Taboo Tattoo

January 7, 2017

Back in the old days, having a tattoo means being associated with all those underground gangs and bad people. Although people are more open these days and many have spot some harmless to funny tattoos on some parts of the body, in some culture like Japan, tattoos are still regarded widely as taboo because it is still a mark associated with the yakuza. So what a better way to promote and lift the taboo of tattoos by doing an anime series regarding the cool use of tattoos. Tattoos that give its users super powers and fight the forces of evil! Okay, I lied. Taboo Tattoo isn’t about trying to remove the stigma of people with tattoos. But it is still about certain people bestowed with strange tattoos that give them super powers to fight. And what do you know? We must always have that normal Japanese high school boy who gets caught in between the power struggle and he is the key to it all because he possesses a rare latent power. No matter how cool this sounds, I’m not going to get a tattoo after watching this series by any means.

Episode 1
Seigi Akatsuka saves a homeless from thugs. As his reward, he sticks some tattoo in his palm which eventually becomes embedded. Thanks for the pain, mister. Naturally that tattoo won’t come off no matter how much he tries to rub it off. Well, it’s a tattoo. Since his ‘high school wife’, Touko Ichinose is b*tching he was the reason they were late to school this morning, she forces him to come shopping with her after school. While he waits outside, this strange girl, Bluesy “Izzy” Fluesy steals his handphone. It is just a ploy to lead him to an isolated place where she proceeds to beat him down. So the main character is going to die on the first episode? Then she apologizes for going too far as she was just merely testing him. You call beating him nearly to death as a test? She is impressed he could stand his ground without using his tattoo. Well, Seigi is trained in martial arts after all. She explains the tattoo is a product of some super scientific experiment. It allows its users enhanced physical abilities and bring forth supernatural phenomena. Such users are called Sealed. She demonstrates using a chalk as a trigger on her tattoo that turns into an air bomb. Like Naruto’s Rasengan? Seigi gets more beat down from his dojo class. His grandpa tells him to get stronger because justice without strength isn’t justice. Is he playing a pun on his name? Anyway that is why he thinks Seigi’s dad died because he was weak. Tom Shredfield, Izzy’s subordinate isn’t pleased Izzy told a lot of confidential information to that kid instead of apprehending him. He reminds her as they are from the US Army’s Tattoo Retrieval Unit, their mission is to retrieved tattoos that have spread outside America but she isn’t listening.

For the next few days, Izzy keeps a close watch on Seigi. Apparently he knew she was ‘stalking’ him but chose to ignore her till it gets annoying. He asks her on finer details to activate his trigger since a chalk didn’t do any good. Well, each person has a different trigger. Suddenly this big American guy tries to kill them after Tom failed to apprehend him in time. I suppose it’s time to show off some of Seigi’s fighting skills and the just as spectators. Theodore Wilson is from the American mafia trying to get those tattoos from the yakuza. While he is also a Sealed but isn’t using his powers to its potential. Even so this guy’s brute strength is formidable. Seigi uses his agility and speed to get the better of him but eventually takes a fatal blow. This is the second time he is going to get killed this episode so naturally he has a flashback on what his dad told him about reaching out to get what he wants. He did just that and immediately Theodore is blown away by Seigi’s tattoo. Izzy is shocked that Seigi is in possession of a Void Maker, a triggerless tattoo that none has matched since. Till Seigi came along.

Episode 2
Seigi wakes up in his room and is not too pleased Izzy and Tom are making themselves at home. Izzy gets straight to the point that they want him to join them. As they are on a mission to retrieve stolen tattoos smuggled by a certain researcher and since it is hard to remove the tattoo once it is rooted in the body, either he cooperates with them or they will have to at least take back his arm. When explain about the potential death that Void Maker has, Seigi blows his top that they are acting arrogant when it is all their fault. Izzy tells him off about her own side effect because she is stuck in a child’s body forever. They give him time to think for his answer. But next day in school, Seigi’s hell begins because Izzy becomes a transfer student in his class! Worse, everyone hates Seigi seeing Izzy knows him. Stoking the flames, she makes seductive moves on him and his classmates throw him out of the window! Isn’t his class on the highest floor? Don’t worry. There’s a pond below. Now, his ‘wife’ steps in but Izzy can tell she is jealous for her childhood friend. Then she starts fondling Touko’s humongous boobs. Later Izzy and Tom seek Seigi’s answer. He agrees to join them seeing he needs to get stronger for justice (or for himself literally?). In turn they explain he might need to do shady stuffs because it is their job to prevent a war from breaking out between America and the Kingdom. The Kingdom’s technology on tattoo is far more advance and if they were to use it as weapons of mass destruction, you do the math. And right now the tension is at all time high.

After welcoming him to Team Blue Moon, Izzy also lets Seigi know as she has figured out his trigger is blood. Otherwise he would have been swallowed up by the void. Tom is shocked that Izzy won’t report back to HQ about Seigi. She wants to keep an eye on him for now because it would be dangerous if the Kingdom gets their hand on Seigi as he has the triggerless tattoo. Besides, Seigi might be summoned to America and be experimented on. Seigi is called to meet at their secret base but he is upset to be made to wait as Izzy is not around and will be running late. Little did he know that Touko has followed him and the more she sees him suspicious, the more suspicious she gets. Yeah, blame Izzy for that. However a creepy girl, Iltutmish attacks her. Tom has Seigi get boxes from the basement so he could answer a call from a landline phone. An informant informs that Princess Aryabhata has killed the royal couple and took over the throne. And since she is a hardliner, you know what this coup d’etat means, right? Now the doorbell rings. As Tom answers it, he is instantly stabbed by Touko! OMG. Is this what a yandere looks like?! Well, Touko isn’t happy she got the wrong guy but is glad the one with the triggerless tattoo is here. Meanwhile Izzy just finished placing devices that detect activating tattoos throughout school. She is attacked by R.R. Lakha AKA Behemoth Viper. He is a subordinate of Aryabhata and a member of her personal tattoo force, Brahman. This crazy sadist rips apart the place (and almost all of Izzy’s clothes) with his whip.

Episode 3
Touko witnesses memories of Iltutmish. Aryabhata stumbled upon her in the slums. She teased to lick her feet if she wants food. Iltutmish quickly attacks but Aryabhata saw it coming. Aryabhata likes her way of getting what she wants and wants her to join her team. After that lesbian kiss and butt molestation, anybody would be her lackey. Izzy uses her air bomb distraction to escape Lakha and run home. Seigi is mad when Iltutmish explains her twisted definition of justice (involves killing others). Touko is fighting Iltutmish from within herself to get away from her ‘prince’. This struggle allows Seigi to knock her off balance. Tom finishes the job by using his tattoo and pull out Iltutmish from Touko. Seigi is so mad that Touko got involved in this, he takes Iltutmish’s stab in his palm to activate Void Maker. Luckily Touko pulls him back before tragedy could strike. Well, only a big portion of the house is gone. Iltutmish receives orders to retreat. In the aftermath, Seigi trains with Izzy to become stronger. Still a long way to go. Apparently after that incident Touko now has a tattoo on her forehead. They are unsure about most things since mechanisms of tattoos itself are a mystery. Tom’s tattoo is not original and a copy. This means he can take it off whenever he wants. It also means its capabilities are very much lesser and can only act as a negating factor for supernatural phenomena. Izzy lets Seigi watch a horrifying video of a triggerless tattoo experiment. The body is devoured horribly. After warning him how the void will bore through everything and leave nothing, she has Seigi promise he will not use his Void Maker without his permission. Touko accompanies Seigi on his running training. After watching the plight of a stray cat and its kittens, Seigi vows to protect Touko. The strong needs to protect the weak. Sounding quite cool now, is he? Izzy meets up with her colleague, Lisa Lovelock. She is sharing information on the recent incidents. Since Aryabhata has taken over the Kingdom, it has been decided that America will send additional forces for the tattoo case. Meanwhile Lakha and Iltutmish receive their new ‘toys’. For now they are to prioritize the elimination of American forces connected to the tattoos. Their next target is Lisa.

Episode 4
Seigi catches a tattoo thief as part of his training and also control his tattoo’s drive. Iltutmish drops into Lisa’s hideout and slaughters everyone with her awesome sword! No chance! Iltutmish faces off with Lisa and the latter knows she is no match and intends to blow herself up along with her. Lizzy gets a distressed call from Tom to head to Lisa’s place. But along the way, suddenly gravity works against her as she is pinned onto a building’s roof. Lakha has a device from the Kingdom that binds Sealed and because Lizzy’s tattoo is activated, she is grounded. He isn’t going to kill her and lets her hang around. Seigi follows Izzy but she pleas to leave her and go save her friend. Shortly after he leaves, the device explodes. Don’t worry. Izzy is a tough chick and won’t die easily. He becomes sick seeing the slaughterhouse. He climbs up to the roof where Iltutmish is waiting for Lakha’s helicopter to pick her up as they need to bring back Lisa as a sample. Seigi is upset over Iltutmish killing people indiscriminately. Too bad she blows him off the roof. Had not Tom caught him, he would be dead. When Seigi returns to Touko, the gore of that place still sickens him and his failure to beat Iltutmish his him took out his frustrations on her. Izzy and Tom investigate Lisa’s place. She finds her handphone and a newly recorded message about Lisa being transported to the Kingdom. She wants Tom to call for reinforcements while she is going to settle this and get her revenge. Izzy calls Seigi and Touko to the hideout but locks them there with Tom as she heads out alone. Seigi complains but Tom tells him off he shouldn’t trample on Izzy’s goodwill. His Void Maker is still unknown to their superiors and if they find out, Seigi will be shipped to America whether he likes it or not. Izzy by doing so is clearly breaching military protocol. As for Touko, since she got the tattoo from Iltutmish, they are unsure what it can do so it is safer for her to be by Seigi’s side. It’s like those words awakened her because she really wants to be by him and get to know him. In turn, this also makes Seigi to free himself and decide his own path. After beating up Tom, they escape by Seigi using his Void Maker to blast open the door. Only thing is the entire house is now gone! Whoops! Izzy blocks Lakha’s path to the port. Time for the gloves to come off and things to get ugly.

Episode 5
I am guessing those American soldiers are there for the body count and to get slaughtered. Thankfully with Seigi in the picture now, Iltutmish have to stop her killing and focus on fighting him. Although she is superior, Tom relays information that Iltutmish’s power source is based on the uncertainty principle (as she also known as Schrodinger Cat). As long as there is no observer, she cannot return to her indistinct self to normal. All Seigi needs to do is close his eyes. However there is Touko on the field too so this negates everything. Seigi takes a nasty slash and he is bleeding like hell. This makes Touko mad. Her will to protect Seigi activates her tattoo and gives her boosting powers that pin down Iltutmish. Seigi hears a voice telling him to use the void to negate. He’ll use it alright to protect Touko. Once he destroys the ground and gives Iltutmish a knockout punch, it might seem he is going to kill to negate her. However Iltutmish’s stray pet cat gets in the way. Of course what Seigi want to negate wasn’t her but just her words. Before he can rest, Aryabhata pops up and gives him a kiss! Iltutmish can’t accept that and ‘purifies’ her with her multiple kisses. Aryabhata praises Seigi for being able to use Void Maker because had he not been able to control it, it would have swallowed up the girls. She finds him with potential and wants to use him. But for now she is here to pick up her subordinates and retreat. We return to Izzy’s fight with Lakha. Since he manipulates things with weight, she uses shock waves to attack him mercilessly. She falls for his gravity device trap again. Before he can kill her, Lisa broke free from her captivity and after other soldiers destroy the device, the duo cooperate to take him down. They would love to take Lakha in but Aryabhata warns the only way to do that is to fight and kill her but risk another round of bloodbath. See her majestic beast behind? That’s another triggerless tattoo. She leaves Seigi with an advice to learn more about tattoos because the source wants him.

Izzy is ready to take any punishment by Colonel Sanders (no, not that guy from KFC). But he has her bear the responsibility till the end and look after Seigi. He also wants that kid to participate in tattoo research. Seigi and Touko are shocked to see Aryabhata and Iltutmish casually walking in the streets. He wants to talk with her but this time Touko has more ‘authority’ as she challenges Aryabhata to a ping pong match. WTF?! If Touko wins, Aryabhata must stay away from Seigi forever. But if she loses, her boobs will be hers! WTF?! Because apparently big boobs are filled with dreams. Small boobs? Filled with hope! You can’t ever hate boobs! Touko takes a beating and is defeated in this one-sided match. This means Aryabhata has the pleasure in molesting her boobs until, uhm, she climaxes? Seigi wants to know everything about the Kingdom and tattoos so Aryabhata asks him the reason he is fighting. For world peace? For people to stop killing each other? Even so, for who? She tells him if her wish comes true, his world without fighting that he dreams of will be realized. Join her side and she will tell more. Later Aryabhata stumbles into her ex-Brahman subordinate, Blood “BB” Blackstone who thinks she is in her next phase of her plan as she is in Japan. Now Seigi asks Izzy about America’s goals in gathering tattoos. For world domination. Serious. They are. Because it is safer than using nuclear. Make sense but are you sure? Although Seigi won’t join the US army, if being their partner to stop the war, then count him in. Seigi should have known better why Izzy and Tom are staying at his house. He destroyed theirs, remember? When Seigi is out training, BB wants him to follow him. But once learning he is from Brahman, he attacks. Let’s say Seigi needs to work out more because BB didn’t even put up a sweat in making him look like a fool. BB is also a Sealed with a tattoo on his tongue.

Episode 6
BB calls Izzy. They know each other. He tells her he is borrowing Seigi for a while. He brings him to Aryabhata’s lab where countless people are being experimented on. BB reveals he was a former member of Brahman but now opposes the Kingdom. Tattoo ruins exist in 4 places worldwide. America has 1 and the Kingdom has 2. Guess where is the last one? Thus it is Brahman’s objective to find this last ruin in Japan. A reason why America is desperate. The duo stumble into a lab run by a mad scientist, Karam and his assistant, Manisha. He lets loose experimented humans with artificial tattoos by copying traces of the source. Apparently that is the nucleus or the soul of the tattoo (it could be that voice Seigi has been hearing). As a hero of justice, Seigi is unsure what to do since Karam explains these warriors have a bomb inside them. If they go unconscious, they are set to explode. I think it’s amazing Seigi managed to avoid all their overpowered moves but with a little help from BB. BB is going to get serious as he uses his Void Maker to knock unconscious the enemies. But the bomb didn’t go off because he also used Void Maker to find and erase the bombs within without harming their organs! After BB punches Karam, Manisha tries to defend him. BB looks like he is about to kill her but Karam pleads not to harm her and he can do anything he wants to him. BB gives Seigi some lecture about heroes and their ideals. Everyone has their own and how troublesome it would be in reality if everyone’s justice would come true. What a true hero of justice needs is the almighty power to make his own ideals into reality and the resolve to force his own justice on others. Isn’t that like being a dictator? He uses the same move to knock out the scientists. It’s not his policy to kill. The police raid the lab soon after and Seigi starts seeing BB as a real hero of justice.

BB is seen talking to Wiseman, that ‘homeless guy’ who gave Seigi his tattoo. They talk about BB’s triggerless tattoo and its regenerative power which makes him like immortal. That is also what Seigi is for. BB passes data from the lab to him and Wiseman is obligated to help him seeing he knows what Aryabhata’s plans are. In turn, BB will make his wish come true. After BB trains Seigi to effectively use his Void Maker, Izzy meets up with him. From the looks of it, she sounds like she has a romantic interest in him. BB was formerly from the US Army but defected to the Kingdom. She was devastated when he left. He tells her how grave the situation is now. It isn’t about making tattoos into weapons anymore. The ruins are the main engines in rewriting the world using the power of tattoos. That is why all 4 ruins are needed. Aryabhata’s goal is to change the world by altering the ruins into a world that fits her. He knows she is already there rewriting it so he wants Izzy to protect the one in America at Grand Canyon. Also to take care of Seigi so he doesn’t stray down the wrong path. Bye. We take a little detour as we see Touko visiting Seigi at his dojo. Yet again got owned by his grandpa. His ‘inviting body’ makes Touko want to rape him. Till he wakes up and she panics. It feels like an ominous foreboding when the duo spend some time together. She’s saying she wants to be with him and he is okay with that.

Episode 7
Seigi and Touko join Izzy’s team to go attack Aryabhata at the ruins. Aside from familiar faces like Sanders, Tom and Lisa, the rest include Wang (Asian guy), Johnson (white guy) and Leonardo Burns (black guy). BB learns Izzy is going to ambush the ruins but he can’t do anything right now because Wiseman is doing some code modification on him. Leave now and risk death. So we have the US Army making a grand entry by blasting everything. Standing guard outside the ruins’ entrance is Cal Shekhar, Brahman’s vice captain. Instantly she cuts Johnson in half when he charges at her. And then decapitates him. No chance. Then the other American soldiers get slaughtered by her sword. Yup. The only role they are here for. But Cal won’t be alone as her maids will be assisting her. Wow maids! Can I join you???!!! Aryabhata thinks Cal needs additional support so she lends some of her powers to Iltutmish to help out. Iltutmish turns into a giant monster to bring down the helicopters. Black Hawk down! I think it’s too late for Izzy to regret not listening to BB. Did she think America had a chance against Brahman? I believe they don’t even think of America as their tattoo rival. After Cal kills Wang, Seigi thought of fighting Cal. But remembering BB’s teaching, he tries to avoid facing off with her and head straight for the ruins. Unfortunately Cal incapacitates his body and he is reduced to a bloodied spectator.

Sanders and Izzy team up to fight Cal. At first they were doing great but Cal unleashes a special move that cuts off Sanders’ limbs and greatly wound Izzy. Cal then blinds Sanders. Before she could kill Izzy, here comes BB. Izzy realizes this might be a trap to lure out BB. Aryabhata has just finished her rewriting and has a maid pick up the scattered tattoos. Outside, she confronts Seigi and they argue about their different views on justice. He might view her justice of rewriting the world as just suiting her purpose but what does that make of Seigi’s? Even so, can he stop her? Aryabhata wants Seigi’s key and reveals she was the one who leaked info of this place to the US Army. She knows they would bring an army of Sealed here and one of them would be Izzy. Because Izzy and BB had romantic liaisons when they were together in the force and thus she is easy bait to lure him here. Once BB exhausts all his energy and be devoured by the collective source, she will then take that into herself and obtain her second key. She then tortures Seigi by stabbing spikes all over his body to make him fall into despair and hate over his powerlessness. Cal wants BB to fulfil his role as a key. Suddenly BB mentions that he knows Cal is in love with him! She flusters and denies but as BB makes her admit it, he loves it off because his heart belongs to only Izzy. He is not going to let anybody have a shred of it. If this is his plan to work her up, it’s working. You didn’t think he would come walking into this trap unprepared, right?

Episode 8
Lisa finds Sanders bleeding too much so she has Burns take over command. He has everyone retreat and leaves Touko in Tom’s care. But since he is weak, Touko ditches him to go find Seigi. Speaking of him, he can’t activate his Void Maker because Aryabhata is overwriting it. Lisa and Burns team up to take down Iltutmish but Burns ends up sacrificing himself to keep Lisa alive. So much about the soulmates dying together. Izzy tries to snipe Aryabhata but nothing penetrates her barrier. She is then restrained in a way that looks like she could be tentacle raped anytime. Then they are forced to hear Aryabhata’s reasoning about humans will never stop fighting as long as they exist so the best way is to rebuild it from scratch. Seigi realizes she is trying to play God and kill everyone else. Erm, why am I not surprised? BB continues his epic clash with Cal. Because of nanomachines in his body, even though his limbs are cut apart, he can still put them back together. It gets weird and confusing because each time they use a trump card that seemingly is supposed to take the other out, but it’s not because they somehow pull off something that makes them still standing. Then Cal is going to really finish BB off when Seigi prays hard to his source and breaks free from his predicament. It allows BB to win over Cal but now he wants Seigi to finish him off. But since he won’t do it as BB forces Seigi’s source to devour him. Aryabhata won’t let that happen but she has to take care of Sanders and co who are distracting her. Once Seigi’s source devours BB, Seigi now possesses both tattoos of BB and Cal. But ultimate despair is to come for Seigi. Touko happily rushes towards him when Iltutmish devours her! This isn’t a joke, right?! Aryabhata predicts Seigi will make his way back to her and the only reason he is carrying to live on is a revenge story. She’ll be waiting with excitement.

Back in town, Seigi wallows in despair when Wiseman pops up before him to explain about Sealed and their sealed fate (no pun intended) with the ruins. You get to use their power but in exchange you are assimilated into it till it corrodes you. However Iltutmish was able to disregard all that because she had help from Aryabhata’s rewriting. When a Sealed exhausts his soul, the source overtakes him or he becomes invalid. A fate that BB wanted to avoid and the reason he wanted Seigi to devour him. He entrusted the future to him. Wiseman wants to atone for getting Seigi involved in this but Izzy points a gun at him and will punish him. Seems she lost her left arm. He is confident she won’t hand him over to the US Army because he has inherited BB’s wish. As the one who supported BB in Japan, he wants both of them to help him out to carry out BB’s goal of eliminating tattoos from the world. And there’s some explanation of what the source is and all I understand is that due to some high evolutionary process of the brain and soul, the tattoos were responsible for that and eventually took a will on its own. Whatever. Seigi becomes mad when Wiseman needs him to mature because if he does so, will that bring the dead back to life? Since a fragment of BB’s soul is inside him, a chance for Wiseman to let him have a peek into BB’s past. Flashback time.

Episode 9
As a test to see BB’s worthiness, he fights Cal and manages to stand his ground. As Aryabhata views him useful, Brahman’s captain, Ajita welcomes him aboard. He also meets fellow Brahman, Varma. Shortly after, Aryabhata gives him a triggerless tattoo and warns of his betrayal. He is also told to stay away from a place within the compound called Samsara. As expected he decides to check it out. He realizes that Varma is also a spy for the king to keep an eye on the princess. Varma is also the king’s lover. Oh sh*t… Samsara seems to be a tattoo research centre that Aryabhata took over recently. They are attacked by its guardian, the blind and deaf Ganesha. BB barely escaped with his life and only regenerated because of his tattoo. When Varma introduces BB to the king and that they can work together, BB has his suspicions on the king. Yes, it is that he doesn’t swing that way too but also he knows Aryabhata is not his real daughter. His nonchalant attitude makes it even more suspicious because she is the one who will inherit the throne and he is doing nothing to stop her whatever schemes. It’s like he feels some sort of guilt towards her. BB and Cal are tasked to guard the first ruins. BB’s policy doesn’t make him kill the American soldiers not because he was their former comrade. But Cal shows no mercy and kills them all. As time passes, Aryabhata is getting closer to act so BB and Varma need to act now. They try infiltrating Samsara again and cooperate to defeat Ganesha. Using Void Maker, BB and Varma head to the deepest section of Samsara only to find a girl’s playroom? Heck, Kujuli (Aryabhata’s sister) even knows they are spies and welcomes them as she shows them around.

She shows them a cloning room. BB thought everyone is clones of Aryabhata (including Ganesha) but Kujuli somewhat disagrees as they are all sisters. 35 years ago when the ruins were first discovered, the king realized the potential of the ruins and tried to rewrite the world. The problem was the interface to rewrite it was at an unreachable place. That is why the sisters were created. All sisters living here are failures of Aryabhata and their only existence is only confined to Samsara. Kujuli is telling them this because a part of her wants them to stop Aryabhata. Though, there are some sisters who are very supportive of her. With security alerted, BB has downloaded what he needs and they run. Aryabhata orders her team to not let BB escape the country. BB thinks back what he was further told. Kujuli doesn’t hate humans as much as Aryabhata does because to deny humans would mean denying themselves. Aryabhata’s revenge against the king is just a process for her to rewrite the world including humans. It is revealed the sisters were created via human experiment. They are descendents of the tattoo creators. Everyone was experimented while still alive, men had their sperm samples taken and women were forcefully impregnated. Just to create Aryabhata, the king wiped out the entire clan of 3000 people! That’s why Aryabhata feels she is a demon. BB brings back Varma’s dead body to the king and asks if he is happy now (Varma was directly hit by Cal’s attack). The king expected Aryabhata to hate her but didn’t realize the issue was this trivial. He views his mistake wasn’t seeing her as a tool but loving her as a daughter. As a result, he gave her the power and reason to overthrow him. BB is not happy he is going to ignore Varma’s wish and his lover fought hard enough to keep him alive. The king thinks it is already too late. He lets BB escape via secret underground train in hopes he could expose Aryabhata’s scheme and save this nation. Brahman relentlessly attacks BB while he makes his escape. BB thinks back over Varma’s last words that include nothing will happen if one doesn’t take action and the weak will always remain weak, that is why they need to entrust their hopes to others. He sees BB as his hero.

Episode 10
Seigi is still feeling hopeless even seeing the truth. So BB had to tell him to help him so that he can still fight. Because now he entrusts his hand which is his future into his. Cheesy? It has been a year since. Seigi looks like he has matured physically. With Izzy they are hiding in a secret base in the mountains. Then the Kingdom discovers it and left a video letter. While it might seem infuriating Aryabhata flaunting her bikini on a private beach in America, she claims she is here for archaeological work and wants Seigi to meet up and help. Or else who knows what will happen to Lisa who was captured by them. Seigi wants to go for revenge (it’s the reason she killed Touko so that he could meet up with her someday) but Wiseman can’t have him die like that. Because even if Aryabhata activates the ruins in Grand Canyon, she still needs Seigi’s key. When that happens, Wiseman’s plan is to plant a virus in Seigi and this will be used to destroy the ruins system. For now he has to keep running away to put it bluntly. BB would have wanted that. However Izzy threatens him because BB would have wanted to save Lisa too. She promises to bring Seigi back even if it costs her own life. Tom and Souha Tamaki agree to back Izzy. Before the leave for America, Tamaki sees his cosplay fiancée, Yumi. He promises to marry her when he gets back but she is worried this only raises his death flag. So much otaku style talking has the crowd puzzled. At Grand Canyon, the American army protecting it can’t distinguish friend or foe so they’re just shooting at any intruders. Seigi and co see Lakha and Aisha (she’s got a tattoo on her vagina!) mercilessly kill the troops but they have to restrain themselves for revenge. They split up to complete their objectives. While Tamaki faces off with Aisha, Izzy is shocked that she has to fight Lisa. It looks like she is brainwashed. Lakha is the one responsible for ‘guiding’ her as he brags and b*tches about it. Well, at least a motivation to kill him. Aryabhata attacks Sanders’ command centre to steal something.

Episode 11
Seigi uses his Void Maker to drop straight down to the ruins. But first he has to face off with Cal. Although she might have lost her Sealed ability, she has honed her physical skills. Izzy is cornered by Lakha and Lisa. Thank goodness her old comrades come to her rescue. Too bad they died when they try to take on Lakha. Izzy gives Lisa a good punch and this knocks out Iltutmish possessing her. Then she shoots a special venomous bullet into Lakha and pays back by kicking him in the nuts. Aisha acknowledges her loss to Tamaki. But she tells him if he wants to really defeat her, he must come die with her in her bed of spikes. Izzy throws Lakha towards Aisha and they both die together. There, finished. Seigi asks Cal about supporting an idea to become God. She tells him the truth that once Aryabhata activates all 4 keys, she and all her sisters will fuse. This means Aryabhata will lose her own personality. This unified spiritual body will rewrite itself as it will rid the limits of the human species. If one truly wishes to be omnipotent, the human framework is only a hindrance. Both get ready to pull off their final strike. Seigi has BB covering his back. So you might say Seigi got a little advantage since Cal hesitated when she sees visions of BB, allowing Seigi to deal the final blow. Now he has earned the right to face off with the final boss. It’s all about revenge for Touko and about getting over the hate for himself for being too weak to protect her. He is able to go all out with Aryabhata since Wiseman gave him some pill that will curb the exhaustion of his soul. However he finds he cannot use his power when needed. Aryabhata explains he was consumed by hatred and lost his way, thus losing his slim chance of victory. Ajita loses to a bunch of jet fighters but this only activates his self destruct void as it engulfs a big chunk of the area. At least it cleared the way for Izzy, Tamaki and Tom to head straight to Seigi. But they encounter Sanders lying around. WTF is he doing here?! He tells them to stop Aryabhata. Like duh! So I guess this redundant scene is so that we are reminded of his role he could set off some nuclear bomb if the worst scenario comes to. Izzy’s monologue indicates she is coming back to the same place where it took her parents and brother’s life. She wonders if she had only reported to Sanders and not sheltered Seigi, would things have turned out differently. She too ponders if her mom was the one who let her into meeting Seigi. This time it will be her turn to protect him. When they arrive, they see Seigi impaled all over.

Episode 12
Aryabhata is telling Seigi how at this rate he is over using his power while she herself is willing to give up her life for the new God she will be creating. Then there is something about the poison Wiseman gave him that will not heal his wounds and thus can’t use his sealing power. It means Wiseman had never intended him to defeat her in the first place. Whatever. Izzy and Tamaki save Izzy and let Tom take him to safety. Too bad there is nothing Seigi can do about it since he is brimming with anger for vengeance. Izzy and Tamaki then take on Aryabhata but they too get owned. It is time for Sanders to detonate the bomb. His comrades are hearing it for the first time since they’re going to die with it! Wait a minute! Sacrifice yourself for your country! When he pushes the button. Nothing happens! Sanders become a joker calling himself a clown. Of course. The joke was on him. Seigi takes this chance to jump off the helicopter. In great timing, he rescues Izzy. Seigi wants to give his life to safe her but Wiseman activated something that materializes his source and devours Izzy. Wiseman explains 2 things that everyone got wrong. First, not only your own soul that the source can consume. Secondly, all tattoos are linked so when Aryabhata kissed Seigi then, she opened up a link to him. So whatever affects Seigi will now affect her. Seigi and Aryabhata’s source transform into giant beasts as they pound each other, trying to mindlessly devour the other. In this state, Izzy is able to reunite with BB who thanks her for opening Seigi’s eyes. Tom screams to Seigi to save everyone. Save America. Save the world! You think Seigi can hear that? Oh yes, he did. Now he is revitalized and can control his source on his own will. He knows Aryabhata’s source is draining her sisters’ soul so he has to end this quick. After all that ground pounding punches, Seigi holds the edge because he is more trained in martial arts compared to that princess. He finally delivers the final blow to that whiny princess who sounds like a shrieky loser now. In the end, both sources disappear. Seigi saves the day and the American soldiers chant “USA! USA! USA!”. WTF?! Shouldn’t they be chanting Seigi’s name?! He did your job and saved your asses! So Izzy is alive, Tamaki is alive, Lisa is alive and Iltutmish is alive but captured. Ah heck, nobody died in this episode because Aryabhata ran away. Seigi vows to carry on BB’s beliefs since it is his duty after inheriting it. Good for you. The world lives to fight again for another day.

Injustice: Gods Among Us
Wait. What? Is this the end? Is this truly the end? At least for this season. I am not sure the montage of scenes at the end of the final episode is a strong indicator that there will be a second season because all those scenes strongly hint like as though those events happen in the future. Like the American president smirking with a creepy smile claiming his army is the best in the world (what happened to China?), a final battle with Aryabhata in the South Pole, Kujuli in coma and Sanders still being the clown in some tropical jungle. There, some manly American explosions to go with that. At this point, I’m just glad the season ended. It was getting confusing the more I try to understand what the heck is going on.

I believe the one year time skip towards the end of the series threw me off a bit because it felt like it was rushing to end the series. Because with that sudden one year time skip, a lot of things changed and at first I was really confused of what was happening. I was even contemplating if it was a flashback. When Seigi looked so mature and brooding as hell, I even thought he was a different person altogether at first. And then I remember Izzy losing an arm but suddenly she got it back after the time skip. I mean, did she grow it back? As hard as I try to see, I don’t see it is some sort of prosthetics either. Oh right. It was blown off during the final episode’s battle with Aryabhata. Yeah, it was moving like so real that I thought she actually grew her arm back. And also suddenly they introduce a new character, Tamaki and I was wondering who the f*ck is this guy. Everything just moved too fast towards the end to finish up this ultimate battle once and for all and it made the pacing of the story which is already weak in the first place, to be a little more disjointed.

If I have to point out the most worthy aspect of the show, it would be the action bits. It is cool to see different tattoo users wield different abilities although they are just mainly the same time like Seigi who can just only use his Void Maker and nothing else. Tattoos might be the ‘main characters’ of the series but they aren’t as many as you think there should be as they are only confined to the few protagonists and antagonists you will see over the course of the series. Besides, I feel that the use of the tattoo powers is just supplementary if not complementary to the other physical fighting skills the characters have. It isn’t the tattoo powers that the characters are totally reliant on since they’ll be throwing some kung fu punches and kicks as well. It is good in a way so it doesn’t make the fight seem so Dragonball-like. The tattoo powers are enough to make their presence felt in each fight without overwhelming its entirety. Because of this balance, it makes the action sequences entertaining to watch with some flashy power effects on occasions. I know it may look exaggerating at times but I suppose that is why these tattoos are ‘magical’. It’s just mindless action fun, I guess.

And oh, not forgetting the amount of blood spilled in many of such scenes and perhaps the body count of American soldiers just to show off how amazingly powerful the Sealed are. Some of them even got their bodies and limbs cut up. Uh huh. Feels like they are there to provide the numbers and lambs to be slaughtered because they should have known better that conventional guns and bombs cannot win over those with tattoo powers. Some of those American soldiers felt like a joke because they only appear for a short while before being killed off so fast. Yeah, there was this poor chap in one episodes coming into the scene so quickly and the moment he finished introducing himself, he got killed off. Like, that’s funny, right? Yeah, we’re not going to care about him anyway.

Because of the series focusing on the action bits, the character themselves suffer from a lot of potential and many are turned into stereotypical clichés. You know you have a big problem when you have the main hero who is as generic as any other normal high school kid with latent powers roped into a national conspiracy. Just to make him more badass and ‘changed’ at the end, they had to kill off his girlfriend whose role was probably set up for some forced fanservice and romance possibility which will never materialize. He had to stray for a while using his dead girlfriend as motivation to fight but realize she’ll never ever come back so might as well go with BB’s wishes. That’s what a hero of justice should be, isn’t it? Then you have a strong female lead like Izzy to accompany the hero. While she can independently stand on her own, there is nothing much else to note about her. They might throw in a shocker that Sanders is her father but I’m not really sure if he is her adoptive father instead of her biological one. Whatever. Yeah, now a handicapped person, he is fast becoming a joker of the series. Thankfully the series ended before he could realize that potential.

Then you also have a seemingly generic badass villain who wants to become God or more. So basically no matter how you word or put it, it is still Aryabhata trying to play and become God in the end. Because whether she maintains her personality or not, whether it is for better or worse, she is still the one who is rewriting the laws of the world and perhaps the universe. If that isn’t playing God, I don’t know what is. No wonder the ladies want to have some yuri time with her before she loses her feminine form… Wiseman might be the biggest snake around since he looks and sounds like he has some sort of ulterior motive. Everybody is like his pawns and dance nicely into the palm of his hands. Because all his plans went accordingly and it looks like there is more to come. BB is the equivalent to a main hero’s master/teacher. You know, someone who teaches the main protagonist certain stuffs and moves and then dying so that he could show his resolve by shouldering and championing his cause in the end so that his master/teacher’s death won’t be in vain. Yeah… BB is cool and all that because he kicks ass and has a pair of shades. Enough said.

The so called romance between some of the characters feels like a big fail and distraction. Something that isn’t necessary in the first place because why the heck do you need love when this anime is just about spilling bloods and cutting up guts. It’s like trying to give the character some depth but ultimately I don’t really see the point in it because for Izzy and BB they might be lovers during their stint in the US Army but it is never really shown in deep so I can’t really connect why the heck it mattered in the first place. It is probably to make BB look more like a badass because when you have a forlorn ex-lover pining for you and then you have to die to save the world, it makes you look even cooler than you are right now more than ever before. And WTF was there a love triangle with Cal too? Not really sure.

Seigi and Touko feel like a failed one too. Like I have mentioned that they set up Touko’s role in a way as a turning point for Seigi to go full on badass later. Lots of wasted potential that could have developed the relationship between the duo but then again, it might turn out cheesy so I’m not sure. So when Touko and Seigi start reminding us how much they want to be with each other and to protect the other, it should have been a sign of things to come. If you’re hoping for Seigi x Izzy from this, you better stop hoping. So I guess the only ‘true love’ is between Tamaki and Yumi. How many otakus get to marry their counterpart in real life? Like a dream come true for gamer boys marrying their gamer girls. And yeah, like their romance really mattered in the plot of the story too but what the heck. Love needs to get some spotlight sometimes too. Since that ‘sneak peak’ at the end shows Tamaki still alive, I guess the dream to marry his otaku girl still has a chance of coming true. Fingers crossed.

Going back to the other characters, they feel insufficient and are just enough to fulfil their whatever role onscreen. Like Tom for instance he is actually the series’ joker. One second he could sound all serious and the next he could come up with some sort of punchline or joke. Funny or not, who knows. That’s why it made me suspicious they selected a seiyuu who voiced Gintama’s Gintoki for this character because there are shades of how similar they are, just that Tom is relegated to a side supporting character. Even Lakha makes a better funny character than Tom because he is more psychotic and it makes you want to become his b*tch. Just kidding. I’m sure the members of Brahman like Iltutmish and Cal have their back story to tell but with only a dozen episodes, we’ve only got a summarized history of Aryabhata via Kujuli. I thought Ajita would be some sub-boss whatsoever since he is Brahman’s captain and looking like a dangerous madman but his appearance is already so limited and he went out as easy as it looks. Cal should just be the captain since she has more screen time and kicks better ass from the way I see it. Oh and Lisa, she’s like the damsel in distress because she not only gets kidnapped once but twice!

The mysterious tattoos are supposed to be the main subject of the series but after all that has been said and done, they just feel like secondary and their whatever potentials wasted. Because I start thinking it might all boil down to lazy writing because anything that cannot be explained they just claim it as an ancient technology that nobody understands. Well duh. Wiseman, if you can’t really explain well to me, then you fail at your job at telling what the heck all your experiments are for. Sure, there are other stuffs like overusing and exhausting one’s soul, etc. But by the time the series reaches its climax, you’ll hardly remember all of that. And what was the importance of the voice or rather the soul of the tattoo that Seigi heard in his head? I’m sure he isn’t hallucinating. So f*ck all that and we just either use the tattoos to change the world or erase them all from the face of the earth.

The designs of the tattoos are unique. Too bad you don’t really notice them much during the episode and the only place where you’ll see all the different types of tattoos is in the next episode preview. Such a shame because I thought they really look cool and with different colours and illumination, some make really cool idea designs for organizations and groups. Having said that, the rest of the series’ art and animation style are just decent. I mean, everybody has the bishoujo and bishonen look so for a guy like me, I can’t complain. Yeah, Aryabhata looks more like an idol than a super villain if you ask me. Even her near final form with wings seems more appropriate looking like an idol than a monster. Just saying… However I noticed that some of the background scenes look like they used CGI. It’s bad. They might be using such scenes for only a few seconds but they really stood out and it makes you heave a sigh of relief that they stick to traditional 2D animation for the characters, action sequences and the big chunk of the series. The final big beast battle also used CGI but I guess it didn’t look quite as bad since they’re fighting mostly in the dark and with them having so shiny-like skin armour, it doesn’t make a difference. Say, don’t those beasts look like a cross between Aliens and Yugioh’s Blue Eyes White Dragon?

Voice acting sounds pretty okay although I only recognized Tomokazu Sugita as Tom, Sho Hayami as Wiseman and surprisingly Mikako Komatsu as Izzy. I didn’t really notice Eri Kitamura behind Lisa’s voice. I was mistaken all the time thinking Yuka Iguchi was behind Iltutmish but only in the end found out it was Shiori Izawa (Tanpopo in Witch Craft Works). I really like Kenjiro Tsuda playing as Lakha because he really makes his character sound like a real bloodthirsty sadistic psycho. Good job. The rest of the casts are Makoto Furukawa as Seigi (Saitama in One Punch Man), Akari Kitou as Aryabhata (Hiromi in Boku Dake ga Inai Machi), Hitomi Nabatame as Cal (Nobue in Ichigo Mashimaro), Toshiyuki Morikawa as BB (Munakata in Danganronpa), Nobuyuki Hiyama as Tamaki (Madarame in Bleach), Chika Anzai as Touko (titular character in Hitsugi no Chaika), Tesshou Genda as Sanders (Umibouzu in City Hunter) and Ai Kayano as Kujuli (Shiro in No Game No Life).

If you are a fan of May’N and familiar with the usual kind of songs she sings (displaying her powerful vocals, that is), then Belief as the opener should be your cup of tea. It is just like her other anime opening songs she sings with live exuberance such as Accel World’s Chase The World, Ookami-san To Shichinin No Nakama-tachi’s Ready Go, Hidan No Aria’s Scarlet Ballet and Blood Lad’s Vivid. The ending theme is a rock piece, Egoistic Emotion by Trigger which is basically made up of a duet between Mikako Komatsu and Chika Anzai.

Overall, this series is more of style over substance and if you want to watch this, just stay and be entertained by its action and fight scenes. And blood. It’s the usual wasted potential and that it-could-have-been-better rant. I read many panned the series for a lot of reasons but you know me, I’m always a lot ‘kinder’ to such animes. Even though it is bad in many ways (but not the worst. There’s a whole lot of difference in that), at least I didn’t feel it was a waste of time as the action sequences ‘distracted’ me from being bored. So for those who are prone to regrets, just like when you do lots of thinking before getting a tattoo, because it is hard to permanently get it off once it is inked onto your body. Bad animes are like bad tattoos that will linger in your memories forever. Flashes of regret remind you of the bad choice you made each time you remember the bad anime you watch. No wonder they want to permanently get rid of tattoos here…