked… Meanwhile Mawata wants Mikage to stay with her a little longer. She confides in Mikage and tells how her dad was the only person who understood her while mommy and sis didn’t even try to understand her. When daddy died, she felt lonely but found a person who understood it: Sasame. However Mikage throws away all her Sasame tapes and tells her to take a good look at herself and be honest. She must accept the sorrow she feels now and since the love she lost won’t come back, she should hate to save herself (uh oh! Is Mikage I think who she is?).
 
Mikage on her way out bumps into Sasame. He says she looked like someone he knew and indirectly hints that he couldn’t do anything for her but watch. In short he loved her. Mikage excuses herself when Himeno and the other Leafe Knights show up. Go and Kei attack Mikage but were deflected. To Himeno’s horror, Mikage turns into Fenrir! She mentions Mikage was just 1 of her identities and the reason she was being nice to her was because she wanted to use her powers before the Leafe Knights do. But it doesn’t matter now because she’ll find a new puppet of darkness for her power. Go attacks Fenrir but Sasame blocks it. Thinking that she can’t turn back anymore, he is willing to abandon his knighthood to be with her! Gasp! What a turn of events. No Sasame! Don’t turn to the dark side!
 
So Sasame admits his love for Takako/Fenrir in episode 10 though back then she had eyes only for Hayate. He pledges his allegiance to her so Fenrir gives her answer by unleashing a blast that shatters windows and crack walls before disappearing. Looks like he was rejected. Himeno understands how he feels to be in love but he just walks away. The other Leafe Knights are creating Himeno’s new home in Leafenia so upon Hayate’s request, Himeno goes to say goodbye to her family like giving parting gifts to Tanaka and Yayoi (that girl is now writing some romance novel contest about Tanaka and Natsue?), purposely walking straight into another one of Mayune’s obvious lame traps, serving Kaoru and Natsue tea, and go talk to Mawata but she still locks herself inside. However Mawata is under Fenrir’s hypnosis as she tries to absorb her hatred. But Fenrir notes that Mawata’s heart still rejects her and concludes she is still in love with Sasame. Later Sasame visits the chapel and finds Fenrir waiting there.
 
When Himeno’s new home is completed, everyone is happy to see Sasame return. However he unleashes a powerful sound wave to destroy the home. All their hard effort wasted! Sasame says that he is here to prove his love to Fenrir by going to kill Hayate. He refuses to fight until Sasame injures Himeno. The others try to stop them but Fenrir prevents them from interfering. She then throws down 2 swords for the duo to duke it out. Sasame has the upper hand but hesitates and did not kill Hayate. Fenrir is upset so she points Sasame’s sword at her own throat and says he can kill her if there’s still a piece of Leafe Knight in his heart. Or else kill Hayate. No 2 ways about it. He is about to strike Hayate but Fenrir blasts the latter away. It seems she changed her mind and feels it’s no fun killing him and wants him to suffer in pain till he begs her to kill him. Fenrir makes Sasame her servant and grants him a new darkness power (not to mention a change in his clothing) in which he fully accepts. The area around Leafenia withers and dies before the darkness duo disappear. Himeno pleads for him to return but he replies that the Knight of Sound she once knew no longer exists. Himeno could only cry in despair.
 
Posters of missing Himeno are seen posted throughout the city in episode 11. Wow. Such a large scale search by her parents. In actual fact, she is discreetly fighting demon larvae with the Leafe Knights. Fenrir and Sasame talk like how the latter’s here on his own free will because he loves her and would rather be a fool than lie to himself (like all of us) while the former is still very much in love with Hayate. Himeno and the rest take refuge at the chapel. Himeno can’t sleep at that night so Hayate goes talk to her. She says she doesn’t regret becoming a Pretear so Hayate hugs her. Kaoru feels worried for Mawata (still locked in her room obsessively listening to tapes of Sasame’s radio programme) so Natsue tells him she’s alright because when her real dad passed away, Natsue and Mayune were devastated but Mawata comforted them with a smile. But Kaoru still feels worried that her concern for others may hurt herself. Sasame pays Mawata a visit and talks to her. She claims he doesn’t understand her like everyone else so Sasame promises to set her free and wants her to follow him.
 
Fenrir walks into the Awayuki residence and unleashes many demon larvae which start attacking the family. Thankfully Himeno and the Knights appear in time to hold back the menace, shocking her family as they can’t believe to see Himeno this way (especially Mayune). Himeno prets with Hayate to take out the threats. Then they spot Mawata and Sasame on the rooftop. However Mawata is on Sasame’s side as she spites them all especially her family who didn’t think about her. She feels that they’re just like strangers living in the same house. Though they refute and even so apologize, Mawata doesn’t believe them and breaks down upon telling them about her loneliness all the time ever since daddy died. But with Sasame here, she doesn’t feel so. Unfortunately Mawata’s happiness is short lived as Fenrir swoops down and congratulates Sasame as he goes to her. Of course naturally with the appearance of the other woman, any girl would feel confused. Mawata wonders who this lady is so Sasame says he’s going to set her free as he kisses Fenrir! The shock was too much for Mawata to handle so she turns into a vegetable state. Fenrir takes the suffering, hate and despair in her heart and uses it to unleash and enormous Great Tree of Fenrir, which is supposed to be her power source with Mawata as the core and the nucleus of gathering Leafes. Fenrir also says it is the beginning of the end of the world. Sighs. There are so many ways to destroy the world… Ah well, at least she doesn’t want to rule the world.
 
The city is in panic and the people are in mass evacuation in episode 12. While the shotas are being tasked to handle the evacuation, Go and Kei take out the attacking larvae as Himeno go save Mawata with her family. They call out to reach her while trying to rip the vines protecting the core but each time they do so, it grows back. Fenrir is watching how weak the humans are trying to save Mawata but is unhappy that they aren’t giving up. So Sasame decides to go face Himeno. She leaves her family to free Mawata. Sasame talks about how he sealed the woman he loved in darkness, he healed other’s hearts but not his own, they never bothered to save her as her family, her pain will be soothed, bla bla bla (what else is new?). Himeno in return says it’s not true, that’s not what Mawata wanted, she was really in love with him, she hates him for manipulating and using her instead of freeing her, bla bla bla (what else do you expect?). Sasame tells Hayate to fight him one on one if he doesn’t want Himeno to get hurt. He agrees and tells Himeno that he’ll definitely return since there’s something he wants to tell her when the battle’s over. While the guys duke it out, Himeno climbs the tree and faces Fenrir. Another round of talk. Himeno says destroying the world won’t heal her wounded heart, Hayate didn’t betray her because he’s not capable of doing that, he’s still blaming himself for turning her into a Princess of Disaster, with friends and family there is trust and believe, bla bla bla (do we really need more of this?). Fenrir replies (here we go again), you don’t understand how I feel, you were the same when you first arrived and plagued with loneliness, bla bla bla. Fenrir decides to show her the true identity of what she believes in and sends electric shocks to stun her family. However they all get back on their feet and continue to tear the vines even if it still shocks them and putting them in greater physical danger.
 
Himeno too doesn’t give up and tries to break into the core and manages to do so. Mawata is inside wishing everyone should just go away as Himeno extends her hand for them to go home. Reluctant at first but after seeing how hard her family is trying, she gives in and comes out into the warm arms of her relieved family. The tree weakens as Fenrir couldn’t believe Mawata is smiling. She refuses to believe all this is happening and that Mawata should be more miserable than her. She breaks down and starts calling for Sasame. Just then, Sasame and Hayate appear. Seems Hayate is defeated as Fenrir rushes over into Sasame’s arms. She orders Sasame to kill them both. Before he could do so, Himeno says that this isn’t what he needed to do now as she wants to save Takako because she didn’t really want to become the Princess of Disaster. She relates her own fear of becoming one back then and thinks Takako felt the same way. Because Sasame is hesitating, Fenrir thinks he too has abandoned her and no one loves her. She starts getting angry as the tree starts absorbing Leafes. The vines go out of control so Sasame uses his body to protect Fenrir from being stabbed.
 
A teary-jerking, drama-filled, emotional episode 13 has Sasame spewing ‘honour’ lines before he dies. Fenrir is devastated and now that her eyes are opened, she reverts back to Takako (not to mention her change in clothes). She realizes she loved him. NOO!!! Don’t go!!! Too late. He’s gone. That’s why always appreciate the things you have. Takako is overcome with grief and this causes the tree to be confused and react to it by become violent and unstable. It binds Takako while causing rampage. Weary Himeno and Hayate pret as the other Leafe Knights lend their powers so Himeno now has combined elemental powers. While busting the vines, she reflects all that she has been through and finds strength in everyone to carry on. However the vines pin her down as this time Hayate uses his body as shield from its relentless attack. Himeno goes hysterical that Hayate will die if this goes on. Citing that she doesn’t want to lose him or anyone else, Himeno draws new power and to the awe of anyone who is watching, prets and becomes a Pretear by herself. Yeah, a totally new clothing design, fit for a fairytale princess, I should say. The tree swallows Takako and attacks Himeno so Himeno decides to give it all the Leafe it desires. Perhaps it absorbed too much and thus the tree vanishes into white snow that falls beautifully over the city. When Hayate comes to, he is surprised to see Sasame still alive. Oh yeah. It’s not good for a bishonen to die, you know. But there’s bad news. Himeno sacrificed herself to resurrect him. Everyone is grieving in shock around Himeno’s lifeless body but it seems even in death she put on a smiling face. Then this part reminds me of the Sleeping Beauty story. Remember Prince Charming kissed the princess to wake her up? Here, Hayate kisses Himeno and shortly, she opens her eyes, much to everyone’s relief. Who says a heroine/princess has to die in the end?
 
In the aftermath, Mawata seems more open and smiles often as she interacts with Hajime and Shin while Kaoru and Natsue continue to do stuff together. Yayoi thinks of becoming Kaoru’s apprentice since the latter is thinking of starting to write novels again. Of course the thought of turning it into a forbidden teacher-student relationship has Himeno rejecting it. What’s this? Has Mayune turned into a shotacon? Yeah, she’s trying to seduce Mannen via that bathroom tactic but he fell asleep instead. While Tanaka returns from his lost trip, he is devastated that Natsue has hired a new driver but since she feels that Tanaka is better suited to be her chauffeur, he gladly takes his job back. Not after learning Natsue docked 12 months pay for taking unannounced leave. Haha! All that hair, beard and moustache he grew just withered in a split second. Ah, the stress of love and money… Lastly it seems there are 2 pair of couples now. Yup, Sasame and Takako are happily together and so are Himeno and Hayate. Though not shown, I guess the thing that Hayate wanted to tell Himeno after all was his feelings.
 
Hooray. Just like in any fairytale endings, it has to end on a good note. The world gets to live for another day but more importantly things are looking bright for Himeno and her family. In a way the turn of events from Himeno becoming a Pretear serve as a good turning point and change for her family. I guess without if all this never happened, they’ll still be the snob and distant people they are. Thus the important lesson from this old series is to cherish your family ties and friendship. No matter how much you hate a certain someone or feel annoyed or disgusted, but hey, they’re still family. And of course, no (wo)man is an island. Mawata learned that the hard way, I guess.
 
The chemistry between Himeno and Hayate was expected. You know, I’ve seen several shows whereby the male and female leads get off on a bad footing like arguing with each other too much but in the end open their hearts up to each other. Even if they throw Sasame in early to the mix, it still won’t change the fact that it will be Himeno-Hayate. Besides, I’m thinking if Sasame was the one responsible for releasing Fenrir from her imprisonment in the first place. As for the other Leafe Knights, I felt there weren’t enough interactions between them and Himeno. I mean, for the initial episodes, it was like they take turns to pret so they could show off a little of her fancy Pretear outfit and some moves but that’s basically it. Other than that, it was mainly going to be Himeno and Hayate as I have previously said. Takako may not have got her ideal love but at least she found love in another way in the end. Yeah, her confused and misguided feelings caused a whole lot of trouble in the first place. Sixteen years is sure a long time. I wonder if Takako would be Mikage the maid again since everything is over. Hopefully there won’t be another girl(s) who would be like her and end up as the new Princess of Disaster or else this whole mess will be back to square one. Come to think of it, now I guess I know why they call it Snow White. Beats calling it Snow Red, eh?
 
Yayoi, Tanaka and Mayune are the most amusing character in the series for me. In terms of comic relief, that is. Besides the fact that Yayoi is aptly voiced by Yukari Tamura, you just got to love her obsession about forbidden love and when she starts talking about it, she can’t literally stop. As for Mayune, it was ‘fun’ to see the pranks backfired on her. She deserves it so much. All the more when she and accidental Tanaka ‘teamed up’ to get back at Himeno. But even her prankish behaviour, she still loves her family like the rest deep down in her heart. As for her bathroom seduction tactic, that was sure a riot (in my opinion). If she thinks guys will fall over her so called nice body, she’d better think again. Also I don’t think any hair treatment programme will ever cure Tanaka’s baldness. There are several small issues that bug me (no pun intended). Who was it that planted the demon larva in Himeno’s room (of course logically that would be Mikage then but it was never revealed)? Was it Sasame that released the Princess of Disaster? And during the ghost hunt episode, why did Natsue and Yayoi have that evil look on their faces which make them suspect that they may be the evil one? Ah well, doesn’t matter since everything’s good in the end.
 
Later as I found out from Wikipedia, the anime adaptation is very much different from the manga. For instance, the servants in the Awayuki residence are much colder and meaner to Himeno as compared to the anime where they are being kind. Furthermore, in the manga, Natsue’s husband was divorced rather than died in the anime. Because of that, in the manga, she is like the true cruel step mom in Cinderella or witch in Snow White as she is very jealous of Himeno and treats her harshly. Now that is true Snow White or Cinderella cruelty. Natsue was also possessed by Fenrir in the manga but never in the anime. Also, the bishonen Knights were given more mature looks from their cute appearances in the manga and that Sasame in the anime is turned into a more serious, quiet and ‘poetic’ guy rather than a playboy flirt in the manga! Talk about the major differences.
 
Dreaming of being a prince or princess isn’t as easy as it seems today. There are lots of responsibilities to shoulder. How about having the weight of saving the world for starters? Damsels in distress are so outdated and old fashioned. If I was given such a path and choice like Himeno to become the world’s saviour, I think I’d rather pass that chance and leave it to someone else. Unless of course there are 7 super kawaii, moe and pretty bishoujos at my side that I could pret with than that’s a different story.
 

Pretear