Uta-Kata

December 21, 2012

With great powers come great… Argh. Sick of that line already? I know. It was wrong of me to start it with that overused sentence so let me try again. Ahem. Oh, heck. I can’t seem to find the right way to start but anyway if you were bestowed powers from magical deities, would you accept them and use it? At first I thought Uta-Kata was going to be a typical magical girl series. You know. Normal girl gets power, then transforms into a magical girl-type outfit and uses that magic power for something. However as I found out this isn’t your typical magical girl series and you won’t see sparkling bright characters with big sparkling bright eyes and equivalent smile complete with shrieky voice. Instead, the theme is somewhat a little mature and touches lightly on subjects such as abuse and jealousy. Wow. A dark theme. So as we follow the life of this 14 year old girl who over the period of summer experiences this life changing experience. It changes her the more she uses the power. Usually when you get such powers, you should get better gradually, right? What happens if it goes the other way round? Who says being a magical girl is all rosy and cute? Watched too much of such genres maybe.

Episode 1
As narrated, summer always brings back memories of a certain girl for Ichika Tachibana. She remembers a dream of meeting a girl whom she doesn’t know, Manatsu Kuroki. She says they are each other and apologizes for this is farewell. Not that Ichika understood what is going on anyway. On the last day of school before the summer holidays, Ichika narrates herself as a second year student of Kamakura Girls’ School. She makes her way there and meets high school twins, Kai and Sei Toudou who will be her home tutor starting tomorrow. Ichika is grateful for Sei’s handphone charm but he thinks she should throw it away if she doesn’t like it. In class, Ichika spends time cleaning up her school with her friends, Keiko Takamura (nice and friendly daughter of a rich family), Satsuki Takigawa (responsible girl) and Michiru Munakata (expressionless girl with incredible intuition). They are cleaning in a room of an old building when Ichika felt sorry for such a beautiful mirror to be in a sorry state. For that moment, she got spooked and thought she saw Manatsu. Her friends tease her about the mirror. When you stand in front of it, you will see someone else’s reflection. Freaked out? They thought Ichika was trying to scare them back when she mentions she did see somebody. The scaring business is cut short when their teacher calls them for the closing ceremony. After school, the friends hang out together and promise to keep in touch and have fun for the rest of the summer. But Ichika realizes her handphone is missing. She remembers it may have fallen out of her pocket in the room with the mirror when she got spooked. She decides it’s no big deal and decides to return alone to retrieve it. However to her surprise, her handphone is reflected in the mirror but not on the ground in reality! Freaky?! Then she sees Manatsu in the mirror picking it up! As Ichika narrates, it’s the beginning of their destined meeting and separation.

But Manatsu needs her to do a favour and in return will agree to do hers. Ichika doesn’t want to lose that charm so she agrees. Manatsu steps out from the mirror and hands the handphone back to her but Ichika is disheartened that the colours of the stones on the charm are different. Assuring her not to worry, suddenly Ichika is engulfed in light and her clothes turns into a magical girl! Do you believe this is magic? She starts floating and sees a huge deity dude next to her. Manatsu explains he is the Djinn of the Sun. By releasing the power of the Stone of the Sun, she has been granted powers of the sun. Her clothes transformation is proof. The Djinn releases a warm sunlight across the town and this made Ichika ponder does the sun always watch over her town such a way. Next thing she knows, Ichika is back in the room as Manatsu hands her a notebook that she needs to write a report. You see, Manatsu must use up all the 12 stones during the holidays and write her thoughts on the subject. Wait a minute. She’s shoving her homework responsibility to somebody else?! WTF?! Plus, she doesn’t want to do homework since she came to this world to go sightseeing!!! WTF?! Just great. I don’t know how Ichika accepted it. Maybe she had to. Before she knows it, Manatsu introduces herself as Ichika’s pen-pal to her parents and will be staying with her for the rest of the summer. Yeah, they don’t mind and even treat her like one of their own! EEEHHH???!!! Oh, Ichika. Not even the first day of summer holidays and you’ve gotten yourself into something like this. That night when Ichika is asleep, Manatsu pecks her cheek and apologizes for lying.

Episode 2
So looks like it’s up to Ichika to use the stones 11 more times. She asks how the other Djinns are like but you can tell Manatsu herself doesn’t know. Ichika wakes up early for her usual radio exercise at the park and drags sleepyhead Manatsu along. Let’s just say she’s not a morning person. She meets her old friend Maki who introduces her to her boyfriend, Ryou. Ryou seems to take an interest in Ichika and manages to persuade her to exchange email address despite Manatsu’ warning not to give info to strangers (we could all learn something here). Back home, Ichika’s neighbour, the beautiful Saya Kogure passes them. Of course from the way things look and her cameo appearances in certain scenes tells us she is just more than meets the eye. She’s somebody who is watching over the girls. The twins begin their first day to home tutor Ichika. She introduces them to Manatsu and she realizes the one who gave her the important stone. This prompts Ichika to remember how she got them. She saw them near a tree at a park and overheard something about it has been 6 years, it wasn’t Sei’s fault and it was time spent well being free from a spell. Realizing Ichika is around, they mention they are burying time capsules as memories. Sei thought of giving it to her instead and she promised to cherish it. However she fears that promise is broken now and hides the charm. She tells Manatsu that it was supposed to be their secret. So I guess the first day of tutoring didn’t go as planned because Ichika decides to go self study at the library. Let’s just say Manatsu isn’t a library person either… Meanwhile the twins talk and seeing those two together brought back memories of that summer.

While studying alone at the library, Ichika gets mail from Ryou to do something. She chooses to ignore it when Ryou surprises her from the back (he sent that mail since he was close by). Since he’s getting noisy, Ichika has no choice but to leave with him. Outside with Manatsu, Ryou isn’t happy she ignored his mail and that she chose her homework over a friend. What about Manatsu? The cheeky girl notes she’s way cooler than him! Manatsu than lies how she become Manatsu’s pen-pal through the correspondences but Ryou isn’t convinced because Ichika seems like the type of girl who doesn’t talk much. Then it made Ichika realize how much she had lied all this while. She hates liars and worse still, she lied to herself. She wants to leave but Ryou won’t let her as he wants something from her. That just sounds suspicious. Run! Ryou is equally persistent to chase them to a secluded spot and finally grabs Ichika. However Maki is there too (her friend spot Ryou chasing them and called her). Ichika blames her persistent lies that got her into this but Maki isn’t convinced that nothing happened between Ryou and Ichika. She breaks his handphone and doesn’t want to see that two-timer’s face again (flashback shows Ryou was talking about how cute Ichika was right in front of her and her friends! You think she won’t get mad?). Ryou gets rough on her so Maki tells them to run. Ichika thinks they should call somebody for help when Manatsu suggests using the charm. Ichika clothes’ transform once more with the powers of the Djinn of the Moon. Manatsu warns Ryou that with this bright light, somebody will come but Ryou is unfazed. Their saviour turns out to be Kai who is somewhat playing football alone nearby. Ryou thinks he can beat him up but gets kicked in the gut. While squirming in pain, Maki goes to his side and Kai tells him he is a lucky guy that she still likes him. They both get up and leave as Kai advises them not to drag others into their love spat. Later Kai calls Sei to tell him something he never thought possible happened. Ichika and Manatsu go home. Flying. Aren’t they worried people will see them? Anyway Ichika spots Ryou and hears the truth. Ryou thought Maki was mad and wanted Ichika’s help to get her back. Ichika felt relieved.

Episode 3
Ichika and her friends along with Manatsu take a day trip to the beach. Michiru could sense that Manatsu is a mysterious girl. It takes one to know one? The usual fun in the sun but since Michiru’s skin is averse to salt water, she stays put on land to watch their belongings and Ichika accompanies her. After that, Satsuki suggests to get something to eat at the nearby beach house because it is run by her brother. Though they will help him increase his sales, he is short on manpower during lunch hour and no choice has to engage the girls to help out. Meanwhile, Nao Shimizu and her friends arrive at the beach too. When she sees Ichika at the beach house, she decides to go somewhere else. So the reward for the girls helping out is that all the food they eat is on the house. But as Michiru warns about their tummy after all that food, I’m not sure about the rationale of dipping in the ocean. I thought you shouldn’t swim on a full stomach? Only Michiru didn’t have this ‘problem’. Later as they take a walk in the street, they bump into Nao and friends. Ichika knows her because they were classmates during elementary school before she moved away to Tokyo. Though her friends are friendly, Nao warns not to get too close because they’re from a famous rich girl’s school. This statement doesn’t sit well with Satsuki so she thinks she is jealous she wanted to get into their school and failed because she didn’t see her face during the entrance exam. But Ichika corrects her she was accepted instead but urgent matters at home had her suddenly moved to Tokyo. Nao continues to mock this school and leaves with her friends.

While she is floating in the ocean, thinking back about the heart breaking moment she had to move just when she told her dad about her acceptance. Suddenly her leg got cramped and she risked being drowned if not for Ichika and her friends coming to her rescue. Seems it was Saya who pulled the prank because as she mentions, ‘interfering with the one taking the exam is against the rules’. On shore, Ichika realizes her father’s waterproof watch she borrowed is missing. Nao sounds upset because she thought it was like her fault so she says she’ll compensate for it. But Satsuki’s brother points out it’s not an ordinary watch. It costs thousands! So they go diving to find the watch even if it’s way after swimming hours. Ichika and Manatsu get a little distance from the rest so Ichika could use the stone to transform and seek the Djinn of the Earth’s help to locate the watch at the bottom of the ocean. Ichika spots the watch but is out of breath. She won’t let the watch slip back into the sand again and swims towards it. Can she hold her breath that long? In the end, she manages to get the watch although she needs to catch lots of air. Despite all the drama, Nao says she won’t apologize because it’s her fault for wearing something expensive. Satsuki wanted to give her a piece of her mind but Ichika wants bygones to be bygones. So everybody left with some having bitter feelings lingering. Satsuki and her brother talk about their mother and the other man whom they wished he’d just die. Few days later when Ichika is back home, she receives a thank you and apology letter from Nao.

Episode 4
While Sei is tutoring Ichika, she gets spooked by the noise of the barking dog. When Sei explains this neighbourhood is old enough to have its own ghost stories, she starts thinking Manatsu may be a ghost. She did come true the mirror, right? But Manatsu gets freaked out when she hears a tap on the window. Ghost? Poltergeist? Just a bug attracted to the light. Ichika’s mom arranges her daughter as well as Manatsu to do on an outdoor study camp. Seeing Manatsu very lively, Ichika thought she is a ghost of a suicide victim and thus a ghost so Manatsu sets the record straight she isn’t. Part of the camp has the girls split into groups and clean up the dorm they’ll be staying. While Ichika and Michiru diligently clean their room, Tomoko and Yuka laze around while noting how serious Ichika is. The teacher walks in to find the place still not cleaned but compliments Ichika for her hard work. She has them stop what they’re doing since it’s study time. Manatsu thought she could just supervise everyone doing supplementary homework (because she’s not a student of their school) but the teacher isn’t going to discriminate and gives her some. Haha. Ichika feels down because this isn’t the kind of memories she wants to make. So she leaves halfway to finish her cleaning job while Tomoka’s words of her being serious ring in her head. Even doing extracurricular activities, there is this gloom over Ichika’s face. Who could blame her? The pond is so muddy and who would really enjoy the boat ride. A couple of high school boys hit on Tomoka and Yuka.

That night, the teacher arranges Ichika and Michiru to be part of the kimodameshi (test of courage). Michiru can see things, right? Can she? Tomoka notes how boring this activity is without boys and decides to go meet her new boyfriend while Yuka agrees to cover for her. As she waits at the designated place, suddenly somebody pushes her down the ravine. Guess who? Her boyfriend comes by but Tomoka didn’t want him to see her in a messy state and keeps quiet till he leaves. Keiko and Satsuki are paired together in the event and Keiko is just like a scaredy cat. Screaming all the way! This doesn’t sit too well with Manatsu. You can just tell she’s another ‘easy victim’ by the way she is reacting and hugging all over Yuka. But at least this dispels the fact for Ichika that Manatsu is a ghost. When it’s over and bed time, Ichika realizes Tomoka isn’t back yet so Yuka spills the beans and makes her promise not to tell the teacher. However Ichika still has this bad feeling. Meanwhile it is raining and Tomoka can’t climb herself out of the ravine because it is slippery and the mud is rising. Soon Ichika’s heart can’t sit still so she and Manatsu go out in the rain to find her. Ichika can’t ask the teacher for help since she promised not to tell so she uses the stone to summon the Djinn of the Water to help her locate Tomoka. Once she finds her, together with Manatsu they pull her up and back to the safety of their dorm. That night, Tomoka thanks Ichika because her seriousness saved her. She hopes she won’t tell the teacher what happened. Ichika notes how she has been lying more and more since summer started and didn’t realize Manatsu’s heart crying.

Episode 5
Ever since Ichika got home, she can’t helped be bothered that whenever she uses the Djinn’s power, she also receives their sight powers. Of course useless Manatsu doesn’t know a thing. So Kai had to cheer her up by hinting something sight and light. Even the smallest light may reveal a solution. When Kai leaves, he is surprised to see Saya watching from her window. So he returns to tell Sei about it and yep, from the way they react, it’s something worrying. For tonight’s fireworks, Ichika lends Manatsu her yukata. Then they meet up with their friends and head to the beach. Won’t their yukatas get wet and messed up if they play in the salty sea water? Then Satsuki bumps into an old elementary friend of hers, Nozomu and his friend. Satsuki and Nozomu uneasy together… Could it be? So they visit the beach house but Satsuki asserts they are customers. Big brother thinks Satsuki has got a boyfriend but she vehemently denies. Even so, big brother is supporting her from behind to go for it. To kill time before the fireworks, the gang get properly dressed to play in the sea this time. We see Nozomu stealing glances and Satsuki she’s not her usual energetic self. The time for the fireworks closes in and the place is packed with people. Nozomu and Satsuki go buy refreshments. Nozomu wants to talk to Satsuki and hopes she would wait at a certain place after he finishes buying. However when Keiko comes into the picture, Nozomu takes her hand away to talk. Satsuki got tired of waiting and returns to her friends but finds out Nozomu and Keiko haven’t return yet and decides to go look for them. The fireworks are going to start… Ichika is also unsettled so with Manatsu she goes to look for her friends. I guess this only leaves Michiru and Nozomu’s friend, eh? As the fireworks begin, Ichika and Manatsu go under a bridge. Because it’s the best place without people seeing her using the stone power. With the Djinn of Fire’s help, Ichika hopes he could provide his sight to find her friends. Ichika sees Satsuki walking along the street. Straight ahead, they see something shocking. Nozomu confessing he likes Keiko and they both are kissing! When Ichika and Manatsu return and meet Satsuki, the latter tries to put up a strong act and brush everything aside. Eventually it’s better to let all her tears and frustrations out with a cry. Bringing her back to her friends, Ichika sees Kai and Sei so Satsuki wants Ichika to promise not to tell anyone she cried. Satsuki puts up a convincing performance that she never shed tears in the first place. Ichika realizes that even though with such sight, she couldn’t change anything or help anyone. When Keiko returns to her friends, they act as usual. Ichika narrates that despite borrowing the Djinn’s ability to see, she didn’t realize she was also being watched by others. Guess who?

Episode 6
Ichika does Manatsu’s homework regarding the Djinns. However Manatsu wonders if they are her true impressions since they felt somewhat forced. Ichika knows better that ever since she borrowed the Djinns’ powers, it became a painful experience for her and didn’t write it down. As Ichika and Manatsu return from the library, they spot Sei talking to Saya at a shrine. Ichika is shocked seeing them together as she tries to strain her ear on their conversation. Seems Saya mentions that they have nothing to do with each other. Because 6 years ago Sei already gave his answer. Rather, he did couldn’t answer. Sei knew he was wrong but she could’ve asked him directly. Manatsu feels they need to go but Ichika’s necklace gets stuck in the fence. Oh no. The rustling has attracted their attention. Quick! In her haste to run away, the necklace breaks as the beads scatter on the ground. Sei won’t let Saya leave but she warns him anything more will be considered breaking the rules. It starts to rain as the girls take shelter nearby. Ichika is confused why she ran away and more worried about Sei and Saya. Manatsu suggests using the stone. What?! So fast? After the transformation, Ichika finds herself way above the clouds and next to the Djinn of the Sky. It made her realize the sun never went away and soon the rain clears up and brings a smile to her face. Soon Ichika gets a cold and Manatsu stays by her side till she falls asleep. Ichika wakes up to clean her sweat when the doorbell rings. Sleepyhead Manatsu gets up to answer the door not knowing Ichika is naked in the room! It is Sei and he is here to pay Ichika a visit. Gosh. What to do now? When Manatsu brings Sei to Ichika’s room, the ill girl is in bed pretending to be still asleep. Yeah, she’s naked underneath the blanket. Hope nobody pulls it away. But why does Ichika have this dream of confronting Sei about his relation with Saya, naked herself? At least dream with some clothes on! Of course in reality she dare not ask such question. Sei puts his forehead on Ichika’s to check but she feels how cold his is and despite how close they are, felt he was distant. But I guess Sei knows what’s going on because he sees tears welling up her eyes. Before he leaves, he hands a present he got for Ichika to Manatsu. Later when Manatsu learns about her nudity underneath the sheets, she apologizes profusely. Wanting to know what present he got, Manatsu opens the package to see the necklace nicely stringed together. Oh dear. I guess this says it all. He knew she was there. Ichika felt so embarrassed she starts hiding underneath her blanket. She felt she wanted to run away but at that time, she was already unable to do so. Meanwhile Saya continues to keep watch from her home. Empty home. No furniture, no nothing!

Episode 7
Sei can’t believe how close Saya has been to Ichika. He blames himself for everything and doesn’t want Ichika to feel the way he does. Well, Kai thinks it’s himself who should take the blame. Now Manatsu is sick as Ichika nurses her. The doctor is called over but can the treatment have effect for the girl from the mirror? Well, the doctor didn’t find anything unusual except for the usual cold. Before the doctor leaves, Ichika asks about the sickness that involves eyes glowing in the dark. Of course he gives the scientific explanation about the pupils expanding, bla, bla, bla. He also has the romantic explanation that she may like somebody. Haha! Does she? Hmm… But it seems the eye glowing thingy is real because in her dark room, Ichika’s eyes are glowing red! She’s like a vampire! She feels ashamed of wanting to put the blame on Manatsu and breaks down. At that point, she felt she was slowly changing ever since she met Manatsu. She is afraid this unstoppable transformation would take over her. Next day, Manatsu gets better. While Ichika hangs the clothes to dry, she spots Saya in her house and thoughts of her and Sei floods her mind. It’s that gloomy feeling again. In her room, she opens an orgel that contains a pair of earrings her grandma gave to her. She was told to wear it when she’s older. Putting it on for size, she feels it doesn’t fit her. Guess who is she comparing her beauty with? Sei comes to tutor her that night and because Ichika notices him staring at Saya’s house direction, her heart becomes disturbed. Sei tries to change the subject by complimenting her earrings but she got embarrassed and rips them off. Thank goodness her ear didn’t rip off. Though, it hurts. Ouch. It becomes a little awkward for them then. As Sei leaves, he’ll take back the earring for Kai to fix and will give it back to her tomorrow. Ichika requests Kai to come tutor in the afternoon. She can’t say her reasons but it’s a time when Saya is out for work. Or so she thinks.

Next day, Ichika notices Saya has not left her house at all so with Kai arriving, she hopes to change the tutoring place to the library. But Kai doesn’t head there. Instead, he takes the girls to the park for the tutor. He too has his own reports to finish. It is then Ichika reveals to him she likes Sei. Kai also says he likes Sei too! OMG! Is he joking? Well, Ichika’s laughing. Kai hopes she could keep this a secret too. When Ichika says Kai is a bit like Manatsu, that girl strongly denies he is anything alike. Suddenly strong gusts of wind blow their report away. Ichika wants to go look for them (is Kai crazy wanting to write the entire report again?!) but Kai notices Ichika’s eyes glowing red. At a secluded spot, Ichika summons the Djinn of the Wind to help her retrieve the papers. Manatsu assures her whenever she is in this mode, people can’t see her. So this explains why she’s flying in the sky and nobody notices her. As she is collecting the papers, she spots Saya on the streets. Her heart starts beating harder so much so it causes a very strong wind but falls short to be classified as a mini hurricane. It blows Saya into a path of an oncoming car! Oh no! Ichika realizes what she is doing and changes the wind’s direction. Thankfully, nobody died. Ichika shivers at the thought she had done. She felt guilty and vows never to use the Djinn’s power again. Meanwhile, in Saya’s house it isn’t all that empty. At least she has a telephone. And she’s speaking to somebody that everything is going according to plan as instructed and that, that girl can no longer turn back.

Episode 8
Ichika seems to be acting distant. Her parents hope Manatsu can take care of her since this is her last summer here. Manatsu assures she has loved Ichika since then and will not betray her. When Ichika mentions that she wants to stop using the Djinn’s powers, Manatsu is okay with it. Really? As long as she doesn’t want the charm to return to normal. There’s that guilt trip again. Yeah. Since she got it from Sei, it’ll be hard for her not to cherish it. She takes back her words. Ichika dreams that dream again. The one with Manatsu and she always forgets when she wakes up. This time Manatsu’s words become clearer. We hear her apologizing because she’s going to kill Ichika! Or rather… Ichika strangling her?! Ichika meets her friends at school since they’ll be going to the hospital for volunteer work. They see the old building in the midst of demolition. At the hospital as the girls deliver their handmade wreaths, Ichika is about to hand hers to Mitsuki Shirasaka, a patient whom the nurse described as someone with amnesia. Nurses should be patient, understanding and caring like her despite Mitsuki throwing a fit. After giving her the wreath, Mitsuki gets upset that this aren’t flowers despite the wreath being made from dried flowers. In her fit, she bangs and destroys the wreath. The last straw comes when she calls them garbage. This is when something possessed Ichika and her hatred took over. She is going to use the Djinn’s powers and oblige Mitsuki’s wish of dying being surrounded by flowers. Deep down, the real Ichika cannot control her body but only watch helplessly as the event unfolds, her body moving by her own. Calling for the Djinn of Flowers, a whirlwind of petals fill the room, much to senile Mitsuki’s delight. Suddenly she starts suffocating as Ichika finally takes control of her body and stops everything. The nurse is called and Mitsuki starts calling her sister’s name, Shiho. As explained, Mitsuki loves flowers but was diagnosed with some allergy which led to an extreme case of hay fever. Because of the shock of not being able to continue running a flower shop, she tried to commit suicide several times and during an attempt she lost her memories including her sister. So when she called her then, it was as if she regained her memories and there was an air of happiness on her face. Shiho brushes her sight of dancing petals off as her delusion of flowers. So how can someone who loves flowers but allergic to it continue to live with flowers? Have fakes! Ichika doesn’t return home but to the old building to the school. She finds the mirror missing and breaks down as she realizes how she tried to blame Manatsu and a horrible girl she is. That night, Manatsu feels sick and despite receiving words of encouragement of Sei, she felt she doesn’t know what to believe in anymore and began to distrust herself. The mail was actually was sent by Kai and although he clearly knows this is breaking the rule, he is fully prepared to face any consequences. And did that mirror Manatsu came out from is with Saya?

Episode 9
Ichika continues to vomit and feel sickly. She receives mail from Keiko suggesting to go to Enoshima together. Ichika thinks of going and hopes Manatsu will come and keep an eye on her. But Manatsu says not to look at her with those eyes. Although she came out from a mirror and may be a weird person, she still wants to be her friend even if it’s only for this summer. Ichika realizes that Manatsu was hiding things from her just like she is to her. Next day with the friends taking a train trip to Enoshima, they spot a young boy and girl holding hands. Michiru points out it’s her little sister Rui and she saved up so she could go on this trip today with Yousuke. Not wanting to be a family spectator, Michiru gets off the next stop and goes home. When she alights, she sees Ichika’s eyes glowing red and hopes she’s just seeing things. During the journey, Keiko mentions Nozomu had never called her or replied her mails. So you can say it’s somewhat over between them. She wonders if it’s her family background or herself. Satsuki tries to cheer her up that kids are always being dragged around by one-sided adults. This also shortly reminded her of her own tragic past. At Enoshima, I’m not sure if the girls are following Rui and Yousuke on purpose but they’re enjoying the sightseeing too. Sei arrives at Enoshima on his bike and hopes he isn’t too late. Well, guess. If Saya’s there too… At the lover’s bell, a board where couples write their names on the lock and put it here, they see a lock that has Nozomu’s name. And another girl, Minami. It can’t be him, right? How many Nozomus are there in this world? Then the Nozomu we all know pops into the scene with his girlfriend. So it’s true then. Happy-happy aren’t they? Then he sees Ichika. Oh sh*t. He takes Minami and leave but Satsuki slaps him! Not wanting to cause a scene, he takes his girl and leaves.

While the girls take a break, Keiko reveals the mail to Enoshima was wrongly sent by Nozomu. Since she was scared to ascertain it herself, she called her friends. Though she admits she feels relieved now, Ichika could suddenly hear Keiko’s inner voice. She is crying her heart out. Ichika couldn’t take any more of it and runs away. As Saya notes, she no longer has no control over her sight, but her other senses as well. This means the stone starts activating by itself even if Ichika doesn’t want to use it. With the Djinn of Thunder, the lightning strike causes not only blackout to the entire area but anything electronic stops functioning. Ichika thought that bond between people shouldn’t be connected by artificial tools. How about that grandpa with the pacemaker then? Meanwhile Keiko takes this opportunity to cry in the dark. Satsuki also cries along with her after remembering her very abusive father. Ichika sees Rui and Yousuke and the boy feels sad to part with her because he will be changing schools. Ichika finally regains control over herself and the power comes back on. Of course it’s already too late by the time Sei arrives. Seeing her eyes are still red, Sei gives her sunglasses to cover them up. Saya notes how he cheated but it’s still within the rules. I don’t know how far Ichika’s home is but they walk all the way back from Enoshima?! Isn’t Sei tired of pushing his bike? Ichika is still in shock, scared of herself and thus unable to believe. Sei thinks it’s time to tell her the truth.

Episode 10
Suddenly Sei is whisked away by Saya. Sei isn’t happy Saya is going to do the same thing to Ichika what she did to him 6 years ago. Saya says Ichika has taken in 9 Djinns’ power and 7 of them were for experience trial. All that’s left is to watch and see what path she chooses. As penalty, Sei is turned into stone and will only ‘wake up’ once Ichika chooses in the end. What’s this? Kai is Saya’s accomplice? Ichika’s heart continues to waver. One rainy day she goes out to the cliffs with intention to dispose the stone. But as she throws it away, the stone returns to her. Damn. Can’t even get rid of it. There’s only one way left. Is it? Why is Ichika standing on the edge of the cliff? No! Don’t do it! Manatsu’s call startles her and she slips off. What the? Manatsu manages to grab her and they pull each other back up. Taking a breather, Manatsu admits she is not human. Erm… Tell me something that would surprise me, please? Because if she was human, she would’ve been something else. Eh? Say what? She doesn’t want Ichika to die and if somebody had to die, it should be her. That’s why she shouldn’t kill and lose herself. Ichika hugs her. Back home, Ichika faces reality that with 3 more powers, everything will be over. She has decided not to run away anymore. Maybe she wants to end it faster because food now tastes bitter. The family takes a drive to the graves to deliver flowers. Ichika can’t contact Michiru since there is no signal and vice versa. Michiru thinks it’s bad timing. As for Rui, she cheers her up that though Yousuke will be transferring, no matter how far apart and as long as they want to see each other, they’ll definitely meet again some time. The parents talk to the priest and upon learning Ichika will soon be 14 years old, he notes it has been 16 years since that dream. The dream whereby the other child is the child that came from their dream. Eh? What? Flashback reveals grandma came here with the couple to pray for a healthy child. She also mentioned about their strange dream. In that dream, the parents met a faceless Manatsu. Suppose she gives birth to a child and if that child grows up and brings a friend over in summer, will they treat her as one of their own? They promise to do so. And so Ichika was born. Hmm… Maybe that’s why when Manatsu came to stay, they welcomed her with open arms. Ichika has heard the conversation and can’t think that the various things that happened this summer were scheduled by someone before her birth. She starts remembering a somewhat similar dream.

Ichika wants to talk to Manatsu and asks if she is her ally. But Manatsu though she doesn’t want to lie anymore but the rules have it that she can only be her guide and not her ally. If she breaks the rules, she won’t see Ichika anymore. But Manatsu can’t answer Ichika’s question and was instantly rebuked that she’s lying. Suddenly the stone activates the Djinn of Darkness. Using the spirits of the dead, Manatsu fears she may be too late because all the ghosts of the graves are appearing. Thriller? Oh, sorry. Those were zombies. Anyway Manatsu sees Ichika’s grandma and her dog. To her surprise, they are friendly and smile before disappearing. When everything returns to normal, Manatsu thought she would’ve abused the Djinn’s power. Ichika replies it was because she made a promise on that day they first met. No matter how small things are, they shouldn’t lie about important things. Eh? Unless all that has happened weren’t important or what they said weren’t lies… Ichika feels she has always ran away and lied and this time she decided to stand up and fight. Manatsu notes how strong she has become. Back home, Ichika tries to call Sei for the change in tutor schedule but he’s not picking up. Sand people can’t pick up their phones. But Kai picks it up on his behalf and lies he got accepted to a university seminar. Then he quickly hangs up citing he is busy. Saya notes they will soon find out if she will have the same results but Kai remarks everyone is different. Though Ichika felt she has learnt the real Manatsu for the first time, there is little time left before the day of their parting.

Episode 11
This time Ichika has a different dream. Manatsu and bubbles? And herself? She thinks it’s a dream made from her heart and Manatsu’s thoughts. There is 1 week left before Ichika’s family will move to Milan, Italy and they’re already starting to pack things. Ichika wonders what happened to Sei ever since he suddenly vanished that day. She fears she can’t properly say goodbye to him. She gets a call from Satsuki to come to the pool right now. Well, she doesn’t have other plans, does she? Thanks to Keiko’s ‘connections’, be glad they’ll be spending time at the hotel’s pool. Otherwise they’d be cramming with the crowd at the public pool. Since it’s not the sea water, Michiru can take a dip so Keiko asks since she can see things, do sea monsters and ghosts exist. Let’s say Michiru is pretty ambiguous with her answer but enough to send the girls shrieking. This prompts Ichika to ponder how Michiru sees Manatsu. Meanwhile Kai also reminisces about the old times. He too came through the mirror and into Sei’s life. They did so many things together and Sei also underwent all those transformations with the Djinns’ power. When it was time, Saya wanted him to decide but he couldn’t. Since that sort of answer was against the rules, she considered the test as a failure and was about to give punishment when Kai came in between. Kai realized he had only been inflicting pain on him all the while. Michiru talks to Ichika and wants to confirm if she’s the Ichika they know because she has changed ever since Manatsu came. Ichika’s heart starts beating faster and faster but the tension is interrupted when their friends pull a prank on them.

Later Michiru talks to Ichika again and should at least tell each other about their troubles. Manatsu is worried because spilling the truth would be against the rules. Ichika then tells her she is moving away and didn’t tell them because she wanted to spend her last summer like normal and didn’t want to worry them. But this doesn’t surprise Michiru. Their teacher already told them before the summer vacation. However Michiru knows this is not what is worrying her. What’s she talking about? The outage at Enoshima ring a bell? She thinks Manatsu is dragging her deeper into trouble. Suddenly Ichika’s stone activate and she makes a run for it. The Djinn of the Ocean materializes and sends a huge tsunami hurtling towards land. Everyone panics to escape but the girls know they won’t make it in time and accepts their fate. Just watch the ‘beautiful’ scenery, eh? Ichika tries to stop the tsunami. Does tsunami have ears? Because if they do, I’m sure it would stop if she tells it to. Then she gets swallowed. Duh. Manatsu wants to use her powers to save her but Saya says that is against the rules. Screw that! I’m not sure what Manatsu did but it was painful as hell because she’s screaming. The tsunami disappears and Saya turns Manatsu unconscious. Ichika and Michiru help bring Manatsu back when Ichika spots Saya. Michiru asks if she knows that woman because she gets the same feeling as with Manatsu. Furthermore, she is gradually getting that same feeling from Ichika. While walking along, Ichika collapses.

Episode 12
After helping Ichika put Manatsu back in bed, she leaves. After that, Ichika goes over to Saya house. Inside, she is surprised to see the mirror but as Saya says it belonged to her. Ichika wants to know who she really is because she remembers this house was empty and for sale up till summer vacation. She must have deceived her with an illusion that she had always been living here. It was to show her a few things. For starters, Sei in stone form. Ichika blames herself for this outcome but Kai says he is the one to blame. He has also brought Manatsu here as instructed. Saya says Kai and Manatsu are her ‘children’ and do what they are told but Manatsu says when they’re in human form, they are themselves. Saya metes out her punishment to Manatsu by slamming her to the wall. That’s it? As Ichika is being crucified on the mirror, Saya explains Sei and Ichika were given the fate of being a test case for the human race. Say what? Because of children’s innocence and adults with impure heart, that’s why 14 year olds are chosen because they are in between the transition. They are shown through the eyes of the Djinns how they feel and what the world looks in their eyes. Because humans are such vague existences, the 7 virtues said to be the beauty of the mind and soul, when inverted can be the 7 deadly sins. Love becomes resentment, pride becomes temperance, devotion turns to neglect, honesty becomes lies, reason and passion become foolishness and lust, wisdom turns to deception, sense of balance and moderation becomes overindulgence and self denial. Saya mentions she became worse than Sei and ended up hating the human race and herself. And thus the choice that needs to be made: Eliminate the human race or herself. Because the mirror reflects the world, people and beautiful things, Saya will be today’s Djinn and will reflect the truth.

Saya wants Ichika to choose, the choice that Sei couldn’t choose 6 years ago. The penalty was death but Kai went against her instructions and pleaded for his life to be spared. Kai’s penalty was that he will age and die like a human but he is okay with it. But in turn, Sei must give a part of his life, something that Sei agreed to. So what is Ichika’s choice going to be? Thinking back about Michiru’s words before she left how everyone loves her and would like to love Manatsu, Ichika is ready to give her answer. She will choose NEITHER. Eh? Isn’t that the same as unable to choose? You see, no doubt there are people she likes and hates and things about herself she loves and disgusts, she wants to live so that she can change. There is no point if she’s dead, right? She thinks this is what everybody wants too because they want to know about oneself day after day as one’s current self and the world isn’t everything. Though Saya understands her feelings, however by being unable to choose, she has broken the rules and there will be a penalty. Manatsu tries to stop Saya but was flung away. I don’t know how but Sei was strong enough to break out from his stone mode and take the stab of Saya’s scythe. It’s not so bad since it’s just his palm, right? Or is it? Sei wants Saya to kill him instead since he was the one being tested in the first place but Saya says his punishment was decided 6 years ago. Ichika then strengthens her mind and believes all is a lie, there is no pain. It doesn’t hurt. She gets herself out from her crucifix and pulls the scythe away from Sei’s hand before licking the bloodied palm. When the scythe stabs Ichika’s chest, it absorbs her blood. Saya says humans are foolish because they spill blood over meaningless things.

Kai rebukes that she is also a spirit of the mirror just like them and should know better that the human form they take on have strong hearts. Manatsu also believes in that and questions the importance of a mirror’s truth. She believes in Ichika that people can change over time. Manatsu returns the blood on the scythe to Ichika. Kai is going to give back what he had been keeping for Sei. Then a yaoi moment because Kai kisses Sei! OMG! Kai turns into a mirror shard. Manatsu is also going to do the same to Ichika but the latter doesn’t want to. Manatsu assures her it is all just a dream and she’ll forget everything once she wakes up. Now it’s for yuri moment. Manatsu kisses her and also turns into a mirror shard. Of course Ichika knows that this isn’t a dream and what she is experiencing now is just a dream and soon passes out. Saya retrieves the stone and makes the call. She apologizes that the results were unsatisfying but on the contrary, the guy is okay with it. In fact, he is happy with the outcome of Ichika’s half answer. Because to deny one’s own death is the same as denying yourself. He also calls Saya a ‘liar’ because even if a mirror never shows the truth, there is nothing more uncontrolled than a distorted mirror. This is the reason why Saya wants to search for the truth in the illusion. So the next step now is the find the next one. Ichika and Sei wake up the next morning in the empty house. In the aftermath, Ichika prepares to go to school with her friends. Her father has left for Italy but Ichika doesn’t need to go and stays back. She narrates about the memories of a girl who disappeared along with summer and wonders if this life is entirely hers. She is still keeping the mirror shard in her drawer. As they are always being watched and tested by nature and the world, if they can love themselves they see as reflections in mirrors, they’ll definitely be alright. Elsewhere a little girl is reading Snow White and didn’t like how because of the mirror’s truth, the parent and child are fighting. Saya is watching her and thinks of showing it to her. Here we go all over again.

Episode 13 (OVA)
Half a year later as Ichika goes out with her friends, they mention they think saw Manatsu and thinks of calling her to have fun together. But Ichika knows better that she disappeared during summer. Later Ichika sees her mother off at the airport since she is going to Italy to be with her father. Ichika assures her she’ll be alright by herself. This scene prompts her to remember how she also saw Sei off as he went to Germany to study abroad. He also has Kai’s shard and brought it along with him. When she returns, she sees Michiru in front of her house. She mentions that she too confirmed seeing Manatsu and lost sight of her. Rather, it may be she’s trying not to let her see her. Ichika is worried what Manatsu was doing for a week then. Ichika returns home, she is shocked to see her shard missing. Meanwhile over in Germany, Sei is out in town and loses his scarf to the wind but surprisingly Kai picks it up. He’s back! As they spend time together, Kai says he can’t stay forever and that it’s time to say goodbye. Ichika rushes out to the empty house next door but finds the door locked. Then she sees Manatsu before her. However she claims she is Manatsu’s twin sister, Mafuyu and thanks Ichika for looking after her. Too bad Ichika could see through that lie and knows she is Manatsu herself. While they are bathing together, Manatsu apologizes and answers Ichika’s question about her friends seeing her is that she was just pretending and a warm up. She also mentions that she was around Ichika all the time but only because normal people couldn’t see her. So Ichika was worried over nothing, eh? After reminiscing the times they met and the times they’ve been through, when it starts snowing they go out and play in the snow. Ichika receives mail from her friends wishing her happy birthday.

As Ichika and Manatsu are having coffee, Manatsu tells the heart breaking news that she is here to say goodbye. This doesn’t surprise Ichika because she knows this is coming. Her shard is missing and that her return was to give a proper farewell. She’ll be alright because they’ve always been together. They emotionally hug and wish goodbye. Ichika suddenly feels sleepy so Saya appears here to pick her up. She thinks Manatsu should at least say farewell with a smile even if it’s a lie. But Manatsu thinks that will be against the rules so Saya counters that mentioning a white lie. I guess there’s always a way round when you’re an adult. Manatsu gives Ichika a peck on the cheek and disappears. It’s goodbye for real. In the world of mirrors, Kai and Manatsu’s shard return to be one as the mirror. Next day, Ichika wakes up and Manatsu is gone for good. Ichika’s friends celebrate her birthday at her home. Ichika receives mail from Sei wishing her happy birthday. She is delighted to see a picture he sent of himself and Kai. He too is glad to see a picture of Ichika and Manatsu together. Spring arrives and Ichika is now a third year student. She narrates about meetings and partings, how they’re growing up and understand better of each other.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall…
So the end forever? Well, I’m sure if Ichika and Manatsu can’t continue to be together, at least she has the memories of the time spent with her to get by. For Ichika, the summer must be a very valuable lesson for her because she changed to a different person. From a polite, reserved and honest girl, she suddenly starts to lie and hide about things, something she is uncomfortable with but for reasons that she fears others might get into trouble or offended if she did. That’s nice of her but it proves detrimental because it’s like making a mountain out of a molehill. When you start lying, there is always this snowball effect and it gets bigger and bigger till it is out of control. Ichika becomes emotionally unstable to the point she begins to distrust and hate herself. But because of Manatsu and her friends’ support, Ichika eventually realized that running away isn’t the answer. She realized that she has to stand up and face what is coming. Only then she will know what true freedom is. Unlike a mirror that reflects exactly what you see in it, Manatsu seems to be like the opposite of Ichika.  She is carefree and outgoing and the perfect person to complement Ichika. After all, they are each other’s half although Manatsu is just a mirror’s shard. In the end Manatsu too realized the importance of being Ichika’s friend is. Screw whatever rules and tests because you can’t simply make or buy friendship overnight. During the time Ichika was sick, I thought she was going through her period! I mean she’s showing signs and symptoms of it, right? Vomiting, mood swings, lethargic. All too familiar…

Speaking of Saya, I find it hard to believe that she decides to use a single 14 year old as her test subject for mankind. I mean, it’s like jumping to conclusion for everything after just testing a very small and limited sample. That would be unfair, right? What if she had picked a bad apple? He or she may have a screw loose in the head and wishes for world destruction. Would Saya happily oblige by that decision? More importantly, would that be fair to the other people who are innocent and pure hearted and have nothing to do with it all? Thank goodness she didn’t meet Hitler. Oh, I’m not sure if his mind has already descended into evil when he was 14 years old. I know Saya is giving off this mysterious aura because she’s always there watching you wherever you are but she always speaks of breaking or not within the rules but doesn’t really explain what they are. I believe you’re supposed to guess but I’m too dumb for that. From what I understand is that those mirror shards are supposed to guide their subjects in making their decision of destroying themselves or the world without them knowing their true nature or purpose and also without interfering that would lead them to discover so. Unless every rule breaking warning is in reference to the discovery of their true purpose. Of course there are always loopholes to exploit. But really, who is this Saya person anyway? What gives her the right to pass judgment when one makes or refuses to decide? And who is this mysterious person on the other end of the phone? I hope he is not God. If this is how mankind is supposed to be tested, I can’t imagine how Judgment Day will be like. It just doesn’t feel right that mankind is judged on the whimsical of a 14 year old.

As for Ichika’s friends, they play good supporting role to Ichika but not for the series I feel. Sure, they are minor roles but that’s about it. After getting short interesting flashbacks of Satsuki’s abusive father and the kind of wealthy and protected family Keiko hails from, I thought there would be an episode to delve deeper in their troubles. Then maybe we see how Ichika uses the power of the Djinns to help them overcome them. Guess not. Michiru is also a mystery herself the way she speaks and the ability to see things. Whether this is true or not (because Michiru doesn’t agree or oppose this fact) there are hints that indicate she can tell changes that are happening to Ichika. Or maybe if you’re close to her for so long, you can tell if your friend changes bit by bit. I also thought that she would play a role in the revelation whatsoever. But she’s just like the rest of the friends playing spectator that’s all. Perhaps Michiru knows too well that Ichika should solve this by herself and not get too deep. Only provide a helping hand when really needed. The other minor characters are also something that is left to be desired. For example Nao’s case. So she had her circumstances, left bitter and eventually wrote Ichika an apology letter, so what? Maki and Ryou? Last time we see them, they’re still together. Satsuki’s brother? The siblings did bring up talk about their family but it ended just there. Nozomu? He moved on to another girl. Rui? Long distance relationship for the little ones. Mitsuki? She continues to be a nut case. Most of these little stories are interesting and could be better if they are expanded a little. But I guess we’re more focused on Ichika instead.

As you may have guessed the series tries to address to us about the negative deeds that human can do. From the basics of lying to self denial. Although the negative aspects are what makes us human and interesting, of course too much is never a good thing. Duh. As humans, you need to have the right balance and mix of good and bad traits. Being too good can be harmful too. For instance, you give all your money to those in need and none for yourself. What happens to you? Dead, right? For Ichika to realize her habit of lying is good but she needs to do something about it before it becomes too late. I just don’t understand what was it that possessed her to use the Djinns’ power. Maybe it is her dark side taking over? Well, everybody has that side. So maybe even if she is conscious of what her body is doing on her own, she can’t do anything to stop it because the darkness of her heart is too great or overwhelming to come to a halt that giving oral orders won’t suffice.

There are a few things that I didn’t understand. For example why did Sei give Ichika his charm? I’m sure he fully knows the torment he went through so why pass it to Ichika in the first place? Of course at that point he didn’t know Saya was living close to her but really, if that stone brings back bad memories, why shove it to somebody else? Besides, why was he keeping it for 6 years before finally deciding to bury it? Assuming that Ichika is Saya’s next subject after Sei, what was she doing in between for 6 years? I believe that she may be going around the world to test other kids but from their conversation, I understood that there were no other subjects in between them. So yeah. Why the big gap there? Okay, so assume that there are others in between, then I could only conclude that the other kids have made the choice to eliminate themselves (how noble) or an answer that was neither. That’s because mankind is still around and if those kids really couldn’t decide like Sei, I’m sure Saya would’ve came to a conclusion that kids at that age aren’t good subjects to decide to fate of mankind because so many were unable to choose. It shows Saya didn’t learn from the experiments, right? For the sake of argument, supposed some kid wishes for elimination of mankind, that makes that kid the only one left in this world, right? Wouldn’t that be the same as committing yourself? Nobody else in this world except you. Or… The kid will also die because that kid is after all human and part of mankind, right? Haha. About that dream that Ichika keeps dreaming, what happened to it? Wasn’t one supposed to kill the other? Well, if Ichika doesn’t remember much about it, why should we be bothered about it? Maybe Ichika’s end choice affected this? If she kills Manatsu then it’s like killing humanity? Another mind boggling thing is that if Manatsu came into her parents’ dream, then Ichika’s destiny was already mapped out 16 years ago, right? That’s an awfully long time if you ask me.

Though it is interesting to see Ichika change into different magical girl outfits in each episode depending on the Djinn they summon, however their appearance are too brief and don’t really have an impact. Unless you just love to see their designs but to me they just look okay and nothing extraordinary. Later as I found out, each costume was designed by a different guest artist. Speaking of the Djinns, I thought those huge deities looked like characters that you would probably see in fantasy RPG. Really. I mean, look at their clothing designs. Don’t you think they look like fearsome warriors than spirits? The Djinns’ appearance felt redundant. Do they play any significant role besides showing us visual proof as Ichika uses the power of the stones? Just like Ichika’s costumes, they just appear for a short time and because they don’t move, it makes them feel like they’re just oversized statues that nobody can see. For the Djinn of Darkness, I thought it was quite docile when it showed its powers. Because of his name I thought he would hold some devastating powers. Maybe he does but because Ichika managed to control them so he doesn’t seem to be fearsome as expected. Oh, over the course of the series, you will notice a very small amount of panty shots. It’s blink-and-you’ll-miss kind of scenario. It’s nothing ‘exciting’ if you ask me ;p. Not even the beach episodes despite having 2 of them… Or the pool episode too. With the exception of Keiko, the rest were just like ‘washboards’. Oops ;p.

For the voice acting, I didn’t think they were extraordinary and rather okay. The only one that caught my attention was Yukari Tamura as Michiru. Though she wasn’t putting up her cute shrieky trademark voice, her deadpan and ominous voice still makes her identifiable because she has also voice such mysterious character roles before like Mayuyu in AKB0048, Ringo from Onegai Teacher and Lemon from Ano Natsu De Matteru. The other casts include Youko Honda as Ichika (Katou in Bakuman S2, Mana in Sola), Masumi Asano as Manatsu (Hakufu in Ikkitousen), Maria Kawamura as Saya (Naga The Serpent in Slayers series), Nobuo Tobita as Sei (Tokura in Dragon Crisis), Nobutoshi Hayashi as Kai (Tasuki in Fushigi Yuugi), Tomoko Kawakami as Satsuki (Misuzu in Air) and Yurika Ochiai as Keiko (Konomi in ToHeart2). Both the opening and ending themes are sung by Savage Genius with the opening piece entitled Omoi Wo Kanadete and Itsuka Tokeru Namida as the ending song.

Because of such grim topics seen in each episode and the increasing dilemma and pressure Ichika has to face, you would be forgetting that this is a magical girl series. So next time, take a good look at yourself when looking in the mirror. Do you see what you want to see or do you see the exact opposite? They say it reflects the truth because it replicates exactly what is seen. However the reflection you see in the mirror is always inverse, right? This could mean that even though what you see may be strikingly similar to the truth but it could also mean it is very much the opposite. Ultimately the mirror is just a tool and it is up to yourself to believe if you are a beautiful person or something else. How can others see you as beautiful if you yourself don’t see yourself as one? There is always self denial… Ah, there’s always a way around things. The next time if somebody does come out of the mirror, just be thankful that at least it isn’t Sadako coming out from the TV to get you!