Shining Tears X Wind

December 14, 2012

It’s time to go on another adventure. Another RPG adventure in another parallel world. Form your own party with different races, wield special weapons, fight demons from the other world and save this world from impending darkness and destruction. Well, that’s how most RPG games would sound so once more I had this feeling in taking up another RPG themed anime like Ragnarok The Animation, Shukufu No Campanella, Prism Ark or Tears To Tiara. Because of that spin-off sequel anime, Shining Hearts: Shiawase No Pan that came out in mid 2012, it was the main reason why I decided to take a look at Shining Tears X Wind (pronounced as Shining Tears Cross Wind), the alternative prequel that came out in 2007.

Based on the Shining Tears video game, the anime adaptation is based on the perspective of one of the characters in the game. Though I have not played the game nor have I heard of it before in my life, I’m not sure if it really follows one of the many paths in the game or it is just uses the characters and settings of the game and veers off the plot. But I’m sure it won’t deviate a lot since how far can you deviate from the original game that it is based on? So as usual, the story tells of a group of students while investigating mysterious disappearances in their town are accidentally (or by fate if you wish to call it) brought to an alternative realm whereby they make new friends, fight dark forces and get involved in a world-threatening conspiracy that will endanger the lives of all those who lived here. So much to do to even get back to your own world. If that is even possible…

Episode 1
The mysterious disappearances of Tatsumi Town have reached St Luminous Academy. A group of students comprising of Haruto Saionji, Souma Akizuki, Kaito Kiriya, Touka Kureha and Kanon Shiina are discussing the mysterious disappearance of Nakayama from the basketball club. He entered the PE room but never came out. Everybody agrees to pass the message when Reia Hiruda shows Saionji a book, End Earth that contains details of the other world. It probably has particulars on how to get there too. When Souma returns to the room to retrieve his handphone, he notes Saionji and Hiruda gone and notes the book on the table. Soon it became a huge fuss since Saionji never returned and what do you expect when that kid is supposed to be the young heir of the Saionji business? Hiruda is also missing. The rest try to look for clues as Kiriya explains the weird dream he has that a girl with weird ears told him about the link of this world to another called the Dream Continent, End Earth. They suggest to meet up tomorrow at the school gates to continue their investigation since Shiina mentioned about a wolf’s howl being heard last night. Next morning Souma and Kureha wait for their friends at school. Taking a little detour, Souma knows Kureha likes Kiriya but he is oblivious to her feelings. So what? He takes this chance to confess he likes her! I won’t say she isn’t exactly thrilled but she doesn’t put him down either. Interrupting this confession scene is a wolf-like creature. Hopping past them and causing a big rampage in their school by tearing up everything. Huh? The girl chasing the beastman, Mao enters the fray but isn’t strong enough to overwhelm the creature. Souma catches her fall and her hat drops off to reveal her cat ears. Introducing herself and her mission, Souma agrees to help out and by cooperating, they manage to corner and subdue the beast. Mao explains she is looking for a man named Zero. This guy with black and white rings and wears rings on both hands is her friend as she has something she needs to ask of him. He can’t find him anywhere so she thought he came to this world. Oddly, the beastman who has been sitting quietly like a good dog suddenly breaks free of that seemingly frail rope that is used to tie him. It got a little pervy and tried to attack Mao’s breasts. Haha… Anyway the Mirror of Dimension that was placed in between her breast is now broken. Is that bad news? Yes, because they’re going to be transported to End Earth since it’s out of control.

Souma and Kureha notice Mao not with them in this alternate dimension but they see Zero who knows about Souma. He wants them to watch over the world on his behalf. Just great. He just gave a bunch of high school kids a vague mission and a huge responsibility to shoulder. Kiriya and Shiina are at school and are surprised to see the sakura tree that has never blossomed for so long, in full bloom. This is one of the conditions in Kiriya’s dream whereby both worlds are linked together. Souma and Kureha find themselves in a barren land. Definitely not Japan. Trying to look for the mirror to get them back, a demon appears out from a wormhole to attack. I guess this is Souma’s chance to show off he can protect Kureha. I can’t believe the demon easily died with his strangling. But how can he handle a bunch of new monsters appearing now? Run! Of course Kureha trips. Souma wants to play the hero. He tells her to run and will take on all the monsters himself. Seriously… Getting swamped doesn’t make him look cool. As expected, Kureha gets attacked (it looked like she was going to be raped!) so this ups Souma’s anger and determination to fight back. Okay, how do you handle the giant Cyclops now? He can’t. He gets strangled and one-eyed monster is going to pierce his sword through Souma when Kureha comes between them. Yup, she takes the stab. I don’t know what she’s got in her heart because it’s emitting a very bright light. Bright enough to whisk them away temporarily to some other dimension. Kureha lies unconscious in Souma’s arms while he laments the useless jerk he is unable to protect the girl he loves… Sighs… He feels something flowing through him when he tries to take the sword out. He heard her voice to take her heart and when he pulls it out, the sword turns into a cooler sword. He notes this sword is Kureha’s heart. Back to reality, he disposes the Cyclops in a single slash and sends shivers down the spine of the other monsters. Now he’s confident he can protect Kureha. Just don’t get cocky looking too cool, okay?

Episode 2
That sword is a legendary Soul Blade called Setsugekka. So confident Souma is that he goes on a slashing spree, killing all the demons and even closing the wormhole, Chaos Gate. A big doggie character, Rouen comes forth. He assures he isn’t the enemy and came to check things out because he saw a Chaos Gate opened. He explains a Soul Blade is a sword of the heart. Your heart can crystallize with the heart of the one you share your emotions with and form a sword-like object. Legend has it that when great disaster befalls, Soul Bladers from Elde (their term for Earth) will come and be their saviours. I guess they qualify, eh? Rouen guides them to the country of beastmen, Seiran. They talk about returning back to their own world in which Rouen doesn’t know. Kureha feels if they find Mao, she might have the answer since she came to Elde. Speaking of which, Mao has handed the rogue beastman to the authorities and she heard rumours of Soul Bladers appearing in the country of Liberia. Rouen and Souma are fighting off hordes of demons attacking a village. Though they emerge victorious, the village is badly damaged. Next morning as they help clean up, Souma is surprised to see the basketball jersey of Nakayama but finds out he has been devoured by the demons. That solves the missing person case. There goes bringing him back. They continue their journey as Rouen brings them to Haiyou, capital of Seiran. This is as far he can go with them and since rumours of their appearance have reached here, they’ll be welcomed. The duo make their way into the palace and meet the chancellor, Shumari (fox guy) who is acting on behalf of the king in his absence as he is away in an official meeting. They are introduced to the 4 of the 5 Beast Generals: Engu (Garuda), Raihi (tiger), Basou (Centaur) and Kouryuu (old turtle). Being the legendary Soul Bladers, the duo are given the VIP treatment.

As they feast that night, Kouryuu mentions about the Holy Grail that is possible to send them back to their world but he doesn’t know where it is. Shumari says while searching for the Holy Grail, he requests them to help seal and purify Chaos Gate. They agree. Suddenly news of the elf been freed from Konran and reached Pilius reach them. They beastmen are surprised since Hyoun the other fifth Beast General is supposed to be keeping a close watch to prevent others from abusing the elf’s power to get near the sacred precinct. Kureha requests to explain in more detail so Shumari shows them a map of End Earth and points out the locations of Seiran and Pilius at opposing ends of the continent. Though it consists of humans, they are evil and have ambition to conquer others. An incident a year ago in the land of elves in the north, Astrea, their queen was assassinated in a meeting between nations. Soon the rest of the royal family all met their untimely demise. There is an elf named Houme and she has attempted to destroy the world before. Over the centuries, she has been imprisoned in Konran, the country sandwiched between Liberia and Pilius. Seems Pilius have formed an alliance with her and plan to destroy their country. Souma and Kureha feel they have to stop the war. Of course, that’s what Shumari plans to do too. Raihi accompanies the duo with his troop marching towards Pilius. At the battlefield, Raihi shows them Hyoun (dragon dude) engaged in battle with the enemy forces. He suggests it is best to leave the fighting to him and just wants them to watch. What? They came all the way here just to watch? Maybe their presence gives their soldiers motivation? Suddenly Hyoun falls right before their eyes. Souma feels the need to rush into battle and pulls out Setsugekka. Dashing to the fight below, cutting his way through the low level guards, he is surprised to see Kiriya and Shiina on the enemy’s side.

Episode 3
Kiriya admits they’ve been sucked into this world and he possesses a Soul Blade from Shiina’s heart. They aren’t exactly Soul Bladers for Pilius but were hired. Shiina formed this mercenary group called Luminous Knights that consists of herself (the boss), Kiriya (the knight) and Houme (the tactician). Souma tries to let his friends know Houme is an evil person who once tried to destroy the world. Though she doesn’t deny this but that was a long time ago. Kiriya believes Houme is a good person. She saved the prince under a curse (Souma believed it was divine retribution) and that curse was placed by Shumari. Souma won’t believe those lies and when Kiriya tries to take Kureha’s hand, he swats them away. There is only one way to settle this. Yeah, the guys are going to fight out using their respective Soul Blade. Kiriya obviously seems to have improved a lot and though has the upper hand, won’t finish him because he doesn’t want to kill his friend. Kureha can’t stand anymore of this and absorbs back the sword. Since Souma still wants to fight, Shumari throws him a blade. Before continuing, Souma and Kureha question him and he blatantly denies. But when Houme pops up and just throws the ball back to him, the fox starts acting so panic in an obvious way. As Houme accuses him of obtaining Kureha as the new priestess to wage this war and get rid of her (you can say Seiran started this war because they’re the first to cross the border), Shumari takes Kureha as hostage and retreats with his army. Kiriya wants Souma to join them and rescue Kureha but I guess that guy is too emotionally shaken to listen and leaves on his own. Luminous Knights return to Princess Clarakran and she deeply regrets getting their friend involve. She makes it top priority for them to rescue Kureha. Souma wanders through the desert and his mind is still disturbed. He understands well why he hates Kiriya. Because Kureha likes him. He foolishly thought if Kiriya disappeared, Kureha would like him. I hope that opened his eyes.

Shumari is trying to get Kureha to activate some tower. But nothing happens and as Kouryuu states, each tower has its decided priestess and this one belongs to Houme. Shumari leaves to prepare for the next attack and wants Kouryuu to guard this place knowing Souma will return to retrieve Kureha. But it’s not him, though. It’s Luminous Knights as they easily infiltrate the tower. Houme thinks she can talk to Kouryuu. Provided he is sober. Since he’s not, he’s a completely different person. Can you imagine his drunken movements could make Kiriya miss his strike? On a turtle! I don’t know how but Kiriya uses the Soul Blade as a machine gun to make that old turtle loose his footing and tumble down the stairs into the other soldiers! WTF?! So they head upstairs to rescue Kureha but the only way down is the way they came in. Guards are coming. Then Souma pops in from the window and ties a rope to climb down to the next level. Wait a minute. Did he climb all the way up from outside?! The gang easily escaped because the beastmen were not only blind as cow but they couldn’t smell humans even if they’re just hiding. Useless. At a safe distance, Souma wants to fight Souma and settle this once and for all. Kureha is reluctant but Shiina gives the green light provided he forgets everything that has happened up till now. Well? Fight lah! Shortly into the clash, Souma notes to Kiriya that anymore fighting will break Kureha’s heart. Physically and emotionally I guess. He gives his Soul Blade to Kiriya and throws Kureha to him. Why? He won’t say but we know. Souma leave by himself since he has some things to do. So that thing is to kill Shumari? Well, that fox becomes a coward trying to give any excuse to spare his life. Even if it’s admitting he planned the war. Till Engu steps in to fight him. Since the Garuda is bigger and stronger, Souma plays dirty by hitting under the belt. Hah. Big bird got big dick…? The other soldiers restrain and tie him up. Now the roles are reversed. Not so cool now, eh? Shumari prepares for his execution (why the long winded process? Just chop off his head on the spot lah!). Suddenly some giant mobile cannon fires into their base. Man, it’s one heck of a big explosion! Engu is reeling from the blast when he is surprised to see his king returned: Rouen.

Episode 4
Houme has successfully make the tower of rain water functional again. Rouen and Clarakran put behind what Shumari did and maintain their ties. Kiriya laments he should’ve brought Souma along with him but Shiina is confident he isn’t dead yet. Or she hopes so. Basou returns from his scout and confirms there is an unknown army at the neutral zone. Everyone heads over and Kiriya thinks these pointy ear people are the ones he saw in his dream. Those pointy ears indicate they are elves from the north, Astrea. However Killrain says Astrea no longer exists and they are the empire of demonic alchemy Baelgard. More surprisingly, the appearance of Saionji. He is known as Trihart and the Emperor of Baelgard. Hiruda is also with him and is the Hellfire Alchemist, one of the 4 guardians of Baelgard. Trihart wants them to surrender unconditionally. That won’t do, right? So he demonstrates by firing his all powerful cannon. That changed your mind? Seems Trihart wants to bring his new order to this world. The last time the peace negotiation between the 3 countries, some assassination happened and the same thing will likely to occur. So if they still refuse to submit, Trihart will have them submit by force. He takes out the Soul Blade, Excellion from Zechty Ein, another one of 4 guardians of Baelgard. Prince Caris of Pilius says their country has been invaded and that Raidel has sacrificed himself for him to escape. Seeing they can’t go back there, Rouen suggests Clarakran to come to Seiran for now. Meanwhile Souma lies in suspended animation. Is he dead? At least the voice of Zero says he is not. But Shumari is. Zero can’t have him die yet as there is something he needs him to do. When Souma returns to End Earth, he is met by priestess Ryuuna and big dragon in armour, Lazarus. They take him to see Zero. Souma thought he resurrected him but he explains all he did was drag him temporarily to the astral world (the place they first met). Anyway Zero has a favour to ask for him. He wants Souma to help stop this world from falling apart by becoming a guardian of the world in his place. Souma refuses since he has lost the power. Lost the sword, lost the girl, lost his confidence. Yeah, I know what he means. He can’t do anything and thinks Kiriya is suited for the job. However Zero insists he is the only one who can pull it off and gives him his Twin Dragon Ring to gain a clearer view of the world. That ring can’t come off… Try as you might put it won’t come out. Souma wonders why Zero wants him to fight in his stead so Ryuuna says Zero is a special entity in this world and wants to avoid getting directly involved.

The trio make their journey take a current look of the world. First, they enter Pilius but the place is like a ghost town. They heard a scream from a knight. With unconscious Raidel in hand, he is trying to escape from the undead knights. The trio fight them to buy him time to escape. But being undead means you can’t die, right? I thought Ryuuna should’ve used her magic from the start to make them stay dead. Then Jeed appears. Who? Another of the 4 guardians of Baelgard and leader of the Dark Knighthood. Crazy Jeed and Lazarus fight but Trihart appears and stops his underling. Souma is glad to see Saionji alive but starts to smell something fishy when he learns he is being called Emperor and his goal of creating a new order. Asking if Souma is a Soul Blader, Souma denies he is one because he lacks any power. In that case Trihart will spare his life since he has no business with him. But even with lack of power, he still got the guts to tell his friend to open his eyes. Trihart took that as his warning was ineffective and pulls out Jeed’s Soul Blade, the Sword of Holy Armour, Balmunk. Not only Trihart is armed with his sword, Jeed is also covered with armour. They both attack but Lazarus defends Souma. Souma couldn’t believe Lazarus placed so faith in him despite being powerless. Ryuuna suggests he pull out her Soul Blade. Can he? Of course. She believes in him. Well, if people like them have faith in him, I guess he can’t say no. Drawing out the Sword of Holy Dragon, the effects of the sword paralyzes Trihart and Jeed. Souma cuts them both and shatters their sword and armour. Souma picks Lazarus up and they walk away. Trihart warns him how he uses Soul Blade is up to him. But if he interferes with his plan, then be prepared to face his wrath.

Episode 5
With a simple disguise, Souma and co easily pass the Baelgards’ checkpoint and into their territory. While driving through the dead forest, a group of dark elves suddenly attack them.  Souma pulls out Holy Dragon to fight them but elven Elwyn doesn’t want him to hurt them. They may be contaminated but they were once elves. So how? Well, she’s thinking about it. Seems Ryuuna and Elwyn know each other and are good friends. We can save the talk for later but somebody please help Souma fend off the dark elves. Elwyn shoots her blinding light arrow to paralyze them and make their escape. Meanwhile the battle at the border intensifies. Kiriya wants to settle things with Trihart but Zechty will take him on. While they clash swords, for some unknown reasons (I am sure it’s not the Wind Spirit that Zechty was trying to summon) the ground opens up and swallows the duo. Souma and co camp out and Elwyn wants to follow him in hopes of encountering Zero. Unlike Mao, if Zero uses his powers the wrong way, she will kill him. Ryuuna and Lazarus are walking around the dead forest but to their surprise see Killrain emerging from a blooming sakura tree. Aren’t trees in this area supposed to be dead? Zechty dreams when she was young, Killrain mentioned Celestia’s name instead of hers in a hide and seek game. She became distraught who that Celestia woman is. Just like that? Zechty wakes up to find herself beside Kiriya. They’re stuck underground with no way out and Zechty is injured. Noting Kiriya is Trihart’s friend, she wonders why he isn’t helping him achieve his goals. Kiriya won’t forgive someone who will conquer the world but Zechty says he lacks understanding. Seems the contamination has caused the elves’ land to die. Trihart is their only hope to save that land and the world.

Souma and co hear screams of dark elves. They realize Baelgard is kidnapping them. They barge into their base to see Hiruda doing horrible experiments on them. Actually she’s not exactly Hiruda but her split personality, Hilda. The other softie is sleeping like a baby within. Hilda is turning dark elves into zombie soldiers. Souma wanted to pull out Ryuuna’s Soul Blade but she’s being held hostage by Killrain. Even if it seems dishonourable, he mentions he is just imitating them. He can’t trust anyone especially after he has seen with his own eyes how the King of Pilius killed the elven Queen right before his eyes because he believed Shumari’s lies. Souma surprisingly agrees with him. Now it’s his turn to be philosophical. He starts talking like as though he’s a pro on the subject. Like it’s going to get tired if you start hating everybody. So it’s better off to be a gullible idiot. Huh? Hey, I didn’t say he was a good pro. He is also directing what he says to Elwyn to have more faith in Zero. Don’t just expect him to do something wrong. She’ll feel better that way. Now with the believe-you-believe-me out of the way, Elwyn believes in Souma enough for him to pull out her Soul Blade, the Thunder Sword Blitzbringer. He fights Killrain to free Ryuuna. His enemies realize they can’t beat him and retreat. Killrain still isn’t convinced of his words and though he is free to believe what he wants, he will only fall into despair if he’s betrayed. After Souma frees the dark elves, he notes that though what Killrain said is true, but after despair there is always hope. Zechty thinks they’re done for. So much for her high and mighty attitude. Leave it to Kiriya to spout some words of encouragement and hope. Then a hole appears from the ceiling and the duo climb out. I don’t know if it was that difficult for Kureha, Shiina and Trihart to dig a hole. With magic. It’s not like they were very deep. Trihart immediately takes Zechty away. Back at the base, Zechty is having lots of confusing distortions in her mind. Especially those words from Kiriya. Trihart thinks she needs to be readjusted and is taken to Hilda’s lab.

Episode 6
Killrain leads his mechanical army to attack more villages. Shiina comes up with an idea to stop them. First, Basou becomes the bait and leads them to the valley. The army stupidly follow the single Centaur and once given the signal, they break the dam and flood them. Finally Houme finishes them off with her magic. Killrain orders the retreat for the rest. The gang ponder where the weapons are made so this mysterious crow dude, Jin-Crow tells them in the desert. Shiina and her friends decide to go scout. Speaking of the desert, Souma’s party is right in the middle of an igloo in the desert. Yes, a cold freezing spot right in the middle of the scorching heat. This igloo belongs to Blancneige and Elwyn’s friend. Blancneige kicks out the guys because she wants to take an icy shower (there’s your much needed fanservice). She tells them about somebody trying to make ancient weapons in the desert and use them for evil. She continues explaining about the 3 towers that were left behind by ancient civilization and such technology was discontinued because whenever it is used, war will definitely ensue. This may be the will of Zeroboros. What’s that? As put into a single word: Chaos. Souma didn’t really get it (so do I) so Blancneige thought it’s useless to explain it all to him as he can’t possibly understand as he is now. He thought she was making a fool out of him. Hey, I thought he said it was okay to be an idiot? Meanwhile Hilda is making a new weapon. Looks like some badass flame thrower. Suddenly the alert goes off and it is Zechty running away from the facility. She has gone out of control because she’s in attacking mode, going on the offensive regardless if there are enemies or not. Heck, everything to her is the enemy. Next morning, Souma and co get a rude awakening when Hilda arrives at the igloo to burn it down with her flame thrower. That’s great. Barge right in and destroy somebody’s abode just like that. Seems she and Trihart are looking for Zechty. Trihart is interested in Blancneige the ice sorceress and pulls out Hilda’s Soul Blade, Mythical Beast Sword, Mystletain. Souma wants to fight him and since Elwyn and Ryuuna offer to draw their Soul Blade, can’t argue over which so he pulls out both! However Trihart runs pass him to fight Blancneige so Souma and the rest have to settle for the zombie army of dark elves. Once they’re done, I guess Souma is so free that he decides to join in Blancneige’s fight and wants to pull out her Soul Blade, Ice Snow Sword, Ice Diamond. Duelling with Trihart, Souma emerges victorious and breaks Mystletain. Trihart thinks this is enough and decides to continue the search separately.

Kiriya and the girls are resting in the desert when Zechty attacks them. Kiriya knocks her off balance when Hilda pops up to take her back. The rest are puzzled over her change in character. Hilda probably wanted to laugh and brag but she suddenly collapses and returns to the original kind Hiruda. Kiriya thought the metal horns on Zechty is what contaminating her instead of protecting her from the dark matter and wants to rip it off. But Hiruda says that is true. She admits Hiruda is an artificial life form that she made using an ancient weapon. However she did this to save the world. Kiriya doesn’t believe this crap and draws his sword at her. In great timing, Souma rushes in to push Kiriya away. His friends are glad to see him alive. Souma is puzzled in Hiruda’s change in behaviour and as explained, because he destroyed Mystletain, she was able to return to her original self. Kiriya is not pleased that he interfered and thinks he is on Baelgard’s side. However he dismisses he is fighting for any country and the Kiriya he knows wouldn’t point his sword at a girl. Kiriya insists this is war and will do what it takes to stop Trihart’s ambition. Souma shrugs his head that what he is doing is no different than Trihart. Hiruda needs to take Zechty back to the lab to repair her and leaves. Kiriya continues to question Souma’s goal. He says it’s to become the guardian of this world. If anything like this happens again, Souma won’t hesitate to be his enemy. That’s because this is his mission and each of them has their own mission. Then he says goodbye and leaves. Returning to his own party, seems Zero has dropped in. They talk about the fight between Trihart and Kiriya. The one who wins will become the vessel for Zeroboros. In short, the world will be in chaos and destroyed. Even if he couldn’t understand that brief explanation (despite Blancneige offering to explain in detail), he understands what to do now. He’ll start off with the closest thing to him.

Episode 7
Elwyn sends Souma’s message to Seiran’s castle. Since his party are going to gather more info on Baelgard, Souma will be on his own. At Seiran, Kiriya has an argument with his friends. Over Souma. What else. Elywn’s message arrives and it seems Souma wants the trio to meet at a certain place. Kiriya thinks it’s a trap and doesn’t want to go. He is made to when Houme warns he may not be able to draw Shiina’s Soul Blade if a critical time arises. The trio go to meet Souma and to their surprise, Trihart and Hiruda are also there. Well, it looks like the gang are finally reunited like before they left their world. Just that they’re in different outfits. Seems Souma has arranged this meeting for them all to stop fighting. Like hell they’ll listen. Kiriya accuses Trihart’s way of sacrificing others but he throws him back that question about hurting Zechty. Since the talk is going nowhere, Trihart and Hiruda leave. He says they’ll settle this in the battlefield. Kureha and Shiina think Souma has changed a lot. It’s like he has grown up and matured. Well, he doesn’t admit he too was once foolish to pick a fight with Kiriya then because of his pride and has learnt from it. Zechty wakes up from another one of those who-the-hell-is-Celestia dream. Killrain says her memories must have her confused and not to mind them. He also says about the big battle that will commence soon and not to let the evil thoughts confuse her. After Zechty leaves, we learn from Killrain’s monologue that Celestia is his sister and won’t let her die. Both sides are soon engage in a big battle. Kiriya and Shiina face off with Trihart and Killrain on top of his mobile base. Killrain will not forgive Kiriya for hurting Zechty and deserves the death punishment. Trihart pulls out his Soul Blade, Demon Gun Sword Gallatin. Like its name suggests, it’s a huge freaking gun-cum-sword. But Kiriya and Shiina’s determination to stop the war is so great that he beats Trihart. Trihart admits he lost the fight in terms of Soul Blade and isn’t surrendering yet. He suggests a fight without using them and Kiriya agrees. So they’re going to use normal swords instead?

Souma comes running in to try and stop the duo from fighting. He even has his own theory (speculation as termed by the rest) to convince them not to do so. Something about the three of them were tossed into 3 different lands and became Soul Bladers because they’re the only ones who can stop this war. They’re friends, right? Were friends, I guess. What they’re doing isn’t just hurting each other and at this rate they’ll destroy End Earth. You think they’d listen? A stray shot almost hit them and throws Souma off, though he is clinging on the edge. With the annoyance out of the way, Trihart and Kiriya continue their fight. By the time Souma climbs up, Trihart emerges victorious and is going to stab Kiriya. Suddenly from out of nowhere, Zechty comes in between and takes the stab. It took her to make the guys realize how foolish they were. Too late to open your eyes now. Zechty did this because she views Trihart as this world’s hope and Kiriya as the hope of the future. She then becomes part of the wind to protect them. So don’t fight, okay? Too late for that. Too late to drop your swords. She’s dead. Gone with the wind, literally. Killrain couldn’t believe Zechty is dead and falls into despair. So great his sorrow that he couldn’t care less about this land since his sister is gone. Yeah, his aura is more devastating than the atomic bomb!

Episode 8
So great Killrain’s sorrow that a large ice crystal has covered the place. Plus, many Chaos Gates are opening up. Once more, Zero saves Souma and brings him back to his base. Souma laments he couldn’t stop the fight but Zero blames his own immaturity. Souma wonders his relation to Mao so it’s story time. Long ago, a nameless boy was washed ashore the eastern continent, Valeria. Elwyn found him and the only thing that identified him was his ring. With her, he joined the mercenary guerrilla mercenary knighthood, Weiss Ritter. Soon war broke out and more comrades join the group including Lazarus, Ryuuna, Blancneige and Mao. Together they successfully brought the end of the war. However that boy is no longer around. He is Xion, the old Zero. Hey! Isn’t that him? Continuing further, Xion went on a journey and realized the significance of the ring he wore. It’s an object heavily connected with End Earth. Everything in this world was constructed through the opposition between light and darkness, in which it maintains this world’s balance that we simply call Order. But something else existed besides this and it is Chaos. This is what this ring symbolizes. The one who wears this ring will lead this world into chaos. To prevent that, they must not have anything to do with this world. That’s why Zero gave up being human, thus no longer Xion. This was also why he entrusted the ring to Souma as substitute. Zero’s heart which contains chaos and order made him sprout white and black wings which represent light and darkness respectively. Probably this was what Mao wanted to ask but Zero never had time to explain it. Zero continues his story about Zeroboros, a power that wants to lead this world into chaos. Xion discovered that power was within one of his comrades: Ryuuna. She was willing to sacrifice herself to protect her comrades but Zeroboros was spreading throughout her body. Xion absorbs it and sprouted black wings. He goes crazy and kills Lazarus. Because he still has goodness in his heart, one of the wings turned white and he regained his sanity. When Mao arrived at the scene, she misinterpreted what Xion had done. Xion immediately fled but he could never forget that piercing scream Mao made upon seeing her dead comrades. Because Xion was no longer human, he later resurrected Ryuuna and Lazarus but this doesn’t change the fact he killed them.

Souma feels everything will be cleared if he could just explain it to Mao properly. Their comrades return and agree. They admit that they haven’t been gathering data on Baelgard. That was just an excuse for them to go find Mao. They didn’t find her and rushed back after seeing something terrible happened and thought Souma needed them. Souma notes the good comrades Zero has and wants to join Weiss Ritter. He is serious. Since Mao is the leader and is not here, the rest agree for him to join and make him the proxy leader. Haha. Got more than what you bargained for? Zero is glad he entrusted the ring to him. If Mao hadn’t brought him to this world, he would’ve done it himself. Meanwhile Kiriya, Shiina and Kureha are sailing with Jin-Crow to the land of Beastia. Jin-Crow wants to save Killrain consumed by darkness. Long ago, he, Killrain and the late prince of Pilius, Leon once negotiated for peace for their nation. They knew Shumari would disapprove but Jin-Crow had a bad feeling when he suddenly changed his mind. True enough, it was a trap as he made the king of Pilius kill Astrea’s queen. She is Killrain’s sister. As we know Zechty is an artificial life form, she was made using Celestia’s genes. This is why Killrain treasures her greatly. Arriving at the beastmen country of Valeria, the girls go gather information while the guys walk around town. Several guards corner Jin-Crow because they heard someone with black and white wings is suspected of murdering a dragon priestess. Jin-Crow denies he killed anybody (like the real killer would confess too) but they don’t believe. Till Mao steps in and says he is not the one. She introduces herself as the leader of Weiss Ritter that maintains public order in Valeria. Jin-Crow explains his mission here to seek Beastia’s help as something terrible has happened in Liberia. Mao thinks that will be easy because she is the daughter of the Lion King of Beastia, Diocress. She promises to pass their words to her father. I guess this saves lots of trouble. Mao is surprised to see Kureha too but when she learns Souma has gone with Zero, she immediately sets sail to Liberia. So what about the business with Diocress? Maybe that’ll have to wait. You’re on your own, Jin-Crow.

Episode 9
Imagine Mao’s shock when she sees thick huge ice covering Liberia. I don’t think the cannon is going to even make a dent on it. Souma and Elwyn are trekking through the snowy blizzard. They are ambushed by mechanical sensors. Souma knows they belong to Trihart and identifies himself. Seriously, he can hear in that storm? Of course Trihart is still against working together. Something about the ancient sacred treasures have awakened since the balance between light and darkness has fallen apart. Suddenly the red alert is sounded. They are surrounded by dark elves under Killrain’s command. Trihart wants Souma to escape as he entrusts this pod thingy to him to give to Kiriya. This pod is hope. But if it falls into Killrain’s hands, it’s despair. Trihart and Hiruda fight against Killrain’s forces while the duo escape. I’m not sure what this little cute creature is (what the f*ck is this, really) but it guides Souma and shows him the way out. He easily trusts this thing? Let’s hope it’s not because it’s cute. Even Elwyn quips he trusts everything else easily except her. Mao meets Blancneige and they need to do something about this overflowing dark energy before the ancient sacred treasures revive. Blancneige uses her magic to free the ice spirits and carve a path through the ice. That easy? I guess that’s why you need an ice mage. While Trihart is fighting Killrain, Hilda awakens and decides to defect to Killrain’s side because he is more powerful now (and darker too – that as in evil sense). Well, Trihart didn’t oppose and just give up. Souma and Elwyn reach back to their base safely thanks to whatever that cute piece of whatever that is. Seems Zero has left on his own and dwarves from nearby village are taking refuge at their place.

Meanwhile Rouen is pleased that many reinforcements have come from Valeria. Too many. So much so there’s not enough food to go around feeding those beastmen. Why are Caris and Clarakran working as waiter and waitress? Odd to see the royal siblings do this kind of job. And got scolded. A hungry beastman is angry beastman. Oh, Kiriya is still depressed over Zechty’s death. Give it up already. She’s dead for 2 episodes ago! Souma and co are fighting off demons from the Chaos Gate to save the dwarves. As thanks, the chief invites them for a feast. Souma notices the gold wares and thinks they’re rich. Actually it comes from the mine behind as it has gold and mythril (that’s End Earth’s term for some super iron). Suddenly a group of huge golems attack. What else? Get into action. Because they are made of mythril, their normal attacks are of no use. Not even pulling out Ryuuna’s Soul Blade could help. Lazarus is pinned under a rock and Souma can’t abandon him. Hurry before the golem clobbers them all. Lazarus suggests drawing out his Soul Blade. Can he? I mean, he’s a guy. So far he only pulls out from females. What the heck. You’ll never know if you don’t try. So Souma does it not because of gender discrimination, it’s because he is his comrade. Wah… So with the Holy Dragon Blade Gekirinkongou, in just a single slash, the golem crumbles like paper. Wah… Elsewhere, Clarakran prepares to restore the sun tower because it is decided that Caris will be Pilius’ next king. The ritual is successful as the tower turns the surrounding dark areas into light. Haven’t seen the sunlight for so long, eh? Houme notes all that is left is the wind tower but where is its priestess? Souma is treating Lazarus back at his base and inside the pod… Isn’t that Zechty?

Episode 10
Mao and Blancneige are on their way to Souma’s place when they chance upon Kiriya and co who have the same intention. Mao is worried about meeting Zero. Wasn’t this her goal? First thing Souma showed them is the revived Zechty. Imagine Kiriya’s happiness when he sees her again. It’s like reuniting with his lost love. So obvious. So lame. I don’t understand Souma’s explanation about using Celestia genes to reconstruct her again but she mustn’t fall into Killrain’s hands. Souma wants Mao to meet somebody: Ryuuna and Lazarus. She is surprised they are still alive so Souma explains what Zero has told him. It was Zeroboros who temporarily controlled Xion and killed them. Mao starts feeling guilty and emotional so much so Ryuuna and Lazarus had to leave to give them some space. They see Zero returning. Good chance for him to eavesdrop what’s happening. Souma felt it is better Zero and Mao shouldn’t meet because he is torn in his heart to see and apologize to her. Not after the agitation he caused her. He is still agonizing over it. That’s why she mustn’t hate him. By now, Mao is overcome with emotion and cries like a baby. Leader of Weiss Ritter is still a girl. Zero notes Souma is right that he is no longer Xion and leaves once more. Didn’t Ryuuna and Lazarus try to stop him? So with the gang reunite, they discuss about healing the wind tower. Doing so will not only restore wind circulation around Liberia but also purify the stagnant air and free the dark elves but nobody knows where the tower is and only a handful of elves should know. Zechty isn’t a real elf so she doesn’t know. Does Elwyn know? Not really either. If you’re wondering why the cute mascot is bugging Souma all the while, Elwyn translates what it is saying. Seems it knows where the tower is: The entrance of the northern forest of Pilius. Souma doubts it but I guess he has no choice but to trust it. I thought he trusts everything easily?

While making their way there, we take a slight detour and it seems the other Weiss Ritter members want to maintain Souma as their leader despite Mao back with them. Kureha and Shiina note how he has obtained more friends though most of them are girls. Hyoun has also changed his perspective on humans and admits he likes Kureha and Shiina. Unfortunately they reject him. Boo hoo. While camping, Souma notices Mao still depressed. Then he realizes he could take off his ring. He thought of giving it to Mao but she doesn’t want it since he needs it to pull out Soul Blades. Suddenly they see a pile of beastman bodies. Jeed has done them in. Wait a minute. Nobody else noticed this slaughter? His surprise attack causes Souma to drop his ring into the river. Mao wants to hold Jeed off so Souma could retrieve his ring. However Souma can’t leave his comrade behind and fights Jeed instead. Mao remembers how much his chivalry resembles Xion. Mao also helps to fight Jeed but is overwhelmed (Souma’s normal sword also breaks). Jeed is about to kill her so in her fear she screams out Souma’s name. Suddenly a Soul Blade emerges from her chest. Can he use it despite without the ring? Of course. It’s not the ring that matters. It’s their hearts. Wow… So drawing Mao’s Lion King’s Flame Dance, he fights Jeed and defeats him, breaking his Soul Blade, freeing Leon’s spirit that was trapped and used as his Soul Blade. Souma retrieves the ring and Mao lets him have it since it suits him.

Episode 11
Entering the northern forest of Pilius, they find themselves at Elnarit, the sacred land of the elves. There is a big tree with a big Soul Crystal keeping its surrounding areas from turning evil. A spirit from the tree appears and claims to be Celestia. No doubt she is dead, this is her spirit form. This is the person Kiriya saw in his dream. The rest thought Zechty were made from her genes so she inherited the right to be the priestess of the wind tower. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. However Celestia did mention that she is being favoured by the Spirit King of the Wind, which is that cute (annoying) mascot. Lesson learnt: Don’t judge a book by its cover. It starts sprinkling something over Zechty and made her the priestess of the wind tower. Zechty purifies the wind tower but the power of evil is too great that the land is still engulfed in darkness. They talk about the Sacred Treasure, a super ancient weapon that must not be awakened. To do so, priestesses and Soul Bladers are needed (that’s why Trihart was kidnapped). The Beast Generals attack the dark tower but couldn’t penetrate its barrier. As Zechty suggested, the only way to get in is by using the teleporter in Hilda’s lab. The party splits into 2 groups (Weiss Ritter and Luminous Knights) each taking a different path to reach the lab. Along the way, they fight waves of Zechty army clones. Hilda seems to be enjoying watching the heroes fight the army. Our dormant Hiruda seems to be trying to awaken at the right time by fighting for control against her other self. Conveniently, there is a switch to ‘off’ those Zechty clones. With all the clones shut down, Souma is outside the tower but his group tells him on he can enter the tower because he is their friend. Souma sees his friends trying to hold down Hilda. I thought she was like going into labour… Hiruda manages to regain control herself. But she wants them to kill her while she is holding back her other self. Of course it’s a no. Souma thinks that the only way to solve this is to draw out her Soul Blade. Remember Mystletain is the embodiment of her evil self? Yeah. They must destroy it. Souma pulls it out while Kiriya draws Shiina’s Soul Blade to break it. Mystletain separates itself into several parts (I thought it was like that retro Centipede game) and almost got Kiriya if Kureha hadn’t got in the way. Actually she was about to but Kiriya drew her Soul Blade and knocks it back into a single piece. Now with Souma holding it down, Kiriya uses both his Soul Blades to destroy Mystletain for good and send Hiruda regaining full control over her body. She sets up the teleporter so that everybody could go save Trihart.

Episode 12
Once inside the dark tower, the group splits themselves again. Luminous Knights with Souma will go save Trihart while Weiss Ritter will dispel the barrier. After fighting waves of monsters, the friends reach a room where Trihart is. An orb sits in the middle which serves as a collector of the Soul Blader’s power to feed dark energy to the sacred treasure. Plus, there is a strong barrier preventing them from getting close to Trihart. So how? Cut the cables to the orb! I didn’t know it was that easy. But wait. What will happen to Trihart? Yup. He’s fused to the machine. No wonder it was that easy. Of course, the friends want to save both Trihart and End Earth so they can’t do it. Reiss Witter has dispelled the barrier so the rest head to the underground tunnel where the sacred treasure is about to awaken. That is the sacred treasure of darkness, Demon Lord Elfaren. Later Weiss Ritter head to the sealed gate of the sacred treasure but comes face to face with Killrain. Once more the friends have to decide whom to save in the event they can only choose one. The world or Trihart. Guess what? Souma passes the decision making to Kiriya. I hope he is not avoiding responsibility. So why him? Hmm… Flashes of his bout with Trihart and how he lost Zechty to the wind to jog our memory. So it’s to settle an old score? Guess what is his answer? He’s going to save both. Isn’t that back to square one? What is the point of this then? So how now? I’m not sure if the only other is trying to force themselves going through the barrier. WTF?! It doesn’t work so why bother electrocuting themselves? Trihart wants them to go save the world as they have a higher chance of surviving. If somebody must die, he will be glad to be the sacrifice. Not till Hiruda steps in to chide this isn’t the senpai she used to know. Bla, bla, bla. Guess what? When the guys couldn’t get through the barrier, Hiruda can! Perhaps it is her strong feelings for Trihart that she dismissed all the pain when she forced herself through the barrier. Trihart got so worried that he got enough energy to get out from his seat and grab her. At that point, the legendary ultimate Soul Blade emerges from her chest. From what I understand, this Holy Grail is the product of crystallization of pure hearts. Thus Hiruda is Trihart’s Holy Grail. Save the drama for later because now you got to go help Weiss Ritter trying to take down Killrain. They can’t do it themselves since he got this insane power.

So with Souma and friends arriving on scene, Souma gives him one last chance to open his eyes. Like that would work. But this isn’t the Killrain we know because he has changed. Like duh! We could see that episodes ago. To say that he wants to awaken the sacred treasure is already too late because Killrain claims to be Elfaren and this Killrain has offered his body to become his vessel via hatred. Elfaren retreats into his cocoon but the heroes can’t cut it down using normal Soul Blades. They can only use the Holy Grail to fight. But can Trihart himself defeat Elfaren? Well, now the cocoon has turned into a monster butterfly. Zechty heard Killrain’s inner voice. Did he regret giving in to hatred to destroy the world? Too late for that. Zechty vows to save him so Kiriya gets this same idea too and since their hearts are in sync, Kiriya pulls out his Holy Grail from Zechty. Wow. Now we have 2 Holy Grail users. I guess Souma felt left out and wants one of his girls to give him his Holy Grail. If they only knew who. But 2 Holy Grail users aren’t enough because Kiriya is blasted off the edge. He could’ve been falling off if Souma hadn’t caught him. I’m not sure if he picked the right time to apologize about his uselessness that he couldn’t do anything (is that why he pushed that decision onto Kiriya?). On the contrary, Kiriya feels Souma has done a lot. His fight with Trihart and the part he gave in to his rage and almost killed Hiruda, if not for Souma, things could’ve turned out differently. With the guys reconciling, suddenly, the Holy Grail emerges from Kiriya’s heart! Wow! So Kiriya is Souma’s Holy Grail?! How disappointing it isn’t one of the girls. It felt gay… I guess it’s to show that a Soul Blader could pull out a Soul Blade from another Soul Blader. So with 3 Holy Grail users-cum-best friends, I’m sure they can’t fail this time.

Episode 13
So by combining their efforts and putting in all their hearts, Elfaren is defeated just like that. So easy… The darkness turns to light and whatever Killrain crystallized is set free. Since Killrain’s body is gone, we see his soul. He regrets what happened and to atone for his sins, he is going to be sealed with all the bad soul in this abyss and to also guard the sacred treasure to prevent such disaster from happening again. So he wants to play hero-cum-watchman for eternity? Don’t worry. He won’t do it alone. He has Celestia with him. He makes his peace and amends with Zechty before everyone leaves outside. The Soul Bladers as instructed use their Soul Blades to seal the abyss. With the battle over evil done, now it’s time for healing and peace upon the land. In the aftermath, Zechty plans to heal the dead forest with that Spirit King of the Wind. Once there is a first sprout, she will send a message to Kiriya via the wind. I don’t know. She says both their worlds are connected by the same wind. Trihart and Hiruda plan to stay back in End Earth and help heal the land. So only Souma, Kiriya, Kureha and Shiina will be returning home. It is mentioned that by drawing the ultimate Soul Blade, they are able to return to Elde. Well, Houme has lived 3000 years and must have at least seen it once. But perhaps too long she can’t remember how. She needs some time to jog her memory…

It seems Souma will be inserting the Soul Blade into a pond that will function as the gate using the Holy Grail power. Before they leave, Souma notices their school’s emblem resembles closely to Pilius and wonders if the previous Soul Blader was from their school. Houme brushes it off as a coincidence. Clarakran and Caris give the girls tons of treasures and jewellery as reward! If they take it all, I think they’re set for life. Instant multi-billionaires! So it’s a good thing they’re humble and just take a piece for memento’s sake. The sending off begins as the End Earth friends see them off. Everything seems to be going well till Souma realizes Mao suddenly crying uncontrollably! Well, you can tell something is wrong with her ever since the battle ended. I guess she was trying to hold back whatever feelings and now with Souma going away forever, she just can’t hold back the tears, can’t she? This made Souma to rush out and to her side. Gosh. Looks like he is going to be staying here too because as part of Weiss Ritter, he has this task of saving the world from crisis. What crisis?! I just thought he would say he loves her and couldn’t be without her. Sheesh… So Kiriya, Kureha and Shiina respect his wish and cheer him to do his best. They will do the same back in their own world. Soon, Hyoun takes over Rouen as the king of Seiran and Caris is installed as the new king of Pilius. Back at Luminous Academy, Kiriya heard Zechty’s voice that the first sprout has grown. Wondering if Souma will be fine, they know he’s working hard. Yeah, he and Weiss Ritter are caught surrounded by demons. What a fine mess they’re in. Is this the crisis he meant? Where the heck did they come from? Maybe there are still Chaos Gates all over the place. Just like before, Souma continues to pull out Soul Blades in the name of protecting End Earth.

Painful Tears X Whine
Oh God. I regret to say that almost everything was lame. Thank God that it was all over in over a dozen episodes. Firstly, the action sucks. Need another word? Lame. After seeing how the action is pulled off in the first episode (the ridiculous action with the random beastman), I started thinking that maybe this series is going to suck. It was just lame. They try to put in some action seeing you can’t have an RPG based anime without action but it fails. At points it felt comical like that fight scene whereby Souma fought Engu and hit below the belt. The last straw came (also because it was the last fight scene) was the very short battle with Elfaren at the beginning of the final episode. I think it hardly lasts 3 minutes. It was so lame, comical and unconvincing that it felt the bad guy was there just because he was a bad guy and the need to have a hero to slay him and save the day. When the trio were going to nail that butterfly dude with their final ultimate move, Elfaren just stood there waiting to take the blow. He even showed no major reaction! It was as though the heroes were fighting a statue because you don’t see the kind of struggle and pain that such creatures would put up when being hit by the goodness of light or whatsoever. Then the funny part was his final scream. I thought he sounded like a monkey when he is about to disintegrate into thin air. I was already laughing at this point before I realized, everything is over and just how lame the boss fight was. Good riddance.

It tried to give us some romance but I guess it sucked. Lame. Whatever happened to Souma’s crush for Kureha? I said it was conveniently forgotten along the way. No doubt Kiriya is still dense about Kureha’s crush on him but as the series progresses, we don’t really see Kureha’s affection for Kiriya. I know love comes second when the world is in danger but we would’ve expected that Kureha would show us some body language that what Souma said that she liked Kiriya was true. We didn’t. So was just Souma shooting his mouth off? Then the way they made Kiriya infatuated about Zechty, I thought it was just unconvincing. They spent a few hours in a hole together and he developed feelings for her, it messed with her circuits. Wow. Power of love. Then when she died, he became the incredible sulk. Then when she was resurrected, he became happy warrior. Where were Kureha’s feelings for him during all that? Does she really have a crush in him that she’s able to act like nothing? I suppose they also tried to hint Mao had a thing for Souma and you can tell she was starting to become a tsundere when she starts blushing and sneering at him when he starts to pat her head. It became too obvious. And suddenly Souma who had showed no signs of being in love with her finally rushes to her side (short of confessing those 3 magic words), can’t you believe it? Or does he not want to abandon a girl in weep? What about Elwyn then? She sometimes shed tears too. And for Souma to be the proxy leader of Weiss Ritter where the majority of them are attractive females, it misled us with a potential harem factor. Didn’t even get close.

It tried to give us some plot and storyline but it sucked. Lame. Whatever happened to that evil thing called Zeroboros that will bring chaos to the world? Wasn’t Trihart and Kiriya supposed to fight and the winner becomes the loser by becoming the vessel for this evil? Instead, we got this evil in a name we haven’t heard before. Elfa what? His appearance died as fast as we learnt his name. Oh, what was that plot about Trihart trying to takeover this world to make a better world? What happened to that? I thought he was going to all out his way but after Zechty died and Killrain overwhelmed with hatred, he became somewhat docile. So will Astrea continue to be named Baelgard? And to think that Mao’s hunt for Zero was the start of this destiny crap… And while too busy fighting each other and trying to save the world, I actually forgot that they were doing this in the mean time to find a way back to their own world. Who knew it would be so easy as Houme’s words. If only she had said them from the beginning…

It tried to give us some character development but it sucked. Lame. Too many characters if I should say. I know Souma is the main star of this show but it makes the other characters looking too minor and in a way some of them felt they were just there so we won’t forget them. Take for instance, Zero. I still don’t understand why the hell he wanted to trust the responsibility of saving his world to Souma but from what I can see, he made the right choice. It’s good he did or else. So I don’t remember Zero actually meeting up with Mao and reconciling with her in person. In the final episode, Zero was just like watching from afar. Feeling relieved when everything turned out okay. So? SO?! With Souma continuing to stay at End Earth, does this mean Zero will continue to wander? Rouen, Clarakran, Caris, the Beast Generals and Houme felt like they were just tagging along and to make up the numbers. Remind me what was Houme’s role again? The other Weiss Ritter members also had their fair share of screen time to strut their stuff but if you’re expecting them to pull off something major for some devastating attack effect, don’t get your hopes up. And do you notice something about the characters’ reaction when the truth is revealed? They become fidgety. See Shumari act when his little lie was exposed when he can actually act cool, shrug it off, make don’t know. Instead, he had to sweat in his pants and could have easily failed the lie detector. See Houme deny Souma’s theory that the previous Soul Blader may be from their school? Why the need for this calm elf to panic? So basically in terms of change in character, I can just say it is Souma and Trihart. Souma isn’t someone who is immature to go picking fights and realizes things in the bigger picture while Trihart no doubt remains putting up a cold facade, he finally accepts the need to accept help from his friends sometimes. Was he trying to play the part of the villain to get things going?

It tried to give us some drama, friendship and from what I hear philosophical words but it sucked. Lame. The drama and friendship part didn’t feel convincing enough to move you. Then in the last episode, it’s like everybody turned philosophical and had something to say. The country, the land, the people, the power. Something to say about this, something to say about that. I guess with the action over, now they turn to words, eh? They try to work up some emotion within us when they dedicated half the final episode in saying goodbye. I guess it was too long that it made me want to shout and tell them to go back already. Ironically it also tried to give us a few comical moments but it sucked. Yeah, lame. Trying to be funny but it wasn’t. For instance when Souma was annoyed with the Spirit King of the Wind (for flying around like an over-sized fly), Souma’s vexed behaviour looked more cartoonish and thus comical in the lame sense. When Kouryuu tumbled down the stairs during his nearly bout with Kiriya, doesn’t that feel lame too?

Because I saw Guilty Crown not too long ago, it made me think of how similar the concept of pulling out a weapon from one’s heart this series is. Did Guilty Crown take after this series? Even if this series was way earlier, I couldn’t say I was impressed with the designs of the different swords that the Soul Bladers draw out. I mean, they try to give a different design and feel that is unique to each person that the Soul Blade is drawn out but they just seemed plain. Maybe I’ll give them some points in their grand names but that is just about it. Another thing about drawing the Soul Blades that bugs me. Each time you the Soul Blader starts to pull them out, the face of the person whose Soul Blade is being pulled out feels a little erotic. I don’t know. Is it that stimulating when you get your Soul Blade pulled out? It’s like the face of having sex. Oops. True. Even for the guys. At first I thought even with this creepy face it was okay but as the series go on and more and more Soul Blades are drawn when needed, I thought the animation felt cheap. Felt like they didn’t want to waste precious seconds in showing those faces anymore and quickly get over it seeing this is a mandatory scene.

There were some things that I just couldn’t comprehend. For instance in Hilda/Hiruda’s case, if breaking her Soul Blade means destroying her bad half, how in the world did it repair itself? I mean, you do know it was broken once that is how Souma realized it was the key to free Hiruda from her badass self. So assuming it can heal and repair itself again, then don’t you think by the second time it breaks, there should be a third time? It’s like when they destroyed Mystletain for the second time, they were pretty sure that they have seen the last of Hilda. By the way, how in the world did Hiruda get her split personality? If her friends don’t know about it, it means that she only got it when she arrived at End Earth, right? So with Kiriya, Kureha and Shiina only back to their own world, don’t you think that other people will start to get suspicious about the disappearance of Souma, Trihart/Saionji and Hiruda? I mean as seen earlier on, Saionji is the heir to his family business. Must be an important son that he has SPs looking for him. So he is willing to cast his family business aside and go saving the forests in End Earth? I didn’t know he was such an environmentalist. On second thought, maybe this life is much better. Back to nature instead of the rat race and money chase in his own world, eh?

Despite the mediocrity in all the other departments, the only thing that ‘amazed’ me is that this series boast some popular seiyuus. For instance Nana Mizuki pulling off her cutie voice as Shiina. Something like you would expect to hear her like Ricotta in Dog Days and Kotoko in Itazura Na Kiss. Then we have Yui Horie featuring as Kureha (Naru in Love Hina, Hanekawa in Bakemonogatari). Some of the casts did dual roles like Souichiro Hoshi as Souma and Zero (Kaoru in Ai Yori Aoshi, Son Goku in Saiyuki series), Chiwa Saito as Mao and Houme (Rebecca in Pani Poni Dash, Natsumi in Keroro Gunsou) and Ayako Kawasumi as Blancneige and Clarakran (Saber in Fate/Stay Night, Nodame in Nodame Cantabile). I suppose with their ability to pull off different voices, unless you’re really familiar with their voices or strained your ears closely, you won’t hear the difference and think they are voiced by different people. Of course I easily recognized Ayako Kawasumi’s instantly since I’ve watched a bunch of her anime roles. But I won’t consider Ryotaro Okiayu (Byakuya in Bleach, Tezuka in Prince Of Tennis) as voicing a dual role because it’s just a change of name from Saionji and Trihart. Same case with Kumi Sakuma as Hiruda/Hilda (Candice in MAR) although this one is more of a split personality. Yeah, they’re still the same person. The other casts consist of Akira Ishida as Kiriya (Chrono in Chrno Crusade), Houko Kuwashima as Zechty (Sango in Inu Yasha), Ryou Hirohashi as Elwyn (Kyou in Clannad), Misato Fukuen as Ryuuna (Yami in To Love-Ru), Yoshinori Sonobe as Lazarus (Okada in Shakugan No Shana), Daisuke Matsuoka as Rouen (Martin in Sora No Woto), Takashi Kondo as Killrain (Train in Black Cat), Atsushi Ono as Jin-Crow (Giriko in Bleach),  Hiroki Yasumoto as Hyoun (Germany in Hetalia Axis Power) and Tetsuhara Oota as Shumari (Yamazaki in Gintama). Both opening and ending themes are sung by Souichiro Hoshi (sounding closer to his Zero’s voice) but they don’t sound anything special. The opening piece is the same name as this series’ name and sounds like your typical song for RPG genre animes while the ending song is Hikari No Silhouette is more of a slow-moderate piece. For the record, both songs are from the game itself and sung by the same person. Recycled material?

Oh dear. A big majority of my blog seems to be putting this series down big time. There may be lots of other things that bothered me but perhaps too insignificant for me to remember and put it down. Just to be fair, even though I didn’t pretty much like this show but at least the lameness of everything kept me entertained. I don’t know how many times I have rolled my eyes and sighed. After all, I already set my hopes at a low level after watching the mediocre first episode. It would have been easy to decide and drop it but that wouldn’t be fair since that will be judging the entire series by just its first and single episode. And now that I have completed it, let me just say that if you want to watch such RPG themed animes, there are much better ones out there. Watch this only if you are a hardcore fan of the game or a kiasu anime otaku who wants to watch every anime there is in this world. Or maybe you can just try out of curiosity. Be warned that it isn’t anything new because it’s the usual high school kids get transported to a different world and fights the evil with their allies for the sake of world peace. How unique is that? So unless they come up with a better story, characters, plot, story, action, romance, comedy, drama and just about everything else, then no, I don’t want to come back and stick around to hear more of the stories again. Ever!

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