Hinako Note

September 15, 2017

What’s this? Is this some sort of sequel to Death Note? Did that busty exercise instructor decided to turn evil and kill all fat otakus by writing down their names in a notebook that automatically kills people? So what the heck is this Hinako Note? Oh… You mean it is nothing of that sort. I see. Phew. It’s about a girl who is scared of interacting and talking to people but she decides to pursue her dream in becoming a stage actress. Oh… Another cute girls doing cute things. Dang that Death Note parody thingy sounded much better…

Episode 1
Hinako Sakuragi just arrived in Tokyo from the countryside. She gets lost but when a policeman tries to help, she gets scared. What does she do? She turns into a scarecrow! Apparently she is shy of people and turns into one when she panics. That’s why in the countryside she has this ‘ability’ talking to animals that gather around her and the farmers love her because it keeps pests away from their crops! Wait. Shouldn’t scarecrows scare away animals? Whatever. She finally arrives at Hitotose Manor. It looks like a bookshop. She is met with another weirdo, Kuina Natsukawa. She loves books. Books are her friends. But she loves tearing pages out and eat them?! You eat your friends?! Kuina shows Hinako to her room. It is being tidied up by maid (yes!) Mayuki “Mayu” Hiiragi. All residents in Hitotose work here in addition to schooling. Apparently Mayu also works in a coffee shop that is directly connected and behind the bookshop. Hinako explains her reason to move here. She wants to join a theatre club since she was enthralled by watching a performance despite her shy behaviour. Since Fujimiya Girls’ High has the best theatre club, the reason she enrolled here. The next day, the trio hang out at the park. Hinako gets lost and the overwhelming crowd turns her into a scarecrow. Well, at least she is easy to find. Nearby are local troupe members practising on stage. Mayu sees Chiaki Ogino among them and rushes to greet her. This tall and soft spoken girl is the landlady of Hitotose. Despite her demeanour, she was a child actress and used to be in Fujimiya’s theatre club. But as they talk, it seems Fujimiya’s theatre club is on hiatus because the advisor is on a theatre trip. Its members are just doing whatever they want. But if Hinako wants to perform, a small troupe is possible. She could be the leader. The rest wonder if they are being dragged into something… Hinako takes a long hot bath back at Hitotose, pondering about her future. She soaked too long and faints, causing everyone to go into panic mode.

Episode 2
Flashback shows the farmers often used Hinako as their scarecrow to attract the animals since theirs broke. She actually stood there the whole day… Man, she is far more effective and a pro as a scarecrow! Of course they aren’t exploiting her and as thanks for her hard work, they give her loads of vegetables. Funny her mom has her suspicions where she got the vegetables and always coming home late. She thinks she is dabbling in some illegal activity but choose to believe in her! Why not just ask? Hinako learns more about the theatre club’s advisor, the petite Ruriko Kuroyanagi (I thought she’s somebody’s little sister) felt her skills were stagnating and didn’t see herself fit to be their advisor. As Hinako is still nervous, Chiaki explains she was also in the same shoes. Her parents were also actors and she often helped out in their rehearsals. It built her confidence. She suggests Hinako to form a small troupe since there is no telling when the school club will start up again. Hinako still doesn’t have the confidence so Chiaki advises to start behind the scenes like props and scriptwriting. Kuina instantly agrees to join but Mayu is somewhat embarrass and still has her reservations. Hinako has to be the leader of this new troupe because thinking of working in the coffee shop and bookshop doesn’t quite fit her. Besides, nobody wants this troupe to happen more than she does. The first order is to come up with a name. They think of putting Hinako’s name but she decides to go with the manor. Hitotose Troupe it is. All of them exchange contacts and Hinako is glad to have obtained so many in a day. Yeah, her mom is the only one on her call list. That night they even discuss what they should do first as a troupe. They have researched a historical theatre called Suzuran in Shimokitazawa that many dream of performing there. They aim to get there. Well, no harm dreaming big as a start.

Episode 3
It is Hinako’s first day in class. She is so nervous introducing herself that she became a scarecrow. As expected. As Chiaki’s fans have taken the initiative to create an acting society to let her continue acting, she relays the good news to the rest to join. Classmate Yua Nakajima didn’t like how Hinako and Kuina are acting so friendly with Chiaki so this big Chiaki admirer goes to confront them and it scares the hell out of Hinako. Hinako thought she could find solace in the new club but look who is here to continue b*tching? It’s Yua’s turn to be a scarecrow when Chiaki asks what all this is about. Maybe she wants to join? Would she?! Hinako continues to be nervous whenever asked to do things. So Yua always voluntarily and coolly takes over. Looks like she still has a long way if she really intends to stand before a crowd. Back at Hitotose, Mayu has Hinako try out a maid outfit. She also has her cosplay a few outfits before settling back to the maid one. I know, maids are the best right? Of course!!! While she is sweeping outside, her accidental ‘talking’ to her bird has a lost girl enthralled. So Hinako has to use her ventriloquism to not shatter her hopes. Hinako decides to stop being a scaredy cat and move forward so the next day she did the first bold move by talking to Yua and wants to be her friend and thanks her for all the help. Shocking, right? Even Yua is lost for words. Even if it isn’t smooth sailing at first but I’m sure they’ll get used to it.

Episode 4
While the theatre society is practising, Hinako notices a petite girl next to Chiaki. Man, she has big boobs. Could she be Chiaki’s daughter?! Turns out she is Ruriko! She was also a famous child actress and a prodigy. Looks like she is back as she explains herself she ‘ran away’ that time was because she was losing motivation. So blaming her for casting aside her job is the right thing. After visiting many famous European theatres, she is now prepared for the biggest show, the reason why she has returned: The upcoming school cultural festival in a month’s time. Disappointed? Mayu accidentally shows off her dancing and this has others admire her skills. Now they’re bugging her to join as she turns into a scarecrow trying to escape from this ‘hell’. Ruriko catches Hinako humming a song. Then she has her sing to a song she plays on her CD. My, Hinako has such a beautiful voice! OMG! Does this remind you of X-Factor’s Susan Boyle?! Now everybody is all over her. Back at Hitotose, Mayu is upset that Chiaki has been busy recently and thus they have no time to hang out. Hinako and Kuina thought they could cheer her up by being Chiaki’s substitute but this only irritates Mayu. Mayu thought she is going to let Chiaki have it all once she gets back but seeing Chiaki bought those ice cream she remembered, all is forgiven. Ruriko has written tons of scripts for her greatest masterpiece of all time! She is going to pick somebody to play her heroine. Yua is excited this could be her chance but Ruriko shocks everyone by picking, wait for it, Hinako! Yua is of course jealous that Hinako has neither the experience nor skill but in Ruriko’s mind, she is the perfect heroine. Her voice, singing and of course proportions… Hinako faints at this shock so Ruriko starts crying over this sudden decision that makes Hinako feel guilty and accept it. Little did she know that Ruriko was just putting up an act. All as planned… Back at Hitotose, everyone dreams big of Hinako’s role so they decide to pretend like it is the real show. Well, Hinako is still the same scarecrow…

Episode 5
Hinako continues to be clumsy in her practice. This irks Yua. Till she sees her real blessed proportions when she takes off her jersey. More jealousy when Chiaki pays more attention to Hinako. When Yua sprains her ankle, it is her turn to be a scarecrow (and almost ‘died’) since Chiaki’s attention is now on her. The practice continues with Hinako continuing to be clumsy but bumps into Yua most of the time. She really wanted to give her piece of mind to that failure but since Chiaki always cuts in, I guess not. But Hinako might think with all the accidents, Yua is starting to hate her. While Hinako is helping Kuina to clean the bookstore, she finds a beginner’s guide to act. One of the topics is to imitate animals. So the duo try their best to imitate birds by jumping off a ladder to fly? Chiaki joins in when she learns as she demonstrates (sexy) poses of animals. But Hinako’s scarecrow pose seems to come in handy for a while because it does make her look like a soaring eagle. Because the bookstore is too small a space to practice dancing, they suggest to head to the park. Yua wanted to come back to give that failure a piece of her mind and sees them heading out. Time to stalk them. She sees her training hard and the rest guiding her. Even when it is time to go home, Hinako wants to practice more so she could conquer her stage fright and doesn’t want to be labelled a failure. But at the end when she thinks everything will work out, Yua bursts out from her hiding, annoyed that she is barely ready. Yup, she is going to personally train her! Welcome to Spartan training… Nobody is going to fail in a play that she’s in. Hinako is happy to continue and will keep working hard. Also, she views Yua as a kind girl and is glad she doesn’t hate her.

Episode 6
The cultural festival starts tomorrow. Hinako’s class is doing a haunted house and it would be perfect since Hinako can turn into a scarecrow… The theatre society’s main casts dress up for rehearsal. Hinako is shocked that Chiaki is not in the play and working in the background. Hinako had a tough time remembering all her lines last night but when Ruriko tests her by acting out, it seems Hinako could read out her lines naturally and perfectly. But there is a little secret that the Hitotose girls would only know why this is so… Hinako’s little birdie hidden behind her wig is feeding her the lines! The next day, Hinako, Kuina and Yua hang out together with Kuina being the usual glutton. Since they have some time, they would like to practice a little their lines. However Hinako has forgotten them?! Last night she read the lines of other roles and this overwrite her lines?! Let’s hope she remembers them in time or those little birdies doing their trick perfectly. As the play begins, Yua realizes an important prop (a handkerchief) she is supposed to have in hand is missing. Hinako then coolly addresses the crowd to borrow one. Mayu goes up to lend hers but realizes too late she is on stage and is hit with stage fright. Although she is quickly ushered to the backstage, the play continues perfectly and normally. Mayu starts thinking despite her fears, it looks fun speaking in front of people. At the end of the play, Ruriko congratulates Hinako and Yua for a brilliant performance. The small blooper is forgivable and sometimes it adds spice. Ruriko plans to formally start up the theatre club again as she invites Hinako to come make her show business debut! That escalated quickly! But Kuina declines for her saying that Hinako is the leader of their own Hitotose Troupe. Ruriko would love to support them. This has Yua want to join in too since she is ‘worried’ that she is their leader. Thanks for caring anyway.

Episode 7
Summer is here and Kuina suggests going to the beach. She even teases Hinako might attract sharks! She actually believes it! Of course the first order before going to the beach is to buy swimsuits. Mayu is an ‘expert’ in choosing Hinako’s swimsuit but it seems it is getting more risqué. Chiaki looks sexy in this bold bikini but she also decides to use this swimsuit when cleaning Hitotose. It’ll be a waste not to wear the swimsuit again, no? Mayu catches the eye of a clerk who praises her doll-like beauty. But when she recommends kiddie fashion swimsuit, Mayu takes her leave. She feels insulted everyone thinks she is a child. She decides to wear a risqué swimsuit. Her friends see her but they tease her she isn’t ready for that kind of swimsuit. Back home, Hinako is learning how to swim on her bed. And also how to shout for help if drowning? The quintet head to the beach and as Mayu goes to buy some drinks and laments everyone still treats her like a kid, she stumbles into Ruriko who is shooting a drama nearby. She can tell that Mayu is lost. Really, a lost child. Soon it dawned to the rest that Mayu is really lost. Chiaki tries to call her handphone but it seems she didn’t bring it along. At the same time, Ruriko tries to call Chiaki and of course couldn’t connect. Hinako is so worried that she rushes off to find Mayu. She didn’t take her handphone too. Oh dear. Looks like we’re going to have another lost child. When some people talk to Hinako, she turns into a scarecrow. Luckily Mayu and Ruriko have found her and they reunite with their friends. At the end of the day, a couple of mountain animals who got lost cling onto Hinako. They take a group photo before taking a train back. Hinako hopes to come back again next year.

Episode 8
Hinako thought she is confident after the cultural festival performance. But when a customer enters the bookstore for help, she immediately becomes a scarecrow. Still a long way to go… So bad that she did it for Mayu and Yua too… Mayu has Yua try out a gothic dress. When Chiaki returns, Yua gets embarrassed and hides herself. Yua is here to lend her DVDs to Hinako for acting. Unfortunately Hinako inserts them into her VHS player… This girl is too ancient! One day while helping Mayu, Hinako suddenly collapses. She has got a cold as Chiaki looks after her. Hinako is worried about her shift but don’t worry, Mayu is handling it fine. I think. Yup, she is swamped with business. Kuina thinks she can make medicine by tearing a page from a medicine book and grinding it? I don’t think it works like that. And then hanging green onions around her neck? Looks weird. It’s a good thing Kuina didn’t become a doctor. As Hinako sleeps, Kuina dressed up as a white snake thinking its bite could cure her. Only a real snake… But caught in the act by Chiaki. Yua too thinks exorcism will help? Caught by Chiaki. Kuina returns as a dragon? Caught by Chiaki. Is Yua trying to summon a demon? Caught by Chiaki. What’s with these people? Please don’t bother her. Hinako starts to feel homesick but she is cheered up when her friends come in to eat porridge with her. Everybody takes turns feeding her. Hinako feels better and is glad she came to Tokyo. The next day when Hinako is back to health, she is shocked to see everyone passed out! They got her cold. Now it’s her turn to nurse them. Time to get busy. Yua too is sick in her own bed wondering if Hinako is okay.

Episode 9
Hinako receives a letter from mom stating she will be visiting her. Why is she panicking? Does she have little faith in mom not to embarrass her? Because the shopping district is going to have a stamp rally, Chiaki is thinking how to bring in customers. Hinako immediately suggests a performance by Hitotose Troupe. Great idea. Hinako and Chiaki discuss where to hold a practice as Yua eavesdrop. Apparently she got jealous Hinako is getting too much attention and wants in too. Remember, Yua is part of Hitotose Troupe so don’t leave her out. When Ruriko find out, she too wants in and thus on short notice announces a training camp. Where exactly? Right here in school. So when the girls arrive, Ruriko has already laid out the futon. She even has got the pillow ready in preparation for tonight’s pillow fight. Why is this starting to look like a slumber party? After practice, Yua decides to go wash her face. As it is raining and the corridors are dark with flickering lights for horror effects, she starts getting scared. Then something is lurking in the dark… Turns out to be Mayu. Too bad Yua is so scared that Mayu even gets scared looking out for some French doll monster. After dinner, Yua promises never to leave the room. However out of habit when Mayu wants to get a washrag from the home economics class, she volunteers. Dang. Don’t worry. Hinako will come along. I suppose that won’t help. The dark scary hallways are giving Yua the chills. She is left alone when Hinako trudges forward to check whatever they think is lurking ahead. Yua is scared sh*t. By the time Hinako returns with a stray kitten, Yua has already fainted. Bed time, Kuina wants to tell ghost stories! Another round of fainting? Not sure if she did it on purpose. But Ruriko is eager to get started on the pillow fight. While sleeping, Yua accidentally sees Hinako’s sleeping mask and gets freaked out. Her scream wakes up everyone, thinking there is a burglar or something. What a night. Next day when it is all bright and clear, Yua denies she was scared. Why is Kuina taking down excerpts of what she says? As proof? Hinako’s confidence is boosted with their practice doing well. She hopes mom gets to see her performance at her best.

Episode 10
Since the script is done, Mayu eagerly wants to put on a parade. The kind of parade where the actors dress up for final checks. However the rest notes that there are quite a few things to check before having such a parade. Unfortunately Mayu throws a childish tantrum that she wants it now! What to do but to please her? So we see Kuina in a maid outfit, Hinako as a Playboy bunny girl, Yua as Alice In Wonderland and Chiaki a nurse. You happy now? Totally. Later Ruriko drops by to help check the script. She isn’t spared from the dress up too. Dog outfit? When the rest notices a leftover dress, guess who gets to wear it? Everyone is thrilled to see Mayu looking very much like a princess. Ruriko suddenly announces a sudden sleepover to help with the play’s practice. Despite the performance is in a few weeks, there shall be no time left to waste. Or maybe Ruriko is just a sleepover fanatic? While the girls are distributing flyers for their play, here comes Hinako’s mom as an eager beaver to cheer on her daughter. I suppose she arrived way too early because she wants to go sightseeing in Tokyo. Bye. Take care of her luggage please. Ruriko also brings her mom who is a famous model. My, what a tall lady. Even seeing her has Hinako turn into a scarecrow. Backstage before their performance, some talk about their first stage fright and messing things up. As they go up on stage, Hinako’s mom is clearly being loud in supporting her daughter. Is this an idol event? Turning into a scarecrow now… As Chiaki makes her intro speech, Kuina points out to Hinako that Mayu has also been up all night putting up their lines. This makes Hinako realize she isn’t alone on stage. The girls celebrate after the play. It is considered a success although Hinako rues her mistakes. Even mom thought she was playing the scarecrow at first! But as Chiaki reminds her, the crowd didn’t mind. Mom praises her she has acted out her part till the very end and that she has grown up. After Hinako thanks everyone, mom leaves for home via bullet train. She came, she saw, she left in a storm.

Episode 11
Hitotose Troupe decides to do another play on Christmas Eve. After discussion, it will be a small play based on A Christmas Carol. Yua hears about it and would love to help. She even took the liberty to make Chiaki’s costume. Wow. This angelic costume sure makes her look like some sexy Olympian goddess. Hinako actually manages to attract a real deer to help with the promotion and play! If Hinako is a scarecrow and Mayu freaking out at all the people starring at her in this weird dress, don’t worry because everyone is totally into the deer. The play goes well and before the day ends, everyone discovers that Hinako still believes in Santa Claus. An energetic Kuina wakes up Hinako for the New Year’s first sunshine. The girls then talk about their goals for the year like Mayu who seems eager to grow taller that she is drinking down the entire milk carton now. Hinako feels a bit lonely since Kuina and Mayu will be taking leave to visit their families. Mayu gives Hinako her doll as company. Hinako goes to help Chiaki but being with her, she starts feeling awkward with the silence and can’t find something to talk despite wanting to ask her lots of questions. It hit her she doesn’t know anything about her so she wants Chiaki to tell all about herself. She sounds like she wants to be her stalker… Chiaki then leaves for her part time job and has Hinako help her out. She notices the guys starring at Chiaki (obviously) and there is a shady character stalking her from behind the tree. We know it’s you, Yua. So instead of just stalking, care to help out too? Gladly. Noticing that Chiaki is good with small kids, Hinako wishes she is small. Jealous Yua thinks she’s talking about her boobs. At the end of the day, Hinako manages to tell Chiaki she wants to talk a lot more with her. Chiaki agrees and Hinako gives her a big emotional hug. Jealous Yua won’t be outdone and also hugs her. Hinako goes to sleep and is happy she got to know Chiaki better. The next morning, she realizes her entire drool has covered Mayu’s doll. Hinako reflects on the events in the past. So much has happened. She has grown a lot. But still a lot more room for improvement. A whole lot more. Kuina and Mayu return but they got the same snack souvenirs.

Episode 12
Hinako wakes up in the middle of the night only to see Mayu in a witch outfit concocting some poison while muttering Chiaki’s name?! When Mayu tries to deny everything, it only makes Hinako more curious. Plus, Mayu is so cute while flustering! Hinako decides to go tell Kuina but it seems the latter is interested in finding Chiaki in an immodest position. Next morning, it is revealed Mayu was making Valentine chocolates so she could serve them in the café. She was wearing that hood because it was cold. Muttering Chiaki’s name was some sort of ‘spell’ to make it taste better. Yua plans to give her chocolates to Chiaki. Too bad there’s a crowd. Care to join in? When it is Yua’s turn, she is nervous. But Hinako cuts in and coolly gives hers like as though there was nothing. Yua manages to give it to her but it felt so embarrassing. Chiaki thanks her and invites her to Hitotose after school. It is a feast for her eyes seeing Chiaki serving chocolates in a maid outfit. Chiaki receives several tickets from a friend for a play at Shimokita Theatre. She invites her pals to go watch it with her as thanks for the Valentine’s Day assistance. Since it is the place where they want to perform, Hinako is all excited to go check it out. So Mayu is sulking so that she could be invited to come along? The Hitotose quartet close the shop for the day so they could take a train ride there. However when they alight, they realize Hinako is missing! Where is she?! When they go find her, she moved while searching for them! I don’t know how long it took but they eventually reunite. But Kuina couldn’t be even more grateful since she was able to pick up snacks along the way. Lots of them. After the play, Hinako is overcome with emotion. They also noticed another spectator overcome with emotion. Isn’t that Yua? Since Ruriko is also here, might as well hang out together.

Scarecrowing With Hinako
Oh… That was the end? Ah well… I guess I shouldn’t be complaining and expected something more or less like this. There isn’t a deep plot to go about so some may find it boring and draggy and so much so when the end came, it just hit and make you go, “That’s it? No final performance or anything?”. Nothing really exciting or sudden twists (horror! The troupe gets disbanded!) and it is just about the girls hanging out together. Cute girls doing cute things. It seems everyone has a long way to go but then again, what’s the rush?

The characters are cute and lovable in their own way but after having watched too much of this genre, it really starts to feel old. They start to feel more or less the same. I’m not saying that it is bad for this series but generally for me they bring nothing new. You have the typical new girl in town who is nervous, scatterbrain and lacking the talent but she improves a little, gets by every day with the help of her friends. Then you have the nice big sister type, the very moe cutie type, the slacker-cum-carefree type and finally the rival.

Hinako may not be the first main character who is actually very shy in interacting with others (see the main character from Hitohira who has this same shy personality and the series itself is about a drama club) but she is the first whom I know to freeze up and turn into a scarecrow when talking to others of the same kind. It becomes a reflex action and her running joke that she will automatically start to spread her arms whenever she gets nervous. It is admirable that she continues to confront her fear and tries to change it. Though she gets through each trial and looks forward with optimism for the next, I can’t help feel that it is going to be a long way before she overcomes and conquers her scarecrow form. She won’t be up for any Oscars but I can’t help note that maybe those kids by the roadside roleplaying Power Rangers can act better than her… If the entire world is a play and the people are its actors, then Hinako can be said like stumbling through ever scene…

And if you’re wondering what Hinako Note is, well, it’s just her diary that details what she has done or going to do in detail. Quite neat and organized like as though it’s a revision book to study for exams. I’m not one to read diaries so I didn’t really read all those stuffs she has to write. For a while in the initial episodes yes, but subsequently I lost interest. What if I miss an entry about a guy she has a crush on… What?! In this very mild yuri series? I can see none of the girls here falling for guys. Chiaki is their guy!

So as not to make Hinako the only weirdo, Kuina is also a weirdo herself because she likes to eat pages. If this is her other idea of getting her daily fibre without having to eat those yucky vegetables, she’d be so wrong. In fact, Kuina isn’t just about eating pages. She thinks about food. Heck, you should have guessed (if you know your Japanese slightly well) that her name itself is a pun of eating. I’m not sure if acting is a kind of food for her since many of her suggestions would eventually boil down to food.

As usual we must have the rival and the character who shows the most emotions of them all in the form of Yua. Without her, the gang would be less lively because who else would be as competitive and tsundere as her? Chiaki is so nice and soft spoken that I believe I have never hear her raised her voice. Can she even? So nice that sometimes it feels she might actually be an angel descended from heaven. Really. It’s like she could do no wrong and in the minute event she does, you can’t bring yourself to even scold or hate her because she’s so nice.

Lastly Mayu as the cutie pie of the group is my personal reason why this series is slightly more enjoyable. You guessed it! Meido!!! Plus, the maid outfit design is very much to my liking so forgive me if I don’t pay attention what is going on and just gawk at her each time she is on screen. Which is quite a number of screen time she has. It’s like they know my fetish and make her character love to wear the maid outfit as much as possible. Thanks guys. Thanks Mayu. Never change. Your dress. Mayu’s role in the series feels like if they ever need to increase the moe factor, just have Mayu squeal and yelp in her typical girly voice and voila, cuteness factor increased by 100 times. Either you will start fawning or get annoyed. I’m still focused on her maid outfit, yeah…

Sometimes I feel that Ruriko’s character overlaps with Chiaki and Mayu. In the sense that she is soft spoken monotonously and tiny. Because of that, at times I feel her character is quite unnecessary and that she does not bring much impact to the series overall. Even without her in which I can see true as well, Hitotose Troupe can indeed operate independently with or without her. It is just to somehow make it legal and follow the rules that school clubs officially need to have an advisor. Otherwise, I don’t really see much in this acting prodigy that just borders plain weird (even weirder than Kuina eating books) and that her actual talents might be inflated. Okay, I don’t really know how to appreciate this kind of theatrical arts and hence I don’t really see what’s so good and talented about Ruriko. Besides, she leaving her school club and then suddenly coming back didn’t leave a good impression on me. Hope the European trip was worth it.

The series itself lacks fanservice although it is not intended to have one but having Hinako and Chiaki with such big busts sometimes feel there is the need to make some jokes and references about girls with big boobs. Especially to those without such blessed assets. What I want to say is that there is a part where it looks like teasing viewers with the fanservice and that part is at the next episode preview whereby we can see the girls in very ambiguous poses from an ambiguous angle. This is the most fanservice-y part in the series. Like as though this kind of shots are worthy for a gravure, a men’s magazine. A bit naughty without being too naughty.

Art and drawing lean more towards the cute and moe element as seen in other similar animes such as YuruYuri, Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka, Acchi Kocchi, Kiniro Mosaic and Lucky Star. Because of that, doesn’t Hinako look a bit like Lucky Star’s Miyuki? Just without the glasses and add boobs. Or how about Yua who somehow keeps reminding me something about Lucky Star’s Kagami. Or Mayu’s near resemblance to Kiniro Mosaic’s Karen? Is it me or does Kuina look like a cross between Lucky Star’s Konata and Acchi Kocchi’s Tsumiki? Animated by Passione, they only have a few titles under their belt in these past few years like Rail Wars, Haitai Nanafa and Rokka No Yuusha. Since the series you will rarely see them act a play out on stage, it is the mid-intermission eyecatch segment that you can see the Hitotose Troupe dressed in various costumes in different play settings such as being mermaids and fighting a revolutionary war.

As speaking is an essential part of acting, the voice acting feels okay with each of the characters having their own unique distinct sound to reflect their personality. After all these years, Yui Ogura still has that baby-like voice. And as Mayu here, she makes her character sound even more annoyingly cute to the point you just want to hug and squeeze her. Oops… The rest of the main casts are Mao as Hinako (Papika in Flip Flappers), Hisako Toujo as Chiaki (Kiruka in Shakunetsu No Takkyuu Musume), Miyu Tomita as Kuina (Gabriel in Gabriel Dropout), Marika Kouno as Yua (Niwaka in Akiba’s Trip The Animation) and Yuri Yoshida as Ruriko (Mashiro in Mikakunin De Shinkoukei).

A E I U E O Ao by Hitotose Troupe as the opening theme is as weird and lively as it can get. You have to be good with your tongue if you are to sing flawlessly through this song with some of the lyrics being fast paced and nonsensical words. Like as though this might also be some kind of speech preparation/warm up for budding actors and actresses to improve their speaking. Also as weird as this is the ending theme, Ka-tenko-ru by the same troupe. Though singing wise it is not as weird as the opener.

Overall, this is just an average series and this season’s cute girls doing cute things. People who love this genre would still find it enjoyable with the unique cast of characters and their interaction among each other causing a few funny and cute moments. Others who aren’t into this genre would find it a yawn fest. I’m not sure if acting on stage is the best way to overcome one’s shyness. It’s like doing a bungee jump for those who are afraid of heights or throw those who are afraid of snakes into a snake pit. Well, fighting fire with fire. But remember, don’t get burnt in the act.

Nisekoi S2

February 27, 2016

Are they still at it? Pretending to be lovers and couple for the sake of their clan’s peace? Well, that was the supposed setting to bring this romantic comedy to the fore. And I suppose with things still not settled especially of that certain key and lock that could be the big potential to unravel the biggest mystery ever, we wouldn’t have had the need for a second season of Nisekoi. That means the fake-cum-real love will still continue. Putting up a show for everybody to see that they’re a couple while hiding their true feelings for others, for themselves and for anything else in this typical high school love polygon. Ah, that dreaded feeling. Because I kinda get the feeling of how usually these kind of genres drag things out and will probably ‘end’. But hey look. I’m back and still here watching for more and hoping. Please, oh please. Can we just give up this act and tell the truth already?

Episode 1
Chitoge wakes up. She remembers something. Oh, she fell in love. Thanks for reminding us. Like any woman in love, she admits the world looks different. But how are things looking for Raku? Still the same pipsqueak, I guess. Typical guy. She wants him to notice her new uniform but… There’s that knee kick to jolt memories of their first meeting. When Marika displays her usual bold stuff of cuddling up to Raku, this makes Chitoge that they haven’t done anything like couples do. Even if they do, it is no different from how they are now. While Chitoge unnecessarily ponders about this, a big distraction takes place. A big reminder what this series is about in the first place or rather the trouble that it took us on a ride. Gathering the girls, Raku announces he has his lock back and it feels good! Marika becomes impatient in wanting to unlock it although Chitoge prefers to wait a little while. Then Raku relays the bad news. The lock is still broken. Wait. What? There is something still stuck at the back of it. Although it can be smashed open, Raku does not want that as it holds sentimental values. So Raku is telling the girls to wait and find out another way to open it? You mean an excuse to drag out this series for another season?! As disappointed everyone is, there is also some sort of relief. Especially Chitoge who keeps wondering if her key wasn’t the one to open it. How would she react to it? How would he react to it? Her feelings for him are still real. Chitoge realizes Raku might be like any other dense guy. He’ll never realize her feelings. Suddenly Raku hints he knows something about her. Because it is all written over her face. Gasp! Could it be? He thinks she is… Hungry?! Disappointed? She beats him up. You can’t blame Raku for never understanding women, eh?

When Chitoge’s friends let her test out a lip balm, they think she should use it to attract Raku. And so this girl tries all she can to make him notice her new lip balm. It’s getting real frustrating that the jerk notices everything else but that. If that doesn’t work, how about a new shampoo? She’s flaunting her hair… He notices how cold today is… Maybe nail polish would do the trick. Maybe they’re just too small for his eyes, huh? Poking his face too didn’t make a difference. She takes drastic action. A new hair ribbon. Everybody in class notices and reacts so what are the chances this douche will? He doesn’t. Feel like crying? Desperate, she directly spells out for him she is going to test his abilities as her boyfriend. What is it that is different about her? Man, he can guess everything wrong! From cutting her bangs to dieting (all misses!). As she laments how she fell for this dense guy, Raku wonders could it be the lip balm, new shampoo or nail polish? Wait. What? He actually noticed them but it would feel weird if some normal guy goes around complimenting girls. Chitoge lectures him of the need to say these important things to a girl. They want to be noticed. Doesn’t he want to be popular with girls? Gosh. Did she really say that? Or is it she isn’t cute enough for him? Sure, she’s cute. And all the animosity gone just like that. All forgiven. Wow. No men can’t understand women. So how about the new ribbon? What ribbon? You mean he never noticed that???!!!

Episode 2
Because Tsugumi didn’t have enough screen time last episode, they decide to make this hers. As usual as she’s being a tsundere to Raku when he thanks her for helping out, suddenly this white haired girl, Paula McCoy starts whipping out her guns and attack her! Tsugumi does the same and the place could have been devastated had not Raku stopped them. He got owned in the process. Tsugumi takes them back to her place to patch him up. Paula explains Tsugumi’s nickname as the Black Tiger during her time in USA and she was notorious in the underworld where she accomplished her missions like a demon. Paula was her former colleague and number 1 before Tsugumi toppled her. She is here to settle the score but past observations showed Tsugumi involved in ‘pathetic’ errands like as though she is living like an ordinary girl. In the past whenever they go on missions, Tsugumi always was a step ahead and took the best parts. She isn’t the Black Tiger she knows. Despite her duty now is to protect Chitoge, this mundane life as Paula believes has made her claws dull. When she sees how Tsugumi reacts when Raku commends her cooking, this is when she throws down a challenge. If Paula wins, Tsugumi must follow her back to USA where she’ll whip her back into shape. If Tsugumi wins, Paula will forever leave without a complaint. Tsugumi accepts. So what will the challenge be? The first person who can steal a kiss from Raku wins! OMG! Sure, Raku is Chitoge’s boyfriend. Paula assures she will not tell. It would be even bad taste for Tsugumi to back down of a challenge. Something she has never done and the code their mafia family lives by. Therefore Paula chose this challenge knowing that Tsugumi is inept in guys and this could be the only challenge that she could best her.

Paula tries to make her bold move first. Flustering Tsugumi fires many warning shots, almost killing Raku. Her hands moved on its own? Try better. That guy is of course scared and runs away to avoid being caught in between. Tsugumi catches up and looks serious in wanting to kiss him. But her hesitation causes Paula to use a smokescreen and kidnap Raku. In an abandoned building, Raku is trying to get her to understand the importance of a first kiss since it will be both their first time. Raku believes winning this showdown isn’t Paula’s real goal and it is for Tsugumi to accept her. With Tsugumi cannot fathom Raku and Paula kissing, she barges in like the fierce Black Tiger. So scary, so fast, so strong that Paula is reduced to an obedient little girl! But can Tsugumi steal Raku’s kiss? This is how she does it. She puts her finger on his lips and then put it on hers. Well, that is also considered as stealing a kiss, right? Nobody has any problems whatsoever, no? Good. When Tsugumi hugs Paula and acknowledges how strong she has become, little girl breaks down in tears. Before Paula leaves, she wonders if Tsugumi is okay with Raku being Chitoge’s boyfriend. Doesn’t she want him for herself? She’s fine with that.

Episode 3
When Shuu suggests they have a Christmas party, Chitoge starts shivering in fear. Her mom, Hana is coming home. As she is busy and always travelling around the world, she hardly comes home accept for this short period. Mom is such an important figure that her schedule is booked for the next 10 years and the Japanese stock market fluctuates according to her mood! But the scariest thing about her mom is when she gets mad. It’s going to get scarier because father wants her to introduce Raku to her! You can see all the henchmen rushing to organize a grand welcome for Hana’s return. Chitoge’s dad thought he could ‘run away’ by feigning stomach ache but daughter wouldn’t let him let her go through this alone. That scary, huh? So when Hana arrives, Raku sees her like a lovely beautiful woman (heck, don’t mind she looks young enough to be Chitoge’s sister!). But like any other woman who has very good memory, she remembers a deal her husband should have made months ago. Oh sh*t. It didn’t go through. Instantly she sends him for punishment! Oh sh*t! Henpecked husband! Chitoge then introduces Raku. Hana seems fine about it till she remembers about Chitoge’s slipping grades. Wow. Chitoge is so scared that she’s vibrating like a handphone! Then she notices her frayed ribbon. That trademark red ribbon that she has been wearing since young. She chastise her she should get a better one or she’ll chase away her boyfriend. Now it’s back to work for her but since her secretary is down (working on a 70 hour shift! No wonder so many have been ‘sacrificed’), Hana wants Raku to be her secretary till Christmas. She wants to test if he is worthy of being Chitoge’s boyfriend and as a reward for doing well, she’ll let them stay a night in an ultra suit 5 star hotel on Christmas Eve. Hana remembers Raku is that boy from 10 years ago.

On the first day of his job, Raku is told that his job is simple. Follow her every order to the letter. Well, if that means skimming through tons of manuals and memorizing all her schedule in 5 minutes!!! I don’t know how. Raku did it. Or did he? He sees firsthand how a large corporation’s boss is sitting right under her thumb. Wow. She’s like a gangster. Doesn’t need to resort to any violence. Just open her mouth and they’re cowering in fear. Raku thought he got an easy task of buying her cola in the next 3 hours. Then the requests kept piling up. From getting a rare toy in Disneyland and a limited branded handbag. How is he going to do all that in 3 hours?! Don’t know. Don’t care. He already has her credit card. Just get it done. Or else. I don’t know how but Raku actually made it. I can only think that God pitied him and stopped time or teleported him all over the world. Yeah. I think God is even scared of Hana!!!!!!!!!!! However Raku is 30 seconds late!!! She reminds him of the lost deals that could have been made and her schedule being pushed back by 30 seconds. For her next appointment which is in the next building, she uses cables and hook to fly right into the meeting where all the yes-men are waiting. Raku has time to call Chitoge and he knows that Chitoge wanted mom to compliment her ribbon. He knows what she wants is to spend time with mother on Christmas Eve instead of him. Chitoge sounded so defeated. She says her mom doesn’t care or remember about her and doubts that is what she wants. But no harm in trying as Chitoge calls Hana that night to request spending time with her on Christmas Eve. However she shoots that suggestion down, believing she would rather spend it with Raku. Besides, her schedule has changed. She is busy working on Christmas Eve. Raku heard that and confronts Hana if her work is more important than her daughter. She says there are things in this world that can only be done by her. Because she has that ability, it is her duty to exercise it to the fullest. Things that only she can do? Raku does not believe this crap one bit. How can she not see the person who needs her the most is the one closest to her?

Episode 4
While Raku works his ass off, Chitoge meets the rest for the Christmas party. She has casted away her ribbon for a new look. Hana is impressed Raku has worked faster than expected. This is because he plans to free up some of her time to go see Chitoge. That is why he doesn’t need the pay with bonus or the hotel suite. All he wants is for her to be with Chitoge. He is even begging her to do it for Chitoge and has already brought a present on her behalf and set everything in order. When she still insists, he is ready to blow his top. Then he is surprised when she shows him all the present she bought over the years for her but was never able to give her. Even more shocking, Hana bought Chitoge that cheap red ribbon 10 years ago. Each time she sees her, she starts feeling nervous and resorts back to her strict ways. Realizing an airhead she is, Raku can’t help slap her! Then he lectures her about Chitoge who has always needed her even today. Because she is leaving for USA in 3 hours, Raku wants her to wait as he’ll bring Chitoge to her. So when the friends are waiting for Raku to arrive, here he comes in lighting speed. With no time to explain, he takes Chitoge and says they’re going to the hotel suite. Imagine the shock on their friends’ faces. The bad weather and traffic jam means Raku has to steal a bicycle to peddle Chitoge there. But Hana’s flight schedule has been brought earlier. She must leave now or cost the company billions in revenue. By the time Raku arrives at the airport, the plane just departed. He calls her about being a chicken and using work as an excuse to run away. In fact she’s just scared. He tosses his handphone to Chitoge to let her speak. Since Chitoge wants so much to see her, Hana u-turns the plane!

Mother and daughter reunite in the most emotional way. Lots of hugs. Lots of tears. Lots of apologies. Lots of love. Raku gives the hotel suite key to them. He wants them to take the night off relax while he heads back to office to deal with the aftermath to the best of his abilities. Mother and daughter had a nice time together. Hana mentions Raku is the reason why Chitoge wore that ribbon. There was a picture book Chitoge adored with a girl wearing that similar ribbon. She thought Raku would say she would look good on her and pestered mom to buy it. Thanks to him, they had this chance to talk. Now it’s her turn for Chitoge to go to him. He’s sleeping at the office. The best she could do is give him a lap pillow and thanks him. Next day before Hana leaves on her flight, she thanks Raku for doing so much for both her business and private life. When she mentions she was there with them 10 years ago for a while, Raku shows his lock and wonders if she could help out recall something. Sorry, she can’t for this one. Then she whispers to Raku that she knows they are on a fake date. This makes him embarrass because he was really trying to fake it. But she wonders if he was really faking kit. Are his feelings really meant nothing and just an act? Once she is on the plane, she recalls that lock. It was the one in Chitoge’s picture book. Now Raku and Chitoge have the daunting task of explaining to their friends and clearing up the misunderstanding. I hope Marika didn’t resort to alcohol to drown out her sorrows. Another intriguing puzzle at the end. Onodera seems to be in possession of Chitoge’s picture book.

Episode 5
It’s Marika’s turn to hog the limelight. The test results are out. Surprisingly Marika is somewhere at the other end. Maybe this is part of her plan to get Raku to help tutor her all night because tomorrow is the maths test. Of course Chitoge won’t allow that knowing this b*tch is up to no good. Although she offers to tutor Marika herself but since she isn’t a good tutor, looks like Raku will have to do. But Chitoge comes to her apartment anyway. Marika boldly tries to flirt instead of doing any studying. Then Raku’s words that it would be sad if she failed and got held back made her decide to get serious and do her best. They end up snoozing eventually. When Marika wakes up, Raku left important notes for her. She whispers I love you in his sleeping face. During the test, she finds it easy since the questions oddly are similar to the ones Raku tutored her. Due to her fatigue, she picks just enough questions to answer to score the minimum pass. Unfortunately she is a couple of marks short of that in the end and needs to retake the test. Maybe this is also part of her plan. Because another night of Raku’s tutoring? Oh, Chitoge’s mad…

As Marika will be away on a short trip with her father, she leaves her pet parrot in Raku’s care. Guess what is its name? Raku-sama!!! Oh sh*t… Raku is going to hear a lot worse than that. Because the parrot starts squawking sexually ambiguous words of Raku and Marika making out!!! Sounds kinky! What did she teach the bird to say?! It’s just tiring hearing all that, eh? When Raku overslept and woke up, the parrot has flown its cage! What is worse than going around town shouting out your own name? A parrot screaming ambiguous kinky lines! Oh sh*t! Catch that bird! More woes ahead. The parrot lands next to Chitoge and spews all that crap. Oh no… Raku gets pounded for nothing. Next it’s Onodera. Can she handle it? Too late. She is so ‘broken’. No prizes in guessing that enraged face from Tsugumi. She’s going to shoot him to death! Raku consults Marika’s note on how to retrieve the parrot. Oh God. Must he say this? Is this the only way? At the top of his voice he screams out his sweet Marika honey that he loves her!!!!!!!! Everybody heard it. His harem girls heard it. There goes his reputation. Parrot returns to him. Was it worth it? Then it might be an elaborate plot by Marika just to record him saying that!!! OMG! Marika you sly b*tch!!! Although she clears the misunderstanding with the rest and retrieves her parrot, she is going to move on the next phase and teaches it to say another phrase… Scary girl!

Episode 6
Valentine’s Day. I think Chitoge killed her chocolate. Is Marika trying to make some Fallout vault? Onodera looks like she has passed. After the 10,000th time. Raku may act like he doesn’t need those chocolates be he certainly wished any girl would give him one! Chitoge comes in. Tsundere attitude. No chocolates. Now it makes it harder for her to give him. Onodera comes in. Nice and polite. No further things to talk about. Now it makes it harder for her to give him. Tsugumi is unfamiliar with the local customs of Valentine so Shuu twists the story so she could give hers to him. Raku sees this and gets the wrong idea that Tsugumi has a thing for Shuu. Marika comes by with her giant chocolate muse of Raku! Time to run away. Onodera doesn’t want to give up but as she is about to give him, she slips and squashes it. Tactical retreat! Raku sees Tsugumi trying to shoot down Shuu. Must have found out the truth, eh? Raku accidentally laments aloud about not getting chocolates. So Tsugumi gives hers although it is obligatory. His first chocolate ever from a girl. Yeah Tsugumi. You hold that record now. Look how happy he is. Definitely will return the favour on White Day. Raku’s happiness turns into shock when he sees Marika sitting dejectedly. I guess she crashed and destroyed the muse. To atone for his earlier act, he tries to eat the chocolate. I wonder if this is healthy. Of course I approve! Meanwhile Shuu tries to bug Ruri for chocolates and since he is annoying, she gives him her booger.

Chitoge finds Onodera with her broken chocolates and thinks she has a crush to give to. Of course, dismissed that crush as a friend. As they talk, Chitoge reveals she also has someone to give. Onodera carelessly deduces that person is Raku which of course the tsundere quickly shoots it down. We all know better. They both agree to make chocolates together. I don’t know how many tries they’re going to take since you can tell from their faces it tastes horrible. But they had fun making them. Before the day ends, Chitoge manages to see Raku to give her chocolates. Just obligatory. He eats them and commends it is pretty good for her level. Can’t stop blushing from happiness? When that is over, she tastes her own chocolate and realizes she messed up salt with sugar. Could it be Raku was just faking it to make her feel better? Onodera has finally perfected her chocolates. After the 10,000th time. Now she gives it to Raku. Could it be true love chocolates? No. Just obligatory. But special obligatory. What’s that supposed to mean? But I guess this one tastes much better. Meanwhile Marika creates another giant chocolate muse. I don’t know. Is welding part of the process?

Episode 7
Haru is most excited to be in her first day at high school. Too bad she ran into punks (doggie t-shirt prints?). On the verge of fainting, she vaguely sees a guy (Raku) standing up to protect her. The punks ran away because his yakuza dudes were coming. So in class, Haru is fawning over her prince charming despite not knowing how he looks or his name. Also in her class is Paula. Haru is nervous to make friends with her but when she does try, Paula acts cold and states her intention not to become her friend. It gets even weirder when hand grenades accidentally fall out from Paula’s pocket! Oh sh*t! Is there a terrorist in class?! Later as a couple of guys accidentally bump into Haru and make her drop her printouts, here comes Raku to her rescue again. Of course he recognizes her but she still doesn’t as she rants about this morning’s prince charming. But the moment she learns his name, she becomes scared and defensive. She believes those rumours that he is the heir to that yakuza group and is running the school behind the scenes. She also thinks he is trying to rein her under his thumb with his nice guy act. She is about to tell him off not to touch her sister when the wind blows up her skirt. What are the chances of him not seeing it? Anyway you know it is always his fault, right? Slap. When Onodera comes by after hearing the commotion, we learn Haru is her little sister. Haru gets defensive to protect her. Flashback reveals she overheard Raku is her crush but shortly, her friend on the line told her about the same name being from the yakuza clan. She misinterpreted the information.

Before Haru could tell her sister about being deceived, now comes Chitoge. Who is this pretty chick? Haru cannot understand how a drop dead gorgeous girl could become (insert all negative adjectives here) Raku’s girlfriend. But Chitoge instead instantly takes a liking for her. Now it gets complicated when Marika comes hugging Raku like her usual. Is he gunning for a harem? Although Onodera explains that Raku is not the kind the rumours say he is, Haru still isn’t convinced and blurts out how he peeked at her panties. Chitoge turns into a devil. Raku holds the record for flying to the moon and back without a spacecraft. The day is only going to get worse for her. She thought some animal care therapy could help but here that Raku guy is. Seeing him makes her blood boil. Turning into a mini devil? And then it happened again. The wind blows up her skirt. Fortunately her punch is not as powerful as Chitoge’s. But it’s still Raku’s fault somehow. The sisters are in the bath together. Haru ranting out she won’t forgive that vile guy. Onodera explains his good points. All Haru thinks is that she is too nice and that is why she can’t see him for what he is. Oh my, what is it going to take to convince this girl? But instead of dwelling on bad news, she talks about prince charming she met today. Keep dreaming… And she’s guessing when they’ll meet again? Oh, you don’t know… Raku just realizes something… His lock is missing! This is worse than Armageddon! Somehow it ended up in Haru’s hands and this is the only clue she has about her prince charming. I can see what is to come…

Episode 8
From today onwards, Onodera will be a magical patissiere girl! At least according to her familiar, Ruri the mouse. It might be a little problem for Onodera because when she transforms, she will be stark naked in that short moment. There is also of course another magical girl rival. Herald Marika the magical police girl! Now, she’s not afraid to flaunt her body. So what is Chitoge? Magical gorilla girl?! WTF?! Tsugumi is her cat familiar and she can transform into a beautiful sexy human witch! Not fair! Ruri gathers the magical girls as they need to work as a team. First, they need to pick a leader. Chitoge and Marika fight over it but Onodera gets the post seeing she won in the rock-scissors-paper. I’m sure being the centre and having cool winning poses are not the only perks. But the duo are relieved they didn’t get the leader job because that post also needs them to file tax returns and lots of other unrelated paperwork. Since when did the magical girl job become so complicated? Fighting off with a giant cute monster, they ultimate lose and the only way as Ruri points out is to combine their magic. But they have to be naked in public for 5 minutes for their magic to gather. So risk the world getting destroyed or their being labelled as exhibitionists by the world. Too bad we won’t get to see naked magical girls because Ruri just finished the job herself. Then Shuu pops up. He is the mad evil scientist who creates the monsters. His goal is not world domination but the thrill for magical girls to hunt him down. His new gun neutralizes their magic and makes Chitoge and Marika naked. Don’t worry. Ruri has got this covered. She flips Onodera’s skirt to distract and then defeat him. Onodera is going to have a long talk with her…

Onodera’s mom is troubled that 2 of her workers are unable to turn up. Although Haru can help, they are still short of one hand. Mother thinks of calling Raku over. So can you imagine Haru’s dismay to see this guy here? She still hates him very much. Onodera can still feel the tension and thinks if she leaves them alone, they’ll patch up. I’m not placing much hope on that… Haru as expected starts being a b*tch and running her mouth on him, warning him she’ll never let her sister be his. Yeah, yeah. We get it. Raku doesn’t want to brag but he thinks he can blow this over by revealing he is the one who saved her from those thugs that day. Unfortunately this only makes her madder! She thinks he is lying to win her to his side. Furthermore, she believes he is badmouthing her prince charming whom she vaguely remembers but ironically can describe accurately all his cool features. Her delusions are so far off reality. Haru tries to do all the work but Raku helps out and she is impressed he is also good. Then she realizes she is praising the enemy and returns being tsundere a b*tch. It gets worse when mother teases her for getting close to him seeing she is a man hater and the sisters might fight over him! Haru of course denies and thinking she can carry the load of trays herself, she slips. Raku catches her. He cannot let go or else she will fall and hurt herself. Onodera sees this. Haru is startled and trips. Although nobody is hurt, mother is mad because the tray is broken. Somebody is going to pay for this…

Episode 9
Kyouko is in a pinch. She is supposed to pick students to clean the pool but she forgot. Raku had to be the unlucky guy she stumbles into. So she makes him gather up his friends for the cleaning tomorrow or else… You can guess who turns up for it. Yeah, your usual suspects. Paula too. Haru of course is here to protect her sister. The only new addition tagging along is Haru’s friend, Suzu Ayakaji AKA Fuu. Haru tries to make friends with Paula but the latter continues to be cold. Then she spies the rest having fun in the pool after cleaning. Till Raku had to give her a pep talk to just join in and not be a stubborn mule. Paula changes and Haru couldn’t be happier. She accidentally pushes her into the pool and to everyone’s surprise, Paula can’t swim! Wait a minute. A super assassin cannot even swim decently?!

Because Onodera is sick, Ruri calls Raku to go visit her since she has something to do and that Onodera really wants him to come. Big motivation, eh? Raku knows he played into her hands when Onodera is surprised to see him and Ruri never told her about this. Since her parents are away for hours, could it be they will be spending time alone? Oh, I forgot. Haru… Little b*tch tries to call the police for a possible prowler in the house! She is not thrilled Raku is sticking around to help and thinks he is plotting to take back the lock. She teases Raku by feeding and touching Onodera, something he won’t get to do as long as she is on watch. After putting big sister to rest, Haru thinks Raku is sexually harassing her when he touches her neck. Actually, Raku realizes that Haru has caught Onodera’s flu and wants her to rest too. As usual, she is being stubborn in protecting her sister and would rather collapse than let him take care of her. Raku puts his foot down that her sister will be the one feeling guilty if she collapses. Like a little girl, she obediently listens. He feeds her. Although it’s good, she won’t admit it and eats the entire porridge herself. She felt comfortable as she sleeps but when she wakes up, she is surprised to find Raku sleeping by her side. But she realizes he has been changing her wet towel all this time. She is conflicted because he isn’t supposed to be a kind person. When Raku accidentally trips and spills on the basin, Haru cannot help but laugh at how weird he is. He is happy to see her smile like that since they first met. Haru gives Raku the lock. Don’t get the wrong idea. She is just entrusting it in his care till she finds her prince charming.

Episode 10
Shuu is being a monkey again so naturally Ruri is annoyed and wonders if Raku could do something about disciplining him. That is when Raku finds out Shuu has someone he likes because Ruri wants to know who that person is too. You bet he too doesn’t know. So the best friends talk and of course Shuu is just fooling around although he did drop hints but not specific enough to pinpoint who. Bugged by this, of all people, Raku had to ask Tsugumi for advice about unrequited love. To her, she’ll keep hiding those feelings till it burns out. Shuu enjoys being Kyouko’s lackey. Then she decides to let him be the first to know. She is getting married next month and will quit teaching. His happy face froze there. You know something is wrong despite he continues acting like a monkey. Soon Kyouko breaks the news to her class. Then the best friends talk again and this time with things a little more specific, Raku wouldn’t have known that Shuu’s crush has always been Kyouko. Because he has known him since young when he lies, he always has that stupid fixated face. So Shuu was definitely lying when he is brushing off all this. Raku wonders if he will be fine not letting Kyouko know his feelings. He is okay with it. No big deal. This makes Raku think that what if this were to happen to him. What if Onodera married another guy?! The thought of that just drains his energy! He also thinks Shuu is right in doing so. I mean, the girl you like just get married and then you confess to her. Wouldn’t that put things awkward? You definitely want her to be happy, right? And so once more he goes to consult Tsugumi for advice. To her, what has happened, has happened. Whatever will be, will be. There is nothing else you can do. After a lot of thinking, Raku talks to Shuu again and this time he says he will support him 100% even if it means he has decided not wanting to tell Kyouko his feelings. So at least for tonight, let him buy him dinner.

On Kyouko’s last day, Tsugumi suddenly comes up to Raku. She has done lots of thinking about his question yesterday. Seems she felt her answer was misleading and re-thought about it. Now she changes her stance that if it was the case, she wouldn’t accept it simply because it’s love. Raku is now convinced and thanks her. Off he goes to find Shuu. Is he fine with this? Last chance. I guess all that bugging, Shuu wants him to give him a little push. And so a little push Raku gave. A kick in his back, that is. Shuu runs all the way to Kyouko boarding a taxi. He says all he wants. We can’t hear a thing because the rain conveniently drowns it out. But Kyouko remains cool and tells him to take care. Goodbye forever. Now it’s over, time for Raku to make good on that dinner promise. I suppose takoyaki is enough for him. With Shuu’s case over, now it is his turn to support Raku for Onodera. I think this one will be more complicated. But Shuu will definitely be there to return the pushing favour. He’ll kick his butt when the time comes. Raku goes home thinking about this and her chances with Onodera. Luck is on his side when he bumps into Onodera. He asks if she would like to walk home with her. What’s the occasion? Oh, nothing. Just felt like it. Is that a yes?

Episode 11
Onodera has been tasting new desserts for her mom’s store that when Haru teases her about putting on weight, she literally takes it to heart and weighs herself… Let’s say emergency measures must be taken! So she asks Ruri about it and knowing the girl she is, she trolls Onodera that she has put on some weight. It would be bad if Raku finds out but why does her stomach have to growl now at all times? Oh yeah. She skipped breakfast. Fate seems to be tempting her because Chitoge reminds her about the new cake shop they’re supposed to check out today. Maybe another time. Now she is going to do some exercise. She almost got drowned in swimming… She’s been skipping meals so much that it has been bad for her complexion. Raku notices something is wrong. Her body looks sickly and he really wants to help. So he made her favourite food and thus Onodera is in a dilemma to eat it or not. How can she refuse something that Raku made for her?! Eventually she resisted them but later regrets about it. But Raku gives her some green tea. He feels bad for making her feel that way because he thought he could cheer her up with her favourite food. He would love to hear her out. But Onodera is more than happy for his thoughts. The weight problem doesn’t bug her now. Haru thinks she needs drastic measures too when she weighs herself. Till mom tells her the scale is broken. Well I’ll be darned…

A flashback on Onodera during her final year in middle school. In the same class with Raku, she really likes him. The thought of never seeing or talking him again after they graduate makes her sad. But upon hearing the high school he is enrolling, she also wants to enrol there and has Ruri enrol with her. Ruri suspects something amiss since she heard Raku was also going there but nevertheless agrees to go with her. Onodera works hard for the entrance exam and with Raku around, it gave her extra motivation. Unfortunately she didn’t pass! OMG! Obviously she fell into depression. Lots of regrets lingering. She should have told him her feelings, etc. Raku spots her sitting outside in the snowy cold bench alone. He heard about her predicament and just sits there and didn’t press further. Onodera was never wrong about his kindness because he offers to share his scarf since it is getting cold. Onodera wonders if she should take this chance to confess but she is feeling very happy right now. The romantic mood is ruined when mom calls her. Seems she managed to get admitted to the high school via waiting list and she just got the letter. Raku is so happy that he did back flips! Onodera is very happy she still gets to see him especially at tomorrow’s orientation.

Episode 12
Chitoge is early at school but something is odd about her. My, she looks so depressed. What gives? Turns out she lost her ribbon. Marika mocks her for being a baby losing a piece of scrap. She cries even harder! Not wanting to be the bad guy, she agrees to help the rest look for it after school. The search comes up empty. Raku thought of cheering her up by arm wrestling her. He still lost by her monstrous strength. Despite Chitoge being docile is good, he can’t stand her being this way. So he cheats by buying a new ribbon and tries to fake that he found it. But the nose knows… Chitoge can tell it is not hers because of the smell! Smells brand new… Raku apologizes for doing this and expects to be beaten up. However Chitoge is happy he did it for her. Then they spot something on top the electric pole. It’s her ribbon! Chitoge becomes Sonic to grab it. But the wind is being a dick today. It blows the ribbon into the path of a train as it rips it apart! It’s heartbreaking to see Chitoge cry like that. Then Raku says that ribbon was actually the new one. His got blown in the wind while he was running too and somehow Chitoge ended up chasing the wrong one. The real one is with him. Smells like the original. Yup. Chitoge so happy that she hugs him but then beats him up for being this close. I guess she’s back to normal. And Raku couldn’t have it any other way.

After Chitoge reads a manga about a couple confessing to each other, it makes her wonder the same. How would Raku feel about it? This thought makes her start over-thinking and you can expect the kind of thinking from a tsundere. Not happening, right? Still, she continues to think the consequences if she does so. Trying to pen her feelings on paper made her rip it apart. Practising confessing to a doll seems to work. Only for Tsugumi to catch her in the act! What the… She asks papa how he met mama. It was when he was in a business trip in Japan. Yeah. Rival gangs exchanging fire in an abandoned warehouse. Suddenly Hana the pizza delivery woman rides right into the middle of the crossfire just to find out who ordered the pizza. During that time Hana was struggling making ends meet and had 17 part time jobs! WTF?! Don’t even ask… Papa was captivated by her beauty and immediately proposed. Only to be rejected via kick. He persevered but each time he only got broken bones. Even though he knows what he will get, he cannot stand not telling her his feelings. That was how alluring Hana was to him. So more thinking for Chitoge. On an outing with Raku, her heart starts to push if she likes him then go ahead and confess. Then Raku starts talking about their fake relationship ever since. It has been a year. He has gotten used to it. Especially her clobbering. His point is that no point thinking about the future now and let’s take their time with this and they’ll eventually figure out something. This has Chitoge realize she doesn’t have to confess right now. She still wants to spend more time with him like this. If her feelings have not changed, she wants to confess to him like how her dad did. Raku feels something wrong when she wants to treat him to ramen. She beats him up for making her feel embarrassed. Then they go eat at a ramen store.

Fans of Raku x Onodera are going to love this because now they are living the married life! Onodera is the beautiful and responsible housewife! Wow! And they have Chitoge as the pet dog? If it feels like it is too good to be true then it is because it is. Because this whole damn thing was just a dream from Raku. FFFFUUUUU!!! Oddly, Onodera also had this same dream. FFFFUUUUU!!! Now it’s time to satisfy Raku x Marika fans. The same married life, only more extravagant in their seaside cottage. Oh, Chitoge the pet do again? But this time they hint about doing something naughty and before you know it, they have sextuplets! OMG! Mini Raku clones?! And yes, time for the good dream to end. Nightmare for Raku, though. And Marika is freaking stressed up that she wants to dream more about it. Moving on, it is Tsugumi’s turn. Normal married life. Yeah, Chitoge still their pet dog. Before we could get to the kissing part, Raku wakes up. Tsugumi too. Damn these dreams. What the hell is going on? Finally, it’s time for Raku x Chitoge married life dream. Hey wait… HOW COME CHITOGE IS STILL A DOG???!!! Eating dog food?! Wanting to get a dog as pet?! Playing Frisbee tomorrow?! Better quickly wake up from this nightmare, Raku!!! When Raku meets Chitoge to head to school, he sees her pretty tired face. Not enough sleep? I think we know the reason why.

If you love Onodera as that magical patisserie girl, here is another adventure of her and the gang. Ruri lets them meet the legendary magical princess who was once a magical girl herself. This cute loli, Yui Kanakura is that magical princess? Yeah, something about using her magic to project herself younger than she is. I don’t know what she is ranting about magic and justice but she bit her tongue. Chitoge and Onodera find her so awfully cute! Aww!!! Now the girls are facing off with Shuu and his minions. Don’t ask Ruri for answers or she’ll tell you to show your panties. Don’t worry, Yui has a special power up item. These garments allow them to nullify whatever magic. Time for another sexy transformation scene. Well, nobody knew it would be this skimpy. And Chitoge has a gorilla face over her crotch?! Despite the skin showing outfit, it does protect them from Shuu’s magic. But as they fight back, Shuu has also activated an impenetrable barrier. Time for Ruri to get serious and transform herself into her magical girl form. I don’t know what Shuu is ranting about his unbreakable barrier no matter how great Ruri’s magic is. But all Ruri did was kick him in the nuts! OUCH!!!! That ended it. You mean it’s over? In the aftermath, Onodera returns to her normal school life and continues to keep in touch with Chitoge and Marika. Suddenly Ruri pops up before her in the middle of class to whisk her away to fight another threatening villain. Wait. You mean they have to go right now? Oh sh*t! Because when Ruri transforms Onodera in this instant, this means she is totally naked right before everyone’s eyes in class. Free Onodera fanservice! Not shown to us viewers of course :,(.

Still Faking It?
If I had to put it in a way that describes this season, well, it is not that bad but it isn’t that great either. A neutral answer? Actually to be honest, the second season feels a little bit disappointing compared to the first season. Sure, there were some funny moments and laughs. But because they filled it with episodes that feel like fillers that doesn’t advance the plot anyhow that makes it just disappointing. I mean we were just dying to know who that possible girl is in that lock. But right off the first episode, we have already been thrown the biggest slap in the face that his lock cannot be open because of some tiny thing stuck inside it and that jerk doesn’t want to break open his precious thing. Well f*ck. Just great. So I guess this means another one season of nothingness? Yeah. It seemed like it. Otherwise I suppose where would be the fun when you find out the truth and everything just ends there.

I suppose the one thing great about these ‘fillers’ is that almost all of the major and supporting characters get to have at least one episode that they star in. So if you are a fan of a particular character, you can at least be happy that the character will be in focus and have more screen time than usual (sorry, Ruri fans). In a way you can say this helps a bit in the character development although overall this would mean the plot suffers. Whether it is the dramatic melodrama of Chitoge reconciling with her mom, the trauma of losing her ribbon or Shuu’s surprise love revelation and one last chance saloon of confession or simply Onodera’s crazy magical girl stint and misguided weight gain. The best one personally has got to be Marika’s pet trolling tactic. I thing she has the best result and time of her life in getting what she wanted. It was pretty slick of her. I guess despite Marika being the boldest girl in Raku’s harem, because many would see Chitoge and Onodera as the main contenders, this little antic somewhat feels like giving Marika fans a big hope and a big kick that she might still have a chance in snagging Raku after all. Yeah, you go girl. Oh, and I’m not really a fan of Marika…

I was wondering why Haru was hogging the opening credits animation and something tells me that she must be a really important character because we see Raku going to great lengths to save her from some mishap as his friends in a way help him in his big rescue. Was it worth it because he got slapped when the wind blew up her skirt and he cannot unseen what he has seen. Was this supposed to be the catalyst of what is to become of their relationship? It seems so. Haru only made her debut this season only in the second half. And thoughts of thinking he might be part of Raku’s harem by fitting into the little sister trope quickly vanishes when she quickly turns out to be an annoying misguided hateful b*tch. Oops. Too harsh? B*tching about protecting her sister can be pretty annoying. It’s like an excuse to cover up for something… I can imagine the shock that she will endure when she learns the person she admires the most and hates the most are the same person. It might take a while knowing her stubborn ignorant character. In some ways, I believe Haru has taken over the ‘hostility’ towards Raku. Not to say that Chitoge has been very docile but this season she seems to show less of it. Maybe she has gotten used to be by his side and only beating him up whenever necessary? Is that always necessary?

Introducing Paula is also not a bad thing but she suffers from lack of screen time and thus her character wasn’t really standing out at all. I suppose that is why Tsugumi had her own episode in focus just to introduce this girl. But that is just about it. I am guessing she likes Tsugumi so much that it is the only possible reason why she enrols in this school (did she break her promise?). Probably the only other girl who doesn’t take a liking for Raku and greatly expand his harem this season. Speaking of which, personally the most ‘shocking’ revelation was the fact that Shuu’s crush wasn’t Ruri but Kyouko. But even that, I remember he vaguely hinted he had more than one. But for Kyouko to be his best crush? Never saw that coming. Because we have always seen that guy teasing Ruri and he becomes her punching bag whenever he steps out of line. Another great troll and pretender? There are very few scenes that make it look like Ruri is looking at Shuu’s way but I may just be over-thinking. So with Kyouko’s episode over, can we move forward now with Shuu x Ruri? Oh yeah, I almost forgot whom this romance series was for anyway. Don’t want to usurp that, do you?

Something I noticed… Claude did not appear at all! Not that I could remember. Maybe he did but it could be so miniscule, dwarfed by Hana’s presence that I didn’t even notice at all. Speaking of her, I find it hard to believe that she is human. I mean, take a look at all the business proposals, meetings and schedules that she has to go through, attend and undertake. Not even the busiest man in the world can match 1/10 out of it. And yet she is so important that without her, everything falls apart. This woman should rule the world. I mean, she is right now (more like having everyone under her thumb). She is like a being that both God and Satan would even bow down at her feet, cowering in fear. And of course, despite all that abnormal human features, they have got to show that she is still a human deep down inside her heart because other than the deals, contracts and agreements that she has to get done, all she wants is simply to be with her daughter. Oddly I find that being the most powerful being in the series, can’t she just stop time or duplicate herself? Yeah, there are even some things she can’t do herself. Whoops. Don’t beat me up, Hana.

Other characters mainly remain the same as you would be familiar with from the first season. From shy and polite girl Onodera to her ‘relationship manager’ Ruri, the tomboyish Tsugumi, Shuu the monkey of the group and of course the number 1 tsundere who is no other than Chitoge. Just like the plot that is status quo and going nowhere, this means the romance between them also doesn’t feel like it went anywhere although we had some pretty romantic insights about Chitoge and Onodera. But it still feels lacking. So when are they just going to get real, stop acting and come clean with the truth? Until something grave happens (like Kyouko going away forever?) or when the lock gets truly fixed (yeah right, like it will happen)? Well then, I suppose your guess is as good as mine. We will still have to put up with the fake acting… It’s getting bad, by the way. Of course when they pull off that teaser in the final episode about Chitoge ever wondering whether she should confess, we already should have known better than the predictable outcome. After all, Raku has already decided to put off about the mystery of the lock so why not Chitoge too about her feelings. So when? Curse you, procrastination!

The opening theme is Rally Go Round by Lisa. An upbeat anime pop feel but nothing to shout about. There is a special opening theme for Onodera’s magical girl episode. The soft spoken singing style of Magical Styling reminds me of how Kana Hanazawa sang like one of those character ending songs in Inu x Boku SS. Just like in last season, there are many ending songs and each are tailored to the specific character who is singing them. Although it is a shame they only appear for a single episode. The main one is the playful and lively Aimai Hertz by the main quartet (Chitoge, Onodera, Marika and Tsugumi). Then you have the hard rock version of Trigger (for Tsugumi), the slow-moderate pop of Sleep zzz (Chitoge), the Flamenco-like Matado-rabu (Marika – this happens to be the best and my favourite among all the themes), the slow waltz-like romantic Marchen Ticktack (Haru), the slow ballad of Tooriame Drop (Ruri) and the sunshiny happy casual tune of Crayon Cover (Onodera). So none for Paula? I guess this shows her chances for Raku then.

One day, all these lies and faking will have to end. But in the meantime, we will have to put up with all the shenanigans. That means this season is tolerable for hardcore fans of the series. Those who watched the first season and expected something out of the second might be a little disappointed. Those who have not started on this series may take this time to think and think real hard before deciding to jump into something with no end in sight (yet). If you think you can shoulder the feeling of being left hanging and no possible answer, then go ahead. Otherwise, stay clear of the fakeness. The sequel feels more like casual watching more than anything else. It isn’t entirely bad but it could have (and should have) been way much better than this. Hopefully there would be another ‘real’ season sometime soon to make up for this ‘fake’ season. You know what they say: You can fool somebody some of the time but you can’t fool everybody every time.


April 12, 2015

Having a boy and a girl entering a fake relationship, pretending to be dating isn’t something really of a new original idea in movies or TV series. I’m not sure if this kind of story has been done to death seeing that it always ends up both of them having to fall very much in love with each other as opposed to the beginning whereby they hate each other so much enough to start the next World War. And thus we have an anime based on this very similar topic, Nisekoi. As you can tell from its title which means ‘fake love’, this story is pretty much the opposite of the romantic tragedy of Shakespeare’s play of Romeo and Juliet. In the sense that both our main protagonist couple are from opposing clans, they dislike each other the moment they first met and are forced to enter a false relationship so that there could be peace among both sides. There is no room for hate when love is all around, right? There would be no reason for them to kill each other if they are all related, right? Well, at least those gang members are dumb enough to fall for that. And thus it begins their excruciating torment of pretending to be lovey-dovey couples for 3 goddamn high school years. I don’t know if they can win any award for such acting. But with love polygons, hidden feelings and secret crushes from various parties as well, it might be the hardest act they’ll ever have to pull off.

Episode 1
A dream. A young boy and girl made a promise before they parted. The boy holds the lock while the girl holds the key. If they ever meet again when they grow up, they’ll get married. Raku Ichijou is a good chef. Could have been the best in the world if not for the fact he is cooking for his yakuza clan! Despite his aspirations to go to a university and be a civil servant, what are the chances when you are the son and heir of the yakuza? While on his way to school, in typical late-girl-rushing-to-school-with-bread-in-mouth cliché fashion, she jumps over the wall and accidentally lands a knee kick on his face. His injury is no big deal. But his classmate Kosaki Onodera is pretty concerned. Yes, the perfect girl whom Raku has a crush on. To make things worse, that violent girl, a half American half Japanese, Chitoge Kirisaki is a new transfer student in his class. Everybody loves her. Not Raku. They start arguing and accuse each other. You know what will become of situations like these. Then Raku realized something. His lock is missing. It may have flung out of his hands during that knee kick. Blaming her for it, he also wants her to help look for it. If that is not bad enough, the teacher makes them in charge of taking care of the school’s pets. Oh God, they just hate each other. But we all know better eventually. So after taking care, they go find it somewhere lost in the weeds or something. When Chitoge’s hair passes across Raku’s nose, he suddenly has this nostalgic feeling he has smelt this scent before.

Eventually Chitoge couldn’t take anymore of this wild goose hunt (because the girls start thinking she likes him as she is always seen hanging out with him). She chides him for being insecure and dwelling on the past. She bets that girl whom he made a promise has forgotten about him. Raku is mad. If that is how she feels, fine. She doesn’t have to help look for it anymore. Just get out of his face. Onodera who was there, felt bad for the entire thing blowing up but she could do nothing to stop it. Next day, Chitoge calls for him and throws to him his lock. Seems she continued to search for it. In exchange for that, she doesn’t want him to talk to her ever again. Raku may be relieved that his lock is found but he ponders about Chitoge’s words. Maybe it is time to put that promise behind. Onodera disagrees. Because if that person still remembers the promise, then it would make that person sad if he really gave up. Raku feels better. He shouldn’t forget about it. Whether or not he sees her again, he’ll cherish this lock. When Raku goes back, he is summoned by his father who is also the head of the yakuza clan. Recently their turf war with another foreign gang is escalating to heights that are spiralling out of control. Turns out the foreign gang’s boss is an old friend of his and has a daughter around Raku’s age. Now, if the heirs of each gang are in love, the silly war would end. Ridiculous as it may sound, Raku has no say because lives are at stake. I’m sure you can guess who that girl is. Uh huh. As surprised as he is. So Raku and Chitoge are going to date each other?! At least pretend the part. God is really screwing their lives.

Episode 2
Before things can settle down, those hot headed boys from both sides enter the scene are prepared to rips each other’s throat out. The yakuza’s Ryuu and the mafia’s Claude are accusing each other of kidnapping their heirs. So the big bosses dispel the misunderstanding and say that in fact the duo are in love with each other. Instantly those bozos bought it. They’re so glad the young ones have grown up before their eyes. Yeah. Gangsters crying… But… Since Raku and Chitoge continue to deny each other, bullets and blades are going to fly once more. Did they hear them wrongly about being lovey-dovey? No choice, the duo put up a silly romantic act to convince them. For 3 long years they have to put up with this charade? Oh God… Raku tells Chitoge about the promise he made and the reason why he holds on to that lock. The duo are forced to go on a date. I know they hate it right down to their guts but what choice do they have? Even more, those bozos are tailing them. Like we haven’t noticed ‘ya already. When Raku is forced to go buy her a drink, several men try to make a pass at her. Before she can get violent, Raku returns to bring her away. He is not too thrilled either because it is the first time he had to take a girl away by her hand. Anyway this date sucks. As she heads to the toilet, Raku laments if only Onodera was the girl on this date. Be careful what you wish for. She’s here. Oh sh*t! What a coincidence. As Chitoge leaves the washroom, she overhears her men whispering they aren’t really convinced they are a couple because their actions are suspicious. So she heads back to Raku calling him her darling and all. Did Onodera hear everything right? Because dilemma ever for Raku. Because those busybodies are watching. Chitoge acts fast by clinging on to him and that he is totally smitten over her. While he is in a state of shock, she goes off herself claiming she has something to do. Raku wants to explain but Onodera doesn’t want him to say a word. She understands. I think she misunderstood. Before she goes, he asks her one last thing. He shows his lock and wonders if she has ever seen it before. Nope. Not even once. Claude has been watching and now he is convinced something is really fishy. He is going to make his move. When Onodera goes home, she is filled with regret because she lied to Raku. She is still holding the key. Asking him now will be difficult.

Episode 3
Another dream from Raku. Always that time spent with that girl. He couldn’t remember her name always. Although he is certain Onodera isn’t the girl, he will try to clear up the misunderstanding. Unfortunately the entire class knows about them and starts cheering the ‘couple’. It wasn’t Onodera who rat on them but a couple of other classmates who witnessed them going on a date in the city. They want to deny but seeing Claude is watching right from the tree outside… Banzai for Raku and Chitoge! On another chance meeting with Onodera, Raku tries to clear the misunderstanding like they aren’t really suited for each other. But Onodera notes that he has been secretly taking notes for her, etc. She noticed him doing all those nice little things for her. Somebody accidentally bumps into Onodera and this makes her key fall out. That key looks familiar… She dismisses it as a key to her old bookcase. Easily convinced. But why was she so flustered? He has never seen her act like that before. Raku and Chitoge continue to be the celebrity couple of the class. What have they done to get this kind of humiliation? Since Chitoge is in one of her mood swings again, Raku talks to his best friend, Shuu Maiko. It is hinted she might not have friends and although Shuu have seen her talked to other girls, it wasn’t as close as she was to him. Raku hears the other girls how Chitoge is trying to avoid them but acts totally different when she is with Raku. Maybe she hates them? It hit Raku that he was so preoccupied with their fake love that he never knew about her personal life. He sees her alone in the classroom trying to study and pronounce Japanese right and making notes about her friends’ likes and dislikes. She gets embarrassed when she realized he has been there staring at her. She admits she doesn’t know how to make friends since Claude has always been overprotective over her. All she wants is to make friends just like any normal girl and lead a peaceful life. She thought if she came to Japan and that no one would know she is the daughter of a mafia and would get that chance. Looks like it’s not working out. Raku also relays his experience. Every time he changes school, the kids would say something behind his back just because his dad is the yakuza boss. He made a notebook to overcome it. He is willing to help her out on this. Although this doesn’t mean he likes her but he understands what she is going through. She lets him help out since he ‘insists’. She doesn’t need to be a cute girlfriend to him because at the end of the day, they’re all just actors. Onodera heard it from outside but she is confused on what they meant.

Episode 4
Chitoge is getting along with her female friends. Ruri Miyamoto isn’t exactly happy of this scenario. She knows Onodera is in love with Raku and her poor acting won’t fool her. In fact, she can tell Raku likes her too. Watching them is just painful. So Ruri organizes a study group back at Raku’s house. As long as Onodera is here, Raku is the happiest man on the planet. Now if he could only calm his nerves down. Ruri gets her plan rolling by making Raku tutor Onodera. But since he is too excited, Chitoge bumps him out and takes over. Chitoge was casual enough to ask if Onodera likes anybody and almost gives away about her fake dating. With Shuu pestering for more details, Raku takes him away to explain the truth. However Shuu is not surprised because he too also can tell how fake it is. So he pretended not to know because it’s more fun. I guess their fake love is fooling nobody only but themselves, eh? I think so because Shuu tells him to go confess his feelings straight to Onodera and it will be easy because she has a crush on him. That’s the biggest news surprising Raku for his entire life. The yakuzas believe nothing much is happening so they cook up a scheme to let Raku and Chitoge go get something from the storeroom. They realize too late when it’s a trap to lock them in. Suddenly Chitoge starts feeling scared and cowering behind his back. She is afraid of dark and cramped spaces since she was a kid. Something about an accident she got stuck in a washing machine… Don’t ask. But her phobia is real. Raku has never seen this side of hers and now that she is this close, upon taking a closer look, he never knew she was this hot! Raku could take the ladder and climb out of the window to get help but he is not leaving her alone in the darkness. He is sure somebody will come look for them. Chitoge realizes that all this talking has soothed her fear so they continue their conversation. They talk about Onodera and since Raku is idolizing her too hard, he fears he may have given away too much. Thankfully she is dense enough not to realize it. She just thinks Onodera is a very great girl. They get into an argument about kissing because Chitoge boasts she has done lots of them despite kissing is just a form of greeting in the west. Does that count? Now that Chitoge is not scared, she is able to climb the ladder but she trips and falls over him. Their faces… Too close… And then this… Claude barges in after suspecting she is taking too long to come home. He is on fire seeing this scene… Somebody is going to die… Onodera and Ruri also see this. In her embarrassment, she takes Ruri and dashes home. Sorry to bother. The misunderstanding just got bigger. Chitoge although still criticizes Raku, in her end note she notes he still has some good qualities. Maybe.

Episode 5
When Ruri is talking to Onodera, this is what Raku heard. Ruri is questioning Onodera’s reason to continue holding on to that key and promise made 10 years ago. That’s news! Ruri knows that Raku likes Onodera and she is going to create a chance to confirm that. She calls the usual suspects to help out the girls’ swimming club that she is in. Even if Onodera doesn’t know how to swim. Raku still can’t get that conversation he heard out of his head and he notices Onodera carrying the key and couldn’t stop staring. Giving the wrong signals to Chitoge… Pervert… Ruri wants Raku to teach Onodera how to swim by tomorrow. Well, Chitoge is too advanced for beginners to understand while Raku is too nervous for getting his God-sent opportunity. Shuu is just being a nuisance looking at their nice bodies (too bad he couldn’t say the same for Ruri) and wanting the opportunity to rub some lotion on Chitoge’s back (despite the pool is indoors). When Onodera goes to buy some drinks, Raku notices the key in her bag. He thinks of testing it out to see if it fits. It doesn’t. They key’s shape is a little odd too. The girls return only to get the wrong idea because that is the key to the girls’ locker room. Pervert! They’re not going to let him have Onodera and tie him up real good and won’t listen to a word but it is Onodera’s kindness (she’s such an angel!) that makes Raku a free man once more.

When Ruri apologizes to Chitoge that she had to borrow her boyfriend, Chitoge almost gave away they aren’t a couple. Very suspicious… And then Raku and Chitoge start arguing about their different treatment to each other which is completely different then how they treat Onodera. This confuses Ruri even more as she can’t tell if they are arguing because they are so close or just hate each other. At times they act so lovey-dovey that it’s hard to read their minds. So when the girls’ swimming team get into action, some spotted a girl drowning. She isn’t Onodera. It’s Chitoge! That’s why it is important to do warm ups before you swim. Instantly Raku jumps in to bring her out. Shuu lies she is not breathing so Raku must do CPR on her! Who else is going to do it but her boyfriend? Big dilemma. And when he has decided to give one, Chitoge wakes up and gets freaked out. At the expense of Raku getting beaten up. More confusion for Ruri because at the end of the day, she really couldn’t tell that if they are on good or bad terms. But she does know they aren’t actually dating. She then tells Onodera to reconsider about her old promise. I mean, she can’t even remember his name or face, how does she even hope to get some sort of reunion? Isn’t the love she has now more important? Well, Onodera believes her love 10 years ago might be connected with the current one. She believes Raku may have mistakenly thought the locker room key was that key. Meanwhile Shuu is bragging to Raku the hot bodies of Chitoge and Onodera. He prefers more on the latter but goes on ranting without knowing pissed Chitoge is creeping up behind ready to give him that finishing move. Anyway the guys got dunked into the pool.

Episode 6
Onodera and Ruri see Chitoge’s extravagant lunch… Sure she comes from a normal family? Since Chitoge continues to put down Raku, Onodera tells her the truth that he was the one who saved her from drowning. Chitoge feels awkward and the only choice left is to go apologize. Can she? First time didn’t go too well because he mentioned about her expanding waistline and won’t tell anybody about it. So he got beaten up… Take two… She asks for his favourite food in hopes to give it to him as apology. He doesn’t answer. She couldn’t care. Just that the bread. Not his favourite. Gets beaten up. Take three… Mentioning about the part he saved her, it seems to be going fine till the CPR part. CPR is like a kiss, right? That’s the third time he got the beat down. Chitoge won’t do this anymore so Ruri asks her straight. Are they actually dating? Gulp. Remembering Raku’s words that it is alright to tell best friends secrets, she lets them in on the truth. Surprised? They give their word they won’t say this to anyone. Ruri asks if there is somebody else who falls in love with him, will she oppose? Nope. She’d be happier for that girl to have him. And she doesn’t believe such a girl would like him. It’s closer than you think… This gives Onodera renewed hope to tell Raku her feelings. But how to go about it? Now she’s broken again. Back to square one. Raku is thinking so hard what Chitoge’s problem is that he didn’t realize that when he bumped into someone, he lock fell off. Chitoge manages to apologize to Raku for all that. In English. He can’t understand… On her way back, she spots the dropped pendant and picks it up.

Onodera didn’t count on this to happen so fast because Ruri sets her up alone with Raku! And to make sure she won’t chicken out, she is keeping a close watch. You better get through this one or else… There are lots of tense moments, lots of blushing moments, lots of flustering moments. Just when Onodera gets the courage to confess, a stray baseball comes between them! Oh for crying out loud! Is God really trying to screw up such moments? I don’t know if Onodera should feel cursed of relieved. Raku goes to get help and thoughts that Onodera might want to confess crossed his mind but he brushed it off that was ever going to happen. Ruri is deeply sorry for rushing Onodera into this. But she is also deeply disappointed at how things turned out. If the same thing happens again, they can kiss their friendship goodbye! Serious?! Using friendship as a threat?! Ruri however feels relived that she failed because although she wanted to let him know her feelings, she also wanted to keep things the way they are now. Chitoge returns the lock to Raku at his home. He is surprised she is the one who found it and was going to hit panic button when he realized it was missing. He thinks she isn’t that bad and can be nice sometimes. It seems Chitoge had one of her guys repaired it before returning. Then she remembers she too made a promise to a boy long ago. Wait a minute. Doesn’t this story sound familiar? Could it be? Meanwhile, Claude summons his subordinate and prodigy, Seishirou Tsugumi and exaggerates all the bad parts about Raku. He blames this guy for using and deceiving Chitoge and since he cannot protect her directly while Raku is around, Tsugumi is sure to have no problems in saving her from the clutches of that vile pig.

Episode 7
The school is all abuzz with a new handsome transfer student. Tsugumi becomes part of Raku’s class and sends all the girls swooning. I hope Onodera won’t be taken in too… When Chitoge recognizes him, he wastes no time in hugging her as it has been a long time. Chitoge is forced to introduce Raku to him but Tsugumi seems like a nice person. He continues to treat Chitoge like a princess and she can’t take this anymore. Later Tsugumi speaks with Raku alone at the roof. He asks if he really loves her. Of course he had to lie. Really? So he loves her a lot that he would die for her? Instantly Tsugumi takes out a gun and before Raku can say what the heck is happening, he’s got a gun pointing under his chin. Tsugumi cannot believe this weakling is the one to protect Chitoge and couldn’t believe she has been deceived by a guy who has not got a single thing attractive. From the way he says it, he sounds like a jealous lot that it wasn’t him who was there to protect her. Raku continues his deception and insists they are in love. Before bullets could fly, Chitoge comes in to stop the tension. Tsugumi wonders if she remembers the promise they made 10 years ago. Since that day he vowed to become stronger and pushed himself to the limits, training like hell just to protect her. Then this happened. He will not acknowledge Raku as Chitoge’s partner. He throws down a challenge to prove he is capable of that. I guess talking is out of the question. Later Chitoge explains to Raku that Tsugumi is adopted by Claude and trained to be a top hitman. When several thugs threatened her, Tsugumi singlehandedly destroyed their entire organization. Raku is going to be in sh*t. Raku thought she wants Tsugumi to win deep down in her heart, but surprised, she wants Raku to win. For the sake of the town. He can die for all she cares. Tsundere…

The battle for Chitoge begins. Yeah. There are a whole lot of girls rooting for Tsugumi and Shuu is taking bets. Nobody is betting on Raku… When it starts, Raku is left running because Tsugumi pulls out an arsenal of guns!!! Holy cow! I think he is damn lucky to dodge them all. Tsugumi continues to blame Raku that it should have been him so Raku pisses him off about his manhood. He makes a desperate attempt by jumping out of the third floor’s window and down into the pool. Tsugumi didn’t expect this and passes out. Raku can’t leave him like that and takes him into the boys’ locker to change. And then this shocking revelation… TSUGUMI IS A GIRL!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE???!!!! Didn’t believe it, did you? Everyone is coming in so they hide in the locker. Chitoge has searched everywhere and this is the only place left. One of the girls wonders the need to search the girls’ locker too. Because Tsugumi is a girl. Wow. See the shockwaves it sends for all the girls. Now you believe she is a girl? But why the guy uniform? Easier to move in. Her boy-like name? When Claude adopted her, he thought she was a boy and named her so. Amazingly for 10 years with him, Claude never suspected she was a girl. But it doesn’t make a difference because Tsugumi has casted away her feminine side to protect Chitoge. If she can’t do that, what is she good for? Now she has lost and she can’t bear to let her see her in this pathetic state. I know Raku is trying to be a good guy but he is saying she is pretty cute? And then Chitoge opens the locker. Death comes early for Raku. As for the outcome, Tsugumi puts up a tough front saying nothing has been resolved and that Raku failed to show he has what it takes to protect Chitoge. Be on his guard or he’ll be in sh*t again. After he leaves, Tsugumi reveals she had completely lost. It was what he said that Chitoge isn’t the type to sit around and let someone else protect her. Chitoge makes Tsugumi wear a female uniform. Very girly. Chitoge can’t remember that promise so Tsugumi refreshes her memory that it was to protect her. Chitoge is amazed she has been carrying living on a promise like that and remember something from so long. She gives her a ribbon to enhance her feminine appeal. Tsugumi then wonders if Chitoge had also forgotten the promise she made with her first love 10 years ago.

Episode 8
Tsugumi seems to be fitting well with the girls. She continues to keep an eye on Raku so much so he doesn’t feel any peace. Because Claude has given her to mission to take out Raku once she confirms their relationship is fake, a chance outing with him make be the ticket. However Chitoge makes her wear very feminine clothes. I wonder how she is going to do her job if she is this embarrassed. Her embarrassment increases when her foot is sore from wearing high heels and Raku carries her. She starts thinking he isn’t that bad when he asks about her first love. To her, serving Chitoge will always be her pleasure. But to Raku, it means for someone who can devote herself to someone like that, there will be someone who will fall in love with her. Her first love hasn’t bloomed yet. He would like to see that look on her first when that happens. Don’t turn around now because… Oh wait, on the scale of 1 to 10, how embarrassed is she? Immeasurable! Classic look. So it’s no wonder that whenever Raku is nearby, Tsugumi gets so flustered that it’s driving her crazy! And Raku thinks she really hates him. So Tsugumi talks to Chitoge about these ‘symptoms’ she’s been having. You know, when you’re near someone, your heart races, your words turn into gibberish, etc. I don’t know if it’s a good thing Chitoge isn’t a good love adviser because she thinks she has some sort of disease and should go check up in hospital. Even Claude feels the same. Insensitive people? But when she asks Shuu, he could perfectly guess it’s about Raku and starts laughing his ass off! Other people yield ambiguous snickering answers. What about Onodera and Ruri? They’re fast to point out it is love and Tsugumi vehemently denies she would never fall in love with a guy like him. Were they talking about somebody? Thinking about Raku and his words continue to wreak havoc on her mind. The ultimate blow came when Raku had the bad luck of walking before her and got a taste of her super punch.

Talking to Chitoge again and confirming it is this love thingy, Chitoge almost gave herself away when she mentions she has never been in love before. But Tsugumi points out this isn’t her only experience. Remember the one 10 years ago? Suddenly… SUDDENLY! She starts to remember! How the heck could she forget?! Well, at least she remembered something like that and can’t remember that boy’s face or name. She believes that boy may have forgotten about that whatever promise. As she goes home, she opens the cupboard filled with mementos. I think she can flood the room with it. Then she sees a diary. Written in Japanese around 10 years ago. Reading it, it is confirmed there is this boy she used to play with. Ringing any bells? There was one time he saved her from a wild dog and he ended up getting a little scar on his forehead. She stayed by his side while nursing him. She often snuck out the mansion to go see and play with him and whenever she was in trouble, he was always there to save her. There was even a comment that she would really want to marry him. Then one day they had to part but before that they need to make a promise. What is this promise we’re so dying to know? Too bad. The next page is left blank. So disappointed. So frustrating. Then out of the diary drops a key.

Episode 9
Chitoge wants Tsugumi to make arrangements to the place where she met her first love. However it’s not possible even though tomorrow is Saturday. Has she forgotten? Tomorrow is the school’s field trip! Gosh. How could she have forgotten? You can guess the group of six our main characters will be in. Thanks to Shuu, he sets up Raku sitting in the middle squished by the other girls, much to the envy of the other guys. It’s really cramp back there. It doesn’t help when Ruri wreaks havoc with the ‘centrifugal force’. Stop pushing! At the camp as they make preparations for food, Chitoge accidentally spills water on his head and sees the scar on his forehead. Likewise, he sees her key. She asks about the scar and he replies he used to keep a lot of pets and one may have attacked him. While they check out their rooms and kill time, it is decided to play some cards and the loser will reveal his/her first love. Chitoge and Onodera are bad poker face players… So much so Raku and Chitoge are left. Because Raku couldn’t bear to see Onodera’s cute but sad face each time he doesn’t pick the joker card. Because Chitoge always picks his joker card. Raku’s biggest dilemma is that he can’t let her win but due to her bad poker face that makes her seemingly want to cry, I don’t know how long this will go on. Till their teacher barges in to tell them they’re late for the assembly at the hall. Saved by the bell? After dinner, Raku is told a call is waiting for him. But there is no one on the other line. Seems Claude is here and it is his ploy to destroy his social life. After Raku enters the bath, Claude switches the men’s sign into women’s. Raku’s heaven suddenly becomes hell when Chitoge is there too. She wants to kill him but since she saw Claude earlier, she believes it is his doing.

Onodera and co come in. There goes his escape. Chitoge has no choice but to help him escape because if he is caught, they will have to spend the next 3 years as the object of everyone’s scorn. It’s going to be tough. Chitoge’s dumb distractions did little because the teacher and other girls come in. It’s getting crowded. Everyone wants a piece of Tsugumi. So tomboyish but yet so feminine a body. Raku almost got killed by Tsugumi’s sharp sense thinking there is an intruder. Shuu and the other guys are eavesdropping from the other wall. They don’t know how much Raku is missing this. Oh, they don’t know alright. With some girls pestering Chitoge about how far she has gone with Raku, Chitoge distracts them to ask Tsugumi about her first love. Raku spots a hole that may connect to the men’s side and swims there. But when Tsugumi relays the first love to Onodera, Raku stops dead in his tracks and is interested to hear! Onodera runs away to a corner and she had to sit directly blocking that hole! Chitoge struggles to pull her away and Onodera might have felt she touched something soft. Then Chitoge tries to push him into the hole but she slips and her lips kissed some part of his body. In the end, he makes it to the other side. Tired and almost dead. Later Raku and Chitoge meet and he apologizes. Although she forgives him under the circumstances, she is much worried about how much of her perfect body he has seen. He feigns ignorance. As they head to bed early, Shuu wants to go peep on the other girls. Dead tired Raku wants to sit this out. Despite warning from Ruri, Shuu opens the door. Ruri knew this would happen and was waiting. The guys get hung outside the balcony. And Raku wonders why he even got punished. Too tired to do anything…

Episode 10
Tonight’s programme will be… Kimodameshi! Shuu would love to set up Raku with Chitoge. He is willing to pay 2000 Yen for it? At the same time, Ruri wants Onodera to pair up with Raku. How? Don’t know. Pray hard. Because Raku still can’t get that image of her out of his mind, he acts strangely and Onodera wonders if he is avoiding her. Before the kimodameshi starts, boys and girls draw lots. Ruri purposely says out loud Onodera’s number 12. Of course this is for Raku to hear as he prays real hard to land that number. Please God, give me number 12! And suddenly would you believe it? He hits it! OMG! Oh yeah! Lucky #12! This is going to be his favourite number. Other pairings if you would like to know: Tsugumi-Ruri and Shuu-Chitoge. Chitoge hears some of the staffs playing as ghosts to be short on manpower. The way they are putting it as though they really want her to help out and so it can’t be helped. I guess this is better than pairing up with Shuu. That guy is waiting. After being led to the spot, she is left all alone by herself. Remember she has this fear of darkness? Don’t worry, at least she got a flashlight. Dead batteries. Okay, time to panic. She tries to think of something to take her mind off. But Raku comes to mind first? Well, not only Chitoge is scared. Our lovebirds, Raku and Onodera are nervous too. Big chance of a lifetime. Keep calm. Be cool.

Then they heard talk that Chitoge became part of the ghost squad. And then a ghost staff wonders if Chitoge has returned because she realized the flashlight has dead batteries. Everybody didn’t think much about it but it hit Raku. He knows how much she is afraid of the dark. In that instant he rushes off into the woods. Leaving a blazing trail behind him and interrupting the scare on Tsugumi-Ruri pair. Tsugumi is so scared and gripping Ruri like hell… Chitoge remembers an entry in her diary where she was trapped in a crevice. She was so scared that she couldn’t yell for help. But that boy always came to her rescue whenever she starts crying. This time Raku has found her. Saved. As he guides her back, she thinks they should start calling each other by their first names because she heard girls talking they still address each other by their surnames and it made them suspicious if they are close. When he calls her by her first name, he sees the most angelic face and response ever. That quickly turns into don’t-you-stare-at-me-like-that expression. The duo end up lost and by the time they reunite with the rest who are looking for them, the kimodameshi is over. Raku rues he threw away his only God given chance to be with Onodera. He apologizes to her but she forgives him since Chitoge is alright. Tsugumi asks Chitoge about the place she wants to go where she met her first love. She changes her mind that she doesn’t want to. She can wait because she has time.

Episode 11
When Ruri learns Raku and Chitoge are on first name basis, she is not very happy. But does she have to beat up Onodera? Tsugumi tells Raku that today is Chitoge’s birthday and she wants to invite her friends to a surprise birthday party. This means they have to go get presents so Ruri sets up Raku and Onodera to go buy presents together. I guess God is giving him another chance. As usual, a bundle of nerves. Lots of flustering. Thinking too much. On the way home, Onodera takes him on a detour. Through some narrow alley, at the end of it is a very beautiful scenery of the town. It is her secret place and now it will be their secret. When Onodera calls him by his first name, this feels very similar to that of 10 years ago. He starts thinking if she could be the one. Too much thinking that she blurts out asking if she was that girl whom he made a promise. She admits she is. At least that is what she thinks. She doesn’t remember much, not his name or face. The only thing she remembered was the lock which looks exactly like the one Raku has and this key that she received from him when they parted. When he asked her about the key then, she was so surprised that she denied it. She was a shy person in her younger days but that boy took her out to play and she felt she could really trust him. She believed he could be her first love and maybe it could be him. She was hoping it would be him. Unfortunately they have to continue this another time since Tsugumi calls Raku and she is furious that they are late for the party. The usual suspects gather at Chitoge’s huge mansion. Awed? Chitoge is surprised to see them and she panics because she never told them that her family is a mafia. She never had friends before. Raku tells them straight that her family is like a gang and they are impressed. See? Done. All the gang members throw her a party and Claude seems to be in particular trying to pick a bone with Raku, comparing their great presents. Claude shows off his present, some fancy custom made sports car. Cool. But Chitoge doesn’t have a driving licence, you know. Wasted… What does Raku have for her? The mafia guys think Raku is insulting Chitoge when he gives her a little gorilla doll. They’re going to kill him! However Chitoge truly likes it, much to everyone’s surprise (or dismay for Claude). Most surprising for Raku is that Chitoge can smile like that. Later he finds out she was just putting up a really good act. But she won’t throw it away otherwise people will start suspecting them. Raku’s mind is still occupied that Onodera could be that promised girl so Chitoge asks him if he still likes that girl from 10 years ago. He still does. Then does the words ‘Zawsze in love’ mean anything to him?

Episode 12
Those words are the one the promised girl said to him. As Chitoge explains her story, he finds it pretty similar to Onodera’s. She shows the key. He shows the lock. Panic time. Could it be? First they brush it aside that they couldn’t be that kid perhaps adding it lots of exaggeration that kid was cooler and such. There is only one way to find out. And they’re taking their time trying to do it. What’s the problem?! Hurry up and get it over with! When Chitoge finally inserts the key, she turns to hard that it snaps! HOLY SH*T! Heart break for Raku since he can’t test out Onodera’s key. Later as he ponders himself, Chitoge’s dad talks to him and appreciates him being the fake boyfriend. He then mentions about them meeting before 10 years ago when he came to Japan to meet with his father. Before they knew it, their kids were getting along so well. Before Raku could think Chitoge could be the fated one, Chitoge’s dad mentions there is a third girl and it must be fate for them to reunite because she is here at the party too. It dawned to Raku that it wasn’t either one but both of them he had met. However there is still a catch. He only remembers one of them he made a promise with. With whom is the question. I’m sure he is hoping it would be Onodera. Shuu calls his uncle who will gladly fix Raku’s lock. It will take some time. As they enter class, Raku spots Claude spying on them again and tries to act like a couple. However Chitoge is acting edgy (mostly thinking about that lock opening incident) and this almost makes the classmates feel suspicious. Onodera thought they were fighting or something but he brushes it off. Although she knows Chitoge told her they are pretending to date, she can’t help wonder Raku’s feelings.

The photos from the field trip are developed and pasted on the wall for everyone to pick and choose which ones they want to keep. Ruri tries to be cheeky by choosing one with Onodera and Raku together. Oh look. There is really one! You don’t know how much they want to get their hands on this. Shuu is also selling his own photos he took. No, they are not indecent pictures but embarrassing moments! Cue for this guy to get beaten up again. Of course he sells Raku a cute sleeping face of Onodera. This will be his best treasure. Raku then spots a photo whereby although Chitoge is the main focus, in the background there is Onodera changing! He takes it away hoping nobody will buy this. He bumps into Onodera accidentally and he thought he is screwed. Luckily her thumb was covering that embarrassing moment. After he takes it away, Onodera wonders why he chose a picture of Chitoge. Back home, Raku continues to ponder about the mysterious girl when his dad says he has old photos. What? You didn’t know? They’re kept in the storeroom but there is one from 10 years ago whereby Raku begged him to take on that trip. Something about some promise with some girl. Oh dear. It was right under your nose all this time.

Episode 13
Raku tries to find the box all night but to no avail. So it’s no surprise he isn’t in the mood when Shuu invites him to hang out with friends and also for group study. Till he heard those magic words: Onodera is coming too. At the fast food chain, Ruri wants to make Onodera sit next to Raku but she declines and thinks he should sit next to Chitoge his lover. She can tell something has happened although Onodera’s lips are very tightly sealed. While Shuu gives Chitoge translate an English text, Raku is thinking deeply if that promised girl could be Onodera or Chitoge. He believes the former is more likely. He almost admits he likes Onodera when Shuu asks him which he prefers. He was referring to the milkshake flavour. Close shave. Hope nobody heard that. Hopefully. Raku continues his search for the box and finally he finds it. Now to find out who the mystery girl is. Eh… Wait a minute. This girl in the picture… WHO THE HELL IS SHE???!!! Doesn’t look a bit like Onodera or Chitoge!!! And she has the key that looks like it could fit his lock. Oh sh*t! Just when he thought he got a step closer, the mystery deepens. He tries to find his father but as usual, he is not in. Therefore this thought is kept on bugging him on his mind. On a rainy day when Chitoge forgot to take her umbrella, Raku sheepishly offers his and they walk home together. Lots of close moments (the kind that could make them break out into an argument) including how Chitoge stick closer to him because she didn’t like how his shoulder is getting wet while sharing the umbrella. Raku learns another weakness she has: When the lightning flashes, she cowers in fear. Taking shelter in a hut, they see each other’s field trip photos. Raku is confident of showing his as he has sorted and separated out pictures containing Onodera. Then there is one picture whereby Chitoge is sleeping in an embarrassing fashion! Oh hell! Shuu must have put in there as a prank! Believe it! Surprisingly Chitoge believes him because he doesn’t have the guts to carry such a photo around. Then Chitoge says she regrets spending her youthful days with him but even so this fake love isn’t that bad after all. He thought she was serious and was about to say the same thing but turns out she was just messing with him. The lightning flashes and this causes her to hug close to him. Raku’s dad sees this and thinks their fake love might be blossoming into a real one. No prizes for guessing who will be vehemently denying that. Anyway, father is here to tell him something important. It’s going to get a little complicated because she is coming back tomorrow. Who? Raku’s fiancée. The one in the photo. SAY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??????!!!!!!!

Episode 14
Amazingly I don’t know how daddy even forgot about this. He can’t fix it anyhow or reverse this promise because it will be a real pain later so Raku will have to go with it. Raku says he has never met her. Oh yes he did. She is the girl in the photo. Well, you might have guessed this new transfer student into their class. Marika Tachibana is such a cute and polite chick that all the guys are going crazy over her! Upon spotting Raku, she instantly hugs him! Everyone… In shock… Dreams… Shattered… Hearts… Broken… So who is she to Raku? Why, Marika is Raku’s fiancée! Panicky Tsugumi points out Chitoge is his girlfriend and thanks to her pride, Chitoge doesn’t back down. The temperature is rising… When Tsugumi takes out her gun, suddenly the police and SWAT teams rush in to protect Marika and surround Tsugumi! Guess what? Marika is the daughter of the police commissioner. Oh, did I mention he is a very overprotective father? Oh sh*t. Now you know why Raku’s dad is in a pinch? A war could break out anytime… Marika feigns dizziness to whisk Raku to the infirmary. He insists he doesn’t remember her and that their fathers decided this for them. On the contrary, she remembers everything and she is truly in love with him. For the last 10 years, she only thought about him and please marry her now! She tries to get steamy with him but you know what happens when you struggle. All the busybody girls are eavesdropping outside as Chitoge kicks down the door. Well, what do you know? It seems like Raku is going to rape her. Today Raku got a taste of her Falcon Punch. Later, Marika’s attendant, Honda confirms Raku doesn’t remember anything. Marika is certain she will jog his memory as she has that key. Marika wants Raku to go on a date with her. She goes into dramatic mode and since he fears a potential big scale war, he agrees. Alarming bells for our related party girls, eh? Raku must be nervous. Because she got a police escort! Tsugumi dresses up so nicely that she is just stunning! Serious! She thinks of tailing them but is surprised the duo ask her for directions. She became disheartened that he didn’t recognize her. The disguise is good, right? On the other hand, Chitoge is dressed so suspiciously that it catches the police’s attention.

In an expensive restaurant, Marika wonders what he likes about that gorilla woman. He doesn’t want her badmouthing her as she has her good points too. He heard her note that she hates girls with long hair but is baffled because Marika herself has long hair. Marika takes him away because she knows Onodera and Ruri are spying nearby. Chitoge hides and eavesdrops them at the park. Raku shows her the photo but only remembers vaguely about the promise. As she shows him the key, she is more than happy to tell him everything on a condition if he breaks up with Chitoge. He won’t. He can’t abandon her for his own selfish reasons. Marika knows Chitoge is hiding and draws her out, Marika than starts flirting with him and tries to make it sound certain that she is that promised girl. Therefore she wants her to break up with him. Chitoge’s pride gets in the way again. The more Marika flirts with him, the more this pisses Chitoge off. What does he do to deserve this punch? And she feels relieved? More like irritated. But Marika soon has to go off and will meet again tomorrow at school. Noticing she left her handbag behind, he tails her only to see her talking to Honda. She has a weak body and isn’t good with the sun. She didn’t wear her hat as she wanted Raku to see her face. Raku confronts her about it. She is happy as this shows he is concerned for her. She asks him about what he likes about Chitoge. Although Raku explains her bad points worse than before, he also mentions her good parts. She has her good side sometimes. She is someone he can trust. The more Marika hears, the more her heart aches. Then he said this damning thing about not remembering the things he had done to make her like him, never met anyone who talks like her, etc. At this point, Marika turns into a devil and she just changed! She becomes a vulgar b*tch scolding him at the top of his voice that he actually forgot the promise that he liked girls with long hair, the reason she kept it all this time. Once she’s done hollering, Raku instantly recognizes her! Oh it’s you Marika! So her way of speech is the identifying factor?!

Episode 15
Marika swore to herself never to speak like that but ironically it was what made him remember. As she had a frail body when she was young, her father brought her to the mountains to recuperate. It was another boring day at the hospital when she met Raku climbing the tree outside. They become playmates and since she liked him so much, father tells her to marry him. So she asked the kind of girls he likes. Feminine and with long hair. Ever since that day she took lessons and trained herself to be more feminine. She did all that so she could meet him once more. Their promise kept her going and that photo was taken before they parted. Raku feels bad she held everything so dear to her. To his surprise she won’t force him to remember. Instead, she will make an unforgettable memory. She pecks him on his cheek. Didn’t see that one coming, did he? That was better than any medicine she’s taking. Chitoge and Onodera are told about this that they have met Raku 10 years ago. Nobody remembers what the promise was except Marika. It was to marry. At least that is what he said to her and assumed it was for the rest. As for why there were 3 keys made, Marika too doesn’t know. She never knew there were others made. The only way to find out is Raku’s lock but they have to wait till it is fixed. Marika stirs the hornet’s nest mentioning they have kissed. Chitoge is furious. Onodera is just disintegrating… Chitoge and Marika start arguing and even try to get Onodera to their side! Marika questions Onodera’s feelings for him. Thinking he likes Chitoge, she says they are good friends. That must have hurt for him. When Chitoge teases Marika that if she and Raku were to marry and why he forgot all about her then, Marika almost revealed her vulgar way of speech.

Marika invites Raku to go meet her dad. Of course Chitoge previously told him that he will be going there to tell him to annul the engagement. Easier said than done, right? First, he is already intimidated with the entire building as her home! Next, her dad has a real scary face! With that scar, he looks like a yakuza! Yeah. Raku’s dad is the one who did this. Oh sh*t! They are like best rivals and best friends even though it is still his dream to put that old geezer behind bars. So how will Raku find the balls to call off the engagement? Dad mentions how time flies and now his daughter is of marriageable age. Till Marika mentions he totally forgot about it. Mad dad! Oh sh*t! Of course he doesn’t blame Raku and thinks it’s his father’s fault of not telling. This leads to him asking if he has another girlfriend. Marika says he does. Mad dad! Oh sh*t! Marika is fine with the way things are and is determined to steal him away. Since she says so, dad has no objections. Now, Marika also mentions about their first kiss. Angry dad!!! No turning back! Then she leaves to make tea. Oh sh*t! Along with dad. Bad timing. But dad mentions that Marika talks about him a lot. She even treasures the toys he left behind at the hospital. That is when Raku got the balls to say he is in love with someone and that person is not Marika although he doesn’t dislike her. He appreciates it but gets the wrong idea that he is a player when he can’t confirm that girl he likes is his girlfriend. However whatever it is, Raku will still be the one who will make Marika happy in the end. Raku leaves and meets Raku outside. How did the talk with dad go? Need he elaborate? She wants to become the girl he wants but he doesn’t want her to change. He likes her the way she is. The way she transforms herself for him is amazing and whether she is feminine or not, long hair or short, she is still a sweet girl. Marika probably didn’t see this one coming becomes so embarrassed she turns into a different person. And daddy got the wrong idea that Raku was being forward with her… Sh*t is going to hit the fan…

Episode 16
Ruri is lecturing Onodera that it is already summer vacation and nothing is progressing between her and Raku. Oh, since when she is her relationship manager? Suddenly Onodera says she actually invited him to her home. SAY WHAAAAAAAT???!!! For real???!!! Yes. I think Ruri didn’t actually see that one coming. I suppose Onodera needs to get some love too and this is an episode dedicated to her. It all began right before the last day of school when she approached him to ask him that. Actually her family runs a Japanese sweets store and an employee had an emergency and can’t come in. Her mom needed someone who can cook well and the only person she knew was him. So it’s a part time job. Oh heck. It works for him! Our happy-cum-nervous guy makes his way there only to see her mom raising her voice on the phone. Stressful business decisions, eh? She is in a bad mood and Raku is being told off to suck a lollipop! Even when Onodera explains who he is, she remains sceptical and has him do a test to make a Japanese sweet. She will determine if he is good enough or not. Raku might not have good experience making Japanese sweets and only took a crash course. But here goes. After mom tastes it, this is her reply: Please marry my daughter! OMFG! Is this a big approval from mother-in-law?! Mother continues to tease Onodera who could explode from all that embarrassment. Anyway she leaves the shop in their care and her heart can rest easily. As Raku makes them, he learns Onodera isn’t good in cooking because she once tried and let’s say she almost created a murder scene. However her finishing touches were good and she has been doing that part ever since. As they man the counter, Raku almost gave away he wasn’t dating Chitoge. Onodera says she already knew they aren’t really dating because Chitoge told her a long time ago. He felt like an idiot. That damn b*tch never told him this. But does this mean the way is clear for him to confess his feelings? I don’t think he has the courage yet.

As a typhoon is approaching, mom calls Onodera to say she is stuck and can’t come back. And oh, have Raku stay there for the night. WHAAAAAAAT???!!! I’m sure they’re both grinning in their hearts but need to maintain their posture. So why the nervous act? Probably too nervous for Onodera that she accidentally invited him to her room. So she cleans up all the necessary things first and gets changed before he comes in. First time in her room. I guess it is pretty normal for a guy to start thinking this is the room where she changes… He sees a faced down photo and thinks it could be her crush (it’s a picture of Raku in some sports relay). He is going to satisfy his curiosity but Onodera returns with drinks. So they’re sitting there staring into space. The silence is so deafening that you could hear the clock tick. Eventually they got the conversation rolling when she lets him look at her photo album of her times in school. Onodera thinks he is popular with the girls but he denies and says Onodera herself is. She reveals that she knows a girl who has a crush on him during junior high. But she won’t say who. It’s a secret. Don’t tell me she’s talking about herself. Just when it seemed this enjoyable conversation could go on forever, they realize the typhoon stopped. Damn it. It’s like God couldn’t take any more of their flirting and stopped the typhoon so they have to go home. Because it would look pretty weird for a guy to stop for the night at a girl’s house, right? I’m sure they both want to stay but have to act very reserved. As he leaves, he manages to get her email address. All is not lost. Sweet victory. As test mail, she wanted to write she was that girl who had the crush on him (I knew it!) but changed her mind. Happy Raku wants to continue their mail conversation but to his dismay her reply was short. Good night. I guess the night ends here.

Episode 17
Raku is helping to man a stall at the festival since some stalls are run by his yakuza gang. Of course he wants the money to buy some super relationship charm. He really believes in that or just desperate? And of all times, he had to bump into Chitoge. Learning that he can get what he wants, Chitoge wants to ‘go on a date’. Everything is free, right? Raku thought he saw Onodera but it must be his imagination. In fact she is here and instinctively went into hiding. She is here to buy the charm too. Same for Marika. I think Marika really wants to disrupt Raku and Chitoge… But with Onodera around, they become stalkers instead. Chitoge is frustrated at the goldfish scooping game. Raku shows her how it is done even with a broken poi. But there is a huge carp. Can he do it? Amazingly it fits the size of the poi’s hole. Technically that is a win, right? Now it is time to buy the charm, there is a huge crazy crowd. Everyone has the same idea? Although Raku is able to buy it, he is separated from Chitoge thanks to the crowd’s pushing. He pulls her back but it turns out to be Onodera! Did Chitoge turn into Onodera on his wish?! The power of the charm for real?! You wish! Then Onodera’s sandal strap broke. Typical. Time for him to carry her. She never felt so happy and embarrassed at the same time. Too much of that and she might explode. After he puts her down, a cat comes to steal the charm. He chases after it and thus Onodera is left alone.

Marika thought she is happy that Raku has decided to switch to her. Suddenly he tells her not to move an inch. Because the cat is behind her. She takes it the wrong way that he is getting bold. His eyes look serious and focus. Too much for her to handle. The cat runs off and Marika is left embarrassed and confused by just about everything. Tsugumi is another one of those who didn’t manage to buy the charm. Taking it out at the shooting gallery? The cat bumps into her. In exchange for telling where the cat went, Raku helps shoot and win the prize she wants before scurrying along. The cat bumps into Shuu and drops the charm. He thinks it is his lucky day and is going to hit this pretty babe before his eyes. It’s Ruri. Uppercut! The charm flies into Chitoge’s hands and when she returns it to Raku, he is stunned to see her changed into a yukata. But now Raku thinks that boys don’t suit having such a charm and gives it to Chitoge since he did cause her some trouble. Chitoge starts flustering like mad because she just read on the board about the charm. It is meant as a proposal. So both of them get the wrong idea and talking about different things. He thinks she really wanted the charm. She thinks he really likes her. Maybe her heart was beating so hard that it causes her sash to unravel. He wants to help out but she tells him to stay away. She isn’t wearing anything underneath. Your imagination running wild? She flusters even more thinking that he might assault her in this defenceless state. Then Raku sees the board about the charm and realizes the implications of their conversation. So shocked that he drops the sash he was helping her holding up. Rape scene! Not!

Episode 18
Beach episode. Typical fanservice. Girls showing off their swimsuits. Chitoge and Marika hounding Tsugumi’s voluptuous boobs. Shuu and his trusty binoculars doing boobs watching. He can really tell the cup size with just a look? Marika wants Raku to put lotion on her back. Oh no you don’t, says Chitoge. Raku gets punched. Raku and Chitoge are paired to cook. Their hands touch. They fluster. They overreact. Accidentally cuts her finger. He treats. That night, Onodera talks to Raku at the pier. After Chitoge finishes cleaning up, she looks for Raku and this is what she heard Onodera said: “Can we kiss?”. OMFG!!! Onodera said that?! Even she herself is panicking. Why the heck did she say that?! What now?! You can’t take words back, can’t you?! What is Raku going to do? That dude… He was sleeping… FFFFFUUUUUUUUU!!! I don’t know if Onodera should feel relieved or frustrated. This kind of events could give her a heart attack. So she takes her leave by running away. Chitoge thought she misheard because there is no way Onodera would say something like that. Or can she? So next day, Chitoge and Onodera talk. Chitoge is hypothetically talking about herself about her heart beating faster when she’s next to a certain guy. Onodera thinks she’s talking about Tsugumi. But Chitoge freaks out when Onodera mentions this means she might have a crush on him. So Chitoge has a lot on her mind. She’s thinking about Raku obviously. He isn’t such a bad guy lately and could it mean having a crush means she loves him? Such thoughts are just making her go crazy. That night, Chitoge plays sparklers by herself. Obviously love problems are making her not thinking straight. Raku finds her. He talks to her trying to obviously see what the problem is but she’s just getting worked up. She still hates him but you know that is her tsundere side talking. He knows she is acting out of character today but he starts to act strange too when she asks if things would have worked out if they had dated for real. Since his mind is still on Onodera, he had to rebut that she is ungraceful, violent and not charming. Oops. Maybe he said the wrong thing. Because she didn’t get violent as usual but ran way. Ever since, they didn’t talk to each other. Even when the new school term starts, she avoids him and he is irritated about it. Truly strange. She continues acting forlorn and the likes when her usual self would have been back to normal already. Shuu is in charge of this year’s cultural festival (self appointed) and he is hyped up to do a Romeo and Juliet play. He suggests Raku and Chitoge play the lead parts. Everyone agrees except Chitoge who unenthusiastically declines.

Episode 19
So Onodera gets the part of Juliet. Marika wants to switch places with her and throws a tantrum but Onodera is cool. She wants to play it. That’s that. Marika knows what is going on and understands. Anyhow, Marika is the backup. Chitoge continues her brooding attitude. So much so Raku confronts her and tells her off. He knows something is wrong but he won’t know if he doesn’t say. She doesn’t care. Nothing is wrong. And she’s not mad. Oh, when I girl says something like that it means something is wrong and she is mad alright. Like the typical guy he is, he is just stumped. When Onodera goes to see the teacher, she notices she has that photo of the field trip where she was changing in the background. Thanks to Raku who gave it back to her, the teacher was allowed to take off that photo before anybody purchased it. Onodera now understands why he was acting so. He was looking out for her when he brought that photo to the teacher. Onodera is nervous in rehearsing her speech but Marika can’t help interrupt. She’s using the reason that as a backup, she must practice too. More like seeing this as practice for their future wedding… Tsugumi tells Marika off that Raku has a girlfriend but she is not scared one bit and there is nothing Tsugumi can do about it. Raku and Onodera try on their outfits and as usual, anything looks good on her and sends his heart aflutter. Because Claude is this close to being a stalker, Raku can’t take it anymore and confronts Chitoge that they need to continue their couple act. However she tells him off that she doesn’t want to do it anymore. She doesn’t want anything to do with him and doesn’t care if war breaks out between their families whatsoever. Because they’re just strangers. That hit Raku’s nerve. Is this how she felt all this time? Sure, he was against this fake dating too. But after the time spent together and finding out that their past is connected, he thought she would feel the same as him. Two can play that game. He starts shooting his mouth too. There’s nothing between them. He never once enjoyed hanging out with her. All his memories with her are fake. There is no way she is that girl he made that promise and they can never get along. Let’s end this fake acting and tell their dads about it. Before he can finish, she lands a big slap across his face. Gosh! The entire class saw this!!! Not good. Nobody’s happy. Our fake lovebirds are even more frustrated.

Come the day of festival, Onodera notes Raku has never talked about it ever since and has been acting like as though it never happened. Some friends call her for help but an accident causes her to sprain her ankle. This doesn’t look good. This is Marika’s chance, right? She’s out sick. Of all days?! The teacher wants everyone to continue what they’re doing and she’ll think of something. Onodera blames herself that at this rate the play will be cancelled when everyone has worked so hard. Raku can’t stand being the useless guy and vows to let the play go on. Meanwhile Chitoge is just continuing to brood and space out like always. The pancakes burnt to death… Hello? But she just looks really sad thinking about everything. Their failed relationship and all. Suddenly Raku grabs her hand. This is an emergency and he needs her help. After explaining what happened, he believes she is the next best person to play Juliet. He knows she hates his guts and hasn’t read the lines, but they have been acting out this couple thing so he believes things will work out. Chitoge cannot believe he got the guts to say this after what he said to her at the beach. It hit Raku then. Those words were what started this whole damn thing? But she must be really hurt at that time and thus the sulking. He apologizes he went out of line and although admits her undesirable traits that she isn’t his kind of woman, but the most important thing is that he mentions he doesn’t hate her. And it’s like magic. Whoosh! Enough to blow away the bad vibes in Chitoge and you can feel that she is back in her groove as she agrees to help him out.

Episode 20
Just before the play begins, Raku sees Chitoge’s beautiful smile. He couldn’t believe she could smile like that because it was only a moment ago she wouldn’t get rid of her sulking face. As the play begins, Raku is impressed Chitoge can say her lines well despite going over it once. He takes that back. Because now she suddenly forgets the rest of them. This causes them to argue in front of the stage and everyone thinks this is really funny. Even their families are here. Recording. So it is now the scene of Romeo going to see Juliet up on the balcony. Juliet’s servant (played by Tsugumi) is about to let him pass when Shuu as the narrator changes the script to say that the servant is in love with him!!! Tsugumi is forced to confess but she gets so embarrassed that she has to be taken away. Popping up next is Marika as Josephine! I guess a little sickness cannot hold her back. She is claiming about their promise of marrying. The crowd jeers at Romeo for two-timing. Raku improvises fast. Because they are siblings they cannot marry! Good one. But that doesn’t matter when it comes down to love, right? He counters that by saying about the dangerous road he will be taking and cannot involve her. She is so touched with his consideration that she faints. Or maybe the fever got to her. So the coast is clear? Not quite. Here is Claude as Friedrich, Juliet’s brother! Oh God. Feels like he is really going to kill this guy. And he sounds like a siscon from the way he says it he would have been by Juliet’s side if not for this dangerous man. He cuts up the stage for real and when Raku fights back throwing prop bricks, part of the stage collapses! Only Raku emerges from the rubble! The crowd supports him! Now that nobody else is in the way, Romeo and Juliet reunite and Chitoge even noting that she loves him. Why do I feel that this isn’t referring to the play characters? The play ends to a standing ovation.

In the aftermath, Chitoge talks to Raku that the play was similar to their feuding families except that they aren’t really in love. She apologizes for acting crazy on him and slapping him. Wondering if she still hates him or not, she still hates him but with a smile? She hints he can bring her around the festival grounds. The class celebrates over their huge success. Chitoge is quite popular and it seems the made up part is part of Shuu’s plan for them to reconcile. Because everyone was worried when they saw the slap although Shuu quelled them by saying Raku is a big masochist. But there is one who isn’t happy… Ruri. She is not happy Onodera had her ankle sprained at the crucial moment. Oh, there is also another unhappy one. Tsugumi is going to shoot Shuu for those improvised lines. Ruri has Raku take a crepe to Onodera. I guess it’s time to give her some screen time. They talk and as she says she really wanted to play that part (for an obvious reason), Raku will make that wish come true. Alone on the rooftop, they react the play again and this makes Onodera very happy.

Ruri lost her glasses and Raku and Onodera are the only ones available to help her. Shuu wants to help out too but she can tell he’ll be more of a pain than anything. Heck, he is already saying she looks better without them. Ironically despite she can’t see a damn thing (tripping on everything and speaking to the wrong person), she can accurately beat up Shuu. Hey, she isn’t totally blind. I don’t know if it’s a joke because she pulls out every junk except her glasses. Ruri then gets an idea. She hints she may have dropped it in some dark place and since she can’t see, they’ll have to go alone. Onodera can sense her ploy to set them up together and flusters greatly. As Onodera goes off to search herself, Raku suddenly asks Ruri if there is any person Onodera likes. I guess his density pisses her off. She says there is someone she likes. Enough to send alarm bells ringing to him. Who is that person? See? He is the blindest of them all! Ironically Ruri with glasses can see through them. She chides him for not paying much attention to Onodera despite they have been together for quite a number of occasions. As she is about to blurt the truth, Shuu interrupts them. Onodera returns and continues finding elsewhere with Raku. Shuu and Ruri know about Raku and Onodera. Shuu interrupted on purpose. Although Ruri really wanted to help them reach each other, Shuu believes they should do it themselves because there is a difference between things acquired with someone’s help and things acquired by oneself. Shuu hints there is someone he likes. Ruri doesn’t care. Finally Ruri’s glasses have been found but Raku and Onodera are all messed up. I don’t know where they went and what hole they crawled through… Next day, Raku is still having uneasiness from what Ruri said. Is this the end of his love? Ruri then goes up to tell him that she lied about Onodera liking somebody. So he believes this? Although frustrated, he is relieved there isn’t anyone she likes. Oh, you don’t know…

Raku and the gang are here to help out with the shrine duties. The shrine belongs to a friend of Raku’s dad. Of course, the girls in miko priestess outfit are a big win for the guys. Banzai! The girls come across an old lady spirit medium. Don’t put this smoking and sunglasses old lady. She is quite famous. She noticed a bad aura coming from Raku. After they witness bad luck befall on him (bird sh*t on him, stepping on a banana peel to fall down to stairs – all the way down), they believe something needs to be done. I don’t know about the curse of him being haunted by spirits of unpopular boys but if they don’t do anything before the New Year, he’ll be cursed forever. Today is New Year’s Eve. Oh sh*t. Good news is that there are many ways to exorcise it. The best way is to pummel him into the New Year’s bell. Any less non-violent way? How about this talisman? Easy? Catch: You have to place it on his butt. Holy sh*t. Chitoge goes first and it is freaking odd to see this girl ordering this clueless dude to strip naked! WTF?! And in this struggling ‘rape scene’, she accidentally drops the talisman in the water. Useless. The old lady suggests a more effective way. Onodera will do it. Can she hug him for a minute? Because the outfit contains purification power. Oh sh*t. And suddenly it is like the gods smiled upon Raku since Onodera starts hugging him and wants to stay this way for a while! Heaven on Earth! Why do the things you like always end so fast? Marika would sure love to do that. Guess what? The spirits are not exorcised and time is running out. Don’t worry, old lady here still has a way. A bottle of purification water. Make him drink it. Catch? Only effective mouth to mouth. Holy sh*t! Doesn’t this look like a kiss? The girls are flustering over this. Except for Marika. She’s gone. Get her! Raku starts running for his life when ‘cheek monsters’ start chasing him. As things get desperate, Raku runs into the path of the ringing bell. He gets pummelled. Spirits exorcised. So it really happened? It was real? I thought the old lady was just a bogus trying to give us some cheap laughs-cum-thrills with cheap-cum-fake tactics with the girls ‘fighting’ over him. Anyway she is the real deal. Raku learns of the truth but he has mixed feelings because this means Onodera’s hug was just that. However he considers himself lucky to get it. Well, he’ll need all the luck he can get now because as noted, his women troubles have only just begun. Oh, really? I thought it began a long time ago?

Marika seems to be leaving early from school recently. Raku and Chitoge are going to find out why. Stopping at some cafe, they find her working as a waitress. She is of course happy to see Raku here. They wonder if she is going to be fine but from what the owner is saying, it looks worrying. I mean, she is so many orders behind, dropping plates like flies and yet she calls herself the most productive staff around. Worrying indeed. Then there is some sort of discrimination too. Chitoge gets only a stinking French fry while Raku gets a super big serving of ice cream. What is Chitoge going to do with all the ketchup anyway? The owner later apologizes on her behalf but still considers and important employee since although she makes lots of mistakes, she never gets it to her. She is always so happy and cheerful that some customers return just to see her smile. Problem begins when Raku’s yakuza guys patron the site. Try not to make a mess of things okay? And then… Claude and his mafia come in. Please don’t do anything silly okay? It’s going to be hard when they’re seated right next to each other! It’s going to blow anytime… It might soon when Marika escalates the feud when she hugs Raku! Claude is going to kill him! The yakuzas are ready to take on the mafia. Suddenly the police force led by squad leader Migisuke stop by. Oh sh*t… Three way fight now… The owner is worried that the fight will destroy his shop. Then it hit Marika. No shop means no customers means no job means no money means. In one big inhalation, she lets out the crudest admonishing to those blokes that if they want to fight, go somewhere else. She dumps them out! Holy sh*t! Freaking shocking! And so Marika becomes the unlikely saviour… On the way home, Raku wonders why she is working because she won’t do something that she isn’t interested. She reveals that she is saving up on their wedding and goes on explaining about the ideal house and family they will have. Can she achieve that with such a meagre wage? Try looking hard at reality. Back home, there is a house scribble framed up in her room. It was drawn by Raku when Marika was in hospital. He described the kind of house he wanted. And there is a big jar that Marika deposits her entire earnings dedicated to making this dream come true. Looks like a long way to go… But you go, girl.

Raku is surprised that his friends are here to celebrate New Year’s Day at his place especially with the girls in their kimonos. I’m sure he is only interested in Onodera… As Ryuu and his men have already secretly cooked, I guess the friends will be staying. Because Chitoge requests for something sweet, Raku searches through for some western confectionary. He thought that was just it when shortly Chitoge suddenly asks him if he has ever kissed a girl and wants to be kissed by her! Oh sh*t! What’s wrong?! She looks drunk! Then he realized. The chocolates have whiskey content in them. She is already intoxicated with just one? She’s pestering Raku to kiss her and as Shuu makes fun of girls for being weak against alcohol, he gets kicked a few doors away by Marika! Oh no… She’s drunk too! And she’s killing Shuu with some bone breaking submission move! Oh, now what? Don’t tell me… Not Tsugumi too?! Oh yes it is. She clasps her hands on Raku’s cheek and is going to kiss him! Thank goodness I don’t know how but Raku managed to slip away so she is kissing some raccoon statue instead. Ruri may seem fine but she’s ‘broken’ too spewing figures about Japan’s future, taxes and unemployment rate. Hey, at least she isn’t horny. Finally, the most ‘dangerous’ one that Raku fears to be drunk… Onodera! She looks like she is turning into a slut trying to undress her kimono. I’m sure he is pretty much in a dilemma when she pins him down and starts caressing his skin. I’m sure he likes it… She wants him to touch her… I’m sure he loves to… The sense is strong in him as he doesn’t give in to temptation and runs away. But he is caught by Chitoge who throws a kiddie tantrum to say that he likes her. Otherwise… Almost yandere mode! If you think that the situation can’t get worse than this, think again. Because now all the horny girls gang up and do something unimaginable to him. We’ll leave that up to your imagination. Today is the day Raku met the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse… When he wakes up later that evening, he thinks it was a dream and can’t remember what happened. Since his head still hurts, he goes back to sleep. The girls are sitting in a corner with that quiet guilty feeling… Let’s make a pact… Nothing happened today… Nothing… N/B: Why is it that girls in love turn horny when take something with small alcohol content?

This is totally a complete fanservice episode. You like fanservice? It’s got it all here. Raku is at the public bath and imagine the probability of coincidence that Chitoge is there too. Everything looks fine, including Chitoge telling him to throw the soap over so she can borrow some. And then Marika and Honda had to come in. Marika instantly recognizes Raku’s voice when he is asking for the soap back. In her happiness she starts climbing over to greet him but Raku tries to bring her back down. And for nothing that guy gets hit by her tub for looking at them. They’re not even naked, right? I don’t know if he missed the fun because just as he finishes and heads out, Onodera and her little sister, Haru just walked in. The granny attendant wants him to man the counter while she goes out to do some errand. Hope nothing happens… Like that will happen. A couple of old ladies whom I believe love to see something flirty with this young guy calls him over to fix a broken shower. I know Raku wants to be a gentleman but how the heck can he see if he blindfolds himself? The old ladies guide him but I have a feeling they’re purposely leading him to Onodera who is freaking surprised to see him (I think she’s doing a good job trying to hold in her scream). If you’re wondering where Chitoge and Marika are, they’re in the sauna doing some silly endurance competition. Before Raku could grope cornered Onodera, Haru gives him a flying kick and ticks him off. He recognizes that voice and accidentally his hand turns on the shower to spray her towel wet. Like what curiosity did to the cat, Raku automatically takes a look… Lots of tubs are thrown to chase him out. It’s not over yet as the old ladies call him because a couple of girls passed out in the sauna. Raku has to do the dirty job again. As he carries Chitoge, her towel threatens to come off. Time to panic? For some reason, the soap was there so he could slip on it and pass out. When granny attendant comes back, she can’t believe he fainted on the job.

Next up, the hotspring. Ah… All your usual girls dipping naked, touching and exploring each other’s bodies. Groping Tsugumi’s huge boobs… A guy’s dream paradise… Because they fear monkeys will steal their belongings, they tie it all up real good. A sudden geyser eruption sends it flying to the men’s section. That is where Raku is. Oh God. The package lands and gets stuck on a tree while Raku is unaware of what is happening but alerted that some animal may be nearby. Of course the girls need to get it back before Raku notices and takes a peek in it. All their belongings are in there. Their clothes. Their underwear. Chitoge tries her luck first but with Raku turning around her way, she makes a desperate attempt to hide. The rest do other diversions for her to escape back. Raku starts feeling scared that there may be something in this bath. The girls must move fast as the tree branch is breaking. Onodera goes in when Raku is washing his hair. He thinks Shu was passing by and asks for the soap. Onodera in a pinch tries to give it to him. Their hands met. She flusters and runs back out. Noticing something amiss, Raku opens his eyes. Nobody there. Oh sh*t… Whose hand did he touch? A monkey? A ghost? An alien?! Scary! As he soaks in the hotspring in fear, the girls are putting too much pressure on the fence and it collapses. Wow Raku! You’re the luckiest guy in the world to have seen all the girls’ naked body!!! Ultimate fanservice!!! But then what is the use of that when he has to say goodbye to his memories? Chitoge’s super kick… If you’re wondering where Shu has been all the while, he has been climbing for 2 hours up a cliff just to peek at the women’s section. Nobody there. Wasted. He falls off. It’s a long way down…

Fake Acting, Real Love
Do you call that an ending? Not quite because with things not resolved yet, it is not surprised that a second season was announced (which is starting right now at the time of this blog). Because ever since Raku’s lock has been sent to be fixed and the introduction of Marika, the subsequent episodes feel like fillers like the beach episode, the festival and ending with the stage play of the school cultural festival. I suppose with this kind of genre, there is only so much you can do to help in developing the plot and the characters. Overall, I am quite satisfied with this series and I had my fair share of laughs, drama and also frustrating moments. Yes. Annoying moments like when you just want to scream out to the characters to be honest with their feelings or when something good is about to happen but something else gets in the way and interrupts everything. And then who knows when they will get another great chance again. It’s always like that, isn’t it?

The main characters are great even if the storyline feels clichéd and unoriginal. Heck, even if the characters of this love and harem genre seem cliché (tsundere, shy girl, the bold and sick girl, the tomboyish one – all too familiar), they are still likeable in their own ways and the interactions among each other help push the plot and everything forward albeit a little bit slow. I won’t say that they are really fleshed out but at least they have decent share of the screen time and enough for us viewers to know about their personalities and past. Because we still don’t know who the real girl Raku made his promise to, right? And come to think of it, how long does it really take to fix that damn lock even though it is of the rare type? Sure, the drama is greatly played out in ‘delaying’ to find out the key that fits it and after all the build up and it just breaks, don’t you just feel annoyed? We’ve waited so many episodes just to find out and then this. Ah yes. That is why the story gets to continue and the love developing. So for those little moments like where the girls tussle with each other just to get to dense Raku (why do girls always fall for dense guys and bad boys?), it may seem a little silly but I enjoyed them personally. It’s both frustrating and fun despite knowing the end outcome right before it all starts or spotting it from a mile away.

So like our guy Raku, just like any other male protagonists in such genres, he isn’t totally a bad person. He is an accommodating, kind and nice person who yearns for the normal life but guys like him casted in the lead rarely would achieve such feat. Then there is Chitoge who has her own pride and thus a reason why she acts like a tsundere. Ultimately she is also a good person like Raku. It is just that they think too much that gets in the way of understanding each other better, the reason for Chitoge’s sulking drama at the end. It always boils down to and depends on feelings, right? So I figure if you take away this barrier that is hindering them, their relationship could be a very smooth one even though they are just putting up a fake act. I just thought about something on Chitoge. Could it be that she has a memory problem or something because I noticed in some scenes that she just seems to have problem recalling the things in her past. Maybe it is just a troll to lead us astray.

A big part of the romance seems to hint between Raku and Chitoge with a handful of scenes with them together. However as not to have Chitoge hog all the screen time, there are some with Onodera and Marika as well. I suppose there are things that are stopping them from moving forward and becoming an official couple. Raku because of his density. Chitoge because of her tsundere pride. Onodera because of her shyness and Marika because of her weak body. Yes, people. Marika is the boldest of the lot and could have snatched Raku away if not for the need to take better care of her body. Because you don’t want such a girl to collapse in the middle of the street and die of a heart attack (in the extreme case of Raku confessing he loves her or something), would you? Ah yes. I almost forgot about Tsugumi. She is greatly hinted as the fourth and hidden love interest for Raku. Ever since she has been ‘defeated’ by Raku, she has turned into a bundle of nerves every time he is around. Or just thinking about him will send her into ultimate flustering mode. She could be tsundere number 2 and a greater one than Chitoge. So don’t write her off just yet.

The other supporting characters are fun too. Like Shuu’s carefree ways that sometimes turn out to be very troublesome for Raku. He might act like a loudmouth monkey but he is quite a perspective person. Then there is Ruri whom I feel is like Onodera’s relationship manager. This bespectacled girl is always trying to push Onodera into making the move for Raku. It’s like she’s rushing for something. Can’t she take her time? Maybe she knows Onodera too well that she will take forever until kingdom come. That’s why she fears to see her best friend heartbroken in the event if Raku becomes somebody else’s girl and thus the need to push, push and push! But very much often, she is always left disappointed. I wanted to consider her as the fifth and other secret secretly hidden girl in love with Raku even though it sounds pushing it (because I speculate she isn’t confident in landing Raku herself and has decided to settle for her best friend to get him and thus the reason she keeps bugging Onodera to be aggressive) however I think she and Shuu are more likely to ‘fit’ with each other. Because Shuu even thinks so as they are both bespectacled characters… And he often becomes her punching bag for almost everything. Heck, who knows, these 2 may even become a couple and have a better potential in becoming one instead of Raku and his harem. You know, Shuu did make that big hint about someone he likes…

Then there is Claude whom I feel is the most dangerous character of them all. He is sharp (although at certain points he isn’t) and with his stalker tendencies, it is like he is waiting for that right moment just to kill Raku. However I feel that ever since Marika entered the fray, his stalking presence seems to have lessened very much unlike before that he was just around every damn corner and sitting outside the classroom tree (nobody else notices this?!). I think it is because as the daughter of the police commissioner, I don’t think he wants to risk himself getting caught. The rest of the yakuza and mafia family feel like silly goons. Heck, they can’t see through their fake acting when even some high school kids can spot it from a mile away. So the only thing that is only holding them down and peace reigning is because of their heir’s relationship? I see Raku and Chitoge are the most important people ever because if they ever break off, heads are going to roll, blood is going to spill and the body count is going to just rise. It will be a modern version of Romeo and Juliet. So better keep the fake dating going on at least for the betterment of their family and the world.

One obvious thing that stands out in this anime is the art style. For those who are familiar with SHAFT’s style of animation, you find all the similar trademarks and feel right at home. From the trademark head tilting to the eye zoom in and even the abstract background designs that are clearly to be their identifiable features. Sometimes in a way it feels odd to realize Shaft is doing a romantic comedy series because all the while we have been watching shows like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, Monogatari Series, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko, the ef series and Mekakucity Actors. These are all considered as ‘strange’ anime stories and even if they did comedies like Arakawa Under The Bridge, Soredemo Machi Wa Mawatteiru, Hidamari Sketch and Maria+Holic, it wasn’t the high school type of romance that you would expect them to do.

Therefore when Nisekoi came along and it was leaning more towards the romantic comedy type, it just feels odd. Even more so, the characters look like your typical high school bishoujo and bishonen instead of SHAFT’s kind of character designs in the aforementioned series. Well, at least the characters look pretty. Our main trio girls are a given. Personally, I think Ruri too looks prettier without her glasses. Even prettier if she smiles. Added bonus if you like dojikko in which Ruri is without her glasses ;p. And don’t count out Tsugumi too because if she dresses all feminine she is definitely a possible candidate for Miss Universe. Haha! But true. On a trivial note, I thought Raku has this strange and uncanny outline resemblance to Hidamari Sketch’s Yuno. Especially that little ‘x’ on his hair which is supposedly Yuno’s trademark. Heck, I think their short hairstyle is almost very similar. Interestingly but not surprisingly as most of SHAFT works have it, the end card illustration from various people. Some looking good and others downright funny.

Voice acting is good with Nao Touyama stepping up as the tsundere Chitoge. She sounds perfect for the role and could be the new voice of tsundere personalities. I know Rie Kugimiya is the queen of tsundere roles but that is if it is only confined to loli characters :). From idol Kanon of The World God Only Knows to cheerful and outgoing Yui from Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru, this adds to the colourful list of character roles that she has played. Kana Hanazawa is also cute in her role as Onodera. That shy voice of hers really makes you wish you had such a nice lovely girlfriend. Don’t you? Even cuter when she is flustering and all. Kana Asumi is also outstanding as Marika but it feels funny (but not to a bad or weird point) that it is as though she is trying to keep in wraps and under control her joker voice (because that is what her character is too). If you have heard how she sounds like in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san or even Aira from Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, she is still recognizable here but it is like she’s trying real hard to sound polite, courteous and not to let that voice of hers emerge and thus it feels like she might burst out into that joker rage any moment after holding in for too long. Any moment now…The rest of the other casts include Kouki Uchiyama as Raku (Ichika in Infinite Stratos), Mikako Komatsu as Tsugumi (Neko in K), Yuuki Kaji as Shuu (Eren in Shingeki No Kyojin), Yumi Uchiyama as Ruri (Nagi in A Channel) and Takehito Koyasu as Claude (Kururu in Keroro Gunsou).

Both the opening themes are sung by Claris. They are Click and Step respectively. Hearing both songs somewhat remind me of how they sang it in both the seasons of Ore No Imouto Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai. Although I still prefer much their opener from Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. There are many ending themes (6 to be exact). All of them are tailored specific to a particular girl. So you have Heart Pattern for Chitoge, Recover Decoration for Onodera, Hanagonomi for Marika, Trick Box for Tsugumi and even OrderxOrder for Ruri despite she isn’t part of the harem (although this song is not featured in any of the episodes, I read that it was so in the Japanese version of the Blu-ray). I suppose even though she is not part of the official harem, there is no reason to leave her out. She could after all be a potential for all you know. Finally, the quartet from Raku’s harem singing Souzou Diary for the final episode. There are a variety of background music. Not to say that it always catches my attention but the ones that do have this fun and casual feel especially the one that sounds like a Venetian accordion or that medieval flute-like play and jazzy piece (latter 2 for the end card illustrations).

Funnily there are some funny stuffs happening or mind boggling things in the credits animation. Take for instance the second opening credits animation. At the end of it, you will see a spider on a web and getting caught in it are 3 flies. Wait a minute. To say that Raku is the spider and the 3 main ladies of his harem are the bug victims? Normally it would make sense if there is a fly and 3 spiders (that would be so screwed up for Raku) but in this case, are they saying that the girls are stuck in Raku’s web of love? If you look like it, it seems pretty much like it because they are the ones ‘trapped’ and vying for his attention and just waiting for Raku to ‘eat’ or make the first move on one of them. Or maybe it is the spider that is the one cornered? The food and flowery pattern designs in Onodera’s ending animation credits are creative and nicely done. The funny parts are her failed kisses on Raku because the first time before she could do that, his head exploded into sweets and the second time, the doll version of them missed and she fell down. Trying to indicate something? Marika’s ending animation credits see her running through the battlefield and across the land in her wedding dress. Will she ever get there? Then there are a bunch of rabbit suit people doing some kung fu dance in Chitoge’s ending credits animation… WTF.

Aside the clichéd stuffs, this series is still pretty enjoyable for those looking for a good romantic comedy. Also to note that it goes to show that you can still make a good impact and decently enjoy this show without the incessant spamming of fanservice. I won’t say that this series is without any, but sexy girl shots aren’t aplenty and definitely no distasteful fanservice shots and moments that would have rendered this anime to be ecchi or make you consider it to be one even if you happen to come across a handful of minor ones. So will their fake love become true love? Only time will tell. They are faking it so good that it looks just real. Their bodies might be lying but their hearts and minds don’t. And be careful not to fake it too perfectly because it might lead to the case of too real and perfect that it just looks fake.

Niji-iro Prism Girl

June 27, 2014

I thought this was one of those old animes or at least from the early 2000’s since the art style felt like it was somewhat from that era. However Niji-iro Prism Girl the anime was released just as recently back in August 2013 although it has only 4 episodes that run no more than 12 minutes each. By the way, the manga ran from 2010 and ended at the end of 2013 so the anime must be to coincide with the manga’s end. My motivation to watch this show? I don’t know. I thought it had been a long time since I watched a shoujo genre. Heck, I can’t recall when was the last shoujo genre anime I watched besides Full Moon Wo Sagashite which was a couple of years ago. If Full Moon Wo Sagashite was about a girl fulfilling her dreams to become a singer, then Niji-iro Prism Girl is about a girl trying her luck in the acting world. And she’ll meet all kinds of characters as she chases her dream. Okay, not really much to tell since there are only 4 episodes as said.

Episode 1
Nijika Koihinata despite only 12 years old, has the look of a mature teenager. While she hears the other girls squealing over Japan’s current hot idol, Touya Ichinose, Nijika notes a secret that nobody knows. Touya lives in her house! Because her dad who works in the entertainment industry is letting him stay over. What logic is this? Anyway contrary to the public’s view, Touya is a little nasty and loves teasing Nijika like how he does now by forcing her to eat green peppers she hates. On TV, there is an announcement of an audition to find the next Saori Fujimiya. Who is she? The late legendary actress who is Nijika’s mom. It was Nijika’s dream to become an actress like her but since she always failed, she hated show business and gave up on that dream. Guess what? For some reason, she showed up at the audition! Did she change her mind to follow her mom footsteps? Two things: 1) The audition is only opened to girls above 16 years and above so Nijika actually lied about her age! 2) Participants will be acting with Touya in a forbidden romance between a butler and his milady. Of course this doesn’t sit well with Nijika and even daddy and Touya are surprised she is here. At first she blunders due to her nervousness but Touya being the pro quickly has her back on her feet. She gets into her role and displays her milady traits by playing a violin. The crowd is enchanted. Just when Touya is going to kiss her and send the fan girls heart beating like hell, flustering Nijika pushes him away. Touya adlibs and continues his act and even though it may be part of the act, Nijika felt he was like mocking her. But that made her realized that she loves acting. A pillar prop is going to fall on her so Nijika uses her athletic moves to escape it. Since it’s not lady-like, it confuses the crowd so she adlibs with a convincing act followed by a convincing confession and a convincing jump into his arms. Nijika feels she had so much fun and it renewed her hopes to become an actress like her mom. In the end, Nijika wins the audition. However she has to cover her real age from now on. Thankfully her friends at school saw how cool she was at the audition and agree to keep her age a secret.

Episode 2
Touya accompanies Nijika to a commercial for a chocolate company. Along the way, she bumps into Ria, a famous child actress. Because her disguise came off, people start to recognize her especially one big fan of hers. To quell the situation, Nijika acts out as a delinquent detective, one of the famous dramas her mom acted in. She is drawing too much attention to herself so before the girls recognize Touya the hot guy, they quickly get into the building. Inside the stage, Touya briefs her about the protocol for this and that. After she changes, she is surprised to learn Ria is her co-star. Touya notes that Ria has been acting since 5 years old and won numerous awards. This might be Nijika’s big break if this is successful. Nijika introduces herself to Ria but the latter ignores her. Ria explains she was a big fan of that delinquent detective drama, the reason she got into acting. She won’t lose to her because if she messes up here, she won’t acknowledge Nijika as the next Saori. Ria even suggests to the director to adlib and not act to the script. Well, since it’s cutie Ria requesting for it, okie-dokie. At first Nijika doesn’t know what to say to adlib. She tries the friendship approach but is only scorned off. This pisses off Nijika and throws a little tantrum. But when she sees Ria smiling, she figures this might just be a test. Nijika makes a beautiful leap and make convincing adlib lines about Ria’s wonderful smile. Nijika is surprised that Ria accepts her and they both become friends and eat the chocolate. Their act was so good that the director decides to use this one shot as their commercial. Ria praises Nijika that when she provoked her into an argument, she turned it into an opportunity for friendship. That leap changed to mood for everything and it proves she has a real talent as an actress. Ria acknowledges her as her rival and looks forward to compete with her to be the next Saori next time. The commercial is released and everyone is in awe with the new actress starring alongside Ria. Although this means she isn’t famous enough, Nijika is resolved to work even harder.

Episode 3
Nijika is starring in an episode of a popular delinquent show starring Yuu Arisugawa. His dad is a famous actor and he has been acting since 3 years old. Guess what? Despite looking good, his attitude may just be a jerk like Touya since he is mocking Nijika right off the bat she is here because she is pretty. That just pisses her off. Nijika thought she did well in a scene but Yuu whispers she is just terrible. In a scene whereby Nijika’s character is supposed to break free and reveal her secret delinquent character, she is so convincing that Yuu is overwhelmed. Though, he still mocks her she is not worthy to lick his feet! What is his problem? Before the next scene, several staffs commend Yuu but he scoffs them off and doesn’t want them to compare him with his father. Nijika talks to him and she understands how he feels. Heck, she even advises him not to worry about how others see him. Yuu is blushing… The confession scene begins. Nijika is taken aback when he kisses her hair but bounces back with improvised lines to give the scene even more impact. When her character confesses, instead of him going away like in the script, he hugs her and confesses back! Is this all part of the script? It was convincing enough that when he just walked away coolly, Nijika felt he humiliated her with his acting. Suddenly Yuu takes Nijika and confesses that he likes her. Isn’t the scene over? Are we doing it again? No. It’s for real. He really likes her! She is shocked but since they’re still filming, they’ll finish their confession scene later. In the final goodbye scene, Nijika thinks back about her mom and her acting overwhelms Yuu. Later he admits defeat and tries to hint that he is really in love with her. I’m not sure if it’s her payback by playing dumb or she’s really that dense. Yuu mentions her great acting might get her to win the Diamond Prism Award one day. It is an award given to the outstanding and promising rookie actresses above 16 years old. Of course Saori never won it since she retired early right when she reached that age. And then call it coincidence because Touya comes running in to tell Nijika to good news that she has been nominated for the award!!!

Episode 4
Ria and Nijika are in a final showdown for the award. But this episode is a flashback of Nijika and when Saori was still alive. Due to some illness, her career was cut short and she was hospitalized. Little Nijika practised hard in hopes of becoming a great actress like mommy. However Nijika soon called her mom a liar because she failed to attend school acts or events due to the doctor forbidding her to leave the hospital. Nijika wanted so much for mommy to turn up but she never. She felt awful for telling off her mommy like that so daddy suggests to go apologize. She is also shown the anemone flower. This was the flower daddy gave mommy when he propose to her to signal true love. Saori keeps her promise to go picnic with Nijika as to make it up to her. She got special permission from the doctor although they know it is very risky. It could even shorten her lifespan. Even if daddy knows it, he wants the mother and child to spend precious moments together. Saori is trying hard to not worry Nijika as she hides the fact her body isn’t in good condition. Although the bento Saori made isn’t edible, Nijika is glad that mommy made them. Nijika searches for the anemone flower to give her as present. Saori acts out a scene picking up that flower. Her acting is so good that Nijika thought she saw a real flower. This motivates her further to become an actress and perform with her. When Nijika comically tumbles down a hill, they see a field of anemone flowers and Saori is surprised as it isn’t in season yet. Saori starts crying and tells her to keep believing. As long as she has a strong will, miracles can happen. Of course we know Saori can never keep her promise to act with Nijika. Unless she’s acting with her from Heaven. Back to reality, the winner of the award goes to… Drum rolls please… And the diamond tiara goes to… Next scene we see, Nijika clumsily goes off to a drama shoot while Touya continues reminding her about this and that. Sounds nagging, isn’t he? Of course he believes he will be better and surpass Saori. Oh, the diamond tiara sits nicely in her room.

It’s All Just An Act
Although it was fun watching this little short series, there are a handful of issues which I think will not make everything possible or that this show is just some sort of a fairytale for girls. First and foremost, Nijika won the award, right? Nothing wrong, right? Happy ending, no? Well, remember Nijika is only 12 years old and she won something that only 16 years old and above are qualified to, right? So what does this mean? Nijika technically isn’t qualified to win this! I know winning this shows how outstanding she is but that isn’t the point. Now, what happens if the public actually finds out about this? It is going to turn into a full blown scandal and I am pretty sure she will be forced to retire and be branded as a liar for the rest of her life. Therefore if she is going to continue her happy acting life, she has to hide her age till she dies. With ‘over inquisitive’ people these days and the wealth of information readily at your fingertips, nothing can escape the knowledge and eyes of the internet.

Also, Saori is a legendary actress, right? This means there will be lots of paparazzi and obsessed fans wanting to know her every move. Although Saori is no longer in this world, I am sure that they will know that she has a daughter, right? Come on, doesn’t everybody know the children of the famous Hollywood people? So what are the chances that people don’t actually know who Nijika is? Unless you tell me she is some illegitimate child which I think she isn’t. True, she might not be acting till recently but the fact that she is Saori’s daughter will already make her stand out. In view of this, how the heck people don’t know Touya living with Nijika is still another mind boggling puzzle. It’s not like they’re living in some secret mansion or hidden place, right? It feels like an ordinary town. Aren’t neighbours suspicious about a hot looking guy coming out from the same house with Nijika? Heck, he is so famous, he is probably recognizable a mile away. And don’t get me started the reason he is living with them. I know he is from Hokkaido but couldn’t he get his own place? Therefore in my conclusion, if you’re going to be a famous actor or actress, as long as you are in this anime, you can hit it big without the worry of your privacy being invaded because the people here just simply don’t care. The fan girls may just swoon over you but that’s just about it.

Aside that, the characters are rather okay. Nijika is your typical girl with a latent talent in acting. Duh. She inherited those acting from her mom’s genes, right? Besides, doesn’t she look very close to mom? Still can’t believe people don’t recognize her as so. Lively and cheerful girl, she learns fast and earns experience points in the acting world via job-on-the-spot. She didn’t go to any acting school, right? Her other rivals, Ria and Yuu are okay too but it makes me wonder if they are having some sort of child slavery because both of them are already in front of the camera at such a young toddler age when they should be learning to walk, read and write. Which means, now that they are in their teens, they are considered ‘old veterans’. Touya is still a jerk but I don’t see him as one as the episodes pass. It’s like his role has been reduced to just looking out for her.

Of course you can’t have a shoujo genre without the romance part. Honestly, 4 episodes aren’t enough to flesh out anything. Although it is confirmed Yuu has some feelings for Nijika, I’m putting my money on Touya-Nijika pairing. That guy may not show it but you know how things will turn up. Especially if a hot boy is living under the same roof with you. And then maybe we can have a love polygon between the characters. Nijika-Touya-Ria-Yuu and more! There is this funny looking pet that belongs to Nijika, Capybara. I don’t know what the heck this little Pokemon piece of sh*t is but most of the time you see it eating/munching an onigiri in its hand and hangs around bumming on her shoulder. Cue for something cute? When Nijika is busy, it hangs out more often on Touya’s shoulder.

One of the reasons why I thought this was a retro anime from the early 2000’s was the art and drawing style as said earlier on. Because anime series like Full Moon Wo Sagashite, Mirumo De Pon, Shugo Chara, Mermaid Melody and Daa! Daa! Daa! (UFO Baby) also have this similar style. You know the typical shoujo style trademarks. Cute girls with big bright sparkly bug/doe-like eyes that melt your heart when you stare into them. Eyes so big that you think that they might be related to the tarsier. Haha! Just kidding. But really, their eyes are big enough to occupy 3/4 of their face. And yeah, all the guys here are good looking too. Heck, even Nijika’s dad looks so young enough that I thought he was her big brother!!! Serious! The ending theme is Dream by 2&. Sounds like a typical girl rock music.

I don’t know if I want to watch this show if it is made into a full proper season anime. You never know. I might not be a fan of the shoujo genre but based on history, I usually end up watching some of them. Maybe if they can surprise me with the romance, love polygons and cat fights, just maybe I’ll watch it then. Uh huh. Isn’t that what makes drama romance genres exciting? That kind of love relationship and its complications. So love life in real life or in reel life, the world is one big stage and everybody is a full time actor or actress. I must be playing my part as a lonely single otaku very well. I wonder if I will ever have my shot at romance. If I could only get my ass off my seat and my eyes away from my computer, that is. Ah never mind. I’ll stick with 2D as usual and dream about it.

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