December 1, 2013

Hey. How come Scryed feels like Needless? Okay, actually it is more like Needless somewhat takes after Scryed. Let’s see. A strange and deadly phenomenon has ravaged a certain part of Japan and caused the emergence of a new kind of species of mankind. The kind that allows them to use superhuman powers. Life is harsh and close to lawless in those devastated parts so a local police-like organization is established to maintain the peace. And from opposing ends of both sides, herald 2 very opposing but yet so similar characters that will clash and determine the fate of the land and its people. Sounds pretty familiar, right? You’d be forgiven if you think Needless took after Scryed as some considered the former to be a spiritual successor of the latter.

One of those typical shonen animes with lots of power fights among the protagonists and powering up as they go along, I guess it’s one of those times whereby I pick an old school anime to watch and compare how different and long way animes have come. Well, I think I can see lots of difference here but that will be another story. Some considered this 2001 production to be a classic, some acceptable and some so-so. The only way to determine that is to watch it myself. It’s also time to see whether Falcon Punch is superior to Shocking First Bullet…

Episode 1: Kazuma
Mimori Kiryuu is on a plane heading to Lost Ground when a Native Alter, Kazuma uses the plane as a springboard to launch himself to a building whereby thugs are holding the chief of HOLD hostage. He crashes into the place to knock everybody out and save the day. In the aftermath, the police investigate the area. The baddies are rounded up while Scheris Adjani, an Alter from HOLY conducts her own investigation. A best way to solve a case involving an Alter is to use another Alter. Back at HOLY, the commander Martin Zigmarl receives her report so he orders to send in Elian as they can’t let a Native Alter stay loose. Kazuma must have earned big bucks from the job but squanders most of it at the toll. Am I the only one who thinks he is just more than generous? He returns to his home whereby Kanami Yuuta is waiting for him. He shows her how much money he earned. Not much. Then he worries how he they can make it next. Kunihiko Kimishima enters the room to offer Kazuma another job. Seems another team is trying to take over Hideki team’s turf. That team has an Alter as their leader. I guess this is where Kazuma comes in. Kazuma thinks he can earn big bucks (2000) for his service but Kimishima only offers him a meagre 30. And so the ‘negotiation’ begins. Via rock-scissors-paper? Late that night, the duo leave for their mission. Biff and his gang terrorize Hidemi’s people. He is having it his way till Kazuma and Kimishima bang him in their vehicle. And they were pushing it. They didn’t realize they knocked the Alter user out. And so here they go again arguing about the price. Biff wakes up and is mad. He is going to use his Alter, Hammer a giant robot. Everyone knows they’re in for a torrid time so they flee the scene. Kazuma also summons his Alter, Shell Bullet which just covers his entire right arm. Biff unleashes his smashing destruction but all it took was a single strike of Kazuma’s Shocking First Bullet to destroy Biff’s Hammer. More action for Kazuma since Scheris and HOLD are here to apprehend them. Kazuma is going to buy time for their escape by fighting them. Out comes Ryuhou Tairen. When Kazuma first laid his eyes on him, he starts to shiver. Nevertheless he unleashes Annihilating Second Bullet at him but was blocked by his Alter, Zetsuei. Kazuma then gets beaten up. Kazuma won’t give in and uses Exterminating Last Bullet. But when his punch connects, Shell Bullet breaks apart.

Episode 2: Ryuhou
A group of Native Alters take Ryuhou lightly and got a taste of his Zetsuei. Maybe Ryuhou was just overdoing it. Mimori was once a scientist trying to find out the mystery of Lost Ground. It still remains unexplainable 22 years after that event. Talking to her colleague Kurusu, she intends on going back there since she once lived there 7 years ago. He didn’t have positive views on Alters and sees them as lawless people but Mimori thinks they are closer to true human nature as they decompose and construct materials using spiritual power. Flashback 7 years ago, she met Ryuhou at a high profile party on Lost Ground. Upon her father’s request, she goes to meet Ryuhou. She is impressed with Alters as 1% of Lost Ground people are born with that special ability. But Ryuhou on the other hand laments that many people are struggling with their lives. Ryuhou couldn’t control his Alter power and breaks a stone piece of pillar. He wants her to decline invitation to his house for fear he might hurt her. She decides to keep that stone. But Mimori came to Ryuhou’s house anyway since she was invited by his mom. They quickly become friends but after 6 months, she had to leave for the mainland when her dad resigned. Now she is back here again and being picked up by Straight Cougar from HOLD. She gets a taste of his super speed because of his Alter, Radical Good Speed that allows him to make things go faster. Yeah. It’s his philosophy to finish things fast to use time efficiently. It’s amazing Mimori didn’t die from that ride.

Mimori introduces herself to Scheris that she will be joining HOLY from today in their research department. Ryuhou is also there but he seems not to recognize her. Mimori is taken to see Zigmarl and he warns her prejudice against Alters is high and are objects of hatred. And then the daughter of HOLY’s investor’s daughter got transferred in the midst of this. She should behave herself. Later Mimori talks to Scheris on why she is working for HOLY (to make a living) and how many Alters there are (20). She lets her in with an advice that even though she and Ryuhou are the same, their existence is completely different. Scheris has to leave for another mission. She is stuck with Cougar who offers to take her to see a real fight between Alters. Can she stomach his ride? It’s amazing she can hold it in for nearly 2 hours! At a desolated place, it seems they are going to watch the battle from afar. Meanwhile HOLD’s chief blows his top to Zigmarl and blames HOLY for the recent events. He takes responsibility but reminds him that he shouldn’t have wandered off himself outside the walls of the city. Safety is only guaranteed within the city walls. Anything beyond that is beyond their control. As establishment and authority are not fully established yet, he believes reinforcement of Alter fighting unit called HOLY is necessary. Mimori sees Ryuhou using Zetsuei to beat up Kazuma. She wonders what changed Ryuhou. Cougar advises her to go back to the mainland because sentimentalism won’t work here. Ryuhou is returning with several prisoners with Kazuma being one of them. Kazuma is bent on crushing him.

Episode 3: HOLY
6 years ago, an attack by a mysterious Native Alter with thunder powers caused the death of Ryuhou’s mom. Even his dog died. Ryuhou was so angry and sad that he materialized Zetsuei. Back in present time, Mimori is appalled the way they are treating Alter criminals. Using some G-force ride? Kazuma has reached his spinning time limit so the guards take him out to see if he is ready for interrogation. When Ryuhou appears before his face, he wants to beat him up. But he is too weak and gets beaten instead. Then he is taken before some attorney who is reading his crimes. Kazuma is linked with the kidnapping of HOLD’s chief and may be put to death unless he accepts their offer of joining HOLY, etc. But all Kazuma has on is head is to beat the crap out of Ryuhou. He’s not listening to what the attorney has to say. Then when Ryuhou comes in, it’s like he powered up to free himself from his binds. Wow. The sight of Ryuhou is like his energizer. Ryuhou wants everyone to leave them alone and Kazuma wants to fight him. He obliges but still best Kazuma. When Ryuhou has him in his bind, he asks if Kazuma knows any Native Alter that uses thunder. Kazuma doesn’t know and fools around with it. All he is interested is settling their business. Ryuhou kicks him through to the next room. Kimishima sneaks into the city to find Kazuma and finds it a very different lifestyle. Curse himself for not being born here.

Mimori confronts Ryuhou because the judgment passed on Kazuma was too harsh. He was sentence to life of hard labour. Ryuhou tells her off that such kindness and softness is not needed because of Alters like them, they create lots of victims. So if you go easy on them, are you saying that you are ignoring the victims’ rights, pain and suffering? Mimori then goes to secretly free Kazuma. He could have gotten out without any problems had he not see Ryuhou before him. Instantly, he attacks him. It’s like he really has a grudge over this guy. Ryuhou takes a big blow from him since Zetsuei was protecting Zigmarl. Even being surrounded by other HOLY members, Kazuma doesn’t give a damn. When Mimori walks in, Kazuma takes her hostage and escapes down the elevator shaft. While she drives him away, the first to catch up to him is, of course Cougar. He is mad that Kazuma is going faster than him? Kazuma sees Kimishima waiting for him on the overhead road and uses the car as springboard to jump to him. They are pushing the peddle to the metal as the city is closing its gates. But Kazuma uses his Annihilating Second Bullet to blast a big hole. Then he destroys the rented car as propulsion to jump over the drawing bridge. HOLY rues their escape. Mimori thought Cougar knew Kazuma but he dismisses it as he just looks like someone he knows. Ryuhou coughs out blood since he is still feeling the impact of Kazuma’s punch. Looks like he wasn’t just randomly hitting his punches and was carefully targeting. Kimishima rues his money spent to get Kazuma out. The fake ID and rented car was expensive. It really cost him. Don’t worry. Kazuma had stolen some jewellery from the HOLY locker room.

Episode 4: Big Magnum
George Tatsunami from HOLD and tells the town people to surrender and serve them. Otherwise feel the wrath of his big guns. Kazuma returns to his town and is made to do honest hard work by the people. No more fooling around. Till Kimishima comes by with another job that pays. But they have to leave now. Looks like he’ll be going on another ‘journey’. Zigmarl talks to Ryuhou about sending an operative to HOLD HQ for protection. But he wants Ryuhou to preserve Native Alters as before and will send Tatsunami instead. Although his ability is C Class, his is good in wide area battle. Although he has some sort of personality problem (that last mission had some 30 casualties), Zigmarl thinks that will instil some fear in those Native Alters. Kazuma and Kimishima examine the decimated town. Kazuma believes he will fight to the very end even if he isn’t an Alter and not easily surrender. They meet Ayase Terada who is their client. She will be involved in this job too since she is an Alter user. She demonstrates by turning anything her hair touches into water. There goes Kimishima’s bike. How much has he paid for it? The trio stake out the location where the town people are held captive. Tatsunami becomes a slave driver and puts them to hard labour. The plan is to have Kazuma escorting Ayase to the barracks where she will destroy their monitoring system. Kimishima will prepare the escape route while Kazuma runs riot as distraction. Their plan begins at dawn.

While waiting, Ayase talks to Kazuma how she had hid her Alter powers all this time because they’ve always been treated with contempt. She is using it for the first time and wants to save them because one of the captives is her sick brother, Akira and the townspeople are like her family. Kazuma says if there is a big wall and he needs to get through it, he’ll use his power without doubt. Once you have chosen, do not doubt. At dawn, the plan begins and all is going smoothly. But after Kazuma starts going wild, Tatsunami and his HOLD members have got the place surrounded. He is going to kill everyone as a lesson with his Big Magnum. Ayase admits she is the culprit but he will kill her first. When he fires, Kazuma’s Shell Bullet manages to deflect the bullet but takes some damage. Tatsunami takes Ayase hostage and rants about hi underhanded ways in getting a job done. He also views normal citizens must serve an Alter user like him. Kimishima surrenders but Kazuma isn’t. He is ready to fight him which is putting Ayase’s life in danger. In that short distraction, Kimishima whips out his hidden gun and fires to free Ayase. Tatsunami fires Big Magnum but Kazuma punches the bullet back into the muzzle. The result is a big backfire explosion. I think Tatsunami was laughing like crazy when he got owned. Ayase is grateful to Kazuma but Kimishima is angry that he was willing to sacrifice Ayase. What if he had not fired, what will he do? But he did, right? And that is all that matters. Kazuma tells him to bring him jobs like this to him first. It’s because he doesn’t like HOLY and HOLD’s attitude.

Episode 5: Mimori Kiryuu
After Kanami sees off Kazuma (once more, Kimishima needs to ‘borrow’ him), her body starts feeling weak before collapsing. Tatsunami and 2 other HOLD guys are in ICU. They’re so badly beaten up that they lost their Alter powers. Guess who is responsible for getting them in such condition? Mimori volunteers herself to head north with the medical unit. But first, is it always a coincidence that Cougar has been showing up in front of her? Then he starts talking about destiny and the crap. It’s like he’s hitting on her. However she’s not interested. Why not? For a guy who can’t even get her name right… But when Ryuhou requests to accompany him tonight, she quickly says yes. Cougar, you lost. Were you ‘slower’? Kazuma does his usual over power beating up of HOLD units. I guess this enables him to finish his job quicker but when he goes home, he panics to see Kanami unconscious. Ryuhou and Mimori on their ‘date’, it seems Ryuhou wants her to withdraw from the medical expedition since it is beyond dangerous. She views everyone as the same and finds it ironic that HOLY who is supposed to keep the order but is actually the opposite. Ryuhou chides her of her naïve ideals because such ideals do not apply on Lost Ground. So pissed this guy that he didn’t realize he is hurting her hand and summoned Zetsuei. He lets her know he doesn’t have those kind of feelings she expects him to have for he has thrown them away. Elsewhere, Kazuma beats up the doctor because he can’t cure Kanami! WTF… Looks like she has some sort of new disease and the doctor is not skilled enough to handle it (his medical practice is 20 years old outdated). Kimishima hears a medical unit expedition. What else? Hijack it! Since Mimori didn’t listen, Ryuhou suddenly gets all worried about her. Cougar offers him a ride there since their goal is the same. Scheris also tags along.

The medical unit truck is driving fine along the desert path till Kazuma does his flashy hijack. He wants Mimori to help sick Kanami and she agrees. Mimori diagnoses the virus and gives her the necessary treatment. At least her life is out of danger. Kazuma thanks her when suddenly he is attacked by a doctor. Not just a doctor. This doctor has a green crystal ball on his forehead and is being controlled by a HOLY member, Asuka Tachibana. Kazuma fights all the zombie doctors while Kimishima takes Kanami and flee. Mimori sees Kimishima as a nice person and believes there are such people out there. Tachibana can use his balls to control the crows to attack Kazuma. Then he tries to control Kazuma. After all that resisting, did he finally give in? Actually, Kazuma absorbs them. It’s funny to hear Tachibana screaming for him to give back his precious balls. Sounds so pervy… Kazuma gives them back so they can have a good fight. Kazuma is obviously better and even breaks his Alter balls. Tachibana continues to rant how he can’t lose and needs to be with HOLY but Kazuma doesn’t care and beats him up to chalk up another victory. In the aftermath, Kimishima picks up Kazuma. They’re glad Kanami is okay. I don’t know if Cougar was lost since he arrived too late (with his speed, he should have arrived in time, right?). Mimori, who is treating the other doctors, refuses to say anything to Ryuhou. Badly beaten up Tachibana limps in and claims that a certain Native Alter did this. Ryuhou gets the wrong idea he wants to go against them so bad and upgrades him from second degree criminal to first degree.

Episode 6: Zetsuei
Zigmarl is being questioned by the higher ups of the mainland. They are not happy of the problems plaguing Lost Ground. He has taken steps to dispatch his units to take control and this operation of hunting Native Alters will begin in a few more days. Kimishima shows off to Kazuma the new car he bought (because the last time as usual it got trashed by Kazuma). Kazuma didn’t like how he spends his money on their contract since he always has food problems. Luckily Kanami has foreseen this problem and has saved quite a considerable sum. Suddenly a guy walks in and collapses. Mimori is working at the redevelopment area and doesn’t like how the people are being mistreated. The doctors do not give a damn about her opinion. The operation to ring in Native Alters begins. HOLY goes all out to apprehend all those who resist and those who don’t. Basically, everybody. But Ryuhou is more concerned about Kazuma. He is a problematic Native Alter and blames himself that their first meeting may have ignited his rebellious side. Tachibana is recuperating well in hospital and his girlfriend Cammy visits him. Little does she know that he is breaking up inside. Because of his little ‘mistake’, he has been kicked out of HOLY. He is worried he has nowhere else to go as he has no formal education. Meanwhile Kazuma and Kimishima hears from that guy how HOLY is on the offensive. It will be in no time that they will reach here. When he describes the terrifying Zetsuei that attacked them, Kazuma gets worked up. Kazuma vows to protect Kanami and will take them down. Kazuma and Kimishima meet up in a gathering of several Alters. Their plan is to ambush one of the units. They will take on the one patrolling between the sea and the cliffs. Next day, HOLY as usual is on its patrol. The Native Alters wait for the right timing and ambush them. Biff leads the first wave of attack followed by Ayase. Since Ryuhou is there too, Kazuma spots him and another epic battle between the duo begins. The other Native Alters find it odd that HOLY isn’t retaliating. They realize too late when the patrol unit they attacked is a decoy. The real HOLY guys pop out from behind and begin attacking. The Native Alters are no match for them. No time to even retreat since HOLY reinforcements by sea have arrived. Ryuhou now understands how Tachibana lost to Kazuma. He has powered up a lot. Ryuhou won’t hold back too and transforms Zetsuei into its true form. Kazuma takes a beating but before Zetsuei could finish him, familiar Treasure Balls block its attack. Why is Tachibana butting in? He wants to personally finish Kazuma so that he can be accepted back into HOLY. He will do anything to defeat Kazuma. Kazuma is not happy he ruined his happy fight with Ryuhou. So angry both of them that when they collide, the impact is so great that the ground splits into half and swallows them! Awesome or what? Ryuhou collapses after exerting too much energy.

Episode 7: Asuka Tachibana
Kazuma dreams about his past but he doesn’t want to see any more of it. The moment he wakes up and sees Tachibana, he tries to beat him up so Tachibana has to make him realize they are still underground and need to cooperate to get out instead of wasting energy to fight. Meanwhile Ryuhou reports to Zigmarl about the Native Alters they have captured although Kazuma remains missing and Tachibana remains HOLY’s only casualty. Zigmarl asserts HOLY has lost nothing since Tachibana has been dismissed yesterday. Those who cannot fulfil their duty have no business being a HOLY member. The hunt will continue. Kazuma has to follow Tachibana since his balls have light properties. He has food too. Tachibana tells him to come over to their side so he can start a new life as a citizen but Kazuma doesn’t want that kind of life and asks back if he is happy with that. He couldn’t answer. The duo break out in an abandoned shopping mall. They continue their chat as they rest. Once more Tachibana wants to know why he wouldn’t want to live in the city. Kazuma once snuck in and saw how everybody was the same. So similar that it was suspicious. Though Tachibana says that everyone has equality and is happy, that is the reason he doesn’t like it. He views humans are different. That equality crap doesn’t work on him especially if that guy is trying to capture him is the one who said that. As Alters, they are definitely not like normal people. Kazuma admits he is useless but with his Alter, he knows it won’t betray him. It is proof of who he is. He attacks HOLY because they’ve been invading their turf. The conversation shifts to Ryuhou whom he wants to settle a score. He senses something in him that is similar to him. Their chat is interrupted when a monster attacks.

Tachibana wants to plan to fight this monster but Kazuma prefers to go head on without thinking. So he gets trapped and pinned down. Tachibana leaves him since he has no obligation to save him and is enemies. Then he makes a u-turn to save him. This time they cooperate to fight the monster. Tachibana can’t help feel even though Kazuma’s ideals are different, he is getting more impressed with him. As they’re about to deliver the final blow, Kazuma stops. He realizes the one materializing the monster is a little fox creature. It is an Alter user. Because they intruded in its territory, it naturally did what it does to defend. Kazuma would have done the same thing if he was in its shoes. Just like how he defies HOLY. He asks Tachibana about his stand. He fights to protect. Then this makes him same just like this little creature. The roof caves in so Kazuma punches it away to save their hide. Now they’re even. The hole in the ceiling means they have found a way out. But it’s not the end yet as the guys still want to settle their score. They have one last hit left. Although they trade insults, Kazuma doesn’t really hate him and Tachibana envies him. So they finally charge. The power of the impact is so great that it could change the landscape again. Yeah. The statue of Buddha’s head just got wiped out. In the end, because Tachibana hesitated, he lost and was blown away. He laments about his life, wondering if he had attained happiness he struggled to keep after giving up so easily. Tachibana is about to tell that he isn’t with HOLY anymore so Kazuma says it is his choice to stay here or go back. Tachibana makes his resolve. He wants to win. In order to do that, he needs to go back to the city to confirm what he wants. Elian has been watching everything and relaying everything to Zigmarl. Kazuma goes back to the cliffs and finds Kimishima in his wrecked car. He is barely alive. Though he could only save a couple of kids, the rest were taken. Before he collapses, he hands over Kazuma a stack of cash and pleads to him to save the rest. Especially Ayase.

Episode 8: Mad Sprict
Kanami nurses Kimishima while Kazuma goes off to settle unfinished business. First, he surprises everyone by entering HOLY HQ. How the heck did he do it? More surprises when he wants to join HOLY! Everybody knows he is bullsh*ting despite Kazuma claiming he realizes how powerful they are and wants to be on the side that wins. However Zigmarl approves of Kazuma joining after he spews crap about trust and friendship. Of course this doesn’t sit well with Ryuhou. After all this time being arch rivals, suddenly Kazuma is on their side? What kind of crap is this? So he talks to Zigmarl about this and the latter too knows well Kazuma hasn’t really turned over a new leaf. Because Kazuma defeated Tachibana and it proves he is a formidable foe. Also, HOLY is always on the lookout for superior and talented Alters. Zigmarl has also decided to use Unkei, the best scriptwriter for this mission. Kazuma as seen is here to find information but I guess he was too dumb to learn how the system works. Kazuma beats Cougar to gain Mimori’s attention and has her tour him around the city. Cougar can curse himself. Can’t even remember a simple name… Mimori takes Kazuma to a tailor and dresses him up good. Then at the fine dining restaurant, Kazuma displays his ‘barbaric’ side when he devours all the good food without proper etiquette. Ryuhou and Scheris are also there to keep an eye on them. The city tour continues and it finally ends with Mimori showing him the apartment where he will be living from now onwards. If you’re wondering why this episode seems to have lines narrated like a dialogue script, it’s because this Unkei afro guy is happy that this drama is working out exactly like the script he writes. The God of all stories, he claims?

Kazuma needs to take some proficiency test so Mimori helps him to study. They also have a welcoming party for him. Ryuhou is still not pleased. The guy who wants to kill him at first sight is now apologizing and wants to become friends? What crap is this? All part of the script. Kazuma goes back to join the part as Unkei reminds Ryuhou not to adlib on his own free will. His Alter, Mad Sprict can alter a human’s thinking and make that person part of his play. Thus he doesn’t like those butting in with their free will and not go according to the script. Next day, Ryuhou challenges Kazuma to a normal fist fight without the use of Alter powers. If Kazuma can beat him, he will accept him as his comrade. The fight ends in a draw. Ryuhou is so impressed that he acknowledges Kazuma and wants to be his friend. However Kazuma can’t be satisfied with this yet. He wants to fight more! What’s this? Ryuhou pleading like a sissy to stop? Something is wrong. Yeah. Kazuma realizes he forgot something important. Kimishima’s mission. He continues to fight Ryuhou. This isn’t part of the script. He realizes this wimp isn’t the real Ryuhou and breaks out of Unkei’s power. Unkei is mad that his perfect story is broken. Well, Kazuma thinks it is boring. He tries to punch Unkei but misses. Unkei throws him a revised script instead. It seems Zigmarl and Ryuhou are to see off the plane carrying the captured Native Alters to the mainland lab. Ryuhou is shocked to see Kazuma at the runway. Kazuma is going to bring down the plane but Zetsuei stops him. Thanks to that, the plane successfully takes off. Although Kazuma eludes capture, Ryuhou apologizes to Zigmarl he couldn’t capture him again. Zigmarl acknowledges Ryuhou may be right as Kazuma could be a threat to HOLY. Ryuhou pledges to do all it takes to defeat him. But why is he saying that with a happy look?

Episode 9: Shell Bullet
Mimori talks to Ryuhou’s dad and he knows she is here to ask about his son. He is going to let him be despite Mimori doesn’t like that Ryuhou is assigned to a dangerous unit in HOLY and his personality lately has been distancing himself and rejecting others. Dad says it is because he hasn’t got what he wanted. I’m guessing that means Kazuma, right? Back at HQ, Mimori finds her generated data has been altered. Ryuhou has orders from Zigmarl to continue Native Alter hunting but this time they are having the arrogant Emergy Maxfell along in this mission. The night before he departs, Ryuhou goes to see Mimori. So he’s here to ask her if she has feelings for that Kazuma guy? I guess he is the dense one. Mimori wants to know where the captured Alters were taken but Ryuhou himself doesn’t know such classified information. So it’s like accepting orders and doing things blindly? Once again, Ryuhou tells her off if she doesn’t like how things are done here, she can go back to the mainland. Mimori feels suspicious because it feels like the top brass is trying to hide something. Kazuma has Kimishima bring him to the Alter Forest. It is filled with animals with Alter powers. It is a dangerous place and it is rumoured once you go in, you never get out. But Kazuma remembers somebody (looks like Cougar) told him that within this forest lies someone who creates Alter users. Whether he exists or not he doesn’t know. So Kazuma isn’t going to sit around moping his loss but do something about it. I take this bashing through the relentless waves monster Alters as some sort of his personal training? Mimori tries to hack into HOLY’s system but is on the verge of being found out. She gets unexpected help from Cougar to fend off those who are suspicious. She wants to know if Cougar knows anything. He knows they are just pawns. Wherever Alters go, they will be hated. So it’s natural for them to hope for a place where they’re treated like humans even if it’s just temporary.

Ryuhou and his team continue their Alter hunt but he is somewhat disappointed that Kazuma is not among the pack. Kazuma reaches the centre of the forest after successfully getting through all those Alters. However he almost got caught in blast that causes a huge crater. In the middle, he sees a mysterious black Alter that absorbs the life of all the dead animals. Kazuma didn’t like his cocky attitude (I thought it was like the case of the kettle calling the pot black) and fights him but is no match. He gets beaten up and does some reflection. In the end, he isn’t the kind of guy to worry about the details and continues to attack. This time when he thought his Shell Bullet manages to punch through him, the black Alter regenerates. At the same time, his Shell Bullet undergoes massive power up. So massive that all the other Alters somewhat felt its resonance. Kazuma loves this upgrade and is more excited to fight this guy. Still no match, though. Wondering who this guy is, it dawned to Kazuma that his description fits the Alter that Ryuhou is looking for. Then his Shell Bullet starts acting up. Kimishima is waiting at the edge of the forest worried if Kazuma has been done in. At first he is shocked to see the black Alter appearing but it disappears and behind him is Kazuma limping out and barely clinging on to his life. But Kazuma is happy he has got it.

Episode 10: Super Pinch
Kanami hangs out with Kazuma. She is worried about the advancement of the people from the city. He assures her they haven’t done anything wrong and this cheers her up. Kazuma’s arm is filled with ‘lines’. If this is the small price to pay for his job, he doesn’t mind it. Ryuhou enters a town whereby the people are afraid and scorn HOLY. But a little boy stood up and tells him to get out. Ryuhou gets to work by summoning Zetsuei to flush out all the hidden bandits and tells them off they have been having their way but started running when the situation is no longer in their favour. If they feel just and righteous, they should act like that little boy. Of course they are no match for him. Ryuhou shows no mercy in those who surrender too. Once again, Kazuma skips his usual chores to go HOLY hunting with Kimishima. It’s putting Kanami in a tight spot. But the villagers are happy she turned up anyway. Kazuma is using his crude methods to get information on HOLY but it seems the townspeople are not willing to share. In fact, Emergy is seen handing toys out to kids and they love him! Kazuma is filled with rage and wants to beat him up but he has to hold it back. What would it look like if a ruffian beats up an unarmed person before innocent children’s eyes? So Emergy goes to talk with Kazuma and tells him he is unlike other HOLY members because he doesn’t want to fight. He gets to the point that he wants Kazuma to rejoin HOLY and his life and those around him will be guaranteed. Kazuma instantly turns him down since he hates the way HOLY does things, that annoying guy is still there and he wants to beat him up right now. Well, Kazuma has been throwing punches in his face since Emergy insults Kazuma as trash. Since negotiations have broken down, Emergy reveals there are bombs in hidden in the toys. One push of the button… No matter how much they beat him up or steal the controller, there many more of them. Seems Emergy wants to piss him off and he gets his wish because Kazuma beats the hell out of him with his Shell Bullet.

Kazuma doesn’t’ give a damn about him explaining about his Alter power. The more Emergy is in a pinch, the more powerful his Alter will be. Yeah, continue to beat up the guy, will you? When Emergy realizes he is at the edge of the cliff, his childhood fear comes back. So scared he is that his Alter, a giant robot, Super Pinch Crusher comes flying down from the sky. I thought it was the cousin of Transformer’s Bumblebee. Kazuma happily fights this big robot whom Emergy views as his hero and will always save him from any kind of pinch. The more Kazuma beats it up, the more powerful Emergy becomes till it powers up into another super robot. Though it seems that the robot emerges victorious, Kazuma hasn’t given up yet because a person like Emergy who totally relies on others has no chance of winning. Kazuma is going to show his determination and powers up his Shell Bullet. Emergy panics that he has never seen anything like this. In a single punch, the robot is destroyed. There goes his Alter. Emergy becomes so frantic at the loss of his hero. The robot’s sword plunges from the sky and cuts the ground Emergy is standing in half and sends him falling into the sea. Kimishima is impressed with his new power but Kazuma notes the recoil power is still too much for him to handle and that after each use, it starts acting up. Meanwhile Mimori sees Zigmarl and admits she has hacked into the system to find out the truth. If that is what she wants, he will give to her all the information he has. She is appalled to see such shocking info and will release it to the public. She thinks it’s going to be that easy? Well, now that she has seen everything, they’re not going to let her do as she pleases, right? Zigmarl captures her and says the mainland doesn’t view Alters as humans. That’s why he will use any means for him to be HOLY.

Episode 11: Alters
Mimori is thrown into prison. This is the price you pay for the truth. So was it worth it? What else is there to do in her cell? Write down all that she knows as proof that she once lived. That’s a way of saying “Flashback time” and summarizes what this series is about. So for those who aren’t following this series, this episode summary should provide some useful insights though I doubt it would be comprehensive. For the first half, we have Mimori narrating a natural phenomenon 22 years ago caused the released of an unthinkable amount of energy that led to the creation of Lost Ground that others came to hate. Japan’s economy came to a grinding halt as a result and took years to pick back up. Even on Lost Ground, people were divided and those born outside the city walls were called Inners. Then it became Japan’s first and only autonomous region not because of politics but the discovery of Alter power. Their numbers rise steadily and soon cause chaos with their unique powers. This led to a civil war and this causes mainland to block all traffic to and fro. When Alter crimes become rampant, the formation of HOLD and HOLY was in the belief that only Alter users can defeat Alter users. Mimori briefly introduces all the HOLY members that we know. Especially the one whom she has a special bond with. Yeah. Ryuhou. Short flashback of their childhood meeting. As she is about to get to the part about HOLY’s atrocities, Elian’s power smashes her palm top. I guess she wrote all that for nothing. Wasted effort. All that’s left is to cry alone in the dark. Zigmarl is depending on Elian to keep Mimori in check and not to let this information leak out to the mainland. All info on her will be sealed. Zigmarl has seen Kazuma fight against Emergy and knows from the light he emitted, has been to that place. He laments if only Kazuma is on his side. With Kazuma and Ryuhou in his hands, he could change the course of history and will sacrifice as many as it takes. Suddenly the entire building shakes. Cougar uses his speed to break through the prison and help Mimori break out.

Now it’s time for some Kazuma versus Ryuhou flashback. Well, at least selected scenes of their power clash. Ryuhou wakes up from that nightmare and thinks he needs to defeat Kazuma with his own hands. Likewise, Kazuma also had this dream. He has been out cold for 2 days since defeating Emergy. He tells what he knows to Kimishima how his Shell Bullet got upgraded. He knows nothing more and will continue to do what he does: Beat up HOLY. But first, he needs to go back to Kanami and fill himself up. So he only goes back for food? Cougar has packed Mimori’s stuffs and sees her off at the airport. Mimori wonders if he will be charged for breaking her out but he is confident nobody can catch him with his speed. For once, he gets her name correct. Cougar realizes something since joining HOLY. Humans are creatures that fight. Try to maintain peace and it will cause strain somewhere. What Mimori has seen is just that strain. Mimori also reflects she didn’t accomplish anything. It is not her goal to learn the truth but to do something about it now that she has learnt of it. Kazuma and Kimishima pass by one of HOLD’s vehicles (carrying Ryuhou and Scheris). However that vehicle soon moves away (because of some call from Zigmarl) and Kazuma didn’t want to bother with it because getting back to Kanami is more important. This guy prioritizes the correct things for once? But when he arrives, he sees the town annihilated. What the hell just happened?

Episode 12: Kunihiko Kimishima
Kazuma learns from one of the injured farm ladies that she managed to whisk everybody away before the big explosion. Then those HOLY Dars guys pop up before them. Nice timing. Time to kick some HOLY butt. But he finds these clones are like speechless zombies without a mind of their own. They get back up each time he beats them up. Also, sometimes they turn into gas form and he can’t hit them. He makes a run but Dars persistently goes after him without any signs of fatigue. Ryuhou sees Emergy in a pitiful state. Not only has he lost his Alter power, his mentality is a state of a child. He is going to hunt down Kazuma. Kimishima returns home to find Kanami hiding. He picks her up but once they get outside, HOLD arrests them. Zigmarl interrogates Cougar of his attempt. Cougar says Mimori is from one of the powerful families from the mainland who support HOLY, making her disappear like that is a bad idea. If keeping her quiet from leaking sensitive data was his idea, he should have let the mainland taken care of it. Cougar hits a nerve when he suspects he is going to use her as a bargaining chip. Zigmarl wants to know whose side he is on. He is on his own side. Seems Mimori didn’t leave and is still on Lost Ground. She gets into trouble with several Native Alters but is saved by Tachibana. Kimishima and Kanami are brought to where the rest of the villagers are. HOLY makes it sound like they are Kazuma’s accomplices. Mimori is taken back to Tachibana’s place. He is working with transporting supplies since this is the only work he can get outside HOLY.

Suddenly the news shows the devastating landscape and blames this destruction on a single Native Alter: Kazuma. Even HOLY is surprised that such footage has leaked out. Scheris thinks only Elian has such capability. Zigmarl is not thrilled because the mainland will intervene but Elian asserts this is not his doing. Everyone including Kanami is in disbelief that Kazuma is an Alter and they start badmouthing him. Kimishima couldn’t stand it anymore and takes one of those HOLD guys hostage. He tries to drill it into their brains that Kazuma has been going off to fight on their behalf. Kanami realizes every time Kazuma runs away from a job to do something secretive was for this. When a HOLD guy manhandles Kanami, the crowd gangs up to hold them off. Kimishima uses this chance to escape with Kanami. Then he leaves her at a safe spot and promises to bring Kazuma back. He goes off with HOLD hot on his tail. He manages to find Kazuma still having a hard time dealing with the clones. Realizing they can’t be touched, he wants Kazuma to do his new shiny move. It enables Kimishima to pinpoint the real body that is controlling the clones. Although the clones can turn into gas, the real one must stay in physical form to use that power. The real Dars is taken out and Elian who was manipulating this guy loses control and vision of him. This allows Kazuma to use his ultimate move to destroy them all. Kimishima hopes he lets the world sees this awesome power. Kazuma carries Kimishima back. Although the car wasn’t wrecked, he didn’t know how to drive. Yeah. This sucks. Finally when they arrive back at Kanami, she is very happy to see Kazuma. But her happiness turns to tears when she realizes Kimishima isn’t moving. This can’t be a joke, right???!!!

Episode 13: Lost Ground
Flashback reveals when Kimishima first found Kazuma, the latter was hot blooded and distrustful. But Kimishima strikes up a deal to become a team and knows Kazuma is the one (money is a motivating factor). Because if they fail, Kazuma loses his money, Kimishima loses his life. Now that Kimishima is really dead. Kazuma goes on a rampage to destroy everything HOLY to retrieve Kimishima’s car and gun. All that destruction for that? Can’t reason with a mad guy. Meanwhile Mimori travels with Tachibana and the former tells him about how the captured Native Alters are sent to the mainland to be experimented on. Kanami cries her heart out over Kimishima’s death. Kazuma won’t. There’s no use bawling over a dead guy. Then his anger meter rises up when a HOLY convoy passes nearby. Guess who is going to be the target of his frustration release? Kazuma shows no mercy in beating up everybody. Not even Dars could hold him down. No mercy even for Scheris! Where is Ryuhou at a time like this? He and Urizane are looking for Kazuma and stumbled upon Kanami. Her reaction indicates she knows Kazuma so Ryuhou becomes mad and summons his Zetsuei to tear down the house just to find him. Not there. Just like Kazuma, he is going to show no mercy to a little girl. What’s with these people blinded with rage? He gets a distress call from Scheris and realizes Kazuma has been beating HOLY up and thinks he is playing dirty. Likewise, Kazuma hears Kanami’s voice in the background and thinks Ryuhou is also hitting below the belt. Just great. Two even madder guys. They return to their respective spots to find the ladies okay. Then they finally face off. This is getting personal. Yeah. Expect a great big power fight. Two guys exuding lots of anger. Two guys screaming out their frustration. Two guys letting loose their wild power on each other. Just epic. So epic that the devastating shock can be felt for several kilometre radius. Kazuma finally powers up with his new Shell Bullet. So powerful that it is going to change the landscape of Lost Ground. Everyone has to run for cover. Ryuhou must be one popular guy because Scheris and Mimori are calling out for him and can’t let him die. Too bad they’re taken away by Urizane and Tachibana-Cougar respectively. However the Shell Bullet suddenly disintegrates. Ryuhou and Kazuma find themselves in some suspended animation. When Ryuhou sees the black Alter behind Kazuma, he gets worked up and prepares to charge. Mad all over again. So mad that his power starts changing the landscape of Lost Ground! It destroys everything, cuts all communications and transport. There is no more order. Zigmarl is in a panic. What is he going to do? In the aftermath, it seems there are lots of ‘spikey mountains’ emerged from Lost Ground and it is reported yesterday’s energy release registered 8.5 on the Richter scale. It’s like Apocalypse.

Episode 14: Kyouji Mujo
Ryuhou and Kazuma are confirmed missing. Cougar thinks that vortex of light is some sort of portal to the other side. He heard there’s some other force associated with Alters created but it seems the difference between the powers Alter users has to do with how it is connected to that force. The refugees of Lost Ground including Kanami are being made to do hard labour by an oppressive Alter user. Kanami needs to stay strong but sometimes can’t help break down whenever she thinks about Kazuma. She wants to see him. Zigmarl is being grilled by his higher ups about the recent incident although the city was somewhat spared from its rocky formation. Till Kyouji Mujo, a special advisor from the mainland waltzes in and chides them they should be discussing about the future than what has already happened. He takes charge of HOLD and HOLY and takes Zigmarl with him for a private chat. Mujo has already sent all 48 of his standby members to the mainland and also brought additional Dars and some reliable helpers with him. Zigmarl learns that the project of producing Alters on mainland has already proceeded that far. He shouldn’t be looking surprised since he was the one who pushed for it. The oppressive Alter boss makes the people dig up gold and treasure for him because he wants to accumulate enough to get back to the mainland. He thinks he made a smart move by not listening to Kimishima because otherwise he would have been captured like the rest. Cougar gives Mimori information from HOLY that they have reports of an incredibly strong Alter user showing up in the badlands on the far side of the mountain. She accepts this ‘birthday gift’ and quickly makes her way there with Tachibana. Kanami sees an old woman being beaten up. Since nobody dares to stop, Kanami goes over to protect her. A hooded guy steps up before Kanami gets beaten. Could he be that person? When the bullies unmask him, he turns out to be Ryuhou! However he somewhat is a little amnesiac. He tries to reason with them but they think they are powerful and mighty so Ryuhou concludes they are evil and beats them all up. The boss didn’t like what he sees so he summons his Alter to attack. Ryuhou barely understands the Alter concept but he can only dodge for so long and gets captured. The boss beats Ryuhou up and tries to make him submissive. Kanami is puzzled why Ryuhou isn’t using his Alter power. Suddenly Ryuhou unconsciously powers up to free himself from his binds and even neutralizes the Alter. He knocks the coward boss out in one punch. And all his henchmen run away after seeing him get defeated. Some loyalty. When Kanami asks if he knows about Kazuma, Ryuhou’s mind suddenly starts hurting. Maybe he’s starting to remember that hated guy. Kazuma is seen locked in some cell as some baldy tells him to get his ass moving for a job.

Episode 15: Rogue
Mimori and Tachibana enter an illegal underground fight club out of HOLD’s reach based on Cougar’s data. Here, Alter users fight against each other while others place their bets. They are just in time to see Kazuma in action. However Kazuma is just standing there getting smack. All those who bet on him are starting to turn ugly. When he sees visions of Ryuhou, he suddenly becomes mad and his Alter power goes berserk. That’s what the crowd came to see. Of course, he won the match. Mujo talks to Zigmarl about Kazuma and Ryuhou’s fight that causes a second uprising. He knows those who have seen the other side will have changes in their bio-data. Because he himself has seen it with his right eye. He wants Zigmarl to retrieve Mimori because her father is the mainland’s top advisor and will overlook everything if Mimori is returned in one piece. Kazuma is locked back in his cell like an obedient rabbit. A boy who watched the match brings his food. He praises his power and all and wished he had Alter powers like him so he won’t be stuck in this place. Kazuma laughs like a maniac and tells him to scram. When he sees visions of Cougar telling him about taking things by force and hogging them will only make him lose everything, he throws a fit. Damn he had to waste such meal… Ryuhou finds himself in Kanami’s care. However he doesn’t remember about Kazuma when she asks him. The villagers hope Ryuhou can stay here with them since many want to continue living in this place. They are happy he will do what he can to help. Tachibana and Mimori sneak in to talk to Kazuma but he is not willing to go with them. No choice, they leave since they’re not getting through to him but will leave the door open in case he changes his mind. Soon, that boy gets beaten up by some henchmen for somehow leaving the door open although Kazuma didn’t escape. Kazuma couldn’t take it anymore and since thoughts of Kanami filled his mind, he breaks down the door, beats up those punks, enters the big boss’ room to demand his money, show off a little of his power to scare him off and then give all the money to that boy. He wants to follow Kazuma but he warns him not to or else. Seems Kazuma can’t bear the responsibility anymore. The villagers are in a frenzy because they learn HOLD is coming here. Ryuhou goes to confront them. Scheris is the first to recognize the sole cloaked guy heading towards them is Ryuhou. The first to rush towards him. The first to know that he will fight them all if they refuse to back down and disturb the peace and stability of this village. Is this your beloved Ryuhou you know?

Episode 16: Sou Kigetsuki
Scheris sounds like a depressed girl who just lost her love. She tells Urizane, Ryuhou has lost his memories and doesn’t remember he is part of HOLY. She doesn’t want him to engage him and needs time to think. Don’t take too long. Ryuhou tells the villagers he managed to convince HOLD not to arrest them but they will still be staking out so they can’t rest yet. The villagers think if they can show how hard they work, maybe they’ll leave. Scheris soon comes to talk to Ryuhou and reveals bits about his past. Especially about him being part of HOLY and her lover. Okay, so she made up the lover part but she did admit it is a one sided crush. She also reveals how he was the one who picked her up from the streets. She wants him to return to HOLY but he can’t, seeing he doesn’t know when the next danger will befall on this town. Since ‘negotiations’ have failed, Sou Kigetsuki will now make his move as he unleashes the Tokonatsu sisters (Shouka, Chuka and Banka) to take care of Scheris first. Urizane later discovers her badly beaten up. With Unkei and his romantic scripts, the Tokonatsu sisters talk to Ryuhou and claim they serve his family. They try to make him remember even with a fake photo but it seems they are implanting fake memories. Any memories that had to do with Mimori are replaced by them and Ryuhou is convinced that they are his potential brides. They try to convince him to return but he is still stubborn. Till Kanami walks into the picture, points out these ladies aren’t human and takes Ryuhou away. Unkei is devastated somebody just walked in and ruined his script. Kigetsuki is devastated someone is able to see past his marionettes that he has so perfectly created.

That night, they knock out Kanami and resume their revised plan. Unkei has Ryuhou date the Tokonatsu sisters which end up in marriage (all 3 of them). Then he wants Ryuhou to show his power. Ryuhou emits that bright light only seen from the other side. However Ryuhou sees Kazuma telling him off this isn’t the guy he knows and snaps out. This causes Unkei and Kigetsuki’s power to go haywire. Ryuhou has his memories returned and he is not happy that they tried to manipulate him even if this was an order from Zigmarl. Kigetsuki’s arrogance pisses Ryuhou even more. He understands what Kazuma feels. With Urizane and Scheris coming into the picture against them, Ryuhou realizes these two have not been told anything. Scheris is so happy Ryuhou got his memories back. Ryuhou won’t leave this place and return to HOLY. Because he promised to protect the villagers and Kanami. And he is keeping the promise not to anyone but himself. Because HOLY’s will is inside him. He summons Zetsuei getting ready to fight but Unkei is left to deal with Ryuhou alone since Kigetsuki escapes since he has completed his mission of verifying Ryuhou’s whereabouts and power. So can Unkei’s paper script beat Ryuhou’s metallic missiles? Begging for to be spared won’t do since he is at Ryuhou’s mercy. Not even his script about his victory could change his future. I guess he can never be the star of his own script nor can it save his life. Urizane confronts Ryuhou and it seems the latter really isn’t interested in coming back to HOLY. Scheris too won’t return after what they did to her. But Urizane will return and report everything as he has his duties under HOLY. If he has any vital information, he will let Scheris know. Urizane part ways with them and if it is their destiny, they will become enemies the next time. Kazuma is at the airport trying to leave Lost Ground for the mainland with a fake identity and pass. He doesn’t want to shoulder responsibility for other people anymore. To his surprise, Ayase comes to sit next to him.

Episode 17: Ayase Terada
Ayase admits she once loved him. Now it’s different. Sure, she still wants him. His life. Together with Biff, they attack Kazuma and bring chaos to the airport. Ayase’s Alter power has levelled up so much. She uses her Noble Tempest to drown Kazuma in her ocean. Kazuma becomes desperate for air and uses his new move but it only helped a little. When the battle moves to an undersea cave, away from the eyes of the public, Ayase stops her attack and hugs him. She has always longed to see him. Meanwhile Ryuhou and Scheris continue to live near the village. The villagers who wanted him to stay reluctantly told them to leave because they fear his Alter power and just want to live in peace. Ryuhou’s promise to protect them on his own volition is what made him decide on this. Even if he leaves, there is no guarantee HOLY will not return here and the people will still not be safe. Ayase tells Kazuma about her time at mainland. They were used to solve the mystery of Alter powers. She learnt that Alters are born because a door between this world and the other was opened when the Great Uprising occurred. It allows Alter users to access and use those powers from the other world from a subconscious level. That’s why Alter users only appear among the newborn in Lost Ground. Due to this, the mainlanders want to get their hands on this unlimited power from the other world, believing it will revolutionize the industry. As a result, many were experimented on. Ayase didn’t because she couldn’t see the other world but was refined instead. Her powers magnified many times over. Knowing Kazuma has seen the light of the other world, even though he doesn’t remember, his body does. She wants him to come back to the mainland and open the door to the other world and use that power to change this twisted world.

Kazuma doesn’t like being used and refuses. Besides, he doesn’t know how many more times he can use Shell Bullet. Those who have seen the light might end up having some kind of hideous scar on their body. Ayase is doing this because Akira is receiving treatment so she tolerated all kinds of abuses for him. Since ‘negotiations’ failed, Ayase is going to defeat him. The fight resumes. Kazuma is drowning and resigns to his fate. However he sees Kimishima’s spirit who gives him a pep talk about giving up because he is the kind who won’t give up easily and fight till the very end. After 20 minutes, Kazuma revives and is back at full power. So powerful that he becomes Moses and splits the sea in half! At that point, Ayase has learnt Akira has died so she becomes disheartened. Since she has no more reason to live, she is willing to receive Kazuma’s Shell Bullet punch. Kazuma stops in time but Ayase is already breathing her last breath. I guess the heartbreak is too much to bear and the one killing her. Kazuma becomes devastated that another one bites the dust. So sad that the sky cries along with him. In his rage, he senses somebody watching and charges at Mujo who has been observing their fight. Mujo easily puts up a barrier to halt his punch. He wants Kazuma to open the door to the other world so that Ayase’s death won’t be in vain. This only serves to anger him and the more pissed he is, the more powerful he becomes. Mujo is overpowered for a moment but the light to the other world only engulfs Kazuma. Mujo vows to go into the light next time. Kazuma inside the light sees the black alter. The light is visible from so far away that Ryuhou could recognize it belongs to Kazuma. Kanami wants to go there since that is where Kazuma is.

Episode 18: Straight Cougar
Zigmarl talks to Ryuhou’s father about his son not returning to HOLY. He allows Ryuhou to do as he please and believes he is to choose his own destiny. Asking Zigmarl’s opinion on Mujo, he must not be taken lightly. Kanami decides to go where Kazuma is. Scheris knows he is torn between following her and staying to protect the villagers so she tells him to go after her while she stays behind to look after the people. Just promise to return. Mujo talks to Zigmarl and knows he is lying about trying to locate Mimori and even wants him to disclose Ryuhou’s whereabouts. Because carrying out the mainland’s objectives is his priority, he admits he doesn’t care about Lost Ground or Alter users. Zigmarl fears he won’t be able to stall him anymore and might resort to using Cougar. However he applied for vacation a few minutes ago. That was fast. Mimori receives a huge bouquet of flowers from Cougar. But with it is also the location of Ryuhou’s whereabouts. See how happy her face lights up knowing that Ryuhou is alive? Kanami gets into her first trouble by slipping off the cliff but thankfully Ryuhou saves her. Mimori and Tachibana are driving across the desert when they spot a HOLD transport. Suddenly they drop Biff and it is clear his intention is to capture them. Talking is of no use since Biff goes on the offensive and even surprises Tachibana he can break free from Eternity Eight’s control. Ryuhou and Kanami are resting in a shelter when they realize HOLD’s transport hovering nearby. Biff is going to take out Mimori as well but Zetsuei comes in between. You know what this means? Ryuhou is back! At least where Mimori is concern. Ryuhou tells Tachibana to take Mimori to where Kanami is while he deals with this evil (since Biff just attacks anybody that comes into the scene). Ryuhou slices his Alter into pieces but Biff escapes when he receives orders to do so. Mimori is so happy to see Ryuhou that she rushes towards him, spouting his name like a broken tape recorder. She conveniently trips on a little rock and falls into his arms. Ryuhou has changed. He apologizes for making her worry. Kazuma is trekking along when Cougar has finally found him. The first thing they do is to fight. Cougar is able to match his power and tells him he won’t be able to beat Mujo because he lacks a lot of things like passion, brains, elegance, dignity and most important of all, speed. Cougar surprises Kazuma by knocking him down with his own Shocking First Bullet. He tells Kazuma that the mainland wants his powers so they can open the door to the other side. Kazuma already knows that and doesn’t care. But Cougar lets him know more. Kanami is now with Ryuhou and that guy has already quit HOLY and is being targeted by the mainland too. All of them have their own path to choose and wants to know which path he chose. Tachibana drives everyone along when they see that familiar light. Could that be Kazuma?

Episode 19: Tokonatsu Sisters
The village is under siege by Kigetsuki and his Tokonatsu sisters as they are put under a sleeping spell. After Scheris deals with Dars, she is faced with Kigetsuki. He is disappointed Ryuhou is not around and reveals he is not taking orders from Zigmarl whom he considers a little leader of a little unit. He wants to work for a greater figure and is following the orders of the mainland. After Scheris mocks him (and his type of woman), the sisters restrain her but she uses her Eternal Devote which instantaneously increases an opponent’s abilities and causes pain to Banka. However it also causes much strain on herself. I guess Scheris is out of options and reduced into some damsel in distress, believing in Ryuhou and calling out to his name. Thanks to that unwavering faith, it is paid off when Ryuhou dives into the scene with Zetsuei. Before an ugly scene between Scheris and Mimori can happen (well I thought it would), Kigetsuki spared us all from that and points out all the villagers are sleeping in a building. They are used as hostage and if they refuse to cooperate, Biff will smash them all. First of all, they want Mimori to come with them and she has no choice but to oblige. Next is Ryuhou but he is stubborn. Even if beating up won’t change his mind, Kigetsuki orders Biff to kill the hostages. Kanami is distraught and tries to stop him. Suddenly Biff’s Alter burst into pieces. Look who is back? Recognize that Shell Bullet? Kazuma! You don’t know how happy Kanami is to see you. Cougar was driving Kazuma back here. Kazuma had done lots of thinking. He admits he was lost and thought those who ended up with him would end up hurt. That’s why he thought of staying away from Kanami for her own good. But he’s just avoiding reality and will never move forward. He has set his goal and will not waver. He will take what he wants.

With Kazuma turning the tables, the other Alter users also move in and defeat Dars and Tokonatsu sisters. Kigetsuki orders the sisters to merge into their true form, Burning Summer, a hideous beast that controls heat. Kigetsuki threatens them if they do anything funny, the villagers will die but Kazuma pays no heed and continues to power up. Using his Shell Bullet Burst, he shines brighter than ever and his connecting punch melts away Burning Summer. Emotional Kanami reunites with Kazuma. Kigetsuki orders the sisters to stand back up and fight but it seems they can’t. Cougar had to tell him off that no girls would like a guy who fabricates girls to like him. The ultimate blow came when the sisters couldn’t affirm his love. Kigetsuki escapes but Cougar doesn’t feel it is worth to go after a guy who only likes dolls. Kazuma and Ryuhou meet face to face after a long time. First thing they do is to punch each other. That is for not thinking about the villagers. That is for because he knows he can do it. That is for depending on his luck. That is for everything working out well in the end. Can we stop the fist fight please? Dars almost ambushed Kanami but Tachibana shoots him out. When the mask cracks open, Kazuma realizes he is one of those Native Alters. The other Dars too. Mimori explains they were captured and sent to the mainland and those with weak powers were forcefully refined. Therefore the entire Dars unit is made out of them. Cougar adds this is part of mainland’s plan and Kazuma instantly knows this Mujo has a hand in this. Mujo shows the video to the top people from mainland and is confident Ryuhou and Kazuma will open the door to the other world for them. Mujo then absorbs Kigetsuki. Mujo is also happy since he has lots of information on them and with this Alter power that can access a person’s deep mind.

Episode 20: Kanami Yuuta
Kanami remembers when she first met Kazuma. She thought he was a thief and gave him her bread thinking he would beat her up if she didn’t. However Kazuma tells her he isn’t one and to decide whether she really wants to keep it all or give it all. Kanami shares it with him. The first half of this episode feels like a flashback since we have Kanami telling Kazuma how she ended up with Ryuhou. You know, after the power battle that resulted in Lost Ground changing its surface, there Kanami was being roped in by baddies to do hard labour and that’s when Ryuhou came in to save the day. Also from Kazuma’s side, we hear him talk about his time at the illegal fight club and why he and Ryuhou became sworn enemies. At Ryuhou’s side, they are talking how the mainland has been kidnapping Native Alters to do experiments on them. They want the powers that is from the other world and that’s why they are targeting Ryuhou and Kazuma. Everyone in HOLY has been deceived. Now by sending in refined Alters, it shows they are serious in getting their objective. By broadcasting Kazuma’s rampage on Lost Ground was just a stunt and excuse to send Mujo over. Ryuhou knows him because his family once crushed him before. His only option is to go to the city and crush him because he feels the people of Lost Ground should decide their fate and not mainlanders. The rest caution him that they may receive economic backlash and start a war of independence. But what choice that he has? Cougar seems to know a lot on this because he was once sent to the mainland. He also went to the other world although it was just for an instant. Due to that, his body is messed up and if Ryuhou keeps this up in releasing his power, death awaits.

Ryuhou takes a walk and ends up meeting Kazuma. It’s good that they manage to hold back beating the crap out of each other at first glimpse. Although, their conversation is filled with angst. Kazuma will simply live by his rules. Whoever wants to pick a fight with him, bring it. Ryuhou will settle HOLY matters by himself and wants Kazuma to take Kanami and run away where mainlanders can’t reach them so they can start a new life together. Kazuma disagrees because he is an Alter user. When Ryuhou mentions his intention of joining HOLY to find his mother’s killer, Kazuma sees him as similar. They both do what they want and the difference is that Ryuhou makes excuses. So after all, are they going to slug it out? Scheris and Mimori talk. The latter wants to stay behind and work out a solution that makes everyone happy. Of course they have to touch on Ryuhou too. Mimori envies Scheris for being able to be close to him but she admits it is just a one-sided affair. As Cougar puts it, it’s such a tragic story. Meanwhile Kazuma and Ryuhou haven’t start punching yet. It’s like they’re warming up by insulting each other and are reminded how much the other pisses them off. Since they don’t want another uprising, they aren’t going to use their Alter powers. Mujo is watching them via satellite and he is not happy that they are not going to use their Alters. What is the point in fighting if they don’t use them? An earthquake hits the Lost Ground village. It is Biff and he has taken Kanami hostage. I suppose Kazuma and Ryuhou have to put off their fight and cooperate to save Kanami. Kazuma is one pissed guy. Don’t mess with his girl. Although Biff’s Alter is destroyed, he flies away with Kanami.

Episode 21: HOLY Eye
Kazuma is so angry that he’s punching and destroying, uhm, destroyed wood? While Mimori and the rest treat the injured villagers, Cougar goes to stop selfish Kazuma and Ryuhou bent on heading to the city to save Kanami and revenge. I guess the only way to negotiate this is via their fist which they understand best. Zigmarl realizes he has lost his access privileges. Urizane speaks to him and wants him to give orders to take down Mujo. He can’t since he feels this is for the good of all Alter users in Lost Ground. Suddenly there is a notice to evacuate Lost Ground immediately. Zigmarl didn’t know of this and not even Elian. Something is definitely up. Of course this is part of Mujo’s plan and ‘kindness’ to let non-Alter users to escape leaving only Alters behind. With Kanami as his prisoner, she will serve as bait to draw Kazuma and Ryuhou here. The fight between the trio must have ended in Cougar’s favour because brought the other 2 guys home even though he himself is badly beaten up. Later Mimori talks to Ryuhou and she is glad he has never changed since 7 years ago even though she initially thought she did. Ryuhou admits she is one of those important things he wants to protect. He wanted her to return to mainland so as not to put her in danger. He was able to stay here for 7 years because of her and his mother. Mimori hands him his HOLY uniform that Cougar brought. Although he is no longer part of HOLY, the uniform stands for all his beliefs. He puts it on but tears away the HOLY emblem. A missile crashes nearby. It is a video transmission from Mujo. How does he know where they are? It’s the satellite in space, HOLY Eye. He lets them know Kanami is in his care and he is at Ryuhou’s father’s mansion. Worse, he shows Ryuhou’s father who is dead. When Mujo stormed in and wanted to take him hostage, he killed himself not wanting to burden his son. He invites them all to come here since he won’t be going anywhere. Before that, he leaves them a present. It’s going to be a blast from HOLY Eye. Kazuma and Ryuhou don’t give a damn and power up to take HOLY Eye out. I don’t know if they’ve reached such power that it enables them to fly into outer space and destroy the satellite. At the same time, their power enables the door to the other world to be opened. This is what Mujo wants and takes this chance to enter the other dimension. He sees visions of Ryuhou and is still jealous he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and had everything. Unlike himself who had nothing. That’s why he agreed to be refined but after achieving so much, he still feels something lacking. He sees the black Alter and goes into contact with him to receive an enhanced power. When he returns, he uses this power to absorb all the buildings around him to create one freakish citadel. He also has a pair of Elian clones as his bodyguards. Kazuma and Ryuhou got a free ride crashing down at the doorsteps of Mujo’s citadel. There’s no turning back now. In spite of that, they can still argue about who is going to save Kanami. Since when is Kanami their possession? I hope they’re not lolicons. Anyway, their goal is the same. Rescue Kanami and beat the crap out of Mujo.

Episode 22: Martin Zigmarl
Mujo uses Kanami to sense Kazuma and Ryuhou. And they’re seething with anger. Although he has no longer use for them, he is going to engage them for his own entertainment. Meanwhile the ladies want to head to the city thinking they will be of use somehow (why do I keep thinking they miss Ryuhou?). Cougar will drive them there (prepare for the hell ride) while Tachibana stays back to help the people. Kazuma and Ryuhou have disposed of small fries to continue their journey. They still hate each other but have this feeling the other isn’t that bad as thought and can be trusted. They part ways when they enter the building. Ryuhou comes into contact with Zigmarl. Though he admits he has a hand in sending Native Alters to the mainland for experiments, he denies working under Mujo. Since talk is of no use, it’s time to fight. Zigmarl for the first time shows his Alter called Alias. It has both body fusion (like Shell Bullet) and independent physical materialization (like Zetsuei). Its power is controlling air pressure so Ryuhou has a hard time using his speed or any other attacks to get near him. Zetsuei even gets torn apart. Meanwhile Kazuma once again squares off with Biff and Dars. He has no time to play with him and powers up his Shell Bullet to take them all out in one hit. However Mujo powers up Biff into a more dangerous and mad man. Cougar and the ladies have arrived. I won’t be surprise if they develop motion sickness of any sort after this. Zigmarl is disappointed in Ryuhou. Is this all he’s got? If he has no reason to fight, he’ll give him one. He explains the events that happened 6 years ago. That black Alter came from the other side. When it came here, if almost suffocated like a fish out of water because there were no Alter powers. It was here because it was attracted to a rare and hidden Alter power which is no other than Ryuhou. In short, Ryuhou is the cause of the events that led to his mother’s death. But at the same time it awakened his Alter power. Zigmarl yearned for that power as well as Ryuhou’s. Thanks to his hatred for Native Alters, his loyalty to HOLY has increased Zigmarl’s status and making his job easier.

Ryuhou is so mad that he was used that Zetsuei is resurrected. However this is not the power Zigmarl wants and continues to mock him that he is weak and unable to protect those he wants. How can he avenge his mother like this? So mad Ryuhou is that he opens the door to the other world. Ryuhou notes he never wanted power but a world where everyone can live their upright lives. When he returns, Ryuhou achieves ultimate power up by fusing with Zetsuei. Zigmarl is most impressed and doesn’t mind getting defeated. Kazuma has beaten up Biff and Dars so many times but each time he resurrects. Till Kazuma made one emotional plea that they used to live in this place and doesn’t want to fight them. Perhaps his voice reached them. Because Biff breaks away from his mind control and with Dars, they use their Alter power to kill themselves by plunging below. Kazuma is another upset mother. He’s going to get Mujo for this. Urizane and Elian happen to walk into the room where Ryuhou was fighting Zigmarl. They see Zigmarl now a frail old man after using up his Alter power. Elian is devastated that his father is in his state. Zigmarl is his father? Zigmarl reveals he is the first captured Alter user to be experimented. Elian was created as an artificial part of him. He wanted to use HOLY to create a place where Elian could live as a normal being but turned into a hypocrite instead by making him fight. Because their enemy is vast, standing up would mean being crushed in no time. That’s why he fought Ryuhou to awaken his power so they have a chance to fight back. Zigmarl gives his final order to Urizane to work with Elian to work this land. Since Ryuhou is not under HOLY, he is not obliged to listen to his orders. That’s why he is going to defeat Mujo. Cougar and the ladies have arrived. They go their separate ways working towards a common goal. Mujo is not happy with this little setback in his plan. He is going to get serious now.

Episode 23: Scheris Adjani
Scheris remembers how she was abused by her own fellow Alters. Till Ryuhou from HOLY came to rescue and free her. I guess that’s where the romance started. Mimori is analyzing the complex building structure, a combination of biological and electronic elements. We won’t hear anything further because Mujo comes into the picture and he wants her. He needs her so he can gain a foothold in the mainland to get everything. But he has to fight off Cougar first. Cougar transforms into his ultimate Alter power while Mujo notes he has not much time to live due to his many sessions of being refined in the early days. Cougar replies that’s why he spent his entire life in a rush and admits his love for Mimori. No matter how fast Cougar is, Mujo is able to dodge every attack and even grab him. Too slow? He absorbs Cougar’s Alter powers and gives him a taste of pain with his new techniques, White Trick and Black Joker. While everybody is lost in this complex structure, Mujo returns to his control room and orders everyone else to be killed except Mimori. Monsters are sent in to kill everyone. He is ‘complaining’ that he is not satisfied and wants more when the Elian twins show him Ryuhou and Kazuma still standing tough. Kazuma has used too much Shell Bullet that he can’t feel anything in his right arm. Not even pain. But if there are more enemies who want a taste of his Shell Bullet, bring it on. Meanwhile Ryuhou meets the black Alter. Now he’s seething with anger. The black Alter is brought here courtesy of Mujo. Ryuhou fights him but he can’t seem to beat it. He also can’t summon his ultimate Alter power he used to fight Zigmarl. That’s because the black Alter is absorbing his power. Mimori bumps into Urizane and Elian. They head to the system control centre and destroy it, causing all the monsters to die down. It’s good because it’s a pain especially for Kazuma who is fighting a pair of robots that keep regenerating. Scheris stumbles into the area where Ryuhou is and is devastated to see him killed before her eyes. Mimori’s crystal dissolves and she knows it’s a sign that Ryuhou is dead and turns into an emotional wreck. Scheris can’t let Ryuhou die since he hasn’t accomplished anything yet and sacrifices her own life using Eternal Devote to bring him back. The last confession. The last kiss. Scheris out. Ryuhou back in. The crystal reshapes itself and Mimori is very relieved Ryuhou still lives. But when Ryuhou opens his eyes, he is distraught to only see Scheris’ clothes behind. He realizes she died for his sake and is upset she used his life for him. Kazuma then stumbles in and tells him off at times like this he shouldn’t be holding it in. It’s alright to cry. Ryuhou realizes Scheris is really gone and breaks down, wailing and crying out loud. He’s never cried so hard like this since his mother died. It’s just heartbreaking to see him scream his heart out like that. It’s like he’s gone insane.

Episode 24: Fist
Kazuma also sheds a tear because it reminded him of the deaths of Kimishima, Ayase and recently Biff. Mujo forces the Elian twins to get the system back online but they got overloaded. No matter. As long as he has Kanami, he is still invincible. Mimori has Elian scan the condition of everyone else. He cannot sense Scheris and Cougar so the rest fear the worse. Urizane is mad and wants revenge but Elian cautions him they are not powerful enough to take on Mujo. Who else? Yup. Ryuhou and Kazuma are on their way to face that bastard. They see Kanami unconscious and wired up in the main room and Mujo is cocky that the duo have used up lots of their Alter power. But they don’t give a damn and proceed to fight. They’re going to defeat him. Mujo threatens to kill Kanami but Kazuma doesn’t care and advances forward. Because he hears Kanami’s voice telling him to fight and not to care about her. He is going to do that. Mujo summons the black Alter so Ryuhou will take care of this one and leaves Mujo in Kazuma’s hands. Kazuma and Mujo clash. The latter feels Kazuma is not as strong before (because he powered up) and decides to absorb his Alter. Surprisingly, his Alter power did not put up much resistance. Mujo notes how boring it is and finishes him off with White Trick and Black Joker. Mimori and co are trying to head upstairs when a pillar is going to crush them. They are saved by Cougar’s car. Where’s the driver. Don’t worry. He seems fine somewhere. Kazuma forcefully summons his Shell Bullet and he doesn’t care whether his body is at its limit or not because all he cares about is defeating Mujo. Mujo starts absorbing him but because Kazuma is powering up more than ever, Mujo feels he can’t absorb anymore at this rate. His White Trick and Black Joker had no effect and I think Kazuma cancels out his absorption power. Mujo realizes Cougar just snatched away Kanami and the Elian twins. Hey, he’s the fastest guy in town, right? Cougar wants Kazuma to take care of the rest of the things here as his last wish. Don’t need to tell him that. Cougar leaves Kanami and the Elian twins outside where Mimori and co pick them up and head to a safe distance.

Ryuhou is having a hard time with the black Alter as well. He realizes the difference between himself and Kazuma. Because at times like these, he is still trying to protect himself. When he decides to lay his life on the line, Ryuhou merges with Zetsuei and becomes a badass Alter himself to whip that black Alter. So powerful that not only he sliced the black Alter into half, he opens the gate to the other world and pushes him back to where he once belong. Meanwhile Kazuma has powered up to the maximum whereby Shell Bullet envelops his entire body. The final punch is so great that Mujo is sent flying to the other world! Ryuhou meet up with Kazuma but things are not settled yet as Mujo returns as a big powerful but ugly alien bug. He has got the power he wanted and is going to finish them off. However the duo are not cowed and this has Mujo starting to panic. Why aren’t they afraid? Because they don’t have his foolish pride and desire. Ryuhou gives Kazuma the honour of finishing him off since it is his turn as he has already put his past behind. Whatever Mujo throws at Kazuma, nothing works. He starts to get scared and tries to play psychology that if he continues to use his power, he will die. Didn’t Kazuma already tell you? He doesn’t care. And why can a so called powerful being lose to a lowly Native Alter? Kazuma may not have a last name or high position. But he has something he can be proud of and that is his fist! Now get a taste of it! Bye-bye Mujo. Good riddance. With Mujo gone, time and space of the place starts distorting.

Episode 25: Native
Kazuma and Ryuhou are weakened and in a mess. Yet they still want to play tough and won’t admit it. They could have gotten out faster had not been for their stupid pride. So much so it was Tachibana who brought them out. And yet they still maintain their stubborn pride. They both part ways to settle their own things. Ever since, the mainland has stopped all economic support. At this rate, the ever dependent Lost Ground will turn into a wasteland. Mimori thinks it’s a blessing in disguise. Because of the aid, people in the city have come to feel entitled of that support. In a way, Lost Ground will forever be at the whim of the mainland forever. Living in the badlands made her realize this. Ryuhou hoped to be independent within the city while Kazuma has always lived free of anyone’s interference. That’s why they were able to obtain so much Alter power. The mainland army general is at Lost Ground and discussing how he will take control over this place for future peacekeeping. He has his army of refined Alter users (Dars) to back him up. But he won’t get to do all that because Kazuma and Ryuhou start destroying all the mainland military to tell them to go back to where they came from. Lost Ground doesn’t need them. As long as they’re here, they won’t let them have their way. And so the ordinary people of Lost Ground start relying on themselves to rebuild the place. Not bad if they put in some effort. When Mimori is taking something from the car, she sees Ryuhou approaching him. Before she can get a chance to hug her love, Ryuhou has a request of her. He wants her to return to the mainland or else she will never see her parents again. He will stay here to protect the people of Lost Ground as long as the mainland’s attitude doesn’t change. Mimori won’t do that because she can’t live without him. That’s the path she chose. In that case, Ryuhou has also chosen his path. I guess it’s the kind without Mimori. She must have grown desperate because she starts hugging him and iterates how much she loves him. However he can’t reciprocate her love. What excuse will he give? Scheris. She gave her life to him. Heartbreaking, no? Anyway, he wants her to return to the mainland. Of course she is as stubborn as him and won’t easily go back.

Kanami is working hard in the farm when she is visited by Kazuma. Long time no see. But he has to leave again to settle something personal but Kanami is not pleased. She wonders why he is saying goodbye. Because of her awakened Alter power, she can read his heart. She knows he’s a kind person and is doing this so it would help make her survive on her own. Kazuma disagrees he is just a brawler taking on fights for money. He leaves but Kanami can’t say anything because she hears in his heart he will always come to her side whenever and wherever she is in trouble. She wanted to say she loves him but only tears come out. Kazuma and Ryuhou once again meet. Still talking tough about taking out government lackeys is their main job? Before the argument can escalate into a fight, here come those government bastards. Wow. They’re sending in a huge fleet! Heck, I thought it was some alien invasion and wondering if this was Scryed I am watching! Some dragon bird, lizard cannon and spider crawlies?! Looks alien, right? Despite Dars handling the fleet, Kazuma and Ryuhou show their might. I guess a large fleet is necessary so that they can flex their power and show how awesome everything gets wiped out easily. The mainland authorities are surprised that everything got eliminated. However they are not upset. Because they can obtain valuable data from this fight and since more and more Alter users are born on Lost Ground every day, they won’t have to worry about shortage of experimental subjects. They are going to take their time and not rush for results. Kanami is roommates with Mimori. She learns about the crystal Mimori holds dear because it connects her with Ryuhou. Kanami doesn’t need anything because she can sense Kazuma as well as Ryuhou. They are fine and still fighting. She vows to survive and become stronger. So strong that Kazuma will be shock when he returns to see her. Lost Ground people continue to rebuild the place. Elian helps Urizane with his watermelon farm (Oh God!), Mimori becomes a teacher while Tachibana gets a surprised visit from Cammy. Three months down the road, mainland’s interference seems to have decreased but that doesn’t mean it is over. As usual, it still feels odd for Kazuma and Ryuhou to be hanging out together as they indicate what they will be doing to protect Lost Ground. Heck, they even laughed together! Are my eyes deceiving me? I don’t think they’ve become good friends. Before they part for good, they have one more thing to settle. It has been bugging them since they first met and it’s the source of everything that has happened. Which of them is the strongest? Only one way to find out.

Episode 26: Dream
It’s the ultimate battle of all. Kazuma’s Shell Bullet against Ryuhou’s Zetsuei. Who will emerge the strongest? As they trade blows in this power battle, the more it prolongs, they more they use their higher trump cards to produce even greater power. The tide quickly shifts back and forth and so much power that it causes their own mini uprising. But both enjoy this fight and want more. Though Zetsuei is able to crack and break Kazuma’s Shell Bullet, it seems now it is no big deal as he can quickly regenerate it. Kanami and Mimori arrive, though the latter cannot fathom what is there for them to fight left, Kanami believes they have a reason. She uses her Alter power to telepathically tell her friends so Elian uses his transmission to make the fight available to everyone on Lost Ground. Kazuma and Ryuhou both have a very nice short dream. The kind that sees them living their would be ordinary future had their dead friends and comrades did not die. That’s why they are going all out now. They transform into their ultimate Alter form that envelops their entire body. To show how amazing their power is, it sends them hurtling into space where they continue to have a bigger blast. And when they crash down to Earth, they still continue to kick each other’s butt. There’s no stopping them. Mimori can’t bear to see them go on like this. It’s a man’s thing and probably why women can’t understand. Kanami even looks much more composed than Mimori. When the fight turns into some high speed aerial battle, it looked like fireworks. The little kids watching this are so amazed. Cougar tells them he knows about these guys because one of them was like his little brother and the other he once worked with. Cougar has been taking it easy and living comfortably in solitude but may have also lived out the last of his breath. Finally gone? His last words for Kazuma is that to go all out since he went clean past his limits and for Ryuhou to go back to Mimori if he has some spare time. Both guys finally lose their Alter power and the brawl descends into a brute fight using their fists, kicks and even throwing dirt. They’re like mad men so determined to win, huh? When they are able to summon a small portion of Alter in their fist, they finally let it clash with all they have left. Both have fallen at the same time. But wait. Somebody’s fist has arisen. Somebody has won. Just who? That’s up to you to believe and depends on whose fan you are. Many years later, Kanami has grown up to be a fine lady. She is still confident she will see them again. Ryuhou and Kazuma are still somewhere on Lost Ground, each still fighting hard in what they believe in.

With Great Powers Come… Even Greater Powers!
I had a feeling it would end something like this. The good guys come out tops by using all the powers they’ve got to blast away the despicable villain’s ass away. And then they had to settle their fight to see who numero uno is but the outcome will be not so clear cut because I believe there is a fair share of Ryuhou and Kazuma fans out there and settling for one would mean earning the wrath of the other. In my opinion, they both won, lost and draw. Say what? I know they only showed a single fist punching in the air but that is what we just see, right? Perhaps when the camera is focusing on this fist, the other fist had also risen in the air to proclaim his victory. Don’t think it happened this way? Well, they made it so, so that we could have our own interpretation and I think it is pretty fair that this is what I think. It is a draw because there is no obvious and clear cut winner in the end. They both lost because they didn’t win either as they have to assert so much power and get beaten up this much just for this final thingy. And they both win because they’ve got it out of their system, clear their consciousness, settled whatever they want and no other Alter users will come even this close to match 1% of their power.

It is quite amusing to see the chemistry and interaction between Kazuma and Ryuhou. In the beginning ever since they meet, it is like each time they face each other, their blood boils and they just want to beat the crap out of each other. They can’t stand each other and the only way to cool themselves down is to connect their fists. Well, actually you can blame Kazuma initially for always wanting to fight Ryuhou at first since the latter is more reasonable and calm. I guess when you have unfinished business with somebody who longs to fight you every time you think of his face and name, Ryuhou too develops that sort of short fuse Kazuma always have. Therefore each time before their showdown (whether or not they start punching and kicking), I always thought to myself and rolled my eyes, “Oh boy. Here we go again”. The problem of putting 2 hot guys with different ideals as the protagonist is that you can’t let either one be a lot more superior than the other. So there has to be some sort of balance and equality between them. Or else fans from both the divide will start complaining. I think. That’s why even though they hate each other’s guts to the bitter end, they still realize the need to cooperate and trust each other to battle against the greater and common enemy. You know what they say about the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy? Yeah. That. Combining their powers may seem cool and they are definitely an invincible combo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to like each other, right? Thus it is also ‘funny’ to see that despite walking together with the same goal as the anime progresses towards the climax, they can still try to outtalk the other, trying to be tough that they are better and don’t need the other’s help and should just return to their woman. Funny, isn’t it?

Kazuma has never changed his personality and been the same from the start. Except for that one period in time which was his weakest and lowest point in his life. He tried to leave Lost Ground thinking it was the best decision for everyone especially Kanami. Then he realizes he was just running away. This isn’t the usual self he knows. Because he knows himself as a cocky, arrogant and selfish guy who gets whatever he wants using his fist and is not afraid to use them no matter how brute and crude his tactics are. Just fall short of playing dirty, that’s all. While such attitude isn’t a hit witch chicks (Kanami may be a different case), at least it shows his resolve to live the life the way he wants right till the very end. It is what he believes in. Likewise for Ryuhou, he has also become a stronger person with each tribulation. It’s not easy to live up to your beliefs especially the organization you placed your trust and goals turns out to be of something else. Your resolve would start to waver and you wonder if you can go on like this anymore. But Ryuhou remain steadfast, sticking deeply well to his beliefs and what he stands for all the way. Both men have sacrificed so much just to firmly stand on what they believe. That is why they are the only ones who deserve to yield so much Alter power in the end. So awesome the duo that I never really give a thought about the threats of mainland. Despite playing the waiting game, I feel that as long Kazuma and Ryuhou are around, they’re going to have to wait till kingdom come to collect all the data they want and still have no chance to obtain the power from the other world. Not rushing? Well, they can keep doing this for as long they like.

While watching this anime, I never thought it would do something drastic and would just pass it as one of those action animes without any emotional impact. Even if they had in the early episodes, it wasn’t to a point where it would move me. Then Kimishima’s death came. It was a real shocker. I couldn’t believe it. He’s dead. Despite playing just a secondary character and his vehicle’s destruction is some sort of a running gag for this anime, you can say I started to ‘wake up’ when he really passed away. Totally didn’t expect it. It was heartbreaking especially when you see Kanami’s face contorting worse than a wrinkled raisin (really!). Heartbreak for all lolicons out there. And that’s when it gave me a jolt that this anime is just more than just going to be punching and kicking with power to satisfy the action craving. Then they started killing off some of the other people from HOLY, including Scheris. Pretty girls don’t usually die, right? RIGHT?! How can the love triangle continue if she’s dead?! Hah. What was I hoping for? So much so I thought everybody else in the end would just die and all that would be left are Kazuma and Ryuhou since they are too awesome for death.

Cougar’s inability to get people’s name right is also another running gag of the series. However it feels like perhaps he is doing this on purpose. There are a handful of times whereby he gets their name correct. But too often he mispronounces Mimori’s name that even when he says it correctly, she retorts him naturally. And she didn’t even realize it. She’s already come to believe that he will always say her name wrong, huh? Another funny part of him is how he talks so fast. It’s like he is high on drugs and trying to cram as much words into a few seconds. Theoretically, if he talks so fast, nobody could have heard a word he said because he would have already finished by the time people picked it up. To add another funny aspect, it’s the way he drives. So fast that it almost kills. It’s amazing that there are no casualties under his rides. So remember people, do not imitate him because speed kills. Aside from being a cool character (giving advice at times, staying composed when our protagonists can’t keep theirs), he is one funny guy.

Initially I never understood what Kanami’s dream was all about. I thought it was some sort of short recap from Kanami’s point of view or at least something she narrates about those things in a poetic fashion. It never occurred to me that she didn’t know the man she was dreaming was usually Kazuma. I mean, couldn’t she see his face clearly? Maybe that is because she never knew he was an Alter and even though he looked so much like Kazuma, it just couldn’t be him. Maybe just like everyone in Lost Ground, they’re just dreaming the dream. They always work hard to rebuild the place and then some Alter user or HOLY guys come to destroy and cause havoc. Repeat cycle. It looks like the work can never be done, eh? But with Ryuhou and Kazuma protecting the lands, I’m sure that this time they can pick up the pieces at a faster rate.

The other characters (at least those who survived in the end) felt just like they lack any impact. Mainly it is because as the series is progressing its climax, Kazuma and Ryuhou are given a lot of the attention and spotlight. Those other characters feel like bumming around like Mimori who refused to head back to the mainland is seen spending most of her time with Tachibana who is living his own normal life in the badlands of Lost Ground. What else is there for Mimori to do then perhaps to wait and hope for Ryuhou to rekindle her love? Guess that won’t ever happen. Elian and Urizane too are shown to be around as ‘proof’ that Zigmarl’s final wish would continue. Other than that, I don’t they would have contributed anything significant to the storyline. They themselves know they can’t because we have 2 biggest and brightest kick ass stars to save the land. For them, for everybody. Kazuma is a habitual offender of running away from work and thus I think the reason why Kanami is always yearning to see him. So for the second half of the anime, Kanami is somewhat like somebody who wants to go see him badly. Yeah, that’s what I felt her role has turned into. Every chance she gets feels like a rare moment. Now that she’s grown up, can she wait for more years for him to return? Keep believing. Keep dreaming.

The action bits are rather okay since we get to see some Alter users using their weird Alters to do battle. Although many of them involve Kazuma and/or Ryuhou. They are the stars of this show, right? Sometimes it might get tiring to see Kazuma and Ryuhou to pull off the same move but as they power up, we get to see them do a bit more variety. I mean, what else can Shell Bullet do except to execute some powerful punches? What more can Zetsuei do besides swinging its tail and shoot projectiles out of its arms? So that’s why I guessed they make their clash each time to be super epic. You can expect no less than some exaggerated showdown between the duo and it feels like the more and longer they fight, there is a possibility of changing the shape of the entire world. I even think that they can even destroy Earth and despite our blue planet being totally annihilated, they will still continue to fight in outer space. As proven they can. Really. I don’t think God can even stop them. Because they’ll beat Him up first for interrupting their holy fight. Haha!

The romance felt like a little distraction and wasn’t something this anime would have and could be done away with. It’s like this anime wanted to put in some of such other elements besides the action. But if there wasn’t such reason for romance, there would not have been any role and reason for Mimori and Scheris here. I have to admit that a deep part inside of me wants to see who is the lucky one who will get Ryuhou’s attention in the end. Maybe a little cat fight when they get a little desperate (didn’t happen, though). Too bad it was such a disappointment that he chose neither. Using Scheris’ death felt like an excuse. Kazuma and Kanami’s romance also felt no impact. Sure, it would be odd to see a grown guy having a relationship with a loli. That would make him look like a lolicon, right? So Kanami will just have to be content with Kazuma as someone she looks up too (heck, she’s shorter than him. Geddit? Haha!) and not someone she could advance her relationship with even though that is what she would have wanted. In the end, our 2 main guys’ minds are filled with so much fighting (protecting the land with justice or doing whatsoever he wants, whatever the reasons they give) that I think this is their first love. Such tragedy…

Later on I found out there were quite a number of differences from the manga when the anime adapted this series. (Please note, I didn’t read the manga but found out from various sites including the good ol’ Wikipedia). Take for instance the characters. Zigmarl in the manga, I thought he reminded me of Zettai Karen Children’s Kyousuke in terms of his age and looks. In the anime, he’s like some elderly foreigner. The fates of some characters were changed too. Scheris didn’t die in the manga and so did not Kimishima or Ayase. In fact, they were both married in the end. That was as I found out Ayase’s only appearance. An introduction in the final page. Urizane was a total different character in the manga because he is a cold blooded and merciless killer who killed Cougar! Kanami was a normal girl throughout the manga and never had Alter power to begin with. Elian and Unkei did not appear in the manga. Even the spelling of the characters’ names is changed. Cougar’s full name switched places in the anime and Scheris was actually spelled Scherice and Zigmarl was Jigmar.

The opening theme Reckless Fire by Yasuaki Ide is a great rock piece accompanied by some Flamenco-like guitar playing in the beginning. It is quite suitable for the action pace of this anime and gets you into the mood of the action despite some parts of the anime being filled with melodrama. Also, sometimes I feel that the singer may have sung too much that at times he may sound quite hoarse in singing his lines. The ending theme, Drastic My Soul by Mikio Sakai is also equally cool but is a slower rock compared to the opening theme. There are a handful of insert songs sung by both these singers and it varies between rock and slow rock. I think one of them had that Latin feel in it.

So it goes to show that in wielding such great power, it is either you get corrupted by it or you use it for righteousness. Those who cannot control it will be consumed by it. Do you have what it takes to shoulder that kind of responsibility? There was once a saying by Abraham Lincoln about men able to stand adversity but to test his true character, give him power. Now that I have watched this show, what is my verdict between Falcon Punch and Shocking First Bullet? Actually I’ve never seen what a real Falcon Punch looks like since I have never played F-Zero or personally got to know Captain Falcon, the one who uses this signature move. So I guess I’ll have to go with Shocking First Bullet and say Kazuma you’re the best! Do you ever wonder where this punch will stand against Natsu’s Karyuu No Tekken, Luffy’s Gomu Gomu No Gatling, Oga’s Zebel Blast, Toriko’s Nail Punch or even Ryu’s Shoryuken? Whoever is the best, I’m sure all of them will pack with a hell lot of punch. Not pulling any punches…

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