Mamma Mia! Mothers to the fore! I guess it is time for mothers to take the lead instead of having hot teenage chicks, be it your sister or childhood friend. Hey. Moms can be equally cool too, you know?! If Tsuujou Kougeki Ga Zentai Kougeki De Nikai Kougeki No Okaasan Wa Suki Desu Ka is too freaking long and a mouthful for you to pronounce, Okaa-san Online should be good enough. So what is ‘worse’ than having your mom tell you to stop playing video games and go outside? Why, mom following you around and playing a video game with you! Yes, people. Who is this unlucky kid who has got his mom following him in his party to slay monsters and raid dungeons in this VR RPG game? I’m sure he’ll never want to remember this ‘dark’ period in his childhood. Imagine trying to be the cool hero and then mom shows up to say or do something. Sighs… But mom!!!!! “Sonny, do you like mummy’s normal full powered double multiple attacks?”. MOOOOM!!!!!

Episode 1
Masato Oosuki is answering a questionnaire about his relationship about his mom. Nothing special, really. WTF kind of questionnaire is that? Despite Mamako treating him nicely, he is that typical so who is embarrassed by her. Next day, Masumi Shirase comes by to inform him of some big news. Due to the government’s survey of online players, they would love to enter the video game world. Since Masato agrees, immediately Shirase keys in some secret passcode and has him enter the video game world! Awesome technology?! Masato is happy to start his adventuring days. Only, Mamako is also here to adventure with him! WTF?! Before they king, they are given their roles. Masato as a normal hero and Mamako, uhm, is hero’s mother a real role? A little briefing how this is just a beta testing game but since Mamako is very alien to all the terms, she is given a manual to read up. Don’t embarrass your son… The king lets them choose some weapons. Usually reserved for those clearing hard quests but young punks these days have no patience and won’t play your game if you don’t give them cool items… After Masato chooses one, Mamako chooses the remaining 2! It would be sad just to leave one alone, right? During the battle tutorial, Mamako owns the monsters! Masato hardly brings down a little bird. Can’t believe mom is doing better than him! Don’t worry, mom still loves you a lot. Masato starts complaining and even pinpointing it is all because she tagged along. Don’t make mom mad. Why, he even runs his mouth to spill the secret deal with Shirase or else he will disown her! OMFG! Ungrateful son you just made your mom cry!!! WTF???!!! She feels so hurt and sad with that statement and doesn’t really know what is going on. At least he has a conscious to apologize for saying too much. Masato agrees to let mom tag along and in the kingdom of Mommalia (really?), they need to join a guild first. Mamako makes a flashy destructive move so as others won’t look down upon them? Hey, it’s written here in the manual. Masato is worried about PK (player killing) but luckily the only damage done is to an NPC desk woman (Shirase?). She helps selects the best players for Masato. Why, aren’t they all hot chicks? Are these his type? And of course, the question that every mom will ask her son: Which one he likes best. Long story short, she sees this girl as his potential life partner whom he will share his life with. See where this is going? Yup, she is going to interview the girls!

Episode 2
As expected, Mamako rejects them all! Next is a timid girl, Porta. She is a merchant and non-combatant. Because Mamako thinks she is good in making deals and getting freebies, looks like she promotes her right away from party member to Masato’s wife! Woah! One step at a time, mom! Next is a poster of a sage named Wise. Her stats aren’t that good and she smells like trouble. Masato gets rid of the poster but it always returns. Until he steps on it that the poster screams in pain. Turns out she is disguising as one and as punishment, teleports him away so as to step back on his face. I suppose the reason he isn’t complaining is because he gets to see he pantsu… Wise is also a beta tester. She reveals the true intention of this game is for the parents to make up with their child. This is why his mom tagged along. The only way to clear the game is for them to improve their relationship. Apparently Wise and her mom were also in this game but they had a fight and split. She has been adventuring alone since and trapped. She hopes to become Mamako’s child and get out. Soon, Mamako finds them but not after Wise is put into prison because her dangerous teleporting could be seen as PK. Although Mamako cannot accept Wise as her child, she will allow her to travel with them in hopes she could find her mom. But Wise remains stubborn and would rather have the world destroyed than reconcile with mom. But with Masato claiming he needs her magic, that’s the deal that got her to join them. Their first travel has them fall into some pit that leads to an underground dungeon. Attack of the slimes! When Wise tries to use her magic, she freezes. Looks like her magic is sealed. Mamako destroys it and levels up but the slimes return and combine into a larger monster. When it attacks, Masato saves mom and despite both ended up getting slimed, only Mamako’s clothes disintegrate! So slippery that Masato can’t get up and has his face planted in mama’s boobs! Rejoice, viewers! Your MILF fanservice is here!!! Porta helps Wise disables some bad stats of her to able her to use magic. This allows Mamako to get her vengeance back on the slime. More fanservice with Mamako in naked apron. Is this our reward? After the slime defeat, a nun (Shirase?) rises from a coffin. In recognition of defeating the monster, she has them go on a special quest at a small farming village, Maman.

Episode 3
As they go buy equipment, Masato dreads this bikini armour. The last person he wants to see them on, yup, Mamako puts it on. But for the rest of us, itadakimasu! I guess the shop is having cheap sale so she bought a few more. This has Masato reprimanding her for being carefree. Damn, you trying to make mama cry again?! With the girls calming him down, he realizes he was only taking out his frustrations on her. This time they manage to make up with Mamako letting her son lie on her lap while she digs his ears while talking things out. Nothing beats this mom and son bonding. In Maman, they meet the mayor who tells them of their grave situation. A powerful with named Night Empress is forcing the town to hand over their most handsome and macho men or else. Hearing him describe her other qualities, Wise knows who this b*tch is. We take a detour as we see Masato’s party soak in a hotspring. No gender segregation? I guess with (naked) mom around, no funny business. Almost the cliché scene whereby Masato sees Wise’s naked body and is expecting a Team Rocket blast off into the sky treatment but reverse psychology! She won’t do it thinking he is a pervert who is expecting one! Meanwhile we see Shirase confronting Night Empress using her macho men as furniture. As she is an irregular, Shirase tries to purge her but Night Empress has a more powerful programming and purges Shirase instead. Before she is ejected, Shirase warns her daughter is nearby and if she has any plans to reconcile with her. None. She doesn’t need that girl. Masato can tell something is wrong when Wise is talking strangely and knows a lot about Night Empress. The only way to end this stubborn scene is a highly suggestive and ambiguous position of Masato slipping and falling onto her, making it look like he is taking her from the back! Serious business, Wise admits Night Empress is her mom. In the real world, mom loves to spend money on host clubs. Wise’s real name is Genya and is named after one of her favourite hosts. This habit led to her parents being divorced. Though Wise lives with her father, one day mom marches back in with a pretence to get back together with this game. Everything happened so fast and they ended up here. But since mom discovered she was so powerful, she decided to stay here and do things her way. This caused them to argue and split up. Wise envies Masato’s family so Mamako has her hug her. Feels like the warm mama’s hug she needs but not quite her mom’s. With that, they vow to make Night Empress remember her motherly bond with her child.

Episode 4
Wise revives Shirase who in turn tells them about Night Empress. Her real name is Kazuno and she is a sage like Wise. Like them who receive bonuses before they start their mission, Kazuno receives all the magic spells. But her greed led her to pursue her own disgusting hobbies and for some reason she has some invincibility that isn’t part of the game. Hence she might have brought in some cheat code. Cheaters like her will be heavily penalized. A huge fine, that is. The conclusion of the quest is when they can bring Wise and Kazuno closer. Shirase uses her admin privileges to summon Kazuno. Not in the mood to talk, she quickly attacks with her range of spells. She has also used her cheat code to move objects in the game to trap Mamako and Porta. Then in this room where she claims she can make any of her wish come true, she claims she can rule both the online and offline world. When Wise tells her to stop this nonsense, Kazuno reminds her this is all her fault. Initially when Kazuno got this game, she earnestly wanted to reconcile with her but Wise rejected her. Kazuno says the worst thing a child could hear: She regrets giving birth to her. Masato is somewhat the same too because he too isn’t all that fond of his mom. He too has his selfishness as a child. He hopes she can forgive Wise and not abandon her. His advice falls on deaf ears. Mamako breaks out from her entrapment. Illuminating like a goddess, Mamako remembers all the joy Masato brings including all his firsts. If Kazuno will not remember those feelings as a mother, she’ll make her. Masato’s party do a combo to take Kazuno down as Mamako lectures her about children despite being burdensome, they are irreplaceable treasures. Kazuno is losing and she hates it. Now she is throwing a tantrum like a kid until she finally loses. Wise admits despite saying hurtful things, she still loves her because she is her mom. After that it descends into a full blown mother-daughter argument. Uhm, I guess this is normal and how the family talks? In the aftermath, despite Kazuno already logged out, why is still Wise following Masato’s party? Oh, she wants to stay with them thinking the party needs her? You mean to say she needs somebody? I think Mamako can pick up what she means… We’ll see. Shirase informs them of another quest to do. Heck, she wants them to complete all the quests. So you mean to say they’re like cleaning up whatever mess the government makes?

Episode 5
With Mamako again taking the spotlight, this demoralizes Masato and Wise that they should be stronger. But don’t fear. Pamphlets about a school in Maternia where they can get stronger. With Mamako’s blessings, off they go. Masato is happy to meet this pretty chick, Medhi. Unfortunately she has an overbearing mom who keeps praising her daughter and everybody else as second class. Is this the obstacle in Masato’s love life? In class, Masato fears the other new transfer student is his mom but it turns out to be Medhi. Hence everyone teases him he sees mom in every other girl! Embarrassing! Worse, Medhi introduces herself that she is NOT Masato’s mom! Don’t you just want to die? But it won’t get worse than this since Medhi’s mom is also sitting in as an observer. Can they do that? As the teacher asks questions, the first to answer will be awarded points. It seems Medhi’s mom is using a trick to make everyone except her daughter answer. To the point in putting them to sleep. Yeah, she’s bragging about how she wants the best for her daughter, blah, blah, blah. Later Masato receives a note that a heroine is waiting for him. No surprise. Not even him. It’s Mamako. Saw this coming. So why is she here? Shirase will explain. As this school was quickly constructed to ward off overbearing parents, it has lots of bugs. Since Shirase lured them here, it is their mission to handle problems between parents and children that the game master can’t. Next class starts and Mamako is a student?! Masato manages to intervene to make mom an observer. Medhi’s mom tries to throw her weight and authority around but Mamako isn’t fazed and this throws Medhi’s mom off. During Q&A, Medhi’s mom is up to her usual tricks but thanks to Mamako’s equipment, it nullifies all negative effects. Mamako then answers the questions with equally ridiculous motherly love answers and gets extra points! This goes on for a few times and Masato is so embarrassed because his name is somewhat dragged into those questions. Please stop. At the end of the day, Mamako scores the most points. Medhi’s mom is not pleased and wants to have a strict talk with Medhi. Everybody else got zero and Masato dreads his mom stealing the spotlight again.

Episode 6
Masato’s lovely walk to school with Medhi is ruined when Mamako joins in. Even more so when Medhi’s mom has now get herself the school uniform. During cooking class, once more she puts a spell to make everybody’s food taste bad while her daughter’s to appear and look good. But with Mamako blowing her special mom’s breath of love, you bet this nullifies the effects. With Masato’s party getting top points, Medhi is refrained by her mom to even praise them. If you’re wondering why Shirase is sexily molesting Mamako, it’s to take her measurements. Because Masato saw this worst nightmare come true. It’s swimming class! Masato literally wants to die… Which son would love to see his mom in a swimsuit? But what’s worse than a mother in a swimsuit? Why, 2 mothers! Too bad all the NPC guys are all over Mamako’s traditional school swimsuit over Medhi’s mom’s sexy one. You lost, bad mama. In this class, students earn points by killing monsters in the pool. Until the ultimate fish turns up that Masato and Medhi are in competition to take it down. While Mamako doesn’t care about standings and is only worried if her boy will get injured, Medhi’s mom is pressuring her daughter to be number one. The last straw as Medhi snaps when mom tells her she must become number one or else she is worthless. Medhi just stops. Suddenly a giant sea anemone pops up. Only Mamako gets tentacle raped?! Damn anemone has MILF fetish… Porta throws Mamako her sword to cut herself loose before Masato finishing it off. This earns Masato big points. The happy celebration is cut short when Medhi’s mom slaps her daughter for being worthless. Back to more training for you girl. This is for your sake. Tearful Medhi runs away. Time for the hero to go after the girl. Make that, the hero and his mom. Both have noted Medhi sometimes acting strangely and saying strange stuffs behind her mom’s back. It couldn’t be truer when they see a frustrated Medhi kicking the wall and cursing mama to death.

Episode 7
Group meeting. Masato wants to help Medhi and her mom since he knows how it feels to have problems with a mother and not know what to do. It is the school’s cultural festival so they are free to do what they want. When Masato’s side wants to do a café, Medhi’s mom also wants to do the same and challenges who could do better. Obviously we see a long queue outside Mamako’s café. Everyone is waiting for Mamako’s cooking! None for Medhi’s mom. Hence she forces Medhi to switch from a maid to a swimsuit (WTF???!!! WHY???!!!) to attract more customers. Masato happened to pass by so Medhi’s mom ‘kills’ him. He turns into a ghost and he is able to hear her evil scheme to force Medhi to seduce him so that she could control and then ruin Mamako’s café. After Masato revives, Medhi is in seductive mode but Masato knows what’s going on and isn’t taking the bait. Medhi drops the act but before she could badmouth her mom, yeah mom pops up. Masato pleads for her to stop this but she thinks she can still win. Yeah, this beauty contest! Medhi ranks first since all the guys love this cute clumsy girl. Wise tries to be clumsy but nobody likes it. Then Mamako comes up on stage to promote her café and since all the guys love girls who cook, her ratings shoot through the roof! Literally, it’s over 999!!! As Mamako is being crowned, Masato takes Medhi to talk. With the other girls, they ask her what she really wants to do. She wants to enjoy her school life but is afraid she has no friends. On the contrary, Masato and co confirm they are her friends. Enough to break Medhi down in tears while she screams out her heart’s desire to have fun with her friends. You can bet on her mom to cut short that as she strangles her daughter! Before she could beat her, Mamako gets in the way. She understands mothers want the best for their child. But is it right to push Medhi so hard that it makes her suffer? According to Medhi’s mom, yes. She has to be number one so that she can say she is the best mom. So it’s basically all for herself. This is the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Medhi has truly had it. She thought of putting up with all the tormenting thinking mom as doing it for her. Now it’s all about herself, well screw it all! This betrayal has Medhi unleash all her magic that it turns her into a monster.

Episode 8
Even when Medhi is mad, mama calls her disgusting and ugly. She blames Masato and co for ruining everything. The kids head off to handle Medhi while the mothers settle things. Their ideals clash on how to raise a child. But of course you know Mamako will have the edge when she starts illuminating like a goddess and saying how parents should raise their kids to become wonderful adults! This causes Medhi’s mom to feel guilty over what she has done. She realizes she has always loved Medhi and now she is in danger. She tries to talk some sense into Medhi but obviously her girl doesn’t believe her lies anymore. Too late to play nice. Mom praises her for doing all she has asked despite never liking it. Masato feels Medhi’s mom’s sincerity so he too steps in to protect her from Medhi’s attack. Wise has finally finished drinking bottles after bottles of MPs as she blasts Medhi into the air. When the sceptre tries to protect Medhi, Mamako unleashes her powerful attack to break it. This frees Medhi as both mother and daughter emotionally reunite and reconcile. It is believed the sceptre has been causing Medhi’s mom to act strangely. Because she wanted to become a good mom, the sceptre enhanced that wish to the extreme. When she signed up for this game, all she wanted was to get back on good terms with Medhi because she knew she was putting a lot of stress on her. She just wanted her daughter to grow up to be a good person but she ended up being the worst mother. As the class graduates, Masato offers the pair to join their party but Medhi’s mom decides to log out and erase her dark legacy, a blog she wrote on how to raise children. After today’s lesson, she’s going to take it down. As for Medhi, she gives her a choice to stay and she definitely wants to continue adventuring with Masato. But can a parent and child log out separately? Well, Shirase says Wise already set a precedent. I guess it’s not yet for Masato, huh? Shirase rewards them with many bonuses in which they can spin to get special items. Unfortunately Masato got lots of HPs and Wise lots of MPs. Medhi will be keeping hers to boost her stats later and Porta might be the only winner getting what she wanted (a teddy bear). Masato gets an extra spin for solving this mother-daughter issue. Will he get a super rare item? Nope. Just a mother’s apron! Hey, at least not naked apron Mamako! Hey, has Masato succumbed to liking seeing mom in this?!

Episode 9
Mamako answering survey questions about her relationship with Masato. All is well! I’m sure Masato never felt that way… He tries to take out his frustrations by destroying a wave of monsters but Mamako takes it out as usual. Then there is a poster about a dungeon tower whereby anyone who clears it will get whatever wish they want. Sounds like a scam but whatever, let’s check it out. But outside the tower, there are lots of disgruntled moms complaining about their lost kids. They try to ask Shirase but she too has no clue what is going on. They head into the tower to investigate. Looks like an easy tower with Mamako being friends with the monsters and stepping on plates give you certain power ups. Oddly, there seems to be a weird rivalry going on between Wise and Medhi because Medhi wants to take out Wise so she can be the party’s only caster. Reaching a certain level, they stumble into Amante. She claims she is one of the leaders of the group called Ribele. They are made up of kids who have rebelled against their mothers. Noticing Mamako is in this group, Amante feels scared and retreats to form a plan. Though, she believes a small party like them can’t clear this tower. Mamako’s group returns outside and with Amante’s info, Shirase has a gist of what is happening. As there is no in-game event like this, she believes somebody is trying to cause a rift between parents and children. Ribele could be behind this and Shirase recognized some of the kids in the group from the database who joined Ribele. The plan now is the increase their party size and it is suggested they form a guild and recruit members. So this rundown building will be their guild’s base? Yeah, Mamako took the liberty to name it Mommy Guild! And now she’s the guild master? Yes, Momaster! What a mouthful to pronounce! Shirase also left them with presents while she goes to investigate. Maid outfits!!! I APPROVE!!! While Mamako and Wise clean up their guild, Medhi and Porta go shopping and Masato is left why he is forced to carry the bags when they have Porta’s infinite bag. They stumble into Amante shopping too. But Medhi mocks her slip ups so badly that Amante starts crying!!! Enough for her to reveal she sent an assassin to their guild. The rest doesn’t think this would be any trouble since Mamako is there. Yeah, it’s the Mamako we’re talking about. Suddenly Wise teleports in to request for help because Mamako is losing. Say what?! No way?! Mamako losing?! Oh sh*t! This must be real serious trouble!

Episode 10
It seems Mamako is losing to… A salesman?! She can’t help with all the good offers and gives in whenever Masato’s name is mentioned. Although she is stopped, the salesman quickly flees and the crystal ball he left behind is a bomb. It’s going to explode! But wait! Mamako calms it down like a baby! Can it work? You bet! Come to think of it, crying babies and bombs are like the same! Later Amante shows up just to complain how they foiled her assassination plans. Yup, she even admits she was the one behind it and even sent another one. Oh, the guild just exploded. Returning, Amante’s men are the one behind this, they claim they have also placed bombs all over town and they must do their bidding to avoid casualties. So they want maid service, huh? Mamako in maid outfit? I APPROVE!!!! Damn she looks hot! And when she serves them fried rice, it makes them nostalgic about their mom’s cooking. Eat up, boys. Next they want ‘bed service’. Mamako pulls a blanket over them and sings a lullaby till they sleep! What were you expecting? More nostalgic mama moments for them. In the end, the guys feel bad for everything they did and will go disarm the bombs around town. Power of mother’s love! And even later, Amante drops by to complain about yet another failed attempt. Care to reveal more stuffs? Not only they get to tease her but she bloopers and embarrassed herself on the exit. Next day, it seems the other mothers are grateful for what they did for their kids. They intend to join their guild to help clear the tower. Though, their kids won’t be joining as they will be doing something else. You could say this is the mother of all guilds! As they arrive outside the tower, the mothers realize they left their windows open and worry about the recent robberies in the area. They want to be sent home otherwise will Masato take responsibility? And so he leaves Wise to teleport them all back. Meanwhile Amante has been waiting inside the tower for them to show up. Yeah, she’s ready to bomb the hell out of them but as expected, she bloopers and accidentally presses the detonator. Boom! And Masato is still waiting for all the moms to finish their stuff outside… This is going to take a while before the mission can even start…

Episode 11
Finally. Can we get this tower climbing started? Amante has set a trap for the entourage but because they never came, she clumsily sets off the trap herself. Then she goes down to see what’s taking them so long and they’re having a picnic?! Just done. Time to wash the dishes. Chotto matte! Amante challenges Mamako to see who can wash the dishes faster. While Amante is good, Mamako uses her magic! Instant cleaning! Hey, nobody say how you’re supposed to get them cleaned, right? Next challenge? Wash clothes. Masato’s clothes. Again, Mamako wins because of her magic. Maybe next time, huh? As the gang make their way up, they step on plates that make their body feel lighter. That’s because their clothes are gone and only left in their underwear! Oh dear… Masato has to see his mom in her undies! Ironically, Masato is the only one who is embarrassed for being semi-naked while all the other girls and moms are cool. But this also means they have no defence against the enemies. And before them now is… Oh, just stupid Amante. However she unleashes monsters to fight them. However they recognize the monsters are Amante’s ex-men. She reveals while Mamako and the rest were fooling around, they were climbing the tower to fight her so she changed them into monsters. Oh no. Can mothers raise their hands against their sons? Good thing is that the monsters drop their weapons and won’t fight. But Amante unleashes another spell to turn them into vicious savages while she goes up to make her wish. While Medhi and Wise put some temporary confusing spell on them, Mamako tells the other moms how to tackle this issue. Yup. Just go do what mothers do best. And Saint Mamako shines so greatly that all the moms now don full armour. Full Mom-our?! With this, they are able to withstand the strongest attacks and also give the biggest hug that turn their sons back to normal. Behold the power of moms! Yeah, the most embarrassing moment that all kids don’t want their mom do. Even Masato gets this ‘hell’ himself. Can’t leave him out of the fun, can we? Once that embarrassing moment is done, the adventurers warn them about Amante’s wish: To erase all mothers from this world.

Episode 12
As they enter the next level, Masato realizes that he is separated from the rest. But he soon hears Mamako beckoning him. Knowing something is strange, he soon realizes it is a trap. There are other Mamako clones too but he ignores them. I can see why if 1 Mamako is already bad enough, how about hundreds of them! Of course being the true son he is, he can tell when his real mom comes to the rescue. That’s right. Mamako is going to scold them for scaring her precious. What if Masato comes to hate her?! Yeah, every mom’s worst nightmare. And with her beam of light, the clones are blasted away and they are reunited with the rest who also faced similar trials. In the final floor, they see Amante trying to break through the door. Amante starts fighting them. Because of her magic spell, she is able to repel any attack back at them. Amante then explains her reason of hating Mamako. As Masato is supposed to be on his own exciting adventure including gaining friends and even fall in love. He would have gotten all of that had Mamako not joined him. Thus she blames Mamako for stealing all that possibility and future. Uhm, still doesn’t explain why she hates her. Of course Masato doesn’t accept that explanation. Despite all the crazy and embarrassing things that have happened, he thought maybe that is what an adventure is. There are times when he was lost but mom was there to help him overcome it. Considering it all, it isn’t all that bad. With Amante still refusing to admit, it’s time for Mamako to do her specialty scolding. Yup, with this beam of light is made up of her motherly love. So it’s not an explosion but scolding? Yeah, doesn’t matter to the one being hit, right? Amante takes a direct hit but survives. With the door open, she hurries to make her wish. Not if Masato can wish faster. I can’t believe despite thinking on what to wish and then Mamako hinting about what Wise said before climbing the tower, Masato is still fast enough to wish for fresh eggs for everybody than Amante’s mother existence erasure?! Amante is in despair and fumbles away in tears. And now everybody gets to have fresh eggs! Shirase informs she found a dark jewel Amante was using. As it is unbroken, she will investigate it. But for now, she will have Mamako’s team on a new quest to defeat Ribele. Remember, there are 3 other members, right? I guess Masato can’t be more impatient to leave this town because everyone built a giant statue of Mamako to honour her for saving them! Masato might be irritated that mommy continues to cling to him but I guess she’s shining so brightly and it’s not that all bad.

Always Forever Momma’s Boy!
Aren’t mothers the best?! Uh huh. Despite the mind boggling wish of Amante wanting to erase mothers, I wonder if this will only translate inside the video game. Forgot that we’re still inside one big MMORPG? So if Amante really had her wish come true, would Mamako and other moms be kicked out of the game? I’m glad we won’t have to find that out because it would suck if Masato’s party continues to adventure without Mamako. He might be happy at first but I’m guessing he’ll soon be lamenting he wishes mommy was here adventuring with him! Nah! Maybe. Therefore for all you kids out there, appreciate your mom better today!

The story itself isn’t all that interesting nor is it original. They’re just using this virtual world video game so that we can see lots of ‘fantastical nonsense’ when mothers do their unbelievable motherly power to overcome ‘evil’. This series is supposed to see how Masato get back on good terms with Mamako but instead we get side-tracked and do other side missions like helping other kids and their moms. Better to do all this stuff inside a video game than in reality, which is so much harder. From the looks of it, they’re going to be playing this game for quite a while. Momma is away from reality at the moment, come back some time later!

As we can see, because of Mamako’s hot stunning looks, at first glance she looks more like a big sister than mother to Masato. Any ordinary person would have come to this sort of conclusion. Hey Masato, this your big sister? No, it’s my mom. Say what???!!! Sure, Mamako does motherly stuffs and cares a lot for her son but because of her youthful looks, she still passes off a lot more like a big sister than anything else. Worse still, I wonder if her parents who named her Mamako must be damn confident that she’ll grow up to be a mother. I know it’s a pun and but it just feels weird the more you think about it. You know, like calling your dog, Dog. Hence, my mom’s name is Mama. Strange… On a side note, I wonder if their father is called Papasuke or Papatarou… That would be just so bizarre!

Therefore you think that Masato could be the star of this series and leader of his party? Nope. Mamako. Masato feels a lot more like a follower and oddly plays the ‘straight man’ whenever mom does something ‘embarrassing’. But don’t worry. Even if Masato doesn’t look like the main protagonist of this anime, Mamako will always consider you as her number one! Everything she does, she puts her tender loving care and heart into it, all for the sake of her boy. Sometimes Masato doesn’t appreciate it because of the overwhelming embarrassment. I understand it’s natural and at most times he just wants ‘to die’. Remember that time that forced cliché moment of the slime disintegrating Mamako’s clothes that leads to that mother-son naked body rubbing fanservice? Are you freaking out now?! It might be easy for that scene to be fapping material for anybody but imagine if that was you mom… Not so fanservice-y now, huh? I wonder if this beta version is live stream. If so, Masato’s death by embarrassment will be compounded hundreds of times over.

I feel like this virtual game gives mothers extra powers and abilities because you see Mamako swinging her weapon’s powers so easily. And you thought your moms aren’t the kind who are good in video games. Noobs in video games. And then we see Mamako just swinging with ease, legendary weapons that probably needs seasoned players to grind and level up like hell but she does it with ease. All because of the power of being a mom! And that’s not just all. Whenever Mamako gives off some of her motherly love, it’s like it has some sort of God-like powers and Mamako is elevated to a saint because she starts shining and once again the mother of all powers has defeated and overcome evil! Don’t laugh. Mothers know best. That’s why no child no matter how bad he/she is, if they are a reasonable child, a mother’s love will surely bring them back to the right path. For once, it isn’t the power of friendship that saved the day but the power of, wait for it, motherly love! Mothers are never wrong! This series might look absurd putting Mamako as some awesome accidental gamer. But it won’t be in a few decades time when many mothers would also make great gamers. Yup. Once a gamer girl, now a gamer mom! Don’t you wish your mom is like Mamako? Uhm… On second thought, maybe not.

Though, Mamako isn’t always perfect herself as she has some flaws. Sometimes she could be a bit imposing on Masato but that is only because she wants the best for him. I mean, which mother doesn’t want the best for her child? Thus there are still lots of work in progress to be done between them. Ironically they could solve the issues of other mothers and their child but they can’t solve their own. I mean, it is proceeding fairly well but it is not at the rate like Wise and Medhi’s mom’s case. Their relationship at a point where they can log out of the game together. I suppose this is an excuse for the government to keep them adventuring together. Masato still complaining about this and that about mom, I guess he hasn’t fully accepted her yet. But you can tell he is slowly appreciating his mama better than before. Of course there are other cases whereby mothers abandon their child (Wise) or being over protective (Medhi) but at the end of the day, Mamako’s greatest motherhood guidance will bring even the worst of mothers back to the right path.

If Mamako really wields the power of motherly love that heals all (yes people, not her twin swords are her offensive weapons but her motherly love that also acts as the best defensive weapon), I wonder if this could help heal the toxic behaviour in online games. You know, those other games especially first person shooters? Imagine Mamako tagging along with Masato to play Call Of Duty, Overwatch, Fortnite, PUBG, etc. Who this f*cking whore???!!! Watch it, that’s my mom. Your mom? HAHAHAHAHA!!! And then sprinkle a little dust of motherly love and suddenly everybody loses their aggression and starts becoming more compassionate! Holy cow! The government might be using this game as an experiment to heal the rift between parent and child but if it has the positive effect to heal toxic online behaviours too, I’m all for it!

Not much to be said for the other characters. Masato, the loving son whom is Mamako’s greatest motivation to keep going. Just try not to embarrass him too much, okay? Then there is Wise and Medhi whom I thought at first would become love rivals for Masato but I guess they don’t want to ruin this motherly themed series with some cheesy romcom harem antic so that’s the end of that. Yeah, with Masato’s mom tagging along, I guess Mamako is in some ways old fashioned. No forbidden relationships while she is around. Hence Wise from a tsundere becomes some sort of a joker character thanks to Medhi being some dark sarcastic character ever since she joins the party. It’s like Medhi gets her kicks by mocking and teasing Wise. But towards the end I noticed Wise has wised up and even talks back to Medhi on the same level of sarcasm. Even if Wise isn’t the butt of those mockery, recently I notice this running joke of her drinking bottles after bottles of MP just to power up her ability. Is there no other way to level up her MP permanently? I wonder if Porta is an NPC because she doesn’t seem to have any mama issues since joining the party (it is hinted that she couldn’t say about her own mama, like as though she never existed). I guess with the party having hot chicks and hot mama chicks, we need a loli character. Her bag is supposedly like Doraemon’s 4D pocket and can pack anything into it but I hardly see this being used. At least she’s the only character who isn’t really sexualized.

Wise could have been the series’ only comic relief character had Amante not pop up in the final arc. They really write up her character to be a silly bumbling b*tch. No siree, we can’t have another young cute teenage girl becoming a badass antagonist. Hence to counter her evil wish of eliminating all mothers, they turn her into a clumsy fool who has a penchant of revealing all her intentions without even asking. It’s like you want to ask her if she really knows how to be a villain. She could have been a lot formidable had she been half as serious as seen in the final episode but I suppose her character is programmed written that way. Let’s just hope that the other 3 Ribele members aren’t as bungling a fool as her. Last but not least, Shirase as the game’s guide feels like she wants to live up to her namesake to just inform. As also the game admin, there’s this running joke to be killed off and revived in a coffin. This game’s bug is just freaking buggy and weird.

Art and animation aren’t the best there is that J.C. Staff has to offer. I guess when you have multiple series to do in the same season (particularly To Aru Kagaku No Accelerator, DanMachi S2 and Machikado Mazoku), you try you best with all the resources you can get. J.C. Staff being a huge company and a veteran in producing so many animes over the years, I guess they have the resources. Sometimes I see a drop in quality in certain scenes but with everything in this fantasy MMORPG so bright and colourful, they definitely want mothers to have a swell time here. And of course, you could have guessed the design of Mamako, she looks so young and pretty enough to be even Masato’s girlfriend. She isn’t the first anime mom to be designed in such a ‘misleading’ way. Uh huh. You have loli mothers too. So I guess Mamako looking like a teen isn’t all that bad especially when compared to other typical looking moms in here. You know, fat and wrinkles? The kind of look that makes you go, “Oh, she is surely a mom” stereotypic look. Now we can glee as we see Mamako’s various reactions from cutely pouting to heart-breaking cry. Best of all, Mamako’s lovely motherly smile, no?! And of course with Mamako being so hot and stunning and having a body that is to die for moms her age, this gives rise to the typical fanservice department in which we get to see Mamako in her lingerie in some scenes. Hence, giving us the greatest dilemma if we are going to fap to MILF material. I guess it’s okay if it is other people’s mom. NOT!

In the voice acting department, Ai Kayano perfectly takes on the role of Mamako. Her sweet voice makes her a perfect fit for the character. However, I think there is one other seiyuu whom I think would have been even fitting to take on Mamako: Kikuko Inoue! I believe she would have been perfect too and there will be a lot of reference to her famous line of forever being 17 years old. Yeah, it would’ve been so epic. I guess Ai Kayano would do. The other seiyuus I recognize is Satomi Arai as Shirase and Mai Nakahara as Medhi’s mom. At first I was so damn cocksure that Ayana Taketatsu was behind Porta’s voice. I mean, she is capable of doing that squeaky high pitched voice mode. Never was I in doubt. And then it came as a big shock. WTF?! Who the heck is Sayaka Harada?! I was in disbelief. I had to go look at numerous sources just to make sure that I didn’t make the mistake. Yup. It was my mistake. This is the same girl who is the voice of Chiya in Urara Meirocho, Mimika in Uchi No Maid Ga Uzasugiru and Chitose in Yuuragi-sou No Yuuna-san. Come to think of it, yeah it’s really her voice… I’m so ashamed…

The rest of the other casts are Haruki Ishiya as Masato (Tamotsu in Akiba’s Trip: The Animation), Sayumi Suzushiro as Wise (Oono in High Score Girl), Lynn as Medhi (titular character in Fuuka), Natsumi Fujiwara as Amante (Eddie in Satsuriku No Tenshi) and Ryouko Yuzuki as Kazuno (Sastsuki in Kill La Kill). The opening theme is Iyayo Iyayo Suki no Uchi by Spira Spica, a lively and upbeat anime pop rock. Generic but I guess it’s okay. But I love the ending theme better, Tsuujou Kougeki Ga Zentai Kougeki De Ni-kai Kougeki Mama by Ai Kayano. It has this retro tune to it, making it quite catchy overall. It is one of those songs that I would love to sing along. And perhaps moms too.

Overall, this anime might not sit well with some who don’t appreciate the crappy mom jokes and puns that permeate throughout this series. Are they saying that mother’s love is everywhere and you can’t escape them?! With some having mixed reviews of this anime, honestly though, I just purely enjoyed them because it’s funny (I wish the characters could forever keep dressing up as the maid). It’s not the best parenting anime out there because if you’re looking for a parent-child bonding, I still believe that series like Usagi Drop does it way better. I also doubt that this series would make you love your mom even more. I’m not saying this series would make you love your mom less because one might find it mediocre (or in extreme cases turn you into a fanatic MILF obsessed lover), just be a good child and that’s the best gift that you can give mom. So don’t get mad when mom calls you to put down that video game controller and come right down now for dinner. What do you mean you can’t pause an online game?! I’m on a freaking kill streak right now! You get your ass right down here now, young man! Don’t make me come up there, young man! But… MOOOOM!!!!! Yeah, aren’t moms great?

WTF?! WHAT THE F*CK DID I JUST WATCH?! You know, I was interested to take a look at that Accelerator spinoff series and maybe get some cute hearto kyun~ seeing the weird relationship between Accelerator and Last Order. And boy, did I watch the wrong anime???!!! Because Uchi No Ko No Tame Naraba, Ore Wa Moshikashitara Maou Mo Taoseru Kamo Shirenai (Uchi No Musume if that’s a f*cking whole lot for you to pronounce – and it is!) feels like an alternate happy fantasy ever after version of To Aru Kagaku No Accelerator! Serious! But nope. It’s not the same anime. Totally different. You’ll notice that subtle similarity but it’s totally different, I guarantee. A lone adventurer guy finds a lost demon girl and decides to care for her. Lots of cute and adorable things happen along the way. Hmmm… SO CUTE!!! I LIKE IT!!! KAWAII SUGIRU!!!! ~KYUN <3!!!!!

Episode 1
After killing some monsters in the forest, Dale Reki rests up but a loli approaches him. He notices she is of a demon clan and is in a feeble state, Latina. He’s not the best communicating in her demon language but I guess he can go about enough for her to understand. As he feeds her his food (there, tamed her like a wild animal), he notices her broken horn. Normally demons with broken horns means they have committed a crime and banished. Latina then brings him to a corpse nearby. It is believed to be of her father’s. After burying her, can’t leave this loli all alone in the woods and invoke the wrath of lolicons so he brings her back to his town, Kreutz. Back in the bar run by his friend, Kenneth, he has Latina take a bath. She can’t wash herself hence an excuse to strip and wash her. Lolicons, you jealous? Some old clothes by Rita and ribbons to hide her horns. Dale and Rita try to find out anything on the news but nothing of this sort. Then Latina’s stomach growls. I guess it’s time to feed her. Dale ponders on his options to send Latina to the orphanage but it might not be a good idea since it is always underfunded. More loli goodness as Dale sleeps with her. But nothing happens thankfully. Until she has to bug him to go to the toilet. With Latina picking up some of their language, I suppose it is also right for Dale to bring her to the market and experience life. Dale continues to ponder. He doesn’t knows what is best for her and fighting monsters is what he is only good at. Sending her to the orphanage is out of the question too. So what’s the conclusion? Why, he is going adopt Latina to take care of her himself! Hooray! Today I got myself a loli!

Episode 2
Oh dear. Dale has to be gone for a job and he doesn’t want to leave Latina alone. Can’t bring her along too. Too dangerous. Damn, Latina is handling this calmer than you are! But in the care of Kenneth and Rita, I hope that calms his mind to get going. During that time, Latina somewhat helps with the bar. Wow. Everyone so impressed and anxious at the loli carrying the tray. Is she going to tip over with the tray? Nope. Phew. Thank goodness. Kawaii… Damn, all the macho men’s hearts are now stolen by Latina! Dale rushes back and is glad to see Latina. But not as glad she is to see him. As Latina spends more time in the bar, you can feel Dale is getting a bit jealous she is closer to others. When Kenneth goes out to do errands, Latina wants to come along. Normally Dale won’t allow her but he can’t say no to those puppy dog eyes. Unfortunately during the trip, Latina was so amazed by everything she got lost. Kenneth realizes too late and returns with the bad news. Time to hit the panic button. Yeah, everybody is going to do a massive search. Find our loli! Latina is found by a group of boys, Rudy, Marcel and Antony. They aren’t that rough but to Latina, they’re scary. They try to help her but she thinks they’re being rough. Luckily Chloe beats them up to remind them to be gentler. They are impressed when Latina uses healing magic on Marcel. With Latina’s smattering vocab, they figure out where she came from and escort her back there. Everybody is glad their cutie is back and safe as Latina goes around apologizing. But Dale is not around. Still out looking? Oh, he’ll be back… Speaking of the devil… Latina cries the moment she sees him as she fears he is mad. What?! Who the hell would be mad at such a cute loli?! They both reconcile as Latina never wants to be alone again. Yes, it’s you official confirmation she wants to be with him. Now there is a valid excuse for him to be with her instead of being called a lolicon! We’re going to stay together forever!

Episode 3
You know you’ve regressed into worse than a child when you think Latina is so cute that you don’t want to go to work that involves meeting with other old men! But Rita manages to ‘encourage’ him to go since he’ll get to buy souvenirs for her. Hence his deep thinking face that scares off his dragon chauffeur. Upon arriving, he meets up with his friend, Gregor and can’t shut up spamming how cute his Latina is. It’s a good thing Gregor has some high discipline not to cut down this cringe. On to business, with the rise of the Demon Lord’s presence, a plan is to ambush them in small units. Oh Dale, can you not think about Latina for like 5 minutes? That too long for you to concentrate on the mission? Meanwhile Latina makes shepherd’s pie. When the customers know about it, they realize how good it is and damn they become big fans of her cooking! Yeah, they don’t mind waiting long for it. That’s what they come here for! Chloe visits and talks to Latina about school. Since they are about the same age, she suggests going to the same school with them. We see Dale and Gregor’s team ambushing the Demon Lord’s minions. Uhm, this anime got blood and death?! Damn those minions got sliced and killed! When the mission is over, Dale can’t wait to get home and bring back all the presents rather than attending tonight’s banquet. Loli is more important than official state feast! And of course everybody knows when Dale is back because he literally lets the whole world know with his loud screaming of Latina’s name. Lolicon and loli reunite. Happiest reunion ever. Latina then brings out her shepherd’s pie for him to eat. He is so touched that he can’t eat it. WTF… Can we just get over this long day already?

Episode 4
So now you can’t praise Latina without going through Dale?! How jealous can this guy get?! Latina now attends school and apart from Chloe and co, she makes a new friend, Sylvia. However their teacher looks crazy… Indeed. Because one day she spots Latina’s horns and that’s when she snapped! OMFG! She mistreats her like a ragdoll?! WTF ranting about demons trying to infiltrate them, blah, blah, blah?! Sylvia stands up against her and despite the threat of being excommunicated, she dares the teacher. The students gang up against her. By banging against the table? Okay. Whatever. But clearly this affected Latina. Oh dear. Look at those traumatic eyes… So when she goes home, something is clearly wrong. So much so she breaks off her horn (thanks to some offensive magic Dale taught her earlier)! OMFG! She trying to be Hellboy?! Luckily Kenneth brings her in time to the nearby temple to heal. You bet Dale is going to rush all the way back. When she wakes up, she starts crying about never wanting to be alone again because since demons live longer than humans, eventually everyone will die first. Time for Dale’s special assurance and special thanks of meeting her. Even if Latina is human, Dale will still die first as he is older and the job he does is dangerous. With Latina feeling better, what a way for them to make up with a hug. Aww… So cute! Now Dale gets on to serious business as he meets the principal of the school. He gives her warning to hand down the maximum punishment on her. He has talked to the other students and also his connections allow him to demand the kind of info on that person. Despite having trauma of her family being killed by demons, that is still not a valid excuse to take it out on an innocent life. If they continue to cover for her, he will take this to the higher authority whereby the god of war, Ahmar reigns all over arbitration and judgment mercilessly. The principal agrees to fire and expel her. Chloe visits Latina and slaps her for endangering her own life. More heart strings to tug with lolis giving each other an emotional hug. Everyone celebrates Latina’s return with Dale buying everyone a drink. So don’t complain when they order the most expensive one! Latina’s cute apology will make up for it. Latina is so perfect in everything she does, is there nothing she can’t do? Oh damn, she’s tone deaf… But being imperfect also has its charm? Dale you lolicon…

Episode 5
Latina thinks of getting Dale a present so as she consult her friends, they are unsure what to get that guy. Dale feels he is left in the dark since Latina doesn’t want to tell him. And he can’t force it out of a loli’s mouth either. Yeah, this guy is sinking into depression thinking Latina doesn’t need him as she stops by Chloe’s house (brainstorming for present ideas) and even doing some work behind his back (nothing shady, mind you). Eventually his blues are blown away when Latina gives him a handmade bag for his birthday. Surprise! Flashback shows Latina consulted Kenneth that she needed money to buy something for Dale. So to earn her keep, she learns things under his apprenticeship. Now Dale is bragging to everyone in the bar how Latina made this bag for him. The next morning it snows and Latina gets her first experience. So was she living under the cave all this time? When a usual customer, Jilvester AKA Jil leaves the bar, Latina notices he forgot his wallet. She goes to return it to him. On her way back, a couple of shady guys try to ask her for directions. Smart Latina can tell they are bad guys because of that typical trademark bad guy face. She tries to run for it but the slippery ice made her slip. The baddies try to kidnap her but luckily Jil is here. They try to give excuses but nobody messes with Dale’s loli. Fortunately no blood will be spilt today as the lieutenant of the police is here. He seems to comprehend the situation and has those baddies arrested. Damn, it must be so bad luck to have that kind of face, huh? He warns about the recent black market in selling other races. He knows a lot about Latina because he is Sylvia’s father and heard a lot from his daughter. Dale thought he could replenish himself with Latina’s smile after another tough mission. He gets jealous seeing Latina with Jil. WTF is this?! But for today, Jil is Latina’s hero, okay?

Episode 6
Rita is pregnant?! Man, that escalated quickly. Hence thoughtful Dale thinks of moving out with Latina. But what’s this? They say Dale can leave but let Latina stay?! She has been an irreplaceable employee and has been saving up. She might have enough for her own dowry. I guess that joke has gone too far so it triggers Dale he won’t have any of that! Back to the serious side of this episode, Dale prepares to head to his hometown and he gave Latina the option to stay or follow. No prize to guess which she picked. Because she wants to bring a cooking knife along, Kenneth opines a multi-purpose knife should be better. Hence he takes her to Rudy’s father’s shop as he is a blacksmith. I guess pops has a hard time thinking this little girl is looking for a real knife than a toy knife. Rudy is surprised to see Latina here. Even more so that he learns she is going on a trip. Wow. This guy is panicking and he could be Dale number 2. It seems Latina didn’t tell her friends of this trip so Kenneth advises her to do so because it would be just as bad if her friends disappear without saying anything. Meanwhile Dale is shopping for a magic robe for his precious. He has the misfortune to stumble into a mage, Helmine. Despite knowing she is trouble, he has nobody to seek for help from this hot babe to help him pick out the right magic robe. In return, she hopes to one day meet Latina as a fellow spell caster. Dale and Latina soon begin their journey but before that, Latina wants to pass by her father’s grave to pay her respects. They encounter a few magic beasts but it is thanks to Latina’s intuition and ability to sense danger that gives Dale enough time to prepare. Latina tries to explain this providence or foresight ability she has but from what I understand, probably it’s just guts feeling. I could be wrong… Latina manages to go up to her father’s grave and it’s going to take a while since she has a lot of things to tell him. I didn’t know demons’ ritual for the dead is so like humans’.

Episode 7
Stopping by a town for the night, Latina keeps a diary of her journeys. No peeking, Dale! Then they put their beds together to sleep. Funny, I thought a bed is big enough for them both and they still have room. They reach the port town of Qualle. While dining in a fine restaurant, Latina notices the performer wearing the same armlet as hers. A few days later they arrange to talk to her, Glaros. Latina wastes no time to tell she is a demon with broken horns so Glaros also reveals she is also a demon and comes from the demon country of the first Demon Lord, Vassilios. Though it is a custom for demon mothers to raise their child, armlets are passed down by fathers to their offspring to celebrate the birth of their child because it is hard for demons to conceive. Glaros is certain Latina is born in Vassilios as it’s the only demon country to practice this as this is not a tradition in the third and sixth Demon Lord’s domain. Then there’s something about the first Demon Lord being killed by the second and perhaps currently there is no Demon Lord ruling over Vassilios right now. Also, unlike Vassilios that closes off its borders to the outside world, there are other calamitous Demon Lords who love to fight and kill like the second, fourth and seventh. Latina then asks the hardest question about Glaros meeting her human husband. Well, he had a good long life. They had no children because if it’s already hard for demons to conceive a child, what more with a human. A little lift from the gloom because Glaros has always been happy since she met her husband. Continuing their journey, Dale and Latina hold hands and then Dale feel the need to carry her. But of course.

Episode 8
Dale stops by at Joseph’s village. He is his relative and a furry. Joseph’s mom is Dale’s dad’s second cousin. Damn, sounds confusing… Joseph has his own family too, wife Ute and baby Maya. When you have a kid who looks like an animal, you wonder if the kid doubles as a pet too. Cute Latina + Cute Maya = Too much cuteness in this household! Dale notices Latina gets worried when they were talking about some prophecy thingy. He wonders if this is the reason why she was chased out from her village. When Maya starts crying uncontrollably, it is because she detected Latina’s sad feelings. Trying to put up a tough front? So with Ute telling her to let the tears flow, Latina starts crying. Damn, this house is noisy with 2 crying kids. Later Latina talks to Dale about the prophecy. She thinks it says she is a bad girl and the reason why her dad died. Dale gives his perspective on this prophecy thingy. Because it didn’t describe her in any specific way, she shouldn’t worry too much. When Dale and Latina leave, Maya puts up a tantrum. She doesn’t want Latina to go. Poor Joseph got a few baby kicks in the face just to hold her back. Better go now. We see Dale trying to outrun his pursuers as well as evading lots of traps. Turns out they are his family. Is this their sick way of greeting their son? We finally arrive at Dale’s hometown, Teathrow. Oddly this is not the village’s name but a reference to all those who live here. Huh? Nobody here has surnames and Dale’s surname is actually his job description in some language. Latina stamps her authority because I guess she doesn’t understand family sarcasm so she has Dale and granny be nice to each other. Wow. Latina so cute when she’s ‘mad’… Meeting the parents, Latina gets worried when hearing about the wedding. Turns out Dale’s brother, Yorck will be marrying the nearby village head’s daughter. Phew. So relieved. That night, Dale thought he heard Latina’s voice. He enters her room only to see her cowering at a corner. Once again, it’s that insecurity of not wanting to be alone. Of course he accompanies her to bed so you bet this is going to be some touchy topic when mom finds them sleeping together. Nothing naughty happened but I guess they’ve got something new to tease their son. It’s like as though they really want to make him out as a lolicon. Oh Latina, you’re the only one who can heal Dale’s hurt feelings now…

Episode 9
Latina writes home to update what is happening. Since her stay at Teathrow is long, she also takes some magic and cooking studies. Big bonus is that she gets to play with lots of pups too. And of course more of Dale and Latina sweet screen time and assurance that they’re happy with each other. One day, grandma decides to take Latina to the mountains to show a secret. When Dale notices this, he becomes suspicious and tails Latina. What’s this? Latina feeding some white winged wolf? Dale scolds her for trying to feed wild animals as this would make them depend on the food and it might carry some disease. However the wolf can speak and snarls at Dale! It is then Dale realizes this is a phantasmic beast. He is surprised because such intelligent creatures don’t live near human settlements. Latina then brings Dale to its entire family just nearby. As explained, these beasts have made a pact with the ancestors of Teathrow that they will co-exist together as neighbours without stepping into each other’s territory. Dale is surprised that Latina has become so friendly with them that she even gives their leader a belly rub! For your information, Latina is not human… At night, everyone prepares for Yorck’s wedding. Seeing this, Dale thinks he is definitely not going to let anyone marry his Latina and will break all his bones! OMFG! However the thought that Latina might hate him for rejecting her boyfriend is too much to bear! Oh dear! While the celebration goes on, why is Latina putting on a sad face? Ah, kids her age wants to grow up fast. Dale then rethinks back had he not take up this Reki job, he wouldn’t have left the village. Because Teathrow doesn’t belong to any nation, there are other lords that might want to take over this dominion. Hence they make some political pacts to stay safe. But to avoid outsiders from meddling, this Reki job is supposedly viewed as a divine gift and a hero. Dale took up this job in hopes of protecting Teathrow from outside. He was at a lost and not sure if he was doing anything to protect his village until he met Latina. Someone to protect. In a way, she saved him. Back to the party, I guess Dale got drunk announcing Latina belongs to him. Because everybody is family, I guess they didn’t see him hugging Latina as some sort of rape potential. Grandma is ever so nice to offer some advice if Latina ever wants to get married and beat up this idiotic grandson. Oh yeah. That’s what family is for. Uh huh. Let’s all laugh over it!

Episode 10
It is time to leave Teathrow and return to Kreutz. Time to say goodbye to everyone too. The winged wolves give them their magic feathers. It will help scare off lesser intelligent beasts when they travel home. Grandma gives Latina a gift. It’s not going to take up any space as that gift is a name. This signifies that she can come back here whenever she wants. Later Dale realizes why grandma put up Latina to meet the winged wolves. Because she helps brushed their feathers, they managed to get a whole bunch of their magic feathers that they will use to make protective clothes when they tend to the fields. Normally they would have to wait till they shed them but looks like Latina did a pretty good job. And so grandma also gives Latina a couple of ribbons made from those feathers. After leaving Teathrow, they stop by at Joseph’s place. Oh dear. We can see this coming. Maya throwing herself at Latina. Yeah, daddy so sad that Maya doesn’t want him anymore. Hence the plan is to leave early tomorrow morning while they’re asleep to avoid that ruckus. However somehow Maya crawled in to sleep next to Latina. Plan failed. And so it’s that déjà vu scene again with Maya giving off her legendary wailing and this time Dale and Latina have to leave fast. No long goodbyes now. Gotta go. Resting at Qualle, Latina wants to buy souvenirs for her friends. Then there is this bright coloured hair person known as Rose Princess passing by. Dale is amazed Latina knows that the glow is due to magical traits of her person. Although she was born in a place with people with high magical traits, Latina herself has low magical traits and is hereditary since her father too doesn’t have such high magic qualities. And now they’ve finally arrived back at Kreutz. Latina greets Kenneth and Rita. With Latina back, I guess it is double celebration for all the patrons. Their favourite server is back! So good to have her back, right?

Episode 11
Latina’s back and you bet her friends are happy to listen to her tales. Chloe has been keeping Latina’s broken horn as a charm. But wait. Why does Rudy have one too? We all know why but Latina believes his reason to keep it because it’s rare. But what’s this? Latina sighing? The customers think she is having romance issues but it turns out she wants to go to a cat’s gathering like her friends did. Phew, right? Dale has this sneaky plan to take her there as long as he accompanies her but Jil usurps him because he’ll go ask his neighbour, Shihesu Gojo a bachelor who lives with his cats. That name rings a bell for Dale because he was grandpa’s partner during his adventuring days. Dale and Latina visit Shihesu’s place. Poor Latina, the cats don’t like her? Except for one! Good enough. Meanwhile the adults talk about things. This includes Shihesu’s original homeland on a faraway island that has a high child mortality rate. So when a child reaches a certain age, they put some extravagant costume on them to celebrate. Sounds familiar… And of course we want to let Latina try that outfit. Yup, it’s a kimono. Looking over the top kawaii. Shihesu thinks this land should adopt this tradition. I can see the kind of influence Latina is going to have if this is accepted. Latina will become God! So I guess for that kind of investment, Dale willingly splurges on this kimono. Any money he spends on Latina is not a waste! Never an upper limit! And of course her attraction power increases dramatically back at the bar. Meanwhile a baby winged wolf wants to go see Latina but papa doesn’t allow it because it is too young. Offspring throws tantrum and threatens to tell mama… WTF.

Episode 12
Helmine visits the bar. Uh oh. Latina’s womanly guts are ringing like hell! Who this woman?! And to show that Latina ‘owns’ Dale, she hugs him and never lets go. Unfortunately Helmine will be staying here for a while. That’s because she and Dale will be paired up on some away mission. Damn. I think this situation is more dangerous! And when a woman says she is not mad, SHE IS MAD! Wow. Latina so young, already so like that. With Helmine hanging around the bar, you bet the other patrons are going to be confused with Latina’s ‘less than satisfying service’. But Helmine isn’t going to play the nice lady. She teases Latina about her small stature since Latina herself has been harbouring hopes of growing up fast. It doesn’t help at all since her classmates especially Rudy talking about her being compared to as a baby. Hence Latina talks to Kenneth about small. Not her stature, but her boobs! Erm, why not talk to Rita? No way. She’s flat! WTF?! And so the rumoured solution is to drink milk… One night, Helmine talks to Dale to advise him about how certain creatures live longer than humans. That’s why they don’t attach themselves to someone special. Otherwise you have to live with that pain. So if he cares about her, live as long as you can! As Latina’s grade will be graduating, her friends are going to walk different paths. Is this to shoehorn in some last moments with Rudy because he is going to join the reserved army? Don’t worry. Many visit Kenneth’s bar so you can still see her, right? Before Dale departs on his mission, he has Latina visit her father’s grave. He narrates he might not live as long as her but as long as he is alive, he will protect her. Dale’s goodbye to Latina could have been longer had not Helmine just tell him to get going. One more Latina hug for the road, please? And as Latina narrate about her being blessed and being grateful to those around her, Rita finally gives birth. Not sure if Kenneth’s bar is now a nursery because you have the baby, loli Latina and even Maya and the winged wolf pup coming to visit! Oh dear. I smell another rivalry coming up… And as expected, Dale returns from his mission safely and gets a big Latina hug.

Always Forever Daddy’s Girl!
Heh. I guess we’re not going to play along with Dale-Helmine being a pair. Because it would have really sucked and be a big time shocker if Latina were to actually blow her head off and go into some full blown jealousy rage. That would be so unthinkable! Hey. Even if she is just a young girl, she still has the guts and genes of a woman! Don’t underestimate woman! But thankfully, Dale has already clearly made his choice and Helmine is just like a cock teaser or something. I guess she is old mature enough to not be a family wrecker. Phew. Good for them. Good for us. Good for everybody. Now we can continue fawning over Dale x Latina’s relationship.

I’m in a dilemma whether to call this series ultimately boring or pleasantly calming. Because this is sure no Aria The Animation or its spiritual successor, Amanchu. But with all the violent and nonsensical slapstick comedies seasons in and seasons out, such calming and cute series is very much welcomed. So if you aren’t feeling nauseated by the time you finished watching this series, then congratulations! This series is for you! So feel free to continue fawning over the cuteness of Latina as she serves us in her trademark cutie smiles. Oh yeah. Definitely would bright up anyone’s day or cheer up anyone who has had a long day!

Due to the very calming nature of this series, it isn’t just peace and tranquillity of the cuteness factor all the way. Why, there are some ‘heart wrenching’ moments where Latina was tormented! Gasp! Latina being tormented?! WHO WOULD DARE???!!! Well, remember that crazy scene whereby that crazy fascist teacher pulled Latina by her horns? Oh man, that was harrowing! The most traumatic scene ever! I don’t know if I’m ever going to get over that! And then there is also the danger of shady people wanting to kidnap and sell Latina in the black market. Thankfully that never happened. But you see, all this could have made the series more interesting because it at least gives some story to tell. Maybe elevating Dale’s status to be Latina’s true hero each time he comes to rescue her. But I guess we don’t want Latina to turn into a loli in distress and are already going for that cute calmness and since that itself is already too much to take, we’re just going to sweep all those threats under the carpet like as though they never happened. Don’t want to watch Latina go through all that, do we? WE MUST PROTECT LATINA’S SMILE AT ALL COSTS!!!

It would have been slightly interesting if the lore and setting of this world is further explored. For instance the several Demon Lords mentioned here as well as the different types of beasts and races. And the Rose Princess thingy whom Dale knows? Yeah. So what of it? It felt redundant to have all this mentioned because it didn’t even matter at all. Like as though in case there is another season, maybe they could use this setting. Because as I’ve said previously, the black market thingy was just short-lived and never even came close to materializing. Hence Latina was never close to true danger. All so as not to take away the spotlight from Latina’s ever glowing cuteness. I guess we’re not ready to sacrifice all that for the sake of TV drama and suspense.

And having said all that, I guess all the characters are… Uhm… Boring… I mean, okay. We can’t keep fawning over whatever Latina does so I guess it doesn’t matter what others do, right? There are lots of conspiracy theories about Dale and Latina’s relationship once Latina reaches a certain age. Yup. Once she is legal of age, can Dale finally sexualize her? I mean she eventually has to grow up? But I am making this assumption that since demons live longer than humans, it would take a lot more years for Latina to become a teen and by the time she reaches that, Dale would have been an old man! So too bad, no f*cking a loli for the moment! Unless you tell me that demons grow up at the same normal rate like humans and only they stagnate when they reach adulthood? I don’t know. As long as Latina remains a loli, happiness is spread everywhere! Banzai Latina-chan! I don’t know whether to feel annoyed each time Dale fawns over Latina because you got to admit, she’s the cutest thing ever! And would it not be an insult if you do not fawn over something cute! Hey, look at all the grown men in Kenneth’s bar being mesmerized over Latina’s charms! We can certainly see why Kenneth’s bar is experiencing brisk business. But if you think about it, it is also a den filled with grown men… Potential loli rape… NOOO!!!! DON’T EVEN THINK OF THAT!!!!!!! I guess it is also not child exploitation as long as Latina is happy with her waitressing job and everybody loves her, huh?

And the rest of the other characters… Oh yeah, everybody loves Latina so much because she is such a cute and nice girl. What else to say? Humans like her, other creatures also like her. What else to say some more? We see she has a bunch of friends at school so that she is not alone for a little girl her age. Potential love interest with a certain boy but that is another story. Could be an interesting one… Dale or Rudy… Latina is now like family now that she has met Dale’s family and she certainly she has lots of godfathers, Jil and those rowdy guys at the bar. Don’t forget those winged wolves whom she ‘tamed’ by giving them a good belly rub. And nobody has turned into a fanatic BFF like Maya. Latina’s like her security blanket… Oh wow. Latina, you are so loved by everybody! No other demon clan character is this loved so much as her!!! Oh Latina, you are ironically truly blessed! Let’s just hope that when Latina grows up, everyone will still continue to love her like their little girl always. That’s when we see the true test if you’re just a lolicon or not…

One thing that boggles my mind is some of the chants that Dale said, it seems to be in some weird language. I thought it was German since you know, the town of Kreutz… Such a German name… Heh… But the more I listen to the gibberish he says, the more I wonder if it is some lesser known language. Google Translate didn’t help so I am confused if this is just made up language. Because you see, when he says the gibberish, they also translated this gibberish in the subtitles to let us know what he actually says. So I thought it must be an actual language. Maybe it isn’t any real one in the first place and they’re just making it up as they go along.

Art and animation are okay. Animated by Maho Film and this is their debut anime and so far their only series they have animated. Everything here looks bright and colourful, like as though this is a series aimed at younger audience. It could have totally been one had not for that few dark parts. Yeah, never do I want to see Latina break her horn again! Heck, there are a few parts in the earlier episodes where there are blood and death! This is more of when Dale goes adventuring and has to fight evil creatures and bad people. The cuteness of Latina seems to remind me that she looks like other cute lolis in other anime series. Namely, Asahi from Shichisei No Subaru. More Latina bonus because every episode’s mid-intermission eyecatch, you get to see Latina in different outfits. SO FREAKING KAWAII!!!!!!!!!! I WANT TO COSPLAY AND DRESS UP THIS LOLI!!!!

One reason why I said in my opening paragraph that this might be some weird spinoff of To Aru Kagaku No Accelerator is because Dale is voiced by Nobuhiko Okamoto. Yup, that guy with the crazy voice. Now pair him with a loli, doesn’t this make this pair look like Accelerator x Last Order? Hmm… Dale-ccelerator x Last-ina Order!!! Oh sh*t! Can’t unsee this now!!! Latina is voiced by Kanon Takao (Yuu in Anitore! EX) and well… As cute as she tries to sound, sometimes I feel like you can’t hide the fact that this is a grown woman trying to fake the sound of a loli. But since she sounds cute, I guess I’ll let that slide. The rest of the other casts are Tsuyoshi Koyama as Kenneth (Youhei in Zero Kara Hajimeru Mahou No Sho), Manami Numakura as Rita (Paula in Nisekoi), Tomomichi Nishimura as Jil (Anzai in Slam Dunk), Yuuki Kuwahara as Chloe (Tooru in Kobayashi-san Chi No Maid Dragon), Marika Kouno as Sylvia (Suzuka in Uma Musume: Pretty Derby), Mutsumi Tamura as Rudy (Sonya in Kill Me Baby), Mai Nakahara as Helmine (Mai in Mai-HiME) and Yui Fukuo as Maya (Linze in Isekai Wa Smartphone To Tomo Ni – on a personal note, I kinda hate her character Maya in constant crying mode. My ears can’t stop ringing…).

If you want more Latina goodness and cuteness, be glad to know that she sings the opening theme, I’m With You. Despite this rock outfit, I guess she still does make it sound cute. But the one that takes the cake is the ending theme. Nope, not Latina singing it but Dale! OMFG! It is with both cuteness and cringe when hearing this song. Because of the hip hop nature of this song, the ‘funny’ part is how Dale’s seiyuu sings it and like I said, it is both cute and cringe worthy. One moment you are fawning at how cute he sings it but the next your hairs could stand on ends at how cringe it is. Especially the final lines that has him go. “Chu chu chu chu chu chu chu”. Yeah… I don’t want to hear this song again but something is compelling me to listen to it again… OMG. I’m… Addicted… To it…

Overall, this isn’t a cute girls doing cute things genre but rather, CUTE LATINA DOING CUTE THINGS!!! Yes, all the colourful and sparkly cuteness from this demon loli steals the show at every turn and moment and possibly some of our hearts. The only real danger is turning some of us into lolicons. Good thing I’m still not! Really! So if you are looking for some good wholesome anime with decent characters (but a very cute main one) and a decent storyline (although everything revolves around everything Latina does oh so cutely), then this is definitely a must see. A good show to also tell us that even though you’re not related by blood, love all around still makes you family. Just make sure the cuteness doesn’t run out. Ever. Latina-chan hontou ni kawaii sugiru ~kyun…

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!

Sounan Desu Ka

October 18, 2019

How good are your basic survival skills? Zero? Well. Same here. I suppose we have been so reliant and dependant on technology that now we take the basics of survival for granted. Sure, we think those YouTube videos and the internet can help when we’re stranded but let’s just hope the uninhabited island has some strong internet connection to begin with! But don’t worry. Not all is lost. In the very most remote of chances you think you might find yourself stranded on an island, perhaps watching Sounan Desu Ka beforehand might do the trick. I hope. A group of girls has been shipwrecked on a deserted island and are forced to do whatever they can to survive. From collecting water and catching food, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Not the paradise kind of private beach island life they’re hoping for.

Episode 1
A plane crashes. It seems only Asuka Suzumori, Mutsu Amatani, Shion Kujou and Homare Onishima survive and are stranded on a rock. Only Homare has survival skills since her dad taught her before and they often got stranded on trips around the world. So this is no stranger to her. As we can see, Homare puts her survival skills to good use. Like catching a flying fish, beating it up while wrapping it in her shirt and then squeezing it to drink its blood as liquid! I think the rest will pass. Still thirsty? Homare offers a ‘fresher’ alternative of peeing in your mouth! They continue waiting and still no sign of rescue. Next morning, an island across is visible. They start swimming. Getting exhausted? Nothing moves you faster when you see shark coming! Luckily Homare throws an old handphone battery that has the shark turn around due to its sensitive nose. With Mutsu feeling a bit dizzy, Homare believes their best action now is to find water. She explains several methods but it either takes too long or they don’t have the equipment. It’s not going to rain either. Hence their only option is to find a water source. With Mutsu’s mouth feeling dry and she can’t produce saliva either, Mutsu kisses her to transfer some of hers! Eww! Worse, Homare just ate a flying locust and its leg got stuck in that kiss. Mutsu’s first kiss… A taste of locust…

Episode 2
Homare and Asuka head into the jungles to find the water source. Ironically, Asuka being the athletic one, she tires out and is complaining? I guess she wasn’t really trained for this kind of environment, huh? But soon, Asuka starts to get dizzy. Homare hurriedly digs for water on a soil that is damp and lets her drink. Best water ever! Until she realizes she is drinking this ‘filtered water’ from Homare’s sock! Meanwhile Shion tries to find something for Mutsu to rest. She stumbles into this coconut. Mutsu gets the hint she wants to be praised for her efforts. It took some effort to break it open and from what I can see, Shion drank it all. So to make it up for her, if she pees, she wants Mutsu to drink it? Not outrageous but I don’t think the girls have gone crazy being stranded… They are given a respite when it rains. With their water source secured, the next step is to build a shelter. But since the rest are complaining about being tired and hungry, Homare goes hunting. She caught some cicadas, sea urchin, seaweed and some mysterious jar. Rock-scissors-paper to see who gets what. Shion gets the sea urchin and Mutsu gets the seaweed. Asuka thought it is some jam in this jar but whatever it is, it’s expired. Tastes bad… Homare is willing to share the cicadas. Did you lose your appetite after seeing he decapitate it? Tastes like shrimp? But Asuka passes since Mutsu shares her seaweed. With night fall, they have to sleep in the open. That’s why Homare told them the importance of making a shelter. But I guess sleeping underneath the open sky isn’t too bad either. The girls are surprised that Homare can instantly fall asleep. Well, she’s done a lot for you girls today.

Episode 3
It’s one thing being tired. It’s also one thing to be useless. But it’s totally another thing to throw a tantrum just because you are hungry and wanting Homare to get some food. Oh Asuka, you looking like a spoilt brat. Luckily for her, Homare intends to head into the jungles to find more vines so Asuka tags along under the pretence to help but also to look for food. When Asuka pulls out some sort of potato from the ground, Homare doesn’t think it is a good idea to eat it. Bugs are okay and not potatoes? Hence Homare employs a patch test to see if it’s edible. By rubbing the thing on your body to see if it has any sort of reaction. She rubs it on Asuka’s ass. Suddenly she feels numb. Definitely poison… She is still scared of eating cicadas but once she gets the hang of it, yeah it tastes like shrimp. Shion hopes they could build a shower next since hygiene is important. Don’t want to have those rescue workers think they stink? Homare builds one but it is out on the open. Hey, at least nobody else is watching on this uninhabited island. Works fine until they broke the mechanism. Homare takes Mutsu to hunt for shellfish. Mutsu thought hermit crabs are inedible but on the contrary, Homare demonstrates by ripping off its shell and devouring this ‘delicacy’! They have caught a few shellfishes so Homare demonstrates how to start a fire and use the sun and rock to make it like an iron plate. Shellfish tastes so good that they can’t stop this ‘buffet’. Don’t worry, if you still have stomach for more, here are hermit crabs. Bon appetite!

Episode 4
Once you try it, you’re sure to love it! See? Hermit crabs tastes good to. Uh huh. Tastes like shrimp… But will this be enough? Don’t worry, Homare believes it is time for them to catch a real animal for its meat. Uh oh. Real survival begins… Based on the footprints, she believes there are squirrels nearby. Hence she explains some of the traps they will be making to catch one. When a toad pops up, Asuka uses her skirt to catch it. Careful not to touch some of its skin as it contains poison. Because Homare says they can only eat its legs and to leave the rest behind, Asuka gets worried. You mean she has to kill this little guy? Like, how? Oh sh*t… Thus she pretends to slip up and let it escape. No frog meat tonight… Homare so disappointed… Homare then spots a burrow. It is believed to be European rabbits and hence they will be changing their target to them. She creates a snare trap and to see whether it works, Asuka volunteers to be bait. Works like a charm. Why does it look like she wants to flash her (rabbit print) panties? As Mutsu and Asuka set up similar traps near other burrows, Mutsu notices a branch too high to be placed for their trap. Therefore she improves and uses a log as a counterweight. They fear it might not be as speedy as the original so Asuka tests it and it works perfectly.

Episode 5
So Shion is b*tching that the catch will have to wait for a few days, they have to eat the same shells and hermit crabs again? Homare thinks up fast that she’ll go collect some turban shells and this delights Shion since she loves eating them. Homare and Asuka dive in to catch some but they didn’t find any. So what did Homare bring back? Starfish! Oh Shion, you still not happy? Until she realizes some bruises on Homare’s hands that Asuka explains she tried to get some oyster but its shell was hard and she accidentally scraped it. Shion realizes her selfishness and eats the starfish. Better than any turban shell! Yeah, be prepared because that’s the menu for tomorrow too as Homare catches more! When the gang goes to check on the trap, looks like everything is still in place. Then they see smoke from the beach. Alerted, they think it’s some rescuer. But when they return, they see Shion in a daze. She thought she saw a ship. She starts crying and apologizing. Keep it strong, girls. Can’t have a domino effect of everyone breaking down. Next morning when Homare asks Shion to come with her, the latter thought she is going to be punished. But Homare takes her to a place where there is low tide now. They dig up wrasse fish that buried themselves in the sand while they sleep. That night they have a mini celebration. Got to have some fun sometimes, right? Here’s to their safety and health. Next day, Asuka and Mutsu check on the trap. Looks like something is caught in it… It’s still moving so the thought of killing it swiftly lingers…

Episode 6
Indeed there is a rabbit caught in the trap. Can’t call for Homare or it might run away. Mutsu offers to kill it. WTF?! How could she miss hitting its head at this distance?! I know she isn’t athletic but the way this plays out, like as though the rabbit is making a fool out of her! WTF Mutsu giving up and crying?! Truly the rabbit has taken her for a ride. So Asuka sums up her courage and does the honours. Relaying the good news, Homare now explains how to remove their organs but first they need to create a knife using a stone. Mutsu wants to try skinning it to make up for her failure. Hang in there. Let’s hope this bloody mess doesn’t traumatize her even when Homare is guiding her. Yeah, biology class wasn’t like this… On how to cook the meat, Shion has an idea of some French dish she once experienced, lievre. Well, with some improvisations, they can make something close to it. After deboning it, they wrap it in some plant leaf, cover them with rocks and twigs to grill them. And of course when it’s done, it is the best meat they’ve eaten ever since. How does it taste like? WTF tastes like chicken?! Shouldn’t rabbits taste like rabbits?

Episode 7
Homare thinks of exploring the island but only needs one of them to accompany her. Hence it becomes a ‘battle’ to be picked. Choose me! In the end, Mutsu is chosen and this leaves the rest devastated. After exploring for a while, they stumble into a dock. Excited at first, Homare examines it and realizes it has been abandoned a long time. For now, they make camp. Mutsu asks why she was chosen and to her surprise, Homare views her as most suited for survival as she has a deliberate nature and adapts quickly. So to say the others aren’t so fit for survival and are going to die? Then they hear rustling in the leaves. Turns out Asuka and Shion followed them. Can’t leave mommy behind, can they? They make a bed using a net. A bit cramp but it’s all they’ve got. They think of naming this island but definitely reject Mutsu’s idea of using their initials because it sounds like ahomushi (idiot). Next day, they continue exploring the island and while Asuka finds pears, Shion claims she has found a house! Well… A dilapidated house. Homare explores it and is excited to find a broken pair of shears. The rest cannot understand why she is so happy so she spells out how its metal parts can be modified into a knife. Makes survival a whole lot easier. Then they climb to the highest point to get a feel of the island. Well bad news, water, water everywhere. But something catches Homare’s eyes. There’s smoke nearby…

Episode 8
Calling out if anybody is there… No response. When they head down to the spot, the smoke is actually vapour from the hotspring! Quit wasting time analysing about somebody was here building these unnatural formation of the rocks so as to make the hotspring because it’s time to soak in and have fun! Not sure if the rocks or water is illuminating because we can sure see the naked girls clearly! Of course, important parts strategically blocked off… When the water temperature gets warmer, they realize something is wrong. Too late as the waves engulf them. Luckily they are washed ashore as Homare theorizes this area is only visible during low tides. Later Homare wants to go down a narrow chasm because there are thick ropes there. This spot was once used to anchor boats. Testing the water depths and all, she finally jumps in to grab the rope. Then she uses the chimney style movement to climb her way out. When it starts raining, the girls quickly rush back to camp. Because of the heavy downpour, their tent couldn’t do anything and the fire is put out. Asuka tries to maintain optimism by heading to sea to find something since she is already wet. Suddenly lightning strikes the far end of the ocean and she got electric shock! Thank goodness she is still alive. With the heavy thunder and lightning, the girls wonder if they should move into the forest but Homare points out it is more dangerous as the lightning could strike a tree. The solution is to build a 4m lightning rod and take shelter at precisely 45 degrees away. While Homare builds it, the girls are on the verge of breakdown from the incessant flashes. But thankfully the storm is gone. Asuka thinks of dipping into the sea again but why did she get electric shock again? Jellyfish. Ah… Homare applies sea water to relief some of the pain. Shion and Mutsu realizes how everyone has got it hard and promise to use this as a lesson to be mindful and not to make life already harder than it is.

Episode 9
Homare is excited as she manages to finish creating a couple of knives. Because of the UV, Asuka’s skin is peeling so they ask Homare if there is any natural sunblock lotion. As she was just finishing hunting squid, squid ink provides excellent sunblock. Unfortunately it is only enough for 1 person so Mutsu won the bet and got it. But don’t despair, Homare grinds the seaweed for its mucus and it might not be as effective as squid ink, it’s still better than nothing. Shion accidentally drops and splashes it all over Homare. Asuka doesn’t want it to go to waste and starts rubbing her body against hers. Our yuri fanservice for this episode. With Shion pouting that she is left out, Homare hands her dried squid liver. Not as effective either but still, better than nothing. Too bad it stinks like hell! When Mutsu got bitten by a horsefly, Homare treats it with sap from dandelion. Shion and Asuka argue to make a hammock or a drying rack. In the end, because embarrassment is next to nothing in nature, they made a hammock instead. At least they can sleep easy. With all the stinking business, Shion wonders if making perfume is possible. I think Homare didn’t mean anything bad because she says at this point all of them stinks! It just means their smell got used to the bad odour over time. When the girls praise Homare for her great survival skills, it Homare attributes them all to her father so the girls think she has daddy complex.

Episode 10
Homare makes a raft with bamboos to help transport heavy stuffs. When Shion is lazing around, a bee ‘visits’ her. This scares the hell out of her but Homare realizes this means there must be a hive nearby. She tracks the hive to a dilapidating log. I don’t think she is trying to scare the girls about people dying from bee stings but hey, no pain no gain, right?! First, Homare uses a makeshift torch to smoke out the bees. Then they lie low so as not to provoke it. You think the bees aren’t mad after their hive has been set on fire? Once the timing is right (don’t want the honey to melt), Homare goes in to cut them. With the bees still buzzing around, the other girls get scared but Shion sums up her courage after seeing some mild bee stings on Homare and helps to take the honey. In the end, you can say it is sweet victory. Next day, Homare and Asuka return from fishing. Shion insists she wants to go fishing too. As she cannot dive, Homare lets her fish from atop a raft. After a while, Homare realizes the current has been gaining speed. To her dismay, Shion is nowhere to be seen. Even getting on top a high rock, screaming her name, there is no sign of Shion anywhere. Oh no. Truly lost? Shion has been so engrossed in fishing that she didn’t know she has been drifted far out to sea.

Episode 11
When the rest finds out that Shion has been drifted, Asuka becomes upset. How can Homare lose her when she was supposed to be with her? Hey, even monkeys something fall off trees. But Homare isn’t giving up yet so she has them help her build a raft. She can still catch up and find Shion before sunset. Homare remembers papa’s words to always think about her own safety despite having others around. Because this might put others at risk too. But Homare isn’t going to let that lesson lose a life of a friend. At this point Shion realizes she is lost. She can’t panic and cry. Got to save those moistures. She spots an island ahead but when she lands, it is just some big rock with no life. She tries to stay calm but at this point she is feeling dehydrated and negativism is setting in. Meanwhile Homare fears she might have passed Shion. Due to her limited vision of the horizon, she remembers daddy’s method on how to measure height without any tools. So this high jump acrobat move has her spot that rock island. And in good time she finds Shion cowering underneath the shade of a rock. Shion starts crying. Uhm, is it a good time to waste moistures? And she’s complaining Homare took so long?! Jokes aside, it’s time to go ‘home’.

Episode 12
In her haste to go rescue Shion, Homare forgot to bring any water. At this rate they will dehydrate before they get back. Shion mentions about a cave she found. However as Homare examines, despite having fresh rainwater, it is contaminated with bat dung. Drink it and you’ll get sick! However she has an idea as they prepare their raft back. As they paddle back, it seems the water with bat dung is left out to dry in hopes the UV will somewhat sterilize it a little. As they are really dehydrating, they still can use this contaminated water. As the colon absorbs water and they can drink it without going through their mouths. Have you guessed it? Through your anus!!! Not joking!!! It’s either you lose your dignity or your life! She’ll put some of the water in her mouth and blow it through her anus!!! OMFG!!! Worse than a horror rape scene, Homare does the unthinkable on Shion! That’s only half of it because now Homare wants her to do it to her! This is the worst day of Shion’s life. But she survived… That’s even weird sh*t porn for today. At sunset, they finally reach back thanks to Mutsu and Asuka’s smoke from cooking. Shion couldn’t wait to reunite with her friends and swim ashore to hug them. That night they have a great feast. Next day, Homare teaches them how to ensnare a wild boar. Come on, girls. Cover your hands with wild boar dung!!! The trauma for Shion doesn’t stop… And then they let Shion be the one who trips over it to see if it works. Works like a charm. Lastly we see Homare’s papa on his boat on his way to rescue her…

Cast Away: Girls Versus Wild
Well, this just in. Looks like I know nothing at all and I better have somebody like Homare to hold my hand if I ever find myself in a similar situation. I don’t know if I can really ever do that anus hydration thingy if I were in the same situation. Really, that scene was really the most disturbing and so full of cringe for those who are not used to it. I really hope I don’t have to go through that… And with the girls looking like they’re making the island their home and learning better skills as each day pass, the cliff-hanger of Homare’s papa coming to rescue her, if he does so will they really want to leave their ‘second home’? That will be a survival story for another time. If they manage to put out another season, that is.

While the survival skills and techniques are interesting to watch, I have a feeling that they are just very basic. After all, even though there is this intention from this anime to enlighten and teach others about survival techniques, you can’t go in too deep and technical otherwise it will bore and confuse the hell out of many viewers. Especially like yours truly who know nuts about surviving and this might turn this series into one ‘scary’ experience. Oh damn, you need to know and do so many things just for that little thing? I’m going to pass this island survival thingy. Yeah… Also, this series is only 12 minutes or so and I can see why they want to keep it short and at the same time cram as many interesting survival situations and techniques into the dozen of episodes. This is after all still anime and the main point is to entertain. Otherwise it makes zero sense to have 4 cute girls as our protagonists here, right? In spite of everything we have seen the girls go through, it feels that nature has still been kind on them rather than unleashing some sort of fury that would have threatened their lives at every moment. Like as though this island is made for beginner and amateur survivalists…

While the plot of this series is to see the girls survive the island and to improve their daily survival, a lot of other things when you think about it doesn’t make sense. Like as though it was just all for plot convenience to set up this setting. For instance when the girls shipwrecked, where are the bodies of their other classmates? Unless you tell me that they are the only ones who were on a trip. Even so, where’s the pilot’s body? Oddly in the first episode I have already been wondering about stuffs like this because I figure if you want to be realistic, might as well think of this gruesome reality too. I know they don’t want to stay depressed or even think of their dead, but it’s like those dead classmates never existed at all. It’s like, oh there are only 4 of us who survived this. Okay. Let’s start surviving this island together. See what I mean? Plus, this is sea water so the bodies should float? Amazingly no corpses have been drifted on the island they have been. Assuming that the girls have been stranded on this island for days and weeks, why has there been no search and rescue operation to look for them? Unless the pilot went off its course so the rescue team is searching in the wrong place. Hmmm… Now where have I heard this plot before? With no rescue team means it beats the girls having to bum around and wait to be rescued and hence why we see them doing things to survive.

And then here is another mind boggling part: How come the girls still look fresh and especially their clothes still looking good and new? Remember what I said about this series trying to entertain us and probably targeting a certain demographic segment? Uh huh. It just feels unrealistic that even though there might be some natural solutions to help keep the moisture and some skin care, it won’t be as good as those manufactured ‘poison’ that those international brands produce. In short, the girls here look amazingly cute and clean despite being stranded on the island for days and even weeks. Their school uniforms look amazingly neat and spotless despite being exposed to the elements. No torn or ripped parts of their shirt or skirt. Even more mind boggling how Homare has used her shirt to drain blood and I can’t believe it is still as white as snow after she somehow cleans it. If this was true in the real world, serial killers and murderers would have gotten away with it so easily. Therefore sometimes looking at the girls who are clean and fresh makes me feel like they’re doing one big advertising for the island… Get what I’m saying?

Character wise, I guess there is nothing much to say about them. You can easily pigeonhole them as the athletic tomboy (Asuka), the studious megane (Mutsu) and the prideful oujosama (Shion). Thankfully with one of them being a master survivalist, the rest get to extend their lives longer instead of game over the moment they crashed. It is that ironic feeling that everything you learnt in school is not really applicable here. But let’s face it, how often are we going to live in the jungles or somewhere without human civilization? So it is pretty expected that Asuka, Mutsu and Shion know nothing about survival. Occasional b*tching and whining I guess it is acceptable seeing that they are unfamiliar with their new surroundings and it is a good thing they learn and help out since trying to forever be a spoilt brat will only get you dead (by nature) and not sit well with us viewers who might be trying to find somebody to hate. I dunno. It’s just human nature, I guess?

But I suppose this means with their undies in good condition too, it gives a great excuse to see them in it while they get wet and do water activities. Damn, that sure sounded ambiguous but whatever. Viva our little fanservice here! And because the trio are noobs in surviving, some of their slip-ups are made to look like jokes and punch lines. Ah well, gotta have some fun too, right? It’s a good thing they have Homare as company rather than, say, Wilson! Cute blonde twintail beats bloody hand printed ball any time!

Homare being the ultimate survivalist and somewhat saviour of the pack, it feels like God is trying to play a cruel trick on her by testing what she has learnt from her father all these years. Many of the techniques she employs here are thanks to the lessons and flashbacks while travelling with her dad that are scattered throughout the series. Hence it also becomes one of the mind boggling points of the series: Why the heck was papa bringing a young girl along with him through his travels around the world? I don’t know what job papa does that has him travelling to all the dangerous parts of the world, but why bring a young Homare who could have been in elementary school then with him? I am making a big assumption that mom is dead and it’s the only reason why a child is not stopped to go on such journeys. And of course thanks to the travels, she has gained a lot of valuable knowledge on surviving. For some reason she stopped travelling and entered high school. I am also assuming this happened because dad is dead and she thought of experiencing the high school life before she gets too old to be a high school girl. And then this happened. Perhaps the ultimate test to see if she was really paying attention to daddy. From what we’ve seen, it is sure paying off.

On a side note, thanks to my limited Japanese vocabulary, initially I wondered why this series was named so. Only after a simple Google search did I realize it was appropriately named and it can be used as pun too. Hence the official English title of “Are You Lost?” is appropriate (sounan means lost). This also offers a play on word and pun because “Sou nan desu ka” technically means “I see…”. Therefore when Homare shows and wows us with her techniques cue this line which could actually mean both. Pretty neat, huh?

Art and animation feel pretty okay as we have cute looking girls and for thankfully the island life isn’t harsh enough that the girls suffer some kind of horrible injury or tragic fate. Yeah, nobody gets paralyzed or suffer from some sort of illness! And with cute girls making look like it is so easy and fun living the island life, better think twice and do your research after research if you really want to try this out. This anime is animated by Ezola whose only other anime at this point was Happy Sugar Life.

I didn’t want to make any issues with the voice acting part but I want to point out that Homare’s character at first I didn’t think she was suitably voiced. Not that Mao Ichimichi (Shion in Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken) did a bad job but rather my perception (and most of us) of blonde twintail girls. I was expecting her to have this high pitch squeaky voice like what many blonde twintail girls do. Yeah, bonus points if she is a tsundere. Therefore having Homare’s voice as the calm and lower pitched, it just feels, uhm, not right. Had Homare looked like any one of the other girls, I would have agreed to the casting but I guess the producers want us to cast away that stereotypical views of blonde twintail girls. Yeah, it all doesn’t matter when it comes down to survival, huh?

The other casts in this small line-up include Azumi Waki as Shion (titular character in Oshiete! Galko-chan), Hiyori Kouno as Asuka (Kazusa in Araburu Kisetsu No Otomoe-domo Yo), Kiyono Yasuno as Mutsu (Megumi in Saenai Hoeroine No Sodatekata) and Akio Ootsuka as Homare’s papa (Kyouraku in Bleach). Seriously, the more I hear the voice of this guy, the more I keep thinking he is the late Unshou Ishizuka! Remember Ahomushi? If the island didn’t get named by them, then they could have formed a band in an alternate reality and sung the opening theme of this song, Koko Wa Doko! Another one of the weird aspects of this series is how lively this song is. I don’t expect it to be dark, dramatic and edgy but for a show about survival, seeing the girls having fun doing survival stuffs in the opening credits, it just feels really weird. Yes. Really, really, really weird. But I think we need all the positivism and motivation we can get by staying on this deserted island. The ending theme by Kiyono Yasuno goes to a slower beat. Ikiru has this slight feel that it is a marching band song but it’s not that bad either.

Overall, this series can swing both ways. It is entertaining because you get to see the girls doing basic survival tasks and if you like a bit of ecchi, having them doing certain stuffs in their underwear gives a natural excuse for this. However the series can be a drag because it is basically the girls doing basic survival tasks. Rinse and repeat but shown in a different way. And the saddest part is that I would forget all the lessons that Homare has thought us once the next season rolls in. Heck, even by the next episode I would have forgotten the important survival lessons of the previous! Looks like I’m not cut out for surviving in the wild. Anime had better not die out and force me to go outside and live a normal social life! Oh the horror! I don’t need that kind of survival skills, please!!!

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…

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!

Kemurikusa

July 14, 2019

Well, the synopsis didn’t say much. Kemurikusa is about a group of girls needing to fight off bad bugs in a world covered with red fog and mist. Sounds intriguing enough and although my interest of whether to watch it then was on the fence, I further read that this adaptation only came into being after it because it won’t a 3D anime contest back in 2012. So I guess that there is something good about it. I hope.

Episode 1
Rin and Rinako are out to get some fresh water. However Rin detects a red bug and engages in combat. Although Rin defeats it, she didn’t realize there was another one. It attacked careless Rinako drinking the water. By the time Rin returns to defeat it, Rinako is already close to death and soon sadly dies. Rin returns to her base that houses her other sisters, Ritsu and other Rinako clones who are collectively known as Rina. Yup, 4 of those Rina still left. They fill up the water tank and eat up some green leaves called Kemurikusa produced by their tree named Midori. Suddenly a boy is washed into the water tank. Wakaba is unsure how he get here but the sisters think he is some kind of bug and attack him. He tries to run but ends up being captured. They are puzzled this new bug type can talk and although Wakaba says he is human, they don’t believe because the sisters are the only humans left on the island. To prove he isn’t a bug, they shoot a green leaf at him. It is supposedly a bug’s weakness. Rin fires at him. The blast destroys the structure around but only Wakaba is still intact. So he’s not a bug, right? Nope. They think he is a new type that is resistant to Midori’s leaves! Ritsu picks up the appearance of a red fog and hence another red bug. They are surprised because the fog has never come so far up on this island. Rin and Rina take Wakaba there. More ‘confusion’ because Wakaba feels pain when he touches the red fog. Bugs shouldn’t. The bug makes a surprise attack and gobbles up on of the Rina. Wakaba can sense where she is held and not dead yet. Hence he braves the red fog and dives in to go get her. This also lures the bug out and Rin is prepared this time to take it out. The sisters are happy that they didn’t lose one of their own this time. However Rin remains sceptical of Wakaba although she feels something strange welling in her heart…

Episode 2
The sisters decide to let Wakaba live a little longer for now. Ritsu deduces this is the last batch of water on this island. But since they have gathered so much, they can go to other islands and search again. Rin tells Ritsu her strange heart problem. Whenever she is near Wakaba, her heart beats fast, her face feels flushed and her vision sometimes get blurry. Oh! I know what it is! But guess what they think? It must be a poison from the red bug! DOH!!!! WTF???!!! Rin then takes Wakaba to get some kiiro that serves as food and light source. Yeah, this guy is like so fascinated with everything. He spots different coloured leaves and decides to keep them. They also spot some bugs but those that are not red are not hostile. But there is one that attacks Wakaba! Rin blasts it with a green leaf. Wakaba gets caught in it but nothing happens to him. Also, his wounds get healed. As Rin gets some kiiro, she talks about the sisters surviving from letters that tell them locations of the water as well as how to defeat red bugs. She claims she has no ambition and the only thing she cares is protecting her sisters. When they return, Wakaba’s Kemurikusa starts glowing. It is rare for leaves other than Midori’s to glow. Furthermore, it is in another colour. But soon it stops glowing. Rin then makes a decision to leave the island. They pack up and make plans to leave Island One they are in now to Island Four. Wakaba is amazed as Midori’s roots turn their tram base into a mobile one as it sets itself nicely over the tracks. Rin scares Wakaba not to do anything funny or else she’ll kill him. I wonder if she is trolling him about leaving the island. Because whenever they do, somebody dies. So Wakaba is that bait?!

Episode 3
The gang make their slow trail to the next island. Wakaba might be having too much fun being fascinated with everything that he almost fell to his death. Thanks to Rin grabbing him, he did not meet his maker. I guess she owes him for saving Rina. Arriving on Island Two, they use some fish-like thingy to detect water around. They’re not going to find any for a while. Ritsu starts coughing since she is pushing herself. So they all take a break and drink some fresh water from their tank. They drink a lot at one go and it will last them for several days. Because they stopped by some amusement park, one of the Rina went off on her own. Hence Rin and Wakaba go in search for her. Wakaba learns that Rina can eat anything and then produce some weird stuff. So this is how they supposedly duplicate? Though, Rin warns not to just eat anything in fear of getting that poison. Yeah… Wakaba then finds another Kemurikusa but this one has a stem. Because it is also edible, the Rina also want a taste of it. Back at base, Ritsu gives Wakaba a Kemurikusa they used to use a long time ago. Apparently it belonged to their old sisters. Ryoku didn’t particularly like Kemurikusa and was always furious when Riku made them glow. After all, only Riku can make them glow and thanks to Ryoku, they know so much. The ground suddenly shakes and opens up. Wakaba could have fallen into the red fog just to save a precious pot of the sisters but Rin pulls him up just in time. Rin is mad that he saved something that he didn’t know of its importance. He didn’t think of it and just knew it was important to them. He hopes he can help out in anywhere and thanks her for saving him. Rin starts to blush. Must be the poison…

Episode 4
They have reached Island Three as the Rina notice Wakaba continuing to be obsessed with his Kemurikusa collection. They show him a few nifty tricks of their own that they develop from eating many things but since Wakaba is only amazed at those with Kemurikusa, no more tricks for you mister! Along the way, a few red bugs but nothing that Rin could handle herself. As they rest for the night, more Kemurikusa obsession from Wakaba as he swings around his collection and in certain angles they do glow. With the Rina using Kemurikusa for cloning purposes, Wakaba realizes its importance to the sisters. He admires Rin’s Kemurikusa too but she hides from him. Is she being shy? Nope. Just taking precaution to stay away from his poison! To get to Island Four, they need to take the sky bridge. Rin uses her strength to haul the entire tram up. But along the way, they encounter a red bug. This isn’t just an ordinary one. It’s so freaking big and powerful that it’s termed as Nushi. The gang retreats as the Nushi attacks them. Rin is injured by its blast albeit a minor one. At this rate the Nushi is blasting about and putting holes in the bridge, I’m thinking the bridge’s integrity will be compromised. The plan seems to be like this. Rin sacrificing herself to let the sisters pass. Not if Wakaba has an idea. He noticed the Nushi reacts to Kemurikusa thanks to some of them he dropped while retreating. So he has Rina make several little toy clones to carry Kemurikusa as distraction. Rin will use that as a chance to destroy it. The plan works but the dying Nushi gives out one last blast at the sisters. If not for Wakaba reacting fast to protect them with the special Kemurikusa, they would have been goners. Now the Nushi is dead, the sisters are in disbelief they actually defeated one on their own. They are excited as they draw closer to Island Four.

Episode 5
Now on Island Four, they are looking to get to Island Six. They don’t really want to get lost and end up in Island Five although ironically that is where they found this tram. It was also around here that they picked up Midori’s branch. It was small at that time but now it is big and able to protect and move the tram around. When a Kemurikusa glows, Wakaba throws it at a broken pole and suddenly it fixes it back to normal. As they continue their journey, you mean now only they realize a wheel of the tram is missing and possibly during the fight with the Nushi? Did they not notice Ritsu controlling the tram and walking in a weird fashion? Wakaba looks at the nearby junk for some parts and oddly a docile bug helps find a wheel. Because the mechanism is broken and some parts are missing, Wakaba has this idea to use a Kemurikusa to fix it. Well what do you know? It is as good as new! Everyone is happy and surprised that Kemurikusa could be used this way other than fighting red bugs. Ritsu is in tears with Wakaba praising her so much for taking care of Midori. Time for Rin to accuse Wakaba of doing something fishy. Somebody explain to her those are tears of joy? Finally they arrive on Island Six. It is mostly uncharted territory and filled with red bugs. Thanks to Riku finding this tunnel hole, they can travel underground and avoid any hostiles above. But first, they need to rest. I guess Wakaba isn’t as tired as the sisters so he explores around. To his delight, he finds lots of Kemurikusa lying around. So happy picking them that he realized too late that he is lost. Oh sh*t. You scared now? Then he stumbles into a girl. Not a ghost, I hope.

Episode 6
Riku thinks Wakaba is a bug and tries to attack him. Good thing Wakaba is quick at dodging. But after hearing she knows her sisters, now he’s her friend. She talks briefly about her sisters as she hints she is here to do some preliminary investigation. She also teaches him how to use Kemurikusa as a barrier (good thing he learns fast otherwise he would’ve been vaporized). Riku gives him a compass to find his way back and doesn’t want him to tell her sisters about her. She’s supposed to be gone. On the way back, Wakaba discovers a new interface in using the Kemurikusa. Especially one that looks like a diary written by one of the sisters, questioning about the world and the likes. Walls and connecting islands, the first person hiding something, some memory leaf, all too vague for now. Before he knows it, Rina jumps on him for going missing. I guess he’s back. Well, it’s not like they cared, right? So let’s move on. Thanks to Wakaba’s new compass replacing their old one, they manage to make their way through the labyrinth. They stumble into another huge tree like Midori. Ritsu tries to connect with it but it’s too huge to move and most of its branches have wilted. Wakaba consults the diary to find an answer. Something about large Kemurikusa tree dead, its large branches and roots can lead to a pool of water nearby. Following the path, they reach a huge lake.

Episode 7
The giant criss-crossing roots of this tree is supposed to be Island Seven. Because it is overgrown other structures, they wonder if humans once lived here. Then they stumble into a wall. They find it weird because there is no hole. Ryou supposedly broke it the last time. All of them pool their powers and yet it did not make any scratch. Then all the harmless bugs turn black and start attacking them. They are easy to deal with but their numbers is a pain. Wakaba then uses his Kemurikusa to open a hole in a wall to retreat to safety. At the centre of this tree is a huge pool of water that would last a lifetime. Everyone is joyed that they finally found a safe place to live. No red bugs, no red fog. This could be their utopia finally. Wakaba is thrilled to find more Kemurikusa. Rin and Wakaba go explore around and find another wall. Using the same technique to open a hole. To their horror, they see endless red fog and endless red bugs. Does Rin think she is a hero and can take all of them?! There is also a giant red root but when cut, it regenerates. For now they are forced to go back and report to the others. At this rate, the red bugs and red fog will eventually break through and reach the water source. While Rin’s decision is to carry all the water they can and find some place safe to live, she is scared that she would make the wrong decision that would result in someone dying again. Because Wakaba saw something further at the end of the red fog, they decide to follow the red root that would led to its trunk that they must destroy.

Episode 8
The sisters fight their way through and although they defeated many red bugs, they are tired. As they make their next plans, that docile bug pops up. Let’s call it Shirou for ease of reference. So it followed them? Heck, it is showing them a map that could possibly take them to Island Nine. There is also a route that is clear of red fog or bugs. Shirou gets attached to Wakaba like as though it is his pet now. Wakaba reads more of the diary but still too many riddles. Wakaba notices a red Kemurikusa inside Rin and from the diary, it supposedly belonged to the first person. He wants to touch it. Eh? You sure you’re not rubbing it off the wrong way? Of course Rin won’t let him even if it’s for info. Coming out from the tunnel, they arrive at the top of the dam. Red fog below and the valley is covered with red roots. Shirou wonders if a map could help. Then it leads them to a boat where there are other Shirous! It seems they came from Island Nine and are sleeping here since the red fog makes them go crazy. They escaped there since the place is sinking but lost their captain along the way. They want Wakaba to be their captain and will do anything. They hand him to map of Island Nine as requested. The only way there is to cross the red root blocking it. Since they can’t go unnoticed, they’ll have to destroy it. Hence the Shirous combine themselves into some giant cutter machine to cut it. The root tries to fight back but the Shirous manage to snip it to free their path. But since they have absorbed too much red fog, they will stop functioning before turning into a red bug. They thank Wakaba for allowing them to serve him and giving them a purpose. Wakaba feels sad for ordering them to their deaths but Shirou can’t understanding because his comrades were grateful. Rin finds this familiar since sisters died smiling. She wonders if Wakaba will cry if they die. Of course!

Episode 9
Trekking up the mountain, be careful not to fall off into the red fog. They reach a wall and as Wakaba prepares to open it, they are being attacked by a Nushi. However this one seems to be using the wall as defence but at the same time it can’t leave the wall. Instead of opening the wall to lure it out and attack it (and risk the Nushi calling the red root for reinforcement), they rest up and think up of another plan. When the sisters are asleep, Wakaba wanders off to find water and stumbles into Ryou. I guess she is supposed to be dead but is kept alive by a Kemurikusa inside her. One more big fight and she’ll vanish for good. She supports him to fight the red root but first they need a way to get through this wall. Hence she summons Ryoku. So she just shapeshift into her? Are they both occupying the same body? Ryoku doesn’t like Wakaba in particular and even more so he read her diary. But after hearing him out, they exchange ideas. Ryoku believes this world deliberately made this world and could have learnt more if they opened the memory leaf. Then there’s the page with some contents erased. More about this world could be known if they had the memory leaf. Conveniently or not, it is with Rin and you know damn well she isn’t going to give it to Wakaba for such puny reasons. She encourages him to take it by force as she wants to know about the world before she dies instead of defeating the red root that will eventually destroy this world. Ryoku thinks if he can touch Kemurikusa, he might control the red tree. One way is to use Midori’s branch since they are of the same material. Wakaba returns to the sisters to ask permission to use Midori and of course Rin snaps at him because Midori is precious. However Ritsu agrees since Midori has gotten a lot stronger. Wakaba will be the bait to draw it out. After Wakaba opens the wall, the Nushi attacks. How can puny Wakaba grab and hold it down for Rin to throw a part of Midori at it? Yeah, they make it look so easy, defeating this Nushi. Midori must be damn strong. With a hole in the wall, they can now move forward.

Episode 10
The gang are tired after beating lots of tough bugs in this red mist zone of Island Nine. Reaching the end of the island, they believe what lies ahead in the thick red mist is Island Ten. But this is no ordinary island. It’s floating! Wakaba feels the main trunk is nearby and the only way is to climb up. They think on how to deal with it since the bugs and mist react to their Kemurikusa. Wakaba thinks if he can touch it, he might be able to control it. For now they rest and they drink their last portion of water. Ritsu and Rin talk and thank each other for being sisters. They are the world to each other. But of course. What else is there left? When they begin trekking up, it seems Ritsu and Rina can’t go up. It dawned to Rin that they didn’t drink their water portion and instead made a few more Kemurikusa for her. Rin doesn’t want to leave them alone but they have to go now or all their efforts will be in vain. Wakaba leaves Shirou to protect the sisters. After they leave, it seems there is a reason why Ritsu and Rina stayed back. Once the duo attack the trunk, red bugs will swarm to attack them. So they think they can stop the bugs? Wakaba and Rin arrive at the trunk’s centre. It looks like a giant beanstalk reaching the heavens. Wakaba wants Rin to show her memory leaf in hopes there would be clues to defeat this trunk. Hurry up, Wakaba. Don’t want to make a girl feel embarrassed by touching and doing something strange on her back, do you? When activated, Rin suddenly sees a vision. It is a view of the first person. Hmm… A young girl who is eagerly studying and can’t wait to grow up to be an adult.

Episode 11
Riri loves Kemurikusa and bugs. At least those white ones. Yeah, they’re cute and useful. She lives with Wakaba and is glad he has come home from his research work. We see him talk about his Kemurikusa research but Riri is also a genius seeing she mixes a few different Kemurikusa colours to create a new one. We also see Wakaba using Kemurikusa to make buildings and islands in his giant floating crane. Huh? Because there isn’t enough circulating water, the buildings crumble. Then something about Riri died once but Wakaba saved her. Her parents are dead and she would prefer to live with him than by herself. Riri notices Wakaba is working so hard that he might be neglecting himself. Hence she tries to create a new type of Kemurikusa that can stop Kemurikusa to help out with Wakaba’s work. But it is glowing that ominous red colour… We take a break with Rin returning to reality. She tells Wakaba what happened. Yeah, she believes that Wakaba must be him. Still the same dork. However Wakaba can’t remember a thing. She returns to watching the vision in hopes to find more clues. And what’s this? Looks like that red Kemurikusa has grown out of control and growing into a big menacing root. Riri feels sorry but Wakaba understands she was only trying to help out. All the trick Wakaba try to stop it didn’t work. So he sends Riri away and tries to stop this red mist himself. Several walls come up after Riri is far and safe. She waits for him but after 10 days, what broke through the walls isn’t Wakaba but the red fog. Instead of waiting, Riri needs to do something. She intends to become a wall and uses all that she has learnt from Wakaba to configure the Kemurikusa she has. There is a risk she will become a Kemurikusa and not human so just in case, she decides to split her memories. There is also the danger of the red tree making her vanish. She wrote in the diary that her mission is to save Wakaba and despite the risks, she is going to do it.

Episode 12
Wakaba notices the root targeting Rin while she is still having her vision. So he distracts it with more Kemurikusa power. When Rin is back, what she sees? Wakaba got stabbed by the root! Oh no! But don’t worry. Thanks to a Kemurikusa in his pocket, he still lives. So the duo try to fight their way to the trunk. When Wakaba gets pinned under and ‘dies’, this triggers another Riri flashback. When she was separating the Kemurikusa into several bodies, she noticed her memories are clear. She used this to find Wakaba but to her horror he is dead. Saddened, she doesn’t want this to be known and erases some of the records in the diary. Now that Rin has realized, timely messenger by Ritsu and Rina to give her a branch of Midori for her final fight. They hope she has realized to do the thing she loves. So as not to make it sound like a death sentence, they assure her they are doing well holding back the other red bugs. Rin powers up to fight and reach the red root but can she do so as she is losing limbs at this rate? Cue for her ‘dead’ sisters to pop up and show what they’ve got to weaken the big bad monster and allow Rin (who somehow regenerate all her limbs) to nail the final coffin for this red trunk. Falcon Punch!!! With everything red dissipating, last goodbyes from the ‘dead’ sisters. They hope she realizes what she loves and not let go of it. And yeah, Wakaba lives too. Again, thanks to what’s left of Midori protecting him. First thing Rin does? Hug him! I guess after all this time of berating and distrust, it paid off with something different. Wakaba you lucky guy now. Ritsu and Rina report the red bugs and mist disappearing so they must have won, right? With no water and a long way back to the rest, I guess Rin wants to sit and chill with him. Just don’t leave her alone. But soon they notice a draft and it leads them out of the cave. Oh my! The real world?! Mountains, rocks, trees, the sky and more importantly, water! Water! River! Rin is so happy that she starts crying. And the most important of all, she finally says I love you to Wakaba with a big smile.

Bugged Out, Blow Out & Blow Over: Mist-ing The Point…
Is this supposed to be a romance theme either? Like as though the goal wasn’t to defeat the red mist and red trunk and to find the eternal utopia but for Rin to finally remember who she really loves. Thank goodness it’s not poison. Haha. But I’m still confused. If they all are from the same person (because the sisters hinting they should all stop talking differently now that everything is over), aren’t they all supposed to love Wakaba? Unless Rin is the main body or something. Does this mean everybody except Rin knows about the past and Wakaba? Or they can tell from her bad acting that her body and mouth say different things. And with the final scene revelation that they broke out from some ‘ship’ into the real world, are they saying that this entire setting was just some sort of experiment?! Man, it has got to be one giant ‘ship’. A ship that was good enough to contain the red menace because I surely didn’t see it contaminate the natural greens of the real world. Let’s hope the wild animals won’t eat them the moment they step out. That would add a lot to the cheesiness and weirdness after Rin’s final scene confession. Next sequel, Wakaba and the sisters living like Tarzan and Janes in the jungle! Thankfully that will never see the light of it.

Unfortunately, the intrigue and novelty of the plot seems to wear off very early and it became a drag to watch. It became some sort of horror journey survival as the sisters and the only male in the group seek to move from one island to another. Don’t really understand why they needed to do that because it is not like they had any other goal to do so in the first place and my suspicions is that it is better than staying in their (almost) safe zone and go adventuring in this vast unexplored world. I could be wrong since I was too bored to pay any attention. Oh right, the water source. Even so, how did they end up on Island One in the first place? Did they try to escape from the other direction? Because is Island One the last? Is there Island Zero before that? I’m sure the producers wanted to unravel the mysteries bit by bit as it goes along but with every episode almost having this same feel of getting from one point to another, I was quickly confused and bored. Even if they leave it late to reveal some of the secrets of this world, I was already not really that interested. I wanted it to end. Yeah, it would take a shocking miracle if they really wanted to get my interest back. No such luck.

Even with the penultimate revelation of what happened, it still created a lot more questions on the setting of this world. For instance, why is Wakaba creating islands and buildings? For what purpose? And where are the other human beings? If he is going to make such big cities and with no humans to populate them, what does this achieve? If it was all in some ‘ship’, was the project then abandoned because nobody else came to their aid? Damn, it would have been better if they just entered some portal to a whole new world to live in instead of their decimated waterless world. Wait, on second thought, maybe that isn’t any better either. There is also the case of how the sisters come about as they aren’t born and conceived like how normal humans would (is Riri some sort of magician to materialize them like that?). One day they just woke up and realized they came into existence. Hence, what are their purpose? Are they supposed to continue the lifeline of humanity’s existence? Are they even humans in the first place? Riri’s flashback did shed some light on this by it doesn’t really make sense for her to split herself like that. And how did Wakaba first pop up to the sisters? Sure, it’s in the water tank but how did that even happen? I am guessing that it had something to do with Riri saving him and hence his sudden appearance in present time, that is the future. So did Wakaba get thrown into the future? I mean, it’s not like we could see that old Wakaba was actually dead in the first place, right?

Hence there are lots of things I don’t really understand about the Kemurikusa or how their different colours and shapes give it different abilities or something. They just look like lines made out of thin neon lights and sure, they’re nice to look at when everything in this world is so dark and covered with ominous red fog. Perhaps I could have make the connection if I watched the original Kemurikusa indie series but at this point I’m too bored and lazy. There was even a chart I saw somewhere on how Riri was related (or rather created) to the sisters. But yeah, not really interested at this point. Sorry Wakaba. I don’t share your enthusiasm and curiosity on the different Kemurikusa types.

The characters didn’t help in making the story interesting either. I know that with the small group making their advance and the episodes showcasing how they ‘get along’ but I still feel that it wasn’t enough to make me want to really care about them. Even if I did, it was just hoping to answer some of my questions about them. So basically the group consists of tough girl Rin AKA tsundere, nice elder sister Ritsu AKA cat girl and a bunch of Rina AKA loli and not forgetting Wakaba as the Kemurikusa enthusiast that makes him sound like a retard sometimes. Each of them has their own abilities but nothing that feels exciting. I really don’t understand the logic of the other ‘dead’ sisters to not live with them seeing that they would stand a better chance as a group but I suppose this way is going to make them stronger by being apart. Better than living a peaceful sisterly life together for as long as they can. Their appearances before Wakaba didn’t make any sense. Plot twist? It’s like they want to have us think they are really dead but surprise! Not dead. Yet. So I think it is so that when they pop up finally, you won’t surprise or be angry they throw in a few new characters. The last episode feels like one big ex machina for those dead sisters to pop up. Like as though they’ve been waiting their whole existence for this to happen. If they are this powerful to bring down the red trunk, why didn’t they do it in the first place and wait for their other sisters to suffer? Maybe they can’t deliver the finishing blow? So they’re like waiting for the sisters to be strong enough to go on this journey to defeat the red trunk, huh?

I wonder what the goal of the red tree is. Is it to destroy the world by turning everything its poisonous red mist touches into antagonistic beings that attack those who are not affected? Well, literally painting the town red. Haha! Heck, turning the entire world red. And I thought those Nushi would be some sort of level bosses seeing they are powerful enough. Who made them anyway? I’m sure they were good bugs or robots before the red fog engulfed them. Yeah, a group of characters on a journey to destroy the root cause of this redness while defeating bugs and the more difficult Nushi feels more like a video game concept. Well, the red trunk does give off that feel of a final boss because it’s really big. Really, really huge. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

If there was something more bugging than the story and the characters, it would be the visuals. Entirely animated using CGI, the animation can appear jerky and one kind. If you want to say it makes them look unhuman, this is the reason. Uh huh. The sisters aren’t human not because they drink large amounts of water at one go, fight using Kemurikusa (Rin), eat almost anything and everything (Rina) and control branches and roots of Midori to scout for enemies (Ritsu) but rather because of the poorly animated CGI! Just really plain weird. This anime is made by Yaoyorozu who also brought to you a few other CGI anime series like Tesagure! Bukatsumono and Kemono Friends.

Voice acting feels pretty normal with me only recognizing Mikako Komatsu as Rin. She also doubles as Riri and hence my speculation that the reason why Rin had this ‘poison’ (AKA love) feeling towards Wakaba. Oh, and those Shirou robots with their squeaky beeping sounds, yup, Mikako Komatsu too. Beep, beep, beep! No offence to Kenji Nojima (Eiji in Banana Fish) but him voicing Wakaba does make his character sound so gay. Especially with his tagline “I’m so curious!”. All the loli Rina are voiced by Tomomi Jiena Sumi and this is her debut role and her only role so far. The other casts are Arisa Kiyoto as Ritsu (Misato in Gin No Saji), Yuuna Mimura as Ryou (Riko in Hanebado), Kanna Asanuma as Riku (debut role) and Akira Sekine as Ryoku (Princess in Princess Principal).

The opening theme is of the same name as this series and is sung by Nano. Although this rock piece is rather okay, sometimes hearing it sends shivers down my spine or my hairs stand on ends. Not to say that this song is scary or creepy (or even that bad) but somehow I just don’t like the way the singer sings the song. The deal breaker was the last line “Finding my life in the Kemurikusa”. I don’t know. I just find that intolerable the way he sings that. The ending theme, Indeterminate Universe by Yuuya featuring Kemurikusa feels like it is fit to be a video game song. At times, the song also reminds me of the opening theme from Black Rock Shooter. I don’t know, the singer sounds similar enough although they are entire different.

Overall, what started out with an intriguing premise quickly turned into something dull and tedious. Perhaps I was too impatient in wanting answers quickly instead of letting the flow reveal itself in time. Sure, there are some unanswered questions (or unsatisfying answers depending on your point of view) at the end too but if you were like me, the dragging out of the journey of the Wakaba and the sisters would have zapped your zest a long time ago. And the ending was like we need to get over it so let’s just throw in everything for a good happy ending as reward for our characters who came from a long journey and to our viewers who have stayed with us through thick and thicker mist. Yeah… Just to be fair, there are no feelings of ‘red mist’ or ‘seeing red’ from me. Just some boredom and dissatisfaction. Unfortunately for me, this series will soon be lost in the mists of time…

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…

Melty Lancer

June 14, 2019

Retro time! It is one of those moments that I weirdly remembered. Long ago, I harboured this ‘interest’ in watching this Melty Lancer OVA series but somehow never got around it. It was always kept on the back burner of my mind and I keep blaming the ‘obligation’ to watch more current animes of the season than just quickly finishing up these 6 OVA episodes. Throughout the years this thought has been floating in and out of my mind and one day I just realized that if I keep delaying this, this series would not be found anywhere anymore! Yeah, it’s old enough to be rare and the ones online are dubbed. So what a way to press the panic button and put this case to rest. Boy, that sure did the trick. Anyway, this series is some ‘futuristic’ sci-fi space action adventure about a group of girls that formed a special space police organization that was disbanded but now deployed again thanks to some new conspiracy that threatens the fabric of space, time and the existence of the universe! And to think episodes are enough to save the galaxy…

Episode 1
When a scientist created a small capsule that could alter an entire planet, terrorists led by Defiant D storm into the place to steal it. Collins who has been incarcerated for 5 years is now eligible to obtain his freedom in exchange for this small task. After he was imprisoned, a paramilitary police force named GPO was set up. Recently they are getting bad press and their relationship with Galaxy Federation isn’t good. His job is to lead a group of females known as Melty Lancer. However they were disbanded a year ago. An aide (only known as Aide) is currently being sent to gather them. After miraculously surviving some civil war zone, he manages to get Sakuya Lansaihe who is now preaching as a priestess. At the same time, an asteroid is detected to crash into Earth. Actually a group of criminal students consisting of Vanessa, Ligel and Grianos (collectively known as Vannesars) are hiding in it and hope that their act will lure out Melty Lancer. Sylvie Nimrod finds Jun Kamishiro and Angela to take them to flee as she warns them they are being targeted. Aide now sees Melvina MacGarlen but she refuses seeing that she is now a politician and cannot leave in the middle of her job. However she realizes that there is a conspiracy to it all and agrees to get drafted to get to the bottom of this. The asteroid crashes into Earth and a giant mecha pops out. She then leaves a message that they are going to continue their job to alter the Earth’s natural environment. Nothing is going to stop them and if they insist, do send Melty Lancer. Is this the reason why Melty Lancer was recalled? Sylvie’s groupie is driving through the African savannah when the animals weirdly surround them. So is Nana the Lion King? She is happy to be reunited with them but save that for late as Melty Lancer is reunited for the first time in a year as they join forces to take down Vanessars’ menace. Isn’t this causing more destruction? Things get heated up when Melvina somewhat gets injured. But it ends with Sylvie attacking from the top since there are no weapons attached there. I guess Vanessa was too cheapskate to install any weapons there. Once Melty Lancer is victorious, immediately the Surface Security Bureau steals the limelight by securing the criminals. Melty Lancer is frustrated that they were just the bait but Melvina knows there is more to come and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Episode 2
Despite the mecha secured, Vanessars are reported missing. Eastern Metropolis (EMP) was a city that was almost hit by the asteroid. With the citizens evacuated, Defiant D and her team take this chance to infiltrate and steal some genetic package. Melty Lancer enter their underground base for the first time. So run down. It doesn’t help that Collins is being a dick. He doesn’t care why they are being put together as a unit and this doesn’t sit well with Melvina. Worse, he dismisses her as the team leader and has Sylvie take up that role instead. Later, Aide gives each of them tasks. Menial tasks. Directing traffic, finding a lost cat… On the news, the criminal organization known as Defiant has been going around stealing DNAs of endangered species and leaving notes that only say “Iyonesco”. Sylvia speaks to Collins about this and wants to hunt them down as she knows they will target rare species like Jun, Angela and Nana. Collins however accuses her of stealing a vehicle then. Although she admits she would file in a report after the case is solved, he threatens to report her. He challenges her to a gun duel in which he will forget this if she wins. Of course he ‘cheats’ and is faster. But this is just a test as he gives her a new prototype gun to test. Sylvie tries to hunt down Defiant but it seems they are quicker than her. After raiding the place and leaving, only Sylvie arrives. On another stakeout, Sylvie is surprised that Jun, Angela and Nana are here to help. Why not? After she is acting so strange in office (due to her failures), they figured it out. Just in time when a slime monster goes on a rampage in a lab. Jun and Angela head in to tackle it but find themselves running away since they hate slimy things. Meanwhile Sylvie and Nana intercept Defiant D and her team impersonating as medical officers. Unfortunately Defiant is better than our Melty Lancer duo as they make their getaway. But this leaves Sylvie puzzled as she is unsure if they intentionally dropped their evidence. When Jun and Nana are cornered, I guess desperate Jun got this weird idea to fight DNA with DNA and fires the entire blaster. Although the monster is calmed down, it turned into some big giant friendly bubble? A cute creature pops out from it. Meanwhile Melvina must have failed her horrible CGI 3D rendered simulator. With the authorities being useless dicks, she goes to find some hermit whom she has known for a very long time.

Episode 3
So that cute creature is now their pet, Moumou? Thanks to that incident, the news is all over Melty Lancer. You can say that they are now famous and there are lots of creepy cosplay fans waiting outside. Yikes! Sylvie tells Collins about the equipment left behind by Defiant. She seeks permission to analyse it but is denied as he knows it will blow up the entire place. Instead, he wants her and Sakuya to dress pretty. There’s a ball tonight. Melvina continues to gather intelligence. There is some connection going on between the religious order and the federation that have bigwigs involved in the setting up Melty Lancer. They seem to be building some spaceship. Then she blackmails a former lover, Oushita who is now some top official to get more info on Collins as well as the reason behind Melty Lancer’s reunion. At the party, Sylvie and Sakuya could identify lots of important bigwigs around. The party then starts but it is all a setup by Vannesars to eliminate all the syndicates at one go as they unleash some robots that could do carbon freezing. That is, freezing live people. Sakuya manages to summon a barrier to protect them but how long can they hold from this onslaught? Especially Collins is still eating away! WTF?! Aide sends Nana and Angela as reinforcements but upon arrival, they too are met with resistance from Defiant. Where’s Jun? Not sure how she ended up in a gay bar brawl. As for Melvina, she goes to see Oushita but is already down for the count. A mysterious man talks to her about the data in Oushita’s hands. From her reaction. Looks like it reveals everything. Aide thinks Moumou was being a cute toying with the computers. Suddenly it grows fangs! Oh sh*t!!!

Vanessars watches the havoc and Vanessa is feeling pretty good about her success. She is trying to prove her worth to Defiant D but the latter will only believe when she achieve the results. During Angela’s fight, a henchman accidentally destroys some power core. Why the heck did this cause the robots to stop moving? With this failure, Vannesars quickly escapes. Sylvie faces off with Defiant D when Collins get in between. It seems Collins was the boss of a secret unit before Earth became part of Galaxy Federation. They were all nameless people with no records and you can say they do a lot of dirty work. However their last mission to rescue and escort and important person, Lady Marvel ended in failure. Collins disbanded the team. This left everyone in disarray. Defiant D accuses Collins of pulling this stunt that left many of their comrades dead soon after. She gives him a chance to return but too bad he is now the commander of Melty Lancer and won’t go back to his past. So what does Defiant D do? Blow up the entire building? All this just to escape? If you wonder why Collins and his girls survive, thanks to that bubble cushioning their fall. Melvina hears that same story from the mysterious guy. However he cannot tell her about Iyonesco and can only say that Melty Lancer is the scapegoat. She then starts to feel pain. Not sure if Moumou is playing around with Aide by chasing him around. Because it gets tenser when Melvina barely breathing returns as she tries to warn everyone the fate that is about to befall on them. She should leave a note or something if she’s going to pass out at the crucial moment.

Episode 4
Aide is getting drunk and complaining his sh*tty life. A couple of hot chicks decide to hear him out. Really?! With Melvina in hospital and stabilized, Jun and Sakuya are sent on a mission to infiltrate this religious Ark Organization who are taking in people with trouble. Guess what? Aide is the motivational speaker???!!! He is giving a speech that gives hope to this troubled people. A new paradise will be born! Jun and Sakuya realize everyone has been scanned for their genetics. Think they won’t be found out? Yeah well, Defiant D already knows they’re here and have fallen for their trap. Sakuya relays back to Sylvie as the rest of Melty Lancer sortie to rescue them. Meanwhile the mystery man talks to Melvina. He has given permission to let her know more. They must stop Iyonesco who are within EMP. They only recently managed to pinpoint their location thanks to their transmission of activities regarding some experimental second phase. Now they’re heading into the third phase. Iyonesco collects genetic material through Defiant and also conduct experiments to create unusual space phenomenon. It seems their goal is to annihilate space. No time for Melvina to sit back in bed when there’s so much to do. A black hole materializing from converted energy. Sylvie is shocked with this but she has seen this before. All the ecology systems on a planet were wiped out. However the planet was eliminated 20 years before the incident, proving that the destruction not only travelled across space but across time. Like as though somebody built some giant space teleport device. The organization shows its true terrorists colours by showing this ‘miracle’. Everyone is going to die!

Sylvie is being caught up with the suction and finds it hard to escape. However Nana figures out how to stabilize their position. Not sure this sci-fi mumbo jumbo explanation but she realizes this phenomenon is something like a vacuum. You just need to supply the mass shortfall with the same material as the reverse field. Melvina confronts Collins about Galaxy Federation leaving Iyonesco alone. Something about they’re too scared of that organization and that is why Melty Lancer was recalled to handle that task. In fact, they draw in the crowd. Though the goal was to improve GPO’s image, expectations were not high. By breaking ties with Iyonesco, they divert public attention, hence their re-organization. Thanks to Melty Lancer working hard in the recent incidents, they manage to charge high officials with corrupt acts. Of course it won’t end with that as Iyonesco is hell bent on annihilation. Sylvie manages to break through and assist Jun fighting a Defiant goon in a power suit battle. And before they could arrest the other members, they flee again. Damn they’re good at this, aren’t they? Of course Melty Lancer goes after them. Meanwhile Aide is given the task of guiding the lost sheep. Yeah, just preach God’s name! I think this is going to be tough with everyone hounding him for salvation! Ah, a God’s messenger’s job is never done. Defiant D still has an ace up her sleeve. After tricking Melty Lancer into following them (just holograms, fools! Gotcha!), then whatever this she activated. Huge space light laser explosion or something?

Episode 5
Collins seems to be overworking the scientists. Well, what do you know? The experiment to teleport Melty Lancer is successful. So that’s what the transmitter he gave them for in the first place. Don’t have to grieve over their deaths now, eh? However they notice that only Angela isn’t around. Did her teleportation failed? Sylvie is the most affected by her death. Because Angela is some bioengineered soldier, if she dies, her body will turn into ashes and not leave a trace. No time to cry over her because Melvina has received orders to hunt Iyonesco instead of Defiant. Everyone goes about their own way to gather info. Except for Sylvie. She’s still dead like a zombie. Of course Angela is still very much alive and in the care of a fellow kin, Rufus. Some weird explanation how he teleported her away although she was still partially injured from the blast. Rufus also lets her know that he is a follower of Defiant because they saved him. He was once experimented on as a bioengineered soldier as he is a rare species but Defiant came to save him. They gave him the option to do what he likes but he rather follow them. Defiant has been stealing endangered species’ DNA to avoid them being wiped out by stronger rivals. Ironically, Defiant D doesn’t like Rufus harbouring an enemy. So Angela is enemy first and endangered species second? With Rufus pleading for Angela to be spared, Defiant D allows it but will not let Rufus stay with her. Aide returns to base, very sad and blaming himself for Melty Lancer’s death. However he sees Sakuya and it’s like the biggest relief to him. Weird sexy trolling moment as Sakuya rewards him for his efforts with her healing. Yeah, they sure made this scene look like she wanted to make out with him. No sexual healing. Just some weird healing.

I guess the higher ups have had it. That means destroying Earth. With explosions everywhere, you bet everyone is going to panic to try and leave this planet. Melvina experiences yet another weird interference dream. However she follows those cries for help that leads her to some dying android girl? She feels so sad for her and laments had she only arrived sooner to help. The moment Aide tells Sylvie about Melvina uncovering Iyonesco’s true identity, it’s like she suddenly spring back to life! Like, WTF?! Like it blew her blues away. They go to see Collins but he is gone. Yeah, conveniently he dropped his video that shows Defiant holding Angela as hostage. So Melty Lancer join Collins to go save Angela. Meanwhile Melvina has the scientists salvage what is left of the place and watch the video of the horrifying experiment on this girl AKA Iyonesco. Shortly after Earth joined Galaxy Federation, they caught a lost species who was caught up in the confusion. The experiment failed as she turned into a monster. She became some sort of computer virus that sought knowledge of itself and was able to propagate and think. Trying to find her own existence and kind, she infiltrated various networks and managed to find various secret and criminal organizations. When the higher ups learnt of this, they made a pact with her whom they abandoned before. All in the name of greed and self-interest. Although Iyonesco is taken away, some programme starts activating by itself. Collins and Melty Lancer seemingly step into yet another Defiant trap. Uh huh. With Defiant D’s signal, she blasts them to smithereens. Is Angela going to cry over their deaths now? We should know better…

Episode 6
Yeah, as expected, Collins tricks Defiant and singlehandedly beats them up. At point blank range with Defiant D, looks like Iyonesco has plans of her own. Both Melty Lancer and Defiant side are teleported onto the Ark that Iyonesco has absolute control over. I don’t understand that chaotic space battle outside but Collins berates his ex-members about being too afraid to be independent and free on themselves, hence they depend on Iyonesco and be her puppet to validate their existence. They claims he only taught them how to kill, steal, etc. So Collins has nothing further to ‘teach’ them and dares them to kill him. Not sure what the people on Earth are protesting at the federation’s HQ. Vanessars are reluctantly supporting this. They spot Aide who seems to be desperate in helping Melty Lancer. So they agree to help him out for money. So they just give him a mic to speak to the masses? Looks like his screaming speaking skills come in handy. He rallies the crowd to force the federation to deploy the fleet. And when they do, why does he look so shock? You mean he didn’t expect them to? Rufus explains how he is going to carry out Iyonesco’s wish to destroy the galaxy and create a new one. So this spiral thingy is the centre of the galaxy and bombing it will destroy everything? Wow. So simple yet so confusing. With Ark getting sucked in, all those on board start to experience some weird trippy trip. Past, present and future all meshed up together. Everyone’s memories out in the open for all to see. And this weird cliché moment of everybody suddenly getting philosophical about the past, present and future. Uh huh. No past, no future. We won’t be here today if it’s not for the things that happened in the past. For the future! With that, everyone returns to reality. But they’re not out of the woods yet. Because Iyonesco’s programme is still activated. So the Ark is still going to crash into the centre? Yeah, the only way to stop it is a 3 billion character password! OMFG!!! THIS IS THE MOST HILARIOUS THING I’VE HEAD SINCE WATCHING THIS SERIES!!! But don’t worry, Rufus points out the password… Moumou! Yeah, this critter’s DNA is the password to stabilize everything! But wait! Still not really out of the woods yet. The centre is still sucking them in. I suppose this is now where Aide with the help of Vanessars in their puny ship come to help pull the Ark away, huh?

Once they are safe, the commander of the fleet contacts them. So this mysterious guy is actually a clone of Collins? Wait. So this Melty Lancer Collins is also a clone? He is here because his boss wants to speak to Collins. Guess who? Marvel! Seems she faked her death and went into hiding to stay out of Iyonesco’s network. Somehow Iyonesco’s plans didn’t take into account both the Collins. Back then, info was leaking out too much and they had to kill comrades who knew too much. If she fell into enemy hands, everything would be for naught. Hence to save the troops and Earth, she had Collins deceive his unit and pretend to kill her, then sealed himself off and kept silent. Thanks to that, she was able to protect Earth from the shadows. Now she credits them for saving the galaxy. Because the federation is still unstable, she cannot come out in public. This means their heroics too cannot be officially recorded but will be sure it will be passed on as a legend to the next generation. As the Ark is too tainted, they have to abandon it. Defiant D is still asking Collins to come back to them and define their purpose of existence. What more has a guy got to tell them that he’s not into the past anymore. So I hope with that final goodbye, they manage to make peace and move on. As Melty Lancer and Defiant part ways, Rufus stays with the latter. I guess no romance for Angela then. Only Moumou decides to go with Rufus. WTF?! This critter decides to abandon a group of hot chicks for some terrorist group?! WTF?! Fail!!! As Melty Lancer celebrate, they think they forgot something. I bet it isn’t important. But you’ve guessed it, Aide has been whisked away by Vanessars since Vanessa is smitten with him. Going to take him all the way across the galaxy, huh? With Melty Lancer’s mission somewhat completed, they now have a duty to keep the peace in EMP.

Collins’ Angels: Fool Troll-ttle
Oh boy. What a mess. I am not sure if I find this series tolerable is it because this is a retro series? You know me. Because animes that came out in that era, I seem to give such a pass and forgive all its other weird atrocities that would not even make me bat an eyelid had this came out more recently or a few years back. So yes, there were some fun moments but largely if I am going to summarize my overall sentiments about this series, that would be disappointing. But I suppose that would be better than keep procrastinating for another few more years and delay finding out how disappointing this series is.

Firstly, the big problem of this series is the pacing of the story. It’s a mess. Here, there and everywhere. Because right from the first episode that is supposed to tell the tale of reuniting the girls of Melty Lancer, suddenly it is like they were already reunited. Eh? Did I miss something somewhere? I mean, the girls are now scattered after their disbandment for a year. And to suddenly come together like that and do their first mission flawlessly (as in their communications and teamwork) like as thought the last they seen each other was yesterday? Yeah, I thought they skipped some parts here. But that is the thing about just having 6 episodes. You cannot tell much and it does not give room for proper fleshing out. Maybe animes were harder and more expensive to make back then. But anyway, then they throw in too many other stuffs that just confuses the viewers. Conspiracy, terrorism, genetics and what is this about a failed computer experimented girl trying to restart the universe? Is she trying to play God? Fortunately God was stopped by a 3 billion character password that was conveniently in Moumou’s DNA! Oh yeah. If I am ever going to remember this series, it is this one that takes the cake.

The next problem are the characters. Melty Lancer being the main characters as well as the name of the anime itself, you would have thought that there would be some sort of prominence given to them. Unfortunately there is no backstory for these main characters and my guess is that if you really want to know more about them, you should play the games that this series was adapted from. Hence the series sort of expects you to know these characters and for those who never played the games like yours truly, you are guaranteed to be lost. Because there are many things about them that are not explained like Nana’s transformation into a sexy curvaceous adult body. It’s not like she could control when she can transform into this state any time either. I mean, how the heck is this relevant except for one small scene where she needs to get some info from guards who are thankfully not lolicons but into mature babes. Then there’s some traumatic flashback of Melvina’s past that I think that is pretty forgettable. I could be mistaken since Melvina could be seeing the dreams of Iyonesco instead.

So basically you can guess the Melty Lancers are made up of a few ‘unique’ individuals who are as predictable and boring as they can be. They’re supposed to be close but you don’t feel that way as the series didn’t really flesh them out properly to make us feel so. Sylvie the face of Melty Lancer just because she’s a pretty blonde babe. She’s good in guns but we don’t get to see that often to ascertain that skill. Melvina is the brains of the team and often works independently with her own network to get info. Jun is the brute tomboy and Sakuya is like the soft spoken priestess or something of the group (I read somebody referred her as the discount version of Belldandy of Aa! Megami-sama). What is better than a loli? Having 2 lolis! So that’s what Angela and Nana are. One animal version and the other some magic princess or something. Lastly, Moumou as the pet mascot of the series feels useless in most of its part except for that password thingy to make it relevant. Yeah, don’t look down on such critters. I think Iyonesco failed to take into account this critter. Should have made a 10 trillion character password!!! It felt disjointed that it suddenly became part of Melty Lancer after that incident and hence when it ‘defected’ there wasn’t any much love lost because personally I never felt that it was part of the team to begin with.

Ironically, I feel that Collins and Defiant have been given slightly better characterization and storytelling albeit just a little. This commander of Melty Lancer is so shady and weird that he gets more fleshing out than the main girls themselves. Which just feels pretty odd. You might think that he is a dick but the big revelation reveals that he was just playing his part to perfection. Yeah. The tired trope and overused cliché of hope. Always believe! And Defiant not merely being evil terrorists, even though they had a reason to steal genetics of rare endangered species, it still makes them no less a terrorist group. After all, a thief with a cause is still a thief. Though, Defiant D feels annoying as she keeps bugging Collins about their old times. Give it up, girl.

Aide feels more like a comic character, a punching bag whom nobody gives a damn about. Either way, he is more ‘memorable’ than Melty Lancer because of his constant annoying voice while he whines about his job and life. Yeah, that’s basically what he just does. Whining and mumbling. Well, got any other better career choices? And now he struck the ultimate jackpot by being Vanessa’s boyfriend. Oh sorry. The ultimate misfortune. God help him. I bet he is wishing the universe to be reset, huh? Speaking of Vannesars, their role as the secondary antagonist feels more comical than anything since they always slipped through Melty Lancer’s fingers. They are more of an annoyance than threatening. Had this series been given more episodes, we could have at least seen their love-hate relation with Melty Lancer. As of now, it’s like they aren’t even significant nor matter at all.

Action parts are just average at best. Nothing really to shout about. You know, with Sylvie firing her gun and Jun being in her power suit and bashing everything that stands in her way, it doesn’t give much of a variety. Not sure if it is a good thing that such action sequences don’t last long but I guess it beats having it last for many episodes. Because this is some space sci-fi setting, I guess we need some gunfights and laser fights and bombs and explosions that go with it.

Art and animation feel pretty retro. This is after all released back in 1999 to 2000. Yeah, you know me again. Forgiving how anime in that era having that kind of one kind look. Even the characters have this feel of other cliché and other typical look of characters from other series. Like Melvina the brains and cool beauty, strong independent female. She has that same look and feel to Airi of Those Who Hunt Elves. Hot blonde chicks who is the face of the group like Sylvie, same feel like Rio of Burn Up Scramble. I wonder why girls in that era of tomboys have this one kind look too. So you can say Jun and Angelic Layer’s Misaki are of the same kind. Lolis like Angela and Nana, I guess they’re pretty similar to petite girls like Slayers’ Amelia. Then b*tch face female antagonists like Defiant D, see the similarity with Fushigi Yuugi’s Yui? And doesn’t Collins’ clone look a bit like Neon Genesis Evangelion’s Gendou? And Aide looks so plain and typical like a normal salaryman that I think this kind of plain design still follows today. And of course, who could forget that in that era, you can see how futuristic such metropolis are with so much fancy computers and holograms that it looks so outdated. Yeah. Ironically you can tell how dated a futuristic setting is by watching a show from that era.

The opening and ending theme of course have this retro feel and personally I think they sit right at home with me. Flying High by Matsuura Yuki and Yume Mita Watashi No Soba E by Aya as the opening and ending songs respectively are my cup of tea but if you think if they fit the pacing of this series, I don’t think it’s suitable. For instance, Flying High might sound fine but I keep thinking this kind of pop music suits better for dating and romance genre. You know, it doesn’t give that action oomph that the series is. Same can be said for Yume Mita Watashi No Soba E. It is a slower pop ballad that just feels out of place. Yeah, I am reminded of hearing the first season of Galaxy Angel’s Horoscope Rhapsody. You know, that kind of feel.

Overall, this series is a let-down in many aspects from the storyline to the characters lacking any substance. Too many things going on that confuses us and rushing everything for a good happy ending that makes it all feel just numbing. Especially the final episode with the threat of the destruction of the galaxy at hand by a single jilted computer, they managed to preserve everything by changing their outlook about the future. Oh sure, I guess it shows that we won’t really get to where we are today had not been for the decisions we took in the past! And just like that, everything is over. How anti-climactic. And Melty Lancer continues to operate together instead of being disbanded again and doing what they’ve been individually doing for the past year? You got me. I don’t see any difference either. I bet they must be there because of the fan clubs and fan boys. Just remember to keep your passwords safe and strong. Make that 3 billion characters safe and strong!

Pastel Memories

May 19, 2019

Imagine that one day, Japan suddenly stop interest to produce any otaku culture. Suddenly all anime, manga and games that we have come to love immediately cease to exist! Horror! It’s unthinkable! It’s unimaginable! It’s unconceivable! Arienai desu! Japan without their beloved culture and ‘most famous export’ is impossible! It can never happen! Can it?! Thankfully (or not), that is just the setting of Pastel Memories. Japan now a boring mundane unidentifiable generic country void of all the otaku culture. It is said because some virus erased those memories from everyone. Yeah, I’d rather be dead than living this lifeless Japan! But anyway, do not fear. Because in this anime, we still have a small group of girls still passionate about the otaku culture and they’re keeping its miniscule flame burning by ridding of the worlds that the viruses are infecting. Is this anime trying to save anime? I mean, what could go wrong with a dozen of cute girls (and an ‘ugly’ mascot) trying to save the world, right?

Episode 1
Izumi Asagi arrives late for work at her anime shop. Thank goodness it is a slow moving day? Yeah, no customers at all! It’s unthinkable how the otaku culture just suddenly died out one day and Akihabara is now a boring normal city. Together with Irina Leskova and Ayaka Sakaki, they talk about the sole customer who came in yesterday. She was looking for some Rabbit Café manga but this store only had the 2nd volume. There are total 7 volumes. I guess with so much time to spare, they try to find it in the store and found some ‘treasures’ like some air gun and yaoi manga. Minami Senju, Chimari Maiko and Nao Mejiro come in to help but they only find several duplicate copies of the 2nd and 5th volume. More reinforcements arrive, Kaoruko Nijouin, Yuina Machiya and Michi Edogawabashi. They get this idea to order from the publishers but too bad it is already out of print and not even available online. Good thing Ayaka found an old map of Akihabara and they pinpoint the remaining 6 anime stores around. So they split up to go to those stores while the rest comb the store. Too bad, more volume 2 and 5. Luckily for them, there are only 1 set left for the other volumes on the shelves and all that is left is the 1st volume. Izumi finds the final store but it is closed. I don’t think pleading outside while telling all her nostalgic memories of those times is going to do anything good. Oh wait. The owner just opened the door! But too bad. Not the volume she is looking for. Back at the shop, the girls really wonder if people’s memories of the otaku culture have disappeared. Michi vows not to let it happen. Just then, Usagi Nejire AKA Nejiusa returns with Rei Kurushima, Saori Rokugou and Komachi Satonaka. It seems they were on a mission to destroy viruses in another world but the villainess Maya keeps setting them up. With Nejiusa detecting another virus from another world, they realize it is that rabbit volume since the manga are disappearing. To prevent memories of this manga from disappearing, Izumi, Irina and Ayaka step up to save this world.

Episode 2
In this world that mimics a lot like that Gochuumon Usagi Desu Ka series, our girls are shocked to find the inhabitants here looking like eels. It must be the virus that are having an effect. In the café, they meet up with, uhm, Chino and the eel that is always on her head, Choppy. They take Choppy’s famous coffee fortune telling since it is always accurate and it seems they are going to have some water trouble. A virus is spotted and the girls give chase only for Izumi to end up herself in the water. Then they spot the big mother virus as it sets loose its baby virus to turn all normal humans into eels. And of course, Maya controlling them all. The girls get ready to fight and defeat them or else this world is doomed and hence people losing their memories of this world. Hurry, the viruses are sucking up the people’s memories into their core. Maya thought she could use some slippery eel liquid to make them lose their balance. Izumi has a great idea of sliding through it all. Time to finish it up as they destroy the mother virus’ main core and send Maya flying away in defeat, Team Rocket style. With everyone returning to normal (Choppy now a rabbit), the girls have a taste of their greatest coffee before heading back. They receive the good news that many people have replied to their message for the 1st volume and one even came to donate. Hooray! Now they have the completed volume set. Next day, the shop is filled with customers who are here to read Rabbit Café. Great publicity. And the young girl who requested it all is now delighted she gets to read the entire series.

Episode 3
The girls notice Michi with a beautiful doll. She made it herself based on the manga, Rosy Maidens (?!). However it seems none could remember how the series went about. Is it due to the virus? Because of that, Michi feels sad as she searches the store for it. There it is. But oh no! It’s disappearing. Time to head in and save that world. As Michi, Kaoruko, Yuina and Nejiusa arrive, it looks like a normal room when a suitcase flies in. Hey look. It’s, uhm, Shinku. In jerseys?! And Suigin Tou too! In jerseys?! Damn virus. And then you have Suigin Tou using machine guns, her taboo word is ‘you suck’ and they turn Super Saiyan and fight! DON’T RUIN MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!!! Michi transforms into their trademark frilly Victorian era dress to stop them. Suigin Tou then takes her away. It seems she is jealous Michi transformed into Shinku’s design and not hers. Maya and her viruses then show up for trouble. Meanwhile Kaoruko and Yuina find themselves in some TV junkyard as they hear Michi’s voice of wanting her friends to remember this series so much. After dispatching several viruses, they regain their memories and remember how they spent time loving this series. Then they go to aid Michi who is on the brink of defeat after tiring out fighting the viruses herself. Maya summons a giant mother virus to attack. The trio combine their effort and using gravity to slice it up. And of course, Team Rocket treatment again for Maya. Shinku and Suigin Tou get their trademark dresses back and they somewhat made peace with each other. When the girls return to the shop, they get this idea of using a Rosy Maidens themed cosplay to attract customers.

Episode 4
When Komachi can’t remember of that basketball manga, Saori uses her invention to sniff it out. Oh look, it’s Mini Basketball (Ro-Kyu-Bu?!). Komachi remembers a friend of hers being sad because her other friends don’t remember about this manga. It could be the work of the virus. That’s why Komachi wanted to find out more about it and read up. Yeah, she got so emotionally touched reading it. Don’t look now because the manga is disappearing! You know what to do. In this world, they see lolis being attacked by virus. Yeah, Maya jealous that lolis got too popular that men started getting interested in them, hence she can’t get married. WTF. Because for some reason violence is a no-no, Maya suggests a 3 on 3 basketball match. Yeah, she’s so kind to give them time to practice as the match is after school. Anyway we see them suck at playing the real thing. I think it’s because of their dress… So how? Here comes, uhm, Subaru! Yeah, he’ll coach them to save his lolis! He employs weird training techniques that makes you wonder if they are training for basketball. The match is here as Maya’s side consists of a giant mother virus and 2 floating hooded virus. So we see Subaru’s training isn’t all nonsense because the girls actually apply them and score! OMFG!!! This should also be a spoof of Kuroko No Basket or Buzzer Beater. Our girls are leading by a point when Maya decides to ‘cheat’. Her team lands in the final score at the final second to win. Then they see the basketball is actually a virus in disguise and this is against the rules. So what now? You wanna fight? I guess it’s back to violence. This makes it easier as the girls destroy the mother virus and send Maya away like Team Rocket. When they return, the other girls in the store have read the manga and are now overwhelmed with its story. But Komachi’s friends have a happy ending as her friends now remember the manga.

Episode 5
Irina is playing shogi after reading that manga, Shogi Ou No Oshigoto (?!). Speaking of which, that manga is starting to disappear! Time for Minami, Nao and Chimari to head into this world. In this dark gloomy world, there are monster turtles with shogi boards. Chimari panics and shoots but once the timer runs out, the turtle explodes. It seems you must make the correct shogi moves to defuse them. But they don’t know shogi! Don’t worry, here comes shogi prodigy, Mai Tsurumizu (uhm, Ai Hinatsuru?!). She relates how Maya kidnapped her master (uhm, Yaichi?) and other strong shogi masters. The only way to save him is through the shogi hall but it is filled with viruses. The girls agree to help each other out to save her master. They have to traverse the floors, each with different versions of shogi. With Mai tired, Chimari thought she could help out but fails. Mai has to save the day again. This only increases her guilt of being useless. The higher they go, the more ridiculous games they play. Uhm, chess and Chinese chess? Poker and then mahjong?! WTF?! When they reach the final floor, Maya is trying to seduce Yaichi to irk Mai. Mai must face off with the mother virus if she is going to save her master. With the shogi match dragging out, Maya plays cheat by sending virus to attack and distract Mai. Not if the others could help. With Chimari again flopping, it’s time to feel that guilt again. Until her friends reason why she was never ever a burden, the much self-confidence Chimari needs to help Mai land that checkmate move. So ‘devastating’ that it destroys the mother virus and automatically gives Maya the Team Rocket treatment. After Mai reunites with her master, the girls return and Chimari is now a better shogi player than Irina. Yeah, so confident that she’s spouting military quotes from Nobunaga! Game for another shogi?

Episode 6
Rei might look like a girl who is only interested in making plastic models. But she holds a secret that no one knows: She also likes cute things. However things didn’t go her way as there is an Akita dog she wants to pet so much, somebody will just steal the march to pet it first. Back at the shop, the other girls find several cute Chutaro (Hamtaro?!) dolls. While they love it, Rei pretends not to like them. I guess Nejiusa is going to have a run for his money on who is the cutest. Too bad the girls find him more funny than cute. And then… Damn virus affecting Chutaro! Time to get to it. Rei, Izumi and Minami enter the world of Chutaro. Yeah, cute critters too hard to resist… Until they turn into scary ferocious beasts! Damn those viruses. Rei got separated during the attack. She finds Chutaro and learns how Maya appeared and transformed his friends. But out of the fire and into the pan for Chutaro because Rei can’t hold it anymore and starts cuddling and molesting it. Maya sees this and his shocked and irritated but has an idea. As Chutaro brings Rei to his other uninfected pals, more extreme cuddling and molestation! Then Minami and Izumi see this. Oh my. Rei tries to give excuse. I don’t think they’re buying that mouse fairy or virus infection thingy. Rei gets embarrassed and runs away. But her friends don’t really mind this side they have never seen. They want her to be true to her feelings because it’ll be too late once they’re gone. Just in time for Maya and mother virus to attack. But Maya unleashes photos of Rei snuggling with Chutaro, paralysing this embarrassed cutie. Until Rei sees Chutaro protecting his friends instead of running away, Rei gets her senses back, powers up her weapon and with 1 strike, sends Maya blasting off into the sky. Rei now comes to terms and admits she also likes cute things. In reality, things are looking up for her as she is now able to pet the dog all she wants.

Episode 7
Time to go JRPG retro with Quest Of Phantasia! Yeah, Tales Of Phantasia spoof. Saori, Irina and Yuina arrive in this world and experience a load of JRPG cliché other than the pixelated visuals. From repetitive NPCs to getting resurrected after being killed by monsters (that takes a load of gold!) and even a side quest to save Nejiusa after he gets kidnapped. Yeah, they want to parody the side scrolling action of Ghost N Goblins! Usually it is mostly thanks to Saori and her love for such games that gets them out of most situations or advance. She might be a scientist but she loves RPG monsters too because they don’t follow the law of physics? As they make their way to defeat the demon lord, however there is one day a month that Saori becomes totally a pessimist. Yes, that day is today. And so the party is having a tough time navigating through their journey with Saori being such a negative person! They finally reach the demon lord’s castle. When Irina and Yuina are about to be sacrificed, thankfully a whole day has passed so Saori returns to normal and kicks ass. Cue for the demon lord to turn into his true form. So what if their attacks now don’t work? Nejiusa reminds them to transform into their magical girl form! Oh yeah, forgot about that, haven’t we? At least in this form they are not bound by the game’s limits and can kick ass to their heart’s content with their overpowered moves. Isn’t this like cheating?! With the demon lord gone, Maya and her mother virus pop up but gets easily owned! So sad, that’s all the appearance she has today. At least she still got her trademark Team Rocket treatment.

Episode 8
Nao sucks at cooking. Yeah, she almost killed Yuina and Nejiusa with her ‘poison’ although the latter duo are to blame for trying to secretly eat her food. This has Nao sad and losing confidence. But when they claim that she too has her good points, Nao gets happy and suddenly very girly?! Because of that, she is now able to cook well like a girl and tastes way better (although presentation wise, it looks horrible). Of course this mode doesn’t last long and it’s back to the tomboyish Nao. Just in time for them to notice the virus attacking the manga world of Aji Master. You mean the discount Shokugeki No Souma? Nao, Ayaka and Minami enter this world and stumble into the diner of Medatama. Heh. I guess we have this old guy in place instead of a young vibrant Yukihira. Anyway, his cooking is good but there are no customers. A food journalist, Okayama enters to taste his katsudon but calls it crap. He even thinks the girl can cook better than this. He then takes his word back. It tastes like crap too. Until he tastes Nao’s cooking that he totally loves it! His praises turn her even more feminine. Hate to break this happy session but Maya and her viruses are here to attack. Since the old fashion fighting is boring, Maya suggests a food battle whereby the loser leaves this world. She picks Nao in this one on one cooking as she believes her tomboyish feature is her weakness. But since Nao is in girly mode, Maya is starting to sweat seeing how good she is. She sends her virus to disrupt but Ayaka and Minami keep them at bay to let her concentrate on cooking. At this point, Nao loses her femininity but her friends give positive words for her to carry on. Once it’s done, they present to Okayama to judge. Maya’s sh*t curry tastes freaking good???!!! Of course she laced it with some drug and he can’t stop eating. While Nao’s curry looks normal, it tastes hell of a good! So much so it is the start of the exaggeration reaction of swimming in curry! Nao is declared the winner and Maya can’t believe what makes her curry so good. As she tastes it, she finds it horrible. Mother virus accidentally eats it and explodes. Here’s your Team Rocket effect for her this episode. As Nao is being showered by praises, her friends believe that the viruses warped the tastes of the people here. Hence Nao’s cooking is still pretty sh*tty. Better stay quiet…

Episode 9
Kaoruko sucks at dating sim games. It is apparent she often makes the wrong choices that she thinks are correct. This has the rest commenting there are things she is bad at and this shocks her because she thinks herself as perfect. Hence she goes to one of the last remaining game software shops in Akihabara to buy up the entire shop of its dating sims. I think she just can’t decide on what the shop owner says. So she starts playing them and at first it is frustrating because she is always losing. But once she realizes what needs to be done, she finally gets the good endings. I don’t know how many games she bought but can she clear all of it in just a night? Did she stop time? Kaoruko, Irina and Chimari are early to open the café when they find a dating sim game they think a customer dropped. They start playing Love Love Legend (Tokimeki Memorial?) when suddenly it stops working. Is it a bug? Nope. Just in time for the virus attacking. As they head inside the game, they are shocked to see the legendary sakura tree withered and the heroines of this game hating boys! Yeah, thanks to Maya spreading the word! She’ll turn them into independent women who don’t need men! They get to hear Maya’s rant about her disappointments in her love life and that’s why she’s such an ‘expert’. But don’t fear. Kaoruko transforms into a boy and vows to capture her heart. However her flattering has her losing points instead. Thanks to Maya being so twisted at love and the master of breaking up, words aren’t going to earn you brownie points. But soon Kaoruko finds her ‘weakness’ because since Maya sees herself as useless, Kaoruko helps out whenever she is in need. Hence earning enough points for the legendary ending. So on the day Maya is to confess her love to her underneath that now bloomed sakura tree, the heroines return and cry foul. They thought she taught them to hate boys but she snagged one herself. They’re not trusting anybody anymore! Hence they take out their bloodied cleavers and start hacking! OMG! Is this yandere simulator now?! Obviously the virus is turning them into violent zombies and they even summon mother virus. But Maya is stumped since she did not order the destruction of this world. Kaoruko and her friends go to great lengths to protect Maya until they defeat the mother virus and send those heroines back to normal. For once, Maya is satisfied and enjoyed her time here. Wow. A peaceful ending for her once? Back in reality, the rest discuss this game’s popularity was due to the shock ending of other girls turning into zombies attacking you and your girlfriend. It was all done during the zombie craze and hence part of the game. It doesn’t matter for Kaoruko because she still thinks she is perfect at everything.

Episode 10
For the first time I do not recognize this cliché shonen manga they are parodying. Anyway, Touya Kontoshi is about a delinquent guy who has to fight his way through several ‘floors’ of high school, each guarded by a powerful bancho AKA delinquent. However when Ayaka learns that Nao stopped reading and formed her own conclusions, Ayaka turns scary to lecture her about the true greatness of this manga. Oh dear. Her evil aura looks like she is being possessed by a virus! Is she?! Nao is so dead after listening to her long lecture. Wait, is this BL material too???!!! Then the real virus invades the manga and it’s time for our heroines to jump right in to save their favourite manga. Already at the start, the hero Touya is being defeated. He gives Ayaka his wooden sword to progress. In a typical shonen cliché, we see the gang fighting the other floor bancho as they let Ayaka pass so she can see the student council president, Akina at the top. As expected, we see them pulling off winning exaggerated moves like Michi using her forehead flick, Nejiusa and his giant drill and Nao turning into a boxer. When Ayaka reaches the top, she sees Akina being brainwashed trying to sign heaps of paper to hand over the academy to Maya. Is this even possible? Screw all that. It’s shonen manga logic. Ayaka frees her from the brainwash by stabbing the wooden sword into her chest! Yeah, no chest wound whatsoever. Ayaka then proceeds to lecture Maya… This is going to take a while… Is it because of this long lecture that mother virus is going to explode? Actually turns out it is being possessed by some secret shadowy student council character, blah, blah, blah… It’s going on a rampage but don’t fear. Shonen manga cliché at its finest! Touya returns! With all the defeated friends and foes uniting under him, they send power to the wooden sword for Ayaka to destroy the mother virus. Also expected, Maya gets caught in the explosion so it’s Team Rocket for her. Back in reality, the manga ends with Touya roaming the wold to fight other stronger people after graduation. World’s strongest unemployed delinquent bum? Nao feels sad since he wanted him to hook up with her with Akina in college. Oh no. Time for Ayaka’s lecture…

Episode 11
Oh dear. Not another store closing down in Akihabara. I guess you can’t sustain a business when there are no customers. And for today’s trouble, the virus have now invaded the world’s most famous that was a phenomenon 20 years ago, Neon Nova Exceed! Oh, you mean the Neon Genesis Evangelion rip-off? Izumi, Kaoruko and Komachi head into the world and are delighted to see the original Akihabara. Yup, Exceed’s setting is based on this so you can bet that the original otaku world is thriving. The girls can’t help get lost in this fascination but trouble is here. The town is soon evacuated and all the defences up. It’s an attack by Maya and her larger than usual mother virus. OMG. The girls can’t defeat it? The mother virus then goes on a rampage that not even Maya can handle. It is destroying Akihabara and the irony of Maya pleading to the girls for help to save the day? When they lecture her for always causing trouble, she regresses into a child and starts throwing a tantrum. Whatever. Anyway she explains this mother virus is powerful than usual because a lot of people hold special memories of it. So the more famous an anime is, the more powerful the mother virus? I guess this shows why the previous mother viruses were easily defeated… But don’t worry. Maya will help. First she snipes at it but the barrier deflects and hit her back! Too early for Team Rocket treatment so she now tries the cliché of talking to it! Remember our memories? Nope. Be gone! As expected. Maya’s last hope is to use Exceed and she might be a huge fan of the series since she knows where the secret base is. Yeah, it also shows how old she is… But in the base, no giant mecha! The sole scientist (Gendou and Ritsuko mash up?) explains that due to Maya’s viruses attacking, its development was disrupted. Even if they have the blueprint and facilities, they have no manpower to make it. They have this idea to go get Saori and make Exceed but mother virus pops in to wreak havoc. Nejiusa and Izumi are separated. The rest put their faith in her to bring Saori back. Back in reality, Izumi is fraught with guilt for abandoning her friends. I know we believe in them but can we stop stalling and move on? Thank goodness for Irina’s timely slap that Izumi shouldn’t let their efforts be in vain. That is why she came back in the first place. With that, all the girls gear up to enter this world for one big final fight.

Episode 12
The girls split up to create Exceed and to search for their missing comrades. They find a dropped camera belonging to them and it gives them hope that they are still alive. Somewhere. So don’t give up now! As they continue searching, seeing Akihabara filled with otaku stuffs remind them of the good ol’ days how they bonded and got to know each other because of that. I don’t know how long it took but finally they finished a few robots. Yeah, bad design. But the ‘better looking’ one looks suspiciously close to Di Gi Chara’s Dejiko. Nyo! And I suppose the mother virus was patient enough to wait for them to get ready and attack, huh? If individual mini robots can’t beat it, combine! They can fight on par with the mother virus but it absorbs other viruses to become bigger and stronger. Oh no. What will we do? Do you not know at this moment of pinch, it is always the cliché moment that the hero shows up. In this case, Exceed! Yup, the lost girls have somewhat created it. I suppose this explains the secret cave that led to some secret place to finish it. Yeah, so why didn’t the girls looking for them just follow that path? Whatever. With Exceed fighting on par with the mother virus and when the mecha fight looks like it is heading to a deadlock, that is when our girls get down and out to destroy the mother virus with their own individual power and weapons. Yes, they even summoned the power of the other previous worlds they saved. Because the feeling of love is invincible! With the mother virus’ defeat, the town returns to normal. Yeah, all restored back to normal like as though they reloaded a previously saved file of the city. The girls thank Maya but she notes it is just for today. They’ll go back to being enemies tomorrow. Okay. Whatever. Back in reality, the girls continue to serve customers who walk in. Are there any?

Pasty Parodies
And so the real world still remains lifeless and without any hint of the otaku culture at all! Yeah, I consider this a sad ending. Not even managing to save the world of the most famous anime 20 years ago could have a ripple effect on the real world. Even though the girls continue to put on a chirpy outlook but with this otaku culture no longer trending and close to non-existent, I say that it is only a matter of time before they really follow suit like other otaku shops in Akihabara and close down. That is why I believe with the girls continue to helm the café, it’s like they get to continue protecting the dream of the otaku world. I mean, where else can you find such vivid imagination in the real world except through all those anime and manga? I know they said love is invincible but they didn’t say it is forever! Haha! Gotcha!

Being an anime that tries to parody genres of anime, I guess this can be called the general plot of this series. Everything here is pretty much cliché and formulaic that it is, uhm, uninspiring. Because if you really want to make great and funny parodies, my reference would always be Gintama. Even Animegataris isn’t all that shabby. But this series feels like the parodies are done just to get on one’s nostalgia side, especially like yours truly who have watched so many animes over the years that the ‘fun’ is pointing out which anime series they are parodying for the day. Looks like I couldn’t get a clean sweep since I am still unsure of that high school delinquent parody. I think it is Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys but I could be mistaken since I didn’t watch that anime. But I guess the parodying was too much for some to take because towards the end, it has been hit with some copyright laws since some of the parodies are too close to home. Hence the streaming version of it was pulled. Yeah, don’t you dare make fun of our animes!

Other than that, the stories of each episode just follow the same predictable pattern that hardly amounts to anything in the end. Because after freeing the world from the invasion of the viruses and giving Maya her obliged Team Rocket treatment, all is well back in reality because they get to preserve the anime and manga. For now. Rinse and repeat. It’s just so mind boggling that the villains never tried to take over the anime or manga. So a world once freed is forever saved. Some anime logic there for you.

It also doesn’t make any economic sense that the café continues to operate as an otaku themed one albeit being one of the last few remaining bastions of the otaku culture in Akihabara. I mean, we don’t even see the owner’s nose anyhow so where the heck does he get the money to pay the girls? Twelve of them! Oh, the girls do volunteer work because of their love for the otaku culture! I hope so. I get a feeling that the real owner is doing something else to rake in the money (like drugs?!) and this is just some fringe activity he has in his portfolio. And the far and few customers who patron the café must be just a one off experience for them, huh? I mean, they’re passing by and they thought it’s cute so they enter to have a drink and read a manga or something. Then they leave and go home, never setting foot in there ever again. Because do you not remember after that Rabbit Café manga craze, looks the crowd died down after that. Back to zero customers on average per day.

The dozen of main characters feel pretty much one dimensional and lacking depth. At first when you are spammed the dozen girls of the café, you might be amazed of how this café employs so many young beautiful girls but hardly have any business. Because the series focuses way too much on the clichés of the parodies, the characters of these girls suffer. They lack any substance that would want to make you want to care or support them. You only do so because they’re the heroines and that’s what we’re supposed to do. And maybe perhaps because they’re looking cute. Anime girls have got to be kawaii, right?

Therefore my theory why there are a dozen of those kawaii bishoujo instead of just 4 or 5 is for variety purposes. The pattern in every episode has 3 of them ‘on duty’ to head into the affected world so you can bet they will mix and shuffle the girls to be featured. However I believe that not every girl gets an equal amount of screen time AKA featured in an episode. For example, Saori only featured once. But it’s not like we keep count, right? And it’s not like we really care for them either, right? Yeah, by the time the next episode airs, I don’t even remember who is who. Not even their names… Sad… And it’s funny to think that if you erase an entire anime or manga volume or series, the whole world forgets it. That’s not even altering the minds of every individual on the face of the planet. Even more mind boggling how the virus targets those otaku works sitting right in the main room of the café instead of their obscure store. Because of that, the girls are able to dive in immediately and take action. Had the virus infect those inside the store, nobody would have even noticed! They would have easily gotten the job done! Damn, the villains are just as dumb for plot convenience.

Maya is supposed to be the antagonist but considering the nature of this series, she turns out to be more of a comic relief. Ironically, she is the only character that appears consistently in every episode (the other being Nejiusa), hence making her the series’ regular. Despite being totally cliché, she seems to have more character than the heroines. Even more ironic is that Maya is the only character whom I can identify right away other than the dozen heroines. It is her role to be the punching bag (they really write and setup her role to be a failure anyway) and also having that running joke that she is an old woman who has past her prime to snag a boyfriend, hence her eternal complains about being a single woman at her age. So perhaps if she had a guy who loves her, she wouldn’t have to go around destroying the otaku culture? What does she think this is?! A manga romance fairytale?! ;p.

Because of all that, Maya despite being the villainess, she is the character that I guess most of us can relate too. Uh huh. When you’re an adult trying to just live life, then you get all those young punks who think they know more about life and sputter all that sparkling justice crap. And they get away with it while you get blasted away. That’s so really like life. Suspiciously, there is this plain Jane in reality who wanders around. My speculation is that this girl is Maya and the conspiracy theory is that because the real life is so boring, thus the reason why she plays the villain and cause havoc within the worlds. Holy cow! Because it is so much fun when you can still live your otaku dreams, right? No wonder Maya doesn’t get disheartened after losing every time and it’s not perseverance that did the trick. The goal was never to destroy those worlds. Let’s continue to live the otaku dream as long as we can!

Nejiusa as the series’ mascot comes off more than annoying than cute. I mean, doesn’t this zombie rabbit sound like some mouse whose got his ass stuffed with something?! Sometimes it tries to be a wise guy with some comeback lines but he is not funny. More so, Nejiusa is useless in combat and is only with the girls on the mission because he teleports them to the world. Other than that, he is just forgettable. So forgettable that I think they forget to make him appear in the last episode after the opening sequence! Yeah, thinking about it, where the f*ck was that zombie rabbit during the battle and after that? Like as though it vanished along with the mother virus.

The action parts feel boring and repetitious. It is just an excuse to have some sort of weird battle against the virus minions that doesn’t amount to anything much because this is all obligatory. You know, the heroines are here to purge the viruses out of the world. Hence I believe that the so called huge fantasy-like weapons that they hold, they feel redundant because it’s not like they pull off any memorable special moves with it. If it’s a gun, just shoot with it. If it’s a sword, just hack and slash with it. Boring. Why bother with special moves when the virus army is just going to stand there and not fight back with special moves whatsoever.

Art and animation feel pretty okay and sometimes mediocre. I noticed drops in quality in some scenes but at least it’s not that bad like that recent little sister crap. Yeah… Oddly, even with the various designs of the girls, I still can never identify who is who despite their cheap steampunk outfit design that makes some look like some Irish St Patrick’s outing thingy. It goes to show that even when you have different hair colours, hairstyles and the likes, you can’t remember the character if they don’t even have any character. Yeah, Maya is more identifiable than any of the heroines. The viruses and mother viruses look so generic that you think they didn’t put enough effort in the design. Probably what goes behind the production is something like this: We need a design for a virus antagonist. Just make it look like a virus, that’s all. Okay. Approved. This series is done by Project No.9 who did some of the works they parodied here like Ryo-Kyu-Bu and Ryuuou no Oshigoto.

Voice acting is pretty meh. I’m not going to do my usual casting list. Just want to note that Nejiusa is voiced by Chitose Morinaga and if this character sounds weirdly familiar, it’s because she sounded close to that weird rabbit, Timothy from Anne Happy. Unbelievable. I think I recognized Yui Ogura as one of the girls, but I don’t remember who. Yeah, can’t tell who is who still. There are other guests seiyuus lending their talents as one off cameo appearances but only Takehito Koyasu as Okayama was recognizable. Even with all the disappointments, the only thing I truly enjoyed is the opening theme, Believe In Sky by Asami Imai. It has this upbeat and catchy tune to my liking so if I want to forget the mediocrity of this series, I just sing this song. The ending theme, Sparkle Power by Iketeru Hearts, your typical all-girl J-pop anime song. Perhaps the episodes themselves lack fanservice so the ending credits animation spam all the sexy bikini and swimsuit fanservice of the heroines. Damn, they should have just made an ecchi harem or yuri parody instead.

Overall, initially it was a fun idea to parody anime itself. But because of the repetitive cycle of each episode and the characters that lack any depth, this mission to bring back the glory days of the otaku culture feels like it is doing more harm than saving it. No wonder the people here don’t want anything to do with the otaku culture! While it is unthinkable that this otaku culture will die out, but the chances aren’t zero. Let’s just hope it does only for this anime… Because without the otaku culture, Japan is nothing. Heck, Japan should not even have the right to exist if they don’t have the otaku culture at all!!!! FFFUUUUU YEAH!!!!!!!! VIVA ANIME AND THE OTAKU WORLD!!!

Goblin Slayer

April 21, 2019

Have you ever hated something in your life so much that you dedicated your entire life to eradicate and eliminate every last bit of thing you detest the most? Well, some people do go that length and in the case of Goblin Slayer, that title says it all. One may not think much of killing goblins since they are one of those low level monsters like slimes. Yeah, others prefer to slay dragons and more powerful monsters so slaying goblins isn’t going to turn heads. Unless you’re like the titular character who has an obsession in taking down every last one of them and turn their existence status into extinction. He’ll hunt them down to the ends of the earth and spill their blood with extreme prejudice. No mercy. Is he the fantasy goblin version of Liam Neeson’s Taken?

Episode 1
Onna Shinkan (Priestess) is a rookie adventurer and is eager to start her first adventure. She teams up with another group of rookies to go goblin hunting. Shinkan feels worried as they make their descent into the goblin cave because she thinks they should make more preparations. However they are confident they have dealt with goblins before. In the dark cave, they get separated. And then the goblins start to ambush them. Real sh*t hits the fan when one of them gets stabbed. Reality check. The warrior guy tries to fight back in anger but with the cramped space of the cave, his sword is useless. Defenceless, he gets overwhelmed and killed. And then this female fighter she thought she could kick some mini goblins’ ass. When the big daddy is here, she gets owned. To add salt to injury, the goblins rape her!!! OMFG!!! Shinkan tries to protect the injured comrade. Goblins too want to rape her?! Until Goblin Slayer shows up and kills them. After treating Shinkan’s wounds, he has no choice but to kill her injured comrade. She is beyond saving. Shinkan follows Goblin Slayer deeper into the cave as he dispenses his knowledge of the goblins habitat. Near the goblins’ nest (where there are other kidnapped females as their playthings), he sets trap to kill the big daddy. He also quickly kills the shaman who is leading the leader of the pack. He finds a hidden room where there are young goblin offspring. As they breed very fast, Goblin Slayer shows no mercy in slaying them all. Shinkan is very conflicted and sad seeing all the blood and violence. But it is either her or them. In the aftermath, the kidnapped girls are rescued and it is a sad thing that many of them will live the rest of their lives with trauma. As for Shinkan, she continues to be an adventurer and unofficially teams up with Goblin Slayer to hunt goblins. Best chance she has for survival if she wants to stay as an adventurer.

Episode 2
Ushikai Musume (Cow Girl) once had a childhood friend. But they ended up in an argument before she left for the city. Many years passed and she finds it hard to apologize. Goblin Slayer stays in her village and every morning he does his routine checking for any trespassing goblins. At the guild, many adventurers badmouth Goblin Slayer because despite his high adventurer rank, he only slays small fries like goblins. Not that he cares what they say. He is only interested in quests that exterminates goblins. Hence it is an unofficial rule nobody picks such goblin slaying quests. There are a few of them but he chooses to destroy the one with a nesting cave. There was a group of rookie adventurers who took an easy goblin slaying quest but Goblin Slayer places more importance of the nesting. He gives Shinkan the choice to go save them if she wants to. For a few days, Goblin Slayer never returned home as he prepares to take out the goblins’ nesting. We get a glimpse of his past of why he hates goblins so much. Apparently they attacked his village and burnt everything down. He was hiding and could only watch in fear of what is hinted that his sister got raped and killed by them. He made a vow to kill every single last one of them. He will kill and kill even more. There will be good days and there will be bad days. You test every idea you have and before you know it, you start to enjoy the killing. It is hinted that Ushikai is his childhood friend but at this point, it seems he has lost it. Now we see Goblin Slayer along with Shinkan’s help, burn down the entire colony and hunts down any that escaped. Ruthless. And the rookie adventurers who did the goblin slaying quest, thank goodness they all came back alive. Ushikai welcomes Goblin Slayer back and cooks for him as always.

Episode 3
An odd adventurer group consisting of Elf, Dwarf and Lizardman are looking for Goblin Slayer. There he is. While they go talk to him, another group of adventurers talk to Shinkan in hopes of joining them as they talk bad about Goblin Slayer. They heard rumours he is only using newbies as bait. Luckily Witch shoos them away and talks to Shinkan about her experience of working once with him. Something about help with magic scrolls. He might only be slaying goblins but this also helps out the world for the better. Hence Shinkan should make up her mind if she really wants to follow him. Elf explains the Demon Lord is going to be resurrected and unleash hordes of monsters upon the world. She wants his help but Goblin Slayer rejects her. Goblin slaying is more important than the end of the world. Dwarf calms her down and explains in detail. It seems there are goblins bothering their land. You interested now? Very. Too bad the military and politicians won’t budge over these small fries and if they raise their own army to fight the goblins, the humans will become suspicious and hence why they come to him. There is nothing left to discuss. Except how much they will pay for his services. So we see the gang camping out as they talk why they became adventurers. And then it feels a bit like a cooking show because all share their special food. I guess the winner is the cheese. Glorious cheese! Then they talk about how goblins came about. There are many legends but the one Goblin Slayer learnt from her sister is that they come from the moon. Because they had nothing, they come down here to steal everything. Thus those who filled with jealousy will become goblins. It sounds like a load of crap but Goblin Slayer believes his sister is never wrong. Next day, they begin their assault on the goblins’ base.

Episode 4
Trekking deep into the base, Elf detects a strange trap. Although this means there is no shaman leading the goblins, it is very worrying since normal goblins cannot set such traps and it could mean some other beings are leading the goblins. They enter a very smelly waste room. They see a tortured elf woman. They think Goblin Slayer is going to kill her to put her out of her misery but he kills the goblin hiding behind her. With Lizardman’s familiar, they send her out to safety. Elf is most affected by this brutality but she has to be strong and continue. After all, her hometown is near here. Then they trek deeper and at the bottom, they see a horde of goblins sleeping. With Dwarf and Shinkan’s magic to make them drunk and sleep, the rest begin their kill. Again Elf is having a hard time killing just 1 goblin as she ponders if Goblin Slayer has done it so many times like that. Once all the goblins are dead, here comes the big boss. Actually, an ogre. He is mad that the army granted by one of the Demon Lord’s generals is massacred. He uses his fireball to eliminate them but thanks to Shinkan’s protection, they live. Too bad she is all out of miracles. The rest go on the offensive but the ogre has healing capabilities and Goblin Slayer takes a near fatal blow. While the rest fight to buy time, Shinkan tends to Goblin Slayer. Thank goodness for the healing and stamina potions he brought. Now back on his feet, he has a plan to face this big daddy. The next thing we know, the ogre is cut into several pieces! It seems Goblin Slayer used the gate scroll to link it to the bottom of the sea. Hence the intense pressure cut the ogre in many places. Goblin Slayer then kills him for good and mocks he is not as troublesome to kill as those goblins. As they emerge from the base, the elf reinforcements are here to take over and scout the area. They all head back for a well-deserved needed rest.

Episode 5
Goblin Slayer has been asleep for 3 days! I guess he needs the rest. When he’s up, Lizardman is asking him for more… Cheese! And what’s this? Elf is blushing while asking Goblin Slayer’s help to survey some ruins? I don’t think the issue is the ruins… And Shinkan tells him the good news that she got promoted. Meanwhile a couple of rookie adventurers are hunting monster rats. Unfortunately his sword gets stuck in the corpse and they had to flee because monster bugs are now descending to feast on it. With their failed mission, they don’t get any reward and this puts them in a punch. They can’t fight without a sword and they have no money. They ask other adventurers to lend a spare but it’s not that they don’t want to, rather their swords are incompatible with him. You know, he is too weak to even hold them. Finally they seek Goblin Slayer’s advice and he thinks a club should do the trick. So back to hunting but this time to retrieve the lost sword. He looks like a barbarian smashing the club but it’s hell of an effective. It is detected that a monster bug ate his sword so they have to flee but with the help of a miracle and some guts, I guess he has to bite the bullet and club the bug to death and then slice it up to take back his sword. Gross. Meanwhile the guild’s Receptionist requests Goblin Slayer to be an observer for a promotion test. He’s not interested but since they’re in a pinch… So we see the cocky adventurer trying to talk big but his lies are easily detected. Because he has also breached the trust of his comrades by keeping the treasure to himself, he shall be demoted and banned from adventuring in this town. He is mad and would have wanted to kill her but had the thought of Goblin Slayer punching the hell out of him cross his mind, he goes away. Mad. Just go away. Receptionist is relieved the scary part is over and thanks Goblin Slayer for being an observer. Oh my, is she another one of those girls who has a crush on him? Why do girls really like hard to get guys? Soon Goblin Slayer gets a quest to slay goblins. However this letter has a special seal on it and is specifically requesting him for the task.

Episode 6
There are tales of heroes taking down Demon Lord’s minions. But Goblin Slayer isn’t interested in that. It’s goblin slaying time. His party members aren’t that happy that he isn’t giving much of an option to discuss. You either go with him or not. But they should have been used by his style by now. So they head to this water town to meet the Sword Maiden, the second highest rank adventurer who requested Goblin Slayer. Goblin Slayer lacks tact as he sounds pushy trying to get more info so Sword Maiden explains a girl was sent to do errands but her corpse was later found in the alley. It is believed to be the work of a goblin. Even with increased patrols, this continued to happen. As this town was built on an old settlement, the goblins may have settled underground. And without haste they head underground and kill a lot of goblins. Yeah, there are lots of them. I guess somebody is going to have fun counting the kill streak. When Elf hears something weird coming, to their surprise, a group of goblins on a boat! Pirate goblins?! Doesn’t change a thing to kill them all! Since they are wearing armour, it is easier for them to push them off. Yeah, should have just sank the boat in the first place. But what is worse than a group of pirate goblins? A monster alligator! Not goblins so… Run! If you think they’re going to be sandwiched between another group of pirate goblins, Goblin Slayer has this bright idea to use the alligator against them! Have fun feeding. As they leave, Goblin Slayer mentions the oddity of the circumstances. Goblins aren’t bright creatures and for them to be steering boats, somebody must have taught them. Plus, if they have been breeding down here, how come they are unaware of the alligator? They would have avoided using boats. This means they aren’t breeding natural and somebody is artificially causing this.

Episode 7
Fanservice? Shinkan and Sword Maiden bathing in the aqueduct together. Not sure if the heat got to Shinkan because when Sword Maiden mentions one day Goblin Slayer will disappear, she gets really worried. I mean, really, really, really worried. Like as though the end of the world is near. The party return to the sewers to hunt more goblins. This time they reach the end of the map. Uncharted territory. It is believed this place is the graves of the heroes fought alongside the order side during the war. But now it is dark and it is perfect breeding ground for goblins who can see perfectly in the dark. Opening a door to the room, they see a chained warrior. Turns out it is a trap as it is just a corpse. And they didn’t hear the goblins closing the heavy door behind? Now they’re trap. I guess the goblins really did wise up. Even more so when they release poisonous gas into the room! With Goblin Slayer having some measures and plugging up the holes, they just wait for the goblins to barge in. When they do, it’s clobbering time! Then the big boss arrives. It is a goblin champion. When Goblin Slayer takes it on, he takes a lethal blow. Oh dear. Goblin Slayer gets done in?! Oh dear. Don’t you guys start panicking now! Too late. Shinkan is so paralyzed in fear that her protection barrier is gone, allowing the goblins to overwhelm them. Time to relive the trauma of the goblins trying to rape Elf!!! OMFG!!! If you’re wondering why Shinkan isn’t getting done in by them, well, big daddy has her all by himself. Damn he is eating her! No, I mean literally eating her out! The screams and cries of them reminds Goblin Slayer of a similar trauma. Then some taunting how he can’t kill all the goblins. It’s like his trigger mode as he turns into some killing machine? He uses the fake wig from the corpse to strangle the goblin champion. Apparently such hairs are strong so don’t worry them snapping. Then he gorges out an eye! With the goblin champion limping away, the other goblins get scared and retreat. After Goblin Slayer learns Shinkan is safe thanks to Lizardman’s healing, it’s his turn to collapse. I’m sure he isn’t dead but I don’t think this party needs any more of such surprises.

Episode 8
Short flashback shows a young Goblin Slayer being taunted by his master he couldn’t kill any goblins and watched his sister got raped and now he wants to kill them all? He is made to pass several tests. Now we see Goblin Slayer in bed with Shinkan. Naked! Double damn because he did it with Sword Maiden too! WTF is this double virgin resurrection?! Is this a new fancy sex technique???!!! Is this why they drew her nipples out?! OMG. If this was an ecchi romantic comedy I know what the reactions will be but alas this isn’t… And we’re stuck with our boring mundane Goblin Slayer who is all cured. So we hear Sword Maiden talk about how she isn’t exactly a virgin as she hinted she was raped by goblins when she was young and the irony that despite she slew the Demon Lord, has some sort of fear of goblins. But why the angle and sound like she’s seducing Goblin Slayer? Expected reaction from Shinkan when she wakes up naked. But Goblin Slayer assures her he has seen it… Thankfully no scars on her body (like his). Reuniting with the rest, as promised they go eat together before repairing their gear. And then some private moment with Goblin Slayer and Shinkan but nothing much comes out of it if you’re really expecting something. Then it is back to underground hunting. But now they are faced with some eyeball monster that disintegrates any movement it sees or dispels magic. It’s like Goblin Slayer got a solution for everything. So this time he has Elf be the decoy (thank goodness she is faster than the eyeball laser), Dwarf using his magic to spread the flour that Goblin Slayer got from Witch, Lizardman summoning a familiar to further distract it and once everybody is out of the room, Shinkan casts a barrier. Because in that closed up space and fine flour all around, one spark from the laser means boom! Yeah. One shrivelled giant eyeball coming up. And now before them is a strange mirror.

Episode 9
The mirror serves as some sort of gateway to a goblin settlement. This is how they enter and exit to this city. Elf picks up a horde of goblins coming their way to secure the mirror. Goblin Slayer and co make preparations to ‘welcome’ them as they fend off wave after wave of goblins. When the goblin champion is in the picture, Lizardman just in time manage to pry the mirror out from the wall. They use it as cover after Dwarf unleashes his spell to cave in the ceiling and crush the goblins. Goblin Slayer returns to Sword Maiden to report the job done. However, from what I understand, it seems he has been suspecting she knows everything from the start. Like how the sewers have no precise map and nobody even requesting quests to kill sewer rats. Something about a familiar guarding the place. From her story, it isn’t goblins who kill women and rip out their entrails because they would take them back to their nest to toy with them. Sword Maiden says the minions of the Demon Lord is trying to use the mirror to plot something as the mastermind is no longer around. She knows a sect is plotting revenge against her and what would others think when she asked for protection from goblins? She did all this because she wanted others to understand there are creatures in this world that would commit such atrocities. She allows him to keep the mirror but too bad he has no interest for it and toss it to the bottom of the sea where it would make a good bed for the alligator. She tells the irony that the world would be saved if the hero slays the Demon Lord but nobody would listen to a girl asking for help from the goblins. Goblin Slayer rubbishes thoughts about saving her since he doesn’t know how she feels. But if she wants goblins killed, call him anytime. Even if it is in her dreams. Is this enough as the salvation she seeks?

Episode 10
Goblin Slayer narrates his goal was to become an adventurer and then a hero. He might not have achieved the latter but at least he became the former. When he was young, he loved his sister’s stew. Of course now he can’t even remember how it tastes like. As the official news have gone around that the Hero has defeated the Demon Lord, the kingdom is now quiet and quests are rare. Goblin Slayer doesn’t think the minions will stay quiet. At least not the goblins. He visits the guild without his armour and some doesn’t even recognize who he is. He gets his armour and gear fixed up and later Receptionist hands him a letter from Sword Maiden. His party wants him to join them for lunch. Goblin Slayer wanted to refuse but with them insisting, looks like Ushikai and Receptionist are joining in too. Will this get interesting? Receptionist tells them about the proposal of opening a training hall to train new adventurers. This is also beneficial to retired adventurers as they can impart their valuable knowledge and experience as well as it can serve as a retired home. Is this her way of warning Goblin Slayer to not get himself almost killed next time because she can ground him with no adventures for the next 6 months? Later Goblin Slayer reads Sword Maiden’s letter. The usual thanking and how miraculously she has no more bad goblin nightmares. Although the Demon Lord is gone, his minions are still around and they can’t rest on their laurels yet. Dwarf and Elf have a drinking competition. Everybody else starts taking bets. Except for Goblin Slayer and Ushikai. She ponders about his future because what Receptionist said somewhat rings true. One day, he will grow old and tired. One day, he will have to stop slaying goblins. These days won’t last forever. When that day comes, he won’t probably know what to do nor has any answer for it. For the record, Dwarf wins the drinking competition.

Episode 10.5
Damn recap episode at this point?! WTF?! I don’t see any new scenes. Just recycled scenes of past episodes. Mainly starting off with Ushikai’s narration of their past, especially that petty childish argument. Then Goblin Slayer joining the odd party, the water town adventure that had him almost killed and his party wiped out and raped before the redemption fightback that caved in the entire place. What will the future hold for them and especially Goblin Slayer who will one day cannot slay goblins anymore? Yeah, we already know. That nobody knows.

Episode 11
Goblin Slayer tells Ushikai to escape. Checking the perimeter, he believes hordes of goblins will attack this town tonight. So, can’t Goblin Slayer deal with it as always? He could if they were in a cave. But out in the open, he stands no chance. Especially when there is the king of goblins leading the pack, Goblin Lord. Wow. Did I hear right? Goblin Slayer can’t even slay goblins? Ushikai will not run because she doesn’t want that to happen again, him losing his home. Hence Goblin Slayer heads to the guild to plead for help. However many aren’t interesting and besides, this is a guild and they’re not doing charity. What can he offer? Everything he has. Assets, equipment, knowledge and his life. It puts a lot of them in awkward position. But with some agreeing to let him buy drinks, they and the usual suspects join in. But Receptionist returns with approval from management for 1 gold coin for every goblin slain! Now everybody’s in! From high ranking adventurers like Lancer, Warrior and Paladin to amateurs and noobs, everybody wants a piece of a gold goblin. Wow. Money makes everyone look at the positive side of this adventure. So that night as they lie in wait, the goblins as predicted show up. However they use naked female prisoners as shields. Dwarf and Witch put the frontlines to sleep, enabling the adventurers to collect them before an all-out war breaks out. Thanks to Goblin Slayer’s knowledge and plan preparation, everyone is well prepared to face the hordes and even the goblin riders as reinforcements. Sh*t gets real when the macho and buffed goblin champions pop up. The heavy hitters are here. It’s time for the veterans to show their mettle. Getting bored of killing small fries. If you’re wondering where the heck Goblin Slayer is since he looks like missing out on all the goblin killing action, yeah, he went straight to fight Goblin Lord.

Episode 12
Goblin Lord’s plan is to retreat and reproduce again. Then he’ll come back with a bigger army to wipe them all out. However Goblin Slayer predicts his plan. That is why he was away destroying his base. It’s time for the final boss fight. Both take damage but it is Goblin Lord who had the upper hand. Laughing and stomping over Goblin Slayer’s head, only with Shinkan’s protection barrier put a stop to it. Being crushed, Goblin Slayer starts crying and even speaks to apologize, promising he will never do this again. But we all know this is too good to be true. Crocodile tears. Snippets of people letting goblins live, once they turn their backs, the goblins kill you. Yeah, more goblin rape scenes! Goblin Slayer gets back up and slices his throat. Good thing his injuries aren’t that bad. Because Shinkan’s mini cure is enough to get him going. Don’t need that double virgin resurrection, eh?! Shinkan was worried he did something reckless again despite it was all part of his plan to make himself as the bait and Shinkan caging him in multiple barriers. Goblin Slayer apologizes because he trusts her. With them returning, it’s the best news ever. Victory sealed. Now everyone parties hard at the guild and Goblin Slayer lives up to his promise to buy everyone drinks. Paladin thought she was ‘cheated’ since she killed goblin champions and they’re like only worth a gold. It was the deal. No matter what kind of goblins, each is worth a gold. Goblin Slayer hands his gold to Shinkan since she was the one who defeated Goblin Lord. She asks why he didn’t post a request instead of going this roundabout way. Because nobody came to save his village that way. There were no guarantees. He had to trust luck. Shinkan says if he ever needs her help, she will gladly do so. Hence luck has nothing to do with it. Shinkan then requests a ‘reward’. Please take off your helmet. I guess there’s no reason for him to decline. Got a good look at him? And with that, everyone is now fascinated to see how Goblin Slayer looks for the first time! Wow. This is the main attraction of the party. Is this some free viewing freak show? Sorry to those who are expecting he is a woman or a goblin. Just a handsome young man. Only we viewers are screwed because we didn’t get to see his face.

Goblin Slayer Is Very Strong
They say Goblin Slayer will return. I take it that means there is going to be another season but it is highly speculative since I haven’t read anything about it. Because I’m sure it is going to be more or less the same thing. Hell, what is the name of this series again? It doesn’t take a genius to guess what Goblin Slayer is going to do after the party ends. Yup, back to more mundane grinding of killing goblins. After all, it is not like the goblin threat has been totally exterminated. It’s not like goblins have been killed to extinction. It’s not like there is only one Goblin Lord in this entire world. This world may be filled with other more dangerous creatures and somebody has got to do the job in taking on low level ones. Thank goodness for Goblin Slayer, right?

I have mixed feelings whether to call this one of the better or worse series of the season. Many felt like the latter only because they fell into that hype trap. Initially there was hype surrounding the promotion of the anime. And when it turned out to be as we seen, nothing really that spectacular, disappointment was naturally to follow. Now, this series to me might not be a masterpiece but it wasn’t trash, garbage or crap either. Yup, my usual middle ground stance.

But the furore that had some screaming their heads off was the controversial first episode. Uh huh. The goblin raping young girls. So much so in subsequent episodes they had to put warning notices of graphic scenes that viewers may find disturbing. WTF. I guess some snowflakes couldn’t take the heat and got scorched. And yes, you could say that was the reason why I wanted to take a look. It reminded me back in the days when Mahou Shoujo Magical Madoka was airing and there were controversies about magical girls killing each other. Looking back then, it was nothing. It still is now. Hence when I watched goblins raping girls, sure it was shocking and evoked some emotions within (shock, that is, duh) but it wasn’t so much so to a point that I wanted to complain and call out. I mean, I’m watching anime. I have come to expect some sort of level of controversies, right? So for those pussies who couldn’t really swallow this, you’re better off watching Barney the purple dinosaur. Are they still making that today? I won’t be surprised there are fan made porn of goblin rape over the internet. You have furry porn and beastiality so what is new in the world of porn?

So the only thing that I find ‘entertaining’ is of course the action scenes of Goblin Slayer and his party mowing down the hordes of goblins. It looks repetitive after a while because there are only so many ways you can take them down. But still, somehow the bloodthirst in me never seemed to wane since I get to see such vile creatures being hammered to pieces. After all, goblins aren’t humans so no love lost, right? Goblins are certainly portrayed as vile creatures who rape our beautiful women so when you see humans and others fighting goblins, you’ll be sure you want to vouch for all goblins to die! There better not be any goblin sympathizers out there calling for goblin rights! Seeing the goblins being stabbed and cut in half with lots of blood sometimes feel like playing a video game. You know, waves of low level enemies and you do your button mashing just to hack them down. Bloody. Messy. But they’re all dead so it’s okay.

A few things that bug me about the lore and setting of the goblins here. I wonder how goblins breed seeing that so far I’ve only seen male goblins of all kinds here. Maybe that is why they seek females of other races to toy around with. Preferably females of the humanoid type because I don’t see them kidnapping and raping lizardmen women. Unless you tell me the horror story of goblins raping to impregnate these women, that is how goblins are bred! No way! That would be the controversy I can’t accept! But what about eggs? Do goblin lay eggs? Don’t see one either. I suppose they don’t make one out of thin air using magic, huh? I don’t think that is what the shaman types do.

Now, the story of this series isn’t particularly a masterpiece either. It is just the simple plot of a guy who hates goblins and will kill them all. That’s it. That’s basically what the entire series revolves around. So for those wanting more meat in the plot, you’d be better off finding your story driven anime somewhere else. We’re all here to see goblins getting slaughtered. Maybe those rape scenes are to stir up some emotions and get you to hate goblins, not the series. But sometimes I feel a bit disjointed the overall flow of the series. What I mean is that, after every goblin slaying mission and action, it is followed by some boring daily life episode. It is good to take a break and breather instead of constant goblin action that would numb you in the face. But these daily life episodes are slow and draggy and they don’t add anything special to the mix. If these were taken out, the series would go on probably fine. Yes, I feel such episodes are a waste of time. Because remember, what are we here for? Goblin slaying! When do we want it? NOW!

As for the characters, they fare as bad as the story itself. Don’t expect any bit of character development otherwise you will be even utterly disappointed. It may be unique that all the characters here do not even have names! Yeah, they are called by their profession. Imagine if there was a porn star here… This isn’t the first series that has characters named after their roles, they did it too in Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. So we must be really fortunate that there is only a single elf, dwarf and lizardman to appear. Otherwise we would be confused. Because even if they are other elves, they would be labelled as elf henchman 1, elf henchman 2, etc. Weird. Heck, I think they call each other with their own versions of nickname like how Goblin Slayer is called differently by them. Some I believe never ever had their names called like Ushikai. Does she even have a name, you wonder. Yeah, I got that from the credits. Pronouns are so important in this world that lacks names.

Anyway back to the characters, all feel one-dimensional with nothing really more fleshing out on them. Even Goblin Slayer’s back story of watching his family and village burnt down by goblins and hence turning his hatred into his lifelong mission to eradicate them, that’s as shallow as we can get from the main character. Now if only they fleshed out that training scene with his creepy master and his weird power up technique… But otherwise, Goblin Slayer feels like a generic main character whose goal is to kill all of a certain species. Looking at you, Eren (of Shingeki No Kyojin fame). Not to mention he is blunt and straight to the point in your face. He sounds tired and lethargic and you wonder it stems from his endless slaying of goblins or his hatred of them in mellow form. Maybe kinda both. It is just a bit disappointing that we didn’t get to see his past where he was trained by his weird master and how he came to possess that seemingly Terminator-like killing machine mode that sometimes feel like a cheat code.

If that is so much I can say about him, what else can I say for the rest of his motley crew? Shinkan’s just like a side character who needs to stick to him after her horrible first outing. She feels safer following him than anyone else. Without her miracle protection, I feel she would be more inclined to become a damsel in distress. Then there’s the other trio who are skilled warriors in their own right but make a quirky character off the battlefield. Like Lizardman’s penchant for cheese and ice cream! Do lizardmen really eat that? Dwarf loves drinking while Elf is just too short fused and loves arguing with Dwarf. Goblin Slayer is so central to them (at least in missions we see) that he better not die on them or else it would be all hell break loose.

Because Goblin Slayer is such a stoic guy, there is this danger of setting up some sort of weird romance with him. Many of the female characters here do have a thing for him. From the obvious Receptionist (probably that’s why she never quit her job) to Shinkan (isn’t that why she follows him around?), Elf (tsundere’s actions are easy to pick up), Ushikai (childhood friend, enough said) and even Sword Maiden (boobs and tits won’t do?). Is there room for love in his heart when it is only filled with hatred for goblins? Speaking of Sword Maiden, her back story too is tragic and it shows that even the most revered of warriors still has a weakness that many would consider as petty. Why do I keep thinking that Ushikai is only for fanservice purpose? Those humongous racks are perhaps the reason why the goblins decide to finally attack this town! Damn those are huge! Can’t let that plaything slip now, can we?! Milord, 2 huge boobs in sight! When do we attack? TONIGHT! Haha! That’s what I thought at the start of the penultimate episode… Sounds more like a setting for a porn parody… Yikes!

Art and animation are pretty average (although animation for action scenes are considerably good). Nothing that is spectacular but I have a feeling that this world setting seems to be gloomy. Many scenes here are just downright mundane and depressing and even the guild that is filled with sometimes lively people, have that sort of miserable atmosphere. Probably with goblins running rampant, that’s why. What about other monsters we don’t see? After all, this is supposed to be a dark fantasy series. Also, my other complaint is that some scenes are quite dark so it is hard to make out. As for the character designs, seeing Goblin Slayer for the first time made me think if he is the medieval version of Halo’s Master Chief. Really. I never realized it but I read that Goblin Slayer is rendered mostly in CGI. Probably the dark scenes I can’t tell the difference but in brighter scenes I didn’t take notice at all. With Lizardman’s headgear, I keep thinking he is some native American tribe while Dwarf looks more like some period Chinese drunken master and Elf some bratty teen. About Shinkan’s outfit design, was it inspired by Aria The Animation?

There are a handful of veteran seiyuus lending their talents to this series. Most notably, Yuka Iguchi as Ushikai, Yui Ogura as Shinkan, Tomokazu Sugita as Lizardman, Yuuichi Nakamura as Dwarf, Nao Touyama as Elf and Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Lancer. There is also Yoko Hikasa as Witch and despite she talks like as though she is a retard, somehow this mirrors almost exactly as the role she played as the narrator in Yuragi-sou No Yuuna-san. Others that I couldn’t identify are Aya Endou as Sword Maiden (Matsu in Sekirei) and Maaya Uchida as Receptionist (Rikka in Chiinibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai). In early 2018, Yuuichirou Umehara as Goblin Slayer (Mitsuhide in Akagami No Shirayuki-hime) was temporarily out of the voice acting scene seeing he was hospitalized for some disease affecting the nervous system. Many roles he was playing were affected and had to be replaced by another seiyuu (I was watching Tada-kun Wa Koi Wo Shinai at that time when the sudden switch happened). Glad that he is discharged in the second half of that year and is now slowly making a comeback.

The opening theme, Rightfully by Mili feels one kind. Weird, if I should say. For this series, I must say it isn’t that suitable because of its very dramatic tone (sometimes I think of it has a dramatic Broadway-like feel), it better suits series that has a dark and mysterious fantasy to it. Uhm, doesn’t Goblin Slayer fit into that genre too? The pacing of this series as I personally feel doesn’t make this song suitable. The ending theme, Gin No Kisei by Soraru is more of a slow rock, having this tinge of sadness in its tune. I didn’t find out more about the lyrics but I have a feeling if it is supposed to reflect Goblin Slayer’s life of tragedy, it fits perfectly well.

Overall, this series is entertaining because of its bloody goblin massacre scenes. Otherwise there is nothing really special from its story and characters (simple and straightforward is not a term I want to use here). I still enjoyed it in that sense despite those shortcomings. There are some questionable and uncomfortable content that sparked a futile controversy but what else more do you expect when the title already tells you everything that you need to know? For a guy who has been killing goblins for his entire life, you can say that he literally slayed the game.

Ple Ple Pleiades

April 19, 2019

After the third season of Overlord ended and me having some sort of Ains-sama withdrawal syndrome, I went in ‘desperate search’ hoping there would be some sort of sequel. Well unfortunately as of today, not hearing any news of Ains-sama’s recent great exploits. But it did make me stumble into something that somehow slipped my mind all the while. I don’t even know how I missed the short comical specials of Ple Ple Pleiades. I did catch the first season but the subsequent seasons and other wacky specials, they just seem to fall out of my mind. And here I am, somewhat happy to catch these specials and give my Overlord addiction some fix. Hopefully it will be enough to last me till the next season runs. Or at least announced.

OVA
This is supposedly the OVA from the first season. Ains gathers everyone and intends to show them an item in his hand. It looks like a party popper but Yuri seems to fear it. She claims it is an item to destroy the world! Ains assure it isn’t and it is one that will further his relationship with them. Apparently this item, Absolute Excitement – Modified (AE-M) has everyone reveal their true feelings. Like Shalltear becoming a slut, Cocytus a pervert (?!) and the twins becoming more childish. WTF Demiurge adding weird words to his sentences?! Later he summons his Pleiades maids. They are not affected because he was testing the floor guardians. He does hope they act as casual. When Sebas goes to prepare, they wonder if it had affected him and is just holding in his feelings. True enough, Sebas is affected and really wants to burst out dancing but has been holding it in all along. Ains first interviews Shalltear. She is troubled about boob size. Ains says there are fans of those being flat but this only digs his own grave because now Shalltear and Albedo wants to know which he prefers. Can he just say he loves both instead of diverting the topic away? Next, Ains interviews the twins and Cocytus. However Cocytus is feeling too sensitive. He gets shocked when Ains tells him to keep quiet. Hence Entoma scares him with a bug in which the twins burn it while Entoma eats it live! Next interview is with Demiurge and Sebas. Sebas is still holding it in and is trying to find the best time to let it all out naturally. However he blunders all the chances. Even more shocking when Solution becomes fat after trying to eat 10 consecutive humans!

Yuri, Narberal and Lupusregina confront Pandora. Yuri believes AE-M was made by him in which he admits it is. Yuri could tell the difference because when AE-M is popped, a statue of Pandora’s face can be seen. Demiurge eavesdropped on this and now knows the whole story. He wasn’t affected by AE-M and was just acting. Pandora argues the one in hand is only a prototype and not the complete model. For the latter, it includes changing one’s personality entirely and that is hard to do. The prototype just reduces someone’s personality to a simple quality. To tell if it is a prototype or complete item, the latter will reveal a statue of Ains instead. So this means you can’t tell until you open it. Demiurge contacts CZ over the situation of Ains’ interview. Not good. Everything is wrecked. To solve this problem, the toy hammer (?!) is recommended to be knocked on all the heads of the affected. Everyone returns to normal and has no recollection of what happened then. Demiurge makes up a story that Ains was testing the Pleiades maids but Yuri went berserk and threw her head around, destroying the set. Ains feels bad for Yuri taking the blame but at least the case is settled. Just to be safe, Ains knocks the hammer on all those not affected as well on himself.

Season 2

Special 1
Ains and his Nazarick team… They are now a corporate company! Ains is the boss and the rest of the floor guardians are his workers. Some things don’t change with Albedo still talking like as though she wants to bang him… Ains has this similar feeling of being transported to Yggdrassil but no matter what world he is in, his goal has not changed. That is, to build the best company in the world! If only he knew what the company does.

Special 2
Ains doesn’t understand the summary that Albedo gave. He then notices his Pleiades maids are working as his secretaries. Then he sees Lupusregina sleeping. Is she on break? Nope. She is resting. Eh? So what does she do? She attends drinking parties. Best role ever?

Special 3
Summoning his floor guardians for a meeting, they introduce themselves now as floor managers. Ains notices all of them dress the same but they said it was him to dress as they wish. I guess he didn’t remember that. This means Cocytus is stark naked, right? Albedo wants to compete and strip naked too.

Special 4
CZ introduces Ains to Shalltear’s department. Ains remembers Shalltear once got brainwashed and fought against them. Will she do the same here? When he asks, she starts to go into panic mode. Ains tries to calm her down and mentions he was just asking a hypothetical question if she was being headhunted. Shalltear vows her loyalty to him and will even prove it by becoming his chair. Now, sit on her! CZ’s comment: Power harassment…

Special 5
Ains visits the sales department which is now headed by Cocytus. It seems Cocytus has made some error and caused some loss for the company. Hence he will take responsibility and resign! Of course Ains will not accept it and wants him to use this as a lesson for the future. With that, Cocytus gets motivated and will forever follow Ains.

Special 6
Ains is now at the department manned by the dark elf twins. He narrates how Aura is tomboyish while Mare is so feminine. This has Solution think Ains is sexual harassing Mare because of the way he stars at him. Ains changes the subject by talking about this department. Personnel department? What the heck is that? So basically they hire people. So far looks like no one passed their test. Solution comments to hire young and tough people.

Special 7
Ains sees Demiurge efficiently conveying his ideas to his underlings. He praises him for his efficiency but Demiurge refuses such compliments because he is his slave! Ains then wants to know the status of that project. You know, that matter. He lets him handle it. Of course Ains doesn’t have a clue what the heck is going on.

Special 8
What does Victim do? He answers the incessant phone calls of complaints! Yeah, he really lives up to his name in this sense. Yuri explains that thanks to Victim, their company image has been saved many times. But is he the only one for the job? Can others help? Yuri has Ains imagine the other Pleiades maids handle such complaints. Rude, crude and creepy… Yeah… But don’t worry. Sometimes CZ helps out too.

Special 9
Ains realizes he hasn’t visited Gargantua’s department yet. Lupusregina will accompany him but Albedo wants to tag along too. Upon entering this huge empty room, Gargantua is fast asleep. No matter, he doesn’t wake up. So why the heck employ him? So Albedo’s concern in following is because she fears Ains and Lupusregina will be alone all together and do something indecent. Technically with the sleeping golem around, they won’t be alone. But what the heck, the ladies continue to argue…

Special 10
Ains notes Sebas as the head of the Pleiades maids. If that is so, what does this make Albedo then? She manages and handles all the floor departments. I think Ains can think for the rest himself. He asks Sebas’ opinion of Albedo’s emotions. Basically it is love. Sebas surprises Ains by saying he too is in love. With the company. Oh no. Is Sebas going into a long monologue about love?

Special 11
Ains visits the company’s cafeteria. Albedo believes he doesn’t need to eat such food and her bento is more than good enough. It’s made with her love! This only makes Ains want to eat the cafeteria food. Éclair accompanies Ains as he rants about his goals to become the next president. Albedo shuts him up and suggests firing him, turning the penguin into a coward pleading not to be fired. But the cycle repeats again and again…

Special 12
Ains and his floor managers are in a meeting. As Demiurge talks about the acquisition, Ains accidentally blurts out he doesn’t know anything about it. To save his skin, he gives Demiurge a chance to explain on his behalf. Phew. So this isn’t just a mere acquisition but also to have the media side with them. This includes finding scandals and having the public turns against the other company. And the company in question for acquisition is… Re-Estize. Sounds familiar…

Special 13
And so the merger with Re-Estize has been done. Ains realizes running a company isn’t that easy and never thought so as a salaryman. Now that he has experienced it, if he ever returns to his own world, he will be more optimistic. Suddenly Ains returns to Yggdrassil. Was it all a dream? I guess this means back to the usual business of spreading his fame.

Season 3

Special 1
Ains sees his Pleiades maids practising weird lively actions?! It stems from Solution telling them about some great spell casting by Ains. So when he ordered the transition for Pleiades, they too want to introduce some awesome moves. Yeah, somehow it increases the effects of their magic and skills too. Ains isn’t too sure about it but the maids continue to train.

Special 2
Ains remembers Solution saw that moment and hence was awed with it. Since Cocytus and Demiurge was also there when it happened, Ains thinks of closing this case before it spreads. Too bad he hears Shalltear practising her actions. Of course she still has that guilt of being brainwashed. With Shalltear spotting him, she asks for his opinion. Not wanting to disappoint her (since she practised hard day and night), he claims it is good. While posing too.

Special 3
Yeah, Ains is still watching Shalltear’s action. When Aura comes by, Shalltear shows off to her. Cool. But one thing, though. Did she copy from Pandora? This has Shalltear blowing her top and raging. Ains signals to Aura to calm her down so she admits her mistake and praises how cool her moves her. With Shalltear feeling happy, she decides to show the rest of Nazarick. Damn. Ains’ request for Aura: Pretend she didn’t see all this.

Special 4
Now Albedo’s underlings are doing such actions. Albedo doesn’t approve of this because nobody understands Ains’ ideas so this level of acting is just ridiculous. I think Albedo wants to spread her actions that she thinks are superior… Ains is willing to explain this and it the truth supposedly stems from Pandora impersonating on his behalf. However he could never get to explain as Albedo continues to rant her love for Ains and then rushes off to tell this to everyone.

Special 5
Safe to say that the weird action has spread all around Nazarick. However Éclair believes that such actions mean that everyone is worshipping him! He thinks the time for him has come to be the leader of Nazarick. Ains narrates that many in Nazarick hates Éclair because of his behaviour. But given the situation, does it mean they like him now? So when he asks the Pleiades maids about this, they without batting an eyelid say they still hate this irritating motherf*cker.

Special 6
Ains calls Sebas and Solution to put an end to this. Though, Solution is still making those weird actions while speaking that it’s annoying. All for the sake of improving magic and skill! But what about Sebas? He doesn’t seem to be trending like them. Actually he has put a lot of thought in it and thinks it is wonderful (oh no). He wants to try it but cannot make up his mind (oh no). With Solution cheering him on, Sebas goes full retard in his action and in sync with Solution.

Special 7
Ains sees Mare practising but he is having a hard time. Apparently he saw everyone doing it and wants to do too but can’t seem to nail it right. Ains doesn’t want him to push himself but on the contrary Mare believes the actions originated from him and must do it in order not to disgrace Ains. Here we go. Still as lame as before… Is it just painful to watch?

Special 8
Ains needs to go somewhere peaceful away from the madness. But at the coliseum, he sees Hamusuke trying to teach a Death Knight the action. Hamusuke demonstrates but it turns out to be more like martial arts moves. Then the Death Knight tries out, which is quite cool in Ains’ opinion.

Special 9
It must be weird for Cocytus to try out those actions because of his warrior status. Ains manages to explain the truth about this originating from Pandora. Because do you think as Nazarick’s ruler, would he ever do such weird actions? Cocytus sees the point but further misinterprets that Ains would have done it even way cooler! He praises a cool move Ains did and believes Ains taught Pandora all about it. Well, Ains feel he could go along with this…

Special 10
Time to confront the source of all this. Ains sees Pandora and blames him on the recent Nazarick craze. However Pandora is unsure what he is talking about. Those weird actions he is talking about, Pandora doesn’t think they’re weird. Because every action he made is cool! Hence when he impersonated as Ains, he believes he has become his perfect substitute and acted accordingly. Every. Singly. Pose. Ains is in disbelief if he himself does all that. Does he?

Special 11
Ains wants a solution to stop this craze. Hence Pandora suggests using this, uhm, toy hammer? Yeah, just knock it over one’s head and it will stabilizes the mind. Hence Ains uses it first on Pandora! Wham! However Pandora acts even more dramatically. Is this how he acts normally?!

Special 12
Ains calls CZ and Entoma for an important mission to stop this craze. They are to set traps all around Nazarick and lure them into it. Once they are trapped, use this hammer to turn them back to normal. Because they might face difficulties in capturing floor guardians, he will give them some useful tool. However they claim there is an easier way. Summon everyone here and whack it to them. They’re sure everyone will accept it. No need for all those roundabout traps. Hmm… Good idea. Ains gives time for everyone to gather in the throne room. When it’s time to move in, guess what he sees? A big massive action contest!!!

Special 13
Ains has everyone line up and start whacking them on their head. Phew. Now everything is back to normal. Demiurge who was away on a long mission and the only one not affected by the craze, returns. He sees what is happening and could tell it all stems from misinterpreting Pandora’s impersonation. However he goes on to add that this is only to be expected to those who have worshipped Ains greatly after thinking and acting independently. After all, Ains always told them to think and act for themselves. Yeah, whatever Demiurge says. Ains once again takes all credit with Demiurge predicting this would all happen from the start. Let’s leave it at that. Ains promises to act in a more imposing and dignified manner from now on. Pandora wants to take a little credit that it’s all thanks to him but Ains shuts him up before any more trouble could stir up.

Theatrical Version

Special 1
Hamusuke in love?! So the hamster’s telling to the Pleiades maids because she wants their advice on how to snag the love of her life? The maids don’t really care but they have not picked up any strange creatures and any other similar hamsters all over Nazarick. Could it be just her imagination? Not if Hamusuke says it’s real. Too bad, it’s not like the maids have any experience in love. But they still try to help Hamusuke out as they go seek Albedo’s advice. But she is enraged thinking that beast has stepped over her line to fall in love. Until she is told that it isn’t Ains that the hamster has fallen in love with that Albedo is all for Hamusuke’s love. She suggests setting traps around Ains’ room since that was where the creature was spot. Then they go seek Ains’ permission to do so and Ains realizes somebody has seen it. Flashback shows he told Pandora to mimic Hamusuke. Was it because he wants to pet a hamster? Pandora felt good and wanted more but Ains kicked him out. It is then Hamusuke saw this. Hence Ains gives permission for the traps to be set. Then he goes to see Pandora and wants him to turn into Hamusuke and come to his room. But Pandora wonders why go through all this trouble when he can just order Hamusuke to give up. As a supreme being, he must be sincere to the promise he made to all of them no matter how trivial. Since he did initially promise Hamusuke to help find, he must follow through and cannot give up while the whole of Nazarick is watching. When Ains shows Hamusuke her ‘love’, Hamusuke has lost interest and is now interested in one of the Death Knights as a friend. Albedo explains that Hamusuke was merely going through a phase and was in heat. Yeah, Albedo toyed with all of them.

Special 2
Pandora thinks everyone hates him. Damn right. He seeks Ains’ advice. Ains says he might think he is cool but others might not. If he wants to be loved, he must put in the effort too. How? Why not be a cat? Try becoming something cute and making contact with others just to see what it’s like. And now Pandora is a cute little furry feline. Please stop with the weird poses if you want to really act like a cat. Hence Ains tells him not to give away his identity as part of this ‘mission’. Pandora is put under CZ’s care. But the rest of the Pleiades maids aren’t really fond of this living thing. Too weak, not edible and just looking weird. Ironically CZ spends time with it and even calls it Kinkan (brass pipe). Meal time, she feeds it some meat. Cockroaches… Sorry, have to decline. What about this cat food? Okay. Ate the whole can too. I guess it was worth it to see her eke out a little smile. When Ains summons Pandora about a missing item in the treasury, Pandora can’t come now since CZ has got a little too attached. So being a cat, Pandora slips out and runs towards Ains’ room. The maids give chase but they notice the cat is going to step on a trap left behind to catch Hamusuke’s love. Yeah, the trap that kinda overkills when activate. Thus the maids cooperate to save the cat and diffuse the trap. Ains praises their efficiency and asks CZ if she would take care of this cat as a pet. She declines. Because they are his protectors and have no time for pets. Ains will leave this cat in Carne then. With this episode over, Ains hopes Pandora understands what it means to be loved. Next time when Pandora sees CZ, she still treats him with disgust. Oh well. Nothing’s changed, really.

Clementine Toubou-hen

Special 1
Oh yeah. Clementine has somehow been resurrected for this little special. She laments that despite being one of the strongest warriors of the Black Scripture, she now finds herself as a fugitive running away from them. I guess failure wasn’t really an option. She is tired so she hits town and starts drinking at the bar. Meanwhile, Yuri and Lupusregina are on a mission to find more info when they stumble into her. They want to sit and drink with her and it’s not like Clementine (going under the alias of Claire) has any reason to reject them. They don’t look like pursuers from Black Scriptures so she thinks she can deal with them. At times she just wished she could just kill them. But that’s all in the past. As they drink, it soon turns into a drinking challenge between Clementine and Lupusregina. I think the way they guzzle the alcohol, the town’s going to turn into a desert. As the competition continues, it soon turns into mocking Yuri as a tomboy. Yuri got so embarrassed that she pushes them into the barrels. What a wreck. And so is Clementine. I guess the drinking is over. Hey, at least Clementine didn’t die from that, right? The duo return to the other Pleiades maids to report and it is obvious that they did not gather whatsoever info at all. Just loads of heavy drinking.

Special 2
Clementine is having a bad hangover for the last 2 days. Meanwhile Solution and Entoma are now out in town to gather info and they enter this same bar. At the same time, Clementine passes by here too and has this familiar feeling she has been here before. But screw that. Time to go drinking! As expected, both sides’ eyes met. The maids think she is good source for info but Clementine has a bad feeling about them. They aren’t normal people. But screw that. Just join them drinking! Flashback shows Ains needed somebody to gather info on martial arts. Because his floor guardians are busy with their designated task, Lupusregina suggested the Pleiades maids for the job. Although she is assigned to protect Carne Village, she further suggests taking turns. But with the maids away, who will serve Ains? I see Albedo is waiting for this chance to work in place of the maids… So back to the drinking, Clementine definitely knows these are dangerous people. Suddenly bugs swarm the place. Of course it is Entoma’s doing as Clementine crazily tries to dodge all of them. To solve this, they have to leave but not before erasing everyone’s memories. In the end when they report back to the other Pleiades maids, I suppose a girl who is fast in dodging fast isn’t the kind of info they’re looking for. Yup, no info gathered whatsoever.

Special 3
Clementine wonders why her body is so beat up. She heads to that familiar bar and wonders why it is partly demolished. The hysterical owner should give her a hint but she needs to stock up and leave the kingdom. Narberal and CZ have the same thinking. Yup, the bar is the best place to get info. Then she sees Narberal coming in. Holy sh*t! Hide! Then she remembers the other Pleiades maids. That same uniform. Could it be they are trying to gather info if she is still alive? CZ surprises her. Desperate Clementine makes a deal with her to get her out of here in exchange for anything. At the same time, Momon summons Narberal as there is trouble. With Narberal gone, Clementine is puzzled over her disappearance. But CZ will make good of her promise and drags Clementine out. Blasting off into the sky! Hang on for the ride! It’s a good thing she didn’t die. Just more trauma. CZ wants to know about martial arts so Clementine just tells her whatever she needs. Clementine is on the verge of going crazy of the ‘monsters’ she met. Then she sees in the distance Momon using his raw strength to throw away a huge boulder blocking the path. It’s official. Clementine has gone crazy. Momon and Narberal are on their way back when they see Clementine sitting prettily on a rock. Is she stoned? They don’t recognize her and have never seen someone with such a pure face. How are the flowers, Clementine? Finally CZ returns with some important info on martial arts.

Play! Play! Play-A-Desu!
Yeah, it was definitely a fun ride indeed. Despite not having the awesome and epic feel as the TV series itself, but this as a standalone spinoff is suffice. Can’t complain much. After all, Ains is just a background character and his Pleiades maids are the ones taking the limelight since they didn’t really make much impact in the subsequent seasons. Maybe except for Lupusregina who had a decent shot of screen time as guardian of Carne. But others like CZ were sorely missed and it’s nice to see her getting a bit more focus here albeit not much.

The irony of the monsters of Nazarick as scary and ferocious beings, seeing this other side of theirs sometimes makes you think if they are so at all. Sure, they lack the understanding and the empathy for humans but if the people from the outside get to see them behind the scenes like this, I’m sure they’ll have second thoughts. But then again, because they are as powerful as they are in battle, you might think twice to mess with them. These shorts may portray them as in a light and fun manner but it is twisted in its own wicked way that you wouldn’t want to be part of this huge dysfunctional family.

Watching these shorts was the first time that I realized that Hamusuke was actually female! I always thought that this giant hamster was always male, given that kind of name he was given by Ains since ‘suke’ is usually a male suffix. But then again, this is Nazarick we are talking about and that human norms do not apply. Pandora also seemingly does have more screen time here than the TV series proper and as he is the only creature created by Ains, he is one of the very few creatures in Nazarick that doesn’t follow him blindly. In the sense that you can see Pandora in disbelief when Ains gives his opinion that contradicts his. It’s like Pandora is a little hesitant to just accept it at first but eventually does so because ultimately he is still loyal to Ains.

Sometimes Ains as the great ruler of Nazarick has some sort of relatable connotations to real life people in high positions who don’t know anything. Yup, that company running spoof feels very close to all that. Ains may be powerful and can do anything but yet he doesn’t actually know what is going on. Hence always relying on Demiurge to rescue him from awkward situations by explaining on his behalf. And because everyone is so blinded to his greatness, they accept it all without question. But I suppose it is partly because of this blind loyalty that puts Ains in such precarious position. It is a good thing that everything eventually works out fine and Ains’ reputation is elevated to unprecedented levels. Boy, maintaining that kind of respect is sure tough.

While Clementine’s spinoff story is fun in its own little way, I can’t help feel a little disappointed because reading from the cool synopsis, I was expecting her to really be chased down by various pursuers. Especially that poorly animated CGI goblins that were sent to hunt her down. Boy, that sounded like fun. A lot of fun. I was expecting to see Clementine getting out from one trap to another barely by the skin of her teeth but all we get is her unknowingly in the company of the Pleiades maids in search of martial arts info. It feels very watered down. And in the end, not too sure if we feel any sympathy for this He-man’s hairstyle rip-off girl because she has become so weak that by living, it is some sort of torture that is far worse than death. No more bloodthirsty killings. Just a pure innocent girl. Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine…

Also fun to hear are the opening and ending themes. They’re nothing new but sung in a different way. For example the first season’s OVA, although Clattanoia is used, it was really hilarious to hear the Pleiades sing and voicing over the lyrics. And for those who know the signature line and tune of the chorus, it was cleverly and amusingly replaced with Ains’ flabbergasted gobsmacking surprise. If you think that was funny, wait till you hear the ending theme. They still used L.L.L. but with all the Pleiades maid taking turns singing their lines in a very flat, monotonous and cacophonous fashion, damn this song is just so f*cking epic and hilarious!!! All hail the Pleiades maids! They can win American Idol with this masterpiece! For Clementine’s story, Party Out by OxT is a fun and lively rock piece opener and the same can be said for its ending theme, Daily-Go-Round also by OxT. There is also the retro pixel game midi style for the Theatrical Version’s ending theme, Crazy Scary Holy Fantasy – Chiptune Version doesn’t sound all too shabby either.

Overall, these shorts do cheer me up a little since the third season of the TV series ended. Who knows if there would be a fourth season in the future. If I see today’s trend in anime sequels, perhaps in like 5 years they may do the next season. Uh huh. With time making you forget all that has happened, suddenly they announced a sequel and hit you with nostalgia and hype. Looking at you animes, To Aru Majutsu No Index season 3, To Aru Kagatsu No Railgun season 3, Chihayafuru season 3, Date A Live season 3, Yama No Susume season 3 (WTF is all these third season pattern?!) and even Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen. World domination would be so easy for Ains and he could just obtain it with the snap of his fingers. The problem is maintaining control over his varied Nazarick servants. Maybe a hotspring special training camp arc for the next Pleiades feature.

Golden Kamuy S2

April 13, 2019

Hinna, hinna. Give thanks to the second season of Golden Kamuy that I have been waiting for! I knew pretty much back then a single cour wasn’t enough with so many interesting developments and potentials. Good things come to those who wait. Even though the series just took a single cour break. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see if anybody gets the gold or something else. Something more than they bargained for.

Episode 13
Tsurumi visits Yasaku Edogai the taxidermist. He is impressed with all the stuffed animals he made. Until Tsurumi shows a glove made out of human flesh that he dropped. Tsurumi knows he has been digging graves for corpses for his taxidermy hobby. Yes, there is a room filled with such humans! Plus, Edogai is the only one who can hear voices of his ‘mom’ telling him to kill Tsurumi for knowing this secret. With Tsurumi’s smooth talking, he convinces Edogai to shoot his ‘mom’ to get over it. And then all the voices in his head stop. Now Edogai has become a fan boy of Tsurumi since the latter somewhat takes interest in his taxidermy work. Yeah, Edogai happily parades his creepy clothes made out of human skin to him! This is some sort of twisted fashion show. But down to business. Tsurumi wants Edogai to make fake skins of the tattooed ones. But fake enough that only their men can identify the real ones. He intends to bring real chaos into this war for tattoos. Ogata and Hijikata discuss about Nopperabo’s origins. Hijikata guesses that Nopperabo is a partisan from Russia pretending to be Ainu. In Russia, there are many groups fighting each other apart from Lenin and the partisans. Nopperabo may be trying to gain war funds for independence. This could also mean that Nopperabo’s allies outside are likely to be partisans pretending to be Ainu. We take a break with some outdoor documentary of Asirpa and Sugimoto. Then it is back to Edogai as he realizes there is some sort of problem in trying to replicate fake human skins. Elsewhere, Tanigaki is hunting with Makanakkuru when they are joined by this loner Ainu boy, Cikapasi. His parents died and he has nowhere to go so what else but to follow them. When they return to the village, they see Inkarmat wowing the crowd with her fortune telling. Tanigaki isn’t interested until she says she is looking for Asirpa. Because her fortune telling says one of the men she is travelling with will betray her. If he is not stopped, her life may be in danger. Hence Tanigaki decides to track her down with Inkarmat becoming his guide and Cikapasi joining. It seems Inkarmat made a deal with Tsurumi to use Tanigaki to achieve their goals.

Episode 14
More complaints from Edogai. Because Tsurumi has gone back to base and he wants to show him this replica of Tsurumi he made! Creepy… He is only left Maeyama and Tsukishima as guards. Later Edogai finds Maeyama shot in the head and realizes somebody is after the fake skins. Tsukishima is out in town for a bath. Sugimoto and Shiraishi recognize him as Tsurumi’s men and tail him. Ogata was the sniper as he barges into Edogai’s house. He realizes the fake skins on the floor but quickly goes into hiding since Tsukishima is back and is gunning for revenge. Meanwhile Edogai has managed to run away. Wearing a polar bear skin as disguise! Are there polar bears in Hokkaido? When Sugimoto enter the house, Shiraishi unfortunately is forced by Ogata to play along. He tells Sugimoto about the fake skins and possibly Tsukishima had taken them. I don’t know how Tsukishima caught up with Edogai or knew where he was running but at the coal mines begins a wild mine cart chase between them and Sugimoto and Shiraishi. Thanks to several accidents, some inflammable gas got released and an explosion occurs. Edogai is pinned under the rubble. He knows he is done for so he gives him the perfected fake skins to Tsukishima for Tsurumi. With the mines sealed to prevent fire, this means no oxygen as Sugimoto tries to carry passed out Shiraishi to the exit but it is totally sealed. Luckily Ushiyama breaks through and their lives are extended. Gathering back at Edogai’s house, Ogata believes Edogai is dead and if Tsukishima made it out alive, they have to assume there are about 6 fake skins in circulation. Sugimoto meets Hijikata for the first time and wonders if they’ve met before. Sugimoto remains suspicious of Hijikata. Could have almost fought had Nagakura offered Sugimoto’s side to sell them their skins. However Sugimoto has questions he needs to ask Nopperabo personally so for now they work together. But first Ienaga cooks for them and they parody this Last Supper scene! Meanwhile Tsukishima delivers the fake skins to Tsurumi. His other message from Edogai’s last word is “Iron”. He believes Tsurumi will figure out it is a hint on how to detect the fakes.

Episode 15
As Hijikata’s side are searching Edogai’s house for clues, Tsurumi’s men try to burn the house down and snipe anyone in sight. Nikaidou fights with Hijikata inside the house and upon hearing Sugimoto’s voice, Nikaidou gets excited to fight him. However this enables Hijikata to slice off his feet! This guy can still crawl away! All manage to escape the burning house. With hopes of evidence burnt to the ground. Their only hope is to meet Nopperabo to determine the real ones. Hijikata suggests they meet up at Ashibetsu but travel in 2 groups. In Sugimoto’s group, Asirpa, Ushiyama and Ogata. Time for some wildlife documentary and cooking. Ogata is very uncooperative in cooking the Ainu way as Asirpa instructs. Like he gives a damn. The rest in Hijikata’s group, they discuss about Shirosuke Inudou, the warden of Abashiri. It seems the old guys have some sort of history with him when they were at Kabato prison. That time, Nagakura was a swordsmanship instructor for many of the wardens here. One day he found out his best friend Hijikata was imprisoned here so he confronted Inudou about his punishment for Hijikata. He intends to wait until his life goes out before hanging him. Nagakura tried to force him to see Hijikata but his guards took him away. Luckily one of the guards grateful for his swordsmanship secretly let him see Hijikata. They talk about their past in Shinsengumi in which Hijikata has defended Nagakura many times from Kondou. With the possibility that there might be no way to tell the real from the fakes, Shiraishi is now thrust into the spotlight. They have to rely on this idiot to get them into Abashiri. More sh*t for Shiraishi because he dreams of Sugimoto killing him after finding out he was in cohorts with Hijikata and giving them info. Not sure the logic of him sneaking out from the inn because now he bumps into a group of soldiers outside. Hello.

Episode 16
Shiraishi can’t escape and gets captured. Hijikata relays this to the rest and since they need him, they have to bust him out. As those soldiers are taking Shiraishi back to their HQ in Asahikawa, who knows how long he will break out. Hijikata and Kiroranke go rescue him while the rest stay behind to wait for Sugimoto’s group to arrive. When the soldiers cross the bridge, Hijikata cuts and breaks it. With some soldiers and Shiraishi floating downstream, Kiroranke is supposed to pick him up. However Shiraishi remembers that brutal dream and hesitated. Although he swam to the side, he gets captured again. With this rescue mission a failure, the rest give some thought whether to really go save him. I think they reason they can let this idiot be but Sugimoto wants to go save him. Meanwhile Tsurumi sees Lieutenant General Narizou Arisaka. He is the one who make crazy weapons. You have to shout while talking to him because he is partially deaf. So all this just for him to make a special prosthetic leg for Nikaidou (I think this guy is starting to lose his mind). But it’s not just a fake leg. It has a hidden gun in it. Wow. Best present ever. Hijikata takes the rest to see Kiyohiro Suzukawa. He is a master of disguise as well as one of the tattooed prisoners. To know which barrack Shiraishi is being kept, they need someone to infiltrate. After the failed rescue, the army will be on alert so they need someone of high rank to obtain info. But not too high that everyone knows you. Suzukawa thinks he can impersonate Inudou. He does look the part! Asirpa’s sleeping on Hijikata has Sugimoto remember him. This means he realizes Shiraishi has been working with him for some time. Sugimoto is not pleased with this because he believes a traitor will betray you again. Hijikata claims there are no enemies or allies. What is important is information. With hints that Sugimoto might kill Shiraishi after rescuing him, suddenly Asirpa wakes up and tells him not to kill anybody needlessly. Was she listening?! The infiltration plan begins with Suzukawa meeting with the head of the 27th Division, Terunaka Yodogawa.

Episode 17
Sugimoto is acting as Suzukawa’s deranged bodyguard. Suzukawa really plays the part well. He is trying to guilt trip Yodogawa the mess he brought upon when the prisoners escaped. So in exchange for Shiraishi, he will give him plates to make counterfeit money. At this point, somebody has reported to Tsurumi and of course he senses something amiss. Before the exchange can begin, second lieutenant Otonoshin Koito barges in with orders from Tsurumi to not let Shiraishi leave. He then starts to talk in his Saitama dialect in which Inudou is supposed to know. Amazingly Suzukawa can also converse. But as they speak, suddenly Koito pulls out his gun and shoots them! From the talk, Koito knows this Inudou is fake since the real one doesn’t drink. Suzukawa got one in the head and Sugimoto only in shoulders. But the immortal takes Shiraishi and jump from the window. Ogata snipes at the chasers. Good news as they run, they stumble into the army trying to set a hydrogen balloon afloat. So nobody wants to shoot because they’re scared it will explode and kill everyone? You mean they can miss at this close range?! Anyway, why wait till they escape then only start to chase? But Koito manages to jump on board. He gets mad knowing Ogata betrayed them. With Asirpa’s support from the bottom and Shiraishi kicking him off, they’re safe for now. But will Shiraishi’s ass be safe when Sugimoto hints about his betrayal? Sugimoto notes he gave their fake tattoos to them so he didn’t really betrayed them. Phew. After the airship crashes, they have to continue running as the platoon will be hot on their heels. Yup, they’re fast. Their only hope is to cross this dangerous mountain. It’s freezing and windy. A storm will soon happen so Asirpa has them shoot deer to skin and hide in their belly. For some reason, Shiraishi has gone mad and strips and runs off! Asirpa goes after him but could it be an illusion or the playful gods luring her away? Because Shiraishi is with them. Sugimoto goes after her and although they find each other, they are lost. Thank goodness a lone deer for him to shoot. Can Sugimoto overcome his trauma? Yes he can. So they hide inside its belly just in time. Asirpa feels bad about Suzukawa’s death so Sugimoto tells her bad people feel less because they don’t have hearts. Then more talk about his days on the battlefield and the nostalgia of eating dried persimmons before he went to war. Such dear and sweet memories.

Episode 18
Tanigaki gets a telegram regarding Asirpa’s grandma. It seems she is making preparations for her own death. It is an Ainu’s belief to perform a ritual before they can pass on to the afterlife and must have kids. Hence they will raise any child even if it is not their own. Tanigaki doesn’t want her to die and believes he is also her child. Cikapasi’s big mouth: He is just her gigolo! Does he even know how to use that word?! But now we go back a few months ago to hear Tanigaki’s story as he told Tsurumi. In his hometown of Ani in Akita, his family often made their trademark kanemochi but he secretly made his differently with walnuts. He was best friends with fellow hunter, Kenkichi Aoyama. He would one day marry his sister, Fumi and lived in the remotely in the mountains. One day, Tanigaki receives the bad news. Fumi was killed and the house burnt down. Kenkichi was nowhere to be seen but left behind his prized hunter knife. Tanigaki became obsessed in tracking down this killer. He joined the 7th Division after hearing news Kenkichi enlisted there. He tried to find him but to no avail. At the same time, he heard news of his mother’s passing. Then there was this big fight at Port Arthur where several divisions would gather. He thought he would find Kenkichi there and kill him from the back in the heat of the battle. After one battle, Tanigaki saw a very wounded Sugimoto. He gave him his kanemochi to eat and he could tell he was from Ani. Because there was a soldier from another division who did the same thing. Tanigaki thought he finally found his killer. It seemed Kenkichi drafted into Tokyo’s 1st Division.

During another big battle, Russians were getting desperate by becoming suicide bombers. When one didn’t go down after all the shooting, suddenly Kenkichi jumps up to stop him. The explosion didn’t kill him but he is close to death. Even though he fought bravely, Tanigaki still wanted to kill him. Revenge was high on his mind after all this time. But Kenkichi who has lost his sight and hearing from the bomb, wanted this ‘stranger’ to tell his childhood friend the truth. Fumi contracted smallpox and was dying. She didn’t want him to tell others as fear it would spread. She also didn’t want her family to be ostracized if others knew she had this disease. That’s why she didn’t agree to him dying with her. Instead she told him to kill her, burn the place down and flee. If he survives this, he must decide what to do with the rest of his life. So Kenkichi kills her using his knife the way he knows best as a hunter and did as he was told. He lived his life bearing the guilt of killing her. Tanigaki lets him taste his kanemochi and he instantly knew it is him. With that, Kenkichi passes away. Ever since, Tanigaki has been asking what his role in life is. For starters, Tsurumi wants him to make those kanemochi. Now Tanigaki’s side has stumbled into Asirpa’s party at the marsh area.

Episode 19
Cikapasi explains how they stumbled into a couple of hunting Ainu who told them their location. He continues to promote Inkarmat as his possession and Tanigaki as her gigolo. Asirpa believes! The gang return to the nearby Ainu village and they are about to begin the Kamuy Hopunire ceremony. Basically Asirpa explaining their blessings to their local gods. Later Tanigaki wants to tell Asirpa a message from her grandma. Ogata thinks he is just a spy for Tsurumi but Tanigaki says he is done with the military. Grandma had a dream of never seeing Asirpa again and Asirpa explains her strong belief in dreams due to a dream of Asirpa’s mom dying shortly after one. Sugimoto thinks Asirpa should go back to prove her dreams wrong but she doesn’t want him to treat her like a child. There is something she needs to know in order to move forward and achieve her dream. An Ainu notices Tanigaki’s rifle that belongs to Nihei. They hunted together a decade ago. He talks about the significance of the scars on it when suddenly Ryuu pops up! So finally this dog has found his master’s gun? Wow. This loyalty sure predates Hachiko… So loyal that when emotional Sugimoto tries to pet it, Ryuu bites him! Meanwhile Koito fears Tsurumi will reprimand him for letting Shiraishi get away. We see him fawning over Tsurumi like a fan boy before the real man comes in. He tries to appease him by showing the tattooed skin he is wearing from Suzukawa but Tsurumi isn’t impressed. At first Koito’s heart sank when Tsurumi is disappointed in his failure. But this is just an excuse to enlist him to help find the other tattooed prisoners. Koito is disappointed in Ogata because their fathers were good friends. Ogata’s father, Koujirou Hanazawa, the former leader of the 7th Division was believed to have committed suicide to take responsibility for the many loss of lives at some battle. Tsurumi thought this would inspire Ogata to fight for this father’s honour and 7th Division but it didn’t turn out that way now.

Flashback shows that Ogata was born out of his father and his mistress. When Hanazawa finally had a son, Yuusaku with his real wife, he stopped seeing them. Hence Ogata’s mom had this obsession in making monkfish stew which was Hanazawa’s favourite every day in hopes he would come back. Ogata got sick of eating it every day and went to shoot a bird in hopes her making something different. Nope. Same monkfish stew. That is when he poisoned it and she died from eating it. His plan was to see if Hanazawa loved her, he would at least come to see her at her funeral. He did not. We see Ogata slowly killing Hanazawa as he relates this story to him. Hanazawa thinks he too is sick of her like him. However Ogata points out that as a child who don’t get to choose his parents, there must be something missing for one being born lacking parents’ love. Shortly after Ogata joined the military, he met Yuusaku and could tell from his eyes that he is well loved from his parents. Yuusaku was always by his said, claiming he always wanted a brother. During a battle, Ogata shot Yuusaku in the back of the head. It wasn’t out of jealousy of hatred. Just the thought of what would father think when he heard of Yuusaku’s death. What would father think of his other son? Would he care more for his mistress then? Hanazawa agrees he lacks something. And that is a failure as a son. Ogata makes Hanazawa’s death look like suicide. This was a plan concocted by Tsurumi to bring his division together by turning Ogata into some idol because others will see him as a god, the only surviving son of Hanazawa. But Ogata never believed in all that.

Episode 20
Locust attack! So while the guys seek shelter in a cabin, the ladies take a boat out to sea. Good chance for Asirpa to ask Inkarmat about her dad. Inkarmat says Nopperabo isn’t her father. Because Wilk wasn’t the kind who would steal the Ainu’s gold and kill them. She knows him as she has met him as a child. Born of a Polish father and Ainu mother, she first met him on Sakhalin. He was trying to rally the minorities to fight against the czar’s oppression. Asirpa doesn’t believe her as father never said anything about her. Perhaps he only thinks of her as a child and is forgotten. Maybe Inkarmat’s tears make it more believable? But Wilk is now gone. He is murdered by Kiroranke. And she has proof. I guess we need some time off from this heavy drama so we go look at the guys. If you wonder why nobody has ever eaten otter meat, it’s because of its great aphrodisiac effect. Oh yeah! Those guys are getting hot and gay with each other!!! OMFG!!! I guess we can’t show them going full on gay so their take on getting it on is having a great sumo match. Yeah, one hell of a gay sumo fest. So it’s no wonder the next day, the guys all want to never speak of this. But the only one winning this ‘lottery’ is Tanigaki because Inkarmat soon comes to make out with him! Blame it on the otter meat! When they gather, Asirpa asks Kiroranke straight if he murdered her father. With everyone in shock and Kiroranke denying, Inkarmat shows the evidence. So his fingerprints on the horse betting ticket?! Wait a minute. At this age? Fingerprint identification? Okay, even so, but in Japan?! And how did Inkarmat get the results so fast?! With Tanigaki defending her, Ogata points his rifle and accuses her of working with Tsurumi. He says all belongings of the Ainu at the murdered site were only collected by Tsurumi and hence only his fingerprints are there. Inkarmat replies she is only using Tsurumi for her own purpose. The rest try to ascertain from Shiraishi if Nopperabo’s eyes are blue since he is the only one among them who seen him. Too bad he avoid looking at his scary face. All he did was make tattoos silently and Hijikata was the one who planned the escape. Could this all be just a setup by Hijikata? There is also a possibility that Tsurumi falsified fingerprint records. With everybody suspicious of everyone, Sugimoto tells them their goal is to get to Abashiri. If either Inkarmat or Kiroranke ends up dead along the way, he will kill the other. Meanwhile at Abashiri, Kadokura the security chief is tasked by Inudou to rid a newbie, Usami who is believed to be working under Tsurumi. He lets some prisoners kill him but he fights back and kills them! Kadokura flees and then lies in his report he has taken care of them all.

Episode 21
If you thought the last episode was gay. Wait till you see this one! In a hotspring as Sugimoto and co rest, they hear the blind masseur talk about the recent ambush by blind bandits. They’re interested because one of them has strange tattoos. Immediately Shiraishi recognizes the bandit leader as Anji Toni. Mining sulphur for a long time causes one to go blind and Inudou were using some of his prisoners to continue doing that after the mining was ceased. As the men soak in the hotspring, they hear strange clicking sounds. It dawned too late when they realize it is the sound of a tongue clicking and it is a way by the ambush via echolocation. So we see our men fighting stark naked! Can’t see anything. Too dark. It gives the blind bandits the advantage. They get some reprieve with Ryuu attacking. Inkarmat is reluctant to get on the boat with Tanigaki and Kiroranke, fearing her ill-omened prophecy will come true. Because she can’t swim. So she was perfectly fine talking to Asirpa on a boat the last time?! True enough, Toni starts shooting at them. Tanigaki gets hit and the boat overturns. Inkarmat sees visions of bears, a sign that they are going to take her to the afterlife. But don’t fear. Tanigaki bursts out in his bare chest to scare away the bears! WTF???!!! Tanigaki is Buddha???!!! Inkarmat now believes she can change fate but I think the kiss she gave Tanigaki wasn’t so much because he saved her. Because it’s funny Toni’s shot went through his butt! Dawn is approaching so Toni and his men retreat. Sugimoto and Ogata tail them to their hideout and have to take them out now because going back for their guns will give them time to escape. But they are trapped inside the house as the bandits have already shut all windows, doors and openings tight. WTF Asirpa can tell it is Sugimoto by groping his butt?! A struggle between Sugimoto and Toni soon ensues. It is only stopped when Hijikata arrives. Asirpa warns him about killing the innocent. He might live in darkness but continue this way and he will never escape from darkness. When everyone gathers, Hijikata has an old friend take photos of all of them (this is to do more background search on Inkarmat and Kiroranke). He is given a photo of a dashing Sugimoto as he remembers what Toni said about Sugimoto. His battle spirit resonated fiercely just like his but still kind.

Episode 22
We have reached Abashiri. Asirpa feels scared to know the truth but Sugimoto assures. Because it is salmon season, they build an Ainu hut just outside the perimeter of the prison next to the river to hide a hole they are digging into Nopperabo’s cell. When guards come to shoo them, they bribe them with salmons. With Tanigaki and Inkarmat’s romance coming into light again, Inkarmat explains about her fortune readings that told her she will never meet Wilk again. She always thought it meant her own death. Then he died and heard Tsurumi had his belongings as well as Nopperabo knew about the gold’s location and was working with Kiroranke. She was satisfied her fortune telling wasn’t always right. When she drowned, she was prepared to face her destiny until Tanigaki came to her rescue. He changed the fate of her fortune telling. She learnt fate can be changed and now has hope she can see Wilk again. When Sugimoto finishes his digging, he pops out in Kadokura’s lodging. But this guy shows them the layout of the prison and tells them how Nopperabo moves to different cells every day. He knows which cell he will be. Apparently Kadokura is helping them because his father once fought with Hijikata and if this plan fails, his backup plan is to join Hijikata. On the night where there is no moon, all are in place for the big break in. With Toni leading the small group, they eventually enter the cell where Nopperabo is. Too dark to see anything so when Sugimoto lights the match, there is your faceless man! Yeah, let the scream fest begin. However Asirpa can tell this isn’t her father. With the alarm sounded, they are forced to flee and Sugimoto thinks somebody set them up. The only bridge linking to the prison blows up. Tsurumi and his 7th Division ride in on their Destroyer class ships.

Episode 23
Tanigaki believes Inkarmat has been siding with Tsurumi all the while. She puts it this way. Now that Sugimoto has failed, only Tsurumi can get Nopperabo and Asirpa out. Even if the 7th Division gets the gold, it’s not like it matters to them. With the Destroyers blasting a hole in the walls, Tanigaki and Inkarmat take cover but the latter is trapped beneath the rubble. Time for Tanigaki to show his manliness and bring her out. When another rubble threatens to fall on them, Ushiyama makes himself useful to hold it up till they make it to safety. Tsurumi orders his men to kill everybody. They will make up the story of assisting to subdue a prison break. It will be easy since HQ will not send anybody to this hell to verify the story. Tsurumi and his men confront Sugimoto who is using the fake Nopperabo to escape. They dare him but Nikaidou shoots first and had to be subdued. Little do they know, he has shot and killed the fake. Sugimoto and Shiraishi need to escape and they do so via the air duct below. Usami tries to get Kadokura but the latter pulls a lever to simultaneously open all the prison doors. Now the 7th Division have to fight a horde of tough killers in this dark and narrow hallway. Sugimoto believes this is all part of Hijikata’s plan to separate him and Asirpa. Knowing that Inudou would panic in this ruckus, he would head to where the real Nopperabo is kept. He will use Asirpa (as well as those photos) to get Nopperabo to reveal the gold and then escape. Hijikata follows Inudou to the chapel. It must be where Nopperabo is. When Inudou moves Nopperabo, that is when they catch him. Sugimoto now has to fight Nikaidou who is just crazy in getting his revenge. I guess Nikaidou loses his hand this time when Sugimoto uses his machine gun leg against him. I hope this crazy guy stays dead. Inudou brings out Nopperabo from a secret underground room. Hijikata and Toni move in but Inudou attacks and kills Toni. He plays dead so when Hijikata goes up close, he handcuffs him. They fight to the death. Asirpa and everyone else gathers at the main gate while they wait and believe in Sugimoto to bring Nopperabo. As Sugimoto crawls his way to the chapel, the flares light up the place as he sees Nopperabo trying to escape. He confirms those blue eyes.

Episode 24
When Sugimoto shows Nopperabo the dagger from Asirpa, he instantly recognizes it. He wants to see Asirpa and only her he will reveal the gold’s location. Inudou has a long grudge against Hijikata for refusing to join the Meiji government. Hijikata believes he is scared and used him as a reason to justify his brother’s death in a battle. He thought locking him away will turn him into one of them but Hijikata turned out more loyal than a samurai. Hijikata cuts Inudou and decapitates him. Sugimoto tells off Nopperabo he doesn’t want to bring Asirpa to meet him. Nopperabo told Hijikata Asirpa’s real name so that she could become the leader of the Ainu and fight for the people. But Sugimoto didn’t like how he got her involved in all this because all he wants is to hunt and eat animal parts with Asirpa! Nopperabo spots Inkarmat atop the roof and she likewise. She calls Asirpa to ascertain Nopperabo. Yup, that’s papa. Makes her remember the time daddy ‘abandoned’ her to kill a red bear all by herself! Nopperabo wants Sugimoto to tell Asirpa that he didn’t kill the Ainu. Before he could reveal the gold, he is shot in the head! Sugimoto soon after! Asirpa is devastated but Kiroranke takes her to run. The sniper is no other than Ogata. Tanigaki braves the sniping to use his manly strength to pull Sugimoto and Nopperabo out of the sniper’s sight. When he returns, he is devastated to see Inkarmat stabbed. She reveals to him when Wilk was shot, she saw Inkarmat giving somebody the signal. Asirpa is now with Shiraishi, Kiroranke and Ogata as they make their escape. Tsurumi and co have gunned down all the prisoners and take those left behind as captive.

In the aftermath, Sugimoto lives! It is thanks to Ienaga’s surgery skills that extended his life. Yeah, he is now partial brain-less buddies with Tsurumi since they have part of their grey matter removed. Sugimoto could feel the sniper is Ogata who is in cohorts with Kiroranke. Further flashback reveals Inkarmat tried to stop Kiroranke and a small struggle ensued that ended with Inkarmat accidentally stabbing herself. Inkarmat is sad over Wilk’s death but Kiroranke said he had to die because he changed as the plan was to tell their comrades where the gold was. Kiroranke’s group is probably on his way to Karafuto to meet up with his former guerrilla friends since Asirpa who is the critical key is in his possession. Tsurumi has clean-up work to do at Abashiri so he lets a small team that includes Sugimoto and Tanigaki go. Yeah, Koito so heartbroken he has to leave Tsurumi. Hijikata and Ushiyama examine Inudou’s secret lair and discover he was gathering info about the escaped prisoners to lure Hijikata back to Abashiri. Hijikata has got it figured out and prepares to leave south. Koito’s father who is an admiral talks to Sugimoto. He is okay sending his son to die in battle. Narrating the lesson from the Hanazawa and Yuusaku incident, if he keeps his own son from danger, what can he say to those whose sons died? Thus he believes Nopperabo thought of the same. Before he can tell the Ainu to die, he had to send his own daughter to battle. It’s not that he raised her so as she can be used. The power of dreams has Asirpa dream that Sugimoto talking to her, promising he will come for her. She still believes he is alive.

Gold Makes Monsters Out Of Men
F*ck! F*ck! FFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT IS OVER JUST LIKE THAT!!! I guess it was foolish of me to think that the series will end once Nopperabo and Asirpa meet. After that it would be a race to see who reaches the gold first. Too bad father and daughter didn’t meet but at least they saw each other one time. It feels like a waste that this season they go all the way to Abashiri just to get Nopperabo and now he’s dead. They’re supposed to ascertain the fake skins, right? Unless he said it all to Sugimoto before he got shot, I don’t see how the plot twist of Asirpa being the key. I mean, I know she is important but if she was from the start in some ways, shouldn’t they have headed to the gold instead to Abashiri?

It goes without saying that this season maintains its intrigue and it is as interesting if not more so than the first. I didn’t think that it would turn out to look like Tsurumi vs everybody. Or rather, Hijikata’s side since I didn’t quite expect that everyone else would be forming some sort of ‘uneasy’ alliance with Hijikata ever since the fake skins got around. It felt like to cut things short because instead of going on a wild goose hunt for the other prisoners (who knows where they are at this point or if they are still alive), might as well break into prison and ask the main man himself. So you could say this sequel is more of trying to break into Abashiri to get Nopperabo. With the turn of the final events, this grouping has changed once again with Sugimoto and Tsurumi probably pairing up against Kiroranke’s side and not forgetting Hijikata’s side still lurking.

With a handful of characters, some are featured more prominently than others while some not to say they fall by the wayside but they take lesser spotlight here. For instance, Sugimoto and Asirpa don’t feel as prominent as they were in the first season perhaps because their goal had always remained the same. They didn’t really change much either so instead of boring us with the same ol’, same ol’, might as well shed some light on some of the other characters who deserve it. But it shows that Asirpa has had a tremendous impact on Sugimoto. For him to want to continue hunting with her, I hope he hasn’t forgotten why he jumped onto this gold rush bandwagon in the first place. Money to help his dead friend’s wife. You still remember that, do you? Though it’s a bit sad that they aren’t together in the end as they’ve been mostly together or at least close by ever since. Sorry, dreams don’t count. Other characters like Ushiyama and Ienaga also feel underused this season. Understandably, what can Ienaga do except to provide a pretty face (and a scary one after she operated on Sugimoto’s brains) but Ushiyama being the muscles and brawns of the group didn’t really do much here (unless the plot commands for it that needs a real strong guy to get somebody out of a predicament). Like as though he is some sort of robot following Hijikata’s orders.

Tanigaki and Ogata get an episode to flesh out their background and it feels refreshing to get to see their back story and how they came about to their present situation. It is a nice detour and I was wrong to think that such flashbacks would be a waste of time this season since there are only a dozen episodes and they should cut to the chase. But surprisingly their flashbacks were done pretty well and quite interesting to say the least and it helps to understand their predicament a little better. Like why Ogata is such an emotionless and serious guy. Now that you know his past, you don’t want to make enemies out of him or at least realize this guy isn’t suited to be even funny! No jokes for this dude.

While Tsurumi has his own tricks up his sleeve, Hijikata is also another force to be reckoned with. He is also another scheming and shady character, using others for his own ends and means. You might not think of it much at the beginning since they give as an impression that they are all on the same side. But that made us let our guard down and underestimate this old fart because it seems he has been staying a few steps ahead from his own comrades and if I should say, having a few backup plans of his own. He knows how to ‘twist’ words and not really give a definitive answer when suspicions arises (especially when it comes to Sugimoto). It all boils down to everyone having their own interests and probably Hijikata understood that well enough to take this into account and use them for his own agenda.

If Sugimoto and Hijikata’s side look like a ragtag of weirdoes, the same can be said on Tsurumi’s side, as everyone here is a twisted weirdo! Even much more. For example, Nikaidou who has been steadily growing insane since the death of his twin brother in the last season, I’m not sure if there is some sort of running joke that he is also slowly losing parts of his body. The more parts he loses, the more insane he becomes. His insanity becomes his natural pain killers. It’s like you can’t kill this guy. I’m pretty sure his failed revenge on Sugimoto was his last and he is dead for good. I think. Then you got new characters introduced here who are just as quirky like Koito and Usami. I suppose when you become fan boys of suave Tsurumi, you also lose your mind. Among the sea of weirdoes, this makes Tsukishima the only normal and rational looking one. You keep wondering how long this guy can last before he falls into that insanity. I thought Tsurumi’s way of talking looked familiar. Thank the internet that they pointed out how he talks like Hitler! Yeah, the 7th Division is really one big insane group.

As mentioned, I thought it was a waste that when we finally get to know Nopperabo is Asirpa’s real dad AKA Wilk, he is then suddenly killed off. Well, this series isn’t a stranger in killing off some of its characters. At least the first season was limited to some of the prisoners. This season we had others too like Edogai whom was promptly killed off after he has done his part. For a second there I thought he might have joined Tsurumi’s side. Then there is Suzukawa who was introduced so suddenly that I thought he would be another weirdo joining Hijikata’s side. And what do you know? A weak bullet to the forehead is what it took to do in this old fart. It’s safe to say that Inudou won’t return as an enemy if ever there is another season. For now, his little back story and connection with Hijikata feels somewhat unrelated to the plot.

Other than the intriguing plot and the bloody action scenes, there are a few parts that seem to either make it stand out like a sore thumb or just cute. I don’t know. It was a dilemma for me. For example, certain parts that are supposed to be funny and for comedic purposes like when the gang are having a group meal together, Ainu style. Because Ogata doesn’t join in, this prompts the rest to do stupid and silly cartoonish faces, trying to tempt him to join them. It feels out of place but at the same time, it makes them, uhm, cute? Even when Tanigaki got a bullet through his butt… That was like, uhm, funny? Last season I said that it had this documentary feel because we see Asirpa and Sugimoto going hunting in the wild as they explain to us about nature and also some of the Ainu culture and beliefs. This season also has its fair share of such documentary but I feel it is somewhat lesser thanks to the development of and building up of the plot. Can’t go hunting more often when you can smell the gold this close.

Another weirdest and funniest moments are those gay scenes! Yes, this series has a bit of them. I guess with many of the casts being males and in a period where war is raging and you need to be at the top of your condition, expect some real muscles. That sumo gay time was really hilarious and I’m sure many of us would go WTF and make us question why the heck they included this. And there was an episode where our guys were running around naked in the dark for most of it! Does that bring out your inner gayness? For those who aren’t into such macho gay scenes, then some twisted pretty boy scenes would suffice and you’ll see this mostly with Tsurumi and his ‘devoted fan boys’. Sheesh. More funny moments that does not take itself seriously with some silly references. Like that Last Supper scene. It came out of nowhere and was this supposed to make us go, “Aww… How cute”. But I’m sure WTF came first. I read there are a few other scenes that mimic other paintings and iconic movie scenes as well but I’m not an art and movie enthusiast so I didn’t get to spot them.

It also feels weird that they are trying to make Tanigaki the epitome of manliness because there are a few scenes where you see his shirt’s button being popped out to reveal his hairy chest. Like, WTF?! Is this gay? But making this season weirder too is how they incorporated the very odd romance between Tanigaki and Inkarmat. Is this to soften the overall gayness? After all, Inkarmat is the only attractive mature woman in the pack. Those who watched last season should know about Ienaga’s identity… I thought there would be some sort of conspiracy or twist involved since they’re making this pairing too obvious instead of a forgettable distraction. On a side note, with Nopperabo ascertained at Wilk, it only puts many of the theories that Inkarmat said to be false. For example, Wilk being killed by Kiroranke. She made it sound so dramatically convincing. It really had me thinking if her fortune readings are correct in the first place or if she has another ulterior motive.

The action sequences continue to be the main attraction of this series. They don’t disappoint but some parts can be really gory and violent. After all, when you are fighting tooth and nail to survive, anything goes. Be surprised or not when Sugimoto gets stabbed and pierced in weird places but still continue to survive. He literally earned his nickname of Immortal Sugimoto.

This season’s animation and art are still maintained like last season. They’re not the best but it’s still consistent. Overall the characters do look weird even the new ones like Inudou really looks like a dog if you look closer. Of course Nopperabo and his fake do seem scary without any face. But thanks to the ‘inferior’ quality of the art, I didn’t horror scream like Sugimoto and the rest. Although this was meant to be funny. Yeah, who could forget that ‘grandma’ face Asirpa always makes when she is unimpressed. Some parts were really dark and I can’t see anything and it was a bit annoying. Like that Toni introduction episode and the ambush into Abashiri. I would have totally forgotten about the horrendous CGI had they not bring back those bears! OMFG! It made me remember!!! Despite the bears only appear in Inkarmat’s dream as well as Asirpa’s bear fighting flashback, they still used that horrible CGI!!! Like WTF?! Those who watched the first season would remember how badly the bear was rendered and there were criticisms and even jokes about it. Thankfully, that is all the CGI is confined to and if there were other parts using that, I am not aware of.

This season’s rock based opening and ending themes sound like they suit the theme of the series well but it didn’t really resonate with me. Reimei by Sayuri x My First Story as the opener while Tokei-dai No Kane by Eastern Youth as the ending piece. The latter feels weirder the more I hear it because it sounds more like punk rock with all the screeching electric guitars and the vocals screaming. If this series wasn’t an action based, it would have sounded so out of place.

Overall, this season is quite as entertaining and interesting than the first (it’s best to watch the first season to better appreciate and understand the sequel). Great action sequences as well as many great developments in the plot and some of the characters make it a worthy sequel. Even when some parts feel really twistedly dumb (just for the comical moments) and out of place, it is still entertaining to watch and if I should say, part of this series’ unique charm. Even if nobody got the gold in the end (yet), at least this series will always be gold material to me for many years to come (hinting it should get another season, PLEASE!!!). Comedy gold, good as gold, a series that is worth its weight in gold. Hinna, hinna.

I thought Nanatsu No Taizai: Imashime No Fukkatsu OVA would actually be some sort of foreshadowing that there would be another sequel. Too bad I must have mistaken it with that Seisen No Shirushi OVAs because just like in the first season, the OVA was just a compilation of small random stories that don’t have any bearings on the overall storyline of the series.

What the pork?!
Hawk is in some flying manta beast version stealing food in town?! Hauser goes to stop him so displeased Hawk even transforms into a grey demon version to cause havoc. With Hauser hell bent on stopping this piggy at all cost, the fight lasts all day. In the end, Hawk returns to Boar Hat all skinny! OMG! Have you really seen a skinny pig?! So skinny that Meliodas bullies Hawk by blowing him around. Wow. Hawk is weightless to? I guess using up whatever magic cube from Merlin that transforms him uses up a lot of calories. Next day Hawk seeks another magic item from Merlin. I don’t think this one that turns Hawk into a human body but with a pig head will do. Then she gives him this giant fork. Despite all its grand names, I just see it as a normal fork… Hawk gets his revenge by sticking it in Hauser’s ass! But he feels warm… Sure it is not some kind of awakening? Hawk cannot imagine Elizabeth being violent. But here she is. Abusing poor little piggy. What gives?! Turns out to be some nightmare spell Gowther is putting on Hawk.

Sore loser princess
Guila practises with Veronica in a sword fight. Although the latter clearly loses, she plays cheat by striking back when Guila lets her guard down. Then it descends into a childish fight. Later Veronica takes Guila to bath with her. I guess we need some fanservice scenes from the duo who lack a lot of screen time in the second season. At first it sounds noble when Veronica talks about Guila drinking the red demon blood to protect her brother because she would have done the same to protect Elizabeth. Then Veronica stomps her superiority by pointing how her boobs is bigger than hers and it gives her a lot of encouragement. Don’t complain when Guila hits you.

The sin of greed
King is unsure the meaning of a race as Helbram and other fellow fairies race to see who is the fastest. Although Helbram is fastest, when King puts his mind into it, he is unbeatable. Even so, King is still unable to understand the implications of being first or being number one despite Helbram’s explanations. So he has King list down all of his priorities and things he likes and then rank them. King can’t because all of them are number one to him. It is only right because as the king, protecting all that are important and precious to him is number one.

Working holiday
During a time when the Sins are part of the kingdom’s Holy Knights, Meliodas announces that his merry band would take a vacation to the beach. While everyone rejoices, we see Meliodas having this devious look on his face. All going as planned… So while having fun at the beach, Kraken pops up. Sorry, no tentacle rape scene as Meliodas has his Sins destroy it so they can make delicious squid meat for dinner. The next day, they head to the mountains to destroy poisonous beetles. Once the holiday is over, we see Meliodas’ true intention. He is being rewarded by Zaratras for taking out Kraken and poisonous beetles and being praised for working even when he is on leave. But this scheme is sniffed out by Merlin who forces Meliodas to treat everyone to drinks. Originally Meliodas intended to buy Elizabeth a gift with the money but realizes he doesn’t know what she wants. Merlin notes he has given Elizabeth a lot but has not given something to her yet. Meliodas thinks she is drunk.

Thou Shalt Covet Another Season!
What else more can I say? The short random skits were fun and enjoyable to watch even though it had no real bearings in any way whatsoever. My favourite one being Hawk’s story because the annoying pig was so funny that I forgave him for being an annoying pet in the series. Yeah… So now I can only pray and hope that this series gets a third season so we can continue to see the epic battle between the Sins and the Ten Commandments. That’s right. The ironic confusion that the ones named based on the cardinal sins are the good guys and the ones named after God’s worship instructions are the bad guys. Yeah, they’re really trolling us and making us question if we are worshipping a false God. The power of trolling us is over 9000!!!!!!

Persona 5 The Animation

January 13, 2019

From my last Persona blog (heck, it was the only one), I stated that Persona 5 was one of the good games (although not entirely perfect) to have graced 2018 (even though I didn’t play it and heard it mostly from all the hearsay over the internet) and hence why I started my Persona adventure with Persona 4 so that I can watch Persona 5 The Animation. Because I was never familiar with the Persona series, I thought the plot were related but it seems this series is just like the Final Fantasy series and each instalment are not really related in terms of story and characters although the basic setting is somewhat the same. So did I waste time watching Persona 4? Well, I did have some fun watching that prequel and I would at least have an idea of some of the workings of this universe while watching this one.

Episode 1
Ren Amamiya makes his steal as a Phantom Thief. However when he escapes, he gets ambushed by the authorities waiting. He is arrested, drugged and beaten up to spill the beans. Sae Niijima takes over the case and tries to help Ren. She tries to make him remember the events that transpired. The other world and the stolen hearts. Flashback shows when he arrived in town, he noticed a strange app in his phone. Yeah, some strange fire demon! Delete the app. Sorry, it’s still there. His destination is a café run by Soujirou Sakura who leads him to the attic storeroom where he will be staying. It seems Ren ran into trouble with authorities and now has a criminal record. The court transferred him here and his parents agreed (like as though they got rid of a nuisance). Sakura took him in partly because of money and warns the slightest trouble, he will kick him out. He will stay here for a year under probation. That night, he dreams of being in prison. Actually as explained by Igor, this is the Velvet Room and it reflects his heart. This doesn’t bode well for his future and only ruin awaits. Next day he is taken to Shujin Academy where he will begin his schooling. Is it me or does the principal look like Kingpin? On that day there was a subway incident and the first call card from a Phantom Thief. Everyone thought it was a prank but it wasn’t so. The target was the school’s alumnus who was an Olympic medallist and now the school’s gym teacher, Suguru Kamoshida. Ren remembers waiting with Ann Takamaki as she was picked up by Kamoshida. Soon after, he and Ryuuji Sakamoto head to school but they thought they took a wrong turn and entered a strange Palace. Strange knights knock them out and they are imprisoned. They are shocked to see Kamoshida as the king. He didn’t like how Ryuuji insulted him and orders his execution. Ren is so scared that he could only watch helplessly Kamoshida beating up Ryuuji. Before he is killed, Ren’s a voice asks if his actions then were a mistake. Since it wasn’t, Ren now has the resolve. The painful transformation into a Phantom Thief leads to the summoning of his Persona, Arsene.

Episode 2
The duo manage to escape and return to reality. With them being late for school, worse still, Kamoshida starts badmouthing them and there’s nothing they could do about it because it’s partly true. Nobody becomes Ren’s friend due to his reputation and looks like only Ryuuji is his ‘pal’ as they are birds of the same feather. Ren hears rumours to stay away from Ryuuji as he could bring trouble. There are also rumours that Kamoshida uses physical violence on his volleyball club members so Ryuuji wants to use something like that Palace experience to bust him. Well, Ren can bring him there again. That is what that app is for. To go to that alternate Metaverse. Inside the Palace, they see prisoners being tortured. They also free a talking cat, Morgana who tells them more about this place as well as the alter ego of their rebellious side called Persona. They come face to face with Kamoshida but as Morgana explains, this is not the real him but his Shadow, an embodiment of his true dark desires. Kamoshida reveals the truth about Ryuuji’s past. Once in a track club, he used violence against Kamoshida who was supervising the club then and as a result of his actions, dragged his friends into it and caused the disbandment of the track club. Ryuuji accuses him of using violence on them just because he didn’t like them. Ryuuji falls into despair and feels there is no way out of this. Until Ren tells him to stand up and fight did Ryuuji feel something rebellious inside him bursting out. Yup, he has his own Persona too, the pirate Captain Kidd. Even Morgana has his own Persona, Zorro. Together they defeat the guards but when a sexy version of Ann appears, Ren makes the call to retreat. Can’t defeat the king of his Palace in this state? Ryuuji hears out the truth of Ren’s probation. He tried to stop a rape scene and ultimately hurt the rapist who is a top cop. Ren was arrested on false charges as revenge and it didn’t help the victim stayed silent. Ryuuji is touched by his story and his righteousness. They become good friends.

Episode 3
Ren and Ryuuji try to talk about the guys about the abuse but they all brush it off and call it part of training. They think of talking to the girls then so they approach Ann and her friend, Shiho Suzui. However Ann refuses to allow them and doesn’t want her friend further involved. Later Ren overheard Ann on the phone with Kamoshida. It seems he is threatening to cut Shiho from the volleyball team if she doesn’t go out with her. Ann realizes Ren is eavesdropping and although doesn’t like it, pours out her troubles. From her story, it is definitely Kamoshida using Ann with the excuse to get Shiho a place in the team. Hence the rumours about them dating are somewhat true. Ren and Ryuuji are shocked that Morgana can enter this real world but in the form of a real cat. A talking cat! He tells them to use the Palace to ‘reform’ Kamoshida. However there is a risk and they might end up killing the real Kamoshida. The guys might not like that guy but they don’t want him dead either. They try to find another way when suddenly Shiho jumps off the school building! Well, she survived. Though in coma. At this point, Ryuuji confronts Yuuki Mishima of the volleyball club because he was the one who was seen with Shiho, asking her to see Kamoshida. They confront the jerk but they have no evidence of his abuse. Worse, Kamoshida will have them all expelled soon. This calls for desperate measures. Time to head into the Palace. Morgana explains how the Palace connects to one’s heart. So if they make it disappear, Kamoshida will become a good guy and even confess to his sins because he cannot bear the weight of the guilt. Good news, he won’t remember them doing this. Bad news, if they rid of the wrong emotions or everything in its entirety, he will die. However the Palace is on alert as the real Ann strayed into it and got captured. Shadow Kamoshida threatens to kill her as Ann falls into despair upon learning she will take the blame if Shiho dies. Time for Ren to work his magical words. Is she giving up? Do you not want him to pay for Shiho? And with that, Ann revives. A Persona of her own, Carmen. Whipping woman destroys the Shadows although Shadow Kamoshida escapes again. The quartet return to reality as they form a team to solve this case and exchange contacts.

Episode 4
Call cards are placed all over school indicating Kamoshida will confess to his crimes. Sorry, Ryuuji. Nobody is appreciative of your designs. Of course that gym bastard isn’t happy with this and suspects our heroes. But he believes this will not get far as they will be expelled. The quartet make some preparations before storming into the Palace. It seems they must steal the treasure which is the core to be successful. It has a time limit so they must be fast. Infiltrating the Palace, they need t a key to stop the traps. So happen this guard has this weird key (makes it stand out?). The guard turns into a fairy. It seems nice to them until she realizes she isn’t part of Kamoshida and drifted in the sea of human hearts. From now on, Pixie decides to live inside them. More accurately, Ren. In the throne room, it is not easy to steal the crown treasure as Shadow Kamoshida has got it heavily guarded. He transforms into his monster form to fight them. Ren got knocked out by an attack. This takes him to the Velvet Room where Igor agrees to help him. Yup, he is given a new Persona. With this, Ren fights back and Ryuuji knocks off the Shadow’s crown. Weakened and cornered, the Shadow begs for mercy. He gives excuse he was pressured to live up to expectations but Ann is not impressed. He gave in to his selfish desires and took everyone’s dreams away. She wants to kill him now but this will not prove his crimes. She wants him to admit and atone them. With that, the Shadow admits his loss and will do as she says. Time to get out before the Palace crumbles. Back in reality, Kamoshida shockingly admits all the wrongdoings. He wants to atone by killing himself but Ann tells him not to run. There were so many things Shiho pretended not to see before she jumped. All of them have to live with that regret. Kamoshida obediently agrees and will surrender himself to the police. The friends are delighted this worked well and the best news of all, Shiho has woke up.

Episode 5
Goro Akechi is a famous high school detective. Yeah, he’s handsome to boot too. I guess that’s why girls are approaching him and some asking about the Phantom Thieves case popping up in their school. Meanwhile our Phantom Thieves trio are splurging at the buffet. Kamoshida’s treasure turned into some gold medal that they sold for quite a sum. Even if it’s fake. But at the buffet, they stumble into impatient people and those who quickly blame them despite not in the wrong. This has them think the world is filled with such adults. You only realize that now? Hence they get excited to form a group to cleanse them like how they did for Kamoshida. Yup, they’re calling themselves The Phantoms and Ren is their leader. They even have cool nicknames like Joker (Ren), Skull (Ryuuji) and Panther (Ann). Mishima has somewhat created a website for Phantom Thieves called Phansite as apology for his actions. There are lots of people putting encouraging words as well as those putting in requests. So they try to take up a request like this stalker case. Morgana leads them into Mementos. Consider this alternate dimension a public version of a Palace. So it’s like a subway? And Morgana can turn into a bus? Did they take inspiration of this from Totoro? They find their way to the stalker, Natsuhiko Nakanohara who is upset he is only being persecuted while the other party gets away. But after a while, Nakanohara gives up. Just like that? His change of heart allows new passages to open up in Mementos. Morgana explains he has no memories of his origins. Trying to investigate this made him lost in Kamoshida’s Palace. He believes solving this mystery would return him to his original human form. The gang gets motivated as they lay down more ground rules for how they should operate. Ren helps out at Sakura’s café. Sae and Akechi come in as customers. Later the Phantom trio have a feeling of being tailed. Could it be Akechi? Morgana warns them to be careful as they are now leading double lives. When they smoke out the culprit… Who the f*ck is this gloomy dude?

Episode 6
Yuusuke Kitagawa has been taken in by Ann’s beauty ever since he laid his eyes on her. As the pupil of art maestro Ichiryusai Madarame, he wants her to be his model. Expecting something else? They are given free tickets to his art exhibit this weekend. Madarame sounds like a nice and mature guy. Yuusuke shows Ann around but there is one artwork he tries to steer her away and even though she praises how good it is, he doesn’t seem happy. Later on the Phansite, there is a rumour circulating about a certain artist plagiarizing his student’s works and taking full credit for it. Also, he abuses them physically. They pay a visit to his shack to confirm with Yuusuke about the rumours but he vehemently protests. Even Madarame is polite and humble answering this and allows them in. In Yuusuke’s room, he shows them Madarame’s maiden art of Sayuri (why do I feel is the Japanese version of Mona Lisa?) that swayed him to take up arts. Also, Yuusuke had no relatives and Madarame took him in as his own. You could see why he is indebted to him. Our gang is about to drop this case thinking the rumour is a dud but then the app resonates. Could there be another Palace at this place? Might as well check it out. It is a huge museum and as Phantom sneak in, they see several portraits. One of them being Nakanohara. Conveniently they hear the monologue of Shadow Madarame that he really steals his students’ works. Because they flee, he breaks them so as they won’t defy him. As for the only student left, he will work him until he dies. They again confront Yuusuke about this and Yuusuke once again doesn’t like them accusing his master. Though, he did admit his master is in a slump and offered his works to help him out. So that isn’t plagiarism? He kicks them out and doesn’t want to see them again. Back home, Ren gets a message from Mishima that Nakanohara wants to meet a Phantom to help solve this problem of changing someone’s heart. Incognito, Ren meets Nakanohara who reveals he was a student of Madarame. Not only he stole their works but takes full credit for it. There was another student too but he committed suicide. He doesn’t want this to happen to the last student remaining. He asked if it was painful to stay with Madarame and was told he wanted to leave if he could. So it’s no surprise Phantom is going to set things straight.

Episode 7
So did Yuusuke allow Ann back in just because she agreed to do the nude? While investigating, they find a strange door inside the museum that had to be unlocked in the real world (which is inside Madarame’s house). This might contain Madarame’s dark secrets. And hence Ann ‘agreed’ to do the nude. No wonder she is wearing so many layers of clothes. This is to buy time for Morgana to pick the lock. Seriously, a cat’s paw trying to pick a lock? No wonder it’s going to take time. So when he is done, Madarame just got back. Inside are all Madarame’s paintings and the most shocking ones are duplicates of Sayuri. Madarame claims he went into a slump after the original one got lost and started painting copies in hopes of regaining his former self. But then they uncover the real one. Yuusuke can tell it is so because he studied the art very well and this was the painting that inspired him to walk this path. Madarame threatens to call security. Good timing for them to fall into the Metaverse. Yuusuke is in shock and refuses to believe at first until Shadow Madarame pops up and rants like a true villain of his evildoings. Yup, he created false rumours of Sayuri being stolen so he could sell copies to the rich. It’s all about money. The kicker has got to be when Madarame reveals he took Yuusuke in not because of the goodness of his heart but to nurture his talents and milk him like a cash cow. Yuusuke is so disillusioned that with this realization he summons his own Persona, Goemon. After a short fight, Shadow Madarame escapes. The rest don’t want to give chase because even if they defeat this Shadow, it will not change a thing. That will only happen when they steal his treasure. Back in reality, Yuusuke talks to them of his dilemma. He is now kicked out of Madarame’s house and has nowhere to go. Although this looks like the case of biting the hand that feeds you, now that Yuusuke’s eyes are opened, he wants to pursue the truth and expose Madarame’s wrongdoings. So let’s welcome the newest member of Phantom.

Episode 8
Calling cards are left everywhere to announce their steal. As Phantom prepares to steal the treasure, Shadow Madarame has it heavily guarded. Everywhere except from the top! Yeah, just do a Mission Impossible and run! Too bad this treasure is fake as Shadow Madarame smoked them out. But he made the fatal mistake of showing them the real treasure. The original picture of Sayuri. It is slightly different as the woman is holding the baby. Shadow Madarame’s blabber mouth has him reveal Yuusuke’s mom was his student and she was the original painter of this picture. The baby here is of course Yuusuke. His mom had a frail body and had a seizure before Madarame. He thought of stealing her works and let her die. Yuusuke’s talent was a blessing and that’s when it dawned to him it is better to rob future brats of their works who don’t talk back. He transforms into a monster that shoots ink that weakens you upon contact. Solution? Splash it back at him! The weakened Shadow pleads for his life as usual but Yuusuke won’t kill him and tells him to end all this and use his own art for once. In reality, Madarame makes a tearful confession of his wrongdoings all on camera. The public is abuzz not because of this confession but rather Phantom has struck again. As Yuusuke can’t stay in Madarame’s place or the dorms (because lack creativity), he wants to stay with Ann! WTF?! Did he decide on that himself?! Morgana suggests living at Sakura’s place. That old dude easily agrees because another troublemaker doesn’t make any difference. The friends celebrate with their own mini party. Yuusuke wants to know about their past since they know about his. Ryuuji tells of his dream to join a track scholarship to ease his single mom (dad left the family went he was young). Then the incident of using violence over Kamoshida. Mom was called and all the teachers were against her. She sat there quietly and Ryuuji cannot forget that look on her face when she apologized. As for Ren, I guess it is too long a story so we won’t hear it now. Everyone agrees all of them had it rough and perhaps that’s why they came together. They make a vow to bring corrupt adults to justice and go as far as they can. Next day, Yuusuke decides to leave and stay at the dorms as he realized what he needs is more human interaction. He leaves the Sayuri painting at the café as thanks.

Episode 9
Although Phantom has been gaining more popularity, there are some still sceptical of their motives. Ryuuji finds a tantalizing maid service poster in his box and has Ren and Mishima join in on this ‘maid research’ (it is to let loose some steam since they need to study to avoid their grades dropping and hence people suspecting them of being Phantom). I WANT IN TOO!!!! Because Ryuuji’s next door neighbour at the dorm has moved out, it is the perfect place to call for maid service. So when they do so, Ryuuji and Mishima chicken out and leave Ren to face with the cute maid calling. But Ren recognizes that voice. Isn’t Becky his homeroom teacher, Sadayo Kawakami? While she is being a cute maid (F*CK!!! I WANT TO SWITCH WITH YOU, REN!!!!), Ren manages to keep his face hidden. I guess Ren didn’t want any service (WTF????!!!) so Becky is about to leave and frustrated Ryuuji (you tell him!) almost screamed and Becky thought she heard a recognizable voice. That is when she sees Ren’s face. She admits the truth and thinks he heard this from their other teacher, Chouno. Since this will be bad for both of them, she hopes this incident will be forgotten. Ren later tells Morgana of this and of course the cat is surprised his teacher is moonlighting. They wonder if Kawakami has a bad relationship with Chouno. Seeing which, Chouno is reprimanding Kawakami about not attending meetings. Ren goes to ‘help’ her under pretence he needs some questions answered. Chouno immediately believes Kawakami has been avoiding meetings to help her students. Because Ryuuji still has problems with his fellow track members who are trying to form a new track team, Ren calls for that maid service again. This time at his place but only after Sakura closes his café. He tells her about Ryuuji’s case of why he punched Kamoshida as his mother was insulted. Now Kawakami understands Ryuuji’s case better. She informs the new track team’s advisor is to be Yamauchi who was close to Kamoshida. Ren goes to spy on Yamauchi who seems to be doing some shady stuffs like leaking info on students that Kamoshida told him before. Because of that, the track students gang up on a supposed traitor but Ryuuji steps in to quell all that by showing his forgiving side. He has put that Kamoshida’s past behind him because the worst part is not having a place to belong to but to lie to yourself and be a crappy person. He must be so confident that he offers to be punched to make them feel better. Yeah, he didn’t expect them to take up the offer. Did he specify how many punches per person? No hard feelings but they’re even now. Later as Ren and Kawakami talk, she updates him that the new advisor will be a former track coach coming back after the track members told this to Chouno who used her influence to stop Yamauchi from becoming the new advisor.

Episode 10
The class is invited as guests to a TV station where they watch Akechi being interviewed. He talks about Phantom needing to be put on trial because they are taking the law into their own hands (even though exposing the villain is another matter). Had they believe in real justice, they should not be doing what they’re doing now. But the issue at hand is how they change people’s hearts. Was it forcefully? If they have that ability, there is a possibility they might use it to commit crimes. Of course our Phantom friends continue to believe in their own justice and will do things their way. Meanwhile, Makoto Niijima, the student council president has been tasked to find the identities of Phantom by the principal. She is disillusioned since she was never told why and not to further question. However she targets Ren and his groupie as they are gathering suspiciously. She confronts them after thinking they have some trouble and she could hear them out. Ann distrusts her because of Shiho’s case in which the council didn’t do anything. Likewise, Makoto throws it back to her as Shiho’s closest friend, she didn’t do anything either. Their views on justice clash. But after school, Makoto summons Ren. Ren has no choice but to bring her to meet the other Phantom members. It seems she has a recording that proves their identities as Phantom. But she will not report them and wants to make a deal. In exchange for deleting this, she wants them to show the justice they speak of. She wants them to change the heart of a local yakuza leader who scams and blackmails people. He also uses his men to force students hanging out in the alleys of Shibuya to be drug mules. Makoto and Ren test this out and the rumours are true. Because Makoto won’t give a name, the rest think of a way to get so. The internet and media won’t help. They remember the journalist, Ichiko Ooya who was trying to snoop around Madarame’s case. Ren goes to meet her and in exchange for a name, she wants to interview students who were abused under Kamoshida’s reign of terror. After suggesting Mishima, the name he is looking for is Junya Kaneshiro. Now they’ve got a name, they need to look for his Palace. It’s ‘easy’ to find because that guy considers the entire Shibuya as his source of income. Yup, the entire Shibuya is his warped Palace. Not to mention that high tower mansion right smack in the middle.

Episode 11
Akechi wants to talk to Makoto about the Phantom Thieves but she is reluctant. Flashback shows her father was an upright officer but was targeted and killed in the line of duty. Hence it is a lot of stress for her sister, Sae who is working as a prosecutor. Because Makoto asks if their father would have sided with the Phantom Thieves as they make the bad confess their crimes, Sae snaps at her about being useless. Makoto goes to bug Phantom to see if there are any updates. Since useless is her taboo word and they find her pushy, she tries to prove a point by taking a risky action by meeting Kaneshiro’s goons and forcing them to bring her to them. Funny, they never check if she is using her handphone to record their conversation? Makoto meets Kaneshiro but is quickly outwitted when he knows what she is doing. It gets worse when Phantom come by. As they are in a bar, Kaneshiro takes a snapshot of them and threatens to send it to their school. If they threaten him or report to the police, he will ruin them and their families. Plus, he gives 3 million yen to his girl as excuse to relieve his stress and wants them to pay up or else. He lets them go as Makoto tells about her desperate case and situation. She realizes and admits she is useless. Morgana has an idea as they have become Kaneshiro’s ‘customers’, it is easier to access his Palace. They bring Makoto in so I guess it saves a lot of time explaining since she is a smart girl. Shadow Kaneshiro offers them to use their bodies to pay off their debt. Because he runs his mouth of wanting to make Sae his personal slave and then abandon her when he is done, this irks Makoto so much that she summons her Persona. Uhm, Johanna is a bike so that makes Makoto a hot badass biker girl?! A few kickass moments before they have to escape because security is tightening and now that they know how to access here, they’ll come back to steal his treasure next time. Back in reality, Makoto finds the irony of joining Phantom when she was supposed to investigate about them in the first place. It might look awkward between the sisters now since they are on opposing sides but she is confident normal investigations won’t reach this Metaverse.

Episode 12
in between trying to find the location of the treasure, we see Ann sincerely apologizing to Makoto for blaming her during the Kamoshida incident and they both call it even and become friends. Girl power when they both kick ass that it makes the guys shiver. Also, with Makoto being a bit socially awkward, Ren helps her to blow off some steam via hanging out. So when they have finally found the treasure, it has not materialized yet and must put forth the calling card so as to materialize it because the perpetrator will sense some danger to it and hence protect it. Phantom confront Shadow Kaneshiro as he turns into uhm, rapper fly monster?! Here’s his iron piggy vault. Cybertron? Piggytron?! Phantom cooperate to take down the Shadow and as usual, he confesses about all he wanted was a place of belonging and hence money was the only thing he has. But to take advantage of others? Looks like the place he will belong is the prison. However Kaneshiro warns them of another person who can enter Metaverse and taking advantage of it by doing what he wants. A person wearing a black mask who is more powerful than all of them. Back in reality, Phantom thought they have 30 million yen as reward from the treasure. Turns out to be fake money. Soon Kaneshiro calls Makoto to erase the debt and picture before turning himself to the authorities. Makoto presents her findings to the principal in which he is unhappy she finds Phantom as just. She resigns from this job. Back home, Makoto learns Sae isn’t happy despite Kaneshiro being caught. Because he confessed, nobody could take credit for his downfall and there goes her chance for promotion. Makoto thinks she has changed.

Episode 13
Some politicians have been arrested but it isn’t the work of Phantom. It is thanks to Akechi. Akechi visits Sakura’s café and talks to Ren. Again their opinions of Phantom clash as Akechi is still suspicious of Phantom’s methods. Yuusuke is in a slump so he seeks Ren’s help to find inspiration. He wants Ren to be his bodyguard as he finds his inspiration in Mementos. When he submits his work for competition, however Akio Kawanabe the director of the Japanese Art Support Foundation calls it mediocre and empty. But later he apologizes for his comments because he was hoping to give him some sort of motivation. Knowing Yuusuke is in a slump due to financial restraints, he is willing to provide materials and even a studio for his creativity to run wild. However Yuusuke realizes the catch that his art sells because of his good looks and this is not what he wants. Yuusuke will not allow this to taint his pride and the deal ends here. Later Ren is confronted by Akechi who has been doing some investigations after Madarame’s case. It seems Kawanabe is a shady person himself as he was friends with Madarame. After having young budding artists into a shady contract, he extorts them to cover costs of exhibits, etc. It would be a shame if Yuusuke falls into this trap again. But how is this related to Phantom? Because with such crimes, Phantom will no doubt move. As a detective he wants to nab this first and requires Ren’s help since he has no solid evidence. Ren agrees to help. So Ren finds himself juggling between helping Yuusuke finds his inspiration and Akechi solving the case but often hits a dead end as Akechi cannot trace where the money went. When Yuusuke hears the other Phantom members about their opinions on art, Yuusuke has his eyes open further. He realizes he will now draw to give hope to others. Next time when Ren sees Kawanabe and asks about several companies (supposedly where the money went), Kawanabe isn’t sure what he is talking about. The culprit turns out to be his secretary as Akechi nabs him before he could destroy the documents. Yuusuke enters another competition and wins it. Even Kawanabe admits he deserves to win. His provocation was to encourage Yuusuke. Admitting he was friends with Madarame, but they both had a fall out. Kawanabe offers to give him financial support with no strings but Yuusuke declines citing he has friends who will guide him if he is lost.

Episode 14
Now that Sae has heard what Ren says, it has become personal and believes in Phantom’s form of justice. We see Phantom change the heart of an online stalker. Although this episode sees how Mishima got screwed after meeting Ichiko in her drunk state (Ren’s answer to his grumbles: Off the handphone! Best function ever) and Yuusuke realizing it is hard to cut off Madarame totally even though he is scum because he is still family (for he raised him), the big bulk goes to Makoto still trying to find her place and expand her horizon as she hangs out more with Ren. In some shady parts of town, she inadvertently becomes friends with a fellow schoolmate who is moonlighting in this part of town, Eiko Takao. Makoto knows very well she is being scammed by her host club boyfriend, Tsukasa. Very much evident when she starts asking to borrow money. Makoto is bent on opening her eyes because it somewhat relates to her father’s death. He was investigating a syndicate preying on young girls when the accident happened. Despite the ‘proof’ Tsukasa only sees Eiko as an ATM as he cannot remember her name, Eiko still refuses to believe. And then Makoto slaps her to tell her she knows the truth but refuses to accept it. She complains she has nobody else. Only Tsukasa looks at her. With complaints about a certain host club guy scamming girls flooding Phansite, time for Phantom to move in as we cut to the chase to see them defeat Shadow Tsukasa. Eiko now finds her place with her friendship with Makoto. Makoto thanks Ren for everything as now she has finally decided how to live her life. She will become a police and help the weak like her father. Although the irony is that she is a Phantom Thief now. So uhm, she is going to catch herself?

Episode 15
An international hacker group, Medjed claims that Phantom is evil and want to bring them to justice. However they offer them to join their side and if they reject, the hammer of justice will find them. Of course Phantom is suspicious and unsure to take this seriously. Further info on Medjed shows they aren’t as just as they claim since they hack corporate info and use them as blackmail. In class, a strange phenomenon occurs. Everybody’s handphone except Ren’s start ringing for a short while. Back home, Ren gets a message from the perpetrator of this prank, Alibaba. Alibaba knows everything there is about Phantom and has a job for them. There is a certain person whose heart needs to be changed and in exchange, will do something about Medjed. Ren shows this to the rest and of course they are shocked. It is possible that Alibaba hacked their accounts since their chats are mostly online. Makoto advises to do important chats face to face. When Ren returns, there is a letter addressed to him. It is supposedly a calling card from Alibaba. However Alibaba seems not to be aware of the procedures and the things they need to know in order to steal hearts. First they require the target’s name. After thinking for a while, Alibaba says the target is Futaba Sakura. Alibaba wants them to do it now and threatens to expose them to public otherwise. As more info like keywords and Palace are needed, Alibaba thinks they are dodging the issue. After thinking, Alibaba decides to call off the case and will not expose them. Don’t pursue this any further. This leaves Phantom confused and unsatisfied. They ponder if Futaba is somewhat related to Sakura.

When Ren returns, he hears Sae threatening Sakura about some custody revoking thingy if he refuses to divulge some information. Something about abuse and domestic court and everything is in his favour if he just cooperates. Ren tries to ask but he is no mood to tell. The rest of Phantom is further puzzled because they think Futaba might be Sakura’s child and she is the one abusing him? Otherwise why change her heart? After all, they can’t imagine Sakura being an abuser. Moody and rude maybe but not an abuser. That night, entire Shibuya area has a blackout. Next day, Medjed claims responsibility on this. They claim Phantom has failed to respond and give them a last chance. Otherwise they will attack Japan via this method. It is possible that everyone will blame Phantom for this but as Ren notes if they give in, their justice will fail. Thinking if they could contact Alibaba again, Makoto reads again the chat. Could it be that Alibaba is Futaba? Needing more information, they head to Sakura’s house (since the café is closed). Good thing it is raining because it’s an excuse to barge into the seemingly dark house for refuge. Then the lights go out and they hear a scream. Makoto is most afraid as she clings on to Ren. Cheesy jump scare moment as Makoto meets eye with the ‘scary thing’. Don’t worry. Just Futaba. But so scared that they both screamed. Hilarious?

Episode 16
Futaba runs back to her hiding and Sakura just came back. Sakura feels it is time to explain things. Futaba is the daughter of an acquaintance. Her mom, Wakaba raised her as a single parent but is always busy with work. One day she killed herself before Futaba’s eyes and Sakura ended up taking custody of her. It was hard at first but slowly she opened up. However a few months back, she started getting scared and locked herself in, claiming she heard voices of mom looking at her. Investigating further, it is confirmed Futaba is indeed Alibaba and does have her own Palace. They try to talk to her outside her room (although, more like online chatting) but she believes her room is her tomb that she will die in. This is the keyword that takes them to her Palace. A huge Egyptian pyramid. It seems Phantom are not in their usual uniform since Futaba does not see them as the enemy. Inside, they see Shadow Futaba as the pharaoh queen. They also hear voices blaming Futaba as her mom’s killer. Shadow Futaba believes her mom is here and will die here. After she disappears, Phantom transforms into their uniform, a sign indicating she has considered them the enemy. Because of Futaba’s unstable state of mind, she leads Phantom deeper into the tomb and they almost get killed by traps. They see movies leading up to Wakaba’s death. Futaba blamed herself for wanting attention as she always had to eat alone but brushed her off citing work. In the final room where her treasure lies, Shadow Futaba says they need the real Futaba’s permission for it to open. Shadow Futaba appears before the real Futaba, asking her if she intends to blame and shut herself forever. Is she going to avert her eyes to the truth forever? If so, she will kill Phantom in the real world. Ren and co try to get permission to enter her room. They enter but she remains in hiding in her closet. After convincing her to trust them, she jumps out in awkward fashion, pleading them to steal her heart.

Episode 17
Apparently Futaba got the wrong idea about stealing her heart this way. Back into the closet. They leave their calling card before returning to the Metaverse. After Futaba reads it, it is like the permission Phantom need to proceed beyond the locked room. They face off with a sphinx with Wakaba’s face. As pointed out, this isn’t a Shadow but just Futaba’s cognition. Futaba cannot stand hearing those accusing voices as she barges out of the room and stumbles into the Metaverse and hence her Palace. With the accusations continuing, basically her Shadow is lecturing her that she knows the truth all along but continued to be in denial. She blames herself for existing, hence taking Wakaba’s precious time away from her research that would eventually result in her death. All the accusations are just excuses to justify why mom died. Once she has gotten over it, time for Futaba to get her own Persona. Uhm, tentacle rape into a UFO?! She creates cool weapons for Phantom to use against the sphinx until they defeat it. After it is over, the real Wakaba appears. The kind mother she has always been. They reconcile and Futaba moves on. As for her treasure, it is empty and Morgana deduces Futaba herself is the treasure. Back in reality, Futaba is fine but fast asleep. No major injuries. Just tired. Hey, this is commendable for a shut-in who just expended considerably a lot of energy! Sakura is so grateful he gives the gang tickets to Skytree. Enjoy yourself because today is also apparently the day Medjed will hack Japan. Nothing happens… When Ren returns, he sees Sae leaving. Sakura lets him know she is here to find out about Wakaba’s research. With a click of a button, Futaba hacks Medjed’s website and it’s all over the news! So easy?! Futaba explains she is the original founder of Medjed. Because she used her anonymity, others started using that moniker for themselves. She didn’t stop them because it was growing to be bothersome and let them be. She tossed away that name and now goes by Alibaba. In short, Medjed is probably a loose organization filled with weaklings. On to something more serious, Futaba believes her mom wasn’t killed in an accident but murdered. She wants Ren help bring the perpetrator to justice.

Episode 18
Futaba is invited to join Phantom and she doesn’t hesitate to say yes. Because Futaba’s social skills are still awkward, the friends take turn to hang out with her. Enough for her to ‘graduate’ to hang out at the beach. I guess it’s time we need our beach episode. At the end of the day, Futaba opens up more on her mom. She was into cognitive pscience. In short, she was researching a theory relating to the Metaverse about the other cognitive world that affects one’s behaviour in reality. Thinking she was trapped in that labyrinth and there was nothing she could do about it, that’s why she sought Phantom to steal her heart. Wakaba didn’t throw herself onto an oncoming car but rather she collapsed. Futaba tried to research and hacked online to find more about mom’s work but none was found. Like as though she never existed. Hence her reason to join Phantom is to find her mom’s killer rather than changing hearts. The rest don’t mind since she is one good hacker. Perhaps Futaba still has a long way to go to be independent socially. She thought she could hang out by herself at the mall but started to panic and freeze. If not for Ren and Ryuuji passing by, she could have cried until kingdom come. With Futaba joining them in Metaverse, it seems Mementos is growing bigger the more people love them. Their reputation skyrocketed after the Medjed incident. Sakura opens up to Ren about his regret that Wakaba told him she felt that she was going to die. Had he taken her more seriously, it wouldn’t have happened. Hence taking in Futaba was his form of redemption. But it looks like Futaba is not the only one having current problems. Ann got setup by a fellow model and her role usurped by her while Morgana starts having anxiety about being a cat. A cat has worries?! I guess this proves Morgana could be very much a human before.

Episode 19
Futaba gives Makoto a special USB that can bypass all passwords to copy whatever computer she inserts in. Thus Makoto uses it to download Sae’s investigation data. Meanwhile our gang is on a school trip to Hawaii! Aloha! Nothing really much going on here except them having fun like they should. An incident of Ren saving Hifumi Togo, a pro shogi player from American guys who want to flirt with her. Also, Ann got shut out of her own room so she had to sleep in Ren and Ryuuji’s room that makes it all so awkward. Meanwhile the principal is panicking as whoever is sponsoring him decides to cut ties. It doesn’t help when the media is trying to hound the school about Phantom ever since Kamoshida’s case. When the gang returns from Hawaii, they hear the principal has been killed in a street accident. We have seen that he has been hypnotized to the state of a mental shutdown that it made it look like he committed suicide. Of course no students sympathized with the principal’s death since it is an open secret he tried to cover up Kamoshida’s case. However the odd thing is that everyone now thinks this is Phantom’s doing and they are resorting to killing. Futaba reveals some of her findings of Sae’s investigation. Kunikazu Okumura, the CEO of Okumura Foods seems to be benefiting the most from the recent cases of scandals and competitors resigning. There are rumours that those around him have mental shutdown. Morgana and Ryuuji want to quickly take this guy down but the rest don’t want to rush in and do more investigations first. This leads to the group being split and oddly Morgana and Ryuuji getting into a heated debate. Morgana will take on this job himself. Too bad he fails. I guess no cat is an island. Meanwhile Sae and Akechi are in desperate need to turn around their reputations as the people still side with Phantom than them.

Episode 20
Morgana has a new Phantom Thief partner? Thanks to Futaba’s hacking, she manages to easily find keywords to access Okumura’s Palace. They see robots being worked to the bone and if they fail, they are thrown away. Then here pops up Morgana and his partner, uhm, Beauty Thief? At first they thought she is the culprit as she wears a black mask but after lots of bloopers between the cat and her, it looks more like one big goofy uncoordinated act. They have to flee when security arrives. Ren and co quickly deduce that Haru is the one behind Beauty Thief and she is Okumura’s daughter. It seems everybody has a lot to say about her father and hence she entered his Palace to find out the real him. That is when she stumbled into Morgana and they become a pair. When they offer to help her, she rejects them because they couldn’t even do anything to help Morgana. When Haru returns, it seems her father just finished making some calls that would allow him to enter the political foray. He wants her to get more acquainted with Sugimoto, the son of a politician whom she will marry just to advance his political goal. Yup, that’s what father shamelessly said. Phantom meets Morgana in the Metaverse in hopes of mending their relationship. It looks like everything is heading for the better until Ryuuji overdone it by saying that taboo word of useless. Back to square one. Sugimoto comes to pick up Haru (father approved putting GPS on her!). He doesn’t like her hanging around this parts and needs to teach her a lesson to avoid a scandal. But wouldn’t this cause a scandal? Morgana tries to bite him but got kicked. Ouch. Morgana’s cries must be so loud that Ren and co could actually hear and rush to the spot! Not wanting further commotion, he lets her go but will report this to her father. Back at Ren’s place, they nurse Morgana but the cat still wants to go his own way after viewing himself as a burden. When Haru asks why he wants to become human, Morgana says it is his reason to stay. Not being part of Phantom means having no place to belong. He wants to stay here forever. I’m sure the friends don’t need any reason for him to stay. And with more cheesy friendship assurance, Phantom is back as a whole. Haru also takes this chance to be honest as she blurts out how she hates that Sugimoto creep. And everyone has a good laugh. But more woes for Haru as her father has been indicted and he unofficially puts her in Sugimoto’s care.

Episode 21
Haru tells her friends about the forced marriage. As to why her father became ruthless and cold hearted, the trigger is believed to go way back to when grandpa was still the company’s president. However he still run small cafes and prioritized the customers’ smile. Sometimes he even gave free food. Because of that, the shop closed down after losing revenue and he passed away shortly. Her dad started prioritizing profits after he took over. They venture into the Palace to see Shadow Okumura. Uhm, a space alien robot Dracula? He blatantly gives Shadow Sugimoto the permission to do whatever he wants to Haru so long he gets his foothold in politics. Shadow Sugimoto transforms into a robot to fight them. I suppose this part is necessary because Haru needs to awaken her Persona, Milady to kick ass. Returning to reality, the friends ask one last time if she really wants to go ahead with this because once her dad changes heart, there will be lawsuits and she will be branded as a criminal’s daughter. She doesn’t mind all that. When Okumura receives a calling card, he is not cowed and instead goes to the police. Phantom enters the Palace to steal his treasure. Shadow Okumura gives Haru one last chance to join him and of course she won’t, Phantom as usual combine their Persona powers to take him down. Shadow Okumura becomes very remorseful for his wrongdoings. However he isn’t the one behind the mental shutdowns and merely requested to eliminate competitions. Before they can grill him further, the Palace crumbles. But it is a guy in black mask that kills off Shadow Okumura. In the aftermath, Okumura becomes withdrawn and shuts himself in his room. The friends celebrate this success at the amusement park. Originally the company booked it for its employees but cancelled due to the scandal. Since no refund, might as well enjoy themselves. Yeah, the whole park to themselves. Conveniently it is time for Okumura’s live press conference. He confesses abusing his workers and everything. But before he gets to the important part, suddenly he bleeds black ink and collapses?! WTF?! Oh sh*t! Meanwhile Sae has become more engrossed and obsessed in nabbing Phantom and she thinks the recent incidents will be her ticket to glory.

Episode 22
Okumura is dead. Doom and gloom. Ren and co are feeling sad but it gets worse. Just when they ponder if they are responsible for Okumura’s death, people are now turning against Phantom and posting that they are criminals. People’s allegiance are so fragile thanks to the internet. Meanwhile Sae has been entrusted with the position to solve this Phantom Thieves case by her senior. It is a big job and she goes into overdrive mode to work hard (despite she is already overworked herself) as she views this as her big promotion chance. The police even starts interrogating students from Shujin and Futaba’s hacking shows that somebody used the Medjed’s name to hack into the Phansite to make it Okumura as the top target for them. Hence, the culprit had planned to blame them from the start. They literally danced into his palm for the last couple of months. For now they must lie low. Mishima is displeased with all this so he shows Ren a photo of an up and coming actor. He is cocky so he hopes Phantom could do something about this dude and restore their reputation. Ren is such a good listener that a chance meeting with Hifumi has them becoming shogi friends. She hears out what he wants to say. So as not to be all doom and gloom, Shiho even thanks Ren for all the encouragement he and Ann gave her. When Phansite makes a big announcement that anyone who attacks Phantom will be punished, it’s time for Phantom to head into Mementos to confront Mishima’s Shadow because Ren can tell it is Mishima’s cry for help. In short, he is jealous he too wanted to be noticed and be a hero. He wants them to change his heart but Ren tells him not to quit and face himself. Yeah, they just left like that. In reality, Mishima feels so much better. He doesn’t want to shut down Phansite as long as there are voices crying out for their help. On a bright note, he has also started writing a documentary on Phantom to record all their doings. He will always support them.

Episode 23
For the school’s cultural festival, it seems the students voted unanimously for Akechi to be their special guest. They’re tired of the constant police surveillance and interrogation and want this princely detective to help out. At first Makoto thought they should lie low and not attract any attention but then decide if they are going to need police intel, might as well try to talk to him via this panel. Recently Akechi who was suspicious of Phantom now seems to be supporting them as if gives his interviews on TV. A day before his supposed appearance, he visits the school grounds just to check out. This ‘funny’ scene where he ate a spicy takoyaki and he became so comical! WTF?! Abort mission. Time to go home. At the panel, the students quickly ask if Phantom was behind the murder of their principal. Quickly, Akechi dismissed that Phantom would murder and in fact he knows their identity. A well timed phone call has him take a break. But this is part of his plan to call Ren and co to discuss. He knows they are Phantom as he has photo evidence of them ‘disappearing’ into Metaverse. He knows they are not the kind to murder. Because recently he managed to enter Metaverse and stumbled into the man in a black mask who tried to kill him. Desperate to live, Akechi summoned his own Persona to escape. Because the police has decided Phantom is the culprit, Akechi would like to strike a deal to help them. In exchange he will turn a blind eye to all they have done. Otherwise he will hand in this proof to the police. Sae is now pressured to solve Phantom’s case and is only given a month. Because of that, it is announced there is a 30 million yen bounty on them. Phantom has no choice but to work with Akechi. He gets straight to the point that he wants to change Sae’s heart as he has discovered her Palace. At this rate she will fabricate evidence and pin the blame on an unrelated culprit. Changing her heart would also protect her because if the real culprit finds out she is the one investigating all this, they will target her life and she is perfect to place the blame on Phantom. Changing her heart will also restore Phantom’s reputation and a warning not to mess with them. With them backing off, it will only be a matter of time Akechi catches the culprit. This also means this would be Phantom’s last mission. They ask why Akechi is so hard up in pursuing this justice. He admits it is a petty grudge and contempt for a certain someone. It is a reason why he came to them for help.

Episode 24
Sae’s Palace is a courthouse and a casino? Because she thinks going to court is a must win. Unless you’re the house, you will often lose at the casino… Shadow Sae (is she auditioning to be part of KISS?) pops up before them and even tells them where the treasure is as she believes in a fair fight. But to get to the top of the building, they need to earn a member card. Their reconnaissance ends for today and we get to see Akechi kickass with his Persona, Robin Hood. But there is another problem brewing. Sakura found a calling card in Futaba’s room. Man, Futaba is running away and avoiding Sakura at all cost! Although Sakura acts normal, the rest feel to avoid treading on this topic if it is not brought up by him. But it gets worse as Futaba’s uncle walks in and is asking for money or he threatens to take Futaba back. He is confident the court will be on his side as blood related has higher priority than legal guardian. With Futaba in depression, she can’t perform as usual in Metaverse as Phantom keeps losing their bets in the casino! Sakura later talks to Ren about Futaba’s case. After her mom died, she was tossed around between the relatives for a place to stay. Her uncle was the last to receive her and treated her like dirt. Sakura couldn’t stand it and decided to pay him off to take guardianship over her. With this problem coming to light, Akechi personally wants to help Futaba because he too knows what it feels like from being tossed from home to home as he was from the orphanage.

The next time uncle comes to ask for money again, Sakura declines both options to pay him or give Futaba. Nice timing for Akechi to come back with his investigations showing he lost money due to bad investments. Stupid uncle tripped himself but blames Ren for pushing him and is going to sue them. Soon, his lawyers come knocking on their door. They look like they have the upper hand since Sakura wasn’t exactly a good guardian either. You know, that time Futaba was being a shut-in and he didn’t do anything about it. But luckily for them, Morgana tells Futaba that Sakura is in trouble. So she runs all the way down to the café to say how she has been happy living here since. Even Ren answers them that he too has been happy ever since living here. The lawyers are happy to hear that seeing they received unfounded nasty reports on him but seeing this for themselves, they believe he has not caused any trouble. Now that this case is solved, Sakura wants an explanation about the calling card. Futaba tries to explain without giving away too much. However Sakura hints he knew all about it. I mean, a shut-in suddenly wanting to go after meeting Ren? What about Yuusuke who came and left a painting? He knew something was up. But rest assured, he will keep this a secret as he owes it to them too for taking care of Futaba. And now that Futaba’s uncle has officially dropped his case to get Futaba or the money, Futaba is on a roll again. Phantom is now able to win their games and earn enough for a member’s card to challenge Sae.

Episode 25
However even getting the card and even upgrading it, they need coins to access the next floor. So, fight more monsters to earn coins? That’s like RPG grinding, right? Of course with risky games means higher rewards and Ren was able to pull off one big fight by himself and earn the necessary. However despite all the hard work and getting enough coins for the next floor, the coin requirements to the final floor is astronomically high. Their trial would never end (somewhat a reflection of Japan’s court cases that the accused is often 99.9% found guilty). But thankfully Akechi had foresight and initially had the original card and used it to make bets. With them winning so many trials, I guess they don’t have to slog and have just enough to finally reach the treasure room. All that is left is to place the calling card. Akechi suggests placing the calling card in the last minute because Sae is a realist and she would be on guard. Last minute infiltration will most likely to get her materialize her treasure. It is decided to place the calling card 2 days before the investigation. Makoto awkwardly hands the calling card to Sae, claiming it is from the mail. Sae is of course not pleased she is now branded a criminal by them. This only makes her go into overdrive mode to catch them first. Conflicted Makoto can’t help but cry but assures she will always be on her side. When Phantom finally face off with Shadow Sae, she complains about the injustice that befell her father that put a lot of pressure on her. That is why she is so certain justice will always win. Well, depending on how you define justice. Phantom attack together as Makoto tries to open her eyes and convince her to remember the reason why she went into public prosecution in the first place. Eventually they defeat her and her treasure is her father’s investigation diary. However it seems somebody tipped off Phantom and the enemies have surrounded the Palace. Ren decides to distract them while the rest escapes.

Episode 26
Riot police storm into the Metaverse to capture Ren. For the next few days, the news is abuzz about the captured leader of Phantom although Ren’s identity is still kept in wraps. As the rest of Phantom gather (naturally the sullen and gloom mood), Akechi has used his connections to determine where Ren is. He believes that somebody leaked info to the riot police about the Metaverse (how the f*ck do they even enter?! Do they have the app?!) and that the guy in the black mask could just be a pawn for the true mastermind behind it all. It seems Sae has also been taken off the case and now the police is fully handing it. Akechi’s plan is to sneak in and take Ren away. It’s the only option. As too many of them might make things harder. Now that Sae has finished her interrogation with Ren, she tells him she can get him a lighter sentence if he confirms the name of his accomplices (wasn’t she paying attention to his long flashback?!). Nothing but silence. Not even if there are any other partners he is working with or if Akechi had a hand in this. All he says is that this is for justice, sticking to the right path. Even if that means not ratting out his friends. Sae’s time is up and she knows from the direction of this case, she won’t get credit. Ren asks if she is giving up on justice. Then he tells her to show some person the Smartphone. This part is very unclear because Ren was collaborating with Morgana and Futaba on this particular plan that only Ren can pull off and it has to be precise. With Ren playing the pronoun game, Sae seems to realize what he is saying and cannot fathom his goal. Too bad I don’t! TELL ME! After Sae leaves, she bumps into Akechi and it is his turn to interrogate Ren. She shows him Ren’s Smartphone but keeps it as it is proof of the investigation. When the guard lets Akechi in, Akechi steal his gun and shoots him! Then Akechi shows his true colours. He shoots Ren in the head and makes it as though both killed each other and walks away.

Behind The Mask: The Art Of Stealing Hearts
What the f*ck?! WHAT THE FFFFFUUUUUUUU??????!!!!! This has got to be one of the worst endings ever in the history of anime?! It can’t end like that can it?! Is this what we get after sitting through one of the longest ever flashbacks of anime?! You thought Hinamatsuri or Tenjou Tenge was bad but this takes the cake. Of course I knew this couldn’t be the real deal because Akechi being the traitor wouldn’t just quite cut it. I mean it would have been the biggest shocking twist and fans would have poured scorn all over it. So of course to satiate my curiosity, I went to do a bit of research and true enough, there is more to meets the eye than this betrayal. So it is all linked to some up and coming rising politician. Yeah, Ren isn’t really dead. Just some illusion and whatever f*cking cognition Metaverse thingy. I suppose those who played the game will only understand and know about this as this would be the next target and arc in this series. But as far as the anime goes, it ends here and I would say it would be pretty much unfair to have that kind of ‘shocking’ ending and leaving viewers in a lurch. If this is some sort of way to get people to buy the game and find out, well, I just read the details over the internet so it didn’t work.

Well, the story if you look at it overall is pretty much the same and if I should say, somewhat bland. Just like its predecessors, a bunch of kids who believe they can rid the corrupted adult world with their concept of justice and do so by entering another world. This is a formula that stays largely the same in every arc even for this season alone. They just present it to us in a different way, using different characters (by putting them in the limelight) and using different settings. But at least this season is not as crappy as in Persona 4 because when they started bringing in that God thingy, yeah, that was the straw that really broke the camel’s back. Hence Persona 5 is somewhat tolerable because they didn’t bring in this God-like factor and everything that has been done was the direct effect and consequences of our Phantom kids themselves.

Of course when you continue to compare the setting with Persona 4, Persona 5 has a lot of things to deal with and hence you can’t really make up sh*t. I mean, not to say that this season is so much better but when you consider the previous season takes place in a very sleepy town compared to this season’s metropolis Tokyo, there are a lot of other factors to take into account to keep the realism. Because the backwater town of Inaba with hardly anything exciting going on in the townspeople’s lives, hence those kids in Persona 4 were able to run around as they pleased like as though they own the town. Sure, the ones in Persona 5 too feel like that but Tokyo is such a big city and really, who gives a f*ck?

This is perhaps the reason why nobody really gives a f*ck when Phantom departs from reality to enter Metaverse. I mean, do you not notice when they head into the Metaverse, it is often during daylight and in crowded public places? With so many people around, do nobody even notice this?! Sure, they want to give a different setting of the other world instead of being thrown into TV by midnight. Heh. Who watches TV these days? I guess everyone is so glued to their Smartphones that they don’t even see Phantom entering Metaverse. Not that Phantom wore any disguise when they head in. Just their usual plain clothes. I suppose when you have a big sprawling city, everybody is minding their business and don’t want to get involved even if they witness a simple crime. Not my business. Yeah, that’s the sad reality of today. No wonder the world is so corrupted.

And even though the internet was filled with fervour of supporting Phantom, this no-action by those very same people who instigate over the internet are the reason why Phantom is able to get the job done without anyone coming close to finding out who they are. It’s just so right under their noses. I wonder if time in Metaverse flows differently because if Phantom spend a lot of time there (assuming they do a lot of requests), won’t people in real life wonder where they have gone? Oh right. I forgot people don’t care especially Ren and Ryuuji are like outcasts so nobody is really going to bother.

Because of that kind of ending, unlike Persona 4, this season feels unfinished and have so many loose strings, you might even get lost of keeping track of them. Of course many of the questions would be answered if you play the game but let’s keep this focused on the anime side. Like the man in the black mask that is supposed to be the primary antagonist or another pawn, his identity is never really known. Heck, we don’t even know if Morgana was a human or Shadow or just some mutated cat. Ren’s so called rehabilitation in the Velvet Room is also left hanging. Did he manage to break out of the prison in his heart because of good behaviour or not? And since there is no extra episode like they did in Persona 4 , I guess as far as Persona 5 is concerned, anime viewers will definitely be left having a bad aftertaste in their mouth. Having no closure (at least in the season proper) is one of the worst things for a viewer to experience. (Edit: Actually they did release a special. I hope the Dark Sun special released recently would help clarify things).

Character wise, despite the entire casts are new, they feel like recycled and reshuffled from Persona 4. Ren = Yuu (main leading male character), Ryuuji = Ryousuke (the rascal), Ann = Yukiko (beautiful babe), Makoto = Chie (tomboyish), Futaba = Rise (the otaku, just switch from idol to hacker – but their Personas in the battlefield are similar: To obtain info), Akechi = Naoto (detective prince), Morgana = Kuma (animal mascot), Sakura and Sae = Doujima (I guess they needed to split the father figure as well as the overworked one hot on the heels of our heroes). I guess by elimination would Yuusuke be the alter ego for Kanji? Just swap out gay sexuality for abuse. Besides, aren’t many artists gay? Or at least they look so. So sorry, no Nanako loli this season but at least we got Makoto as imouto (barely).

But I believe this season the characters don’t feel as much annoying and retarded as its predecessor. For example, Ren who might still be as quiet and taciturn as Yuu, at least he does not feel like a retard like the latter. Although Ren does feel a bit gay because you know, he is soft spoken and with that kind of sissy bespectacled looks, it does give off that kind of impression. There is also less annoyance in Morgana compared to Kuma whom we all remembered as some weird bear whose other main role is to try to be a lady killer. Though, Morgana’s character suffers the most compared to the others because there is a lack of back story of who Morgana really is. Just a mind boggling question about Morgana: Is it some sort of trigger that once you enter Metaverse you will be able to hear this cat talk in reality?! Basically the characters in Phantom have their moment of spotlight but once their problem is resolved, it is unlikely they become in focus again. But a few distractions especially in the later arcs like that pertaining to Futaba’s family (her jerk uncle trying to take her away) try to give a bit more of the spotlight to them but then again, it feels nothing more like just distractions.

Futaba as a hacker feels more like a convenient plot device. Because since she is just so good in her hacking and could even fend off Medjed even though they’re just fake bully pussies (I wonder if this is a subtle reference to today’s Antifa…), I’m surprised that she didn’t even hack into the Pentagon yet just for fun. Even if the anime portrays Akechi as somewhat a traitor in the end, because after all, him being part of Phantom and as the latest member feels a bit shady. He is the only one who met the guy with the black mask and with him having connections in the police force, it makes him the likely to betray. But I just want to point out here that at least this detective is a better one compared to his predecessor. That’s you, Naoto. Maybe we don’t see him working on how he gets his clues but at least it is better than Naoto who was annoying when she was in a pinch after hitting a dead end. If only there were clues. or hints…

Some of the other supporting characters outside Phantom feel wasted. For example that Hifumi girl. I was wondering why they introduced her since she had no really specific role in the series. I am not sure if she has a greater role in the game but in this anime she really felt wasted and unnecessary. It’s like as though Ren needed some more female companions and I suppose she is the only one who gets to play shogi with him. I thought she would be a new Phantom recruit because it also felt quite formulaic that after every major arc that Phantom changed the heart of their target, the one they helped will usually join them. So I guess Hifumi didn’t have her own problems big enough for that to happen. Mishima also feels the same. Even though he is an ardent fan of Phantom and manages to help manage Phansite, he just feels more like a mini informant. I suppose Ren and co are too busy checking in detail the website so it must be a good thing they have somebody around to point out the important stuffs.

Also Becky feels really wasted. Just when I found a nice maid character to like, looks like she has no problems too that would warrant Phantom to help out. Becky, can you please leave your number so I can call you for a much needed maid service? And there was that nurse who sporadically checks on Ren’s health. Like what the heck is it for? And that Ichiko journalist? Can be done without. Even that good politician who gives speeches that nobody listens except for Ren? That fortune teller girl? Don’t try to put in so many stuffs that don’t matter! What happened to Sugimoto? Was that short fight of this sub-boss in Okumura’s Palace it? It’s strange how Okumura’s death, Haru doesn’t have to marry this jerk, which is good since she prefers hanging out with Phantom than be kept as his trophy wife or something. Many of these characters look like minor but important characters. They could be or they could be not (at least in the game) but sometimes I wonder if they are necessary since the anime was going to end like that.

Probably why this season doesn’t feel as annoying as the previous one is because it lacks annoying running jokes as well as the lack of any romance. Persona 5 have their own small brand of weird jokes but it is nothing you’ll laugh out loud. Just maybe a little chuckle. I’m sure those who have watched Person 4 would remember that strange Chinese food delivery girl, Aika. There was this running joke she could delivery her beef bowls to you anywhere at any time without fail. And there is a super large serving of her beef bowl which is supposedly endless because nobody has ever finished it. Persona 5 has cut out that sort of nonsensical distractions and it is no wonder why I partly feel that this season is somewhat gloomier even though there was no mysterious fog. And of course no Kuma as a joker comical character to fool around, hence making it absolutely 100% no chance of ruining the scene with his fail flirting. Also, no other annoying characters like that slut teacher and proud ugly fatso in Persona 4…

I suppose with the kids being too focused on trying to change the hearts of corrupted adults, that is why there is no romance factor here. Not sure if it is refreshing but thankfully the plot was still interesting enough for me to not even notice there was none of the romance factor until the season ended! I can’t really imagine if Persona 5 really put in some romance factor because the one in Persona 4 was cheesy. There were some episodes there that subtly hinted the girls trying to vie for Yuu’s attention! I guess we didn’t want to remember how bold Rise was with her love for Yuu. Or that side love story of Ebihara girl for her Ichijou basketball dude (that Eiko one felt more like a friendship side story for Makoto). The closest the romance that I ever notice is Makoto for Ren. You’ll notice that a few scenes has them hanging out together and the final arc since Makoto was really torn about saving Sae but I might just be over reading things.

This season’s Velvet Room feels a lot lacking. It shows Ren being a prisoner as opposed to Persona 4 whereby it is a first person view in some limo. This Velvet Room also feels very disjointed to the story and I can’t help see how it supposedly connects Ren. But I suppose it is an excuse they need for him to get his Persona and proof himself. Yeah, so why the others don’t go through this same thing? Why does Ren get ‘special treatment’? And just when you could actually see Ren is doing well in his new life, he is still a prisoner in the Velvet Room. Like nothing has changed. So was he putting a mask to hide is true feelings all the while?

The fight scenes might be one of the staple elements in the Persona games but it is not a strong one in the series. I believe it is not really the focus here in this season too. Although you can see some of the visual elements of the battles borrowed and following the game closely, the fight scenes are just enough for Phantom to show us that single fight move their Persona does. Not that I can see the difference anyway. Besides, just like last season, it is never explained why Ren gets to have multiple Personas. I am not sure if it is a good thing but this season didn’t even explain at all. All of a sudden Ren shows off a new Persona which he never uses again. I know last season never explained it too but at least there was this moment to tell us he would be getting a new Persona. This time around, it suddenly appears. Not that I can see how important it is because as long as Phantom defeats their Shadows, it is all that matters. It is also a good thing that they replace glasses with masks because at least each has different designs unlike Persona 4’s same ol’ glasses that just makes them look nerdy and weird. It’s a nice reverse setting of instead of putting on glasses to see through the fog, you rip off your mask to unleash your full potential that your mask is holding you back. Cool.

For the art and animation, everything looks much gorgeous and better compared to Persona 4. The characters and backgrounds do look a lot better and with higher quality and as said, they borrowed some of the visuals from the game. Even the Persona and Shadow designs are much better. Although they still look ridiculous at some point, at least it is not as comical. At least they look badass and play their part to kick ass even if it is for a short moment. Persona’s 4 school uniform might look weird with those stitch lines so I can breathe easy that this season’s school uniform doesn’t look that weird. Okay, I take that back a bit because the pants or skirts have this plaids pattern and sometimes I thought they resemble more like pyjamas than school longs. Seriously. But is it me or does their school look like a prison facility because of the mesh wirings over the windows! Yeah, the school looks boring and gloom enough to even give off that feel. Kawakami’s clothes as a teacher is just weird. In the sense that she dresses so casual that it seems to ring this feeling that she doesn’t want to be here doing this teaching job. Yeah, I suppose she looks much better in a maid outfit! Huzzah for that!

I’m also glad that this season that they decide to use a real cat instead of a weird looking bear whenever the animal mascot comes to reality. I suppose everyone in a big city will eventually get suspicious if for example Morgana in reality takes the form of a very strange but cute looking cat. Sure, it would garner some fans but we saw how annoying Kuma was even in his handsome human boy form (I can’t complain then when Morgana transforms into some monster bus). So it is a good thing that Morgana remains a cat but I just have to live with the fact that a real cat is talking to the kids. Others might think weirdly of them because from an outsider’s perspective, it’s like as though this group worships the cat and ‘talks’ to it although others can only hear it purr. Although the other character designs are good with lots of bishonen and bishoujo, I have this odd feeling when I looked at Futaba. She looks oddly familiar… Aha! She looks a bit like that Inkling girl from Splatoon!!!! OMG! I’m serious! No wonder she is the most popular waifu among fans of Persona. Or maybe she is just so socially awkward and shy that it makes her irresistibly kawaii. On a side note, Ren’s bruises during his interrogation makes it look like he has some sort of incurable skin disease. Yucks. Looks awful (effect wise, that is). Really.

Probably the higher quality in animation is due to the fact that it is done by CloverWorks, a relatively new studio. Although Slow Start is the only work I have previously seen done by them, it seems they are trying to animate other anime series that no one expects will be having a sequel. At least not at this point. Because they are also doing the final season for Fairy Tail (although joined with A-1 Pictures and Bridge) as well as the second season of Gyakuten Saiban and the upcoming Fate/Grand Order. Persona 4 was animated by AIC A.S.T.A. and perhaps most of us then expected Persona 5 to be animated. Just not by this company.

For the voice acting part, when I say it feels like Persona 4, what I meant is that there are lots of seiyuus that I recognized! Persona 4 too had many famous seiyuus but that was way back in 2011-2012. In the current year I would have thought that there would be new ones taking over but apparently they decided to use veterans to please me. I am so delighted that I could really identify a big majority of the main characters like Jun Fukuyama as Ren, Mamoru Miyano as Ryuuji, Nana Mizuki as Ann, Tomokazu Sugita as Yuusuke, Rina Satou as Makoto, Daisuke Sakaguchi as Mishima, Yuuko Kaida as Sae and Jouji Nakata as Sakura. It is only Haruka Tomatsu as Haru that I failed to recognize as I haven’t been hearing a lot of her recently. So forgive me? Not! The only seiyuu who returned to this series is Aoi Yuuki. In Persona 4 she was Aika (who was of an anime only character) but now she upgraded into a main character role as Futaba. Lastly, Ikue Ohtani as Morgana. Ah, yes. It is good to finally hear her voice other than a yellow electric mouse or a tanuki. Oops, I mean tonakai. Although I have heard her voice in a few other series, but I guess she is only as memorable as Pikachu or Chopper. Hopefully Morgana would be added to this list because you know, a cat. The only other main character I didn’t recognize is Souichiro Hoshi as Akechi (Kei in Onegai Teacher, Goku in Saiyuki series, Nagi in Tenjou Tenge).

However there is one character whose voice that I seem not to find fitting or at least to my liking. That is Igor who is voiced by Masane Tsukayama (Gol D Roger in One Piece). The Igor in Persona 4 sounded mischievous despite his voice sounding very gay. And that’s not a bad thing. However in Persona 5, he has this very low and evil voice and even if they want to make him sound like a creepy character, it doesn’t. Because he still looks like that same ‘comical’ Igor. You see, Isamu Tanonaka who was the original voice of Igor passed away even before Persona 4 was animated. Hence his lines are fixed and that is why we needed Margaret to ‘explain and elaborate on his behalf’. Maybe that is why this season Igor doesn’t need any beautiful assistant this time and has 2 cute loli prison guards (which I just found out are voiced by Aki Toyosaki!) to keep Ren in check. Still, I didn’t really find this new voice for Igor fitting. Hmm… Doesn’t Sae look a bit like Margaret? Perhaps that was why when I first saw her I was confused and thought she was her.

The rest of the other casts are Mai Fuchigami as Kawakami/Becky (Nagisa in Ansatsu Kyoushitsu), Akemi Satou as Shiho (Shiori in Kanon), Yumi Uchiyama as Ichiko (Momiji in Binbougami Ga), Yuji Mitsuya as Kamoshida (Tofu in Ranma 1/2), Yukitoshi Hori as Madarame (Robert in Blue Gender), Hirohiko Kakegawa as Okumura (Mihawk in One Piece), Takahiro Fujimoto as Kaneshiro (Martinez in Oretachi Ni Tsubasa Wa Nai), Minako Arakawa as Wakaba (Judia in Ragnarok The Animation) and Tomomi Isomura (Shouko in Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu).

This time, all the songs are sung by Lyn. However they have this same feel like those sung in Persona 4. Many of the songs have this jazzy feel and beat to it whether it is fast or slow. It feels energetic but not enough for all that jazzy energy to burst out. Like as though in a way it is subdued. Also, the songs are all in English since the lyrics are written by Benjamin Franklin. No! Not the founding father of America coming back to life to give you words to the songs!!! Ah, such coincidences. Anyway, I prefer the first opening theme, Break In To Break Out compared to the second one, Dark Sun. Both are good but the former sounds cooler and fits the pace of the series much better compared to the latter which I feel suits better for a spy themed series rather than a phantom thief one. As for the ending theme, I also much prefer the first one, Infinity as it is more fun and catchier with those funky bass lines (although the synthesizers make some parts of the song sound a bit sissy) compared to the second one, Autonomy which just sounds too casual and relaxing. Some of the insert songs like this one, Life Will Change sounds more like a song fitting for your morning aerobics exercise and Last Surprise which is just too jazzy. Rivers In The Desert also feel it better suits a spy series or if you planning to do some workout than Personas fighting Shadows. They still sound good in their own right but I’m wondering if it is fitting to be put in battle scenes.

Overall, still a much better than Persona 4 and of course that dumb The Golden that comes after that. Although I did enjoy this season a lot despite some of the bland and same ol’ stuffs as well as things that were not fully explained, there were many comments I read over the internet that don’t seem to like it. It’s like the internet is split in liking this adapted series. I guess they played the game and found it way superior to the anime. Well, too bad for them. I know, this season is not perfect and there are a few other anime during that season that I liked better (Golden Kamuy, Hinamatsuri, Boku No Hero Academia S3, Shokugeki No Souma: Totsuki Ressha-hen, Overlord III, Jashin-chan Dropkick, Asobi Asobase, Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki and yes, even Back Street Girls: Gokudolls). Nice music, nice visuals and favourite seiyuus lending their talents can only go so far when the plot and characters are just so much just as average.

Well, it goes to show that with the power of the internet, it isn’t very easy to change the heart and even opinions of the public. Everyone has a different version of justice. Doesn’t it make you feel like wanting to go post on Phansite and just request Phantom to change the hearts of weeabo whiners?! All masking anonymously behind their keyboards… Like as though this show is doing them a favour by not living up to their standards. Where is the justice, man?! Me, I’d be a lot happy to have some little Becky maid service… YOU CAN’T CHANGE MY HEART FOR MY LOVE OF JAPANESE ANIME MAIDS!!!

Overlord III

January 5, 2019

It sure really felt like an eternity. Although it only took a cour break. Alas, like so many other anticipated and interesting animes that I have seen, Overlord III came and go just like that. There must be some sort of devious scheme trying to split a double cour series like that. Because recently I noticed that a few of the other interesting anime sequels that I have watched are also using this trick. From the third season of Shokugeki No Souma and to the third season of Shingeki No Kyojin. Does absence really make the heart grow fonder even if it is only a single cour? Maybe it is that gap that makes us want to worship Ains even more and see how far he can achieve his exploits.

Episode 1
Ains summons all the floor guardians as he rewards them for their work well done. Like allowing Sebas to go on a date with Tuare. Cixous as a maid in charge of taking care of Ains today. Ains has prepared some leisure activities for his male and female guardians. On the females’ side, they summon some demonic horse, Bicorn. They agree to let it be Albedo’s pet. As she rides it, it kicks her off. Her weight isn’t the issue and further discovery shows pure maidens are not allowed to ride on its back. Does this give Albedo an excuse to f*ck Ains?! Ains is practising trying to pose coolly when Mare comes to see him. He is even admiring the way Ains sits?! Ains praises him so much that it makes Mare cry?! This awakens Albedo’s horniness as she tries to rape Ains. Not even some spider assassins could defeat a succubus who is in heat. Later as Ains and the male guardians take a bath, the unruly side comes from the females’ side as Albedo is turning into a pervert and trying to peep. And with some golem activated on their side and attacking, I guess Ains has to order the guys to enter the women’s side to fight it.

Episode 2
Ains actually has no clue on what is happening so he uses Demiurge to explain and update the rest what is happening. I suppose Ains himself is so shocked that he never knew his guardians take all his actions as part of world domination! Demiurge also further suggests that as part of their world conquest, they must turn Nazarick into an independent country instead of being part of another country. We know go back to Carne as we see the humans coexisting peacefully with the goblins. Although all the goblins have a crush on Enri and shamelessly declare their love for her, they all know Nphirea is the guy for her. But he is too obsessed in making potions so Jugem offers to teach him how to be manly. The goblins also teach the villagers how to fight and be archers. A goblin returns with report that something strange is happening in the forest. Enri is worried as she plans to go to the forest to collect rare herbs that only appears at this time of the year. Jugem picks his goblins to guard Enri and Nphirea as they go harvest the herbs. They stumble into an injured goblin kid, Agu running away from a barghest. They manage to kill the wolf beast and then tend to Agu’s injuries. He explains he was attacked by minions of the Giant of the East who has allied with the Demon Snake of the West.

Episode 3
As Agu is brought back to the village, looks like Lupusregina decides to pay a visit. Agu further explains after the Great Beast of the South went missing (that’s Hamusuke), the forest went out of balance and a terrifying guy appeared. He controls the undead and is known as the King of Ruin. That is why the Giant of the East and Demon Snake of the West are cooperating to fight him and they want to use goblins as foot soldiers. Some refused and ran. The ones chasing him may come to Carne. Lupusregina offers to tell Ains about this but they would rather fight themselves. Nphirea gives her a potion to be handed to Ains. That night, a few ogres defected so the goblins use Enri and prop her up as the strongest in the village to instil some fear in them. She agrees to take them in but in exchange they will work for them. Nphirea is supposed to accompany Enri to E-Rantel to seek help from the adventurers’ guild but he has to stay back and heal Agu so it’s all up to Enri. Too bad she got stopped at the gates as the mage suspects her of possessing a high magic item (the horn given by Ains). She is to be arrested when luckily Momon drops in. He sees the situation and whispers something and the mage drops her case and allow the guards to let her in. Enri finds it hard to request for help because of the lack of money. Yup, this case requires very highly skilled adventurers and the cost is just unbelievable. Later as she waits and laments her fate, suddenly the receptionist is very interested to know all the details about the help she requested. When they return, more woes for Enri. She wants time to think alone so Lupusregina hears her out. When she was away, everyone decided to make her the head village. Lupusregina doesn’t have an answer. Hey, she was only listening. But she advises that whoever is helming the post, they will make mistakes so it is foolish to worry about it. Enri gets her morale boosted when Nphirea talks to her how she fits the job because she cares about the villagers and the goblins. Enri is ready to accept her new job. When Lupusregina returns to Yuri, she explains how she is delighted with the new leader of Carne. She cannot wait to see their devastated face of despair once she violently crushes them like insects. How she can’t wait for the village to perish!

Episode 4
Ains summons Lupusregina and chastises her for not reporting about the ally between the Giant and Snake, thinking she is keeping it to herself (although it is to teach her about communication). Tremble with fear! But upon learning she thinks the village is just a toy and experiment to him, he somewhat forgives her. He explains Nphirea is creating potions for him that doesn’t spoil or dependent on ingredients from Yggdrasil. He lets him be at Carne so as to chain him down with this gratitude. The other important people in Carne are Enri and Lizzy (as they further chain him down to his dedication). Everyone else is disposable. She must protect the trio with her life and now that she knows of his plan, failure is not allowed. Ains and Aura go visit the Giant, Guu (who is actually more of a troll) and the Snake, Ryraryus Spenia Ai Inadarun (who is actually more of a naga). Guu looks down on Ains as weak because he thinks those with long names are so. Ains wants to negotiate and have them serve him. Guu of course refuses and further mocks him. Ains then suggests a duel between them. Guu strikes as many times but none of his attacks seem to connect. Ains is just effortless. Like swiping a brush to inflict heavy damage on Guu. Thanks to the troll’s ability to heal, he cannot die but the pain is real. Ains ends it by putting them all to sleep. Ryraryus immediately pledges his loyalty to him and his first order is to bring all his subordinates. Ains receives a report from Lupusregina and gives her permission to engage in battle as well as to protect the most valued trio.

Episode 5
Ogres and barghests attack Carne. Thanks to the training and some military tactic, they manage to kill a lot of the creatures. Then here comes the big boss, Guu. Meanwhile Nphirea and Enri are confirming the villagers have evacuated when a troll creeps in. To avoid their side being sandwiched at the battlefront and this troll from the back (you mean 1 stinking troll is enough to derail their plan?), they take turns buying time by confusing the troll and giving it the run around. The troll eventually picks up their human scent (they were camouflaging themselves with ogre scent) and Nphirea wants Enri to go request for backup while he holds off the troll. I guess it’s time for him to confess he wants to look cool before the eyes of the girl he loves. Nphirea takes a lethal blow from the troll while trying to buy time. Just when he is about to be finished, here comes Lupusregina to save him. It’s about time. Where the hell were you? Weren’t you supposed to protect him with your life? Enri is so relieved that she doesn’t hesitate to hug Nphirea. Lupusregina tells Nphirea that Ains has invited him to Nazarick as reward for creating the potion. With Carne winning the battle, now they can breathe easy with Nphirea and Enri get to ascertain their love for each other. Next morning, Jugem tells Nphirea the strange thing when they fought Guu. He did not heal and it was as though he was already dead. Like fighting a corpse. At Nazarick, Nemu is so thrilled at how superb this place is, she praises Ains and makes him happy, so much so he decides to give her a house tour. Ah, the age of innocence. And there is this extravagant menu that Ains will have them dine. Yeah, the menu sounds like chanting magic spells. With everything so great, Nphirea feels small that as a man he is no match for Ains. But don’t worry. Enri assures him that he is the one she loves. Is marriage on the cards next?

Episode 6
Jircniv Rune Farlord El Nix, the current ruler of Baharuth talks about the recent incident whereby Momon defeated Demiurge pretending to be a demon. And since that kingdom is using all its resources to look for that missing demon, he views there is no need to wage their annual war against them this year. He orders his imperial court wizard, Fluder Paradyne to continue his investigations on Momon and Ains. As Zanac speaks to his father of the information regarding that demon, his older brother, Barbro (as in, barbaric brother? Certainly suits his nature) barges in to demand attacking Baharuth since those blokes have led their guard down by not attacking them this time of the year so now it’s the time to strike. Foresight is a group of workers consisting of Roberdyck Goltron, Imina, Arche Eeb Rile Furt and is led by Hekkeran Termite. They talk about a request of Count Femel who wants them to explore a certain ancient tomb. They have been paid highly upfront and there will be more rewards depending on what they find so you bet they want to take this job no matter how dangerous it is. As he has hired other worker teams, the competition is tough. Foresight is also taking this job to help Arche who is struggling with her family debts. She goes home only to see her dumb father used up their meagre savings to buy something useless as he thinks this is what nobles should do. Yeah, they WERE nobles. Arche has had it and will take her sisters and leave this place. Foresight arrives and true enough, they see other hired worker teams. The servant gathers them and tells them what they need to know. He assures them that Femel has even hired adamantite class adventurers to guard their belongings. They are Momon and Narberal. First, Momon asks why they are doing this. It’s the money. More than enough to even risk their lives for. Momon apologizes asking a worthless question.

Episode 7
The worker teams raid the tomb. The first tomb looks easy with lots of treasures and an unknown crest. They prepare to raid the next tomb and unknown to them this is the tomb of Nazarick. One group decides to let the rest head in first as guinea pig and will return to raid tomorrow. As the rest enter, they laugh at the low level skeleton guards defending the place and easily destroy them. Meanwhile Ains will return to Nazarick and will have Pandora take his place. He is going to slaughter all who have intrude into Nazarick. A welcoming party for them is already prepared. Like the group who left early, they stumble into Pleiades. However they will not kill them directly and use the undead with magic weapons to massacre them all. The other worker teams inside are all running for their lives. One team has the bad luck of being eaten alive by the roaches of Kyouhukou and the other one has got it much worst, being sexually probed by this gay ugly monster, Neuronist!!! And there is one who fought Hamusuke and lost. Don’t look down on this hamster. Finally Foresight. They are transported to an arena where they will face off with Ains!

Episode 8
Hekkeran tries to talk his way out and even claims he had permission to raid Nazarick. But Ains will not believe his lies as he shows us his rage! No use talking. Time to fight. It might seem that Foresight is fighting on par with Ains but that is only because Ains is stooping low to their level. I guess he is done with their teamwork since this is going nowhere. The moment he takes off his ring, Arche starts vomiting from the immense power she sensed from him. Death is imminent. Hekkeran saves Imina from death but as a result he got some paralysis spell on him. The rest force Arche to flee since she has her sisters. Ains is impressed with their honour but will still show no mercy for them thieves. He orders Shalltear to show her despair before killing her painlessly. Imina and Roberdyck fall into the paralysis spell. Ains orders Hekkeran and Imina to some nesting room while he will use Roberdyck as experiment since he is a magic caster. He wants to see if there are other gods and to find new ways to make himself stronger. He believes he isn’t the only chosen one in this world. When Arche realizes she cannot escape this tomb, Shalltear kills her. A sad fate as Arche’s young sisters continue to wait hopefully for their sister’s return. Word reaches Jircniv that all the capable workers have died. He now has an idea of Ains’ strength and needs to make proper preparations. Suddenly a dragon lands in the courtyard. Aura and Mare alight from it and announce that since this kingdom have sent workers to raid Nazarick, Ains is displeased. If no one comes to apologize, they’ll massacre everyone in the kingdom. For starters, they kill everyone here.

Episode 9
Jircniv decides to head to Nazarick and make peace. Heading there with his entourage, Jircniv discusses about his future but seems reluctant about finding an official queen. Renner and the queen of the Dragon Kingdom might be the greatest prospects but he knows of their twisted behaviour. Upon arrival, they are greeted with great hospitality by Yuri and Lupusregina. As display of power, they change the weather from gloomy to clear! Legendary Death Knights are even used as mere servants as the Baharuth side is treated to some great juice while Ains readies himself. Fluder is so awed and fearful by it all that he suggests Jircniv to escape. Not that he can at this point. Meeting Ains face to face, Demiurge doesn’t deem them suitable to talk on the same level with Ains and puts a subservient spell on them. But Ains will not have his guests mistreated so the spell is retracted. Jircniv presents a corpse’s head as apology in which Ains easily turns it into a Death Knight. Considering Demiurge’s rudeness, Ains considers them on equal footing and they don’t have to apologize anymore. Ains hints that trouble will be coming for them so Jircniv suggests an alliance and even suggesting ruling this land as their king. Jircniv is further stunned that Ains does not demand subservience from them and just merely looks forward to working with them. Both sides exchange an aide for better contact. Jircniv leaves his secretary, Loune Vermillion while Ains gives Demiurge.

After they leave, Shalltear wonders why Ains is making an alliance with them. Ains reason it is easy to rule over others with fear and power but that will only lead to more enemies. Demiurge further elaborates on Ains’ true plan (something which Ains himself doesn’t know) in which is what Jircniv will have come to realize. It seems Jircniv has realized Fluder has betrayed them. As a magic caster, he would have stayed back and wanted to learn everything but he did nothing. This means he knew of Ains’ power from the start. After all, he was the one who discovered the tomb and suggested sending workers there. Jircniv proposes of killing him in some ways but his aides warn there are considerable consequences from the public and other nations. Jircniv comes to a conclusion they need to form an alliance with other nations while pretending to join forces with Nazarick. But they cannot be the one to suggest to other nations for an alliance otherwise if this gets out, they will be crushed first. They also need to find someone capable of defeating Ains and he is under impression that one of his subordinates will betray him. As suggested by Demiurge, all the floor guardians suggest a title for Ains to be used. Ains decides to go with Cocytus of Sorcerer King as he will be ruling over many via magic. Flashback shows Fluder was told that Momon wanted to see him. Fluder instantly became awed by his immense magic aura. He begged to become his student and will offer everything that he has.

Episode 10
A message is sent from Baharuth to Re-Estize to promptly return the land of E-Rantel to its rightful owner (Ains) or risk war. Many of the nobles laugh at this idea and even more so at Gazef who suggests doing so to avoid war at all costs. But the king disagrees with him. As a ruler, he cannot hand over his land without a fight. Hence it is decided they will go to war. Barbro wants to be in the frontlines and his father allows it. Back home, Raeven is having a headache over that meeting. He noticed the nobles were merely quarrelling over power and land, not realizing the kingdom is in real danger. Plus, he knows Marquis Blumrush is the one secretly providing info to Baharuth for money. This is why he wants Zanac to inherit the throne quickly to crush all power struggle. Now we see Raeven in his most unlikely fatherly act as he really dotes on his young son, Lee. A few days later in another strategy meeting, Raeven reveals the declaration of their battle place: the foggy Katze Plains. His scout has seen the enemy units all bearing different coats of arms and it is most likely Ains will be down there to fight. Marquis Boullope suggests gathering info from Carne and would like Barbro to do it. Barbro opposes it but his father allows it. The secret fact is that since he is the next in line to the throne, they don’t want to see him killed in battle. Boullope suggests himself to head all the different units into war but the king appoints Raeven instead. Later Gazef meets up with Brain and Climb. I guess these men need some sort of bonding before the battlefield. Gazef suggests Climb change his armour colour because he stands out but he has to decline as this was the colour Renner suggested he wear and if he is victorious, Renner’s reputation would increase. Gazef knows Brain can fight against the Imperial Knights of Baharuth but warns if he fights Ains first, he is finished. Meanwhile Ains meets General Carvain of Baharuth’s Imperial Army as well as Nimble Arc Dale Anoch who will be his guide. Ains summons his army that will fight alongside theirs. Is victory assured with these Death Knights?

Episode 11
Barbro thinks of recruiting the Carne villagers as his army. If Ains kills them as betrayal, it would only look bad on him. A thousand apologies for Jugem as he has to interrupt Nphirea and Enri’s flirting time because Barbro’s army is at the gates. Lupusregina reports to Ains that Enri is trying to buy time by not letting them in to hide the ogres and goblins. Barbro becomes impatient and orders his men to burn down the watch tower as declaration of war. As the villagers will not betray Ains, they decide to fight back but only the men. Jugem strategizes to concentrate fighting here so that the army will bring all their units to attack here while they let the women and children flee to the forest at the back. He requests Enri and Nphirea to guide them. Enri wanted to stay but everything is already decided. First, the ogres pummel the soldiers at the gates. This has Barbro summon all his units back to the front. But as the women and children escape, there are some units remaining. Desperate, Enri blows the horn. Suddenly appearing out of nowhere is a strong goblin army! Woah! It’s like they have everything! From foot soldiers to beast riders to magic casters to assassins and even a marching band! Even Ains is surprised at the capability of this horn. Barbro will not allow his men to retreat and continue to fight. Too bad they continue to lose so he is forced to give the retreat order. It is by only Enri’s grace that they are left off with their life because there won’t be much room for negotiation if they’re dead. However just when Barbro’s men are licking their wounds, Lupusregina pops up. She is here to massacre all of them since they are not important to Ains’ plans.

Episode 12
Part of Jircniv’s plan for this allied attack with Ains’ army is to show how fearsome they are to others. It is also their chance to see how others will fight Ains and find out his weakness. The Re-Estize army laughs at the paltry numbers of Baharuth. Victory is assured, right? Well, not if they take into account Ains who now enters the battlefield. Some like Raeven could sense his immense power and realize the need for them to run. Ains begins by instantly collapsing the 70,000 strong troops of Re-Estize! They just drop dead like that! If Nimble thinks that was just fearsome, he hasn’t even begun yet. The next phase has Ains cover the dead with some dark goo. This materializes a few mouth monsters that Ains calls, uhm, goats? These goats then start to trample the fleeing Re-Estize army. Damn, those poor souls don’t stand a chance! Can you even outrun such behemoths?! And the final touch to this spell is for Ains to have everyone applaud! What? APPLAUD! Applaud his supremacy! Yeah. You better praise and hail Ains if you know what is good for you! Part of the battle plan was for Baharuth’s army to enter the fray and attack after Ains initiates his magic. But they’re all too scared and run away. Ains doesn’t blame them and will do the cleaning up himself. Meanwhile the king of Re-Estize is told to run away. Yeah, why the long chatter with Climb and Brain if time is of essence? Is it so that they could struck a deal that Climb will marry Renner when they return? Ah, the excuse needed so that Climb won’t die. You think Gazef can even scratch those goats? Yeah, it’s amazing he didn’t get killed after being flung like that. With Climb and Brain joining him, they come face to face with Ains. They realize he is not human and the undead. Ains wants Gazef to be his subordinate. First he makes the goats pause their rampage. If Gazef refuses, the massacre will continue. Gazef refuses his offer. As he is the king’s sword, he cannot turn his back on the one who saved his life. Even if it means many other lives will be lost. Ains finds it ironic as he was the one who put his life on the line to save Carne and now he has no qualms to let many die. Gazef has but one request of Ains: Fight him in a duel.

Episode 13
Even if death is imminent, Gazef still wants to fight him. Brain wants to fight with him but Gazef refuses his warrior pride to be tainted. He wants both of them to witness this. Duel. First, Ains requests to look at Gazef’s sword. He finds it very weak in power but it can still physically harm and kill him. He wishes to have it should Gazef dies but he declines seeing this is the kingdom’s treasure. As soon as Climb gives the signal to start, Ains stops time and then chants a death spell on Gazef. Gazef instantly dies when time resumes and the duo have no clue what just happened. Ains leaves a message to hand over E-Rantel to him in a few days and he will stop his rampaging goats. He will also show mercy to those obedient to him. Jircniv is in shock when he learns Ains decimated the entire army of Re-Estize. Better come up with another plan. With Re-Estize’s king undergoing depression (it’s amazing he didn’t die from the depression), the panicky nobles and royals have unanimously voted to give E-Rantel to Ains. Small price to pay, right? Meanwhile, Brain is sad that Gazef died by himself. He wanted to fight alongside him and die with him but was denied that. Climb deduces Gazef chose death and wanted them to watch was so that they could witness Ains’ power and return with this info to plan their defence. It was for their future. Brain changes his mind on his promise to Gazef and will become stronger to surpass him. Ains’ undead troops march into E-Rantel as the people watch in fear behind closed doors. A ‘brave’ kid starts throwing rocks, howling at Ains to give back his father. Albedo would have killed him had not Momon dropping in. We think this is Ains in disguise but look! The real Ains pops up! Oh no! We can’t say it’s fake, can we?! As requested by Ains, Albedo proposes Momon to join them and watch the humans. Ains claims he doesn’t want to rule by fear and oppression but if Momon is like his head police, isn’t that the same? If Momon refuses, he will be killed right now. Momon accepts but warns them if they hurt the innocent people, he will come for their heads. Of course this is all part of the bigger act to keep the humans’ fear at bay. This will also have them unite under him and collect info for him. All the guardians bow before Ains as he declares today as the founding of the Sorcerer Kingdom Ains Ooal Gown!

Over?! Lord, No!!!
What do you mean the story continues?! Aren’t you contradicting yourself?! Because if the story is supposed to carry on, then why does it end here???!!!! It makes no sense!!! Give me more of my Overlord!!! ARGH!!!! Ahem. Just like last season, the final episode leaves us hanging and wanting more but the only difference is that the next season is announced yet so it isn’t certain yet if this series would really continue. It would be tad sad if this series just ends like that forever since one of the biggest characters, Gazef is dead. I suspect he might be revived in the future but notwithstanding all the other supporting characters, Gazef is one of the important characters and to have him die like that just feels sad. And that Momon-Ains appearance at the same time just to confuse and troll us? My guts tells me it was Pandora acting as Ains. Otherwise why would Albedo need to speak on Ains’ behalf since the Overlord himself is capable and would be much more comfortable dealing with the human himself.

While this season is still as interesting as its predecessors, once again it is that conflicted feeling that nothing has really been resolved yet that is stopping me from putting this season on a high pedestal. Yes, it is still great but with so much more developments going on and even more potential ones, it seems that by the time if we get our future sequels and have some sort of conclusion and closure, I fear that the high expectations and waiting would have diminished the excitement. I am sure that a series so great such as this one will manage to blow away those kind of blues that simpletons like yours truly often worry with no basis. But it’s that sceptical feeling inside me that fears the possibility that it could happen. After all, I have watched so many animes and some with such great potential only to fizzle out not only in the sequel (if they ever get one) but at the end of that very same season. It is great that this series has built up a lot of developments and potentials from the 3 seasons the anime has adapted but there is this danger that with so many on one’s plate, there is a potential to also fail big. Too big to fail? We better believe Ains is too big to even let failure happen!

One of the biggest highlights of this season that has many viewers divided is when Ains mercilessly slaughtered the workers. I guess this part was too hot for some to handle. I too was shocked but not to the point that I disliked it. After all, I always knew that Ains was the villain. The big bad guy. Just because we show him doing un-bad-guy-like things like saving this village or saving this certain group of people, we start thinking he is the good guy and throw out support behind him. Even if Ains isn’t aware of this entire plan for world domination and is just playing along with Demiurge’s plan, it still doesn’t hide the fact that he and his subordinates have this evil aura, don’t you think? You can tell me about not judging a book by its cover but remember, this is supposed to be a DMMORPG game and hence it is pretty cliché to have Ains and his floor guardians designed to look like baddies. Which of course they are. This isn’t the first series to have its main character as the villain and for majority of viewers to support him. From the highly acclaimed Death Note to the comical Sekai Seifuku: Bouryaku No Zvezda, I suppose people didn’t see this coming when Ains decided to finally do what true villains are supposed to do. After all, from time to time, Ains do remind us that despite being stuck in this world, he feels less and less affinity for humans and only cares for those who can further his goals. And for those who still continue to support Ains (like yours truly), is this what you really call Stockholm Syndrome?!

It is only a pity that I initially wondered why they gave that Foresight worker group some sort of personality if they are all going to be killed off in the first place. Okay, all of them being dead is inaccurate since Arche is the only one dead and the rest enslaved for experimental purposes. But still, why the need to give these soon-to-be-finished-off characters some background of their own? It might not be in very much detail but at least they aren’t some nameless extras. I suppose by giving these characters some sort of personality, it only serves to enhance Ains’ reputation and goal. You see, if we weren’t introduced to Foresight and instead some random nameless group of workers, the impact wouldn’t be there and we wouldn’t really care or give much thought to the workers he slaughtered. Case in point like the other workers who were slaughtered by the other creatures in Nazarick. We don’t really care about them, right? Now that you know Foresight, their names and even their goals, this serves to makes us feel conflicted of who is truly the bad guy here. That is why some flipped during this workers massacre episode. I mean, Ains couldn’t be really doing this in cold blooded fashion, right? It really paints Ains in a bad light but then again, remember that Ains’ character is supposed to be the villain all along.

My other beef with this season is similar to last season. Too many characters and with the limited number of episodes, many are forgotten. I still remember at the start of the second season where they introduced a flurry of new characters. Many of them never appeared again. Even more so, just a forgettable short cameo or not at all in this season. That is why it is so frustrating for this series to have so many seasons and while it is great trying to build up the plot, scenario, setting and characters, the only way all this will work out if this adaption gets seen through all the way to the end. Don’t leave us hanging for the next few years and decades or even never as we fans ponder in the back of our heads if we are going to see the end of this series. Heh. For those who have been watching One Piece since its inception, you know what I mean. I believe this series won’t turn into such long running drag like that pirate anime but as far as this third season is concerned, the unsatisfactory of being introduced to so many characters and then for many to be forgotten is just heinous.

For example, those lizardmen who were prominent in the first half of the second season are now reduced to just freaking minor roles. If they do not appear, that is also fine because they don’t make an impact to this season’s story anyway. Hence this season we are going back to the first season to Carne Village as they are now the prominent focus of this season. I am just wondering about Nphirea’s case because I clearly remember that due to the events at the end of the first season, this guy has been rendered blind. Clearly Ains could have saved him but he did not so as not to let his identity slip. Did I miss something or did somebody forgot about this? Sure, we can say Ains probably changed his mind behind the scenes and healed this dude but it feels a bit disjointed because it is as though Nphirea’s case was restarted more for plot convenience. I thought Jircniv would be this season’s antagonist but I guess it is better than suffering the fate of Eight Fingers last season. Yeah, that was a disappointment. But still, rather than being foolish and go up against Ains head on, for now Jircniv will have to bow his head and lay low until he gets that remote chance.

And those are just the characters outside Nazarick. What about those who serve underneath Ains? Well, I am glad that Pleiades maids still get some share of the screen time albeit a short one. Though, Lupusregina got the bulk for this season (Narberal for the first, Solution and Entoma for the second). Sebas and Tuare got their limelight last season so they are fully rested and side-lined here. I guess one of the most disappointing for the Nazarick floor guardians would be Victim. We were finally introduced to this little blob last season and I thought it will be a mainstay for this season like the rest of the other floor guardians but it is sorely missing like as though it never existed in the first place. I suppose this means there is no show for Gargantua either. Sorry, no room for the smallest and largest floor guardians to even hold an audience with Ains. And to think that there are even more weird creatures that is worthy to be their own floor guardians in Nazarick. Man, this place is getting creepier and scarier by the moment. I bet many would rethink again of raiding Nazarick if they knew what they are facing up with. With Demiurge behind this plan and Ains just playing along, it increases my suspicions that Demiurge could be the real bad guy and manipulating Ains after all. I won’t be shocked if this twist comes true! Did Jircniv foreshadow this?!

The action scenes are still entertaining and mostly we see Ains this time unleashing his magic and show everyone the true meaning of fear. It is both good and bad thing to have a protagonist this overpowered. While we are in awe of this invincibility spectacle, it also raises the question if there is anyone else out there who could beat him. Most likely there are but at this point nobody knows yet. After all, Ains has just begun to move. The danger of seeing Ains and his floor guardians being overpowered is nice partly because we support them and thankfully they are likeable enough in our books. But if this carries on, it will look like so effortless and too easy. Where is the fun in that? I know puny humans cannot stand up to those non-humans. That is why the final arc of having Ains unleashing his goats and trample thousands of hapless soldiers feel like we can only get our kicks if we see death in large numbers. Because seeing Ains use his super level tiered magic against one or two human warriors won’t be enough anymore. Yeah, we’ve come to expect even much greater things for Ains.

I want to comment on this season’s art and animation, more accurately the CGI used. Although the past few seasons have also employed this and even though obviously obvious but not as obvious as this season that I need to point it out (as they used more CGI this season). Because you see, somehow I feel that when they employ this style especially on the platoon or armies, they look lifeless. They feel more like marionettes and automata if you ask me. I’m not saying that the CGI is bad but it isn’t good either. Because like in those soldiers’ cases, it feels like since there are too many of them to draw in a single scene and they only appear for a while (although repeated and recycled in many other scenes because, who the hell cares if you can tell one foot soldier from another), it looks easier and faster just to copy and paste them. And what better way than to do it via CGI. The undead soldiers are already undead and that befits them. But still, having them with CGI sometimes makes them look weirdly animated. And for the past 2 seasons, I have been mentioning the He-man factor. I didn’t find any but since Arche reminds me of Clementine (just less crazy) and her hairstyle almost resembles Prince Adam, I guess there is my He-man reference for this season. And also, why is it that I can’t help think Boullope as Man-At-Arms despite both looking so different?

OxT and MYTH&ROID once again do the opening and ending theme this season but now they switch places. MYTH&ROID now sings the opener, Voracity and it maintains that devilishly naughty rock music that suits the series as well as Ains himself very well. Maybe this should be Ains’ personal theme song. OxT now does the ending theme, Silent Solitude. More of a slow rock but still edgy in its own right. Though, Clattanoia still tops my list as the best song in this series.

Overall, the Overlord series is still going strong and one of the very few anime series that continues to maintain its interesting allure despite the flaw of slow build-up of too many developments and too many characters introduced and underutilized. I hope this series really gets another season and many more seeing that one more wouldn’t be enough. It would be ironic and rare to see a villain finally achieving the happy ending (bad ending to the rest) of obtaining what he wants. Because you know, bad guys never achieve their goals because of plot conveniences of heroes taking them down and the cliché of good triumphs over evil. Can we finally have an evil protagonist whom we can bow down to and proclaim as our true Overlord? For the Sorcerer King, it’s not impossible. All he needs is just another season.

It’s finally here. The much anticipated fight between the ‘bad guys’ who turned good guys against a bunch of very bad and nasty group of demons under the name of God’s principles and moral behaviours. Yeah, the irony. Just like its name implies, Nanatsu No Taizai: Imashime No Fukkatsu will have our Sins taking on the most formidable threat to the land with the revival of an elite squad serving directly under the Demon King. If you think everybody is a hell lot powerful the last time, wait till you see how much more powerful they can get here. It’s like there’s not limit to how superbly powerful one can become. Ah well, when you’re fighting with demons of demonic proportions and strength, I guess that is only to be expected.

Episode 1
The Sins are trying out their outfits for tomorrow’s award ceremony. King Baltra insists on giving them medals for their heroics. That night, Ban tells Meliodas that he is leaving Sins. King stops him but after learning he is heading to the Fairy King’s Forest, he follows him. Hence the Sins minus the duo plus Hawk are before Baltra as they prepare to be awarded. However Meliodas rejects. Because he heard some disagreement in the crowd and tells them to come out and state their disapproval. They are the trio of Pleiades of the Azure Sky under the assistant great Holy Knight of Denzel: Deathpierce, Dogedo and Waillo. As they have been stationed far away during those tumultuous events, they are not willing to accept their strength until they see for themselves. Dogedo is up for the challenge as Hawk assess his power. He was previously given some magical item by Merlin that could see one’s stats. I guess nobody is over 9000 yet. Meliodas fights him and easily dodges his attacks without sweat. Even when Dogedo badmouths Dreyfus and Hendrickson, Meliodas doesn’t defend them but notes even if Dogedo has strength, he lacks heart. Eventually he is knocked out and Deathpierce acknowledges their power and withdraws. We are distracted with Hawk assessing the powers of the Sins as he panics he isn’t so powerful after all. Buy hey, nobody is over 9000. Later the Sins bump into Gilthunder, Hauser and Griamor. They talk about the inconsistency of Dreyfus defecting, killing an ally and then protected an ally at the cost of his life. They renew their vow to find the truth. Meliodas ponders about Baltra’s prophecy in which he saw 10 evil shadows that will bring disaster to the land. And with the rumble in the ground, he suddenly knows who those guys are. As we all know, Dreyfus and Hendrickson are alive. Or at least the Demon Clan is inhabiting their body. And yeah, those shadows are those Demon Clan weirdoes and one of them looking like a clone of Meliodas.

Episode 2
Lacking energy since the seal dried it out, the demons need to replenish their strength before making their move. Ban and King call Jericho out from her hiding. Yeah, she has been following them for 20 miles! They reach the Fairy King’s Forest and it is revived. All the fairies still hate King for being a traitor and consider their new king is Ban because he planted the seeds to revive the forest. More heartbreak for King as he sees Elaine’s body lying peacefully. Gilthunder and his groupie leave on a journey to find the truth. Soon Elizabeth also finds out Meliodas is preparing to leave but he won’t let her follow. She talks to Diane who knows she likes Meliodas. However she is fine not confessing her feelings. Diane disagrees as she narrates about her lost and found memories. She has come to realize she loves King and is sad he left her alone again and went somewhere without telling her. She laments not getting to tell him her feelings. King continues to be mistreated by the fairies. Strangely, he gets advice from his dead friend, Helbram. As long as he puts on his helmet, he could actually see visions of him. So is he really dead or not? Physically yes but this? Ban’s goal is to revive Elaine so he tells King to return to Diane since she is still alive. King blushes when Ban tells him he overheard Diane’s monologue this morning that she will die of loneliness without him. Back to Elizabeth and Diane, the former still prefers to maintain status quo as she believes Meliodas already has a lover. They then see Zeal and are shocked he cannot remember his family or himself. Merlin gives Gowther to take some magic stabilizing pills but he throws it away and Hawk eats them. Gowther quits the Sins and decides to be with Guila. Diane and Elizabeth are further shocked to learn Gowther has messed with their memories. As he has decided to study on feelings (love, particularly), he has removed Zeal from her memories and implanted himself as a Holy Knight. The girls protest but Gowther argues that her original memories are painful and not happy ones. They counter that with the irreplaceable family bonds line. With the disagreement going nowhere, Gowther and Diane fight. Gowther realizes a powerful blackout spell that knocks out all in the kingdom with low magic power. Meanwhile Meliodas talks to Merlin and wants her to give back what she has taken from him 10 years ago. This is serious because the demons who were revived are the Ten Commandments, the elite unit directly serving under the Demon King.

Episode 3
Although Diane defeats Gowther, the entire kingdom is destroyed. Meliodas and Merlin arrive to see Gowther cowering in fear. He wants to be locked up so as not to hurt others again. But before that, he restores the memories of Guila and Zeal. Did he quip about he can’t apologize sincerely from the heart because he has no heart? But Guila doesn’t hate him and thanks him for trying to save her by showing her the true memories. In the end, looks like Guila rejected Gowther. Ouch? Oh well, he doesn’t have a heart. Threader comes by to check things out. He is fascinated by Merlin’s power and wishes to serve her. Merlin turns Gowther into his true form: A mini doll. She has Threader keep him for the rest of the journey. Back at Boar Hat, Meliodas invites Threader to join them but still declines Elizabeth. He didn’t bat an eyelid to say she would be a hindrance. This hurts her so Threader talks to her and although she realizes this is Meliodas’ way of caring for her, he suggests she show her feelings through actions. Merlin detects an anomaly outside Camelot. Change of plans. Time to move now. A giant golem named Albion is terrorizing the place. Meliodas recognizes it as a weapon created by the demon clan during the Ancient War. Its weakness is the core in its chest. As Meliodas and Arthur race up to the core, Albion fights back and Meliodas’ sword breaks. This is when Merlin decides to return his Sacred Treasure which she bought back after Meliodas pawned it. Behold, Lostvayne! It’s so sharp and fast that he singlehandedly (okay, with the help of his clones too) over-destroys Albion and its core. Meanwhile at the Fairy King’s Forest, the forests are growing and King thought it was impossible to grow at this rate despite the fountain of youth is gone. Then he is told that Ban has been coming here every few years to give his life to the forest. This is part of his plan to revive Elaine and will not be leaving until he achieves it. Though the fairies consider his dedication and effort to be king, he doesn’t consider himself fitting the criteria of being chosen by the Sacred Tree. But some fairies like Gerharde consider King to be fit to be their king but Ban as the forests’ nutrient. The forest rocks again. This time a slender version of Albion is attacking.

Episode 4
As usual, Albion wreaks havoc. As usual, the fairies are too scared and weak to fight it. As usual, the only one who does so is King. He takes a pounding and all the fairies could do is cry and feel regret they treated him like a traitor? Meanwhile Gerharde fights Ban despite the latter has no interest in becoming their king. Gerharde plays dirty by aiming at Elaine so Ban ‘dies’ while protecting the corpse. We interrupt this fight now because Gerharde feels the tremor of King’s fight with Albion. The Sacred Tree is cut in half and at this point all the fairies decide to get back their balls and fight Albion so that King could escape. As long the fairy king is around, the forest will revive one day. Helbram vision again. He tells King the fairies haven’t gotten lazy and never thought would be attacked. At least watching King fight has gotten their pride back. Of course King won’t allow this. He wants to protect everything. He unleashes the true form of his Sacred Treasure and throws it into Albion, destroying it. Shouldn’t he done this earlier? Unless it needs some tears and drama to power up. Meliodas explains to Arthur that with the revival of Ten Commandments, the reason the seal on Albion was broken. Cue for Elizabeth to feel she is truly useless this time. That’s why Meliodas doesn’t need her. Sorry to interrupt your chat but here comes Galand of Ten Commandments. Everyone trembles just seeing how powerful this old demon dude is. Heck, Hawk is even confused if the magical item is broken because Galand’s power is 26,000! Well, that is way OVER 9,000!!!

Episode 5
The Sacred Tree is restored. Just like that? Is it Ban? Has to be. Who else has got that tremendous power? He gives a bit of his blood to heal King and then warns Gerharde of ever doing anything like that again or he’ll kill her. As he has no intentions of rejoining the Sins, Ban takes his leave. Galand might be powerful but his magic power is zero thanks to the seal’s effect. A full display of his power as he flattens the surrounding area. Meliodas fights him but is clearly not enough. Not even Diane in giant form. Merlin decides to make a deal with him but this is a ploy to buy time. Because of that, she is turned into stone. As Galand represents the truth, any lie told would petrify that person. Meliodas has no choice but to go into his true demon form to fight him. Meanwhile Zeldris (leader of the Ten Commandments) realizes the land has lost much of its magical power since 3000 years ago. That’s why their healing is taking an awful long time. A few human miners bug them thinking they are in their territory so Derieri sucks their souls. Mmmm… Seems to work as magic replenishment. I guess time to make a big harvest from the nearest human settlement. Back to Meliodas’ fight, despite making some gains, Galand gets serious and overpowers them. He looks like has killed Meliodas, Diane and Threader (stone Merlin also broke) but a strong barrier protects Arthur, Elizabeth and Hawk. He thinks it is enough for today and retreats. Meanwhile Gilthunder’s group stumble upon lifeless humans. They’re not dead but more like empty husks. The nearby village is under attack by a red demon collecting human souls. They defeat it and send the souls back. However it’s not over and there is a grey demon to face now. They get a shock of their lives when Hendrickson returns to fight with them.

Episode 6
Griamor wants to kill him now but Hendrickson mentions Dreyfus is still alive. Trying to confuse him? They cooperate to take down the grey demon and the young ones are shocked that Hendrickson could use Purge as this could only be done by Zaratras. Hendrickson explains he is of the same Druid lineage that worships the Goddess Clan. Flashback 10 years ago when Hendrickson and Dreyfus were ordered to investigate Danafor. They find a large crater and beneath it is a demon, Fraudrin who wants to borrow their bodies. While Dreyfus resisted his mind control, Hendrickson couldn’t. As Dreyfus couldn’t use Purge and killing Hendrickson would only kill the vessel, Dreyfus is forced to give in but vows if his friend dies, he will find a way to kill him. Fraudrin possesses them both to report back to the capital that nothing happened. They conspired to kill Zaratras and blamed it on the Sins. He did so because he had a bone to pick with Meliodas. 16 years ago they fought and he killed Meliodas’ lover, Liz. Now he is laying low in Dreyfus body, hoping to regain his power and exact revenge on him. Meliodas and co are fine although Merlin is still petrified. Thanks to Gowther altering Galand’s memories to think he killed them. Gowther has also a bracelet that guarantees he will not run amok anymore. However he didn’t put it on his own free will. When he was freed at the end of Galand’s fight, he wanted to free but Merlin caught him off-guard and put the bracelet. Yes, Merlin still lives although her conscious is inside this floating ball and her Sacred Treasure, Morning Star Aldan. They discuss their strategy to take down the Ten Commandments but even if all the Sins combine their power, they only almost peak at 22,000. Assuming the other Ten Commandments have the same power as Galand, that’s 260,000!!! And if their magic power is restored, it will go well over 300,000!!! Yeah, Dragonball guys don’t stand a chance. Their strategy of closing that gap includes Elizabeth and Arthur awakening their magic powers and also finding the last Sin member: Lion’s Sin of Pride, Escanor. King returns and learning a demon just attacked this place, he rushes to see Diane. She can’t remember him. Can we blame the big knock on the head she took then?

Episode 7
Diane is further losing her memories. The culprit is Gowther. Because Diane scolded him about one can never erased important memories, he used her to test this. King gets mad and punches him. Then the rest set sail to find Diane. They have an idea where she might go: Megadoza, the village of the Giant Clan. Diane remembers about Matrona, the chief warrior of her tribe. Under her tutelage, Diane and Dolores didn’t like the idea of teaming up with humans and fighting other rival humans and rival giants. Matrona explains that humans and giants coexist with the former giving money and combat while the latter provides power. Therefore as giants, it is their pride and way of life to die on the battlefield. Dolores really doesn’t want to kill so she is advised to bear children to be raised as warriors. When Diane hears the council hoping to turn her into a formidable warrior, she wants to run away with Dolores. However she changed her mind after thinking there is no way others would accept giants. One day Diane was harassed by human guards. Meliodas rescues her and they become friends. She realizes that there are other kind humans like him and return to break the good news to Dolores. However Matrona says she has died, killed by bandits just to guard a mining town. This makes Diane furious but there is nothing she could do as she imagines what Meliodas would have said and dreams of a life with him. Matrona and Diane meet up with soldiers from Liones led by Holy Knight Gannon. They are supposed to kill savages but the giants get tricked as Matrona was almost killed. Gannon believes killing a giant for credit is better than killing a thousand savages. The giant duo fight until Matrona protects Diane from a poison arrow. In her dying breath, Matrona talks about her parents who entrusted Diane into her care. She hopes she could stop being soft-hearted and become strong. She is in fact strong only if wanted to. In the aftermath, Diane is accused of killing Matrona and covering it up with the massacre of the soldiers and sentenced to be beheaded. However Meliodas offers to take custody of her.

Episode 8
Diane stumbles near the Ten Commandments’ resting place. Galand is puzzled she is alive but Diane doesn’t remember who he is. As she doesn’t turn into stone, she is speaking the truth. Diane starts to tremble in fear and before Monspeet could eat her soul, somebody beats them up. Wait a minute. Isn’t that Matrona? Can a giant stand up to the Ten Commandments? She knocks Diane out and escapes Galand’s wrath. Meanwhile Monspeet senses Meliodas’ group approaching and sends his phoenix to test, burning everything in its path. Meliodas knows if he counters it, he will give away his position and status so how? Hawk Mama devours it! That simple?! I guess that’s it and no second time since Monspeet exhausted his power. Merlin suggests a detour. Knowing that Diane is alive and remain hidden, heading towards her would only expose her to danger. Believing now it is a time to return Meliodas’ true power back she sealed 10 years ago (those demon powers we see him wield are just a fraction) to fight the Ten Commandments, they head to Istar, the sacred land of the Druids. Stonehenge? They walk through a magical opening that brings them to the sacred land. They meet the chief Druids, Jenna and Zaneri. This huge dude? Just Theo, the priest who protects them. Would you believe it he is just 15 years old?! Elizabeth wonders if there is any romantic liaisons between Meliodas and Zaneri since Zaneri puts his hands on her boobs. I guess Meliodas isn’t into flat chests and hands off. I hope Elizabeth isn’t thinking Meliodas has the monopoly rights of fondling her boobs anytime, anywhere. Zaneri leads Meliodas and Elizabeth into a dark cave as the rest wait outside. In order to return Meliodas’ power, a painful trial is needed to overcome. Don’t get too confident about it, Meliodas. Because she returns him to a time when he was a Holy Knight at Danafor. And yeah, Liz is still alive. Ah, time to walk down memory lane.

Episode 9
Zaneri gives Elizabeth a chalice with soil. Inside is a sick seed that will not bloom no matter how. It is her trial to use her Druid powers to bloom it. Meanwhile Meliodas is living the fine times with Liz. Until her death he goes berserk. The whole thing repeats again. This is his trial to relive that tragedy 1000 times. It is supposed to rid him of his anger and if it doesn’t, it will consume him. Meanwhile Jenna takes the rest to train. They are shocked to see Hendrickson training there. Also there is Gilthunder’s groupie. Meliodas seems to get angrier with every repeat so Zaneri snaps him out. Elizabeth doesn’t blame him for what he has gone through so Meliodas wants Zaneri to send him back and promises to return safely. Meliodas knows he must cast away his emotions and accept Liz’s death. However that is impossible as he repeats the cycle of madness again. But he notes the more this happens, the more his love for her grows and so does his anger. The turning point is that he doesn’t want to see this scene again. He wakes up, shocking Zaneri that he didn’t cast away his emotions as he still has it all in his heart. Now as promised she must return his powers. Meanwhile Ban and Jericho enter Ravens, a town of thugs. He is searching for the rumoured person who supposedly brings back the dead. After renting a room for the night, they hear a commotion out in the street. Ban beats up the thugs to save the victim. However he can tell this werefox is also a pickpocket and has him return the things he stole from them. This aging beastman collapses so they put him to bed as he tells stories of his persecuted race. That’s why they have to resort to stealing to live. This has Ban remember his own childhood in this place. He tried to steal food but ends up in prison. He befriends a cellmate, Zhivago who makes a deal to break out with him.

Episode 10
Zhivago takes Ban to his hideout and feeds him. He also talks about his son. Ban returns home only to be beaten up by his parents for failing to steal food. One day Ban gets kidnapped and is to be sold to some noble. Coincidentally Zhivago saves him since he was stealing cargo. Ban wants him to teach him how to steal. Under his tutelage, Ban learns a lot. But one day when they are supposed to rob a mansion, Zhivago is late so Ban has this idea of going in by himself. He got owned. Zhivago overslept and fears the worse. He is about to save Ban but he hears the men going to hunt for werefox. Fearing he left his son back there, Zhivago transforms to his real werefox form and abandons Ban to save his son. But all in vain as his son died despite Zhivago killed the hunters. Now Zhivago wonders if he hadn’t made such mistake, he might not have lost a lot. Ban refutes he did any mistake. Had he known he abandoned his son to save him, he will not forgive him. Despite all that has happened, he has never hated him. Zhivago realizes this is Ban all grown up. Foster father reunites in tears with his foster son. Apparently the training Jenna has for them is sending them into a cave where they will fight some tough monsters. We see Gilthunder and Hauser thinking out of the box to improve their fighting abilities. After all, fighting with what they already know will not get them far. Although they lost, they have made some vast improvements. Having trouble is Gowther and Arthur pair. King changes his mind and decides to go training. He won’t pair with Hendrickson and will not forgive him for Helbram’s murder. Meliodas suggests pairing up with him since he needs to do some training for his body before taking back his power. King doesn’t agree with Meliodas’ opinion of giving Hendrickson another chance. Yes, he is guilty and cannot be forgiven for what he has done but he was under Fraudrin’s manipulation. King is further suspicious. He turns on Meliodas and wonders if he is on their side. Because he knows the names of the Ten Commandments and is from the Demon Clan.

Episode 11
Zhivago wonders why Ban has not aged. He tells him about drinking from the fountain that Zhivago once told him as a rumour. Now he cannot age nor die but since the guardian of it is dead, his goal is now to revive her. Ban who has never opened his heart to any humans hints that Jericho might be the first since she is fun to prank around. Is this his way of easing up her jealousy over Elaine? Zhivago can see Ban is still troubled. It is about his betrayal to Meliodas. He took advantage of his kindness and even tried to kill him. Despite all that, Meliodas smiled and forgave him. Zhivago advises him that his regret is useless unless he tells it to that person. Apologize from the bottom of his heart and seek forgiveness. That’s his last advice as his father. Then he kicks the bucket. That was fast. Probably we need to move the plot now. Meanwhile King is trying to find out Meliodas’ goal but he stays silent. Meliodas questions back if King is the real Fairy King because unlike his predecessors, he has no fairy wings. King is angered but this whole charade is stopped by Jenna. If they’re not going to properly do this training, might as well stop. Meliodas can’t tell him everything now as he might not believe him. In that case, King will keep a close watch on him. Meliodas has Jenna return his power. The big amber breaks and returns the entire power of darkness into him. This officially has the Ten Commandments know this is Meliodas. Meliodas wants Merlin to teleport him to their base just to say hi. Galand is not pleased he is still alive and is about to take him on when Meliodas beats him to a pulp! Why is it so satisfying to see Meliodas beat his ass up? He greets Zeldris who is also his brother. They have nothing to talk about. Zeldris will avenge his betrayal and Meliodas is here just to warn them. Before they can finish him, Merlin teleports him back. Zaneri explains to the rest Meliodas didn’t abandon his emotions. He still has them but has full control over them.

Episode 12
With Meliodas’ provocation, Zeldris has no choice but to expedite their conquest of Britannia. So they split up and visit various towns across the country. Meliodas returns and explains what he did. Some aren’t too happy but this is all part of Meliodas’ plan to separate them since they have a better chance of fighting them separately instead of together. The rest return from their training. Some changed. Hawk is, uhm, bacon with horns? Apparently he got eaten by a dragon but ate his way out and obtained this form. Arthur has a weird cat stuck on his head and Griamor has turned into a baby! So did Elizabeth pass? She failed! After they leave, Jenna confronts Zaneri about Elizabeth’s trial. She didn’t put a seed in the chalice and it is obvious that Elizabeth has Druid powers flowing through her. Does she still love Meliodas? Watching her heartbreak reaction when Meliodas praised Elizabeth tells a lot. Zaneri understands Meliodas never feel the same for her and has only one room in his heart. She was trying to keep Elizabeth away from him as she fears he might lose her. Elizabeth is the reincarnation of Liz. Now that Meliodas’ power is at 32,500 and can basically take the Ten Commandments himself, do they still need to find Escanor? Yes. He is more powerful than Meliodas. Melascula opens the door from the other world and returns souls with regrets to their corpses, turning them into zombies. This means Elaine revives. However she beats up everyone and Gerharde the most for talking to Ban and then hurting him. Ban is hers. She is going to find Ban and summons Oslo. King finds it odd Oslo is being summoned so Helbram hints of the ominous thing happening all over. Using the excuse he doesn’t trust Meliodas, King leaves the group to attend to this. After Ban buries Zhivago, a zombie pops up to attack Jericho. Ban easily kills him. Guess who the next attack is from? Elaine! Not sure if this is her way of greeting him because now the duo share the longest kiss ever!

Episode 13
While Jericho is jealous, Elaine tries to kill her. She attacks Ban too when he tries to stop her. Ban is like so cool about getting beaten up by her and is not mad despite knowing she is under control, it makes me wonder if he is a masochist. Elaine hates it that she wanted to travel with Ban but Jericho stole her dream and did it so easily. It becomes an argument between the ladies of who loves Ban more but in the end Jericho has a point that if she was in her shoes, she will never ever hurt Ban. Ban’s soothing words calm her down but they are visited by Melascula and Galand. Melascula explains her forbidden magic of reviving souls using regrets and anger and once someone overcome that, they’ll be dead again. Exactly what is almost happening to Elaine. Galand thought he killed Ban but he revives. Galand makes the mistake of allowing him a free punch just to show his magic but gets beaten up to a pulp. Déjà vu again for him. Galand is weakened and Melascula theorizes Ban can steal power from those within a certain radius. Melascula engulfs Ban in her darkness but passes him. As humans have desires and easily lose faith with the slightest thing, they will lose their sights. But Ban’s soul is pure and beautiful. He never got mad when Elaine went berserk. However when he dies, he will become nothing. This shocks Ban and Melascula is able to purge his soul. Galand steals and eats it! Melascula isn’t pleased he stole her prey. Sad and mad Jericho wants to avenge him but shockingly Ban revives and takes the ladies to run after he cuts one of the many hearts of those demons to deal some damage. It is revealed Zhivago’s soul traded place with him during that commotion. Ban and Elaine try to be selfless to each other to let the other escape. Jericho is pissed with their attitude and takes them both anyway. Meanwhile Dreyfus encounters Deldry of Pleiades. Because she kissed him, her charms has his body do her bidding. Like saving her from attacks from fellow Pleiades’ Arden. Then it becomes a strange fight between Dreyfus and Waillo over Deldry’s hand in marriage. Dreyfus is knocked out and taken away.

Episode 14
It’s already hard for Jericho to carry both of them and now she has to avoid bouncing boulders! Yeah, Galand is playing golf. Fore! Eventually she takes a critical hit while trying to defend the duo. Then another that sends her down into a ravine. Following this cave leads them to a bar run by a meek barkeeper. I’ll spoil you now, this guy is Escanor. He recognizes Ban but with no time to explain, Jericho requests he hides them and he keeps them in his storeroom. But Galand slices open the cave. Too keep them busy, Escanor serves them alcohol. They totally love his ale and start drinking while spewing out some info about their mission to Escanor. Of course they know Escanor is hiding them and feeling good, Galand wants to play a game. Each will take turns hitting each other until one is dead. No fleeing, no chickening out. If Escanor doesn’t play, Galand will kill them all. Does he have a choice? But the small pat on Escanor’s back literally knocks out this timid guy. So they wait until morning as Galand notices a huge battle axe. He finds it hard to carry it but Escanor easily shows it how it’s done. Escanor is now bulging with muscles! OMG! He is turning into baby face Hulk! In one swing, he cuts down Galand. Escanor officially introduces himself. Now it’s Galand’s turn to hit him so he powers up to 40,000 and strikes! But nothing happens! Because Escanor’s power is 50,000 and gradually rising! It is Escanor’s turn and with his immense power, Galand gets scared and runs away! Because of that, he himself turns into stone as he broke his own rule. Escanor gives Melascula a chance to escape but she chooses to kill him. She engulfs him in her darkness and eats his soul. But soon after, her innards start burning and she has no choice but to spit him out. Since Escanor has things to talk with Ban, he waits till night fall where he turns back into his meek form. He learns about Merlin and that the Sins are no longer wanted (the reason he is hiding) and are heroes. Also, he needs Ban’s help to deliver ale but he isn’t interested. King arrives and is shocked to see Elaine alive. Meanwhile Diane is treated with Matrona’s traditional dance. Since Diane prefers this to fighting, Matrona agrees from now on she is to be a dancer.

Episode 15
Dreyfus is met with Denzel who is Baltra’s brother sent far away from the capital to study more about the Demon Clan. He has no qualms injuring Dreyfus since Fraudrin is inhabiting his body. He wants to prove that a human can slay a demon. Meanwhile Diane sucks at dancing as we learn Matrona lived because a Holy Knight Zalpa whom Diane spared at that time saved her by cutting off her poisoned leg. Matrona is now his ‘wife’ and helps take care of his kids. There are flyers dropped all over the area announcing a fighting tournament at Vaizel. The winner gets any wish granted. It is obviously a trap as it is sent by demons under the Ten Commandments, namely Gloxinia and Drole. Meliodas thinks of heading there for fun since they lost Escanor’s signal. Because demons wounded Zalpa’s kids, Matrona is going to take part despite the prize is crap. But that’s all she can hope for. Diane also joins her. Denzel dominates over Dreyfus and Deathpierce joins in. Dogedo returns and reliefs the other Pleiades members guarding watch so they can go to Vaizel. The magic barrier keeping Dreyfus in now breaks. Did Dogedo betray them? Actually it is the shape shifting Ten Commandment, Grayroad. Denzel lets them go instead of killing them because if they do so to Dreyfus, they will suffer the pacifism curse from Grayroad. On his way out, Dreyfus stabs Deldry as revenge. Then he informs he isn’t a real member of the Ten Commandments and is only a substitute. The real one left ages ago to parts unknown. During the battle at the capital, he managed to confirm he is still alive. Now he doesn’t have memories of his former self. That member was… Gowther!

Episode 16
Matrona and Diane find themselves before a giant maze. It is supposed to be some ‘screening process’ for the tournament participants. They can’t destroy walls (it regenerates) or go from the top (barriers). Along the way, they got separated. Diane encounters Hawk and wants to eat it! As Elizabeth is also here, she explains about their relationship but Diane still doesn’t remember and continues to distrust them. But when faced with danger, they help each other out. It gets weirder when they face off with clones of Meliodas. Thanks to Gilthunder and Hauser coming to their aid. The next threat is some giant land fish monster. With their combo, they are able to take it out. Meanwhile Meliodas and Arthur stumble into Ban. The usual violent greeting the duo have. Apparently Ban isn’t here to participate but to deliver ale to Vaizel with Escanor. Ban still feels guilty about betraying Meliodas but the latter has put that behind him. With Ban back, they can work together for the greater good. We see how powerful they have become as they unleash all their power to break the thick wall to reunite with Elizabeth’s group who is just on the other side. Conveniently they have also blown a straight path to the goal. Looks like everyone else who are participating have already arrived.

Episode 17
Get this. Drole is supposed to be the Giant Clan’s god while Gloxinia is supposed to be the Fairy Clan’s first king supposedly to have died during the war against the Demon Clan. The first round matches is a tag team one. They are randomly paired and I guess the mightiest pair is Meliodas and Ban. Because altogether there are 15 teams, Gloxinia and Drole use their doppelganger to enter. We focus on Elizabeth-Elaine pair. They are faced with a pair of assassin brothers. No doubt Elaine’s fairy powers can easily do the job, the girls prefer to talk to each about their respective crushes! Are they like disrespecting their opponents? When it gets serious enough, the ladies win but kind Elizabeth heals them. However Gloxinia disposes the losers. Now we go to Meliodas-Ban pair. Both of them are arguing their girl is the best and don’t even give a f*cks about the demon bird pair attacking! So intense their quarrelling that they accidentally killed them! And they don’t even know it! Now we go to Diane-King pair who is staving off the doppelgangers’ attack. Diane doesn’t believe King is the current fairy king. King displays some of his fairy powers as prove. They may put up some fight against the doppelgangers but is this time for King to make a statement he wants to confess to her? With the doppelgangers intensifying their attack, King turns his Sacred Treasure into its next form.

Episode 18
King uses up all his magic to finally destroy Gloxinia’s doppelganger. With Diane very motivated, she spawns rock golems in the image of her friends to fight Drole’s doppelganger. It is ironic that the weak looking King golem is the most powerful and delivers the finishing blow to the enemy. Denzel has a meeting with his Pleiades and other Holy Knights. Deathpierce reports that 9 out of 10 towns in Britannia has been eliminated and taken over by the Ten Commandments. One of them being Camelot. As Liones could be next in no time, Denzel orders Guila to head there and tell the king that they are on a mission to eliminate one of the Ten Commandments who is no other than Gowther. Speaking of that guy, Gowther-Jericho is up against Escanor-Hawk. Escanor doesn’t want to fight and pleads to Gloxinia to resign. Rejected. Jericho argues with Gowther about killing others to obtain emotion. She could say from experience as she once regretted tossing away her humanity just to obtain power. In the end, it is yourself who will be hurt the most. Gowther does not understand about feelings or friendship and rids of Jericho and Hawk. He will take down Escanor and get what he wants. He puts a spell on him to see his own nightmare. Actually his past. Born into a noble family, Escanor’s brother was jealous he got more attention from their parents. He tried to beat him up but Escanor in his defence attacked him. His strength broke his brother. Since then everyone thinks he is a cursed monster and was to be killed. A woman named Rosa let him escape. He was scouted to join the Sins by Merlin who witnessed his extraordinary strength. Because Merlin looked like Rosa, he joined and fell in love with her. Escanor is mocked by ‘Merlin’ she will never return his love for being weak. However Escanor manages to escape this nightmare curse and transforms into his strong self. Escanor has accepted the fact he will never walked alongside Merlin and this gave him hope instead of despair. He extracted the sun’s power inside his own mind. Gowther remains defiant and is going to fight him as Escanor summons his axe and powering it up with the sun’s power. It looked he might kill everyone in the area just to exact punishment for toying with his heart. In the end, Gowther wins with his arrow through Escanor’s body. Since Gowther has not realized it yet, Jericho points out Escanor’s target was Gloxinia and Drole. Those duo are knocked out by his power.

Episode 19
Meliodas uses this chance when their guard is down to attack the duo. This is all part of his plan. He never told his friends and came together under the guise of wanting to happily participate in a tournament. All he needs is a chance and Escanor gave that distraction. Meliodas is super awesome as he beat them up. Like as though he is on cheat code mode!!! OMG! No matter how many times Gloxinia uses his life drops to heal them back, Meliodas is fast enough to deal lots of damage. Rinse and repeat. A never ending cycle. Even when Drole takes his friends captive, Meliodas doesn’t slow down. A wizard participant uses his magic to teleport the friends back to Liones as they watch the fight from his crystal ball. Meliodas is about to score a huge victory but the other Ten Commandments drop in (minus Galand. Melascula is black as f*ck) as they sensed Meliodas’ great blood thirst. And so it begins the epic battle but it might look a bit one sided with Meliodas becoming a punching bag. This is due to Meliodas using up lots of his power and magic with his earlier fight, though he could still stand his ground and fight back. When can we learn that talking will not wake up the other possessed party? Oh wait. It always works. That is what Meliodas is trying towards Dreyfus. Although it moved him a bit, Fraudrin repossesses him and deals the finishing blow. But this is all part of his plan as all the power he has accumulated is slowly being unleashed. The Ten Commandments fear they will be defeated again by this traitor whom they consider as the source of why the Demon Clan got defeated. Before that happens, Estarossa easily stops him. Uhm, just like turning off the switch for the computer?

Episode 20
Estarossa mocks Meliodas if he is going to betray the Sins like how he betrayed them. He is sad that he once fought on their side but his betrayal caused not only the deaths of 2 Ten Commandments (hence Gloxinia and Drole as replacements), the Goddess Clan teamed up with others to bring down the Demon Clan for a humiliating defeat. Melascula wants to devour his soul as atonement. Ban has the wizard teleport him there. Ban uses his time stopping move to break Melascula’s neck and destroy all her hearts! He tries to do the same to Estarossa but he isn’t budging. Like trying to open a jar of pickle???!!! Estarossa coolly summons his 7 swords to slowly stab all of Meliodas’ 7 hearts to kill him. Yup, Meliodas is dead. Estarossa explodes annoying Ban. It looked funny like as though he can’t open the pickle jar and hence exploded! Now Elizabeth has the wizard teleport to Meliodas’ side. Time to cry her heart out. With Meliodas gone, the Ten Commandments are free to conquer Britannia. The Holy Knights are having a tough time warding off demons. Arthur teams up with Nanashi (literally a nameless samurai) to take down demons. Nanashi notes as long as that creepy cat is on Arthur, he cannot die. Ban is also having a tough time helping the Holy Knights keeping the demons at bay. Merlin holed herself in the lab while Gowther is imprisoned until it is confirmed he isn’t a threat like the Ten Commandments. King takes Diana as well as Matrona’s family back to the Fairy King’s forest where it is safer (after Elizabeth healed the kids). Ban has accepted the fact that Elaine is gone since he killed Melascula, it is only reasonable the effect of her spell is gone. But there is more trouble brewing. Normal people are hunting down Holy Knights to offer them to their demon rulers. Think of it as protection money or life extension. Golgius thought being in the woods is safe but he is attacked by a demon. He thought he is a goner but wakes up in Boar Hat where Elizabeth is happily serving away.

Episode 21
Golgius is wary when Elizabeth and Hawk still recognize him. As he once clashed with them, he thinks he doesn’t deserve their hospitality and leaves. Meliodas’ body lie motionless in Boar Hat. Time to drum up some tears with Elizabeth crying by his side and continue to believe in his return. Soon, they are visited by… Zaratras?! Apparently Melascula’s power brought him back to life temporarily. So does this mean Melascula is still alive? So why did Elaine disappear? Anyway, Zaratras still holds a grudge against Hendrickson who served him poisoned pie. So that’s how he actually died? Speaking of Meliodas, Elizabeth takes Zaratras to see his body. Zaratras puts some ointment over his body so that they could all peek into his memories. Convenient time. We see Zaratras first stumbled into Meliodas in the aftermath of Danafor’s destruction. He was carrying an infant who is Elizabeth. When Zaratras offered to help, Meliodas scorned him and warned not to touch his girl. As Baltra then wished to adopt Elizabeth, Meliodas agrees but with a condition he joins the Holy Knights. After showing his overwhelming might to Zaratras, he is then recommended to join. He watched over Elizabeth and spent lots of time with her. Of course she can’t remember as she was too young. Heck, she even gave him her first kiddie kiss. On his cheek. With Baltra’s vision on the Ten Commandments’ threat, Meliodas and Merlin set on a quest to find the Sins. Hence the Sins were formed due counter the Ten Commandments. There is also something about Meliodas waiting for 3000 years for the curse to be lifted. He tried all ways but the curse won’t allow it. Lastly, Meliodas saying goodbye to young Elizabeth because he is going away on a quest. He promises to come back. Returning to reality, this spurs Elizabeth to believe he will return. Meanwhile Meliodas is in some hell. He is told the only way to escape from this curse is to kill the one he bestowed the Commandments upon or die. Though, thanks to this curse, Meliodas is able to come back to life again and again. Meliodas is blamed for becoming weak due to a certain woman and hence when Meliodas dies and comes here, he will consume all his emotions for him to revive. He wants Meliodas to satisfy his hunger again. Ban and the Holy Knights cannot lift a finger against Estarossa. Because he represents love, all those with hate will lose their will to even fight. However only Escanor can only stand up to him. He does not hate those who are weaker than him and only pities them.

Episode 22
Escanor and Estarossa trade powerful attacks. But mostly it seems like Escanor owning Estarossa with his powerful sun power. So powerful his sunburn that it dries up the lake! Finally a super fireball that sends Estarossa flying miles away in defeat! Could have been dead if not for Zeldris coming to help absorb some of that fiery attack. Before all that, many of the Holy Knights and citizens fell into Zeldris’ power. Those who turn their back on him will be treated as disobedience. Hence under a loyalty spell to the Demon King. They try to invade the castle and kill the good guys. With Monspeet and Derieri arriving, Denzel decides to handles this. He sacrifices his own life so that the goddess Nerobasta could manifest inside his body. She refuses to cooperate to take down the demons. Derieri gets upset and tries to take her down. When Nerobasta’s attack fails, she pleads for a dialogue, only to be cut down. So much about that. Monspeet and Derieri sense a great power approaching. It is Hawk Mama making its way to Liones. It is hinted that Elizabeth has partial powers of the Goddess Clan. A few demons attack them but nothing like Zaratras to help obliterate them. Hawk eats a demon piece and turns into a weird demon piggy? Derieri once again is mad about Elizabeth’s power. She tries to attack but luckily Zaratras blocks it. Before Derieri could finish her off, look who is back to beat the crap out of her? Meliodas! Welcome back. Elizabeth so happy. I guess her believe in him has finally paid off.

Episode 23
Meliodas assures he is as good as new. He has all his hearts back. Yup, the Meliodas we all know since he starts molesting Elizabeth. But Elizabeth wants him to touch her more! Damn, did I hear that right?! Even Meliodas is suspicious… This is interrupted with Derieri trying to get even with Meliodas. Unfortunately with him being revived, Meliodas double exterminates Derieri and Monspeet. Meanwhile Grayroad has got some of the castle inhabitants in his incubation. If they are carelessly broken out, they will turn into those red and grey demons. However if you kill them, you will grow old and lose your life. As Grayroad represents pacifism, taking away another life means repaying it with yours. Just like how Dogedo found out the hard way. In a dilemma to fight or run, that wizard guy turns out to be Vivian in disguise. She teleports Gilthunder away. Will the rest be in despair? Don’t worry. Merlin is back! She is able to kill Grayroad’s underlings and not bear the effects of the penalty as she explains how she froze her own time (due to some research thingy). As for how she escaped Galand’s spell, it is because she is the daughter of Belialuin. Merlin says her true name that humans cannot pronounce and this makes Grayroad and Dreyfus afraid. They try to run but Merlin traps Grayroad in her jar. Dreyfus thought he has escaped but is now faced with Hendrickson. His Purge doesn’t work but don’t worry, Zaratras joins in the battle. He uses his own life to purge Fraudrin out of Dreyfus. With Fraudrin in his true demon form, Griamor stumbles into the scene. Nothing like the power of a father watching his son in danger to get up and defeat the monster. Dreyfus and Hendrickson emotionally reunite as friends. Even Zaratras has a few last words for them (and for Gilthunder) before resting in peace. But it’s not over yet since Fraudrin still lives. Using all his magic, he is now a giant demon. Don’t have to worry again. Merlin and gang are here. But the real fight begins when Meliodas is here. It might seem that they are fighting on par but this Meliodas is just a clone. The real one has double the power. And possibly even more now that he is turning maximum his power switch.

Episode 24
Flashback 3000 years ago when Fraudrin learnt Meliodas killed 2 of the Ten Commandments and fled from their upcoming fight with the Goddess Clan. But Gowther told him he didn’t run away. He devoted himself to fight for the ones he loves. Meliodas easily beats the crap out of Fraudrin. He wants to have fun so he won’t kill him so easily. Fraudrin draws an idea from Zaratras’ actions. He is going to blow himself up. Even if he cannot kill Meliodas, he will take out Liones. Meliodas is so ‘bored’ that he wants him to blow himself up already. Fraudrin threatens to take long Dreyfus and Griamor. However he is hesitating. During his years of possessing Dreyfus, he raised Griamor up like his own son to dispel any suspicions. Suddenly Griamor grabs onto Fraudrin and pleads not to kill his dad. After seeing his tearful eyes, Fraudrin now understands what Gowther meant. He promises not to kill them. Then he goes to let Meliodas kill him in which he doesn’t hesitate to destroy him in a single punch! OMG! Better than Thanos’ single snap! One Punch Demon?! In the aftermath as Escanor rejoins Merlin, he is told about Meliodas’ curse. The Demon King cursed him to not die. But each time he revives, he loses some of his emotion. In the aftermath, a funeral is held for some of the Holy Knights who died that include Denzel, Dogedo and Gustav (Jericho’s brother). Deldry is upset Denzel is dead but Hendrickson and Dreyfus are still alive. She hates them but Baltra wants all of them to remain united to restore the kingdom. Meliodas parties alone at what is left of Boar Hat. He is joined by Elizabeth who hears him out his troubles. He felt good killing Fraudrin and fears of returning to what he was a long time ago. His dilemma is if he might not be able to save her if he does that. Elizabeth hugs him and says she will always be with him.

Overnight, Liones is suddenly rebuilt?! Thanks to Merlin’s magic. Dreyfus learns from Merlin about Griamor’s curse. Due to that training stint, he encountered some ancient ghost that cursed him to turn into something he feared most. Griamor feared his young self as he was the weakest then. There is a simple way to cure him: A kiss from his true love. Well, Veronica thought she could take care of a cute little Griamor boy when she kisses his forehead and suddenly he pops back into his muscular self! Damn his clothes ripped too. Damn this looks like a rape scene… Veronica probably had the biggest shock of her life… However despite the Sins’ victory this round, it is not over yet. Some of the Ten Commandments still live. Half of them. Zeldris, Estarossa, Melascula (so Elaine didn’t disappear after all and her body is in comatose back in Boar Hat), Gloxinia and Drole. All the Holy Knights and citizens that have been affected by the Commandment fled to Camelot which is now their stronghold. The threat is far from over. On their side they have lost some allies too but there is still hope. Like Jericho who still can’t get over Gustav’s death and blames herself for chasing after a one-sided love, suddenly realizes she has now his ice abilities. She vows to surpass him as a stronger Holy Knight. Gowther is released under the orders of Baltra although his allegations as an ex-Ten Commandment has not been lifted. Gowther hints that he still remembers his old self as a Ten Commandment. Meliodas vows to gather all the Sins for the next fight. Well, King and Diane are living a happy life at the Fairy King Forest.

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness Against This Series!
Oh wait. It’s over???!!! Damn, I was enjoying myself with this sequel that I lost track of time. Heck, I didn’t even know I was watching the last episode! And hence that statement of mind proves that this season is as interesting and epic as the first. I hope they go on to make a third because with all the developments we have seen in this season, everything is far from over. Though, there is a movie sequel after that but reading its synopsis, it doesn’t look like it has anything to do with any continuation of the TV series.

Although I did mention that this season was good, but something prevents me from stating that the sequel is much more epic than the first. Sure, it is on par with the first season but it does not go more than that. It is probably some of the detours that the plot and characters make this season like that training stint. Even though it is an integral part of the story to see how our main characters especially Meliodas power up, sometimes I have this feeling this is sort of like a little filler. Also, the Sins are not mainly united this season especially Ban and King who went their own ways to solve some of their personal issues. I was hoping to see all of them fight together as a team and perhaps some matchups between the Sins and Ten Commandments but I guess that’s for next time so that the business can be settled for good.

I have a hunch that a big reason and motivation to watch this season is the appearance of the remaining Sin: Escanor. Yeah, we waited halfway through the season for him to finally show up in the flesh. He sure doesn’t disappoint and lives up to his pride. It was really fun and exciting to watch him in his strong sun powered form as he kicks ass with no remorse. Even if he is a wuss in his normal bartender form, his transformed mode is awesome enough that you would not mind him as a weakling with a one-sided love for Merlin. Because we all know that when it boils down to what matters most, his strong form is going to trump everything else. Even Meliodas admits that Escanor is stronger than him. Yeah, this guy destroyed 1 of the Ten Commandments and gravely injured 2 by his own! If you’re interested in the other ‘scorecard’: Meliodas has annihilated 3 Ten Commandments and Merlin only 1 under their belt. Oh sh*t. Did they just break a Commandment of thou shalt not kill?

As for the other members of Sin, I have mixed opinions for them. I can blame the 2 dozen episodes worth of the second season is not enough. For example as mentioned, Ban and King temporarily left the Sins to deal with their own personal issues. While it is good to see Ban finally reconciling with his foster father and King regaining the trust of his fellow fairies, it still doesn’t feel that all of them are close knit as a team as they should. Or at least as what I expect them to be. But remember, they were a ragtag team brought together by Meliodas. Each coming from a different background and even clan to begin with. So the Sins itself as a group is already amazing. Somehow I am a bit disappointed with Diane and Gowther this season. Ever since Diane lost her memories and Gowther being bound by Merlin’s spell after his short taste of freedom, we don’t get to see much of them in action. That fake tournament in Vaizel was the most that we’ll ever get to see them display their skills.

Meliodas and Merlin sure have a juicy past to tell and looks like this season isn’t enough to even satiate our curiosity. Although it is explained about Meliodas and his curse, I still really don’t understand fully on what it is about. Maybe it is just that. He is cursed to not die and the price of resurrection is losing some of his emotions. I wonder if the Ten Commandments know about this curse as it was put on by the Demon King himself. If they do, they should know it is futile to kill him, their intentions in the first place, right? Or maybe it’s part of their plan to kill him enough to turn him back into that wicked Meliodas over 3000 years before. Then again, it doesn’t guarantee that Meliodas would be on their side. As for Merlin, hints about her origins as some fearsome demon could explain a lot about her magic and stuff. But I wonder why she didn’t free herself from Galand’s spell after she immediately turned into stone. Oh right, Galand’s dead so it freed her. But the way Grayroad said it as though she shouldn’t have but she did.

The most annoying character award goes to Hawk. If this cocky pig was annoying last season, you’re going to be even more annoyed as Hawk thinks he is hell of a super powerful. I know he is supposed to be a comic relief and mascot character but the way Hawk so arrogantly claims he is the most powerful and can easily defeat his opponents without breaking a sweat is more irritating than funny. At least last season he ‘died’ as a ‘martyr’. Besides, after being given the magic item, Hawk’s main goal is to just access people’s power and make some snarky remarks. I guess we’re all waiting for Hawk to finally reach over 9000… Also weird about Hawk this season is that he is able to transform into whatever weird creatures he eats and only reverts when he poops it out. So theoretically if he eats Meliodas, will he become as powerful as him? Maybe then his power will be… OVER 9000!!!!

So I figure Hawk’s other comical moments come in the end of the episode. It is a segment whereby Hawk is some sort of school professor and in the earlier episodes we see him or a random character as a guest trying to explain certain stuffs in the series. Of course at the same time, making some jokes as distraction. Later in the second half, this segment becomes some sort of a short high school themed skit using the characters. Well Hawk-chan, I personally believe you weren’t the best teacher. Still, everybody ‘graduated’. Yeah, those little piglets of yours…

Elizabeth feels like she didn’t do too much again this season. Except the revelation that she is Liz’s reincarnation and perhaps somewhat related to the Goddess Clan. Other than that, she is somewhat Meliodas’ groping toy and fanservice for us. Not sure if porn logic has seeped into her mind because now she wants to be molested by Meliodas even more! Is this true love?! I suppose that’s her logic of assuring that Meliodas is still alive and that he is still himself. After all, she gave him her first kiss a long time ago and it did go a long way.

One of the downside of having an epic series like this is having too many other side characters. Introducing more of them feels like adding to the ‘burden’. New characters like the team of Pleiades as well as the Druid babes of Istar add more layer to the story but ultimately as far as this season is concerned, they aren’t anything that significant. Even more so the other recurring supporting characters like the Holy Knights of Liones. Hauser and Gilthunder may do their usual bit of combat and protecting but still nothing significant that would put them on par with the Sins. After all, you don’t want to have such supporting characters eclipsing our titular group, right? Worse, I thought Griamor turning into a kid felt like a convenient plot for Fraudrin’s downfall and Arthur faring worse than Elizabeth because he tagged along with the gang and ultimately got a cat stuck on his head that is never explained why whatsoever. And now Camelot is besieged. Things are not looking good for his side. Threader was like, “What is this guy for anyway again” and it feels like he likes to babysit little Griamor and kids more than anything. Guila was like, “Where the heck was she?!”. Maybe she’s not into playing that active Holy Knight and has been relegated to protecting the royal family. Golgius was like, why the heck do they need to remind us of this guy whom we’ve forgotten and didn’t care much in the last season? He was forgotten as fast as he cameo-ed in this season.

I know this season is called Revival of the Ten Commandments, but I really didn’t count in the dead characters being ‘revived’ either. Sometimes I feel that is also a plot convenience. Like Elaine being brought back is to rekindle Ban’s romance with her and in a way motivate him to do more and eventually rejoining the Sins. As though the duo are like making up for lost time that should have been with their carefree lovey-dovey PDA (public display of affection). Cheesy… Oh God, even Zaratras too got a shot back at life. Only doing so to bring back Dreyfus and Hendrickson to who they once were. I guess that’s your answer to why these Holy Knights turned evil and betrayed the kingdom in the first place. Not forgetting King’s best friend, Helbram who now exists only in his vision whenever he needs some talking to. Yeah, looks like everybody who is supposed to be dead is somewhat alive. This means I am hoping for Denzel to come back alive too. Somehow. That poor guy. Sacrificed himself only for a stupid cowardly goddess to reject his help and then also met her demise. The same I want to say for Gustav whom I have totally forgotten until he died! Oh Jericho, will this spur her to finally give up chasing Ban and now chasing power?

Speaking of Gilthunder, what the heck happened to him and Vivian?! Was this an oversight by the producers because we sure didn’t see them anywhere in the final episode. They were not even mentioned by any of their characters! Not even Hauser. Like as though they have been completely forgotten! From time and time again, that Vivian b*tch sure knows the meaning of persistency because when she really popped up, it took me by surprise as I never thought of seeing her again, let alone appearing in this season. But wherever Vivian has taken Gilthunder, I hope he’ll be alright. No. He’ll definitely be alright. His love for Margaret is strong enough that I believe he can’t be swayed by this little inconvenience.

The Ten Commandments as the antagonists this season are worthy villains for this season. But unfortunately not a lot of background story is given behind them. In that sense, it made them some sort of powerful but shallow bad guys to be defeated. For example, it would have been nice to see what Derieri had against the Goddess Clan because she was furious upon seeing one. Don’t be too surprised to find that she was a member of the Goddess Clan and fallen out of favour of them! With Drole and Gloxinia as proof that even other clans can join and be part of an evil elite team, this is not impossible. After all, the Sins themselves are ‘diverse’. It is also unfortunate that we won’t get to see much of the history between Meliodas, Zeldris and Estarossa to understand better how things turn out the way it is now.

One thing that boggled me is the number of clans there are in this world. It is mentioned that there are 5 of them: Goddess Clan, Demon Clan, the fairies, the giants and humans. Have we forgotten one more? The werebeasts? Like Zhivago? Are they not a clan of their own? Because certainly they don’t fit into any one of the main clans even if it is possible they are more closely to be associated with the humans. Doing my lazy research over the internet, I found out that the Druids are considered a separate clan themselves. Good luck telling them apart from humans. So it makes me wonder if people with Druid lineage like Hendrickson is human or a Druid? Oh, there’s the Vampire Clan that I stumbled upon to but haven’t make their appearance in the anime. I have a hunch they’ll be the next big story after the fall of the Ten Commandments and Demon Clan. But no Dragon Clan? Dwarves? Elves? Never mind…

The actions parts are still one of the best moments in the series and this season doesn’t disappoint although I thought it didn’t leave up to some of my (misguided) expectations. Firstly, it is so satisfying to see Meliodas zoom back and forth as he beats up his enemies with no sweat. I can never get enough of seeing him beat the crap out of them and in my heart I was like supporting him to do more. However my dumb dilemma kicked in because by having Meliodas done so, it looked like he has become a super overpowered character on drugs and eternal cheat code. Just one step short of becoming like One Punch Man. In that sense, it takes away some of the fun because you know, fighting the Ten Commandments is not an easy feat. You’re fighting against the best elite warriors of the Demon Clan and your worst nightmare. But if this is to showcase how awesome Meliodas is after he regained his locked powers, so be it.

As mentioned, it is also satisfying to see Escanor in action and if he is stronger than Meliodas, this means he packs even more power and punch than him. But unlike Meliodas who seems to fight his enemies with brute force, Escanor looks like he is doing it without much effort. Sure it is the power of the sun but it feels like he is toying around with a ragdoll. Now, I don’t expect fights to last several episodes (looking at you Dragonball series) but some fights with the Ten Commandments felt unsatisfying. Like how Meliodas defeated Derieri and Monspeet. I thought they were just temporarily defeated but they were actually killed. Derieri looked like she has some grudge and unsettled business but too bad she got eliminated. I also thought Grayroad would be a scary and formidable opponent and although his ability is scary, it didn’t take long before Merlin got the better of him. I was expecting a final fight between Meliodas and Zeldris and Estarossa but it looks like Escanor got the honours at least with Estarossa. Don’t worry, there’s always next season. Hopefully.

With the old seiyuus retained this season, a bunch of new ones join the line-up with recognizable ones include Tomokazu Sugita as Escanor, Daisuke Ono as Drole, Kenjiro Tsuda as Monspeet, Junichi Suwabe as Zhivago and Rina Satou as Matrona. I couldn’t recognize Koji Yusa as Grayroad probably because of some weird sound effect that makes his overall voice sounded creepy just to fit the character. One reason why I was confused when Zeldris and Meliodas were talking with each other as they sound so alike, it’s because Yuuki Kaji also doubles as Zeldris. At first I was like, “Hey, I thought it is Zeldris speaking, not you Meliodas”, only to realize later that it is in fact him. The same case can be said for Baltra and Denzel. So I guess if you’re brothers, you are supposed to be played by the same seiyuu? But the one that took me by surprise is Nerobasta because that’s Mamiko Noto’s voice behind that angsty goddess!!! OMFG???!!! THAT WAS REALLY HER! Rehearing that again… Yup, it’s her. And there I thought it was Marina Inoue doing a double as this character as she sounded like her. And damn… DID MAMIKO NOTO’S CHARACTER GET KILLED OFF AGAIN?????!!!!! I thought I was over with this since it hasn’t happened for a while but DON’T TRIGGER THIS TRAUMA OF MINE AGAIN????!!!!

The other new casts are Hiroki Touchi as Estarossa (Panther Lily in Fairy Tail), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Gloxinia (Itsuki in Imouto Sae Ireba Ii), Mao as Melascula (Bada in ClassicaLoid), Hiroshi Iawasaki as Galand (Bacchus in Shingeki No Bahamut), Ayahi Takagi as Derieri (Chris in Senki Zesshou Symphogear), Youhei Azakami as Deathpierce (Kirihide in Piace: Watashi No Italian), Emiri Katou as Deldry (Akatsuki in Log Horizon), Sumire Morohoshi as Gerharde (Koyori in Hand Shakers), Himika Akaneya as Jenna (Yatsumura in Mahou Shoujo Site), Haruka Chigusa as Zaneri (Sylvia in Gakusen Toshi Asterisk), Toshiyuki Toyonaga as Arden (Tsukumo in Nanbaka), Hiromichi Tezuka as Dogedo (Shougen in Black Bullet) and Ryuunosuke Watanuki as Waillo.

My favourite theme is the first opening theme, Howling by Flow x Granrodeo. This rock piece is definitely fitting for this series but what got me liking this song is how some parts sound more like a cheering anthem for your local sports team! Never mind the opening tune that somewhat sounds like a bit rip-off from I Love Rock N Roll (perhaps this song took some inspiration from the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ version). Still epic nevertheless. Are you satisfied? Yes I am… The second opening theme, Ame Ga Furu Kara Niji Ga Deru by Sky Peace is still a rock outfit but personally it doesn’t sound as epic as the first one as it sounds like it infused a bit of hip hop element in it. It is slow ballads for the ending themes. Beautiful by Anly as the first one and Chikai by Sora Amamiya as the second one, which personally sounds better than the former.

Overall, this season still rocks and is as much as enjoyable as the first one, making it very much a worthy sequel. It is only bogged down with some imperfections but that is only because the story is still ongoing. The developments are in progress and in good pacing, the characters are cool and likeable in their own right (even if annoying ones like Hawk are just simply annoying). It might not be breaking any new ground and please hardcore viewers who had too much high expectations of this season, but it’s still good, right? It might sound pretty cliché and typical with shonen-like fights but I don’t think words especially of humans are needed when you’re facing off with demons. I mean, you have to admit that this series is not all that bad, right? No? Thou shalt not take the name of this series in vain! The power of not trolling is over 9000!!!!!

Grancrest Senki

September 30, 2018

I thought Grancrest Senki was some sort of sequel or even a spinoff to Granblue Fantasy. Blame the name for giving me that impression. Both are totally different and have no relation to each other whatsoever. So what is this series about? Warring nations and greedy Lords fighting over the land for territory and power instead of uniting and fighting against the common supernatural enemy of hell. Yeah, humans being basically humans. No wonder hell isn’t invading humans and just letting themselves kill each other. But of course as the real plot demands it, a young hero and his assembled team are going to liberate the tyranny and unite the land to fight against the true evil. I guess it always starts off this cliché for most action fantasy flicks.

Episode 1
Siluca Meletes is late for a political wedding ceremony between Alexis Deux and Marrine Kreische but makes it in time. This wedding between both nations signify the long outstanding war between the Fantasia Union and Factory Alliance. Too bad the evil Demon Lord of Diabolos had to ruin it by killing both the fathers. This is known as Great Hall Tragedy. Marriage called off. War resumes. Siluca is to be the mage of some lewd count from the Alliance (this explains her slutty uniform) and Irwin who served the Kreische family, left his post to atone for his failure to save the patriarch during the chaos to serve her. Along the way, they are stopped by a few unruly guards claiming to be subjugates under their Lord who is a member of the Union. Coming into the picture is Lord Theo who won’t stand for this atrocity for them attacking an innocent by-passer. Theo claims he is neither with the Alliance or Union. The unruly ones attack him thinking their numbers would win but are defeated easily and sent running with their tails between their legs. Siluca is interested in his Crest in which he crafted from the demons he exterminated. Asking what kind of world he would like to create with this Crest, he explains his hometown of Sistina where Chaos frequently run rampant and hence the frequent natural disasters too. It doesn’t help with their current Lord Viscount Phederico Rossini ruling with an iron fist making the people suffer. His goal is to rid Sistina of all that and save his people but Siluca notes his rank will note have him rule a single town let alone Sistina. She agrees to help him but first tests him by summoning a demon to see how well he could handle the situation. Okay, not bad. As his rank is promoted to Knight, he can now enter a contract with a mage. She forces him to make a contract with her. It’s not that he likes it but he doesn’t mind it either. Sartorius reminds his Lord Mesto Meadrich about his thugs violating the treaty but he doesn’t care. Theo’s group storm the castle to demand him hand over his Crest. He still doesn’t care and will not obey. Sartorius defects since he has violated a lot of rules and hence their contract is voided. Foolish Meadrich then fights Theo alone but being the coward he is, he loses. It didn’t take long for him to choose between his life or his Crest. Now that Theo has inherited his domain, Sartorius wishes to be under his service and offers to go talk to the King of Clovis, Viscount Shakes since there will be other Lords in the area who will oppose to this. Siluca forcefully suggests Theo join the Alliance despite it will make more enemies. This is part of her plan to help realize the world he envisions.

Episode 2
Lassic David hears of Theo’s achievements. He is not pleased and wants to invade his domain to take his Crest and territory. He splurges on his army in a big gamble to take back the land. He is confident that all he needs to do is win. A few more villages recognizes Theo as their Lord but Theo starts to wonder if this is okay because he just wanted a rank high enough to govern Sistina. They also talk about the other neighbouring Lords trying to make their move to seize this land and they suspect Lassic will be the first to do so since he is ambitious. With no allies yet, Siluca decides to call for assistance. True enough, Lassic’s army is seen approaching. The help Siluca sought for is Aishela, her senior when she was an apprentice. I wonder if this is some sort of sisterly greeting since Aishela loves to hug her. Siluca relays her tactics to Aishela and Irwin to take on the different units of Lassic’s army. Siluca comes face to face with a fellow mage, Moreno Dortous. While Irwin is deadly in his sneak attacks, Aishela is slamming her way with her hammer. What is most interesting about her fight is that there is this plain kid who seems so out of place that he doesn’t look like a fighter at all. Just like a normal high school kid if you ask me. He might look weak but he is smart. With Aishela gaining ground, he orders to retreat. Aishela takes a liking for him and manages to kiss him and in the meantime strangle him! This kid is willing to sacrifice him and die with her so she is forced to escape. His side continues to retreat and Aishela takes a liking for him. She hopes they can date when this war is over. I believe his face is all blue not because from the strangle… Siluca is no match for Moreno and could have lost if this lasted longer had not Theo come to her aid. Lassic is about to face off with Irwin when Theo announces he has captured Moreno. Usually when a mage is captured, it’s like game over. Moreno is sure Lassic will not yield to this but to his shock, Lassic agrees to surrender! Lassic wants to serve Theo. He believes he is strong and that they’ll never be defeated. Seems his ambition is just to be able to reign over a nation even if he is serving another. I guess that’s good enough for him. Moreno thinks it is pity but since this is only what Lassic is capable of that’s the reason he had him join his side. After Lassic gives his Crest to Theo, the latter now attains the rank of Baron.

Episode 3
One night, Priestess Priscilla Farnese from the Order of the Crest wants to join Theo and support his fight against Chaos. Siluca shoos them away thinking they’re like the Jehovah Witness of this world but kind Theo allows them their Order takes care of his people too. Siluca lays down Theo’s plan to defeat Rossini and save his people. Hence his first move is to join the Alliance. Well, this is the first time Theo is hearing this. She adds that he should choose a family name and she suggests Cornaro as it is the name of the hero who unified the island only to be betrayed and struck down by Rossini. It looks far-fetched for Theo but he likes it. Laying the groundwork for this plan, they need to negotiate with the King of Sievis, Viscount Naville to recognize Theo’s independence. Sartorius remains suspicious of Siluca’s plans. He doesn’t doubt her loyalty to Theo but is this what he really wants? A Chaos occurs in the nearby town and the main building is on fire. A dangerously rare Salamander from Aether pops up as Theo goes to fight it. Siluca thought she could help since she has done her healing part but slips up but luckily Theo is there to protect her. She wakes up next morning, the aftermath has been dealt with and being guilty for last night’s incident, she helps treat his wounds. She tells him what Sartorius said to him but Theo is glad she came up with that idea because it never occurred to him he should fight Rossini. Now he has a clear goal in mind. Moreno returns with the negotiations failed. Naville is leading his army to subjugate them. Despite the Lords in this region gave them free reins to walk through this land, they didn’t supply any army to help. I suppose they’ll be screwed if not even one of them shows up. Don’t worry. The town they just saved, the folks are eager to help fight. Theo at first disagrees because he is supposed to protect them. Siluca reminds as their Lord, he must also fulfil their wishes. And so Theo raises his Crest, the Patriot’s Flag and gives his blessings to all those fighting for him. The war begins. It looks like Theo’s side is gaining ground. Naville thinks he still has what it takes to fight but the other free Lords join in and fight against him. Naville though lost the war, manages to flee with his life. Siluca then goes to see Marrine and the mage who serves her who is her father, Aubest. As explained in her earlier letter sent to her, it details Theo’s victory over conquering Sievis and thus his wish to join the Alliance. Hence he will pledge his alliance to her in her bid to conquer the continent. Marrine needs some time to consider this.

Episode 4
Marrine and Aubest discuss Siluca’s offer. They come to a conclusion to reject it and add Theo is to relinquish all territory and rank and leave the area. Of course Siluca will not accept this and the next step is now war. Her backup plan is to ally with the Union as she goes to see Villar Constance, the Earl of Altirk but is met with his mage assistant, Margaret Odius. She is hinted Villar doesn’t want to see her and will not offer any help for now. Aubest and his Waldlind Knights prepare to attack Theo’s castle. Theo’s side barely hold their ground and thanks to the traps, the Knights retreat. Aishela gets severely injured and could have died had not Priscilla started healing her. Lassic’s side made a tactical retreat but up the narrow mountain path, Lassic then fights back one on one with Naville’s soldiers until he faces off with the old king himself before finally killing him. With Theo’s victory, the next plan is to broker a ceasefire. It is likely they want Theo to relinquish his rank so they believe to leave Sievis’ leadership in Lassic’s hand and turn Theo into a wandering Lord. But when Siluca talks to Aubest for the ceasefire, his condition for it is Theo’s life as Waldlind is blamed for Naville’s death and hence they will accept no less. Marrine and the Waldlind Knights discuss if they should go all out in full force to wipe out Theo’s forces. The only thing stopping them is Villar’s interference. They are in a dilemma if he is waiting for this chance to spring an attack on them. They take this gamble to go all out fighting and their worst nightmare comes true with Villar’s reinforcements attacking and driving them away, granting Theo’s side a great relief. So great that Siluca hugs Theo? I think this should be the start of another kind of development… Villar talks to Theo’s side. As Siluca was supposed to originally enter into a mage contract with him, he believes she has done all that she is expected to and will welcome her into his ranks. When he suggests Theo to become King of Sievis, Theo rejects. He would rather serve under him as a Knight than give up Siluca. With Margaret’s advice that they are exceptional people, Villar agrees to Theo’s proposal. But he will live in his castle and not get any territories. Also, Siluca will be treated as one of his mages. Theo hands over his court rank to Lassic. He might be demoted but that doesn’t mean he has given up on his dream. Meanwhile Siluca wonders about her feelings…

Episode 5
There seems to be a fallout between the Vampire King, Dimitrie and the Werewolf Queen, Clara. Black Witch, Jana tries to agitate them but Dimitrie allows her to do as she pleases. Theo and Siluca are introduced to Villar’s other mage assistants, Laura Hardry, Helga Piarosa and Colleen Messala. They are visited by Lord Milza Kuces of the small continent of Dartania. He wants Villar to become the new emperor in which he agrees. Good thing because if he refused, Milza would steal his Crest and take it back home. Villar later introduces the duo to the White Witch, Zelma. There seems to be trouble brewing between the vampire and werewolf clan so Villar sends Theo and Siluca to the Forest of Darkness to solve the problem. The duo encounter the werewolf clan waiting at the fringes of the forest. They distrust the humans but Dimitrie lets them pass through to his castle. Dimitrie has no interest in helping them but wants them to relay a message back to Villar. He hopes to return to the Dark Ages where Chaos runs rife. Although the irony is that he was one who fought the Ultimate Chaos, he fears death for he believes when all the Crests are fused and Chaos vanish, Artists will lose their power. That permanent end is what he fears. Meanwhile Clara is facing off with Jana who has captured her daughters, Emma and Luna and is on the losing end. Theo and Siluca enter the scene after being tipped off by Dimitrie. Jana is not pleased to learn Dimitrie has left, hence making her do all the donkey work. She decides to do things her way and attacks them. They fight back and during the commotion, Clara frees her daughters. All attack Jana. Though she is injured, she flees. Unfortunately Clara sustains grave injuries and soon succumbs to it. A burial is held. The werewolf clan are grateful for Theo and Siluca. They pledge their allegiance to them, all part of Villar’s plan to have an ally to a path to the demon world. Theo learns something from this as Sistina is also considered part of the demon world. He vows to grow stronger. Uhm, so are Emma and Luna part of Theo’s harem now? Werewolf maids? Weird…

Episode 6
Villar has Siluca prepare a grand 25th birthday party for Margaret. Officially she will resign from his service and return to her hometown. We get to witness their weird ballroom dance too. We also see Theo clumsily dance with Siluca before Milza who still dislikes this kid takes him outside to fight and prove his worth. He does not like Theo’s fighting style of just defending because he might only protect himself while his allies will die. He views him as unbefitting of a Lord. Theo thinks he wants oppression but Milza’s goal is to serve the emperor in which he hopes Villar to be that man. Of course Theo will walk down his path his own way. Villar and Margaret share their moment together. They talk about Lady Floria, the daughter of the man who founded the Alliance, Jurgen Kreische. She married into the Constance family who was then part of the Alliance. But Villar’s father, Lucifer defected to the Union. Denied with any possible return to the Alliance, his mom hated him and began abusing Villar. That’s how he once came to hate his mom and revered his father. Now he admires Floria because his mom was sure dad would fear the Kreische blood running through his veins. It is believed Villar resembled Floria and hence Floria might have rejected him so harm wouldn’t come to him. So instead of hating his mom, he would rather love her instead. So touching that Margaret cries and even throws in an I-love-you confession. Due to Lassic’s conquest of Sievis, the neighbouring Lords of Forbes and Clovis are gathering. Their plan is to vanquish them while they make their way to Ismeia who is aligned with the Union. First they see some of the men from these countries who want to align themselves with them. The King of Forbes still chose to side with the Alliance and Lord Baron Ladvan has decided to side with him. Milza offers to handle this himself. He barges into his castle and demands him to hand over his Crest. Ladvan wants to negotiate in which Milza refuses. The only option is to kill him. They thought their numbers would make it easy but Milza cuts them down like as though they never had any fighting skills to begin with. He only spares the attendant, Nikola since he was the only sensible one to resolve this amicably. After taking the Crest, Milza tells him to tell Lassic about all he has witnessed when he arrives to take this castle.

Episode 7
Theo is supposed to launch an attack on Lord Ladvan Torius’ castle. Seeing he has the people with him, Theo negotiates with him. Ladvan may give his Crest and castle but will still side with the Alliance. As Theo will not attack and get innocent people involved, he warns that Lassic may march in here with his army and attack. Ladvan thinks the best solution is to go down to Theo. But the people continue to side and protect their king. Theo admits defeat and asks him to join him in defeat. Ladvan thinks again and since he considers his people more important than the allegiance to the Alliance, he defects to the Union. Ladvan got the wrong idea about Theo wanting to fight as he doesn’t care about military achievements and wanted this resolved without any bloodshed. Ladvan would rather serve him but since Theo is serving under Villar, he would serve Ladvan instead. Lassic kills the King of Forbes and takes his land. At the Unions’ ball, Villar introduces Theo and Siluca to his old friend, Lord Croute Gallas and the Earl of Le Couleurs. However Marquis Dawson has a bone to pick with Villar as he ignored the consensus of suspending their hostilities with the Alliance. After Alexis makes his entrance, Villar then has Theo meet Rossini who is not happy Theo took the name Cornaro. That night, Alexis personally visits Theo and Siluca to talk to them privately. He is amazed with Theo’s heroics and admits he is still in love with Marrine. He understands her position to lead the Alliance. His wish is for all Lords to stop fighting and unite. As they leave, they are attacked by assassins. Theo recognizes the markings as Rossini’s flag. All will obey his command without regret no matter how cruel. Alexis is able to depart after all the assassins are killed. Theo and Siluca knows the assassins’ target is Theo. This move will have the Rossini clan expelled from the Union and it is then they will make their move.

Episode 8
I guess now we see a flashback of how Alexis and Marrine met. Weirdly, it was on a public road. He was taken in by her beauty at first sight. Soon he started sending him letters and flowers. She is sceptical at first but at a ball when a guy whom she is not interested tries to make his advances, Alexis politely steps in to diffuse the situation but was punched! It’s a good thing the mask broke and not his face. Thanks to that, Marrine had a private bonding moment with him. They fall in love with each other despite knowing fate will not allow them to be together. But she still kisses him for the flowers. That was supposed to be the last time they see each other but she again sees him doing charity with the poor children. His explanation he isn’t doing charity must have triggered their love. Screw that fate thingy because she wants to marry him and hopes he will wait (even forever) for her. Don’t worry, he will. Sealed with a kiss. During the Union’s conference, all agree to expel Rossini. The next agenda is about either peace or war with the Alliance as Dawson vouches for the former. Villar explains Theo’s actions of defeating Lords who are unfit for their position and wasn’t going around to defeat the Alliance. So when the Alliance attack, surely you don’t expect him to do nothing. Villar’s eloquence charms everyone as Alexis agrees with the proposal to go to war against the Alliance. But he wants to choose a leader for this and picks Villar. To everyone’s shock, he refuses on grounds as the grandchild of the Alliance’s founder, the grandchildren should not be fighting. Hence Dawson picks himself as the leader (since others had no balls to do so) and proposes for peace. Siluca feels the Union has wasted a good chance to destroy the Alliance. Aubest informs Marrine about the Union’s proposal for peace in which makes her mad because they took over Sievis, Clovis and Forbes, and now they want peace? Get real. She orders her forces to prepare to attack Starck which will be their foothold to invade Altirk. Deep down in her heart, she feels sad because her dream of being together with Alexis is fading further and further away.

Episode 9
Lord Pavel Murado seeks to fight alongside Villar and doing so, a few more territories will secede from the Alliance. However Villar claims they are in peace talks with the Union and has no intention of fighting. Siluca argues that fighting is necessary if Altirk is to survive but Villar will not betray Alexis’ will. He sends Theo and Siluca to return to their domain. I guess with them being dismissed we see them having an intimate moment together as Siluca confirms if he likes her. He does and they seal it with a kiss. The armies from both sides clash at Starck. They should just use Milza as he singlehandedly kills the Waldlind Knights. Later as Marrine’s forces gather to discuss their tactical strategy, the geography doesn’t favour them. Aubest suggests creating miasma from a nearby swamp, let the wind blow it and once it is clear, attack the incapacitated forces. This is a dirty tactic against whatever code but Marrine doesn’t intend to be a virtuous inept leader as she wants to hold influence over the continent. Marrine’s forces score overwhelming victory over the enemies as she herself kills Pavel with her own hands. She has her ladies in waiting, Layla and Kamhi to bring Milza to see her. He has a condition she comes to see him alone. She seeks his Dartania support if they are to unite the continent by merging all Crests and in the process ridding Chaos. Milza agrees to fight for her seeing Villar isn’t the worthy man and lacks the will to do so. But Milza has another condition for this alliance. He wants to sleep with her! Is this some kind of ritual for war allies? She agrees but asserts doing so will not make him own her. So they’re going to do it here right now? Oh well, nothing more romantic like sex in the wilderness. He pledges to be her sword and fight for her but not pledge his loyalty. This has got to be the most ‘romantic’ episode so far in the series from both sides of the faction.

Episode 10
Dartania’s king has died and Milza has now ascend the throne. We see several of Villar’s allies rallying up their troops to go into the upcoming battle. From Lord Selge of Regalia, Solon the King of Kilhis and Eudokia the Queen of Haman. Margaret soon returns to Villar’s side to report that Milza has defected to the Alliance. He killed the king, his father who opposed this as well as all other subordinates who supported the king. Milza’s fleet arrives but Villar’s maritime allies fight to stave off Milza. Even so, Milza’s troops continue to sail through. Heck, this Milza is such a one-man killing machine, he might as well be the entire army for Dartania. Meanwhile on the ground, Solon and his Kilhis troops engage the Waldlind. In a fierce to-the-death battle, eventually Solon’s side is surrounded and eliminated. Solon dies in battle. With reports of Lassic driving back the Ozerl forces as well as Theo doing the same to the Bultava side, Villar is amazed that Theo is able to pull off this surprise with such a small army. Although Villar will have them invade the enemy’s territory now, this would mean Waldlind who has lost both those domains will have to fiercely attack Altirk. Villar’s backup plan is to ride out to sea if the castle walls are breached.

Episode 11
With the arrival of a thousand Nordic fleets halfway around the world led by Ulrika, the daughter of Erik who is the Marquis of Nord, Villar knows his time of defeat has come. The question now is how they should lose. Of course, they’ll go down fighting. He leaves his last message for several people. Eudokia’s men punch her out to let her escape alone as they all die to defend the onslaught of the Nordics. Also, one last romantic fling between Villar and Margaret. Meanwhile the other Union members gather to discuss about it. Dawson remains adamant Villar brought this upon himself and once he is defeated, the Alliance will resume peace talks. But Alexis remains worried and wants to save Villar at all costs. Waldlind breaks through the castle as Margaret goes rampage with her hellfire magic to take down as many enemies as she can until she could no more. In the end, she turns into ash and Villar continues his killing spree until he could not go on anymore. In his final confrontation with Marrine, he hands over his Crest. He tells her to continue the path she believes in and he himself still believes and prays for her marriage with Alexis to bring peace. Marrine enters the throne room. Laura hands over the castle to her but warns she has not conquered Altirk as the other Lords will surely rise against her. She then poisons herself. Marrine gives this castle to Milza and wants him to conquer Altirk. News of Villar’s death reaches his comrades and of course they’re pretty sad to hear about it. Villar’s message to Theo is to go forth and further stun the world.

Episode 11.5
Recap episode. No new scenes. Only recycled scenes but at least we have Siluca’s narration and the definitions, important characters and the plot so it is not totally a copy and paste.

Episode 12
Milza fights against soldiers loyal to Villar. He is not pleased he is not achieved anything in life so what does he hope to achieve in death. Lords loyal to Villar has signed a treaty to carry on his legacy. It is suggested Selge who is Villar’s younger brother to be the leader but he deems himself unfit and wants Lassic. He too doesn’t see himself fit and passes the torch to Theo. But with all the Lords favouring Lassic, Theo suggests Lassic be the leader until he proves himself. In the battlefield, Milza and Lassic clash. They didn’t lose their heads but know how formidable the other is and hence Milza pulling back his troops for now. Marrine arranges a meeting with Theo. Before it starts, an odd show of love between Siluca and Aubest as father and daughter hug. Then it’s like, okay it’s over, back to the meeting. Theo begins that Alexis still loves her and would like them and both sides to unite. But she believes that if the war continues, their Crests will eventually be fused. She is prepared to kill and allow bloodshed for that. Theo would like to strive for the ideals Marrine has abandoned and credits Siluca for it. Although both don’t want to fight each other but want to reclaim what they lost, I guess it’s back to the battlefield. As they leave, Theo wants Siluca to make a miracle for him regarding bringing Alexis and Marrine together. He shocks everyone by kissing her in public!!! This is to show that this war is for the sake of love! Whatever, it rallied his men. But Marrine isn’t amused. She still thinks love will not help save her people or country. Later Siluca reports the withdrawal of Waldlind as Croute has crushed the Alliance in the north that was led by Erik and this means Waldlind is left vulnerable from behind. With the battlefield likely to shift to the north, Siluca wants Theo to use this chance to return to Sistina and liberate it. After all, for the miracle to happen, he must achieve the same rank as Alexis and Marrine. With this military achievement, the other Lords will recognize his power and he can take over from Lassic. Lassic hears this and gives his instant approval despite only Theo and Siluca are going. Rossini and his loyals hear the return of Theo. They prepare to take precaution as we see also see the brutal oppression on Silica.

Episode 13
Theo’s group has arrived on Sistina. Siluca’s plan is to go to the main town and announce his return to rally the people. However they see Jana dining with Salvador, Rossini’s son. Since the black witch has a bone to pick with them, Salvador uses his Crest to mind control the people to attack them. Not wanting to involve innocent people, Theo makes a run for it. Theo’s plan is to tour the neighbouring villages to call on the people to revolt. However the people are so in fear of Rossini that they do not believe Theo can overthrow him. All those who have resisted are killed so they think it is better to be on his good side. Because Salvador has sent out warnings to all villages, each village they tour all the villagers become hostile towards them and wanting to get out. Nobody called their help to overthrow Rossini. As suggested by Siluca, Theo visits the village he was born. Everyone never thought he would return. So did he. His childhood friend, Rebecca reveals that when Rossini was plundering the village, Theo’s father kept a secret food cellar. Somebody snitched on him and he was killed to be made an example. Theo left the island blaming them for this father’s death but now he has returned, he asks them if they want to continue living under Rossini’s oppression. As Theo visits his father’s grave, he knows Rebecca has been threatened by them to do something. She claims they will take her to the city if she handed him in. He wants her to tell everyone to flee. Even if Theo is handed over, he will be killed to be made of an example. Theo then goes to face the enemy himself. Rebecca returns and pleads to the villagers to fight with Theo because history will repeat itself if they do the same thing. Remember how they were taxed even more heavily after handing in Theo’s father? The same will happen. With that, the villagers rally behind Theo to face Salvador’s troops. Theo fights Salvador but the latter escapes and lets his guards deal with him. Rebecca tries to stall him but gets killed. Mad Theo cuts down the coward. So his troops retreat? I guess against the soldiers, Rebecca as their only casualty isn’t that bad. Okay, maybe not. Siluca notes despite Rebecca putting her life on the line to stop Salvador, letting him escape would be the same as losing.

Episode 14
Rossini is discussing with his remaining sons about the uprising of the people. It’s gathering steam. Dorni will go take out Theo and though father believes in his son’s abilities, he tells him to take a few thousand soldiers with him because you can never be too sure. It would be too cruel if he loses both his sons. Suppression is the only way they have because that is how they’ve ruled the island. Easing up on that would mean the people losing faith in them. Jana talks to Salvador’s loyal assassin who still needs to finish his mission to kill Irwin. She offers to take out the werewolf twins then they can kill Theo and Siluca. Theo has managed to gather some soldiers and the townspeople to fight. Irwin fights the assassin and manages to kill him but not before he stuck his poison knife into Irwin. But don’t worry, there’s always Priscilla to do the healing. Jana uses some demon magic to rein in the twins but they do some thinking outside the box to dispel her magic and do a great deal of damage to her. It’s mind boggling that the people have more willpower than the Dorni’s soldiers. Because they start fleeing from battle! WTF?! Are they soldiers?! This distracts Dorni as he finally realizes why Theo has only been defending. It is part of his plan to wear him out. When Dorni is tired, Theo sticks his sword into his throat. Jana goes all out to kill Theo but Siluca blasts her out of the sky. With the angry mob outside Rossini’s castle, Rossini is willing to give his life but wants his remaining son, Juzel to escape. Juzel has a plan to negotiate with Theo. Rossini rescinds all his court rank to him. Juzel negotiates for those loyal to Rossini to not lose their lives and fortune. Theo rejects. He wants all their fortune, their Crest and both their lives. This is the will of the people. Juzel agrees to relinquish their lives but those loyal to them would not stay quiet. He proposes to pledge his allegiance to him so those loyalists would listen. Theo rejects again because this would mean going against the will of the people who joined in this revolt. But Theo personally doesn’t want to annihilate the family and asks him to pledge his allegiance to him instead. I guess there’s a difference if Theo is the one saying it. Juzel agrees but the bottom line is that Rossini must still pay for his crimes. The people rejoice their new dawn under Theo.

Episode 15
Siluca interrogates Jana as she also stands accused for the Great Hall Tragedy. However she laughs in delirium. No choice, she is sentenced to be burnt at the stake. But before they could burn her, she summons the Demon Lord to kill her. Milza does not pay heed to Theo’s heroics and still considers him a small fry. However Milza’s areas are under ambushed and his side suffered losses. As advised by Telius, if his people are revolting against him, they are considered enemies. He takes up the suggestion to slay his own citizens as the blame will be put on those who revolted. Milza’s forces subjugate the villages of the werewolves and White Witches before killing all those free Lords against him. Theo has returned and Lassic is glad to see him. Laura is also alive (poison not lethal enough?) and is now serving Eudokia. Meeting with the other treaty Lords, Theo agrees to not change leadership of the treaty now and takes responsibility of the many Lords while he is away liberating Sistina. He declares to invade Altirk and bring down Milza. They discuss their plan to attack Milza’s great forces in the forest because of the thick woods, movements are limited. After their victory here, they have to move on to take Villar’s castle which is heavily defended. Lassic is working hard to get other treaty Lords to contribute manpower but Croute has his hands full fighting Waldlind and can’t spare any. As there is a slave rebellion in Starck, they think of using that but who should they send? Juzel offers himself since Rossini has experience in being a tyrant and knows how to quell such uprising. Once Theo’s declaration reaches Milza’s ears, this angers him as he promptly mobilizes for battle. He disregards Telius’ advice about being at a disadvantageous terrain of the forest because he thinks he can kill Theo with his eyes close. As he wish.

Episode 16
The werewolves and White Witches attack the Dartanian forces in the forest and separate them. Milza manages to defeat some of them but the forest soon turns into a maze. Nevertheless they reach the castle. Theo warns them to return as the forest will be baying for blood during the night time. Surprisingly Milza agrees and leaves. As advised, Theo probably has 2 choices: Return to Bultava or emerge from the forest. If it is the latter, Milza’s force would easily slay him. So for him to lure him out, Milza sends his strong force to attack Regalia. Siluca suggests Theo to take the bait since the people’s morale are high over their recent victory. But Theo is reluctant since he has to use a volunteer army again. However with the people trusting him, he suggests marching towards Villar’s castle in full force. As Milza’s force heads towards Regalia, he receives word that Selge has fled and he left behind his contracted mage. This is odd because Theo was recently victorious over them but Milza thinks Theo isn’t worthy of Theo’s trust. He leaves some troops to reclaim it before Lassic does. Later he sees Theo’s expanding forces. He never thought Theo would sacrifice Regalia to buy time and gather this much soldiers. Milza still things they are a ragtag force and can be dealt with. But when advised to wait for reinforcements and retreat, Milza doesn’t like giving up without a fight but chooses to trust his comrades. Although Marrine has ordered Ulrika to support Milza, it seems she is more interesting in subjugating Haman first. Laura advises Eudokia to strip naked to address to the people that the Nords have taken everything. There is nothing left to take except their lives to fight for freedom. Don’t worry, Laura will go naked with her. They do so and the men rejoice and will die for her! See what a beautiful naked woman could do? But do they need to strip off their armour too? I mean, are they really going to fight naked?! This throws Ulrika off. Eudokia tries to rally the Starck slaves to rebel and with Juzel’s suave persuasion, the slaves eventually fight back. All hail the naked woman! Ulrika is forced to retreat despite she doesn’t want to. Milza is not pleased reinforcements haven’t arrived yet. Because Theo’s army has established as stronghold outside their castle. Even if reinforcements come, it won’t be easy to join them. Milza stares at the possible of his first loss that stands to lose everything. Yeah, things just got worse with Lassic arriving with his 30,000 strong troops.

Episode 17
Milza wants to take on Theo’s forces and not wait for Marrine’s reinforcements. Telius begs him to have faith in Marrine but he reasons he will not put her in danger. Besides, if he loses, it just means he wasn’t the chosen one. Milza leads his Dartanian forces as they barge through waves of forts to reach Theo. He takes a detour and avoids fighting with Lassic’s side. Then he has to put up with Theo’s comrades first before facing off with the man himself. He accepts Milza’s challenge to fight him, making Siluca worried that if he loses, he would have played right into Milza’s hands. She’s saying she has no confidence in Theo winning? Is this so we can have a cheesy romantic moment between them? Because Theo’s hug us sure assuring. Theo and Milza begin their fight. Oddly why do their swords light up like lightsabers?! Theo realizes Milza has changed. Until now he has only used his Crest’s power for himself. But to take over Altirk, he bestowed subjugated Crests on his men and his Crest lost power accordingly. Theo can still fight but Milza is already out of breath. Theo might not have won but Milza is already defeated. Just take a look at his Dartanian forces. They surrendered! Wait a minute. You mean they weren’t going to fight to the death? Who gave them the order to surrender when Milza is still fighting?! With Milza losing, Theo out of formality asks for his Crest or his life. As Milza is one not to beg for his life, Theo kills him and takes back Villar’s Crest. A big relief hug from Siluca. Telius is saddened by Milza’s death that he poisons himself. Marrine is disappointed over hearing Milza’s death. Like as though he never trusted her and belittled her. This means they have no use of continuing their advance as Marrine orders her troops to turn around and reinforce their fight in the north to defeat Le Couleurs.

Episode 18
With Villar’s castle retaken, everyone pays their respects to Villar. Lassic now hands over his Crest to Theo, signifying he is now the Treaty’s leader. Also, Selge renounces his Constance family name and hands it over to his younger brother, Igor. Theo’s goal is to fulfil Villar’s wish to bring peace between the Alliance and Union. To do that, the Treaty will break away from the Union and remain neutral. Uhm, so it isn’t possible between 2 parties but it is so with a third one? This might look like giving Alliance a booster since the Union has already broken up into 2 factions but they will still remain to cooperate with the Union to strike a power balance. For now, they celebrate their victory with a feast. Later Theo talks to Siluca that his final dream is still to return to his village and bring happiness (I guess being liberated doesn’t mean instant happiness). However there is one thing he would like to do that with: Siluca. Siluca didn’t get it and thinks of it as his eternal mage who has sworn loyalty to him. He has to hug her to make her realize his intentions and hence our cheesy Theo x Siluca romance. Later they talk to Priscilla about her Crest that resembles the Holy Grail. Because Pope Leone of the Order of the Crest has proclaimed himself to be the Holy Grail and might eliminate her as a threat. Word has spread that Croute has died in battle. This is due to betrayal from Dawson stamping out reinforcements (Alliance welcomed him in exchange). With this, the Union will be shakier and more vulnerable than ever. Siluca suggests heading to Jalucia to cheer up Alexis since he was close to Croute. Alexis wants Theo to become the head of the Union but he disagrees since he wants both sides to reconcile. Uhm again, so he can’t if he is leader of one of them? Alexis is visibly depressed that he no longer feels he can do it. Time for Theo to play the Marrine trump card. Even if she wins, unites all Crests and becomes emperor, she isn’t happy. She is suppressing her feelings and doing her duty as the leader of the Alliance. Only Alexis can save her. With that, Alexis suddenly matures and has this damn manly confident aura. Even his servants are shocked! No more weakling Alexis. He is going to attack Dawson and when other Union Lords hear about him rising up, they rally behind him. Surely Dawson would have seen this coming since he is being touted as a traitor so why is he so shocked to see Alexis’ troops marching to his doorstep?

Episode 19
Dawson calls Marrine for help but since her reinforcements are busy fighting the Treaty side, she tells him to tough it out. Dawson tries to defect back to the Union but Alexis rejects. He will spare his life if he surrenders and hands over his Crest. And so Dawson decides to fight. But Alexis fights this battle like as though he is a composer and painting?! So the battlefield is his work of art?! Anyway Alexis’ forces easily defeats Dawson. Marrine receives news of this but is shocked to hear that Alexis led the attack. She fears he will be dragged into the war. Alexis’ forces now makes his way to fight the Nords. Erik who prides himself as the king of the seas accepts the challenge in this naval battle. Alexis employs some weird tactic. The Nords get their power and turn into zombies? It’s going to take more than an arrow to kill them. Both sides suffer heavy losses. Erik will not back down and rather die as a warrior. As he makes his way to Alexis’ main ship, I believe he is the character who racked up the body count in such a short time! See him decapitate and spill blood of all the soldiers protecting Alexis! After a hard fought battle, Erik is finally decapitated and this guy has so much blood that it is overflowing the ship! Good riddance. Alexis takes his Crest. Siluca sees Marrine who proposes a truce in which the latter outright rejects. The only way left is to fight. Siluca suggests if the Union and Treaty loses, they will hand over their Crests and territories. Otherwise she must accept their proposal. She also thinks this would only give their true enemy the edge whom she believes is the Mage Academy who is responsible for the Great Hall Tragedy (though she may not have definitive proof). Marrine is still bitter she has sacrificed so much and yet Alexis got involved. She cannot turn back now. This battle might see the creation of the Grancrest and create something far greater than the Great Hall Tragedy.

Episode 20
The Alliance side uses a huge magical beast the barge their way through. Until it fell into a big dug trap. Then it is a messy affair with everybody clashing and flanking everybody. Both sides get motivated when Marrine and Theo head down to the battlefield. When Alexis and his Union show up, Marrine gives the order to retreat or else their escape route will be cut off and will be routed. Theo also backs out and calls for a meeting among the 3 faction leaders. Theo proposes a truce for all sides in which Marrine again rejects because it would benefit their true enemy, the Mage Academy. A truce ensures a court rank system and hence fights over titles. In fact they might even be where they want them now. Theo’s second proposal is for Alexis and Marrine to marry. He will then pledge his loyalty to their Grancrest. Marrine again disagrees because of the fear of the tragedy repeating itself. She is against Alexis helping her and wants the enemy to only target her. She is satisfied with the goal of sacrificing herself, make known to the world the true enemy and one day somebody will take up and continue her fight. Alexis then shows him a huge human rose pattern created by his troops. He proposes to her again. Why she rejects him? Because she lost her virginity to Milza. Oh yeah. Remember that scene? Alexis doesn’t care as long they love each other. Still not convinced? Theo announces Siluca as his wife. So Marrine needs a little bit more nudging, a few more assuring words from Alexis before they are once again happily reunited. Much to the cheers of everybody. Alexis and Marrine want to give their Crest to Theo for him to become the first emperor. Once the miracle is over, Siluca suggests Theo hand it back to Alexis and then they can return to Sistina and live happily ever after. Yeah, we’ll go with that. Meanwhile the head of the Mage Academy is secretly purging mages who support Lords. Knowing that Grancrest is about to be born, he must make the Mage Academy as a monolith and thwart any attempts to bring an era of order.

Episode 21
Wow. Mages at Eramu are being purged like ants. Are they that useless to defend themselves? Theo and Siluca’s romantic moment is being interrupted when a mage informs her about this. Hence Siluca gathers everyone to tell about the situation. Some mages will stick with their Lords but some like Alexis’ decide to terminate their contract and return home. Those who remain are forced to break their wand. They cannot use magic without it but the wand serves as a tracking device as well as communicator for the Mage Academy to eavesdrop. Later there’s this weird reconciliation between Siluca, Aubest and Aishela. Aishela still not too forgiving to Aubest for trying to kill Siluca once. Late that night when Siluca is asleep, she hears Aishela calling her name. Suddenly Aishela tries to kill her! Only to be stopped by Irwin! She admits she is a spy ordered to kill her. Tied up, she is interrogated to spill the beans. She comes from a secret organization within a secret organization, Pandora. Their purpose is to control Chaos and is made up of failed mages like her or collaborators like Jana. Speaking of which, Jana was the one responsible for the Great Hall Tragedy. Aishela’s orders were to kill Theo and Siluca. Theo knows she failed on purpose because she could have killed them in their sleep. But Aishela had to carry it out and not disobey. She shows them a magic mark on her breast. Fail and it will kill her. But why is it activating now? Because she also spilled the beans. Damn this mark is lethal. As the rest try to save her, Aishela screams in pain. Then here comes Priscilla using her Holy Grail to save and heal her. Phew. Siluca is so relieved. Now you going to believe in God? Not really… With Aishela saved and her mark gone, this also means she loses her abilities. She deems herself useless now but Theo views her as trying to protect them by failing her mission. Skirmishes and in-fighting start to break out in all camps. There are casualties in the aftermath against Lords who were used by Pandora and then discarded. Even though the next option is to invade Eramu, they might not be well prepared but that’s the only choice they have. And losing isn’t an option either. But don’t worry, they have the support of the people.

Episode 22
The Order might have a strong following but most of their followers are women, children and the elderly. Damn, you don’t want to be seen like a bully and fight those innocent people. Priscilla suggests going to talk and convince Leone but Theo is against it since it is dangerous as they know better the Order will use these people to shield itself from attacks. Don’t worry, Siluca will accompany her. Oh, Irwin and Aishela will accompany them. Leone tries to rally his followers that those who monopolizes the Crests will be punished by God because they believe all Crests belong to the One God. This is actually the same goal as Theo’s as it is to eliminate Chaos and bring peace. However Leone brands Siluca a liar. Time for Priscilla to step up and wow the followers she is the holder of the Holy Grail. As she shows her Crests, the followers are now convinced she is the true one. Leone fears his dwindling influence so he is advised by his subordinate to kill her and let her Crest turn into Chaos. Leone pretends to agree with Priscilla’s idea. When she gets close enough, he stabs her. Irwin spotted this but is given that look by Priscilla not to intervene as this is a duty she must fulfil. Mad Aishela wants to kill them all but Siluca stops her. If Leone is dead, the inevitable war will happen with the Order. But I guess it’s okay to kill the other guards. Because Priscilla’s Crest continue to shine and didn’t turn into a Chaos, Leone is most shocked. She killed a true holy maiden instead of a fake. His subordinate tells him to seize her Crest but Leone is too shocked to do so. He is about to kill Leone instead but Irwin protects him. Theo is mad after receiving word of Priscilla’s death. I wonder if he teleported because he reached there fast. He takes Priscilla’s Crest and is now the guardian of her Holy Grail. Now the Order’s followers follow him. Seeing Leone’s face makes Theo mad so he lets Siluca deal with him to investigate links between the Mage Academy and the Order. Theo carrying Priscilla like his dead wife…

Episode 23
The Imperial Army is reported to have arrived at Eramu. The Mage Academy head, Hubertus orders the release of a dangerous monster that could destroy Eramu itself. I guess if you don’t take the risks, you won’t reap the rewards. That monster is a giant Cyclops that the Mage Academy once sacrificed many to seal. I suppose this creature only lives to destroy because right after it is freed from its long slumber, it goes on a rampage. Looks like it is time to give Lassic the limelight as he decides to do the impossible and bring it down before it puts Theo’s plan in jeopardy. So we see him and his few men seemingly trying to do some puny damage that don’t even matter. Until Moreno has powered up his whatever solar magic for Lassic to reflect and blind its eye before the Sievis King kills it for good. All hail Lassic the Giant Slayer! And he didn’t even lose a man! Such great happy ending. Meanwhile, Alexis leads the army to attack the castle walls. With all the tricks and strategies, in no time they take the walls. Hubertus isn’t worried. He expected this. Because he believes all they need to do is kill Theo and all the lords will fall into disarray. Theo’s side is about to make his move when they suddenly find themselves in the Forest of Darkness. Siluca realizes they have been ‘invited’ by Dimitrie.

Episode 24
Confronting Dimitrie in his castle, he reasons even if Chaos is gone, people will still fight each other. Even so, that is their choice, Theo replies. Dimitrie became an Artist to survive and he would continue to do so if it is boring. As they fight him, the werewolf twins’ brother, Aeon brings the real body of Dimitrie. Uhm, just bring him here to show he could be killed off? Even so, Dimitrie has cloned his shadows and technically still lives. They fight the shadows but they are a tough bunch. Then a holy miracle in the form of Priscilla’s Holy Grail lighting up so bright that there are no more shadows. Eventually Aeon sacrifices himself to pin Dimitrie down so Theo could finish him off. With the last shadow scared and weak, the twins let him go since they have avenged their mother and brother’s death. With Dimitrie gone, they march into Eramu with Theo and Siluca confronting Hubertus. To know the truth, they are told to touch the Chaos Globe. Doing so, they are teleported to another dimension as they hear the voice of Pandora repeatedly telling them that the Age of Chaos must not end. They are shown the previous civilization which is as futuristic as hell! You see, without Chaos, humanity eventually evolved so great and created an ultimate energy weapon that is on par in destroying the world. To avoid that, a decision was made to flood the world with Chaos and destroy civilization. An age with Chaos is the beginning of the end. Even if Theo now understands, his feelings have not changed. It is not right to sacrifice today’s people and those who have aren’t born yet. Because that is his decision, Hubertus poisons himself. Gee, that’s the easiest final boss fight. With that, Theo has all the Lords gather as he makes his speech. With this empire named Leon and Eramu as its Imperial Capital, he lays down the ground rules that an Emperor must be fair, blah, blah, blah, otherwise the people has the right to revolt and overthrow the Emperor. 3 years later, double wedding! Theo x Siluca and Alexis x Marrine. Siluca almost late for her big day? Kissing scene. Siluca so happy that she cried. Theo creates the Grancrest that purges all Chaos from the world. You mean it was not done then when all the Lords gave him their Crest? In the aftermath, as promised, Theo abdicates his throne to Alexis. He and Siluca retire to their happy farm life in Sistina. And finally another kiss from the duo. So magical that rainbows appeared!

Command & Conquer: Unity (And Love) Through War
And so everybody lived happily ever after. Hooray. Such a great happy ending. But not so happy ending for all the Chaos monsters and Pandora. Well, enjoy the peace while it lasts. Assuming if history repeats itself and that mankind decides to take up war and kill each other again. Who knows how long that will be. It could be centuries or millennia. But Theo won’t be around when that happens! It’s like, that’s not my problem anymore. But it is not fair to pin all the responsibilities and blame on Theo. He already helped created a peaceful world but you war-hungry idiots in the future decide to ruin it all and fight and kill each other. So really, if that is the case where mankind really destroys itself because of no Chaos, is it to also say that there is no God in this world? Damn, I think I just confused myself even further.

Basically, the general plot of the story goes something like this: Lord or King from a country attacks another nation. If successful, they become the new masters and gain new territory. Otherwise, status quo. Hence it was pretty weird for me to see that a big part of this series is about attacking one another. Uh huh. Time for our strategic attack on this kingdom. Charge in! Yay! We did it. Oh no, we lost. We live another day to try again or get our revenge. Planning and strategizing in between. Therefore this series is like one big unofficial world war that has been ongoing ever since and there is no stopping to it until the ultimate Grancrest is created. I still can’t believe it is finally created 3 years later. Could it be that one of the requirements is to be held on a wedding day? A day of utmost sacred union? Maybe.

Speaking of the Grancrest world map, I didn’t realize it at first but I soon noticed that it takes after very much like the map of Europe. Yeah, why is Europe always such a nice base for alternative fantasy settings? From Youjo Senki all the way back to Prism Ark, Europe’s base is a favourite for differing nations because of its vast variety of cultures. Anyway, for this series, it is obvious that Dartania is Turkey while Kilhis and Haman are Greece. While Bultava might sound like Bulgaria and Regalia like Romania, taking a closer look it is actually Regalia that is Bulgaria and Bultava the Czech Republic. Hence I am guessing Altirk is Romania because of the Forest of Darkness in this domain and Dracula, you know, Transylvania? Eramu is suspiciously Switzerland (the supposed most neutral country), Le Couleurs is France and obviously Sistina is Sicily. Rossini is such an Italian name… The rest I feel are like bad puns. Clovis = Croatia? Sievis = Serbia? Ismeia = Italy? Ozerl = Austria? Waldlind = Ukraine? Jalucia = Spain because you know, Andalusia? Oh well, better than obvious making lazy and obvious modifications. Oddly with the battle between the Alliance and Union and then the Treaty, I noticed that Bredland and Courtwells (England and Scotland respectively) aren’t involved. A big war that the British isn’t involved? It must be fantasy.

Other than the attack-here-attack-there plot, the other thing about this series that bugs me is the characters. Technically I am not wrong to say that there are too many of them! However a lot of them are also killed off. Therefore sometimes you think a character is going to be one of those main supporting ones, only to be killed off in the same episode or a few episodes later. Yes, it does make the war theme of this series believable because with so many casualties, sometimes even the warlords are not even sparred from the fate of death. So sometimes when such Lords or Kings fight their last battle and get killed in action, it might be sad but honourable but by the time the next episode rolls out, I would highly have forgotten about them. There are a few of them that actually survived and stuck to the end with Theo (not talking about his immediate troupe) like Selge’s contracted mage but she is insignificant enough that I can’t even remember her name. But generally with so many nations and Lords fighting in this never ending war, it is hard to keep track of who is who and when the plot commands it, they get killed off. Like Croute whom we don’t even see him die in the battlefield! Just a notice. He’s dead. Get over it. But I think some like Milza would leave a longer impression because of his brutal and violent get-what-he-wants personality. Oh right, who could forget about that sex scene he had with Marrine. But I’m sure I’ll remember him for his ruthlessness than that. On a trivial note, I noticed that even Milza had become king, he is still continued to be referred as the prince. WTF?

If you think those characters are bad enough, wait till you hear what I have to say about Theo’s groupie. Now, it is understandable that Theo and Siluca are the main characters so they hog a lot of the screen time whenever there is a chance to show their side. After all, they need to build up that romance factor, right? But for the rest of the other notable comrades in his group, they feel somewhat disappointing. Heck, they feel like the invisible man for most of the time. For example, Aishela. She made her debut very early in the series and looks promising as Siluca’s battle aide. After a few episodes later when she gets seriously injured, she is then side-lined for most of the series until the end where I suppose for the shock factor she turns out to be a spy. But at that point I am asking myself, so what? In between Aishela has been sorely missing and even though she does take to the battlefield sometimes, she does not stand out as much as she did as she made her debut.

This goes the same for Priscilla. Some random priestess suddenly decides to join Theo’s group. Okay. I guess he can add more to his harem. Having a holy woman is a variety in his harem. Heh. Since she has no fighting abilities, she is relegated to the side-lines even more than Aishela. With only her healing ability as her worth, you keep wondering why the heck do they need a redundant character in the group. And of course as the final stretch of the anime nears, that Holy Grail plot twist crap thingy pops up and yet in another attempt for shock factor, Priscilla offers her life because I guess that is the only way Theo is going to have all the Crests other than from Alexis and Marrine. The Holy Grail is after all still technically a Crest. And yeah, a character whom you won’t remember much suddenly dies for the greater good. Wow. So noble. I cried. Read, sarcasm.

Having said that, it goes without saying that Irwin is very underutilized here. As a black butler who offered himself to serve Siluca as atonement for the Great Hall Tragedy, I felt that his super assassin skills are mostly wasted. Sure, we get to see certain fight scenes where he engages in high speed assassin style fighting but that is all we get about him. I know assassins aren’t supposed to stand out but Irwin in this context feels more like a background character the more this series progresses. He guards and protects from the shadows and though that may be good enough for him, I guess it is not good enough for yours truly because I really want to know his past or his struggles so as to have something relatable or at least I can root for him not because he is a super cool killing machine. Lastly, the werewolf twins. What the heck are they here again? Being grateful to Theo is one thing but following him around, don’t see them do much except in some fight scenes when necessary, what else have they got going now that their mother’s killer is dead?

On to Theo and Siluca, like any main character material, he has his own ideals and justice that we all love to have but in this era has become too cliché. You know, the kind of hero that wants to save everybody and not sacrifice a soul and hence bringing ultimate peace to all sides. Thankfully it is anime so it can happen for him. Not sure if I can call his ultimate goal to retire in Sistina and live a happy life with Siluca is refreshing or boring. Becoming the emperor seems like a stepping stone to that and while it is different than most main characters who end up being the permanent leader to lead the new world, I suppose in a way that this is quite a unique dream. He always has Sistina in his heart from start to finish. It just seems that the goal of uniting the warring factions looks bigger and overwhelming, thus the action he takes look like it is in that best interest.

But during Villar’s moment of limelight, Theo like his other groupies, became a bit side-lined as well. Sometimes I feel that Villar is such a great guy and his death was unjust and untimely. He has his own past and his own charm but I guess when you have to push a new young hero to greater heights, somebody has to use his life. Hence Theo feeling more like almost non-existent as he is away when Villar and his allies make their final stand. And then when Theo comes back, it’s like the plot takes a little detour for him to return to Sistina and liberate it. Necessary plot for him to be the next leader. It is meaningless for him to be the leader of the Treaty if his own country isn’t resolved. On a trivial note, I keep thinking Theo Cornaro would make a great ice cream maker. Cornetto…

Siluca started off as a strong independent woman. I remember she has plans for Theo and she sounds like she is using him or if not at least has her own motives for laying out those plans for him. Over the course of the series, it feels like she strayed from that path and becomes more worried about him. Not because he is an integral part of her plan. Get what I mean? I can obviously blame love for this. Uh huh. Ever since that cheesy romance in the Forest of Darkness, there are times watching Siluca being worried feels like she is a teenager in love. But I guess that is what is needed for this series instead of fighting and fighting, killing and killing. So we need some cheesy romance factor as some sort of distraction. After all, when you have 2 main characters who have been working together for a long time, what are the chances of sparks of romance igniting? Unless you’re gay or lesbian but thankfully, right?

Speaking of romance, I am sure that I am not wrong to say this war is prolonged just because of the failed love between Alexis and Marrine. This series would not even have started and Theo getting his chance to shine had not the Great Hall Tragedy happened. They would have been happily wedded ever after. Hence the prolonged war is partly due to Marrine who can’t get over her mourning and hence trying to shoulder all the burden, sacrifice and responsibility on herself just to achieve the minimum. On the other hand, Alexis was totally a wuss. He sounds so gay that I thought he was in the wrong anime! In this sense, I believe Marrine is more brutal and has more balls than Alexis! Thankfully thanks to Theo playing the ultimate matchmaker, their love is reunited and of course our true enemy whom you are supposed to least expect turns out to be the very Mage Academy that produces world class mages.

Although in my personal opinion I dislike war and war is bad in general, I suppose that some people cannot live without all the fighting. So with the Mage Academy as one of those sneaky hidden final boss (not so much of a final boss anyway as seen. They didn’t even put up any resistance with Theo. I guess not seeing he defeated Dimitrie their last line of defence), sometimes I feel that their reason for wanting to preserve Chaos is also correct. In the sense that if you completely destroy Chaos, you destroy the overall balance. Without Chaos, no doubt humans of the land would live in peace but humans being humans, do you think that peace will last? I presume that people will start to fight each other again for even pettier reasons. We see how the Lords and Kings cannot agree with each other and got greedy for land and titles instead of uniting to fight Chaos. Until Theo came along, that is. But ultimately if this goal is reached, it is hard to think that humans will ever sit still. Even the Vampire King himself as a living being is afraid of ceasing to exist. So the idea of war to continue is a good or bad thing is very much debatable. Like I said, Theo and the current people won’t live that long into the future to see where their efforts would lead humanity. But having Chaos destroy civilization is the same as destroying mankind? Either way, it tells us that mankind is the culprit and root of the problem, no?

As I have said that the general plot of this series is about attacking and conquering one another, it goes without saying that the action parts are the main draw of this series. Of course it might look a bit unrealistic since magic is employed but they help add to the might of the fight. To show the brutalities of war, there are a lot of blood spilled. A lot. There are also lots of casualties too and not just minor characters but all those foot soldier guards who lay their lives for their leader. It makes me wonder about the population of this world. At the rate they are killing each other, the population is sure taking a nosedive but yet we see so many soldiers from so many nations. It’s like a never ending supply of men. A lot of young children are going to be orphans with their fathers getting killed in the battlefield. In addition to the brutal war action, sometimes it is not just go all out and kill the enemy. Some strategies and battle of the brains are needed. Thus some of the strategies employed here are interesting and entertaining. Not all victories lie in reducing the number of your enemy. Heck, even retreating is an option sometimes!

While the art and animation feel pretty standard, my only complaint is that during some action scenes, there is a dip in quality. It is obvious. I mean, not so obvious that it sucks but if you at least pay slight attention and watch, you can tell the drop in quality. Don’t underestimate the human eyes because even a normal guy like me can catch it. Such scenes are usually when the action is fast and frantic. So why the heck put in the effort in the detail when the scene might last only under a second or two? As for the character designs, my only comment is that, doesn’t Siluca look like a sexier version of Saber from the Fate series? With so many nations and their emblems, they have this grand feel to them but overall they look pretty similar to me.

This series has so many characters so I guess the list is long, some only making a cameo. But for the main ones, those I recognized are Takahiro Sakurai as Villar, Yuuichi Nakamura as Irvin, Satoshi Hino as Lassic, Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Moreno, Youko Hikasa as Jana, Hiro Shimono as Selge, Yuko Kaida as Margaret and Ayane Sakura as Layla. The others are Kentarou Kumagai as Theo (Haruhiko in Tsurezure Children), Akari Kitou as Siluca (Yonaga in Alice To Zouroku), Ai Kayano as Marrine (Inori in Guilty Crown), Yuuichi Iguchi as Alexis (Saji in High School DxD), Natsumi Takamori as Priscilla (Azusa in Orange), Reina Ueda as Aishela (Mira in Dimension W), Wataru Hatano as Milza (Gajeel in Fairy Tail), Satoshi Mikami as Aubest (I-Guy in The Reflection), Chika Anzai as Laura (Hanabi in Kuzu No Honkai), Minori Suzuki as Emma (Freyja Wion in Macross Delta), Megumi Nakajima (Kaede in Kampfer) and Sayaka Harada as Ulrika (Sayaka in Aho Girl).

The first opening theme, Starry by Ayano Mashiro sounds like your typical upbeat anime music that fits this genre very nicely. The second opening theme, Rin by ASCA also sounds familiar but with an added touch of dramatic. ASCA also sings the first ending theme, Pledge. It is a slow ballad and not too bad. Somehow the second ending theme, Shoudou by Ayano Mashiro reminds me of the ending theme of Shukufuku No Campanella, Mirai Kaikisen. The pace and beat sound almost similar and even the singer herself sounds almost comparable.

Overall, I can place this series as just average at best. The simple thin plot of uniting everyone for the ultimate Grancrest is overwhelmed by the excessive battle scenes. Attack and attack and attack! Defend and defend and defend! Lots of blood spilled. Lots of people get killed. You win some, you lose some. Oh yeah, don’t forget the cheesy romance that is happening in the midst of the big war. This series could probably have worked better if it was a video game but unfortunately this wasn’t adapted from a video game but rather a light novel. So I wonder if all the drama in the written words got lost in translation and substituted with action scenes. Not that I read the light novel anyway. Oh right, did I say this series was also a table top RPG game? Yeah, maybe that would work. But for the anime adaptation, it’s like saying war is peace and peace is war only further confuses everyone and make everybody fight everybody. As the saying goes, war is not about finding out who is right, but who is left!

Golden Kamuy

September 23, 2018

Initially I was going to give Golden Kamuy the pass. I know, over the years the biasness and stereotypes of certain anime genres are a big part in how I make my decisions to watch a certain anime of the season. So when I saw that historical genre tag for this series, I was quick to cast it aside. You know, I had too many animes to watch so I need to downsize! Yeah… But then again my guts told me something else. It told me to properly read the synopsis. Just read it. And then boom! Suddenly I found myself interested to check out what this series is about. Soldier dude and Ainu girl pairing up to find a lost heap of gold stolen from the Ainu people. It’s not only them chasing after the gold but other criminals and military soldiers as well. So, historical Japanese version of Indiana Jones?

Episode 1
Saichi Sugimoto is nicknamed Immortal Sugimoto because of his miraculous survival against all odds during the Russo-Japanese war. Now that the war is over, he is still poor and panning for gold in some river. Accompanied by some drunk guy, he is being told of a rumour that could make him rich. There was this guy who stole loads of goal from the Ainu tribe that he slain and hid it somewhere in Hokkaido. However he was caught and sentenced to death. Before they did so, he was tortured and the tendons in his leg cut to avoid running away. He never told anybody. Because he still needed to tell his comrades, he tattooed codes all over the other prisoners’ body that would reveal the location of the treasure. Only his comrades outside can decipher it. Oddly, why and how did the guards even allow this? Anyway to crack the code, all prisoners are needed. Of course the authorities got greedy and one day decided to transfer them out. It was part of their plan to escape. The prisoners killed the guards and ran away as part of the deal was whoever finds the treasure gets to keep half of it. Sugimoto dreams of his best friend who died in the war and his last request was to take care of his wife’s failing eyes and hopes he could take her to an American doctor for a cure. The drunk guy realizes he has said too much and is going to kill him. This only makes Sugimoto believe his story. He fails to kill him and runs away. Sugimoto thinks of hunting him down before he gets a chance to return to kill him. However that guy is already dead. Yup, he became bear fodder. Look at the hole in his guts! But Sugimoto has to ‘save’ this corpse since he spots tattoo all over his body. Yes, he is one of the escaped convicts.

Sugimoto’s fears come true when the bear returns. Thankfully for this petite Ainu girl, Asirpa she manages to kill it. However upon opening its gut and finding it empty, this bear didn’t eat the prisoner. Asirpa fears the only bear who could do this are those who could not hibernate and is in a foul mood. The worst of the worst. Since it is getting dark and Sugimoto can’t just leave the corpse, he tells Asirpa the story. He needs her help as he needs the money. Surprisingly, she believes him. Because her father was one of the slain Ainu people. Night fall as Asirpa makes the necessary preparations to stave off the moody bear. I wonder how the bear can creep on them in this snow. I know it’s dark but they should have sensed something this big close. Sugimoto gets pinned down as he tells Asirpa not to shoot her arrow as she might hit him in the dark. The saviour comes in the form of a white Ezo wolf. It distracts the bear enough for Sugimoto to pick up his bayonet and stab its heart. End of the nightmare. Asirpa gives Sugimoto the credit for killing the bear so she points out certain parts he can sell for a high price. Sugimoto reasons that the gold hasn’t been found yet since this guy is hiding out here. The man who killed her father may still be alive in prison. The government won’t kill him until they find the gold. Finding the gold is a way to avenge her father’s death. She need not dirty his hands, just lend him her wisdom. He wants money, she wants revenge. Together they will be unstoppable.

Episode 2
We see Asirpa putting squirrel traps. The duo arrive in Otaru, the biggest port city in Hokkaido. They believe this is where the prisoners will be hiding as hiding in small villages will only make them stand out. They ask around for men with weird tattoos but none has seen any. They noticed a suspicious guy tailing them and they lead him straight into their squirrel trap. He is one of those prisoners as he reveals that he doesn’t know where the rest are. After the prisoners escaped, they started killing each other upon realizing things. Because of the way the tattoos are inked on their bodies, you have to skin them. This means the mastermind never intended to have them alive. As part of the deal, Sugimoto cannot kill the prisoners. Thankfully Asirpa is a good sketcher so she can sketch the tattoos onto her notes. As they interrogate further, they find out the man who carved the tattoos is called Nopperabo, literally meaning no face. Suddenly he is shot. The duo go into hiding until Sugimoto gets a chance to tackle him. Hyakunosuke Ogata is from the 7th Division, the strongest military unit in the army. They fight each other until Ogata accidentally falls off a ledge and his head knocks on a rock. Any normal person would have died from that but… Sugimoto reiterates to Asirpa that he is not a killer but after surviving a war, he learns in order to stay alive, you must not get killed. But if somebody wants to kill him, he will not hesitate to kill him first.

Now we see Asirpa cook squirrel meat and innards for dinner. Better follow her way of eating raw and not offend her. Ogata is found alive and close to death by his regiment. Next day, another prisoner gets caught in the squirrel trap. As Asirpa sketches the tattoos in the body of Yoshitake Shiraishi, they spot a rabbit. Catch the rabbit! Food! But Shiraishi uses this chance to escape as he is an escape artist. He keeps tools inside his throat! Sugimoto chases after him when the weather suddenly changes. It is bad enough that the temperature drops, now both men fall into the freezing river. Sugimoto knows they must warm up in 10 minutes or risk dying of hypothermia. He needs to find his bullets so he can start a fire with the gunpowder. He wants Shiraishi to start looking for them in the river but he insists on making a deal to not kill him. Sugimoto reluctantly does and he takes out a big bullet from his throat! They manage to make a fire. Shiraishi explains there are 24 tattooed prisoners in total. The only one who knows them all is the leader of the prisoners who led the escape. Surprisingly he is Toshizou Hijikata, the vice commander of the Shinsengumi. The only thing Nopperabo told the prisoners is go to Otaru. Sugimoto tells him to forget about the gold and leave Hokkaido. It isn’t Nopperabo’s friends or the prisoners gunning for it. The 7th Division too. Shiraishi is confident as an escape king, nobody can catch him.

Episode 3
Time for rabbit stew. When Sugimoto takes out his miso flavour, Asirpa gets shocked and thinks it is poo!!! Really, oh sh*t! After putting some bear trap, Sugimoto spots some reflections in the distance. Instantly he takes Asirpa and run. He knows those are binoculars. True enough, those are men from the 7th Division. To split up to lose them. One guy is assigned to track down the Ainu while the rest hunt down Sugimoto. They corner him and have him surrender as they accuse Sugimoto of attacking Ogata. In a bold gamble, Sugimoto dives into the bear’s den. They shoot inside. Suddenly the bear charges out and rips apart their guts!!! Holy sh*t! Eventually the bear and the army took each other out. Sugimoto exits alive as he couldn’t believe the Ainu’s legend that a bear will not attack a human in its den to be true. But if the den was small enough to fit Sugimoto, how did he hide behind the bear assuming the bullets hit the bear, right? Asirpa is caught and she plays dumb by speaking Ainu. However the soldier is smart enough to tell she can understand him. Before he could kill her, it’s that wolf again to the rescue. Man, it is tossing him around like a ragdoll! When they reunite, Asirpa is not pleased that Sugimoto has a bear cub! He wants to play mama to this cute bear whose parent has died?! Asirpa reminds him of the responsibilities of taking care of a bear so he reluctantly hands it to her. Hope she doesn’t turn it into bear stew. Genjirou Tanigaki as the sole survivor of this group is fascinated with the wolf. As he is from a hunting family, he is very interested to hunt down that wolf for its silver fur.

As Asirpa’s village is nearby, she takes him to there to stay. The Ainu are curious people so they are fascinated with Sugimoto. She brings him to talk to her grandmother. As she doesn’t speak Japanese, Asirpa translates for her. She talks about Asirpa spending her youth in the mountains and hence can do non-women stuffs like hunting, fishing, etc. This means she cannot land a husband and she hopes Sugimoto would take her as his bride. Embarrassed Asirpa mistranslates that about not eating that miso poop. Sugimoto learns more about the Ainu culture like how newborns are given hideous names to avoid them from being taken by evil spirits. When they are old enough, they are given proper names surrounding their behaviour. So Asirpa was once named her grandfather’s anus before being given a name that means a new year. Also more Ainu culture on why they do ceremonies for the gods (termed as kamuy) so that when they come down and give their blessing, they will know this is a fun place and return here again. That is why for the baby bear’s case, they will take care of it for 2 years before doing a ceremony to release it back into the wild. Captain Wada is not pleased that Lieutenant Tsurumi has took his men out for some hunt at this hour. As he rants about his punishment, Tsurumi bites off his finger! When a guy has his front skull blown off, you better not agitate him. When Wada orders him to be shot immediately, the men shoot him instead. Tsurumi has him stripped and buried. Tatsuma Ushiyama (Mike Haggar?!) is interrupted from f*cking his prostitute by Hijikata who has found a way to copy tattoos onto oil paper instead of killing them. He wants to join forces because at some point they will have to face the 7th Division and they’re going to steal the tattooed skins they have.

Episode 4
Sugimoto almost stepped into a poison trap but luckily for him, the warning of Makanakkuru made him live longer. He talks a bit more about the gold that was stolen from them. He believed it is a curse from the water kamuy because people tried to pan for gold there and the Ainu don’t even use water that flows from that river. They believe defiling the rivers to make war is blasphemy. More Ainu culture as Sugimoto learns from Asirpa about the belief of guardian spirit behind everyone’s neck and the game that children play by trying to make the scariest noise. That night, Sugimoto hears a howling of the wolf. When he describes a wolf that saved Asirpa twice, Makanakkuru explains Asirpa and her father saved it when it was young. Named Retar (white), it became close to Asirpa after her father’s death and often accompanied her when she goes to the mountains but one night it too cannot resist the call of its fellow pack and left Asirpa. She was very sad and stopped smiling ever since. She might look tough but she is still a lonely girl. Recently Asirpa is happier and he believes she must be enjoying her times in the mountains with him. With grandma even hoping Sugimoto would stay with her, he understands how much everyone loves her so he packs his bags and leaves. Next morning, Asirpa is mad that Sugimoto left without saying a word. It will be tough for her to find him in town and since Retar stands out, they’ll have to wait till night fall to move.

Sugimoto is looking for tattooed prisoners when he is ambushed by soldiers from the 7th Division. He puts up a fight before being outnumbered. Of course Tsurumi won’t kill him otherwise he won’t get to know the other skinned tattoos he has. As he is being interrogated, Sugimoto tries to play dumb. He even tries to make it sound they’ve got the wrong guy. But Tsurumi knows him. Doesn’t anybody in the army not know about his immortal status? With Sugimoto still playing dumb, not taking things seriously and laughing, Tsurumi suddenly sticks a sharp toothpick through his cheeks. No screaming.