Mob Psycho 100 S2 OVA

November 8, 2019

For those who still can’t get over that the second season of the TV series has ended, don’t despair. There is always the OVA to cheer you up and producers to net some profit. Yup. A win-win situation. And that’s why we have Mob Psycho 100 S2 OVA. Yes, people. Finally we have a hotspring episode. But I hardly doubt it would be filled with sexy fanservice considering the protagonists of the series are males. And of course knowing the nature and genre of the series, what is it that is spooking the hotspring inn?

A healing trip that warms the heart…
Mob and Ritsu join Reigen and Serizawa for a trip to the Ibogami hotspring for a working holiday. It all started when the inn hostess came to Reigen for help. She claims her guests have been experiencing dreams of going into a parallel world. If nothing is done, her inn will be finished. At first Reigen wasn’t so sure of accepting but since she will pay for his travel, lodging and food, the question is now how many people he can take with him. During the train trip, after Mob and Ritsu head to the toilet, Reigen and Serizawa doze off and the train enters the Ibogami tunnel. When they awaken, they realize outside is a wasteland. Reigen soon realizes that wherever he goes, he always ends up back in the same coach. So this is the parallel world, huh? True enough, they are. Because they’ve been sleeping all the time so when they reach their destination, Mob had to use his powers to ‘carry’ them to the inn. They meet up with Teru who went to recon the place. After being welcomed by the hostess, they learn the legend of this place once had a portal to another world. Hence the god, Ibogami sealed it up and the people worshipped him until today. As the boys have fun soaking in the hotspring, the adults are still trapped. However Serizawa trying to be mindful and not offend Reigen who seems he is trying his best to find the source of this, manages to leave this parallel world and join the boys. Yeah, he manage to do this several times! Because of his awkward way of speaking not to offend, Reigen gets the wrong idea that he too is trying to investigate. It feels like days Reigen has been stuck here and when he tries to jump out of the train, he lands back inside the coach! No way out! Soon depression sinks in. Hunger sets in.

The next time Serizawa returns and after feeding him, only then Reigen realizes what is happening. Why the heck did he not take him along?! Reigen controls himself so as not to scold him. He is after all still a junior. After telling him to think for himself, he has Serizawa bring the rest here. So now Reigen admits he doesn’t know what the source and wants this parallel world destroyed. Of course everybody can tell that ominous mountain is the source and behind it is Ibogami but some sticky ghostly goo must be the one causing this phenomenon and weakening Ibogami’s protection. Nothing but a little power to destroy it. Finally Reigen wakes up. Dimple returns with an explanation of what really happened. Because the hostess had a slight flu, it somewhat weakened her protection power source that is situated inside her nose. As her ancestors worshipped Ibogami, the descendants develop psychic powers without even noticing it. With her flu cleaning up, looks like the parallel world is case is solved. Maybe until the next time she gets another flu. Everybody goes to sleep after a long day. But Reigen obviously can’t sleep… Yeah. As they leave the next day, Reigen gives his business card to the hostess. He also hands some to Mob since it contains Reigen’s new address. And of course, Serizawa has his own too. Don’t need to depend on those business etiquette notes anymore now. On the train trip back, Reigen dozes off and the train enters a tunnel…

Dream A Little Dream A Little Dream A Little Dream A Little Dream…
Ah well. Nothing really much, I guess. Enjoyable to say the least but at least the horror effects weren’t that scary to spook the hell out of me. Yeah, I might be having sleepless nights! Maybe I would be going into my own parallel world! Anyway, the focus of this OVA seems to be more on Reigen and Serizawa while Mob being side-lined to just a role as plot convenience. As usual, the suave talking conman shows us why he is so good being the great pretender and of course it has its drawbacks. Serizawa on the other hand who has turned over a new leaf is trying his best to make a good first impression and hence with his miscommunication, it results in something a lot worse for Reigen. He might have given Serizawa the greatest advice for his working life but he sure isn’t doing the same for himself. Is that double standards? Because Reigen still needs to admit that he needs help instead of waiting for things to turn grave. But that’s Reigen for you. Some things are hard to change. If there are more OVAs in the future, I would still love to watch them. Because the biggest mystery now that I want to know is, for that brief moment at the start of the OVA, why does a certain bald strongest hero appeared in Reigen’s contacts???!!! Can Saitama’s punches connect with ghosts?! Can Mob’s psychic powers do physical damage to monsters?! Damn, now I want to see a Mob Psycho 100 x One Punch Man crossover! That would be the ultimate parallel world dream!

Tate No Yuusha No Nariagari

October 20, 2019

Naturally when one is to select a weapon, many would have opted to go for offensive melee weapons like swords, spears, lances, axes or ranged weapons like guns or bow and arrows. Not many would have picked shield as their primary weapon and would have only viewed it as some defence mechanism. Hence shields are not given as much prominence and does not receive its fair share of reputation, the most being relegated to fancy designs for coat of arms. But now we have an anime series to tell that shields can be as badass like any other weapons too. Herald, Tate No Yuusha No Nariagari. You know what they say that a good offence is a good defence. And our shield hero is going to show you why you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of shields. Oh, is this another isekai genre too?!

Episode 1
Naofumi Iwatani is your typical otaku. He has enjoying this lifestyle but all that comes crashing when he reads a strange fantasy novel at the library. You know, world in danger. Four heroes each holding a different weapon (sword, spear, bow and shield) are summoned to help save the world. The moment he turns to this strangely blank page he is suddenly summoned to another world. There are 3 other guys who were also summoned, Ren Amaki (why do I have a feeling he is taken after Kirito?), Motoyasu Kitamura and Itsuki Kawasumi. The summoners beg them to save their world after using some ancient ritual. However the other guys want to talk business and rewards before accepting any mission. They are brought to King Aultcray Melromarc XXII who explains destruction is about to beset this world in Waves. They already experienced the first one and underestimated it. They survived but at a great cost of casualty and damages. Unfortunately the heroes don’t start out strong. They must train and power up their weapons before the next Wave hits. The heroes retire to their rooms. To their surprise, they learn each come from a different alternate version of Japan. Naofumi feels he got the raw end of the stick because shield heroes are regarded as losers. Can only defend and not attack? Next day, the king has gathered brave warriors to join the heroes. So the warriors are the ones who get to choose which hero to join? Too bad for Naofumi, none joins him! Why do all the hot babes join Motoyasu? Sure he is hot guy but he’s such a cocky jerk… Because Naofumi keeps complaining, Myne Suphia from Motoyasu’s side decides to join him. She shows him around and brings him to Elhart who is a blacksmith to buy some gear. Too bad for Naofumi, he cannot wield any other weapon besides his shield bummer. He practises but the most he could do is destroy those weak orange ball monsters. Naofumi works hard to kill and sell monsters, enough to buy him a decent armour.

One night Myne wants to drink and flirt with him but Naofumi decides to be a gentleman and turn her down. But when he wakes up the next morning, he realizes he has been robbed. Worse, the royal guards arrest him. Before the king, he realizes he has been set up as Myne accuses him of raping her. More salt to his wounds as his armour is now worn by Motoyasu whom he claims Myne gave it to him as present for rescuing her. With nobody believing in Naofumi, he screws everything and wants to return home. However it cannot be done until the Waves are over. So you’re all in for the ride. As he is one of the heroes, Naofumi cannot be executed but banished. With rumours of his crime spread, Naofumi leaves and has turned into a bitter and resentful man. At least he is no longer naïve and has wise up. Elhart almost believed the rumours but choose to show some sympathy and give him a meagre gear as parting gift. Naofumi channels his anger to kill those orange balls and sells them for money. Those who threaten to pull a fast one on him will get their just desserts. He tinkers with his shield’s branching abilities and also try his hand at making medicine. When ‘adventurers’ claim they want to join him but Naofumi sets harsh terms for them, turns out they are robbers but nothing could beat a man who has been bitten once. Even more bitter as Naofumi realizes he cannot farm his offensive ability as cannot attack. A slave dealer, Berocas sees potential in him and decides to show him some slaves. They cannot disobey their master and demi-humans are usually used due to discrimination. Hello there. What have we got here? A cute raccoon girl?

Episode 2
Raphtalia is the cheapest slave he can afford and he will use her to upgrade his shield. Berocas then conducts a ritual to make a mark on her that makes it hard for her to defy him. He goes back to Elhart to get her some gear and forces this scared and meek girl to kill. He tells her straight she will fight monsters for him and to recoup the cost of acquiring her. He did say he doesn’t see slaves as people but he still treats her decently to food and trains her. Raphtalia learns he is the shield hero and remembers her parents told her that the shield hero treated them good. She still reels from the nightmare when a monster killed her parents who bought time to save her. All Naofumi can do is hug and console her. These nightly screams are going to be routine? Better get used to it. One day during training, Naofumi is attacked by a vicious monster. He tells Raphtalia to kill it but she is scared of blood. More truths lectured into her about the Wave and the likes. If he dies, he cannot protect her. He needs someone to fight for her as he cannot attack. With that, Raphtalia makes her first bloody kill and vows to fight for him. In order to make fast money, they head to the mines to collect gems. Nobody goes there as monsters inhabit it after the first Wave. However a dog monster similar to the one who killed Raphtalia’s parents pop up. She is paralysed in fear. Naofumi tells her the truth her parents cannot come back but she can prevent other kids from sharing her same fate. If he dies, so will her. As she is still is still afraid, Naofumi changes his mind. He will buy time for her to run away. This has Raphtalia realizes it will be the same as then. She picks up her sword and stabs the monster to death. She hugs him and cries not to die or leave her alone. So that’s the deal between them. She attacks, he defends. Simple.

Episode 3
I don’t know how long it has been but Raphtalia has now matured into a hot raccoon babe! She even has guts to talk back to Naofumi especially when he doesn’t put his own health as priority. With the Wave drawing closer, oddly this must be some huge coincidence as all 4 heroes converge at the cathedral to see how much time left before the next Wave hits. This gathering only brings bitter memories for Naofumi. They’re all still cocky and Naofumi bites his tongue to stay quiet and tries to leave. Jerk ass Motoyasu trying to flirt with Raphtalia? Thankfully that raccoon girl stays loyal to Naofumi. Who feeds her, right? She is still grateful to him for giving her a second chance in life. The day of the Wave is here. Sky changes colour. Weird portals throwing down monsters. Naofumi tries to defend the abandoned Lute village. Not sure if he can do much by being the bait and lure all the zombie monsters to a burning tower and let it crash. His brave act has the villagers returning to help him but he doesn’t want them to waste their lives and die for nothing. It gets worse when the royal guards simply fire their artillery to take everything out in the village. Naofumi is not pleased they aren’t defending the people they are supposed to but that’s none of his business. He would have let them become monster feed but he can’t sink to their level and still defends them. While some cocky guards leave to assist other heroes, those who see Naofumi’s true character stay behind to help him defend the village. With all the monsters defeated, the sky reverts back to normal and the portals disappear. Woah. You mean it was that easy?! Maybe that was just the warm up. Next Wave should be harder… The villagers thank Naofumi from the bottom of their heart although he remains sceptical and brushes it off as nothing. At least he commends Raphtalia for doing a good job.

Episode 4
A lavish party is thrown. Naofumi attends only because of the reward. Otherwise he is like the wallflower. However Motoyasu still isn’t pleased. He challenges him to a duel thinking he is mistreating Raphtalia as a slave (despite slavery is legal here). Naofumi sees no reason to accept this until the king orders him to do so. Even if Raphtalia stands by Naofumi, they think she is brainwashed. Yeah, everyone continues to think badly of this shield hero. In this one on one duel, Naofumi relies on his tricks. Not to say they are underhanded but everyone else thinks otherwise. He supposedly had the upper hand until Myne interrupts and deals a serious blow, allowing Motoyasu to win. When Naofumi calls her out, no one in the crowd saw what happened. With everyone continuing to badmouth him, Naofumi realizes everything has been a setup since Myne is the king’s daughter. With Raphtalia freed from her curse, Naofumi thinks she has turned against him. He blames his shield and starts hating this world. So much hatred that he activated some curse series?! Raphtalia slaps Motoyasu for doing something she never asked. She explains how Naofumi took care of her and never abused her. Can Motoyasu do all that? Ren and Itsuki call out to Motoyasu that he actually lost that duel since they saw some wind magic interfering. Raphtalia goes talk to Naofumi. At this point, he is already at the peak of his depression and burning with hatred. Raphtalia reasons that his shield save others many times over and that she believes he did not rape. Even if the whole world is against him, she will always be by his side. After all, he gave her a purpose in life. That warm hug must have did the trick to make him open his eyes and ears to her again. Raphtalia evolves to an even hotter raccoon chick. I don’t see any difference but Motoyasu can’t recognize her? He sleeps on her lap till morning comes.

Episode 5
All the heroes are given their rewards. Naofumi gets his minimum but Aultcray deducts the expense for freeing Raphtalia so he gets nothing. However Itsuki and Ren vouch Naofumi should get something as he defended Lute and also fought an unfair duel. Naofumi takes his minimum and leaves. Raphtalia returns to Berocas so she can get the slave mark back on her chest. She regards this as a symbol of his faith in her. Berocas introduces Naofumi to some monster egg lottery. If you take care of the hatched monster, it can fetch a handsome price when it grows up. If you win the jackpot, you might get a dragon. Naofumi buys one. Thanks to his heroics, store owners give him freebies for saving their relatives at Lute. The egg hatches into a small bird known as filolial. Amazingly Filo grows up into some Chocobo spinoff in 2 days! Trouble comes when Myne declares Lute under Motoyasu’s domain as one of his rewards. They are going to impose some levy to help rebuild it. Of course the villagers oppose it and so does Naofumi. Myne would have resorted to blackmail had not messengers drop in with a message. Whatever it is, she challenges Naofumi to a race over Lute. Initially Naofumi refuses but the villagers vow to reward him. The winner gets Lute after a 3 lap race around the village. Naofumi teases Filo and gets kicked in the crotch! Ouch! During the course of the race, of course Myne has her subordinates use magic to cheat but whatever attempts they do, Naofumi manages to get back. In the end, Filo’s beak seals the win. Sore loser Myne calls Naofumi a cheat and all but with the messengers detecting magic properties that do not belong to Naofumi or Raphtalia, Myne and Motoyasu back off for now. Since Naofumi doesn’t want to take money, the villagers give him a carriage. Good timing since Filo evolves into a bigger bird! Naofumi is also give a traveller’s pass that exempts him from tolls and can traverse many other roads. They take a rest since Raphtalia has motion sickness. Next morning, who the heck is this naked loli sleeping next to Naofumi???!!!

Episode 6
So let me guess, this loli is Filo levelling up? Sounds pretty fishy but there’s an explanation about how filolial can disguise itself as human… Anyway, with Elhart convinced Naofumi is some lolicon, because Filo has this penchant to change between forms, she rips her clothes. Need to find clothes that don’t rip between transformations. Where is Bruce Banner when you need him? It is possible to make such magic clothes but special materials are required. So as they travel to the next village, it seems a peasant request an emergency delivery. Naofumi does so and realizes in addition to become merchants, providing transport can also fetch a handsome profit. He continues with this trade and one day as he transports a wealthy trader, bandits ambush. Of course Naofumi’s team easily defeats them. When they think of throwing lies of him if handed to authorities (because he is the shield hero), Naofumi decides to kill them. How does it feel to become filolial feed? Now they are begging for their lives? Okay. He spares them but in exchange loots them? Sorry, donate all their tributes! The grateful trader pays back by teaching him how to craft gems and also introduce some connections. Naofumi heard the exploits of other heroes. They are doing well on their own but he finds Itsuki’s story all over the place and less credible. Naofumi’s party enter some mine to get the special ingredient. They overcome aural illusions and fight off some badass monster (did Filo and Raphtalia did some Mortal Kombat X-ray move there?!) before getting the desired gem that is crucial in making Filo’s magic clothes. And when it’s done, damn she looks like an angel! So cute that Raphtalia is jealous Naofumi is staring a lot at her.

Episode 7
Arriving at a village ravaged by vines, as expected the desperate villagers plead for Naofumi to help them. Long story short, the village was facing famine when Motoyasu brought a sealed seed here. Without a doubt it solved their food problem for a while but the tree mutated and started growing vines and plant monsters that destroyed everything. Even some of the villagers are being infected by the parasitic plant. Since they will pay and perhaps some sort of score to settle with that spear jerk, Naofumi heals the infected and then goes off to destroy the core. Not sure what ability he has because it seems the vines have no effect on him as he could easily approach and poison it with his medicine. Because he learnt a new skill upgrade, he even did some genetic mutation to create a better plant that will only produce greater food yield. Wow. This guy is soaring to greater heights. After leaving the village, they stop by and rest at a hotspring area. This part feels like filler as Raphtalia feels insecure since Filo is clinging too much to Naofumi. Thoughts of trying to snag Naofumi for herself fail since Filo is always with him. That night, both have this same idea to get some rare egg. It started out as a race but they realize it is better to cooperate since a giant wild boar stands in their way. Unfortunately the rampaging boar destroys the egg. I guess the boar can even sense how mad these girls are. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned… Bringing back the dead meat boar to town, villagers want to pay them handsomely for it because it is used as offerings in their ritual. With the money, they buy an expensive metal crafting tool for Naofumi.

Episode 8
Entering a village where the people are dying of a disease, Naofumi treats their symptoms but didn’t cure them. As long as the root cause is around, the problem will go back to square one. It seems recently Ren slain a dragon on the mountain. This attracted visitors but they soon started dying because of the poison its rotting corpse emitted. Of course Naofumi will fix this for a fee. As they approach the dragon, it revives?! Zombie dragon?! Filo has a grudge against dragons and starts attacking it. Uhm, how do you kill a zombie anyway? Unfortunately, Filo gets eaten! Oh sh*t! Naofumi becomes so enraged that he unlocks his curse. Damn, he is so overpowered but evil! His trauma of betrayal fuelling that hatred. As he is about to dangerously go berserk, the voice of Raphtalia brings him to his senses. He realizes Raphtalia has been infected. He desperately tries to heal her but he needs that curse power to defeat the dragon. Don’t worry. Suddenly it dies. Filo bursts out from its stomach! She claims while eating through its stomach, she found a crystal that is supposedly its core. Yeah, she ate it too. Naofumi tries to use his reward money to get Raphtalia healed by the doctor doesn’t have enough materials nor power to stave off the curse. He lets him keep the money and perhaps the churches in bigger towns might help. Naofumi reflects on his actions. He realizes the difference between bravery and recklessness, caution and cowardice. As that cursed shield isn’t in his upgrade tree, had he continued to use it, he would have killed both of them. He realizes the need to protect them. The duo also share some of the blame for being reckless. Naofumi promises they’ll get stronger so he could protect those who believe in him. Raphtalia wants to him to accompany her tonight but he has Filo do it instead. Bummer.

Episode 9
Naofumi finds a girl frolicking with other filolial. She is Melty and because Filo can talk, they become friends! Wow. Naofumi now playing doctor? Because he is going to the capital tomorrow, Melty wants to hitch a ride. Isn’t it odd if she is part of the nobility, she got distracted playing with filolial and the guards left her behind???!!! Were they doing their job???!!! Along the way, one night they thought Filo ate her because her clothes are only left behind. Naofumi thinking of destroying evidence? Luckily, she was just sleeping in Filo’s feathers. So warm and fluffy… After Naofumi buys an expensive holy water from the church, a young soldier calls for him. Guts tell him to run but this has him bump into Motoyasu who immediately attacks him. What now? He claims he made a slave out of some blonde angelic loli and wants her freed! Damn, this guy a lolicon now?! Uh huh. His fetish is blonde angels. I don’t even… Motoyasu continues to attack, causing destruction around. The young soldier stops them because this is a public area but Myne uses her authority to turn this into an official duel. Only to be stopped by Melty! With all the guards bowing down, this girl must have some authority. You mean Melty is Myne’s younger sister???!!! Stop this or she’ll report to mom. Motoyasu tries to be nice to Filo but when he badmouths that fat chicken, I guess Filo has to show him again. Motoyasu realizes they’re both the same as Filo kicks him in the crotch again! No padded armour can save his crown jewels now… Later Melty explains to Naofumi that despite being the second daughter, she is the next in line to the throne since Myne has always been a problematic child. Before she could explain further, Naofumi will not listen anymore. He cannot trust her. Go away.

Episode 10
Melty is ushered away by her guards before she could tell the truth. Her mom the queen knew about the king’s mistreatment on Naofumi. She wanted to admonish him but from what I can see, she is on house arrest and sent Melty on her behalf. That young soldier brings back more of his friends. Inspired by him, they want to join Naofumi and fight alongside him when the next Wave hits. He wants them to bring 150 silver. That’s to build trust, right? With Raphtalia eligible for class upgrade, he tells her to pick a path instead of relying on him. Because once this mission is over, he will return to his world. This makes her worry. As they can only do upgrades near the hourglass, the nun charges a high price. When Naofumi is able to afford, they shift the goalpost that Aultcray has a decree to refuse any upgrades for the shield hero. Hence he goes to see Berocas for this service. He doesn’t offer such service but mentions a few nations that have that hourglass. Shieldfreeden or Siltvelt are most suitable as demi-humans there welcome humans but the journey is long and they won’t have time before the next Wave. Berocas suggests buying weapons for Filo. She gets talons and she tests it out on sewer monsters. Raphtalia talks to Naofumi about wanting to follow him back to his world once this is over. But is interrupted with Filo accuses her of trying to kiss him. End of conversation. Naofumi visits a dilapidated town in the north and the few people are starving. It seems it has gotten worse after Itsuki gathered revolution warriors to overthrow the despot king. Back in the capital, Naofumi sees Itsuki and Ren together. Both seem to think that somebody is impersonating them to get rewards because after they did the job, they couldn’t get it as the rewards is already paid. They accuse Naofumi as the impersonator but he tells them off their actions have caused the rescued towns to be worse off. Like that town Itsuki saved, the revolutionists increased their tax with the excuse to rebuild the country while that rotting dragon corpse Ren did, no reward was paid because the job was cancelled and he had to clean up the mess. If they don’t believe him, go see for themselves. Ren and Itsuki see no reason why Naofumi would lie. The young soldier and his friends have returned with the money. But Naofumi tells them to buy better gear with it so they can fight the next Wave. I guess they’re in.

Episode 11
With the next Wave here, Naofumi and his merry band defend the village from invaders. Who the heck is this granny giving kung fu kicks on the monsters?! She is one of those patients he saved so it makes me wonder if his drug is really that potent. Naofumi goes off to handle the big boss on this flying ghost ship. The other heroes are also there. However they are not cooperating and doing things their own way. Hence the deadlock in trying to spawn the Soul Eater since the enemies keep reviving. Eventually Naofumi spots an oddity in their shadows and strikes it to lure out the Soul Eater. With everyone pitching in to fight it, their attacks seemingly don’t have any effect. Hence Naofumi is going to unleash his cursed shield. He gets engulf in the flames of hatred and hears the voice of the zombie dragon vying for revenge. Naofumi turns into a wild beast to attack the Soul Eater. Filo also gets affected and follows suit. With the rest standing around and in shock at this transformation, Raphtalia chastises them for having so much power but yet they don’t use it to fight and help him. Though, she blames herself for being weak if not otherwise Naofumi won’t be in this situation. Luckily her voice still resonates within him as he returns to normal. Naofumi does an overkill on the Soul Eater with his Iron Maiden piercing ability. Just when the heroes thought everything is over, pops out another Soul Eater. However this one is easily destroyed by the heavenly zaps of Glass. This dark Japanese chick mocks the heroes as weaklings because they’re already having a hard time handling the small fries. She only calls Naofumi as the true hero and begins what is now the true battle of this Wave. So this is like the true hidden boss fight?

Episode 12
Nothing works up the other heroes more when Glass calls them Naofumi’s servants. No matter how much they power up, they couldn’t scratch her. Now it’s Naofumi’s turn to dance with her. He also throws everything he’s got and nothing affects her. So much so she teases him to use his trump card in which he unleashes his Iron Maiden. Still no effect! Is this dark babe on God mode?! Thankfully Naofumi lives up to his name as the shield hero and also withstands her attacks. Glass could have actually won had not she murmured something about the time limit. Yup, the Wave is ending soon. Hence Naofumi uses this last moment to escape. Glass uses her range attack but it is less effective. Time’s up. Glass returns and hopes he would be stronger next time. Otherwise he won’t survive. This signals the end of this round’s Wave. But soon, Naofumi against his will is brought to meet Aultcray who wants to know how he did it. But Naofumi plays hardball. You want to know? Bow and beg before me! This makes Aultcray mad as he threatens Naofumi who threatens back he can kill all of them right now. So leave him alone. If he dares threaten his party members, he will hunt them down and kill them all! After he leaves, Melty confronts her father and notes how things ended on a sour note. It seems he hints his grudge against the shield hero is because letting him and the demi-humans do as they please, he believes he will lose his family again. Myne as usual tries to be a b*tch and convince Melty to stand down. Melty replies back that this is none of her business. Myne trying hard not to let her angry b*tch face show… Naofumi thinks of visiting Shieldfreeden for his servants’ upgrade before the next Wave. So Elhart gives them a few weapons and accessories goodies for their journey. As they rest, Melty confronts them and hopes Naofumi can return to the capital to make amends with her father. Of course he rejects. Then the loli starts throwing a tantrum how stubborn the guys are. Does this run in the family? Like father like daughter? Naofumi suddenly has a bad feeling like as though all this was a setup. Then he spots a guard trying to stab Melty from the back. Luckily Naofumi is quick enough to shield her. Damn, is the guard that stupid to attack so obviously?

Episode 13
Other guards start attacking, claiming Naofumi has taken Melty hostage. But after a while, they retreat. Indeed, the footage that has been recorded and re-edited so as to make them look like bloodthirsty killers. No wonder the guards were acting so lame. This fake footage is then spread to other villages. Hence Naofumi’s party have to camp outside and cannot easily enter villages as they are also heavily guarded. Melty believes Myne is behind the attacks since her elimination would mean she would be the next in line to the throne. That’s why Naofumi suggests she come with them. If she goes back, she’ll get killed. Following him means the least he could do is protect her. Melty tells about her mom the queen and she has a higher authority since the country is matriarchal. They have to start running when guards are on their tail. This time the other heroes have also joined in. When cornered, Myne accuses Naofumi of brainwashing everybody, the reason why Melty and others so willingly follow him. He is ordered to hand over Melty but Naofumi hatches an escape plan. It falls apart but it gets more appalling as Myne tries to kill Melty giving an excuse she attacked first and if her brainwashing is this bad, she’ll have to die. Meanwhile Motoyasu is trying to rape Filo?! WTF?! Ren and Itsuki are in shock that Myne is trying to kill Melty but Myne was so engrossed in focusing on trying to kill Naofumi, she didn’t sense Raphtalia sneaking up and owning her. This allows Naofumi’s party to escape. Later they are approached by this ninja woman who is one of the espionage members called Shadow directly under the queen. She wants Naofumi to see the queen and he’ll get his answers. We slightly distracted with Melty throwing a tantrum at Naofumi until he calls her by her name. Weird. So weird that even Raphtalia feels weird out. Can we move on? Speaking of which, crazy Myne b*tch is now setting the forest on fire…

Episode 14
Has the word spread that Naofumi was the one who started the forest fire. We didn’t start the fire! They arrive in an area whom Melty knows the noble. Seyaette was a kind noble who treated his demi-humans well but he died in the first Wave and all those loyal to him were spread out across the kingdom. This place also brings back bad memories for Raphtalia as she was from this jurisdiction and after the first Wave, soldiers stormed the place and attacked them. Van Reichnott welcomes them and allows them to stay at his place. Though, Naofumi remains sceptical. Next day, they see Reichnott being taken away by guards. The lord of the neighbouring domain, Idol Rabier accused him of hiding them and marched his way in. As a maid hides them, Melty confronts Idol and claims Naofumi abandoned her here and escaped. She wants to return to the capital to talk to her father. After being taken away, Naofumi and co hatch a plan to go rescue her. That night when demi-humans are protesting outside Idol’s mansion, Naofumi uses this chance to sneak in. Meanwhile Idol is trying to force Melty to reveal where Naofumi is. Despite she maintains she doesn’t know, he then beats up Reichnott in hopes this will get psychological on her. When all fails, why the heck does he look like having that rape face and wanting to rape her?! Thankfully our shield hero crashes in to save the day. After Melty is secured, Raphtalia confronts him and even turns the table on him. With Idol begging for his life, Raphtalia is not amused because lots of demi-humans also begged for their lives like this. After all, she was part of the demi-humans whom he rounded up and sold as slaves.

Episode 15
Idol still begs for his life and Raphtalia ponders about killing him until Naofumi asks if doing so will have her closure. Has she not grown stronger only in terms of her sword? Raphtalia recollects herself and despite how much she hates him, will not kill him. Otherwise she is the same as him. Obviously being the typical baddie, he tries to kill her when she lets his guard down but she is fast to defend. Ah, the best way for scumbags to die is to trip and fall out the window. Good riddance. But Raphtalia still needs to confront her past. In the basement where the slaves were kept and tortured, she remembers being forcefully brought here with her other friend, Rafina. Together they suffered but kept each other alive until one day Raphtalia was sold to a slave merchant. Rescuing other demi-human slaves, Raphtalia recognizes another fellow friends, Keel. He doesn’t recognize her at first but after recounting a few incidents together, he remembers. But it is all tears for Raphtalia when she discovers Rafina is reduced to bones. She’s a corpse. Crying over her death, it’s that moment when Raphtalia begins to feel she is useless and weak. And it’s that moment where Naofumi reminds her how she was the one who gave him hope and trust. So in order to avoid others from going through the horrible things like them, they have to protect those who survived. And I guess this weird vision of Raphtalia and Rafina so they could find their closure and move on. When they resurface, it seems that fatty bastard is still alive. He has gone crazy and undone a seal that sealed a monster. So this T-rex is the monster? Fatty thinks he will be blessed by God if he destroys everything but looks like he’s got the devil’s curse. Because T-rex stomps on him. I’m pretty sure no one can survive that. Good riddance for real.

Episode 16
Chicken vs T-rex? The reason the monster is targeting Filo is because both have crystals inside that are resonating. Are they hinting something about T-rex are related to modern day chickens? Naofumi takes his team to lure the monster away from the city. They end up at a lake where they fight it but they’re not making any headway. Naofumi tries to use his cursed mode but a voice tells him not to rely on it. Then the place is surrounded by filolial and the one taking on the monster is the giant filolial queen. She makes it look so easy when she kills it! She transforms into her loli version since we all approve of this cute form that is better for conversations. Introducing herself as Fitoria, she takes them back to her base to talk. But first, Naofumi cooks for everyone. Can’t talk on an empty stomach. Yeah, he has to feed the entire filolial herd too! Damn, this looks like a KFC farm… Finally Naofumi and Fitoria can talk. She is against him relying on his cursed shield despite he views it as his only way to survive. It might give him power now but the consequences will be immense too. Fitoria came to Naofumi’s aid because she heard news of a potential filolial queen candidate. Fitoria might be powerful now but that won’t last forever. She is appalled that the heroes are bickering among each other and not fighting Waves in other countries. So you mean the heroes aren’t aware of this? She thinks the heroes should be talking their differences out as much as they don’t like it. Fitoria views her mission is to protect and save the world from Waves. Despite not liking humans and not caring for them, she is only doing so because the previous hero raised her. It is also the reason why Filo is growing differently from other filolial because of being raised by a hero. Because Naofumi is still stubborn not wanting to patch things up with other heroes, Fitoria has no choice but to kill them.

Episode 17
Fitoria takes Melty hostage in hopes Naofumi would change his mind to reconcile with other heroes. Nope. If she wants to kill him, feel free to do so but he won’t go down without a fight. Let’s see if he can do so when she locks his shield’s properties! Hence Fitoria challenges Filo to a fight. She will disregard all this if she defeats her. As expected, we see Filo getting owned left and right. Fitoria is so powerful that she can even take care of Naofumi trying to sneakily rescue Melty. She uses this to blame Filo as weak. Otherwise why resort to this? She continues to taunt her weak will to protect Naofumi. That’s the cue for Filo to turn stronger as she absorbs mana from the air until she breaks through Fitoria’s shield and just scratch her. Well, I guess she passed. So it is no surprise this was just a scheme to see if Filo is worthy to become her successor. And since she has proven that, here is a crown. And also being the next filolial queen means you grow an ahoge? Don’t mind that since she also gets a considerable stats increase. Fitoria also helps boost Naofumi’s shield attributes by unlocking more branches. Then they have a party to celebrate Filo becoming queen. So Naofumi has to cook more KFC? Damn did he get filolial raped? Later Fitoria talks to Naofumi seriously that she still would have killed him and the other heroes if they won’t continue to cooperate. Since they’re going to die at this rate, might as well kill them off and summon new heroes. She doesn’t know how many Waves will come but there will be a time when the world demands sacrifice from all life. The heroes then must choose what they fight for. Saving the world isn’t the same as saving its people. She casts a spell to help slow his shield’s corruption. You might have guessed Fitoria’s previous hero who raised her was also a shield hero and Naofumi is now sounding a lot like him. Sometimes a queen also needs a gentle pat on her head. Ren and Itsuki are in a cave supposedly housing the legendary weapons of the heroes. However it is empty and they realize too late it’s a trap. Boom!

Episode 18
Naofumi’s party nears the border. Fitoria previously sensed another hero nearby so Naofumi hopes he could talk to Ren or Itsuki to let them pass. Unfortunately it is Motoyasu. He looks mad, attacks Naofumi mercilessly and blames him for the killing Ren and Itsuki! Of course when Naofumi tries to explain, he won’t listen and even thinks his party members are still under his brainwashing. Myne forces both their sides to fight in an enclosed ring. No surprises that Naofumi’s side wins. Filo using all that she has learnt from Fitoria and Raphtalia doing some sneaky combo with Naofumi to get the better of them. Before Naofumi can further talk, Raphtalia senses something strange. All the soldiers that were surrounding them are now gone. Filo also senses something dangerous so she has Naofumi put up layers after layers of shield. And then some gigantic beam hits them. Everyone is okay. Just one big huge crater left behind except for the ground they stood. This kind of devastating power can only be from the pope, Bisca T. Balmus. He views them as sinners and will be purify them in God’s name. But he almost killed Myne who is of the royalty, right? He believes the script goes as they are killed by Naofumi’s side. And now they are just walking corpses. WTF?! Which sci-fi did he pluck that out from?! You know he is starting to be the bad guy when he claims the royalty is nothing but nuisance as the soldiers have already taken over the castle. They have already planned a system of government to take over the royalty. No one can rule the country but them! Is this all God’s will? He further explains the damage done by the heroes despite these weren’t intentional. They thought they were doing the world some good but they are just naïve. Balmus further hints he killed Ren and Itsuki for doing some unnecessary investigation. Oh Motoyasu, you sure look very shocked for a hero. Didn’t see this coming, eh? How could he after being blinded for so long? And now Balmus takes up his sword. Time to receive God’s punishment.

Episode 19
Naofumi manages to block the attack. And that was just a trial run? The sword then changes into a spear. Melty realizes this was a replica that was created and can transform into the 4 weapons. It was rumoured to be lost centuries ago but apparently the church created that lie. If it’s so powerful, why need to summon the heroes then? Because it really sucks up mana from believers. See that long line of believers stretching for miles? It’s draining and also takes time to gather. Motoyasu’s feeble attacks didn’t work but before Balmus could finish them off, Ren and Itsuki return to fight back. The duo were investigating this replica in secret but the church knew they were snooping around and sent them to a fake location to assassinate them. The assassination could have succeeded had Shadow not saved them and they barely escaped it from the skin of their teeth. Now that the church is the one to blame for taking their rewards, credit and framing of Naofumi, Naofumi sure isn’t looking impressed because he had that I-told-you-so look. The heroes want to unite to fight but Naofumi refuses to play along. He is confident his party can survive without their help like they’ve always been. Now the heroes start arguing and pointing fingers but ultimately it is Naofumi who has the last say as he reminds them of the mess they did and the cleaning he did after that. In short, they let their hero status get to their heads and didn’t spare a thought for anybody else, thinking their justice version is right. It won’t be surprising if the people got sick of heroes like them. So in his eyes, they are no different than the pope because they use and abuse people for their own gain. Worst of all, they tried to take things precious to him. Naofumi won’t forgive them but will only cooperate to take Balmus down and also to make good Fitoria’s promise. Are we ready to continue now? Because too much talking and infighting has Balmus licking his lips as he has gathered enough mana to summon the greatest magic power to finish them off.

Episode 20
Mirelia the queen dons her armour and decides to make her move. It’s about time. So decided to wait till the world is on the verge of destruction only to act, huh? Nothing our heroes do could put a scratch on Balmus. Balmus has his followers put in more mana because there is nothing greater than dying as a martyr. With the heroes at their wit’s end, Naofumi’s curse then unlocks. A voice telling him to unleash all his anger and in return he will be given the power to strike back. Naofumi tries to resist but ultimately with the spamming of all the humiliation and disrespect he has been through, he gives in. Only, now his party members manage to talk and calm his heart. Yeah, the journey we had together, blah, blah, blah. Thank you for taking care of me, yada, yada, yada. Because he keeps to himself and doesn’t open up, they have a hard time understanding him. This helps suppress Naofumi’s curse at the expense of them being blighted. With this, Naofumi is like a changed person. He apologizes to the other heroes and seeks their cooperation. Shocking but yeah, people can change. We see all of them pulling off their coordinated combos on Balmus. If you think that will be the end, too bad it isn’t. Because Balmus’ weapon is able to mimic their high level attacks and at this point he uses his high level power to cast a scary illusion on them all. A kaleidoscope of Balmus? That’s scary indeed! Is that all our heroes have to offer? Okay. Queenie, your cue to move in. She freezes Balmus to give the heroes the much needed chance to take this traitorous pope for good. As Naofumi chants his spell, shockingly it backfires as he starts bleeding all over. Balmus won’t have the last laugh because some monster pops up and devours him and breaks his prototype weapon. I guess that’s the end. Devil beats God. With Naofumi looking like he will bleed to death, Mirelia vows to save him. Yeah, couldn’t you have arrive a bit earlier?

Episode 21
With the best treatment from the royal clinic, it took a month for Naofumi to heal. Mirelia explains what has happened. She was on a journey to meet with other nations to discuss about each nation summoning a hero for the Wave. Unfortunately Aultcray went ahead to summon all of them and this angered the other nations. Mirelia has to do damage control, that’s why there was inaction from her for so long. For some reason, Aultcray hated the previous shield hero and the church knew about it and took advantage to manipulate him. In addition to reward him for his heroics, she will also help clear his name and thus tomorrow everyone will be gathered at the royal palace. That night, Naofumi dreams of Aultcray and Myne being executed via guillotine. He doesn’t care for those jerks who deserve what they got but something just doesn’t feel right. In the throne room, all the heroes are summoned before Mirelia. Aultcray and Myne are now criminals and therefore a public trial will be held. In order to make them tell the truth, a temporary slave mark is put on their chest. Not sure if Myne is stupid or just desperate because she continues to lie and deny even though the mark zaps her for lying. Even till the end Aultcray still hates Naofumi and believes he did the right thing trying to rid of him before he ruins the family. At the end of the trial, Mirelia sends them to death and will be executed now. The people are baying for their blood for deception as Naofumi’s weird dream comes true. Myne pleads for Motoyasu to save her but when he abandons her, now she turns to Naofumi. So Naofumi steps in. Killing them would be too easy. After mocking them for who they are, he hereby wants to change their name to Trash and Bitch/Slut and live with it for the rest of their lives. If they refuse, they can die now. And with their lives spared, the queen also abolished the church. Once this charade is over, Naofumi intends to head to Siltvelt instead of staying here. However he will still work with all the nations to fight the Wave. Naofumi’s party is given an honour guard as he leaves. Melty won’t be joining but she learns from mother that she had intended to take her own life to beg Naofumi to spare the executed had Naofumi didn’t stop the execution. Perhaps he saw through her and stopped it. One last big thank you from Melty to Naofumi for bringing her home and saving her family.

Episode 22
With the corrupted church gone, Naofumi is free to upgrade Raphtalia and Filo. However something is preventing them to choose their class. Talking to Mirelia about this, she thinks certain accessories may hinder the upgrade like in Filo’s case, it could be what Fitoria gave her. There is also a party held for the heroes. Actually this is for the heroes to sit down and discuss. Meanwhile Myne, oops I mean Bitch/Slut tries to poison the food but gets busted by Melty. She doesn’t give up, does she? Then a drunkard tries to piss off Raphtalia for her kind as well as badmouth the shield hero so it descends into a free for all. Mirelia tells the heroes of the activation of Cal Mira Archipelago. It only comes once a decade and on this island they can level up greatly before the next Wave. Hence this ‘conference’ is to exchange info. The heroes are reluctant to work together but after Mirelia points out that only Naofumi has a real chance of surviving the next Wave, they relent. Naofumi shockingly learns from them how they could easily power up and copy powerful weapons. Just touch and copy?! That easy? There are loads of other easy skills and this shocks Naofumi since he did it all the hard way. Well, at least you can say Naofumi levelled up because of his own hard effort. Eventually the heroes disagree on the important factor that makes a weapon great. Proficiency? Rarity? Refinement and stats? This farce has Naofumi abruptly leaving the room. Can’t deal with these idiots. Naofumi then tries out this new knowledge at Elhart’s store. Wow. It really works. Copy everything for free! Damn this guy is going out of business!!! I’m sure it’s reassuring he’ll pay him back one day. Before leaving for the archipelago, Raphtalia requests to stop by her village to pay her respects to her parents and fallen brethren. Of course, her insecurities of Naofumi leaving has her bringing up this loneliness issue. Naofumi assures he won’t leave. He can’t leave the world in the fate of those idiotic heroes. How reassuring. I’m sure Naofumi didn’t say to them that he won’t leave until they find their own happiness. Otherwise they won’t find other happiness other than being with him. As they leave on the ship, because it is crowded, they have to share rooms. Naofumi’s party ends up sharing a room with L’Arc Berg and Therese Alexanderite whom they’ve briefly met recently at Raphtalia’s village.

Episode 23
L’Arc doesn’t believe Naofumi is the shield hero because he believes that dude is a demon in human’s clothing. But looking at Naofumi, he isn’t that of a bad guy so he can’t be the shield demon, right? Don’t waste your energy refuting this guy… On the deck, Naofumi sees the other heroes… They’re all seasick?! At Cal Mira, the heroes start farming for XPs but since an island isn’t big enough for all of them to share and hunt, I guess Naofumi can’t be bothered to join in the argument and leaves for another island. Farming XPs must be so good that Naofumi decides to hunt more into the night and camp on the island. However L’Arc and Therese come looking for them and they were worried. Because the boatman didn’t see them return, they thought they were killed. Understanding Naofumi’s desire to level up, even so a good rest is needed. So they head back to the main island where they party with the other heroes. Next day, Naofumi agrees to join L’Arc to hunt together. Raphtalia has finished crafting some jewel item as per requested by Therese and she’s so happy with it. On this island, they start killing… Killer penguins! Therese uses her new jewel spell on Naofumi. It burns away the killer penguins but Naofumi is not even effected and he felt the burden of his curse even lifted from this spell. After defeating the penguin boss and splitting their shares, Naofumi thinks of asking them to join his group when this is over. As they take a break by the beach the next day, Filo discover an underwater ruins. Inside it is an hourglass. This means this place can be attacked by the Wave. Speaking of which, it is in the next 48 hours.

Episode 24
Naofumi returns to report to Mirelia and she wastes no time in gathering a huge army for this Wave. Uhm, wouldn’t the humans be at a disadvantage because you know, monster fish can sink the ships? Apparently there is only a huge swordfish shark monster that can do damage and the rest are, uhm, fish people? Yeah, one of them must be a lolicon and tries to kidnap Melty! She is however saved by L’Arc. Noticing how strong L’Arc is, Naofumi needs his help to defeat the big mother. After luring it out from the waters, L’Arc deals the finishing blow. The heroes are going to get the drop items but L’Arc attacks the other heroes whom he views as weak. His target is Naofumi. So what’s going on? It seems L’Arc and Therese are also heroes like them but of another world. Their world is also on the brink of destruction and that’s why they are fighting towards a goal. L’Arc and Naofumi begin their fight with each other but L’Arc has an ace up his sleeve because he has some attack that deals damage to Naofumi the higher his defence points are. Naofumi also has some tricks up his sleeves. Mind tricks and his team combo. With this fight taking too long (and didn’t you notice the Wave is still ongoing?), Glass then shows up. She is on L’Arc and Therese’s side. She notes Naofumi has gone stronger as he manages to deflect her powerful attack and deal a lot of damage to L’Arc without even resorting to that cursed shield. That’s why she is going to take him down with her own hands.

Episode 25
Noticing that Glass anxiety towards his Soul Eater shield, Naofumi decides to fight her alone while letting the rest of his party take on L’Arc and Therese. Naofumi learns that she is also a hero from her world. A fan hero. She claims she must kill Naofumi and destroy this world or risk hers destroyed. When Naofumi sees a short glimpse of her world fending off the Wave, this makes him question his own motives. Because Glass is fighting so hard to protect her own world, why is he fighting hard to protect a world that isn’t his? Does he care enough for this world to crush Glass’ hopes? In the dying minutes of the Wave, Glass powers up so Naofumi also uses his cursed shield. He views himself as an outsider but this world is all Raphtalia, Filo and Melty got so it is worth to protect. But before he can use his cursed shield, Mirelia has Lecia (from Itsuki’s party) to use her wind magic and splash rum all over? So apparently Glass is weak against this alcohol? Literally can’t hold her glass! Haha! Time is up so L’Arc admits their defeat and takes Glass to retreat. See you again next time. In the aftermath, it seems Lecia is trying to drown herself. She was kicked out by Itsuki’s party after being accused of breaking something she didn’t. Naofumi doesn’t think she is as useless as she claims to be because she helped him a lot during the Wave. Also, is she going to accept this accusation? He can help her grow stronger. So is this his way of letting her join his party? Returning to Melromarc, Mirelia still feels the need to reward Naofumi. Speaking of which… Naofumi soon takes Raphtalia back to her hometown. I guess she is the only one left in the dark because surprise! It’s being rebuilt. Under Mirelia’s orders, Naofumi shall become lord of this domain. Naofumi explains of making this place as his base and a symbol of resistance, recruit more people and build an army. However Raphtalia doesn’t want him to say anything more. She thinks he is doing all this because he is going to leave them. She doesn’t want to live in a world without him. Please don’t go. Please stay. Naofumi makes it clear that he once thought of going home. But thanks to meeting them, he wants to protect this world as a shield hero. Hence this will be their origin. Their starting point. Their home. He hopes she will keep fighting as his sword. Of course. Probably steamy kiss interrupted when they realize everyone is spying on them! Is this how their new story starts?

Do Not Fear But F.E.A.R.: Face Everything And Rise!

So uhm, Naofumi finally has a change of heart and decides to stay? I suppose it is more fun playing the shield hero than being some boring useless otaku back in his world. After all, in the most remote of chances if he ever returns, where would he put to use all the skills he has attained? What a waste. Might as well stay here and write a new story of his legendary heroic feats! All hail Naofumi the greatest shield hero ever! Yeah, at least this puts to rest Raphtalia’s insecurity of him leaving her forever. Happy ending for everybody. Hope he doesn’t bump into Myn- I mean Bitch/Slut. Uh huh. No more episodes for this series means no more having to put up with Bitch/Slut’s antics. It’s a trade-off we have to live with. So yeah, the ending is reasonable. A good happy ending that we probably need after a very rough and dark start for a main character, even if it’s a weak one. There are a few slow parts in the series and it somewhat got a bit draggy with Naofumi still being viewed as a baddie and the final arc of the season on Cal Mira felt a bit rushed but overall it has been a great story.

This series was in danger in falling into that much loathed isekai cliché and tropes when you have your main character being summoned from our world to another world. It was a good thing that they didn’t make Naofumi an overpowered character from the start and because they ostracized his character, this somewhat plays on our emotions that would eventually lead us to support him because he has been mistreated so badly by the people in power and betrayed by those whom he trusted. Therefore when Naofumi somewhat becomes powerful, it is only because through the sheer hard work and effort he put in to become where he is today.

To justify how skilful and powerful he has become today, that is why his character is made to become bitter and distrustful. Look at it this way, if he was still the nice and naïve guy even if the shield hero wasn’t prejudiced against, he wouldn’t have actually put in a lot of serious effort to level up. Only when a man has his back pushed to a corner, he will bite back and challenge his limits. That’s why Naofumi being a truly powerful shield hero is very much justified. And I think that is what makes this isekai series so different from the rest of those ubiquitous and similar titles in the genre. Even though Naofumi looks overpowered towards the end, I wouldn’t consider him as overpowered. Sure, his shield skill tree has so many branches and it looks like he has unlocked a lot of them but there are still certain fights that he struggles with especially during the Waves. So I figure with Glass being so much more powerful than him, it shows that there is still room for him to improve and to remind us that Naofumi isn’t overpowered as we would like to think he is.

Speaking about the Waves, there are still a lot of things about this phenomenon that I don’t really understand. Like as though it is some sort of excuse to setup the plot and the likes. Because if the Waves hit countries that have the hourglass, how many countries are there in this world? And can they actually summon more than just 4 heroes at the same time? Can they summon other classes too other than the usual four? How long has the Waves been going on because it’s not like it just happened two or three editions ago. Did it? And the recent Wave we saw happened over the seas. If the heroes didn’t come to fight it, I mean would it danger any country? Are they just going to kill the marine life if the heroes didn’t show up? Unless the monster fish and fish people start swimming to the nearest island. And how nice of the Waves to let people know the countdown of their next attack so they can prepare and take appropriate action. So everything feels like some sort of game.

With the recent hints of the guardians from the other world, I am theorizing that there is some overseer higher entity who is so bored with its existence that it is sending worlds to fight to the death in mortal combat called Waves. And the world who wins the Waves will eventually get spared. I guess you have more than one try because we see this fantasy world being attacked a few times and even though each time gets stronger, it isn’t over yet. Hence the world Glass and co are from as they mentioned it is on the brink of destruction, the more they fail, the more their world will be destroyed so it’s like they are running out of time to win this Wave and save their world. Yeah, maybe they need to win it once or 10 straight defeats would mean the end of them. Yeah, they could have just tweaked the storyline from Mortal Kombat anyway…

Also, it was never fully explained about the previous shield hero nor what happened to him. Maybe this is saved for later instalments or seasons but it just leaves a confusing taste in my mouth. Because I am ever so eager to know why in the world Aultcray, oops I mean Trash, hates the shield heron the first place? Was it something to do with the previous shield hero whom he blames for ruining his family? Which family? The royal one or before he got married into the royalty, assuming he has that because Melromarc is said to be matriarchal. Even during his trial, he never did fully expand on this grudge of his. But I guess they didn’t want us to sympathise with an old fart who has done our main character wrong. So they leave this part in the dark and let us speculate. After all, trying to take out his grudge on an innocent man who only holds the title he hated is still wrong.

I guess this series has some character development especially for Naofumi and his team but mostly on Naofumi. After all, there is the pitfall of making him a really overpowered character or a very weak ass character and both types do not sit well with viewers. There needs to be some sort of balance so that Naofumi is the kind of character we would support instead of loathed since he is the main character and star of this series. So like I’ve said, having him turned from a naïve otaku into one who has to suddenly grow up and face reality overnight, it might sound harsh but I guess most of us would love to see that kind of character because it gives room to grow and develop. After all, many main characters have some sort of tragic past or need to face some biggest trials in their life in order to get where they are. Eat or be eaten. It’s a dog eat dog world even in this new world. Thankfully even though Naofumi can be considered as aloof, he isn’t as bad as when he started. He could have turned into a villain during those dark days for all we know. We see him trusting his comrades a lot more and opening up when needed. But still he maintains his distance because it would be just a shocker if he suddenly ditches his badass attitude and becomes all nice and glossy. That would make him so wimpy and I think his badass is what attracts his harem. Is this really Naofumi then? But there is still a possibility that Naofumi might become a villain. The final episode scene with Berocas hinting Naofumi is his golden goose to bring him more patrons, I figure Naofumi might turn into a dictator and cause others to rise against him, hence those seeking slaves or selling them for revenge or profit, keeping Berocas’ livelihood pretty much going.

Then there is the case of his cursed shield that is still as mysterious as the Waves I just mentioned. All we know is that it is able to give Naofumi all the power he needs in exchange for his rage and anger, thus losing his mind and turning him into a mindless berserker. But alas, to show that he doesn’t need to be tempted to use this method, that is why the all-important bonds he made with his party members so as to tell us that he isn’t all that lost nor desperate. Like I said, he could have screwed everything and become a villain and destroyed everything but despite how bitter and resentful he has become, thankfully he still has not his humanity so I think that’s why he might not be the nicest or the most pleasant of sugar coated main characters but this also makes him likeable. So the cursed shield ability thingy feels for now it is just lying dormant, waiting for the moment they need to move the plot forward in the future.

Because of Naofumi’s attributes as the shield hero, hence the excuse and reason why he needs to form a party to let others do the offensive and attacking role. Why do they all have to be lolis? Some sort. Well, at least Raphtalia was a loli racoon at one point before they decide not to somewhat turn her mature so it won’t be so obvious the shield hero’s party is a loli party too. Of course Raphtalia has some moments focused on her too since it won’t be right for Naofumi to be hogging all the spotlight by himself. So yeah, Raphtalia coming from a long way as a demi-human, her suffering and fears. Naofumi giving her that second chance was all she needed to turn it around albeit she might take a little time. He could have picked another slave but it was her. Lucky racoon. Raphtalia becoming Naofumi’s sword makes her an indispensable asset to Naofumi. This also tries to set up some sort of romance but it’s just one-sided. Because you know, Naofumi the kind master who teaches her, protects her, how else to get closer and bring their current relationship to the next level but to become a couple? I don’t know when the Waves will end but Raphtalia’s current insecurity being left alone if Naofumi returns to his own world, you bet she is going to try to get closer and snag him to prevent that. And now she can do that without worrying him going home because he has already decided to stay.

Then there is Filo who naturally doesn’t have any back story since she was born while the series is running. That’s why the need for that meeting with the Fitoria so as Filo would have something going for her instead of just being a combat assistance and carriage puller. Now that she is the filolial queen successor, you better show some respect for this loli chicken. She and Raphtalia might be gunning for Naofumi’s love but I say their kind of love for their master are different as Filo feels more like the master-pet relationship. But still, love rivalries nonetheless. And of course so as not to make her as one of Naofumi’s loli party members, hence she is sometimes in her giant fowl form. Last but not least is Melty who feels like a fringe party of the group. Because she is great friends with Filo, it is somewhat an excuse that she considers herself to be part of Naofumi’s party. Although mostly the first part was to escort her back home. Melty completes the party as she has magic attacks albeit not very strong ones but it is better than nothing. With Lecia joining Naofumi’s party in the final episode, I guess I can’t completely say he only recruits lolis into his team. Maybe now he is into retard-cum-joker? Because that is the kind of feel Lecia gives off in the final couple of episodes. Is she supposed to be cute being like that? Kawaii!

The other heroes aren’t anything much. There isn’t much back story on them so as not to take away the focus on the shield hero. Therefore we don’t really put our support fully behind Ren, Itsuki or even Motoyasu for any kind of reason unless you are an obsessed fan of the weapon they are holding. Though their intentions are good, the mess they created that Naofumi had to fix only helps makes us feel the need to vouch for the shield hero. It’s not like they’re the bad guys but we prefer a lot characters who can keep their sh*t together as well as solving problems, right? I keep thinking if Ren was a rip-off from Kirito since they even employ the same seiyuu to be this sword hero. But he isn’t as friendly as you hope he would be like Kirito. Motoyasu is the obnoxious guy whom you would love to hate. Just because this guy thinks he is hot and popular, he thinks what he does is correct. Unfortunately to set him up as Naofumi’s initial main enemy and a character whom we wouldn’t like, I feel Motoyasu has more screen time than Ren and Itsuki. Ren and Itsuki are calmer and more rational unlike Motoyasu who jumps the gun without thinking since he was so bent that Naofumi is the bad guy and trying to add more hot chicks to his party by trying to steal raccoon girl and chicken loli. I guess other people’s girl are hotter than yours, huh? When the rivalry between Naofumi and Motoyasu is gone, Motoyasu is then relegated to the same unimportant focus like Ren and Itsuki.

But I think many would agree with me that the most spiteful character whom you would love to hate is Myne, oops I mean Bitch/Slut. I had my guts ringing like mad like Spider-sense when she first joined Naofumi’s side. There were tell-tale signs here and there that throws suspicions on her character. And true enough, the ultimate betrayal that has viewers alike loathing this b*tch. If that wasn’t enough, it felt like she was really trying to make herself as the number one most hated character in our personal top 10 list by trying to muscle her way around, pick a fight with Naofumi using dumb Motoyasu for her ends but usually end up paying the price for her backfired schemes. If she was really beheaded then, I think most of us wouldn’t have shed a tear and would have cheered instead. But of course to show that Naofumi is merciful (they gave an excuse that death is too easy a way out), that is why she continues to breathe. Too bad she doesn’t learn from her lessons and still tries to get back whenever she can. Like as though the pain from the slave mark gives her pleasure and is some sort of masochist. I mean, does she really think she can actually get away with it! Oh well, you at least have to praise her persistency.

Action wise, I think it is great although not as exhilarating as say, the recent third season of Shingeki No Kyojin. They have a variety of moves and combos in taking down the enemy but I guess it is better than using once and then never used at all. Yeah, I would have complained about that had they do it and now that they have a few varieties, I even complained that I can’t remember those moves or that they aren’t memorable to begin with. Naofumi’s shield skill tree has branched out so much that it feels like those we see him used in battle are just a fraction of it. I assume he has practised in using them all otherwise it feels like he is a pro when he could instantly bring out that specific shield properties. Filo who provides fighting support to Naofumi, it feels like this giant fowl can do almost everything. From flying to kung fu kicks and even recently, she can swim?! Man, she is like the all-purpose vehicle and weapon that everyone dreams of. Naofumi really won big time with that lottery, huh?

Art and animation are decent. Some drop in quality sometimes but nothing that would be of real concern. For a world that is facing gloom and doom, there are quite some livid colours especially the characters like the heroes who sometimes feel like colour coded heroes. Red = Motoyasu. Blue = Ren. Green = Itsuki. And uhm, darker green = Naofumi? Naofumi’s shield has a lot of weird designs seeing that he has levelled up and branched out his shield tremendously. Sometimes I feel it is like there was a design contest to see which of his shield’s design would make the cut. I mean, like how is that Iron Maiden even a type of shield???!!! On a trivial note, does Raphtalia’s design take after Horo from Spice And Wolf? Does this allow Naofumi to circumvent the rules and attack personally? This anime was done by Kinema Citrus who gave us Yuyushiki, Code: Breaker, Barakamon and Made In Abyss.

Voice acting, a few recognizable seiyuus lending their talents like Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Ren, Jun Fukuyama as L’Arc, Saori Hayami as Therese, Hiroki Yasumoto as Elhart and Kikuko Inoue as Mirelia. The other casts include Kaito Ishikawa as Naofumi (Genos in One Punch Man), Asami Seto as Raphtalia (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Rina Hidaka as Filo (Last Order in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Maaya Uchida as Melty (Rikka in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Sarah Emi Bridcutt as Myne, uhm, I mean Bitch/Slut (Yuzuru in Date A Live), Makoto Takahashi as Motoyasu (Kouta in Majimoji Rurumo), Yoshitaka Yamaya as Itsuki (Sugino in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Megumi Han as Glass (Akko in Little Witch Academia), Natsuko Hara as Lecia (Mei in Jashin-chan Dropkick), Sakura Tange as Fitoria (titular character in Card Captor Sakura), Takayuki Sugo as Balmus (Wanyuudou in Jigoku Shoujo), Yutaka Nakano as Aultcray (Ishikawa in Ghost In The Shell) and Kenichi Ogata as Berocas (Genma in Ranma 1/2).

The rock paced first opening theme, Rise by Madkid fits the series like a glove and should have maintained as the only opener. Not to say that the second one, Faith by Madkid sounds bad but adding some hip hop elements to the rock music somehow just doesn’t appeal to me. Both the ending themes are slow rock ballads and sung by Chiai Fujikawa, Kimi No Namae and Atashi Ga Tonari Ni Iru Uchi Ni respectively. Personally I prefer the latter. I didn’t notice the BGMs but when I tried to sample some of its soundtrack, it has over 2.5 hours of music! Of course I couldn’t wait that long to hear them all but from the random samplings I heard, they’re rather okay with a wide variety of styles from the usual medieval style music and orchestra strings to hard rock punk metal ones and creepy eerie/dramatic Gregorian style chanting voices.

Overall, not a bad series and one of the better isekai genres out there despite its dark theme. It’s not that we hate characters who are overpowered and can do everything right from the start, it’s just that we need a reason to justify why we want to support that main character. It’s not like we are sadists wanting to see him struggle and improve through all the sufferings but we can see it brings out the best and worst in a character during those trying times. Naofumi does it not because he is the one who has to wield the shield bur rather he has to. So it doesn’t matter who you are, where you came from or what you have, it is how you make the best and adapt with what you’ve got and this series shows us how to tackle internet trolls without stooping down to their low level and engage them directly! Just ignore them and do your own stuff! Is that not how it seems?! Don’t let them dominate and step over you. Otherwise you would just F.E.A.R. Forget Everything And Run! Or F.E.A.R. F*ck Everything And Regret!

OMG! OMG! OMG!!! HYPE! HYPE! HYPE SUPER HYPE!!! DOUBLE SUPER HYPE!!! IT’S FINALLY HERE! AGAIN! We’ve been waiting for this like forever! I don’t know why they did this by breaking up the third season into 2 parts and taking a cour’s break. Did they think we can’t handle the shocking truth and sheer awesomeness and we will die before the series reaches its conclusion? Don’t underestimate us! Because of that, just to be clear, Shingeki No Kyojin S3 part 2 is actually the second part of the third season and hence making it the fourth instalment of the TV series overall. Confusing? Nah. They did that with Shokugeki No Souma’s third season so I’m not surprised. But we’re not talking about cooking food here. We’re talking about Titans eating humans as food! GAWR!!!

Episode 50
Our usual gang is taking Eren to Shiganshina. They stumble into a Titan but thank goodness it is motionless thanks to the moonless night. Eren realizes his hands are shaking. You scared? You might not want to admit but everyone is too. Will this mission be a success or failure? Once they reach Shiganshina, everyone takes off to their positions. As Erwin narrates, everyone is wearing hoods because they do not know if there is an enemy in the midst so this is to also help conceal the real Eren and avoid him being directly targeted. Once everything is ready, Eren transforms into a Titan to plug the outer Wall Maria. Success. The world is completely sealed up. If something feels off because it’s too easy, damn right it is because Armin has done some investigating and realizes someone has been camping nearby. There could be at least 3 enemies and they might have seen them coming while camping on the wall. Erwin is impressed with his thinking and makes him in charge. Armin is awkward with this new chain of command but issues his first order to sniff out enemies. As he thinks and thinks and the soldiers could not locate them, he realizes the enemies could be hiding inside the wall and has the soldiers look for cavities near the wall. When one of them finally found a hole, Reiner pops out and kills this dude! Although Levi swiftly stabs his sword through his neck, Reiner didn’t die. He was a second quicker to activate his Titan power as he soon transforms into the Armoured Titan. This signals to all his other comrades outside. The Yeti Titan and all other Titans now surround the inner entrance of Shiganshina. Yeti Titan then throws a rock and seals off that inner entrance. Erwin realizes they want to prevent them from escaping via their horses.

Episode 51
Smaller Titans rush in to attack. But Erwin is puzzled. The enemies could have just killed the horses and wait until Survey Corps tire out and unable to fight back to capture Eren. Whatever their plans, Erwin’s goal now is to prevent their horses from being slaughtered. He orders Hange’s squad to take down the Armoured Titan and approves the use of Thunder Spears. Indeed Reiner’s goal is to kill the horses but seeing Eren running in the opposite direction, he knows this is a bait. However he is forced to take this bait because Eren might circle around and escape, thwarting their plans to capture him. Once that happens, they have no reason to stay back and fight. Eren and Reiner clash and the former has gotten and improved in his close quarter combat. So while Eren keeps Reiner busy, Hange has her team get ready the Thunder Spears. Flashback shows she used this powerful technology that was kept secret by the Military Police that gives them a fighting chance against the Armoured Titan. Once Eren has got Reiner in position, Hange and co drop in their first Thunder Spears. Their environment makes it advantageous for this to be used because the buildings can be used as anchor while using Thunder Spears that literally explodes upon contact. With Reiner in pain, the rest use their remaining Thunder Spears to finish him off.

Episode 52
Flashback shows when Eren first transformed into a Titan and plugged up the breach, Marco overheard Reiner and Bertolt’s plans. Though, he thought it was a joke. But then Reiner pinned him down and knew he was too clever to brush that off as a joke. He then forces reluctant Annie to remove his 3DMD to prove her warrior status. They then left devastated Marco to be eaten by a Titan. Oddly, Reiner’s split personality then made him go in shock upon seeing Marco getting devoured. Fast forward to moments before Erwin’s squad arrive at the wall. Reiner and Bertolt are talking to their boss, Zeke (the Yeti Titan) about recovering the Coordinate and ending this cursed history once and for all. Connie and Sasha crying over Reiner’s death? Wow. Must be real bros. But Reiner isn’t exactly dead. He manages to give a loud roar in which Yeti Titan throws a barrel over Shiganshina. This is where Bertolt is hidden. The plan is for him to transform into the Colossal Titan in mid-air. The explosion will cause all those around to perish. But the moment he sees Reiner, he goes down to him. His head might be blown off by Bertolt can tell he is still alive because using the Titan power, Reiner managed to transfer his consciousness to his nerves. Bertolt has made his resolve. He needs Reiner to just move a little. Armin wants to negotiate with Bertolt and even throws Annie’s name into it. But Bertolt knows this is just to buy time so the rest could kill Reiner for good (at this point, Reiner turned on his back, making it hard for the soldiers to kill him off). Bertolt mentions about their mission of capturing Eren and annihilation of all humans inside the walls. He doesn’t view his friends as evil but they will still have to die. Conversation ended with Mikasa trying to do a sneak attack on him but he got away. Then Bertolt goes into mid-air and transforms. The blast seems to have killed almost everyone in the squad except for our usual heroes. As the Colossal Titan, he is using debris of the buildings and raining them like projectiles. Armin’s plan is to retreat for now but when Jean points out Bertolt might set fire to the wall and make everyone stuck in between the fire and the Yeti Titan, Armin dreads the idea of defeating Bertolt right now.

Episode 53
Armin is so panic that he passes the leadership to Jean, believing he can make better judgment. Though quickly makes a decision to get near the river, he will still be counting on Armin to come up with the ultimate plan. Yeti Titan is now smashing rocks into smaller ones and throwing them. This takes out many of the soldiers. Almost everyone is wiped out except for Erwin, Levi and the new recruits. They are forced to take refuge at houses near the wall but at this rate, Yeti Titan will flatten all the houses and there will be no place left to hide. Bertolt is moving closer to the wall. Jean has Eren to distract him but Bertolt ignores him. In a desperate move, Eren tries to stop his feet but is easily kicked away like a football! The rest try to use Thunder Spears but it backfires as Bertolt releases his hot steam to deflect everything. Armin, how is that plan coming up? Nope? Ah sh*t. Reiner has fully been recovered too! Levi’s plan is for Erwin to wake up Eren, have him take as many people to escape. A demoralised soldier, Floch Forster then rants about the dream of becoming a hero but he realized too late when reality sinks in. They’re all going to die. Everything is for nothing. But Erwin has a plan that could have Levi take down Yeti Titan. He didn’t say it because it involves everyone else sacrificing their lives just to give him this chance. He will lead them to a suicide charge and so as to ‘convince’ the new recruits to die to him, he will lead the charge and die first. His only regret is not seeing what’s in the basement. So close yet so far. When Erwin is breaking down, you know sh*t has already hit the fan. Hence Levi has decided. Give up on your dreams and lead your men to death. In exchange he will slay the Yeti Titan. So we see Erwin giving one last ‘motivation’ speech for his soldiers to go out there and die. Sacrifice and meaning of lives, blah, blah, blah. You ready? Here we come! CHARGE!!! They fire their flares simultaneously so as to affect Yeti Titan’s aim. Meanwhile Levi goes around taking down the other giant Titans while what’s left of the Survey Corps acts as decoy.

Episode 54
Oh well. Erwin went down first. Now it’s a crazy charge to their deaths. Yeti Titan gets more and more angry each time he sees what’s left of the Survey Corps inch closer to their mindless death. Till there is none. By the time it’s over, he realizes the other Titans have fallen. Too late as Levi cuts everything up and pulls Zeke out. Levi hesitates to kill him because he is hoping for a single survivor to use that Titan transforming serum and eat this Yeti Titan to take his abilities. This causes a Titan to snatch Zeke away as Zeke orders the other Titans to kill Levi. Levi is only left with fury. His promise to Erwin… You Titans will pay! Ironically, Floch is the only survivor and unscathed… Armin has observed the Colossal Titan is getting thinner thanks to expending a lot of power. He now has a plan. He will wake up Eren. They will be enough take Bertolt down. The rest are to distract Reiner and keep him at bay. Reiner’s memories are still hazy. Mikasa and the rest have to cautiously use their limited Thunder Spears to take him out. The first part almost fails. Connie while nailing his Thunder Spear, Sasha misses and this also causes her to be wounded. Mikasa is carrying the last Thunder Spear. The goal to open Armoured Titan’s jaw has not succeeded. Time from Hange to return from being dead to plant her Thunder Spear and force open that jaw. Enough for Mikasa to blast her last one inside and send Reiner blowing out. Bertolt uses his steam to blow away Armin but he seems to be hanging on. His observations were right. Using his 3DMD to cling onto the Colossal Titan’s teeth that is the only part that isn’t affected by the thinning of the steam. Bertolt cannot understand why he is doing this. Eren is down and not moving and the rest are busy with Reiner. Armin hangs on until he is totally burnt and blown away. Bertolt then realizes that Eren Titan was just his hardening skin. Armin has bought enough time for Eren to get out as he slices Bertolt out of his Titan body. Sadly, Eren sees Armin’s charcoal corpse… Armin… NOOO!!!!!

Episode 55
No time for tears. Zeke arrives so Eren becomes defensive and threatens to kill Bertolt. Zeke claims Grisha has brainwashed him but will be back to save him another day since Levi is hot on his trail. Levi is out of gas and wants Eren to give his 3DMD. Then he hears Armin’s cough… Meanwhile Hange takes something from Reiner. A letter supposedly from Ymir to Historia. Because he won’t let them know what they want, Hange will kill him. Ironically Jean stops her. Why not use the serum and take his abilities? Hange cannot risk it so Jean argues how are they going to kill the enemy if they don’t know anything about them? Flashback shows Erwin explained to everyone about the serum. As it is the only one left, he left it in Levi’s care. Hange wants Mikasa to seek Levi and if for some reason she cannot get it, fire her flare. It will be her signal to kill Reiner. For the longest time we haven’t seen Mikasa this emotional as she sees Armin’s charred body. Eren arguing the need to use the serum on Armin to take Bertolt’s power. Mikasa fires the flare. Just then Zeke retrieves Reiner. Jean feels guilty it is his fault that led to this but Hange asserts the decision was hers. As Levi is about to give the serum to Eren, here comes Floch carrying Erwin on his back! Barely alive, he wants Levi to use the serum on their commander. Because Levi views Erwin as the one who has the highest chance to save humanity, it becomes a showdown between Erwin and Armin camp. Mikasa pins a weakened Levi down while Eren paints a picture of Armin being the brains and the one who got them out of all situations. Then Floch blows his top. They’re not the only victims. He relates how everyone else from the Survey Corps is dead from Yeti Titan’s baseball practice. When he returned, he noticed Erwin still breathing and wanted to kill him. Then he realized he shouldn’t let him go so easily and should suffer like them. That’s why he brought him to Levi. With Hange somehow managing to convince Mikasa to calm down because in that case there are hundreds of more comrades whom she wants to bring back alive, Levi has everyone clear the area as he will inject the serum into Erwin. Last ditch effort by Eren to talk about Armin’s dreams of the sea compared to his blinded hatred to kill all Titans just for revenge. No change of heart. As Levi prepares to do it, Erwin smacks his hand away. Levi thinks hard. In the end, we see a Titan Armin devouring a very scared Bertolt in his final moments. Levi’s reason to give the serum to Armin was his realization that it was everyone else who forced Erwin into a demon. He was finally freed but they almost brought him back for another round of hell. As Erwin kicks the bucket, the other friends pull a revived Armin out from his Titan shell.

Episode 56
Armin wakes and since his memories are still hazy, Levi has Eren explained all that has happened. Shocked at Erwin’s death and other developments, he too has the same thinking that Erwin should have been administered the serum. While it looks like Armin would be replacing Erwin as commander, it doesn’t mean he is Erwin’s substitute. Levi doesn’t want anybody regretting this decision and that’s an order. Now Levi, Hange, Eren and Mikasa head to Eren’s house. Walking through the abandoned streets, time to hit up the nostalgia. The moment of truth we’ve all been waiting for. What’s in the basement. The key… Doesn’t fit!!! Levi just kicks down the door! That was easy. You’d think Grisha would have given Eren the key to the lock of something flimsy, huh? So they search the basement but mostly are Grisha’s notes and medicines. Then Mikasa spots a keyhole in the drawer. This time the key fits. There are 3 journals that are very well preserved. Opening the first one, there is a photo of a family (note, photography is not known in this world, at least not to those living behind the walls). Behind the photo is a note claiming he is from a civilization outside the walls. Meanwhile news break that the Survey Corps have successfully retaken Wall Maria and the people erupt with joy as they prepare for the heroes’ return. We have a short glimpse of Grisha as a young boy living with his younger sister, Faye. They were curious about the airship so one day Grisha took her past the restricted zone to its landing strip.

Episode 57
The duo are caught by officers, Kruger and Gross. Because they don’t have exit permits from the Liberio Internment Zone, he gives them a choice of manual labour or punishment. Grisha chooses the latter and will also take it for Faye’s part. As Gross leads Faye away, Kruger beats him up and then lets him watch the airship. He came here for that, right? Next day, Faye’s body was found by the river. Gross and Kruger talked to Grisha’s parents and lecture them about raising their child right. Grisha is in shock because he knew the officers were lying as they were slacking off then. At that moment he started hating Gross and especially his father because he obeyed the authority’s words like a dog. Grisha’s dad then starts to indoctrinate him about the sins of their ancestors. 1820 years ago, Ymir Fritz made a pact with the devil and obtained the power of Titans. After her death, her soul split into 9 Titans who built the Eldia Empire. They then destroyed the Marley Empire just to rule over them and persecuted other races inferior to them. This went on until some Eldians conspire with the Marleyans to bring down Eldia from within. They managed to do so by stealing 7 of those Titans. The Eldian king retreated to an island known as Paradise Island and hid behind 3 walls he constructed with his people. The rest of the ancestors were abandoned on this mainland. But the generous Marleyans did not kill them. At this point, Grisha didn’t care all that BS because it’s a sin neither he and Faye committed. Father tells him it doesn’t matter. All they can do is live humbly in this zone and please don’t send them to Paradise Island. Grisha backs down and continued this mundane life, taking over his father’s medical practice. Until one day a guy comes to see him and has info about how Faye was killed (Gross let loose the dogs to devour her). These people are a small group of Eldian revolutionists and are planning to restore the old Eldia Empire. Grisha soon became the leader, even go so far as to decipher the real history how Ymir actually brought prosperity to all nations. The revolutionists also receive a boost with the joining of Dina Fritz, the last surviving member of the royal family. Grisha fell in love with her and they get married. Soon they have a son named Zeke.

The revolutionist has an informant working inside Marley only known as Owl and they discover that the Marley side also has plans to infiltrate Paradise Island as it is rich in minerals. However the then Eldian king warned if they do so, millions of Titans will be unleashed upon them. That is why the Marleyan government is selecting children in an experiment to become Titans to storm the island. Grisha realize they have only an option left. He is going to use Zeke and make him a double agent in Marley. Like father, like son. History repeats itself as Grisha indoctrinates Zeke. However this backfired as Zeke rats them out. The revolutionists are brought to Paradise Island. One of the guys is dropped and left running for his life while his other partners turned into Titans to chase after him. Grisha becomes dismayed when Dina is also turned into one. He is shocked that the deal was to let her free after he told everything he knows but I guess that didn’t happen. Making it worse, Kruger and Gross are here. More disgusting is how Gross mentions he is doing this because it is fun and shows no remorse in killing others. Especially Faye. Ah, nobody forgets that day. We take a short detour to see Eren and Mikasa dreaming this same dream in their insubordination cell. Back to the story, with Gross hoping for the complete annihilation of Eldia, Grisha thought this is the end for him but Kruger pushes Gross down and lets him get devoured by the Titan. Not so fun now, eh? Kruger then reveals himself as Owl. Why am I not surprised? Then he shows Grisha how to use the Titan power as he himself transforms into one and goes on a rampage.

Episode 58
Kruger explains more about himself. His full name is Eren Kruger and the bearer of one of the 9 Titans. In other words, a subject of Ymir. Kruger managed to infiltrate into Marley because of the help of a doctor fabricating his blood result. Grisha blames him for letting everyone else die but Kruger gives Grisha his final mission. He wants him eat him and take his Titan power to storm into the walls and steal the Founding Titan’s power. Kruger can’t do it himself because those who bear the Titan’s power only have 13 years to live. This is called Ymir’s Curse. Guess this is his final year. Kruger goes on further to explain his father was also part of the resistance but died without achieving anything since the Marleyans burnt him alive. Since then he vowed to get revenge on Marley and restore Eldia. However by doing so he has only sent many of his brethren to death just to keep his identity safe. More explanations on Ymir’s Curse that if a bearer dies without passing on the power, that power awakens within a baby among the Ymir subjects. In some way, all of Ymir’s subjects are connected. Eventually all those paths converge at a single coordinate: The Founding Titan. Thus all Ymir subjects are connected by the Coordinate. Grisha wonders why Kruger didn’t help Dina even though she is of royal blood. He couldn’t afford to let her fall into enemy hands. Because it would be messed up if she bears the child of the enemy nation. Grisha is now depressed and feeling all the guilt that he tries to give excuses he can’t do this final mission. Kruger tells him the reason why he chose Grisha is because he was the only one who went past the walls. Had he not taken Faye past the walls, he would have inherited his father’s medical practice and Faye might have grown up and bore children. However this is reality and the story he started ever since he went past that wall. The Titan power he is about to take has a name like with all the 9 Titans. This Titan moves forward and fights for freedom and is hence called, wait for it, Attack Titan AKA Shingeki No Kyojin! Roll credits!

Eren and Mikasa’s imprisonment has ended. They are taken to see Historia who will have an audience with the surviving members of Survey Corps. We see her reading a letter from Ymir. Nothing really important except her regrets of picking the other side instead of her and not being able to marry her. I don’t think it was meant to be a joke. Historia seems to receive Ymir’s memories when she touches part of the letter. With the journals, the truth about the Titans and human civilization is now known. Hange addresses the audience in the hall about the true enemies not being Titans but humans of the entire world. As they are able to transform into Titans, it is a reason why the world wants them eradicated. If Marley get their hands on the Founding Titan, it is all over for Eldia. Grisha thought the king will not let that happen but unfortunately as Kruger states, the king has renounced fighting. Hence the million Titans threat was just a ruse to keep other nations from attacking while he hypnotizes his own people that the outside world is decimated so they could live in this fake peace. Kruger views a king who doesn’t protect his people is now king and that’s why he wants Grisha to seize the Founding Titan from within the walls. Grisha completed that mission and passed it to Eren. Any royal descendants who inherit the Founding Titan’s power becomes subordinated to the king. Eren is not of royal blood and he may have potential to use this power. That is when Eren realizes something very important. He has not told anybody about this. The Titan who killed his mom and Hannes was Dina. Eren realizes by touching a Titan that carries the blood of the royal family, it is possible to use the Founding Titan’s power. If he tells anybody about it, what would they do to Historia? Lastly we see Kruger telling Grisha to start a family once he gets inside the walls. He believes someone down the line will be watching this. If he can’t do that, history will only repeat itself.

Episode 59
With this newfound information, the hall is divided whether to tell the public as it will create chaos. However if they withhold this, would they be no better than the previous king who lied to his subjects? Hence Historia announces to release all the details to public. There are various reactions from shock to laughing it off and it is all just hogwash conspiracy theory. Well, you do what you want with the info. There will be an award ceremony for the Survey Corps and to honour the fallen. Surprisingly Hitch attends but I figure this is so that Floch could tell how Marlo died a hero. However he might have said too much that Marlo could have regretted his last moments there. But it’s the truth. I think Hitch can’t take any more of that. But this has Floch now questioning that everyone would have come to the same conclusion after reading all this: Why wasn’t Erwin the one alive. Despite Eren trying to speak up for Armin, Floch gets honest. Sure, Armin is not his friend and he knows nothing about his achievements. He blames them for making Levi make an irrational decision because they let their emotions take over. Eren might think he did the right thing and is dead set on it, that’s why he isn’t remorseful. Medals and awards don’t matter. What matters next if they tell the truth to the next set of Survey Corps recruits. Don’t you dare let cowards like him sign up. But no matter how useless a coward is, he is still entitled to his own opinions. As Historia gives out the medals, Eren is still indecisive. He isn’t willing to sacrifice Historia yet. Touching her hand, we see glimpse of Grisha’s flashback when he managed to find Frieda and her family. He explained about being the same as them as Eldians and subjects of Ymir. He warned her to kill all Titans that breach the will or their people will die. A year after the attack on Trost, all the refugees are returned there and life in the district blooms again. The Survey Corps are able to exterminate every Titan and then venture outside Wall Maria. They spot a crawling Titan and Eren can tell its origin by touching it. Another Eldian sent here as punishment. They just leave it there since it can’t do anything. The long journey finally leads them to the ocean. The first time everyone is amazed and stunned by this endless huge body water. Everyone except for Eren. Maybe he seen it too many times in his father’s memories? But despite everyone frolicking like kids in the water, Eren puts on his gloom cap. Because he once thought freedom awaits them across the ocean. But he is wrong. There lies only enemies. Would they be truly free if they kill every last one of their enemies? So it is no longer kill all Titans but kill all non-Eldian humans???!!!

Clash Of The Titans
OMG! WTF?! Only 10 episodes for this second part. Oh man, I’m so ‘disappointed’… But nothing says hype and much more hype when the final season of the series is announced. Uh huh. You can’t get more hype than that when you add ‘final season’ into your title. Oh boy. That is sure going to drive up the hype and excitement. Don’t forget all the anxiety and worrying too along the way. Now I am ever so eager to watch the final season… There had better be some good animes to keep my company while I wait for that very anticipated final season to arrive… Or a whole load of crappy ones which will just make me fully appreciate this truly awesome and superb masterpiece when the time comes and thus making the painstaking wait worthwhile.

This season is still so amazing and awesome that I might sound like a broken recorder if I continue to praise everything about it all over again. But I’m so lazy so please read my previous blog ;p. This series is one of the very few and rare anime series that I have watched throughout my entire life in which the next season gets better and better. So many other series have fallen to the wayside to even live up to their second season but this one is still going strong. And my only ‘fear’ of all this is because of the hype and excitement that has been building up over the years, the final season would come out sputtering. I know it’s wrong for me to be so negative even when I haven’t even started to watch the final season yet but this anxiety originates from that Game of Thrones final season… Yeah… Remember that fiasco? I didn’t see that HBO series but because of the disappointment of the final season, it left a negative impact (comments and criticisms alike) so great on the impact that even I had taken notice. So can you blame me for being so negative when there is already a precedent that something so great can even stumble so hard? Yeah, I guess better than never getting a conclusion at all.

Besides the awesome Titan action in retaking Wall Maria, this season we have some few shocking developments like the death of Erwin (as well as Bertolt) as well as finally the damn truth. Finally we get to see what is in the basement that has been a nagging thorn to us viewers. The truth of course but I was expecting to be some sort of hologram device with audio to narrate the entire true history! Haha. Just kidding. The history of the real world is indeed interesting and sometimes it feels like a big fairytale. But then again, remember the characters who have been living within the walls are as good as the frog who lived in a well. It was also shocking that Erwin had really died. Honestly, I thought that guy would never die. At least because he is such an important figure and reeking that charismatic aura that is on par with the main character, they can’t kill him off, right? I was wrong. His guilt and reflection of standing atop the corpses of his fellow Survey Corps to get where he is seemed like a death flag now… Oh well, rest in peace, Erwin. Because of his sacrifice, we’ve come to where we are right now. So it’s not just Erwin who won’t know the truth but all those dead Survey Corps who died previously too. Maybe they’ll learn the truth as they watch in heaven… Hey, we got a history here talking about gods and demons and Titan powers so why not our departed souls watching from heaven?! Also, RIP Marlo… So with the big revelation about the people of the world, come to think of it, isn’t this entire series just one big civil war among the Eldians? Yeah, they have to be united before they can face the entire world who wants them dead!

Possibly the ‘funniest’ realization is when they gave this Titan that Kruger gave Grisha, a name. Not so much funny if you’re Japanese but if you know the official English title is called Attack On Titan. And now we have this roll call that this Titan’s name is Attack Titan. Both carry entirely different meaning literally. Japanese won’t have any problems but we English speakers might be left confused. Truthfully, even when this official English title came out when this series first aired, I was even sceptical of how this naming sense even made sense. Attacking Titan would have been such a better and accurate translation but I guess it doesn’t sound as cool as Attack On Titan. After all, Attack On Titan shows us from the viewpoints of the heroes doing just that whereas Attack Titan would also still be correct but sounds a lot lamer. And now with this revelation on why the series is named so, it would be weird for the English side to officially change it so. If this was some subtle way for us not to figure this out, then in some ways it worked. We didn’t see this coming, right? Did we?!

This season Eren doesn’t feel like a wuss because I guess when you’ve been such a big wimp last season, he has somewhat hardened his heart and resolve to end all this crap. So thankfully he does his mission well that ultimately helped the Survey Corps regain Wall Maria and obtain the Colossal Titan’s power. It was a scary moment for us when Eren and Levi almost go head to head over who to save with this last serum. After all that they have been through, this one little decision on who decides who to live could have become the biggest deal breaker and it would have been really heart wrenching for us all if that fallout and bloodshed actually happened. We don’t need another ‘civil war’. We have already seen that when Reiner, Bertolt and Annie have defected and what is left of the Survey Corps is threatened to split apart even more? Wow. It was sure scary. Mikasa still kicks ass and like in previous seasons, isn’t so overprotective over Eren.

Armin and Jean try to showcase their leadership and thinking skills and I think they’re cool but somehow I feel it is to give them some screen time. Same case with Connie and Sasha. Can’t be jokers in this time of distress. Though, (thankfully) Sasha is still Sasha despite being gravely injured. Historia so lacking this season because she is already queen (she still think it’s unofficial?) since last season she already had her run so I guess she now has to play her real duty instead of going on a dangerous adventure. One last note on Armin, I know he feels guilty about being alive in Erwin’s place but he better not turn into an annoying one because it will also start to influence and make me think that yeah, perhaps Erwin SHOULD have been the one to live! It’s like as though he doesn’t value the second chance he has been given. He might not be able to be as charismatic as Erwin or come up plans that will assure victory but I’m sure in time something will change and happen. Like how we see a year later Eren has grown his hair a bit longer and he looks slightly mature and giving off this gloom face. Haha! Yeah… So Armin, don’t make us all believe including yourself regret that decision to be alive! Please, just don’t. We want to face this reality and move on already.

Remember how last season I complained that the opening song sounded like a wuss? Sounded so gay that it took away all the epic feeling that defined the series? Well, probably they heard my complaints (and from others as well) so they decide to go back to that trademark epic theme. Yes, Shoukei To Shikabane No Michi (once more sung by Linked Horizon) might sound like a copy and paste of its predecessors, Guren No Yumiya and Shinzou Wo Sasageyou (just change the lyrics!) but I guess I must live up to my promise not to complain about it. Better to have this than some gay sounding sh*t! This season’s ending theme, Name Of Love by Cinema Staff is a slow ballad. It might sound unsuitable for the series at first but after watching the events unfold and all the madness that had happened, I think this homecoming-like song is definitely fitting to wind down.

Oh well. I suppose it is that time again where we have to wait for the final season to arrive and it is that agonizing moment of waiting again. But it is good to know that good things come to those who wait. So just a little while more, okay… But for now, I’ll have to be contended with this amazing second part of the third season that left me breathless and yearning for more. Amazing Titan action as well as intriguing story have certainly defined this season. At this point, I can safely and definitely say that Shingeki No Kyojin is definitely the top and best anime series that I have watched in recent years. Even ousting One Punch Man and Boku No Hero Academia per se. Even Gintama too. Once this series truly ends, it will be difficult to find another series to top and replace this masterpiece, let alone get even close to it. As Erwin said about everyone dying one day and this doesn’t mean life is meaningless, I’d like to modify that: Even if no other series outshines or surpasses this one, it doesn’t mean all animes are crap or inferior! (Although, some definitely are!).

Circlet Princess

October 6, 2019

Time for another made up futuristic sci-fi team sport. The last time I watched Ao No Kanata No Four Rhythm, I wasn’t really impressed. It was weird despite they tried to create something creative. But that series didn’t get any sort of follow up or sequel since its run back in 2016. And now we have yet another futuristic sci-fi team sport, Circlet Princess. In this world, we assume that VR technology has advanced so much that we are able to create this bizarre sport that only females seem to participate. And yeah, the typical story of a fallen powerhouse in the sport making a comeback because of a talented ace joining in. Yeah, the story is as cliché as you can get and not made up.

Episode 1
Oh yeah. Circlet Bout (CB) is all the rage now, right? Chikage Fujimura from Kurojishi Academy is the top dog with a 50 match winning streak. However as revealed in the backstage, everything has been a setup. You mean like WWE? Understandably Chikage is bored but as her manager puts it, she is free to go all out with the next rookie opponent she faces. It’s all part of the show anyway. Since there is still some time before the match, she goes out for a walk. Meanwhile, country bumpkin retard, Yuka Sasaki just arrived in the big city. Wow. Everything so futuristic! Plot cliché commands her to be awed by the awesome poster girl of CB who is no other than Chikage. She is supposed to meet up with someone but gets enthralled and followed signs that leads her to the CB stadium. Along the way, she meets Chikage in disguise. Blah, blah, blah. Outside the stadium, some stupid girl mistakes her to be the Candita (player) from St Union Academy and rushes to get her ready. Yeah, without checking anything, right? Because Yuka is a dumb retard, she accepts. Yeah, everything will work out somehow, no? In the ring, Chikage and Yuka see each other. Is this fate? You can tell Yuka has all the beginner’s luck as she blocks Chikage’s offence and dodges. Wow. This is getting exciting for you huh, Yuka? Chikage must be really frustrated thinking she isn’t as strong as a champion she thought she is, huh? The match end is cut off and we fast forward 2 years later. She is ecstatic to enrol at St Union, the school of her dreams. Meanwhile Miyuki Kasahara and Ayumu Aizawa are at their wits end to revive their club. I don’t think making a cheap video will somehow generate views. Will it?! Coincidentally they stumble upon a clip about that legendary CB match 2 years ago that put Chikage in a pinch. Then they see Yuka in the flesh having problems with the robot security. Why do they look like they’re trying to rape her if they’re just asking for her student ID she is unable to produce? Luckily the duo manage to help her out and hence their chance to ask her to join their club. But first, Yuka sees Reina Kuroda who is the student council president. She instantly gets shot down because there is no CB club at St Union. Oh sh*t! Say what?! Her dreams come crushing down but Yuka refuses to budge and continues bugging Reina?! WTF?! Yuka returns to her dorm and coincidentally this is also where Ayumu stays. Ayumu realizes she is that Yuka 2 years ago and believes this could be something big. Flashback 2 years ago again. The match ended abruptly because the power was cut. Due to system error, Chikage postponed their match. So next time, huh? What a way to set fate rolling.

Episode 2
Continuing from that episode, as Yuka leaves to the backstage, the strange announcer confronts her and claims she has potential, blah, blah, blah. So she gives her a bracelet that will certainly have her reunite with Chikage one day. Yeah, that’s good enough a promise and motivation for Yuka to totally get interested in this. Because if you think you can’t achieve something, try until you can! Yeah, I really love that quote… Now, Yuka continues to bug Reina. She’ll make a new club then. Rejected! Please don’t rape her if she rejects, Yuka! Later Yuka meets up with Miyuki and Ayumu and realize they are part of CB club. Unofficial club, that is. Oh yeah. Now she can play. But first, it’s Miyuki’s turn to go bug Reina to approve their club and they just need a couple of members. She hopes Reina can join since she used to play CB but of course, the b*tch declines. Ayumu shows Yuka that legendary clip. You mean she didn’t know it is online? Oh yeah, the rural areas don’t have internet. She plays dumb since she doesn’t want to be busted as that accidental player who was there. The trio practice CB. Ayumu the computer whiz cannot analyse Yuka’s strange circlet weapon. The practice is interrupted with Reina once again using her authority to stop all unauthorized activities. They just got a slap on the wrist with house arrest? The moment they are back, Yuka is seen trying to recruit new members via old fashion way: Handling out pamphlets. And she gets into Reina trouble again… I don’t think Yuka is going to stop bugging her to approve the CB club and even with Reina spewing all that procedure and formalities, suddenly her aide informs her of something important. So apparently Reina has to suspend her actions to stop the formation of the CB club because St Union got a request for a practice match with Takamori Academy. You mean that legendary video just went viral? Like, now?! Miyuki teases Reina that she is dying to play this game and hints about her older sister who was a CB champ. So why is Takamori really trying to achieve with this practice match? According to their captain, Hiyori Sugiura, it’s to motivate their players. Because Ayana Kuroda has a younger sister there and this should give great incentive for their regulars. While Yuka is eating with her friends, suddenly her bracelet talks! WTF????!!!

Episode 3
The bracelet is being some naggy coach, eh? Some top class battle AI, eh? And Yuka being a retard means this is going to take a while… Yuka wants to get stronger in all aspects but the bracelet rejects. No can do. I guess he isn’t some wonder drug. But he’ll do what he can. Phew. Safe. Yuka can continue with her fate to meet Chikage then. Don’t worry about wasting an episode to find a new member because Nina Avelin decides to test it out. Yes, she is half Russian. Uhm, since when did Reina join? Is she unofficially officially in? Whatever, now they have an official CB club! Yay! They practice and Miyuki owns Yuka big time. Bet she’ll improve during the real match? So the first match pits Miyuki and some unknown Takamori Candita. Damn, Miyuki lost? Next is Reina against another unknown. While Reina shows her experience, unfortunately because she has this losing mentality and does not expect to win, she loses. WTF?! More misfortune because this is best of 3, oh damn you mean Takamori wins it?! Thank goodness it’s practice match so nothing officially recorded. Just hurt pride. Because they can’t just go home with this easy win, I guess Takamori is eager to continue with the practice. Hence eager beaver Yuka gets to go next. She is facing Kasumi Iida who is one of the top players. This won’t look good… If she wasn’t the main character to begin with! Thus you can see Yuka putting up a decent fight against Iida that shocks everybody. Yeah, didn’t expect this retard to last that long, huh? Her bracelet has analysed her moves and gives some hints. In the end, a swift move from Yuka has her defeat Iida. Wow. This upset victory has got to be the most exciting match, huh? Yuka decides to call her bracelet, Siegfried or Sieg for short. I guess it’s better than G-kun. WTF… Sugiura isn’t sad but glad they might be witnessing the birth of a new legend. You don’t say, huh? Coincidentally Chikage is also watching this and is glad Yuka is back in the game.

Episode 4
Flashback shows Ayana totalling owning her opponent in a CB game. Wow. Young Reina so impressed and vowed to be like her. Wow. So young. So motivated. Too bad we won’t get to see the rest of the practice match but from what I understand, it looked like a 100 men sparring match and only Yuka won. Thanks to that, she has some fans back at school cheering for her. Yuka is briefed on the Princess Cup. Yeah, you know the most prestigious tournament that every sports genre must have. But currently, Kurojishi Sougou Academy has been holding on to that throne for a long time. That school is where Chikage goes. When the girls are being called by the director, they think it’s because Yuka won her practice match. Because Takamori is their sister school and they’re supposed to lose? Hence it’s all Yuka’s fault?! Good thing it’s not that. Sugiura thanks them for a wonderful match and welcomes St Union’s CB’s return. However b*tch Reina insists the club’s closure. I guess only now Yuka hears of Ayana and her exploits. Ever since she left for America, St Union lost its ace and started dwindling. This makes Yuka feel uneasy. No, it’s not your stomach growling! Sieg’s best reply: You overeat! Sugiura talks to Yuka and is scouting her to join Takamori since they have all the facilities to help her get into her game. She can then challenge Kurojishi. But what’s eating Yuka? She still not happy? After Ayumu lets her see clips of Ayana in action (in which Reina’s moves mirrors Ayana’s move although it lacks something), she’s all fired up to go bug Reina. Yeah, Reina just dissed another attempt by Miyuki. So Reina is out of the club just so she can close it down? Yuka confronts Reina in the toilet and talks about Ayana’s greatness. Reina explains St Union didn’t want to hold her back, that’s why they let her go to America as it has the latest technology. But look what it did to St Union? By the time Reina enrolled, the CB club is as good as dead. She rejects Yuka’s invitation to join. So desperate that Yuka decides to go see Chikage at Kurojishi? No wonder she gets kicked out. Then she challenges Reina. She accepts because if Reina wins, Yuka will join Takamori. Is that her way of getting rid of her? Yuka seems to be imitating Ayana’s move. And Reina seems to be having those flashbacks about her sister departing. Yeah, so devastated. In the end, we can tell Reina lost because she has to join the club now. Yay! They’re official now.

Episode 5
Miyuki is voted as the captain of their CB club. Yeah, she’s the only one who volunteered. So starts off with their plan for Princess Cup. The usual line-up: Miyuki, Reina and then Yuka. Nina and Ayumu serve as backup. They attend the draw and it seems for the first round, St Union will be up against Hoshinoumi Academy. Yup, another good CB school. Typically, Hoshinoumi has this rich b*tch girl, Christie Yamauchi who has some sort of rivalry with Miyuki. As expected, she badmouths her about running away from her track club and as well as her current CB. You gonna let that fly, Miyuki. Oh damn. Looks like Christie’s words got to her. Because of that, she can’t concentrate in practice and her friends know something is wrong. With Yuka in her typical retard to assure her, Reina knows it is something that Christie said. Time to get it off her chest by telling her past. As her family makes shoes, naturally she loves running and was a good athlete, putting in all the effort. However many think she is successful because she had money and access to facilities. This made her depressed and at the crossroads. That was when she saw Ayana in a CB bout and decided to quit track and join this weird sport. Had she not quit her track, she would have ended up at Hoshinoumi since they also produce good athletes. Princess Cup starts. Because Miyuki is still having low self-confidence, she switches place with Yuka. Yuka easily wins her match and you thought Reina would be enough to seal the deal. But she lost! Turns out it was an ‘elaborate’ setup so as to get Miyuki to face Christie in the decisive match and put this thorny issue to rest. Of course Miyuki still has doubts and is weak. We hear a bit of Christie’s grudge against her because she looked up to Miyuki but before she could face her in a competition, she quit. Yeah… Since Miyuki continues to be pathetic, Reina scolds to remind her that her true ability is running. Is it allowed to have time to talk like that in the middle of the match? Anyway, this gives Miyuki the much needed confidence to turn the tables and defeat Christie. Wow. So easy. Just run around and make Christie tired. Yeah… She better train her body more before running her mouth… Miyuki admits she may have run away but now she won’t look back and will continue to run forward.

Episode 6
Because Reina has some student council duties, Nina replaces her in the first CB match but she basically got easily owned. But thanks to Miyuki and Yuka, St Union won this round. We see her let loose some steam on her online shooter game and it tells us a lot that she is a good sniper. Musashino Kyuoh Academy is their next opponent and they are the top 4 favourites for the Princess Cup. But of course. In order to help Nina become a strong attacker, they go shopping for her weapon. Just when she picked out this rifle one she likes, so sorry, we’re on a budget. WTF?! And also, no money means limited amount of bullets they can buy. You mean ammo isn’t infinite in this digital technology game?! So I guess she goes with a spear. During a practice match with Yuka, she lost badly. No prizes to guess why she suddenly becomes so dejected. So much so Yuka stalks her?! So to find out what is bugging her, she goes to bug her?! WTF?! Since Nina is not the kind to talk, I guess the next plan is have all of them clean the pool. However some blooper has Nina spraying water hard on Yuka. This means she is down with a cold and will not recover in time for the next match. Damn, this girl is weak! I guess this means Nina has to cover for her. Later Ayumu talks to Nina. Ayumu reveals she is the online shooter game partner whom she interacts often with. Surprise! She also explains the cleaning job was to get some funds to buy Nina her desired weapon. Wow. The pool cleaning job must really pay, huh? More pleasant surprise in store for Nina as they got the rifle weapon for her. With their match with Musashino on the way, Miyuki goes first and lost since she couldn’t see the enemy’s weapon coming. Next is Nina. Can she survive with only 2 bullets? She has Ayumu be her eyes on the field as the stage is littered with ruins. Her first shot misses and when the opponent charges close up, WTF she hears Yuka’s voice to duck and doing so, she is now point blank with the opponent and makes her final shot count. I guess Yuka couldn’t stay in bed and dragged herself out to cheer on Nina. Needless to say, Reina wins it for St Union. Nina thanks her friends for doing all this for her. Correction. We did this together for our CB club.

Episode 7
St Union is pretty much a rising star now, so much so Yuka is nicknamed the Overclock Princess. Sorry, it’s not Order Croquette Princess, Yuka! Don’t think with your stomach! As Yuka practises with Reina, the rest note they don’t know much about Yuka to begin with. Especially who gave her Sieg. To help boost their morale for the semi-final match with Kurojishi, they hang out together. In the streets, they are famous enough that everyone gives them freebies! Are they all passing off with that Overclock brand name? Then they go karaoke in which Yuka and Miyuki fight over the right to sing. I guess better than tone deaf Reina… And is Nina just on an eating spree? Ayumu then talks about MR being a by-product of the CB system. That’s why they are very influential in so many technologies and facilities today. They are also the reason why Ayumu became interested in CB because of its concept. With Ayumu getting technical, I guess the rest can’t follow (especially Yuka of course) and they even joke she could be a spy! Flashback shows Ayumu’s dad was a researcher and she was fascinated with some 3D princess knight model he rendered. And of course, Ayumu watching Yuka practice alone, suddenly she sees all her moves so similar to that princess knight. Talking to her, because Yuka is willing to do anything to improve herself and face Chikage again, Ayumu wants Yuka to battle her. Why do Miyuki and Reina feel so shocked? Sure, she is the support but this is just to collect data, right? Her research about CB didn’t yield the data she wanted so could Yuka be the missing link to her father as well? Since Ayumu hacked her weapon’s script, it is obviously overpowered. Yuka is made to run like hell but all her movements are again similar to that princess knight. Even the way she countered and charged through her eventual victory. Yeah, Ayumu’s weapon broke! Sure, Yuka is fast but is she that powerful? Then we see Ayumu using her connections to get into the backstage of Kurojishi just to see Chikage. She wants to know more about Yuka, especially what happened on that fateful day. Something about the overheating factor too.

Episode 8
Officially, the reports said Chikage’s attack caused the overheating factor. However, Ayumu believes Yuka is the key. From what I understand, Yuka seems fast only because the system cannot process her moves fast enough. Hence some sort of ‘shortcut’. This is an ability she has although she herself is unaware she could use it. Chikage too has this ability. When both used this, that is why the system crashed and blackout for a while. That is the real overheating factor. Ayumu hopes this answer would lead her to her father’s whereabouts. The semi-finals are here and St Union is up against Takamori. Revenge match, right? Reina goes first and wins. Miyuki faces Sugiura next but we all know that to prolong the drama, she has to lose. After all, Takamori has studied St Union’s matches like a bible. And now for the expected grudge match between Yuka and Iida. We know Yuka is having some worries because of the b*tch talk Iida had with her in the toilet as well the night before, Sieg told her not to rely on him and think for herself. Uh oh. Sounds like some death flag trouble. You can say that Takamori’s studying pays off since Iida is now able to predict Yuka’s moves. Uh huh. Don’t really on your sight. Use foresight. And you know what they say about the best offence is the best defence? Yup. Iida was just blocking most of the time. WTF weapon fatigue that Yuka’s weapon broke?! I guess that’s it. St Union lost. Yuka is already depressed and made even more so when Sieg doesn’t respond to her. Damn, like as though he is dead. Is this thing out of battery? Oops, sorry. The rest try to leave her alone but when Yuka doesn’t come out of her room for too long, they go in and check on her only to see her room empty. A note. I’m sorry. Yeah, that sure really says a lot. For somewhat who talks a lot, she sure kept it brief. Heh. Looks like they’ve got to go after her back at her home. Yes, her home back in the mountains.

Episode 9
Buckle up. It’s going to be a long train trip to Wakayama. I don’t think the shinkansen goes there either. Yuka practises in her old shed. Her old CB practice programme still working? Yeah, she’s so powerful, her stats are off the charts! As he bums around and feeling sorry for running away, surprise! Her friends pop up and tell her she should say that in person. However, Yuka being Yuka, she thinks they are ghosts and are back to haunt her for that loss!!! WTF?! Damn, Yuka is a fast runner! When cornered, they explain about this double elimination rule. There is still a chance to come back if you lose once. WTF?! Does this rule only apply to them or the rest? But Yuka still feels uneasy because Sieg is ‘dead’. They talk more over the hotspring, giving more assurance to Yuka that she’s not useless as she thinks she is, blah, blah, blah. Then over dinner, they hear how Yuka got into St Union via scholarship. This has Ayumu asking Yuka where she got Sieg. A pervert gave it to her. Ayumu realizes that person is her father, Makoto. She analyses the bracelet. It looks completely dead and all files missing. Funny, Yuka was able to summon her weapon in yesterday’s practice. Demonstrating her moves in the shed, Ayumu concludes that the file must be hidden. She believes all this is CB DKX, a battle development kit. It is only something her father possessed. As an engineer of MR system, the idea of VR led him to develop this CB game. During that point where CB wasn’t sure of taking off, Chikage was cultivated as an unrivalled player. Despite the success, the project was shelved. Makoto parted ways with his team and disappeared. Makoto only left behind this terminal in which Ayumu thought where all the answers like but it seems it could be in the bracelet. So why did he entrusted it to Yuka? Despite Yuka becoming stronger, she has been shackled with that playstyle. Hence the reason Sieg ‘died’. She cannot win if she continues to play like this. Hence a challenge by Makoto. With renewed confidence and motivation, the girls head for home. Meanwhile Takamori loses to Kurojishi. Thanks to that double elimination rule, I guess the losers are going to battle each other to face Kurojishi. Damn, this is confusing.

Episode 10
Nina defeats her Musashino opponent because she’s cocky, talkative and underestimating. That’s what you deserve. So apparently the loser’s match only has 1 match, huh? And of course this means they will fight Takamori for the right to face you-know-who. Ayumu thinks Yuka needs a new weapon but first she needs to analyse her data and Sieg. Meanwhile Reina uses her influence to seek resource donation from others. Well, if she’s bowing down like that, can’t say no, eh? Even Miyuki goes to town to ask for donation. After passing off that Overclock brand, you better pay back something. And in no time all the resources come flowing in! As Ayumu has trouble figuring out Sieg, not sure what happened when she touched that princess knight render and suddenly everything becomes unlocked! WTF?! On the other side, Takamori has their own issues. It seems Sugiura won’t participate in this loser’s match against St Union and this causes some friction among the members. She knows Yuka will be chosen and hence she wants Iida to take on her. Some psychological strategy too, I guess. But after some deliberation and talking, let’s move Takamori’s CB forward, okay? Chikage will also be watching this important match and it is confirmed the announcer is Makoto. The best way to dispel suspicions of your missing whereabouts is to turn into a drag queen? Makoto has Chikage analyse the odds of the match. Sugiura dominates in every aspect but Yuka is not one who is not confined to regular analysis. The loser’s match between Yuka and Sugiura begins. Yuka starts off aggressive but eventually Sugiura makes a comeback. So much so she breaks Yuka’s weapon! But don’t fear. Because it’s evolution time! The fragments now form into new weapons. Holy sh*t! Yuka just got herself 2 new swords? And this is supposed to be Sieg’s gift? With that, Yuka uses this and goes in for the kill- I mean, victory. On to the finals. Makoto is pleased with the outcome because this is essential for his greatest masterpiece to advance to the next stage.

Episode 11
Don’t feel bad Takamori. There’s always next year. So continue to work hard! Yeah! Ganbatte! Before the finals, Yuka and Chikage meet. Because Yuka already knows the bracelet was given by Makoto, Chikage wonders if she will continue to be manipulated by him. Yuka being Yuka who isn’t too smart on the technical stuffs is only playing because CB is fun. That’s your answer. So the finals begin with Reina going first. It’s a close match but she eventually loses. So as to show respect, her opponent even calls her worthy and asks her name. You mean she wasn’t paying attention to the announcer or the screen? Next up is Miyuki. Cut things short, a tricky move allows Miyuki to defeat her opponent. No surprise because we need the rubber match of Yuka versus Chikage. How many years has it been for their grudge match to resume? But as we can see, Chikage has more experience than Yuka so it’s natural that she dominates. So much so her double swords break! Oh no. Yuka don’t you go into depression again. But before Chikage could checkmate her, something strange happens. Oh, it’s Sieg going through another evolution! This time Yuka gets a pair of gloves! One punch in the gut! Now that Yuka is fighting back and stronger, Chikage getting scared she’ll lose? At the same time she is happy that she has finally found a strong opponent. Now Yuka destroys Chikage’s weapon. Game over, right? Not yet! Because Chikage too goes through some evolution! Oh my. I hope her darker uniform isn’t just for aesthetics.

Episode 12
Yuka takes a beating while Chikage sounds like she has turned to the dark side since she is enjoying every moment of this sadistic beat down. Guess what? Apparently Yuka’s uniform also transforms! Is this her final form? Yeah, thanks to all the people in her life that make her feel she’s not fighting alone. Yuka now has a fighting chance as we hear Makoto narrate more crap about emotions and evolving based on intuition and adapting rather than just blindly following orders. Woah! People start to give their resources in mid-match?! Is this even legal?! Things are going great and then uh oh. Yuka is at her limit. Is she going to lose for real? Time out. Weird conversation with Siegfried as he comes back ‘alive’ to scold Yuka and make her remember her original reason why she wants to fight against Chikage. And this allows Yuka’s uniform to evolve to another final form. A more princess-like form. And if Siegfried says she is the Princess, I guess she is the princess. Uh huh. No prize to guess who wins the Princess Cup. In the aftermath, we see St Union CB members bumming around with nothing to do. Shouldn’t they be practising? Because from what Reina said, due to the overheating factor again, this causes CB to undergo major overhaul in its rules and format. Because of that, St Union failed to adapt well like their other rivals and are on a losing streak. Yup. Rock bottom again. It is also rumoured they hired a hot overseas coach to help them. Ayumu didn’t see her dad once in the flesh. That wasn’t her real goal apparently. Knowing that he is still around and Makoto giving her all the data on MR system secrets, I guess she’s fine. If you’re wondering why Yuka isn’t with them, it’s because she is seeing off Chikage who is going overseas to hone her skills. You know the drill. They both hope they’ll get stronger by that time and fight again. Yuka’s pals come by to pick her up and continue to tease her because it’s nice once in a while to tease a retard.

Sure Crap Princess
Yawn… Oh… Thank goodness is over. I don’t know how the NPCs in this anime can get overly excited and hyped over this boring virtual made up sport. No wonder they are NPCs… Heh… Thank goodness it ended and there are no other major trophies for them to compete because the season could have ended in such a way that hints there might be another tournament for them to try again to be the best but I guess for this kind of sports, Princess Cup is the only major CB tournament. So major that we didn’t even get to see Yuka landing the finishing blow on Chikage. I suppose they want to leave it to our imaginations that there might be another overheating factor and Yuka winning on some technicalities. Imagine having this sort of error at a major event finals. Everything so great, everything so evolutionary but your system can’t handle it?! Fail! Back to the drawing board to redesign the system again!

I believe that the CB game itself is not given any sort of prominence. I feel that it is an unimportant factor here. While it looks like this CB game has its sets of rules and the likes, do you not feel that it is not really given any more depth than what we have seen? It feels like everything is just so made up on a whim so that they could have some sort of fighting sequence whatsoever. Hence the CB sport is probably one of the worst and ill-conceived futuristic sports that I have known to date. The basic premise of the sport is that you enter some VR, conjure up whatever weapon you think you are good at, beat the sh*t out of your opponent until she can no longer move. Yup. That’s as original as they can get for this CB game. It’s just sounds so boring. Even that weird water sport Keijo is way much better than this crap. I know, fanservice but still, it beats CB flat. I’d spend my money to go watch that ass game than this asinine one.

Making CB even worse is its format. Now, I understand that it is a team game and even if they want to make it a one on one match, don’t you think having just 3 matches total per game is a little too short? I mean, why the heck do you always have 5 members entering their standby platform then? Backup? I don’t see any substitutions during the game here. That’s why I earlier said they didn’t really thought out about this sport well. I think my suggestion if the format was a team deathmatch type, it would have been more exciting and better. Even if they don’t have all 5 on 5, at least 3 on 3 in this team battle royale format would at least give us some thrills. Though, this was largely hinted in the new shake up of the format but it comes rather too late. St Union won’t be there at the major stages any time soon even if they have their ace Yuka. Yeah, it goes to show that they aren’t really good CB team players to begin with… Therefore for this individual format, no real strategy except hit your opponent until she can go no more and maybe a few tricks to lead up to that. Stages are for aesthetics, uniforms are for aesthetics, weapons are mostly for aesthetics. Now we are reduced to just predicting who wins or loses instead of a real team battle to guess which one gets taken out first. And if the weapons break, does it mean your programming of its toughness is not enough?! It’s all digital, right?! To put the overall CB battles in short, just boring and uninspiring. No wonder there is ‘time’ for players to chat or mock each other during the game. Hey, we pay to see you fight, not to chitchat!

If they didn’t put much emphasis on the CB game, you’d think the characters make up for it, right? Wrong! Not at all. The characters also feel as boring and as cliché as you would expect a team sports anime to be. Each has their own quirky personalities but nothing that interesting that would make you really want to like them and you only do so because they are the main characters. I guess the formula of dark horses, no hopers or former powerhouses regain their glory again and rising up through the ashes is what a lot of people prefer. This way, it gives more drama, story and characters to build on rather than starting off with the featured characters as overpowered powerhouse. And now with the new rules, St Union is back to being no hopers and dark horses again. So it gives a chance for them to rise up like a phoenix once more. If they ever get that far, that is. Like I said, this formula isn’t bad despite being done to death and so cliché. But this series didn’t do it well so here I am b*tching about it as an excuse.

So like Yuka being the ace and the poster girl of the group. As usual she is of the my pace and retarded kind. I guess this is to show that she isn’t really a perfect character. Because if she was really smart and elegant like we wanted her, she would now seem like a perfect and overpowered character. Something that we viewers don’t really like. Ah, I see we are such hard audiences to please. Therefore with Yuka being a retard (whose stomach probably thinks more than her head), this gives her more room to do as she pleases and not give a damn about the technical parts. It’s the reason why she excels in CB so well. She doesn’t give a hoot about all the technicalities and what it takes to be an ultimate player in the game. All she wants is to have fun and her goal is to fight Chikage again. How simple can you get than that? And also to show you she has some more imperfections, hence that depression period when she lost. You thought people like her don’t care about wins or losses but it seems it really got to her then. Yeah, even retards have got emotions too, you know? Hence, your excuse for an additional episode for her friends to bring her back because we need the much needed friendship bonding this series lacks. It’s a team sport, so go figure. I suppose they want to show something that binds the group together, hence this running joke of Yuka letting her teammates eat her sour umeboshi. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it…

And the rest of the other CB players in St Union, well, I’m not really impressed either. Reina starts off as the b*tch who opposed everything just because of her past and then once she somewhat got over it (I guess that is why sometimes it is good to have stubborn retards like Yuka who doesn’t know the meaning of giving up), suddenly she joins the team. However I do not feel like she is really into it like the rest of them. Probably because of her poker face. I have got this feeling that Reina is just in it to make up for the numbers although her enthusiasm for the game improves as they advance further. I mean, when your team has gotten to the semi-finals and then the finals, it would be just really bad sportsmanship to not give a f*ck and not give it all. Having a sister who is a good CB player feels like just to give her character some sort of depth and hence the possibility that she will be more inclined to return to her CB roots than continuing to be a bitter student council president b*tch. If there is anybody who tops being the most stubborn and persistent, it’ll be Yuka. Yeah, that retard again… Bugging people until they literally change or give in. See, people? Consistency is key!

Nina serves as the backup of the team and sometimes when you need some sort of variation (because seeing Reina, Miyuki and Yuka order gets boring sometimes), Nina is slotted in to provide that alternative. It felt like some sort of excuse for her to suddenly join the CB club so that we don’t have to waste on an additional episode for the girls to go search for that elusive final member. Uh huh. I guess Reina already did that so don’t wanna waste more time on that. Then you have Miyuki as the club captain as well as Ayumu providing the technical support. Somehow I feel with Ayumu being the tech wizard feels wasted. At least in terms of the CB game. Like I’ve said, CB could have been better if it was a team match of 5. Because Ayumu doesn’t participate in real CB matches, it just feels wasted. So as to remind her she is of the brains kind and not of the fighting kind, that’s why she wears that oversized lab coat. All these girls have their own past and problems to deal with but nothing that an episode in focus could solve it and have them get over it and move on. If only really life is that simple. And as for the other girls from other teams, I guess they’re so forgettable that I don’t even know their names.

Even Chikage falls under this pitfall since we only see her as the most powerful in the game thanks to the media’s exposure. In this case, because the anime told us so. Otherwise being the most powerful player feels like an understatement because if this was only in Japan, what about overseas like America whose technology is said to be even better? So is Chikage just a local village camp in this sense? And why is Makoto doing all this thing in a roundabout way? He had to disappear and leave his daughter worried about his whereabouts just to evolve the game to the next level? Is this some sort of placebo effect? I mean if he announces he is going to do this and that, either everyone won’t take him seriously or people will start getting unrealistic expectations. Hence he only observes from the shadows as it is best to see people in their natural form. That’s why Yuka is his best bet. So what’s the next step in his evolution? So like Ayana, will he take his research to the next level by going overseas? I heard CB is pretty popular overseas too in this anime but if you can’t conquer Japan, you aren’t ready for the world yet! Haha!

The art and animation are pretty okay. Just average if you ask me. The futuristic designs don’t really feel futuristic at all because nothing says about the era being futuristic when you spam live holograms everywhere! Yeah. So futuristic. And even if this is a VR game, why do the Candita have to wear sexy leotards during the CB game? Sex appeal still a thing here? The weapon designs also don’t feel exciting. It’s like the staffs wanted to design something quick and hence you see each players wielding different weapons for variety. After all, it’s not like they’re going to really have the weapon and perform some really jaw dropping moves, right? On a trivial note, I noticed that Takamori’s school uniform is designed like a male! Girl schools have all the pretty different designs so much so you can tell them apart from one anime from another. Guys don’t really have that much variety. So seeing Takamori girls in that kind of outfit, just weird!

For the voice acting, Juri Nagatsuma (Satone in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai) did a really perfect job in making Yuka sound like a retard. Ryo Horikawa as Sieg and Makoto sounds like your weird pervy uncle and if he sounds like one only because he was the voice of Dragonball’s Vegeta. Yup, that’s the guy. The rest of the casts feel pretty average. They are Hitomi Nabatame as Reina (Yukiji in Hayate No Gotoku), Saki Nakajima as Miyuki (Dorothy in MAR), Kaori Mizuhashi as Ayumu (Ai in Aria The Animation), Mai Goto as Nina (Mika in Nogizaka Haruka No Himitsu), Atsumi Tanezaki as Chikage (Miu in Blend S), Yuna Taniguchi as Sugiura and Megumi Tateishi as Iida. The rock paced opening theme isn’t that bad, Heat: Moment by Miyuki Hashimoto fits the pacing and genre of the series well. Only had the series lived up to this, this song that is also a bit techno would have been so much better. The ending theme flows to a more light hearted pace despite a generic anime pop music. Circle-Lets Friends is actually a collaboration among veteran singers like Miyuki Hashimoto, CooRie, Yozuca, Sayaka Sasaki, Aki Misato and Minami. With so many of them, at least this song sounds a bit better. I suppose it’s better than having the St Union CB quintet handling it. Just concentrate on your game, girls.

Overall, this is largely a disappointing series. Lacking any sort of real story, unappealing characters and a sport that doesn’t even have much depth to it, it already says a lot on why this won’t likely be getting any sort of continuation. Maybe that is why there is not even any OVA for some quick cash grab even if they put in 100% fanservice that has nothing to do with CB. So if in reality our VR reality reach that advanced stage, I hope CB will not be one of those futuristic games that they will try and adapt in real life. Hence with the disappointment of the anime, I’m sure anybody can see why this sport will not even take off, let alone be famous any time soon. You want a futuristic fantasy fight? Lots of fighting games can satiate that fixation. I’ll still bet my money that Keijo would be a more probable sport to watch and enjoy. No VR technology needed. Just boobs and butts! Sometimes going back to basics is the best ;p.

After that rather tepid and lukewarm alternative spinoff story that was Gun Gale Online, I guess Sword Art Online (SAO) fans can now be happy that the next season of SAO would be continuing and adapting one of the more popular and important arcs of the series, Sword Art Online: Alicization. Yes, having an SAO series without the main character Kirito seems so off and weird. Even weirder for me was that I was having a hard time trying to pronounce or remember Alicization. I don’t know how, but I keep initially remembering and pronouncing it as alkalization. Heh. I thought with all the toxic acidity of online players in VR, maybe some sort of neutralization and alkalization is needed to bring things back to order. Damn, I’m getting side-tracked here…

Episode 1
In this 1 hour special, we start off seeing a young Kirito and Eugeo taking turns trying to chop down a tough cedar tree with their axe. Not making much progress. And this is all the mark that Eugeo’s 6 generations of chopping have left! They take a break when Alice comes by to give them her lunch. Because Kirito suggests getting some ice so their food can last longer, they believe the End Mountains hosts the coolest ice. However there is talk about breaking the Taboo Index in which the Integrity Knight of Axiom Church will whisk you away. Then there’s this legend of this hero, Bercouli who entered the End Mountains and faced off with a huge white dragon guarding treasures in the cave. He defeated it with a sword. Next day, the trio make their way into End Mountains. They stumble into a cave and find that the legend was indeed true. Dragon bones, treasures and a sword too heavy for the kids to lift. They aren’t here to steal loots and got the ice they want but realize they forgot which exit they came from. I guess it’s not down to guts, huh? Too bad it’s wrong as it leads them to Dark Territory. They see an Integrity Knight defeating a Dark Knight. The latter somewhat hypnotizes Alice to cross over to the Dark Territory. Although her fingers only touched the Dark Territory, this violation is detected. The trio return home without realizing the consequences they will be facing. Because tomorrow, an Integrity Knight flies into town and arrests Alice. She will be questioned before being executed. Kirito wants to save her but is of course no match. Eugeo is paralyzed in fear while the villagers hold down Kirito and they can only helplessly see Alice being whisked away. Kirito wakes up from this simulation world but doesn’t know why he is crying.

We now see Kirito and his harem trying to take down a group of formidable PK players in GGO. They manage to give our heroes the slip and escape with minimal casualties. Later Asada talks to Kirito about entering the next BoB tournament so they can face off with the legendary Subtilizer. With Asuna joining them, the topic changes to Kirito’s part time job as a tester of some virtual game. Asuna is worried because it is taking a toll on his health. This job that Kirito is doing is a new next generation full dive system developed by Rath. The thing is, to keep the secrecy and anonymity, any memories created in the VR world will be erased. Though he is certain it doesn’t put the stress on the brain like previous models. Then they talk about where the soul of a human’s body resides. Not really getting into all these terms now but that’s what Fluctlight sounds like. Hence the Soul Translator (STL) from Rath supposedly reads that Fluctlight. Yeah, it’s getting heavy so I’ll skip this. Anyway, Kirito’s experience was that he couldn’t tell he was in the VR world. Like as though it is a realistic dream. The only thing Kirito was told that the project is called Underworld. Like the one from Alice In Wonderland? As they part, Kirito tells Asuna he plans to go to America where the technology for full dive is more advanced. He wants her to come with him. But of course. And yes she will. Oddly, they kiss in the streets. Nobody watching? Soon they are confronted with a guy who is the last surviving member of Laughing Coffin. The guys go at each other and both are struck down. However Kirito was injected with a strange serum.

Episode 2
Kirito wakes up in this familiar VR world. Strange. Can’t log out. He also retains his memories of the real world. He then sees Eugeo trying to chop down the tree. Kirito makes up a story that he has amnesia so Eugeo thinks he is a Vecta, those who got abducted as a prank by demons and then released. Whatever. Kirito tries to test if Eugeo is an NPC but nothing conclusive as he might be a test player with restricted memories. Eugeo will accompany him to town but he needs to finish his job of chopping this tree. Kirito hangs out with him and learns he has a childhood friend named Alice taken away for stepping into the Dark Territory. He believes she is still alive in the central city. With the other terms like Taboo Index, Kirito can’t help feel they sound familiar. After learning how to draw out the interface, he also learns Eugeo’s Calling (fate) to chop down this demonic tree because as long as it stands, they can never expand their wheat fields. And they’ve been doing it for 300 years and 7 generations! Chipping it bit by bit every day! Kirito tries to help out with his sword skill but as expected, no significant impact. At the end of the day, Eugeo brings him back but is confronted by this arrogant Zink who thinks he is going to be the best swordsman as per his Calling. Because he badmouths Eugeo’s pathetic Calling, Kirito shows his swordsman skills to shut him up. Kirito temporarily lives in a church run by Sister Azalia and he gets acquainted with one of the young nuns, Selka. Kirito ponders about the people of this world. Like as though they were born and raised here from the start. Are they copies of souls of newborns who were raised in virtual worlds? The only explanation is that they could be artificial Fluctlights.

Episode 3
Kirito’s goal is to go to central city but with no money, he believes he needs Eugeo’s help. So he hangs out with him and learns Selka is Alice’s younger sister and some high level sacred art that could stop life from decreasing. Of course this means you have to be a lot powerful like those high priests in Axiom Church. Eugeo then drags this heavy Blue Rose Sword from the legend to show it to Kirito. That Bercouli legend again. It is believed this sword is made from divine intervention. With Eugeo still regretting he couldn’t save Alice, Kirito tries to help using this sword to strike the tree. Will it make a difference? Just lost 1 HP… Maybe he strike at the wrong place so Eugeo believes if he masters this sword, he can cut down this tree faster. But for now, back to the old fashion axe chopping. Later Kirito talks to Selka since she is now learning the sacred arts in place of her sister. He thinks she likes Eugeo as she is sad he hardly smiles ever since Alice was taken away. Selka was never told the reason Alice was taken away so Kirito tells her. Next day, Azalia wonders if Kirito has seen Selka since it is unusual for her not to be around. Then when talking to Eugeo about this, it dawned to him she might have gone to End Mountains since Kirito said too much. They have to bring her back before Integrity Knight does. Kirito will take responsibility and take Selka to run away from the town since Integrity Knight will only fly in the next day. Then they hear Selka’s scream. In that cave, they see unconscious Selka being kidnapped by goblins. Sure they’re not going to rape her?! Eugeo was so worried he gave away their position. Now the goblins notice them, their big boss tell them to kill those white boys because they cannot be sold. So do they rape young girls first before selling them? Eugeo is paralyzed with fear.

Episode 4
Kirito quickly devices a plan to fight the goblins. He gets the big boss while Eugeo gets the small fries. Thank goodness for his grass light that keeps them at bay. Kirito heavily damages the boss but takes some serious damage too. This makes Eugeo feel the need to save him or it will be just like Alice’s case. So he recklessly swings his sword and gets a fatal strike in his guts. Ouch. Oddly, Eugeo somewhat remembers the promise made with Alice and Kirito during their younger days about dying together. Mad Kirito now turns into Goblin Slayer to decapitate the boss. The other goblins flee. Kirito frees Selka and wants her to heal Eugeo. She is unconfident and comparing herself she isn’t Alice. Can we just try? Selka and Kirito transfer some of their life force to save him. Kirito then hears Alice voice telling him she will be waiting for them at the central cathedral. In the aftermath, Eugeo felt strange about that promise since Kirito only just came, right? But it felt like he was there before with them. Kirito uses Blue Rose Sword on the tree since his skill levelled up after defeating the goblin boss. Damn, the tree takes a massive damage!!! Eugeo pleads to Kirito to teach him swordsmanship as he wants to go to central city to save Alice. He has been regretting that for every day that he didn’t do anything. He wants to be strong so as not to repeat those mistakes again. Under Kirito’s guidance, Eugeo finally cuts down the tree! The village holds a party and because Eugeo completed his task, he has the right to choose a new Calling. Without a doubt, he wants to become a swordsman. Later he talks to Selka about his goal to bring back Alice with Kirito. She wishes him well but promises all of them must come back alive. Kirito and Eugeo soon leave the village. It’s going to be a long walk…

Episode 5
Before we forget this simulation is real, we return to reality. After Kirito was attacked, Asuna sent him to hospital and he has been in comatose state ever since. Although his condition stabilized, he might have suffered brain damage when his heart stopped for a few minutes. He needs to be transferred to a facility with better equipment. That was also when Kikuoka popped up to suggest this facility where Kirito could get the proper treatment. However when Asuna visited, they were told Kirito was to have no visitors and the supposed ambulance that brought him here never actually arrived. Asuna and the girls discuss about Rath and STL and Asuna with Yui’s help detect the last known location of Kirito’s heart monitor. The trace stopped at a port warehouse. Heading there, Yui even checked the security cameras that a helicopter took off on that day. There is a possibility that Kirito was taken overseas. Remember how Kirito went all out to save her? Now it’s her turn to save him. Trying to remember what Kirito said that may have been related to his job. Hmm… Medicuboid… Rinko… Shigemura Lab… University in California… Speaking of Rinko, she receives an email from Kikuoka that needs her participation in a project. She also receives email from Asuna. Rinko and her assistant, Mayumi Reynolds arrive on a pyramid-cum-oil-rig platform dubbed Ocean Turtle. Heading inside the command centre, here is Kikuoka. He welcomes them to Rath and is happy the last of the 3 indispensable people for this project has arrived. The other being Takeru Higa of Shigemura Lab who is devoted to continue Kayaba’s work. When Kikuoka refuses to disclose the other indispensable person, that is when Reynolds reveals herself to be Asuka! Surprise! Did Kikuoka not feel suspicious why Rinko accepted his invitation so easily? Asuna found her email on Kirito’s PC and sought her help. She has a friend who could hack things and that’s why she easily passed all the background checks. Asuna demands to know where Kirito is now.

Episode 6
Kikuoka claims Rath is the only place with the technology to heal Kirito. Something about using STL and Fluctlight and generate new neural network. The purpose of this experiment is to create a bottom-up multi-purpose AI. All AI are created via top-down approach. You programme it and it learns from there. However its drawback is that they are unable to handle situations that they have not learnt. So by using bottom-up approach, they try to copy a human soul and store into this Lightcube as medium for a human brain. Despite successfully copying a human soul, it seems they missed something. He has Higa show them a clone of himself. The clone is panicking and thinking he is the real Higa and wants out of this dark space. In the end, the programme crashes. They have tried copying 10 souls but none of them could bear the thought they are just a copy. Hence the next answer is to raise them from the start. Thanks to virtual worlds and the Seed, they managed to create a small world and start out a small civilization using Rath staffs. Using acceleration, in 3 weeks, 300 years passed in the virtual world and its inhabitants grew to a massive 80,000 population. A governing body called Axiom Church created laws known as Taboo Index. All inhabitants obey the laws without question. This is when Asuna realizes the project is to create AI designed to kill. Asuna knows Kikuoka didn’t say this to Kirito because he wouldn’t have participated in this project. Even AI have rights? Sure, they lack physical bodies but they are the same as living things. Kikuoka understands her concerns but to him, 100,000 AI lives are worth far less than an actual soldier’s.

As for why he needed Kirito, he needed someone who has years of experience in moving in virtual worlds. There was a girl influenced by Kirito who broke the Taboo Index. Ironically she is named Alice, the same name as this project. She is a highly adaptive AI known as Artificial Labile Intelligence Cybernated Existence AKA ALICE. Their goal is to convert a Fluctlight into Alice. Welcome to Project Alicization. Asuna manages to see Kirito lying in the machine. She is surprised he has a personal nurse: Natsuki. Unlike Kikuoka who ‘deceives’, Natsuki is a real nurse. Just that she graduated from the SDF nursing school. Later Rinko confesses to Asuna about the atrocities she did to all former SAO players. Although Kayaba planted a bomb in her chest to force her to collaborate with that project, it was fake. If Rinko was ever caught, she would not be implicated. Flashback shows Rinko started liking this nerdy and scrawny Kayaba. Oddly they dated and it’s not like he was ever interested in her but never pushed her away either. When Kayaba became a murder suspect for that SAO incident, she went to his lodge to kill him but couldn’t. Asuna doesn’t bear any grudges towards Kayaba or her. She is grateful that she managed to spend time living with Kirito in that world. It’s one of her best days of her life. Even though Kayaba’s crimes are unforgiveable nor if amends could be made, they have to continue to face what they’ve done.

Episode 7
Back to the virtual world. 2 years have passed since Kirito and Eugeo entered the city of Zakkaria. They honed their sword skills, entered a sword tournament, won and are now part of the garrison. Under the tutelage of Sortiliena “Liena” Serlut, their skills are further honed. Kirito narrates he has learnt the mechanisms of this world. In short, if you are filled with confidence, this could be enough to give you some power boost enough to rewrite the laws of the world. Kirito spars with Liena and loses. He has never won against her. Even if she is this good, she has never won against the top student, Volo Levantein. She also believes Kirito couldn’t beat her is because he is hiding some sword techniques. As she will be graduating soon, Kirito promises to show her his greatest skill as her graduation gift. Later Eugeo feels worried because if Kirito’s memories returns, he might return to his world. Kirito assures him he will not go home even if that happens because they made a vow to become an Integrity Knight. They are only here now because of each other. Kirito sees a blacksmith, Sadore to get some special sword done. It is going to be costly but will give it to free if he could swing it. Of course he flawlessly wields it and gets it FOC. While he is practising with it, he falters and attracts the attention of Volo. Normally it is forbidden to train on rest days but he will overlook this because he too is guilty of doing that. But he won’t let him go because somehow he got a puny dirt on his shirt. So they’re going to settle this via duel with real swords. Stop-short matches aren’t Volo’s style but he gives Kirito the choice. In turn, he throws that decision back to him because he is the one being punished.

Episode 8
Liena warns Kirito that Volo’s family tradition means his sword absorbs the blood of his enemies. He plans to convert Kirito’s sword strength into his and feed on it. Kirito believes Volo also has the power of imagination. As they fight, Kirito sees his entire family giving him strength. Sure, Kirito has his too. His friends and harem. But the killer support is the cedar tree! Yeah, his imagination must be so strong that his sword grows bigger! Enough to withstand Volo’s strike. Kirito could have faltered had not Azurika (the dorm supervisor) stopped the match. Liena holds a mini celebration for Kirito in her room. She reveals that Volo’s family sword skills originally belonged to her family. But a distant family displeased the emperor and they were forbidden to pass it down. So they develop other weird sword styles but Liena is nonetheless proud to master them. She believes Kirito’s style is different because he doesn’t feel inferior compared to those trained in traditional styles. That night, a couple of noble bullies who aren’t fond with Kirito’s win, Raios Antinous and Humbert Zizek destroyed his little garden. Kirito is sad because those flowers don’t bloom here and he is trying hard to bloom them in foreign soil via his imagination. The flowers are also a great significance to him as it symbolizes Kirito trying hard in a foreign land, not knowing if he could ever return. Then a mysterious voice gives him hope to ‘feel’ the meaning of magic. What do you know? They revive! Wow. Truly the power of imagination. On the final exam day, Liena faces off with Volo in the finals and beats him. Did the power of imagination do its tricks again? She graduates as the officially top ranked student of the academy. Kirito and Eugeo became ranked 5 and 6 respectively after their advancement exam and are promoted to elite disciples. Yeah, they’ve got a couple of cute trainees of their own, Tiese Shtolienen and Ronie Arabel.

Episode 9
As Kirito mentions, you can infuse your sword with some sort of pride of feelings to make it stronger. So what goes for Eugeo? Alice. But of course. Eugeo continues his training and his mocked by Raios and Humbert. They offer him to teach him and Eugeo shocks them by accepting a lesson from Humbert. Eugeo uses his unconventional skills to dodge his attacks and Raios is forced to end the match with a draw. Raios offers his lesson next time but gets irked when Eugeo replies he doesn’t mind it now. Eugeo tells this to Kirito who thinks that they may be acting arrogantly because they are reluctantly obeying the laws of Axiom Church. As long as the Taboo Index is not violated, you can do anything you want. When Tiese and Ronie complain to their mentors about their friend, Frenica Cesky being made to do inappropriate chores by her mentor, damn it’s that Humbert name again. Then they talk about noble’s pride in which nobles must use the power and privilege they have to protect the weak. That pride is more important than any law or regulation. So the guys confront Raios and Humbert. Of course they play dumb over Eugeo’s accusations. So it seems Humbert who was reeling from the draw tried to train more. This means having his muscles sore and hence having Frenica to massage him during bath. Eugeo is so mad he wanted to strike them but thankfully he didn’t bring his sword. He manages to keep his cool but warns them if there is no improvement, they’ll consider asking the instructors to investigate. Raios dares him to do as he please. Later Kirito warns Eugeo that they may be targeting him. Because had he lost his cool and done something wrong, they may use it as an excuse as impropriety and punish him with maximum penalty. So stay cool always. Then Eugeo tells Tiese the actions he has taken. He also wants to apologize to Frenica since this incident stems from that duel. However Tiese isn’t in favour in setting them up to meet. Instead, she tells how she will take over as head of her family after she graduates. Then she will marry to a guy with similar rank or a rank above her. She fears her future husband will be cruel. Can we see where this is going when she asks Eugeo for a favour while being THIS close to him? She is confident he will represent their academy at the Swordsmanship Tournament and compete in the Four Empires Unification Tournament and get a high ranking. She didn’t say it but I’m guessing she wants him to marry her when he achieves that tall order. I hope he didn’t get the wrong idea by accepting this.

Episode 10
Kirito realizes their disciples are late for cleaning. Suspecting something amiss, he goes to check on them. As Eugeo waits, Frenica comes in to tell that she confided in Tiese and Ronie about yet another inappropriate order. They went to talk to him on her behalf and have never returned. Eugeo realizes they were the target and not him. He rushes to their room and demands their whereabouts. They lead him to their room in which they are tied up on their bed. Raios claims because they have acted inappropriately, something they can use the higher Taboo Index judiciary to punish them as their family noble rank ranks higher than theirs. Hence they are going to rape them before Eugeo’s eyes! Eugeo is paralysed due to the Taboo Index he is bound to. But seeing the poor girls scream and pleading for help, I guess something activated in his eye that ultimately explodes? This allows Eugeo to move enough to cut off Humbert’s arm. Raios now uses this excuse to execute Eugeo. Before he can decapitate him, here comes our Kirito to clash swords with him. So great their clash that the windows shatter! Eventually Kirito cuts off both Raios’ arms. The scumbag panics as he loses blood. Strangely, he experiences some weird digital glitch before dying. Our heroes rescue their disciples but some strange system admin detects, traces and reports this incident. Next day, Azurica heals Eugeo’s eye (you mean he didn’t get treatment after that?). However she is here to hand them over to the Integrity Knight. In a way, she gives them encouragement because Eugeo was able to break a seal that she was never able to break. Now he is able to go where she was unable to go. The duo are shocked to see the Integrity Knight picking them up. Alice?! Alice Synthesis Thirty to be precise.

Episode 11
When Eugeo tries to touch her, she beats him up! Do that again and you’ll die! With Eugeo very certain she is Alice, Kirito suggests playing along so they can get into the central cathedral. Before they depart, Tiese and Ronie are kind enough to give them their swords? Of course confiscated by Alice. She is kind enough to let them speak for a minute? At least they say their final goodbyes. We take a break and return to Ocean Turtle. Asuna is surprised a robot is moving around on its own. Ichiemon is created by Higa and fine-tuned by Rinko. From what I understand, they are trying to make an AI robot auto-balance like a human’s body to create a near perfect humanoid body. We return to the central cathedral. Kirito and Eugeo are imprisoned in an underground cell. Kirito wonders if this Alice was the real one, what was that cave incident Alice spirit whisper thingy all about? Could there be a spell that manipulates memories? They use the chains to destroy each other because they’re both the same high level, using them against each other is like wearing down the other’s life! It works! Video game logic! I guess they can escape easily because nobody escapes here before so no guards or even if there are, they’re sleeping. Making their way through the labyrinth garden, Eugeo who is still bent and determined on bringing Alice back hopes that bringing her back to their hometown would blow away the fake memories. This gives Kirito an idea on how he could retrieve his lost memories. They are confronted by an Integrity Knight, Eldrie Synthesis Thirty One who claims Alice is her mentor. She had foresight that they would escape and had him stationed here for the night. He will send them back to their prison but first he is going to exact punishment.

Episode 12
Eldrie is formidable with his whip as Kirito and Eugeo cooperate to fight on the same footing. When Eugeo finally recognizes him as Eldrie Woolsburg, the winner of the Four Empires Unification Tournament, Eldrie panics and denies it all. He believes he was summoned by Administrator from the heavens as an Integrity Knight. As Eugeo discloses more info about him to revive his memories, Eldrie then ‘stops working’. This funny prism in his forehead must be impeding his memories. Before they can do anything further, an archer Integrity Knight starts sniping at them. The duo make a run for it. A voice in Kirito guides them safely into a portal. She is Cardinal and the sole librarian of this great library. There are records of everything here from the start of this world’s creation. But the records here are all fabricated by the pontifex of Axiom Church. All to preserve their rule over the people. This makes Kirito realize that Cardinal is a system supervisor and that she is actually the Cardinal System. She might be the system supervisor but the one who holds all the admin privileges is no other than Administrator who is also her elder twin sister. Otherwise she would not be stuck in here. Time for some history. When this world was created 450 years ago when humans descended on this world (employees of Rath), these Gods taught their children how to live before logging out. But one of them was filled with malice and selfishness that gave rise to nobles and Axiom Church. When the first political marriage was done centuries ago, Quinella was born. She tinkered with the sacred arts that include killing cute forest critters and healing the people’s wounds. With the people awed by her godly powers, Quinella started to rule over them and as time as the city grow, so did the tower they built to worship her that she resided. To continue her rule so that no one would be above her, she wrote laws that became the Taboo Index. However she grew older and fragile but just before her death, she somehow managed to open a list that contains every command (it is rumoured she may have help from outside admins). This allowed her to restore her youth and be ageless. Quinella went a step further as she doesn’t want the Cardinal System to have equal authority with her. However she ended up fusing her soul with it. That is the reason for the existence of this system as if there is any slight irregularities that skews the balance, it will be soon detected. Hence the constant observation of ‘players’. Now that Quinella is no longer human, she seeks to continue ruling and preserving this real forever as both supervisor and rule, the pontifex of Axiom Church.

Episode 13
After 70 years of rule, Quinella realizes her soul’s capacity to preserve her memories had reached its limit. She thought of copying hers onto by overwriting a child’s Fluctlight. That child is Cardinal. But doing so means Quinella had made a mistake. Now there are 2 Gods wielding same level of authority. Both started fighting (more like redefining object structures). But with Quinella holding the upper hand, Cardinal fled. Only 2 places were beyond the reach of the Administrator: Dark Territory and this great library. She isolated herself and has been waiting for a chance to strike back. Quinella anticipated her ambush and assembled loyal and powerful followers known as Integrity Knights. The first one being Bercouli. Cardinal continued to observe the world but couldn’t figure things out and that’s why she wanted a human collaborator. She has pondered why would the real Gods (Rath) let this fake God (Administrator) rule? Her conclusion is that Rath doesn’t wish for people of this world to lead happy lives. They are observing how people will resist them and slowly tightening their load. Eventually the greatest trial will arrive. In short, the monsters in Dark Territory will come slaughter all humans and that day isn’t too far off. Quinella has underestimated them and thinks she and her Integrity Knights would be enough to stop them. Cardinal has resigned to the fact that Dark Territory will besiege this world. Hence her conclusion is that since she doesn’t accept Rath, her only way is to turn everything in this world into nothingness. She needs Kirito’s help to eliminate Administrator and regain all her authority. In exchange, he gets to name a few Fluctlights he wants to save and she will archive them before he returns to his own world.

Kirito wonders if she is a copy of Quinella, shouldn’t she have that selfish and greedy trait? In her senses, eliminating Administrator and normalizing the world is her desire. But there is something she has wanted to know for the last 200 years. So she just wants a hug? Oh yeah. She feels so satisfied that she’s crying. Weird. Kirito accepts to cooperate but will still find a way to save this world. Cardinal doesn’t know if this Integrity Knight Alice is the same as Eugeo’s childhood friend but she knows a way to stop this Synthesis Ritual. Just take out that prism, Piety Module. As you have guessed, it seals their original memories and makes you obedient to Administrator. Of course this means you need to get the original memories back to fill that void. It won’t be easy as it is locked in the highest tower of central cathedral. Eugeo worries to fight Alice because killing her would defeat the purpose of his goal. Hence Cardinal gives them a mini dagger. When stabbed, it links an irremovable connection to her and she will use her sacred arts to put her into sleep mode to buy them time to remove the Synthesis Ritual. She can also help get their swords back in the armoury but that won’t be enough to stop the Integrity Knights’ terrifying amplifying technique. She has them think of their sword and then comes up with a list of commands to remember? Whatever. Now she has told and given them everything she could, it’s time to step back into the real virtual world.

Episode 14
After getting their weapons, Kirito realizes Administrator doesn’t intend to create an army but kept all their weapons here. It could be the pontifex is the one with the least faith in the church’s authority. They are attacked by that archer Integrity Knight. Kirito uses all the defence he’s got to defend against his flames. Once Kirito is out, Eugeo strikes a couple of lethal blows to defeat him. After archer dude learns about their excellent skills, he tells them there are other Integrity Knights waiting for them with orders to kill him. He knows he will be stripped of his knighthood and frozen for failing his mission. To avoid that humiliation, he wants them to kill him. However when Eugeo learns his name as Deusolbert Synthesis Seven, the Integrity Knight who took Alice away, he becomes engulfed in rage. He would’ve killed him had Kirito not stopped him. Let’s not be ugly in killing a man who doesn’t resist. Kirito believes Deusolbert doesn’t even have memories of taking Alice away. He theorizes he got promoted for bringing Alice. But to maintain his fealty as an Integrity Knight, those memories are also sealed because it would be weird if the sinner he brought in showed up as an Integrity Knight. Kirito has him remember if there is a memory that no sacred arts could manipulate. There is one but he can’t really remember much. They let him be as they make their way up and plan how to counter the other Integrity Knights. Then they spot a couple of cute loli chicks watching at them. Hello girls. Want to come out and say hi?

Episode 15
Fizel and Linel are sisters in training. Since Kirito isn’t good with kids, he lets Eugeo handle this. They’re quite nice and cute until they get up close and stab them with their poison daggers! Damn, they’re Integrity Knights?! As they drag them up the stairs, they explain that they are born inside here and their mission was to help Administrator in an experiment with resurrection sacred art. Hence they kill each other. However many other experiment candidates either explode or become monsters after being resurrected. After many failed attempts, the experiment is called off and since the duo are the only survivors, they were promoted to Integrity Knights. But they are confined to only studying sacred arts so they got bored and wanted their own dragons and Divine Objects. They heard about the escapees and thought it would be a good idea to prove themselves. In the top floor consists of top Integrity Knights and their vice commander, Fanatio Synthesis Two. They plan to decapitate the boys so the witnesses can report to Administrator of their great feat. Suddenly Kirito stands up and stabs them with their own dagger. He was suspicious the moment they popped up and knew they couldn’t be just sisters in training due to their dagger gear. Hence he recited some poison dissolving art while Eugeo was attending to them. He won’t kill them but will let them see how strong real Integrity Knights are. Kirito faces off with Fanatio and while the latter brags about her sword made from sunlight, Kirito strikes off her helmet, revealing her female face. She gets agitated thinking Kirito is shocked to discover that she is a woman and won’t fight at his full strength. Just like many others. However Kirito mocks her that she is the one being conscious of being a woman. He had his fair share of losing to female fighters and won’t hold back. Fanatio gets desperate as she summons some dangerous sacrificing move. Cue for Eugeo freed from his poison to summon his sacred art to frozenly bind her. But will it be enough? As he gets pessimistic about his chances, Kirito reminds him that hate will not defeat her. It is love! His love for Alice and those feelings aren’t in any way inferior to her justice.

Episode 16
In short, Kirito defeats Fanatio. After Eugeo uses some of his life force to heal him, Kirito still wants to save Fanatio. If she is erased, everything is for naught. Kirito gets desperate to scream for help. When no one replies, he uses the dagger on her. Cardinal takes Fanatio into her care. Now that they are free to make their way up, damn this cathedral even has a lift operator? She has been operating it for 107 years?! Oh Eugeo, it puts your previous Calling to shame. At the highest floor the operator could go, in this garden, Alice is seen resting. WTF she wants them to give her some time to bask in the sunlight? Probably an excuse so the boys could plot how to take her down. So when she is ready to fight, they have to improvise quick because her sword seems to be in perfect condition. They get blown away and even this is just a warning strike from her. Kirito challenges her to a duel as he asks her about her immense power that originates from a small tree. Something about how her sword was grown from a single Osmanthus tree when the Gods were building this nation. Hence as the oldest creation, its attribute is everlasting eternity. Kirito plays a little cheat as he restrains her so that Eugeo can freeze her. Unfortunately that is not enough as she manages to break out from it. Kirito tries to give another chance to Eugeo and strikes back. However the force is too great that the wall is blown open. The vacuum sucks out Kirito and Alice. Before Eugeo can go after them, the wall builds itself back.

Episode 17
Don’t worry. Kirito and Alice are hanging by their swords. Alice wants him to let go so he lectures her about Eugeo is going to go up and kill Administrator. Isn’t it her job to protect the pontifex? That’s why she must survive. In that case, why don’t Kirito let go? He mentions his mission is not to destroy Axiom Church but protect human territory from Dark Territory’s invasion. They talk about the arbitrary rules and laws set. For now they call a truce but once they enter the tower, she will slay him. As the walls are created with infinite regenerative abilities, looks like they’re going up. Using a chain to chain themselves together, Kirito then uses his skill to create wedges to climb up. Damn, this guy must be real strong and have a really good balance. Because Alice feels ashamed to do the same, WTF she has Kirito pull her from underneath. Is this her pride as an Integrity Knight?! Their goal is to make it to the 95th floor since there will be an open garden. Looks like this is going to take a while. We take a brief detour to Ocean Turtle. Asuna and Rinko notice a destroyer moving further. An agent is perplexed because it’s supposed to escort them. He calls Kikuoka about it. Back to the VR world, looks like they’re still a long way to go and it is going to be night fall. Noticing a ledge a few metres above, they can rest there. However, statues turn into monsters and start attacking them. Can they fight with their balance on the edge? Worse, Alice is scared?! WTF?! Mind boggling moment when Kirito uses all his strength to swing Alice up to the ledge. She then does the same to him. Now they can fight the monsters and easily slay them. Alice is baffled because these monsters are from Dark Territory and created by evil dark art users as soulless familiars called minions. How are these lined up on the most sacred walls of the human empire and how did they get past the detection of Integrity Knights? Could it be someone of high authority within the church placed them here? Because minion blood brings you sickness, Alice lends her handkerchief to wipe it off Kirito’s face. Have it clean and return to her before she slays him. Gee, how kind. Another excuse to delay slaying him immediately? Meanwhile Eugeo has reached the hot bath level. Don’t worry. Not sexy hot naked chicks. But a burly muscular guy with scars. Have fun…

Episode 18
It is no surprise he is the leader of the Integrity Knights and that legendary hero, Bercouli. Eugeo tries to take him on is blown away by his mysterious slash. Don’t worry. Bercouli won’t kill him since he didn’t kill Fanatio or any of the other Integrity Knights. He reveals his sword didn’t slash air but slashed the future! WTF?! Okay, more explanation how it was made by the Divine Object of a clock that existed since the start of this world. Eugeo prepares for his next attack as Bercouli guesses he is going for long distance attacks now. That’s what all his opponents think after seeing that move. Of course Eugeo thinks out of the box. He freezes everything and throws away his sword. This shock stuns Bercouli as Eugeo physically tackles him before getting his sword back to checkmate him. With everything slowly freezing, Eugeo’s plan is also to take themselves out because his blooming ice roses are sucking their life force. Eugeo then gets upset because Integrity Knights like him don’t remember their past and serve blindly to Axiom Church. Hey, you want to blame an amnesiac person for not remembering? Well, before Bercouli starts having a feeling those stories about him, then comes in this clown. Chudelkin the prime senator accuses Bercouli for treason because he did not use his other time ability that would have instantly killed Eugeo. Bercouli denies this and claims he has given everything he’s got while accusing the jester back he has deceived him. Chudelkin deep freezes him so that he would be reprocessed. However he feels Bercouli will not be needed anymore as Eugeo will be a better pawn. We take a detour to the awkward moment of Kirito and Alice spending the night together on the ledge. Kirito tells her about her sister. Starting to remember something? Yeah, keep denying. Despite he assures her everything he said is true, of course she doubles down and will slay him if there is a hint of deceit. She’s a really good tsundere, isn’t she?

Episode 18.5
Recap episode! What a better way to spend the night on the ledge and let time pass as Kirito tells Alice everything from start to finish. Although the visuals are 100% copy and paste (no new scenes, sadly) but at least there are some parts that Kirito narrates like a more summarized version of what has happened so far in their quest to bring back Alice. So now you believe? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Episode 19
Wait. Kirito narrating a quick recap on what happened to Alice? Yeah, I guess it’s for those who skipped that recap episode. Alice wonders why he is doing this and of course as we know, it is to protect this world from Dark Territory. He asks her back about the Integrity Knights’ chance in defeating Dark Territory and she remembers even Bercouli has his doubts but Chudelkin admonished him to think of a way. Despite nobles being corrupted, Kirito has an idea for the people to protect this world. With the large stash of weapons in the armoury, the Integrity Knights can help dispense their knowledge and skill to the people to have a fighting chance. They can at least be ready in a year. And it looks like Alice seems to have been taken in by Kirito’s words because she wants to see Selka and Kirito even promising to let her see her sister back at her village before she regains her memories. I guess she somewhat remembers since she is crying. When she decides to forsake her role as an Integrity Knight, her right eye starts to act up. She is in pain as Kirito finds a barcode in it. He believes if she tries to think differently and defy the church, this barrier will be activated. Empty your mind! Or your eye will explode! However there are things she needs to do and continues to defy. Meanwhile Eugeo finds himself possibly at the top floor of the cathedral. Who this sleeping beauty? A voice tells him to run away but too late, Administrator wakes up. She claims Eugeo wants to be loved and although he denies, the way she words everything makes him start to doubt. Like his mother who didn’t truly love him alone because she shared her love among her brothers. That’s why he hates them. Then there is that Tiese’s case where she was almost raped. He killed Raios because he hates him, right? But does Tiese loves only him? Alice? Yeah, she shows a past clip whereby Kirito and Alice are seemingly close to each other behind Eugeo’s back. With Eugeo in shock, Administrator goes in for the kill. She is willing to love only him. So… Sex = love? The deeper your love, the more she’ll bring him ultimate pleasure. Confused Eugeo hears to voice of Tiese, Alice and Kirito but are all soon blocked out. With Eugeo fully enchanted by her, she goes down on her. That’s right. Come into me! Deep inside me! Into eternal stasis! Damn, this could be good hentai dialogue!

Episode 20
Kirito and Alice manage to climb up to the balcony. Because Eugeo is not around, Kirito uses his System Call to locate Eugeo’s sword. Still below them. Entering the bath level, Kirito can tell the frozenness is Eugeo’s doing. Alice is sad to see Bercouli turned into stone but he is strong enough to break free at least his eyes and mouth to speak to her about some conspiracy and Eugeo being taken away by Chudelkin. As they move to the next level, Kirito asks about the senators’ role. Apparently they oversee the Taboo Index. If anybody breaks them, they send an Integrity Knight to deal with it. Kirito finds it odd since Administrator is giving lots of power to them to act as her proxy. Then they enter the room where all the senators are. Them inside chambers and monitoring everything. This is sure some freaky sci-fi. Then they hear Chudelkin screaming in agony in his room. Something didn’t go as planned? Alice confronts him and after he runs his mouth about her going to betray Axiom Church, he continues to reveal the sweet moment before Alice was synthesized. She was begging and crying and all. He revels just thinking about that. Alice then stabs him but it didn’t kill this fatty and instead he explodes into some red smoke to escape. Trying to chase him to the next floor, shockingly an Integrity Knight arrives to face them. Eugeo?! Alice finds it odd that the ritual can be done so quickly. Kirito is close to losing himself seeing his best friend in this state and ironically it is Alice reminding him that they need to stay calm and find another way to restore him or they will forever lose him. Kirito asks Eugeo if he remembers him. Nope. He doesn’t even want Alice or want to know anything about it. Administrator gave him what he wants and nothing else matters. I guess talk time is over. Time to see if the student can defeat the master.

Episode 21
Kirito and Eugeo clash with all they’ve got. No harm trying to awaken Eugeo’s memories by mentioning the important people in his lives. But did it work? Because Eugeo got a little sloppy. But then again, he could be trolling because after Kirito lets his guard down, he freezes them. He returns to Administrator who wants to give him his reward but first, she tries to adjust his Piety Module. Because she allows him to freely move, this chance allows Eugeo to completely break free and tries to stab her with the dagger. Too bad Administrator’s barrier is thick. She gives him a chance to redeem himself and forgive his sins if he destroys the dagger. Because her view of eternal love means eternal control, he mocks her as the pity one who has never been loved. Because Eugeo’s view of love isn’t something like a transaction or reward but something given continuously. With that, Administrator finds it a shame she’ll have to do force Synthesis on him just like how she it to Alice many years ago. Hearing that makes Eugeo mad. He charges at her and of course her protection is still intact. This is interrupted when Chudelkin comes running in for help. He thought of finishing off Kirito and Alice but he realized Eugeo fooled him and now they’re after his ass! Yeah, dumb joker just brought them back to this room. Eugeo is happy to see Kirito and Alice again but apologizes for giving in to Administrator’s temptation. Hence he thought he tried to atone for this himself. Don’t be silly. Kirito knew what he was thinking all along. Yeah, you sure had us all fooled. Maybe. Because Administrator senses something wrong with Alice’s logic circuits, she gives her a chance to say anything without any risk of reprimand. Alice explains how she has been disillusioned by everything, especially Administrator’s conflicting actions that would eventually bring harm to the human empire. This has Administrator thinking there is no error in the logic circuit and her Piety Module is still functioning. Could it mean she disabled Code 871 (the seal in her right eye) on her own? She then gives Chudelkin to redeem his honour by disposing off them. Chudelkin will gladly do it but pleads, to put it bluntly and crudely, he wants to f*ck her! Administrator agrees for a one night stand offer if he fulfils his mission. And we can see the power of boners makes a horny guy power up as Chudelkin summons a fire genie to burn them all!

Episode 22
While Alice distracts the genie, Kirito powers up and pierces Chudelkin. Well, that’s that. Easy. This spectacled allowed Administrator to collect some data and realizes that Kirito is a human from the other world. Kirito warns her about the impending invasion from Dark Territory while Alice derides her for planting false memories. Administrator knew of all the pain and suffering her Integrity Knights went through. That’s why she erased them all. It doesn’t matter what Alice feels, once she is synthesized, she will no longer remember or feel. Kirito then warns her about the other humans on the other side who holds absolute authority and they can eliminate everything just by the push of a button. But that is that same reason that Administrator reasons why Kirito has no reason to criticise the methods she uses. As she will not grovel before them or beg for her existence to continue, the only proof she needs is the control she exerts. Her feet exists to trample upon others. Hence she is going to show them the ultimate weapon that she needs to fight Dark Territory. One that is not even human. She combines all the divine weapons and turns into a killing machine named Sword Golem. All it needs to do is endlessly massacre its enemies. And it will taste its first blood as it stabs Alice. Being mad won’t do you any good because Kirito also gets stabbed. A voice tells Eugeo to stab the floating platform while Cardinal’s spider tries to hold it off. The spider dies but holds it off in time for Cardinal to pop out from her library and blast Sword Golem away. Damn, she has time to heal the wounded and even mourn the death of her favourite pet? Administrator must be real confident… So is Cardinal going to lecture this hollow fool about love?

Episode 23
Administrator claims Sword Golem isn’t just made out of weapons, they are actually humans. Hence Cardinal can’t technically kill them since they aren’t monsters. Administrator claims this is just a prototype. Once completed, she’ll use about 800,000 human lives to complete a perfect one and thinks it is enough to repel Dark Territory’s invasion. The source is the Piety Modules and all those crystals on the ceiling’s mural are actually it. Cardinal agrees to be defeated by her in exchange the lives of the trio is spared. Administrator blasts her several times. Gotta have some fun first, right? And then she is so kind so as to let them say their final goodbyes. Because Eugeo realizes what needs to be done. What he needs to do. From what I can see, he wants to be turned into a sword to fight Administrator because he realizes that she is resistant to metal weapons, the reason why his dagger cannot pierce through. Somehow Eugeo takes Alice’s Piety Module and then begins his transformation process. See, Administrator? Had you taken action earlier, this wouldn’t have happened. Too late as Alice staves her off until the process is complete. Eugeo the sword is able to destroy Sword Golem and gravely wound Administrator (because of the sword’s silver properties). But it comes with a price. Eugeo is left broken. Yes, his real body is split in half! Kirito falls into depression as Administrator heals herself. Fun time is over. Time to kill the last remaining brat. As she is about to slay him, suddenly Alice jumps in front to protect him. Damn, this awakens Kirito that he might repeat the same mistake so he gets even faster to draw his sword and protect Alice. Was Administrator that slow? With Alice passing out from exhaustion, it’s time for the final boss fight.

Episode 24
So for nostalgia’s sake, Kirito transforms into his trademark SAO uniform to fight. But Administrator knows how to counter all his sword techniques. Then time out. Because conveniently time for Kirito and Eugeo to talk things out and give the former motivation. Damn, do they have to make it look yaoi? Anyway, Kirito is now dual wielding with Eugeo’s sword. The fight continues. Administrator still b*tching she is the ruler of this world and how control = love. That’s why she loves everything. Can’t argue with that. Their swords are glowing red so this might as well turn into a lightsabre duel. In the end, they cut an arm of each other. Kirito still has an arm but Administrator no arms left! So how? Why, she uses her hair to strangle him! Damn, why didn’t she use this for multiple weapons? Was covering her modesty more important?! Anyway, Kirito dealt a fatal damage to her core. She’s all cracking up. Literally. She tries a tactical escape and hints she is bringing the fight to his world. But as she escapes, Chudelkin clings onto her, hoping to take her with him. She tries to shoo him away but he turns into a flaming ghost and burns everything. Damn! Is this how Administrator is taken down?! It’s like saying porn virus destroyed the main super computer!!! HAHAHA!!! With Administrator gone, Eugeo still isn’t dead. You mean he is still alive after being cut in half for so long? I guess this is good excuse so as to why Kirito can cry hard. Friendship talk thingy, blah, blah, blah. That scene whereby Kirito and Alice are supposed to be flirting behind Eugeo’s back? Actually they made a wooden sword for his birthday. See the power of context? Final goodbye. Time to walk their own path. Eugeo’s dead for good. You can tell when his body disappears. Kirito hacks into the PC and calls out to Kikuoka. Before he could blame the scientist, he hears a commotion in the back. Looks like military men are trying to storm into the place! With no time, Kikuoka tells Kirito to find Alice, take her to the World’s End Altar. Unfortunately the soldiers are trying to cut the power line. The Lightcube may be protected but the surge will hit Kirito’s STL. He’ll be fried. Kirito is confused when he hears Asuna’s name. Why is she here? Too late. The power cut. Kirito dying? WTF is this angel Asuna floating down to rescue him?! What a dramatic and confusing end…

Debugging Art Online
As we all can see and already know beforehand, there is going to be another season. Hence the final episode that ended in such a chaotic and dramatic way didn’t come off as surprising or disappointing. Well, maybe when the last episode suddenly ends. But after all, this arc is so far the longest arc and story in the original light novel series and since the anime is going to fully adapt its entire arc and being faithful to it, they are going to need a lot of cours. I suppose it is good that they decided to take a break after back to back twin cours since if they continued (it is rumoured that the total episodes for this Alicization arc itself is to be around 50 episodes), it could feel like a one long draggy affair. I mean, I have to say that the SAO series isn’t just for everyone. Not even for yours truly. Even if you’re a masochist and can binge watch the entire series, it is still good to go outside and stretch your legs, take a breather before resuming. Heh. Now I can see and understand why a few animes employ this tactic although sometimes my guts tell me it is for economic reasons.

Anyway, I’m not saying that this Alicization story is really interesting because you know like I’ve said, the SAO franchise isn’t for every Tom, Dick and Harry. For those who have reached this far into the original light novels, you have got to already be some sort of elevated status of a fan. I have been watching SAO since it was first adapted back in 2012 and I continued to watch all its TV series (but somehow skipped the movie, Ordinal Scale) in hopes I could understand something. But you know me. I didn’t really get a lot of the technical terms. This season’s Fluctlight and other technical terms I am still struggling to understand even as I type this blog. I feel that artificial soul is the best I could understand for what it means for Fluctlight but I am also pretty sure that isn’t as accurate as what the producers intended its definition to be. Then there are other commands inside the VR game like System Call and the likes which I am still blur in and going “What the heck are those again?”. Every time a character says those commands to open or change some options, it feels more like some sort of magical spell. You know, those charm lines you say when magicians and wizards cast a spell but only this time they sound like programming terms. The story for this season might seem long and dragging out but the way they flesh out the characters and other development, it is all not a waste of time.

Sometimes when I think about this whole Alicization story, it could have been actually another spinoff or an entirely different story not related to SAO whatsoever. It could have been a totally new story, make and change Kirito to another new character and voila, we’ve got ourselves a totally new series and anime. It doesn’t feel so much like an SAO series as the plot delves around 2 young boys trying to rescue a long lost childhood friend and at the same time trying to rid of the big ruler who rules over everything before the ultimate tragedy of the other side invades and destroys everything for good. And add some programming terms into their lingua. So if we substitute those programming jargons with classic magical ones, this could again be passed off as entirely another series. But of course it can’t be a totally new story altogether since Reki Kawahara, the creator of this series wrote this arc. But I guess it is better than those isekai animes of the main character being killed in the real world and reborn again as an overpowered one in another magical fantasy world! Uhm, can VR be considered isekai?

Just like how I said SAO felt weird without Kirito, it also feels weird without Asuna. Naturally as we can see from the flow of the story, Asuna is now reduced to a very concerned girlfriend waiting for Kirito outside while Kirito himself is probably having an adventure of a lifetime as he lays in coma. Hence the dynamic relationship now isn’t Kirito x Asuna but that of Kirito x Eugeo. It is a good thing that the series didn’t really show it in a way that makes it look like their friendship is going beyond just good friends and potential to be gay partners (f*ck the PC culture!). But just pure and hardcore friendship among the boys as swordsman. Perhaps the final episode was the closest into seeing that suggestive yaoi scene but it might just be our dirty minds. Kirito doesn’t feel so much as the sole star of this series as Eugeo too has his fair share of the limelight. Hence both of them being given enough time to develop and being fleshed out, by the end of this season, you’ll come to at least want to support them as a team instead of one over the other. Perhaps to a point that it would be weird if Kirito is without Eugeo and vice versa. Yeah, f*ck Asuna! At least for this season. So hardcore and amazing their friendship that you can see them in sync during the opening credits animation. Especially they have this weird sync of hand gestures. So weird but so cool.

With Kirito and Eugeo developing their (virtual) friendship, so much so that I never once think that they would end up in some weird romantic love triangle with Alice. Hah. It’s not that kind of series but you know me, I’m inclined to somehow think of that. I never thought of this until the series ended and it only makes Alice looks like as though she is a third wheel! Alice despite being the boys’ main reason and motivation to do what they do, she feels mostly like a side character and not really doing much. Partly because she has been brainwashed for most of the part as an Integrity Knight and even when she somewhat started to question her loyalty and then witnessed Administrator’s hypocritical actions, it’s not like there is a whole lot that she could do, right? After all, Kirito and Eugeo still continue to dominate as stars of this story. So sorry folks, no Kirito’s cheesy harem moments to get in the way of hardcore male bonding friendship here. Not sure if the next season will feature Eugeo since he is seen riding off into the sunset with loli Alice. Eugeo turning himself into a shota so that it won’t look like some pedo thingy might be the ending Eugeo and Alice need. Because that Integrity Knight Alice has may just be a vessel and several hints she may be a separate manner than the original loli Alice. But we’ll see when the next season rolls in.

The thought of Administrator playing God although she is just some programming entity, maybe her character doesn’t get me thinking a lot about her twisted thinking and personality but rather about the sentient life called reality. What if this simulation is actually what is happening in our lives in reality too? There have been debates about whether or not this reality is just a simulation and the things that occur after death that are beyond our imaginations. And what if there are higher beings than the one and only Almighty God we know? A lot of things about this simulated VR game can be drawn parallel to reality. Like God could just be another being because He has more access to shortcuts and other debugging stuffs that the rest of us don’t. Hence, administrator privileges. And God bringing Revelation and Doomsday to the world? That’s like you delete this game forever! Coming back to Administrator’s character, but think about it, can you blame her twisted thinking and definition of love because she is programmed that way? In a sense, it’s like as though she is written and setup to be an antagonist, don’t you think? And it was pretty ironic that a pervert took her down completely…

I wouldn’t say the action and sword fighting scenes are a masterpiece but the action bits are enough to satiate those who want to see some sword clashing battles. It feels like Kirito doesn’t have a lot of options what he can do here despite his Aincrad style somehow being carried into this world. His and Eugeo’s sword have their own unique properties and sometimes they seem like they pull off all the stops for that one exaggerated over the top moves but I guess it’s necessary just to show us how far they have come along and improved on their skills. And if you can’t hack your way through via programming, just hack and slash your way with a sword! I never expected to use both meanings of hacking here…

One of the superior elements in this season is that the art and animation are very good. If I should say, it is comparable to the standard that we see in Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works TV series. There are lots of high quality put into the visuals and it doesn’t disappoint. After all, A-1 Pictures have animated all its previous adaptations (except that alternate GGO spinoff) and it pays off here with an important arc like this one. Can’t disappoint fans of the series, can they? With a lot of hype that went about, it’s too big to fail! Thank goodness. So if the story is hard to follow, at least the high quality visuals may be something to give you the wow factor. There is also some CGI employed and it doesn’t feel disjointed. It feels seamlessly woven into the superior quality of the animation.

The first time when I laid eyes on Alice as an Integrity Knight, I thought she looked familiar. Isn’t that a more serious and zero perverted version of KonoSuba’s Darkness? Well, almost. Must be the golden armour. And more suspiciously, same seiyuu… Anyway, Administrator being a character who is mostly in the nude, I wonder if it is a lazy way out so as not to design some sort of fancy garb for her. After all, all of the Integrity Knights have their armour so shining and colourful that you wonder if they are a liability in battle. But as we’ve seen, they’re not so it looks like they look as good and nice as they are in their skills. But Administrator being naked all the time especially in the final stretch makes me feel weird. Imagine battling a naked last boss. Isn’t that distracting? Yeah, no backlash since Administrator is a smoking hot babe. Because remember that video game uproar for a naked final boss fight in Bioshock? Yeah, nobody wants to see a naked macho man monster boss… Isn’t it no wonder why Chudelkin brought Administrator down with him? Who could’ve resisted such beautiful pure naked body? Something to literally die for… And so it goes to show that something she deemed perfect became her undoing.

Voice acting is pretty fine too with new casts joining the line-up including Nobunaga Shimazaki as Eugeo (Yuno in Black Clover), Ai Kayano as Alice (Darkness in KonoSuba), Maaya Sakamoto as Administrator/Quinella (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Sakura Tange as Cardinal (Angela in Melty Lancer), Hitomi Nabatame as Fanatio (Reina in Circlet Princess), Kaori Ishihara as Tiese (Azusa in Hentai Ouji To Warawanai Neko), Reina Kondou as Ronie (Hana in Slow Start), Wataru Takagi as Chudelkin (Alaindelon in Beelzebub), Megumi Han as Liena (titular character in Mushibugyou), Hikaru Hanada as Deusolbert (Akihiko in Junjou Romantica), Ryuuichi Kijima as Humbert (Lenka in God Eater), Shuuhei Iwase as Raios (Yasutaka in Sankarea), Takeaki Masuyama as Eldrie (Ida in Nora To Oujo To Noraneko Heart) and Kaori Maeda as Selka (Mari in Back Street Girls: Gokudolls). The only new cast I recognized is Junichi Suwabe as Bercouli.

The first opening theme, Adamas by Lisa feels a bit chaotic. The frenzied pace of this rock piece tries to sound epic but to me it comes off as noisy. Except for the last bit which has a funky bass solo. That’s the only part I like. The second ending theme, Resister by Asca is also a rock outfit but it is toned down I think this one suits the pacing of the series better. The ending themes are slow rock with Iris by Eir Aoi being the first one and Forget Me Not by Reona as the second. I still prefer the former, though. There is a special ending theme for episode 19, Niji No Kanata Ni by Reona and this is quite a slow lovely ballad. Feels a bit disjointed from the series but I think this song is the one I like the most. I want to note that some of the sound effects are, how do I put it, deafening. Like when there is an epic magic sword clash or something, it’s like the bass and effect goes really loud and one kind. Are they trying to test my sound system or something?

Overall, not a bad season. An SAO series that isn’t your typical SAO, it feels both weird and refreshing at the same time. Infusing sword fighting with some computer programming setting? Strange indeed. After all, my experience with the first 2 seasons of SAO had this similar pattern in which the first big chunk of the series started off great but towards the end with its lesser arc, it disappoints. Remember that mediocre ALO that reduced Asuna into a damsel in distress for the first season and then the WTF Calibur and trying-to-prop-up-the-feels Mother’s Rosario in the second season? Yeah… Thankfully for this season, it is Alicization all the way and no disappointing small side stories to be distracted with. So huzzah for long story arcs? I promise I won’t complain about this story being draggy! Unfortunately no System Call or any delete button to erase those disappointing arcs. That’s why here’s to hoping the next continuation of this story would be a lot better to erase those dissatisfying ones. You can’t change the past but at least we can programme and create the future to be better. And no, delete and format everything isn’t the answer!

Canaan

September 29, 2019

I thought it was about time to complete my trilogy of girls with guns. After my stint with Noir and Madlax many years back, El Cazador De La Bruja was supposed to be next. For some unknown reason, I kept delaying wanting to watch that one. A signal that maybe I wasn’t so interested after all? And when I somewhat did, I thought it was strange. That Spanish sounding name definitely didn’t sound like the other two. They were just single named titles. WTF. And this somehow led me to Canaan. Not one of the original trilogy but still falling under the category of girls with guns. Sorry Mexico. Not going there this time. But Shanghai. Funny how some decisions make you go and end up where you are now?

Episode 1
While the streets of Shanghai is having its festivities, Canaan finished her sniping job. A monologue reminds Canaan despite being a victim of war, she mustn’t fight hate with hate. This will also not rid the world of hate. When she returns, Yuri Natsume who is her employer and informant tells of another job she has to do. A truck protecting an Unbloom was destroyed by Snake. Her job is to retrieve any survivors. If there are no survivors, it is likely the attacker are Unblooms themselves. Meanwhile, Minoru “Mino” Minorikawa is a journalist of a small magazine and is in Shanghai for an assignment. He hopes to make it big with a big scoop here. His assistant, Maria Oosawa seems to yearn to reunite with Canaan. Hence he goes off to get this old guy whom he thinks is some important figure in disguise. This leaves Maria by her own as she frolics in the festivities. There are a group of people wearing weird headgears. When it is removed, they go crazy and in a violent trance before dying. The people around think it is part of the festivities and don’t care. Maria has the misfortune to stumble into one of them as she realizes the mark on their bodies. She is about to be killed by masked guys but Canaan rescues her and takes her to safety in the back alley. No time for a reunion yet as Canaan ties her up with a wool yarn (a symbol of their friendship that she cannot break) and returns to her mission. Mino realizes his target was false alarm. Then he sees Canaan running around and real bullets flying about. With the people still frolicking, he realizes the people have closed their eyes not to accept this reality and think this is all part of the revelry. Canaan uses her super magic sight to sniff out the masked people and shoot them. Meanwhile, a truck with soldiers escorting a young girl, Alphard who is supposed to be the head of Snake is ambushed.

Episode 2
It’s Liang Qi and Cummings to the rescue! All American soldiers slaughtered and even Alphard takes out some of them before she escapes. Liang Qi informs that girl is back in Shanghai and can’t wait to kill her. However Alphard ignores her little sister and wants Cummings to hand over the report for some anti-terror summit in New York. There are things that must be done in order first. Mino goes through his film’s negatives and notices some of the weird marks on the corpses. Flashback shows his boss told him about the deadly Ua virus. Derived from the Swahili word that both means flower and death (hence the mark looks like a flower), its mortality rate is 100%. Maria was a victim of a virus attack in Shibuya a few years ago and only survived because her dad was a researcher and administered an anti-viral drug. Because of the shock, she has a little amnesia and doesn’t remember about the incident. Ironically, Maria came looking for a job in their company and Mino was tasked to look after her. At the restaurant, Mino wants to ask Maria more about Canaan. However they are ambushed. Isn’t that the old guy? He looks like a bloodthirsty mad killer now. Maria manages to hail a taxi driver (I nickname him Taximan for ease of reference) to escape. Taximan is equally crazy as he drives them to escape the trigger happy old guy’s hail of bullets. Maybe he needs some sort of thrill in addition to his mundane taxi life? So crazy that he drives his cab off an unfinished bridge! I don’t know how they survive and his cab still okay! Luckily Canaan is here. With the target now switch to her, the old man chases and fights her atop a bus. Smarter Canaan has him jump in the air so he gets electrocuted by the wires. One tangled fried old geezer coming up. Mino and Maria return to their hotel only to see it trashed with red paint. The only thing missing are their negatives. So spending the night outside isn’t fun. But are they seeing things because who this hot sexy cat girl babe???!!! Meow!!!

Episode 3
I don’t think Maria is going to believe Mino that following this cat girl, Hakko to her workplace where there are other cat women is going to lead him to the biggest scoop. Since Hakko can’t communicate well, Mino makes signs to interview her. Guess what? She shows her boobs! Best lost in translation ever? However Mino sees the mark but before he could ask further, the bartender, Santana kicks him out. He would have preferred him to touch her body but not her heart. Strange. So being a typical pervert is okay? Yeah, curiosity kills the cat. The duo stay in a different hotel but Canaan is able to find Maria thanks to her ‘different colour’. Mino wants to interview her but Canaan wants to hang out with Maria. With the girls having fun, Mino hangs out by himself. He sees Hakko again but this time in her normal clothes. Must be off duty. He tries to talk to her but since she doesn’t respond, he thinks she is a mute and shares his bread. Meanwhile Canaan and Maria are in some underground tram when suddenly it stops. Maria senses something amiss and rushes ahead. She should have known better than to leave Maria alone since the culprit is a young kid in the tram. Once Canaan realizes the trap is just a decoy, Maria has already been taken hostage. The kid believes Maria will come to her as he explains some complex synthesis of her senses blah, blah, blah, whatever. By the time Canaan arrives, a bomb is on Maria’s head and she can’t rip it off or else it will explode. The kid explains he is also from a village that was experimenting the Ua virus. And some gene mutation the virus did. Long story short, the kid accuses Canaan of killing his older brother. That old dude. The mutation caused him to be strong and agile but he aged fast. Canaan is able to sniff out the kid. Looks like his body can contort and hide in tightest of places. Yup, gene mutation thingy too. The effects caused his body to not grow. As time is running out, the kid swallows the diffuser. Flashback shows the kid is betting that Canaan will shoot him since he doesn’t intend to kill Maria. Maria can’t reveal that or he’ll kill her. To Maria’s shock, Canaan shoots the kid. Bomb still ticking. When the timer is over, the bomb is just some jack in the box. Canaan feels nothing but Maria is clearly shocked and shaken from what she has seen. Canaan notices she is beginning to show colours of rejection.

Episode 4
Maria is still depressed. She always thought Canaan was a normal girl. That moment wasn’t it. Canaan on the other hand wonders if she will lose it again. Flashback shows she was the only survivor in a decimated village. A soldier, Siam picked her up out of pity and trained her to be a mercenary. Canaan loves guns because they give off no colour. She hates blue as it is the colour of hatred and that’s why she is able to pinpoint her enemies. Remembering Siam’s words about not fighting hatred with hatred, Canaan knows it but she desperately doesn’t want to lose it again. It seems Siam was killed by Alphard and that was the first time Canaan lost something precious. Alphard attends a party of Daedala whom she is a majority stockholder of and the company will be hosting the upcoming anti-terrorist conference. She is sure turning heads with that stunning dress. Of course Canaan is also staking out at that party, waiting for her perfect chance. Mino gets more information about the mark. It is actually bulging veins that overlap each other. Maria is running around looking for Canaan. She needs to apologize to her. She realizes Canaan has always saved her from dangerous moments. It’s the reason why she is able to hold a camera. All because she met Canaan. She wanted to understand her but instead she blamed her and ran away from the guilt. She almost got into trouble with some backstreet ruffians but thankfully she got rescued by Yunyun. Not Canaan this time. Maria desperate to make a new friend that she wants to get to know her too? Alphard knows Canaan will ambush her in the toilet. She claims Canaan has fallen into the same place that she was. As they shortly fight, Alphard is clearly superior and can even restrain Canaan while keeping her dress clean! It must be hatred that has made Canaan sloppier. Alphard was once like that but escaped it. But Alphard won’t kill her yet since she still can have fun. Canaan is left to lick her wounds as she escapes, Alphard’s words still haunting her every move.

Episode 5
Maria is treated to Yunyun’s hospitality on her sampan. But Yunyun soon has to leave. It seems she is also an agent employed by Liang Qi. She has a special job for her. As the Japanese vice minister is visiting, her only job is to infect him with the Ua virus. Liang Qi will set up everything else. Yunyun is worried Canaan will pop up and kill her. In that case, just die. They have no other use for her. Not so funny now, huh? Yunyun goes to Santana’s bar to set up. She meets that Hakko. They know each other and Yunyun doesn’t want her to further get involved in what she’s doing. Just live the rest of your life happily. When the Japanese vice minister enters, Yunyun and Hakko serve them. Yunyun tries to spike his drink but this guy rather have the sexy Hakko serve him. After Mino tells Maria about the mark and the veins, thus they head down to Santana’s bar to get some answers. Yunyun runs out upon seeing them. At the back alley, she is shocked to see Canaan next to her. Fumbling to use her gun? Don’t worry. Canaan teaches you! With the guys insulting each other, Maria leaves only to see Canaan threatening Yunyun for info in which she doesn’t know. With Maria protecting Yunyun, Canaan sees the sadness in her eyes and leaves. She’s just a killer in her eyes now. Thank goodness Maria is here or she would have really killed Yunyun. Oh Yunyun. You’re such a lucky girl!

Yunyun then gets a call from Liang Qi who knows she has failed. She gives her a last chance to use Maria and die with Canaan. Hence this desperate joker uses Maria as a hostage to lure Canaan out. Yup, she’s strapped herself with dynamites! Going to blow themselves up together? Yeah, tumble into the river together. Yunyun tries to hold her down and drown together. When Canaan thinks of slicing her to break free, she remembers Maria’s sad face. Canaan drags them out to the side. It’s not that she doesn’t want to kill her, it’s just she doesn’t want to make Maria sad. When Mino returns to his room, Maria beats him up thinking he is trying to rape Yunyun?! Actually he spots a mark on her butt. She claims she is a Borner ever since that incident at that village disappeared. Her ‘special power’ is having 2 appendixes. It doesn’t have any kind of power. She knows nothing more about Snake and feels useless. Maria disagrees. Because she manages to help reconcile her friendship with Canaan, she is now their friend. Mino can help her financially to break free from Snake but in return she is to be their special correspondent since she blends well by having experience in multiple jobs. The Japanese vice minister is done in by Cummings while he is taking a massage service. Cummings wonders if Liang Qi intends to get Yunyun go. She is confident she will come back because she cannot live without the drugs. Otherwise she has chosen death.

Episode 6
Mino thinks his journalism effort has been recognized since he receives a reporter pass to the anti-terrorism press conference. But he’ll let Maria cover that as he goes to talk to Hakko for more details. As he questions her, the moment she speaks, his head starts to hurt. The conference begins and as Maria snaps pictures, Alphard approaches her. She is unsure if Maria is playing dumb not to recognize her. The US president is really making a weird speech about love and peace (this guys should be a comedian) and it is probably cue for Liang Qi to set off the bombs. The place is in panic but the bombs have cordoned off all exits. After Mino recovers, he barges back to Santana’s bar to question Hakko if that is her special power. But here is live on TV that the press conference is under attack. Time to call Taximan and make his way there. Maria is brought to the control centre where Alphard and Liang Qi are waiting. Liang Qi calls Canaan (it must be a long way running towards the convention centre via sewers) and tries to rile her by threatening Maria. Instead, it is Liang Qi who gets riled up as Canaan and Maria ignore her to reassure each other. Liang Qi is at boiling point and wants to kill Maria but is stopped when Alphard fires a warning shot. She warns her about letting her hatred get the better of her and those with such hatred should be disposed. What is it that Liang Qi wants? Love. Love of her nee-sama of course. Alphard tells Liang Qi to end her games and get to work. Then she tells Maria that her role is to live. In the underground shelter where all the politicians are taking shelter, the Japanese vice minister starts to feel sick. The Ua virus begins to take effect as he dies a bloody death.

Episode 7
OMFG! Canaan is so fast dodging the bullets that the soldiers shoot each other?! Liang Qi wants to go handle Canaan but with Alphard warning how mistakes will arise when one doesn’t listen, Liang Qi throws a childish tantrum and storms off. The White House staffs deliberate on how to save the situation. An option is to get the vaccine in which Kenji (Maria’s father) administers. Unfortunately the moment he leaves his building, his car explodes! So much for that. Time for Plan B. Alphard then speaks to the politicians holing up in the safe room. She informs that all of them are infected with the Ua virus and in no time will die. However America has decided to make sure they go out in style and they have ordered the stealth bombers to bomb the hell out of this place! When Maria doesn’t remember a thing, Alphard beats her up and tells a back story of a soldier who trained a couple of kids to become mercenaries. Both shared the same name. Alphard’s real name was Canaan but she tossed it away a long time ago. Alphard takes her men to leave once it’s time. Canaan then comes in to rescue Maria but is told of the situation. Yuri sees Santana since he has a secret room with hacking devices. Wow. Those still work? She contacts Canaan and tells her intentions to hack some American satellite. Kenji is seen dropping into the convention centre. Actual footage shows that explosion was fake and edited just to bamboozle USA into using this bombing order. With the stealth bombers already dropping a bomb, Canaan’s ability now goes digital? I don’t know what she sees but eventually she sees it. The bomb explodes. However everybody is still alive. Something about Canaan and Yuri managing to change the GPS coordinates of the bomb. Yeah, it didn’t hit the convention centre but I hope there were no people at the spot it exploded. The stealth bombers abort mission, the White House are left guilt-ridden and red faced due to their ‘incomplete mission’ and Yuri lecturing Santana about forgiveness will not be waiting for you at the end of running away. Canaan starts to feel weird. She now cannot see colours. At least the colours she has been accustomed to be seeing.

Episode 8
Mino has connections to Kenji as he asks about Ua virus. Kenji believes there can be no survivors because before any mutation can take place, you would already have been dead. But with Mino believing there are survivors lurking, could it be related to the disappeared village? It could be possible that Snake has a vaccine and taken in such people. Alphard calls the White House and even offers America to keep their power among the third world countries under the guise of protection but in exchange for some arms deals. As long as they need a conflict somewhere, feel free to call Snake. Alphard then orders Cummings to destroy the factory that Liang Qi left behind. Hakko is reeling from her past whereby she didn’t know her voice was destructive. She tried to calm a boy who lost his mother but little did she know the more she spoke, the more pain he felt until he exploded!!! Maria takes Canaan out. The latter feels weird and is not used to this normal sight as she cannot see colours. Nearby, there is a street concert put up by this idol, Nene. Taximan is a big fan of hers. Hakko is also there too. Unconsciously she starts singing along and this affects everyone. Luckily she realizes it and stops but ultimately feels sad. Mino now confronts Santana. He thinks he is forced to work under Snake in exchange for medicine. He wonders if he a member of Snake supervising Hakko. Because Hakko wants to go to the disappeared village, road trip! Mino and Santana make horrible road trip singers… We also hear Maria expressing to Canaan she always felt empty until she met her. Yeah, another big thanks to her somewhat. In turn, Canaan was worried when she couldn’t see colours but always knew Maria was a kind person even if she can’t see her colours. That night as they sleep, Hakko tries to strangle Canaan. Of course she fails and escapes. You mean nobody was awakened by this commotion? The guys do but that’s only after Canaan went after Hakko. Santana mentioning how Hakko has not forgiven him as he was the one who destroyed her village. Canaan doesn’t intend to kill Hakko but find out why she is hated. Of course she can’t speak but Canaan ultimately could read her lips. It seems a sad Hakko blames her that it’s her fault. The road trip continues and they see a manjuu seller out in this isolated place. Yunyun?!

Episode 9
Yunyun pretends not to know them but I guess she has no more strength to peddle. Hop on. We’re going to the same place, right? Cummings reports Liang Qi at the factory. He is shocked when Alphard orders him to kill her. Yunyun explains she is heading to that village because if she’s going to die, might as well where she came from. As for the medicine, you can’t get it from anywhere else since it is tailored specifically to that person’s symptoms. And then Maria starts punching Yunyun because she doesn’t want her to die? I think she will at this rate! Awkwardness interrupted when a strange masked guy starts firing his machine gun at them. Canaan has a hard time approaching since she lost her ability. Hakko then screams out not to kill him. After temporary dizziness in every one, the strange just explodes and dies! Some of them recognize him as one of the locals. Santana points out to him as an Unbloom. Arriving at the village, Santana tells Mino what really happened. Santana used to work with Langley from the CIA. Under the pretence of disinfecting the town of some virus, they were the ones who spread it. They also test out the vaccine’s effectiveness on them. The result was the entire town turned into a hellish monstrous nightmare. Santana discovered the truth later and quit. Subsequently he stumbled upon into Yuri and they both shared the same goal to blackmail the CIA into revealing the truth. He further explains about Borners (those affected and were given special bodies as side effect) Unblooms (those who couldn’t become Borners and Snake keeps them to find out why they failed). Crazy Liang Qi flies in trying to kill Canaan. However Alphard also flies in trying to kill Liang Qi. Cummings tries to shoot Alphard but his gun is fake. Alphard lets him say a last word before she kills him. She shoots him with a fake gun. Liang Qi retreats. Alphard then finds Canaan lying in the ruins. She thinks Canaan lost her ability since she didn’t see her coming. Alphard reminds her about that desert train mission in which Siam died. Canaan claimed her tattoo is prove she has family. Siam was her light. But now she has a new light. That’s why Alphard wants her to live. Canaan’s power might be coming back because she sees strange colours on Alphard. It is the same as Siam. When the rest gather, Santana is ready to shoot her but Alphard advises against it. She tells him her next plan is to destroy the factory so no more corrupted flowers will bloom again. She also leaves a message: Canaan’s real name is Despair.

Episode 10
Santana’s plan is to expose CIA’s cohorts with Snake. Then the government cannot continue to cover this up. This way there would be free flow of the medicine. The factory is disguised as an abandoned village. Inside, looks like somebody had thoughts of Resident Evil so several zombie Unblooms are released. Don’t worry. You won’t turn into one of them when they bite. But this scene activates Hakko’s trauma. She runs away into a room whereby a video of Liang Qi wants her to join her to kill Canaan. She reveals this factory was built so that a second Canaan is created. After all the sympathetic words, Hakko isn’t moved. Canaan may have started all this but it was Liang Qi who dragged everyone else into this mess. She will not join her. Further flashback reveals Santana pleaded to Alphard to take Hakko with him. She agreed as long as he forgets this place and play by their rules. Though, Liang Qi was against it since Hakko is a valuable Borner. Hakko enters Liang Qi’s room and starts ranting about her pitiful state. To her shock, it is actually captured Santana who is strapped onto the seat. Hakko is left in despair while Liang Qi (in another video) laughs her ass off. Santana doesn’t blame Hakko. Because he knows he isn’t going to make it, he wants Hakko to say she loves him in her voice. Uhm, you want to say that louder? I don’t think he heard you. She keeps repeating it until he dies! Liang Qi then activates the entire factory. Something about cancelling out normal noises. While this means everyone is resistant to Hakko’s voice, only Canaan will be affected as she processes her senses differently. Hence Canaan starts experiencing a massive headache since a despaired Hakko continues to be a broken recorder. Mino tries to approach her since Santana has him promised to wake her up from this dream if something happens to him. Luckily Hakko is a bad shot. He still took some bullets before managing to hug her. Meanwhile Maria and Yunyun stumble into an underground lair. To their shock, is that Canaan stuck in some ice? Yuri is also here and she sounds like she doesn’t want witnesses over this secret.

Episode 11
There won’t be dead girls for now since Alphard wants Maria and Yunyun to return to Canaan. Yuri thinks this is a big mistake but Alphard knows she only cares about the data. Alphard no longer has interests in this disgusting experiment and hands over the Borner data to her. After that she burns everything in this lair to the ground. Not sure how Mino survived all that but Canaan managed to drag him out. After all that he just got an arm injury? Reuniting with Maria and Yunyun, Canaan decides to go back in to rescue Hakko. She has to move fast as she sees American special forces moving in to raid the place. Liang Qi is on the verge of madness. Then Alphard pops up. She gives Cummings a chance to show his love. Cummings tries to convince Liang Qi to return but she beats the sh*t out of him. With that, Alphard tries to kill Liang Qi who is now a super masochist, enjoying every pain nee-sama brings to her. But when she wants to be killed by her, Alphard leaves it to Cummings. Then they see on the footage, Canaan slaughtering the special forces and this makes Liang Qi super mad again. So mad that she swallows some experimental drugs that of course drastically changes her body. She is now frail and old. Alphard reveals that she has known this letter that was written by Siam addressed to her is fake. She knew it was Liang Qi’s ploy to let her be captured by the Americans so that she can come rescue her. She knew the letter is false right away because Siam never addressed her as Alphard. It is then Liang Qi hears Alphard’s real name as Canaan. Now she has gone full blown crazy. Seeing her frail self in the mirror, she thinks she sees Canaan and wants her dead. She is so psychotic that she will do anything, including returning Cummings’ love, just for Canaan to be killed. So tearful Cummings shoots her. Finally this crazy drama is over. Alphard observes how love is such a troublesome thing. Canaan finds Hakko. She’s making out with Santana’s corpse? Long story short, Hakko can’t go with her and gives the medicine so she won’t return empty handed. Cue for the place to collapse so Canaan can get her ass out. Canaan returns to Maria. After she takes a photo of her, they just give each other a long hug.

Episode 12
Canaan is still reeling from despair. But with Maria around, she breathes a little better. Canaan, Maria and Yunyun take a train trip. When the train suddenly stops as the guards at the checkpoint do their inspection, this triggers Canaan’s trauma. She rushes to the front and sees Siam sitting there. Could be just her hallucination as she also sees other dead people whom she killed. They’re all blaming her. Siam tells her not to over rely on her senses. Because it warps her senses and makes her overthink. This also makes her lose her sense of truth. He wants her to see things as the way they are. Meanwhile Alphard approaches Maria and Yunyun. It seems she wants Maria to live up to her duty to awaken Canaan’s true power as she is still living in the stone age. Maria agrees to do that but in exchange wants to take a photo of her. She realizes she can’t walk alongside Canaan anymore. The moment she does that, Alphard shoots and wounds her. When Canaan realizes the light she needs to protect now, she rushes back. She only sees Alphard. She can see Maria’s blood trails as Alphard tells her she locked up the duo in the back of the train. Oh, there’s a bomb too. So if Canaan wants to save her, let’s keep their playtime to a minimum. Both start shooting each other in this narrow carriage. Both having different interpretations of Siam’s teachings. From what I understand, Alphard points out that Canaan was the one who killed Siam. Because had she not been there, Siam would not have been killed. Hence Alphard doesn’t intend to kill Canaan but rather shoot through the ghost of Siam. Yunyun tries to find a way to free themselves. However Maria knows she cannot make it and tells her to go it alone. Yunyun manages to climb out of the window and derail the last coach. Maria doing her monologue of Canaan as her light but because she is being loved and protected by her, this light also casted a shadow on her heart.

Episode 13
What’s this? Alphard is starting to feel scared of Canaan? Because her eyes are looking different now. She is now seeing the way things are. So scared that she can’t even shoot straight? Damn, role reversal and Canaan is the cool cat now. Alphard tries to escape but Canaan chases after her. She believes Maria is still alive. She might not be able to see her colour but she can sense her kindness. Indeed Maria is still alive because Yunyun changed her mind and ran all the way back to grab her out before the bomb explodes. Alphard laughs when Canaan claims Maria isn’t her light but her friend. Alphard then realizes Siam called her once by this name. It was before his death. He told her the meaning of that new name is solitude. She tries to kill herself by dropping off the train but Canaan grabs her hand. Canaan relating the day Siam died, she moved on and met new people. Hence Alphard can’t die because she is already dead? Huh? Wow. Canaan so philosophical now because she means her heart died the day Siam died. That’s why Canaan wants her to live and won’t let her die. Alphard is left to reminisce Liang Qi’s words about being stuck in the past. It was Alphard and not Canaan who is still trapped in the past. To free herself from this haunting, Alphard shoots off her own arm! Long way down the ravine… We see Maria together with Canaan despite just a dream. It’s like a goodbye because Canaan says they can’t be together anymore. Maria wakes up in hospital (sorry girl, not heaven) and Mino updates her Yunyun carried her most of the way back until he picked them up. He tried to contact Canaan but she ‘vanished’. Maria feels sad Canaan won’t let her stand by her side till the end. But Mino believes this is what Canaan had wanted. To protect her. Even if they are 2 different persons, Maria can still get closer to her via her heart. After all, it’s her kindness that bonds them together. Mino is thinking about a career change. He visits Santana’s bar one last time. Damn he is going to miss this place. And Hakko’s ass. Taximan picks them up to the airport as Maria praises how amazing Canaan is. We get it for the umpteenth time. It’s goodbye, right? Better have some closure than none. In the aftermath, we see Yunyun doing odd jobs, Cummings is now a monk (?!), Alphard hinted to be alive because there isn’t a one arm woman in Shanghai but her and Maria back in Japan organizes a photo exhibition of her exploits in Shanghai. Finally, Yuri still hires Canaan for certain jobs. This time her target is a certain one armed woman.

The Holy Land Of Deadly Virus, Raining Bullets & Past Ghost
This sure looks like a bittersweet ending. Our main female leads didn’t get to end up together. Not that I am expecting something yuri to turn out from that short reunion but I guess it is better this way that they lead their separate lives. As said, they are from both different worlds and from the looks of it, the entire time their reunion sometimes felt like they’re trying to get into each other’s way. You know, Maria just wanting to be Canaan’s equal and Canaan just wanting to protect her. So to say, had Maria not returned to Shanghai, all this trouble would not have surfaced? I don’t think Maria will be going back to Shanghai anytime soon. There’s no reason to. That’s what that final episode ‘goodbye’ was all about, right? Then there’s the curious case of Alphard. She got an arm blown off and miraculously survived that long ravine drop (thank goodness there’s a river below) and is her business with Canaan considered finished? I mean, I thought she wanted Canaan to display her true powers but looks like it wasn’t what she desired. Alphard’s a survivor so don’t write her off yet but how relevant is she after this? What will be of Snake? What about that terrorism business partnership with America? Nothing to do with Canaan so don’t really care at this point.

Despite being just a single cour series, I find it hard to understand the general story and what is going on in the overall picture. Maybe that’s why I didn’t understand? Too short? But if they somehow managed to drag it out to another cour, will there be a guarantee that I would understand better or just be even more confused? It might look like some terrorism via biological warfare on the surface. But eventually it is something much deeper than that especially the connection between the 3 main female leads of Canaan, Maria and Alphard. I think. So basically the story and plot itself is intriguing. However due to many parts that I couldn’t understand, it somewhat hinders me to enjoy this series as a whole. After all, this series was conceptualized by co-founders of Type-Moon for a visual novel game, 428: Shibuya Scramble. Since I didn’t play that game nor even heard of it until I was watching this anime and doing my lazy Google research, I’m not sure how much both series are related to each other. The Ua virus, Snake’s factory for manufacturing all this, I feel they are just touching the surface and didn’t go in too deeply to be fleshed out. It feels like as though you need some sort of background knowledge before watching this series. Because at the end of the day, I still don’t really get the difference between Borners and Unblooms. Are they the same but just different in desired outcome? And in the end, they don’t really matter because if Alphard has lost interest in them and could easily throw them all away, should we care too?

The action is the main draw of the series though I would pretty say it is just pretty much standard. But it is not swift gun totting all the way as they have to make room and weave some character development in it. Therefore the action scenes I feel are rather okay. Exhilarating for that short burst of adrenaline but compare it to animes like Shingeki No Kyojin, yeah it’s just average. Sorry. Looks like my standards have really gone up in this category. And perhaps I have come to expect something when I skim through the reviews about this anime being action filled. Good action, yeah, okay. Masterpiece top 10 action of all time? Nah, not really. But I have to admit that some action scenes are quite enjoyable to watch especially Canaan and Alphard trading lead with each other in fast paced mortal combat. What do you expect when you pit the best among each other?

Other than the action, the character development especially among the main trio is also important but like I’ve said, there are some aspects that I already do not understand and therefore couldn’t go forward when bits of their past and history are further revealed. So to condense it all to a point that I understand, both Canaans are trying to get over the ghost of their past and that link is Siam. Alphard being the calm and composed antagonist, Canaan is her obsession because of her need to prove her own hatred is the only way to conquer her past. It’s a reason why she pushes Canaan to her limits and do not kill her outright. Canaan on the other hand is also cool, composed and lacking any emotion. Except whenever Alphard is in the picture. Then she gets her emotions overwhelmed and Alphard usually owns her at the end of the day. So it’s like the battle of the one with the calmer head wins? It is evident like we see in the final episode where the tables were turned.

Maria might feel like the weaker link among the trio and making it hard for me to appreciate her character is how her back story was never really fleshed out. It was just merely pinpointed that she was a survivor of the Ua virus during a viral attack on Shibuya. Also her initial friendship on how she became friends with Canaan felt like it was merely skimmed through. The series does a decent job in portraying and developing the relationship between them but that is only what we see on screen and currently when they reunite once more in Shanghai. Maria and Canaan as 2 females giving each other the strength to live, it’s nothing really new or ground breaking in terms of storytelling and character development but as far as this series is concerned, better to see the colour of life than the colour of death!

On a side note, I wonder if Maria’s character was cheekily named so. I’m not sure if the creators were aware of this but Maria Oosawa definitely sounds too close to Maria Ozawa! You know… The famous porn star!!! I know the different kanji writing but still too close to call. Yeah, the first time I heard Maria’s name, I had to do a double take so as to confirm my ears weren’t playing any tricks on my simpleton pervy brain. Coincidentally this series was released back in 2009, the same period where the said porn star reached the pinnacle of her popularity! Is this why there is this running joke in the series that this photographer Maria is always teased for her small bust size? As opposed to the porn star who has somewhat a voluptuous figure? Strange… Too much to be called a coincidence but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the creators.

Yunyun I feel her character is primarily written as a comic relief. A joker of the series. Almost every move she makes. Almost every word she says. Almost every reaction she reacts. It’s like she is born to look and sound this funny no matter the situation. She would have been a natural clown had she not get involved in all this mess. Seriously. Heck, even her Borner ability is a joke. The thing about Yunyun being this joker character is both good and bad. During times of conflict and high tension, Yunyun’s presence can mostly take some of that pressure off thanks to her comical actions whether she intended to be funny or not. I mean, taking Maria hostage to lure Canaan out and then trying to blow herself up? And failed spectacularly? While making it all look like a joke? Only Yunyun can pull that off! While Yunyun is welcomed as this sort of comic relief, sometimes it really makes her out of place. In such serious and tense moments, and now here is one of Yunyun’s antics. It just feels so weird. It’s like, girl, WTF? I don’t think it’s the drugs she’s taking. So yeah, Yunyun, keep calm and carrying on being you. Sometimes too much Canaan-Maria melancholy colour drama can be bad for the soul. We need to see a different (comedy) colour, you know.

Then there is this Liang Qi character who is written as a psychotic b*tch. Her obsession is no other than her nee-sama Alphard and it would have been a lot better if we could see how she and Alphard first came to be instead of just skimming through a brief flashback. It makes it feel insignificant. Anyway, with Liang Qi being a crazy psycho b*tch, in some ways it draws out the drama because a Canaan-Alphard showdown would be too quick without this woman. Hence with Canaan still breathing, it gives Liang Qi all the more excuse to show her crazy b*tch side just to get on the good side of Alphard’s love. We know this one sided love will never be fulfilled but it never hurts to try, right? Yeah, love is weird. Oh well, till death do us part. Sorry, didn’t feel a single sympathy for Liang Qi’s last moments. Just, good riddance. The annoyance’s gone. Despite having to dedicate 1 whole episode just to kill her off. Also, this Cummings guy who is definitely a big masochist since he loves to get shot by Liang Qi’s airsoft bullets. Yeah, he orgasms each time he gets shot. Even his name feels so ambiguous… Caught between the absolute big boss and the crazy mistress he is in love with, this guy sure had it rough… And he probably likes it that way ;p. The biggest shocking change of becoming a monk. Because it’s like subtly hinting to us to throw away all our depraved porn and lead a clean life! Is this even possible?! Cummings showed us he could… This guy is so zen right now…

The other characters somehow don’t feel significant. Like Mino who is trying to make his big break but this case changed him in some ways that he didn’t care about it anymore. He is only here because otherwise why would there be a reason for Maria to return to Shanghai? Yuri being the sneaky operative, nothing much is known about her but CIA operatives are like that. She could be the real ‘snake’, a double agent since she has her own agenda. Santana and Hakko also feel unnecessary but to prop up some bits of drama and plot convenience. Since Hakko is the one who keeps blaming Canaan for whatever and Santana is trying to make amends and atone for his sins. I know he is smart enough not to put his hope this will absolve him of his sins, but maybe he just wanted someone to love. He got that in his death wish, right? Oh well, till death do us part.

This is one of the few animes in which the setting isn’t set in Japan but overseas. And no, I don’t mean fantasy settings either but settings of real world locations. Sure, that tragic experimental village might be fictional but other than that, China is real. Shanghai is real. What I want to point out is the use of foreign languages especially Chinese and English. Firstly, the Chinese spoken sound so odd. Is it their accent? Because I couldn’t properly catch them. Yeah, it’s like your Japanese trying to speak Engrish and now they try to speak Mandarin and it’s like fail too. For the English part, these are mostly when the American military give their commands. Sounds authentic enough so I’m not really complaining… In view of this, the oddest part is that if there are English dialogues in this series despite only in very limited scenes, remember the American president who is giving his speech? Damn guy speaking in flawless Japanese!!! I just find this odd, honestly. Even if he speaks in English about his crap speech about love and peace, it would still sound funny but at least not as bad. Imagine American soldiers giving standard orders in English for some realism but the most powerful man in the world speaking Japanese? Just feel weird… Even weirder the White House staffs deliberating in Japanese and Alphard calling the vice all speaking in Japanese… Should have went with Japanese all the way then…

The art and animation are pretty good. At least for an anime that is released back in 2009. Some scenes are gorgeous and some scenes are just grim just to highlight the plight of the Ua virus. This series is of course animated by P.A. Works and to me they’re known for drawing some of the prettiest and beautiful character designs. Unfortunately, not this one, though. Maybe no cute high school girls like I expect to see in Glasslip, True Tears, Hanasaku Iroha and Tari Tari. Hence the character designs feel a bit like Type-Moon characters (duh) such as the Fate series and Shingetsutan Tsukihime. Therefore sometimes when I look at Canaan, I could see shades of Arcueid in her. Yeah, Alphard so badass that I thought she was the reincarnation of Black Lagoon’s Levy.

Attracting my attention to watch this series is because of the star studded casts. Well, at least I recognize some of them like Miyuki Sawashiro as Canaan, Haruka Tomatsu as Yunyun, Hiroaki Hirata as Santana and Jouji Nakata as Taximan. And that was Rie Tanaka behind Liang Qi? Never would have guessed it. Of course it would be one my greatest delight to hear Mamiko Noto as Hakko. Her voice is still so amazing then and that’s why when her character speaks, it causes all our brain cells in our heads to fry! Haha! How fitting for the most beautiful voice in the world. Oh wait… What’s that… F*CKING HELL THEY KILLED OFF HER CHARACTER AGAIN!!!!!!!! OMFG!!!!! TRAUMA! TRAUMA!! YOU MEAN EVEN WAY BACK IN 2009 HER CHARACTERS ARE ALSO MET WITH THIS TREATMENT!!!!! WHY JAPAN, WHY????!!! WHY DO YOU OFTEN KILL OFF CHARACTERS WHO IS VOICED BY THE MOST BEAUTIFULLY VOICED SEIYUU OF ALL TIME????!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO???!!!!!!

And the rest of the other casts include Yoshino Nanjou as Maria (Kokoro in Tantei Opera Milky Holmes), Maaya Sakamoto as Alphard (Ciel in Kuroshitsuji), Kenji Hamada as Mino (Jouji in Paradise Kiss), Junko Minagawa as Yuri (Ryouma in Prince Of Tennis), Akio Ohtsuka as Siam (titular character in Black Jack) and Toru Ohkawa as Cummings (Roy in Fullmetal Alchemist). If you are familiar with Faylan’s style of rock music, you can feel at home here with the rock paced opening theme of Mind As Judgment. From all that high octane rock music, suddenly the ending theme, My Heaven by Annabel drops down to be some soul-like lounge music. I’m not saying the song is bad but it feels out of place considering the action pace of the series. Maybe after all that action, some soul searching is needed with this song? That is what it feels like listening to this one. Just close your eyes, let the music envelope all around you! There are a few insert songs here all sung by Ayahi Takagi (voice of Nene). China Kibun De High Tension is your typical genki pop idol anime that gets your feet shuffling while Inochi Nan Da Yo is a pop ballad. Life too is a slow and calming ballad but this sounds like it could be a Christian song. Just saying… Also, some parts feel like it could fit for an epic Hollywood emotional dramatic scene.

Overall, even if Canaan isn’t the promised land for anime for me, it is enjoyable. If only I could understand the bigger plot, appreciate better the character development and not be too greedy wanting to see more action scenes like Canaan just raking up the body count of her enemies. If only I had the ability to see this anime as it is instead of relying on my past stereotypic biasness to label this series as just slightly above average, I could have seen the truth better as it is and appreciate this series a little bit more. But alas, I relied too much on that cliché judgment of mind and that clouded and impeded some of that enjoyment. And don’t fight hatred with hatred? Sure, fine. IF YOU STOP KILLING OFF MAMIKO NOTO CHARACTERS!!!!!!!!!!

One Punch Man S2

September 28, 2019

It’s finally here! 4 years later! That’s right. But better late than never because with all the hype and anticipation for One Punch Man S2, it better deliver. Yeah, a hero always makes his late entrance. So you never heard of this guy? You know. The superhero that ends everything with just a single punch, hence his eponymous hero name. Yeah, that would hardly be any fun. But fun enough to have garnered many followers to warrant another sequel. So how many more can he add to the body count list of defeating his enemies in a single punch? We’ll just have to see.

Episode 1
A villain thinks he can harass the women in public. However with the arrival of King, he grovels and begs for mercy. You see, the people is happy that he is one of the strongest S-class heroes and they’re so happy he is back! After doing his errands, some giant robot challenges him. But King tells him to wait as he needs to go to the toilet. Can’t fight at full strength if he is holding it in, right? But in the toilet, we see King’s true nature. He is actually a coward. Although he attracts bad luck, before he knows it, the enemy is down. He didn’t anything. Somebody else always did. Because he didn’t deny, one thing led to another and now he is in this sh*t. That’s why he wants to quit being a hero! The only way left is to run. What about the robot? Don’t worry. Genos is tackling it. King goes back to relax but WTF why is Saitama here?! He saw him bought some video games and is interested to play with him. He plays along until Saitama asks if he is so strong that he doesn’t want to fight anymore. Yeah, he saw him running away. Oh sh*t. How to answer? Then a monster crashes into his place. Time to prove it? King remembers how always gets dragged into such mess but somebody was always there to clean it up. Hence he always ends up running away. Was Saitama the saviour? Yup he was and still is. Saitama easily destroys the monster. King repents his action. Although Saitama doesn’t care and doesn’t want to lecture him, he wonders if he is going to continue lying to the public. Genos meanwhile barely defeats the robot threat and sends the parts to Kuseno in hopes he can do something to help his upgrade. But he is reminded to find clues about the cyborg that destroyed down his home and went on to destroy countless of towns and lives. Don’t worry. Genos will also get to that. That’s why he needs to undergo training from a master. Meanwhile Sitch, the minister of justice for Hero Association has gathered lots of ruffians at HQ. He plans to seek their help with heroes to fight against the foreboding omen. It is gaining ground as there are more disasters happening every day. As Sonic is among the group, he is disappointed that Saitama is not here and leaves. He is not going to play hero with them. Meanwhile Fubuki and her team also target Saitama and they’re going to move in now. What’s Saitama doing? Playing video games with King!

Episode 2
Sitch continues his briefing but among them is Garou who claims he supports monsters. He wants to know who the strongest is here and will kill them all. Some of the heroes attack him but they are easily killed. Then he goes off to kill all the other ruffians. He lets Sitch live since he has had enough warming up. He warns he will return stronger in 6 months so be prepared. Sonic is outside Saitama’s door. Genos confronts him and won’t let this pipsqueak do as he wishes. Hence an epic duel begins. Meanwhile Fubuki and her team ring Saitama’s door. They try to be intimidating and to cut all that threat short, she is offering her to join her faction. Of course he declines. When she orders her men to attack him, they are easily repelled. Fubuki gets serious to fight him but Saitama lectures her that she doesn’t know what it means to be a hero. She is not cut out to be one since she is more interested in factions and crushing newbies. That’s why she gather weak lackeys so that she feels stronger. The fight is interrupted with Genos-Sonic accidentally cutting in. Fubuki is shocked and confused to see Genos calling Saitama his master. This S-class cyborg calling this B-class hero his master? Genos continues his fight with Sonic but Saitama stops him since Genos is going to destroy the whole place just to take out Sonic and his speed. Hence Saitama shows him how it’s done. Sonic relishes this rematch and does his special ability of moving so fast that he cloned himself 10 times. But Saitama does his side step so fast and cloned himself 100 times!!! OMFG!!! Yeah, Sonic lost. Fubuki explains her situation. She remains as top of B-class because A-class has got lots of crazy heroes whom she can’t control. As we know Tatsumaki is her sister, she is always number one. Hence being number one of B-class is the only thing she can. She thinks manipulating factions isn’t wrong until King waltzes in. Friends with Saitama? WTF is this super strong group? She wants to join!!! Oh man, looks like she joined another faction. Meanwhile Sitch is disappointed that the committee is more interested in giving heroes their nicknames instead of addressing Garou’s threat. They think other S-class heroes can handle it when they are up to the task. Speaking of Garou, he is on a hero hunting spree.

Episode 3
Bang mercilessly beats up his best disciple, Charanko and exiles him from his dojo. Charanko talks to Genos about this and the latter deduces Garou might be behind this. You see, Garou was once Bang’s student and with that incident at Hero Association HQ, Bang is distancing himself from his students to avoid bystanders getting hurt if there’s an intense battle. On the way home, Charanko spots Garou trying to pick a fight with Licenseless Rider. But Tank Top Vegetarian who was recently defeated by Garou, brings back his brothers and S-class master, Tank Top Master to give his due punishment. At first it seems Tank Top Master owns Garou and could have defeated him had Licenseless Rider not stop him to spout crap that Garou is still human. Garou turns the tables and defeats them. He is going to kill the rest of them. Of course they all lose and when Charanko decides to enter the fray, no surprise upset either. Saitama visits Licenseless Rider and Tank Top Master recuperating in hospital to find out about this Garou dude. Despite being human, Garou seems to be a master in martial arts. All attacks were dodged, parried and blocked well. Even his strikes to the joints and vital points were brutal. It’s like he was able to read his moves. Unlike monsters who let lose all their strength in a rampage, Garou has special techniques to break people. Visiting Charanko, he gives Saitama a participation ticket for a martial arts tournament. Since he is injured, he can’t participate. Oh sh*t… 3 million yen prize money… Meanwhile Garou continues his hero hunting by facing off with Golden Ball and Spring Mustachio. Once he learns their moves, it is easy to bring them down. After all, he also knows all their trump cards since earlier on a kid lent him a guidebook on all the known heroes. Later Garou stumbles into Saitama. Thinking the latter is some low level hero trying to get some fame, Garou strikes first but Saitama is hard!!! I mean, real hard!!! Then Saitama just chops him down and Garou loses all strength and passes out!!! OMFG!!! Don’t get in my way of shopping! So why is Saitama buying a brown wig? So it’s not to permanently cover his head as Genos worries that the baldness may have got to him? Nah. It is to impersonate as Charanko at the tournament.

Episode 4
When Garou was young, he loved monsters but found it baffling the heroes always win despite the monsters also tried their best. In that case he will become the ultimate monster and won’t lose to anyone. Garou wakes up in the dumpster, not remembering what happened last night. With Garou targeting not only heroes but Hero Association as well, it is suggested that S-class heroes become their bodyguards. King was called but he is busy ‘fighting a boss’. Yeah. Playing video games. Hence Metal Bat now babysits an executive and his son. When an attack occurs, it isn’t Garou but some monsters. As Saitama waits for the tournament to story, some cocky guy who seems to know Charanko talks to him. He talks about last year’s event where somebody impersonated a participant and went on to win the tournament. That is why this year all disguises and aliases are banned. Otherwise you get sued and even banned permanently. Oh sh*t. The guy believes that impersonator was Garou. One day he got tired of training and decided to beat the crap out of everyone while Bang was away. Though he badmouths Charanko, Saitama calls him a coward since he quit his dojo but Charanko fought Garou one on one. After Metal Bat defeats the monsters, looks like bigger monsters (even monsters have seniors?) attack him. It might seem Metal Bat is having a hard time fighting them but after he pumps himself up, it becomes easy as pie. But it’s not over yet because giant grandpa monster is here! It seems the monsters are targeting the executive and it’s a good thing Metal Bat has been able to hold his ground. With the city under evacuation, Garou is glad to hear Metal Bat in the vicinity. Metal Bat is already busy trying to take down this behemoth and Garou is itching to have a fight with him? He’s serious. Here it comes! Don’t make Metal Bat mad. Because he’s going to bash your crazy head in!

Episode 5
Metal Knight comes to deal with the grandpa centipede monster as Garou fights Metal Bat. However the more damage Metal Bat takes, the stronger and faster he becomes. It somewhat ends only when Metal Bat’s little sister, Zenko intervenes. She forbids the men from doing more violence so I guess nobody can defy nor hurt a loli so that’s that. Some monsters are watching Garou in action. Phoenix Man approaches Garou and invites him to Monster Association. However he is not interested. Phoenix Man leaves for now but believes they will be seeing each other again as long as he is targeting heroes. Once they’ve got the executive’s son, the monsters retreat. However monsters in other cities are still running rampage and many A-class heroes have fallen by the wayside. Meanwhile the martial arts tournament is about to begin and we are introduced to lots of the weird participants. The highlighted ones include defending champion, Bakuzan and an unrivalled contender who has returned after many years of absence, Suiryu. Saitama faces off with the cocky Zakkos who thinks he is hell of a strong. Too bad just one slap is enough to put him down! Damn, is Saitama that strong? Rather, Zakkos is that weak! Yeah, you can hear the crowd in the background laughing like as though this is some sitcom!

Episode 6
Suiryu instantly takes out his opponent. Meanwhile monsters are popping up everywhere and a few are close to the martial arts tournament. Bakuzan doesn’t want the organizer to announce or it will cause panic. If any are close enough, he’ll take care of them. But it is of course Genos who goes to take care all of them before Saitama’s next match. But he is going to miss it since some of them are pretty tough. Because Saitama is now facing off with Bakuzan. The latter thinking he is some newbie with no ambition so he brags what he is going to do to him. Then in one punch Saitama sends him flying out of the ring! OMG! An upset! Genos has finally taken care of the last monster but something fast takes him out. Meanwhile Fubuki is fighting a monster babe who can turn others into her zombie slaves with her whip. She intends to use Fubuki to lure out Tatsumaki but don’t need that because here comes Tatsumaki to clean up Fubuki’s mess. Monster babe can tell she is dangerous and uses her zombies for her escape. She only succeeds since Fubuki doesn’t want Tatsumaki to hurt her zombie-turned subordinates. Suiryu’s next opponent is Snek. The latter contemplating how he has gone weaker and not being able to protect the people like before. He gets riled up hearing Suiryu’s reason for being strong just for the money and to have an easy life. He also believes in survival of the strongest. Because whether there are heroes or not, humans will still survive even if there are monsters or not. That’s how nature works. And in 1 kick, Snek is defeated. Meanwhile we see the king of Monster Association, Orochi. He is pleased with the reports of the rise of their Monster Association and sending panic waves to Hero Association.

Episode 7
While more monsters pop up, don’t fret because S-class heroes are fighting back. Those we see in action include Drive Knight, Child Emperor, Pig God, Flashy Flash (?!) and Tatsumaki. Atomic Samurai discusses with his other sword buddies on taking down Garou before Bang gets defeated. But one of them has betrayed the human race and ate monster cells to become one. He wants them to eat them too or die. Unfortunately for him, Atomic Samurai’s slash is so fast that he disintegrated before he could move. Back to the tournament. After a few boring rounds that end in a single hit, we are now here at the finals. Saitama versus Suiryu. Suiryu starts off with a feint but powerful kicks. This is just warm up, you know. Saitama isn’t fazed and he is more concerned in holding down his wig! Must not get busted. They come to an agreement that Suiryu will teach him martial arts in exchange to be entertained. So a few more powerful moves but it is clearly Suiryu is holding back. And Saitama still holding down his wig. Not until Suiryu starts badmouthing the Hero Association that it hits a nerve in Saitama. So when Suiryu does a surprise kick on Saitama and his wig fell off, Saitama doesn’t give a damn. So if Suiryu wants to have fun, shouldn’t he not get any stronger? Luckily Saitama holds back or else Suiryu would have died. But the force was enough to blow away his shirt! The officials have disqualified Saitama because he broke the rules and declare Suiryu the winner. But the crowd doesn’t want this exciting match to end. So does Suiryu. He gives it his all as he slams and punch all he’s got into Saitama. So after all that Saitama is still okay? But Saitama has learnt something about martial arts. It’s all about the flashy moves, right? And just with the swing of his hips, Suiryu is flung to the other end of the arena! OMFG!!! Cue for Saitama to escape since the officials are going to capture him. Suiryu is in shock that he lost for the first time. Not so fun now, eh?

Episode 8
Suiryu is being awarded and he doesn’t look too happy. Suddenly monsters storm into the arena. One of them being Goketsu. He was previously this tournament’s winner and was rumoured to have been killed by monsters. On the contrary, he was captured and given a chance to eat monsters cells. Now he is stronger than ever. He wants all of them to eat monster cells or die. Those who are weak or desire power eat them and quickly evolve into monsters. However they are easily taken down by Suiryu. Goketsu finds it a waste to kill him and gives him a chance to change his mind. It sure sounds tempting he can enjoy life and do as he wishes but Suiryu passes. He doesn’t want to end up looking ugly. Suiryu fights Goketsu but realizes he cannot even make a scratch on him. As he gets puzzled, he sees Bakuzan and asks for his help. Bakuzan then admits Suiryu is stronger than him but has now given up on being the strongest human after seeing the irony of him having a hard time fighting these monsters. Hence Bakuzan eats all the monster cells to transform himself. But his body can’t handle it and he collapses. To Suiryu’s surprise, Snek and Lightning Max return to help. They easily defeat the monster subordinates but Suiryu is shocked the duo is going to fight Goketsu. Suiryu uses this chance to run as the duo gets pummelled but Suiryu is also hammered by Bakuzan. Looks like his monster activation was delayed. Goketsu leaves and tells Bakuzan to come to their base. But first, Bakuzan torments Suiryu and enjoys every moment of it. On the verge of death, that is when Suiryu sees the importance of heroes. He realizes he needs them and desperately calls out for help. Bakuzan is going to stomp other unconscious participants but they are quickly whisked away by Saitama! IT’S ABOUT TIME YOU SHOWED UP!!!!!!!!!! He thanks Suiryu for holding out and he came after hearing his cries. IT’S ABOUT TIME WE HAVE SOME ONE PUNCH MAN ACTION!!!!!!!!!!!

Episode 9
Bakuzan mocks Saitama. He should’ve sensed something wrong when his punches and kicks have no effect. And then Saitama does his specialty. One punch and he is dead!!! Suiryu informs him what is going on outside as well as Monster Association and those monster cells. He is devastated that Saitama is going to face off Goketsu. He believes he is destined to save more people than die here. But surprise! A decapitated head of Goketsu!!! Suiryu is so impressed that now he has a new goal: He wants to be a hero. Oh Saitama, I know you’re being realistic but please don’t be a wet blanket. How does Suiryu becoming his disciple sound? No way! With the monsters suddenly disappearing, Saitama is left to think deep. He has been bored and this recent events and even joining the martial arts competition out of curiosity, nothing has changed. He talks to King about this empty feeling and how he can’t grow anymore to be strong. Hence he is so bored. For once, King says some mind blowing things. Saitama refuses to do things, take up challenges or stimulate himself but yet he complains. If he wants to see something new, he must open a new path himself because life is an endless journey. If he thinks becoming strong is the end goal, he is mistaken. The endgame of a hero isn’t that simple. Being courageous and taking action for the sake of others is what give heroes their meaning. In that sense, he is still not the ultimate hero. After hearing all that, Saitama is even more bored! Meanwhile, a shocking surprise as Garou barely escaped and is covered in bruises after picking a fight with S-class hero, Watchdog Man. He believes he still has a chance to grow stronger and will test that when he sees King. He is charging at full power when Saitama kicks him away, thinking he is one of those punks trying to earn a name for taking down a hero. Sonic is being confronted by comrades from his village, Tempest Wind and Hellfire Flame. It seems they have joined Monster Association and want him to do the same so they can take down Flashy Flash. Sonic refuses but they give him a monster cell in case he changes his mind. Sonic contemplates on turning into one because his goal is to defeat Saitama and his humanity side already died when he lost. Is he going to eat it? Based on Drive Knight’s info, Hero Associations discuss about Monster Association and their initial ploy is to play along before finding a way to destroy them. Then a message from Monster Association arrives. We see Sonic eating the monster cell. But not after he cooks it well because he is disgusted to eat it in its raw form. What does he feel? A super diarrhoea coming up!

Episode 10
Gyoro-Gyoro negotiates to the Hero Association that the monsters want to be left alone and promise will not rampage anymore. Hence the recent rampage was just to show them their power and hopes both humans and monsters can live in harmony. When one of the executive agrees and puts down his gun, he is shot and killed! So this is just a joke by Gyoro-Gyoro. The real deal is this. He wants Hero Association to gather all their heroes and come to their base to rescue the hostage. Once the message is done, the parasite monster is going to kill them all but S-class hero, Superalloy Blackluster easily squashes it. Gyoro-Gyoro addresses the monsters that this plan is to gather all the heroes and destroy them all once and for all. Once this happens, they can easily take out the rest of the humans. Some monsters aren’t impressed to pledge their allegiance to Orochi. Hence Orochi shows his fearsome tyranny by eating losers, monsters who lost their fight during the rampage. Noticing that Goketsu isn’t around, Gyoro-Gyoro checks about and sees his corpse. Uh oh. Things aren’t going too well. Genos has been given a new body by Kuseno and advised not to rush in. Monster Association makes an official war declaration on Hero Association. Child Emperor is mad that Metal Knight wants out of this operation. The latter thinks this plan will only bring forth more casualties. He has sent in the proposal once they find the Monster Association’s hideout, they should just nuke the damn place and forget about rescuing any hostage but since the executives are thinking about their funding, they rejected his proposal. Hence he doesn’t want anything to do with this mission. Garou takes a rest in that secret shack of that guidebook kid. But other A-class heroes led by Death Gatling have surrounded the place and want him to surrender. Of course Garou won’t do that so they start fighting. As Garou is weakened, he cannot effectively defeat them. Furthermore, the heroes are in sync working well to take this guy down. Eventually Garou gets hit by a couple of poison arrows and is losing strength. Last chance to surrender.

Episode 11
Death Gatling talks about the hierarchy among heroes and that S-class heroes are treated differently. Something that irks him and many other heroes because there are many other talented heroes ignored. Hence he gathered these other Hero Association heroes to make a name for themselves and prove they aren’t just second rate heroes. Garou thinks some would be disappointed in that kind of thinking. Amazingly despite his weakened state, Garou manages to fight back and take out all the heroes. He has learnt their pattern and timing. He even went as far as protecting the shack from Death Gatling’s all-out firing. Yeah, all the bullets had no effect on him. After Death Gatling’s defeat, the poor kid got so scared of Garou that he runs away. Before Garou could take a breather, Genos pops up. Apparently one of the heroes called for backup. With renewed and upgraded power, Genos goes head to head with Garou. Meanwhile Saitama loses his consecutive 81st video game match with King! Damn. Maybe he’ll take out some steam with those monsters rampaging near his place. King asks about Genos because he hasn’t been back and might be taken out by Monster Association. Nah. Saitama believes that guy will be okay. On second thought. Maybe he’ll go check on him. We continue the epic power fight between Genos and Garou. The latter trying to mimic Watchdog Man’s moves for a surprise attack but Genos is still better. Suddenly monsters pop up to tackle Genos. They are here with orders to assist Garou and to bring him to join Monster Association. Garou doesn’t appreciate the help, though. Of course Genos rebounds and kills all the monsters. Just before Genos can finish off Garou, here comes Bang. Time to put an end to this.

Episode 12
Time for master to give his disciple a beat down punishment. Garou tries to flee but Bomb (Bang’s older brother) stops him and joins in the beat down. So great the beat down that it looks like Garou’s life flashes before his eyes. The point in time whereby school kids were playing heroes and they made him the monster. Not that he has any problem with it nor the most popular kid in class, Tatsu playing the hero. It was rather he learnt of the injustice because all the kids ganged up, played unfairly to let Tatsu dominate over Garou that he had no chance to fight back. Even when he did, he was scolded by the teacher that he went berserk and owed everyone an apology. Garou was mad. Unforgiveable. Hence becoming this hero hunter was to make such people feel the blow of the weak. Garou revives and is about to get real when Phoenix Man snatches him away. He lets grandpa centipede handle those pesky heroes. Garou is frustrated and doesn’t acknowledge this because it is meaningless if he doesn’t do it himself. But Phoenix Man tells him he only has himself to blame for not being strong enough to finish this off. We see Bang and Bomb use their martial arts to break the centipede’s exoskeleton. However it moulted and revived. Genos decides to handle this and against the old dudes’ advice not to throw away his life, he does so anyway. Even with all the firepower and innovations he has, including burning the monster from inside out, the centipede is still breathing. At this point Genos is close to defeat. He has tried everything in his book and yet he cannot defeat this monster. He is starting to question his own worth. Bang and Bomb take other heroes for safety but when they realize they will bring the fight back to the city and there would be more casualties, Bang is going to sacrifice himself? Don’t worry, that won’t be. Because King makes a brave announcement to the monster that he has brought Blast (the S-class hero whom this monster has a grudge with). After throwing more insults, the centipede charges at King. Any time now… Saitama!!! This baldy pops up and destroys this monster for good in one punch!!! IT’S ABOUT TIME!!! Genos then asks his master what he is lacking. Uhm, maybe power? And Genos is now enlightened and realizes the path he should strive for! Time to go home.

Own Pace Man
WTF… With that cliff-hanger ending, a third season is very most likely although no news of it has been said. But I’m very sure of it. There’ll be a third season. Very sure… Because if it does not happen, it will surely leave a bad after taste in the mouth. There will be many disappointed fans and angry viewers alike who have come to expect so much and this is what we get? Oh come on. You can do better than that. Why didn’t they expand and make this into a double cour season in the first place? Not enough original and interesting material? Not enough budget? Not enough interest (NO WAY!!!)? Maybe there were reasons but I guess there are somethings behind the scenes that we will never know.

No doubt that this season is also great, I can’t help feel there are mixed feelings while watching this season. You see, there were times when I felt that the martial arts competition as well as introducing the antihero called Garou felt more like time wasting although I believe that it eventually helps in contributing to the bigger picture overall plot. Because of Saitama being away for the martial arts tournament, this contributes to Saitama making somewhat less screen time this season. Yes. This feels somewhat strange seeing he is supposed to be the star of this series. However when I think about it, Saitama being away at the tournament and oblivious to the Monster Association’s rampage, this gives other heroes of Hero Association more screen time to flex their muscles. Remember, Saitama can literally win a battle with just one punch! What was his name again? Therefore had Saitama not participate in the tournament and went on the fight the monsters, it would have been one rather monotonous (although not necessarily boring) affair. After all, so far nobody has ever lived long enough to take his second punch if Saitama is serious in throwing his first punch. So yeah. Saitama racking up the monster body count might be good for Saitama and all you Saitama fans and supporters. But this means other heroes would not get that much needed screen time and some of them might not be even introduced. Then yours truly will complain about this show should do away with all the other characters and just let Saitama and the few be the only heroes in this city.

Then there is the other interesting side plot of introducing another strong character, Garou. At first having this hero hunter felt like also filling in the time and void since showing Saitama participating in the tournament would be just absolutely boring as you know it won’t take up as much screen time. Garou proves to be formidable and what makes him more interesting is his support for monsters. This does not necessarily mean he wants to become a monster but merely he cheers on for them. Many of us never question why we support the heroes and always undermine the villains based on our simple thinking of because they’re the good guys or bad guys. This is natural for many of us so what happens when you have an irregular like Garou? Because of his different opinion, he is shunned and that is probably what drives him to become strong and prove others wrong and that monsters can also become heroes. Sure, many monsters live to destroy humans, etc but not all of them. We don’t really question why they attack those with valid reasons of attacking humanity and thus Garou is out there to prove that point. Maybe they just want to get along? Nah! Garou’s reverse support sometimes reflect reality. You know, when you’re a kid you support all those heroic heroes. But as you grow older into an adult, you realize and connect better with the villains. Yeah, monsters here could have earned the sympathy of some viewers had not they look so hideous. Had they look like those cool mutants in X-Men, well, maybe. Garou does have a valid point to prove. Just that he might be going about in the wrong way. So remember kids, remember who you bully back in elementary school. It’ll definitely come back to bite you if you’re not careful. Despite Garou making his name around as the hero hunter, I don’t think he’ll have the last laugh just yet.

As mentioned, thanks to the martial arts tournament as well as Garou the hero hunter, these help give other heroes some of the spotlight and introduce some that we have not previously heard of. While I have no complaints about the heroes, sometimes I feel that this is just one big convention of weird cosplayers. You know, heroes seem to have this unwritten code of wearing really odd clothes to supposedly match their ridiculous and odd powers. I guess there are so many heroes that sometimes it becomes a chore to really differentiate them. It’s like whatever ideas you got here, please throw them in and we’ll call that some A-class or B-class hero. Some even so lazily named like Megane because he wears glasses. Not that I can see how his power comes from there either. Then there is this typical cowboy westerner who shoots with his twin pistols. What’s he called? Gun Gun. Yeah… And there is this punk who has a Mohawk hairstyle so he is called, you’ve guessed it, Mohican. Damn. These heroes sometimes feel more like jokers and seeing them when they are first introduced it serves up to make you smile and laugh. If you want more laughs of the kind of lazily named heroes, you can look up the internet. Yeah, you’ll find plenty of such hilariously named known heroes for now…

But for all the other characters that have appeared in the first season, some are a hit and miss. Hits like Genos who seems to be trying to improve himself battle after battle so as Saitama’s disciple, he seems to be making quite a steady progress despite still having a lot more room for improvement. That is why the much needed final episode to have some Genos drama to doubt his own abilities. And just like that his insecurities are assured thanks to Saitama’s whimsical (and possibly honest) answer. Even Metal Bat is cool going so far as to have an episode named after him! Some misses like Tatsumaki just making that one short stinking cameo appearance and it feels like Fubuki has more screen time than her. Albeit that is just the start of the season and when the real sh*t starts to hit the fan, she’s like back into the shadows. Same for Sonic and from the looks of it, I think his revenge match against Saitama will yet be put on hold again. Though, I have a feeling that Sonic will eventually team up with Saitama and the heroes. I may be speculating wrongly but this baddie isn’t just a baddie and for him to still be alive and come this far, he’s got to have more than that. I know this series isn’t over by a long shot yet but it’s sad thinking that many of such beloved characters are somewhat ‘forgotten’ and ‘not heard of again’ by the end of this second season. Damn, I really starting to hate how this season’s cliff-hanger ended.

Talking about the star of this series, Saitama seems awfully side-lined this season. But remember what I said about him easily defeating his opponents. Having him do that for this entire second season may not be so fun. That’s why even the final episode we see some other action and drama from other characters before Saitama shows up his short cameo and ends everything. Are we supposed to be happy or disappointed with that? Because you know sh*t is going to happen if Saitama takes more than one punch to defeat his enemies, right?! Hence we see him being absolutely bored at the martial arts tournament as well as hanging out with King and playing video games with him. The irony is that he never wins against King and this might be a sign that says if Saitama doesn’t end his fight in one punch, could he have actually lost the battle if the fight requires the enemy to take many hits before keeling over? This is really food for thought. Even much more than the thought of why his gloves are still intact after his one punch specialty. Because if the monster wears the same material from his gloves, will they be safe from his punch?

Saitama being the strongest character (though not officially in this series’ setting) means that he is just bored with everything and there is nothing more that could challenge him. This explains why he sounds so monotonous and so mundane in everything he does. Like as though he doesn’t care. Actually he does. Somewhat. But he views it as troublesome rather than something excited to look forward to. We can see it from both sides of the coin. While he does look like he has reached the pinnacle of supposedly being strong, this might look like an insult to those who have been trying so hard but never reached a fraction of his strength. Essentially both are right and wrong. Nobody is perfect. Not even Saitama is because although he is definitely super strong, he isn’t quite happy. He has been questioning his life’s goal and purpose but thankfully he still has stuck to his heroic qualities. He might sound half-hearted in shelling out his motivation to many of those heroes he stumbled into and saved, but I’m sure he also means it. I mean, I’m sure he isn’t just saying it for fun that if you have time to be depressed, you should use that to move forward and improve. And because he is at the peak of being strong, he certainly can’t see what ordinary people see. So sometimes it is also good like for King to give a good pep talk to try and bring him down to perspective. So keep trying harder in those video games.

With Saitama having this line of thought, there is this scary thought that he might just screw being a hero and join the Monster Association or become a solo entity like Garou and just go around killing others for thrill. Because he is the main hero and character and what we have been invested seeing in him so far, it is not very likely he will turn into that but as the chances aren’t zero, there is still that dangerous small probability. I know I won’t like it to see Saitama turn out like that and I am very confident the producers won’t (lest they want to anger everyone with this sick twist) but still, sometimes you can’t help worry about this small minor unimportant stuffs.

Saitama may not have realized it but he does change a few people’s lives that he has touched. As we see from last season why Genos decided to follow him and become his pupil. This season we are introduced to Suiryu who is probably a frog in the well. He thinks nobody else is stronger than him until he actually meets one. And the irony was how he viewed heroes with disdain and doesn’t really care much about them until his own life was in peril. It goes to show that a man can change. It would be really even more awesome if Suiryu actually becomes Saitama’s follower and I am betting that he would. Otherwise it would be a waste to just introduce this character and then toss him away like he never existed. Then Saitama’s exclusive club of strong people will continue to grow…

Just like the heroes, the monsters are equally, uhm, is diverse the correct word? Sometimes I feel that designs of characters who are ‘ugly’ enough are to become monsters instead of heroes. And you’ve guessed it, some of them even weirdly and hilariously named. Like Black Sperm… Seriously?! And did Sesame Street’s Big Bird moonlight as Phoenix Man or his distant cousin or something? So last season we had an alien coming all across the universe just to fight the best. Now we have a local antagonist and with the introduction of Monster Association, we can see that things are really heating up and sh*t probably to hit the fan another time. Interestingly the monster cells seen that can turn humans into monsters should have been fleshed out better but I guess they might want to leave that for next season and I hope they do. Are there cells to turn monsters into humans? Well, I certainly don’t see humans making this technology. They might have created the most advanced and destructive weapons but I don’t see them doing so in this medical and biology thingy. Orochi being the ruthless king of the monsters, let’s hope he would give Saitama a much better run for his money than last season’s Boros so that we are all entertained.

This season’s action bits are still top-notched and it is the driving factor why this series continues to be popular. All the ridiculous and overpowered moves from the characters are still fun to watch no matter how freaking fast or absurdly strong they are. You can say the firepower packs a punch. You think that they are strong enough? Wait till another character shows up and shows us another stronger move! So earth shattering. If monsters don’t destroy the city, the impact of these monstrous heroes would do the job. These heroes sure put those in Dragonball to shame. It’s not merely just over 9000! It’s over 9 billion may not be even enough! And then of course, Saitama’s specialty of ending it all with just a single punch that makes him look like making no effort whatsoever (and making other heroes slog like hell with their skillsets and firepower), I don’t know if we are supposed to be glad-cum-entertained with everything ending so fast.

With last season’s seiyuus retained, new ones are added to the already bloated casts. Yeah, a lot more heroes here so I believe the list is twice as much. But I’m going to mention the notable and main ones. Heh. Not much. Those I recognized include Hiroki Yasumoto as King and Takehito Koyasu as Gyoro-Gyoro. The rest are Hikaru Midorikawa as Garou (Lancer in Fate/Zero), Masaya Matsukaze as Suiryu (Ren in Jigoku Shoujo), Atsushi Ono as Orochi (Giriko in Bleach) and Kenji Nomura as Goketsu (Ushiyama in Golden Kamuy). Maintaining the absolutely epic style of last season’s opener, JAM Project returns to sing again this season with an equally epic hard rock Seijaku No Apostle. Don’t you just feel the power welling up in you right now?! And that totally epic metal hard core scream at the end of the song! YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!! Also following last season’s trend, the ending theme is also a slow ballad, Chizu Ga Nakutemo Modoru Kara by Makoto Furukawa (voice of Saitama). Though, this song doesn’t feel as empty and hollow like last season’s. Damn, Saitama belting out this piece? If he wasn’t a hero, I bet he is a good crooner!

Overall, this season still rocks but because of the cliff-hanger and Saitama not in action in so many scenes, some felt like this season is a downer and did not live up to its amazing first season. Sometimes I too get caught in that thought and that it could have been much more epic even though there was an onslaught of heroes vs monsters action. That is the danger when you have built up so much hype and expectation that you become too big to fail. If Saitama knows all this and could break the fourth wall, he would have told us all off to stop b*tching our lazy asses because the producers and staffs worked really hard to bring you this epic entertainment! So at least be grateful you can watch this season in comfort without having to worry monsters suddenly come stomping in your neighbourhood and all animes on air have to be temporarily suspended until further notice! Yeah, that would suck a lot. Look at all the monsters that the anime industry has created. Now it is coming to bite them back with toxic fans and complacent viewers now complaining about how ‘inferior’ this season is. The only heroes that are going to save this series and the anime industry is to make better animes!

Shoumetsu Toshi

September 22, 2019

Why do I have this tingling sense that yet another sci-fi anime series is going to bomb? But yet I am interested to catch what it is all about? Shoumetsu Toshi somehow brings to mind that failure in RErideD: Tokigoe No Derrida. But at least this one doesn’t involve time travelling. So the intriguing thing that had me wanting to find out more was thanks to the synopsis that didn’t reveal much. An unfortunate incident that caused a big chunk of Tokyo to disappear and life to be extinguished, a young girl was the only survivor. Many years later, her father who was thought to have perished in that phenomenon, a message was somewhat received for him. A guy is tasked to deliver her into that black hole to decipher the truth. And of course, there is always that hidden conspiracy behind it that makes moving one step closer to the truth hard and life difficult for everybody.

Episode 1
While the popular idol group, SPR5 is performing, a sudden phenomenon of the place being engulfed in some black hole occurs. Fast forward many years later, Yuki seems to be an experiment subject in a facility run by the Agency but Takuya easily takes out those personnel and kidnaps her. Takuya claims he was hired to deliver her and the contract ends once he does that. Riding fast on his Vespa, WTF strange spiritual monk starts standing on his hands to stop him from steering his bike?! More WTF as I don’t know what Yuki did to release some spirit balls to knock him away. With others in hot pursuit, they are then picked up into a truck. Hopped in, rather. Unbelievable manoeuvrability. And with that the pursuers lost them?! Fail! Scientists Eiji and Kikyou examine Yuki and she seems stabilized. They want to know what the Agency has been doing to her. They also narrate about that black hole incident 3 years ago called Lost. Rumours say it was manmade as many victims lost their lives. Yuki is a lone survivor of Lost. Something about those spirits being called Tamashi. Huh? Anyway, Eiji wants Takuya to do another job and that is to head to Lost. The place is quarantined by the government, no progress whatsoever ever since and all forms of communications within the area are blocked. Oh, did he mention that nobody alive has ever returned from entering there? So why hire him?! It seems they received an encrypted code that is from Yuki’s father saying that he is waiting at Lost. Hence Eiji wants Takuya to take Yuki to Lost to ascertain if her father is still alive. Better pay him good.

Takuya seeks the help of his geeky friend, the aptly named Geek to fix his bike. Yeah, he is a big SPR5 fan. Geek thinks it is dangerous to go to Lost but Takuya’s policy is to finish his job. Because he sees Yuki as a package instead of a human, I guess Yuki felt hurt and left on her own. How the f*ck can these guys lose a girl like that?! Did she wander that far?! As Takuya goes to find her, he also calls Yumiko to help find the quickest route to Lost. Eventually Takuya finds Yuki. She doesn’t have to believe in him. Believe in your father! Yeah. Enough for her to get on the ride with him. Unbelievable manoeuvrability as Takuya dodges debris and even that damn monk! This guy is taking all the damage but his bike is still functioning?! Yuki feels bad and wants to give up (flashback of her happy family moments – because dad and brother are now victims of Lost). After Takuya lectures her about not giving up again, WTF moment for Yuki as she somehow manages to summon her former bodyguard, Akira! WTF?! Gun slinging Akira shoots down the monk! With submachine guns!!! Although Takuya and Yuki are safe, the people from Agency crash them. It seems they know where they are because Yumiko betrayed him. She works for the Agency too. She wants to do the honours to kill Takuya.

Episode 2
Yumiko shoots the agent instead. Betraying the Agency, huh? She and Kouta decide to help them. With the area now under intense lockdown, they hide in Yumiko’s secret place. If Yumiko is going to help him, he also needs her to work with Geek as he knows how to fix his bike. So the easiest way to bait him is to use SPR5 on the chatrooms? It worked. Later as Takuya talks to Yuki, he learns about Akira who was her father’s bodyguard but died during Lost while trying to protect her. She isn’t sure if that Tamashi she summoned was actually him. The gang take the subway as the fastest way to get into Lost. Of course the Agency guys led by Suzuna are waiting for them. Conveniently a door to another room. Yumiko lets the rest proceed while she deals with Suzuna. I think Suzuna is just toying with Yumiko. She could have really shoot and killed her but yet they talk about their different ideals on freedom. On Kouta’s side, they manage to dispatch the stupid Agency henchmen. Until Kouta gets a knife stabbed in a back by this Tamashi knife dude! Takuya takes and forces Yuki to escape instead of mourning over Kouta. Oh no. Don’t lose heart again. No time for that as knife dude is hot on their tail. Convenient so convenient because here comes Geek in his truck to bring them away. Oh man, knife dude is fly and chasing them. Takuya sounds like he wants to sacrifice himself to stop this bastard but Yuki comes along with him. Hey, don’t lecture her about decisions. She decides this one by herself. I’m amazed his bike can make such great moves without any damage. So what Takuya figured out this knife dude’s trick that he can pop up to where he throws his knife? Because at the end of the day, Yuki just needs to summon Akira and blow him away! Yeah, should have used the submachine gun instead of your pea shooter in the first place. In the aftermath, Takuya and Yuki agree to help each other. But first they need to pick up Yumiko and Kouta. I wonder if Suzuna has done the job. And poor Kouta looks like he bite the dust…

Episode 3
Yeah well, Yumiko is amazingly alive albeit bleeding all over. The place where Kouta died, looks like his body is missing… Geek and Takuya realize something amiss. They have been going around in circles. Even weird, they witness SPR5 arguing outside the concert hall they are supposed to be performing shortly? Something about group leader, Yua unhappy that she heard SPR5 will be disbanded. Geek realizes they have gone back to a certain point in time. As they try to move along, they come back to the same place and see the same argument taking place again. I guess this makes Geek he needs to take action to prevent SPR5 to perform in that doomed concert. He finds Yua and talks to her. Not that she believes him. As a big fan, he can tell her character and some hit close to heart. This concert that Yua is supposed to perform in, she didn’t actually perform and was stated as sick although many fans believed she wasn’t and there was a conspiracy behind it. Just when she starts to believe him, she disappears. Takuya and Yuki try to get out but again end up in the same place. Same SPR5 argument. This has Yuki believe Yua is responsible for this space pocket and wonder if those Tamashi are controlled by others. This time Yuki goes to find Yua, talk to her about the need to do something or nothing happens. Otherwise she’ll end up like her. Damn that worked. Meanwhile Takuya tries to find SPR5’s manager, Seiji but to no avail. Yua makes up with the rest of SPR5 and they go on to perform together. With that, Takuya and co manage to get out of this time loop. But when Geek checks for change in history, it is still the same. Yua did not perform at that concert and SPR5 was still a victim of Lost. With fatty feeling down, Yuki thinks she understands about Tamashi. With so many people getting caught in Lost then, they have regrets and unfulfilled wishes. Hence Tamashi is a person’s will taking shape. Yua’s regret was strong that she created that time loop world. Even though they couldn’t change the past, she doesn’t think their efforts were futile. Oh look another Tamashi crashing their bike. Oh sh*t, is that Souma? Yuki’s brother? Well, Yuki doesn’t seem all too surprise to know he is alive. Because he is trying to kill Takuya and claims Yuki should come back with him. They’re family and need to support each other. Yuki won’t accept this. Because of that, did she try summoning so hard that it becomes a huge explosion? Crater size explosion!

Episode 4
Takuya is wheeled into ICU and Geek blames Eiji for putting him up to this. It’s partly Yuki’s fault too, right? Eiji offers everyone his home as a place to hide for now. When they leave, they are confronted by police officers, Ryouko Negishi and Shunpei Aoyama try to press Yuki for answers since a CCTV caught Yuki and Takuya within the restricted area. Luckily Eiji has got his answers prepared so they can’t prod further. Wow. Eiji’s place is a mansion?! I guess when he meant it was a good place to hide, it meant luxurious. Yumiko stays by Takuya’s side. She is shocked when Suzuna is here. Don’t worry, she won’t kill him but to offer her info. Ryouko goes to see freelance detective, Keigo Hidaka to find out more info on Takuya since she has a hunch he used to be in this same profession as him. Takuya wakes up and is updated by Yumiko. He asks about Seiji but is told he just died in an accident. Ryouko tries her luck and talks to Yuki again. She talks about her own father who was an officer whom she looked up to. But when he became a victim of Lost, she became frustrated rather than sad. That’s why she became an officer and still believes he is still alive. This reignites hope in Yuki for hers. A little PR goes a long way because now Yuki opens up on what the Agency had done to her. Ryouko tries to investigate a lab belonging to Lacuna. She should know better she can’t search around without a warrant and is of course turned away. Ryouko gets scolded by her superior for snooping where her nose doesn’t belong but if her instincts tell her, it is only because she is getting close to the truth. Keigo has found an old picture of Takuya. Ryouko looks at some old real estate files and finds a contract of Lacuna trying to buy a certain factory for their second research facility. Although they won the bid, they retracted soon after. As the date shows the day before Lost, it only confirms they knew Lost was going to happen. Suddenly Shunpei stabs her! Yup, this guy is from the Agency. So he doesn’t make sure she’s dead?! Yumiko talks to Yuki about Suzuna’s info. Souma is still alive. As long as she heads toward Lost, he will appear again. Is she is not resolved to do not, please don’t involve Takuya. Yuki’s answer? She wants to save Souma. I guess we’re going.

Episode 5
Yuuji reports to Keigo that Aoyama’s body is found floating at the port. Ryouko’s division has been shut and the chief transferred out. Though they are frustrated with this, it seems Keigo has another plan. A plan that involves the famous magician, Yoshiaki. He goes to see Takuya and knows about Phantom Thief Brigade X that Takuya and Yumiko once tried to catch but failed. The team’s leader, Tsubasa is Yoshiaki’s older brother whom he hasn’t seen in 10 years. He hopes to make a deal so he can see him again. Yuki notices an Artefact known as Tsuki’s Tears is on display at a museum. Because Souma had something similar. Eiji explains research showed it had mystic powers and it is believed to give wielders powers. Now, Yoshiaki believes Hoshi’s Tears that Brigade is holding is its pair and hence they will target Tsuki’s Tears. Takuya and Yumiko are suspicious. Because Hoshi’s Tears is in the Agency’s hands. Could it be Brigade and Agency are connected? If so, this could be a trap. Takuya’s side are heading towards the museum but they are intercepted by Brigade. So putting out Eiji’s van is enough? Flashback shows Tsubasa tried to ambush when Taiyou the boss of the Agency was trying to make some deal. However his secretary, Tsuki protected him and received a huge slash on her back. It left a hideous scar. Was Tsubasa in despair that he got killed? When Brigade prepares to steal Tsuki’s Tears, they are shocked to see Souma and in possession of the real Hoshi’s Tears. Flashback shows they tried to prove to Tsubasa they can also steal something without him but unfortunately the Hoshi’s Tears they stole was fake. Souma wastes no time to pulverize them. Meanwhile Takuya’s side realizes Hoshi’s Tears is not in its display. I believe they aren’t so dumb to leave it unguarded, right? Besides, where’s security in this place?! Then they go join in the fight. Takuya and Brigade’s side accuse the other of working with Souma. But Souma is not happy to see Takuya alive and tries to kill him. Oh just in time for Akira to pop up to protect him! Apparently Souma also has bad blood with Akira. When mom died, Souma blamed him for not protecting her despite being their bodyguard.

Episode 6
I guess who shoots better projection wins and looks like Souma is having the upper hand. It took a while for Akira to use his submachine guns but that’s still not good enough. Yoshiaki tries to be a hero and intervene but fails. However this distraction allows Akira to shoot and destroy Hoshi’s Tears. Don’t be happy yet. Souma has another trick up his sleeve. Yup, he has Tsuki’s Tears. He summons Tsubasa from it and has him blast Akira with his magic icicles. Cue for short flashback showing how his subordinates followed him because he’s a nice chap? I guess Akira holding out this long means Yuki’s determination is strong, right? Well, she can’t hold out longer. It’s really killing her. After Akira is destroyed, Souma orders Tsubasa to kill Yoshiaki. We can see Tsubasa reluctant and purposely missing his icicles. I guess we never learn because with Souma being mad and distracted, the Brigade guys manage to make him drop Tsuki’s Tears from his hand. Yoshiaki picks it up and feels some connection to Tsubasa. He uses his power to make it disappear. Now Souma is the one panicking as he loses power. Yoshiaki now access Tsubasa’s memories. The memories he never knew. As they were part of an orphanage for disabled kids, it seems the kids also underwent experiments. Tsubasa made a fuss with his ability to make things disappear. This was so that the attention can now be brought upon him. With the focus on him, he vowed to destroy all Artefacts before Yoshiaki’s power awakens. Only then he can be truly free. Tsubasa formed his little Brigade and subsequently got caught up during Lost because he received a distress call from Yoshiaki, thinking Taiyou did something to him. The brothers say their last goodbyes before Tsubasa is gone forever. Now that the Brigade wants to cut up Souma, Yuki won’t let them yet. She tries to save Souma but he accuses her of always thinking she is always right. I guess he can’t jump to his death because big sister’s hug saves the day. Tsuki blames Suzuna for this failed plan because now Souma is in the enemy’s hands. She should have seen this coming. Even so, Suzuna notes this is what Taiyou wanted. Souma is unconscious and ‘safe’ at Eiji’s place. They need to do something before Agency comes for him. Takuya and Yoshiaki meet Keigo who wants them to head to the orphanage.

Episode 7
The moment they step into the orphanage, they are transported back in time. Looks like some Tamashi still has regrets. And Takuya believes it is Hinako, one of the caretakers of the orphanage. It all began when Takuya tried to save Geek when he raked up debts in some bar. Of course the punks can’t ‘joke’ so before they deal with him, Kaibara stepped in to warn them and they back off. Takuya was then invited to join Kaibara’s detective agency and introduced to Yumiko. Takuya continued training and before you know it, he became their ace. So to show appreciation, Kaibara gave him his scooter? Gee, thanks. One day, Kaibara wanted Takuya to investigate the orphanage as they are being suspected of child abuse. Hence Takuya went undercover as a caretaker. He noticed there is a certain line of thought that runs through the orphanage and free thinking like Takuya isn’t welcomed. It is obvious that the more Hinako interacts with Takuya, the more she wavers in her beliefs. Takuya’s regret was never pressing her about the children who were chosen that were taken away from the orphanage. The reason given was they were to meet prospective parents but we know the real reason was that they were sent to the lab. However Takuya had a hunch what was going on but before he could do anything, Kaibara pulls him out of the investigation and drops the case. Takuya even saw Kaibara talking to the orphanage’s principal and should’ve continued investigating after being taken off the case. On the day Hinako invited him to go watch the circus with the kids, he declined with reason he tendered his resignation. Yes, that day was Lost. The current Takuya regretted not stopping her and now tries to do so. Hinako tells him her wish is to tell the kids the truth when they get back and thanks Takuya for changing their line of thought. With the regrets taken care of, Takuya and co return to normal time. Shortly after that incident, Takuya quit the detective agency but kept the scooter as he wanted to continue believing in Kaibara. Keigo thought he wasted time looking through the documents in the safe but it’s all trash. But Takuya knows where Hinako kept the documents. In the birdhouse, there is a ledger of financial records that links the orphanage to Lacuna. With this damning evidence, Yoshiaki is willing to risk everything to testify as live witness. When they return, Yuki sees the orphanage’s group photo and recognizes the principal as she has seen him many times in the facility. Takuya and Yumiko are surprised because they thought the Agency disposed of him.

Episode 8
Yoshiaki puts up the greatest magician show. Making it look like he is going to randomly make a building disappear, that building is Lacuna! With that, people and reporters flock outside Lacuna hoping to glimpse this magic. I hope he isn’t pulling off a Lost style disappearance. With this commotion, Takuya, Yuki and Geek manage to get in via their fake IDs and Geek streams the inside live. They confront the principal who has been promoted to some director but he calls the Agents to beat them up. We didn’t see how but Takuya manages to beat the sh*t out of them! These guys need more training! The principal somewhat confesses he did it all for the money to run the orphanage. So in a way, he’s still thinking about the kids, right?! Meanwhile Yoshiaki turns this magic show into some big revelation as he reveals he was an experiment subject at Lacuna. With the public now hounding for answers, the police take action to take Taiyou and Tsuki in for questioning. Taiyou surprisingly agrees. After Takuya and co leave Lacuna, they are being told Souma is starting to act strange. Damn, this kid is shooting light beams now?! Taiyou’s interrogation won’t last long as the commissioner is his lapdog and apologizes for all this and sets him free. It seems all this is part of Taiyou’s plan to test Souma. He considers him a failure as he can’t control himself without an Artefact. As he didn’t go berserk after losing Tsuki’s Tears, that is because Yuki was nearby and served as his Artefact. Now she’s away… Yup, he is displaying symptoms of Lost. It’s like an excuse that he has to die for Lost to be triggered because this allows the city to be evacuated. Of course Yuki won’t let this go. Once again, Takuya delivers her as far as he can but when his scooter can go no more, damn is Yuki flying????!!! Oh, it’s Akira. I wonder how his machine guns can fight against the light beams. Nope. Lost. But he did bring Yuki closer to Souma who is now a big ugly blob. She hears him hate everything, fear everything, don’t come close, don’t want to die. Then she hugs him. He explodes but not Lost v2. Yuki sad her brother’s gone. Taiyou disappointed Lost didn’t happen.

Episode 9
Daichi along with Taiyou and Tsuki were researchers at Lacuna. One day, Ryouko’s dad came to investigate Daichi because a person who died 50 years ago somehow had the same dental records as him. So what? Murder for stolen identity? In time, the trio quickly rise up to the top thanks to Taiyou and Tsuki systematically disposing the higher ups. With them in control of the lab, it is revealed that they are from another universe. There were many other volunteers too but it is not known what happened to them and the 3 of them are left. That’s why Taiyou wants Daichi to concentrate in creating a portal to save millions in their own decaying universe. This is called Project Noah. So theoretically to open that portal, an immense amount of info is needed and it will open a big hole in Tokyo, hence the more people, the better. While Daichi was working on the portal, Taiyou and Tsuki were handling the bioengineering. They were testing kids with abilities and trying to filter out those who aren’t affected by the surge particle because people must move freely through the portal without losing their memories. However Daichi soon gets romantically involved (an awkward one, that is) with the nice cafeteria lady, Mifuyu. He sympathizes that some people hate her because her bus driver dad killed many. The real story goes when she was sick, he worked extra hours to cover the medical expenses but that backfired. She liked his idea and theory of a parallel world because she wished there was one where she never existed and her dad could do his job happily. With Daichi’s work affected, Taiyou warns him not to prioritize a single life over millions. But you know, they both fell in love and had their first child named Yuki. That was when Taiyou blew his top because he thought a being that is not fully from either universe has been born. Daichi believed she has both and her existence is not a contradictory. Daichi warns if they touch his family, he will kill them. Though Daichi claims the portal will soon be ready, Taiyou warns back to run tests and no more slowdowns are allowed. Or else. Many years later as he has completed some safety device and is going to run tests to ensure it won’t be used for evil (yeah, they always think that), somehow WTF how in the world did those agents hack and disable the safety features?! That is when Lost happened. Daichi realizes he has failed to protect the ones he loves but believes there is still a chance. Whatever encryption he left behind was picked up by Eiji, his researcher partner.

Episode 10
Surprise! Kouta is still alive! Apparently Kaibara saved him. Takuya is in disbelief because he thinks that guy is now on the Agency’s side but Kouta claims he is the one who is misunderstanding Kaibara. While Takuya’s scooter is being fixed, we see Kikyou talking to depressed Yuki, Eiji trying to lay off Takuya from his delivery job as well as Taiyou explaining to Tsuki and Suzuna. Just to let us know that now everybody knows the truth. It seems the Lost created by Souma isn’t over yet and is slowly expanding. Albeit it will take decades. The reason being could be Daichi doing something to suppress its expansion. Because Taiyou tried to send messages there but none was received, only that single message from Daichi was received. It could be the reason why Yuki is heading there. Hence Taiyou thought let Yuki run free or Souma go berserk. But the answer is simpler: Eliminate Daichi. He is going to do so by entering Lost. What about the surge particle thingy? That’s what the experiments are for. Of course so far all have failed as the test subjects at the minimum limit turn into vegetative state or in worst case, die. So we see the gang hang out and kill some time. Yeah, Takuya’s scooter must be the most important factor. For some reason, Yumiko called Kouta to ask Takuya to get some tomatoes. This leads him to a farm whereby he sees Kaibara being a happy tomato farmer! A few words of advice. Including his life is how he sees fit to live it. I guess that’s enough to make Takuya’s day. Taiyou’s experiments continue to fail. He then starts thinking maybe they themselves can’t be affected since they’re from the other universe. Tsuki can’t take any more of this so she offers to be the test subject. Everything goes well and she still remembers her memories. Then Taiyou decides to up everything to the max! Oh sh*t! Looking scared now, huh?! But it did confirm Taiyou’s hypothesis… Meanwhile, a weird conversation between Takuya and Yuki. They’re talking about the kind of normal life and house they want to live in. Is this a sign they want to date after all this? Once Takuya’s scooter is ready, it’s time to ride to hell. Hold on to your seatbelts. In Yuki’s case, hold on tight to him.

Episode 11
Takuya and Yuki continue their journey. They see Taiyou’s team and realize he is already making his move to Lost. Better hurry. Yoshiaki and Brigade hand them a transmitter so they can stay connected with the rest while in Lost. Wait. Nobody knows anything in Lost so how do they even know this technology can work?! Meanwhile, the rest are trying to hack and storm into Lacuna facilities. I see that’s why they need to hack the antenna so they can constantly stay connected to Takuya and Yuki. Don’t worry. It’ll be easy. Those agents are dumb. But Geek is having a hard time trying to hack and decrypt the password security. Until a member of Brigade (hacker loli, rather) helps by hooking him up to some super computer so everything is okay. Taiyou is at the fringes of Lost as he relieves Suzuna of her duties. Suzuna then points her gun at him. It seems her real intention is to get revenge on him for all the people he sacrificed for his test. By the time Takuya and Yuki arrive, Suzuna is close to death. Shot by her former employer. She tells them Taiyou has gone into Lost by himself and apologizes to Yuki for making her go through a lot. Too late, but I guess it’s better than never. Takuya and Yuki dive into Lost. Do they even need to ride the scooter? Whatever. They experience weird flashbacks. Is this some sort of pseudo summary of important things that have happened to them? Anyway, those flashbacks also feel like regrets that they could have done something. As the duo are like living zombie since Lost is taking a toll on them, Taiyou is still cool and sinking deeper. He finally enters an area where Daichi is. The latter only existing in digital format. We return to the memories of the duo. This time, Takuya is losing his recognition of Yuki. Who this girl? And somehow the moment they touch, they get their memories back and resume their ride deeper into Lost. I suppose that is why others keep telling us in that hopeless situation when they lost contact of the duo in Lost (pun not intended), only their strong bonds allow their memories to stay intact as long as they continue supporting each other. How convenient. Breaking through, they see Taiyou trying to kill digital Daichi. How do strangle something made out of 1’s and 0’s? Yuki is distraught and summons Akira for his submachine gun overkill! Sure she won’t hit her father like that?!

Episode 12
At least Akira did something good by blocking Taiyou’s super blast. Taiyou thinks the reason Daichi is trying to prevent Lost is Yuki. He wants to eliminate her but he starts to feel the effects. The medicine effects wearing off? Daichi then tells him it is because he is alone. One’s existence is maintained from continual mutual confirmation. With Tsuki being the last one who believes in him, I guess Taiyou can’t be God anymore. Daichi reveals the reason he brought Yuki here is because she can choose worlds. As an observer, she has the ability to do everything over. We are shown scenes of Yuki living a happy and normal family life. Taiyou and Tsuki are sentenced to prison over their exploitation of the orphanage’s kids. Ryouko’s dad has been credited in bringing them down although Takuya’s infiltration was also a large part to play in that. Yoshiaki and Tsubasa continue to remain together. SPR5 continues to perform. This is what the future should have been and Daichi wants Yuki to choose. However she won’t. WHAT?! Despite the tragedy of Lost, everyone lived on so desperately. Choosing one means to deny the existence of the other. Also, this is to show that they are not as weak as he thinks. WTF?! SINCE WHEN YOU A MASOCHIST, YUKI?! Oh, father must be so heartbroken that he did this all for her only to be wasted. Because Taiyou returns to crush this dude! Yuki, see what you’ve done?! However Taiyou (not looking a lot like some last boss demon monster) starts to grow weak. It seems there is some shard embedded in his heart. He remembers when Suzuna shot him, part of her bullet managed to get stuck there. Suzuna’s ability is to predict the future. All paths ended in failure except for this outcome that technically didn’t spell success outright, but it wasn’t a failure. Good thing Akira left his gun because now Takuya can guide Yuki to shot one in Taiyou. Daichi then holds Taiyou back and tells the duo to get out on the scooter. Vroom! But it seems Brigade only finds Yuki lying unconscious. In the aftermath, we see Yoshiaki still a small time magician, Keigo still a small time detective, Kouta is Kaibara’s tomato farmer assistant, Eiji, Kikyou and Geek forming a new Lost committee to recruit talents to help solve this Lost problem and Yuki living a pretty normal high school life. Unfortunately she has no memories of Takuya. You mean only him? Despite no news of Takuya’s whereabouts, either they’re doing a bad job or just straight out lying to protect him (for whatever reasons). Because we see him riding his trademark yellow scooter (can’t miss it)… STALKING YUKI?! I guess he didn’t want to call out to her so he leaves her familiar ribbon on the post. Recall something?

Still Lost And Never Found Ever After
WTF?! What the heck is this weak and unsatisfying ending?! Yuki not remembering Takuya anymore feels like a sad ending. But since it isn’t confirmed that ribbon would spark her memories back, I guess it is up to us to interpret if we want to or not. But it doesn’t matter. Because unlike Yuki, we don’t have the ability to choose worlds! WTF?! I still can’t believe Yuki chose the status quo path which has everyone continuing their suffering. I guess she lost too much (pun intended) that she has gone crazy so there is no difference at all with the outcome staying the same. It could have been utopia and paradise but nope. She didn’t want that. No siree. She’s so kind so as not to deny the other existence whom we’d all probably won’t give a f*ck nor remember had she chosen that. Uh huh. Screw the other people from the other universe. Oh Yuki, your actions have killed the future of millions! You’ve also wasted daddy’s efforts because if this is what Yuki chose, is there any reason for him to delay Lost? Besides, the final episode also feel so rushed and had a few things shoehorned in especially Taiyou conveniently being defeated. I guess he didn’t see things that far ahead, huh? Suzuna’s character being written just for this convenient role and some other stuffs that prevents Taiyou from being Almighty, oh well, that’s the path we’ve chosen. Also, it’s not clear whether Taiyou perished along with Daichi or they remained trapped in that hell hole for eternity. But whatever. And how was only Yuki found unconscious after escaping Lost? My guts tell me Takuya rode out and left her there. That’s why you don’t see him around. Hey, mission accomplished. Delivered her to and back. Not like he’s getting extra paid.

I believe the story has been a train wreck from the start. Rather, a scooter that has taken on so much damage and continue to limp its way to the finish line. Feels a lot like that. I think they want to keep up with the intrigue and the mysteries surrounding Lost and hence they added in all those elements to ramp up the captivation level but it got messy and beating around the bush that I felt it was just an ultimate fail. Thus the only ‘interesting’ episode was the flashback on Taiyou and Daichi, their true goals and intentions. The mystery behind Lost somewhat solved. But it still didn’t take away the bad pacing and storytelling of the rest of the other episodes like how they deviate and meander with that SPR5 time looping déjà vu crap and Yoshiaki and Tsubasa’s past. It’s not that we understand anything much about this Tamashi thingy. Just an excuse that serves as Yuki’s ‘weapon’ because Takuya’s scooter can only do so much. We also have Takuya’s flashback doing his infiltration cover at the kindergarten job and something about Ryouko’s dad and while all those and more seem like they add something to connect it all to the bigger picture, ultimately Lost is just one big incomplete portal trying to be connected to the other universe. And the whole roundabout thingy of having sacrificial test subjects was because they fear of losing their memories while going through the portal. Yeah, it’s that simple. And the simplest way to counter that is to have f*cking strong bonds! Bonds, people! Bonds!!!

It made me wonder if Takuya and Yuki are that close. Sure, they seem to have gotten to know each other since Takuya took on this job and they’ve spent most of the subsequent moments together. I mean, it’s not like I could see them becoming an item. Could they? Not likely. At least, not from what I can see. He was just a delivery boy. She was just a test subject to be delivered. That is all. Excuses to deliver or postpone this mission only serve to drag out the plot convenience and make it seem like as though they have some sort of bond. Not that I can see that they are THAT close. No wonder that cheesy moment of them together talking about the normal life and what kind of house decorations they would like! Sheesh. Because they didn’t mention how many kids they would like, I guess that is why we aren’t confirmed they were an item or not. Even if they did, we’d be pointing fingers of this cheap and forced romance drama part. Heh. No way out of this checkmate. If that is the level of bond needed to prevent memory loss while traversing through Lost, I guess it’s pretty easy. All those high technology and researching were just a waste of time. But I suppose as a researcher you need some concrete proof of science rather than relying on guts and emotions.

I don’t feel like making a long commentary on the characters because they’re just as bad as the plot. Takuya and Yuki as the main characters, you know the drill. Then you have the other supporting characters whom you aren’t likely to remember, just because. You know they play some part in providing support to our main duo but whatever. The plot has got to move forward, right? Like the aptly named Geek who is a computer whizz, an idol crazed nerd as well as the only mechanic in town who can fix Takuya’s bike. I guess Takuya doesn’t trust those other shady overcharging mechanics to fix and juice up his precious two wheeler. Then you have Yumiko, Takuya’s former colleague whom, oh I don’t know what her role is. Eiji and Kikyou trying to get to the bottom of this Lost message. They don’t really seem prominent or of significant. Except maybe for that brief period Eiji providing his luxurious mansion as respite. How the f*ck does a workaholic scientist manage to afford such a big house and land?! Was it inheritance? Keigo, some small time detective doing whatever ground work that needs to be done. Nothing that I would remember. And is Yuuji is dog helper or something? Yoshiaki, victim of the orphanage. Another really insignificant role. Now he has Tsubasa’s groupies. Like that would change anything. Kouta, why the f*ck do they have to bring this guy back and not let him stay dead like Ryouko? It’s not like an extra pair of arms can do anything, right? And Kaibara… Probably the ‘best’ character because he is happily being a tomato farmer not giving a f*ck not to get involved with the rest. You do you. By the way, I don’t like tomatoes…

I always wondered why Suzuna always have that poker face and I suppose it is to hide her real intentions. No wonder when she had so many chances to finish off the good guys, instead she dawdles and gives excuses. So she’s like a double agent, being close to Taiyou, waiting for the right moment to kill him? Why now? Why not earlier and prevent him from doing all this madness? So, the more people sacrificed, the more hatred she will build up in her heart, the more then it will justify she should kill him? Too late. She got what she deserved. Now we can’t totally think badly of her because she tried to do the good thing. Oh right, I almost forgot that soothsaying ability. How convenient. I guess lots still have to die just to reach this outcome. Mission accomplished. Now she can die happy. Same thing for Souma. Little jerk brother of Yuki has some sort of issues to pick on her big sister. Tries to come off as a strong antagonist of the series but sputters out because deep down he is still her little brother. Oh well, it was good while it lasted. And Taiyou being the baddest of the baddest, yeah, probably the producers write him that way. Killing off his subordinates with no mercy just to show us how heartless he is so that when he gets his just desserts, we won’t feel a thing for him. Don’t worry. I didn’t feel anything for the other characters too!

I probably want to say that the hidden star of this series goes to Takuya’s bike! Uh huh. I think this scooter is no doubt the highlight and poster child of this series. Maybe that is one of the reasons that intrigued me to watch. Not that I am a bike crazy fan or anything but seeing the poster of Takuya and Yuki on this bike, well, why do I have a feeling that this bike is also the star? And you can see why because as early as in the first episode, it did a lot of bat sh*t crazy stunts and survived! This bike withstood all the energy projection attacks from Tamashi and is still able to continue moving! Is this freaking awesome or not?! Just a little tweaking and maintenance and this bike is as good as always. Damn, I wonder what it is made of anyway. And they gave that cheesy flashback that Kaibara gave it to him so as to convince us why Takuya is so attached to this bike rather than getting a new one. After how it did the impossible, I can see why he won’t sell or trade this for a better one. And even in the final push, Takuya brings his scooter into Lost itself! I bet his bond with his bike is stronger! Haha! Hey, it got them out of Lost, didn’t it?! In the event if they lose their memories, maybe the bike won’t. What if the bike is Takuya’s Tamashi?! Holy sh*t!!!

This is supposed to be an action sci-fi, right? Fail too! Firstly, those stupid mindless agent clones from the Agency are comparable to all other useless goons you see in other shows and genres. Their numbers might look threatening but it is easy to take them out. I can understand if they are lifeless clones but I don’t think so because if they are normal humans like you and me, it would be a great shame and should be sent back to training. As bad as these cheesy action to fight off easy agents, the battles with Tamashi is over the top absurd! First we got a heavy monk and then some knife throwing hoodie. Whatever happened to them? I guess we don’t care. Even more absurd is Yuki’s ability to summon Akira for his firing power overkill. I think that was the one that broke my camel’s back. Because I can’t contain my laughter anymore and started cracking up. So are they saying that Yuki’s bond to Akira is a lot stronger than Souma or her father? Otherwise, why can’t she summon her dad as he might bombard his enemies with his digital projection! 0101 data coming your way! It all seems like a loose and poor execution to why this Akira character even exist. Like I said about those Agency’s goons, they’re incompetent so Daichi just needs to hire one gun totting bodyguard in case Taiyou decides to move on his family.

The animation is also poor that it makes you wonder if this is the same Madhouse staff that produced other animes like One Punch Man, No Game No Life, Highschool Of The Dead, Overlord, Black Lagoon and even Death Note. If I should say, the animation and even the characters look and feel sloppy. With the Lost area being cordoned off and abandoned for a long time, they want to give off this dystopian feel but with such bad quality, it feels like this anime is the one that is being affected by Lost! And the oddest character design goes to Yuki. No, not how she looks but rather the way she dresses. Even when everyone else is somewhat casually dressed, it is mind boggling for Yuki to wear a sleeveless white dress wherever she goes. Yeah, you might want to cover up a little considering the harsh environment she is getting into. Especially when she rides with Takuya? And doesn’t her white dress get dirty? Damn, she stands out like a sore thumb because her dress is like so bright compared to the rest! Even Kouta dressing sharply in his suit and Tsubasa’s Brigade dressing like cosplay weirdoes aren’t so bad.

This series has got a few famous seiyuus voicing its main characters. Particularly, Tomokazu Sugita as Takuya and Kana Hanazawa as Yuki and Mifuyu. All I can say is that their talents are wasted on this poorly written story and characters they play. It’s not their fault they can’t bring the best of their characters out, it’s because of this poor limitation that they are unable to fully release their potential. The other recognizable seiyuus having their wasted talents here include Ayane Sakura as Suzuna, Kenjiro Tsuda as Daichi, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Yoshiaki, Yuuichi Nakamura as Akira and Mamoru Miyano as Seiji. The rest of the other casts are Hidenoari Takahashi as Taiyou (Waka in Amnesia), Taisuke Nishimura as Geek, Ayaka Asai as Souma (Hazuki in Hibike! Euphonium), Tarusuke Shingaki as Eiji (Kariya in Fate/Zero), Mitsuki Nakae as Yumiko (Tsubaki in Hagane Orchestra), Masaki Terasoma as Keigo (Kiroranke in Golden Kamuy), Asami Imai as Tsuki (Ikaruga in Senran Kagura), Nobunaga Shimazaki as Tsubasa (Itsuka in Date A Live), Aimi Terakawa as Kikyou (Kasumi in BanG Dream), Makoto Takahashi as Kouta (Kouta in Majimoji Rurumo), Tomoyo Kurosawa as Ryouko (Kumiko in Hibike! Euphonium).

Something that doesn’t suck: The opening theme, Kotae by Mao Abe. This energetic hard rock outfit would have been really awesome had the series itself at least being decent. Now I feel that this song is a waste to be put into such mediocre series because this song isn’t that bad. It’s edgy as well as it’s badass to say the least. And then from hero to zero. Because the ending theme is like so out of place and WTF. With Your Breath by SPR5 is such a lively typical idol music that doesn’t fit the setting of this series. You know how mostly gloom and despair the episodes are. Suddenly they have this happy fanfare blasting at the start of the ending song which really makes you go “Huh?! WTF?!”. Really. I suppose this is the only way SPR5 can get its fair share of limelight. What a way to make your debut. Yeah, they got zapped by Lost and killed off! I prefer the special ending theme, Hello Again ~Mukashi Kara Aru Basho~ by Kana Hanazawa (I almost mistake its name to be some alternate cover on Adele’s Hello). Though a generic pop music and still lively, but at least I get to hear Kana Hanazawa’s cute voice while singing it. There are also some other BGM which are dramatic electronic music but they aren’t that memorable.

Overall, this is one big disaster that it seems Lost did not only affect the people and the plot of this anime but it also bombed for all of us who were unfortunate enough to have watched it. Yeah, you could say they really lost the plot and we all lost it with this crap! Haha! Pun intended! Poor storyline pacing and execution as well as uninteresting characters did not help in improving the intrigue of this series especially when some of the action scenes are just downright mediocre or ridiculous. Sometimes we feel we want to walk through the Lost portal and lose our memories of this series but that won’t do because it would mean we might repeat the same mistake and go watch it again. Maybe better to summon a Rambo Tamashi and shoot this series to bits! Haha! Oops. Hopefully, the mobile game that it was adapted on would fare better but since as usual I didn’t play it (nor have I heard of it until I watched this anime), I wouldn’t know. I suppose that is why they also call this series as Afterlost. Because it’s supposed to stay lost after that. Where I End and You Begin? It ended even before it began to lift off! This is also where I end trash talking this series and begin watching another one. I’m such a lost sheep of sci-fi animes after all…

Grimms Notes The Animation

September 15, 2019

Just when you thought classic western fairytales have been given their fair share of anime style adaptation and interpretation throughout the years, here comes another one. Grimms Notes The Animation now takes many of those classic stories from the Brothers Grimm’s collection and turn it into another anime based on western fairytales. Yeah, we’re running out ideas, aren’t we? The stories here are indeed somewhat ‘twisted’ but that is only because some anomaly is turning the stories to not follow their original script and go astray. Hence a group of young people going about through different stories to correct them to its original tale. Yeah, I guess that is why people love originals instead of reboots, retellings and remakes… Or even sequels. Oh yeah. Those were the days where fairytales just ended without any sort of sequels that some franchises these days do that tainted the overall story.

Episode 1
Ex, Reina, Shane and Tao defeat a Villain and revert it to the human it possessed. They are looking for Red Riding Hood because something is happening in this Story Zone and they need to destroy that Chaos Teller messing with it and restore everyone’s fate to what it should be. In town, everyone is worried since Red Riding Hood has been missing for a week. They are even worried about meeting the travelling quartet since their Book of Fate says nothing! So they follow the Woodcutter into the forest as he was the last to see her before she disappeared. When they arrive in a cave behind a waterfall, there she is hiding. She chased away the wolf?! Actually somehow the Woodcutter transformed into that. As they walk along, Red Riding Hood tells of her worries. It is understandable that she is going to be eaten by the big bad wolf. Her fate and life lead up to this. Ex assures her when that happens, they’ll save her. Uhm, isn’t that going against the fate of the story? As they return to the village, everyone has turned into a Villain. Outnumbered, they run to grandma’s house. Nobody is around and Shane realizes something amiss. Asking Red Riding Hood a few questions, it is revealed that she plans to feed them to the wolf. They manage to get out of the burning house as they realize Chaos Teller has possessed her. Red Riding Hood laments her fate. She knew the Woodcutter used her to get close to his mom. Because all men are wolves, she turned him into one. Because everyone knew she would be eaten and didn’t care, she has had it and will make them all suffer. She thinks people are worried only because she might not be eaten by the wold as was supposed to. No choice, the quartet use their Bookmark of Guidance to transform themselves into other fairytale characters to fight her and the hordes of Villains. After she is defeated, Reina tunes everything to return it all back to normal. Though, everyone’s memories of this will vanish. The story returns to normal. Red Riding Hood’s mom cares for her and gives her the strength to go face the wolf. The Woodcutter plans to marry her mom and talks to Red Riding Hood about it and assures they both love her very much. Ex narrates everyone is given a Book of Fate when they are born that dictates their entire life. But how is one supposed to act when it is blank? That is Ex’s Book of Fate.

Episode 2
The quartet are a small group of people with a blank Book of Fate. This allows them to travel between Story Zones to correct them. Now they enter the Story Zone of Don Quixote. He offers to help them fight the Villains but thanks to his back pain, they are the ones who did the bulk of it. He also keeps thinking Ex is Sancho. Back in town, he has a reputation of being a lying old man due to his exaggerated stories. They are brought to see Dulcinea who is helping the nuns tend the wounds of refugees who fled from neighbouring towns. The quartet split up to find out more about Don Quixote. When monsters pop up to attack, Don Quixote will fight them and some of the people are pessimistic. But Dulcinea rallies them to fight alongside him since the threat is real. In the end, they emerge victorious. That night, Ex is confronted by Loki who mocks Don Quixote as just a sad puppet dancing to the Storyteller’s tune. Ex refutes him but Loki tells him Red Riding Hood is now trembling inside the wolf’s stomach before disappearing. He reminds him that they are always right beside him. Dulcinea talks to Ex and Reina. They should know she is not a real person. Don Quixote’s imagination is so strong that she became real. It all began when he mistook a windmill for a monster and after that she was created. It is most likely his desire to be a hero created the Chaos Teller. Speaking of the devil, the windmill monster then attacks the town. Don Quixote bravely defends it from its hurricane attacks but there is only so much he could take before he hands it to Sancho, or rather Ex. Cue for the quartet to use their Bookmark of Guidance and save the day. With Reina’s tuning, Dulcinea disappears and this Story Zone reverts back to its original state. Though he insists that Dulcinea is real although the real fat and ugly Sancho thinks it’s another one of his fantasies.

Episode 3
Ex’s flashback. Born with a blank Book of Fate, his uncle and aunt took him in after his parents died. Though they aren’t very fond of this and hope to get rid of him one day. Is that written in their Book of Fate? Or is this just whimsical? Soon he met Cinderella and helped her with her errands. As we all know, she lives with a wicked stepmother and equally b*tchy stepsisters. She finds solace befriending Ex and when he learns her Book of Fate to go to the ball and then marry a prince, he vows to help her achieve this. Uhm, I know he doesn’t have a role but wouldn’t this still be her fate regardless he intervened or not? Many years passed, on the day that the ball is to be held, Ex is confronted by Loki who claims he has made preparations for this unforgettable event. Ex starts thinking about his fate once Cinderella is done with hers. For some reason that night he went out and stumbled into Reina fighting Villains. Yeah, I’m surprised the heavy log she is stuck beneath didn’t kill her. She gives him her Bookmark of Guidance that turns him into a hero to slay the Villains. She doesn’t want to explain or answer his questions but lets him keep her Bookmark of Guidance? WTF. Eventually she just tells him. For the sake of progression of this story, I guess. Reina is looking for the main character of this Story Zone. Well, what do you know? Cinderella’s Book of Fate sounds like she is the main character… So cliché, right? So they have to rush to her because since she is the main character, Chaos Teller almost always lurks around them. Better hurry because the fairy godmother has turned Cinderella into a splendid princess (also, T&C apply because that 12 midnight caveat too) while Loki has turned everyone in town into Villains.

Episode 4
Cinderella arrives at the ball. Eh? Wrong ball? Because this looks more like a Villain party! It is revealed the fairy godmother is on cohorts with Loki as she wants to preserve Cinderella’s happiness. Wait. So to do that she now turns Cinderella into Sleeping Beauty? This is confusing. With Ex meeting Tao and Shane, Reina explains more about the Chaos Teller. When they are to power up using their Bookmark of Guidance, they are shocked to see Ex is a wild card. This means he can connect with any kind of hero unlike the rest, the heroes they can connect to are limited based on their crest. Time to kick some Villain butt as warmup before the big showdown. As they get into the castle, Loki shows up. He is one who creates Chaos Tellers and he believes he gives others hope to break out from their repeated fates. Reina only accuses him of making everyone suffer. Then they face off with the fairy godmother who is no other the Chaos Teller. She rants about Cinderella’s fate. Despite being married to the prince, she never found true happiness. Yeah, married woes. You mean they really divorce after that? So making her sleep is for the best? Fairy godmother then turns into her true hideous form. Ex eventually defeats her and manages to speak to Cinderella for one last time. Must be exhausted from that nightmare, huh? Reina is about to begin her tuning and this means Cinderella will not remember Ex after this. He doesn’t mind since that is what he wants. After all, he wanted her to have a happy ending and can’t get in her way. In the aftermath as the Story Zone returns to normal and Cinderella happily married to the prince, Ex joins the rest on a journey and an adventure he can call his own. He thought being born without a fate was normal. But now he realizes he has yet to pick one.

Episode 5
Beach episode? Well, they pull out John Silver almost drowned at sea. Yup, welcome to Treasure Island. According to Silver’s Book of Fate, he is supposed to help Jim find Flint’s treasure but that boy went down with the ship when a monster attacked. Tao is eager to help him the treasure since he has the map. But Reina almost messes things up with her bad luck, setting off traps. I’m starting to think that because of her bad luck is so bad, she survives all the traps. Yeah… When Shane spots somebody else, she follows him hiding in the cave. Turns out to be Jim and he reveals that Silver is the culprit who sank their ship just to get the map to the treasure. Conveniently when the truth is out, Silver bombs and traps them in the cave. Don’t worry. Shane has some bombs to blow them out. Then they make their way to the treasure. If something feels wrong with the treasure being so openly displayed, it’s because it is definitely a trap. The moment Jim touches it, he turns into a Villain. Cue for Silver to cue in and rant about screwing fate because it tells him he could never get the treasure or become the greatest pirate. Our heroes transform. I suppose they all had to transform into female characters because fanservice swimsuits. Anyway they face a hard time until Tao sheds some light of truth whatever. A vision of Flint is enough for Silver to admit his loss and accept his fate. After Reina tunes this Story Zone, it seems Silver is still trying to be a rogue but doing it on his own and without the power of a Chaos Teller.

Episode 6
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who is the fairest of them all? I think we know the answer. Until the mirror tells more about the ugly truth that one day the evil queen’s daughter, Snow White will surpass her. Ex and co are in this Story Zone when Ex is whisked away by, uhm, 7 septuplets are actually the 7 dwarves? They force Ex to kiss sleeping Snow White. She wakes up and thinks he is her prince. I’m sure the rest aren’t too happy to see Ex getting kissed but whatever. So these 7 idiots are actually fairies named Tsuberks? Whatever. Seeing there is no error in this storyline, they want to leave but Snow White refuses to let Ex goes and really believes he is her prince. She throws a tantrum that she gave him her first time (what a way to say a kiss) and needs to take responsibility! The rest thought the story will restart if they bring her back to the castle and Snow White is delighted as she wants to introduce Ex to her mother queen whom she loves so much. Flashback shows she was strict but as loving. Then there’s a twisted time she told Snow White that her Book of Fate said she will be killed by her own daughter. When that time comes, don’t hesitate. Meeting the queen, she wants them to stay as thanks for saving Snow White. Dinner is great but desserts? Apple themed… Damn, this looks suspicious. Snow White didn’t think twice in sinking her teeth in but luckily or unluckily, those 7 idiots barge in. They ruin everything but saved her. Because Snow White still loves her mom, the queen reveals she was the previous Snow White. After eating the apple, she hated her mother and eventually went on to kill her. So that flashback was hers? The apple’s poison actually made her forget the love instead of killing her? The memories were enough for the queen to realize her mom also loved her a lot and let jealousy get the better of her. Mother and daughter have the greatest big hug. Reina theorizes because Ex broke the curse before it could take effect, it is a reason why the apple didn’t have an effect on this Snow White. As they leave, Snow White admits she knew Ex wasn’t the real prince but couldn’t let him leave because he was such a wonderful person. Don’t worry, you’ll find a much better prince. It’s in your Book of Fate, right? Oh wait. Does this mean she must eat another poisoned apple and fall into a deep slumber?!

Episode 7
In this Story Zone, Ex and co stumble into an unconscious lady in the snow, Gerda. Sorry, not Elsa. They take refuge and rest up in a nearby cabin belonging to a blind lady, Curly. As we all know the story from Frozen, oops, I mean the Snow Queen, Gerda is on a mission to retrieve her brother Kai who has gone to serve the Snow Queen. Next day as they arrive at the ice castle, Kai pops up but refuses to return with Gerda. He will be contracted to the Snow Queen as stated in his Book of Fate. However Gerda then thought of exploiting this contract loophole. She immobilizes Shane in hopes she would take Kai’s place instead. However the Snow Queen isn’t amused and sends the ground crumbling. Our heroes are okay at the bottom. Gerda feels confused with what she has done thanks to partially some cursed mirror shards stuck in her eye but due to recent events, she is getting some of her feelings back rather than being some emotionless girl. Shane and Gerda really hit it up as they talk about siblings’ love. They manage to get out and confront Kai again. He reveals his contract is to stay by the Snow Queen’s side forever and in exchange she will remove the shard from Gerda’s eye. However Shane points out that the Snow Queen will not remove it but Kai himself. Because you know, when the siblings start reconciling, lots of emotions welling up, voila! The shards break from Gerda’s eyes. Because tears of happiness. With the happy siblings reunited, the only one not happy is the Snow Queen. No prizes to guess she is the Chaos Teller. She reveals that she was the one who brought sorrow to them so as his sadness and all are purest. That makes him beautiful. Whatever. Can we just transform, fight and defeat this crazy b*tch and move on? There. Easy win. Before Reina could tune things, Curly pops up. She claims she created this Chaos Teller and warns them about forcing her into eternal solitude. Giving other cruel fairytale fates, she believes this is the only way these characters can break out from their vicious cycle. Turns out Loki is working under her and whisks her away to do some priestess duty. Gerda is grateful and will forever remember Shane. Yeah, wait till Reina tunes everything. Ah, all back to normal.

Episode 8
Tao once told Shane since they both had a blank Book of Fate, they can wander anywhere. However to prevent being lost, it is best they venture together. Since it isn’t Tao’s policy to take on a servant, he made Shane his family. Now the travellers are in Momotarou’s Story Zone, Tao and Shane’s homeland. Momotarou being owned by Villains? As he explains, he already went to Onigashima and defeated them. However his animals did all the work and left him. He hopes they can help him defeat a few oni making boats as they are planning to assault the coastal village. Shane recognizes Onihime as dumb Momotarou tries to attack her. Tao knocks him out. It seems the oni aren’t going to attack humans but return home to Onigashima. Tao agrees to help them. When Momotarou wakes up, he is told what happened by grandpa. Even more so about Tao being the traitor because he was the one who betrayed the previous Momotarou and let the oni defeat him. Without his animals, Momotarou is lost. Don’t worry. Grandpa has new servants for him. By the time Tao and co reach Onigashima, the place is razed. How the f*ck did Momotarou get there faster than them? Yeah, he’s got Villains as his servants. He talks about Tao’s betrayal and although Tao doesn’t deny it, his friends believe in him. Momotarou further tries to implicate Shane as she is an oni born without horns. Tao then tells the true story. As a boy despised by others because of his blank Book of Fate, impressed with Momotarou, he wanted to go on a journey with him and was made his partner. It is believed that the oni injured Momotarou and because he didn’t want Tao to die along with him, he pushed Tao into the sea to escape. Now this Momotarou is in disbelief. He orders the Villains to attack but they turn against him. Grandma reveals the weakness in his heart and it gets creepy as grandma and grandpa are the same person! Is this Quirinus Quirrell?! Then they transform into their true twin headed oni form. Yup, they’re the Chaos Teller. Time for our heroes to transform and defeat them. In the end after Reina tunes this world, it is back to the oni planning an attack on humans. Tao and Shane aren’t sad and have accepted this. Tao further remembers Momotarou despite his Book of Fate saying he will be victorious, he still have doubts. Because it said nothing about Tao. It could be possible their fates have changed. Momotarou although considered Tao his family, however it is not eternal. One day he must find new connections and leave. And when he finds that, never let it go.

Episode 9
The gang finds themselves in the desert. With Reina dying for water, she is saved thanks to Aladdin. Now that she has got her groove back, Ex notices her book is missing. Damn thief stole it! Luckily she manages to track him down and slap him. Guess what? He likes it! Is this some sort of awakening?! In fact, he loves her and wants to marry her! But that aside, it seems Aladdin got his magic lamp stolen by the sultan. But don’t worry. His Book of Fate says he will get it back and will eventually marry a princess. That’s Reina, right? As the Story Zone is starting to collapse, so is Reina. Aladdin is intrigued with her past so the rest say she wants revenge against the Chaos Teller who destroyed her home. She was a princess in her Story Zone and Loki destroyed that. With Villains all around, the rest go fight them. Yeah, Aladdin left to protect his princess. WTF he is a wimp? Luckily Reina had enough strength to get up and fight back. But the next Villain stabs Aladdin as he protects Reina. Oh sh*t?! Main character died?! Really?! Although Reina can tune this Story Zone, it doesn’t bring the dead back. Somebody else will become Aladdin and the story goes on. Then Ex gets this idea. What if they get back the magic lamp and wish for Aladdin’s revival. Nah, that’s not going to cu- WTF you mean they believe it is going to work???!!! I hope this isn’t made up. As they head towards the palace, Loki is before them. He mocks Reina’s hate and continues to blah his usual of freeing the people. Then he warps them into the sultan’s palace. Is he going to give up the lamp? Of course not. I wonder if this lamp has unlimited wishes as he orders the genie to attack. Red genie? Better than being blue. I mean, the new blue one and not the old original one! They transform, fight and defeat the sultan. However Reina can’t use the lamp. It’s broken! With the Story Zone close to collapsing, Reina has no choice but to tune it. She has come to accept the choices made by others and because of those choices is also why they live. So why is Ex b*tching about?! Can’t he see this is hard on Reina too? Poor Aladdin remains dead. The world returns to normal as the gloomy quartet ponder on their actions. Well, a new Aladdin became the sultan after marrying the ex-sultan’s daughter. And they at least saved thousands of NPC lives, right? Yeah… Meanwhile Loki and Curly are glad their long awaited ritual is soon finishing. Soon they will end all old tales and write their own stories!

Episode 10
Wait a minute. Is Jeanne d’Arc a fairytale? I thought she was a real historical figure? Anyway, with Ex and co joining the French’s side after the battle at Orleans, Ex seems to be very worried about Jeanne. Ex also spots Curly here but she finds it baffling that he is worried about Jeanne. Does he not know how her fate ends? That night he goes to talk to Jeanne and the latter isn’t particularly afraid of death but rather failing to achieve what she believes in. She fears there will be no one to carry on her feelings after she dies. Cue for some weird English monk fairy monster (?!) to sneak in and own them. He takes Jeanne and will execute her soon. Because Ex is cursed, he is weakened and grounded while the rest try to go save Jeanne. Curly visits Ex and this guy tries to be strong for Jeanne. He isn’t concerned about her fate but her feelings that he wants to protect. With that, Curly heals his curse. Do as you wish. Meanwhile Reina and co have a hard time fighting the monk since he has no physical form and was born out of the hatred of the English. Gee, he is so focused in trying to eliminate them that he didn’t hear Ex free Jeanne? Because now Ex rejoins the group, now their attacks connect and they can defeat this monk?! I thought they can’t even touch him?! With Ex talking to Jeanne about believing in fate till the very end, I guess Jeanne lets him carry hers. Because Reina tunes to world to return everything back to normal. Ex still feels sad that Jeanne will eventually be executed by the English but hey, remember he has the duty to carry her feelings like he has for other characters. Hope it doesn’t get too heavy the more feelings he takes on in time…

Episode 11
We’re in Alice In Wonderland now! Reina is being flirted by Mad Hatter and March Hare when Alice comes in to arrest them? She’s part of the moral police squad?! But Reina is amazed to see Alice. She is a big fan of this story. But no time to admire, they have to run or risk being arrested. In town, Alice continues being a b*tch to arrest anyone who violate the slightest of rules. Reina won’t have that and reveals all her dark secrets to turn Alice squirming. This allows Mad Hatter to kidnap her to their base to have a tea party. Reina wants to talk with Alice. The latter thinks stories and fantasies are stupid and is done with those stuffs. But Reina thinks otherwise and the reason she loves this story because it saved her. Alice relents and they talk about Reina’s other adventures over tea party. However, Alice’s assistant, Watch Rabbit surrounds the place to arrest them. Because Alice doesn’t think they are bad people, Watch Rabbit thinks she has been corrupted by them and will arrest them all. Reina and co are ready to put up a fight but Mad Hatter gets kidnapped. Watch Rabbit retreats. Bad news because Mad Hatter will be put on trial by the Queen of Hearts and her ruling always ends in death! So as they arrive at the palace, they are surrounded. It is all a setup. Alice was just playing along to lead and capture them in one fell swoop. The Queen of Hearts (damn, she ugly) orders their death and of course our heroes won’t go down with a fight. Transform! They are going to show Alice why stories aren’t useless as she thinks they are. Eventually they defeat her and this confuses Alice. Yeah, her entire outlook about being an adult staying rooted in reality just got smashed. Too late for Alice wanting to talk more with Reina but she starts tuning the world. However something is wrong. Alice still remembers them and the Queen of Hearts is missing. Mad Hatter is the culprit as he unleashes a dragon to go on a rampage. Everything going according to plan…

Episode 12
This dragon is Jabberwock and Mad Hatter was just his false form he used. Jabberwock’s attack separates the team. Ex is forced to take Reina to safety but she gets emotionally upset thinking Tao and Shane are left to die. Cue for her explanation why she is traumatized when people die. Because everyone in her world died instantly and she was all alone. That’s why she must continue to keep living. Cue for Ex to assure he will always be with her. Trolling romance scene interrupted with Shane and Tao popping up. They’re doing fine eavesdropping their faux romantic conversation. Reina is so happy that she hugs them instead. Also with them is March Hare. However they realize this is not her from Alice In Wonderland but Through The Looking Glass. She and Mad Hatter help draw a map to the Red Queen’s castle where Alice is supposedly held. Of course stopping them is Loki and Curly. Time to remind us they are from Church of Fortem and their role is to free this world from Storytellers. Freeing by destroying? They consider others here like puppets and having no feelings. Like NPCs? On the contrary, Ex and co would love to disagree. Since they can’t agree on this, no more talk, action time. After a tough fight, Jabberwock is down. But Loki intervenes. Since he has a blank Book of Fate, he transforms into Aladdin. Not just Aladdin but Chaos Aladdin! Stronger and faster! I’m sure this guy wants to traumatize Reina because he aims for her. Ex is weakened when he hears a voice telling him if he wants to keep his promise, say his name: Ludwig Grimm. He transforms into this character and kicks Loki’s ass while defeating Jabberwock for good. Met your match, eh? Ludwig disagrees in Church of Fotem’s ways because what good would all that do by destroying the one who tells the story? With the battle over, Ex reverts back to normal as they listen to Jabberwock’s rage of only existing within the poems and wanted more listeners to get out. Sure they don’t understand but Ex knows he is lonely. But now he has friends whom he can share his feelings. Damn, is that what a dragon needs? Oh well, time’s up. Back to your slumber. Alice is returned and as they exchange their last words, Reina then tunes this Story Zone. I guess Reina needs everyone’s assurance that they’ll stay with her. Okay. Off to your next adventure.

The Pagemaster: Spoilers Alert!
Oh well. Looks like the story has only just begun! Since we still know nothing about the Church of Fortem except for the fact that they want to free the Story Zone from the cruelty of the Storytellers but I guess that would be a story for another time. Translate: If this is popular and profitable enough, stay tuned for next season! But sadly this is where this season ends for now. A story that is left hanging and incomplete. Heh. I wonder if there is a Book of Fate that writes your life’s story halfway and then suddenly it goes blank. Yeah. You were just getting to the good stuffs in your life and then suddenly all the hints and spoilers just ran out. Life abandoning you and you’re on your own.

My only advice is that if you really want to love this series, it is best to play the role playing game this anime was adapted from. There are more heroes in addition to the quartet and possibly features ‘big bosses’. You know, the Storytellers! I didn’t play the game so I don’t know the story and mechanics but it would have been awesome to see them face off with the likes of William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Hans Anderson, Charles Perrault, Dorothea Viehmann and even, get this, Mother Goose! Damn, this could turn out to be like Kingdom Hearts but Brothers Grimm version!

Despite the story having a good premise, but that is all only on the surface. When you try to think deeper on the mechanics and everything, it all falls apart. There are so many loopholes and the unexplained that you will start to think that it was poorly written and not thought out properly to begin with. For instance, every character in Story Zone possessing their own Book of Guidance. While it looks good that all the characters know their fate, but that’s about it. Because everything else just feels like hogwash and nonsense if you really start to analyse and think deep about this Book of Fate thingy. With this Book of Fate dictating that character’s fate from start to finish, I find it odd that people can still go about living their daily lives. Like as though the book isn’t part of their lives. You see, with everything laid out almost to perfection for their lives, do you not think that they are motivated to do beyond that? Hey, it is stated here in my Book of Fate. Can’t argue with it, right? Just blindly follow it. My life already has spoilers so no need to worry. No wonder, everybody with a Book of Fate here is NPCs! Besides, can you get rid of your own Book of Fate like burn it?

Then there is the issue of others knowing what is written in your Book of Fate. At first I thought everyone can read it but it is subsequently said that only you yourself can read what is in it. So who is to say that you would lie about your own Book of Fate to others because if your fate is less favourable, what are the chances that you would lie and make up some other stories, right? Hey, it’s not like other Book of Fates have something to cross check your story, right? So one who destined to live a life of poverty and die of hunger in the streets, you think they would try to lie to others and say hey, I’d be a normal salaryman or something. But then again, remember all of them are like NPCs so everybody is following their fates so diligently. Wow. Like as though they are programmed to do so. Besides, if one is fated to die in a cruel way, it is just mind boggling for them to accept that fate. Yeah, it’s my fate. Can’t do anything about it, can I? Like Red Riding Hood who is forever destined to be eaten by the big bad wolf. No wonder I keep calling these extra minor characters as NPCs!

The other mind boggling thing is how this story isn’t just a looping story. Sure it does loop but that story happens again like the next generation or something. So it is mind boggling that when someone becomes Snow White, she becomes a lesser somebody else after she becomes old? And then her daughter or some other girl becomes the new Snow White? I was once Snow White in my heydays. But now I’m just an old jealous hag and trying to stop my own daughter from becoming the next Snow White! WTF?! Sounds really weird and messed up from all aspects if you ask me. And if you wonder if it is in their Book of Fates to meet Ex and co, well, remember their Story Zone is being corrupted and out of line. Definitely they weren’t meant to meet blank Book of Fate adventurers and that is why when Reina tunes the world, everything returns to normal like as though contact with those adventurers were never made in the first place.

Another interesting concept but also fails in its execution is the baddies’ intention to free all the roles. I can sympathize and understand why Loki wants to free the characters from their cruel fate. Isn’t it much more fun without spoilers? I mean, you go to watch a movie and somebody spoils you the ending. Not fun anymore, right? The same case can be made here. You people are happy living what is being told in your Book of Fate despite how crappy it is? Why don’t you go write your own damn stories! This idea looks fun and nice but it is poorly fleshed out as our antagonists seem to be biding their time and with Reina and co being successful in tuning a lot of the Story Zones, it feels like Loki isn’t really interested in freeing them but merely seeing Reina’s party do what they do. On a side note, if those characters are freed from their Book of Fates, wouldn’t that be chaotic? Because Snow White wouldn’t be Snow White. Cinderella wouldn’t be Cinderella. Alice In Wonderland wouldn’t be Alice In Wonderland. That is why there are spinoffs and alternate retellings. With this, now I am in a dilemma to support whether or not these characters should be free because the story will change and it will not be the original we know anymore!

But don’t worry if you don’t know if all the stories here and if you think that they are being rewritten again. Good news is that in the beginning when Reina and co enter a new Story Zone and the start of getting involved in this ‘trouble’, viewers will be told how the original version of the story goes or at least what it is about. A good short narration told in some silhouette style storytelling. Not everything is totally made out or strayed differently from the original too. For instance, those Tsuberks whom at first I thought it was just nonsense. But my Google search ‘enlightened’ me as I discover that it is a bad translation of Zwerg, which is German for dwarf.

On to the characters, well the main characters feel like they are also poorly written and not much is developed from them. Ex, Tao and Shane are given their own so called origins but somehow I feel that they are ‘shallower’ than Reina. Because we don’t know which story Reina comes from. All we know she is a princess in some story (thousands of stories have princesses and even so, is she a lesser princess?). Therefore personally, Reina seems to have a lot more ‘personality’ than the other trio because they write her character to be some sort of a joker and comic relief. Because her traits are easy to get lost AKA poor sense of direction as well as a very gullible and naïve girl when it comes to treats. You can see that in many troublesome situations the gang doesn’t want to get involved but with Reina being susceptible and already taken the bait, I guess it can’t be help. Time to stick our noses in. Then the rest like Ex is the newbie and the more serious guy who is worried about those around him, Shane sounds like a slacker but shows great interest in antique guns (unfortunately this is never fleshed out properly) and Tao trying to be a lead character and calling everyone in his group as his Tao Family. These characters may have blank Book of Fates but they are sure not writing their own stories well! But I have a speculation that these characters who hold a blank Book of Fate, they could actually be the Storytellers themselves. So Ex’s real identity could be Ludwig who is part of the Grimm Brothers. Hence they are diving into their own stories to save it from being corrupted by those who intend to destroy their original tale. Yeah. It’s too bad that in today’s world, the original authors are not alive to see their works being readapted with different versions. Definitely turning in their graves.

Even the antagonists, Loki and Curly are a bit of a joke. Sure, I did say I somewhat support their idea of freeing the NPCs (who doesn’t sympathize with Thanos’ intention to snap and wipe out half of the universe’s life to save resources?), but like I also said, it seems that they prefer to see Reina and co in action and bide their time to wait for something rather than take action now. For example during Jeanne’s story, Curly was like being an ally to Ex than being a thorn by his side. Not that she has been a thorn as much as Loki did but what I am saying is that if these baddies really want to achieve their goal, they could have done so from the start. But instead we see them pull the strings by turning certain characters into Chaos Tellers and let the havoc wreak for a while. And when Reina and co are successful, it’s not like Loki is super upset when he retreats. He looks a lot satisfied with today’s entertainment. All according to the plan. All according to the script… It would have been also good to flesh out the past between Rein and Loki but I guess with only a dozen episodes, better to parody other fairytales instead. Not sure if Loki is gone for good but I highly doubt it. After all, considering Loki is just another character, a Storyteller can just bring him back to life with the flick of the pen. Yeah, revivals and resurrections are so the in-thing in today’s stories and franchises that love killing off their characters too.

The fight scenes aren’t the best nor the main draw of the series. They felt like obligatory scenes needed because, how else do you defeat the Chaos Tellers? It’s like a side distraction that is unnecessary but only necessary because the script says so. Ah… After all, it always comes out predictable. The Chaos Teller despite being cocky and confident (because who doesn’t want to be the ruler of their own world?), usually their downfall is because they underestimate our heroes. Yeah, it’s all in the script already… Didn’t see that one coming, huh? One thing that confuses me is how the heroes obtain the fairytale characters in their crests. Do they have a set of stories laid out already in their crest or they only obtain that character after visiting his/her Story Zone? If that’s the case it sure feels confusing because since Alice In Wonderland is the final episode of this season, I remember seeing our heroes using Alice in prior episodes. Unless you tell me they’ve been to Alice In Wonderland before and now they revisited it again because the baddies decide to mess with it again thinking they might have forgotten this story they have saved. Hey, nobody said you can’t alter a story again after it is tuned, right? If that’s the case, truly a vicious cycle.

Having our heroes transform into different fairytale characters look interesting at first but it quickly becomes boring. Their special moves are based on the story is from and they are not memorable at all. Yeah, they all shoot some sort of fancy magic with effects and their names of the moves are boringly named after their traits in the story. No prizes to guess whose move is called Beware The Wolf! Do you know Miracle Of Orleans belongs to who? Yeah… And those useless Villains feel like all those useless foot soldiers you see in those tokusatsu series. They’re just there for the numbers to give the hero some warming up before they fight the big monster boss of the week. Not threatening at all unless you’re a wuss. Like Aladdin… Yeah, that is still the most ‘shocking’ one because I never expected a main character to actually die! But yeah, the heroes transforming into their fairytale characters do feel like some tokusatsu imitation. But all in all, still better than that Marchen Madchen series disaster!

The art and animation are just pretty average. Classic western fairytales being given the anime style treatment, I guess I still can’t get used to Snow White or Cinderella looking this kawaii and bishoujo. Damn the Disney’s version of them is still strongly stuck in my memories after all these years… And Alice doesn’t look anywhere near with that trademark blue pinafore that I always pictured her (thanks again, Disney) but this Alice’s uniform somewhat reminds me of the uniform used in Absolute Duo and Koi To Senkyo To Chocolate. And those Villains are so lazily designed that I thought they were ripped off from some tokusatsu series’ foot soldiers and added a pinch of Halloween. Seriously. This anime was done by Brain’s Base who did Baccano, D-Frag!, Durarara, the Natsume Yuujinchou series, Tonari No Kaibutsu-kun and Yahari Ore No Seishun Love Comedy Wa Machigatteiru.

Voice acting isn’t anything special. I didn’t recognize any of the main characters but it is ironically that the cameo characters appearing in the different stories whom I recognized some of the veteran seiyuus. For instance, Aoi Yuuki as Snow White, Yui Horie as the fairy godmother, Yuu Kobayashi as the Snow Queen, Sayaka Ohara as the Queen of Hearts, Risa Taneda as Red Riding Hood and Fumihiko Tachiki as Don Quixote. Some seiyuus play several roles like Reina Ueda (Miyako in Watashi Ni Tenshi Ga Maiorita) doubling as Reina and Cinderella, Miyu Kubota (Medusa in Jashin-chan Dropkick) handling Shane and Alice while Rumi Ookubo (Aguri in Gamers) also did Jeanne and Kai. Sumire Uesaka (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai) did a lot of roles like Curly, Jim, Onihime and Dulcinea. I guess they must be quite flexible in their voices that’s why I didn’t realize they were the same character. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention as I was trying to wrap my head around the weird stories…

Anyway, the rest of the casts are Ryota Ohsaka as Ex (Climb in Overlord), Takuya Eguchi as Tao and Aladdin (Koikawa in Mushibugyou), Takahiro Mizushima as Loki (Christopher in Scrapped Princess), Hiroshi Shirokuma as Silver (Gazef in Overlord), Ai Kayano as Gerda (Darkness in Kono Subarashii Sekai Ni Shikufuku Wo) and Sachika Misawa as Momotarou (Sakuyo in Mahou Shoujo Ore) and Junji Majima as Mad Hatter (Kinji in Hidan No Aria). I was expecting Ayana Taketatsu to be voicing one of the cameo roles but unfortunately she only performed for the opening theme, Innocent Notes. Typical rock outfit, kinda fitting for this genre, I guess. Iris sings the ending theme, Endless Notes that sounds more like a slow rock ballad. I guess this one also sounds okay. There are a few BGMs that have that medieval feel which is fitting seeing the origination of these classic stories.

Overall, the animation adaptation may have a lot of shortcomings despite its interesting premise and idea, it falls short in a lot of aspects like its execution, characters, action scenes and even the mechanisms. To put it shortly, a bad story. With so many stories being left out and not told yet, it could only get ugly if this series went on for another cour. Or have another season. Because I’d be flabbergasted to see Rapunzel using her hair as a whip and to strangle everybody! Or the Ugly Duckling turns out to be a giant fowl that runs rampage over the kingdom! Then there’s the naked emperor who went on flashing as a serial streaker to his people in his kingdom… And Goldilocks killed the bears just for their paws to be sold to the Chinese for medicinal properties! Grim indeed! Hansel and Gretel? They become a pair of witch hunters! Oh wait! Hollywood did that back in 2013!

So you see, in today’s world where nothing is that original anymore because we keep borrowing elements here, there and everywhere, it all boils down how you tell a story. Many stories are best left as it is in its original form no matter how twisted and dark it is (remember The Little Mermaid had a true tragic ending?). Because it is definitely weird to see cross culture fairytales being given such an adaptation like white guys playing samurai (remember that Tom Cruise one?) and white guys playing Dragonball characters (still shuddering over all that mediocrity?). It’s like we all want to write our own best of the best stories but we often forget that all of us are the main characters in our own story known as life. After all, what good is a story if there are no listeners and people to tell to. But unfortunately for this series, this is one story where we will put down away forever after picking it up. Left to grow dusty on a forgotten bookshelf in time… Didn’t hear of anybody’s Book of Fate saying this series could be rescued…

Allison To Lillia

September 8, 2019

Due to that amazing flight themed Kouya No Kotobuki Hikoutai, I started looking around for another anime of the similar genre. I know I’m not going to expect something this awesome but what the heck, probably to satisfy my whimsy flight craze for the moment. And that was when I remembered an old retro show, Allison To Lillia. Yeah, that anime came out like 10 years ago back in 2009! I suppose it was one of that shows where I wanted to watch but never came around to it because there wasn’t anything ‘of importance’ to watch it. And it is thanks to Kouya No Kotobuki Hikoutai that I could finally come around to this one. Like I said, not likely to be as awesome as that airplane series but catching a few aerial stunts should be more than suffice.

Episode 1
Wilhelm “Wil” Schultz is such a bright student that he briefs the young ones about the history of the land. Roxcheanuk Confederation AKA Roxche and United Kingdom of Bezel Iltoa AKA Sou Beil have been at war for 130 years due to their differing opinions on the originations of men. Lesson interrupted when Allison Whittington flies down. Isn’t this dangerous? Yeah, Wil’s old friend has just gotten enlisted into the air force although her tasks are mainly transportation. As they head to town, they stumble into an old man. Wil knows him from the rumours as a guy who likes to lie because he tells everyone grand stories like being a butler from the royal family. He hitches a ride with them home. He treats them to tea and admits all his stories are lies. Except for this one. There is a treasure that no amount of money could buy that can stop the war between the nations. However it is on the side of Sou Beil. It was discovered during some poison gas war. History said that thanks to a lieutenant colonel’s thinking, it saved Roxche. However gramps points out that everybody who died from the gas are actually alive as he is part of that special unit. This is to protect them from retribution. Also the lieutenant colonel did not exist. So did history lie? History is written to suit one’s purpose. Allison is willing to fly there whenever she has missions. Of course she cannot be found out or she’ll be expelled. But she thinks they will let it slide as the treasure will justify her actions. You think so? Just then, a man from the town hall wants to bring gramps away to discuss about tax matters. He agrees to go with them. Wil is suspicious because he mistook them for being family members when their sidecar would have told him they are students. Yup, time to go after him. True enough, they are heading away towards town. Wil spots the guy taking out a gun. Jump! Man, they survived that crash. So they’re going to chase by foot all the way? I hope the destination is nearby. When they reach the private estate, they see a plane just departing. They think gramps is on it. They trespass into the hangar and the place is so big that there are no guards?! Oh look. A plane. Convenient. I guess leaving an apology letter to borrow doesn’t constitute as stealing.

Episode 2
Crossing the Lutoni River means entering into Sou Beil’s territory. An enemy fighter attacks so Allison pretends to be shot down. Even got some smoke material. Crash landing could have been perfected had not the wheels got caught by the electric wires. In the middle of the forest?! Luckily they jump out in time before the plane explodes. Next day, they talk about Sou Beil that is supposed to be Moot’s homeland. She is the caretaker of their orphanage. As Allison plays with this Bambi, the mother attacks her but Wil protects her and gets injured. Oh Allison, you want to shoot and kill the mother and fawn?! I guess not. So Allison has to carry him for the nearest aid. Who knows where this house in the middle of nowhere is but at least this lone woman, Radia takes them in and treats Wil. She asks Allison why she came here so she tells the truth about gramps and the treasure. Radia finds it bogus because Sou Beil’s side of the story is about the lost gold of a general who was about to attack Roxche. People have been trying to look for it but nothing was found. Later Allison apologizes to Wil for dragging him into this mess but Wil thanks her as he is able to see what Soul Beil looks like. Yeah, just a day in enemy territory… Next morning, Radia learns about Moot from Wil. She explains Moot was labelled as a traitor when she emigrated to Roxche and opened an orphanage there. Wil continues how Moot continued to take in orphaned kids whose parents died in the war. Allison was no different but instead of crying from loneliness and fear, she first made Wil her henchman! They’ve been together since. Unfortunately Moot passed away 6 months ago. Radia’s answer to why she lives remotely here. If a war ever breaks out, she is ready to take up arms and fight the enemy. When Allison wakes up, a cuckoo badge that secretly signifies her army rank drops out, Wil remembers what gramps said and realizes his story is true. Radia wants them to stop this foolishness or they’ll lose their lives but after seeing they are determined to get the treasure to stop the war, she gives them army uniforms from her sons. They are from Sou Beil Royal Guards, the elite of the elite so they are able to walk around in most army bases without showing ID or suspicions. She also gives Wil her husband’s gun. As they leave, Radia realizes that despite she hated Roxche for taking her sons’ life, Roxche also had people who had lost their lives. That is why Moot took them in.

Episode 3
Benedict Carr is the pilot for the plane that kidnapped gramps. He doesn’t understand about the treasure his higher ups are talking about as they interrogate the old fart but nothing came out from his mouth. Allison and Wil manage to infiltrate the base and get a nervous private to show them around. Of course this leads to where gramps is. After telling the stupid guards to bring blankets, gramps is amazed they are here and only requests for a hairpin and will meet up later. As the duo leave, they bump into Benedict. Allison recognizes him as he was the one who wrote the love letter but she rejected him. They tell him about the treasure. Meanwhile gramps brazenly unlocks before the guards and pushes open the door to knock them out?! Shameful! They’re so stupid and weak! With the alarm sounded, gramps rendezvous with the duo and try to get to the hangar via secret passageway. This guy is still as sharp as ever. But you know a death flag is coming up when he tells them the route to the treasure. Just in case. Gramps stalls the guards to let the duo take off via seaplane. I know the entire base is on alert to hunt down this old fart but only a handful of soldiers chasing them and none guarding the hangar???!!! Gramps is so heroic that he makes that soldiers look like morons because he rolls barrels of oil conveniently lying around and then shoots it for some great explosive distraction. Even though he gets shot subsequently but it is all worth it since the duo have already taken to the skies. Benedict is ordered to capture the duo and if he fails, shoot them down before they cross the border. As insurance, they also order another unit to follow him and if he does something suspicious, kill him. Allison and Wil are sad that gramps is dead. So to honour his wish, they are going to head for the treasure at all cost.

Episode 4
When Benedict catches up to them, he lets them hear the radio that the enemies want them shot down. So Allison challenges him to a dogfight? Allison gets to strut her stuff and even gets the better of Benedict. She fires! He still survives because it is only paint bullets?! How the heck did she know it’s not real bullets? Did she have time to examine?! With that, Benedict wants to join them in their treasure hunt since gramps’ last words to him was to take care of them. But he has to shake down those Sou Beil bogeys first. Don’t worry. His skills are even more exceptional considering those are just low level goons. As they make their way towards a cave in the mountains, little do they know those greedy Sou Beil higher ups are secret tailing. Inside after following gramps’ instructions, they arrive in a section where there are primitive paintings. But the ‘treasure’ turns out to be a big mural. One man is holding a spear (Roxche’s military insignia) and the other holding a dagger (Sou Beil’s military insignia). They realize both sides originated together. They also realize that gramps fictional lieutenant colonel and was forced to kill his men to keep this treasure a secret because they didn’t want to get along with the enemy. He waited for 30 years since people will not believe so soon during the height of the war. Wil wants Benedict to announce this mural since it is too heavy a responsibility for them. Those greedy higher ups are here. Hand over the treasure. I don’t know if Wil is super fast as they didn’t see him whip out his gun and fire. Just a shoulder wound. It causes them to fire at the ceiling and the rocks fall and crush them! WTF?! What a stupid way to die! But good riddance. Soon news breaks out that the war is over thanks to the discovery of the mural. Wil and Allison visit gramps’ housemaid. She is sad he is gone but is finally relieved of his agony.

Episode 5
Wil is on his way on a fieldtrip to the kingdom of Ikstova. During a stop, he gets kidnapped! Turns out to be Allison. Looks like she is also here for a mission so what a better way to spend some time with him. Yeah, and also she has something important to tell him that she can’t write it in a letter… She drives him to a joint military base by Roxche and Sou Beil where they will be conducting a joint ice rescuing expedition. They meet Benedict who is part of this expedition. He is promoted to major after becoming a hero and that nation’s most eligible bachelor! Benedict invites them to a party later where the top brasses will be attending. I guess he doesn’t want to be alone. Later a blizzard hits the place so Allison and Wil change their plans to take shelter at the nearest village. Benedict notices the blizzard and that his friends may have been caught in it and goes to look for them. But for the villages he went, his friends were not spotted and he had to entertain the people wanting his autograph. After an old lady points Allison and Wil to the assembly hall, she makes the call to her comrades about a couple of suspicious Roxche personnel. In the assembly hall, another old lady serves them tea as Wil displays his knowledge about Iktsova’s royalty insignia. Each of them has different plants or animals representing them. The old lady leaves and confides in her comrades that they might be spies since they know the insignia well. Allison sums up her courage to ask what Wil will be doing after graduation. She even suggests a university to go to and because she will be flying all over the world, it will get a little lonely. So won’t he come stay with her in the capital? Dumb Wil fell asleep… Not his fault as Allison soon realizes the tea is laced. Benedict sees fresh tracks and believes this is where Allison and Wil went but there is no village on this map. So he is going to walk there by foot? He stumbles into this girl, Fiona who recognizes his notes that was written on a poster of the portrait of Owen Nihito. She wants him to take her to the capital of Ikstova now but change of plans as her comrades call for her return.

Episode 6
Allison and Wil find themselves locked in a cellar. But nothing like a bit of improvisation to let themselves out. This isn’t maximum security, you know. Hiding in a cabin, they thought somebody is coming so Allison ambushes him. Luckily she misses because it would’ve been bad news had she really hit Benedict. Thanks to their noisiness, the villagers are coming. Lucky for them again, Fiona hides them in her house. Because of the icy night, they have to wait at least till tomorrow morning to have a chance. So Fiona tells why she is bent on heading to the capital. Nihito is a politician and is holding a speech. She wants to use this chance to declare that she is alive. You see, Fiona is the sole survivor of the royal family’s massacre and her real names is Francesca. She wants Benedict to teach him how to use a gun left behind by her late grandpa but he can’t let a princess swing around something so dangerous and leaves it to Wil. So shooting is not okay but punching is? Next morning (even had enough time for breakfast), they sneak out via hiding under a white sheet. Seriously. They think the snow can camouflage them? When they reach a lone guard, Fiona pretends to take Benedict hostage. When he is close enough, he knocks him out. But not after he sounds the alert. Suddenly the villagers surround them! Woah! How did they get here so fast?! Where were they hiding?! Fiona protects them and if they want to shoot, shoot her first. She tells them of her intention to head to the capital. The villagers look shock that she knows she is the last surviving princess. You mean they really didn’t know she knows? Anyway the chieftain gives his blessing for her to go since she is already an adult. But if she fails to achieve her goals, feel free to come back here anytime. And so a few last goodbyes before Fiona leaves for the capital with her friends.

Episode 7
At the base, Benedict and Fiona take off in an observer plane. But shortly they ran into some trouble. This is just a distraction so that Allison could ‘steal’ a fighter jet. Yeah, it’s the second time she ‘borrowed’ a craft. With the military blocking their path, there is not enough runway to take off. I understand she intends to use the cliffs and drop to fly but if she has to go through the town and even causing a major accident, shouldn’t she have took off in town? I mean, the roads are wide enough to accommodate the plane’s wingspan and there are not obstructing towers. Yeah, they really took the military for a ride. Once in the air, Fiona tells Benedict the truth. She is not the real princess but an imposter. The real Francesca died during massacre. So yeah, she wants to deceive the people of Ikstova. She just wanted to tell somebody this. Cue for Benedict to say he too isn’t a real hero. The credits go to Allison and Wil. WTF do we have time for Benedict-Fiona’s sky romance?! I know this isn’t like roads where you have to constantly keep your eyes forward. This makes Allison really jealous and poor Wil has to bear the brunt of it as she makes him sick with her wild aerial stunts. Once they reach the capital, Benedict lands directly in the square where the speech is taking place. Thank goodness everyone knows how to get out of the way. Using his hero status, everyone loves him and this gives him a free pass to speak on the podium. Nihito allows him to do so if he supports his idea to reject independence. Benedict then introduces Fiona as Ikstova’s princess and shocks everyone. But Fiona’s plan to re-establish the royalty comes to a grinding halt because Nihito does an igi ari. Objection!

Episode 8
Nihito calls this a farce but Fiona can show proof. This royal pendant. But is this real? Fortunately, the head of security, Rean Warren was the security for the royal palace and he can vouch for that. Yup. It’s the real deal. Nihito tries to escape but Fiona stops him. Here is his cuff links she is returning. 10 years ago when he tried to kidnap Francesca, she ripped his cuff links in her bid to escape but he shot her parents who came chasing after him. Fiona arrests him for treason. Guess what? Nihito takes Fiona hostage! How the f*ck did that happen???!!! All the guards surrounded him and yet this happened?! Warren tries to be a hero to save her but gets stabbed in the thigh. WTF. Worse, Nihito takes Fiona up the tower. Dead end. Checkmate. Benedict confronts Nihito. Alone. Where the f*ck are all the useless guards???!!! Nihito tries to stab him but thank goodness for his expensive watch blocking the stab. Then one punch in the face! Do Benedict and Fiona have time to lovely reunite because Nihito isn’t done yet. This guy loves taking hostages and when he tries to do so again, that angry Francesca’s face resonates in Fiona’s face. WTF he got scared and fell off the tower himself! WTF???!!! Later when Wil and Allison join them for tea, Wil asks Fiona if she is not the real Francesca but her twin. Fiona tells the whole truth that 10 years ago after the fire broke out, Francesca was injured and somewhat brought to the village. It was the only time both sisters met. Before Francesca passed on, she gave her this pendant. When Fiona’s grandpa passed away, among his belongings was Nihito’s cuff links. So when she saw that poster (still wearing the same cuff links, huh?), she realizes that bringing that man to justice is what she existed for. As for how Wil could tell, at the assembly hall, the royal insignia tilted in the opposite position. Hence this symbol was originally made for Fiona. Ikstova’s weird custom is that the royalty can only have 1 child?! Thus this village was created by the royalty to protect Fiona. This answers the question why there are only old people and they have military training. With the issue resolved, I guess the only thing sore for Allison is that Wil could notice all these details but not her feelings…

Episode 9
The transcontinental express linking Roxche and Sou Beil is ready. Although its fare is expensive, Wil and Allison manage to board it thanks to Benedict’s invitation. Fiona is also riding along as she is incognito as a photographer. She isn’t officially the queen of Ikstova yet (must be all those red tape to bring back the monarchy) so she is still in the process of learning a lot of things. After passing the Roxche military supplies and artillery field, they stop at Green Island. This was the place where Allison’s father died during the war. As Allison pays her tribute, Wil tells Fiona about this. It is probably her dad, Oscar was killed by his own subordinate because of the bullet from the gun that only their division used then in the battlefield. Since Allison had no pictures of her father, it could only mean he worked in the intelligence agency. So to prevent any risk of him being captured and interrogated, the only conclusion was that his subordinate killed him than risk betrayal. Benedict is supposed to board the train on the next stop and while waiting, he meets Major Fran Stork who tells him this ‘embarrassing’ secret of his mission here. There is a customer in the royal car who will play an important role in the future of both the nations’ trading. Because there will be lots of companies trying to court him upon arrival and one of them being a company that delivers artillery to the army, they are trying to gain the upper hand in competition by making a request to the army to dispatch a valet under the pretence of a security guard. Benedict boards the train and the gang could hardly recognize his disguise. Long hair and beard. The friends spend their time together on the train. Allison trying to be considerate and give Benedict and Fiona some time together. When it’s time for bed, Allison hints to Wil not to peep at her changing. Why the constant reminders? He assures her he won’t. She’s not satisfied. Wil no baka…

Episode 10
I guess Allison is taking too long in her preparation to confess something of importance that Wil fell asleep! Please don’t take it out on the pillow… Frustrated, she sits by herself at the observation coach. There she meets Stork and he learns she is from the air force and daughter of Oscar. Next morning, Wil and Allison are up early. However they witness a murder at the back of the train. The chief conductor had been thrown off! Allison tries to go after the perpetrator but thanks to the train entering a tunnel, the culprit ‘vanished’. They go warn the other conductors and then Benedict. He in turn goes to tell Stork but is met with Thomas Eyen. When he learns the chief conductor is dead, Eyen kicks out Stork. Eyen will not let anyone into the room to harm his master and that includes Stork. The plan now is to gather everyone in the main car and hold them there for a day until they reach out of the mountains where they can alert the authorities at the next stop. Benedict doesn’t want to accuse everyone of being a suspect and if they start searching, they’ll reach the next stop by that time. Stork then suggests taking a detour because there is Sou Beil’s military base where they can use their phone to contact authorities. Unfortunately the phone service is out. Just then, Gautier Terol walks in and claims he is the target. As a head of Terol Steel Foundation and a war magnate, he shows them a threat letter addressed to him. It states he will not return to Roxche alive and will start killing everyone around him and he will be the last. Terol thinks everyone might be accomplice and hence it is better they do not mix since it is understandable they don’t want to be suspected and certainly they don’t want to be near a target. As the train continues its journey, it seems this was an act by Terol. His goal is to make Benedict pay for making that heroic announcement. Wil is suspicious that the culprit hasn’t moved to kill them yet as they were eyewitnesses to the murder. Suddenly a military train is chasing from behind and shoots a flare that signals them to stop. WTF Stork thinks he can shoot them with his pea shooter pistol? Of course they fire back! It’s a wonder they missed our heroes with all that firepower.

Episode 11
Stork wastes the fine liquor and sets them on fire. The military train is forced to put some distance. Stork then bombs and detaches the last coach, causing the military train to crash. Then opposite but on parallel tracks is a special armoured tank designed to run on railroad tracks. Stork contacts them and learns they are an escort to protect them. However he wants all of them to do him a favour: Destroy that armoured tank. He can’t tell them the reason now and wants them to believe in him. Since it is to avert a crisis, they sheepishly do as he says. They are going to shoot it down via a special tank gun belonging to Terol. He wants Benedict to fire but since this isn’t his forte, the only one to do it is Wil. So as they wait for the right time, Wil and Stork have time to chat. Stork reveals his true mission. He is here to arrest Terol on grounds of firearms smuggling and crimes against humanity. Terol is planning to defect to Sou Beil with his weapons and the one who invited him are no other than Sou Beil military personnel who were against the ending of the war. To prevent his arrest, the opposing side is planning to kill everybody else on this train. Because you don’t search for a dead man, right? However Stork was the one who killed the chief conductor because he needed to disconnect the train to increase its speed from the attackers so he had to get everyone believe to go along with his plan that an imaginary killer is out to get Terol. When Wil is in position, Stork instructs him to fire. Miss. The armoured vehicle then speeds up. Benedict tries to distract it by taking pot shots at it. After a few more tries, Wil finally derails it. When Stork goes to tell Terol about this, Wil tells his friends about Stork. Just then, Eyen comes in and wants to kill them all. WTF Benedict runs faster to bump the gun out of his hands but gets knocked out by his bigger size?! Allison tries to shoot him but is a bad shot. Yeah, how the heck can she miss?! Last bullet left. Don’t worry. Wil is guiding her. Uhm, this isn’t the right time for such close proximity. Is your heart beating fast, Allison? All that build up and just a shot in the shoulder? Oh, Stork did it. When they go and see Terol, looks like he committed suicide. But Wil still has his suspicions on Stork because if he was behind all this plan, wouldn’t he have got rid of them too as they too pose a great threat to his plan.

Episode 12
The train stops at the food of the mountains. The gang stays in a hotel and the next day what’s this urgent business that Benedict brings them to a chapel? Long story short, he confesses to Fiona and they proceed with this ‘ritual’ called kissing. So Benedict is going to be the king of Ikstova, eh? You jealous, Allison? Stork seems to be running late for this ‘ceremony’ but manages to come by. Since they won’t meet again, he makes it clear he was never on board the train. As he leaves, Wil takes out his gun and shoots him! Don’t worry. Just a rubber bullet. But his bodyguard rushes him and addresses him as colonel. Wil deduces Stork’s real mission: To silence Terol. As he holds important military secrets, should he testify, this would bring about the greatest military scandal. Wil also believes Stork’s initial plan was to let Terol die in an accident. Even if that meant sacrificing all the passengers. However something made him changed his plans: Allison. But Allison has no recollections of meeting him before the train trip. Wil remembers the talk with him during the firing at the armoured vehicle. He knew about Roxche’s festival as well as Moot. He thanks him for had he not come to the orphanage, he wouldn’t have met Allison. Since Allison isn’t the brightest tool in the shed, Wil reveals that Stork is actually her father! He definitely can’t kill his daughter on this mission, right?

10 years ago he came to the orphanage. Oh my, he looked so different as he was plump! He feared he would die in the battle and didn’t want to leave Allison alone and hence left her there. Oscar was actually from Sou Beil and doing a covert mission inside Roxche’s military and had to relay back some important mission. When Wil first saw him, he had those sad eyes. The same eyes that Stork has. As for Oscar being killed by his own subordinate, actually he killed his subordinate and assumed the identity of a dead soldier. This is all to relay the information back. This is why Sou Beil had the same military artillery as Roxche and hence their similar strength ended in a truce. Now Stork goes by the name of Icacia Cross. Because he abandoned his role as her father, he cannot return with Allison. She is still having troubles accepting him since he looks so different but he explains an important birthday event so like it or not, he’s your dad. As for why Wil went to great lengths for this, he hoped both father and daughter could meet. After everyone has left, why is Allison and Wil still staying behind? Allison quickly ushers him back into the chapel. Is this going where I think it is going? Since she is still too scared to say it, more runabout beating around the bush talk. You know, Allison is graduating, needs somebody to stay with her. Sure, Wil is mostly glad to stay with her and even help pay the rent and everything but I think he is missing the point to what Allison wants to hear. Eventually frustrated Allison pushes him down and tells him what he thinks of her. A person who always gives her courage? Duh! Screw it all. She just asks him to kiss her.

Episode 13
After graduation, Wil moves into an apartment with Allison in the capital. Wil meets Icacia and the latter praises his knowledge in history. Wil admits it is only after the discovery of the mural that his interests peaked since he wanted to see how the world would change. As Icacia laments how even in peaceful times there are those plotting behind the scenes. Hence Wil is an important person for him for his job. In short, he wants Wil to join the intelligence agency and assume a new identity in Sou Beil. The catch is that he can no longer live as Wil and with Allison anymore. Wil thinks hard about it and remembers the time when Oscar left Allison at the orphanage. Wil asked Moot about that man and was told he was a knight who promised to bring peace to everyone in the world. In order to do that, he must follow his destiny. Thus Wil must find something he can do when he grows up and someone who approves of it. It is hinted that Allison is married to Wil since she took on his surname. She is returning from the fertility centre and going to relay the good news but what’s with the long face, Wil? He tells her about this new mission of his. Allison is sad but tries to remain positive. Even though they technically can still see each other, he will no longer be Wil. It won’t be like old times before. Since he has found his calling, Allison supports his path. On the day Allison sees Wil off via train, he finally confesses to her that he loves her. Well, better late than never. But not too sure if she heard it because the damn train whistle. F*cking train whistle always finds the right time to ‘interrupt’…Or did Wil perfectly timed this? We fast forward 15 years later. Lillianne Acacia Corazon Whittington Schultz is their daughter. If that is a mouthful to pronounce, Lillia is fine. She is told that her dad died in a train accident and his body was never found. Lillia might be a fine and responsible girl, but has Allison regressed into a slob?! Lillia forces her mom to wake up! She only does so because Major Travas is coming. She is Allison’s boyfriend and a Sou Beil soldier working for the embassy who lives nearby.

Episode 14
In school, Lillia is not pleased her childhood friend, Treize is here to pick her home as requested by Allison. You mean this guy rode all the way from his home in Ikstova and took 20 days to reach here?! That’s some major dedication. As narrated, Treize is her childhood friend who lives next door to Allison and Lillia whenever they visit Ikstova annually. She doesn’t particularly like him because he knows about the affairs of others but hardly talks about his. Lillia introduces Treize to Travas for the first time. After Lillia leaves them alone, it seems both guys know each other. Treize is the son of Ikstova’s royalty. Yes, the son of Benedict and Fiona. Seems he can walk around freely like this is because his twin sister, Merielle was chosen as the heir. Remember their one child policy? Yeah… Also, here is another big revelation: Travas is actually Wil! Both promise to keep each other’s secret. Lillia is looking forward to her summer break at Lartika with mom but last minute she can’t make it and sent Treize in her place instead. Of course Lillia doesn’t like it and ‘fears’ that he would ‘jump’ on her. But Allison jumps on Lillia first. Who knows she might be the one who ‘jump’ on him. Who knows? Like mother, like daughter. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. During the train ride, an old couple sits with them. They are actually Treize’s royal guards in disguise. When Lillia goes to do things herself, they try to advise Treize to be a gentleman for a lady. Unfortunately when Lillia returns, she thinks Treize harassed the old couple and smacks him. After lodging in their hotel, they go sightseeing. They get lost in the maze-like town but a young lad helps them to be their tour guide for a small fee. After returning them to the hotel, a guard arrests the lad because it is against the law for unofficial tour guides. The lad will be returned to some priest. Next day, the duo see this guy, Mateo who gives aerial tours of Lartika. Being an ex-Roxche military man, he happily takes them around. Meanwhile Travas calls Allison (it is hinted that Allison knows he is Wil) about an emergency regarding a prince and a princess. Some evil plan will be executed in Lartika and both cannot be allowed to board a plane. Uhm, too late?

Episode 15
Lillia and Treize are treated to a breath taking view of the town and lake. When they are to return, Mateo spots a stranded plane on the sea. He goes to check it out and from its insignia, it seems to belong to the Torcacia Air Defence Force. Mateo gets off to talk to the pilot but is taken hostage. Suddenly Treize pulls out a gun and then jumps into the cockpit to fly away! WTF?! I’m sure everyone was so dumbfounded by this that’s why there was enough time for their getaway. Treize’s plan is to return to Lartika to inform the police but looks like they have boogies on their tail. Even armed with machines gun they can’t take down this seaplane?! Is Treize that good or they’re just lousy? Treize crash lands near the shore as they run into the forest before the plane is shot and exploded. So the enemy is going to presume they’re dead? Time to hike as far as they can. Flashback shows when Treize and Merielle celebrated their 15th birthday, Treize was called by his parents. Something about the proposal to marry Princess Matilda from Sou Beil. Fiona doesn’t think it is a bad idea but gives him a chance that by his 20th birthday should he not find anyone he loves, he will marry that princess. Hence this summer break is for him to find a chick? I can already tell who that love is. Night fall and they stumble into a cabin in the woods. Nobody in. No harm resting, right? Dead in the night, the owner returns and lets them sleep. I guess Treize failed in his night watch. Next morning, they apologize to the owner, Eyne Morceau but he is fine with it. They learn he is the priest who runs an orphanage and that kid got arrested, Carlo is safe and sound. Morceau is kind enough to lend them his vehicle to his orphanage (because Lartika is 80km away!). There, rich people conduct scenic flights for underprivileged children in the name of charity. They can join in with no charge after Morceau writes a letter of recommendation. You mean Morceau is not coming with Treize and Lillia? This is the middle of nowhere. Is there somebody else to pick him up? Along the way, they pass by a group of soldiers hiding in the woods who think they must be that person’s accomplice. They reach the facility and are awed to see the very huge seaplane.

Episode 16
Carlo is also part of the orphanage on tour. When the soldiers report back to Travas about Lillia and Treize boarding the seaplane, he has Allison take off immediately. It’s going to take a while since the lake is huge and they have no direct coordinates of the seaplane. After a while, Treize realizes something amiss. They should have landed at Lartika by now but everywhere is still a body of water. Then he realizes the plane is heading in the opposite direction instead because of the sun’s direction. Rudely waking up Lillia from her nap, they go check the pilot cockpit and see the pilots trying to parachute out. Woah, Treize. You gonna shoot them if they remain? The turbulence is the perfect chance for the pilots to jump off. Bye, kids. With nobody manning the cockpit, Treize takes control despite this is his first time flying a plane this big. The pilots destroyed the radio so they can’t call for help. But luckily they dropped the transreceiver but that is just short range. Treize calls Carlo to look after the kids and not make them worry. Don’t worry. They’re having fun alright. Oblivious to what is happening. Lillia pays him as motivation. When Treize tries to turn the seaplane around, warning shots are fired by the Torcacia fighters, the same ones who shot them down yesterday. Communicating them via transreceiver, it seems they want them to get out of the seaplane before they shoot it down. Changing direction also means getting shot down. Huh? Why wait to shoot it down if this is their original plan? With Treize running out of ideas and the Torcacia side bugging for them to get off, Lillia scolds back to shut up or she’ll ram them off the skies. This gives Treize an idea. He’ll do just that and with the wing damaged, a transmitter signal will be set off. With such dumb pilots, I think it’s totally feasible.

Episode 17
Treize hopes Lillia can forgive him if he fails. WTF is this pessimism? You won’t know if you don’t try, right? Nothing serves as a better motivation when Lillia will give him a kiss reward if he succeeds. Of course this was Carlo’s idea. Treize speeds up the seaplane to make the rest chase. This allows Treize to knock one of them off. Why don’t the Torcacians just shoot them down now? Because the commander says not now? To add more drama, Treize has Lillia speak to them and they’re shocked there is a woman on board? She manages to make them reveal why they are doing this. Because of the bad and poor conditions in Torcacia, they are going to sacrifice these orphans. This news will be highlighted throughout Roxche and only then the capital will notice and take action. Of course it is a dumb and stupid plan if you ask me and nobody is as mad as Lillia as she chastises them for just being terrorists. So now they are going to shoot the seaplane down? Oh yeah, Lillia can buy more time with her scathing complaining. Enough time for mom to come to the rescue. Allison tells the Torcacia side to surrender and when they return to their airbase, they will be arrested by the military. Of course they won’t listen and call her bluff so Allison shows her skills by shooting a couple of them down. With the commander left, Allison toys around with him. He gets mad and tries to shoot her down but obviously Allison’s plane is faster and more flexible. This is part of her plan to make him run out of ammo. When that happens, the commander still won’t give up. He is going to do a kamikaze crash into the seaplane. Allison is forced to shoot him down. With the drama over, it is now up to Treize to land the seaplane on sea. Allison’s advice isn’t helpful at all. All planes are the same. I guess he has got to rely on the kiss reward as motivation. Go for it! Don’t worry about the kids, they have been sleeping before the dogfight action began as they tire themselves out from all the excitement. Treize makes a rough landing but unfortunately the seaplane hits the bedrock. It is now taking in water and sinking.

Episode 18
Don’t worry. The kids can swim! They’re really having fun from start to finish. But there’s a problem: Treize can’t swim! I guess it’s all ice in Ikstova. Not sure Lillia throwing him into the water and shouting instructions would make things better. So far so good. Until he sinks. Not sure how Lillia pulled him to shore but I guess it’s time to resurrect him with a kiss. CPR is too hard to pronounce. So Lillia starts off with that and then presses his chest. I wonder if Allison could see all this from the sky. Treize revives and soon the Roxche army arrives. They really setup a picnic for those kids. Damn these orphans are lucky. Carlo then talks to Treize personally. Carlo hints Treize knows his secret. Carlo is actually a girl, Carla! But Treize already knows because of the way she admires Lillia’s hair. In exchange, Treize also tells his secret of being a prince and needs to do something before he reaches 20. I don’t think Carlo believes it and thinks it is his way of trying to get to Lillia’s heart. But whatever. Both promise not to tell each other’s secret. I’m confused they say it’s a man’s promise. So if Treize isn’t married by 20, is Carlo booking him to be his bride? When they reach back, Treize asks for the reward. So he really wants it? Unfortunately Lillia shifts the goalpost. Not today. Treize sees Travas alone. Travas reports that the real mastermind behind this is Morceau. 30 years ago, he was given a mission to gather orphans in Torcacia. Though he earned the people’s trust, he actually sells them to the rich in Roxche in exchange for info. But after the war ended, he was abandoned. Roxche and Sou Beil discovered this human trafficking plan at the same time. Treize is upset because Travas knew about this but still let the orphans boarded the plane. Had Treize and Lillia weren’t on board, it could have been a tragedy. Still, Treize thanks him for helping to save them and the kids are alright. Probably Morceau let them ride the seaplane as he believed one of them could fly a plane. Treize tells Lillia he wants to head back to Ikstova on his sidecar. No problem. She can take the train home by herself. Treize is sad and had to put up a fake expression since Lillia is praising Morceau as a good guy. On his way back, he stops by a store, hoping to pick up a book on swimming.

Episode 19
Lillia is excited to be invited by Treize to Ikstova for the New Year. Because this time he is going to reveal everything about himself. Lillia takes this as a chance to find his weakness (I guess Treize already mastered swimming) and win against him. Is that a longwinded way of saying she loves him? I guess not. Grats “Ax” Axenteanu, Travas’ assistant reports in some irregularity about an anonymous account making large purchases of film rolls to film at Ikstova. Could it be they are spies? Further investigation reveals Lowry Productions headed by Elicia Lowry are going to film a documentary there. Nothing suspicious until they discover a note with vague words that sounds more like a revenge plot. Better safe than sorry. With no direct flights to Ikstova, Allison and Lillia are forced to take the bus. During the journey, a mini avalanche blocked the path so instead of waiting for reinforcements, everyone gets up to shovel. Until the snowplough ploughs through. Well, at least the road is clear now. Too bad it wasted everyone’s efforts. So when mother and daughter reach Ikstova, they’re dead tired. Time to get some beauty sleep. Benedict and Fiona host their own New Year countdown party and Lowry Productions are also there to help film this historic moment. With that kind of face, we can tell that Elicia is harbouring some sort of grudge. She talks to Fiona about her hobby in making movies all thanks to her late father who left enough fortune for her to live easy. As the countdown begins, Treize and Lillia are alone. Hard to say the right words, I suppose. I guess we just enjoy the moment with great fireworks rather than spoiling it with some nervous confession. Meanwhile at the palace, Elicia fires a warning shot as her crew takes everyone hostage. Where the heck are the guards?! I mean those young soldiers on duty rather than those old farts. Wow. Security is really lax here.

Episode 20
Meanwhile Treize is still finding it hard to say it to Lillia… I don’t think Lillia wants to hear about the weather in Ikstova… Elicia moves Fiona and Benedict to another room to interrogate. It seems she wants to know the whereabouts of the royal treasure. Fiona plays dumb to stall for time. Ikstova’s treasure, huh? The people? The nature’s beauty? Please be more specific. Meanwhile in the other room where the guests are being held, one of the old guards does a distraction so that Emma could flee. Yeah, nobody saw the OPENED window! Emma manages to wade through the thick snow to the cabin and tell Treize what is happening. Time to go do some rescuing. Lillia wants to come along too. I guess being with him beats taking care of Emma. Meanwhile Allison is in town drinking alone when she stumbles into Warren. Ah, relive those good times, eh? Warren mentions that after Nihito’s death, his bereaved family moved out from Ikstova to Roxche. He hopes they are living in peace there. Since Elicia knows about Fiona’s past, she then takes out an old but detailed map of Ikstova. From what I understand, there is a valley that supposedly hides the royal treasure. The royal family has prohibited access to it (hence untouched for 400 years) but they have been searching for it there but to no avail. That’s when they thought of ‘asking’ the royal family. Time for Fiona to spill all the beans or her husband dies. Lillia wonders how Treize knows a secret underground mine cart that leads to some cabin. He has a bodyguard friend who tells him this? That bodyguard should be fired! Riding the mine cart, it it’s bad enough the brakes broke, they crash and they f*cking survive the fall!!!!!!! Then they stumble into a room filled with dynamites. Really. How convenient. Time to use this.

Episode 21
Treize wants Lillia to put the dynamite into the stove and hopes this explosion will serve as a distraction. After that she must return to the cabin. Lillia did just that but she slips. To avoid being find out, she returns to Treize. Are the guards dumb not to see a human shaped cavity in the snow? Luckily they’re not dumb enough not to notice the loud explosion. Returning to the guest room, now they take a head count and realize a hostage is missing?! Checking outside, they see other dynamites in the snow and realize this is a distraction. Meanwhile Treize and Lillia manage to enter the former’s room. He has to pretend he gets lucky and know where the things are. Like this communications receiver. He really hooked up the whole thing in time? He manages to call the airport but his message is not clear since they have to hide after hearing footsteps. Thankfully the closet has a secret compartment to the attic so after the baddies destroy the receiver and clean out the closet, the duo are still safe. The subordinates report back to Elicia about their suspicions and advise her to hasten their plan. As Fiona realizes who she is, it is no surprise that she is the daughter of Nihito. Her real name is Claire. During the height of the war, Nihito was a historian who thought Ikstova royal treasure would help bring peace and he asked the queen. Unfortunately she did not say and because he was deemed a dangerous person, was banished from Ikstova. A year later he returned to exact revenge on the palace. Claire claims Ikstova killed her father and is seeking revenge. The plan is to take Fiona and Benedict away, burn down this lodge and kill the rest. Fiona then tells the inconvenient truth about herself as a fake. Claire is surprised and disappointed. She gets angry but her subordinates calm her down and tell her to carry out the plan. Travas and Ax are at the airport and are suspicious about the reported transmission. It says the royal lodge before being cut off. Treize prepares himself and gives his pendant to Lillia. If anything happens to him, please give it to the queen. But she wants to keep it for herself so I guess he can’t let anything happen to himself. Treize makes his way out and sees his parents being taken by the perpetrators to trudge through the snow. Lillia continues to hide in the attic but sees a sniper coming in and taking aim at Treize. I can’t believe he can’t hear her coming out and then scream a warning to Treize. But too late. Treize gets shot!

Episode 22
The subordinate then knocks Lillia out. Noticing her pendant, he mistakes her to be Merielle. He calls Claire so she returns to the lodge. They set up timed explosives before carrying Lillia out. Benedict notices something in the snow. He talks to the terrorists to distract them. This allows the military agents to knock them out. Of course this unit is led by Travas. Meanwhile Treize still lives. Because we all should expect the sniper bullet hit his rifle. He treks back to the lodge but loses consciousness. Thankfully his dad picks him up. Back in the lodge, Travas has disarmed all the explosives. Damn, they really set it to a long time, huh? Oddly, Claire’s side reaches the point where their earlier team was ambushed. You mean they didn’t stumble upon each other on the way back?! Claire calls Fiona to confirm her back at the lodge. She tells her to come alone or else they will kill the hostage. Benedict and Fiona are confused at first because Merielle is now away at Sou Beil with Matilda. Could she be bluffing? Just in time for Treize to wake up and say Lillia got caught in this mess. With Lillia awake, because she is her usual dense self, she tells everything. Yeah, literally tell anything the hostage taker wants! With a smile! Does Lillia even know the situation she is in? This gives Claire a headache with this mix up. Travas thinks there is a risk that if Fiona goes alone, she will also end up as a hostage. Treize has an idea. So Claire really waited for her, huh? And of course this isn’t Fiona but Treize. Can’t see clearly from that distance, right? But this WTF moment as Claire’s side start shooting, they miss!!! OMFG!!! How could they miss???!!! It’s not like he is a slalom champion. IS HE?! Even more WTF when Claire realizes Treize is not Fiona, so shocked that she let him ‘land’ on her?! WTF?! Claire’s subordinates suggest giving up because as long as they live, they will still have chances. Oddly, Lillia kicks Treize and warns him not to bully Claire. WTF?!

In the aftermath, looks like Allison is late to the party. Still having hangover? Lillia apologizing profusely to the king and queen of Ikstova and even has her mother do the same. Now they all are going to find Ikstova’s treasure. In this secret valley. The inhabitants claim they don’t know any treasure. But they point out Sou Beil is just right over this valley. You mean it is this close?! YOU MEAN THE MAPS NO MATTER HOW VAGUE THEY ARE DID NOT CLEARLY EVEN STATE THEIR BORDERS?! You see, this valley is the treasure. It links both Roxche and Sou Beil together and had this path was known during the war, it would have changed the tide and would have become a battleground. That’s why Ikstova kept this valley a secret. But still, nobody had even a decent map, huh? Claire is frustrated this was the treasure her father chased after. But Lillia gives her motivation not to give up. After all, both of them lost their fathers. Remember, Lillia never knew her real dad. With this case solved, the only puzzle left is that Lillia is still unaware of Treize’s real identity. Time not on their side…

Episode 23
Merielle confronts Treize about that marriage thingy. She wants him to marry Matilda now instead of waiting till 20. WTF?! Is she his mom?! Since he is hesitant, she guesses that he might have a thing for Lillia. Hence she prays their relationship won’t go well. Some princess… Meanwhile Travas and his team will be providing security to Matilda as she will be visiting Roxche and Ikstova. Elsewhere, some prisoner is given a task to assassinate somebody. Don’t care how he does it, just get it done. Matilda has a great time in Ikstova. When it’s time to leave, Merielle starts getting emotional. Wow. It’s like they’re already sisters? Matilda and Treize are to ride with each other on this train and this activity is of course a secret to the public. Merielle plays Treize’s mom again and warns him not to screw up. Or else she will have Travas kick his ass on her behalf! Oh damn, she’s demonstrating a few kicks!!! The train stops at a station where Allison and Wil last met. It brings back lots of memories. Treize heard from his father about Allison’s dad and his actions somewhat prompted Wil to follow in his footsteps. Sacrificing his own happiness for peace of others. Treize hints he also wants to do that but Travas tells him not to rush it although ultimately he is the one who will decide. Allison and Lillia who departed on an earlier train to go on their own trip, the train experiences some malfunction. Stranded at the station, the passengers want to board the next train but is irked when it is told it is fully booked. Because it looks empty. Allison and Lillia spot Travas trying to explain to the conductor that he booked all the seats on this train and cannot reveal any further information. Lillia being suspicious wants mom to explain everything. I guess mom needs to play dumb. For some reason, Travas allows everyone to get on board after getting permission for Matilda? It’s not like he spotted his family, right? Why risk danger? Of course there are sections the passengers are forbidden to step in and his agents will be on full alert. It might seem cruel but they should have left the passengers stranded than take them on. Yeah, for the plot… Meanwhile it has been awkward between Treize and Matilda. You mean they said nothing to each other the entire trip? Treize thinks of getting tea to break the ice. Also, Lillia goes to stretch her legs. They both meet. The biggest freak out moment they have in their entire lives. Once again, Lillia beats him up and wants him to explain. This girl always in the dark and wants explanation, huh?

Episode 24
Worst case scenario when Matilda enters the scene. Treize, who the heck is this beautiful chick! I know Matilda is smart but damn she suddenly could grasp that Lillia is Travas’ daughter?! Just because of their same eye colour?! You mean she never met anybody else in her life who has those eye colours? Matilda is so smart that she knows the pinch Treize’s in and gracefully cooks up a story that she is here on her father’s behalf to buy gold in Ikstova. Hence Treize is her tour guide. Phew. Great cover there. Even smarter when she hears Lillia’s story and how she believes her dad died before she was born. Because now she feels grateful for Travas for sacrificing his life for her country. But soon a commotion when a student is poisoned and a guy brings everybody over and starts accusing the agents that they poisoned their food. Of course Travas denies this. When a culprit is spotted on top of the train and captured, turns out to be the accuser’s wife! He is in shock but this only aggravates his suspicion. When Travas wants to interrogate him, he takes Lillia as hostage! What a way to prove your innocence by being even more suspicious. Damn, Treize so useless and got punched away. Allison wants to take Lillia’s place as hostage and accuses him of poisoning because why bother to gather everybody when he could just scream for help? This is indeed for distraction. When he refuses, she fires a warning shot. Scared guy releases her and tells the truth that this woman isn’t his wife but an accomplice. They were told there were gold on this train and accepted their employer (whom they only talked over the phone) to pull off this heist. However he swears he didn’t do the poisoning. Just before more can be revealed, the guy and his wife experience chest pains. Supposedly the medicine they took turned out to be poison. Karma’s really a b*tch. Travas discusses with his agents that the perpetrator may have planned it all along. In order to safeguard Matilda, they will detach the train when they stop at the next depot and travel separately. This means dumping Treize with the rest of the other passengers in the other coach. As Matilda’s train moves along, somewhere in the woods, somebody switches the rail lines. The train driver spots a car blocking the path and wants to stop but Travas orders him to ram it. Unfortunately the train driver is also an accomplice and stops the train. Now bandits surround it.

Episode 25
The bandits want the gold on the train. Travas tells his agents they are going to fight back. Oddly, the train driver abandoned the train. So an agent is able to take control and start the train again! That was f*cking easy! I guess the bandit boss has a jeep to chase after but an agents snipes the tyre. F*cking amazing that the dumb bandits abandon ship, the jeep can still move straight on its own?! Oh, I see. Cue for Travas to jump off and take control of it! So those dumb baddies gave up chase? Travas’ next plan is to take Matilda via jeep. Meanwhile Matilda talks to Ax about Travas prioritizing his duty over his daughter, Lillia. This makes Ax shock. Matilda thought she knew. You mean agents are supposed to know each other’s life? Anyway, Ax then confronts Travas about this and wonders if he knew it all along. Yes, he did. You see, Ax is the daughter of one of that Sou Beil’s higher ups that was killed during the mural’s discovery. Although Wil did not kill him directly (remember the cave in?), Travas still faults himself as the one who did so. Therefore he doesn’t blame her if she chose to kill him as revenge. That’s why he put her closest to him. Nothing like a few more baddies for them to take out and take their mind of this. Travas has realized the mastermind’s true intention. Everything was a setup. Their target is not Matilda but Treize. Travas’ will continue to escort Matilda to her next point since it is his duty. However in that case, Matilda will go rescue the other train. He has to follow her, right? Meanwhile on the other train, Treize must be wondering why Lillia suddenly is asking him about marriage proposal. Gulp. Then confusion because she wants him to propose to Travas?! WTF?! She wants him to talk to Travas to propose to mom!!! Did admiring Lillia’s beauty made him a little dumber? She is okay as long they are both happy. Then Lillia starts hinting about her dance. Yes, really hinting. Can’t blame Treize for not thinking straight since she is being scary. Then she practises dancing with him. Is that a hint too? If that isn’t clear enough, more hints because if only Treize went to her school… Even if he sucks at dancing maybe he can be there… Do you get it Treize???!!! Conversation interrupted when another passenger seeks Lillia’s help. But when brought to another coach, this evil looking guy knocks her out. Allison and Treize notice something wrong when the train changes tracks. It stops then they realize too late their coach has been detached as the front part (where Lillia is) starts moving again. I don’t think they can run after a train, right?

Episode 26
A message is left for Treize that he is to come after Lillia alone. With Travas’ side rendezvousing with them, a train passenger tells what really happened (since he is a big fan of Matilda so he opens up). The culprit behind this who was also masquerading as one of the passengers is actually a very dangerous criminal known as Prisoner #42. The only reason why this guy is released is because somebody of higher authority allowed it. And that person is Duke Bessar who is also the Minister of Justice. It seems he has a son who is also a candidate to marry Matilda. Gee, this is really extreme and f*cked up way to eliminate your son’s marriage candidate! While Allison and Travas go borrow a plane, Treize drives the jeep. I don’t know if the jeep is boosted with some weird juice that makes it able to catch up with the train. Even more mind boggling fact is how Treize jumps on board the train!!! Damn this kid can be a stunt man! He tries to stop the train but finds all brakes and acceleration are destroyed. Meeting Prisoner #42 and Lillia in the room, Treize is forced to confess he is the prince of Ikstova since Prisoner #42 is going to reveal on his behalf to explain Lillia’s kidnapping. Gee, Lillia isn’t going to ask if that was a joke? Yeah, Treize looks so sad. Can’t be joking. Even more so, Prisoner #42 pressures Treize to confess to Lillia! It’s his last chance to ask everything! Oh damn. Trying to wait for the right moment, this doesn’t feel like it but yeah, see what happens when you procrastinate? With Allison and Travas flying by, how the f*ck can they hear each other talk???!!! Because Travas says there is a ravine ahead and the tracks end there. No prizes what will happen when the train reaches there. It seems Prisoner #42 intends to kill all on board including himself (though the trio are the only ones on the train). I guess it’s better than rotting in prison.

When Travas tries to shoot the chain to separate the coach (gee, did he bring this special gun and foresaw this?!), he is told to throw it away because now Prisoner #42 takes Lillia hostage on top of the train with Treize! How the f*ck can they maintain their balance on a speeding train?! For some odd reason, Allison masterfully weaves between the trees instead of following the train? Is she trying to show off her skills at this moment?! Then it’s like Travas and Treize got this telepathic mind and know what to do next. Travas drops him a ladder for Treize to climb up. Is he abandoning Lillia???!!! Actually he is using the ladder as momentum to give Prisoner #42 a flying kick! Phew. You sure scared Lillia for a while there. And damn, I thought Travas was going to jump on the train or something. He is that capable, you know. Oh come on, please can we do this romantic staring scene later and climb up the ladder? Because of this slight delay, Prisoner #42 grabs onto Treize’s leg (amazingly Prisoner #42 didn’t drop off?). F*ck! Can’t the plane carry all of them off at once?! Is Prisoner #42 that heavy???!!! Lillia threatens she’ll punch him if he doesn’t grab her hand. Uhm, I think you’re doing it wrong girl. And so Treize goes back to his usual procrastination. He’ll tell her the truth some other time. He lets go the ladder and the train plunges into the ravine. OMFG?! For real?! In the aftermath, Bessar is confirmed to have had a hand in this and will be prosecuted. However no news of Treize or Prisoner #42’s whereabouts. WTF?! You telling me people can survive that fall???!!! Some tears and hugs… But when the next school term starts, surprise for Lillia! Treize is the new transfer student in her class! How?! What?! When?! Why?! He looks fine… First thing she does is punch his guy! A little lover’s quarrel right in front of class. Can they do this spat somewhere more private? The class must be enjoying this. Oh, so Treize transferred just in time to be Lillia’s dance partner.

Peace Only Exists Because Of The Presence Of Love
WTF???!!! WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT ‘HILARIOUS’ MIND BOGGLING FINAL EPISODE???!!! It felt unsatisfying. It felt like a joke. It didn’t feel like a proper ending because it was so rushed just to give us a so called good happy ending. So how the f*ck did Treize survive that crash? Oh, he must have jumped off the train because if he can jump in, he certainly can jump out without taking injuries too, no? Oh, better still. I think Treize is an angel so he spread his angelic wings last moment to fly away!!! He probably got stuck in some pine tree and that’s why he was missing for a while!!! HAHAHA!!! Prisoner #42? Nobody cares about him so don’t bother. With Treize’s sudden return without any proper explanation, it somewhat ruined the experience of watching this series. Not to say that it is bad (not that it is good either) but it was so rushed like as though the producers ran out of budget and decided to throw in everything they could think of so that poor Lillia won’t be the only one sitting out alone during her dance party. F*ck yeah, just dance with your mama then! Oh well, what’s done is done.

Having said all that, there are lots of many dumb and mind boggling things that defy logic here (yeah, the last episode takes the cake on everything). Sometimes you want to let it slide and pass because you know, it’s anime! It’s supposed to be fantasy so okay. One or two maybe. But having it so frequent just had me thinking that this is really plot convenience here. For instance, when Sou Beil and Roxche were at war and at an uneasy truce, how come there are no soldiers stationed on either side of the border Lutoni River? That was why Allison and Wil could easily fly over and chase after that old man. You’d think that there would be at least soldiers patrolling along the river that serves as both countries’ natural border but nope. It’s like a virgin jungle that no men has ever set foot. I don’t know how long this river flows and from what I know, perhaps Ikstova somehow borders in between somewhere. Because that hidden valley was the real kicker. I mean, this shows that none of the nations have a clear idea about their borders. Sure, even if the place was kept hidden by the royalty, do you not think those warring nations would have at least tried to scout for ways? So close, yet so far. Right under your noses. Goes to show they don’t really hate each other and perhaps going to war then was just their pastime. Haha. Just kidding. I can go on a few more paragraphs about the dumb logic here but I don’t want to ruin my sentiments for this retro anime as the last anime already took a lot of HP points. Yet. Because if people can go to war over the dumbest reason like arguing over the origins of mankind only to later find out they’re the same and then suddenly let’s be friends… Yeah…

The stories aren’t the best or mind blowing in the world or even if you try to rank the best stories among all animes in history. But they’re pretty satisfying thanks to the mini arcs they are being divided to. At least, this small bite size is enough for us viewers to munch and digest before moving on to the next arc. While I find it unique that the series is divided into 2 big arcs (hence the name of the series), somehow I find that Lillia’s arc is nearly and almost (but not perfectly) similar to Allison’s arc. Like as though Allison’s spirit continues to live on and is now embodied in Lillia. Well, that is somewhat true since the latter is her daughter. But what I mean is that, while it isn’t exactly history repeating itself, the stories do you not see are somewhat familiar? Just in a different form. Or in this case, the next generation. During Allison’s time, there was an incident that would change Ikstova, right? Yup. Then in Lillia’s arc, we revisit Ikstova again for another incident. Thankfully, nothing that would change the nation’s history. And then there’s the train arc. You got that right. 2 train related stories here.

And sometimes certain plots don’t get resolved like remember that Morceau guy? What happened to him after that seaplane hijack incident? Last we heard was that he flew the coop by the time the authorities stormed his cabin. So he went missing and was never caught? So nobody is going to bring justice to what those orphans just experienced? Oh wait. They had a swell time. So I guess we’ll overlook that. And did that Terol guy committed suicide? That rich chicken guy killed himself? My guts tell me somebody else did him in… But who cares about bad guys, right? Not even Prisoner #42, the best character ever because he got Treize to confess to Lillia… And it would have been a successful one if not for that meddling Allison-Travas combo flying n! Just like the dumb logics of this series, I can go on a few more paragraphs but I think it’s time to move on.

The main characters are pretty okay. Allison and Lillia are really spunky and feisty as young girls and the guys seem a bit like wuss. Very evident in Wil because this guy looks more like the indoors type of bookworm despite being a sharpshooting ace. While Treize fares a bit better in his manliness than Wil, unfortunately he still feels as weak as f*ck compared to his crush. So, uhm, having him ride a sidecar is as closest as he could get being seen as a badass? Heck, even his sister Merielle is more badass than him despite being naggy and pushy. But that is expected when you have a brother who is this indecisive and soft. Because if he can’t even have the balls to confess his feelings to the girl he loves (I know, lots of guys are nervous when it comes to confession but still, we expect this prince to add least be brave in this sense!) and somewhat using that marriage thingy as an excuse to just delay, I think you can pretty much see where this is going.

As I’ve said about Lillia being a reincarnation of Allison, I guess Lillia takes after her mom in character but her hair and eye colour from dad. I think Lillia also got part of that clueless and density from Wil since I feel that she is the only one who doesn’t know about Treize’s true identity. And this guy taking his time to tell her… Dude, if you wait till the time is right, there will never be such a time! And now that God has given him a second chance, will he confess everything for real or will he wait for another life threatening incident that puts Lillia in danger for him to spill the beans? I’m sure Lillia will love you for who you are since you know, you’ve both been so long together. But better for Lillia, because he is the prince of Ikstova, right? Oh girl, you won the lottery big time. Nobody gets to punch the prince of Ikstova in the gut or give a flying kick and gets away with it! Many times! She’ll get even more pass for that if she marries him.

Hence the dynamic relationship between Allison-Wil as well as Lillia-Treize is amusing but yet annoying to watch. They have great chemistry together and they have managed to overcome a lot of obstacles with each other but only thanks to plot conveniences that includes making enemies dumber are the reason why they’re still breathing today. It is that same chemistry that might bug a few (like yours truly) since obviously they like each other but some sort of silly pride and nervousness prevents them from going all out and be an official couple. You want them to be together but if that happened, it will all seem too easy. Allison’s failed attempts to get Wil to be naughty to her only backfires and I believe Wil might be just be a good poker player in being a dense character. No wonder he is so good as Travas.

Meanwhile Treize continues to fumble with Lillia about himself. Better hurry. Deadline for this 20th birthday is nearing… Is it because of Ikstova’s weird royalty child policy that gives Treize and excuse to run around without close bodyguards and do as he wish? I see Fiona hasn’t rescinded this stupid law when she became queen… Also lots of funny quips between these pairs in the next episode preview. Mostly one is talking about something and the other would refute. They’re both on different pages and the revelation is the punch line. For example, the penultimate episode has Lillia being shocked about the truth as Treize tries to calm her down and be frank about it. Guess what? She’s shocked because the next episode is the last! Hmm… Since Lillia is handling Treize’s initial confession as a prince pretty well, I wonder if the real shocker will come if she learns who her real father is. I am afraid this might lead her to have trust issues since everyone close to her harbours secrets and what did I say about Lillia always being in the dark? Treize is a prince? Travas is my dad? Mom and dad are good friends with the Ikstova royalty? Damn, there is only so much a girl can take…

When one throws away his normal life to become a secret agent who will protect the peace of the world in secret, this means also changing one’s looks? I guess this is only correct because you don’t want to be recognized by people whom you know in the past. With Oscar/Stork/Icacia truly changed his appearance into a really unrecognizable one, the same fate befell on Wil/Travas (see what I mean when I said stories of both big arcs are familiar? This is another example). Wil really changed into a different man. He was no longer the wuss we all knew. He really manned up. I guess before I could start thinking down the episodes about the conspiracy that Allison was being thirsty for a guy to fill in her lonely heart and that it could be Wil masquerading as Travas, they make the revelation faster in the next episode to indicate Travas is indeed Wil. Heh.

At least I can’t blame Allison for cheating on Wil. Because Allison being Allison did ‘warn’ Travas about cheating on her with Ax as his right hand woman. Because she’ll fly and ram her plane into him!!! OMG! That’s the funniest and most epic revenge story I want to see! But Allison now as a mom (I wonder how she still keeps a freaking awesome slender body) is more toned down and like as though she passed all that feistiness to her daughter. Yes, people. Lillia is Allison v2. Thus this anime is also called Allison To Allison… Just joking… Benedict and Fiona as the other main characters don’t really do much. They just play supporting roles and perhaps the only shocking thing you’ll remember them is how they have no qualms in showing their love for each other. Hey, they’re the king and queen of Ikstova! They do what they want!

Unfortunately as I have said in my opening paragraph, I wanted to see some cool aerial flights. Sure, this series has a bit of planes being featured but well, yeah I blame myself for expecting despite warning myself not to put high expectations. I noticed during Allison’s arc, there were at least more plane flying scenes compared to Lillia’s arc. Even so, they’re just mediocre. Better stop talking about this to avoid being further ‘depressed’. As for the action bits, sometimes they are laughable. As I have previously said, it feels like as though it is for plot convenience. So much so this kind of logic or physics could only be acceptable in cartoons like Looney Tunes. I mean, it is not that cartoonish but you’d expect some sort of logic but they betray that and just go for it. Like that Travas jumping from a moving train to take control of a driverless jeep. That has its tyre blown out!!! Wow. This guy is definitely the top agent. It’s sad but somewhat a good thing this guy chose his duty and happiness of everyone rather than his own.

Art and animation feel pretty dated. This is after all an anime that came out in 2009. Characters look one kind although some like Allison and Lillia look cute. Round eyes. Round face… I don’t think I got used to Benedict changing his appearance from a clean shaven handsome young major to some shaggy bearded dude who looks like as though he is some rugged cowboy or something. On second thought, maybe this looks make him more mature. This series was animated by Madhouse who animated lots of other favourites like No Game No Life, One Punch Man, Overlord, Btooom, Highschool Of The Dead, Death Note, Black Lagoon, Trigun and Claymore.

Here is another reason why I keep saying Lillia is the reincarnation of Allison. Both are voiced by Nana Mizuki in her trademark cutie voice. I think it has been a long time since I have heard her voicing a main character for this duration. I don’t want to go so far as say she gets more loads of work compared to others for voicing 2 different main characters across the series but she’s doing a fine job in voicing them. And of course, because of that, it always feels like Lillia is a, wait for it, a reincarnation of Allison. Just change the hair and eye colour and voila! New character! When Allison became a mom, she is voiced by Houko Kuwashima (Sango in Inu Yasha). I guess this is for differentiation purpose. It would be really weird if Nana Mizuki voiced mommy Allison. 3 Nana Mizuki characters! I won’t be surprise since she can also do another lower voice but I guess that would be too much for her to handle. Maybe?

And oh yes, my favourite Mamiko Noto voicing Fiona might not have a lot of screen time compared to the other main characters, but at least she isn’t being killed off!!! Phew. That is still a trauma for me after all these years… The only other character I recognized is Sho Hayami as Nihito. There are many seiyuus lending their voice here due to the sheer amount of minor and extra characters. Some even voicing multiple characters because after all, can you really identify characters who only speak a few lines and then never seen again. Here’s the list of the selected casts: Motoko Kumai as Wil (Ginta in MAR), Hiroyuki Yoshino as Treize (Meow in Space Dandy), Kouichi Yamadera as Benedict (Ryoga in Ranma 1/2), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Travas (Julius in Black Clover), Chika Fujimura as Matilda (Haruka in Guilty Crown), Chiwa Saito as Merielle (Senjougahara in the Monogatari series), Rie Tanaka as Claire (Suigin Tou in Rozen Maiden), Tokuyoshi Kawashima as Prisoner #42 (William in Emma: A Victorian Romance), Megumi Toyoguchi as Ax (Winry in Fullmetal Alchemist), Misato Fukuen as Carlo (Hime in Yozakura Quartet) and Hideyuki Tanaka as Oscar/Stork/Icacia (Doflamingo in One Piece).

The opening theme, Tameiki No Hashi by Kuricorder Quartet and Shione Yukawa although sounds like a calming ballad from a medieval time, sometimes I can’t help that some parts of the tune feel creepy (the beginning) since it sounds like some ominous hymn. Sometimes I also feel that because of the slow nature of the song, it is as though the singer is holding back on her soprano voice. She sounds like she has potential to reach higher and longer notes but the song doesn’t permit her. For the ending theme, Sayonara No Omajinai by Kuricorder Quartet and Sou Matsumoto, despite being a slightly livelier piece (still a slow ballad, though), the singer’s voice makes the song sound a bit gay…

Overall, this might not be the best show in any field or genre. Despite a lot of dumb logic moments (even though some of those mind boggling moments are later tried to be explained to cover the mind boggling-ness but still fail), it is still entertaining and enjoyable. No spectacular aerial flights, mediocre fight scenes, cheesy character romance that sometimes feel like it wants to annoy you just because, average storyline and plot, that really bad and rushed final episode… Wow. I make it sound like it is a bad anime. But don’t worry, at least it is not an isekai anime (gasp!) and with Smartphone (double gasp!!!). Those dumb moments at least make me smirk and go WTF (the good one, instead of the irritable one). Thanks to people like Wil/Travas giving up their own comfort in life to protect the peace from the shadows, it’s the reason why people like you and me are able to watch such animes with peace and even talk crap about it. And ironically we won’t sacrifice our anime and manga to make the world a better place…

Kenja No Mago

August 18, 2019

Oh no. Here we go again. Yet another isekai genre with overpowered main character theme. Main character who is supposedly a normal guy whom nobody will ever notice in his life somewhat dies. Gets reincarnated in another world. A fantasy world filled with magic and, uhm, other fantasy-like stuffs. Retains memories of his old life. Grows up to be the most powerful character. Ever. Easily creates or overcomes anything because he is main character. If that sounds so cliché, overused and generically done to death, don’t be surprise this season we have Kenja No Mago having the same thing. One reason why I decided to watch this (because seriously, I am ‘hooked’ on this sort of bad genres) is because the synopsis said how the grandpa of this main character taught him everything he could. Except he forgot to teach him common sense! Ah, I am expecting this is going to be funny but still keeping my low expectations not to expect so much. Because they shouldn’t have made this anime had they had common sense in the first place! Haha!

Episode 1
Typical Japanese salaryman works late. Overworked. Goes home tired. Gets hit by speeding truck while crossing the road. End of story. On Earth, that is. Because now he is reincarnated into a baby in another magical world! Shin Wolford learns all kinds of great magic from his grandpa, Merlin who is of course the greatest wizard who ever lived. He is further trained by his friends, Melida Bowen and Michel Colling. At 10, Merlin reveals to him about demons. Apparently anything can turn into a demon if the magical power goes berserk. On his first try, Shin manages to detect a demon and kills it! Merlin lets him know the truth that he isn’t his real grandson but saved him from a carriage attacked by demons. However Shin also knows this. This is because he somewhat retains his memories from his previous life in Japan. As Shin turns 15 and into adulthood, he must now think what to do. Discussing with his relatives, it is most likely demon hunting due to his great skills. However he lacks common sense since Merlin never thought him any. After Shin shows them his great teleportation skill (that surprisingly doesn’t exist in this magical world) as well as a super fire power explosion, this has everyone think he can’t really go out into the real world like that. It will be dangerous. Aside putting others in danger, think about how he might be targeted by others who want his power. Hence his uncle, Diseum von Earlsheid suggests to attend a magic academy in his kingdom and make new friends around his age. Did I mention that he is the king of his own country? This means his siblings, Christina Hayden and Siegfried Marquez are his royal guards. Diseum and Merlin are good friends due to a demon incident that attacked his kingdom when he was still a crown prince. The subjugation team was decimated and Diseum could have been done for had not Merlin and his then assistant Melida saved the day and destroyed the demon. Oh, did I mention that Merlin and Melida was once married? I think these few news surprises are too much Shin can take for today. Shin makes his way to the capital. Because Merlin and Melida are such great celebrities, everyone loves them. While they take care of matters at the super luxurious mansion Shin is going to live in (maids, butlers and even an own chef!), Shin explores town. So far so good for a guy with no common sense. Then of course he sees ruffians harassing cute chicks at the back alley. He easily defeats them and is instantly taken by the beauty of Sizilien von Klode.

Episode 2
Sizilien and Maria von Messina introduce themselves. Coincidence they are all going to take the entrance exam to the magic academy? They also talk about the revered Merlin and Melida without realizing Shin’s relationship to them. At the school gates, Shin gets into trouble when douchebag Kurt von Rietsburg accuses him of some petty stuff. He is forced to back down when August tells him off that this is against the rules. August is Diseum’s son and this means he is Shin’s cousin. During the entrance exam, Shin witnesses and is embarrassed to see candidates chanting and making elaborate moves but their firepower is so weak! When it’s his turn, he almost destroys everything without putting in any effort! It goes without saying he passes and the top scorer. Because of that, he has to give a speech during the entrance ceremony. You mean Maria and Sizilien now only discover he is related to Merlin?! You mean they never bother to even find out or noticed his name on the results board?! Soon Sizilien turns to Shin for help as Kurt has been harassing her and trying to force her to be his fiancée. We can see Kurt the jerk trying to throw his weight around and even threatening to use his family’s position to ruin her father’s job. With Shin vowing to protect her, August then steps him and reminds him of what he said. Back down again. Fearing Kurt might strike again, he invites them to his home. August also tags along since his father will be there. Shin has to accommodate a couple of more friends, Thor von Flegel and Julius von Littenheim as they are August’s escorts. After meeting Merlin and Melida, Shin offers to rewrite the enchantment on Sizilien’s uniform. However Melida cautions her that this will make her uniform national treasure grade level. Is she worthy to accept it? Sizilien feels guilty and can’t accept it. She felt she had used Shin for her own gains. But this is just a test by Melida to see her true nature. So I guess she gets to get her uniform enchanted, huh? With Shin easily doing so, Diseum suggests to keep this a secret because there will be nations who are willing to wage war just to get this. To make Sizilien even safer, Shin will send her home from school every day. Will that be imposing on him? Nah. Just use his teleportation! Since he only can teleport to places he has been, he needs to go to her house once.

Episode 3
We are introduced to the rest of the S-class that Shin and co are in. Alice Corner, Lyn Hughes, Tony Freyd and Yuri Carlton. Their teacher, Alfred Marcus shows them around school and also talks about forming a club. Everyone seems to be deciding for themselves that Shin should create a new club and be its president and that they’ll all join it. Heck, they’ve even already got a name for it: Ultimate Magic Study Group! Lame! Meanwhile Diseum receives reports of an increase in demon sightings and orders an investigation since the reports sound like they are artificially induced. Kurt’s father reprimands his son because he received a summons to the king. Kurt maintains they are the chosen ones and are different than everybody. Dad has no choice but to beat him up and lock him up for this unruly behaviour. With Kurt grounded, does Shin have any more reasons to escort Sizilien from school? Oh Sizilien, why the sad looks? Even if the menace is no more, is there any reason not to? Their homes are in the same direction. Oh Sizilien, you looking so relieved as you are embarrassed. On to serious talk regarding Kurt’s behaviour, as August went to the same middle school with him, he was not like that at all. He only noticed after he was summoned to the lab of Oliver Schtrom that he started behaving this way. You know it’s bad news when that magician has a reputation of being exiled from an empire. Speaking of which, he visits Kurt’s residence as requested in hopes to talk that boy to his senses. But unfortunately he aggravates the situation as he imposes more magic on him and tells him to get rid of this hindrance. Later Shin could feel somebody having great ill will towards them. It’s Kurt! Thanks to his fast reflexes, his barrier protects them all from Kurt’s roasting. With Kurt as a demon, Shin wants everyone to get out of here and he’ll face Kurt alone. They will only get in the way. Shin fights the raging demon but notes Kurt doesn’t display any full symptoms of a demon so he might not be fully one yet and there’s a chance of him turning back. However with Kurt threatening to blow up himself and everything caught in the school’s radius, Shin has no choice but to decapitate him. It’s the only way. First human killed. There’s a first time for everything.

Episode 4
Schtrom is satisfied with the results of his experiment. Meanwhile Shin is baffled because is it that easy for one to turn into a demon? Fighting Kurt, he was weak and has not lost all his sense of reasoning. Hence he deduces that Kurt turning into a demon could be artificially induced. As word of his heroics spread, Diseum awards him a medal. This doesn’t please Merlin as this would mean politicizing the issue and making Shin the target. Diseum assures he has issued a gag order and will take any steps to prevent anything bad from happening to his people. Merlin takes his word for it and if he breaks his promise, they will leave the kingdom. With Shin’s popularity, many want to join his club but luckily Marcus imposed high standard requirements to join. I guess Mark Bean and Olivia Stone are the lucky ones. As Mark’s family is a blacksmith, Shin hopes he could forge a better sword for him to slay demons. The security investigators trace Schtrom as the last person who has seen Kurt and talk to him. We find out he is blinded in both eyes due to a family power struggle and hence he was exiled. Schtrom sounds sympathetic to Kurt’s case and when invited to join a group of specialists to examine Kurt’s body, he agrees. But soon royal guards surround Schtrom. They know he is the culprit. As Diseum has put a gag order, Kurt’s name has not been released to the public to allow privacy for his family and yet Schtrom knew he was the demon. Schtrom admits he did it for an experiment but it’s time to flee since all his experiments here are done. Good timing or coincidence as Shin and co are walking home when a blast occurs nearby. Schtrom attacking his captors. When Shin realizes who he is, he jumps into attacking him. Shin manages to destroy his blinds and is shocked to see red eyes. He is a demon but how could he maintain his reasoning? In that case, Schtrom asks to define reasoning and on what grounds. If so, all humans mean nothing to him. Shin defeats him by burning him with God’s ray of light???!!! Because he doesn’t sense his presence, did he really get him? But Shin remains sceptical. With Dominic Gastor (Michel’s knight commander successor) and Rupert Olgran (court magic division captain) praising his efforts, Shin tries to explain how he used the sun powers to magnify that magic. Of course, nobody gets it. And true enough, Schtrom lives but badly wounded. Managed to escape in the nick of time.

Episode 5
Melida asks Maria about Shin and Sizilien. They’re perfect for each other although they don’t know it. Even worse for Sizilien as she doesn’t know she is in love as she has many boys confessing to her but all were rejected. Because of that, Shin is actually her first love. Later Shin deduces and confirms Schtrom is alive because he tested out the same magic but the outcome and effects were so much different than that battle. Shin meets Mark’s father and puts in his order to develop a new weapon. Meanwhile in the Blusfia Empire, Zest reports to King Herald about his info Earlsheid Kingdom. With that, the king is ready to go to war with them. When Shin wants to buy Sizilien an accessory, she flusters greatly about it. Only to learn the accessory is supposed to be a defensive charm. No wonder everyone is so disappointed with him! Realizing his mistake, Shin gets a small ring for her. Why does it look like an engagement ring? Shin must be a tired and popular man because after the award ceremony and party, now the public is hounding him. Thank goodness for his teleport magic, right? But he explains it isn’t teleportation but rather relocation because it just closes the distance. Huh?! Shin has his friends level up their magic due to the recent events. Because of their different perception and thinking of magic (they think it is chanting and visualization instead of magic power), he demonstrates the difference in the magic barrier they create compared to his. And then he shows how to control magic and his aura was so freaking intense that everybody thought they were going to die. I guess no pain, no gain. With that, everyone is tasked to train and control their magic every day. Good for them, they also get some hints from Merlin as he tells them Shin does his magic is not by visualizing the outcome but the process. Thus Merlin displays he can also open the same teleportation gate as Shin once he understands the process. The sword prototype is ready and Shin likes it. August seeks his permission to mass produce it since it will be cost effective. This is because it seems war with Blusfia is imminent as the latter has been having a massive build-up for war. If that happens, the students might be enlisted to fight. Even if the kingdom take steps not to make Shin fight, he will not let his friends be in danger. Yup, he is going to fight with them. Oh yeah, we are so assured and safe when our Shin the hero is around.

Episode 6
Herald is devastated to learn the Earlsheid ambushed them and is way more prepared than their side. More fury when it is reported that Zest has been missing and Herald takes this as a sign of betrayal. That’s not all. Reports that demons are attacking his Blusfia capital. Hence he orders his troops to pull back. The Earlsheid side would love to pursuit but it seems the demons are aiding in Blusfia’s retreat? Back in Blusfia, demons ravage the entire capital and the one behind this is no other than Schtrom and his assistant, Miria. When Herald returns, he is personally killed by Schtrom. A few days later as the Earlsheid side waltz into the devastated capital, they realize Schtrom is behind this and everyone in the capital has turned into demons. Man, Schtrom must be kind enough to let them go and report back. To counter that, there will be a joint training between the magic academy and knight academy. Some of the magicians are frowning over this because there is some rivalry between both schools. Magicians are superb in magic but physically weak while the knights are vice versa. You can see where the taunts are coming from. Not sure if it is jealousy or admiration as the friends learn that Shin was trained under Michel. If Merlin is the magic genius, Michel is the sword version. The joint training is divided into several groups. Shin, August, Sizilien and Maria get to be with top knights, Kreis Lloyd, Miranda Wallace, Neun Curtis and Kent McGregor. As expected, the knights look down on the magicians and don’t even think highly of Shin despite his reputation. This forces August to have them learn the lesson the hard way. If they face a demon, the knights will take it down without any of their help. Good for this team, their advisors would be Christina and Siegfried. Damn, those 2 have fan boys and fan girls?! The first demon is sighted and the knights go into action only to be pathetically defeated. Then in one fell swoop, Shin decapitates it. With Miranda denouncing their pathetic showing, they regret their arrogance and promise to work together. And Sizilien being kind to them treating their wounds, have they found a new person to look up to? Shin, you jealous? But Maria too? I guess she wants some of the guys’ attention too. When the next wave of 100 demons come, Shin now takes centre stage. A single blast not only destroys the horde but clears a path through the forest! Thank goodness environmental laws don’t’ exist here. Miranda is so awed that she apologizes to him for her earlier arrogance. She thinks Shin and Sizilien are a couple, causing them to deny and react in the obvious and most embarrassed way that proves that they somewhat are.

Episode 7
Shin’s group is getting along pretty fine. Siegfried is interested to know how Shin’s study group practise their magic. So after August explains the boringness of their daily practice of magic strengthening, he then has Maria and Sizilien demonstrate. Their barrier might not be as thick as Shin’s but they’ve improved a lot. Meanwhile we see the other groups still somewhat not getting along. Yeah, a frosty relationship still. Tony is hated by Julio not because the former defected from a knight to a magician but rather the girl Julio likes confessed to Tony and they went out together. Although they broke up shortly, the straw that broke the camel’s back was they kissed. Yeah… Meanwhile on Alice’s side, the knight guys think they’re tough enough to let the magician chicks be protected by them. Of course we seem them getting owned by weak ass demon pups (are they fighting or just playing?) so the girls unleash their devastating magic to show them who’s boss. All those training paid off. All groups finish their joint training with no unwanted incidents. Shin’s group continue to train in a desolated place. The best place to take out all their raw magic power! August then tells them a secret regarding some info they got on demons. He has to since they are basically not the general populace anymore and if anything happens, they’ll be an important part in their forces. The info is about Blusfia having all its citizens and even nobles turned into demons. Hence Earlsheid must form a coalition with other nations or they won’t stand a chance. How to counter this gloomy news? A training camp! Summer break is coming up anyway. Since a resort area isn’t ideal in the current situation, it is suggested that Sizilien’s place would be for the best as her family runs a hotspring. With that, even Merlin and Melida want to join in under pretence to keep an eye on the young ones. Hotsprings are so irresistible. During the journey, a few demon wolves attack. Heck, they look vicious but we know they’re pretty weak. The gang even draw lots to see who attacks them and Lyn won the lottery and gets to blast them all away. Easy pie. Reaching at Sizilien’s estate, everyone takes a dip after a long day’s journey. Nothing exciting over the men’s section. Guys grateful to each other and Shin thanking Merlin so much that it makes the old man cry like a baby. BORING! What about the girls’ side? All those with big boobs like Sizilien, Yuri and Olivia get molested after Melida describes her exercising regimen actually made her boobs smaller because you know, exercising burns away fat! Can’t argue with that!

Episode 8
Everyone’s doing well in their magic training. Shin won’t fall behind too and this causes everyone to take precaution and form a barrier. Just in case. True enough, Shin ravages the mountains! August wants Shin to send him back to his castle for a while so he can get updates on the demons. However he didn’t expect to see his fiancée, Elisabet “Ellie” von Koralle and his little sister, May. They aren’t happy since they went to a camp without them. August reminds them this camp isn’t all fun and games and won’t allow it. Unfortunately Diseum approves of it since it would be a nice change in pace for them. Can’t disobey a king’s words. Both promise to not get in the way of their training. Ellie seems to be more worried of Shin than the other girls as she has this misinterpretation that he is close enough to August for some hot BL action???!!! WTF?! August dispels that thought with some sweet words and then turns the topic about Sizilien. He hopes Shin would make his stance about their relationship clear. Would he rather have he come out and say it instead? Ellie and May are introduced to the rest. May is a big fan of Melida and is thrilled to meet her. Then everyone starts teasing Sizilien about her love, causing her to blush so red that it makes her run away. Oh Shin, better do something quick. And so that night they both talk things out and in the end, they confess they love each other. Finally. Before they seal it with a kiss, only to be interrupted by the cliché of all the busybodies crashing down. There’s no way they could miss this big event, right? Even Merlin and Melida are in on this big scoop. With that, Shin and Sizilien are now officially dating. The magic training continues the next day with Shin coming up with a new practice. It isn’t your ordinary beach volleyball. But one with magic infused! Yes, everybody can use their magic to their heart’s content to send the ball over to the opponent’s side. If there was a championship on this, they’d be winners. Consecutively. At night, August talks about him meeting Ellie for the first time and was the only girl who caught his attention and eyes since unlike the rest, she never tried to butter him up. Everyone has to hide since Melida is coming to check on them (they’re supposed to be sleeping at this hour?). Unfortunately this is the much needed fanservice cliché moment for Shin to hide underneath the same blanket with Sizilien and he accidentally got his hands all over her boobs. I guess you can say they’re busted. But the blame falls on Shin since Melida thinks he is trying to take the relationship to the next level too soon. Oh, everyone also gets busted and punished.

Episode 9
Nothing is more important than interrupting training camp for Sizilien to bring Shin back to her home and introduce him to her parents. Thankfully, instead of that cliché overprotective dad that cute daughters have, Sizilien’s dad is so happy and thankful. He could have further made a fool of himself had his wife not stop him. Of course they remind him that since they are part of the viscount, there needs to be proper steps. This means they must be engaged first before marriage. They’ve at least thought this far, right? Back to the training, you can tell the gang is definitely overpowered when all these explosions are just warm up! Everyone gets defensive again when Shin tries out his new magic. Thankfully it is just floating magic and he successfully can make himself fly now! Later as Shin tells Merlin and Melida about his engagement, looks like they need to go see Sizilien’s parents for an important business. That is, they reveal Shin isn’t their real grandchild and apologize if they accepted their engagement based on this. Though they are disappointed, however that is only because they think little of them. Sizilien’s parents are in fact happy that there is a boy who cares for her and they agreed to their engagement not because of Shin’s status but because he values her. With that out of the way, Shin thanks his grandparents for being his grandparents. Age must have caught up to them because they’re now so teary eyed. Shin has boosted up the stats of the uniforms of his friends. Looks like they’re going to go hunt a dangerous catastrophe level demon. Before that, May feels side-lined again so Shin makes a paper cup and string telephone for her? This isn’t magic! It’s just basic science!!! Shin has those playing support role attack a catastrophe level demon. Damn, they make it look so easy. If they are this powerful, imagine what those offensive level magicians could do. Yup, individual they could easily roast those demons with no sweat. Fast forward to the engagement party. Sizilien looks absolutely stunning in her gown. Diseum leads the party to cheer and drink to their engagement. After the party, Shin proposes to Sizilien with a ring to marry her. Yes! Yes! I do! Man, they really move things along fast.

Episode 10
Now everybody can fly! Yeah, thanks to Shin’s new flying magic! Meanwhile Schtrom has finally destroyed all nobles in Blusfia. He did it by turning the suffering commoners into demons and then exterminate the nobles who still continue to enjoy their lavish lifestyle. With his goal achieved, Schtrom has no other objectives but his demons want to conquer other nations and the world! However Schtrom won’t do something so troublesome. He already achieved what he has to. He tells the rest to do whatever they want. Miria wonders why he doesn’t have any more desires so Schtrom tells his tragic past. During a time he was an imperial duke and going by the name of Oliveira, he truly worked hard for his people. This stems from his journey to Earlsheid during his younger days when he saw commoners living a normal life compared to his Blusfia nation that has a slavery system. Of course the nobles were not pleased by this. They fear when he becomes emperor, he will make policies in favour of the commoners and they will all flock to him while nobles lose their powers. Led by Herald who was then just a noble, they plan to invite Oliveira to the capital for some management training and keep him there. In the meantime, they spread lies to his people about some fake kidnappings Oliveira did. After all, why would a noble treat you so kind, right? They even staged a fake kidnapping trail to show the people the ‘kidnapped women’. That’s when the people decide to take the law into their own hands. Yeah, they burn down his house? Oh, did I mention Oliveira had an expecting wife?

Coincidentally, Oliveira is on his way home and saw his house burnt to the ground. Not sure if the mob beat up and killed his wife because she doesn’t look burnt at all. And they all confront Oliveira inside his burning home?! Once Oliveira heard the rumours he is accused of, he quickly realizes his naivety and connected the dots of the culprits behind this. With him so mad and sad, he Super Saiyans into a demon! Too late to beg for mercy now! He is going to destroy everybody! So Super Saiyan his aura that it turned everything into wastelands!!! Now with his story told, Zest tells Lawrence they need to set a new goal for Schtrom. He is to attack the small kingdom of Sweed that borders with Earlsheid. Doing so will attract Shin. This guy will be the next perfect objective for Schtrom and will make him stronger. Meanwhile August is in some public ceremony when some guard can loudly announce the attacking of demons at Sweed? Man, he really wants to cause a panic, no? But no fear as August assures. They are prepared because they have Shin! But of course. WTF unrobing with style is this part of the tactic? We’re so confident. Now August wants Shin to come up with a new name for their group to add more bite. I’m sure he is looking around for answers. Aha! Don’t worry, people. Ultimate Magicians are here! Oh well, we should have known better. Nothing says like more assurance as Ultimate Magicians take off to the sky! Ultimate Magicians, roll out! Oops, I mean, move out!

Episode 11
The demons begin their attack on Sweed. The Sweed people don’t have to wait for days for reinforcements to arrive. Ultimate Magicians just fly in! A big chunk of this series follows this sort of pattern: Demons terrorize the people, about to kill the weak and helpless, just in time Ultimate Magicians drop in to fight them, demons get cocky and underestimate those kids, realize too late they are f*cking powerful and die standing. Uh huh. We get to see all of Shin’s friends at least having their bit of spotlight in kicking ass. Those who fight Shin themselves draw the raw end of the stick because you know how absurdly powerful he is, right? This sends Lawrence panicking. He thought it was easy to scout his weakness. Only, DOES THIS GUY EVEN HAVE A WEAKNESS???!!! OH SH*T!!! Not only Shin, but his Ultimate Magicians are also f*cking overpowered! Better rethink your strategy. Hence Zest felt he has got more than he bargained for. The plan to gauge Shin’s strength has backfired. Since it would be too much for Lawrence to help the surviving demons to retreat, he sends Miria in. Damn, Dark Phoenix rising? Should’ve sent her in the first place! Meanwhile Schtrom feels envy that Zest didn’t tell him he was having so much fun. Now he wants in. Hey, don’t blame Zest. Weren’t you uninterested in conquering the world in the first place? But at least we can get to the final boss fight very soon… I hope.

Episode 12
Wow. Sizilien healing everybody like Jesus! Until she meets her match when one just couldn’t stop bleeding… Meanwhile Miria takes on some of Ultimate Magicians. I don’t know whether to feel happy and support Miria as she gives them a beat down. For once they aren’t so tough. This distraction allows Lawrence to get the other demons to evacuate. Of course Shin won’t let them escape and is close to doing overkill. However he has to let some go when he spots his friends fighting against Miria. But sorry, no epic showdown because Lawrence assists her in setting up some great explosion to help her escape after the other demons are gone. Damage report, despite the city in ruins, none of Ultimate Magicians suffered any real injuries. Yeah, they’re back up walking. Meanwhile Sizilien is at her wits’ end to heal this guy. She can’t go on anymore. She is even thinking of stripping and let this guy where her auto healing robe. Unfortunately Sizilien’s naked body is only for Shin to see. So he can’t have her stripping and takes over. It’s tough and I don’t know how he does it but he did it. Guy lives. Wow. Sizilien is on the verge of breaking down over her uselessness. But Shin reminds her not to let this near defeat shake her up because look at all the others she has healed. August and Ultimate Magicians have an audience with the king of Sweed. August feels weird about this attack. Because Schtrom didn’t enter the fray, he thought it was a diversion but there are no reports of demon attacks elsewhere. Since this is not over, he proposes an alliance between both nations and will organize a meeting in a few days. August returns to report back to Diseum and is given permission to become the negotiator between both nations. Meanwhile Zest and co get a little lecture from Schtrom. He knew what they were doing but didn’t intervene just to let them know the hard way how formidable Shin is and that is why he must be left alone. When Schtrom asks Miria about that matter, she needs more verification. It hints she might be carrying his baby! Holy sh*t! Ultimate Magicians take off for another mission. Merlin and Melida thought it is going to get a little quieter now. However all of them suddenly come back since nobody booked any accommodation and they don’t want to sleep in the woods. No you appreciate your peace and quiet more?

Wild Child, Wiser None The Less
Oh God. I don’t know how much more I could take but thank goodness it ended. Despite the lacklustre ending that leaves a lot to be desired, I guess it is better than having a rushed ending that would even ruin everything. There is this dilemma to see Shin and Schtrom in an ultimate epic showdown for the world’s fate but I guess it is best to leave the possibility that an ultimate demon baby born between powerful demons to be the one who will get in Shin’s way! Yeah, I think I prefer this but considering after a dozen episodes of mediocrity, I’ll leave that to my wildest imaginations. If I ever want to think of this series in the future, that is.

I thought having low expectations was already bad enough but it seems that wasn’t enough for this series and they went to exceed that by being even more disappointing. Heh. Maybe I was unconsciously not putting enough low expectations on this series in the first place? Even though this series does have some potential, I don’t think it would be anything that would be ground breaking. I mean, the most I can see is turning up the tragedy of humans turning into demons with higher intelligence capabilities. Even so, how far can one go with that kind of storyline? Instead, the series meanders about aimlessly with the initial episodes trying to establish the characters, especially Shin and his friends whose groupie is now known as the Ultimate Magicians (*chuckle, chuckle*)!

Despite the looming threat and introduction of Schtrom as a potentially dangerous demon, the middle of the series further wanders about into some time wasting fillers that don’t mean anything much except to establish the fact that Shin and Sizilien are now officially a couple. I guess that puts to rest the debate of whether or not this should be a harem series. And then the final stretch of the season has the demons attack the neighbouring country and our Ultimate Magicians face their greatest battle yet. Too bad. Not enough episodes left. That’s why it also somewhat feels rushed. Then again, after all that straying, one would wish this would end and not waste any more time.

The characters are just boring, generic and cliché as ever. Especially the main character like Shin whom we have all seen numerous times in other animes. It is like as though he is that same character but existing in a different form in a different universe. To add more cliché insult, they make him overpowered from the start. He can do anything, fix anything, make everything better! It is such a good thing this world lacks the kind of R&D technology despite having magic. Because if they can’t figure it out, let Shin do it! Wow. Everything so easy. Don’t need for any more magicians in this world. One man Shin can do the job. That’s why given all these clichés, it is hard to find Shin likeable or a reason to support him because for us to really want to root for main characters, we have to see him grow as a character and that includes overcoming all his shortcomings and weaknesses through trials and tribulations. What did Shin ever go through? We see him come up with the solutions with ease and even besting the toughest of the toughest mother monsters in the land without breaking a sweat! Without any worries on his face! WTF???!!! I bet the hardest he has ever need to go through was his confession to Sizilien! Yikes!

Making all this seemingly worse is how they start off by letting us know he is from our world and then gets killed off and be reincarnated in this new world. In exchange for losing his old life, he retains his memories. That is isekai logic for you. I guess this isekai thing is so that the series can make a big deal of why he is so overpowered in the first place. Because plucking him out from the common fodder with no background to boot makes it all so suspicious and cheesy. Yeah. Damn if they do, damn if they don’t. Therefore by letting us know that he comes from a different world, it gives an excuse (no matter how flimsy and weak it is) so that this main character is a genius and overpowered one. Hey, remember, isekai logic. Can’t be August. Can’t be Sizilien. Can’t be Maria. It has to be Shin. Despite the rest being talented themselves, Shin is the chosen one. Because he comes from another world! So now you see why this isekai genre is so popular lately?!

I guess I was wrong in the first place to put any sort of hopes regarding Shin’s lack of common sense. To say that he lacks so is somewhat misleading. Sure, he is not taught the proper social ways because of his intense training but it is not like he is stupid, right? Besides, he is more of oblivious and this character you can see everywhere in so many other animes. You know, characters who are just basically dense. An important ingredient (although not necessary) for main characters. Thus with the synopsis having labelled him as one with no common sense, I guess my own common sense failed me as I got taken in to expect something that would make Shin different than the rest of the other main characters. He’s just the same like any dense and oblivious character. But hey, aren’t all geniuses eccentric and hence their quirky behaviours aren’t really that common after all?

The rest of the other characters feel like they don’t matter. So as to show us that Shin is not a lone wolf, therefore he needs to have his own circle of friends. Well, it’s another catch-22 situation because it is a good thing they are growing as powerful as him instead of the need for him to always protect them forever. So if you’re tired of seeing Shin always hogging to overpowered spotlight, sometimes we get to see his friends. Following his footsteps to become the next destructive force in the land! And then the world! So to basically sum up his groupie: August the royalty trope. Ellie also the royalty trope but female version. Sizilien the cutie girlfriend. Maria her token best friend. Also the girl who sometimes b*tch about wanting to have her own boyfriend. Yuri for fanservice since she got the biggest bust. Alice the loli type for those not into big boobs. But don’t call her a kid. That’s her taboo word. May the little sister trope. Lyn the megane girl. Also comic relief for her magic to get overpowered enough to blow up and cause some afro hairstyle joke. Thor the girly guy. Julius the manly guy. Mark and Olivia the normal people. I guess that sums up the kids.

I don’t want to go through the same cycle for the adults because who likes to talk about old people, right? This series seems to introduce a lot of irrelevant people and they make it look like as though they are going to be significant later on since their name pops up on screen. But it could be just red herring. You know, don’t want this certain butler and maid to be just nameless NPCs. Here, slap a name onto them. Yeah… That should make them feel a little more important. Otherwise, Merlin and Melida feel like a grumpy old couple and being that famous magician during their heydays feel a lot like anime fantasy. Heh. I feel Diseum has the weirdest name because it sounds like, “Diss ‘em”…

The antagonists are also big fails themselves. I wonder if Schtrom knows how to be a proper villain. Sure, he has a goal. He just wants revenge on those who wronged him. I won’t say it’s noble because like they say, a thief with a cause is still a thief. So destroying the entire empire and turning commoners into demons isn’t exactly justice but I guess when you’re in his shoes at that desperate situation, you don’t give a f*cks anymore. Funny Schtrom didn’t kill and destroy Blusfia the moment he turned into a demon. What took him so long? I thought he could just Super Saiyan and his aura is enough to devastate everything? Was the plot telling him to wait for Shin to come of age? Maybe his demon experiment needed that long to be successful. Because of that, his past despite being tragic, I just can’t help feel any sympathy for him. Oddly at first he didn’t want to anything more after destroying Blusfia because funny, he never really thought that far his next move? Because had he turned greedy and decided to conquer the world after that, despite how cliché that sounds, I guess it is better than ‘retiring’. Now he is probably going to play daddy to the greatest demon baby ever…

This mind boggling reason is probably to make his other ‘generals’ move and be put to some use. Because otherwise why the heck do we need Zest, Miria and even Lawrence who was lately introduced. Yeah, suddenly this Lawrence dude pops up. Like, who the f*ck this guy?! Kurt as the initial antagonist was easily a one-dimensional bad guy to make viewers obviously hate him. Like as though they forced him to be this a big asshole and jerk. And he became a sacrifice to be killed off as the shock factor so our main character Shin can look like he has grown and matured because killed somebody by breaking the status quo he tainted his hands. Killing for the greater good is allowed, right?

I did mention a few paragraphs ago about the middle episodes in the season losing its way to eventually set up Shin x Sizilien. Well, it seems they want to add some romance factor into this series but it feels like a distraction and not really important. Perhaps important to show us that these kids have something else other than improving their magic. Got to level up on your love life too! Thus I feel Shin x Sizilien romance sometimes feel awkward and forced. I mean, we expected them to end up together. But like this? Those blushing, shy-shy moments so cheesy… Yeah, just to confirm it all, they go a step further with that Meet-The-Parents session so that they can really tell us they are serious with this dating stuff and future marriage thingy. So as not to spam Shin x Sizilien romance, there is Mark x Olivia but I guess we’re not interested in normal and established childhood friend love drama, right? Because it’s not that they show their affections in public either.

Not to be outdone by Shin and Sizilien, I guess August too must have his own. That’s why they brought in Ellie. A character otherwise that can be done without. Strangely, all the guys are taken. Even Thor and Julius have their own fiancée since they don’t brag about it and we won’t know about it if they didn’t mention it. Hence it is the rest of the girls in the group who are still singles. WTF this logic. Nobody interested in busty Yuri or Ellie or even loli type Alice?! Megane type Lyn also nobody interested? How about kickass Maria?! Oh yeah. Maybe they’re too high to be reached by any other ordinary guys. Remember, they are already in the next level of magic greatness. They’re the Ultimate Magicians!!! Hwarhwarhwar!!!! So stay strong girls. One day there’ll be a prince for you who could match your standards. Just keep waiting…

With everything so overpowered and so freaking easy, it is no wonder that the action bits look and feel boring. You’ve heard me say a few times already that Shin and his Ultimate Magicians are just too powerful for anything. Heck, if they turn evil, they could easily conquer the heavens, dispose of God and become Gods themselves! Hence with lots of big magic firepower and explosion to reflect how overpowered they are, it comes off as cheesy than any wow factor. They have the strongest offence in the land thanks to all that ‘rigorous training’. They have the best defence in the land since Shin conveniently enhance their uniforms so no more messed up uniforms from now on if they ever get trashed in battle. If that ever happens, that is. And now they also have the best mobility in the land because Shin taught them to be Superman. Up, up and away! Look up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Ultimate Magicians!!! Hahaha!

Art and animation feel mediocre. Sometimes you can see the drop in quality and even during action sequences, the quality of the animation takes a dip. The characters also look pretty bland and generic maybe except for Schtrom before he lost his visor. Because I thought he looked cool with those blindfolds. Like as though he is this anime’s version of Rider from Fate/Stay Night and Godot from Gyakuten Saiban S2. I don’t know, it feels like a lazy reason that when one turn into demons, their sclera just turn red. That’s all. You mean, no fangs or claws? Or even wings to boot? Okay. Fine with me. This series is animated by Silver Link and since they’ve animated so many varied series in their long line of history such as Strike The Blood, Non Non Biyori, Masamune-kun No Revenge, Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu, Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism, Kokoro Connect and Imouto Sae Ireba Ii, one would thought the quality would at least be decent. I guess not.

Voice acting part, there is a hell lot of characters, many of whom probably made short cameo appearances. I only recognized Kenjirou Tsuda as Zest and Sayaka Ohara as Miria. It’s good to hear the latter back as voicing yet another antagonist, a role I pigeonholed her voice for a long time. Initially I thought Aoi Yuuki was Alice. Yeah, that spunky squeaky cutie voice. To my surprise, it isn’t! That’s Miyu Kubota as Alice (Medusa in Jashin-chan Dropkick). Damn she sounds close enough. Or am I losing my touch? There is one character whom I feel wasn’t suitable for her character. Maya Hinanogi as May sounds very, uhm, horrible! As a virtual YouTuber, being an amateur is understandable. However the way May sounds is like as though some gay guy is using his falsetto voice in one of the worst attempts to make a little sister sound like a little sister! Just horrible. This makes May doesn’t sound anywhere close to a little sister at all. But having said she is a virtual YouTuber personality, it could be that he real identity could be some otaku guy… I don’t want to know…

The rest of the other casts are Yuusuke Kobayashi as Shin (Subaru in Re: Zero Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu), Rina Honizumi as Sizilien (Saaya in Hugtto Precure), Yuuki Wakai as Maria (Sumeragi in Kakegurui), Shohei Komatsu as August, Juri Nagasuma as Yuri (Yuka in Circlet Princess), Arisa Shida as Thor (Amanda in Little Witch Academia), Keisuke Koumoto as Julius (Nozomu in Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda), Megumi Yamaguchi as Lyn (Hifumi in New Game), Shouta Hayama as Mark (Ichiro in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Happy Kiss), Saya Satou as Olivia (Clara in Ange Vierge), Chiaki Kobayashi as Tony (Keiji in Boogiepop And Others), Yuusaku Yara as Merlin (Rod in Shingeki No Kyojin), Gara Takashima as Melida (Hild in Aa! Megami-sama), Mitsuaki Hoshino as Diseum (Friedman in Toji No Miko), Toshiyuki Morikawa as Schtrom (Sasaki in Gintama), Noriaki Sugiyama as Lawrence (Shirou in Fate/Stay Night), Nozomi Kimura as Elle, Makoto Kaneko as Siegfried (Daichi in Tsuki Ga Kirei) and Aoi Koga as Christina (titular character in Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai).

I find the opening theme somewhat unsuitable for the series. Ultimate Magic By I-ris sounds like a bubbly, happy-happy cute idol song that I believe suits better for a high school rom-com than this fantasy failure. You know a series has signs of failing when the opening scene of the credits shows Shin bursting into topless-ness! WTF???!!! Among the happy-happy scenes you see in this credits like Merlin and Melida doing some weird old couple dancing together and the gang getting chased around by a demon boar (was this their pre- overpowered magic days?), it gets harder to take it seriously when the face of those villains finally pop up right at the end of the song. Happy-happy song and then finally badass villains’ mug comes up. I don’t know. Feels so weird. And it’s not the trippy kind of weird.

I also feel the ending theme is unsuitable despite Attouteki Vivid Days by Nanami Yoshi sounds badass with its rock tune and its ending credits animation looking a bit edgy (at least the opening moments). Because after the kind of mediocrity seen here, it feels this song is too good to be wasted on this. This rock outfit reminds me of Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka’s ending theme and would have fit that kind of action series better. But the weirdest and mind blowing is that one of the episodes, the ending credits animation suddenly becomes this strangely horrible CGI Vocaloid dancing sequence. I think it was inspired by that cute Chika dance in the special ending theme of Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai. However this isn’t cute or infectious at all. It comes off as lame and stiff. Horrible to watch. Like as though somebody did a fan video of this but accidentally uploaded it to the series. Worst of all, it has no relation to the series whatsoever. Because who the f*ck is that girl dancing?! Not even one of the characters! Is that Maria, seriously?! I don’t think so.

Overall, yet another disappointing isekai anime added to the list. Poor storyline pacing that lacks substance and characters that you don’t want to even care (plus a lot of other characters that don’t really matter) and a really easily overpowered main character leaves a bitter taste and not a good impression in this genre. It felt like this series is done just to cash in on the rising isekai popularity but the staffs aren’t interested in developing properly but had to because higher management said so because otherwise this season’s anime slot will be 1 show less had not some crappy show being produced. Heh. I could be wrong but it still doesn’t hide the fact that this series is bad. Very bad. It’s just common sense. If there was only a magic solution for Shin to formulate to fix this. But just like stupidity, no magic or miracle can cure it. Hence the Ultimate Maji Deshou Ka (Ultimate Seriously)?!

Slimes are supposed to be the weakest monsters that beginner adventures would face in many RPGs, right? They are mostly use as target practice to help adventurers level up and gain experience points to fight other tougher and stronger monsters in their journey. So I suppose somebody didn’t like how slimes got discriminated against because their only other stereotypic role is to melt through women’s clothing for fanservice. Yeah. Thus the need to change our perspectives that slimes aren’t weak and perverted. Slimes can be powerful and almighty too. Slimes can be fearsome and respected at the same time. Do not underestimate slimes! Do not disrespect slimes! So yeah. That’s how we get Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken. Just kidding. Sort of. But true, somebody died and had to be reincarnated into a slime in another world. Using all the abilities and chances available to build from scratch to turn himself into a lowly slime into a powerful creature you would think twice about messing with. Oh boy. This is going to get cliché…

Episode 1
You know it’s a jinx when a middle aged guy narrates he is successful but has not have any girlfriend in his largely uneventful life. Yup, Satoru Mikami meets up with his junior whom I think wants to show off his new girlfriend. I guess she is some famous idol or something because some jealous stalker jumps out of nowhere and tries to stab her but Satoru took the stab. As he lies bleeding to death, it’s like some internal voice/computer/processor/God thingy trying (Great Sage as he refers it to) to ‘accommodate’ his wishes like nullifying the pain and making him unable to feel hot or cold. And the ultimate wish is that he thinks he is a sage since he is a virgin at this age and hence he is going to be one. The next thing he knows, he wakes up in a cave. Feeling weird about himself, he realizes he is now a slime! But not just an ordinary weak slime. He can devour anything, break it down to analyse and even obtain/absorb whatever attributes or nutrients. And with help of Sage thingy, he gets to upgrade and level up, earning lots of skills in the process. Yeah, it’s going to be really convenient for this blob to do whatever he wants. With all the wandering, he now stumbles into a very ferocious being. Promising not to fear, he is then given sight and is shocked to see this storm dragon, Veldora imprisoned by a powerful barrier. I guess they make good company since there is nothing else around them that could talk. Slimey relates how he was once human but somehow reincarnated here. Veldora finds it unusual because although his case is not the first, many are brought to this world via summoning. These Otherworlders possess the ability to cross worlds. Like the hero who sealed him here 300 years ago. This is the price he pays for burning down a village accidentally and underestimating his opponent. Tsundere dragon wants to be slimey’s friend and not leave so quickly because even such majestic creatures can get lonely after 300 years.

Episode 2
It seems unsealing the barrier is impossible and at this rate, Veldora will die once his magic runs out. Slimey analyses for a while and has this risky idea to eat and quarantine him in his stomach while he finds a cure. Better than rotting here forever. Before that, they decide to give each other a name. Slimey suggests a family name and so he will be Veldora Tempest. In return, Veldora names him Rimuru Tempest. With Veldora swallowed, in an instant everyone in the area could feel that the dragon has ‘vanished’. Rimuru wanders about to find a way out. He encounters various deadly monsters but all of them serve to enhance and add to his skills. Finally he reaches the exit. He manages to sneak out thanks to a group of human adventurers entering to find Veldora. These puny rookies want to take on the mighty dragon? Good luck. Rimuru continues to wander in the great forest of Jura. Then he stumbles into a weak group of goblins who are begging for help. Bringing him back to their dilapidated village, he meets the feeble goblin head who explains ever since Veldora is gone, monsters constantly attacked their village, especially the Direwolves. Rimuru is puzzled why they pick a weak looking slime as their strong champion until he views himself from a different perspective, he is shocked to see himself overflowing with magic! The goblin head continues that their only warrior who is his eldest son died in the recent battle against Direwolves. Many are injured and the rest are females. Their fighting chance is very slim. Rimuru would like to help them and isn’t looking for compensation but still needs to put on a show worthy of his might. So he asks what they can give in exchange for his services. The goblins pledge their loyalty. Rimuru agrees and now he becomes their guardian and leader.

Episode 3
Rimuru sees the injured. He swallows and spits them out. They’re all healed. That night, the Direwolves pack attack. Rimuru warns them to retreat and no harm will come to them. Their boss is stubborn and will not listen. Luckily Rimuru has set up wires to trap the wolves and the goblins could easily kill them. When the boss directly attacks, Rimuru kills him. The pack is in shock so Rimuru absorbs and mimics the boss. Subjugate to me or die. When it seemed like they still want to fight, actually they just trolled him and pledge their loyalty. Now goblins and Direwolves are living together, Rimuru pairs them up. Because they have no names, he decides to name them, bringing absolute delight. The goblin head is now known as Rigurd and his youngest son, Rigur. And the rest feels cheap… Gobta, Gobchi, Gobte, Gobtsu… Is he even trying?! With the goblins done, it’s time for the Direwolves’ turn. As soon as he names the boss’ son as Ranga, Rimuru suddenly collapses! It seems naming monsters take quite a bit of magic and his has fallen below critical level. It took 3 days for Rimuru to replenish but what’s this?! All the goblin guys are buffed up and macho???!!! Did Rigurd turn into Arnold goblin version?! And why are all the goblin females so sexy?! Despite only naming Ranga (unicorn wolf?), the other Direwolves also evolved as they are bonded as one. They also discard the name Direwolves and will now be known as Tempest Wolves. Rimuru lays down a few rules like not attacking humans, don’t fight each other and don’t belittle other races. He delegates tasks like finding food, making shelter and clothes. But they suck in the latter so Rigurd mentions the dwarves in Dwargon may know how to build houses. Hence Rimuru decides to travel there and is excited to meet the king of dwarves. Oh the oxymoron, I bet he can’t be standing tall. Haha! Oops. Just kidding… Don’t belittle other races…

Episode 4
Rimuru asks Rigur how his older brother was named. Apparently by a passing Demon Lord general, Gelmud who saw potential in him. Then he asks Ranga if he ever wanted revenge. Although Rimuru killed his father, he spared them and even named them. Their loyalty now lies with him. Arriving at Dwargon, it’s a long queue to get in. Some punks think this slime is easy meat to bully. Hence Rimuru mimics a Dire Wolf to scare them off. Too bad his howl is so great that some even got confused or soiled their pants. For this chaos, Rimuru is thrown in prison. He could easily get out but he doesn’t want to break any rules and get on the king’s bad side. When he hears the security chief, Kaido that his men are having problems in the mine (being attacked by a monster), Rimuru makes some potion to heal them. Grateful, Kaido introduces him to his brother, Kaijin who is the greatest blacksmith. However he is busy trying to fulfil Minister Vesta’s request to make 20 longswords in a week. So far he only made 1. Due to shortage of supplies, he initially rejected. But when mocked about his reputation, he can’t let that slide and took the job. Even if he had materials, if he can’t finish on time, his licence will be revoked. Rimuru remembers he absorbed all the magic ores in the cave. Hence he spits them out. Looks like they’re ripe for the picking. After making a deal for Kaijin’s men to come to his village to teach goblins and Tempest Wolves crafting, Rimuru then absorbs the longsword, analyses it and spits out 19 of them in perfection. The dwarves are so grateful that they want to take him to a cabaret club. Initially he rejected but after hearing there are beautiful busty elf babes, bring it on! And they don’t disappoint! Hell yeah! Elf babes banzai! Do elf babes love slimes? Yeah, soft and bouncy…. Just like boobs… Haha!

Episode 5
Vesta is also in the establishment and he is shocked to hear Kaijin managing to fulfil the job. He notices Rimuru and looks down on this slime. Although he pours water over the slime, Rimuru keeps his emotions intact. But it is Kaijin who punches Vesta for being rude to his guest. As expected, all of them are rounded up and put in prison until their trial. Kaijin tells his story that he was once the head of the royal knights for King Gazel Dwargo. Vesta was his vice and they have not get along since. Until one day a failed project to create magic soldiers, Vesta pinned all the blame on Kaijin but he took responsibility and resigned. He doesn’t think bad of Vesta and maybe if he leaves Dwargon, he can be a better man. So will Rimuru take him in? You bet. During the trial, it is obvious their lawyer has been bribed as he exaggerates how Kaijin barged into the establishment and beat up Vesta. Initially the charge is for him to be sentenced to 20 years of hard labour. But Gazel asks if he would return to his service. Long story short, Kaijin refuses because he has found new master and will not back down even if Gazel orders. With that, Gazel exiles him immediately. Later, Gazel talks to Vesta and is disappointed he lost a loyal retainer. He wasn’t talking about Kaijin but Vesta. For years he has waited for him to tell the truth but unfortunately it never came. He shows Vesta a healing potion made by Rimuru. Vesta’s actions have caused them to sever ties with the slime. Vesta regrets his actions and now only sees all this stems from his jealousy towards Kaijin. But too late, Gazel drops him from his service. With Rimuru and the dwarves returning to their village, Gazel still won’t let that slime go and knows he is the real monster. He sends his agents to spy and observe.

Episode 6
Those humans who ventured into the cave, Kaval, Eren and Gido report to the guildmaster, Fuze that Veldora is gone. They are then sent to investigate the forest further and they’re not too happy about it. A masked girl, Shizu wants to join them. Rimuru is back at the village and the dwarves are teaching the goblins how to make homes and craft other stuffs. However, during his absence, Rigurd took in more goblins who were fleeing from the power struggle of other monsters like orcs and lizardmen. Yeah, 500 of them. Rimuru can’t shoo them away and accepts them. Oh boy. Time to name them all. Reports of humans are seen in the forest. It’s Kaval’s party running away from monster ants! Though Shizu cuts most of them down with her flame powers, the last ant could have got her had not Rimuru’s black lightning struck it to death. Rimuru then recognizes Shizu as she was the prophesized woman by those elves girl that he is destined to be with. Taking them back to the village and treating them with food, Kaval didn’t hesitate to relay their mission. Rimuru tries to act like a retard in hopes they don’t see him as a threat but this makes Shizu laugh. Later he talks to her alone and asks if she came from Japan. Yup. She was. Unlike him who was reincarnated, she was summoned. And that was a pretty long time ago. From the way she describes the bombing raid on her village, it sounded like WWII. Rimuru then lets her sees his memories (hide the ecchi ones!), clips of Japan’s progress after the war and living in peace. His goal is to make this world where everyone can live in peace. Shizu for a while there felt some sort of pain but assures it is nothing. Flashback shows when Shizu was running away with her mom from the bombing, she was suddenly whisked away. In some hall, she was given Ifrit, a fire spirit as her power by Leon Cromwell.

Episode 7
When an assassin immediately attacks Leon right after Shizu’s summon, he puts her to the test. Ifrit takes over her body and burns the assassin to smithereens. We see young Shizu making friends with a forest girl and her little monster pet. Because it growls at Leon, Shizu turns into Ifrit and burns them! Shizu was left in despair and is still reeling from this nightmare. From time to time, she still feels the pain in her heart. Shizu decides to leave the village since her goal is to find someone. Rimuru will always welcome her if she comes back. As Shizu begins departing with her human members, suddenly she starts to experience unusual pain. She then bursts into flames. Kaval realizes she is Shizue Izawa AKA the Conqueror of Flames. She was the guild’s hero 50 years ago and is supposed to be retired. Shizu eventually turns into Ifrit. Summoning his fire demons, they burn down the entire village. There goes all their hard work. Rimuru has the goblins retreat. The humans won’t since they view Shizu as their comrade and won’t abandon her. First they have to take down the fire demons and Rimuru realizes that magic is especially effective against them (water evaporates before it could touch them). So he absorbs Eren’s icicle magic and creates his own icicle shotgun to destroy the fire demons. However the last one self-explodes, injuring the humans. Rimuru orders Ranga to bring them away. Now it is one to one with Ifrit. Ifrit clones himself but Rimuru easily destroys them. Too bad he fell into his fire trap. Rimuru thought he is going to die but this process seems to be taking longer… Oh right. He is fire resistant and can’t die! With that, Rimuru turns the tables and it is now Ifrit who is sweating in his pants since his fire has no effect on the slime. Rimuru swallows Ifrit as a whole. Shizu is freed. Ifrit tries to get out from Rimuru’s abyss stomach. He can’t. At least that’s what Veldora says. Now he is going to keep him company for hurting his friend.

Episode 8
Shizu tells Rimuru her life story. After being possessed by Ifrit, she served the Demon Lord until she met the hero. Instead of being slain, she was spared. This brought her emotions back as Shizu now followed the hero. She gave her this mask to suppress Ifrit but as you can guess, she is getting older, the power is getting weaker. Shizu learnt many things during her travels with the hero but one day she disappeared. Shizu then became a teacher as she wanted to help those in need. Some of them went on to achieve greatness like one of them became a guildmaster. As Shizu nears the end of her life, she remembered about the one who summoned her and hoped to find him. Hence taking this journey. At this point, Shizu is close to death and wants Rimuru to eat her as she doesn’t want to be absorbed by this world she hates. Rimuru agrees to find Leon for her and her wish is to perhaps get him to acknowledge that she existed. And also something about returning some kids to their world. Once Shizu dies, Rimuru eats her and is forever to dream a sweet dream of her original life. When the rest come in to visit, they are shocked to see Rimuru taking on Shizu’s form. From time to time, Rimuru will appear like this to honour her. Before the humans leave, they want Rimuru to transform as Shizu so they could thank and say goodbye to her. Rimuru notices their worn out gear and replaces it with better equipment. You can thank Kaijin for that. An orc is dying in the desert but is saved by Gelmud who feeds him and names him Geld. One day, he will conquer Jura and become the Orc Disaster.

Episode 9
Rimuru tests some of his humanoid forms. Androgynous, male, female… I think the last one was too sexy and might be an insult to Shizu. As he can now take on a humanoid form, this means he can taste and suggests a feast tonight. Rimuru puts on the mask that suppresses his aura and magic, making him just an ordinary human. He gets a distress call by Ranga. The party was out hunting for food but are attacked by a group of ogres. Rimuru comes to their aid but the ogre leader insists they are the bad guys who attacked their village and slain their brethren. They identify Rimuru’s mask as the evil majin perpetrator and are out for revenge. Since they are not on talking terms, Rimuru knocks out some of them. Although they manage to cut off an arm, Rimuru easily regenerates it. Then he takes off his mask to show them his true power. Even demonstrating this huge black flame that indicates he is inherently f*cking strong. Still want to have a go? The ogre leader is afraid but will not run away and willing to die to avenge his fallen. His sister stops him. She has him think if such majin was so powerful, why not wiped them out himself instead of sending low level orcs to do the job? Rimuru reverts to his slime form and lets them examine the mask. It does look similar to the perpetrator’s and the only difference is this one suppresses magic. The perpetrator’s mask did not. The orcs apologize for their ruthlessness and Rimuru forgives them. He also invites them to his village for a feast and talk things over.

Episode 10
At the feast, the ogre leader explains the orcs wearing human-like armours killing his brethren. It is unusual since ogres are way stronger than orcs. This could mean that there is a great one controlling them. He saw a masked majin among them and that’s why he mistook Rimuru as the enemy. He doesn’t have plans so Rimuru suggests becoming his subordinates. Although it might involve the entire village in this revenge battle, Rimuru believes with the other races jostling for power, they need the numbers and help they can get. The ogre leader takes his time to think and finally decides to become Rimuru’s subordinate. This pact will last until they avenge their fallen. Then they are free to do what they want or join Rimuru’s camp. With that, Rimuru names them. I guess being named means transforming into ogres into kijin. Yeah, bishoujo and bishonen alert! Folks, meet Benimaru (ogre leader), Shuna (cute princess sister), Shion (sexy busty babe), Hakurou (old dude), Souei (the other handsome guy but more sullen) and Kurobe (big middle aged guy). Meanwhile the lizardmen are unsettled. Scouts picked up a strong 200,000 orc army and they think they are going to be invaded. It might be unbelievable that there is somebody who could control a rowdy bunch and keep such a great number fed but the only one possible is a unique monster. In this case, an Orc Lord. Hence the lizardmen’s chief summons his son, Gabiru for a task. Benimaru further explains before their village was massacred, a masked majin named Gelmud came and offered to name them. However Benimaru rejected as he didn’t trust him. So was the attack based out of spite? Souei reports lizardmen around the area. Gabiru is not pleased his father sent him to seek alliances with goblin villages. His subordinate egg him to be the next chief. Initially Gabiru didn’t feel he was up to the task and was just talking big. But seeing how his subordinates believe in him so squarely, I guess he really thinks he is that great!

Episode 11
We take a detour with Rimuru narrating Shion is now his secretary and bodyguard. Yeah, first class seat below her boobs, right? However she sucks at cooking so Gobta had to ‘die’ as a sacrifice for Rimuru to issue an order she must get Benimaru’s approval first before she cooks. The other goblin villages agree to serve under Gabiru not because they find him credible but to defend themselves from the impending orc invasion. Hence this misinterpretation only fuels Gabiru’s ego. Now that he is at Rimuru’s village, he acts so snobbish (complete with some flashy WTF entrance) to have these weaklings serve under him. Everybody wants to kill this asshole when Gabiru looks down on Rimuru. Luckily this won’t turn into a one-sided bloodshed as they make Gobta fight on their behalf. He better win or else he will have to eat Shion’s cooking! Everyone is stunned when Gobta uses some shadow manipulation skill to knock out Gabiru. OMG! Is he some prodigy! With Gobta’s win, Rimuru will agree to cooperate to fight against the orcs but not serve under them. The lizardmen retreat. Rimuru and the rest now discuss about this. With Souei confirming there is indeed 200,000 of them and heading towards the lizardmen’s marshlands, they wonder if a Demon Lord is behind this. Souei then receives contact from a dryad who wants to speak to Rimuru. You mean those sexy tree spirits? Okay. Bring her in. Treyni has a request of Rimuru and it is to defeat the Orc Lord.

Episode 12
Rimuru wants some time to think and gather some info instead of stirring the hornet’s nest. Discussing about the orc’s goal, Treyni further explains that they have no goal in particular and just to move forward as per their Orc Lord’s wish. Like locusts, they devour everything in sight, including their fallen comrades. This gives them even more strength than before. Rimuru is still thinking but Shion believes nothing can defeat Rimuru so he agrees to Treyni’s request. He wants to make an alliance with the lizardmen but wants someone more responsible than Gabiru. So he sends Souei to see the lizardmen’s chief to broker an alliance. Meanwhile Gabiru thinks Gobta is the real master! He is interrupted by Laplace, a subordinate of Gelmud who tells him of the advancement of the orcs. He also instigates him to take his father’s place. Souei sees the chief but will only agree to an alliance after he meets Rimuru in person. Souei promises to do that in 7 days. The chief summons all his guards to defend this place but not engage in any battles with the orcs. Because if one of their own dies, they will be eaten and this only provides strength to the orcs. However by the fourth day, Gabiru returns and forces his father off the throne. He takes his spear that signifies the leadership of his race. With all those loyal to his father imprisoned, the younger ones side with Gabiru who is going to show them how real lizardmen fight. His hit and run tactic might look good but he is then shocked to see the orcs doing cannibalism.

Episode 13
As Rimuru’s team march into the marshlands, Souei reports a lizardman is fighting a group of orcs. With permission to assist, Souei kills all of them. This lizardman is the chief’s personal guard and Gabiru’s sister. She mentions of the rebellion as well as Gabiru’s intention to fight the orcs on his own. Rimuru recognizes her as the representative for the lizardmen and forms the alliance now. He has Souei rescue the chief while the others back up the other lizardmen in battle. The lizardmen are surrounded by orcs. They realize their movements have become faster since eating their lizardmen comrades, they also gain their abilities to move through the marsh faster. Gabiru thought he is going to face off with the Orc Lord. Unfortunately he is just an Orc General who is much inferior to the Orc Lord. Meanwhile Gelmud and Laplace are delighted with their plans in motion. Treyni tries to kick them out of the forest but they escape. Gabiru puts up a brave fight but before he gets owned, here comes Gobta and Ranga to his rescue. We see the kijin so powered up like as though they are on cheat code mode to destroy the swarm of orcs easily. Ranga shows his true power by summoning some death storm that zaps Orc General into nothingness. So powerful that he grew another horn?! Souei rescues the chief and others who are imprisoned. They are shocked to see him dispose so easily the orcs. So flabbergasted… Gelmud is panicking to see the tides turning against him. He fears all that he has prepared will be for naught. You mean this guy didn’t know about Rimuru? He must do something quick lest he faces the wrath of his master. Rimuru has finally spotted the Orc Lord. Time to ends this.

Episode 14
Gelmud drops in to complain how his plans to create a Demon Lord is ruined. He tries to kill Gabiru to have the Orc Lord eat him but is saved by his subordinates. Time for Rimuru to move in and beat the crap out of this annoying whiny guy. Gelmud wants the Orc Lord AKA Geld to help him. Hurry up and evolve into a Demon Lord. Guess what? Geld decapitates and eats him! Good riddance. But now Geld has transformed into Orc Disaster thanks to the mana he devoured. The rest use all they’ve got on him but no effect. His regenerative abilities is so great that even when decapitated, he just needs to put his head back on. Time for Rimuru the big boss to show what he’s got. Using Sage to come up with the best measure, it seems Geld is also now immune to fire and burning. Rimuru doesn’t need Sage’s help to come up with another plan because he knows what to do. He turns into a slime to devour Geld! So it becomes a battle to see who can devour who first. Of course Rimuru being a slime, he is unbeatable in this game. Rimuru sees Geld’s memories. As the king of his tribe, they were facing starvation. He gave parts of his body to the starving children although he has regenerative abilities. But this cannot go on as the infant mortality rate is rising so he went on a journey to find food in Jura. The rest is history when he met Gelmud. Geld is adamant he cannot lose or his sins fall upon his brethren’s shoulders. But Rimuru the greedy one will not only eat Geld but all their sins as well. Geld then sees utopia and thanks Rimuru for satiating his hunger and freeing his people from starvation. The orcs are sad their king is dead but at the same time could not be happier that their king is now free. With the invasion over, Rimuru releases the kijin from his pact. However they want to swear their allegiance to him till the end of their lives. After seeing all that greatness, you’d be a fool not to!

Episode 15
Rimuru presides a conference for all the races. Firstly, he will not punished the orcs as he has agreed with Geld to shoulder their sins. This might sound unreasonable to the lizardmen as they suffered the most but to all the monsters, there is rule of survival of the fittest. Rimuru suggests cooperation from everyone. The lizardmen will provide water and fish, the goblins will provide housing while the orcs will provide labour. With that, Treyni makes Rimuru the chancellor of the Jura Forest Alliance! Geld’s right hand man wants to sacrifice himself to the kijin to spare his men but Benimaru doesn’t harbour anymore hate for him since they serve the same master. Rimuru then names this orc, Geld in honour of his king. Yeah, 150,000 more orcs to name!!! Now they are high orcs! The lizardmen’s chief is named Abiru. Instead of giving the death sentence to Gabiru for treason, he excommunicates him. He won’t go alone as his loyal subjects follow him to be excommunicated. Laplace reports back to Demon Lord Clayman about the failure to create another Demon Lord. He doesn’t sound worried though he needs to do something about that slime. Gazel and his men fly down into Rimuru’s village. After the battle with Orc Disaster is over, he is worried with the gatherings of evolved monsters and feared this would threaten his country. Hence he wants to see Rimuru with his own eyes and fight him to see his true nature. The fight ends with Rimuru winning since he is able to block Gazel’s greatest attack. Gazel is relieved he is not evil. Rimuru can thank Hakurou for the sword lessons and it seems this old dude was also Gazel’s sword instructor. What a small world. Gazel suggests their nations could form a treaty with each other. Rimuru panics as he hasn’t named his nation, let alone his village. So he plucks out what he can think off. Hmmm… Aha! Jura Tempest Federation! And this leads to the rest naming this village as Rimuru Capital City! History is now being made.

Episode 16
A few days later, Gazel returns to give Rimuru a gift: Vesta. As he can’t work under him and to avoid his talents go to waste, he hopes Rimuru could take him in and use his research talents. After that, Gabiru wants to join Rimuru. Yeah, where else to go? His sister also joins in not because she missed him but Abiru sent them to train under Rimuru. This means he has to name them. Yeah, the sister is now known as Soka. Evolved lizardmen become dragonewts! Damn, dragonewt females look like hot sexy ninja babes?! Rimuru didn’t want to give Gabiru a name since he already has one but apparently somehow he unwittingly overwrites it. Same name but this time it is as though Rimuru is the one who named him. Demon Lord Milim Nava is curious about Rimuru’s exploits so she drops down to check him out for herself. As they talk, Rimuru’s comrades come to attack her. WTF, I thought they were talking nicely and they start attacking? Isn’t this their fault? Don’t blame Milim if she goes all out. Rimuru analyses her and sees she is already 10 times more powerful even not at her best. So the only way is this: He throws her delicious honey! Like the kid she is, she really likes it and wants more. Rimuru can give her more if she admits defeat. But she wants to call it a draw and promises not to mess with them. Deal. Happy Milim eats her honey and wonders why Rimuru didn’t become a Demon Lord. Aside fighting and bossing around others, doesn’t that seem boring? Wow. Milim in shock. Instead, she bugs to join his side since it looks more fun. What’s a slime got to do? He introduces her to the entire town and Milim now wants to stay here! They’re best friends, right?! While everything seems to be going well and Milim enjoying herself, the other guys talk to Rimuru about this. There might be a problem with the other Demon Lords. Being friends with Milim means they are in an alliance. She might use this to increase her influence and hence upsetting the balance. Other Demon Lords may become hostile. They stay positive that at least they will have Milim on their side despite standing no chance if facing other Demon Lords. Then they dump this responsibility on Rimuru. The great chancellor will take care of this, right?

Episode 17
Now it’s Fuze turn to see Rimuru with his own eyes as he has Kaval’s team take him there. Meanwhile Vesta has successfully created a very high end potion but they can’t sell it as Rimuru wants since it isn’t viable for daily use and only used in near death situations. Rimuru has this idea to let Dwargon sublet making potions to them while they only need to procure ingredients. A little trouble brews. Phobio, an underling of Demon Lord Carrion thinks this town is fit for his master’s subjugation. Because he beat up Rigurd, Milim beats the crap out of him. She’s expecting Rimuru to praise her but since he reminded her about the promise not to make a fuss, she takes it out on Phobio. Talking things out, Phobio reveals Carrion’s order to scout a mysterious majin to serve him. Rimuru doesn’t want war but if Carrion chooses so, they’ll be prepared. He prefers to talk and to set a date to do so. After Phobio leaves, Rimuru smooth talks his way to make Milim reveal more about Carrion. Demon Lords, Clayman, Carrion, Frey and herself used Gelmud to create a puppet Demon Lord just to kill time but seeing what happened, it’s not doubt Rimuru will be targeted for messing about. Fuze hires Youm and his men to fight off monsters. However it is Gobta who easily cuts down this giant spider and cook it for dinner! Fuze sees Rimuru for himself and is shocked to learn Rimuru has entered a treaty with Dwargon. Rimuru wants to have good relations with human too but Fuze would like to see if he is really an ally of humans. Rimuru welcomes him to stay and observe. Learning that news of Orc Lord’s defeat didn’t spread like wildfire, Rimuru suggests hiring Youm. He wants him and his men to be the champions who defeated Orc Lord. Rimuru will be introduced as a monster who helped him and this would easier for him to befriend humans instead of being seen as a mysterious powerful monster. Youm after thinking a lot, decides to accept Rimuru’s terms. He reveals his men accepted this mission so that they will be officially dead and use this chance to escape to another kingdom. Meanwhile Tear reports to Clayman that Frey has no interested in getting involved with Jura. It seems she is preparing for battle as Charybdis is going to be revived. Clayman is delighted and tasks her to find the location of the seal.

Episode 18
Phobio still feels sore about losing to Milim and wants revenge. Just in time because Tear and Footman can offer him that power and turn him into a Demon Lord himself. They sound tempting but they seal the deal when they mention Charybdis. Thus Phobio tells his comrades to return and report all this to Carrion while he himself will resign from all positions and become carnage itself to force Milim to acknowledge his power. He is taken to a cave where Charybdis is sealed. It seems the catch that he must use his own body as a vessel to combine as one with Charybdis. Otherwise Charybdis will break out itself and nobody will be able to control it. Phobio takes up this challenge. Meanwhile Fuze is really enjoying himself and is he overstaying his welcome? Well, Youm and his buddies have already left to spread the news so why is this dude the only one left taking easy? Anyway, Rimuru wants to build a road directly to his kingdom of Blumund. This will make it easier for both their nations to trade. He can provide the labour but in exchange wants to sell their goods to other countries. Soon, Trya who is Treyni’s sister comes to warn of the revival of Charybdis. It seems the dryads are waging a futile war to stop it as it is coming for this place. Rimuru calls an emergency meeting with everyone as Trya explains that Charybdis can be said to be Veldora’s child as it was generated from his magicules. From time to time it was defeated and revived. Many times. Rimuru fears Charybdis might know Veldora resides in his body and hence attracted to this village. While he is more than happy for Milim to take it down, too bad Shion and Shuna interject she shouldn’t rely on friends too much and this is their village’s problem so it is theirs to solve. Oh well, looks like Rimuru has to show everyone he is the strongest again. He has everyone make preparations against Charybdis and his flying Megalodon sharks it summoned from the spirit world?! WTF?!

Episode 19
The plan is for each team to separate the sharks and attack them individually. Only Milim is complaining as Rimuru told her she can’t join in the funny. Puppy dog eyes won’t sway his decision. After all the sharks are taken out, it’s time for the final boss Charybdis. It’s tough taking down this mother because his scales can attack you like flies. I guess it’s time for Rimuru to enter the fray. Despite he stops the scales, Charybdis has ultra regeneration. This is going to be tough. Even if it takes almost the whole day, they only deal 30% damage. Rimuru then hears Charybdis harbouring intense hatred towards Milim. He realizes Charybdis is after her rather than Veldora. Hence he goes to wake up that sleeping Demon Lord to put a stop to this. I suppose Milim is itching for this action as she easily destroys Charybdis with 1 blow. This is already considered restraint? With Phobio kicked out of Charybdis, Rimuru collects him and even removes whatever remains of Charybdis inside him. When Phobio wakes up, he apologizes and regrets what he has done. As to how he stumbled into Charybdis, he mentions about a few clowns. This has them realize this Moderate Harlequin Alliance are comprised of jack of all trades, pretending to help you out but use you to fulfil their goals without getting their own hands dirty. Phobio is shocked that Rimuru spares him. He thought of being killed in exchange they don’t go after Carrion. Apparently Carrion is here and heard everything. After smacking and reprimanding Phobio for giving them trouble, he agrees to Rimuru’s suggestion of forming a nonaggression pact with him and will never go to war with him.

Episode 20
With the threats gone, back to partying and peaceful life. Milim decides to get to ‘work’ by spreading the word to her fellow Demon Lords not to mess with Rimuru. Oh, she’ll be back. Before Rimuru and us really forget, time for that timely reminder of Shizu’s dream. Time to make good your promise, Rimuru. Leaving his city in the capable hands of his people, Rimuru leaves with Ranga to the Ingrassia Kingdom where Shizu once tutored. Freedom Academy was established by Yuuki Kagurazaka, one of Shizu’s students and his plan is to meet him. Thanks to Fuze arranging the necessary documents, Rimuru enters Ingrassia with ease but needs to keep his monster aura hidden. The moment Yuuki sees Rimuru, he gets agitated because that mask belongs to Shizu. He starts fighting him but immediately stops when Rimuru mentions about things that happen in their former world. Yuuki is impressed as Rimuru reveals all the spoilers of anime and manga that happened after he died. Yeah, Rimuru lived long enough to watch the ending of certain series. If hearing isn’t enough, heck this slime can replicate a manga magazine from his memory on paper!!! Free manga reads forever! Anyway, back to proper business, Rimuru mentions his mission here is to make good on Shizu’s promise-cum-regret regarding the children of Freedom Academy. We are reminded of the summoning of Otherworlders that takes many mages, days and resources to summon a powerful one. However sometimes a kid is summoned but their body cannot withstand all that power and they will be incinerated. Shizu took them in to save them but none of those kids have ever lasted more than 5 years and no way has been found to prevent their destruction. He hopes Rimuru can take on and save these kids. With Shizu becoming a teacher, he is shocked to see how lively these brats are. Full of life. Full of energy. Full of mischief. They don’t like they’re kicking the bucket soon. Folks, meet Kenya Misaki, Ryouta Sekiguchi, Gale Gibson, Alice Rondo and Chloe Aubert. Rimuru thought he felt Veldora resonating within.

Episode 21
The students aren’t respecting him so nothing like a little threat from Ranga to make them listen. Then he has them fight him one on one. This is to see and test their abilities and each of them have some pretty good quality skill and magic. The students agree to put their trust in him since he swears on Shizu’s mask that he will save them and not abandon them. Later Rimuru goes to see Treyni. He wants to meet a higher spirit. She notes there is a place called Dwelling of Spirits. Although it has many entrances, unfortunately the previous spirit queen she served has long passed away. She is unfamiliar with the current queen so she doesn’t know where those entrances are. A month into Rimuru’s teaching job, a sky dragon soars down to attack Ingrassia’s capital. Time for Rimuru to show off to those kids why he is so powerful. He easily defeats the sky dragon without any sweat. After Charybdis, this is nothing. He is then invited by a merchant, Mjolmire as thanks for saving his life. He might be a loan shark and has other shady dealings but he is trustworthy as a merchant. Rimuru takes up on his offer and also invites him to his town since he would love Mjolmire to teach them how to trade and make some deals. As they leave, Mjolmire’s assistant chants a blessing to the kids. Rimuru becomes interested because her prayers are based from the current spirit queen. At least from her hometown. Rimuru and co now make their way to the Dwelling of Spirits at the Ulg Nature Park of the Republic of Ulgrasia.

Episode 22
Because Shizu had Ifrit inside her, it was perhaps that spirit helped controlled her magicules instead of dying young. Hence Rimuru theorizes if these kids had a superior spirit inside them, they would also avoid dying young. Inside the labyrinth, a cheeky spirit toys with them and will grant their wish if they pass her test. So they have to defeat this powerful golem? Not a problem for Rimuru. Yeah, the spirit is in extreme shock to see Rimuru easily taking it down. Now she is summoned out of her hiding and real scared of Rimuru. Ramiris claims she isn’t just a fairy but a Demon Lord. Really? Mind her being an idiot but she is really a Demon Lord as Milim is a friend and was here not too long ago. That’s why she knew about Rimuru. Ramiris continues to talk about her greatest spirit engineering in that golem that used all the elements to make it move. This reminds Rimuru of Dwargon’s failed project to make magic soldiers and Ramiris easily completed that research herself. After Rimuru explains what he wants, he is shocked to hear that Ramiris is also the spirit queen. Believe it. Can she be a Demon Lord at the same time? Actually, she fell from grace as a spirit queen to become a Demon Lord. The same can be said about Leon. He was once a hero who had the blessing of the spirits but along the way he fell from grace. Ramiris is the former and also current spirit queen. Confused? Although she died and reborn, she retained memories of her old self. That’s why Treyni doesn’t have connections. Ramiris leads them to the deepest part of Dwelling of Spirits. She explains they can summon a superior spirit and they will respond if they like it. But if they don’t, they can create a new one. Wow. Sounds easy.

Episode 23
Those who summoned inferior spirits like Gale, Alice and Ryouta, Rimuru absorbs and combines them into a superior spirit. That easy, huh? Rimuru doesn’t need to do anything for those who summon superior spirits like Kenya. They just directly inhabit him. Finally when it comes to Chloe, it seems she summoned a super superior spirit. She gives Rimuru a cheeky kiss before inhabiting Chloe. Ramiris finds this dangerous and from what I understand, this spirit is supposed to be from the future and has implanted herself into Chloe as a vessel to be reborn in the future. Rimuru doesn’t understand and since all is well, I guess they’ll leave it at that. I guess with everything solved, there is nothing more for Rimuru to do, huh? He leaves the kids with Yuuki as they will continue their studies in Freedom Academy. It’s going to be a teary goodbye so say what you want to say before Rimuru leaves for home. It’s not like they won’t see each other forever, though. They’ll visit sometimes. Rimuru feels it is best to leave Shizu’s mask with them as a parting gift. He isn’t sure why he did that but he feels it is the natural thing to do.

Episode 24
We go back in time when Shizu was an active adventurer. Somewhere, a dying woman desperately summons a demon known as Kuro. She wants vengeance an in exchange gives him her life. Shizu is one of the many warriors summoned to Flitwood Kingdom to defeat a revived demon. The minister relays the bad news that their heroic champions have died and this sends some of them panicking. Even more so when the minister doesn’t relay enough info about the demon who was supposedly sealed by a hero named Orthos but the method was never mentioned. Shizu asks some questions and learns that the revived demon has no name and hence it cannot be an Archdemon. Still, she finds it hard to believe champions would lose to it. When an adventurer refuses this dangerous mission, he is promptly killed. It is revealed there is a lesser demon residing in him. Shizu thinks this is bad because with the adventurers forced into cooperation, could it be they also want to find which among them are the demons? This is when Kuro who is part of the adventurers start laughing. He calls this a charade and knows they planted the lesser demon into that guy just to put on a show. Shizu confronts him and from what Kuro says, he intends to kill everyone here to reveal the true demon. They both fight and Shizu manages to cut off an arm. But when he targets her mask, he finds it has some infinite properties and decides to back down. Everyone cheers for her but Shizu only knows Kuro was only using half his strength and that somebody had summoned Kuro. Later, Shizu is summoned by a knight to see the king. She is puzzled since she didn’t see him around and how could he know she fought Kuro? Then it all starts to make sense when she sees him colluding with the minister and king. The knight is actually Orthos and was never sealed away. By gathering adventurers and eliminating them, he would gain more power. Hence Flitwood is ruled by demons and the king is just a puppet. Orthos wants her mask and plans to sacrifice her. Shizu is forced to fight him in her weakened state and has a tough time fighting this Archdemon. He even dares her to combine with Ifrit. Before she could do it, Kuro pops up and kills the other goons. Too bad Orthos cannot judge the strength of others so his underestimate Kuro and gets killed by him. In the aftermath, the official story goes that Flitwood is purged of all demons and Kuro was the one who killed the king and minister. Shizu then defeated Kuro. This is a story cooked up by Kuro so as to have Shizu’s story straight. Do that and he won’t target her. But Kuro is interested again when the mask showed up in Rimuru. But spoilers ahead as Rimuru says, Kuro would be summoned by him and be named as Diablo.

Episode 24.5
This supposedly recap OVA episode is narrated by Veldora and Ifrit trapped inside Rimuru. It isn’t exactly 100% copy and paste. Although it is for the visuals, the dialogue is completely different. Veldora has Ifrit as his shogi partner because, what else to do, right? Great dragon teaches fire spirit how to play as they talk and comment about Rimuru’s progress among other stuffs. Yeah, Veldora sounds like some crazy emotional insecure old dude while Ifrit’s replies sounds more like out of pity. I guess that is what loneliness can do to you. In the end, Ifrit manages to checkmate Veldora and the latter tries to change the topic and everything. Oh well, they’re going to be stuck in here for the while so buckle up for more solitude insanity…

OVA 2
Shion and Shuna are fighting over Rimuru. This slime will one day break in this tug of war. Rimuru thought of cloning himself but the thought that everybody wants a piece of him eventually, nah, bad idea. Hence he has this idea to make cushions in his image for them. I guess explaining to the dwarves about the materials called styrofoam and polystyrene isn’t exactly making them understand. But they think that sort of material can be found near a lake. But beware. There is a rumour about a monster that will drag you down. A monster that can defeat Rimuru? No way! Since it would be lonely to go on this trip alone, Rimuru has the usual gang follow him on this picnic trip. It gets off to a bad start as Shion has cooked for Rimuru! Well, he did carelessly say everyone should make their own food! So bad that the container melts and burns a hole in the ground! If that’s not bad enough, Shion also made an onigiri that is equally as bad! Fortunately for Rimuru, she trips and the onigiri rolls into the lake. Phew. Fanservice time as the ladies put on their swimsuits. Super sexy! Rimuru approves! The guys also do the same! Rimuru disapproves this macho gay sh*t! Then Milim crashes in. She is mad she wasn’t invited on this picnic. Well, I guess we know why. But since she’s here, might as well. As they swim towards the sandbank in the middle of the lake that is the supposed material, suddenly a tentacle drags Rimuru down. After he cuts himself loose and swims to the surface, he sees the ladies getting tentacle raped! Nice spectacle! Yeah, the guys too! Shameful! Rimuru swims to the bottom and sees a monster who is the source of this. He realizes the monster is more of in pain rather than intentionally doing harm. The cause? It’s that onigiri! Rimuru splashes a few healing potions to heal it and the monster calms down. He realizes it is also blind and lonely and promises to do something. Returning to the surface, looks like the swimsuits have melted. I’m sure Rimuru would have loved to feast his eyes on the ladies but the guys too?! Mood ruined. The sandbar seems to be the perfect material to make cushions as it is made out of the monster’s mucus. Rimuru wants the entire sandbar to be taken back. But do they have enough bags to carry it? This is part of Rimuru’s plan to make frequent trips to and fro so as to keep the monster company. Once the cushions are done, Shion and Shuna continue to fight over Rimuru. Eh? I guess nothing beats the real deal.

Overlord: That Time I Got Reincarnated As God
Well people, looks like there is some ‘good news’. Because this series is going to get another season! Huzzah! More slime exploits and greatness! All hail the great Rimuru! I mean, this slime has gone on to defeat the most badass of the badass and gather a lot of powerful monsters, is there no other creatures he could not face and take down? Oh right. He hasn’t fought God and his angels yet! OMFG! That would be so f*cking epic. And so f*cking insulting if the slime ever brings down God! That would be just, I don’t even know how to put it in words. But for now, there are still a lot of potentials and development even though it might seem Rimuru has greatly solved them all with ease. Like Leon whom I am guessing will be his ultimate goal as well as the mysterious Moderate Harlequin Alliance that are like the wild joker cards in this world. And yeah, don’t forget Veldora (and Ifrit) still imprisoned inside Rimuru. Better hurry before they go insane when it’s their time to finally be set free.

I find myself having mixed feelings whether to love or dislike this series because despite being filled to the brim with lots of overpowered clichés, it seems that I myself have enjoyed many of the scenes despite how clichéd it was. One of the biggest problems that one might find is how Rimuru is overpowered from the very start. I mean, he has literally everything at the tip of his fingertips and just needs time to get used to them. Therefore it becomes very cliché and predictable that the plot goes something like this: Some enemy wants to pick a fight, Rimuru uses what he has or something his skills as suggested by Sage to defeat the opponent. In many cases, the opponents he kills, their clan members become his allies. Next enemy comes by. Repeat process but this time having some help from his monster associates. Continue to rinse and repeat. It gets really repetitious and boring but somehow I didn’t find myself being bored or sneering with sarcasm and disliked each time a chapter of that ends. Is it the way they executed the pace of the story? Hard to say.

Thus one might come to love or hate Rimuru as the main character not because he is a slime but rather because he is so overpowered that it makes everything look so easy. Note that I said in my previous paragraph how he monsters he defeated become his allies soon after. While it is great to see Rimuru gather and make allies with various monster nations, however the fact still remains that he was overpowered in all of his fights and if I should say, all of them are just so freaking easy for him. Hence the irony he doesn’t really need to have allies in the first place. But I guess he needs to because it beats being a lonely slime. I figure that this is to showcase how powerful this slime is because if somebody else were to get the job done, then Rimuru wouldn’t have been called to the fore.

So with great monster attacks like the Orc Disaster incident and the revival of Charybdis, it is just to showcase and crystalized Rimuru’s greatness. While I understand it is so because he is the main character, the problem is how he does it with ease. I mean, I don’t feel that there is any sort of challenge he has to face. Sure, he thinks a little bit, gets a few suggestions by Sage or his comrades. But eventually just one swift action is all it takes to end it. Is this the monster’s equivalent to One Punch Man? The only reason why Rimuru isn’t as hated as an overpowered character is because he doesn’t have a Smartphone! Oh yeah. We’re still reeling from that disaster, eh? With Rimuru being like some sort of immortal since so many things just can’t kill him, my conspiracy theory that the only thing that can kill him is Shion’s cooking! Hah! Even the great Rimuru has his weakness! Imagine the thing that made him keel over is poison cooking. You mean Sage can’t analyse this toxic abomination and turn it into some weapon instead?

So my guess why I find this series fascinating and entertaining is because of the action bits. I think this is what I will personally remember the series by. Not to say the action sequences are such a masterpiece as they are filled with such over the top and overpowered moves and magic (which it is supposed to be) but they are a lot entertaining nevertheless. I have to admit that despite Rimuru making it really look easy to defeat the big boss, I still enjoy seeing him do it. We also get to see his other minions fight but they are minimal and just to showcase and strut their stuff before their boss joins in and shows it how it’s done. So yeah, the action is also pretty cliché and over the top but it’s done in a satisfying way so I guess they pass. I also guess I can’t complain since I don’t really want a boss fight to last for episodes like Dragonball or One Piece. Yeah… Sure, the big battle might last for a few episodes but it is important the climax of the match isn’t dragged out.

With so many characters joining Rimuru, it seems that many of them lack any proper character development and I could say that many fall to the wayside when they are no longer in focus. We do see them from time to time but it feels like it is to assure us that they are still sticking around with Rimuru. But of course. After all, many of the creatures like the goblins, ogres and orcs have lost their home so there isn’t much to tell on that since by following Rimuru, it gives them a purpose of existence. Like Shion who becomes Rimuru’s secretary and carries him around feels more like an excuse for fanservice because of her big tits that Rimuru loves to cuddle under. Then there is Gobta who is supposedly a comic relief character and many of his scenes and actions can be seen as comical. But don’t write him off as he has shown some growth under the tutelage of Hakurou. Gabiru is the next comic relief with his egoistic ways but he got less screen time after becoming Rimuru’s follower. So no more funny lizardman poses. Then there is one of the dwarven brothers who has no lines and can only nod in agreement. To everything! I think this is a running joke that Rimuru sometimes even scoffs at. Ranga… Animal mascot! It’s amazing Rimuru has managed to build a great city for his monsters to live. But the city is so human-like… Complete with hotspring! Damn these monsters really have it good. Rimuru is God!

Rimuru as the big boss himself, he isn’t such a bad character. Has his own ideals and justice that fits into any main character tropes and clichés. I just wonder why they need to showcase to us at the start that his true identity is a dead normal guy from our world. Was this even necessary? I guess it is this or either a strange slime creature awakens in the deep parts of the cave having no recollection of who he is. Yup, cliché amnesiac main character. Uh huh. I guess we were tired of that trope too. So by having someone from our world getting a second chance at life in another fantasy world, my speculation is that because this fantasy world isn’t as advanced as our world, hence chance for our main character who conveniently retained all his memories to live out his wildest dreams. Something that he can achieve here and even more compared to when he was alive in his own boring world. Therefore I can’t blame recent many isekai anime series for following this formula because we were definitely complaining at one point about amnesiac main characters. Sheesh. We customers are going to be harder and harder to please. Besides, that Otherworlders plot seems to be just hanging there. I feel they could have fleshed it out but perhaps they somewhat forgotten it this season…

Like I have said, having Leon as the endgame is a reason why this slime’s adventure is going to continue. So in the meantime, more other adventures, more gathering of other fellow monsters. In no time I am expecting Rimuru to have a vampire in his team. Yikes! Why can we not have a vampire in such a fantasy setting?! You have fairies, right? You have goblins, lizardmen orcs and ogres, right? Damn you got dryads too. So why not vampires and add zombies to that mix? And since this world has demons and Demon Lords, what are the chances of having an angel by your side? Damn, this would have been the ultimate monster combo ever! That aside, Rimuru who vouches for peace and doesn’t want war is commendable because I would also want to make friends, pacts and treaties if I were in his shoes. Therefore this brings me to the point of how easily Rimuru makes friends with. I know I’m repeating myself with this cliché but I guess I have to point it out again because not only in battlefields but in the diplomacy segment Rimuru also rules. Humans and some Demon Lords easily becoming his allies? Too f*cking easy! It feels like lazy writing. Thinking about it, even if I were in the other shoes, I would think twice of making this slime as my enemy because we’ve already seen how powerful he is. After all, that is why Rimuru is a slime in the first place so that enemies could look down on him and then he owns them by surprise. Heh. That should show them.

I’m not complaining about the art and animation since they’re rather okay. The fantasy world feels a bit bland as we mostly see the Jura forest since this is where many of the incidents and setting take place. Character designs are rather okay too. Oddly everyone powers up after they are being named and this means they look even hotter. Especially females. Mind boggling how lizardmen’s females can take after humanoid form. Some females like Shion are definitely for eye candy fanservice as well as Milim because it feels like she forgot to wear her pants and fly around in her skimpy pantsu. Really. Then you got some looking comical like Gobta (why do I feel he is a combination of Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie? Is it his round nose?) and the lizardmen who are followers of Gabiru especially when they have those cute round puppy dog eyes. So weird. I wonder if Rigurd is taken after Arnold Schwarzenegger. Why do they have to make fairies so annoying these days? Because like Ramiris, it reminds me of another certain annoying fairy in Black Clover… Is this trend started by The Legend Of Zelda’s Navi?! Animated by 8bit who did Infinite Stratos, Tokyo Ravens, Grisaia No Kajitsu, Rewrite and Yama No Susume.

The voice acting is fine too but with so many characters the list is long. I only recognized Takahiro Sakurai as Kuro/Diablo, Takehito Koyasu as Clayman, Kazuya Nakai as Laplace, Hochu Ohtsuka as Hakurou, Kenjirou Tsuda as Vesta, Kana Asumi as Trya and Jun Fukuyama as Leon. I thought Rie Tanaka has retired for good so I didn’t recognize her as Treyni. I guess sometimes you have to come back in a while just to surprise people like me. Or is it? The other casts are Miho Okasaki as Rimuru (Miku Nisho in Ongaku Shoujo), Yumiri Hanamori as Shizu (Seth in Radiant), Chikahiro Kobayashi as Ranga (Sugimoto in Golden Kamuy), Makoto Furukawa as Benimaru (Banri in Golden Time), Mao Ichimichi as Shion (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Takuya Eguchi as Souei (Kaidou in Saiki Kusuo No Psi-nan), Sayaka Senbongi as Shuna (AnchoR in Clockwork Planet), Rina Hidaka as Milim (Last Order in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Kenji Nomura as Geld (Ushiyama in Golden Kamuy), Kanehira Yamato as Rigurd (Kunimi in Noragami Aragoto), Jun Fukushima as Gabiru (Kazuma in KonoSuba), Ken Narita as Fuze (Sesshoumaru in Inu Yasha), Takaya Hashi as Dwargo (Joujin in Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou), Anzu Haruno as Ramiris (Mafuyu in Blend S), Asuna Tomari as Gobta (Ryuou in Dorei-ku The Animation), Tomoaki Maeno as Veldora (Junichi in Amagami SS), Taku Yashiro as Ifrit (Natsuo in Domestic Na Kanojo) and Megumi Toyoguchi as Sage (Revy in Black Lagoon).

I prefer the rock based opening and ending themes. At least the first ones. Nameless Story by Takuma Terashima and Another Colony by TRUE respectively. They fit the pace of the series better. Not to say that the second opening and ending themes suck but they sounded a bit toned down. Meguru Mono by Takuma Terashima and Little Soldier by Azusa Tadokoro feel like as though they are better suited for a non-action genre series.

Overall, this series has its ups and downs and many will accuse it of being another isekai cliché with the main character being so overpowered and making everything look so easy. Lots of other cardboard cut-out characters that don’t really matter too. In other words, many regard this as a bad copy of Overlord. That time when they reincarnated the isekai genre and churn it out as a super cliché. Although I agree with the bad clichés and overpowered main character don’t make it any much better, somehow I can’t find myself to hate or even dislike this series. The action bits kept me entertained but is that enough to trump all the other bad aspects? Maybe. I’m such a simpleton. After all, I think it is better to become a follower of an overpowered slime than to become part of a harem of a guy with an overpowered Smartphone! Phew! No App Disaster to be brought into this world!

W’z

August 3, 2019

This is so wack, my man. I never really thought Hand Shakers would get a sequel and I never really thought W’z (pronounced as Wise and not Wiz as I thought) was that sequel. When I first read the synopsis, I never really gave much thought about it as it says something about a genius DJ prodigy kid. Nothing hinted of any sorts it was related to Hand Shakers. I thought this would be some music themed anime and even so, it was strange for me to get interested in the DJ genre. DJ and those techno club music aren’t my tea so naturally I would have given this a pass. Something didn’t mesh apparently so I ended up checking it out. Until I watched through the first episode that I started realizing there are pretty familiar things. Oh dear. Too late. Really, this is just so wack, my man…

Episode 1
It is 10 years later from the events that ended in Hand Shakers. There is a young boy going viral on the internet. Dubbed as W’z, this genius DJ who is getting many hooked with his music is actually Yukiya Araki. He is on his way to start his new term of middle high school and because he isn’t concentrating, the mere touch of an innocent by-stander causes her to temporarily enter Ziggurat. Though, she loses her memories of her time in Ziggurat when she returns. Yukiya wants to take up music at Kita Asuka Academy. However his father opposes it very much and it looks like Yukiya is going heed his advice. Along the way, he meets Masaru who takes an interest in him and suggests meeting Koyori who is a teacher at that school. Masaru leaves when Yukiya’s childhood friend, Haruka Tosabori arrives to accompany him to school. Yukiya thinks he has no talent since his video wasn’t that well received. Haruka disagrees and to prove he has much more talent than that, she suggests doing whatever crazy thing he has on his mind. That night in the crowded streets, the duo set up the DJ equipment right smack in the crowd. Yeah, nobody cares. When they hold hands, they enter Ziggurat. They don a mask as he streams live his DJ talent. Some people are stumped because they are watching this video right in this spot and they can’t see this dude anywhere. Yukiya realizes they are under attack and goes to protect Haruka. Not just 1 but 2 pairs of enemies, Hana Mihara-Senri Teshima and Gai Kishiwada-Masataka Sakai. They are here to steal his power. Yukiya manages to deflect their attacks with his Nimrod sword.

Episode 2
Because the enemies are busy trying to outdo each other, this allowed Yukiya and Haruka to escape. At school, Yukiya sees Koyori. He experiences some weird flashback/trance when she touches him. Koyori can tell he is W’z (did Yukiya seriously think that mask was enough to hide is identity?!) and although he has seen many of his videos, she wants to ask the recent one where he entered Ziggurat. It seems Yukiya has this ability to enter Ziggurat by holding anyone’s hands. The caveat is that they cannot summon Nimrod and they lose their memories when they leave. But Koyori touches him again and nothing happens. She cannot enter Ziggurat anymore and she has a request of him since there are people she wants to find trapped in there. It is believed that Nagaoka and Mayumi met God. However they went missing after that and Koyori has never seen them since. With Yukiya’s ability to enter Ziggurat anywhere, she hopes he can help find them. She also notes the dangers that will follow him as there will be people targeting him. She wants to protect him and the best people to do so are those ex-Hand Shakers. We hear the wishes of the other parties. Gai and Masataka want to stay in Ziggurat forever while Hana and Senri want to get rid of this power and hold hands like normal. Yukiya returns home. He needs to face his father who is still opposed to the school of his choice. It seems his parents, Reijirou and Yukine are ex- Hand Shakers whom we knew as Break and Bind respectively.

Episode 3
Yukiya tells Haruka that he deleted his recent video after receiving lots of comments. He is still unsure what to do so Haruka believes he is afraid because he is unsure what the right thing to do is. The ex-Hand Shakers of Chizuru, Hayate, Koyori, Lily and Masaru converge at the former’s restaurant. However Reijirou crashes in and picks a fight with Masaru whom he believes is the one influencing his son. Masaru claims removing him from the problem will not solve anything as he will eventually face off with other Hand Shakers. After cooling down with a cuppa, they discuss about Yukiya already deleting the original but you know the internet, what is uploaded will always stay there forever. Yeah, clones of his videos everywhere. Further revelation shows that Yukiya isn’t really Reijirou and Yukine’s son. He is their adopted son, though he doesn’t know that now. Flashback shows some shady characters gave baby Yukiya to them to be raised and grown in Ziggurat, free of combat and strife. The main point of discussion is Yukiya isn’t just able to bring anyone into Ziggurat, he was able to bring in something huge like his entire DJ equipment. If this is so, can he bring something out of Ziggurat too? This is dangerous as there are people who want to use this power for criminal activities. All of them despite not being able to summon their Nimrods, want to protect and advise Yukiya. After all this, Reijirou still refuses. He is tired of dealing with Hand Shakers and the likes. Of course his wife talks to him about respecting what Yukiya wants to do. And when that happens, all they can do is simply watch over him. Yukiya finally arrives at the restaurant and he feels awkward with Koyori being close to him. Does this guy like her?

Episode 4
Hayate and Yukiya enter Ziggurat to start looking. It’s a boring conversation until Hayate mentions about Tazuna being Koyori’s partner. But he had to travel around the country to do some business. And this made Yukiya mad because he ‘abandoned’ her?! Sure, complain what a jerk he is to Haruka. She plays along and to calm him down, she gives him tickets to Western King Fest musical event whereby his favourite DJ, Nielsen Fumiyuki will be playing there. Next time, Yukiya pairs up with Chizuru for the search. She talks about how great Tazuna was. Because they met God, Koyori is now able to live normally and not always hold Tazuna’s hands to exist. But Yukiya still seething he ‘abandoned’ her? When they return, Haruka gets the wrong idea of Yukiya ‘dating’ a ‘loli’. Yeah, it’s that taboo word but to prove Chizuru is an adult, she doesn’t blow her top. Chizuru tries to set up Yukiya and Haruka as a date. But that has to be put on hold since Gai and Masataka are here. Back to Ziggurat to fight. Worse, Hana and Senri are here too. Chizuru and Senri are shocked to see each other since Senri works at Chizuru’s place as a part timer. This is awkward. Soon they start fighting but this time the enemies make a pact to cooperate against Yukiya. But whoever defeats him first wins. Chizuru realizes that without a goal or desire to protect someone, Yukiya cannot win. Thanks to Yukiya’s irregular power, Chizuru is able to draw her Nimrod. She clones themselves to escape back to reality. Even so, the enemies still want to fight and Yukiya is tired and injured during that battle. Don’t worry. Finally Tazuna shows up for help. Holding Yukiya’s hands to go back into Ziggurat, the enemies are now certain about his abilities to have different partners to enter Ziggurat. Remember Tazuna’s Nimrod of gears? Welcome back.

Episode 5
Tazuna easily defeats them and suggests they pull back. Wise choice. They can’t defeat him as they are now. In school, Tazuna discovers a transmitter underneath Yukiya’s belt. That’s why they knew where he is. Tazuna has a heart to heart talk with Yukiya inside Ziggurat. He explains they are the same because of their ability to summon Nimrods as they like. Tazuna understands his worries as when he became a Hand Shaker for the first time, he was also targeted. But with his feelings to protect Koyori strong, he overcame all that. Of course with a few slip ups. Yukiya’s Nimrod that he names Disk is the core of his heart so when he is lost, take a look at yourself. Senri now can’t return to Chizuru’s restaurant. So she’s going to ignore all her messages? The girls get their details of W’z from this mysterious informer known only as Composer. He sounds shady but they have no choice but to trust his info as that’s all the lead they’ve got. With them reminding us how they want to rid of this power, time to see flashback snippets of their close relationship together since kindergarten. Yeah, Senri got bullied and Hana came to her rescue. Lots of handholding until they’re grownup. Is it because they hold hands too much that one day they find themselves in Ziggurat? In school, Yukiya is shocked that he and Haruka enter Ziggurat despite not touching each other. So now close proximity can also trigger this? And you bet Hana and Senri are on the offensive. They are much stronger than before because thanks to their flashback bonding. I don’t know why Yukiya is standing there just defending and protecting Haruka and getting injured. I know Haruka is also hurt so shouldn’t they hide in some structure? I’m sure the girls only target Yukiya so if he runs elsewhere, they won’t bother with Haruka. I don’t think taking hostage is their style. Because of this, cue for flashback of Yukiya and Haruka’s childhood moments. Yeah, they’re close, right? I suppose the power of yuri makes Hana and Senri even more powerful. Hell yeah, their handphone charged right up to 150%!!! If only my battery can last that long! But WTF, banzai to the power of yuri!!!

Episode 6
Will the power of yuri penetrate through Yukiya? Not if Haruka helps power up and cuts through them first! Now Senri and Hana are at Chizuru’s restaurant and siding with them? They believe Composer has lied to them and only using them. Because now they have officially lost, he blocked them from his contacts. Also, Senri and Hana lost means they are unable to go into Ziggurat. Something they have wanted all along and was as simple as just losing. The gang discusses about Composer and how he leaked info to mislead others. Because Yukiya’s position was also known despite the transmitter was destroyed, it could either be him or those other guys. The only sensible thing is to confront them. Yukiya wants to come along since this is his fight. Gai and Masataka thought they were going to meet up with Senri and Hana to fight Yukiya but realize they have flipped sides. It is confirmed the transmitter was from them and since they refuse to destroy its records, they’re going to fight. This time Yukiya is paired with Masaru to handle the duo. I guess it’s due for their flashback. When they were kids and on some camping trip with Nagaoka and Makihara, that was when they learnt about Hand Shakers for the first time. Through the years, Gai developed interest in hiking the mountains and stargazing. Other friends didn’t share the same ‘boring’ hobby except for Masataka. Okay, he looked uninterested too but he plays along. That’s when they made their dream to go into Ziggurat if they can’t go into space. During the battle, Gai falls into Masaru’s trap cards, immobilizing him. This allows Yukiya to go after Masataka. Meanwhile Tazuna and Koyori bump into Nielsen. Koyori remembers him at her father’s lab a long time ago. Nielsen wants to talk to Yukiya since Midori Okuike of Okuike Group is making his move. Yeah, that’s the company that sponsored Koyori’s father’s research. Are things starting to come around?

Episode 7
With Masataka in danger, Gai forcefully breaks himself out even if it means hurting himself. But with Yukiya right in Masataka’s aim, he shoots at Gai. Is that on purpose? Flashback shows Masataka was a nervous wreck when he first entered Ziggurat and he hated shooting people. So Gai told him if he finds it hard to shoot anyone, shoot him. Then the game will end. With Gai down, Yukiya cuts down Masataka. Now that they’re defeated, are they like friends? As promised, they delete the data. Haruka learns Yukiya has submitted a music application not as W’z but as himself. Why does this make her feel inferior, praising he has a lot more talent than her? Cue for flashback to see how they met. Haruka took up a musical instrument just because he was good in music. Now she feels she can’t keep lying to him. Tazuna and Yukiya oddly hang out with each other. They’re getting along just fine. Yukiya didn’t expect Koyori to join in. I suppose Tazuna forgot to tell him. At the karaoke, Yukiya is tone deaf. But Koyori continues to support him… Real partners stick through thick and thin, right? When Yukiya brings Tazuna back to his home, it looks like Reijirou wants to fight him but it’s his crude way of greeting this dude. They’re friends, huh? Talk about old times, they’re so modest and humble in their victory and defeat then. Although Reijirou noted Tazuna and Koyori met God, the problem is they couldn’t remember what happened after. Now they shift their attention to Yukiya. What are his ambitions? Still not sure but he wants to help Koyori find her sister with his power. At first he was afraid and scared of it because he once dragged Haruka into Ziggurat and she ended up injured. He hated it. Then he was targeted by others and caused problem for others. He knew he was lying to himself but in fact all he wanted was not to be rejected. Reijirou gives his blessing to do whatever he wants.

Episode 8
Koyori calls Haruka out late just to tell her about Yukiya lying and that Haruka has something to say to him? Oh dear. What did you do? Now you making Haruka cry harder as she blames herself for dragging him down because she isn’t good enough. She fears he will leave her and she doesn’t want that even if it means Yukiya ending up hating her. Koyori relays her experience with Tazuna. So the bottom line is to stop lying. Easier said than done. Tazuna tells Chizuru and Hayate that Midori is Composer and the one pulling the strings. Of course this info wasn’t for free and he made a deal with Nielson. It seems that DJ is still an active Hand Shaker despite never meeting God and his goal is to watch over Ziggurat and those connected to it. The school cultural festival is here. Nielsen brings his busty and sexy assistant, Tamari so they could watch W’z AKA Yukiya who is to perform here. Safe to say that everyone else is here too to see him perform. Yukiya is nervous but once he starts getting into the groove, everyone is stunned at his awesome talent. So good that even Reijirou cried. Yeah… This gives Haruka the motivation that she wants to tell him something when this is done. What a coincidence. Yukiya too. After Haruka’s band is done with their awesome gig too, the band members congratulate themselves. Then they talk about Yukiya who is pretty weird (but in a good way) and despite this makes Haruka awkward, I don’t understand why she gets worried when she realizes Yukiya was hearing this. She realizes she has lied again. Wait a minute. WTF did she say? Did she say anything?! Hence the melancholy of Haruka continues…

Episode 9
Haruka isn’t answering Yukiya’s calls. Yukiya receives a call from Seba Suchan who is calling on behalf of Midori to meet. He is hesitant until he mentions this is regarding Hand Shakers. Yukiya tells this to the rest and Tazuna will accompany him. Both meet Midori for the first time. He cuts straight to the point that ever since mankind is eating up resources in the name of development, he wants to use Yukiya’s power to bring things in and out of Ziggurat. As time moves differently there, Hand Shakers can create copies of the same world as many times despite the Ziggurat crumbles after their battle. So as we can see, Midori is able to enter Ziggurat with Seba and has duplicated loads of silver bars. So he is going to use this concept to solve resources and energy problems plaguing the world. He doesn’t call this exploitation and merely wants his assistance. Unlike other Hand Shakers with their own desires, Yukiya will become God himself and move humanity forward. Tazuna opines this will destroy the world balance. But what does Yukiya think? Since he doesn’t approve of the Hand Shakers fighting each other like those recently, Midori believes their thinking is not aligned and will talk again in the future when they are of clearer mind. Now Seba calls Haruka and brings her to meet Midori. It seems the lie she has been hiding from Yukiya is that she remembers everything that happened in Ziggurat. Though she doesn’t want Yukiya’s powers to be exploited, Midori puts it in a nice way that he is a nice kid but others will take advantage of him and at the same time he doesn’t want to force his ideals on Yukiya. He believes if Haruka can become Yukiya’s partner and act in his place, he will use all his power to protect her. They share the same path and he can help her. The clincher: We’re doing it for Yukiya. Nielsen finds out that Midori has made his move. No time to be fooling around. Time to go busting. Yukiya soon learns that Haruka transferred to another school and moved out. Wow. She really told nobody. Not even the school bothered to announce to her classmates. Feeling worried now? He goes talk to her mother and she tells him she suddenly wanted to transfer to Okuike University and living in their dorm. Wow. Things really move fast when you have the money and influence. Oh Yukiya, you now have something to tell Haruka? Something about your feelings?

Episode 10
Nielson confronts Reijirou. He was the one who handed baby Yukiya to him 10 years ago. Now he is mad that Reijirou broke his promise and let Yukiya be a Hand Shaker. He could have taken Yukiya’s powers any time but didn’t because he believed in him. Now Nielson is going to crush that boy. I guess this stems from his trauma when he was an active Hand Shaker. He lost his then partner, Jessica. Reijirou then finds Yukiya and can tell he is having trouble. So Yukiya tells him what he knows about Midori and Haruka being taken away just because he refused. But it could be that Haruka went on her own volition rather than being forced. Father is going to give him a ride to the dorms to settle his business. Along the way, he reveals the truth about Yukiya being adopted. Even though not his own child, he loves him as his own. Why say so when he knows this isn’t an appropriate time? But thankfully Yukiya didn’t freak out. He somewhat knows. There were no pictures of him in his younger days. He wasn’t entirely sure but with this revelation, he is now. Entering Ziggurat, they are confronted with Seba. Damn, what a waste of the bike as he cuts it in half! He wants them to leave. No can do. If Haruka doesn’t want to see Yukiya, why is she here?! Seba and Reijirou face off. The latter might be a bit rusty and gets beat down. But nothing like a father’s love to turn the tables and turn it into some head butting fight? Whoever has the hardest head wins. Meanwhile Yukiya and Haruka have no choice but to fight since they’re stubborn. Haruka condemning herself as a liar unworthy of him. He shocks her that he too is a liar. Smooth operator in session as he commends her very being who is always by his side cheering him up. Hostility turning into awkwardness when both confess they love each other. That’s not a lie, right? And Yukiya saying he wants her as his partner, is that in Hand Shaker terms? Seba won’t allow this and tries to attack Yukiya. With Reijirou pinning him down, Yukiya and Haruka combine their Nimrod to kick him out from Ziggurat. Yukiya and Haruka are back on good terms. But they can’t get out from Ziggurat. Because Nielsen and Tamari are going to defeat them.

Episode 11
Yukiya is happy to see Nielsen since he is a big fan of his. I’m sure Nielsen will give him his autograph after this but now it is Hand Shakers business first. In order to wipe out Yukiya’s power, Nielsen summons Tazuna and Koyori into Ziggurat. This is his irregular power. The offer to Tazuna was to join forces and take down Yukiya’s power. Koyori is fine if Yukiya loses that power and she can’t look for her sister anymore but Yukiya will not have that. All that is left is to battle it out. With Tazuna being formidable, I’m not sure how Yukiya and Haruka now gets it as they, uhm, summon some pog or something, attach it to their Nimrod and summon Reijirou and Yukine here?! WTF?! Whatever. Reijirou and Yukine keep Tazuna and Koyori busy so that Yukiya and Haruka could duke it out with Nielsen and Tamari. During the fight, I guess Nielsen felt Yukiya’s vibes that he truly wants to use his power to search for people. So Nielsen stops the fight and has Yukiya meet up at a certain place later. Nielsen commends Yukiya as the first irregular Hand Shaker he didn’t defeat because irregulars can cause some imbalance and that is why others show up to manipulate their powers. Not sure where in this Ziggurat, Nielsen leads Yukiya and Haruka to where Nagaoka and Mayumi are staying. Yukiya crying at the sight of seeing them? Must be so touching, huh? They explain why they choose to remain here. Nagaoka has an incurable disease that no current medicine could help. But his wish was for Mayumi and Koyori to lead normal lives and Mayumi’s wish was to stop Nagaoka’s illness. So did God heard it and granted them? Apparently stopping time in this Ziggurat is the only answer. You mean God just didn’t make Nagaoka’s illness disappear? Lame! Yukiya gets this great idea. Lend his handphone to call Koyori and let Mayumi talk to her! Damn, did they not bring any phone around here? It must be one long talk since there’s a lot to catch up for the sisters. Maybe Yukiya should leave his phone here? After they leave, it is revealed that Yukiya is the son of Nagaoka and Mayumi. Because time stopped here, the moment he was brought back to reality, that is when time came flowing back all of a sudden and he grew up many years all at once. Just weird… So I guess you can’t slow down your aging if you head back to reality.

Episode 12
Yukiya and Haruka see Midori directly. They’re here not to fight him but believe can grant his wish. Because their powers include summoning others including ex-Hand Shakers into Ziggurat, they can set up many sham victories until one is able to meet God. Now I’m confused. I thought you stopped being a Hand Shaker and lose all that power when you’re defeated? Anyway, Midori rejects this as he no longer has a wish to ask God. He shows them a giant crystal embedded in his chest. It seems Midori has also met God. What he said about saving the world was just an excuse. His true desire is to exploit the system of Hand Shakers, God and irregulars. Flashback reveals his father pushed Akutagawa and his team to hasten their research on Ziggurat. He wanted to become like Columbus discovering America, a new world. He even allowed them to use his son as experiments. However Akutagawa went missing and the only reason Midori stayed relevant was because he was a Hand Shaker. To regain his value, he met God and granted his dad’s wish. He brought out some gem from Ziggurat. He had to cut his own flesh since it was embedded into it. Father was happy and the experiment continued and it made Midori close to death. Doctors even had to operate deep into him to dig out the crystals. Seba couldn’t stand it all and shot the doctors and his father to death. When dad pleads for help from Midori, he pulled the trigger many times and killed him. Overkill! That’s for all the loveless exploitation! Now Midori will fight Yukiya and Haruka not to defeat them. But to torment them. It is clear that Midori is way more powerful so Yukiya and Haruka retreat. Midori won’t give chase as he knows well this tactic of theirs to bait them. Back in reality, the rest of the gang are lying safe in one of Nielsen’s place. It is a good thing since Midori’s men have started targeting the families of Yukiya and Haruka’s home. They can’t stay here forever and need to fight back. Yukiya is going to need some reinforcements then. Midori realizes Yukiya’s side has also taken action and got away from his men. The negotiations weren’t to buy time and believed Yukiya really wanted to help out. Although they ran away, Midori believes the outcome will still be the same. He has his men take control of Nielsen’s club and predicts the Hand Shakers will attack via Ziggurat.

Episode 13
Inside Ziggurat, Yukiya-Haruka faces off with Midori-Seba. However the former aren’t alone as they temporarily summon their ex-Hand Shaker friends into the fray to deal some damage to the latter. To allow their battle to continue and not interrupted, Reijirou, Yukine, Nielsen and Tamari are fighting other Hand Shakers. You mean there are tons of them?! Don’t worry. They’re so insignificant that we don’t really care. Meanwhile we take a detour, Mayumi explaining her wish to want a son to be born between them then. So she’s like Virgin Mary? She wanted a son who is strong and never lose. You mean a son like God? So is Yukiya like Jesus Christ???!!! WTF???!!! We now return to the Ziggurat battle. Yukiya calms himself down and strikes Midori. That was fast. Midori retreats but vows to return and make him kneel. Yukiya then summons Tazuna, Koyori, Nagaoka and Mayumi. From what I understand, they all have powers qualified enough to see God. We have 2 pairs who have met God. On the other hand, Yukiya just defeated someone who met God. Hence Yukiya is qualified to meet God. Damn, does that even mesh?! Did Yukiya realize Nagaoka is his real dad? In the aftermath, it seems Yukiya has lost his powers and he is happy with it. We hear Nielsen and Makihara talking about the shocking wish Yukiya made that nobody expected: Getting rid of all the unwanted wishes granted by God before losing his own powers. Oh, how selfless. Because of his unselfish wish, Midori is now free from his curse. No more crystal embedded in his chest. In a dilemma over his role and existence, he ponders if he should go after Yukiya to seek revenge for saving him. My man, you trying to be some twisted second class villain here? Seba isn’t sure but he mentions that he knows someone who was once saved from death. That’s himself. Midori made him his butler instead of letting him die. Just to show Midori isn’t some cold hearted jerk, Seba carries him like a princess and he starts getting emotional and cries. Probably Yukiya’s greatest wish, the one not granted by God, is to become a DJ under Nielsen’s tutelage. He’s already a talented DJ. Need I say more?

OVA
We delve into the past of Reijirou and Yukine before the events of the Hand Shakers TV series. He was a delinquent dropout. She was an elite high school girl. Also the stalker type. And a masochist. Scold me more, Reijirou! Creepy… Reijirou had a hard time manning several part time jobs and it’s bad enough that Yukine often breaks into his room without his permission just to be with him. Then it all gets worse when he gets fired from all his jobs. Even the restaurant job he worked, the owner, Kozaki accused him of stealing stuffs when it was he himself who gave it all to his fatty customer, Oyama whom he is sucking up to. Even Yukine doesn’t approve of her father trying to break them up. Flashback reveals they were childhood friends and always close together. However Reijirou changed when his mom died. She realized she is the only one by his side and only knows his true and warm aspects. Yukine tries to be smart and goes to slap Kozaki and Oyama for being unfair. Of course they retaliate by trying to rape her. Good thing she texted Reijirou about what she was going to do and here he comes to save her. After pushing those guys away, the moment Reijirou and Yukine’s hands touch, they enter Ziggurat. So now they are Hand Shakers? So was Reijirou’s whatever wish that strong to qualify them for that? Apparently Kozaki and Oyama are also Hand Shakers. They relentlessly attack the newbies. Reijirou realizes that chain dream wasn’t just a dream. Yeah, Yukine had that dream too. And with renewed determination, Reijirou uses his chain powers to fight back. Partly it is Yukine’s masochism that wants him to bind her harder but also it enhances his powers. Reijirou is able to turn the tables on them and now they are the ones cowering in fear and begging for mercy. Reijirou gets cocky as he tells them off. He is about to mercilessly crush them but Yukine stops him. She has a conscious? Actually, she wants him to save all his rage for her. But of course. After defeating them, the duo realize they need to make their wish come true so they go to crowded areas to find more teams to defeat. Well, we all know what happened next. The rest is history.

Wack’… ZZzzZZzzz…
Ah well… It really all doesn’t mesh. I don’t know whether the TV series actually ended the entire series itself and the OVA feels very disjointed because it has nothing to do with W’z and more of a prelude to the Hand Shakers prequel. No characters from W’z whatsoever and heck it should have been actually called Hand Shakers OVA 2. Technically, which is also correct in a way since this season’s OVA is indeed the second OVA overall after Hand Shakers very first season’s OVA. Yeah, really wack, my man. Making it even more wack for me is that this OVA looked even more interesting than this season. Yeah, pretty odd I should say. Probably it’s because of Yukine’s character that I wasn’t totally expecting her to be like that sort of character before… Maybe they’ll make another OVA. This time about Jessica. You know, Nielsen’s previous partner. Because is it me or do I feel that this plot was unnecessary or the producers totally forgot about it. Yeah, I guess this doesn’t really matter. Won’t mesh anyway.

I didn’t really get the overall plot of this season at all. Yukiya as an irregular Hand Shaker and people who are after his power. Okay, I get that. But they want to make it look like some sort of massive power was behind the scene that was after Yukiya’s power. It really felt weird. While the Okuike Group might be a huge conglomerate, I don’t really feel its impact and presence in the story. It felt like Midori was just a single guy trying to get what he wants and his power and influence on the group was just fringe and marginal. In between, we have Yukiya being worried and conflicted about his own power. Therefore the much needed drama to help build Yukiya’s character from a loser into a slightly better, uhm, loser. Technically. Because he might have lost all those great powers but at least he has his life. And girl. And they bring back many of the original Hand Shaker characters just so to let us know that the power of friendship is a reason why Yukiya is able to change and become a better person. I guess that’s not a bad thing and it is better off than starting off as an overpowered character.

While the flimsy plot is one thing, it got me pondering how this whole system and mechanism of Hand Shakers works. Because from the looks of it, God must be a dick and a sadist. Like Nagaoka’s illness. You mean the Almighty can’t just wish for his dreaded disease to go away? With a snap of a finger? Maybe Nagaoka who doesn’t talk much wasn’t being specific but I mean, this is God. The one and only God. Shouldn’t He understood all that and cured him instantly instead of making time stop and stuck inside Ziggurat like forever? WTF, dude?! Initially I was under the impression that the Hand Shakers fight in some battle royale and the last one standing gets to meet God. But apparently you fight and defeat enough Hand Shakers, obtain their powers enough to qualify to make you meet God. Isn’t this insane? Like Yukiya’s suggestion for sham victories, if this really worked then God didn’t really thought out this very well. I thought it was a sacred honour-cum-privilege to see God and understandably only one, the best of the best could do so. But having so many meeting Him, damn this feels more like an exclusive club or something.

The other problem being the creation of Hand Shakers themselves. So apparently I was also under the misconception that this Hand Shakers thing was just a one time battle. From what I see here, it looks like there is no starting and ending point. As long as you rake up enough victories, you get to meet God. Which brings me to this point as of how many Hand Shakers are there really? How many are there right now? In the final episode we see Reijirou and Nielsen bashing up other Hand Shakers so it must mean that there is some Hand Shaker battle still going on. How does one become a Hand Shaker? The narration in the beginning of some episodes I assume is from God. Sounds like a young Japanese adult guy. At least that ossan at the end of last season whom I thought was God was actually Nielsen. The terms to become a Hand Shaker sounds vague. You have a wish? Then join hands and fight your way to see me. Yeah, pretty shady if you ask me. And I suppose if you wish hard enough, God may somehow give you those Hand Shaker powers. Go forth! And entertain me! Haha!

With that, this also brings me to the next point that is also related to the plot of the series. With Yukiya as an irregular Hand Shaker and many coveting his power, I was under the impression that there would be hundreds targeting him! Damn there were only 2 groups!!! WTF???!!! Even if they had like 5 pairs of Hand Shakers, I guess that would be acceptable. But damn, just 2 pairs?! Oh yeah. Big deal indeed. It doesn’t really mesh. I guess we need the cliché tropes so that when Yukiya defeats them, they become somewhat his allies. So if there were like 100 of them, how to fit them all in the final battle? Oh yeah. You really got me. So just 2 freaking groups who just target Yukiya’s power. And they’re not even scary.

Hana and Senri are just cute and provide some female eye candy and possibly some boobs fanservice since Senri is a cow tits monster. I guess she replaces Lily as she doesn’t make much appearance here. I said female eye candy because I have a hunch this series caters more to male bishonen as seen in the opening credits. That group pose… All guys! At least hot guys. Gai and Masataka are another bunch of weirdoes. Masataka being the quiet one and Gai being the lively one whose catchphrase is “Sugoi…”. Like as though he has a limited vocabulary or something. Yukiya and Haruka are supposed to be the Tazuna and Koyori of this season. Both their problems are not having an honest heart. They claim they lie to each other but once they get that out of the way, they’re just unstoppable. So cliché. Good thing Yukiya doesn’t continue to pursue his crush on Koyori (thank goodness for Haruka). Because it would have been freaking weird to have fallen in love with his aunty!!! And his wish to undo unwanted wishes? What are the chances that God isn’t being a dick and undo some wishes that were really wanted? Hey, can’t say. It’s not like God knows what we really want in our hearts, right? This series’ God is so dumb. I don’t like this idea either but I feel Yukiya should just become God and take His place and make the world a better place.

Finally with Midori being the antagonist of the series, I thought it was going to be a running joke that he and Seba would never appear. Hence their only chance is in the next episode preview where they talk some nonsense whatever. I thought this is all they would amount to. Their proper and formal appearance would be after 3/4 of the season and it already felt too late. It is hard for me to support or even hate Midori as the so called villain because his character is written in a mediocre way. Hard to sympathise with this dude despite his tragic background because I just couldn’t connect how it turned him into a Hand Shaker. Hard to hate this dude because he is one of those hot looking bishonen guys and his actions aren’t really despicable albeit twisted. This guy just wants a reason to exist. I guess being alive isn’t good enough because he is so rich and have everything, that’s just boring. Uh huh. What a boring villain.

Previous Hand Shaker characters make their cameo enough to make this season look like a sequel. They usual provide some support to Yukiya and Haruka and don’t do much so as not to take away the spotlight from them. Like Chizuru and Hayate, why are they still around? So it is as though the gang have a fixed place to gather and discuss their Hand Shakers related problems. Otherwise they could have been done without like some other characters. Like Makihara whose absence is so obvious. It is stated that he went on some journey to try to find a cure for Nagaoka. In the final episode it is hinted he has made some progress. WTF???!!! If God couldn’t find a cure, you mean this siew mai lover could???!!! This doesn’t mesh!!!

But I couldn’t be more grateful that Kodama and Hibiki didn’t show up here. If they did, it would have been a complete alumni of last season’s Hand Shakers. It is also because Kodama was really annoying with her celebrity quotes. Thank goodness. I guess she is too busy with her singing and acting career to even care about this. Good for her. Good for us. Phew. Isn’t it odd that Nagaoka and Mayumi had been missing for so long and thanks to plot convenience, they are finally found? Like WTF?! Thanks to the OVA, we get a shocking glimpse of how different Yukine’s character is. It’s like she’s a totally different person and can we say that motherhood changed her into a decent person and ‘freed’ her from that masochism? Reijirou still has that rage and short temper with him like forever, but Yukine is like a cool cat now. Yeah, parenting does change some people. Imagine how freaky if Yukiya sees his foster mom as some masochistic slut. Totally wack!

Action scenes are rather okay. Nothing really spectacular. Using CGI for Nimrods and some pretty abstract scenes in Ziggurat as excuse that you are in a different world. Yukiya’s irregular power sometimes feel like a convenience to the plot and action because otherwise how could he overcome more powerful and determined Hand Shakers? Ah, I see that is what it means to be an irregular. Since GoHands animate this sequel, it goes without saying that their trademark weird colour hues permeate every scene we see. I did say that this series feels like a guy anime because the guys look slightly better than the girls. Do you not see the female characters look a bit one kind? They’re like… Weird dolls… Like Tamari, WTF is this hippy hipster doll look? Same case for Yukine. She looks like a bisque doll or something.

Unfortunately music isn’t the main theme here. You can feel the same jazzy and bubbly vibe it has in the prequel. Not to say that they are bad but it is not as attractive as I would find them in K. And W’z seemingly only have hit song on his DJ music… Whatever. I hope he doesn’t become a one hit wonder. Opening theme, Reason by Ryohei Takenaka sounds like it is trying too hard while Kamisama Wa Kitto by Fuki as the ending theme sounds ill-fitting as a slow ballad. Yes, it’s calming in a way but it feels like in the aftermath of seeing God whatsoever. With the old Hand Shakers cast retained, lots of new ones joined this season that none I recognized. That bad, huh? They include Katsumi Fukuhara as Yukiya (Touya in Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni), Akane Fujita as Haruka (Sagiri in Eromanga-sensei), Daisuke Namikawa as Nielsen (Rock in Black Lagoon), Atsumi Tanezaki as Hana (Miu in Blend S), Inori Minase as Senri (Chino in Gochuumon Wa Usagi Desu Ka), Takuya Eguchi as Gai (Koikawa in Mushibugyou), Yoshinosuke Yamagami as Masataka, Toshiki Masuda as Midori (Kirishima in Boku No Hero Academia), Shunsuke Takeuchi as Seba (Yamato in Nanbaka) and Minami Takahashi as Tamari (Megumi in Shokugeki No Souma).

Overall, the sequel is still as disappointing as the prequel. The producers tried to make an original anime out of the Hand Shakers but I guess it is very certain that God didn’t grant their wish and turn this into a hit masterpiece. Boring plot and characters is more than enough to turn anyone off and drop this series like a rock. It must be amazing for me to stick through till the end thanks to all the thick skin of stubbornness that I have accumulated in watching animes like this over the years. Oh well, if they decided to surprise us and do a third season, then I have to admire their perseverance and aversion to failure. Because like Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare fail greatly can ever achieve greatly”. “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”, said Henry Ford. “Failure is good as long as it doesn’t become a habit”, said Michael Elsner. But still, it doesn’t take away the fact that this season is really wack and doesn’t mesh…

Radiant

July 28, 2019

How often it is for an anime to adapt manfra? That’s French manga. Japan has taken countless of French stories and adapted them into anime like The Count Of Monte Cristo being adapted as Gankutsuou (don’t even get me started over that countless Jeanne d’Arc stories). But I think Radiant is the first that it is based on a manfra. So I suppose that is a big achievement, no? We’ll have to see if this ‘foreigner’ can live up to what Japanese manga expects since some Chinese and Korean manhwa do have got their adaptations but French? That’s really got to be the first. It must really have something.

As narrated, monsters known as Nemesis fall from the sky. When humans touch them, they are permanently cursed. But those who survive obtain magic known as Fantasia and they are the only ones who can fight against Nemesis. Even so, these people face great discrimination among the other normal humans for they fear it is a punishment from God or the wrath of mother nature. This is the story of a young boy who strives to become the greatest sorcerer ever. Why does this sound like Black Clover?

Episode 1
In the peaceful Pompo Hills, Seth tries to show off to Tommy his magic. Since nothing works, he tries his own original magic that of course goes berserk and causes the nearby elephant cows to rampage into town. Thanks to Alma, the damage is put to a stop. But the trouble doesn’t stop there. The townspeople blame Alma for bringing back luck despite it is clearly Seth’s fault. In fact, people don’t really have a favourable view on sorcerers and blame them for bringing bad luck. Seth would have wanted to give them his own piece of mind but Alma doesn’t want to provoke the situation any further and brings him home. Of course he gets reprimanded to clean the place and the usual lecture that if he wants to be treated like an adult, then act like one. Apparently being the rebellious kid he is, Seth doesn’t really learn from his lesson and continue to experiment with his magic. Worst case scenario happens as a Nemesis Egg lands right smack in the middle of town. I guess there’s a first time for everything since this town has never had a Nemesis attack before. Seth gears up to go tackle the Nemesis menace. Nothing really works until the Nemesis hatches out from its egg. You bet it is way stronger than Seth. Seth might be useless against this thing but when it comes to protecting Tommy, he has no qualms doing so. After letting Tommy escape, Seth is in danger of being squashed. How can he still think of showing others sorcerers are good when he lacks the strength to get out of his predicament? But do not fear. At such times, a hero will pop up to save the day, right? Here comes macho old guy Don Bossman, the leader of Bravery Quartet.

Episode 2
Bravery Quartet looks like a bunch of weirdoes with their own poses but they easily bind the Nemesis even if it is temporary. With cool motivational words, Seth wants to join him and fight Nemesis. So Don tells Seth to keep the Nemesis at bay while his gang go warn others to evacuate. And so Seth lets the Nemesis chase him around town while thinking of ways trying to outsmart it. Meanwhile we see Bravery Quartet’s true colours. They are actually bad sorcerers and are taking this chance to rob the bank when everyone has evacuated. Too bad the bank people haven’t yet. After rounding everyone up and stealing all the cash, Seth comes in to report he managed to restrain the Nemesis (how the heck does Seth know they are at the bank?). He is shocked to learn their real identity and is really disappointed because he believed in them. Don tells this naïve kid the harsh truth that sorcerers are blamed for everything. They only ask for help when threatened by Nemesis and once that is done, they hand you over to the Inquisition. Yeah, those people even prove that right now blaming them that Nemesis won’t come here had sorcerers been here in the first place. So are these people still worth saving? Luckily, the justice is still strong in Seth. He doesn’t accept their pathetic ways but when try to fight back, he is put down by their great magic. Bravery Quartet escapes because it’s time for the Nemesis to blow everyone to smithereens. Don’t worry people. Seth is the main character so you bet he is going to get up and protect them all with his awesome magic.

Episode 3
Seth dealt some damage to the Nemesis but not enough. As usual, had not Alma come back in time to finally put an end to this, it would have been over for this series. Seth recuperates back home as Alma explains she apprehended Bravery Quartet and at least Tommy gave his thanks. With Seth still bent on defeating every Nemesis so humans can get along, Alma talks about the legendary Nemesis Nest called Radiant. That is where all Nemesis Eggs come from but of course nobody has ever found it. You bet Seth wants to go find and destroy it. This brings back some old memories for Alma. She has no recollection of her past and the most she could remember was waking up after a fiery fight with a Nemesis. There was a young boy named Seth with her and the doctor mistaken her to be her son but as far as she is concerned, she has none. So as she travels to find her identity, she has Seth tag along. He was always a burden and the only reason she never tossed him away was the belief he is a link to her past. One day Alma went faraway to hunt Nemesis and left Seth alone. Some kids bullied him and unwittingly he unleashed his Fantasia. The townspeople wanted to burn this cursed boy but luckily Alma came back in time to shoo those heartless bastards away. It was then she realized how small and weak he was and took upon herself the role to not let anyone treat him like a villain again. Now Seth decides to set out on his journey and he thought Alma was going to stop him. I guess she knew he wouldn’t listen so she hands him some of her stuffs as parting gifts. One last big emotional hug before Seth gets going.

Episode 4
Doc sees Alma to get parts of the Nemesis. He sent his assistant, Melie in advance to tell her but apparently she never arrived. Seth has the bad luck of crashing into the Inquisition ship of Captain Dart Dragunov. He puts up a fight before being put in a black silver cage that nullifies his Fantasia. Seth regrets not listening to Alma properly. He was told to head to the town of Artemis and find a sorcerer named Yaga who might have an idea about Radiant. Seth meets Melie and her familiar Boobrie who are also captured. Doc then comes by but is also captured since Melie revealed the reason of her capture: She was tasked to retrieve Nemesis part (a crime under existing laws). Seth continues to brag how he is going to find Radiant and defeat all Nemesis while Doc isn’t so optimistic since he is more of a researcher and doesn’t want to die. Thanks to Boobrie stealing the guard’s keys, they are free. However Seth needs to get his stuffs back. He does but gets ambushed by the guards. As they put up a fight, Seth is impressed with Melie’s defensive magic. But when they are cornered again, Melie suddenly changes character into a badass girl. When in extreme stressful situations, her character will completely flip. Dragunov has got Melie in his point blank range but Seth uses his magic to bust them out of here. In no time, they finally reach Artemis.

Episode 5
In Artemis, Doc rushes Seth to be a citizen in hopes of ridding him. The ceremony is initiated by the head of Artemis, Master Lord Majesty. After Seth signs the contract, looks like he has also take on huge debts. Karma backfires because since Doc is Seth’s guardian, he will also share the debts! They go round looking for Yaga but Seth and Melie only incur more debts. Yeah, everything here costs money! A strange wizard approaches them and is willing to tell them were Yaga is if Seth answers a few questions. Seth gives his honest opinions on Artemis. As for why Majesty ‘extorts’ from his citizens, he shall see the answer now as the alert is sounded. The Inquisition’s ship is nearby and would have initiated a full scale attack had not they received orders from HQ to back down and not risk war with these powerful sorcerers. Majesty has used the money to pay off these people. Wouldn’t that make them come back for more? Anyway, this is where the money goes and that is why Artemis is the last sanctuary sorcerers go. No discriminations or persecutions. The wizard suggests Seth live here and protect this paradise. However Seth still wants to find and destroy Radiant. This might be a safe place but the rest of the world. If they want to help others, they must change it. If no one will do it, he will. With that, the wizard reveals himself to be Yaga. Hardly surprising unless you’re as dense as Seth and Melie. Dragunov reports his failure to capture Seth to General Torque. He is ordered to keep a close eye on his movements.

Episode 6
Because Yaga tells Seth to get stronger if he is to teach anything, Seth bugs Melie. Too bad she can’t explain well and thinks Doc can do the job. Hate to break your futile flirting with Kettle Café’s Melba (her herbal tea sucks, by the way – and she has a hand puppet as her father!) but Doc was initially reluctant to teach Seth anything at all. Until Melba notes about all the kindness and that crap that Doc wants to show off. But since Seth fails, Melie gets desperate. She turns into her crazy side and starts attacking! This is sure going to rake up the debts with all the buildings damaged. When a slab threatens to fall on her, Seth could suddenly pull off basic magic to save her. Why do I have a feeling his gloves are the one suppressing his power? So with Seth a bit stronger, as per agreed, Yaga takes him as his disciple. I don’t think strict hell training is going to scare him. On a side note, Seth lives with Melie since he can’t sleep anywhere for free and Doc refuses to take any more debts. Oh sure, conveniently she has an unused room in her home.

Episode 7
Looks like Seth still has a long way to go from Yaga’s training. I’m surprised Melba’s bad coffee isn’t going to be a running joke because Doc tastes her latest brew this one tastes really good! Suddenly Doc is kidnapped by a tentacle monster! Don’t worry. It’s not Nemesis. I guess this Kraken is classified as an animal that lives in Artemis’ sewers. Yeah, it likes coffee… Seth and Melie head down to rescue him but all their plans backfire. Yeah, somehow Doc is the one falling into their traps. This guy still alive after being dragged by Kraken for so long? So before the young ones can give up, time to remember what quitting is not in Seth’s vocabulary. The next time they face Kraken, looks like Doc has become acquainted with it! They’re coffee buddies! Seth’s plan is to dump a cauldron of Melba’s coffee onto himself. This makes him irresistible as Kraken swallows him whole. Despite the mind boggling nice coffee aroma, it tastes like sh*t. Even Kraken spits everything out. Is he going to get some stomach discomfort? Seth and Melie combine their power to take Kraken down but before that, Doc protects Kraken! Don’t hurt my friend! Devi? I guess that’s that. If Kraken is Doc’s friend, it is also Seth’s friend. Doc returns to normal life and he thought he could have more of Melba’s good coffee. Then the truth is revealed. It is actually her dad who makes it. Yeah, from now on, he will be making coffee for this loser. Doc is so the biggest loser.

Episode 8
All the training has wrecked Seth’s gloves. So Yaga makes him wear special black silver gloves that restricts any use of magic. Seth is unhappy but is made to think that there is more to this world than just power. If he takes off the gloves, he will be expelled. Seth and co are called by Majesty. Yeah, they have the highest accumulated debts ever in history. Seth, I don’t think that’s a record to be proud of. They must pay this up now or… Oh well, I guess it’s hard labour for them. Seth and Melie clean Artemis’ top. Then they spot Bravery Quartet trying to break in. Looks like they escaped from their low security imprisonment and why are they only in underwear? Because it gives them magic! Seriously. Don tries to make a deal to help free Seth from the gloves in exchange he lets this slide. But Seth refuses. Don then tries to sweet talk him about his potential strength and that the strongest in this world only gets what they want. The resisting force is still strong with Seth. He sure wants power but not use it like they pathetically did. Time to square off. Seth might have no magic but he uses Melie’s explosive magic as springboard for a dropkick on Don. When Don tries to take Melie hostage, Boobrie pecks him off. Don would have fallen to his death had not Seth swoop down to save him. But not after breaking his gloves. Later he apologizes to Yaga for breaking his promise but Yaga saw the whole thing and let this slide. He also repaired his gloves with some modifications and hints why Alma made him wear it all along. Because sorcerers cannot use magic with such gloves, those doing so bare handed will be considered a heretic. Alma’s foresight saved him from unwanted attention. It is discovered that Majesty setup this so he could capture Bravery Quartet via cheap means instead of deploying the army.

Episode 9
Dragunov’s team has been stationed near Artemis for so long that they are running out of provisions. Not if Dragunov can do some fishing and cook for his men. A newbie is starting to feel disillusioned with him as he thought being an Inquisition would be a more glamorous job. Soon they receive word that another Inquisition team led by Captain Edmund has been damaged after a fight with a Nemesis. They are to assist and repair the ship scheduled for HQ. Edmund boasts about his skills that drove the Nemesis away and also shows Dragunov the evil sorcerer prisoners he captured. Women, children and the old? As they fix the ship, the newbie thinks of requesting a transfer when the Nemesis returns. However it ignores the Inquisitions and head for the nearest town where there are lots of people. Edmund is relieved they don’t have to deal with this and doesn’t care if the people gets killed. But it’s a different story for Dragunov. He and his men’s goal is to take out threats that threaten the lives of powerless people. Hence taking out Nemesis is the same as weeding out evil sorcerers. Dragunov’s team easily defeats the Nemesis and it is only so since somebody else has already fought it and put a deep wound on it. When Dragunov returns, he arrests Edmund. His men has checked the prisoners and they lack any markings that indicate they are evil sorcerers. He knows it is easy to round these harmless people up and then accuse them of being sorcerers. He realizes Edmund has been using his false achievements to get where he is and will report this to Torque who will then judge him. The newbie has seen this side of Dragunov and decides to stay on his team.

Episode 10
Majesty throws a festival so foreigners can spend the cash. But the highlight is the broomstick race. Although the prize money is high, so is the participating fee. Seth contemplates on entering but this arrogant jerk, Nick who is double winners of this race starts badmouthing Alma. Seth won’t let it slide (excuse for this episode to air some recycled footage of Seth’s parting with Alma) and will win this race to prove Alma is the strongest. So as the race begins, Seth is put at the lowest odds. His broom might not be the most high-tech and expensive like Nick but it’s filled with Alma’s love! Majesty plays cheat by entering the race with his giant spaceship! Well, technically you keep the money if you win your own race. So with him blasting other competitors out, Seth puts a stop to this foul move. Thanks to Yaga’s training, he has gotten better and forces that greedy cat on eject mode. With the race entering the final stretch, Nick is in the lead but Seth is catching up. Desperate, he uses his turbo mode and blows his lackeys away. Although he reaches the finish line, Seth is the real ‘winner’ since he went to save those lackeys. Hey, I thought all those who participate wear a parachute? Whatever. It’s just to show that Alma’s teachings are never wrong. And Seth can only later dream he won the race because now Doc is once again exasperated for the increase in debt. He had to pay for his participation, you know. It’s not like taking on another debt would make a difference, right? Oh Seth… I understand money is of no value to him but sometimes…

Episode 11
Doc needs to find a job that makes a quick buck fast. So definitely he won’t take this Nemesis hunting job. Not if Seth and Melie wants to take it up. He tries to give excuses until Melba notes how brave it is for one to take up this job. Yeah. Love makes you do silly things. They make their way to Rumble Town, supposedly a noisy and industrial area but it looks more like a ghost town than densely populated. They stumble into that Nemesis but realizes there are 2 of them. A short bout before some pied piper calls them back. Man, there are hundreds of them now! Seth chases them but is attacked by a weird sorcerer, Grimm. He wants to know Seth’s goal in chasing those Nemesis as those Nemesis are his. They may be a clue to his past. Seth is not obliged to answer him so they fight and Grimm is much powerful than him. Melie helps out but the commotion will certainly draw attention and that is what Grimm dislikes. He retreats and as long as they are connected to that Nemesis, they will meet again. The Inquisition sees this and reports to the captain of the area, Konrad de Marbourg. He is happy he can go sorcerer hunting.

Episode 12
Konrad is shocked to see Dragunov, his former superior here. Konrad tries to assert he is now the boss here and won’t take any of his orders but instead Dragunov plays it cool and it is Konrad who gets impatient and loses his cool. Seth and co see Zeda who requested the hunt. He explains that his son, Taj had come into contact with a Nemesis. Thankfully he survived but he is now sneezing purple snot. Is this the curse? Because they are immigrants and highly discriminated against, nobody will believe their story and if they tell their son is infected, what would others think? Because Seth is determined to see this through, Taj shows him the place where he saw the Nemesis. Inside this building is a large tree with feathers. Melie mentions about Source Nemesis, the original Nemesis that could curse others. It can also create smaller clones called Echo Nemesis but those do not have the ability to curse and serve more like scouts. Then the ground starts shaking. Doc deduces that the constant boring of the land made it unstable. Hence some parts had no people because they were ordered to move. Seth has an idea. After everyone is evacuated, they observe from the sky and wait for the Nemesis to come out. True enough, they do. They use their magic to trap and capture it. The more Nemesis they capture alive, the more those money signs in their eyes begin to flash. Yeah, not only their debts will be gone, they’ll be filthy rich! Until Grimm destroys the trap. Like, WTF?! If he isn’t interested in them then why destroy their catch?! Luckily as he escapes, Melie has put a mark on him.

Episode 13
Doc wonders if Grimm is behind the disappearance of immigrants too. When Seth asks him about the marks on Nemesis, he explains when it glows, it means they are being controlled by sorcerers called Domitors. Dragunov hears rumours of the immigrants being blamed for everything. He knows this is Konrad’s doing and that his target are the immigrants. He will not interfere but warns if he is getting Nemesis get away while being so preoccupied with his goal to protect citizens (apparently immigrants don’t fall under the category of citizens). He shows him a letter that Torque and his Thaumaturges will be coming here since that sorcerer kid they are targeting is believed to be here. Looks like Konrad is definitely hiding something. He knows he can’t hide it any longer and will proceed to his final phase of his plan by using the sorcerers to create a chaos. Seth and Melie visit Taj’s house but it is destroyed. A passer-by says the Inquisitions have taken them away as immigrants and sorcerers are being accused of plotting terrorism. Konrad then rallies his people to cooperate with him to witch hunt immigrants to protect their town or risk repeating that tragedy 15 years ago. Doc hides from the mob and stumbles upon an abandoned home that serves as a nest for Nemesis. An Inquisition catches him now that he has seen the secret. The mob tries to burn Taj but luckily Seth comes to their rescue. The people retreat as they are scared, claiming they are only following orders from Konrad. Learning that Taj’s family are arrested by the Inquisitions for sheltering an infected, Seth vows to take Konrad and his men down. He downplays crazy Melie’s logic to hurt the people as they are only afraid. If they attack them, everything will be blown beyond repair. It won’t take long for Seth to encounter Konrad. Because he orders his men to fire on the district despite the people have not yet been evacuated. Because some sacrifices are needed to protect the peace.

Episode 14
Dragunov helps Konrad to defeat Seth. He has to give up because they see Doc as a prisoner. Oh my, he looks so old. Did they suck out his life force?! With the riots against the immigrants happening, Konrad uses this chance to lie to the public by blaming Seth as the one siding with the immigrants and hiding a horde of Nemesis. So to eradicate this quickly, he will destroy them all. This means trapping normal people in the area and sacrificing them too. Seth uses his Fantasia to beat up Konrad. However he orders his troops to fire. Grimm absorbs the shells. He asks if Seth knows about the Domitor. Since he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, consider Grimm his unexpected ally. Speaking of the Domitor, Hameline makes her move as she unleashes her Echo Nemesis to attack the people. Konrad wants to settle the score with Seth and reveals that Hameline works under him. The Echo Nemesis run rampage. Sorcerers and Inquisitions put aside their differences to save the people. Hameline has summoned a whirlwind and intends to crash the bell into the ground to cause a massive ground collapse.

Episode 15
The bell crashes into the Inquisition’s HQ. You mad, Konrad? Cue for Hameline to tell her sad story 15 years ago. She was part of a group of tainted children gathered to fight Nemesis. However they were thrown into prison and the people hated them for just that. Only the kind Major Oxumare treated them nicely and gave them a flute to play to ignore the mockery. However, Konrad who was a mere soldier at that time, detested all that. So one night he let the children escape prison. However he also told the crowd about their escape and hence began a witch hunt. By the time Oxumare intervened, all but Hameline died. When actual Nemesis dropped into Rumble Town, Konrad used this chance to have Oxumare put Hameline in the frontlines. But it is just a ploy for him to kill him. Scared Hameline fled and at a lost, started playing her flute. The Nemesis became attracted to her. At the same time, the Inquisitions bombed and let an entire district fell from the sky. Konrad continued to blame immigrants for this and he himself admits all that with the excuse of protecting this town. Hameline accuses him of accepting her offer when she said she would help rid of all immigrants. Though, Konrad denies this. But Konrad continues to admit he is willing to sacrifice more people to keep the town safe. Naturally the townspeople turn against him and think Hameline will be their saviour. Sorry to disappoint. She isn’t here to save them. She’s going to kill them. She considers all of them as the same as Konrad. Accomplices in murder. They never changed. Even if they said they weren’t around during that time or try to wash their hands off this, she views this all the same. Because they don’t want to shoulder the responsibility, they picked a leader to decide for them. Hence, she is going to destroy Rumble Town and lived for this day. Her destruction put on hold since Grimm has a question for her. Meanwhile Seth blames it all on Konrad for this mess. Epic power battle with Seth now even stronger without using Fantasia. I guess we’re tired of hearing Konrad blabbing about him being the impregnable wall of Rumble Town so here comes Seth’s Skull Burst to break down this immoral wall. XD.

Episode 16
With Konrad defeated, Seth goes to stop Hameline. Dragunov vows to arrest him after that. When Seth meets up with Melie, she is sad that Doc had died. However Seth shows Doc has turned into a baby! Seth stumbled into Doc’s corpse and bursting out from the stomach was this baby! Cute cuddling put on hold with Grimm telling them he doesn’t intend to sink with Rumble Town unless they have a plan to stop Hameline. Seth believes he can do so without killing her and Grimm would gladly lend his assistance. As they fly up the clock tower, Hameline unleashes Nemesis to attack them. In some strange burst of power, Seth is sucked inside the clock tower whereby he meets this strange guy with horns, Piodon. Melie and Grimm fight Hameline. Melie manages to seal Hameline’s Fantasia in a giant lamp while Grimm goes on a Nemesis killing spree. Piodon wonders about Seth’s strange seal that makes him unable to use Fantasia efficiently. He offers to get rid of it but asks whom Seth is fighting for. Is it the weak? The infected? The Inquisition? Seth can’t stay to chat so he leaves but thanks him for saving him earlier. Piodon believes they will meet soon again because they are family. Because of Hameline’s strong bond with the Nemesis, she could combine her powers with them. This means, Melie’s lamp is unable to absorb anymore of her Fantasia and Grimm’s giant sword has reach its limits. But don’t worry. Seth is here.

Episode 17
As Seth and Hameline fight, the latter accuses him of helping his enemies. Even when Seth says he wants to protect the people, this doesn’t bode well with her. She doesn’t care about the people and will let them die. Seth points out she is only doing the same things Konrad did. She does have a point about the people will never acknowledge him and will only use him for their own purpose. People’s attitude will never change. Despite Seth disagreeing with her, he points out he is the same as her. Although people treated him badly and at times he wanted to destroy everything, he refuses to become the monster they painted him. Seth overwhelms her but refuses to kill her or hand her over to the Inquisition. He wants her to join him in his journey to find and destroy Radiant. Only then everyone can happily live together when there are no more Nemesis. Conversation interrupted with Santori making his divine entrance. So people like them don’t use Fantasia but Miracles? Is there a difference? Must be the power being bestowed from God. Anyway, Santori wants Seth to be handed over as he lists down all his crimes that ranges from killing, stealing, etc. Seth doesn’t know all that but can’t help feel familiar with those murdered names. Hameline then takes Seth hostage in hopes to negotiate. However Santori rejects her demands. She attacks Santori so as to buy time for Seth to run away. She leaves her Nemesis siblings in his care. Bye. Seth would have wanted to stay behind to save her had not Melie and Grimm take him away and not let Hameline’s wish go to waste. Sadly, Torque kills her.

Episode 18
Seth tries to take on Torque but Von Teppes puts him down. Before he can kill Seth, Piodon did something that turns Seth into some monster that oozes out tremendous Fantasia. He easily pulverizes Teppes. Torque strikes him down and in the midst of the chaos, Grimm and Melie whisk him away. Grimm then shows some dimensional coffin where he put all the missing people. Those who were infected or witnessed Konrad’s atrocities are kept here and hence many thought people were missing from the Nemesis. But to get off Rumble Town, looks like Artemis sent a train to save them. Thaumaturges prioritizes saving the injured of Rumble Town and hence ‘allowed’ Artemis’ train to escape amidst the fireworks distraction. Seth is inside his own consciousness, blaming himself he couldn’t save Hameline. He also accuses Piodon of doing something but the latter explains had he not, he and his friends would have died. Seth laments that in his monster form, he couldn’t tell between friend or foe. Everything that Seth did was on his own. All Piodon did was to help him get in touch with the powers and memories he doesn’t know of yet. Then the revelation that we aren’t too surprised: Piodon is Seth’s older brother. After a week, Seth finally wakes up in Melie’s room. Grimm explains of Torque’s ability to nullify Fantasia. Since Seth’s arm was hit by it, it cannot be healed by any magic and he might never use Fantasia again. Seth doesn’t think it’s bad since he realizes all he is capable of is reckless violence. Rumble Town is under construction and since Konrad is gone, it will be better than before. Oh Seth, still blaming yourself that it was the Inquisition who saved the day? A bit of good news, Hameline’s Nemesis brothers are safe, living in Artemis’ facility.

Episode 19
With Seth’s heroics all over the news in Artemis, he is a hero. Too bad that gloom face that says it all. Because the news labels Hameline as an evil sorcerer. Oh, how will Melba ever love Doc now? Oh well, she finds him adorable and he has more skinship than ever he has of her in his life. Too bad her papa changes his diapers… Doc uses his secret stash of cash to buy an expensive potion to grow up. At least, he is now the body of a young boy. Just in time for the party Majesty throws to celebrate Seth’s heroics. But you know, Seth is still gloomy over his failure. Even when everyone sings praises of him, he denies of being a hero. F*cking Seth, still so down over Hameline’s death. Like, WTF?! Like he needs Nick to challenge him to some strength competition. Not in the mood. But Nick crosses the line by badmouthing Hameline so here comes a great sucker punch in his face. Seth snaps about many other sorcerers out there that shares Hameline’s tragic fate. That’s why he must destroy Radiant as soon as possible. He sounds disappointed that with so many sorcerers here, none know anything of Radiant. More sulking until Alma shows up to give him her usual beating. She wouldn’t have known had not Melie contacted her. She gives him a letter from Taj. He thanks him for what he did. Everyone now is helping to rebuild Rumble Town. He hopes to meet again. Seth might not been able to save some but he did change those he touched. Even back in Pompo Hills, everyone treats Alma nicer than before. Also, Melie disregarded her own wounds to nurse Seth back when he was in ‘coma’. With Seth’s blues blown away like that, now he goes around thanking those who helped him. At least better than moping around.

Episode 20
Thaumaturges discuss about Konrad’s actions have led to people’s trust in the Inquisition dipping. Teppes has been removed and punished for letting emotions get the better of him. Then there’s the case of Dragunov too… Speaking of him, his unit is facing food shortage as they had to give theirs to Rumble Town to help it rebuild. So hunting a few wild animals didn’t yield anything. Even calling towns for help, they are turned away. Yeah, nobody likes the Inquisition as much as before. When the newbie asks Dragunov about the things they do because at this rate the world will not get better, Dragunov replies that despite doing the right thing doesn’t guarantee good results. The newbie suggests asking from the town they saved from Edmund and surprisingly they are more than glad to help. So everything isn’t wasted. Kindness goes a long way. We take a detour as Melba’s coffee is getting thinner? Sorry, lack of coffee beans. Thanks to all the coffee and other supplies being rerouted to Rumble Town. At this rate her shop might close down. But what could me more concerning for Doc than her? Devi! Yeah, dried squid is so dried without coffee! Seth tries to help but after a few blunders, he gets it right. Only, he took out a loan from Majesty for the beans. Better enjoy the world’s most expensive coffee. Dragunov has got a personal letter from Torque. His vice knows it is an invitation to join Thaumaturges. At first Dragunov didn’t want to accept because he was worried about his men. But looks like he knows they’ll be alright. Just like Seth, he believes he needs to leave to protect those around him. His men will wait for his return one day.

Episode 21
Alma wants Seth to bring him to Yaga to talk about Radiant. However that guy went into hiding as he doesn’t want to see her but left a note. It says to go to Caislean Merlin, the capital of Cyfandir and meet the knight sorcerers as they are a bunch of people who are also looking for Radiant. But beware. The Inquisition has begun to hunt them down in hopes of regaining their reputation. Of course Doc will not go with Seth this time and doesn’t want to die again. He’s got enough problems on his hands already. Friends you say? Doc tells him straight that he is going to fight even stronger and crazier enemies. Is he willing to put Melie in danger? As he thinks about it, I doubt Majesty is here to give him any solid advice but a reminder to pay his debts. Because if he’s dead, he’ll still has to repay them! Does he have connections with heaven? Just then, many Nemesis Eggs plummet into Artemis. The sorcerers go to battle them but with Seth ‘frozen’, Nick mocks him for being a fake. Oh no. Seth, are you pitying Nemesis now?! Because Hameline said they are not all monsters. But with an egg dropping in to where Melie is, Seth ‘borrows’ Nick’s broom to rescue her before she becomes Nemesis chow. They both take it down but a moment when Melie let her guard down, the Nemesis strikes again. This scene traumatically reminds Seth of Hameline’s fate. He pushes out of harm’s way and takes the brunt. He is being dragged deep into the waters and this is when his berserk mode unleashed. This time the Nemesis is blown to smithereens. When he comes to, he is sad he once again lost control. Now that Seth is determined, the next morning he left a note to Melie saying that he has left since he can’t be bringing her along to his dangerous journey. Take care. He left with Alma and didn’t say goodbye to everyone either in fear he might want to stay. Yeah, blaming himself he caused everyone problems. Especially Doc with his debts, right? Oh, that guy is the most shocked in hearing Seth left.

Monster Hunter World
And as expected, there will be another season. But I am surprised that it only had this odd number of 21 episodes. It fuelled my speculation that it wasn’t expected to do well but I suppose it did and that’s why another season was announced. From the sneak preview that I see at the end of the final episode, it looks like it is going to notch things up a bit and things might get a little grimmer. After all, for light to shine the brightest, there has to be the darkest of the dark, right? And of course, don’t count on Seth going at this alone as Melie and Doc will soon catch up. You know, they’re friends, right?!

Also, despite that speculation of mine, initially I thought this series was going to be the next big long running anime. It was going to be the next Fairy Tail. The next Black Clover. The next Naruto or Boruto. The next Bleach. The next One Piece. So for them to just have 2 cours for the first season, hmm, something doesn’t feel right. Because as far as I can see the way the story and the pacing plays out, it certainly is going to look like one of those very long running animes that is going to lust for multiple cours. There are still other things and developments to flesh out and from what I can see from this season, this is just merely touching the tip of the iceberg.

Hence this season can be both good and bad at this point in time. As the manga, oops I mean, manfra is currently ongoing, there is of course the need to wait for more materials to be published. As you can see, this season has only 2 big main arcs: Artemis and Rumble Town. With the series taking several episodes to flesh out the stories and characters in both these arcs, it is good pacing to see Seth grows as a character but at the same time it hardly moves anywhere. Sure, Seth’s heroics of Rumble Town may skyrocketed his fame and status but if a story is about a boy who goes on an adventure to seek some imaginary place that is not supposed to exist, it is definitely going to be a very long journey and don’t tell me that Seth is going to find Radiant after hitting a few places. I mean, look at how freaking long One Piece has been running and they still can’t find that One Piece! Heh. You get what I mean. But thankfully, Radiant doesn’t take as long as One Piece for its single arc that could span to as long as a half a year to a year! Is that good? Is that disappointing? I know it is wrong to directly compare this series with One Piece but with the vibe Radiant has been giving off initially, I really thought it was going to at least be Black Clover’s rival.

Like I have already said, the story and pacing is building up at a reasonable pace. It does take its time trying to flesh out Seth as the main character as well as the other supporting characters. Sometimes they have time to even put in fillers especially after the big Rumble Town battle, we get this very slow moving and boring couple of episodes as the characters ponder their next move. That is why I thought this series was going to be the next big thing (sorry if I sound like a broken recorder on this). Because when you have long running series, it is without a doubt that sometimes they need to put in filler episodes to fill up the space while they make preparations for the next arc. Even though this Rumble Town arc lasted for about 10 episodes, somehow it felt like a bit draggy to me. Initially I thought it was just going to be 3 or 4 episodes and the final arc would be something else but it eventually lasted till the end of the season. Oh well, goes to show that sometimes my own guts and expectations can be dead wrong. On a trivial note, is Rumble Town’s immigration problem a take on the current USA’s issue of influx of illegal immigrants? Must be just coincidence.

On a trivial note, sometimes I believe Radiant is aimed for younger audiences like teens. Sure, there are some dark themes and well, some character dies but the overall feel of the series can be said as, uhm, how should I put it, bubbly? Like the narration at the beginning as well as the next episode preview is narrated in a way that makes me think that well, maybe this series is targeted for young teens to watch. This is no Shingeki No Kyojin or even Goblin Slayer but if you put Radiant and One Piece side by side and if I had to pick one for my young nephews to watch, I would have gone with Radiant without a doubt. Of course One Piece keeps going forever and that means they’ll be glued to the screen forever… Theoretically!

Character wise, surprisingly there isn’t a lot of characters. At least not yet. We have the main character, Seth. His groupie, Melie and Doc. The master, Alma and Yaga. Animal mascots, Boobrie and Devi. Mystery ally, Grimm. The scheming brains, Majesty. The supposed antagonist, Torque and his Thaumaturges. And the anti-hero or how should I put it, fighting on the wrong side? Yup, that’s Dragunov. Did I miss out anybody? Oh Melba, where should I put her? Anyway, if I look at this series generally about character development, not really good either. I did say that the story and pacing was to help develop the character. Yes, but that is for the long run. For this season, it doesn’t look like it moved anyway. I mean it did. But not very much.

Seth as the main character, we see him grow from a reckless sorcerer into one taking fate and destiny into his own hands. Oh wait. Seth has been the same reckless sorcerer with his staunch ideal of justice from the start. Literally Seth is Seth from the beginning till the end. Lots of anime main protagonist seem to fall into this cliché trap. How much different a character can you make Seth from Luffy, Natsu or Naruto? And hence you’ve got a kid who has lots of power but is a simpleton. I guess that is why they usually always win in the end because it is not complicated unlike complex brainy villains who planned this and that with backup plans here and there. Yeah, how not to fail like that? Also, they rant about their plans to the heroes cliché. Heh. And oh, to top the cherry on the icing for being a cliché main character is that Seth has this hidden latent power, now taking in the form of his berserk mode. How convenient. Wanna bet he is going to learn and control it by the time the climax comes around?

Anyway, I am fine with Seth being that typical stereotype of main character until they made him such an annoying kid when he couldn’t get over the death of Hameline. I mean, that was like the worst. I know they want to portray him as a character who realized he is weak and needs to get a lot stronger (because there is always room for improvement) but they spam it so much that it is just intolerable. Like, WTF?! Oh God. Can we move on already? Instead of looking at the positive side of the numerous lives he changed (Tommy and Taj to name a few), he had to focus on his one miserable failure. And it’s not really his fault either. So he wants to mope around forever like that? Oh yeah, thank goodness for Alma to come smacking some reality back into his mind. I guess that’s the only reason to bring her character back. While it looks like Seth might have gotten over it, but that ghost of a regret is hinted to linger on. That’s fine too. But don’t overdo it, okay? Don’t make it Seth’s weakness that when he is faced with another similar situation, this fear paralyzes him. Please don’t. I know Seth can do better. Don’t even start on him starting to slowly sympathize with Nemesis. It makes his life’s mission and setting of this series redundant for the sake of plot twist.

As for the other characters, not really much is known about them or fleshed out properly. Especially Melie and Doc. Melie feels like your token cute girl because every main character groupie needs to have a kawaii bishoujo, right? Right. Since she has another alter ego, it is never explained how she got this and it would be interesting to see the backstory to this side of hers in the next season. Yeah, I guess Boobrie really loves this sadistic version because you see hearts in his eyes whenever she is in this mode. Doc is like the whiner, complainer and pessimist of the group. He feels like a comic relief character because of his failed one-sided love to Melba and constantly being piled up with debts thanks to Seth. He claims he doesn’t want to help them but from what I can see, he still cares for them despite all he has said because he could just walk off and not entertain them anymore but keeps coming back. Yeah, maybe it’s fate. And those damn debts that tie their fate together.

Speaking of love interest, this series seems to lack every inch of it as it is marketed as some fantasy action adventure oriented. But if our guts and experience tells us, will it be Seth x Melie? Has cutie pie Melie already fallen for Seth from the start? She might be sticking around him because she is so impressed with him whatsoever but what if it is because she likes him? What if her alter ego was just a fake front to hide her love for him? Notice how she usually gets stressed up when Seth is in danger, causing her to be this BDSM queen? No? Must be me then? Since Seth too has another dark alter ego, I guess they’re a match, no?! Because I think Seth x Melie is more probably than Doc x Melba! My conspiracy theory is that Melba also likes Doc but puts a barrier in the form of her hand puppet father. She looks and sounds a bit dumb but I think she isn’t. Especially making poisonous coffee all the time. Think about it. How can her business survive when she makes such bad coffee? Oh sure, her father backs her up but I want to really believe her father is just a hand puppet.

Torque looks like the big bad guy but I doubt that he is so and he only looks mean and his goals might sound a bit tough but I am predicting that his sense of justice doesn’t stray too far as from Seth’s. After all, this guy doesn’t talk much unless when necessary. I’m thinking there will be another hidden bigger baddie to all this and that Seth and Torque will eventually cooperate with each other. Same case for Dragunov. He might be fighting against Seth now but in time I foresee they will be fighting on the same side of justice. We also assume Grimm is on Seth’s side but that is only their goals somewhat aligned. Remember, this guy who talks in third person may be more than meets the eye.

One of the biggest nonsense I find about the setting of this series is how sorcerers are treated badly by others. Yes, it is stated that they are cursed by Nemesis but the only ones with powers to take them down. Are they trying to teach us that the world itself is ungrateful no matter what you do? And that only those with strong sense of justice and goodness can arise from this? That’s so screw up if you asked me. People who have no qualms scorning them but yet cower behind sorcerers during Nemesis’ attack, they are the worst. Damn, it’s not like they are even trying to hide it! If I existed in this world, I would have gladly joined Bravery Quartet! (Why do I feel these characters are like those jiggly butt jokers of Fairy Tail and Rave?). It doesn’t make sense since Inquisition are also out to capture such sorcerers but doesn’t Thaumaturges have one? Piodon, anybody? Oh come on. Do you not see his costume is clearly from the Inquisition? Oddly, if Torque’s main ability is to nullify Fantasia, wouldn’t it be a lot easier if he just went around and do that to other sorcerers? Turning them back into normal human beings? No more sorcerer discrimination, hooray! Sometimes I think that Nemesis randomly rain down on human civilization to attack them is because to wipe them out for being assholes. People are the real dicks (which is somewhat true). Only if those sorcerers didn’t get in the way! Uh huh. Plot twist! Nemesis aren’t the bad guys! Isn’t that why Seth is starting to think that not all Nemesis are bad?

Action bits are rather okay. Not to say they are mediocre nor are they mind blowing but for an action series, I suppose it is suffice. With big explosions and effects, I guess they really exaggerated the effects of using Fantasia. It’s magic! After all, with Seth being just somewhat a beginner in using his Fantasia, we see him pull off a few variants of punches and the recent Skull Burst. Then we have Melie casting her Meteor Drops, barriers and traps. In time maybe they will learn more and add to their repertoire of skillsets. Does Dragunov shoot anything else except with his bow? Oddly, a series about hunting down Nemesis, there aren’t really a lot of them. Sure, you can count them with your fingers. And I don’t mean Hameline’s brothers as individual Nemesis but a collective one.

As for the art and animation, everything looks clean, bright and colourful, also the reason why I said it looked like a series aimed for younger audiences. Some really weird character designs because what’s with the main female characters having weird hairstyles? Like Alma’s big bushy broomstick hairstyle and Melie’s killer croissant drills? Some character designs look familiar like Torque I thought Fairy Tail’s Gajeel was moonlighting as the high commander of Inquisition. Before Doc turned into a baby, I thought he look like that character from Cartoon Network’s Codename Kids Next Door, Numbuh 2. Why does the Nemesis feel like they are rejected designs of Bleach’s Hollow? This series is animated by Lerche who did Ansatsu Kyoushitsu, Asobi Asobase, Mahou SHoujo Ikusei Keikaku, Kuzu No Honkai, Danganronpa and the reboot of Kino No Tabi.

Voice acting, they used a lot of popular seiyuus like Aoi Yuuki as Melie, Takehito Koyasu as Grimm, Romi Paku as Alma, Koji Yusa as Dragunov, Kappei Yamaguchi as Majesty, Nao Touyama as Melba and Sho Hayami as the narrator. Saori Hayami and Ayane Sakura also lend their voices as members of Thaumaturges but sorry I didn’t catch their characters’ names here. The other casts are Yumiri Hanamori as Seth (Hayasaka in Kaguya-sama Wa Kokurasetai), Shintarou Oohata as Doc (Morgan in Beast Saga), Kenta Miyake as Torque (Klaus in Hayate No Gotoku), Hiroyoki Yoshino as Yaga (Favaro in Shingeki No Bahamut), Ryohei Kimura as Piodon (Tsubasa in Kyoukai No Rinne), Yumi Uchiyama as Hameline (Maki in Toji No Miko) and Katasuki Murase as Konrad (Three in Hamatora) and Tetsu Inada as Don (Gamagoori in Kill La Kill).

The opening theme is Utopia by 04 Limited Sazabys. I didn’t like this because it is like punk hard rock and the constant bass drubbing feels like you need to be high are on drugs while doing head banging if listening to this song. Really. Hence I prefer much the ending theme which is as the same name of this series and sung by Polkadot Stingray. It has this funky feel to it and the electric guitar accompaniment isn’t too shabby either. Though, the singer’s voice might sound a bit flat but it is still way better than mine!

Overall, even if this doesn’t seem like the next big anime that will stand alongside the other aforementioned big anime titles, Radiant is still Radiant and stands by itself as a decent fantasy action adventure genre. Story, characters and action all feel pretty much cliché and standard like any other stories about a young character setting out on a journey to defeat the main evil and bring ultimate peace to the land and in the midst discovers more about himself and changes for the better. It is still too early to call and judge it and even maybe a second season won’t be enough if it is to strive for higher greatness and garner followers and fans from all around the globe like One Piece. Even with its flaws and shortcomings, this series still did what it takes to shine through. There is still a radiant of hope after all. Because (to borrow a quote from A.P.J. Abdul Kalam) if the series (and Seth) wants to shine like the sun, they must first burn like the sun. Keeping shining forward!

Uhm… Wow… You mean after almost 7 years since the second season aired, they finally make the third season?! Damn. That felt like an eternity in anime years. To Aru Majutsu No Index III was a surprise to me as I wasn’t a big fan of the series and probably the series I blamed for making me dislike very heavily themed sci-fi shows (although that doesn’t mean I don’t watch them from time to time). I didn’t think it would come out after that long but anything is possible. Having said all that, the only reason why I am watching this and allowing myself to be confused even more is because of the upcoming third season of To Aru Kagaku No Railgun. Uh huh. I think I need to see this if I want to understand what happens in that series. Wait. Did I say understand? Looks like when science and magic collide, I become a retarded NPC otaku who feels obligated to watch this because, reasons :’(. Such a misfortune…

Document Of Constantine Arc

Episode 1
Fukou da. Bad luck for Touma. Lost his wallet. Can’t buy food for Index. She bites him. At school he gets reprimanded along with Tsuchimikado and Pierce Aogami for entering some heated debate about Playboy bunny girls. Yeah… On the international scale, there are protests everywhere to puts tension between Academy City and Roman Catholic Church. Of course, more trouble for Touma when he sees Misaka doing her kick on the vending machine. He ignores her but she spots him. Then she blames him for never replying her mails and goes to search his handphone. WTF?! Are they dating?! I mean, is Misaka his girlfriend or something?! Then she gets mad seeing a selfie of him and her mom! She would have roasted him had his right hand not nullify it. He manages to escape when she tries to talk about that fight he got into. When Sphinx escapes, Index chases after it and bumps into a nice old lady, Monaka Oyafune. She treats her to some food and learns about Touma probably being a nice guy (because he feeds her). After that, Monaka goes to talk to Touma and needs his input to solve a simple problem. That’s because he has what everybody else doesn’t: Imagine Breaker. As a board member of Academy City, she leaves the rest to Tsuchimikado to explain but he shoots her! Touma is mad but Monaka explains this is her wish. What she is doing is against the board’s will as they want to aggravate the confrontation and eliminate the Roman Catholic Church. She was against it and knew would be taken out. If she ran away, they would target her family. Tsuchimikado takes Touma on a trip to France now. Their target is a Roman Catholic mystic artefact that is the key to resolving this mess: The Document of Constantine AKA C-Document.

Episode 2
Stiyl is interrogating a couple of detainees about God’s Right Seat. However Lidvia wants the release of Oriana so that she can continue to guide the weak. More mumbo jumbo about God’s Right Seat not only to eliminate the original sin of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit but to be just that: be God’s Right Seat and sit next to Him. Fukou da na, Touma. Parachute have difficulties opening. Crashed into a river of a small town in France, Avignon. Luckily saved by Amakusa Church member, Itsuwa. He tells her what Tsuchimikado told him about C-Document. Supposedly some document gives the Pope absolute powers to rule over the land. It also can make what the Pope says become the truth. Hence the Roman Catholics are trying to use that document to make Academy City as evil. Itsuwa explains about the history between the Pope and king of France. What I understand is that Avignon has lots of leylines that would allow the Pope to use the artefacts freely instead of going through all that protocol. Something like a remote. The only drawback is that it takes time to be activated. That is where they come in to stop it. They have to flee when protesters identify Touma as from Academy City. Their goal now is to make way to Palais des Papes. However Tsuchimikado calls and says they don’t necessarily have to go there. They just need to sever the leyline connecting to the Vatican. But he doesn’t want Touma using Imagine Breaker at is still unknown and they are not sure the effects and exceptions. Itsuwa can perform the severing based on her Amakusa skills. In some old building that is housing a leyline, Itsuwa prepares for the ritual (including putting white pantsu?!). But before she could finish, they are attacked by Terra from God’s Right Seat. Did the freak show came to town? If not for Touma’s Imagine Breaker, they would have been goners. Touma could feel the might of Terra’s magic but this guy can pass through solids and spring surprise attacks.

Episode 3
What? What? WHAT?! I don’t understand the explanation of Terra’s precedence magic skill that allows him to change the laws of whatever. Whatever. Forget it. Tsuchimikado drops in to help but with Aleister sending in those powered suits from Academy City to attack, Terra flees. Tsuchimikado fights the powered suits while Touma and Itsuwa find Terra. I don’t know what Tsuchimikado did but he immobilizes all the powered suits because of overflowing data? But Aleister unleashes his next phase. Now those stealth bomber planes fly in. One of them is carrying Accelerator. Touma calls Misaka (surprise!) and asks about the news on Avignon. She mentions about some terrorists creating illegal weapons so Academy City is assisting in some search and destroy operation. Conversation interrupted with Terra attacking. He has C-Document in hand. After knocking out Itsuwa, Terra realizes that Touma has no memories about Imagine Breaker. The prolonged fight allows Touma to deduce his abilities. The reason he cannot kill them is because he couldn’t. He is weak. His magic cannot affect multiple targets at the same time. That’s why when they took full force of his magic, they still live. Touma manages to land a punch in his face and then destroys C-Document. Before Terra could reveal what Imagine Breaker is, he is burnt to a crisp by Accelerator. Lidvia continues explaining that God’s Right Seat isn’t about its members wanting to become angels and stand beside God like Michael or Lucifer. It is to become something above God. Kamijou? Play of words? Terra still lives and returns to Acqua. As the Russian Orthodox Church has sided with them, he thinks of using this incident to invade Academy City. However Acqua asks him about using his skills on tourists and children. Wasn’t he supposed to save humans without discrimination? Terra claims it is to hone his skills so Acqua drops a slab on him to kill him. People like him will never be God’s chosen one. The Pope is here and he hears Acqua’s plan to fight in the upcoming battle himself. Meanwhile Misaka is confused. Yeah, she overheard the entire conversation between Touma and Terra and is not amused about Touma’s lost memories.

Battle Royale Arc

Episode 4
An illegal trader is willing to cooperate with Tsuchimikado but is shot in the gut instead. While being taken away in a police wagon, some weird computer head guy, Banka Yobou slices the van in half! Too bad the trader got killed by him too. Unabara checks the house as Tsuchimikado fills him in on that trader’s job to find people to fill positions of a small and newly formed organization. It is believed they will make their move soon. SWAT people known as BLOCK storm into the house. Later Tsuchimikado and his team check the place. Unabara used his ability to blend in and disguise with BLOCK and has left clues. A small unofficial unit under the name of SCHOOL has hired a sniper, Chimitsu Sunazara to snipe at Monaka who is about to give her speech. Accelerator has Awaki to teleport Monaka and have the sniper miss. A discontented Sunazara wants to snipe Accelerator but is told by his employer to fall back. Hamazura has the misfortune as a manservant for ITEM. Realizing that SCHOOL sent another sniper targeting Monaka after they disposed an earlier one, it is safe to say their warning went unheeded and they’re going to kill them. After the failed Monaka assassination, SCHOOL massacred the scientists at some lab. ITEM drops in as they meet their match in Yobou. Although they emerged victorious, it was a tough fight to defeat him. Mugino realizes the one behind this is Teitoku Kakine, the second ranked Level 5 in Academy City. She has Hamazura chase after some cargo they stole but SCHOOL’s Dress Girl (as she is only known) intercepts. They split up and Hamazura sure does have misfortune with women as Dress Girl goes after him. Lady luck smiling on him as he manages to escape from her hot trail. Tsuchimikado informs him team about a district being under cyber attack. As it houses a lot of viruses including experimental ones, you bet all infrastructure will go haywire and all hell break loose if it gets out. Their job is to intercept it although it pretty looks like a trap to bait them. Unobara calls Accelerator to inform some satellite control centre is the real target so Accelerator hijacks a car and heads there.

Episode 5
Accelerator is ambushed by a member from, uhm, MEMBER. Thanks to his predictable teleportation ability, Accelerator shows no mercy in killing him. At the same time, Kakine is also ambushed by a professor who is a member of, uhm, you guessed it, MEMBER. F*ck his bragging since Kakine easily kills the dude. The last member of, sighs, MEMBER gets trapped in a room that is filling up fast with water. Meanwhile BLOCK has prepared 5,000 mercenaries outside ready to ambush. But Unabara cuts short that plan by making a pre-emptive strike first. This causes Academy City’s deadly helicopter drones to attack and kill many of those mercenaries. Tsuchimikado and co interrogate one of them and from what I understand, they want to use Awaki as a bargaining chip to get into the windowless building where Aleister is. Arriving at a facility, they see lots of BLOCK members dead. They killed themselves? Thanks to the Aztec spell of Xochitl (a member of MEMBER) that made them do so. She has a grudge against Unobara and wants to kill him for his betrayal. To his horror, Xochitl has somewhat merged herself with the original grimoire and is now turning into some horror monster at the expense of her own life just to take him down. Not if Unobara can save her. Tsuchimikado and Awaki confront Tatsuhiko Saku and Megumi Teshio of BLOCK. Megumi isn’t pleased to learn Tatsuhiko plans to use hostage to get to Aleister so she kills him. She faces off with Awaki as she explains her goal to kill Aleister due to some tragedy she experienced and wants to know if Aleister was involved. Awaki defeats her. Meanwhile Kakine beats up Frenda to find out ITEM’s hideout.

Episode 6
Kakine enters ITEM’s hideout and attacks. Kinuhata calls Hamazura about their situation. Their target is Takitsubo. They need to protect her. By the time Hamazura arrives, Mugino has fled and Kakine is about to kill Takitsubo. Even at this point, Takitsubo wants Hamazura to run away and not die. She then uses Body Crystals that makes her abilities go wild. Knowing that she will die if she uses it another time, Kakine doesn’t even bother to kill her and leaves. Hamazura then gets a call from Mugino to counterattack SCHOOL. After Hamazura leaves Takitsubo in the hands of Yomikawa, Mugino confronts him (with Frenda’s corpse in her hand – she got killed by her for her failure). Hamazura has had it with Mugino and will not let her use Body Crystals anymore on Takitsubo. He gets pissed off knowing that she doesn’t care about Takitsubo at all and if she dies, she’ll just find a replacement. Hamazura runs to an unmanned facility to fight Mugino. All I can say is that because Mugino is arrogant, viewing herself as Level 5 as compared to Hamazura’s Level 0, he beat the sh*t out of her, knocking her out with one punch to her face. Accelerator gets a call that Last Order is in danger. She was lost and Uiharu found her. After Last Order went off, Kakine beats up Uiharu for not telling about Last Order’s whereabouts. If he knew she was with her, why didn’t he follow the loli? But thankfully here is Accelerator to settle the score. Yeah, they’re turning this place into a hellish battlefield. Kakine thinks his dark matter is superior to his vectors since it doesn’t exist in this world and hence not subjected to its laws. His plan is to defeat Accelerator to steal his top spot so he gets to see Aleister. However Accelerator shows him why they are different as Accelerator managed to protect the innocent people from their destructive battle. Kakine becomes mad and this allows Accelerator to defeat him. Before he could kill him, Yomikawa tries to reason with him not to be the bad guy but is stabbed by Kakine. This causes Accelerator to go berserk with Kakine adding fuel to the fire by blaming him he can’t protect others. Accelerator turns into his dark mode and beats Kakine to a pulp. Until Last Order shows up. That cute loli smile makes him want to kill her but can’t. When he calms down, Last Order hugs in. Nobody can beat the loli power! Tsuchimikado narrates about Alesiter’s secret plan of spreading millions of surveillance nano-devices called UNDER_LINE around that would give him direct info. SCHOOL, ITEM, MEMBER and BLOCK are names from the dark faction. And there’s one more: DRAGON.

Acqua Of The Back Arc

Episode 7
Itsuwa warns Touma that Acqua has sent a challenge to the Church of England and Academy City that he will hunt Touma down. Touma downplays that although Itsuwa and her Amakusa group are here to protect him. I guess Tatemiya is bored with the job so he executes some sick plan to make Itsuwa’s boobs grow bigger by kicking a football at Touma so his head falls into Itsuwa’s bosoms. Misaka not really liking that… Even Index isn’t fond of him bringing home an Amakusa girl. However with Itsuwa being useful helping around unlike useless Index, Touma even tells off Index to clean the bath! More weirdness with Maika busting in to learn of Itsuwa’s secret recipe. I think it’s time for time out so they take a break by heading to a public bath at an underground district. Misaka is there to blow off some steam too but I guess she’s going to need more than that with Index and Itsuwa there too. As Touma and Itsuwa leave, they realize the place suddenly is void of people. That is when Acqua attacks. He claims he has defeated Tatemiya’s groupie. Acqua wants Touma to give his right hand and since he won’t, he gets beaten up. Itsuwa tries to heal him but with no effect. Touma tries to be a hero and get up to beat this guy but gets beat down again. Acqua will wait and give him 1 more day to cut his right hand and give it to him.

Episode 8
Itsuwa falls into depression for her failure to save Touma. That guy is lying in hospital. Tatemiya had to scold her that by doing so, Touma’s sacrifices were in vain. Acqua will be back and she moping around will not extend the deadline. If she wants to apologize to him and prove she is not useless, then fight. Thanks to that, Itsuwa now turns into a scary yandere, sharpening her blades. Did Tatemiya say too much? Tatemiya gets a call from Orsola who has done some research on Acqua. William Orwell is his real name and was a British mercenary who fought in hellish battles. He was about to be knighted but went missing. When he reappeared, he became Britain’s enemy. I guess this is to show what they’re up against with. Someone who is both strong and smart. When the Amakusa guys surround Acqua, Itsuwa is in no mood for negotiation and attacks first. This time she is better prepared, though Acqua is still way better than her. There’s some rant about Acqua having some ability to use both humans and angelic powers but then the Amakusa guys got a trick up their sleeves as they pull off some move that breaks that balance, allowing them to defeat him. But too bad, that is just short-lived. That trick would have worked had Acqua been an ordinary saint. Yup, he isn’t an ordinary saint. Remember, he is one of God’s Right Seat. Acqua goes on the offensive and the Amakusa guys could have been done for had he not leave. So why are they lucky? Acqua instead goes to square off with Kanzaki.

Episode 9
Kanzaki is no match for Acqua. As expected. But it’s still too early to call, right? Misaki is complaining how she can’t get out when Touma pops up in front of him. Because he still feels the need to go, Misaki scolds him about never asking for help and shocks him that she knows about his memory loss. However Touma replies even if he had them, there are things he still must do. He is moved by the heart, not the head. Misaka just stood there in shock. She probably would have wanted to help him but realizes this is something he needs to fight to get back on his own 2 feet. We return to Kanzaki’s beat down. When she calls the Amakusa gang to assist her, this is because she has realized that her own arrogance and labelling others as weak has brought this upon herself. So there’s some more explanation about Acqua holding tremendous powers of a saint and because of that, he is the most susceptible to anti-saint spells compared to other saints. So when Acqua tries to attack, our hero Touma pops up to stop his tracks, the Amakusa gang hold him down while Itsuwa delivers the finishing blow of Saint Destroyer to purge his powers. Acqua’s flashback shows the moment he decided to leave Britain after turning own being knighted. Knight Leader gave him a few punches as dissatisfaction. Acqua’s plan was to protect Britain from the outside while Knight Leader from the inside so as to allow them to have the widest range of options. Touma is back in hospital and Itsuwa by his side. Because they look so close together, it made Index mad. I think leaving the hospital without her knowledge is just an excuse. And Itsuwa sides with Index… While the Pope is devastated over Acqua’s defeat, Fiamma wants to strike Britain. Forget about Academy City. There is something in Britain they must get. The Pope refuses to allow this madness and attacks him. But you know, Fiamma as the leader and most powerful of God’s Right Seat blows the Pope away. He didn’t die but he took the brunt of it, hence preventing further damage from affecting the Vatican. The news report some sort of infighting among the Roman Catholic Church but everything else is speculation.

British Royal Family Arc

Episode 10
Itsuwa looking up on long distance dating? And how to snatch a man’s heart? Well, good luck. Yeah, even Misaka is feeling really embarrassed over her recent close up with Touma. She didn’t abuse the vending machine this time but her sparks went out of control… More bad luck for Touma. Sleeping gas suddenly gets thrown into his room. Tsuchimikado calls him right in time to tell him he needs to head off to Britain with Index. Yeah, some bombing of the Eurotunnel has strained the relationship between Britain and France. During the flight, Touma goes to the toilet but sees blood stains. He is quickly apprehended by the stewardess who tells him that is the blood of her colleague. Apparently there is a French anti-Britain terrorist on board making some demands otherwise they’ll bring down the plane. Touma wants to help but is told to stay put. Meanwhile the terrorist tries to fix some connector that is near Touma’s seat. With Index returning and wondering what he is doing, he takes her hostage. Touma hears her cries and barges out to beat up that guy but he runs away. Touma is done doing nothing and will go stop the terrorist. He learns the connector is some stabilizer thingy. Without it, the plane will crash. Touma goes on the search and tries to lure out the terrorist by pressing the emergency button. But then the co-pilot sees his instruments of fuel leakage and hence they are going to force to land the plane on the highway. Apparently this is the doing of Laura. Even if this risks the lives of the passengers, as long as she can secure Index, that’s okay. The terrorist contacts the captain and threatens to kill the passengers if he doesn’t bring the plane back up to altitude. Thanks to the jamming interference, Laura’s plan fails so she sends Stiyl to do the job. Touma finds the terrorist and punches him out. He is then suspicious why he waited so long only to act. He then realizes he had a comrade hidden in the cargo during the transit from Paris. So only 1 comrade? Yeah, Touma takes him on and he is crazy enough to take the plane down if everything fails but luckily with the help of Stiyl to cause some air pressure vacuum to pin down that guy and Touma to take the grenade off his hand. The plane safely lands in Edinburgh.

Episode 11
Kanzaki brings the duo to Buckingham Palace as they meet up with Knight Leader who will bring them to meet Queen Elizard of Britain as well as her daughters-cum-princesses, Rimea, Carissa and Villian. Elizard shows a sword, Curtana Second which is only a replica of the first which supposedly gives you powers similar to Archangel Michael. They discuss about the Eurotunnel explosion and because Elizard believes its cause is magic, hence she called Index to determine if it is French type. People might see it as a quarrel with Britain and France when actually it is between Britain and Academy City, and Rome and Russia. Intelligence also showed interference during that plane hijack originating from Scotland. This means they have enemies within. They are identified as New Light, a small unit that has 4 people. Elizard assigns her subordinates each a mission. As Touma is a civilian, he cannot be forcefully participate. However this means he is going to get billed heftily for the services… Yeah, glad he volunteer himself. Touma and Oriana are driving around the streets of London when New Light already blunders because Lessar got confused of a few similar bags with the same design as hers. This allows Touma and Oriana to go after her. Meanwhile, Bayloupe is found by the Amakusa side and although she defeats Itsuwa, she is then caught in by some magic trap. Touma and Oriana continue their chase of Lessar. Touma is told that the bag they are carrying is Skithblathnir. It can teleport contents among each other. When they corner her, Lessar calls this a victory because there is a fifth member. Lessar is prepared to die and could have taken a direct snipe had not Touma saved her. Though, she is still injured. The perpetrator turns out to be Carissa. What New Light was transporting was Curtana Original and now in Carissa’s hands, she rallies all knights of Britain to begin their attack. Claiming herself as the new head of state, she vows to change Britain by destroying the current one.

Episode 12
Knights vs witches and nuns?! Weird. After Index confirms that France was behind the tunnel’s explosion, Carissa orders her side to make preparations for retaliation. Carissa mumbles about the need for Britain to stand up on its own separate power to avoid getting owned in this mix up between science and magic as well as those Christians and Catholics. Now she turns her attention to deal with her royal family. She will kill them all because the less people who can wield Curtana Original, the better. As they have already fled the palace, Carissa is now confronted with Kanzaki. She has no time to deal with her so she lets Knight Leader handle her. Well, that was a quick defeat. Carissa intercepts Villian’s carriage. As Knight Leader is about to behead her, here comes Acqua to the rescue. Man, if he was just a second late… He then lets her ride a horse directly to Necessarius’ hideout and will catch up later after he deals with Knight Leader. Acqua takes in a lot of damage but it’s time both side put an end to this epic power fight. Meanwhile Oriana will stay and handle things and lets Touma sneak away on a train to France. As he tries to hide from inspection, he stumbles into Floris of New Light. Since she is magically cuffed, his Imagine Breaker easily breaks the spell. He takes her to escape by jumping off the train. Don’t worry. There’s a river below, right? Yeah, just 1 metre deep! Oh sh*t! Elizard and Laura manage to break free from their captors. Blame Laura’s careless explosion for that. Laura’s plan to hitchhike using her sex appeal failed. Truck drivers must be very wary these days. I guess it’s riding the horse to London then.

Episode 13
It’s not science. It’s not magic. It’s crap that they survived that fall into the shallow river! Luckily Villian is here to pick them up but Touma leaves Floris in her care. Because Knight Leader is shocked and distracted at Acqua’s goal to fight for United Kingdom without siding with the church or royal family, this caused his defeat? Touma returns just at the end of the fight and sees Acqua trying to rescue Index. They both have to cooperate since Carissa is here to finish them. Some explanation about how Curtana Original can alter dimensions. Whatever. It blew Touma away. Acqua leaves Index in Touma’s care, mentioning that Carissa and the knights’ interest aligned only because of Curtana Original. If they destroy that, the coup will be over. Touma and Index are picked up by the Amakusa guys. With Carissa returning to Buckingham Palace to retune the sword due to its unstable power, they plan to use this chance to strike. With Knight Leader defeated, it is a good time to destroy Curtana. So they make plans to infiltrate via subway underneath the palace. Meanwhile Misaka is eating at a restaurant that she believes will enhance her boobs? WTF?! Then Touma calls. First time. You gonna answer it? As expected, he asks her suggestion how to open electronic locks on a subway’s shutter. You mean there are no electronic locksmiths around? Touma, Index and Villian walk through the subway. Touma accidentally activates a golem that attacks them. The trio combine their efforts to take it down. Thanks to that, they got the train running. But before the big strike, everyone has a big feast. Can’t fight without an empty stomach, eh? Do they even have time to talk about squandering excessively large boobs?! Elizard and Laura finally reach London and they picked up Rimea along the way. Elizard doesn’t think those guys can actually defeat Carissa with just their willpower and without any trump cards. Hence she is going to get some mystic artefact from the museum.

Episode 14
The big chaotic battle is here. Touma and Villian arrive first at Buckingham Palace to face Carissa. She is alone and disposed all the knights by her side. Slowly the rest come by to pitch in to fight Carissa. Everyone vs Carissa. Carissa has got the command of several destroyers to fire devastating bombs at the palace and even if they manage to destroy one, she can order another. Rimea has realized Carissa’s actions, the reason why she hasn’t killed anyone yet. She relays to everyone how Carissa is doing this for the sake of Britain. France and the Roman Catholic Church were using EU as their pawn with pressure from Russia. With their nation’s dignity violated, Carissa wielded Curtana Original to fight against all of them. At the same time, she resolved to seal this weapon for eternity along with herself in a cave she has chosen as her tomb once this is over. She hopes the knights will come to save her. Knight Leader leads his knights to face Carissa. Despite she can threaten to call more bombs, Acqua disables the telecommunication satellite. More of everyone vs Carissa. However she can still hold her ground because with the bloated heroic side, this means more of them to defend and she just have more targets to strike. Finally Elizard steps in. She uses the power of Union Jack to equally distribute power to all the people in the United Kingdom. This gives them the power to fight and be heroes for the day. How can 90 million citizens march to Buckingham Palace and fight against Carissa? Literally now a whole lot more of everybody vs Carissa. The people vs Carissa! United Kingdom vs Carissa! But they don’t have to lift a finger because it is eventually Touma’s Imagine Breaker that breaks Curtana Original and one good punch in Carissa’s face, sending her flying away! Team Rocket?! I don’t know why in the aftermath, nobody picks up Carissa as she lies weakened in some British alley. Because of that, Fiamma is here to thank her that this war he instigated paid off and he was able to get what he wanted. Before he could dispose her, Touma comes to her rescue. Fiamma won’t fight him as he doesn’t want him destroying the mystic artefact he worked so hard to get. That artefact is some safety device for Index. Man, she sounds like a broken computer? Fiamma needs to go to Russia to collect a material he needs to summon an angel. While he is away, he hopes Touma can fix Index and take care of his right hand until he returns. Index is left in the care of Stiyl and as you guessed it, Touma is going to Russia to punch the hell out of Fiamma.

DRAGON Arc

Episode 15
Tsuchimikado gathers his team with orders to eliminate a terrorist group called Spark Signal who has taken some hostages. We take a detour seeing Hamazura and Kinuhata visiting Takitsubo in hospital. She is doing well but has lost her fighting abilities. Kinuhata mentions that ITEM has been dissolved and she is waiting to be assigned to a new group. Then this WTF distraction with Kinuhata trying to tease Hamazura by almost flashing her panties since that guy is more into Takitsubo than her. WTF?! Spark Signal plans on destroying this huge particle accelerator to prevent the board from making any open moves. They are about to kill a hostage but a hero in the form of a villain (read: Accelerator) kills them all. This mission might be simply over except for that one fact bothering Accelerator: The terrorists were demanding the higher ups to release to public info on DRAGON immediately. Stephanie Gorgeouspalace is hired to replace Sunazara to take out Accelerator as well as other targets like Kinuhata. However she kills him because her enemy is everyone in Academy City. Tsuchimikado’s group is then contacted by Shiokishi of the board to dispose the remnants of Spark Signal. Of course they want to get this boring job over with but if they do as they’re told, they might lose their lead to see DRAGON. Perhaps side with the enemy this time? Kinuhata tells Hamazura that she along with the surviving remnants of ITEM, SCHOOL, BLOCK and MEMBER are now drafted into a single new team. Yeah, she’s already disobeying orders by being with him instead. That’s why she needs his help to wipe out all the terrorists before she gets dragged back into this new team. Before they can start doing that, they are being chased by a drone attack helicopter. Dress Girl contacts him and possibly the one who set up this attack. She tells him the terrorists he is after have occupied a salon in District 3.

Episode 16
Hamazura tries to hijack a helicopter to go save Takitsubo. Then he gets a call from her not to come because the terrorists are well armed. She is okay but is in hiding. With Hamazura getting really desperate, the pilot agrees to help. And he jumps onto the roof, the plastic tree breaks his fall? And he manages to shoot straight and kill several terrorists?! WTF???!!! I guess a guy in love can do the impossible. At the same time, Accelerator busts in to kill the terrorists but Sugitani ‘assists’ in killing them. Sugitani hopes they never meet again. Accelerator checks around and sees Takitsubo unconscious. Hamazura got the wrong idea that he did something to her. Accelerator shows no mercy in beating him up but spares him. From what he said, Hamazura realizes Accelerator was only helping her. While lying in his pathetic state, he gets a little reprieve with Takitsubo hugging him, commending he was the only one who came to save her. Aww… So sweet… As Tsuchimikado’s side contemplate about DRAGON (since all those who know about it are dead), Accelerator connects the dots and realizes it must be connected to Last Order. Accelerator knows and escapes an assassination attempt from Shiokishi. He is going to kill him but Tsuchimikado believes in getting Monaka on their side for political preparations. When Accelerator does so, an aide warns him not to because it will drag her back to the double underground life that she has escaped from. But when a kid whom he saved during the hostage incident wants to fight alongside him no matter how dangerous, Monaka agrees to join him to meet Shiokishi. Hamazura and Takitsubo see several simultaneous explosions in the city. They see Kinuhata trying to escape Stephanie’s assassination. Sugitani reports to Shiokishi about Monaka and Tsuchimikado’s group cooperating and will definitely come here. Shiokishi will make preparations to meet them. Inside the building, the gang is separated. Accelerator is confronted by Sugitani. He mentions once Monaka is done for, they will use Academy City’s collective power to get rid of him and then secure Last Order. Monaka talks to Shiokishi that she wants to revoke his powers. She also wants to know about DRAGON. Eventually, negotiations break down and Shiokishi wants to kill her. Too bad it is Unabara in disguise. Shiokishi plans to escape and have his guards keep Unabara at bay but is killed by them. Seems his guards are Unabara’s Aztec buddies in disguise, Tecpatl and Tochtli. They are here to kill him.

Episode 17
Tecpatl possesses the original grimoire and uses it to attack Unabara at the expense of Tochtli. But he didn’t read his grimoire well enough so Unabara is able to cast some spell that blows a hole in his guts. Sugitani thought he jammed Accelerator’s device to immobilize him but Accelerator reconfigured it and turned the tables on him. Kinuhata manages to defeat Stephanie since she is all just firepower compared to Sunazara. She then realizes the target is Hamazura and wants him to run away with Takitsubo. Kinuhata is apprehended by Dress Girl and is explained this is all part of Aleister’s plan. People like Touma and Accelerator are just outliers that could be incorporated easily to his cornerstone plan. However, Level 0 like Hamazura is hard to predict and poses a threat since he is able to take fate into his own hands when he should have died. Hence all of Academy City is now going to kill him. Accelerator interrogates Shiokishi about DRAGON. He mentions that it is all around them. Then this angel thingy pops up before him. This is DRAGON? Some mumbo jumbo explanation about his being but if he is to be specifically called, he is Aiwass. Some of his words are inaudible because our human ears can’t comprehend such beings. He offers to destroy Aleister’s plans since it is already starting to show cracks. When he mentions that Last Order will eventually break down if things continue this way, that’s the taboo word that gets Accelerator all revved up to kill him. Of course he can’t even touch this being and gets trumped. Hamazura is cornered and praying for some hero to save them. Good news: The guards are killed. Bad news: By Mugino. She wants to kill him herself! He runs but Mugino is trying to force Takitsubo to use Body Crystals to save Hamazura or he dies. Hamazura won’t let her do that. If blasting explosions at her won’t do, maybe this jet burning testing chamber will burn her to smithereens. I can’t believe she allowed him to get into the safety area to start the burning! Was she lamenting how the higher ups won’t let people like her die so they can reuse her again and again? Hamazura gets a call by Kinuhata to run some more since more guards are coming their way. So can he fly this jet?! Oh well, it’s on autopilot. Thank goodness to autopilot because Hamazura and Takitsubo can kiss and make out! Best reward for surviving this sh*t! Meanwhile Accelerator has taken Last Order and on a train to Russia as advised by Aiwass. Yeah, this guy looks traumatized. Aiwass calls Aleister about being obsessed with the kids of Academy City because they have what he lacks and will always stand up no matter how many times are defeated. Aleister’s reply is that he will use anything to achieve his goals. Including him.

World War III Arc

Episode 18
Russia declares war on Academy City. They believe they are hogging all the world resources for their science and technology that will leave the world devastated. If they do not comply with the demands to be transparent and drop all their projects within the deadline, it’s all-out war. Hamazura is travelling through the Russian wilderness and Takitsubo is sick from the effects of Body Crystals. This guy is desperate to rob a store to get some goods to save her but thankfully the store is currently being robbed! He beats up the robbers and gets the stuffs for free as gratitude. Meanwhile Carissa leads the nuns and knights to protect from the onslaught of the invading French. I know Touma is on his way to Russia but is he walking the entire way there?! But he isn’t travelling alone but with Lessar. She claims she is here to protect him from death as it would be a pain to Britain if he dies. Also, he needs a translator, right? Not sure if the mission is unimportant or Lessar’s life is so boring that she tries to outright flirt with him. WTF?! Touma and Lessar find Fiamma’s secret base. Hearing that he is looking for Sasha who is hiding in the Elizalina Alliance of Independent Nations (EAIN), they plan to find Elizalina first to ambush Fiamma. They manage to do so and though Elizalina acknowledges Fiamma as an important figure in this war, she doesn’t want her EAIN citizens hurt. Knowing that Fiamma and Touma are looking for Sasha, Touma suggests to send Sasha out of her borders and execute an operation to fight Fiamma there. Before the plan could reach further deliberation, Fiamma attacks. Imagine Breaker saved their skin a few times but can Touma defeat Fiamma if he just defends? This fight has also do away with the need to find Sasha since she drops in to fight Fiamma. Oh, Vento is also here to fight against Fiamma as she can’t tolerate his actions messing with the Roman Catholic Church any longer. After Accelerator dispatches a few attackers, he found some operation plans that could be related to Aiwass. But upon reaching the Russian military unit, it is decimated and he believes Academy City could be behind this. A few sorcerers surround him. Time for some fun.

Episode 19
Though Accelerator disposes of them easily, he notices the different laws in their magic. Could this be what Aiwass was talking about? Then flies down Misaka Worst. Another one of those Sisters whose goal is only to kill Accelerator. Vento thought she could kill Fiamma with her new powers. Sadly, she’s mistaken. He is still a lot superior. He then collects Sasha and will be back for Touma later. He claims they are both the same. Just that he has confidence he is doing this for the greater good. Touma doesn’t share the same sentiments. He doesn’t care if it is right or wrong but making Index suffer is unforgiveable. Fiamma wonders if he can say that to her face since he might look like he is protecting her to satisfy his own consciousness but is this what Index really needs? Takitsubo is being treated but with the village’s insufficient facilities, she might not hold out. The village will soon be attacked by privateers, unofficial mobs under the army. They’re trying to take this village and make this as their foothold for the Russian army since this village is near the border of EAIN. Accelerator runs from Misaka Worst and cannot fight back due to his vow never to hurt them again. Hence she has a blast beating the crap out of him. She even mocks how the Sisters never sympathized with him not because they decided so but rather they were incapable of expressing such feelings. So once the next phase is launched, those hatred will accumulated and it will be revenge time. When she decides to target Last Order, that is when Accelerator screws it all and fights back. Now it’s his turn to beat the crap out of her. His trauma activated when she pleads for help. He goes berserk thinking Sisters’ are meant to be killed by him and then make his mind broken. All those higher ups must be watching and laughing at this spectacle. Well, he is going to show them that his power can also be used to protect. Hence he is going to save her too.

Episode 20
Misaka Worst wakes up. She is mad Accelerator saved her. I don’t think it’s the right time for her to be ungrateful. Because Accelerator is going berserk trying to destroy everything. Does she want to get destroyed? Hamazura is trying to defend against the bloodthirsty privateers. Land mine came in handy to immobilize the tank but how will he fight against the helicopter? Don’t worry. Acqua is here! Touma arrives where Accelerator is. The latter is mad he is here and starts blaming him he couldn’t save Last Order and that this little kid had to go through lots of sh*t. That’s why the only way he could protect is by playing the bad guy. Touma tells him off it doesn’t matter if it is good or bad. You don’t need reason or status. Just protect the person you want and stand proud of it. Man, Touma’s words must be so resonating that he allows to be beat down like that? Yeah, he lost to Touma again. I guess Accelerator has come to terms that the guy who doesn’t think about whether good or evil is the strongest. Carissa faces off with the Maiden of Versailles and tells her about the Kremlin Report. Something about the Russian military able to take measures during an invasion and capture nuclear installations. The nuclear arsenal takes priority over human lives. Versailles accuses her of using French territory as a stepping stone to attack Russia. Once France prospers under the Roman Catholic Church, they cannot disregard their orders then. Carissa speaks the truth that this war is not the will of the Roman Catholic Church but Fiamma. They still have a chance to end this or will they become pawns of Fiamma. When Misaka sees Touma in the background of some TV news, she packs her bags to head to the warzone. Sorry Shirai, a certain guy is more important. Accelerator wakes up with Last Order by his side. A note left by Touma that only states Index’s name. Touma is doing some serious reflection if his doing has benefited Index in any way. He realizes he has been deceiving Index and is the worst but he will not tolerate submitting to Fiamma.

Episode 21
The Pope realizes the cardinals are holding a meeting to elect a new Pope. This means he has lost his authority and whatever he says will not end the war. But he is going to do what he can. Hyouka is talking to Aiwass about the situation in Russia. Though Aiwass doesn’t intend to do anything unless it interests him, Hyouka intends to head to Russia but on a condition her friends will not be hurt. Otherwise she will also make him her enemy. Acqua just finished clearing out the privateers. Those powered suits from Academy City arrive. Hamazura doesn’t want Acqua to destroy them. Instead, let them use this village as their base. Although they will temporarily lose their territory, at least it will be guarded. Accelerator doesn’t understand whatever magic is related to this document who took from the train. He is told that perhaps Elizalina could read it. However she is injured and recuperating at the battlefield. Accelerator shoots all the spies since he is going to leave Last Order here and get Elizalina. Hamazura and Takitsubo are running away from a powered suit. Thankfully Accelerator saves them. Elizalina diagnoses Last Order and Takitsubo’s situation. They have toxins in their bodies. Although Takitsubo’s can be removed and she is safe for sure, the same can’t be said for Last Order as her toxins will ‘replenish’. Accelerator shows the document to Elizalina and wonders if she can read it. Maybe. But he wants her to concentrate on healing the girls.

He goes to see Misaka Worst and wants her to work for him to collect data from the spies. Why would she work for him? Dark May Project. Misaka Worst needs to find an ability that makes her irreplaceable and not easily disposed of while Accelerator is going to find a way to save Last Order. As Academy City has crafted them to be evil, they are going to fight against them. They interrogate the spies but find lots of inconsistencies in their stories. Realizing this document is to be brought to the Russian’s frontlines, Accelerator is going to storm it. Touma is puzzled that the Russians and Academy City are fighting each other but Fiamma hasn’t come out of his base. Is he in some magic ritual? Ponder no more because Fiamma tells him himself that this is all to lure Touma out and make sure his right hand is safe. Stiyl accuses Laura of trying to mess with Index’s body to prevent Fiamma from getting all her grimoire as she has the other remote artefact that controls her. When Stiyl intends to do something about it, Laura uses her remote to activate Index. The time has come for Fiamma to finally materialize his floating island, Star of Bethlehem (SoB… ;p). This is his intention rather than preparing for a large scale mystic artefact. Misaka has hijacked a plane to Russia. Oh my, how could she see Touma right on that floating island?! Is her Touma vision really that strong? An angel cuts down the jet. Misaka lands but stumbles into one of her Sisters.

Episode 22
Fiamma has materialized the archangel Gabriel and uses her to remove all those who aren’t related to this. Takitsubo has recovered. Together with Hamazura, they decide to go back and protect that little Russian village since the Russian military might be planning to use a biological weapon on it. EAIN can’t act because the Russians will think they might be after the nuclear silo info. When Elizalina tells Accelerator about SoB and Gabriel being somewhat incomplete is because of the document in Accelerator’s hands, he believes this might be all connected in saving Last Order. Touma bumps into Sasha. She was used by Fiamma in a ritual to materialize Gabriel, hence the archangel manifested on its own rather than possessing her. Touma thinks she is connected and tries to touch all over her. Did he have a good time feeling her up? Too bad no nullification effect. Just Sasha beating him up. Touma thinks he might be using a remote to control Sasha like he did for Index. The next Pope hopeful thinks he will become the next Pope. But with the ex-Pope rallying the people, they are marching towards the Vatican and the guards can’t stop or harm them. Hence this Pope potential curses his fate what should have been him as the next Pope. But ex-Pope somewhat praises him for his actions pf uniting his followers and will vote for him in the next Papal Conclave and will aid him in his path. All he needs is to head to the library to do some research on how to bring down Fiamma. Fiamma cuts ties with his Russian conspirator seeing he already has what he wants and this dude no longer has any role to play. Carissa and Elizalina take on Gabriel. Can they really take on God’s archangel? Don’t really think they can win but what’s with Carissa’s plan to call in her surface to air missiles to fire at SoB? Gabriel returns to protect it. She turns her attention to Touma and Sasha but Hyouka kicks down Gabriel?! Hyouka > Gabriel?

Episode 23
Stiyl tries to attack Index but she eliminates him. What are the chances of she killing him for good? Hyouka and Gabriel continue to battle but the latter soon departs as she detects the document nearby. She tries to steal it from Accelerator so he too joins in the fight with Hyouka to pound this archangel. Fiamma is confronted by Acqua. I don’t understand this part but since Gabriel is under Acqua’s control, he is going to do some suicide move by absorbing telesma to remove it from the field. Fiamma dares him and believes his actions are futile but when he tries to order Misha to finish him off, she isn’t responding. Touma is randomly trying to use Imagine Breaker to break Fiamma’s power source. He deduces that Misha only appeared after SoB was in place. If Fiamma could control an archangel, he wouldn’t need to start World War III to achieve his goals. Hence SoB is needed to summon and maintain the archangel. With Gabriel weakened, Accelerator manages to beat down Gabriel. All for Last Order! Hamazura sees Acqua dying. The latter is more than happy to sacrifice his life and take Gabriel with him. However Hamazura yells at him about the people waiting and relying on him. Don’t you dare be the tragic hero now! With that, Acqua screams back to life. Wow. The power of words. While Fiamma faces off with Touma, Accelerator is dismayed after finding the jeep driven by Misaka Worst and Last Order has crashed. Is Hamazura really going to take on the entire Russian military? Don’t worry. Academy City bomber plane is here to bomb it all away.

Episode 24
Hyouka tells Accelerator that a song that Index once sung to Last Order is the key to save her. She can also do the same but he needs to find out some parameters for her to adjust to it. Takitsubo is missing from the bombing. As Hamazura searches for her, misfortune finds him in the form of Mugino. Damn, this b*tch is really hard to die. She eats some Body Crystals to power up. Her powers enough to go berserk. Thankfully it didn’t last long as she goes back down to powerless. Even in this pitiful state, Hamazura can’t kill her. Instead he hugs her and wants to save her (is this considered cheating?). I don’t know how he is going to do it but he vows to protect her (despite choosing Takitsubo) and find a way to bring ITEM back. You mean he is confident of reviving Frenda? Lessar finds Misha and strikes a deal with her to put a dent on Fiamma’s plans in exchange she helps England out in their time of need. Fiamma prepares to take Touma’s right hand. If Academy City’s super satellite laser can’t even touch him, is Touma f*cked? We hear Fiamma explaining about his goal to bring salvation to the world. He isn’t going to brainwash everybody but open their eyes with this power of his. Oh yeah. Like that will definitely work. Will it?! Fiamma cuts off Touma’s right arm and absorbs it. The power is his. However something still feels odd. Touma still has power? And then Touma’s right arm just grew back out! Damn, is this science or magic?! Fiamma is looking pretty scared as the most powerful being closest to God. From what I understand, Touma threw away all his power to get Imagine Breaker back. Touma now knows why Fiamma is doing all this. If he was all that powerful, why does he need to create this large SoB? Why does he need to gather all the churches and temples? This means that his power depends on how strong the enemy is. But still why does he need that much power? It’s because he is scared. He is scared that he cannot save the world. After all, he never saved the world before so there is no way to know if he has the power to do it. Touma can say he saved the world. Technically he saved many people so I guess that counts. He saved the world of those people. The final lecture to nail the coffin: A person who tries to be the saviour of the world cannot protect it. The world isn’t so weak to need one lousy bastard to be saved.

Episode 25
Hamazura still desperately trying to find Takitsubo. Happy to find her, however the hugging has to wait since she detects a couple of coneheads sent by Academy City to retrieve the failure that is Mugino. Does he think he can take them on with his machine gun? The power of deception as he deceives them about accidentally breaking some bottle with some virus. Enough for him to fire at point blank to a couple of them. The last one Mugino has the honour of taking out with Takitsubo’s help. Meanwhile from all that explanation that I don’t understand, Accelerator seems to have found the parameters to save Last Order and he need not be the villain anymore. Accelerator singing? Weird. He is bleeding all over, papers falling everywhere, feathers falling everywhere… Is he witnessing God right now? Touma and Fiamma’s fight continues. The former still shocked he can still block and do more than just nullify. Although Fiamma blames human for all the war, poverty, destruction of nature, etc, Touma argues that humans although may contain malice, but that is not what they only have (something that Fiamma only sees in them). Also, people don’t need a reason to fight for those they love. Touma believes he can save the world because unlike Fiamma, he believes people are strong. Strange, huge right arms appear all over the world and explode. Humans put aside their differences to take it down. The Russian side dispose of their greedy pope and rescue the real patriarch pope (a kid). Because Fiamma’s power may not originate from the Russian or Roman Catholic so their only choice is to seek the power from England’s Archbishop. Oh, Stiyl still trying to fend off against Index? He just needs to hold out long enough till Touma fixes everything… Anytime now… SoB is starting to lose its powers. Fiamma acknowledges he might be at a disadvantage now but he isn’t going to sit by and do nothing. The original plan was to gradually transform Earth. But thanks to Touma’s goodness some unnatural distortion has arisen between Heaven and Earth. Accumulated telesma will rain down on Earth, wiping everyone out. So much about doing good. Too late to do good?

Episode 26
Last Order wakes up. Look at the relieved look on Accelerator’s face. Because those lights are still going to rain down on Earth, Accelerator is not happy with this sh*t and is going to stop it. Damn! He becomes an angel complete with halo?! He was drenched in blood a second ago and now he is so clean and pure! Fiamma tries to use Index but his remote isn’t working since the English did something. Hence perfect timing for Souma to land one knuckle sandwich in his face. With SoB crumbling, Lessar leaves a note for Touma to escape. He still wants to save Fiamma? Okay. But only 1 pod left. Touma lets him use it since he has something to do. So Misaka’s trip all the way here was to be shoehorned to rescue him off via a jet she hijacked? Too bad that is wasted since Touma can’t go yet. Touma finds Index’s remote and conveniently talks to her consciousness. He admits about deceiving and doing something horrible to her. And then something inaudible about his memories. Damn those crashing loud sounds. But Index doesn’t mind. As long as the Touma she knows returns. He touches and nullifies the remote. Stiyl talks to Touma about destroying certain numbered artefacts so that SoB could crash into the sea. However Misha (Gabriel) is heading towards SoB. As she is trying to replenish, the power will grow but too forcefully that it will explode and release a massive amount of telesma. I don’t how Touma did it but he made SoB slam right into Misha! You mean she actually stood there and took the hit?! With everything sinking deep, Touma manages to get close and use Imagine Breaker on her.

Hamazura is trying to find something as a bargaining chip against Academy City. They are surrounded by Academy City people. This helmet woman spouting some crap about retrieving Takitsubo as she is top priority. Something about her rare ability to exert her influence as seen when she cooperated with Mugino to take down a conehead. Something about she can be able to provide the functions of Academy City all by herself. However all her men are shot by the villagers. That easy? It’s Hamazura’s turn to interrogate her all about this Parameter List she was talking about. Accelerator is retrieved and restrained. He tells those blokes to never use Last Order or Sisters again and never let him do their dirty work. So what if they don’t want to? Yeah, he just easily breaks out. That’s one lesson they’ll never forget. Fiamma crash lands safely but upon exiting the pod, his right hand is cut off by Alesiter. He claims he has grown too obsessed with it and almost went beyond that and discover some truths. Too late for Fiamma to be motivated by Touma words. He wants to fight back but Aleister promptly kills him. Aiwass is glad his form was transferred to a different domain than eliminated. Hyouka advises him to learn more about humans because betray them and they’ll get you back when you least expect it. Aiwass doesn’t believe it because they would have done so had they had that kind of power. Misaka is looking through the icy waters. Gasp! Not Touma she found. His handphone strap. Oh no! But don’t worry. Touma is seen floating on some board and is picked up by Leivinia Birdway and Mark Space. Russia’s Pope suspends all military action and agrees to talk with Academy City. Fiamma is apparently alive. Picked up by Ollerus and Silvia. WTF Ollerus was supposed to be a Magic God but is now just a normal sorcerer?

Screw Science! Screw Magic! Screw Religion! Screw Humanity! It’s Revelation!
So this is how it ends? Well, if you think this is the end of the Index series, then you’re both right and wrong. True, the Index series ends here. But the story somewhat continues into a new story, Shinyaku To Aru Majutsu No Index. We’ll have to see if that will get adapted in the future. Of course with so many developments and even throwing in a few new faces in the final episode, it is safe to say that something bigger than a world war is going to happen but that would be for the next spinoff. After all, the Index series itself has many spinoff novels where these other characters popped up. So those who have been reading up wouldn’t find them entirely alien.

So yeah, you might be bored and annoyed and predicting that I am going to be a broken tape recorder. Repeating myself and telling the whole wide world how I still don’t understand everything. What to do? I wasn’t born a rocket scientist nor became one along the way. I don’t know if I could say that I wasted 26 x 24 minutes of my life watching this third season because ultimately I still don’t comprehend the finer things of what this series had to offer. All I know is that some people in here wants to play God, wants to become God and in in the name of bringing salvation to humans because you know, we are such malicious creatures with no redeeming points. Oh no. That’s not at least what our heroes in this series believes. So it’s always that conflicting cliché that bad guys are the ones who want to change the world while the good guys want status quo. The reason we don’t often resonate with the baddies is because of their methods and how they go about to reach their goals. Hence it’s that dilemma of rather than wiping out humans or brainwashing them into mindless but good NPCs, it is better to accept the good, the bad, the ugly, everything that defines us and continue this sh*tty life. Because life isn’t fair. Because that’s life. Yeah. Heroes often love to argue this when saving the world from villains.

With the final arc being the longest arc ever in the entire To Aru Majutsu No Index series, however my pet peeve is that this World War III arc doesn’t really feel like a World War III arc. Personally it feels like Fiamma Versus The World arc. Because the scenes are mostly concentrated around SoB and we don’t really see the world fighting each other. Therefore it doesn’t give me the feel that the entire world was actually against each other. Sure, they may be fighting in the background and the series doesn’t want to distract us with ‘meaningless war’ elsewhere that doesn’t contribute to the plot. Therefore World War III might just be mislabelled like World War I because the latter only involved Europe and yet they named it World War. How grand. Furthermore, from what I see and remember, wasn’t it just England vs France, Vatican vs Russia and Academy City vs everybody else? I don’t know. It just feels like that to me. And in the end, World War III somewhat became World Liberation because humans finally found the strength to put aside their differences to save their world. Damn, it’s really wishful thinking that a bunch of mortals on Earth can actually defend themselves from the onslaught of God and Heaven.

I didn’t study the bible so I know nuts about all the biblical terms here. Yeah, a very Christian anime, right? Sometimes it feels all the plot and whatever shenanigans they pull off here, it’s like as though they pull it out from thin air. God have mercy on my soul. I’m sure very fanatic and dedicated Index fans can enlighten me a lot or I do my own extensive research on the internet but you know me, I’m just lazy and not interested ;p. The way they show how Christians are being at odds at each other feels like a big thing because how come no other major religions like Muslim, Buddhism or Hinduism are caught in this conflict? Oh yeah. I’m an atheist so I’m somewhat safe, right? So we have England being Anglican Christians, Roman Catholic Christians representing the Vatican, Orthodox Christianity widely practised in Russia and in Academy City, uhm, scientific Christians?! Haha, don’t worry I made that one up.

Character wise, surprisingly Touma isn’t the only star here. Heck, triple stars here. Touma along with Accelerator and surprise package Hamazura are the main heroes. I believe for the first time that there are a couple of arcs that Touma was completely absent thanks to being him having his overseas mission so often here. Hence this gives Accelerator and Hamazura to shine and time to build up their plot and character. Among the trio, I think I prefer to vouch for Hamazura because he seems so normal and yet he defies all the odds. It might look like he gets into unfortunate incidents but I feel it is the ‘opposite’ of Touma’s misfortune and that he is such a blessed guy anyway. Accelerator is as weird as he is filled with angst and it’s strange just to think that his life’s mission is to save Last Order and the only way he could do that is to play the villain. Not that I understand. Is he being an anti-hero? Does he know how to actually play the villain? Because he sounds crazy doesn’t mean he knows how to be one. But whatever. Even weirder he sprouts hurricane vortex wings when unleashing his ultimate power. Sure, he is still crazy but I find he isn’t as crazy as before in the previous seasons. Did the loli tame him? And then he became an angel. I think that was really pushing it and I lost my WTF mind. Everyone is screwed if there was this type of angel.

Lastly this Touma dude, there might be some secret about his real identity that I might not have understood. Especially about his surname which is more than just coincidence than a play on words. Oh wait. I don’t think it is revealed yet. Just teased. Otherwise, typical cliché main character. Don’t care what is right or wrong. Just do what your heart tells you! And you don’t need a reason for it! You know that won’t really fly in a lot of other situations. After all, nobody could best his right hand. At least, nobody yet. So yeah. He’s got that kind of main character vibe.

Oddly, I started thinking how similar these 3 characters are because they have got a girl they love or some b*tch girl who is after them. For example, Touma probably loves Index and he’s got this tsundere biri-biri Misaka ever so ‘concerned’ over him. Then we have Accelerator who is protecting Last Order while Misaka Worst despite working with him in the end, is ultimately still a b*tch. No prizes to guess that it is Takitsubo for Hamazura while psycho b*tch Mugino always returns from the dead to haunt him. So yeah. Do you see a particular pattern here in this sense? I forgot to add Itsuwa to the mix and even Lessar to a certain extent. I guess Touma being the top main character means he has these extra babes, huh?

With a host of other characters, it is just hard to keep track of them so I’m skipping them because when some made their recurring appearance, I had to dig back deep into my previous blog just to remember this character’s name. Heck, I was lazy so I Google for faster search results. With too many of them to remember, I believe many of their fates are still left hanging as the season ends. But remember, the series itself is technically ongoing and not over. However what I want to say that Index being the titular character here feels so side-lined that sometimes it feels that she doesn’t really matter. Like as though she has been reduced to some plot device and convenience. Because in the early arcs while Touma or the other guys were at the forefront, Index was like at home bumming around and doing nothing really significant. I’m sure Touma is keeping her safe and hidden from those who are after her grimoires but really, Index feels more like an annoying brat who complains about not having her regular feeding time when Touma fails to do that thanks to his ‘busy’ schedule. And then in the later arcs, Index becomes immobilized as she goes into some sort of coma because Fiamma has some weird remote control over her. Whatever. She didn’t get to even reunite with Touma in the end. That spiritual vision in the final episode feels forced. Got to give us some peace of mind before the season ends.

Other trivial things to note, the British royalty seems to have really weird and unusual English names. Like Elizard and Rimea are names of the old English (I guess it beats having the usual Elizabeth, Victoria or Catherine – or Jane or Sarah) but Villian? Did they misspell Vivian or something? Because I keep misspelling her name as Villain. Or at least each time I see her name it looks like that synonymous word for antagonist. Carissa might sound so English but that name is actually of Greek origin. Yeah, the irony. I think I want to get this off my chest because Aiwass calling himself so, I can’t help want to tease it as Ai-what-ass?! Ai (I) was an ass… Haha! I never thought Aleister would leave his windowless building but I guess he got bored hanging out upside down in his tube. Sometimes you need to take a walk outside and throw the trash. Sort of. The creepiest character goes to Gabriel because whenever she ‘speaks’ there is this very eerie frequency that comes with it. Our puny human ears cannot hear words of an angel. But yeah, still creepy.

If there was something that was less confusing for me to understand, perhaps some of the action sequences brought in a little reprieve of my prolonged headache. Sure, they are packed with divine power and punch but ultimately it feels a lot like sci-fi fantasy when they get to do such weird overpowered moves. Becoming angels, summoning the powers of angels because of some certain characteristics and traits, I wonder how science can explain all that. Heck, even some of the technology of Academy City feels so bizarre that it is more fantasy than sci-fi. And don’t get me started of how WTF certain action scenes look. They defy the law of physics just for the sake of action. I don’t know if science or magic is behind this but it’s just mind blowing (like Touma’s jump from the train and Hamazura’s jump from the helicopter). Physics give a pass for those who are trying to save what is important to them!

This season it isn’t Mami Kawada who sings the opening themes. They are replaced by Maon Kurosaki (who sang the ending themes for the previous seasons, by the way). The first opener is Gravitation, a dramatic rock piece with a hint of synthesizer effects. Although the second opener, Roar has the same feel to it, but it sounds a lot darker and heavier on its metal side and in comparison, I’d prefer Gravitation. Because Index was insignificant in this series, I figure that is why Yuka Iguchi sings both the ending themes. However Kakumei Zenya (first ending theme) and Owaranai Uta (second ending theme) are slow ballads and these sound unfitting for this sci-fi action series. Though, it isn’t the first time the series had slow ballads as the first season had them too. Honestly, just weird.

Overall, I couldn’t fully enjoy this season because of all the complicated sci-fi terms and plots. Too many characters to remember and many feel irrelevant as the season crosses into its final stretch. And like I’ve said, I’m only watching this first since To Aru Kagaku No Railgun is getting another season subsequently. Not that I’m pinning my hopes that spinoff will get me to understand things better but it’s the only way Misaka, Shirai, Uiharu and Saten are going to have more screen time of their own compared to this paltry cameos here. Oh wait. You mean there’s more? You mean Accelerator is getting his own f*cking spinoff?! Damn, is this science or magic behind this trickery?! Is it because that guy got elevated into an angel that he now must have his own spinoff?! In that case, why didn’t they make a spinoff for the erotic fallen angel maid Kanzaki?! That would have been the most epic storyline ever! WTF, you guys?! Did you miss this one out?! I definitely would see that one! It’s not science. It’s not magic. It’s not religion or faith. It’s just love. You don’t need a reason to love maids. Ah, the misfortune of not having that godly spinoff…

Oh dear. Not another magical girl anime again. But wait. This is not going to be all sparkly cute and magical girl girly. No siree. It is one of those dark magical girl series like Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica. So if our magical girls aren’t fighting cute monsters, what are they fighting against? Well, in Mahou Shoujo Tokushusen Asuka, magical girls no doubt have served and saved the world and rid it from monsters. But they are now fighting on another front against a more familiar monster: Men. That’s right. Magical girls being used to fight terrorism and wars! This goes to show that even with magic, you can never eliminate the great evil residing inside us humans.

Episode 1
When monsters called Disas appeared to destroy humanity in 2016, a year later, humanity formed an alliance with the Spirit Realm to fight them. This allowed girls to combine with spirits and become magical girls. In a bloody fight that took many lives of the military and magical girls, the last 5 led by Asuka Ootorii finally destroyed its king. 3 years later, Asuka is now leading a peaceful high school life but suffers from PTSD. Nozomi Makino and Sayako Hata are disgusted when a man accidentally throws his cigarette butt on them. When he refuses to apologize and gets rough, Asuka pins him down. Soon the trio become close friends and Asuka amazingly finding some sort of peace being with them. But one day, Yoshiaki Iizuka from the JGSDF pops up and wants Asuka to come back and join a small special division he is leading, M Squad that specializes in magic combat. However Asuka has put her magical girl fighting days behind her. She believes if she comes back, more around her will get killed. She remembers the time Disas kidnapped her parents and returned them. In parts. Asuka lies to her friends that Iizuka is her dad (technically he is more of her ‘adopted’ father figure) so Nozomi is relieved she isn’t whoring herself. Asuka continues to live her happy school life. Until one day a security escort escorting a dangerous terrorist, Kim Kanth, his underlings break free. To cover their escape, they create chaos by shooting at civilians! Sayako could have been one of them had not Asuka been in the vicinity. She quickly transforms and kills all of them except for Kim (just amputating his feet). Asuka narrates how the battle for magical girls never ended. There was no real peace for them. After defeating Disas, their battlefield changed to fighting international terrorism, civil wars and other conflicts.

Episode 2
Asuka returns home only to see Iizuka sitting in her room. He still isn’t giving up on her joining his team. Although Asuka’s magic distorts her perception and keeps her identity safe, he wished she didn’t make that slaughtering mess in the streets. Yeah, the cleaning up is tough. No sh*t. At school, Asuka wonders if Sayako is immune to her magic because she is acting like as though she remembers her during the chaos. As Sayako is still pretty shaken up (she was also questioned by the police), Nozomi changes the topic and mentions her dad works in the police department. Unknown to her, Akinori Makino is actually in a very secretive and special unit that doesn’t even officially exist. As his department has captured Kim, he is torturing him to extract any info they can get. Kim is officially declared to the public as dead. Some of his terrorist members think of getting revenge but a rogue magical girl, Abigail has a better idea. It is sad that Sayoko looks like she is going to be suffering from PTSD as police sirens give her the jitters. Asuka may sound harsh calling her weak but it is better than trying to pretend to be strong. Asuka gets a call from Iizuka. She thought he is bugging her again but he mentions a terrorist attack nearby using Disas magic weapon. Looks like his unit is still undergoing training and won’t be ready in time. Speaking of which, only Kurumi Mugen is available. She is Asuka’s old magical partner and currently working in the research division. She fights the Disas but fails. Thank heavens Asuka is here in time to save the day. With the help of Sacchu their familiar, Asuka analyses the weakness before cutting it down. The duo rekindle old times and Kurumi thought it was unfair for Asuka who begged her to join her to fight Disas, now only to run away, leaving her alone. Kurumi couldn’t contact Asuka since Iizuka kept all her info confidential. She hopes Asuka could keep her promise of protecting her since she isn’t strong like her. Looks like now that Kurumi knows Asuka’s whereabouts, she becomes a transfer student in her class.

Episode 3
Magical girl, Mia Cyrus barges into a drug cartel base in Mexico and kills them all. There is a tortured guy in a room who only spouts numbers and something about Babel Brigade. Some magic barrier then crushes him into a cube. It looks like Kurumi is jealous that Asuka has other friends. She doesn’t like it that Nozomi and Sayako are now their usual company. She tries to keep a civilized manner, though. Kurumi remembers she was terribly bullied and she was young. She didn’t like how weak she was and changed. That is a reason why she could still fight optimistically after that awful final battle with Disas. As for Asuka, even though she doesn’t fight anymore, she still works out in fear of becoming weak. When Iizuka brings Asuka to a maid café that serves as his unit’s secret base, he also introduces to his trainees, Shima and Kaede. Asuka reminds him for the umpteenth time that she will not join but he mentions even though the war is over, there is increase in illegal magic trade. They cannot be consider remnants of the war because somebody big is backing them that allows them to modify things. Also, illegal magical girls are increasing of lately. As the world needs a new order, Asuka is vital for that to happen. Makino finally gets some info from Kim. Something about Babel Brigade targeting magical girls to remake the world. Hence some new terrible war is about to begin. Nozomi invites her friends to swim. They are shocked that Sayako dives from the highest platform despite being scared. But somebody save her before she drowns after fainting from her success. With Sayako trying to move forward, it gives some food for thought for Asuka. Though, Kurumi finds it wrong that Asuka is not fighting as she has now things she loves. It should be the opposite. After the friends part, Nozomi on her way home is kidnapped by Abigail.

Episode 4
Asuka still has nightmares when Chevalier Francine (ex-magical girl leader) died in battle and handed the leadership to her. Makino has received word that his daughter has been kidnapped. However no ransom is made and only a note saying this is for revenge. He has his subordinates interrogate Kim about the whereabouts while he goes to see his superior, Miura for a rescue operation. However top brass refuses to send reinforcements because of possible Disas magic that will only cause casualties. They can’t ask for military help unless there is a magical battle. So the plan is to sacrifice and let Nozomi die and they can use this as an excuse to calm down hard on the terrorists. Of course there is one other option where the magical girl acts on her own… Asuka learns Nozomi’s fate from Iizuka. There is no need for second thoughts. She is going to rescue her and Kurumi is coming along. The most Iizuka can do is request the police to cordon off the area. Meanwhile Abigail is recording Nozomi being viciously tortured by her Russian subordinates, Povar and Storozh. Her aim is to use Nozomi as bait to lure in the magical girls. Because as her queen commanded, they are vital to develop a Girl of Mass Destruction! Asuka and Kurumi sneak in and disable the low level terrorists. They are shock to see Nozomi’s state once they enter the room. Abigail warns them to throw their weapons down or they’ll hurt her but Asuka will not negotiate with terrorists. In that case, Abigail cuts off Nozomi’s arm! Asuka pretends to drop her weapon, enough for Kurumi to pin Abigail down before they take Nozomi to safety. Asuka will buy Kurumi time to escape with Nozomi. However Abigail leaves the Russian twins to face Asuka while she goes after Kurumi.

Episode 5
The M Squad moves in after the area is evacuated. Makino reveals the interrogation from Kim that the terrorists have magical mercenaries as well as an illegally created magical girl backing them. After Nozomi is rescued by medics, Kurumi faces Abigail. She gets pinned down and cornered by her Disas. Asuka uses up a lot of magical power to kill off the Russian twins. Meanwhile Gobu the enemy fairy reports to the queen on the situation but is intercepted by Sacchu. Kurumi is about to lose when M Squad moves in. Their specially created bullets take down the Disas and although no match for Abigail’s barrier, their intention is to hold her here until Asuka arrives. And when she does, she’s going to get a taste of her own medicine of what cutting limbs feel like. But before that could happen, the queen protects Abigail with her magic barrier before retreating. Asuka has a feeling she has seen her somewhere before. Later Asuka and Kurumi visit Nozomi in coma. Makino is sad that she could be suffering PTSD for the rest of her life. The moment she wakes up, she starts screaming in fear. She hates magical girls so much until she passes out. Asuka feels sad but Kurumi says there is hope. She can remove her memories for the past week with no side effects but she must do the operation now before it sticks into nervous system permanently. Is there any reason to hesitate? With some medical sci-fi mumbo jumbo, Kurumi successfully removes those memories. As Asuka laments she cannot protect anybody, Kurumi disagrees because if not for her, a lot would have died. Kurumi looks up to Asuka and wants to be like her. With the recent events, Asuka decides to join M Squad. When Iizuka reports to his higher up to move Nozomi and give her a new identity as the enemies know her, instead they have another idea to make Nozomi stay put. She will be bait for a trap. After all, 2 magical girls go to her school, right? Nozomi is as chirpy as before but has no memories of the week before, including their pool visit. A small price to pay, right?

Episode 6
Mia and her team talk about Asuka and Kurumi returning to active duty. Maybe she’ll get a chance to see them. Because the next mission conveniently brings them to Japan. Asuka and friends are studying together when Nozomi suggests visiting the Tanabata festival tonight. Kurumi sounds like a desperate girl trying to make special memories with her. I mean, really desperate. Especially when she gets that jealous feeling seeing Asuka getting friendly with Sayoko. The more the merrier as M Squad too is here to celebrate with them. Don’t worry. No shock Disas attack. Asuka meets a foreigner there who claims she is looking for a child she was separated a long time ago. But Asuka’s friends meet up and the foreigner just vanished? Leonid Greenburg was that guy who died as a cube in Mexico. This mathematician has a brother Jerome living in Japan and he is a retired well off IT owner. However a few months ago he has also gone silent and they’re here to check it out since not even the Japanese authorities knows what is happening. As they barge into his penthouse, they see his body crushed like his brother in a cube. Mia finds it strange because it’s like as though they want them to find the body. There’s also strange writings on the mirror, “He who laughs last, laughs best”. The place is then filled with drug mist. They are attacked by the foreigner who is a magical mercenary, Sandino. She gets her powers from the drug. She claims she is doing this out of revenge for the US bombing raid on Disas that killed her family in Columbia. Revenge via terrorism? But why target magical girls? Her daughter died and humans were the ones who killed her in that war. Well placed bombs caught Sandino off guard. Mia will not fall for her deathbed redemption and kills her since she is too wounded for interrogation. They’re all just terrorists after all. Like the ones who killed her parents. As Mia’s teammates theorizes Babel Brigade hiring Sandino, Mia dismisses it because the motto is only known to the magical girls. Meanwhile Asuka prays and hopes she can continue a happy life by protecting and supporting the dreams of others.

Episode 7
Flashback 3 years ago shows Asuka in despair just before the final battle. After Francine passed the baton to her, more magical girls died and she started to feel she can’t do this. Until Tamara Volkov tells her to continue fighting and at least hold out for an hour more. Then they’ll think of something else. M Squad holds a welcoming party for Asuka. They don’t have budget so all the food are military rations! Expired! But still tastes good… Asuka is formally introduced to other M Squad members, Yoshino and Ise. Meanwhile Tamara receives a mission by her boss for an undercover mission in Japan. She must not fail for the sake of her older sister. Iizuka briefs his squad about Topology Bridge. Portals that link to other worlds. However only 2 of them are stable and they’re in Copenhagen and the other in Okinawa (Japan, of course). There are other Random Bridges popping up randomly elsewhere but they are unstable. One was reported to have appeared in Hokkaido and intelligence revealed an illegal trade is about to take place by a Russian mafia. After all, 10 police at the scene were already murdered by a magical girl mercenary on their side. As they arrive, the mafia already finished their deal with some Disas trading a few Japanese hostages for lots of magical items. What a bargain. M Squad begin their operation by taking out the mafia. I suppose with everyone dead, Nazani only acts to fight back and escape. When Shima is injured, Asuka freezes and her trauma of a comrade is going to die flashes through her mind. Kurumi holds out from her onslaught long enough for Asuka to regain herself back before cutting Nazani’s arm and making her squirm and cry like a baby. M Squad leaves after the mission. How convenient that a Random Bridge never appears in the same place again. You mean not even a metre away from it? The mafia leader is the only one who managed to escape thanks to swallowing a Disas pill that allows quick teleportation but at the risk of liquefying his organs. But he is cornered by Tamara and in his desperation, stabs himself a Disas weapon to turn into a monster. However Tamara burns him with her flame thrower. She asks about the items in the bag but he could only mention about some new world order and Babel Brigade before the item explodes, killing him.

Episode 8
Chisato’s father tries to turn her into a whore and make money but the establishment doesn’t want to risk dealing with minors. Plus, she is an amputee. Hence the drunk father takes it all out on his ‘useless’ daughter and possibly going to kill her until Giess barges in and kills this bastard. Giess asks if she wants to be a magical girl. While Asuka and friends are having a nice field trip at Okinawa, Kurumi is torturing Nazani. Is this mild BDSM? Nazani pleads she knows nothing about Babel Brigade but Kurumi isn’t going to make it easy for her by enhancing her senses. Kurumi remembers how her classmates played a cruel prank on her and even made it look like she is dead. Even the teacher pretended not to see. She was so enraged she wanted to kill them until Asuka told her not to waste her time with these fools and join her to be a magical girl. Iizuka briefs his M Squad that a secret conference between the worlds will soon take place at this Topology Bridge at Okinawa. A major figure from the Spirit Realm will attend and they will do all it takes to protect this conference. American and Japanese forces will cooperate to provide security. With Iizuka representing the Japanese side, Captain Larry Ironside and Mia are from the American side. Tamara is here as a UN observer. They have lots to do since they receive word that a terrorist group that uses magic items will be up to something. Hence, hate to break your nice field trip, Asuka and Kurumi. It’s mission time. Giess relates his sad story as a child soldier in Somalia. Left for dead, his rescuers gave him this new robotic body as a new lease of life. Now he presents Chisato with a new mechanical leg. Literally she kicks ass with it as she fights a Disas as test. Chisato feels comfortable enough to explain her past. She had a nice mother but was killed in a car accident. However the culprits were drunk minors and the most they get is juvenile detention. They’ll be out in a couple of years. Giess then shows her those delinquents she kidnapped from the facility. If she is to be a magical girl, she must kill them slowly via her own hands without transforming. Giess further narrates his past that as a farmer, his village was attacked by guerrillas. He pleaded for his life but they only let him live if he killed his parents and raped his sister. He did that and joined them. When he was left for dead in an operation, his rescuer gave him a new breath of life and the first think he did was to slaughter the guerrillas. Without hesitation, Chisato takes her time to kill them. It must have been worth it since she killed them until she is exhausted. As Chisato has passed the test, their plan to attack the conference will proceed as planned.

Episode 9
Asuka is in tears when she reunites with Mia and Tamara. It’s been a while. The next day while final preparations are being made for the conference, Iizuka takes the magical girls somewhere first. It seems this is a personal request from General Tabira who is representing the Spirit Realm for this conference. The magical girls aren’t fond of her because they know she is obsessed with them. Like how she almost ‘killed’ Asuka with her boobs smothering hug. She gives them a present, a newly developed item that will enhance their magical powers. They wouldn’t have been so suspicious had she not trolled them at first with skimpy swimsuits! Giess and Chisato begin their magical artillery attack on the base. With the damage and casualties rising, report comes in that they are only targeting the Japanese army. They’re not even touching any of the US bases. Because technically this means the Americans can’t mobilize their marines. Damn stupid loopholes… Of course with the Japanese Minister of Defence authorizing the use of magical girls, it looks like they have their hands full as Disas are reported attacking civilians in a nearby town too. They know too well this is a distraction and Asuka is worried about her friends there. She offers to go there but Iizuka rejects her as she specializes in close quarter combat and will be their last defence at this base. Instead, Mia offers to go there. Tabira wants to fight too but is also rejected and ordered to return to her world. If anything happens to her, it is a loss for both worlds. However they realize the Topology Bridge has been forcefully sealed off from some dimensional explosion (magic bomb?). It will take 48 hours to be restored. They realize their target isn’t the conference but Tabira. You mean they didn’t think about this possibility?

Episode 10
Large civilian casualties in town. Damn goblin type Disas raping women???!!! Does this look familiar???!!! Amazingly Nozomi and Sayoko manage to stay alive and escape. Even when Nozomi injures her feet, Sayoko won’t abandon her. Although on the military base’s side, they look like they are able to handle the first wave of Disas. However it is the enemy’s plan to give them false hope and send them straight to despair. Because the next wave of Disas is larger and they can all use magical guns!!! Sh*t hits the fan!!! Hence Mia is caught off-guard and wounded in the crossfire. It could have been a lot worse for her had not Nozomi and Sayoko scream and warn her from the back. As they trek on, the girls wonder how Mia can continue to do this despite in pain. Mia explains she isn’t chosen because she was the strongest. It is because she was chosen that she became strong. Everyone is born for a role. Some are lucky and others not so lucky to find it. Asuka is starting to get traumatized by the piling deaths. It could be a repeat of the disaster again. Before she can think that the existence of magical girls make no difference, Kurumi hugs her. Please don’t disrespect the dead. She can forever as long as she is by her side. They get ready as Giess and Chisato burst in. Giess uses some sorcerer type Disas to keep Asuka at bay since old data showed she is weak against this type. Kurumi is kept busy with Chisato. Giess then heads deep into the shelter and kills all of Tabira’s guards that stand in her way to confront her. He wants her to hand over her newly developed item. I don’t know what took Sacchu so long as it finally blasts those sorcerers with some magical fire grenade, allowing Asuka to be freed from those magical wires. When they rush to Tabira’s side, Asuka is seething with anger seeing Tabira down.

Episode 11
Giess’ penguin familiar takes the item and flees, leaving Giess to fight Asuka. Kurumi gets owned by Chisato. However she hears the taboo word of punching bag and this brings back traumatic memories of her bullied past. This makes her go into rage mode until she manages to overcome Chisato and knock her out with her needles. Asuka cannot penetrate through Giess’ heavy armour and in order to free herself from the rubble, she cuts off her left arm! She has Sacchu analyse some special magic tank inside Giess so that she can destroy it. Giess is happy to meet Asuka. He was happy when he watched on TV how magical girls fight and won against Disas. However all that come crashing down because the true monsters are humans. That is why he thought it is better that the world is destroyed. Asuka may agree to some of it but there are still beautiful things in this world she wants to protect. Although she manages to rip off his magical tank, her weapon is embedded inside him and is armless. Literally only 1 arm. Luckily Iizuka drops her a new weapon that allows her to cut Giess like a butter through hot knife and ripping out his true spinal form. He reveals their goal wasn’t Tabira but the item. Meanwhile, Mia and the girls are saved with Tamara backing them up. I guess her site is secured to go rescue them. As Kurumi repairs Asuka’s arms, Giess apologizes to Chisato that her mom’s death was their doing. Because Killgee sensed her powerful magical ability, they wanted to test her under severe stress. At least she got to be a magical girl. When it’s over, forget about them and a new world will open for her. Giess dies and Chisato goes crazy from sadness. She is restrained and taken away. Asuka immediately gives Mia and Tamara a big hug after seeing they are alright. Tabira is now in a form of a cute animal to reserve her power. The magical girls part ways and hope to see each other again. I guess the battlefield is the most likely of places.

Episode 12
Looks like our magical girls too have to complete their paper work. Mentally draining in addition to physically draining. Mia reports to her comrade and in return is told that Greenburg dude, he was forced to calculate something by Babel Brigade. Because magic is like physics in the other world, it might be to calculate summoning of magic for terror attacks. Tamara returns home and sees her sister. But it could all be an illusion since her actual form is a Disas? Now we see a hot chick killing the Chinese mafia in Shanghai. She turns out to be Lau Peipei, the last of the legendary 5 magical girls. She is now working as a freelance mercenary. Since when did she transformed from a plain Chinese girl into a hot sexy ganguro gal?! Iizuka sees Miura and suggests their units team up unofficially. Chisato is being tortured by Kurumi. Is this her style to strip them to their undies and do inject some serum that enhances their pain? She even introduces Nazani has her pet dog! Kurumi talks about the 30 official magical girls designated as weapons by the UN but with so many rogue magical girls, there could be over 300 of them. Nazani tries to assure that turning a new leaf in life and doing good is best but Chisato feels life is no different. And with all the fake hope, she wants to die. Only, Kurumi won’t allow that. Magical girls don’t die easily. Despite giving her some hope that she will find something to live for, Chisato is given a choker. Although she is set free, if she runs away far enough, it will paralyze her and alert the authorities. So much about freedom. When Nozomi receives an invitation to the maid café, it sees Nazani and Chisato are new maids working there. Didn’t Asuka warn them about the food here being horrible? But it’s dirt cheap! Elsewhere, they get our attention with this short suggestive sex clip of Abigail and her queen. Then it’s back to business. It seems they have everything ready for the next war. All they need is a vessel. The queen points out a war needs enemies. And they need the magical girls to get a little stronger. Asuka is once again having this forlorn thinking about their current peaceful life that won’t last as well as reminiscing her dead comrades. Leave it to Kurumi to assure her (again) she’ll always be by her side. Oh look, Iizuka calling. Time to move. Flashback shows the magical girls gather before their big Disas boss fight and they talk on what they want to do after it all ends. Some wanting to join the army and for Kurumi, she wants to fall in love. Asuka? She wasn’t sure as she only knows how to fight. Francine told her to try different things because people can change. Big wefie for posterity!

Call Of Duty: Magical Warfare
This needs another season. With the rise of Babel Brigade, it looks like this season feels like just introducing them and since they have already begun to move forward their plans, it is not yet over by a long shot. Especially the queen whom is hinted to be someone Asuka knows. God, let it not be her twin sister! Or perhaps one of those dead magical girls. With so much potential (and terrorism) waiting to explode from Babel Brigade, the next world war is about to get heated up. After all, Asuka herself did narrate that it is a never ending battle for magical girls. International crime, terrorism, civil war… All manmade conflicts with the poor magical girls being viewed, treated and used as weapons. No wonder you can’t blame some for wanting to rid mankind, the source of all the problems.

This season’s storyline is just suffice. Mainly about Asuka re-evaluating the path in life she should walk. After all, what was the name of this series again? It is sad that young girls were made to fight against horrifying creatures and some losing their life so it is understandable that Asuka was and still is suffering from PTSD. It is reasonable she wants to lead a quiet life away from all that terrorism nonsense. Until fate decides to call her back and play a cruel joke on her friends. That was the clincher for her to readjust her goal in life. Because if she isn’t going to fight, who else is going to fight in her place? Who is going to fight for her? Is she going to let other young girls become magical girls and develop PTSD along the way? So by accepting her fate to continue fighting for the ones she loves, it’s like making peace with herself and being able to move forward.

The other characters provide great support for Asuka. Like Kurumi who is Asuka’s greatest aide in battle but outside the battlefield, she’s like one of those very overly possessive friends. The kind of girl who thinks nobody can own Asuka except her since she could monopolize her if ever the opportunity of some yuri hentai materializes. Is Asuka some sort of commodity? I know friends can be bought (figuratively speaking) but I don’t think it works here in her case. I’m sure she would have taken care of Nozomi and Sayako had she not considered that it will make Asuka sad if they’re gone. So basically Asuka’s wellbeing is her primary goal in life. Nozomi and Sayoko must be the most fortunate and unfortunate friends ever. They have been into many situations where their life could have just ended. From Kim’s random terrorist attack to the Disas attack on their field trip, damn these girls are really unluckily lucky to have survived this long. Just make sure Asuka is your friend.

I thought the legendary 5 magical girls would get back together again and fight terrorism as a unit since they teased it a lot in the opening and ending credits animation. I suppose the mini reunion wasn’t that bad. Still, they really leave it late for the final magical girl to pop up. I was even thinking if she was going to show up at all and perhaps started making up about a conspiracy theory that she was secretly dead all the while. Yeah, Peipei having a total makeover might fuel this conspiracy theory. I’m not sure if it’s the Spirit Realm’s taste that they could only give young girls magical powers, hence their aptly named magical girls. Because you don’t see young boys or men doing all that magic thingy, no? Yeah, so awkward to see men in revealing outfits in battle. Big nope! Better leave it to magical girls. Visually appeasing and assuring (after decades of magical girl genres too). Men only get drafted into the military and die like ants! For some reason, the magical girls here are so UN diversified. It’s like they’ve got a magical girl from a major nationality. Japan has 2 of course because you know, Japan. America, Russia and China make up the balance of the superpowers and France was killed off. Was there a British or German magical girl? Spanish or Italian perhaps?

The series tries to tackle some dark issues like PTSD but it isn’t really that deep. We can see that all of the magical girls suffer from some sort of distress or a past issue that is bugging them. It is both a strength and weakness and made them where they are today. Asuka wants peace. Kurumi as a bullied victim fears being alone or abandoned. Mia has grudge issues to avenge her parents while Tamara is hinted to have some concerns regarding her sister. Mia and Tamara seem to be holding it well but we aren’t sure if they are suppressing their emotions and in time will blow up. Let’s hope they don’t turn into rogue magical girls no matter what. The world already has enough social problems and it doesn’t help if they cross over and become part of the problem.

Sacchu is so weird. Supposedly the series’ mascot but its presence feels so lacking. I suppose with other strange furry fairies (albeit playing lesser roles), it’s hard for this one to stand out. Furthermore, I think Sacchu is like the comic relief at times especially when they go into action mode. Because you can see how this critter makes a crazy I-wanna-go-kill-me-some-Disas face and sounds the part. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be serious but it comes off more as funny and cute if you ask me. And wait, Sacchu is actually a mouse?! I thought it was some black cat???!!! Or a funny bunny.

The action sequences are entertaining to watch. They might not be the best with jaw dropping choreography, but with the fast and furious action pace, at least it provides some adrenaline rush. Because Asuka and the magical girls aren’t just formidable, rogue magical girls and other sorcerers are just as deadly so it is a battle of not only skill but wits, reflexes and sometimes even luck for a fight to turn in your favour. Some fight scenes are pretty gory and gruesome. Lots of blood, casualties and even some losing their limbs. Not for the faint hearted. Many characters have some sort of amputation or experienced one. Iizuka, Nozomi, Giess, Nazani, Chisato, Kim and even Asuka herself. But don’t worry. With Kurumi’s magical medical advances, we can use that sci-fi crap to attach it back like as though it never came off. Limited time period offer only so hurry! ;p.

While the art and animation are pretty standard and nothing that mind blowing, I just want to personally note the strangest visual aspect of this series: The characters’ eyes. Do you not agree with me that they look a bit strange? How should I put it? They’re slightly bigger than your already big sparkly anime eyes. If you have seen Koi To Uso, you would understand what I mean. Not to say those bigger than usual eyes makes them creepy but it sure makes them look a bit strange, especially Asuka. The designs of the magical girl outfits, I don’t know, it made some of them looking like cosplay sluts. Like Chisato who is just practically looking like as though she is just wearing ribbons all over. Then there was one of those dead magical girls looking like an Amazon woman due to her very revealing-like Amazon outfit. And was one of them looking like a gypsy woman too? And Mia’s outfit, is she like going to the beach or something? You’d think magical girls fighting against magical creatures would wear very protective suit like how the M Squad does from head to toe but I am guessing that the magic comes from the outfit. Otherwise why the logic of wearing such exposing costumes into battle? Oh yeah. Must be Tabira’s twisted taste in magical girls.

The Disas’ designs are primarily nightmare fuel. They might look like cute oversized stuffed dolls but I assure you when you are up close with them and moments before your horrifying death, they’re the kind that would give you sleepless nights. Even more so when we consider stuffed dolls to be cute, adorable and all, contributing to our dilemma that these creatures are out there to wreak havoc and take our lives. Yeah, no wonder we’re so confused. Too late to realize once they bare their fangs right in our faces. There are some Disas that have cute animal faces but a body of a macho man! This somewhat reminds me of those antagonistic squirrel henchmen in Mahou Shoujo Ore. Only, these ones are much deadlier and you can’t bludgeon them to a bloody death with a magical wand. This anime is done by Lidenfilms who did Koi To Uso, Kishuku Gakkou No Juliet, Hanebado and Killing Bites.

Voice acting is decent. But beware some screaming moments that could be slightly ear piercing, if not heart breaking (like Nozomi’s traumatic moment). The only seiyuus I recognized are Sayaka Ohara as Tabira, Ayana Taketatsu as Chisato and Shizuka Itou as Sandino. Due to limited dialogue and screen time, I wasn’t aware Youko Hikasa was behind Peipei’s voice. Had Sacchu been voiced by Ikue Ohtani, it would have fuelled my speculation that this character was indeed taken after a certain electric yellow mouse. At points I thought it was so but too bad it is Kokoro Kikuchi (Akito/Agito in Air Gear) behind that black fairy mouse. The other casts include Aya Suzaki as Asuka (Mako in Kill La Kill), Akira Sekine as Kurumi (Princess in Princess Principal), Eriko Matsui as Mia (Amou in Busou Shoujo Machiavellism), Mao Ichimichi as Tamara (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Kenji Nomura as Iizuka (Shishigou in Fate/Apocrypha), Rie Takahashi as Makino (Emilia in Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu), Chinami Hashimoto as Sayoko (Chiyo in Prison School), Ayahi Takagaki as Abigail (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear), Yuka Terasaki as Giess (Basil in Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn) and Shizuka Ishigami as Nazani (Renge in Kyoukai No Rinne).

The opening theme is Kodo by Nonoc. It is hard rock music infused with some techno music. I guess it fits the fast and furious action pace of the series. Basically there are many BGMs across the series that is very techno-laden. Very much suitable for the action scenes. So techno that I think it can also serve as dubstep. Turn on those volumes and let it blast aloud! If you’re high on drugs maybe you’ll go into some trance. Heh. Just joking. But just saying. The ending theme is Rebel Flag by Garnidelia, just normal hard rock music.

Overall, not really one of the best animes this season but I still particularly enjoyed it because of the action sequences and the intriguing dark nature and theme of the magical girls. Though, it could have been better if it the storyline was improved. It is a refreshing and unusual notion to use magical girls as the main trump card by the military to combat terrorism. It is one of those magical girls themed series that doesn’t clearly make our heroes victorious in the end. Heck, even Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica had a good happy ending. Uhm, sort of. Even Mahou Shoujo Ikusei Keikaku had a good happy ending. Okay, sort of. And even Mahou Shoujo Site had some sort of hope in its ‘good happy ending’. Well, kinda. But for our special operative magical girls here, it is still a long road ahead and even triumph is not guaranteed. With so much blood on their hands, it is either they live with the trauma from all the bloodshed or the ‘highest honour’ they could get is to die in the battlefield. Just sad…

Date A Live III

July 6, 2019

Wait. What?! Right now?! It has been a long time since so I never thought Date A Live III would actually materialize. It has been 5 years since the second season graced the TV screens and 4 years since that Mayuri Judgment movie came out. You bet that I would have certainly forgotten a lot from the first 2 seasons and even more so I didn’t see the movie so I might have missed out something. Maybe. I guess when they bring back a seemingly popular series after being in absentia for very long, I suppose there must be something great or epic happening, right? I hope so.

Episode 1
We start off so as to remind us the harem Shido has accumulated. Yup, they made him some horrible looking stew. Eat up, Shido. Fortunately, they didn’t turn this into a cliché because despite its looks, it actually tastes good! Even Origami is here on a short notice to contribute. But this will have to continue later as it is mission time. A Spirit is detected at an abandoned park where a spacequake occurred 30 years ago. Shido goes down to the ground to find this Spirit, the witch-like Natsumi who seems to be quite interested in him (which girl wouldn’t?). So a series of choice pops up and oddly the Ratatoskr didn’t choose the ‘fondle your boobs’ option and chose the ‘I am lost’ route. Natsumi asks if she is pretty and of course he says yes. Natsumi is very happy but the AST is here. Natsumi uses her magic to turn them into… Harmless cute animal pyjamas? However she used too much magic and this causes some disturbance. In that short period, Natsumi reverts to her true form and she becomes angry that Shido saw her. She thinks he is playing dumb and vows to turn his life upside down. When Shido attends school, all the girls accuse him of being a pervert! Even his teacher Tamae and that gay friend, Tonomachi! Of course his twisted harem like Touka and Origami would’ve preferred him to give heads up before lashing out his carnal desires. It doesn’t take long for Shido to realize there is a doppelganger going around doing bad deeds to sully his name. Confronting his clone at the rooftop, of course she is Natsumi in perfect disguise. She wants Shido to leave this town forever and she’ll take his place. Because everyone will get confused if there are 2 of them around. Touka and Origami enter. Oh no. The game of who is the real Shido begins. However the duo can sniff out the fake. Touka can smell the difference while Origami has memorized Shido’s habitual patterns (like blinking) right to the dot! Sore loser Natsumi will not accept this defeat. But she’ll be back. A few days later, no movements were detected from her. But Kotori gives him a letter from Natsumi. She wants to play a game. There are photos of 12 people (his harem, including Tonomachi!). Natsumi is impersonating one of them and failure to guess which one will result in one randomly disappearing until there are none.

Episode 2
Westcott is in a meeting in London. The board accuses him about turning Japan into a warzone. They pass a resolution to dismiss him but all those in support have their hands chopped off!!! Shido, Kotori and Reine discuss about Natsumi’s challenge. Shido maintains that Natsumi isn’t the kind who will disappear someone forever. He remains positive if he guesses right, all will return. So the only way to tell who she is impersonating is to date them all. The first is Touka and the moment Shido accuses her as Natsumi, she becomes mad. Who the f*ck is this Natsumi girl???!!! Oh dear. Just stepped on a live wire. He manages to bluff her it is some lovely greeting. But something is still wrong with Touka. There is an all you can eat buffet and she’s not excited? She’s even holding back on her portions. When he learns a TV programme said guys don’t like girls who eat too much, Shido corrects her that he prefers girls who can happily eat lots of food. With that, Touka returns to being a glutton. I guess she’s not Natsumi. Next date is Yoshino and she’s quite happy to eat pancakes with him. Definitely Yoshino alright. I guess we skip his date with Tonomachi since Shido himself doesn’t even want to consider that as one. Night fall and his final date for today is Yuzuru. She asks the question if he prefers her or Kaguya more. Since he cannot decide, Yuzuru replies she would have been happy had he picked either. But his chicken answer disappointed her. She also hopes if Kaguya asks the same question, she wants him to choose her. She might also ask the same things she did. Kaguya might not look like it but she likes Shido as much as she does. It feels like some sort of death flag when Yuzuru hopes he will take care of Kaguya and then runs away. Next morning, Shido answers the door only to find a frantic Kaguya. Yuzuru has been missing since last night. As all the 12 candidates have a video watching over them 24/7 (creepy), they see footage on Yuzuru. At midnight, Natsumi’s broom absorbs her. Shido maintains his trust in Natsumi but will end this game soon.

Episode 3
Shido is now dating Kotori. He knows she is the real deal when he snatches away her ribbons and she turns into a tantrum throwing kid. We see snippets of Shido dating other girls (Tamae even going so far as to seek him to register their marriage!) and the highlight of those dates is with Kaguya. After lying on his lap, she starts crying since she is worried for Yuzuru. She begs for him to save her. I don’t know why previously Natsumi never gave him a chance to guess and just absorbed a few people. Now she is giving him that chance? Shido thinks hard and thinks it is Yoshino. Wrong answer. For the next few days, a few more people have gone missing. Until after Touka goes missing did it really start to hit Shido hard. The only ones left who haven’t been taken by Natsumi are Kotori, Origami, Kaguya and Miku. Shouldn’t they have done this in the first place after Yuzuru went missing? Gather everyone, tell them the truth and find a solution. Instead of waiting for this desperate hour. As they discuss, Origami finds this game weird. With the pool growing smaller, it makes their chances of answering correct increase. Why would Natsumi put herself in such a disadvantage? Time is up and Natsumi is generous to give Shido 3 tries. He picks Yuzuru since she was the first to go. Wrong answer. Origami ‘dies’. Can Kotori answer on his behalf? Because she chooses Tonomachi! Dead wrong. Kaguya gets it. Miku is so scared and leaves her hairpin with him if worst case scenario happens. She hopes he will remember her with this piece. But this hint suddenly has Shido realizing the true answer. He knows that despite Natsumi says she is impersonating someone in the 12 pictures, it doesn’t necessarily one of the 12 people. It must be someone that she is confident he will not ever pick. And that person is Yoshinon. Because this rabbit is just Yoshino’s hand puppet, he now remembers it was acting on its own (it should not be able to see what Yoshino can’t). Natsumi is devastated with his correct answer and all the missing people are spit back out. Since this disrupted her power. Now everyone sees her true form. She’s a loli? Being the sore loser she is, she will not let all of them get away. She turns all the girls into young children.

Episode 4
I guess Shido has got it tough now that he has to babysit little girls! Heck, they even follow him to school and claim they are his daughters! Of course Shido gives an excuse that they are his relative’s but I don’t think they want to believe him. But Natsumi is up to her mischief again. Randomly changing the outfit of the girls and even turning their house into some funfair. This though, enables Reine to pinpoint Natsumi’s whereabouts. Westcott gives Ellen the green light to go Spirit hunting. Her first target is Natsumi. So when Ellen and her AST girls corner her, Natsumi just turns them into lolis. However this doesn’t startle Ellen a bit as she slashes her. Natsumi becomes afraid in seeing her own blood and pleads for her life. Ellen is about to deal the finishing blow but Shido and his mini harem are here to save her. With Miku’s help, they mind control the other AST girls to hold Ellen down to buy time for their escape. Meanwhile Origami receives a call that she will be punished. Thanks for the heads up because this gives her time to escape from the agents. With Natsumi in custody, Shido goes to talk to her. She is conflicted that he came to her aid despite all the bad things she has done to him. It seems she has low self-confidence over her true loli form. She thinks nobody listens to her in this form and Shido the same because he called her pretty in that busty mode. Had she appeared before him in this loli form first, she believes he would have ignored her too. She thinks he is lying when he says even her loli form has some charming points. She won’t be fooled by this. But soon, Shido and his harem give Natsumi a special makeover. They will transform her the best they can. If they succeed, they win. Natsumi becomes the cutest loli under their care. However she is now very conflicted because it is her loss if she is cute! Too much to handle for today. Meanwhile Ellen contacts Origami and wants her to work for her under DEM Industries. She refuses, citing she will not join any organization that harms Shido. But when she offers info that would allow her to avenge her parents’ death, she has no choice but to accept.

Episode 5
Natsumi has stabilized but still thinks everybody is lying. Kotori talks to the girls and tries to get them to think the same like her. That is, badmouthing Natsumi as an ugly brat. However none of them think so and believe it is Kotori who is something wrong. Even Shido is thinking they shouldn’t confine Natsumi and should let her eat with them. This makes Kotori mad and runs away. Of course that was Natsumi in disguise as the real Kotori calls since well, Natsumi has somehow escaped her room. Shido looks around and returns home only to see Ellen waiting. She wants him to hand over Natsumi or else he will ruin his home and family. Nice timing for a call to evacuate. It seems those vengeful board is trying to drop a satellite on this town to get their revenge on Westcott. Everyone is evacuated but Shido continues to look for Natsumi. Fraxinus tries to blow it out of the sky but there is some barrier. Hence, Kotori transforms into Efreet to blast it out of the sky. It works. Oh, there is a second satellite dropping! She is out of power and wants Shido to evacuate but you know, stubborn guy is willing to put his life at risk just for a witch girl. He even uses Sandalphon but no effect and he too is out of strength. Kotori has to beg the other Spirit girls to save her brother. Meanwhile Ellen returns to Westcott and is stumped he still hasn’t evacuated. He is confident the plan will fail. But just in case, he wants to use and put her to the test. The Spirits combine their powers to push the satellite away since exploding it too close to town will be dangerous. However, bogeys are here to stall the Spirits. With their hands tight, who else is going to save them? Natsumi! She easily turns the satellite into some harmless cartoon. Natsumi tries to act tough but Shido is only glad that she is unhurt. I guess this is it for Natsumi. She admits all her wrongdoings and starts crying. Shido hopes she could be his friend and she cries harder! WTF?! The Spirits too can’t leave Natsumi alone and want to be Shido’s friend. Why the heck did they ‘downgrade’ themselves? Do they want to be his lover? Natsumi learns the sealing process. Though embarrassed, she gets it over quickly by kissing him. Can’t rest yet as a bomb is now literally being dropped! Who saves them this time? Origami!

Episode 6
Perhaps Shido should have seen this coming. Sexy Natsumi trying to seduce him in bed. Foreplay folly only stopped thanks to Kotori. Then it descends into some petty argument of sexiness and boobs. On to a serious note, Shido is in shock when he hears Tamae announcing that Origami has suddenly transferred out to a school in England. Shido then connects the dots that she might have joined DEM Industries since she was wearing their power suit. So desperate that during lunch he goes to her place. Empty. Despair? Like as though it was a trap for him as he gets kidnapped. Kotori receives word of Shido’s sudden disappearance and wants him found before the end of the school day. Shido finds himself tied in a room. The perpetrator no other than Origami. Although she admits she joined DEM Industries, these actions are of her own and not Westcott’s orders. She has finally found the resolve to kill the Spirits. Not just the Spirits that killed her parents, but all of them. Hence, she abducted him to keep him out. To her, all Spirits are the same and to prevent future tragedies like her, all Spirits will die. Shido argues that Touka and co have changed and all they want is to lead normal lives. That is the reason Origami couldn’t accept. To accept living together with the likes of Touka. Origami begins her plan by sounding a fake spacequake alert to evacuate the people. Now she can kill the Spirits with no interference. Touka and co are shocked at Origami’s resolve. They don’t want to fight her but are forced to since they can see she is dead serious in killing them. Meanwhile Ratatoskr is about to head and retrieve the Spirits but is intercepted by Goetia, DEM Industries’ ship. Ellen contacts them and gives them a chance to run. She also relays a message for Woodman. They call him a traitor and will make him pay. With nobody on Fraxinus turning away, they prepare to fight back but Goetia easily blasts them. Meanwhile Touka is down for the count.

Episode 7
Did Origami return just to laugh at Shido? Actually it’s Natsumi. Yoshino and Natsumi were wandering around town and spotted Shido and Origami, hence the tailing game. We see Origami owning the Spirits. With Touka hell bent on protecting those important to her, her Spirit power returns and is able to defeat Origami. Origami laments all that she has thrown away have been wasted when a voice asks her if she wants power. Of course. With that, Origami is now a Spirit. Stronger than before, she renews her vow to kill all Spirits before killing herself. Touka can’t fight and protect at the same time so she has the rest get away. The power Spirit fight gets on the way but further damage is prevented when Shido calls out to them. I guess Origami isn’t in the mood anymore and flies away. Shido learns what happened from Touka as they all recuperate in the infirmary. Shido has to seal Touka’s power and you know that means kissing. I guess it is better here in this room than out in the public. If only the other damn Spirits weren’t so eager in being peeping toms. Meanwhile our favourite Spirit, Kurumi is seen frolicking around town. Origami then approaches her.

Episode 8
It seems she wants Kurumi to use one of her powers, Yod Beth to send her back 5 years in time to stop the death of her parents. What is she going to do if Kurumi refuses? Bug her until she agrees! I guess Kurumi is smart enough not to deal with that crap and decides to agree to it. After all, she needs somebody as a guinea pig for her Yod Beth. Origami returns in time just before the spacequake. She confronts the supposed Phantom although we cannot see or hear her properly thanks to ‘interference’. Origami is so hell bent in destroying her without reason to reason, that she realizes too late that she was the one who killed her parents! Well, now that comes full circle. ‘Funny’ to know that Origami hating and vowing to kill the Spirit was actually her future self. Phantom flees after satisfied that she has achieved her goal. Back in current time, the moon goes black and suddenly Origami starts raining down attacks randomly. So she’s no longer a Spirit but an Inverse? Oh sh*t! It took down Fraxinus (for the second time) but this time did it kill Kotori on board?! It’s Shido cue to go save Origami and end this madness and you know it’s his job since the other Spirits fend off the other attacks to make a path to her. They also have to deal with Ellen who wants to harvest her. But Shido loses his chance to kiss and seal her because Origami’s face up close looks like a hagged old woman! Yikes! I can see why any guy would freak out and fall right down to hell!!! Because of that, Kurumi traps him as now it is the right time to set forth her goal. No amount of begging is going to make her let you go, Shido. She fires Yod Beth into him. Shido finds himself back 5 years in time. Sorry Tamae, this boy whom you don’t know is not trying to hit on you. Since Shido is clueless, Kurumi lets him in on what’s happening. The only way to reverse the disaster unfolding in the present is to deal with Origami’s past. He must reverse it. So why is she doing this? Looks like the future is destroyed and Kurumi is holding on to that hope that history can be changed. Wait. This is Kurumi? Our Kurumi?!

Episode 9
Shido almost blunders when he tries to take a shortcut and a neighbour thinks he is a suspicious person. Somehow he manages to use Natsumi’s power to transform himself into a kid to allay the suspicions. With Origami’s battle with Phantom now at hand, Shido is too late as he witnesses and now understands why Origami turned out so. So he hugs loli Origami and tries to convince her that he will shoulder all her burdens. Although she accepts, however this anger is only hers to carry. He will have fun and be sad on her behalf until she kills that Spirit. Oddly, Kurumi feels regret that had she not used Yod Beth in the first place, this wouldn’t have happened. So she didn’t see this coming? However Kurumi believes there is still a way to correct this. Because her old self was nearby the incident, Shido goes to see that Kurumi. She is of course on her guard at this stranger. Shido convinces her to touch him so as to contact Kurumi of the present. She is to fire Yod Beth into Shido to send him back again in time. Just right before that incident again. Shido thinks of a plan. They cannot prevent Origami from seeing her parents’ death because that would be just shifting her grudge to someone else. Hence Shido goes to ‘stalk’ Kotori. As much as he wants to stop her from contacting Phantom, he can’t. So after Phantom turned her into a Spirit and causing the adjacent place to burn, Shido’s plan is to talk to Phantom. However it seems she recognizes him and runs away. But soon she decides to confront him. Even though this is not her true form but it’s better than talking to censors. Who this girl? But Phantom claims she knows him and cannot obey his wishes. She hopes to meet again when the time is right. Phantom goes off to fight with Origami and with history at risk of repeating itself, Shido this time pushes Origami’s parents away and gets vaporized on their behalf. But the next thing he knows, he wakes up in bed in his house. Looks peaceful. But he can’t contact Kurumi anymore. Did he save the day?

Episode 10
Everyone is normal. Kotori tells him today’s date and it is the day after Origami went Inverse. But in school, it seems nobody knows about Origami. This has Shido to believe Origami of this world doesn’t hold a grudge against Spirits and is living happily with her parents. But why he looking so sad? Because of that, some of his Spirit harem thinks he has girlfriend issues. WTF Natsumi’s idea to dress up in a naked apron to cheer him up? Shido then learns of a terrifying Spirit known as Devil. Rather, she is an Inverse. Not surprisingly, she looks like Origami. Back to depression again. But next day, shocking news for him as Origami is a new transfer student in his class! She is shocked to see him. Shido finds out more that Origami did join AST but retired a while ago. So if her parents were saved, why did she join AST? Hence he talks to her directly. Her initial shock was because he looked like the person who saved her 5 years ago. Remember, Shido got vaporized. Shido lies that person is his older brother. It makes her sad but also grateful because her family got to live together. Although unfortunately her parents died in an accident 4 years ago. She joined AST so as not to have more tragic cases like his ‘brother’. However she doesn’t understand when he asks her becoming a Spirit. Later after Shido wakes up from resting, surprise to see Kurumi here? She plans to shoot Yod Beth at Origami to see what happened. Why now? Because she couldn’t get close to the original. When Origami stumbles into Kurumi, she transforms into Devil and attacks. Kurumi lost?! Origami reverts to her normal state and has no recollection of what just happened.

Episode 11
With Origami not sure why she spaces out from time to time, Kurumi admits at this rate it is hard to discover why Origami turned Inverse. Shido tells Kotori and Reine what happened. Reine theorizes her memories split into 2. As soon as she senses a Spirit, she awakens as an Inverse type. The plan is to seal her as a Spirit but looks like Shido already agreed to go on a date with her. With Fraxinus doing that date sim option thingy, Shido wants to try a different route. Like taking her to a love hotel?! Just joking. But it spiked her happiness level. He then takes her to a shop selling weird things and unknowingly she buys those products. Even when shopping for clothes, she unknowingly wears a doggy ears swimsuit? During lunch, she tries to lick his spoon and when accidentally spilling water over his shirt, the moment he shows his abs she starts snapping away! She claims her body is moving on its own? At the end of the day, Origami feels confused. She is still sad about Shido’s ‘brother’ but he claims he would have done the same thing. With Origami’s happiness level at max, time to seal the deal but WTF the wooden barrier breaks and she falls off. Shido saves her but got his hands scratched and bleeding. Because of that she becomes a Spirit? Locking herself inside an armour cocoon, Shido tries to break through but it’s too tough. Yeah, Fraxinus is shot down again. Shido can’t run away and let the town be destroyed so he is going to keep trying even if it seems futile. Not if his other Spirit harem can help path a way to reach her. Meanwhile Origami is inside her consciousness and sees her other Devil self. When she touches her, they receive memories from both their worlds. Devil relates the truth that she can never take back the sin of killing her parents. Before Origami falls into despair, Shido’s voice can be heard. Must have said all the right words. You’re not alone. Always here for you. I’ll always save you no matter how much she is in despair. No matter how many times he has to rewrite history. Works like a charm. Origami reaches out to him. She accepts the fact the sin of killing her parents will never go away and Shido agrees that is her burden to bear. She admits she doesn’t love him but only relied on him. Honoured, it is exactly why he was able to save her. Finally he seals her with a kiss. With Origami back in class, you know it’s the Origami we know because she tries to wipe Shido’s tears with her crotch! Yeah, she claims the swimsuit retains moisture better. Though she did claim she never loved him, that is why she can begin her true love for him now. Oh boy. Let the harem fight begin too.

Episode 12
Woah. Shido suddenly super strong and fast? And then he collapses. The source is because his Spirit harem is hanging around him, their Spirit power is causing his body to overheat. A simple kiss is enough to seal it. No time to be shy because Shido just escaped. Worse, he is now a lady killer flirting with any women he sees! WTF is this short cheesy musical segment?! I guess Ellen got the rudest shock with Shido being such a cool cat, it reduces Ellen to some embarrassed b*tch. Get him back next time, huh? When the other girls come and want to seal his power, he throws them a condition. They must make him fall for them and a reason enough to kiss them. Roles reversed now. So we have the Spirit harem taking turns to swoon him. The twins go first. Eating an ice cream yuri style helps with the cream dropping all over their body. Score! Natsumi tries to seduce him in her busty body but she ran out of power and now the swimsuit is hanging loose over her loli body. Score! Yoshino massages him and shows him her swimsuit underneath? That is also score?! It’s classy and elegant time and with Kotori being such a lady, that is enough to score. Even Miku just saying a few words is enough to score. And she didn’t even do anything. Origami tries to spike his drink but the bartender mixes it up. Damn. Now she’s drunk, she’s so cute falling all over him. Score! Save the best for last because now it’s Touka. She feels uneasy about this but before she could do her usual stuff (eating of course) with him, looks like Shido has prematurely overheated. WTF did he just do a Kamehameha and turn Super Saiyan???!!! The girls chase this raging beast. Kotori is inclined to use some weapon to shoot him down but Origami and Touka stop her. There are better ways to solve this. Yeah, let’s not resort to violence, shall we? With the help of Kurumi restraining him, eventually the girls manage to land some cheap kiss on him (WTF?!) and the last ‘boss’ is Touka. Braving his attacks, she realizes this feeling called love inside her for him and that Shido has been suffering like this to reach out to them. Finally, a decent kiss. Touka won the lottery because she gets to be with Shido recuperating in hospital. She is the only one who didn’t manage to make him swoon in the contest so I guess this is fair. It must be her lucky day because a second great kiss is coming! It’s safe to say Touka won, no?

The Spirit Is Willing But The Boy/Trash Is Weak
Oh dear. The final episode was the lamest, the cheesiest, the most WTF and the worst ever. But it is also the most fun! Because, who really gives a damn at this point? Imagine, this is what this series would have been had it actually followed this route of the most cliché harem trope with Shido being turned into a typical main character harem douchebag. I don’t think it will get past the first season if it ruined the series went along with that kind cheesiness. Even though it somewhat reminds us that it should be Shido x Touka but the ending felt somewhat completed. Uh huh. The sudden abrupt ending with them kissing felt like there was something missing. Why the heck did Kurumi not kiss Shido???!!! Our favourite Spirit and she is the only one left out of the kissing spree?! I suppose she will always remain the rebel until the end.

I read that many hated and criticized this season because of how they trashed and butchered the final arc of this season. If you find that there are things that you don’t really understand (like yours truly), perhaps you can blame this. After all, if you want to watch the third season, it is best you have watched the previous seasons because knowledge of what has happened so far and the settings of this world is very important if you want to enjoy understand this season. To be fair, the series want to advance its plot and can’t be spending an extra episode to refresh our memories or introduce newbies to the series. Yeah, best you go back and watch everything again. Ain’t nobody got time for that! But sad to say, the third season doesn’t fair as well as the disappointing second season and could be the death knell of this series for good.

This season is split into 2 arcs. The first arc being the typical add-another-Spirit-into-Shido’s harem and the second bringing one of the main characters officially into Shido’s harem. Yeah. That’s how I see it. Lucky bastard. Initially I thought the Natsumi arc was going to be the arc that would set the rest of the season. I don’t know how I started coming up with the theory of one episode for Shido to date the possible candidate. Hence an elimination of a character/candidate per episode. I thought this was going to be super boring if they are going to follow through this formula. It isn’t impossible because, what is the name of this series again? Thankfully Natsumi’s cheeky guessing game was cut short and I suppose I also got a bit disappointed because it didn’t really amount to anything much. I thought it would drag on a few more episodes since Yuzuru got the bulk of that focus so I thought some of the other characters might have their chance too. None. Yeah, they literally speed run through this game. It certainly would have been interesting to see Shido on a date with Tamae?

Hence Natsumi becomes a mere side supporting character once she officially becomes part of Shido’s Spirit harem. What is better than having a loli? Why, having 2 lolis! Because Yoshino is the meek kind, we need to have the kind that is bratty. I see no other Spirit having this character so okay, let’s make bratty Natsumi part of the gang. The other Spirits also suffer thanks to Origami’s arc taking the entire second half. Touka, Yoshino, Yuzuru, Kaguya and Miku fall way off into the side-lines as the only non-Spirit girl deals with her issues and becomes a Spirit. I guess it is such a waste for these Spirit characters and they are just around for some comical issues and to remind us that Shido has a harem. Sometimes to ex machina certain situations because Shido as a normal high school kid can’t do everything himself. The last episode didn’t do any justice as it was just rushed. Trying to give his ballooning Spirit harem some flirting time with Shido but it comes off as a big fail and waste of time. So miniscule and ridiculous their screen time, might as well not have this crap in the first place. Oh well, having some sort of crap is better than having no crap at all!

Despite Kurumi only making limited appearances, I suppose she is the reason why we find this series a little bit tolerable. Okay, maybe not for all of us. But yeah, the enigmatic Kurumi is perhaps why many keep having hope for this series and that she should just own every other Spirit and become Shido’s only one. Oh well. Not in this world and timeline. Maybe in some other’s if history and the world was rewrote in another way under different circumstances. Could be possible considering Kurumi’s Spirit powers that there might be a world where she gets Shido all by herself and none of those lame Spirit b*tches in the way.

Remember Mana? No. Not to worry. I don’t even remember her until I was going through my previous blog! Oh dear. Who the f*ck is she?! She is supposed to be Origami’s AST comrade and I don’t see her appearing anywhere in this season. I don’t remember what happened to her the last time but I guess she was so insignificant with no role to play, they might have completely cut her out from this season. Other characters like Westcott and Woodman feel like red herring. It’s like they’ve got a plan for something but so far, nothing to show for. At least nothing important or significant that I can see. Last and not least, got to say that girl who is part of the 3 stooges who only says one single line is still f*cking amusing. Majihiku wa!

Origami’s arc is timely and a focus on her character is much needed. However it doesn’t feel as interesting. Because I predicted and saw it from 100 miles away that she was the Spirit that killed her parents. Cue to drag out the drama after she falls into despair from some emotional brownie points. Who knows, she could actually be Phantom herself from another timeline or future. Might not be confident with this conspiracy theory but it is still a possibility. Though, not a very high one. With Shido rewriting history, we get to see a very different side of Origami. She wasn’t the weird pervert that we always know but a meek and very shy girl. She is so different that she might as well be a very different character. Either way, even if the mind forgets, the body doesn’t. Hence it could be the only explanation why that meek Origami’s body started doing weird perverted things on its own. It’s like between the devil and the deep blue sea. Would we rather have this nice girl Origami or the bold weirdo Origami? Well… I’d rather have Kurumi!!! Damn you people, give us another Kurumi OVA, will ‘ya?!

Art and animation I believe remains constant with its previous seasons but is it me or do I feel that there is a drop in quality? For one, I thought that all the characters look a bit younger than they are. For example like Shido, at certain angles he looks a bit like a kid and at other times just a bit weird. Even some of the scenes showing the Spirits, it’s like they lack details and I thought they just gave up and hope we didn’t notice. Well, I did. Perhaps the different production studios for different seasons were the reason? AIC Plus+ did the first season followed by Production IMS in the second. This time it is animated by J.C. Staff. Seriously, do they not have any animes to animate? Sure, they have their hands full with the To Aru series, then they had High Score Girl and Hangyakusei Million Arthur, One Punch Man S2 and the upcoming DanMachi S2 to deal with. Oh yeah. Big company, many stuffs, more projects, more money. Makes sense.

Sweet Arms have been singing this series’ opener for the last 2 seasons. They’re back again for the third. I Swear isn’t a cover of All-4-One’s 1994 hit single. But I rather hear All-4-One’s piece than this bland generic anime pop. The same can be said for the ending theme, Last Promise by Erii Yamazaki. Sounds pretty generic and nothing special. This season’s seiyuu joining the line-up are Ayumi Mano as Natsumi (Esaka in Ore Ga Suki Nano Wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto Ja Nai) and the recognizable Kana Hanazawa as Phantom. Speaking of which, it is odd and further fuels my suspicions that this Phantom character is not the real Phantom because in the ending credits, Phantom’s seiyuu is marked as “???” whereas Kana Hanazawa’s character is also marked as “???”. Something looks shady here…

Overall, the third season didn’t really do any justice to make amends of the poor showing of the second season and further drove a nail into its coffin. It’s like they want to bury this series for good. Not even Kurumi’s Yod Beth for a different world to rewrite this crap can save this season. Because ultimately even if another parallel world that this third season was good exists, it still doesn’t hide the fact that some bad sh*t has happened and we have to shoulder the burden and accept that the third season was awful. Yeah. Thanks Origami. We learnt something from your past. Accept and move on. Sometimes it feels like Shido is the Date A Live series and Origami coming up with those damn weird pranks represents the production team trying to screw him up. Or Shido being a douchebag and trying to screw with the ladies. Not impressed. Screwed us up alright. Many say that you’d be better off reading the light novels but considering myself who doesn’t like to read, looks like it is dead end for me. Ironically, the most relevant line to sum up this season and our sentiments come from a certain irrelevant minor character. Yup. Majihiku wa.

Old propeller planes like the Zeros and Spitfires are boring compared to their modern counterparts like F-15 and MiG, huh? Lacking the firepower and the exhilarating Mach speed that would make you go faster than the speed of sound, huh? Well, I’ve got news for you. Don’t look down on old single propeller fighter planes too. Because in the world of Kouya Kotobuki No Hikoutai where the enter land is filled with nothing but desert sand and there are air pirates threatening the skies and livelihood of isolated towns, there is literally no one else you could rely on but these magnificent girls riding their magnificent propeller planes to come save the day. Thank your lucky stars for such great piloting skills.

Episode 1
The Kotobuki Flight Corp girls consisting of Kylie, Reona, Emma, Kate and Zara are chilling out in a bar when Adolfo from Yamada from Nazarene Air Force tries to hit on them. He mentions some of his records and achievements but the girls aren’t impressed and instead make a mockery out of his puny achievements. He really would have wanted to have a go had not his friends stop him. Just in time because the alert has been sounded. Pirate bogeys have been spotted and all pilots are to sortie. The captain of the Hagoromo blimp, Saneatsu issues his orders to take down the pirates and protect the cargo. It is very important because their employer, Madame Loulou despite will reward them for every enemy they shoot down, if one of the cargo goes down, that’s it for them. And so we see the Nazarene side being easily taken out without a fight. Time for Kotobuki to strut their stuffs. They stray a little too far and more pirate reinforcements pop up to attack Hagoromo. Although Hagoromo takes some damage, it is still airworthy and the Kotobuki girls manage to return in time to smoke them out. With the remaining pirates fleeing, Reona gives orders to her crew not to chase and return. However Kylie spots a rogue pirate and chases after it. This is a skilled one as they continue to engage in aerial dogfight. A tricky one too with, leading Kylie into the clouds and almost letting her crash into the ground. If not for Kylie’s skill and good luck, she would have crashed hard. Ultimately the enemy deals some minor damage to the plane but when Kylie is within range of defeat, it looks like time is up for the enemy so he flees instead. Kylie is frustrated and insulted. When Kylie returns to base, she is punched by mechanic, Natsuo for doing something reckless again. When Hagoromo lands safely, the Kotobuki girls immediately head off to town to do their own thing instead of receiving the reward.

Episode 2
As the Kotobuki girls drink in town, they hear a commotion outside. Looks like their comrade, Chika is trying to teach a few men who are looking down upon them. Yeah, she beats him up with her crutches. Kylie even joins in when her pancake was accidentally wasted. Once all that is over, Chika seems jealous that she wasn’t invited to their ‘party’. Technically she is hospitalized but is now discharged early. Bratty girl always seem to quarrel with Kylie on the pettiest of things. They have to put it on hold since they get a call from Saneatsu for another mission. As Loulou explains, this time they will escort Councillor Julia. You can instantly tell she has an attitude problem and basically a b*tch. So why choose to fly this crappy service? Because she hates Loulou. So as Saneatsu shows her around Hagoromo, the rest deduce Loulou and Julia must have go a long way for them to hate each other like that. It seems she gets her kicks by making enemies wherever she goes. Then there’s this sick perversion of men always flocking to Loulou but Julia will steal them before they get to her, twist and use them before tossing them away. Talk time is over with bogeys spotted. They thought they are just the usual pirates but their numbers suddenly rise up to 30. Even more surprising is how they are using the expensive Hien type planes and their formation is very controlled. Skilled fighters to say the least but of course our Kotobuki girls are still better. Even during the dogfights, Kylie and Chika can continue to be buttheads with each other and still shoot down the enemies and cover for each other despite not really liking this order Reona put them up to (they have to or she’ll ground them the next time). They are so in unison. Are they friends? Enemies? Frenemies? In the end, Julia arrives safely and Loulou hopes she would never fly with them again. But what if Julia flash the cash? Loulou is not impressed as Julia waves a load of lovely goodbyes to her. The Kotobuki girls hang out and nobody is paying attention to bratty Chika bragging. For the eleventh time…

Episode 3
Upon reaching the town of Rahama, they find it partially destroyed. Talking to the mayor, it seems a small group of salesmen from Elite Industries flew in. They want to exchange their old Raiden plane for this (fake) painting. They rejected of course and when they leave, they attacked the town as sourpuss and promised to return with their full force. So is it worth to give up Raiden which is the pride of Rahama just to save the town? The mayor thinks so because Loulou’s bill is too much for his budget. But his vice thinks they should fight. Too bad in the name of democracy, the mayor decides to hold a discussion with everyone to come to a solution. As expected, the town is split. Everybody’s shouting and disagreeing. Until Emma steps in to give them a piece of her mind. If they allow this trade, they will be back to demand more. Plus, if everyone agrees to help out, Loulou might cut him a deal. With everyone reminiscing the old days of protecting each other, they want to fight back and thus the mayor finally decides to go with that. With Elite Industries returning with a strong 40 plane fleet, they take Rahama by surprise by coming from the other direction. This is the opposite of where Kotobuki is. Hence the local vigilantes suit up and take flight. But Elite Industries won’t have it easy as they display Raiden in the middle of town (they can’t damage it) and they have ground artillery support. The locals hold them enough for Kotobuki to return for a real challenging dogfight. When Emma is shot but before being blown out of the sky, here comes the mayor flying the Raiden to save her. A dilemma for Elite Industries because they cannot shoot it down. Too bad Raiden runs out of bullets so the boss hijacks it and kicks the mayor out! That easy?! With mission accomplished, Elite Industries retreat. Kotobuki is forced to give up. Although this is a failed mission, the vice believes this is a wakeup call for Rahama to believe they can protect their town like they used to. Emma apologizes to the mayor and thanks him. But it’s not over for Loulou yet. Because as per their contract, they are to protect Raiden. Yup, they’re going to get it back.

Episode 4
As Kotobuki reach the next town, they receive a warning shot from an old guy. However it wasn’t the Elite Industries but those darn air pirates. It gets personal when Kylie realizes the pancakes are also the casualties. It’s getting personal. They discuss about getting into Elite Industries’ base which is located in the natural canyons. When they show him a painting, he claims it is drawn by the boss’ daughter. Since Elite Industries just ordered a bunch of dance girls to their base, this is a great chance for Zara to disguise as one of them and infiltrate. Yeah, she’s hypnotizing the men with her dance moves. She challenges them to drinking and none can even hold their beer. Perfect time for her to sneak around. She finds Raiden in chains and the boss’ daughter holds the key. So she visits her and sees her trying her hand at drawing. Zara gives some motivational advice and Zara wants her to be her model. Meanwhile the other Kotobuki girls take this chance to ambush the base as distraction and in hopes Zara will get Raiden in 10 minutes. Or else they will have to find and rescue Zara and abandon Raiden. I wonder how they could fly through those tight canyons at night!!! It’s like they know the place like the back of their hand or are they on auto pilot mode?! With Kotobuki beginning their attack, Elite Industries is taken by surprise as they scramble to sortie but many of their planes and equipment have been grounded by the sneak attack. With some managing to take flight, however there seems to be a rebellion from within the company. The HR chief along with the sales division have teamed up to attack the boss. Kotobuki is confused but it buys more time for them. Meanwhile some men try to steal the daughter’s key but Zara easily beats them. The daughter gives Zara the key in hopes she could save her father. Zara takes Raiden to the skies as she chases after the HR chief. He pulls a sneaky move on her by escaping via a hidden small hole and this forces Zara to pull up hard. Luckily she is still in one piece as she rendezvous with her pals. Since they’ve got Raiden, they’re out of here. In the aftermath, the boss and his loyal men have turned over a new leaf and will make an honest living. His daughter is pleased when Zara keeps a painting of hers.

Episode 5
The usual Kylie and Chika bickering almost had them being run over a car. Luckily this driver is quick. Such an eccentric joker too. Is he a street magician? Kotobuki is called by Julia for a mission. In a few days, she will have to attend a meeting she hates. She has to meet with Isao who is the head of View Trading because she can’t stand the way he tries to preach his ideals to become famous. I guess there’s nothing wrong about justice, safety, unification, mutual benefits, etc. Is it because Julia can’t be a sneaky shady b*tch now that Isao is turning those in power to his side? Because of that, there would be air pirates targeting the meeting. Julia could ask the local Areshima services for protection but she doesn’t want to be in their debt and would rather be in Kotobuki’s. By now, we should know that eccentric street magician is Isao and man he loves playing pranks. Either you love him or find him annoying. With Loulou not around, looks like Kotobuki is split in whether to accept the job but Reona is adamant to take on the job. This has the rest wonder her strange act ever since Isao came into the picture. Is it love? Is it some debt repayment? The day Julia and Isao have their meeting (I thought it sounded more like a comedy talk show!), air pirates attack. It looks like there’s a handful of them so Kotobuki should be enough to engage. The couple of guys who are remnants of Nazarene just get to patrol the other peaceful end. Until it turns out it was a diversion and the enemy horde is heading from this direction. I figure Nazarene has to hold them until Kotobuki arrives. Just in time because they run out of bullets. Time for the guys to head home in shame while the girls do their usual kickass. Their aim is to take out a couple of heavy bombers. During the dogfight, Reona becomes ruthless, something that Zara points out to the rest that this is her true nature. But so ruthless that she almost fell for a trap and Kate had to cover for her. Kylie lashes out at Reona if she wants to get ahead of herself, do so by all means but don’t let others take your fall. With the enemies closing in, Julia will not evacuate as not to be deemed a coward. Isao? He is going to fly! Yup, he was once known as the Soaring Magician. And now only Reona remembers him?! That guy who shot down a dozen enemies in some war?! The guy who saved her from being shot down?! I know she hasn’t seen him in 8 years but she can’t even remember him until he flies? As usual, Isao shows off his skills and even takes down the last bomber that crashes right at the doorstep of the hotel of the meeting. The tea must be still warm and nice for Julia.

Episode 6
Reona feels guilty for acting out of line and wants to be indebted but is told to believe in her squad and let them help out whenever they can with no strings attached. Hence Chika asking to borrow money! That was really a fast one! Kylie went to see Julia to get their payment. On her way back, she spots that rogue air pirate and chases after it. It seems the rogue pirate is toying with her as they fly through the skies and canyons. The rogue pirate is much better than her and you bet Kylie is mad and trying to get the better of her. In the end, Kylie is shot down. End of chase. Thankfully, only her engine is blown out. Her plane is still intact as well as its fuel tank. Phew. Man, how did she even landed so perfectly? She recognizes this place as Ofukouyama, a small slab of flat rock in the middle of nowhere that rookie pilots used to practice short landings but always ended with disaster. Hence the wreckage all around. Meanwhile the other girls are worried that Kylie might have run off with the money but they believe she won’t because she’s not into all that. Okay. Time to mount a search. As Kylie scavenges the wreckage to find parts, we see her flashback. She met an old man name Sab and is interested in him because she thinks she come from outside and knows a lot. She often hangs out in his place and is not scared of him despite his fugitive status. Better than her own home where they always fight for food. She soon learns he came from Yufang. People there came here via a hole to build planes and factories but one day they left. Did Sab get left behind? He didn’t say. Since she continues to be amazed by his stuffs and wants to know more, Sab takes her flying in his plane. Awesome view for a kid flying the first time. One day she overheard a guy wanting Sab to come back but he rejects the deal. Soon Sab shuts her out and the next time she returns, his hut is burnt and she felt disappointed he left without her. Kylie has fixed her plane and prepares to take off. Remembering the teachings of Sab, she pulls it off. Yup, you don’t fly a plane. It flies itself. You just follow its lead. Not sure if Sab died but Kylie made a tombstone for him and promised to go see the world. Just in time for Kylie to rendezvous with her comrades. Feels good to be home.

Episode 7
Kylie and Kate are having a mock dogfight as Natsuo is testing the octane level of the cheap fuel they bought. Kylie thought for once she beat Kate but soon realized it’s because Kate was being held back by the cheaper fuel. This cheap fuel proves a drop in performance and they should avoid using this fuel altogether. The irony is that Standon Oil Company as one of the biggest companies out there is supplying it. Kate goes to see her brother, Allen in hospital. He is interested in finding out the disappearance of Yufang but was attacked during one of his flights and still recuperating. The Nazarene guys stop at Nanko to refuel. They notice a plane from Standon here. Talking to the bartender, it seems they are here to make a deal to buy out their oil. However there is no deal struck yet since Nanko rather have quality over quantity and know these corporate guys will make them work to the bone for every last drop. Soon after, the oil fields suddenly explode and the entire town is on fire. Hence the Nazarene guys fly over to the next town for reinforcements. Good thing Kotobuki girls are there. Saving the town is more important than evacuating its people. If they lose their access to Nanko, they’ll be forced to deal with Standon. Despite their inferior quality, they will soon monopolize their oil and jack up prices. Also, there is no other place closer to refuel as Nanko. Losing this means they will be block off and grounded indefinitely. Loulou agrees to help put out the fire but Nanko will have to pay one year’s worth of gas at reduced price. And how are they going to stop the fire? Kate’s answer: Fight fire with fire: Bomb it! To Kylie’s dismay, she will be in the driver’s seat of the bombing plane with Kate guiding her since her plane was damaged the last time. As expected, Standon’s planes come to ‘greet’ time. However they are flying Hayate types that have better power and turning speed. Also, their body armour is thicker. Kotobuki meeting their match since these pilots are really pros and don’t give them space to fight back. Our speculations that emotionless Kate might be a robot as she guides Kylie to move directly while she mans the gunner. When it’s time to bomb, she has to light the fuse manually and then calculate to release the bomb accurately! It does!!! The explosion wipes out the fire and at the same time the enemy retreats. A mission accomplished although Chika is frustrated she couldn’t shoot down any bogeys.

Episode 8
Isao has become the mayor of Ikesuka, he formed the Brotherhood of Freedom Union and to celebrate that he bought a rare arowana fish for public display. Hence the Kotobuki girls are to transport it there. Loulou didn’t want to take this job but since he recommended them and the press asked if they were up to the task, certainly she can’t say no. With Saneatsu having stomach discomfort, Loulou takes command of the bridge. As expected, multiple bogeys in sight. As Kotobuki goes to intercept their unusually large numbers, to their surprise this is only a decoy. Because a few more air pirates crept up on Hagoromo by flying very close to the ground. Because Kotobuki took too long to deal with the decoy, the others have boarded and took over Hagoromo. They order the Kotobuki girls to go away in which Reona orders her girls to do so. Then the pirate leader makes an announcement. In addition to the fish, they demand Isao’s resignation and the disbandment of the Brotherhood. Otherwise they will blow up Hagoromo. Kotobuki isn’t giving up of course. After they receive word from Saneatsu about the situation on board, Emma flies up to Hagoromo’s radar blind spot so that Reona and Kylie can board it.

First they have to go find Johnny the bartender and Ririko his barmaid. Although this is where most of the crew are being held captive, Reona hints to Ririko to make a scene. With Reona crashing in, she hints to Johnny and he is forced to use his gunslinger prowess to dispatch the pirates! You mean this wuss is a sharpshooter?! Because we see him ‘dance’ as he guns down all the baddies?! OMFG!!! So cringe! So cool! Ironically all the pirates are dumb. They have machine guns but cannot even shoot straight? The other crew just throw whatever they got and it counts! Isao has received word of Hagoromo and takes his own action. When Loulou retakes the bridge, a small struggle ensues. Stray bullets damage the controls. With some of the pirates escaping, Kotobuki wonders why they aren’t fighting back. Well, Isao’s full air force is coming their way. Loulou contacts them but no response. This could only mean they are here to take down Hagoromo. Can’t have it explode over Ikesuka, right? Hence Loulou wants Reona to shoot down Hagoromo. No, not destroy it. Take out enough helium so it could safely crash land. Of course Reona the pro does it perfectly and Isao’s air force don’t have to cause any tragedy. In the aftermath as the fish gets displayed, the girls learn Johnny was once a good mercenary but left this trade when he met his wife. However because he continued his gun collection, she resented this and left. No wonder this wuss is still praying for her to come back. Not a chance… Loulou hands Isao the bill and hopes never to take another job from him.

Episode 9
Kylie’s unhappy. She has to hold the fort while the rest of her Kotobuki girls are away on a mission. Yeah, this sucks. It seems Kotobuki are to be guards for some retirement ceremony. Something about the new licence system and union registration red tape made it unbearable for them to go on even if they are just flight postal workers. Meanwhile Julia is being heckled by the men in the council for speaking the truth. Something about giving up their own culture and system to adopt another city’s system. But you can’t beat all those sexist men, right? They kick her out of the hall as she notes being an air pirate will definitely be better than working for Isao. Her underlings know it is not safe for her here anymore and suggest she flees before they come arrest her. Kylie is summoned by Loulou for a job. It is giving Allen a scenic flight around Rahama. She also tells her she has been invited to work under a new company in Areshima. In fact the offer comes for any one of the Kotobuki girls. They’ll double their pay and get whatever aircraft they want since they are teaming up with View Trading. Kylie interprets this as she doesn’t want them anymore but Loulou puts it this way: She has no right to tell them to stay. Kylie takes Allen on a scenic flight with her mind preoccupied with this. But Allen talks about the portal to Yufang. He could have seen it had he not been shot down. He believes the portal didn’t close forever but on and off on a smaller scale. At the same time, the ex-Elite Industries HR chief and his men are rummaging through Allen’s room to find some info. Allen gives Kylie directions until they reach a certain point where they see strange circles in the sky. That’s the portal? However suddenly they are attacked by bogeys. I don’t know how Allen fitted his machine gun in this aircraft but at least they have a fighting chance. I know it’s just fantasy he gets to shoot down the enemies while they all miss but I’ll believe it because he says his aim gets better after drinking! Just when they think they’ve gunned down all the enemies, more of them pop up! Can Kylie outrun them in this canyon chase? Soon reality catches up as they are hit and Kylie crash lands. Oh, they also pretend to be dead to stay alive and let the enemies fly away. If not for Chika, they wouldn’t be rescued. With Kotobuki returning, Loulou tells the rest what she told Kylie. But Kylie instantly says she will always stay with Kotobuki as she doesn’t want to take orders from anyone else but Reona. She shocks everyone by optimistically saying another portal might open over Rahama.

Episode 10
Allen tells he gang about the portal. There are many sizes and opened up here and there many times. It was just coincidence the one that appeared 70 years ago connected them to Yufang. The holes may also be the culprit that absorbed the seas of this world. Then Julia barges in, complaining how she is no more a councillor as all the men voted to kick her out and framed her with fake allegations. While the rest think Isao is a pretty nice guy, Julia then reveals this whole thing is just a setup so Isao can become a dictator of the world. As Rahama has not decided to join the Brotherhood, she doubts he will let it go scot free. Because as per Allen’s calculation, looks like another hole has opened up over Rahama. This is why Isao is targeting this place. They take in a damaged fighter plane. Woah. Who this sexy dolly babe? Camilla from Shouto Vigilante has been shot down despite being allies of Isao. They were accused of plotting something and bombed out. Even though Camilla wanted to surrender, they continued bombing so she escaped. The town of Rahama is now in a discussion over the portal over their town. They are discussing whether to join the Brotherhood or not. Isao knows about this hole because his men stole Allen’s notes from the hospital. Then here comes the HR chief who is now representing the Brotherhood. He is giving Rahama a chance to join them and hand over Julia the fugitive or risk being bombed in 24 hours. However it soon dawned to them that their plan is to evacuate Rahama so that Isao can monopolize the entire portal himself. Rahama’s mayor had balls for the first time to reject all that and with the crowd chanting for them to leave, looks like it is war.

Hence Kotobuki and their allies now take to the skies to defend Rahama from the oncoming onslaught of huge bomber planes. The good news is that the bomber planes are huge so you can’t miss them. The bad news is, it’s going to take a while to shoot through their thick armour. Kotobuki shoots down a couple of bomber planes but they were too late for the last one as it unloads over Rahama. Uhm, did it not see the portal was in its path and hence everything just went through the hole?! The explosion causes some sort of huge temporary suction before the portal closes for good. With the hole gone, the enemies retreat. As Kylie is about to land, she spots this rogue pilot. Grrr! Time to chase! Eventually both run out of fuel and land safely. Next to each other! Time to get down for a fist fight! Kylie is no match for the verbal bout with Naomi as she accuses this little girl for always getting in her way. I think it’s fun to see these ladies trade some verbal barb wires but Naomi is the one who always have the upper hand. Yeah, she’s even better than you not only in flying but sarcasm too. Naomi claims she is neither friend nor foe and does what she wants. This time she just sided with Julia as she made more sense than Isao. Naomi then accuses Kylie of copying her plane’s mark that resembles the mark of her mentor’s. That is when Kylie is shocked. Does she know Sab? Oh yeah. Now the girls are like good friends talking about that old bastard. Naomi relates how she was his student training under him but he eventually abandoned her. Since Kylie was abandoned too, now they’re the abandoned sisters! Her goal is to find him and shoot him down with the techniques she stole from him. As for why Naomi flies, because it feels good being up there.

Episode 11
Isao uses his charms (and magic tricks) to convince the crowd that their Brotherhood is the only one that could bring true freedom to this world. Hence anybody else who tries to keep Yufang to themselves are criminals. Like Rahama and Porokka. So to say they aren’t? Rahama and Porokka combine their forces to lead an attack against Ikesuka. Kylie is spaced out not because the briefing was a really long one. She just couldn’t understand what they’re fighting for. Especially their mission to attack Ikesuka. Are wars fought on a whim like this? Is this what Kotobuki stands for? Well, she’s got a point. But no time to think all that because Isao has sent in hundreds of planes to fight them. Man, this is going to be one messy dogfight. I can’t tell who is who shooting each other down. But I’ll bet that the Kotobuki girls will be the ones staying up. Kotobuki is supposed to bomb the factory that makes the firepower for Ikesuka. However it is abandoned and empty. Is this a trap? Speaking of which, yes. 200 enemy planes in sight! At this point, Loulou makes the order to retreat and will not turn this into a gamble to lose any more of their side. They have underestimate Isao. However the Porokka side will not retreat and push on. Unfortunately their blimp gets shot down under heavy fire. And then Isao comes into the fray himself. Because of his more aerodynamic and specially designed plane, he climbs and turns faster and shoots down all his enemies at ease! Reona tries to talk to him to get his side to pull back so they can retreat. He lies so as to get her guard down and then shoots her down. Mad Kylie tries to take on him but Isao recognizes her mark that belongs to Sab. He explains something about Sab being abandoned by Yufang who call themselves the Japanese army. And when that stubborn old goat tried to fleet, Isao shot him down too! Not too sure where he is rotting in desert. This makes Kylie extremely mad and is going to teach this jerk a lesson. Chika is shot down and Hagoromo is about to take heavy damage too. But thank goodness for Elite Industries backing them up. Isao eventually shoots down Kylie but as he brags, he lets his guard down and gets shot by Kate. She confirms that it is this jerk who shot down Allen. In the aftermath when everyone is retrieved back to the blimp, Allen shows them that another hole will appear. This time right over Ikesuka.

Episode 12
Naomi leads her squadron to take on the Ikesuka fighters who have the air pirates on their side. Yeah, money does buy everything in this world. With the battle raging on, Kotobuki is to sneak in and attack Isao’s tower. Along the way, Zara asks Reona if she would like to run away and leave all of this behind. She can do whatever she wants. That will have to wait when the enemies have spotted them. Time for the most exhilarating dogfight action scenes through the narrow streets of Ikesuka’s infrastructures! When Kate gets shot down, it is by a plane with jet engine and using missiles! Just to show how good our girls are, they manage to dodge its radar missiles. Even better, Kylie and Chika trick it to fire multiple missiles at them. Then they dodge for the missiles to hit the huge statue structure to come crashing onto the jet plane. I guess with Chika being taken out because Isao is now itching to get into the fray, as the price to pay seems worth it. Emma gets taken down after her fill of shooting down many enemies. Isao’s butler uses a dirty trick to have the crane crash into Zara’s plane. Don’t worry. She still lives. In return, Reona sacrifices herself to take down the butler. All that is left is an angry Kylie trying to take down Isao. When the portal has fully materialized, that is when the signal is given to Hagoromo. It blasts off into the sky carrying loads of explosives to seal off the hole for good. So Saneatsu is going to do a suicide mission?! Desperate Isao tries to shoot down Hagoromo and even though he took down Kylie before that, Kylie like as though saw the spirit of Sab and remembers his words to let the plane fly itself. I guess it’s a cue so that Kylie’s plane could amazingly land a few more shots on Isao. Hagoromo explodes upon contact with the portal. Saneatsu not on a suicide mission after all. He escaped in his mini plane. Good for him now that he has a chance to confess to Loulou. Isao now being a desperate greedy megalomaniac hell bent on keeping the portal all to himself, gets sucked in as the portal closes. The air pirates retreat and all our heroes fly home, dreaming all the things they want to do. Wait a minute. Naomi seriously considering dating Adolfo?! Amazingly, Kylie’s plane still manages to fly home. I guess her plane really does fly by itself. Reona explains to the rest that Kotobuki comes from the Yufang word of good fortune. I guess it really served them well till the end.

With Flying Colours!
Is this the official retirement of the Kotobuki girls?! But I’m sure like Kylie, she’ll continue to do what she loves doing and even with Kotobuki or not, she’ll continue flying. The final episode to close to portal to Yufang felt more like a revenge plot because I am sure the portal will open up somewhere. It is probably to teach Isao a lesson and open up the eyes of all those who blindly follow him. Who knows if Isao will survive through the portal but I guess the important thing is that this world is now freed of his madness. Perhaps Yufang could have brought more and better technology and equipment to this world. But I figure that each world should retain their own culture and even if this one seems primitive, so be it as long as everyone here is free and happy.

Now, the very interesting aspect that I believe what makes this series stands out apart from other animes this season is the fact of its cool and exciting flight scenes. Whether it is just joyride or in the midst of some hot dogfight, the first person views of the flights are very thrilling. Even a casual viewer like me having no sort of interest in aviation have been charmed by the awesome and breath-taking first person flight views right from the start. I was so immersed in watching them that thinking back about it, it was as though I was in some sort of flight simulation! The visuals and views are done in a perfect manner that it really gives the viewers a great experience of what it is like to be in the cockpit of a plane.

Hence the dogfights are pretty much as exciting to watch too. Your staple fix for every episode guaranteed. Although it can be sometimes a bit farfetched that our Kotobuki girls are so skilled that they don’t usually get shot down. Maybe once in a blue moon. But other than that, they are so perfect in their shooting and flying skills that they could be the world’s greatest pilots. No wonder they are called the Magnificent Kotobuki. They live up to their name. Oh heck, I think that title is an understatement to their awesome talents. Sure, all of them got shot down in the final battle but after notching up their victory ratio to over a billion, it was probably time to bow out. It was worth it. A high score that no one can tops for a long time. Hey, can’t last forever being undefeated. The other unbelievable thing is how there are no casualties or deaths from the dogfights. Once a plane gets shot, you see smoke trails from its engine and the plane crash lands. Yeah, planes don’t explode in mid-air. They really avoided shooting the gas tank, huh? I rarely see people eject out so I’m assuming they went down with the plane. Even though the desert wasteland is vast, I don’t see wreckage of downed planes. Even the final big battle with so many planes shot down, where are those wreckages? Is it too small to see from up there?

The final battle at Ikesuka was exhilarating as well as it was exciting. But because Ikesuka looks like a typical modern urbanized city from our world, it felt so different than the rest of the other towns that we see that looked like old ranches from the wild west. So I wonder if Isao somehow managed to steal some ideas to create this big metropolis. I’m sure it wasn’t built in a day or night. However during the final battle, it felt so devoid of people. Like as though it is a giant ghost town. Such a shame with such beautiful skyscrapers and even roads, it really feels abandoned. Perhaps he has evacuated everyone. Or maybe this is one big giant personal playground Isao built for his dream world.

While there is nothing much from the overall story, I believe there is a lot more potential to be fleshed out. We mostly see the Kotobuki girls taking on job requests of certain towns and while they don’t constitute much, it does contribute a bit to the overall story and bigger picture. What could be fleshed out better is the Yufang side and it is confirmed that this world is another parallel world that exists aside from the real Earth. And since Yufang are actually the Japanese military, this feels like a plot rip-off from Gate. Instead of a single fixed portal, many random portals pop up here and there from time to time. It doesn’t help that these portals are not clearly explained except that they are gateways to Yufang’s world. Like as though they are pulled out from the air for plot convenience. Literally. But then again, more details could be clarified if this had another season.

The Kotobuki girls feel a bit shallow. Each of them has their own backgrounds and past but some are just merely touching the surface. I wish there were more meat to show the girls bond together but with the limited number of episodes, this would have replaced the cool aerial scenes and that is a definite no-no. Because of this trade off, the character development suffers. However you can still feel the closeness and bonds of the Kotobuki girls because of the amazing banter and dynamism in their conversations. Some of them are pretty witty and sarcastic especially Chika and Kylie who often don’t get along with each other and even when they do, still have time to throw a few banters at each other. Kylie gets the big bulk of the focus as we get to know her as a simple girl who just loves to fly. Her relationship with Sab makes it more intriguing and it’s like she continues to fly in hopes of looking for him one day.

Even in this world, there is deception. I thought Julia was going to be the antagonist and Isao some sort of hero but it turns out to be the other way round. Yeah, they had me fooled. Hence a valuable lesson to learn, never judge a book by its cover. Julia may look angry and sound a lot like a b*tch but that is only because of all the other men trying to bring her down and put her in place to toe the line. Understandably anyone could get this mad. Her relationship with Loulou also leaves much to be desired. It’s like a love-hate relationship between them and Loulou always keeps her cool and professionalism at all times. It is hard to see Isao as the baddie because he is always laughing and joking at all times. Even during hard times he can still make comeback lines! Not sure if this guy is the Hitler of this world because since Julia paints him in a bad light so I guess she must be right? Uh huh. Remember, don’t be fooled by appearances. If they really want to take on him, they have to be way more prepared than they are now as Isao still walk the talk and remains true to his legendary status.

Johnny. This minor character is really amazing and amusing. Better than the Hagoromo bridge crew whose names are I think puns of ABCs. His gunslinger skills are really so cool and had he been a pilot, his skills would have been even more extraordinary. This series’ mascot is a dodo bird who is supposedly the captain of Hagoromo too. I don’t see its significance except being a minor comic relief like sending messages to the Kotobuki girls. And laughing at Saneatsu’s forlorn picture of Loulou he keeps in his room.

On a trivial note, sometimes I feel that this series is more of a feminist series. Given that the politically correct era we now live in, I can’t help think about this even though I believe it is just coincidence and me overthinking. All the women here are capable, independent, strong and reliable. Even Ririko kicks ass. I have nothing against it but many of the men here are just weak and lame ass. Like the Nazarene guys are just losers. Especially that Adolfo dude who just talks big. Even when he tries to help, he’s just like useless. And he is even trying to impress and hit on Naomi? Yeah, that kind of strong girl doesn’t need this wuss. Oh wait. She did. Maybe he has some merit after all. Johnny is so gay, the mayor of Rahama is a wuss, Saneatsu is a wuss (I suppose he is doing it all out for his love for Loulou), the boss of Elite Industries is a conman and Isao is a bad guy. More than often you see females piloting on the good side, that is the side siding with Kotobuki like Camilla and Naomi. Sure, there are other guys fighting on their side too but they are so insignificant that they don’t matter. And here we assume all the faceless piloting bad guys flying on Isao’s side are males. I hope I’m just overthinking…

Like the few animes in the same season, this series is animated via CGI. However I am unsure as if to label the entire series as being done by CGI. Although the main characters like the Kotobuki girls are fully rendered in CGI (you know, you can see that one kind animation), there are some characters like the bridge crew of Hagoromo that I cannot determined if they are CGI material or not. It looks like they are your typical 2D animation but I just can’t say thanks to the lack of screen time. Overall if the CGI feels weird, at least it is not that bad. Luckily the environments and background sceneries are nice to look at despite it is mainly the desert wasteland. I guess I am really enthralled with the first person view flight experience as the animation here is seamless for a really good wholesome experience. I’m not an aviation enthusiast but I can see that they put in some details for the planes. Generally speaking, they look nice. This series is jointly animated by WAO World (Animegataris) and Gemba (Berserk – the new one).

Oddly when I first glimpsed the Kotobuki girls, I thought they reminded me of the same bunch of girls in Akanesasu Shoujo. But that is merely because Kylie has this strange resemblance to Asuka (and replace chikuwa with pancakes), Kate having this uncanny resemblance to Mia and perhaps Emma and Nana do look a bit similar. And Reona had the same seriousness tone as Yuu. It made me wonder if those Akanesasu Shoujo girls did the right frequency, would they have ended up in this strange Fragment? Well, frankly speaking, we did see our heroes and heroines fly off into the sunset. Geddit? Sunset? The twilight? Oh, never mind…

Voice acting feels fine with me only recognizing Shizuka Itou as Naomi and Keiji Fujiwara as Saneatsu. Sayumi Suzushiro as Kylie sounds so lively and amazing that it is hard to think of her as the one who voiced Oono in High Score Girl. The latter felt like it was really a waste of her talents. The other casts are Asami Seto as Reona (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Hibiku Yamamura as Zara (Sara in Island), Sayaka Nakaya as Kate (Orine in AKB0048), Eri Yukimura as Emma (debut role), Miyu Tomita as Chika (Aoi in Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou No Holmes), Akiko Yajima as Loulou (Kohaku in Inu Yasha), Ayaka Shimizu as Julia (Masaki in Sasameki Koto), Katsuyuki Onishi as Isao (Oga in Beelzebub), Kazutomi Yamamoto as Allen (Yumoto in Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu), Youji Ueda as Johnny (Kisaragi in Basilisk), Nao Touyama as Ririko (Chitoge in Nisekoi), Mai Fuchigami as Camilla (Nagisa in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu) and Rumi Ookubo as Natsuo (Aguri in Gamers).

The opening theme is Soranone by ZAQ. Nothing exciting that attracts my attention. It just sounds lively and okay, trying to breathe some sort of life into the series but I got my kicks from somewhere else during the episodes. The ending theme is Tsubasa Wo Motsumonotachi by the quintet of the Kotobuki Flight Corps. A slower and calmer pacing than the opener and although still not that appealing, it still is a good song if you’re just going on a joyride flight. There are a few fanfare and marching-like military BGMs here. If you heard Girls Und Panzer, you can have an idea what they sound like (heck, they both had the same director). Such BGMs add more thrill and excitement to the dogfights.

Overall, despite the less than stellar storyline and characters, the amazing dogfights and aerial views are the ones that blast all those minus points away. Not to say it is perfect but this is easily one of the best and favourite animes of the season. At least by comparison, still way much better than that other flight anime in the same season, Girly Air Force. To say that old is gold isn’t exactly accurate. It is all in the execution and this series did it right from the start. Truly the top flight. To quote a saying, the sky is the limit to some but to others who love aviation, the sky is their home. And truly this is where the Kotobuki Flight Corps feel at home with. Thank you for letting us fly with you and have a pleasant flight.

Murder Princess

June 28, 2019

Remember my case with Melty Lancer a short while ago? Yup. It’s the same for Murder Princess. Although this series isn’t that bad as there are still subs around the internet, I guess the panic button was pushed and so here I am. After all, alphabetically Murder Princess comes after Melty Lancer in the list of anime titles, right? Uh huh. I must have missed all the other titles that fall in between them and didn’t find them attractive. Anyway the title sounds as suspicious and intriguing because I thought it would be some crazy princess who goes around killing people using her royalty status or at least she was labelled as one when some royal family member framed her by killing the rest of the royal family and hence she has to fight her way back to reclaim her throne and innocence. I am both wrong in that instance. Instead, princess and bounty hunter switch bodies. The fight to fend off rebels from their country begins. And oh, don’t forget that royal conspiracy…

Episode 1
Alita Castilia Arago Forland meets up with her father, the king in the throne room. It seems the palace is under sieged by rebels. The king is gravely injured and he wants Alita to escape through the secret passageway into the forest. As long as their bloodline doesn’t die out, their family will continue to live on. Thank goodness he said all that before he kicked the bucket. To fool the enemies, Alita’s maid, Milano Entrasia substitutes as her as she makes her getaway. The rebels crash in. A bunch of lolis? Anna and Yuna? Make that mecha lolis. Because of their android features, it is believed that a traitor has sold the nation’s secrets and true enough it is Dr Akamashi behind this coup detat. They are given a chance to live if they surrender Alita but fighting to the death is their answer. As Alita runs through the forest, a monster kills her escorts. Run! She bumps into Falis and in her fear, accidentally fall off the cliff together. In that instance, they switch bodies. Luckily they are caught by Falis’ underlings, Dominikov and Pete Armstrong. Falis is shocked to see her own body before her and herself in the princess’ body. No time to rest and think yet as the monster is here. So Falis has Alita throw her sword to her as she cuts it down like hot knife through butter. It is explained that when both are facing death at the same time, their souls may intertwine. Alita then apologizes for bringing trouble to them and then begs for them to help save her country. Falis refuses. They are bounty hunters who do jobs for money. Alita offers anything as reward but what about collateral? She will use her own body for that. So that’s it? Enough for Falis and co to ride back to the palace and start saving the kingdom. Meanwhile, everyone is dead except the king’s aide, Jodo and Milano. Just in time for Falis and co to barge in. Akamashi’s monsters attack but Falis slices them all down. Then she dukes it out with bratty Anna and somehow manages to disable her body. Then she throws Akamashi sitting off her rightful throne and claims her right to it. So cool!

Episode 2
Yuna might be meek but when she panics, she releases a lot of weird weapons. This distraction allows the loli rebels to escape. Dominikov is suspicious since those weapons are from the old world. Alita is sad since Milano is dead. Next morning, still saddened over her death, she decides to cast away her own identity and continue to live as Milano. Then she goes to wake up Falis to get ready for the coronation ceremony. No matter how much she points to the maid as the princess, I guess the rest are playing dumb that Falis is the princess. Time to learn princess etiquette. It isn’t going to be easy seeing Falis is such a crude woman… Later Milano explains that their country’s law that a king must be crowned within a week (can’t they change this stupid law?!) and the only heirs are Alita or her brother Kaito. However he is away in another kingdom for military service and cannot be contacted. Milano hopes Falis will take the throne till he comes back. After all, the pact still hasn’t end yet as the rebels haven’t given up. In exchange for doing this, Falis will gain everything she has lost. I don’t know how Anna got the plans for the coronation procession but she did and they will as expected attack and kidnap Alita then. Falis is coronate as king (from now on, I’ll refer to her as Alita for easier reference). Jodo wonders if this is okay and Milano believes this is the only way. That night when she was running away in the forest, she already lost her title and her identity. She has given everything to Falis in exchange to save this country. Hence right now she is only her maid. Alita accepts her role but still acts a bit crude, confusing the crowd. A parade is held and Alita finds this country to be quite nice thanks to all its friendly people. As expected, the Akamashi unleashes his giant Frankenstein to attack. Time for Alita to go into action. She slices and dices with ease so Yuna shoots some booster into the monster. It’s like Alita herself has her own booster as she powers up into a merciless killing machine. By the time Dominikov confronts the rebels, they escape again. Even when the monster is down, Alita continues to kill it. Then when a kid is close by, Alita tries to strike her but Milano protects her, willing to be cut down. In that instant, Alita returns to her senses and although has no recollections of what she was doing, regrets what she was about to do. Milano calms her down by hugging her. In the aftermath, Alita’s actions have earned the people’s trust but Alita knows that the stronger one is Milano.

Episode 3
Milano tells Alita about Kaito. A very good swordsman but left on an expedition for a peace negotiation in a neighbouring country. Hey, that country is just next door. It’s not like it’s half a continent away?! Milano continues to sing praises of his kindness and loyalty but then the thought of passing the throne back to him, what would become of Alita? When Alita accidentally breaks a doll, they start quarrelling. WTF Milano blaming her she doesn’t understand her feelings?! Of course she don’t! How long did you guys met?! Thanks to the battered army, just in time for Alita to head out and lose some steam and kill some goblins making ruckus in some valley. She leaves with Dominikov while Pete stays back to accompany Milano. Jodo tells Milano not to blame Alita. The doll was given by the original Milano to the original princess Alita and though he is glad she still treasures it, the new Alita doesn’t share those same feelings. While praying in the church, those loli rebels manage to sneak a monster inside and kidnap her?! When Pete comes to rescue, one punch was enough to knock him down. WTF???!!! IS HE THIS WEAK???!!! Good thing Alita just finished kicking goblins’ ass and heard the news from Jodo that Milano has been taken hostage to the northern ruins. The lolis interrogate Milano. They know she is not the maid because they killed her. They believe she could be someone else and the one holding the key. They try to scare her enough not to kill her (although eventually they threaten they will) but as long Milano keeps her mouth shut, she thinks it will be fine. Alita leaves Dominikov and Pete to fight the monsters outside as she heads in. However she is told to drop her weapons lest she wants Milano dead. She does so and gets pounded by the monster. Anna mocks Alita that she may have some secret because a princess coming to save a mere maid. Alita shuts her up by replying she made a promise to save this country regardless to whom she made it. She’ll protect everything! Just in time for some guy to drop in, cut off the monster’s arm, disarm the lolis, free Milano, bring her to reunite with Alita (for some yuri hug), let them ride away to escape on his horse and then finish up the monster. Yeah… As expected the loli rebels run away when the going gets tough. Heck, even the other monsters know how to retreat?! Of course not surprisingly that guy is revealed to be Kaito. Awkward. Does he know who his real sister is? Awkward for Alita to welcome back his onii-sama…

Episode 4
A pre-coronation party is held. As explained by Dominikov, once the coronation is over, Alita and her subordinates will leave the palace and travel. This is because if she stays with Kaito, sooner she will be exposed as a fake. It is better for things to cool down while they’re away before returning. Hence Alita talks to Kaito that she is leaving for a journey after this. Big brother hugs her and wishes her well. Meanwhile we see Akamashi and the twins in the party. Where the heck is security check?! They’re supposed to be the highest on the alert list and here they got in so easily by just change of clothes?! WTF???!!! Milano is looking for Alita in her room but notices she left a note of apology and ‘fixed’ the doll. Meanwhile Alita is being led by this strange woman to a secret passage underneath the palace. Took some time for Alita to be suspicious about her and when she does, Cecilia forces her hand to activate something. Cecilia then attacks her. Milano and Alita’s subordinates continue to look for Alita. Strange, she left her sword behind. Oh look. Oil lamp trails. Lead to dead end AKA secret passageway. You know what this means. They arrive in time to throw Alita’s sword to her. Enough for her to slash out of Cecilia’s grasp and make a run for it. And damn, now they run into the loli rebels. Do we have time for this?! Anna hints about Alita being the key to Teoria. And just when Akamashi is about to have the rare moment of opening his mouth to explain that, he gets killed by Cecilia’s dark knight!!! WTF???!!! Lolis become sad-cum-enraged with his death but gets easily incapacitated. When Cecilia unmasks herself, Alita remembers her as the culprit who burnt her village and killed her people. Now it’s Alita’s turn to attack but with the dark knight defending her, she cannot cut through his magically infused thick armour. The battle then reaches the party. Milano thinks their worries are over as she calls out to Kaito for help. Surprise but not surprise, Kaito is the dark knight! He then accuses them of being the real rebels, conspiring with Akamashi to commit treachery and replacing the real Alita with an imposter. He orders the guards to arrest them. Milano is paralyzed in shock so I guess it’s this series’ specialty for them to make their escape via simple smokescreen. The next day, Kaito is crowned the king, much to the crowd’s delight while our heroes-cum-rebels are resting at the outskirts of the kingdom.

Episode 5
Kaito and Cecilia order a nationwide search for the traitors. Luckily they manage to get help from a group of travelling performers thanks to Pete’s kindness in helping their caravan out when stuck. With them hiding the rebels, they are able to easily pass checkpoints. Yeah, those guards sure didn’t do a thorough job. And since when did Jodo join the rebels?! As they rest, it gets awkward for the lolis since they’re once enemies now they’re allies? So they relate about Akamashi’s struggle. He was a scientist of a kingdom when his research was suddenly halted. Then he met Cecilia who introduced him to several lost technologies. That was when he created the lolis via that lost technologies. And when Teoria came into light, that is when he began executing his plan. The rest is history. But now they realize they have all been used by Cecilia. Dominikov demonstrates his own android abilities. This is the same lost technologies as the lolis but his and Pete’s are different as they are not completely robots. They are bioorganic forms infused with lost technologies. Hence Teoria is lost technology. Milano then explains the legend of how this world was created. Gods fighting, they cried at the end, their tears flooded the world, water gone, life appeared. Yeah, sounds pretty far-fetched. Humans then pop up and started living and now they are in the 672nd year of the Shandena Era. Before that, human civilization reached the peak of science and arts. The ability to even control time?! It was all thanks to the power of Teoria. But due to their constant wars, Teoria went out of control and human civilization ended. The few survivors sealed Teoria away and in time it was forgotten. Of course not all have forgotten of it as its arts were bequeathed to a certain country’s royal family. Jodo and Milano are forced to admit and apologize a secret they have been keeping for them. They do have the key that would unlock Teoria that is located underneath their palace. However the key can be handed to only female successors. It’s a good thing they had male successors all the while, eh? And does it activate when the female reach a certain age? Because why now instead of when Alita was born? It is believed Kaito betrayed them for this power that could literally change the world. Yeah, create a world the way you want it.

Storytelling time is over since the royal army is hot on their tail. Did they take too long to tell? As they run, the lolis ran out of juice so Dominikov and Pete try to stall them. They transform into their true hideous monster form to fight Cecilia and her army. As the caravan reaches near the body, I wonder how Kaito was able to ride this fast ahead of them? With the caravan toppled, Milano tries to be the decoy and runs away. Yeah, Kaito took the bait and caught her. This guy who committed the biggest betrayal dislikes being tricked like this?! However he can’t kill her. Milano’s piercing gaze looks familiar. And when she calls him a traitor, he is shocked to realize this is his real sister. Alita who was weakened and injured since the end of last episode, somehow manages to draw out her strength to save Milano. How the f*ck did she cut through Kaito’s thick armour and even injure him???!!! Is this the power of yuri???!!! Then it’s like since both sides are weakened, let’s call it even, let’s withdraw. WTF… And Cecilia calling the retreat order? I thought they’re not supposed to fail in this mission to capture the traitors? Alita has this nicely timed flashback. Cecilia killing her father or master before her eyes as he protected her. She vowed revenge and picked up his sword. This timely flashback has Alita remember why she became a bounty hunter. Realizing that she and Milano are now facing their destinies, they are not going to run away and will face it. This means returning to the palace once more.

Episode 6
With many of the guards thinking they have crossed to another nation, looks like there aren’t many around and hence they’ll use this chance to strike. But first, Alita and Milano talk things out. Alita has decided on what she wants as a reward: Her body back via Teoria’s power. They will go back to their old ways and of course she will still keep her promise. As the gang infiltrate the palace, Alita faces off with Cecilia. She asks why she burnt down her village. Oh, for fun. Just to test out her new power she got. As they fight, Cecilia zaps her but thank goodness for Milano throwing her doll as distraction. You mean the doll didn’t break at this impact?! WTF?! Anyway the distraction was enough for them to head to the Teoria room. Too bad Kaito catches them and forces Alita to open the door. Inside, he activates Teoria and wishes for the world to be destroyed! Alita has her second bout with Cecilia and this time she manages to destroy the crystal that is the source of her power. Turning Cecilia into an old hag before she bites the dust. Literally, turning into dust. Kaito explains why he wants to world destroyed. He is sick with all the wars and constant fighting and with them clinging on to lost technologies, is there any value in this kind of world? Well, he’s got a point but… For some reason, Alita goes into her berserk mode and only the voice of Milano easily snapped her out? With Kaito defeated, Alita explains there is a princess who is willing to risk everything just to make her happy. That itself is enough for her to find this sh*tty world to be worth protecting. But if Teoria is activated, can it be stopped? Oh, Jodo says it can with a switch! WTF?! Did the sealers create this in mind that this would happen???!!! Of course the only caveat is that everything related to lost technology will cease to exist. This means Dominikov, Pete and the lolis will disappear. Oh Alita, don’t waver now. So we hear Dominikov making his peace with her. Do it. As products of lost technologies, they aren’t supposed to be in this era. They’ve lived long enough to know that. And he explains it so well to the lolis and they’re like, “Okay, bye-bye”. Wow. Better go off with a cute smile, huh? Alita does so and with Teoria stopped activating, all lost technologies related beings disappear. In the aftermath, both ladies realize they failed to swap back their bodies. Alita will continue to live like this for a while and protect the country until they figure things out. And so with an enemy nation attacking, Alita does best what she does as she heads to the battleground to slice them all up, hence earning her the legendary nickname of Murder Princess. Good job for that title to send shivers down your enemies’ spine.

Battle Princess Alita
I guess it wasn’t all that bad. The story is clear cut and simple and doesn’t have anything long and complicated so it is easy to digest. So if you are hoping for really drawn out stories with convoluted plot twists (heh, I saw Kaito as the dark knight betrayer twist coming from a mile ago) or very long complicated character histories, this series isn’t going to cut it. Yeah, you’re going to need anime series to be as long as One Piece or Naruto or even Black Clover to drag things out. So I can’t complain with that kind of ending. Alita and Milano continue to reside in each other’s bodies because I figure if they somehow return to their original bodies, everything would just really, really, really, really, really end there. They part and that’s it. Sounds bittersweet. Because at least with them still being in switcheroo mode, it gives this sort of excuse for them to be together. For how long it may take. And they also ‘wrap up’ nicely her subordinates and the lolis by conveniently disappearing with the cessation of Teoria so that you don’t have to wonder what they’ll be doing in the aftermath. I mean, it would look weird and suspicious if a bunch of ghouls and lolis hang out with our princess, right?

Like I’ve said, the story is simple but so much so there are quite a few WTF moments that will make you raise an eyebrow or in my case, start laughing. From as simple as the numerous times they have to return to the palace (like as though this is the main setting of this series) as if fate always draws them back here (from the princess’ first escape to the final return to fight the final boss scene). Then there’s the use of Teoria which sounds just as suspicious and shady as it is. I think they want to give some sort of story to what this super power is but the execution just feels laughable. I mean, when those human survivors decided to seal it, you mean they also foresee that those greedy descendants will also want to use it for their own selfish reasons? Isn’t that why somehow there is a switch to deactivate it all despite the popular belief that once it is activated it cannot be stopped? And once deactivated, can it not activate again? Because from what I see, it’s like it is forever lost. Yup. Truly lost technologies now. WTF, dude???!!! It’s like I’ve got a wish to change the wold, and then changed my mind. Heck, this means Teoria is only good for one use!!! Like WTF???!!! If that was going to be the case, should have destroyed it instead of sealing it in the first place!!! Yeah, I don’t know what those humans were thinking. It’s like they want to save humanity but let’s just keep this little power just in case. Just in case… Or maybe not… Make up your mind!!!

Sometimes it feels more like annoying and a comedy too with certain scenes especially those that involve Akamashi and his lolis. They come into the picture for a while and then when the going gets tough, they do their best tactic ever which is to escape. And they’ve been doing this for a while for the first half of this series that sometimes I think it’s a running joke. And for them to be able to this again and again for a while, damn the kingdom’s security must be really flawed. I know they give excuse that the recent coup detat has decimated their main forces but allowing this to happen feels more like a joke than anything serious. Damn, the clincher was when they entered the pre-coronation party. These people should be on the wanted posters everywhere!!! Speaking about the royal army, I guess they’re a joke too because they’re so weak and useless I’m thinking that they are newly recruited amateurs. I guess all those really good ones died along with the previous king, huh?

When the princess and the bounty hunter first switched souls, the mind boggling thing is how Alita is now suddenly able to pull off her fighting moves with ease and flexibility. I am assuming that the original princess does not work out or train in ways of the martial arts so I don’t believe her body was able to adapt so quickly to fit the bounty hunter’s deadly techniques. Yeah, in this sense it doesn’t make much sense. Heck, when they swapped bodies, their voices also swapped. This leaves only their body as the outer shell while everything else from personality to skill is switched. Probably that is why it was so confusing for me at first. And before I know it, I got used to them as they are. Note, if they’re really desperate to change back to their original bodies, perhaps they can try another near-death experience? Say, fall off the cliff together again? Yeah, who knows if it would work again and besides, I think they got used to and liked their new bodies so it’s no use trying this risky scientifically unproven (heh) stuff because it’s the same like using Teoria to destroy the world, right?!

Character wise, nothing really deep about them. Alita and Milano are an odd pair due to their circumstances. It is hinted there is some budding yuri relationship between them. After all, they’ve spent some time together. In each other’s bodies. So what is there not to slowly grow to like the other? Yeah, it might be confusing at times if they make out with each other. Are they masturbating, because they’re like playing with themselves? Haha! Oops, went too far… Alita’s past is simple. Just motivated to become a bounty hunter for revenge and she finally got it. But it is never explained well about her berserk mode that allows her to have temporary boost of her power. Does that only happen when Milano is in danger and it puts stress on her mind and hence this mode? Well, good thing Milano was able to stop it otherwise she would really live up to her Murder Princess nickname. Yuri power banzai! As long as Milano is by her side, anything is okay. And yeah, Milano = maid character!!! Huzzah! I approve!!! The past between Alita, Dominikov and Pete is also never explained. How did she team up with those guys? It would have been interesting to see how they pair up but it won’t matter now since they’re gone. Dominikov feels like for plot convenience, at least he is there to explain things while Pete as the gentle giant so as to tell us that not all such big brutes are dangerous creatures.

The funny thing about Akamashi is that I wonder if he is a shy person or not. Because at points he is seen whispering into Anna’s ear for her to explain to the rest (and us) about things. I thought he had no voice but at very rare times, we do hear him speak. Besides, I wonder if Akamashi’s faceless expression is permanent. He has this boring look on his face that screams, “Damn this is troublesome, I don’t want to do this sh*t”. Yeah, it does give off that feel. Funny. But not as funny when he was instantly killed off. That moment for me was like, oh sh*t, you really kidding me?! Not kidding. Dead scientist for sure. The lolis are there for some loli cuteness. Even though they are androids and not supposed to have feelings I suppose they do because we need to sympathize with them. Because Anna said they aren’t supposed to have taste when they ate food but they do anyway so I’m assuming they too have feelings since Anna is the brat while Yuna is the shy one. But they look like they’re handling it well with Akamashi’s death. It’s not like they’re so overly emotional about it and even when it’s time to disappear, they’re cool with that. Yeah, maybe they do have feelings but not a wide range.

I wonder what will happen to Kaito now. Will he still be the rule of his country? I mean, he wanted the world to be destroyed. Didn’t get that wish. Now he is stuck ruling his sh*tty country in this sh*tty world. But then again, with Alita taking the frontlines of the battlefield as their fighting princess, could Kaito have been exiled? I mean, it’s not like the people found out about his treachery, right? Did they? The last we know is that Alita’s side have been branded traitors. Maybe somewhere in the epilogue that wasn’t shown, things were explained to the people. Otherwise, how would Alita have led the royal army to fight the enemies?

One of the reasons why I wanted to watch this series was because I read it was action packed. Well… Not exactly. Sure there are action bits but they aren’t from start to finish. Not to say they are shown sparingly either but at least in every episode you are guaranteed to see Alita go into some sort of sword swinging action. But the action sequences aren’t really top-notched either. Sometimes a bit laughable. Like when Alita slashes Akamashi’s monsters, it all feels so easy like as though she is cutting through just waves of mindless monsters whose sole existence is to be cut down like that. Dominikov and Pete don’t really do anything much since we focus more on Alita so they’re relegated to fighting whatever small fries in the background while Alita takes the bigger slice of the cake. This series has blood too but nothing that would really spook you. I think blood is ‘necessary’ so that you can see how it somewhat lives up to its namesake title when you see blood stains all over Alita’s white princess dress. I think Milano is doing a great job as a maid removing those stains every time…

The art and drawing aren’t anything to shout about. Came out in the last decade (year 2007 to be precise) so everything looks dated like from that era. The character designs, the monsters and even the fantasy setting. Some characters do look weird, though. Like Jodo whom I thought is some leprechaun without the trademark Irish green lucky clover hat. With that kind of serious looks, I thought Jodo would be some sort of traitor but thankfully nope. Then there’s Dominikov whom I thought is some discount version of Ghost Rider. I mean, did his design take inspiration from that? At least his bike on fire wheels made me think so. And Pete is he looking like some kind of punk rock golem? Well, don’t judge a book by its cover? I’ve already said about Akamashi’s look, having this boring outlook expression. How can you not identify this dude as he is the only one in the country with this broomstick hair?! When the dark knight (no relations to Batman whatsoever) first appeared, the first thing I thought was damn, how this guy looks like Overlord’s Ains-sama! More accurately, Momon! They are also dual handed sword wielders. Did Overlord take inspiration from this design? Because Overlord also have dark elf twins and was it these android loli twins they also get their inspiration from? This anime is made by Bee Train who did Tsubasa Chronicle, Noir and Madlax.

It’s nice to hear a few recognizable seiyuus lending their talents here. Oh, just Romi Paku as Alita/Falis, Ami Koshimizu as Milano/Alita and Chiwa Saitou doing twin roles as Anna and Yuna. The rest of the small casts are Kazuki Yao as Dominikov (Franky in One Piece), Akimitsu Takase as Pete (Tamotsu Kodate in Fafner), Takkou Ishimori as Jodo (Sengoku in One Piece), Megumi Toyoguchi as Cecilia (Revy in Black Lagoon), Daisuke Namikawa as Kaito (Mystogan in Fairy Tail) and Hiroshi Tsuchida as Akamashi (Grisha in Shingeki No Kyojin).

The opening theme is Hikari Sasuhou by Back-On. Typical hard rock music that suits this series. However, somehow hearing this song reminds me of hearing that American punk rock band, Green Day. I don’t know. Perhaps people who sing like that sound like that to me. And oh, also this reminds me a bit of Linkin Park because there’s a little rapping in this hard rock piece. As for the ending theme, Naked Flower, it is very rare to hear Romi Paku sing. I’m not saying that it sounds bad but she is one of those few seiyuus I know that don’t really have that kind of singing voice (I hate to admit it, because my utmost favourite Mamiko Noto’s voice also isn’t suited for singing). So rare that the only other time she sang was one of those ending songs for Ueki No Housoku. Yeah, it’s so long ago that I’ve forgotten about it that I Google it. But this ending theme in general is quite nice since it has that Latin vibe to it and those killer violins at the start.

Overall, looks like another one of those anime series resting in the back burners of my mind being checked off the list. With only 6 episodes in total, I guess I can’t really complain and b*tch about the simple story and characters since I do have to admit that I enjoyed watching this series despite some of the WTF moments that made me want to laugh. The action scenes are supposed to be the big draw but it didn’t really quite cut it for me and it felt more like just to showcase why Alita is badass enough to slice and dice with her sword while still in her princess dress. I wonder if Disney is thinking of incorporating her as part of the official Disney Princess line-up because she sure does kick ass with style like some of them. But then, not likely since Star Wars’ Princess Leia is still waiting her turn and most unlikely she’ll be that part of that elite group ;p. Don’t want to market to kids bloody stained dresses of a princess with an equally bloody sword now, do we? Kill Bill this isn’t either…

Mob Psycho 100 S2

June 22, 2019

I see that this got a second season first than the much anticipated One Punch Man. Don’t worry, that series got its sequel the next season after Mob Psycho 100 S2 premiered. So before we get to see the superhero who could end everything in a single punch, we need to see how the most powerful middle school esper continues to live his life normally. Also, there’s the threat of that super esper organization, Claw vying for world dominance. Can Mob live his normal school life and thwart their schemes? More importantly, can he finally confess to his one true love, Tsubomi?

Episode 1
Reigen and Mob see a farmer client who believes a spirit is haunting his crops. Because he cannot pay in terms of monetary since his son will be starting school, Reigen agrees to a cut from his crops. There is indeed a spirit stealing nutrients from the crops and because it sucks its life force, it can control the plants to its will. So when Mob gets ‘eaten’ by it, he thought of the same thing too and uses this tactic against the spirit. With the exorcism over, they are paid in some seeds and fertilizers. Reigen thought he could do a side business of selling tomatoes but with Mob accelerating its growth, it tastes like crap. That’s the end of that business. Meanwhile Mezato and a few members are trying to uncover the origins of their cult’s leader. She wants to promote Mob but needs to perk him up first. Hence she convinces him to run for student council president under the pretence that he can close the gap with Tsubomi. Even if he is just to give a speech, does Mob need to go through all the rigorous forest training? Too bad he froze during his turn. Said nothing. Even Kamuro who resigned as the president is trying to make a comeback with a cleaner image. Mob then receives a love letter from a girl named Emi. She claims she was impressed how he mustered his courage to go up there despite being uncomfortable and had fallen for him. Wow. Mob now has a girlfriend?! Of course he is still reluctant to tell her about his exorcism job in fear that she would find it creepy. When Emi shows him a novel she wrote, he thought it is good. However Emi has doubts of their relationship after a week. She thinks he is dating her out of pity because when she confessed he rejected her. She can tell he ran for president was because somebody told him to. She is as guilty of him. The reason she asked him out was because of a dare by her friends. But since Mob walked home with her, they never found out she was initially rejected. She leaves as Mob thinks back all the times they spent together. Then he sees Emi’s friends badmouthing this crappy novel she wrote. Then they rip it apart. Mob then starts picking up all the shredded pieces and this freaks the friends out. Because Mob has decided to be clear with his feelings and pick up things that are important. The friends leave as Emi joins Mob to pick up the pieces. Otherwise it will be littering. When the wind blows away their hard work, Mob uses his powers to gather and glue them back together. He reveals he is an esper and Emi thanks him. Little do they know, Tsubomi is watching and she is glad it turned out well.

Episode 2
Reigen thinks of increasing his business by going to a town that has been posting several urban legends. So he is setting up office in the middle of the streets? Of course the local exorcist, Banshomaru Shinra isn’t happy since this is his turf and this means business rivalry. But they have to put that aside when a woman seeks their help. At first she thought it was a stalker issue but as the days past, she gets this very eerie feeling. Could it be that the urban legends are causing the rise of such cases? With her plea to get rid of the urban legends, Reigen and Shinra split up to make their job easier. Shinra is on the case of a ghost in a red raincoat. Turns out to be some creepy flasher but the way Shinra asks about especially young girls, they think he is the culprit. Call the cops! Meanwhile Reigen and Mob confront the dog with a human face. Turns out that naught kids just drew on its face. Yeah, the old grandpa owner appreciates their help to wash his dog. Shinra chases the pervert in the woods. He falls to his trap of being tasered. While bragging of the invincibility in stalking others, it suddenly gets spooky around. A strange woman asks him if he is thirsty and before he knows it, he gets dragged down into the pond. Luckily Shinra still has enough strength to try and stop her but it is not enough. Only thanks to Dimple possessing him that he is able to move like the wind. Until Shinra’s body cannot hold out, Dimple calls for help. Thank goodness Reigen and Mob arrive in time to put down this Dragger. However she is not easily defeated. As she is created by fear and curiosity, her personality is technically designed by humans and hence cannot be exorcised. Also, powers used in fear only empower its source. Reigen calls for a retreat. But Mob attacks and surprisingly defeats her. It is because Mob is detached from urban legends and fads, he has no idea what makes such spirits scary. And just like that, the Dragger is put to rest. All that is left is the dashing granny urban legend. With the granny seen rushing towards them in a narrow tunnel, Mob thinks she is the most powerful since his power has no effect on her! They run but granny catches up and zooms past. Yeah, just some normal granny running. Mob is devastated he lost to a grandma because he runs every day and this only shows there were no improvements… Back at office, Reigen has completed his website. Looks crappy…

Episode 3
A client bugs Reigen for a curse. He was reluctant to give at first but fakes one just to get him off his tail. The client warns if it is fake, he will curse him. But this has Mob thinking even if it is a lie, does it mean he is going to live like that forever under this impression? Next they visit a woman who feels a ghost is stalking her. She sees a shadow from her window but the thing is there is no balcony outside. They check it out to see if there are any other tricks (like hanging ropes) but then the spirit pops up! Freak out time! However Mob can sense it comes from the neighbour next door and is using some out of body experience. They confront him and he throws a tantrum about his love for her. He is arrested and Mob is surprised the woman who was initially scared of the ghost suddenly changed her character once she discovered it was only human. A group of graduates seek their help as protection as they want to go to a haunted place to take pictures for memories. Fearing evil spirits, that’s why they seek Reigen’s help. Of course nothing much happens and when Reigen asks for payment, they scoff him off as a scam that he didn’t do anything and even abandon them there! Next day as Mob heads to school, a couple of bullies want to extort from him. Dimple possesses him to strip himself naked. He only stops because Mob tells him not too. Still, this jerk doesn’t learn his lesson and continues to extort. This time Ritsu uses his powers on him. If that is not enough, Musashi and his Body Building Club buddies surround this loser. Got a problem? Now the jerk runs away. They advise Mob to fight back when necessary.

Those graduates return. Yeah, there’s a ghost in the picture. Now they change their tune and want Reigen’s help to exorcise. Before Mob could begin, he hears the spirit’s voice. The father claims they are harmless and despite the family died in a tragic accident, they want to live like this peacefully until it is the right time to ascend. Mob is in a dilemma since the clients are pushy since they are being paid to exorcise. Mob really doesn’t want to destroy them. Dimple pokes fire by telling the ghost to kill the clients and hence they cannot exorcise them when they’re dead. But the father won’t. He begs not to make him do something horrific in front of his family. This only makes Mob feel more conflicted. If he protects the ghost family, this means the clients will get hurt instead. That is when Reigen realizes what is happening. To Mob, humans the spirits are part of his life and he is equally close to both of them. He throws salt at the pushy clients and tells them the exorcism is over. Back in office, Dimple notices a curse on Reigen’s back. Must be from that earlier guy. He lets Dimple eat it. Reigen contemplates on the different things Mob can see and he might see something more terrifying than ever. He understood that there are things different from the norm. As for Mob, he continues to think deep about the possibility he might use his powers for evil to eradicate humans than spirits.

Episode 4
Reigen and Mob are one of the many psychics gathered by a rich CEO for a job. Among the psychics are Shinra, Kirin Jodo the president of some spiritual union and the former Scar member who is trying to turn over a new leaf, Matsuo. Masashi Asagiri is willing to any amount to anyone who can save his daughter, Minori who is possessed by a spirit. Reigen beats everyone via rock-scissors-paper to go first. From the way he talks to her, it sounds like her dad abuses her. This has the other psychics think he is using this supernatural excuse to change their relationship. However Reigen points out Minori is possessed by a real nasty spirit. He can tell from her inconsistent words she used and despite being the first time they met, she knew he is a psychic despite not introducing himself. The gig is up as the glass breaks. Minori is indeed possessed. Dimple is scared and wants them to run while they can. He knows this isn’t just an ordinary evil spirit and in fact, Keiji Mogami. He was a super psychic but died 40 years ago. Dimple was almost exorcised by him. Despite being viewed as an entertainer by the public, he was actually an assassin. What broke him was the high medical cost and treatment needed for his ailing mother. When he was about to exorcise Dimple, he wanted to absorb him and become the most evil vengeful spirit and teach everyone a lesson. It was by a stroke of luck that Dimple escaped his wrath. Even Jodo got possessed as Mogami runs wild. Reigen’s knee kick may help for a while but soon Mogami is back up strangling him and Mob’s powers can’t do anything. Father hugs Minori and tells her to stop but is stabbed instead. Now the psychics panic. The door is locked. Mogami is going to kill them all. Shinra tries to fight but Mogami contorts Minori’s body in ways unimaginable to defeat him. Mob has an idea to force Mogami out using out of body experience. His body will be defenceless them so he hopes they can protect it. Once Mob’s spirit is out, Mogami tries to attack. Reigen gets owned but Dimple possesses Mob’s body to fight back. When the moment is right, Mob enters into Minori’s body. He comes face to face with Mogami. It might look like Mob easily defeating Mogami but it was just to test his abilities. Mogami easily pounds Mob and tells how human emotions determine spiritual powers. He believes those with negative emotions hold better chance to have more powerful spiritual power. Mogami then alters Mob’s memories. He is now a normal school kid who can’t use his powers. He wants to see how Mob goes about without them.

Episode 5
In this illusionary world, Mob is bullied to the core. Minori is the leader of the bully pack and Ritsu doesn’t even care about his own brother. Despite all the torment, Mob remains patient and never used his powers for his own good. This has Mogami expanding his own sad story that because his mother’s treatment wasn’t enough, he had to resort to assassination for money. Even so, mother died. In her evil spirit form, she blamed him that all this happened because of the actions he took. That is why he is going to use his powers for himself and punish those who bring misfortune to others. He wants Mob to do the same and avoid ending up like him. Meanwhile Dimple is shocked that Reigen puts his trust in Mob to do the job and won’t run away. This has Dimple decide to enter Minori and help Mob. The barrier by Mogami is too strong and he could only get in with the help of Matsuo. Just when Mob is on the verge of losing it and using his powers to retaliate, here comes Dimple to lecture him. The sinker is when he mentions Tsubomi will be sad to see him like this. With that, Mob’s memories return. Mogami is disappointed but Mob agrees in some way that the world is cruel. But he is blessed and that’s why he needs to be more thankful to everyone around him when he gets back. Because of them, he was able to change and get a little stronger. Talking is over and now it’s an epic spirit battle. Oh my. Mob’s emotions reaching 100%, he’s like going Super Saiyan!!! Mob looks like a different person altogether! Oh sh*t! The fight is just getting to freaky and abstract! Even though Mogami loses, this means all the evil spirits in his vessel are freed. They go on a rampage but Mob is determined to purify everyone and save Minori (since he heard her cries for help). In the end, Mob goes over 100% and his abstract form might give Goku a run for his money. WTF is this?! Mob then wakes up. Welcome back. Mogami tries to escape but is captured by Matsuo. Minori regains consciousness and is very apologetic to Mob. But Mob is fine. Because of this meeting, he gets to change others and she gets to change. In the aftermath, Minori is interested in Mob although her dad didn’t recall hiring any boy her age for the job. But he did try to find out more about him and stumbled on this cult’s lame website. Yeah, they’re still struggling with the donations…

Episode 6
Mob is hanging out nicely with his club members when Reigen calls for an urgent job. Fun ruined. Despite warning Reigen about making such calls on short notices, Reigen still needs him. Luckily his friends understand. After another successful exorcism, Mob reminds him that he too has a life. However Reigen this time went too far. He says his club activities doesn’t constitute as life and shouldn’t be easily taken advantage by others. He also adds that his friends are only in the way and don’t understand him, hence only mocking him as weak. Mob argues back what he said is wrong. Now he understands that not everything he said is true. Reigen has dug his own grave. With Mob getting used to his private life, Reigen is busier than ever. Luckily they’re all easy jobs and Reigen is confident that the lonely kid will come back to him. He even gets confident thinking he can make it without that kid since this business he solely built it up himself. But one day he is shocked to see him hang out with friends. Dimple says he is living life just fine without him. Reigen mocks Dimple that he will forever be Mob’s pet at this rate while he himself goes on to do something big. Suit yourself. Back home, Reigen has serious thoughts about this. He goes check his social media. Oh, a message. Happy birthday. No birthday wishes. Except from mom. Still nagging him to get married… And she sends him some job recruitment ad as present… Oh mom… Then he heads to a bar where all scam victims patron. Because of his random advice, they respect him. However his plan backfires since he realizes he really had no friends. He now truly sees this is going to a bad direction and needs to shape up. Hence he soon changes. He widens his job scope like picking up trash and giving free seminars. Then there is some online ghost player that no exorcist want to take up the job. Reigen burnt the midnight oil to level up and even make lots of in-game purchases to finally beat that ghost player! Because of that, his popularity skyrockets to a point he gets magazine interviews and now a live national TV interview. Of course this is set up by Jodo who seeks revenge after that humiliating defeat on Minori’s case. Yeah, Reigen knee kicked him in the gut when Mogami possessed him.

Episode 7
There is a kid who is possessed by Kokkuri and it is Jodo’s job to exorcise it. However he wants Reigen to do it. Initially reluctant, upon hearing Jodo will then stick to the script, Reigen wants to do it. He thinks this is all part of an act and just needs to do some flashy moves. For 30 minutes, nothing happened. Time for Jodo to step in. He can’t exorcise because the kid is not possessed! The kid then reveals so. Now the focus is on Reigen. What was he doing? Was that a new dance? Jodo has all the perfect sarcasm each time Reigen tries to make an excuse. The final nail in the coffin: When Reigen says there was Beethoven’s ghost? Jodo: *Answering to the tone of Beethoven’s 5th symphony!*. Yeah, that really killed him. Reigen is now all over the news as a scam artist. When a friend brings this up to Mob, he believes this is all part of Reigen’s plan (getting the wrong idea of course). Reigen tries to fix his image but you know, the more you try to do so on the internet, the more you get burnt. Even his bar buddies all abandon him. When reporters are stalking outside his house, he runs. But he accepts when they suggest holding a press conference. But his mind went blank so screw it as Reigen returns to his normal self. The bottom line is, they can’t prove he has no spiritual powers and so are those so called ‘victims’. He won’t say he has them either because he knows the media will not accept unless it is no. Reigen continues to answer their questions until one brings up an essay he wrote back in school that he wanted to become somebody. His mind went blank. Flashbacks shows he quit his job and did this for fun. He was considering his next move until Mob came in to complain how to control his powers. Thinking it was a prank, Reigen listens and throws him some generic advice to be a good person. Mob is impressed, though. But when Reigen sees how he used his power to saved his spilled cup, this was when Reigen realizes he was something. He wanted to grab that something for himself too. But in the end, he realizes he didn’t change and tried to cage Mob in. He only kept using him. Reigen leaves the media stumped when he leaves a message for Mob that he has grown. Suddenly all the equipment start floating. Is this his power?! They are panicking but Reigen walks out. The conference is over. Hope you guys find your next big news. Reigen stumbles into Mob on his way back. Reigen prepares for the worst when Mob says he has always known his true identity. That is, a good person. Looks like they’re back on good terms again.

Episode 8
Mezato is glad the cult is gaining followers and popularity. All that is left is for Mob to show up as the leader. Hence she calls him to use his powers and win the annual marathon with style. Of course he won’t do that and will do it on his own. Mob gets even determined to a point it shocks Dimple because he realizes he needs to finish in the top 10 so he can confess to Tsubomi! Hence, Mob begins his training with all his pals supporting him. Even Reigen gives him time off and helps jog with him. Yeah, this guy lacks exercise too. Ritsu and Teru even fill in for Mob’s job. But Ritsu has to hide when he sees Tsubomi coming in as a client! Actually, her friend Miki needs some love advice. Reigen dispenses his love advice and eventually Tsubomi too asks some questions pertaining to love. Later Tsubomi tells Miki her questions were fake just to test if Reigen was the real deal. It doesn’t look like he is a bad guy. She notices Mob in one of Reigen’s wall photos. Marathon day is here and as it begins, the tussling has Mob falling and scrapping his knee. He is so determined that he gets up and continues running. Dimple suggests cheating and Reigen is also here to provide his support but with Mob being so focused, nothing will change his mind. Unfortunately he passes out and is taken into the infirmary. He might not have finished the race but he impressed a lot of people because he kept going. Back home, Ritsu thought Mob is at the door (you mean nobody waited to get him at school?) but to his horror it is Shou. When Mob gets back, he is shocked to see his house on fire. So shocked that he walks into the burning house and stays positive that his family is still alive. But when Dimple says there were signs of break in at the front door, Mob fears the family might have been kidnapped. But when he opens the next room, he sees a burning corpse… Oh no. Mob turning Super Saiyan in his rage!

Episode 9
Dimple reasons that the corpse is a dummy. But Mob will not rest until he finds the culprits. He uses his power to detect them and then beats the hell out of them for info. Before more of their buddies could come as reinforcements, Koyama and Sakurai takes Mob away to their hideout. It seems Reigen is the boss of the former members of Scar’s 7th division! So that esper thingy on TV made them think he is fit to be their leader against Claw? When Reigen tells that Mob’s family is safe, Mob only relaxes but falls asleep from exhaustion. Reigen’s office was also burnt down but luckily he was away. Also in this ragtag group are Mitsuura and those Awakening Lab kids. The whole gang is here with Teru who survived an attack from a Claw member, brings the arsonist in for interrogation. He reveals their boss plans for world domination and has gathered espers all over the world. Indeed, Touichirou Suzuki hijacks the world’s TV to make his announcement and Claw’s war declaration on the world. In order to achieve that goal, they will destroy Japan first. Well, gotta start small. This Suzuki turns out to be Shou’s dad and he has had it with this lameness. Ritsu is alive and well with him. Turns out Shou popped up to give hotspring tickets to Ritsu’s parents so you can bet they are safely enjoying themselves. Some of Claw’s foreigner members led by Joseph doesn’t think Claw’s plan to fight Japan’s numerous police will be good. Hence they try to bring down this organization by picking a fight with the division leaders. Joseph confronts Suzuki and thinks this will be the end. However he met his match as Suzuki isn’t flinching. The destruction of division leaders isn’t merely enough to take down Claw. As long as he has the strongest Ultimate 5 (Shimazaki, Hatori, Shibata, Minegishi and Serizawa), they are invincible. Joseph manages to escape by the skin of his teeth. Apparently Reigen’s party missed Suzuki’s broadcast because they were partying courtesy of Mitsuura’s food. Shimazaki kidnaps the Prime Minister as he has teleport abilities. However Teru tries to intercept but since he lacks knowledge of his abilities, he is defeated.

Episode 10
With Suzuki and Claw taking over a tower as their base, the lower members of Claw are enough to keep those police at bay. The surrounding area then becomes a battlefield. Some of Reigen’s side wants to strike first but Reigen disagrees as they are not superheroes and have to lie low until this blows over. But when Reigen receives a call from the insurance company that the fire will not be covered by esper attacks, he gets mad that he won’t get any compensation. Hence he changes his mind to go into battle! Meanwhile Ritsu and Shou’s side make their way towards the tower but they face Minegishi. Shou’s underlings fight him so the boys can go ahead but it didn’t take long for Minegishi to defeat them with his plant powers. Reigen splits his team to infiltrate into the tower. On Teru’s side, they face off with a few Claw members but Terada betrays as he claims he is working with the enemy to get info and will gladly tell them if they reinstate him back into the team. Sakurai’s side is infiltrating from the sewers but Shimazaki is waiting for them. Mitsuura warns Reigen that Claw members are here to get them so Reigen takes Mob to hide. Of course they are sniffed out but thanks to some curse spray he got from Sakurai, Reigen puts them to sleep. Now they have to deal with Shibata. The spray doesn’t work and he only becomes stronger and madder. Dimple possesses Mob to fight back but realizes he can’t win and runs. With Shibata hot on his heels, this dude is so strong that when he throws Mob, Dimple is pushed out of possession! Luckily the Body Building Club buddies catch Mob. When Shibata comes into the picture, Musashi tries to tell him off not to bully their club member but is smacked down. The other members try to fend Shibata off but gets owned. Shibata is about to stomp Mob but Musashi uses his body to protect him. Dimple then possesses Musashi to fight back. Because Musashi has been training his muscles every day, this is the reason why he beats Shibata whose muscles are developed only from spiritual power. Of course this damages some of Musashi’s muscles. When Shibata gets back up again, this time Mob wakes up and puts him down for good. Mob parts with those guys as Dimple fills him in on what has happened. Ritsu and Shou have reached the tower.

Episode 11
Teru’s side defeated the baddies. Terada claims he was just lying to get their guard down. Yeah… However on Sakurai’s side, they’re totally routed by Shimazaki. Now this guy goes to face Ritsu and Shou but Ritsu wants Shou to go ahead to put a stop to his dad. Reluctantly he does so and easily beats up Hatori along the way since he is physically the weakest. Mob tries to stop a few punks from looting and since they look down on him, time for Mob to lecture them about thinking they’re special. With Minegishi coming into the picture, time for an epic battle. With Matsuo helping out, one of the punks accidentally breaks a spirit bottle of his. It housed Mogami as he sucks the life force of all those around. Even Minegishi is scared and can’t control his plants. Mogami wants to kill all these bad people but Mob reasons with him that they can change. Though, he can’t guarantee if he can watch them all rehabilitate so Mogami makes a deal with him that he’ll let go of this in exchange if he becomes hard on others. Shou faces off with his dad but is no match for him. Like him who has been storing up power for 3 months, Suzuki has been doing it for 20 years. He explains his journey around the world was to see if it was worth dominating. And he concluded there are no other stronger espers than him. Ritsu isn’t alone facing Shimazaki. The other Scar members pitch in to help. Everyone against Shimazaki. Why does this feels like everybody against Thanos? Although Shimazaki owns everyone, Teru is able to figure out that he cannot be in top condition if he loses concentration. Because of that, Shimazaki tries to kill this in this overkill smackdown. Teru distracts him that he is just an ordinary human who can be defeated, allowing others to do relay combos on this guy. Too bad he finally got his focus back and returns to owning everyone. He awakens to the next power level but senses Mob coming. A more powerful esper. He relishes to fight him but gets punched by Reigen???!!! Oh, he can’t detect this guy! Knowing he doesn’t stand a chance against them, Shimazaki admits defeat. He isn’t i