To Be Heroine

September 15, 2018

Geez, I didn’t expect To Be Hero to have another sequel. At least not after how sh*tty the ending was despite the overall series was hilarious and fun to watch. But more accurately, To Be Heroine is more of a sequel spinoff. Although it focuses on a new bunch of characters, the old characters from its previous season do make their cameo appearances. I guess when you have a cute female lead for this season, you can kiss goodbye to all the disgusting dad jokes and fart jokes for those who have seen the first season.

Episode 1
Man, I thought I was watching the wrong series as a good part of it is in Mandarin! Futaba Hanaya narrates how she often wanted to grow up fast and be an adult. But now in high school, she realizes that everything has only one choice and no freedom to choose as she thought. One wrong choice and you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. She ponders about the other choice of going to another world. And then poof! Here she is in another world! And apparently this world speaks Japanese too. She is confronted by this little baby in a golden underwear, Hikaru-kun that she is a hero. The best hero. How does he know? He flips up her skirt to see high quality pantsu! Baby or not, she beats him up. So young so pervy. He warns that he is being targeted by assassins. Oh, here comes one, Touichi Touin. Both get into childish arguments before Touichi summons his SpiCloth, Hanzou Hattori. Hikaru-kun tells Futaba to have confidence in herself and do the same. She remembers her friend, Hikaru Isago telling her about focusing her chakra if she ever goes to another world. She does so. Nothing happens. Remembering a more practical advice from another friend, Tooru Utsubari, she makes a run for it before Hanzou could cut her. Under the bridge, Hikaru-kun explains that she has that hero power. Just take off her clothes! Pervy baby! Hear him out. He claims in this world that every piece of clothing has a spirit (hence SpiCloth = Spirit Cloth). Thus the more clothes you have, the more weapons. Hence underwear is like their life. You lose it, you die. Seriously. That’s why he is wearing this 23 gold karat underwear. It’s his family treasure.

Futaba still refuses to believe when Touichi and Hanzou has discover them. Futaba acts so because of her fear of making a mistake if she chose. She leaves Hikaru-kun to die by Hanzou’s blade when a hot Chinese guy, Fubuki Saimon stops the blade. It seems he is Futaba’s SpiCloth and part of her boots (when she kicked Hikaru-kun away, a boots fell off). If this is true, she realizes she has been stepping on him all this time! Apparently Hanzou has this chivalry of not fighting someone without a weapon. Well, wasn’t he trying to kill an unarmed baby just now? Fubuki seeks a weapon from Futaba. So taking off her other boots gives him a sword. Now they fight in super fast and epic fashion. It destroys their surroundings but Hanzou sacrifices himself to protect Touichi. When a SpiCloth disappears, the clothing becomes torn. Touichi will not let his sacrifice go in vain and will also join him soon. He takes off his own underwear and uses it as a signal to contact HQ. When he disappears, Futaba starts to believe Hikaru-kun’s words. You really die without your underwear. Hikaru-kun is amazed she defeated Touichi of the Four Leaders in her first time as a hero. As Futaba is still unsure if she could protect this world, Hikaru-kun further explains how the baddies discovered the power of SpiCloth and used it to cover the sky with darkness. People lived in darkness for so long that they have forgotten what it’s like to wear clothes. Terrified with them for having SpiCloth, the people then fell under their control. As for why they are trying to kill Hikaru-kun, Chou Oji explains it is because he is the light. Yup, true to his name, he literally lights up. He is the only source of light that can shine on its own in this world. It seems the brightness and its duration have a direct correlation to the strength of the stimulation, hence he is their last hope to light up the world.

Episode 2
Futaba already has the other Four Leaders on her tail. After Touichi, Juuichi Saijou was next but his twin SpiCloth scarves turned into some hot BL gay make-out. Next is Bouichi Minamidori but his pants are so tight and he fainted before he could use his SpiCloth. Now they are being chased by Chuuichi Hokkaru and his bug giant SpiCloth slug. Chou Ouji explains that a way to tell humans and SpiCloth is to see if they wear underwear. Because SpiCloth are from clothes, they don’t wear underwear. Only humans do. That’s why Hikaru-kin was just checking her pantsu. Feels like a lame excuse… Now that Chuuichi’s slug evolves into a dragon, Futaba throws her jacket to summon her SpiCloth. A magical toy wand? Nothing happens. She uses her bag but another toy wand. Too bad Chuuichi, you won’t get to see her in a mini skirt transformation. Flashback shows young Futaba with Hikaru and Tooru wanted to get some toy late at night. When it’s closed? However the mean old man spotted them and doesn’t like it. The rest follow Hikaru’s cue to sing a happy birthday song. Uhm, their mini fireworks enough for the protest parade on the other side of town to see? Old man wasn’t impressed and tries to get them. They run but as Futaba is going to get caught, Hikaru saves her and is dragged into the store instead. This leaves Futaba very traumatic. As she cries, suddenly Hikaru comes out with the toy.

On their way home he explains that the old man gave it to him. Seeing them reminded him of his grandchild. He used to give him toys in exchange if he could sing for him. As he ages, his hearing worsened but if he kept singing, he felt he could hear. So he only sounds mean and loud because he couldn’t hear well. Hikaru and Tooru made a promise to protect each other but Futaba felt unsure as she was not as brave or cool as them. Now you might think Futaba’s wand powers up from this flashback (and also learning the babies’ name are the same as her friends’) and strikes away the dragon’s fireball. However it is Chou Ouji’s SpiCloth, his glasses becoming a strong barrier to protect them. Futaba remembers her friends presented her that toy wand she lost many years ago as her birthday. Futaba realizes the power of this SpiCloth and starts singing happy birthday. However she is a horrible singer! Hearing this is worse than death! Even Chuuichi would rather die than run away! Because of that, his dragon goes berserk (SpiCloth will turn crazy if their master die). The wand manages to power up but she accidentally hit Chou Ouji’s barrier and shatters it. Oops. What now? Hikaru-kun starts singing happy birthday and the rest join him. Now this sounds much better. They safely destroy the dragon. More flashback, after the trio return, the adults also return from their protest. It seems something happened to Hikaru’s parents and Futaba could only remember his tiny shaking back as the police informs him the dreaded news.

Episode 3
Hikaru-kun takes Futaba back to their secret base to meet another of their member. Who the f*ck is this tanned beardy baby, Min-chan?! Flashback shows Futaba was being gang bullied. Hikaru and Tooru showed up to save her but got beaten up. Min who happened to pass by was the real heroine as she beats them all up. That was the first time they met and they became friends since. Chou Ouji relays his plan to stop a factory emitting dangerous smoke so that Hikaru-kun can release his light and awaken the people. Min-chan shows off her twin SpiCloth, Oo and Paipai from her bra. Both argue that they are ‘bigger’ than the other until Fubuki shows up. Twins now root for handsome guy as their potential husband. Futaba has more flashbacks. She was worried about Hikaru since his parents went missing after the protest. When Hikaru’s pranks results in Tooru’s losing his diary, Futaba suggests doing a time capsule, putting things they like in it in this secret base and then opening it a few years later. Thus she is stumped this secret base is the same but it feels so different. To get ready for tomorrow’s infiltration, they want to see Futaba’s other SpiCloth abilities. Too bad she isn’t going to strip more than her jacket and stockings. This has Chou Ouji formulate a new plan that Futaba will take on the waves of enemies in front while the little ones sneak in from the back.

So as Futaba summons her electric beast SpiCloth to take on the hordes of darkness, more flashback. Her dad was mad at her low grades. Gee, is 94 low in Chinese standards? Hikaru was pranking around with her until the teacher, Ms Liu confiscates a book in his hand. It belongs to Futaba but she is under the wrong impression he was trying to introduce a lewd book to a girl. Liu calls Hikaru and his mom (now a nutcase – how was she even released from hospital. Oh by the way, his dad is confirmed dead) to talk. But Hikaru’s teacher, Kane stands up for him and argues with Liu about embarrassing her student this way. Not sure how Hikaru got back at Liu by swapping the pendrive during her special presentation with a footage of macho gay man slugging it out. Yeah… Hikaru called his friends to hang out. Min even brought her ‘boyfriend’, Moemoe (remember this dude?). As it is getting late, Tooru insists of wanting to go home but Hikaru insists he waits. When the argument gets heated, Min puts her foot down and tells them today is Futaba’s birthday. Tooru had forgotten. Hikaru bought a cake and wanted to wait till dark to light up the candles. Futaba has exhausted her electric beast but more evil waves. Don’t forget, she has Fubuki. But at the end he too fought till his limits. Meanwhile Hikaru-kun is hoping for Futaba to save them. Because Chou Ouji has betrayed them.

Episode 4
Futaba has a couple of SpiCloth from her stockings – a hard talking hitman named Battle AKA BL and some young police guy, 1857? She must have worn mismatched stockings for them to be this apart in personality. She summons them now to fight Chou Ouji but they cannot best his shadow monsters. Chou Ouji reveals that everyone in this world wants Hikaru-kun dead as they fear the light because you can see them naked once they’re lit up. Does she have the courage to remove all her clothes and face this world? Flashback shows Futaba tried to make Hikaru do some bucket list of hers. After constant bugging, he accepts but with a condition she grants him a wish. So as he ticks off the tasks, she learns he wants her to elope with him to escape this town. Of course she thinks he is joking and doesn’t believe him. Soon, her parents call her and lecture her about her failing grades. They blame her for fooling around with Hikaru too much. Similarly, Tooru is at the door to hand some document to her. Hikaru supposedly gave it to him to pass to her since he was in a hurry somewhere. Inside is a train ticket bearing her name. Her parents are furious about what they were planning. Futaba doesn’t heed them anymore and runs out trying to find Hikaru. Too bad the train has left. Futaba barely saves Hikaru-kun from the monsters. He could feel her warm heartbeat and once the shadows engulf them, Hikaru-kun’s heart starts to shine so bright. Man, he is like an angel floating in the sky and his light bursts to dispel all the darkness. It’s so bright now in this world!

Futaba wakes up back in her room. She calls her friends about Hikaru but they seriously have no idea what she is talking about. They don’t know anybody named Hikaru. Thinking they are pranking her, she calls Kane who also gave a similar answer. So desperate she must have called everyone on her list only to have the same answer. The definition of insanity is… But Futaba remembers the time capsule and runs down to the hideout. And there it is, Hikaru’s diary. Proof that he exists. She reads about him starting to write down things in a diary after Tooru and is slowly able to observe the world around him. Even if he is gone, this diary will tell everyone his feelings. Meanwhile Hikaru-kun sees his monk master in a bid to find Futaba, the girl he loves. The reluctant monk shows him a way but with a few conditions. This includes nobody must see him and he needs to find someone to stand in his place. A person who has experienced life and death who can only see him. Perfect timing because Hikaru-kun possesses Oyaji (Min’s dad) who is praying at the temple for his daughter (damn, this hapless guy freaked out thinking he prayed to the wrong god and got a baby!). Futaba sees Hikaru’s deranged mom and shows her his diary. She wants to know what happened to him. So is mom faking her mental instability because she ushers her in and will tell the truth.

Episode 4.5
Not your typical special episode because this is not a recap. Instead, a special behind-the-scenes production. We get a glimpse of the storyboards and visual keyframes of the animation as well as comparing the scenes in both Japanese and Chinese audio. We are also treated to lots of fan art illustrations on the series as well as from To Be Hero. They show as PV that was never shown in Japan. One whereby Futaba gets a love letter and the guy who eventually comes confessing his love to her is… Oyaji!!!! Plot twist? Too bad he got beaten up by Min. There is a live action dancer dancing to the ending theme song (its Chinese version) and both the Japanese and Chinese voice actors give their thoughts about the character they played. Finally, more fan art illustration indulgence to sign off before next week’s episode!

Episode 5
In this entirely flashback episode, we see Tenshin (Hikaru’s dad) is a mischievous guy (no wonder his son has similar traits). He sucked at every subject except chemistry. Back in college, Tenshin and Kokoro (Tooru’s dad) had a crush on Byakkyou (Hikaru’s mom) but in the end it was Tenshin who ended up marrying her. Kokoro married the daughter of the CEO of Keito Pharmaceuticals in an arranged marriage. In Keito, Tenshin created some medicine that allows you never to forget certain memories and Byakkyou tested it on Byakkyou and soon after married her. After Hikaru was born, that is when the troubles came. Tenshin saw irregularities in the ingredients of his medicine but the CEO approved Kokoro’s improved drug (based on Tenshin’s formula) and marketed in his new drink. Tenshin was against this because he didn’t want his medicine to be misused in such a way and there are side effects like getting addicted if drank too much of it. To fight against the corporation, Tenshin has the media take notice on Keito by dumping harmless white substances into the river that makes the company look like it is polluting. This leads to the locals being upset as they rise against the corporation. The CEO wanted to pay Tenshin off but he didn’t want his dirty money. But Tenshin is left shocked when the river is actually polluted. The protest turned violent and Tenshin was killed (cue that fireworks moment from Hikaru and co at that time). Byakkyou was hospitalized as Kokoro revealed his true colours. He was jealous of Tenshin being chosen by Byakkyou and got stuck in this loveless marriage. He wanted to get back at Tenshin by stealing from him. He was the one who changed the substance in the river to be polluted. Then he had his henchman kill the CEO and subsequently Tenshin during the protest’s commotion. Also, Kokoro created a new drug by modifying Tenshin’s formula that erases memories completely.

Byakkyou heard all this during her ‘coma’ and to protect Hikaru, she pretended to go insane. Many times Kokoro ransacked her home to find Tenshin’s formulas but failed. Kokoro also provided money to them over the years as support. One day a grown up Hikaru told mom he wanted to leave school because he feared people forgetting him and thus he had to change himself and the way he lives. Mom then revealed the truth and apologized for deceiving him for so long. Recently Hikaru found one of dad’s secret formulas that Kokoro would die to get his hands on. At this point, Kokoro is the CEO of Keito and the most powerful man around as he also controls to local triad, Hagyou Concern. On the day he is supposed to elope with Futaba, that is when Kokoro visited Byakkyou and knew she was faking her insanity all the time. He tells her he killed Hikaru. Because instead of running away, he went to see a reporter to try and give details. Too bad that reporter was already bribed by Kokoro. Hearing Kokoro trying to live out his father’s integrity and honesty pisses him off as he orders his henchman to strangle him. Byakkyou tries to continue pretending to be insane until Kokoro leaves. Even if he knows, he won’t kill her because it is more painful to live than die. Now, Futaba is sad hearing Hikaru is dead but Byakkyou wonders why she isn’t being affected by the drug as everyone in town drinks the juice. Sometime about her strange dream in a strange world with Hikaru-kun.

Episode 6
Oyaji (Hikaru-kun) is happy to see Min and harasses her! Of course Min beats this naked ugly piece of sh*t up. Min spots Futaba crying but before they could talk things out, Tooru is here and this sours the mood for Futaba to say anything. It’s not his fault but looking at him reminds her of a certain guy and she doesn’t want to see that person now. Futaba receives a love letter and outside school, that mad guy rushes towards her! Turns out to be Oyaji confessing his love to Futaba?! Another round of beating up by Min. Shortly, a few hooligans try to kidnap the girls. It’s just disgusting watching Oyaji stripping in his failed attempts to summon whatever powers and failed. In the end, it is Futaba’s dad who is a cop who shoos them away. He could have shot Oyaji thinking he is trying to rape his daughter or something! Worse, Oyaji says he wants to marry Futaba! Thank goodness he believes his daughter he isn’t the baddie. But Futaba’s dad confronts the real baddie who is no other than Kokoro. He warns him to stay away from his daughter and is not easily intimidated with his threats. But a cop can only do so much. Because later that night, Futaba’s mom gets a call saying her husband is arrested on corruption charges. Oh look, it’s right on the news now. Futaba skipped school for a week and every night she could hear her mom cry incessantly. She thought of telling the truth about Keito but remembers Byakkyou’s words that the public will not believe them as Kokoro is a very powerful man who gets what he wants.

Tooru ponders what he did wrong for Futaba to act like that towards him. Then he sees her being stalked by Oyaji. OMG. Oyaji has lost weight and is his handsome self?! Did exercise really did all that transformation alone? Anyway, Oyaji tries to hint that he is Hikaru-kun from the other world but it is clear that Futaba’s love is the one and only Hikaru. She regrets not telling him her feelings and wants to do so as well as for people to remember him. Oyaji is amazed with the hero inside her and promises to do all he can to support her. He claims she is not alone and conveniently pulls Min and Moemoe nearby to join in the cause. Futaba reveals the truth to them and they agree to help. But since they can’t come up with a plan, Tooru who has been eavesdropping all this time suggests getting more info. Looks like he is in. He wants a chance to redeem himself to Futaba. They head to Byakkyou’s place. She thinks they are crazy for wanting to stand up to Keito. You don’t try, you don’t know. A spy reports to Kokoro about the kids not giving up. He would have had them eliminated had he not heard Tooru is with them. He believes his son will make the right decision. The gang’s plan is to use Tenshin’s hidden formula to restore people’s memories and sneak into the factory and mix it into the drinks. Everyone except Tooru supports this idea. Tooru leaves home and is shocked when dad asks if his secret meeting with his friends to destroy him has finished. He gives him this house and puts his trust in him. Tooru tells them their next meeting place and hopes he could honestly talk to them as he believes his dad can turn over a new leaf. Kokoro would be happy to. That evil smirk…

Episode 7
Tooru told his friends that there is a factory underneath the school producing the drug. They head there to investigate and record this as evidence. However they realize that this is a setup as Kokoro’s men are here. Tooru is shocked that dad has betrayed him. Can’t blame him if he didn’t see this coming. He was really hoping for the best for his friends. Min fights off the goons as they all run to the rooftop. However she met her match with one boxer guy. OMG! He broke her arm!!! Kokoro and Tooru come in. Dad reminds his son not to be with those losers and gives him a chance to make the right decision again. Tooru summons his guts to go against his father. He will not become an evil man like him. This is when Futaba also stands up for him. They are scared but not of his threats. Futaba is scared of giving up, scared of being weak, scared of someone else protecting her again. Kokoro orders his men to erase their memories. As the subordinate tries to pour the juice down Futaba’s throat, Oyaji’s heart starts to glow. Then comes popping out is… Hikaru!!!! OMG!!! Since when is Hikaru so cool beating the sh*t out of that dude???!!!! If you’re wondering why he is standing there and not doing anything, that’s because he can’t see Hikaru! OMG! A ghost?! Only his friends can see him. The baddie pulls out his gun and shoots at Futaba but the bullet is sliced in half! Look who is here? Fubuki! Not only him but Hanzou as well as the other SpiCloth pop up to beat up those baddies’ ass! Hey wait a minute. This magical girl SpiCloth I have never seen her before. Kokoro gets his just desserts as all the SpiCloth unleash a flurry of devastating combo attacks on him! Even if those baddies take a beating, is it for real? I mean, you can’t come into physical contact with ghosts, right? Oh, f*ck it. As long as you’re bad, you can get beaten up.

Once the fight is over, Hikaru admits he is a ghost! Yup, his friends can’t touch him either. He has come back temporarily because God allowed him to say goodbye to his friends. So he has last words for all of them. Like for mom to get healthy and Tooru to protect everyone in his place. Last but not least is of course Futaba. She believes he is the one who wants to stay the most. That’s why he kept saving her from darkness. Flashback shows Futaba was crying over Hikaru’s death. Dad gave her some juice to ease her sadness. Probably it had magical properties and at the same time she wished to go to another world, that’s where she popped up in that dream world and met Hikaru-kun. She claims he is the hero who saved the world and the one who gave her courage to step forward. His warmth was always there. Finally she spews out the words of I love you. In this odd moment where they rush to kiss each other… OMG… Air kissing?! Looks weird trying to touch each other but can’t… Really weird… With that, Hikaru is gone. Futaba narrates the aftermath. It has been 3 years since that incident. The video evidence posted online was enough for the police to nab Kokoro and even shut down Hagyou Concern. Her father confessed the truth and is out on probation. Min and Moemoe went to the same school while Tooru went to study abroad. Futaba failed her university entrance exam and goes to a local college. However it seems she is going to publish a book of her own about her experiences. After she leaves the temple, she trips down the stairs but a guy that curiously looks like Hikaru catches her.

To Be Friends, To Be Remembered
It feels like a bittersweet ending and also a dilemma for me. It would have totally been a slap in the face had Hikaru really came back alive because of the power of magic (and God’s will) but considering that ghosts do exist in this world, that probability isn’t far off. So yeah, it’s sad that Futaba didn’t get to be with her love but at least she managed to convey her feelings, became stronger and moved forward. But to have her bump into a stranger that looks like Hikaru in the end? Uhm… Up to your discretion on how you want to go about it.

It feels like this season has 2 parts. The first part in the dream world where we try to figure out what the heck is going on. Then halfway point, once we get the gist of what it is, the story then moves back to the real world and that’s where most of the comedy and nonsense are swapped out for some heavy friendship drama thingy. Not that it is a bad thing but looking back from where it started and where it ended, it felt like it has gone on a totally different journey. For example, like as though the clothes power up battle thingy was just a one-off thing instead of something permanent of the series. I guess that ended the hopes of us seeing Futaba in her undies, huh? Yeah, I thought this series was crazy enough to pull off that kind of fanservice since it already has semi-naked babies running around. Damn, they really baited me into thinking that. Or maybe I’m just a pervert. Haha!

But it feels like it makes no sense having this dream world because if this was where Hikaru-kun hang out after he died, why go to all that trouble of lighting up the world and such? And what is this other world supposed to be anyway? It all seems more like a convenient dream anyway for Futaba and then a convenient plot for Hikaru-kun to somehow come to the real world. So if you think back after everything has settled, what really was the importance of that dream world anyway? You don’t hear anymore of it once it got lighted up. I guess all the babies there are doing fine and dandy. Just remember to wear your clothes.

The drama gets heavy after Futaba remembers her forgotten friend. Then it starts to become a coming of age story as well as some sort of romance drama genre as she tries to get her feelings true to the one she loves. And of course with her friends taking down the big bad boss of a big bad corporation. Yeah, huzzah for the power of love and friendship. Cliché and nothing original but at least it was interesting to watch. In fact, during the dream world, flashbacks were heavily infused so it feels like as though we have never left the real world at all. Hence Futaba being in this dream world is just one short moment while the narrative lets us know the bits and pieces that will be put together in the end.

Though it is mind boggling to think how Kokoro has manufactured a drink that everyone drinks except himself. Okay, so maybe he doesn’t drink it himself as he knows better. But still, the thought of making a drug that specifically erases a certain person from everyone’s mind? Man, you have to be that God level to do such a thing. And why in a form of a drink? I suppose you kill 2 birds with a stone because you also get to sell it to them and make money. Thanks for your money. And your memories of a certain kid. Also mind boggling is to think how easily they could manufacture the medicine based on Hikaru’s dad’s notes. If it takes a genius to come up with such great formula, don’t you think it is odd for normal people especially kids to figure it out or even produce it? Oh heck, just f*ck it. We all need to stay true to this series’ title to save the day. What was it again?

Many of the jokes still feel funny especially Hikaru and Oyaji who make up the bulk of it. Some jokes are silly enough but still funny especially when you have Hikaru who is that kind of person who is the sporting kind. In life we always have that one kid in class who is like that, right? As for Oyaji who is mainly being possessed by Hikaru-kun, they didn’t have to resort to crude dad jokes and fart jokes but rather the misconception of an old man trying to hit on a young cute lady. Double that with Min always beating up her father whenever she thinks he is getting horny. As you know, Min already has a rocky relationship with her dad last season. Things got better in the end but now with him chasing after young girls? We hear of child abuse often but not parent abuse.

The main characters are relatable and those you can throw you support behind. It sounds cliché that it teaches you never to give up but if you were in Futaba’s shoes, you’d be confused at first and afraid of taking the first step into the unknown. And it is also a cliché that as long as you do the right thing, even young kids can take down big organizations of big bad adults. Yeah… I want to believe that. Had these events never happened, most probably Futaba would have stayed the same and nothing changed. I’m glad Tooru has a conscience and did not turn out like a splitting mirror image of his father. It would have been no different. Was it because unlike the rift between Tenshin and Kokoro was due to the subtle love triangle between Byakkyou in which the latter ultimately loses out, I didn’t see any similar romance brewing between their children. Hikaru and Futaba are shown closer because the former always teases her. Tooru is mostly seen brooding in the background, unsure if he too harbour secret feelings for her. Perhaps Tooru’s worries are about living up to his father’s expectations, his side of the story we didn’t see.

One of the biggest disappointments pertaining to the characters is the SpiCloth characters. While their existence and appearance sound intriguing, ever since the dream world is freed, they have been side-lined until the final episode that somehow throws aside all the logic how they materialized. I didn’t see anybody taking off any clothes. Probably they existed in Hikaru’s world so when he came down for one last time, all those SpiCloth too. It feels like Futaba entering the dream world for the first was just for this SpiCloth gimmick. Besides, it was also disappointing that the remaining Four Leaders, Juuichi and Bouichi didn’t get their due screen time. Like as though they were just trolling us. Were they trying to surprise us and not follow the pattern of Futaba and Hikaru-kun going around to defeat them? Oh right. Plot twist in Chou Ouji betraying them that somewhat reflected what happened in reality. Maybe I’m to blame myself for expecting to see more SpiCloth characters and they didn’t get any development at all. Some I believe just a few seconds of cameo. They’re just clothes only, right? After all, thinking about it, taking and throwing off your clothes to materialize them to fight is the same as Pokemon trainers doing the same to their Pokemon in battles. On a trivial note, I thought the idea of SpiCloth was taken inspiration from the concept from Kill La Kill (clothes transforming into awesome fighting equipment or battle gear). Only, less superior… Yes, really. Uhm, maybe no overly slutty sexy looking transformed main characters, that’s why.

Noticing the odd number of episodes this series has, I later found out that the original Chinese production has inconsistent running times per episode. Some episodes run as long as 30 minutes while run only half that time. As this series originally streamed on the Chinese website, there was no time restriction but in order to fit into the Japanese airwaves, certain scenes had to be added or cut out to put in that standard 24 minutes running time. Hence some episodes in the Japanese version were actually a combination of 2 episodes of the original Chinese one. Anyhow, I feel they did a good job in the editing because at least I didn’t feel any parts that were disjointed and the flow of the story was smooth.

Well, the art and animation feels… Crappy. I know, just like in To Be Hero, the art style is similar. Because To Be Hero was more like a slapstick comedy, so the horrendous art was somewhat forgivable. I am not saying that this series art really sucks but I thought with all the drama and the pacing of this show, it feels kinda low quality. Sure, they might want to retain this series’ trademark ‘crappy’ art style but being this low quality sometimes have me think that they didn’t put enough effort. Of course you don’t want to stray too much and change the art style until it is totally unrecognizable. Not when you’re going to have the fat ugly Oyaji, right? But I must say that the action parts feel exhilarating because of all the exaggerated special effects so it is not all that bad. It’s fun to see them trade blows and swords especially the final battle with the big bad boss having an insane amount of tag team combo. I was like, “Damn! This old dude still survived this?”. Fun, actually.

To be fair, this is a Chinese production (Haoliners Animation League) so it is reasonable that some dialogues are in Mandarin. I thought it was unique when they had the real world speaking in Mandarin while the other dream world in Japanese. But once the dream world is over, the Mandarin becomes far more blatant. Not that I have anything against the language but somehow it feels like I have been trolled and baited to watch a Mandarin cartoon than Japanese anime! Heck, there was one episode where its entirety is in Mandarin! Hence if you think about it, the Japanese voice acting is far and few in between. After all, the first season was totally in Japanese so I didn’t really expect this to be predominantly Mandarin. Also as I have discovered lately that this series was only given the Japanese ‘dub’ in those scenes when shown over the Japanese airwaves. In its original Chinese format, those Japanese lines are spoken in Mandarin. So I guess I shouldn’t be complaining since there is a bit of the ‘mandatory’ Japanese to make it somewhat anime.

Curiously, Moa Tsukino who was the voice of Min in To Be Hero is now the voice of Futaba in this sequel. I want to say parallel world thingy but since Min exists here too, I guess I can’t. Hence in this season, it is Junko Minagawa (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis) who voices Min or rather Min-chan. It feels a bit wasted that Rie Kugimiya as Juuichi and Sho Hayami as BL only make very short cameos and then are mostly forgotten. For the rest of the other Japanese casts, they are Motoko Kumai as Hikaru-chan (Ginta in MAR), Omi Minami as Chou Ouji (Hyatt in Excel Saga), Nozomu Sasaki as Fubuki (Mello in Death Note), Seira Ryuu as Touichi (Minato in Idol Memories) and Toshihiko Seki as Hanzou (Mousse in Ranma 1/2).

The Chinese casts are Mie Mie as Futaba, Ding Dang as Hikaru, Liu Mingyue as Tooru and Shan Xin as Min. The opening theme, Ray by Passcode is a hard rock but I wonder if it fits the drama theme of this series. At first it does especially for the initial episodes but with the change in pace subsequently, I’m not too sure. I prefer the ending theme, Koibana Renbu by Re-connect as it is quite a catchy piece. Even if it isn’t that techno dance and it sounds more dramatic, it still is nice to hear and dance to it. Even the ending credits animation show the characters doing their Dance Dance Revolution moves like naturals, racking up the combos and points. Neat. Yeah, those killer dance moves are going to give you a real good work out if you’re going to score perfect.

Overall, not a bad sequel and still enjoyable in its own right. It is worthy as a sequel spinoff but could have worked equally as well had they used new characters instead of those from the first season. But more fun with familiar faces of Oyaji and Min around. The story may have deviated from what I expected but the pacing and direction of the story about saving a forgotten friendship and love made it a compelling watch. It all goes to show that you don’t need superhero powers to save the day (or in this case, an ugly dad). It is the important things in your heart that matters that allows you to reach out to greater heights. Be it alien invasion or greedy corrupted corporations, no one will be able to stand in the way of the power of friendship and love!

On a trivial note, come to think of it, clothes and superheroes don’t really go well with each other so it is good that this trope isn’t used often for this season. Classic case of Superman wearing his underwear outside! And I if imagine if Oyaji manages to do the same of turning his clothes into sexy fighters. Would he be making out with them if they turn out to be super hot babes? Making love to your own clothes… Isn’t that the same as otaku losers making out to their dakimakura with a large print of their favourite waifu? Is this considered wardrobe malfunction? After watching this, now I know why guys jerk off into their socks…