Shichisei No Subaru

November 23, 2018

Oh dear. It’s that time again. Time for another MMORPG themed anime. What else is new? Are we running out of ideas? Really, Japan running out of ideas? Or is it just me who keep watching such sh*tty shows despite knowing very well how it will turn out? Anyway, this season we have Shichisei No Subaru. Uhm… Let’s see… Legendary group as in the title… Yada, yada, yada… Group made out of elementary school kids. Wow. But hardly shocking because 5 year olds these days can operate the internet before even properly talking or walking. What else… Blah, blah, blah… Suddenly one of them dies in real life and caused the breakup of the friendship. Yawn… ZzzZzzzZZzzz… But then that supposed dead friend now pops up inside the game. Digital ghost or something? F*ck. Did they try to rip off from that Fate/Extra thingy?

Episode 1
In the immensely popular game of Union, there are rumours of a very tough quest and equally tough boss. However a group known as Subaru easily completed it. Yeah, it’s like they have all the power ups and everything. Guess what? They’re all supposed to be elementary school kids in real life! At Subaru’s base we see the team made out of Haruto Amou, Asahi Kuga, Takanori Mikado, Nozomi Kusaka, Satsuki Usui and Clive Beverly. They talk about their next big mission and other stuffs. Before their next quest, Asahi talks to Haruto personally as Satsuki eavesdropped. Something shocking she must have said and left to our imagination what it is. Subaru finally reaches the undefeatable boss, Purgatorio. They have a tough fight until Nozomi is almost killed. Haruto saves her but Asahi saves him. Too bad she got killed. What’s so bad about that? In this game, there is perma-death. You die, your account gets deleted right away. But this is the bizarre thing. Right after the game, Asahi dies in real life!!! HOLY SH*T!!!! The friends are in shock she died of heart failure and even the game company had to release a statement that the game didn’t cause the death albeit Union got suspended after that. Wow. So much coincidence. This incident left the friends badly scarred as Takanori blames Haruto for killing Asahi as it was his idea to rush in. 6 years have passed. Haruto sounds like a pessimistic grumpy teen. A friend tries to bug him to help in but Haruto is clearly in no mood to play another online game. Coincidentally today on TV a news is giving coverage to the sequel of Union, Re’Union. What’s so great about this game is that players who do well here will be rewarded by the developing company, Pleroma Industry. You get job offers and even scholarships! But it’s not open to anyone as those with this Sense trait are able to participate. So a chance comes knocking for Haruto as that friend bugs him again. Reluctantly he puts on his VR headset and goes into Re’Union using his old Union account. They meet up, go on a quest, his friends are total noobs and cowards so Haruto has to show them the way. Once he defeats the monsters, suddenly they are teleported to another room, something that has never happened in Union before. A game bug? Haruto opens a suspicious chest only to find Asahi inside! OMG! She still remembers him too?!

Episode 2
Haruto finds it hard to believe her and thinks she is an imposter. Apparently Asahi still thinks it was yesterday. When Haruto tells her today’s date and how she is already dead in real life, she doesn’t believe. When she tries to log out, she can’t. Mails can’t be sent to her email too as her account is not registered. Funny prank, no? News of Asahi soon spread. Hence this loser rival, Leonovitch who used to pick on Subaru once more tries to get his hands on Asahi for her abilities. Haruto isn’t as strong as before but with Asahi’s sixth sense awakening, she helps Haruto dodge his attacks. But thank heavens for Takanori. He is from the powerful guild, Illuminati (seriously?) and turns that loser into a retreating loser. Takanori has no qualms accepting Asahi as the real one. He hopes she would join his guild so he could protect her. Because he and Haruto are still not talking, he tells her he is weak but Asahi refuses to believe. Despite being told Subaru ended after their failed quest 6 years ago, Asahi maintains her positivism that everyone will come back. Haruto returns to reality and is visited by Satsuki in person. Yeow! Did her bust level up tremendously?! It seems she is also playing Re’Union but didn’t have the courage to talk to him then. She saw what happened with Asahi but Haruto insists he won’t go back to that world and let Takanori handle things. He is bent on deleting his account and stay away from the game forever. Satsuki lashes out about running away from his past and their memories. It won’t do him any good either. So I guess he has to log in again so as to have Satsuki meet with Asahi. Asahi also thinks Satsuki is joking when she talks about her death. They are interrupted by people who are after Asahi. Not pleased with this interruption, all of them face Satsuki’s wrath. At the same time, Takanori and his Illuminati round up people who plan to attack Asahi. He is worried that somebody is spreading the news quickly. Asahi and co return to their Subaru base. Still as it is. Only, Asahi’s stuffs are missing. As Haruto wanders by himself, he is met with this strange girl, Elicia. She can also read his mind and tells him of Asahi’s Sense that is not found in this world. She warns there are people planning to attack her and that he must awaken her Sense. And yeah, all of them must remember. Could she be more specific before going back to the shadows?

Episode 3
Satsuki thinks Asahi is some bug or data residual whatever in which Asahi denies. Satsuki tells her everything has changed years ago with Haruto being affected the most. He went into depression after her death. Haruto won’t stand the girls arguing over him and logs out. In reality when Satsuki shows him the Subaru ring that they all once bought to signify them as a group, Haruto then remembers. So he rushes all the way to Asahi’s grave to dig out the ring he gave to her? Man, he must have buried it shallow. One of their promises was to exchange the ring in real life but they never got to it. Haruto remembers another important thing: To help each other solve problems. Hence he is going back to Re’Union to help Asahi. So a little Haruto-Asahi time as they hunt for magic tree sap. Fanservice when Asahi strips naked to dry her clothes and isn’t shy being around Haruto because that’s what they usually do? Ah, lost innocence as kids… Eventually Asahi uses the sap to make a ring. Feeling like part of Subaru again, huh? She shows it to Satsuki who isn’t pleased that the way Haruto put the ring on Asahi’s left ring finger… I don’t know. Tell me what the heck is that supposed to mean?! Jealous Satsuki also goes to collect the same sap to make the same ring. Too bad she puts it on herself. They return to the site of their failed quest to look for clues on what happened to Asahi that day. You mean it wasn’t just death and gone for good? Asahi senses somebody around when the rest can’t. Haruto then sees Elicia who then activates a portal. Guess who’s back? Purgatorio! All escape routes have been cut off. No choice but to fight. With only 3 of them, of course it is tough but they don’t give up. With them in a pinch especially Asahi, their past trauma is sure threatening to start up. Desperate Haruto sees his own dropped ring and remembers the promise he made to Asahi then. It was to protect each other. That’s it? That was the shocking promise? Anyway, this allows Haruto to power up and cut down Purgatorio like a pro! He makes it look so easy now! Also, thanks to Asahi’s Sense that transmits her thoughts to their minds so they know what to do. With Haruto regaining his Sense and Satsuki now believing Asahi is not dead, they are going to find a way to help log her out. I don’t want to speculate, but won’t that kill her? Also, they renew their pledge for the revival of Subaru.

Episode 4
Asahi notices a broken crystal in her possession. When she looks through it, something strange happens. Blurry visions of, uhm, stuffs happening. She thinks it might be memories that happened in her 6 years of absence. Back at the inn, the trio discuss how rumours of them beating Purgatorio spread fast. It has only been 2 hours. They think of asking an informant but then they hear news of Southern Cross coming. This big guild led by Letos surround the trio but only to be usurp by Brill Society led by Angelus. The latter wants to talk to the trio so Letos is forced to withdraw. Angelus wants Asahi to come under their protection as they view her existence is causing distortions. So it’s to stave off greedy people who wants her powers? So does that make them the same? Asahi rejects since she doesn’t want to be confined to orders of another guild. Angelus will not force them since it will be a form of distortion. Huh? In reality, Satsuki accompanies Haruto to buy a new console. Looks like he is getting invested in Re’Union. But when they talk over matters about telling Asahi’s family about this, their disagreement has Satsuki storming off. Oops. Now their relationship is a bit strained. Back in Re’Union, the trio go on a dungeon raiding quest. At the end of it, Asahi notices a broken crystal in her inventory she didn’t put. It’s not the same as the earlier one as she left that back at the inn and this shape is different. Suddenly Takanori snatches it away. He believes that thing will kill her. Yeah, so he sneakily observed her once (stalker?!) and he came to that conclusion? Takanori feels Haruto has no right to protect Asahi. So both guys transport to another dimension to fight it over. Why does this feel like they’re fighting over a girl?

Episode 5
Their different approach to Asahi is what’s making them harder to listen to each other. Before we have a lion vs dragon fight, they are brought back by Satsuki. Takanori is disappointed because he thought they had a ‘common interest’. Oh, I see this love triangle is getting clearer. Later Takanori talks about the higher guilds of Gnosis and Hyades standing in their way for supremacy. Taking one of them alone would be suicidal. But if Illuminati, Southern Cross and Brill Society unite, there might be a chance. Haruto and Asahi try to find out if Nozomi and Clive are around. At least not in this continent’s server. After meeting up with Satsuki, soon the trio find themselves enveloped in a fog. They realize it is a trap but they have been separated. Worse, it seems Illuminati, Southern Cross and Brill Society have formed an alliance. Satsuki is faced with Angelus as he throws her a message from Takanori. He points out that Re’Union is meaningless to her since she reunited with Haruto in reality. It is the opposite for Takanori. Reality became useless to him since he reunited with Asahi. Hence he thinks a world without Asahi is better for Satsuki and a world without Haruto is better for him. Of course Satsuki isn’t buying that crap and fights her way out. Meanwhile Haruto fights Letos and declines his offer to join Southern Cross. Thanks to Elicia’s help in sealing their Senses, Haruto is able to escape. Takanori confronts Asahi who is not pleased he kept reminding her about that 6 year thingy. Yeah, it was just like yesterday for her. No choice, he puts Asahi to sleep. Suddenly some of his Illuminati members turn on him. Takanori realizes Angelus has betrayed him and brainwashed some of his members. Takanori sounds devastated when Asahi is taken from him. Yeah, he should be. Soon, Angelus and Letos make a public announcement that their guilds are now combined into one known as Divine. And they have Asahi’s power. So join us! Yup, Takanori definitely got betrayed. So Haruto is going to play the lone hero to go save her? He doesn’t want Satsuki to come because if he fails, she should get Takanori’s help to rescue Asahi. He thinks that guy would listen if he isn’t around. And so Haruto prepares to fight off the 3000 strong forces of Divine! Damn. Hope he has got his cheat codes ready.

Episode 6
Flashback shows when Subaru was fighting a tough enemy, Satsuki fell into a useless state. Asahi was the one who guide Subaru to victory with her power. Because of that mind reading power, she was able to read Satsuki’s heart on who she likes and vowed to work hard so they can tell him someday. Gee, you mean like a harem? Now Satsuki goes talk to Takanori who is still stubborn. Ultimately it is her friendship with Asahi that is her real dream instead of being with Haruto. Speaking of which, that guy eliminated half the enemies! Wow! I really think he had some cheat code despite taking a beating. But fear not. Just like when he is about to lose, here comes Takanori and Satsuki to his rescue. The guys somewhat reconcile so they could fight together and rescue Asahi. In the final arena, fighting Letos and Angelus is tough because they are using Asahi’s power to see the future. Hence, predicting their moves. It’s déjà vu for Satsuki again as she goes into that useless state. But wait. She remembers Asahi’s promise. Thus she is able to power up and summon some divine beings to aid her by sucking and purging those small fries. Desperate Angelus turns Letos into a rampaging berserker with a spell that has all the negative emotions and fear of the fallen. Don’t worry too. With Asahi awaken now, the broken crystals now activate as our Subaru members somewhat remember their ultimate Subaru move to pull off another great feat and defeat the big bosses. Hope Takanori has got a good punch at Angelus’ face before for touching his Asahi before purging him. When Asahi touches the crystal, all of them see that strange vision. Something about some failed experiment. Asahi invites Takanori to rejoin Subaru but he won’t. He has did some shameful things and feels he doesn’t deserve to be with her. So he still doesn’t want to befriend Haruto again? Talk about pride. In the aftermath, we see Clive and Elicia cooperating with each other to help Subaru out of sticky situations. Clive hints that he has got a new name, the reason why his pals weren’t able to find him.

Episode 7
Alvida takes Subaru and co to Lost Pentagon where an unbreakable sword lies at the bottom of the ocean. Yup, players who tried to get it all failed. So as they look around, finally they find it. The catch? They have face this huge sea monster king boss, Aegir. Yeah, it reeks high boss levelness like Purgatorio. They have a tough time facing it until Clive shows up to help them escape. But back on the ship, Clive has left and only left a message behind. Flashback shows when Subaru stole something from another guild’s boss, of course they came baying for their blood. That was when Clive told he wanted to quit Subaru as he felt it was better to surrender than lose forever. Also, he wanted to challenge Subaru one day. In reality, Takanori calls Haruto and Satsuki to meet up. He tells them that Gnosis was probably behind why the rumours of Asahi spread so fast. They could be also behind Southern Cross and Brill Society’s merging and betrayal. A group once tried to find out more about them but was completely erased. He thinks Gnosis also holds some influence in reality. After being told about bumping into Clive, Takanori has this weird theory that Asahi’s body might still exist in this world. This is assuming the weird vision they had is reality instead of the virtual world. Takanori’s butler comes to relay the good news that Nozomi has been found. So he’s been secretly trying to find her? Well, don’t have to look far. She has returned to this city. Subaru and co decide to try for the sword again. This time Clive drops in to say hi and join them. This time they make suppressing Aegir look so easy. When Haruto is about to pull the sword embedded on its back, suddenly Clive betrays and stabs him! OMFG!!!! Asahi goes into shock that she, uhm, powers up?!

Episode 8
Mind f*ck time. Suddenly Haruto wakes up in hospital. It has been 6 years! So what we have all seen has just been a dream?! With Asahi glad that he is back, she explains he saved Nozomi and got game over. However Haruto remembers it was Asahi who took the blow. Besides, there is no Re’Union here and only Union. That night Elicia visits Haruto. Damn, is she a ghost from the game? Long story short from her explanation, this is a future in which Asahi created to save him. Because her power isn’t just about predicting the future but to choose one. More revelations as Union isn’t an online game but an experiment to hone one’s Senses. So if you can use Sense in Union, you can definitely use it in the real world?! Hence, Union was made to awaken this said ability and the group behind this is Gnosis. Too bad time has run out for Elicia. You’re on your own. Next time Asahi visits, he tells her he isn’t part of this world. That’s why he is going back and reconnect Subaru’s bond. Asahi believes him and sends him back. Wow. Just like that? So we arrive moments before Haruto gets stabbed by Clive as he manages to dodge his attack. He realizes this is not the real Clive but an imposter. He is Simon from Gnosis as he merges with Aegir to defeat them. He takes Satsuki hostage and forces Asahi to awaken her ability since her friend is in danger. But thankfully somebody interrupts that. Alvida? Nope. It’s the real Clive who has been impersonating as this avatar. Haruto knows that’s the real Clive because of his signature pose. And they didn’t figure this out before if he often poses like that?! Long story short, the quartet combine their skills to defeat Simon and for Haruto to pull out the legendary sword. In the aftermath, Clive gives Asahi a crystal from Aegir. What does she see now? Hmmm… Lots of cult members. Attacked by Elicia. She trying to seal Asahi’s Sense. Failed. Crystal shatters and scatters. So are we going to do an Inu Yasha and find the Shikon Shards?

Episode 9
Takanori and Clive meet for the first time since. Clive explains how he and Elicia were watching and protecting them from the shadows. Wait. The girls are jealous that Haruto knows another girl without their knowledge? With Gnosis truly targeting Asahi, Elicia told him the only way is to awaken all the Senses in Subaru. So in reality, Haruto and Satsuki meet up with Nozomi. Did her kawaii level up tremendously? Apparently Nozomi is now an amateur model. Gee, none of her friends heard about this? Nozomi claims she hasn’t logged in the game and is trying to stay away and thinks Asahi is still alive is a joke. But she’ll do whatever she can. They hope Takanori can go meet the real Nozomi to convince her and with Asahi pleading to him, I guess he can’t say no. We take a detour because there is this upcoming dance party. Satsuki sums up her courage to ask Haruto to invite her. I hope he understands what she’s trying to say. Back in reality, Takanori wants Haruto to meet up at Asahi’s grave. Long story short, the guys start punching each other over Asahi. Yeah, really fighting over her dead body. Takanori confesses he loves Asahi (why is Haruto surprised?) and wants to protect her this time. Is he implying Haruto should’ve died in Asahi’s place 6 years ago? Haruto won’t tolerate this crap and punches him back while finally confessing he loves Asahi. And it seems this meeting was just for that. To get Haruto to finally say those words. Takanori then buries Asahi’s ring that he got from Haruto’s mom. He doesn’t need it anymore. At the dance party, Haruto apologizes to Satsuki. Better hurry along before she changes her mind. Or if you want to see her cry. Now the rejects get to be together because Takanori claims Asahi rejected to dance with him. And so Haruto invites Asahi to dance. Meanwhile Nozomi decides to drop in unannounced to surprise her friends but what does she see? Takanori dancing with Satsuki. Damn heartbreak. Oh dear. Like we need another unnecessary love drama. Can’t blame her as she is unaware of all that drama that was happening since. She runs away and I’m not sure if her sadness unlocked some other dimension because a couple of Gnosis clowns are here to get her.

Episode 10
Satsuki cried her heart out after that. Good thing in reality you can cry as much and loud as you want. So she has to cheek to later tell Haruto that if Asahi dumps him, he could run back into her arms. So funny that he isn’t laughing… They meet up with Takanori because they receive the news that Nozomi is missing. With Clive hacking through her whereabouts, it is confirmed she went to the party but left shortly. Curiously, she is still logged in Re’Union and her coordinates are above the clouds, the Dragons’ Fortress. They can’t determine if she has logged in from another IP address. On this Dragons’ Fortress, they see a replica of Nozomi’s castle. Inside, they are attacked by her familiars. Nozomi pops out like a dark evil enchantress as she mocks them all. Also appearing are the Gnosis counterparts, Cerinthus (who helped made this castle for her) and Marcion. Nozomi claims she has joined Gnosis. Nozomi obviously sounds jealous about that incident regarding Takanori and Satsuki but the guy is too dense to get it. She puts a curse on Asahi. The snake bites cause her to scream in pain, blame Haruto and then collapse. That’s all for today. Everybody escapes before the entire floating island is destroyed. Later Asahi wakes up and she seems normal. They talk about that not being the real Nozomi and need to get her back. In real life, Takanori tells Haruto and Satsuki he has hired 10 special detectives to search for Nozomi. Yeah, that really helps. Even in Re’Union he mobilized Illuminati for that. Since our guys are still too dumb to guess the reason for Nozomi’s strange acting, Satsuki tells them how she saw them dancing at the party and thus Nozomi actually likes Takanori. You mean to look this shocked? Just realized you’re the worst, Takanori? Suddenly they feel something strange. They realize something has happened to the time flow.

Episode 11
This strange dude supposedly from Gnosis hints about using their powers to shape their ideal world before returning time back to normal. The rest fear something may happen to Asahi. They log back in and find her alright. After explaining about this, their base is under attack but luckily they got out just in time. With their base destroyed, before them is a mighty tower that they once conquered. They know only Nozomi can create this. As they make their way into the tower, Asahi abilities start to act a little off. Finally they reach the room Nozomi is in. I guess trying to talk to her via the feelings of the heart isn’t going to work. Nozomi then transforms herself into a beast woman. She is not impressed Takanori wants to save her. I think she feels more cringe. The other Gnosis comrades join in the party. Nozomi gets further jealous thinking Takanori and Satsuki are still together. This time Takanori is going to solve this by himself. So he takes the fight with Nozomi to another area where they can be alone. More memories who the duo were exclusively lost together and they talked about change and how Takanori now blames himself for everything and even confessing his one-sided love for Asahi. Do we need to hear this? Does Nozomi need to hear this? So now this dude understands what it is like to feel the pain in the heart. The misunderstanding he caused that hurt everyone else around him. Nozomi will not be swayed as she attacks him but he takes in all her attacks without retaliating. Probably Takanori has earned some brownie points so he is glowing like a God! So is this a sign that he has reached Nozomi’s inner feelings? Or is she guilty for attacking him? So with Takanori hinting he will take responsibility and wants to be with her from now on, that is the clincher for Nozomi now ridden with selfish guilt to break out of her spell. Phew. Glad the drama is over between them. But Nozomi remembers the curse she put on Asahi. Too late. Asahi kills Haruto. NOOO!!!!!

Episode 12
While Subaru was fighting the Gnosis duo, suddenly Asahi fell into a trance and gave weird instructions. When Haruto tried to stop her, this invoked one of her negative memories about them. There was a mission they disagreed so much they started fighting each other. Haruto was going to kill her? So in response now, Asahi kills Haruto. With Asahi in shock, Cerinthus uses his barrier to capture her. Gnosis is about to own everyone too when Elicia drops in to save the day. Meanwhile Haruto and Asahi are in another dimension. Gee, already in VR and in another dimension? Calm heads rule the day as they remember their promise to be stronger. Oh, remember that flashback when Haruto tried to kill Asahi? Apparently there was an enemy behind her. There. Taken care of. Miraculously Haruto revives from the dead and Asahi breaks free from the barrier and returns to her normal self. With all Subaru members reunited, it is payback time. However Haruto will do this alone. His lion army decimated the Gnosis duo! I guess we can’t interrogate them. In the aftermath, Nozomi reconciles with everyone. Then they thank Elicia for saving them. Elicia notes they have not changed and the reason she is here is to hand Haruto his sword’s sheath she found at Lost Pentagon. Then some legendary folklore with many different versions why the Subaru and Pleiades star cluster has either 6 or 7 stars. In reality, Takanori finds Nozomi alive in an internet café. So that’s where she went? Yeah, it sounded like a big deal when she went missing and couldn’t trace her. Not even 10 detectives. And isn’t Satsuki a little too old to be falling asleep at her desktop? Must be one tiring day, huh? Subaru reunite together as one for the first time in 6 years as they prepare to head for another mission. All of them thank Asahi for bringing them back. It is hinted that Elicia was part of Subaru in an old photo?!

One Star Subaru, Non-Senses of Re’Union
The biggest question still remains: Is Asahi alive or really dead?! Is she really just existing in digital format?! I guess with the so called ‘happy ending’, it serves as a distraction because now that Subaru is back as a whole and on good terms again, we would overlook this greatest question of all time. Not. I guess we can forget about that shard thingy and those weird cult visions Asahi had too. Maybe next time. I’m sure with Cerinthus and Marcion gone (perhaps perma-death?), that doesn’t mean the end for Gnosis. They’ll strike back again. Whoever that guy stopped time was. And did they forget about the other big guild, Hyades? Damn, too many questions. But for now looks like we have to content that Subaru is back in business. That’s the reward we get for sticking by this crappy show. Thank a lot.

This series might have borrowed many elements from similar virtual online game series like Overlord, Log Horizon, Death March Kara Hajimeru Isekai Kyousoukyoku and Sword Art Online. But a big ‘refreshing’ difference is that the characters are not trapped and are able to log out of their own. Hence no need for them to explore the new world and start to adapt to it for the rest of their lives like as though they are never coming back in worst case scenario. Well, almost at one point for Takanori when he was so obsessed to be with digital Asahi.

A lot of people who have seen Ano Hana have started comparing how this series feels like a rip-off from that aforementioned anime. I watched that anime years ago too and although I can’t remember much from it, now that they have mentioned it, it does feel pretty similar. A group of young friends who were very close together suddenly started to drift apart for years when one of them unexpectedly dies young. Then that dead girl comes back ‘alive’ a few years later. They try to resolve the mystery but the biggest one to unravel their unrequited hidden crush during all this time. It is pretty much Ano Hana of the new age with online video gaming and swapping ghosts for, uhm, digital ghosts? But unlike Menma who found peace in the end to move on to the next world, Asahi continues to stick with her pals as they go on having great online adventures together. No tear-jerking for this series. Maybe only tears after laughing too much.

Having said that, the main story itself feels mediocre and now that we have made comparisons to the tearjerker Ano Hana, it is hard to move away from its shadow. The only intrigue we all are interested to know is if Asahi is real or not. If she is actually dead or alive in the real world. Otherwise the bland story of Subaru regrouping again to their former glory feels boring. It is part of the excuse to unravel the mystery of Asahi. I mean, what else could they possibly do? If they became the legendary group they were famous for, maybe the truth will reveal itself? You know, like as in a game. You have reached a certain level and thus your reward is a few answers to your questions other than levelling up your skills.

And now that they are teens, they should have the guts to be honest with their feelings, right? Yeah, all those teen hormones are starting to blur the line between friendship and romance. Ironically kids are supposed to be honest and yet when they were together, they didn’t let out their feelings. I thought kids weren’t that complicated. Because now it gets even more complicated as they grow into their teens. Oh, how we love the age of innocence. I guess back then when they were all such good friends, they don’t differentiate between friendship and romance. As long as you are my friend, that’s cool.

Oddly if Subaru has been such an awesome and legendary group, this means they have been playing Union at a very young age and became experts in no time. Such MMORPGs are games that you can’t master or level up in just days (assuming no cheating was done). So for the Subaru members to be this good and kicking everyone’s ass then, this just shows how much time they spent online honing their skills and having the best combos and techniques to back each other up. Don’t really know how well they do in their real life school grades but as long as they were in Union, they are basically unbeatable. So it is true that many online games are dominated by kids who aren’t even old enough to drink liquor or get a driving licence, let alone walk, talk, read or write properly.

And the other odd thing is how their avatar in Union resembles closely to their real life counterparts when they are in their teens. I’m not saying a child would grow up looking very differently (some will, thanks to puberty) but with the Subaru members having not changed their avatars much, does it show they know how they will look like when they grow older? Sure, it is so that not to confuse us fans but why the heck would people use their avatars that resemble closely to their real life face? It is amazing no jealous dude targeted them. Like that Leonovitch loser. Does the game not allow any other race to be registered as avatars? Because I don’t remember seeing any cat girls here or some hulking orcs. All just the human race…

It is interesting to note that in the context of this series, an online game is hinted to hone those with special abilities that are possible to do in the real world. While this sneaky and shady move is morally questioning, this had me wonder if this entire world is just a simulation! Yes, my conspiracy theory rearing its dumb head again. Because as we have seen at one point how Asahi tried to become God and give Haruto a safe future. And then that Gnosis guy stopping time or something as warning. This possible in reality? Not if you are in a simulation. How can Asahi ‘time warp’ from Union and Re’Union? Where was she during the 6 years of absence? Not if you’re in a simulation. And with the possibility of using your Senses in real life, isn’t this like a simulation too? Hence the mind f*ck of people who are actually dreaming living in a simulation and for those who play games like Re’Union to be in another simulation. That’s like being in a simulation in a simulation! It’s going to be the biggest surprise ever if this whole real world thing turned out into something like The Matrix. Then we can all blame this anime for ripping off another series.

Character wise… I believe everyone is motivated and revolved around Asahi. Otherwise why would our generic team leader Haruto return to online gaming when he has abandoned it so long ago and almost look like on his way to become a NEET only to suddenly find his fighting touch again. And then you need to have that very angry rich dude Takanori to fuel some drama between the guys because nothing says manly drama when you have 2 guys fighting over their girl. Oh Takanori, even all the money in the world couldn’t let you clone Asahi. Just saying… And since he is such an intelligent guy, I suppose love is left out on that matter because he is smart and sharp in everything else except when it comes to the topic of love. That’s what happens when you set your sights obsessively only on one certain girl and pay no heed to the rest.

Then you have Satsuki who is just ‘patiently’ watching from the side lines. What are friends for if you don’t give up your happiness just so your crush could be happy with someone else? That is what happened to Nozomi when she is unable to do that. More jealousy to notch up the drama. Just when shy girl Nozomi as the last member finally makes her appearance, she turned to the dark side (online). Imagine what jealousy can do to you. At least her shyness was blown away. What a way to return. Now we’ve got the pairs settled, Haruto x Asahi and Takanori x Nozomi, all that’s left for Satsuki is Clive. The foreigner guy who is conveniently a foreigner so as to provide necessary backup and assistance when the plot commands it. Yeah, basically Satsuki bust up all for nothing because Haruto’s heart is somewhere and being temporary lover losers with Takanori created a bigger mess. Maybe she should try Clive and then she can have the record of trying every man in Subaru. Haha! Oops.

I guess at this point it is valid for me to ask, who the f*ck is Elicia? Is she like the secret member of Subaru? Because otherwise why tell us that 6 or 7 star folklore thingy if it wasn’t going to be relevant? Does Elicia have this memory erasing ability? Because the rest sure do not remember about her but she knows all about them. So if Asahi is dead in real life but a ghost in Re’Union, Elicia is like the opposite. Alive in the real world but technically a ghost to the members of Subaru. Hence she is like one who watches over her comrades and the convenience needed if ever the plot demands it.

You know how Asahi is always smiling and happy and it is because she has never changed since the last time? Well, I thought that would make lolicons squeal in happiness because on a very unfortunate note, during the airing of this series, a director of this show was arrested for trying to kidnap a 10 year old girl! No joke! Damn, I thought this guy wanted his own Asahi. Like as though the 2D Asahi wasn’t already enough and then he had to pull this sh*t. Well folks, that is Japan being Japan for you. If it wasn’t bad enough, even inside the anime story itself with Asahi’s sudden appearance, there are so many parties who are interested in taking her. Yeah, not only anime characters want her but a real life director too. Damn Asahi is so popular and in demand. And I’m not talking about that beer brand!

Action sequences are just enough since Re’Union is an MMORPG and what is one without its fair share of fighting. Even though each member of Subaru possesses their own unique set of Sense, I just can’t seem to find them memorable. Haruto using his sword skills (I suppose there were some parts that were copied from Sword Art Online’s Kirito), Asahi using her psychic powers and gun, Satsuki the master of elements and Clive throwing his daggers around. To show how legendary Subaru is, not only they have the stats to make up for their power but also the unmeasurable power of determination. Because it was definitely BS when Haruto went up against the thousand forces of Divine! If you love beat’em ups, you would want to switch places with Haruto for that very ‘special event’. Oh, Haruto and Asahi busting out from their impossible predicament in the final episode? Power of friendship in your face! On a trivial note, I find the name of the level boss, Purgatorio to be funny. Because the image that kept popping in my mind: Purgatory + Mario! Damn! It would have been so bizarre had this boss looked like an evil version of an Italian plumber.

Art and animation feel bright and clean. The character designs make them look cute and kawaii. Even as teens, they look as young as ever. As I have said the Subaru members have their avatars looking closely to their real life counterparts so sometimes I get a bit confused if this is the online game or reality. CGI is also used but usually for monster bosses like Purgatorio and Aegir. Luckily the scenes are too dark to see clearly whether the CGI sucks or not. This anime is produced by Lerche who did Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, the Danganronpa series, Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku, the rebooted Kino No Tabi, Kuzu No Honkai and also in the same season, Asobi Asobase (which is the better series than this one).

Voice acting feels average with Nichika Omori (Yurine in Jashin-chan Dropkick) trying to make Asahi sound as cute as a loli as can be while Kaito Ishikawa (Iida in Boku No Hero Academia) tries to make Takanori sound as much as an angst stubborn dick. The other casts are Kengo Takanashi as Haruto (Hajime in Gin No Saji), Akari Kitou as Satsuki (Kaho in Blend S), Takuma Terashima as Clive (Shiroe in Log Horizon), Yumiri Hanamori as Nozomi (Nadeshiko in Yuru Camp) and Chika Anzai as Elicia (Reina in Hibike! Euphonium). The opening theme is 360 Degree Hoshi No Orchestra by Petit Milady. Your typical generic lively anime pop for such genres. I prefer the ending theme, Starlight by Erii Yamazaki which is more of a slow-moderate pop. If you can’t get enough of your Asahi fix, the ending credits animation is your ideal place to ‘stalk’ and ‘peep’ at Asahi bumming around and doing nothing as she waits. Wait for Haruto to come home. Is this some kind of metaphor of what she is doing when the rest are logged out? Man, it has got to be one long boring wait sitting in her room all day.

Overall, this isn’t actually such a bad series but it just lacks an overall interesting story and the main characters themselves lack any sort of character development (even their romance development feels a bit cheesy and forced just to make up some of the drama). But at least this series is still much better than the ones having overpowered characters using their Smartphones. This anime feels like many of other online games these days. Get some attention at the start but starts to wane as time passes. Eventually like when the servers go offline, this one will also be forgotten when better (and much more) crappy future anime series pop up. I mean, would you like to return and rewatch this series? Yeah… A very unfortunate case of perma-death forever.

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